By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Mr Gerald Irona, has denied reports that he was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The politician, who was sacked from office alongside his boss, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, by a supreme court judgement that brought in Mr Hope Uzodinma, said via a statement from his media aide, Mr Walter Duru, said he has no case with the anti-graft agency.
The statement said reports that Mr Irona was “intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and taken to the EFCC headquarters for interrogation” was not only false but also malicious.
It was alleged that Mr Irona was picked up by the EFCC for allegedly collecting N400 million monthly from the account of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) in their short stay in power.
It was also alleged that he mismanaged N5 billion counterpart funds for the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) and that he failed to return his passport to the EFCC after using it last year.
But Mr Duru, in a statement made available to Business Post, disclosed that, “For the avoidance of doubt, immediate past Deputy Governor of Imo State, Gerald Irona was neither invited nor arrested by operatives of the EFCC or any other law enforcement agency in Nigeria.”
He added that Mr Irona was not under any form of investigation whatsoever, noting that he is relaxing in his residence and is not arrested, invited or wanted as reported.
According to him, “The allegation of misappropriation of ISOPADEC funds is laughable as the former Deputy Governor was never the Chief Executive Officer of the oil commission and could not have been in charge of the commission’s funds.
“We consider it an insult and an attempt to reduce Imo State’s former Deputy Governor to the mere head of one of the many parastatals in the state.
“On the allegation of mismanaging RAMP funds, nothing could be more untrue. The former Deputy Governor never managed any such funds and has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
“On the allegation that the former Deputy Governor never returned his passport to EFCC, it is strange as Irona was never a guest of the EFCC and at no time did the anti-graft agency seize his passport.
“Gerald Irona is a responsible and patriotic, law-abiding Nigerian and will not waste a second in responding to any call or invitation from any constituted authority.
“In and out of office, Irona has lived a transparent, disciplined and decent lifestyle, worthy of emulation.
The sponsors of this report are political detractors envious of the rising profile of the darling former Deputy Governor of Imo State.
“While we consult our lawyers on a possible legal remedy for this brazen and irresponsible spread of outright falsehood, the general public is hereby advised to disregard the report in its entirety, as there is no iota of truth in it.
“It is on record that the brief administration of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha remains the most transparent, focused and result-driven administration Imo State has ever had.”
NBC Withdraws Operating Licences of Silverbird TV, Others
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The operating licences of Silverbird TV, Rhythm FM and others have been revoked by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
A statement issued on Friday by the agency disclosed that the action was taken over the failure of the broadcast stations to renew their licences after being given time to do so.
The affected media platforms were given 24 hours to stop operations or risk being forced to do so with the help of security operatives.
“After due consideration, NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the under-listed stations and gives them 24 hours to shut down their operations.
“Our offices nationwide are hereby directed to collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance,” a part of the notice today read.
It was stated by NBC that the affected radio and television stations, numbering over 50, were given enough time to pay their broadcast renewal fees of about N2.66 billion but they refused to take action.
“In May 2022, the NBS published in the national dailies, the list of licensees that are indebted to the commission and granted them two weeks to renew their licenses and pay their debts or consider their licenses revoked, frequencies withdrawn and the withdrawn frequencies reassigned to others who are ready to abide by the necessary requirements.
“Three months after the publication, some licensees are yet to pay their outstanding debts, in contravention of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly section 10(a) of the third schedule of the Act.
“In view of this development, the continued operation of the debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security,” the statement said.
In the disclosure, the nation’s regulatory agency for the broadcast platforms warned others yet to renew their licences for the present duration to do so within the next 30 days to avoid sanctions.
“The broadcast stations that are not affected/whose names are not on this list are required to renew their licenses for their current durations within the next 30 days or get their licenses also revoked,” it stressed.
Below is the full list of the affected stations:
S/N NAME OF STATION LOCATION
- Silverbird TV (Silverbird Communications Co. Ltd) Network
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd) FM Abuja
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd) FM Lagos
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd) FM Yenagoa
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd) FM Port-Harcourt
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communications Ltd) FM Jos
- Rhythm FM (Silverbird Communication Ltd) Benin
- Greetings FM (Greetings Media Ltd) FM Network
- Tao FM (Ovidi CommunicationS Ltd) FM Okene
- Zuma FM (Zuma FM Ltd) FM Suleja
- Crowther FM (Crowther Communications Ltd) FM Abuja
- We FM (Kings Broadcasting Ltd) FM Benin
- Linksman International ltd Keffi
- Bomay Broadcasting Services ltd Abuja
- MITV (Murhi International Group Ltd) Ibadan
- Classic FM (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd) Port-Harcourt
- Classic FM (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd) Lagos
- Classic TV (Pinkt Nigeria Ltd) Lagos
- Smoot FM (Fenchurch Invest Consortium ltd) Lagos
- Beat FM (Megalectrics LTD) Lagos
- Cooper Communications ltd Lagos
- Splash FM (West Midlands Ltd) Ibadan
- Rock City FM (Boot Communications ltd) Abeokuta
- Family FM (Kalaks Investments Nig. Ltd) Ilugun
- Space FM (Creazioni Nig. Ltd) Ibadan
- Radio Jeremi (Radio Jeremi ltd) Effurun
- Breeze FM (Bays Water ltd) Akure
- Vibes FM (Vibes Communication ltd) Benin
- Family Love FM (Multimesh Broadcasting Co. Ltd) Port-Harcourt
- Wave FM (South Atlantic Media ltd) Port-Harcourt
- Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation
- Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation
- Niger State Broadcasting Corporation
- Gombe State Broadcasting Corporation
- Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation
- Lagos DSB
- Osun State Broadcasting Corporation
- Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation
- Ondo State Broadcasting Corporation
- Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation
- Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation
- Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation
- Imo State Broadcasting Corporation
- Anambra State Broadcasting Corporation
- Borno State Broadcasting Corporation
- Yobe State Broadcasting Corporation
- Sokoto State Broadcasting Corporation
- Zamfara State Broadcasting Corporation
- Kebbi State Broadcasting Corporation
- Jigawa State Broadcasting Corporation
- Kaduna State Broadcasting Corporation
- Katsina State Broadcasting Corporation
Stakeholders Prepare for 2022 GTCO Autism Conference
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
All is now set for the 2022 edition of the annual GTCO Autism Conference scheduled for Monday, August 29 and Tuesday, August 30 at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
This year’s event, the 12th, is themed Creating a Community of Awe-Tism Advocates and will involve different stakeholders, including parents, medical experts, caregivers and others.
