By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday inaugurated the new Board of Trustees for the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF), even as he declared war on criminal elements in the state.
The board, headed by the Deputy Governor, Operations, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Bayo Adelabu, was inaugurated at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office, with a mandate to reinvigorate the security outfit.
Mr Ajimobi had also inaugurated the newly reconstituted state’s Joint Security Task Force, codenamed `Operation Burst,’ at Idi-Arere, which is considered one of the hot spots in the city of Ibadan.
Members of the OYSSTF include the Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan; a member of the Olubadan-in-Council, High Chief Abiodun Kola-Daisi; Dr Adesola Adeduntan; Dr Falil Ayo-Abina; Engr. Femi Odumagbo; and Mr Vickram Goushani.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr Femi Oyedipe, will serve as Executive Secretary of the board.
Mr Ajimobi described the two occasions as a milestone in his administration’s efforts at stamping out all forms of brigandage and violent activities, which, he said, had earned the state the appellation of a garrison before the advent of his administration.
“Before our administration came on board in 2011, Oyo State used to be known as a garrison, because of the violence, arson, brigandage and destruction of property being carried out by criminals.
“This led to the establishment of a Security Trust Fund and ‘Operation Burst’ in 2013 which eventually brought peace back to the state.
“We were then able to stem the tide of armed robbery, gangsterism and other vices with this instrument of the law.
“We have now fortified the ‘Operation Burst’ with officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Special Response Squad of the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to renew the people’s confidence in the capacity and capability of the outfit,” the Governor said.
While inaugurating the 20 new patrol vans donated to the state by the OYSSTF at Idi-Arere, the Governor promised that other arms and ammunition required to fight crimes and criminal activities to a standstill would be made readily available to the security outfit.
He charged members of the board to apply the Trust Fund law recently amended by the state House of Assembly towards the sustenance of peace, saying the law had paved the way for private sector involvement.
The Governor, who emphasized that security was a serious business that involved the participation of all and sundry as well as sustained funding, called for a robust data base and public-private partnership.
Mr Ajimobi said that arrangements were being made for the installation of Closed Circuit Television cameras in strategic areas and a base station where people could call in for emergencies as well as acquisition of aerial patrol helicopter.
“We have come to knock on the doors of brigands to flush them out. We decided to choose this location (Idi-Arere) for this occasion because it is generally believed to be the hot spot of criminal activities in the city of Ibadan.
“With this development therefore, ‘One million Boys’ should be on the run! There is no more a safe haven for criminals and perpetuators of violence in our state,” he said.
In his remark, Mr Adelabu said that a sustainable funding for security was imperative, adding that nothing meaningful could be achieved in an atmosphere of insecurity and chaos.
He commended the Ajimobi administration for restoring sanity to the state after a long period of violence and brigandage preceding his emergence.
Mr Adelabu pledged his members’ readiness to assist government in raising funds through voluntary donations by individuals, groups and corporate bodies.
“The attainment of peace and tranquillity is commendable. But, the greater challenge is its sustainability until it becomes our way of life and permanent identity in Oyo State.
“Security has no colour; it transcends party politics; it goes beyond religious affiliation; it does not recognize economic status; it is blind to ethnic affiliation and it ignores the age of victims.
“The uncommon strides of the present administration should, therefore, be commended for eradicating insecurity in Oyo State,” he said.
It will be recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently listed Oyo State alongside Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory as the most investor-friendly destinations in the country due to the sustained peace in the states.
The twin occasions were graced by eminent personalities, security chiefs, traditional rulers, captains of industry, members of the State Executive Council and members of the public.
Court Acquits Jide Omokore of $1.6bn Fraud, Convict Two Others
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Mr Jide Omokore, an ally of former Minister of Petroleum, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been acquitted by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Mr Omokore was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of laundering funds to the tune of $1.6 billion.
However, at the ruling on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Justice Dimgba held that the anti-money laundering organisation could not prove its case against Mr Omokore and two companies linked to him, Atlantic Energy Brass Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.
