By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Federal Government has said it has not in any way breached any agreement it had with the notorious Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Last week, the militant group threatened to resume hostilities in the oil rich region over the failure of government to honour its agreements with them.
But while address Political Editors in Lagos yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, refuted the claims by the group, saying it is totally not true.
The Minister admitted that the threat was unsettling the Federal Government because of its effect on the nation’s economy; he however appealed for calm from the group.
“We are very worried about it (threat) because if the Avengers should start destroying our oil installations, it is going to bring the country back to its knees.
“And that is why we are appealing to them. We have not breached any agreement with them and we will rather appeal to them to understand that there is more to gain by all sides in engaging than in going back to the trenches.
“Even power has improved in the Niger Delta as well as infrastructure. Contractors can now go and work there.
“We are talking of University of Maritime Technology in the Niger Delta, Second Niger bridge and East- West road. I think what they are fighting for will be achieved much more if there is peace and we will continue our engagements with them because it will not be in the interest of anybody to have crisis,” Mr Mohammed told journalists.
Reacting to a question on how Nigerians doubt statements attributed to him, the Minister, who was the spokesman of the then opposition party now the ruling party, said, “I have two burdens. The first is that I happen to be the face of the opposition and PDP has not forgiven me and they will never forgive me.
“I think they look at the magnitude of what has happened to them and they hold me solely responsible; which is not fair.
“But, I did my beat. Now, becoming the face of government again, it is automatic that whatever comes from Lai Mohammed, we must shoot it down as fake news and a lie. Unfortunately, my father gave me the name Lai also.
“So, it makes it very easy for them. But, what I challenge them every time is, please, give me one thing I said that is not true.
“Emotionally, you may not agree with me, but in terms of facts and figures, I have never said anything which they can dispute. You don’t have to like them, but you can’t deny that they are facts.”
On the 2019 polls, the Minister warned Nigerians never to return the PDP to power.
“As to whether we are afraid of whether we are afraid of the PDP staging a comeback, I can confidently tell you that we are not even contemplating it. It will be a tragedy for Nigeria to fall back into the hands of PDP.
“They dropped us in hell and we are taking people out of hell. How can Nigeria now go back to Egypt? It is not about APC or President Buhari. With the kind of revelation that is coming out, the kind of rot, you want those people to come back and preside over the affairs of Nigeria again? What will happen to the investigations that were carried out if the PDP should win elections again? It will be swept under the carpet.
“This is the first time in the history of this country that we are making real recoveries. Just recently, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Swiss government to return $321 million that was stolen from the country. This is the first time this country is actually looking at our problems from a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint.
“We are not talking of what we are going to achieve in two years or three years. We are talking about laying a solid foundation for a Nigeria that our children will be able to thrive. Unfortunately, the reform agenda is always longer than the political agenda. In many parts of the world, they plan for 10, 15, 20 years. Nobody plans for four years.
“When you look at our Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), we are talking about 2020, even though we know that there may be a change of administration depending on the outcome of the presidential election. But, you do not think in the short term. Nigerians should never pray for PDP to come back.
“When we negotiated with the Swiss government to return late General Sani Abacha’s loot, they gave us some conditions; one of which is that we must identify what programme we want to use the money for and that the World Bank will supervise what we are using the money for.
“When we argued that we are a sovereign country and that they can’t dictate to us how we are going to spend money that was stolen from our country, which they are returning, they said ‘yes, but when we returned part of it to your country under Goodluck Jonathan, you relooted it,’ and that is true.”
Swiss Business School Honours Monument Distillers CEO
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
Mr Godwin Oche, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Monument Distillers Nigeria Limited (MDN), has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Swiss School of Business and Management, Geneva.
The Swiss faculty confirmed that the laurel was in recognition of his huge contributions to the development of the African manufacturing ecosystem and for his technological innovations.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Oche appreciated the institution and MDN for the recognition and honour.
“Few things have made me more proud and more grateful for my journey than this humbling recognition of my contributions to business and manufacturing by the esteemed Swiss School of Business and Management. I am truly honoured. Most especially, I am grateful.
