By Dipo Olowookere
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has stated that it was yet to make a decision on the proposed sale of national assets to raise funds to revive the economy.
The position of the council on the matter was made public on Wednesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
The Minister described the proposed action as mere speculation.
Mr Mohammed, who briefed newsmen after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, said government was still working on how to reflate the economy in the most comprehensive manner and will make its position known very soon.
“What the government will do is to reflate the economy; everything you have heard so far is just suggestion, until the government makes its position known.
“All these assets sale, assets leasing, whatever is being bandied about, they are nothing but speculations. The government is yet to come out with its position on how to bail out the economy.
“NEC will recommend but it is the Federal Executive Council that will decide, and what we decide will be the position of government,” the Minister said.
It would be recalled that almost a week ago, the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, presided over by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, with 23 state governors in attendance, supported the idea of selling off national assets to pump into the economy.
The NEC is the highest economic decision making body in Nigeria.
N805m Scam: EFCC Moves Senator Nwaoboshi from Hospital to Prison
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Mr Peter Nwaoboshi, the Senator representing Delta North in the National Assembly, has been taken to the Ikoyi Correctional Centre on Wednesday to commence his prison term.
Senator Nwaoboshi was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal for money laundering.
According to a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the lawmaker was intercepted by its operatives at a hospital in Lagos on Monday, February 6, after months of avoiding them.
The Court of Appeal had, in a judgement, it delivered on July 1, 2022, sentenced him to prison after it convicted him on a two-count charge of money laundering and also ordered the winding up of his two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, in line with the provision of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021, and their properties forfeited to the federal government.
But the lawmaker, who was not present in court at the time of the ruling, went underground and refused to present himself to the Nigerian Correctional Service. Instead, he proceeded to the Supreme Court, praying the apex court to not only set it aside the judgment of the appeal court but grant him bail, pending the determination of his appeal.
But in a unanimous decision on January 27, 2023, the apex court dismissed the application. In the lead judgement by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court wondered why Nwaoboshi, who refused to submit himself to the law, would seek the indulgence of the law.
Justice Tijani Abubakar, in his contribution, upbraided the Appellant for filing the bail application while on the run.
“We must make it very, very clear to all Nigerians that nobody is above the law. The government and the governed are subject to the rule of law. And, we must ensure that there is respect for the rule of law”.
The Court of Appeal judgement that convicted Nwaoboshi followed an appeal by the EFCC against the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos, which had on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the lawmaker and his companies.
Mr Nwaoboshi and his companies illegally acquired a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million. Part of the money paid for the property was transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd. The funds are believed to be proceeds of the illicit activities of the convict.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Peter Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Projects Limited, between May and June 2014, within the jurisdiction of this court, did acquire a property described as Guinea House, Marina Road, Apapa, Lagos, for the sum of N805 million, when you reasonably ought to have known that the sum of N322 million out of the purchase price transferred to the vendors by order of Suinming Electricals Limited formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011(as amended) and punishable under Section (15)(3) of the same Act.”
N3.1bn Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Kogi Governor’s Wife, Nephew
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
On Wednesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mrs Rashida Bello, the wife of Kogi State Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello, before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Governor’s wife, who is at large, was brought before the court alongside Mr Bello’s nephew, Mr Ali Bello, and three others over allegations of N3.1 billion fraud.
The EFCC, which brought Mr Abba Adauda, Mr Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, and Ms Iyada Sadat to court today, filed an 18-count charge bordering on criminal misappropriation and money laundering against the suspects.
According to the agency, the defendants, sometime in June 2020 in Abuja, procured E-Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3.1 billion believed to be part of the proceeds of unlawful activity.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the organisation said the defendants in November 2021 in Abuja also procured E-Traders International Limited to transfer $570,330 to account number no; 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, “which sum they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
However, they pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges preferred against them, which prompted the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) to urge the court to give a trial date to enable the prosecution to prove its case.
But the defence counsel, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), prayed the court to grant his client bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Justice Egwuatu adjourned the case till February 13, 2023, and ordered that the defendants be remanded in a correctional centre pending the determination of the bail application.
Rite Foods Removes Over 100k Plastic Bottles From Lagos Shorelines
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Over 100,000 plastic bottles have been taken away from Lagos shorelines by Rite Foods Limited through its sponsored riteonthebeach initiative aimed at cleaning the country’s beaches.
Launched in August 2021 by Rite Foods’ Managing Director, Mr Seleem Adegunwa, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project went live in the Lagos beach communities in January 2022 with a success story.
This campaign by the market leader in Nigeria’s food and beverage industry is geared towards promoting environmental conservation.
To date, the communities have removed over 100,000 bottles from their beaches, with school children taking the responsibility of dropping off twenty-two bottles or 1kg of plastics before school each day.
Through the beach cleaning initiative, 74 scholarships and over 20 jobs have been created from the collection and recycling process, spearheaded by the Founder of Popbeachclub, Mr Akin Disu, the convener of Riteonthebeach, with its festival held in November 2022.
The academic festival sensitises the public on the effects of climate change and plastic pollution on the environment centred in the remote Lagos fishing communities of Ilashe, Ibeshe, and Ikaare.
In partnership with Disu, Riteonthebeach created the Plastic Neutral Token, a community-driven social enterprise system that encourages members of the public to take responsibility for the plastic waste they produce, as the average human being uses 84 kilograms of plastic yearly.
By members of the public buying a plastic-neutral token, the scheme will remove 84kgs of plastic from the ocean, thereby making it plastic-neutral and eco-friendly.
The plastic waste is processed and sent to the city for recycling, with the entire process verified by a third party and tracked on its transparent online platform. They achieved this by engaging the communities of these remote coastal fishing villages, rewarding the children with scholarships, while the women and youth were provided with jobs. This is to save the fishing ecosystem under threat from extensive ocean waste from the city.
The fishing communities serve a crucial role in Lagos state’s economy, providing fish and tourism services for the city of Lagos. These coastal communities on the Lagos western peninsular are separated from the city by the Owo river basin watershed, with the residents under a constant deluge of plastic waste transported by the ocean to their doorsteps.
Interestingly, the Riteonthebeach is committed to creating 300 scholarships in two years, in partnership with the coastal communities removing one metric ton of plastic per week, thereby attaining sustainability.
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