By Dipo Olowookere
An employee of Dangote Cement factory at Ibese, Ogun State has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.
The convict, Mr Adewale Dalmeida, was jailed on January 14, 2019, by Justice O. J. Bamgbose of the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta for an offence bordering on conspiracy and stealing to the tune of N15 million.
He was brought before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on December 6, 2018, along with Ibrahim Lawal, Lukman Adam and Afeez Olaniba.
The complainant, Dangote Cement, alleged that Mr Dalmeida, a Fleet Analyst, Dangote Cement; Lawal, Chief Driver, Dangote Cement; Adam, a Ghanaian driver, Dangote Cement and Olaniba, who is an agent of a contractor to Dangote Cement, diverted nine trucks carrying 800 bags of cement each valued at over N15 million.
The defendants were said to have diverted the trucks carrying the bags of cement, which were meant for the company’s customers in Togo, using fake identification cards and number plates.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
The Judge remanded the defendants in Ibara Prison custody, Abeokuta, Ogun State and adjourned till December 17, 2018 for hearing of their bail applications and commencement of trial.
At the next adjourned sitting on December 17, 2018, counsel to the first defendant, Adewumi Adisa, told the court that he had filed a bail application on behalf of his client, Dalmedia, and also expressed the intention of his client to change his earlier plea of not guilty to guilty.
Consequently, the court had ordered the charge to be read to the defendant, who pleaded guilty to the two-count charge.
Also, counsel to second defendant, Z. D. Garuba, told the court that he had not filed any application on behalf of his client, Lawal, because he wanted to enter a plea bargain.
Counsel to the third defendant, Abolanle Davies, and counsel to the fourth defendant, K. O. Moshud, had also told the court about bail applications on behalf of their clients.
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Idris Mohammed, had told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial of the third and fourth defendants.
He had also prayed the court to take a very short date for a review of the facts and adoption of the plea bargain.
Consequently, Justice Bamgbose had adjourned the matter to Friday, December 21, 2018 for the review of the facts and adoption of plea bargain.
At the close of the review of the facts and adoption of plea bargain agreement, Justice Bamgbose had convicted the defendants on both counts on December 21, 2018 and adjourned to January 14, 2019 for sentencing of the convicts.
At this Monday’s proceedings, Justice Bamgbose sentenced the first convict to two and a half years imprisonment on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently from the date of arrest and detention, being September 14, 2018.
The judge also ordered that the money and property recovered from the convict should be forfeited to Dangote Cement.
The second, third and fourth defendants were each sentenced to eight months imprisonment on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently from September 12, 2018.
The judge ordered that the N1.6 million recovered from second defendant should be forfeited to Dangote Cement.
Also, the total sum of N900,000 recovered from the third defendant was ordered to be forfeited to Dangote Cement.
The money recovered from the fourth defendant was also ordered to be forfeited to Dangote Cement. The convicts were all ordered to enter into a bond with the Commission to be of good of character and never to commit any crime again in or outside the country.
Obasanjo Charges Africa to Decide Its Energy Future
By Adedapo Adesanya
Former president of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has said Africa must take charge of its own energy destiny and use its rich resource assets for the benefit of its own people.
His comments come in support of the Africa Oil Week (AOW), which is necessitated as the world scrambles to find new sources of oil and gas to meet its energy needs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In this context, Mr Obasanjo noted that African countries cannot be beholden to the unrealistic ideals of the Global North for an exclusively renewables-driven economy, saying this is particularly true when the developed world is itself accepting the need for hydrocarbons.
“Like the rest of the world, Africa must follow energy policies that promote socio-economic development and sustainable hydrocarbon use,” he said.
The former Head of State, who ruled Africa’s largest crude oil producer from 1999 to 2007 said, “Africa is the lowest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions and needs to lift nearly half-a-billion citizens out of poverty.
“Responsible management of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies is necessary to ensure a just energy transition and sustainable growth for our people.”
The European Union (EU) had previously said it intends to cut Russian-supplied oil by up to 90 per cent by the end of 2022, and the announcement has already caused global energy costs to soar.
Africa is one of the potential new sources of energy to replace this supply, with an estimated 61 billion barrels of oil equivalent being discovered in the region over the past 10 years.