“I am grateful to my wife and family for their dependable support through the years, to Monument Distillers for giving me the platform to shine, to our customers for their tremendous loyalty and support, and most especially to the good Lord who has blessed me with far more than I ever dreamed,” he said.
Mr Oche is a Chemical Engineer and holder of a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTECH).
He is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultant (FIMC), a member of the Nigeria Institute of Marketing (MNIM), and also a member of the Nigeria Institute of Personnel Management (MIPM).
MDN is a fast-rising wine and spirit company that produces a wide range of global and local brands such as John Bannermans Scotch Whisky, 1960Rootz Bitters, 4 Horses Bitters, Les Damier Wine range and so much more.
The company also has distribution rights to brands such as Four Cousins Wines, Sazerac Southern Comfort Bourbon and other ranges of spirits. The company offers a broad range of collections for all occasions.
Kano Forex Trader in Trouble Over N197m
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A foreign exchange (forex) trader based in Kano State, Mr Yusuf Yakubu, may have bitten more than he can chew as he has found himself in murky water.
He was accused of diverting about N197.6 million belonging to his customers, who wanted him to exchange his Dollars to Naira.
It was alleged that in January 2021, the Kano forex trader collected $870,000 with the promise to pay the Naira equivalent, but he refused to fully honour this pledge.
Instead of returning the full amount, he only paid N220.3 million and allegedly diverted the balance of N197.6 million and efforts to make him pay were futile.
As a result, a petition was filed to the Kano Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which waded into the matter.
After interrogations, Mr Yakubu was arraigned before Justice Sanusi Ma’aji of the Kano State High Court on August 4, 2021, on a one-count charge of misappropriation.
“That Yakubu Yusuf on or about January 14, 2021, within the jurisdiction of this court, with intent to defraud dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N149,000,000 belonging to Oliver Ogokumaka and Obumnemi Okoli and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 308 and punishable under section 309 of the Penal Code,” the charge read.
When the charge was read to him, the defendant pleaded not guilty, which prompted the prosecution counsel, Mr Musa Isah, to ask for a trial date.
However, counsel for the defendant, Mr Abdul Adamu, informed the court that he had filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the judge consequently adjourned the matter till August 18 for argument on the motion.
Meanwhile, the defendant was granted bail in the sum of N50 million and two sureties in like sum, one of who must be a relative of the accused person and both must also be resident of Kano, with verified business addresses.
Stanbic IBTC Revamps Abeokuta BTI Correctional Centre
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
A top financial institution, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, through the Stanbic IBTC Finance Team, has reconstructed the vocational centre at Borstal Training Institute (BTI) located in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The BTI is an arm of the Nigerian Correctional Service where young offenders are remanded and given both educational and vocational training, used to be a deteriorated structure with very few tools.
The poor facility was not able to live up to the purpose of the institute in terms of equipping students with education and skill acquisition.
However, the intervention of the Stanbic IBTC Staff Volunteerism Initiative saw a complete overhauling of the Abeokuta BTI Correctional Centre to encourage the purpose as to which the BTI was built.
The reconstruction entailed the demolition of the existing dilapidated shed, construction of a new building which was demarcated into four segments, along with the establishment of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) unit equipped with six desktop computers.
In addition, a tailoring section was also set up and provided with four sewing machines, a stitching machine, several tailoring tools, and fabrics for practice.
There was also a barbing section which was supplied with three clippers, a sterilising machine, and other necessary barbing tools.
The renovation also entailed the establishment of a carpentry section equipped with necessary equipment such as a drilling machine, spraying machine, and circular machine.
The water supply channel was also improved with an overhead water tank for the facility.
In his statement on the project, the Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, pointed out that the provision of these necessary facilities will encourage easy reintegration of the students into the society as it will equip them with digital and vocational skills.
“I believe that this project will directly impact the lives of these young Nigerians. It enhances their easy integration into society as they are already equipped with either digital or vocational skills, based on their preference.
“Upon release, they will not be idle but will hopefully put the skills they have acquired to good use,” he said.
The reconstructed BTI vocational centre which houses about 330 students will now have about 182 of them engaged in school and computer skill acquisition, and 148 students equipped with vocational training.
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