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EFCC Rejects N13.1bn Bid for Forfeited Ikoyi Property



forfeited Ikoyi property

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The N13.1 billion bid for the 24 units of luxury flats at Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, has been rejected by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In late December, the EFCC commenced the auctioning of some forfeited properties in some cities of the country.

It started in Lagos and others before moving to Abuja.

At the exercise in Abuja yesterday, one of the bidders offered N13.1 billion for the forfeited Ikoyi property, which is to be sold as a single unit, but the anti-money laundering organisation rejected the offer.

In a statement issued on Monday, the commission explained that the bid was thrown away because the bidder failed “to include the stipulated 10 per cent of the bid amount.”

The agency disclosed that other bidders did not make the reserve price, forcing the Secretary to the EFCC, Mr George Ekpungu, to announce that the commission will open fresh bids for the properties in Lot 1, which also includes the Ikoyi property.

“The bids will close by 12 pm on Friday, January 13, 2023, while the bid opening will be done the same day,” the statement said, adding that the auctioning is via “sealed bids.”

It was learned that the bids for items in Lots 2 and 3 were also not successful in Abuja yesterday, forcing invitation for fresh bids until Wednesday, January 11, 2023, and the opening of offers on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

Speaking earlier, while declaring the exercise open, Mr Ekpungu explained that the EFCC adopted the format of competitive bidding to ensure accountability and ensure that the government gets the right value for the assets.

He further disclosed that occupants of the properties for sale have the Right of First Refusal, assuring that the agency will block attempts by former owners of the forfeited properties to repurchase the assets by proxy.

“If you have information about any bid by owners of the assets, please let the commission know, and we will take appropriate action, including possible prosecution,” he declared.

Mr Ekpungu praised the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, for taking the bull by the horn in ensuring that those who have stolen the wealth of the country were denied the proceeds of crime and the assets disposed of for the benefit of all Nigerians.

On his part, the Director of Public Affairs of the EFCC, Mr Osita Nwajah, read out the guidelines for the sale, which among others, forbids staff of the commission and persons who have or are being prosecuted in respect of the assets from participating in the process.

He also disclosed that before any bid can be successful, it must be equal to or be above the reserve price, while each bidder was expected to enclose a bank draft for 10 per cent of the bid amount.

According to him, successful bidders have 15 working days from the bid opening to make full payment, as failure to do so will give the second highest bidder to have the asset.

The assets are grouped into nine lots, with Monday’s sale restricted to lots 1, 2 and 3. The sale of properties in the other lots will continue until the final lot is disposed of on Friday, December 13, 2023.

Proceeds from the sale of the assets will be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Properties Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria in line with Section 69(a) of the Proceeds of Crime ( Recovery and Management) Act, 2023.

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Violent Protest Erupts in Ibadan Over Naira Scarcity



protest in Ibadan

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

There are reports of a violent protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes, Business Post has gathered.

It was learned that residents of the ancient city are venting their anger over the hardship caused by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government.

The central bank redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes and asked citizens to return their old banknotes because they would cease to be legal tender.

However, since the introduction of the new currency notes in circulation on December 15, 2022, many Nigerians have not been able to withdraw their money from banks, fuelling anger in the land.

On Friday afternoon, some residents of Ibadan, especially in Iwo Road, took to the streets to express their frustration at the development, which is coming at a time consumers have to queue for petrol.

They had bonfires on the road and disrupted business activities in some areas of the city.

Recall that today, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, announced the suspension of his campaign activities over the scarcity of Naira and fuel.

Also on Friday, the Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met with President Muhammadu Buhari to appeal to him to change his mind on the Naira swap policy because of the effect on the people and the 2023 general elections starting later this month.

The President had earlier been asked not to show up in Kano State because of fears of a violent protest over the development. After the deadline was moved forward, the Governor of the state, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said he was safe to visit the ancient city.

However, during his visit to Kano, there were reports of a demonstration, with a chopped stoned by some residents of the state and convoys attacked by angry protesters.

The government claimed the protest was not directed at President Buhari, while the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said otherwise.

protest in Ibadan

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APC Governors Beg Buhari to Allow Use of Old, New Naira Notes



APC Governors

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to allow the use of old and Naira notes as legal tender in the country until the former is naturally mopped up from the circulation.

This appeal was made on Friday by Governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during a meeting with Mr Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

In a brief chat with reporters after the meeting, the Governor of Kano State, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said after the request was made to the President, he promised to look into it.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last month redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes and said the old currency denominations would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.

However, two days before the deadline, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, after a meeting with President Buhari in his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, said the deadline had been shifted to February 10, 2023, noting that Nigerians had a grace period of February 17, 2023, to return the old notes to the bank.

On Tuesday, January 31, he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the CBN policy to say Nigerians could still take their old notes to banks after the deadline, promising that citizens will not lose their funds.

Today, the APC Governors met with Mr Buhari to discuss the scarcity of Naira in the financial system and also the lingering fuel scarcity.

One of the Governors present at the gathering, Mr Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, had claimed this week that the scarcity of cash and petrol was the handiwork of some elements in the Villa, who do not want the party to succeed in the forthcoming elections.

“We spoke with the President to allow the old and new notes to co-exist until the old notes die a natural death,” Mr Ganduje told newsmen while walking out after the meeting.

“Sir, did you discuss the petrol scarcity with him,” one of the reporters asked the Kano Governor, and he responded, “Yes.”

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Oyo Governor Suspends Campaign Activities Over Fuel, Naira Crisis



Makinde campaign activities

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Due to the unending fuel and new Naira notes crisis rocking the country, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has suspended his campaign activities.

Mr Makinde is seeking another term in office under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He commenced his campaign activities last month, asking residents of the state to give him another chance to serve them.

But the scarcity of premium petrol spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, and cash has put Nigerians under untold hardship.

Governor Makinde, during the flag-off of the Omi-Adio-Ido Road on Friday, said in solidarity with the people over anti-people economy policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government, he would be suspending his campaign.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun confirmed this.

In the statement, Mr Makinde, who was in Ido to continue his campaign, directed that all campaign activities be suspended until further notice.

Mr Olatubosun said Governor Makinde noted that the suffering of his people was too much, saying he was elected to protect their interests and well-being.

The Commissioner said his boss, in an emotionally laden voice, directed leaders of the party in Oyo State to suspend the campaign.

“As a mark of honour to citizens and residents of Oyo State, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed that all campaign activities of the party at all levels be suspended until further notice,” the statement read.

“Governor Seyi Makinde’s love for his people necessitated this unprecedented move at this time. We urge all residents and citizens of the State to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together,” he added.

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