Organisers of the programme, which has gained wider acclaim for bringing together some of the world’s leading experts in autism, said the GTCO Autism Conference will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions by experienced specialists from renowned institutions in Nigeria and abroad in a hybrid set-up to allow for both in-person and virtual participation.
In addition, there would be one-on-one consultations and Q&A sessions during the conference to provide opportunities for parents and other stakeholders to further engage on best practices for proper diagnosis and treatment of persons on the autism spectrum with the experts.
Some of the partnering organisations include Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Autism Compassion Africa, Ghana, The Color of Autism Foundation, USA, Meharry Medical College, USA, and Behaviorprise Consulting Inc., Canada.
As a special feature and to ensure more persons with developmental disorders can benefit from professional help, provision has been made to offer specialist care to autistic children in the areas of speech and behaviour therapy, child psychology and psychiatry, as well as occupational development for adults living with autism via in-person consultations at the Chapel of Light, Alausa, Ikeja, starting from Tuesday, August 23 to Saturday, August 27 between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm.
“While much has been done over the years to increase the social consciousness around autism and to improve the available support systems for managing developmental disorders, we strongly believe that we can do more individually and collectively to create and uphold a culture of inclusion towards people with ASD to enable them to reach their full potential,” the group chief executive of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, said.
The annual event is a pivotal component of GTCO’s Orange Ribbon initiative and serves as a key advocacy platform for people living with autism and other developmental disorders.
According to Mr Agbaje, “The Orange Ribbon initiative was created to support children and adults with developmental disabilities with a focus on those with autism spectrum disorders.
“Now in its 2nd decade, the annual Autism Conference has over the years created a community of people with a shared commitment to creating better outcomes for those who find themselves in the margins of society simply because they are different from the rest.”
GTCO is a leading financial services company providing banking and non-banking services across eleven countries spanning West Africa, East Africa, and the United Kingdom.
The Group operates a diversified, proudly African franchise and is renowned for its innovative approach to customer service and stakeholder engagement which has endeared the brand to millions of people across Africa and beyond.
Oyo Government Begs Nigerians to Stop Cutting Trees
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigerians have been urged to stop cutting trees and the earth will suffer from it if it is not stopped. This appeal was made by the Oyo State government in commemoration of the 2022 World Ranger Day.
In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun, the government also saluted the bravery of park rangers at the Old Oyo National Park.
World Ranger Day, which is marked annually on July 31, pays tribute to those who have fallen in the fight to save forests, wild animals and trees, as well as a show of support for those still fighting.
Mr Olatubosun said the state government recognises reforms on forestry laws and policies, through its forestry department, advocating the need for enlightenment on forestry activities and the significance of the world celebrating the day.
He added that Oyo State is enjoying relative peace due to the synergy within the security architecture of the state, noting that the government appreciates the efforts of the guards at the National Park, especially in complementing the security architecture of the state.
“One of the cardinal points of this administration is security. The peace that members of the state are enjoying cannot be over-emphasised without the work of National Rangers in the state,” he said.
“Oyo state government is proud to be associated with you because you have been very helpful tremendously by supporting other security agencies in maintaining peace in all our reserves.
“A ranger protects our cultural and historical heritage. Therefore, we appreciate your efforts. Through your efforts, our park and forests must be kept and saved from intruders,” the Commissioner added.
The Coordinator, Old Oyo National Park, Mrs Caroline Samuel Ilori, said the annual celebration was an opportunity to celebrate rangers that have died in the course of exercising their duties, protecting this park.
She added that the day is set aside to celebrate living rangers who have given their all to having our environment protected.
“We are all aware of climate change in our environment; once protected, the forest helps to cushion and help mitigate climate change,” the Coordinator said.
“A ranger plays a key role in our environment; a ranger is a protector, tour guard, security personnel and researcher. He knows what an environment is lacking,” she concluded.
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