Mr Obasanjo’s view aligns with that of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), which also called on member countries and other global institutions to use petroleum as a catalyst for energy security, sustainable development, and economic diversification in Africa through collaboration and partnerships.
Mr Obasanjo has been a major leader of Africa’s post-colonial period, having overseen Nigeria’s transition to representative democracy. Since his move out of the government sphere, he has been a senior statesman, active in defining geopolitical issues – including energy.
He also helped to shape the modern Nigerian oil industry, inaugurating policy reforms that have seen the country become an energy superpower on the African continent.
“Creating an African oil industry that benefits Africa’s people needs strong policy and regulation.
“During my time in government, we launched oil-and-gas policy reforms that helped to build a modern oil and gas hub. There were many learnings that we can apply across the wider region. I look forward to discussing these opportunities for Africa.”
He then called for accelerated dialogue on the sustainable development of hydrocarbons, and the role of Africa as a supplier of global energy needs.
“There has been much talk at forums such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos about a just energy transition. However, we must not allow Africa to be dictated to. The discussions at AOW will be pivotal in charting a new energy course for Africa. We will decide what is best for us,” he said.
Akande-Sadipe Mourns as Another Oyo APC Chieftain Dies
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has expressed sorrow over the death of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Mr Muili Ojuolape.
In a statement on Thursday, the lawmaker from the Oluyole Federal Constituency in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, described the Oyo APC chieftain as a father who would be missed.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe, in the statement signed by her media aide, Mr Olamilekan Olusada, prayed to God to comfort the family of Mr Ojuolape and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
She expressed shock over the death of the party chieftain, saying, “The unthinkable happened. We received the news of the second loss in Oluyole APC. We are saddened by the exit of another committed progressive. It’s difficult to bear the pain!”
“Baba Ojuolape, as I fondly called you, Baba Muili Ojuolape, you were indeed a father to me in Oluyole. As you go to your maker, I pray you to rest in perfect peace. I will surely miss you, APC Oluyole will surely miss you, and APC ward one shall surely miss you too. TASK Oluyole shall surely miss you. My sincere condolences to your immediate family. May the Almighty uphold your family to bear this loss,” she added.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe stated further that, “It is natural to grief when death strikes in a well-knitted family, but we have the confidence that the sacrifices you made in your life to build the APC in your local chapter, Oluyole into a viable democratic institution, shall not be in vain.
“You have played your part and left, and your democratic credentials should always spur us to greater service.”
It was gathered that Mr Ojuolape, a prominent member of the APC in the Oluyole local government area of Oyo State, died on Tuesday after a brief illness in Ibadan.
Pensioners Only Experience Few Payment Issues—PTAD
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has claimed that pensioners only witness a few payment issues, which it said should become a thing of the past very soon.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Ms Chioma Ejikeme, while speaking at a Sensitization and Collaboration Forum, which had critical stakeholders in attendance, said efforts are being made to make the process seamless.
She explained that the event was put together to carry stakeholders along, especially security officials, so as to weed out fraud from the system.
Ms Ejikeme said PTAD was ready to collaborate with other agencies to curb pension fraud and resolve issues regarding pension payments to the pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS).
“The Directorate has deemed it fit and important to engage these group of stakeholders in order to continually re-strategize and come to terms with the realities of pension payments and its attendant challenges.
“The pension industry had been swamped with complaints of extortion by fraudsters and phone calls demanding for money in order to quicken computation and payment of outstanding liabilities,” she said.
“It is important for agencies that like ICPC, and EFCC to really understand what we do, because of the perception of pension admiration out there as many people think PTAD keeps pensioners’ funds, which is not true.
“As such, we want to make sure that our processes and the way we conduct our payments is very well known to these agencies not just them, but also the general public,” she disclosed.
“Certainly, there are challenges in payment arising from the Government Integrated Financial Management Systems (GIFMIS), but the magnitude is really not significant.
“Consequently, we are here today to look at some of the minor challenges while we sit with the relevant stakeholders and look at how to address them and also get input from the financial managers of the government,” Ms Ejikeme stated.
On his part, the President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr Godwin Abumisi, lauded the efforts of PTAD in managing their pension and stated that they had never had it so good.
“Indeed the union and its teeming members will be eternally grateful to the federal government and the National Assembly for the establishment of PTAD via the Pension Reform Act of 2014 (as amended). The establishment and operations of PTAD is far better than where we are coming from,” he said.
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