But two other persons linked to the matter, Victor Briggs and Abiye Membere, both former top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), were convicted by the court today.
They were found guilty of “unethically collecting car gifts as public officials,” in contravention of section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.
According to the trial judge, public officials must act at arm’s length with private individuals, especially those that have business relations with their departments or agencies. They would be kept in the custody of the EFCC pending their sentencing on Wednesday.
In a statement issued after the ruling, the EFCC expressed shock over the acquittal of Mr Omokore, vowing to challenge it at the appeal court.
The agency dragged Mr Omokore and others to court, alleging that he used the Strategic Alliance Agreement signed between the NPDC and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited to swindle the NPDC and the Nigerian government of monies running into billions of dollars through the lifting of crude oil from some oil wells between March 2013 and May 2014.
The other defendants, who were senior management staff of the NNPC, were accused of conspiracy in inducing the NPDC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Mr Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited; and receiving car gifts from Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.
“That you, Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May 2013 and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this court obtained by false pretence and with intent to defraud, 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of $823,75,189.95 from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the false pretence that you had funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited in petroleum operation for the OML 60,61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act,” one of the charges read.
Supreme Court Affirms Ahmad Lawan as APC Yobe North Senatorial Candidate
By Dipo Olowookere
The president of the senate, Mr Ahmad Lawan, has been affirmed as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
At a ruling delivered on Monday, February 6, 2023, the Supreme Court nullified the candidacy of Mr Bashir Machina.
Mr Machina and Mr Lawan had been at loggerhead over the party’s ticket for the slot.
The Senate President had contested the APC presidential primary along with the eventual winner of the exercise, Mr Bola Tinubu, and was said to have pushed forward Mr Machina as a placeholder.
However, after he lost in his bid to become the presidential candidate of the party, he turned to Mr Machina, who refused to back down, stressing that it was his turn to represent the senatorial district at the National Assembly and that the Senate President never participated in the party’s primary.
The number three citizen of the country had earlier accepted his fate, but his party took the matter up until today’s judgement, which has restored his hopes of remaining in the upper chamber of the parliament.
Justice Centus Nweze, in the lead judgement, faulted the approach of Mr Machina in commencing the suit at the Federal High Court Damaturu division by way of originating summons and without oral evidence to prove allegations of fraud.
Boss Mustapha Not Working Against Tinubu—APC Group
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A support group of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) known as the APC Mandate Defenders (AMD) has denied claims that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was working against the presidential candidate of the party, Mr Bola Tinubu.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of APC Mandate Defenders, Mr Ifeanyi Emeka, the organisation said Mr Mustapha supports the candidacy of the former Governor of Lagos.
He stated that the allegations made against the SGF by another support group of the ruling party, Concerned APC Stakeholders (CAS), were false, describing Mr Mustapha as a well-respected party leader who has great respect and close relationship with Mr Tinubu right from when he was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for Northern Region and would not engage in any real or imaginary plot to sabotage the electoral chances of the APC and its candidate.
According to him, the SGF is preoccupied with the task of meeting the demands of the transitional period, which mostly rests on his office as a frontline secretariat for the presidency as the administration gradually winds down and does not have the time to work against Mr Tinubu.
AMD asked CAS to tell Nigerians how following due process in board appointments for federal government agencies amounts to sabotaging the electoral chances of the party and its candidate in the forthcoming presidential election.
Recall that the SGF had advised Nigerians to be wary of scammers who use his name and office to dupe people while promising them non-existing government appointments.
“Therefore, we urge Nigerians and party members across the federation to ignore the allegation against Boss Mustapha as he cannot be forced into providing appointments to people by threats of blackmails as such responsibility rests squarely on the desk of Mr President and Commander-in-Chief.
“Associating such frustration with the campaigns of the presidential candidate of our great party, Senator Bola Tinubu, by CAS is a diversionary tactic against the overall interest of our party and Nigeria as a nation,” a part of the statement said.
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