By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been asked to release a socialist and businessman, Mr Obinna Iyiegbu, otherwise known as Obi Cubana, with immediate effect.
This demand was made by a pan-Igbo socio-political pressure organisation known as the South East Revival Group (SERG).
The group queried the rationale behind the arrest of Obi Cubana on Monday, warning President Muhammadu Buhari to stay away from persons of the Igbo extraction.
On Monday, information went viral that the philanthropist who shot into prominence this year when he buried his mother in Anambra State, was being questioned by the EFCC over allegations of money laundering and tax frauds.
Already, some people have started to read political meaning into the arrest.
The people of Anambra State head for the polls on Saturday, November 6, 2021, to elect a governor. The seat at Akwa, the state capital, is being contested by four of the major political parties in the state, the country’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the state’s ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
In a statement issued by the president and national coordinator of SERG, Mr Willy Ezugwu, the group alleged that the arrest of Obi Cubana was deliberate as the sons and daughters of the South East have allegedly been the target of Mr Buhari’s administration.
The organisation, therefore, called on the federal government to “leave Igbos alone”, wondering why it was protecting some individuals, including and a “police officer wanted for corruption in the United States and some bullion van tycoons in Nigeria are working free but Igbos have continued to be subjected to all manner of harassments.”
“In recent times, former Governor Peter Obi and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Ayim Pius Ayim, have been targeted by anti-corruption agencies all of a sudden because of their possible emergence as presidential candidates in their party to challenge the status quo.
“So, such anti-Igbo phantom allegations, like the ones against Obi Cubana, are not new.
“We recall that Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil was arrested and detained by the federal government based on suspicion of committing financial fraud, even when it was the federal government that owed him.
“Despite the long years of neglect of the South East region, self-made Igbo sons and daughters are now being subjected to all manners of media trials while others who are reasonably suspected to have committed deafening financial crimes are working free on the streets because they are not Igbos.
“We strongly believe that Obi Cubana is targeted because of the Anambra State governorship election on November 6. Due to his popularity, they want to take him out of the state and embarrass him.
“The SERG, therefore, demands immediate and unconditional release of Obi Cubana from the EFCC custody without any further delay,” the group demanded.
EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.
In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.
He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.
The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.
This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.
He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.
IPMAN, EFCC Move Against Oil Theft, Vandalism in N’Delta
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has sought the support and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Bello Binna, during a visit to the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, in his office.
Mr Binna said that the EFCC was the only agency trusted to give solutions on issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, IPMAN was more comfortable with what the EFCC is doing to curb
“We are here to collaborate with the Agency with which we are more comfortable, and we believe that with your support, our jobs will have a headway.
“In the past, our efforts have been wasted, we were advised that the agency that has the mandate to make our job effectively is the EFCC,” he said.
Responding, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, said the EFCC was working tirelessly to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Nwokike also stressed the need to educate youths within the region on the ills of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“I assure you that the EFCC has the desire to reduce, if not bring to an end, the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
“We will educate our youths on the dangers of this, which is part of our mandate, educating our youths on why they must leave these illegalities. We must all come together to see how we can tackle this menace. I want to assure you that we will work together,” he said.
Akinwumi Adesina Turns Down Requests to Become Next Nigerian President
By Adedapo Adesanya
The President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has ruled himself out of the 2023 presidential race in Nigeria.
Mr Adesina made his position known in a statement on Tuesday after months of calls for him to join the contest after a group bought the presidential nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for him at the cost of N100 million.
In the statement, the banker emphasised that his current desire is to continue to hold the office of the president of the AfDB which he won reelection for last year.
However, he expressed appreciation for those who found him worthy of leading his country at this critical time it is undergoing different challenges ranging from economy, security and others.
“While I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful for all the incredible goodwill, kindness, and confidence, my current responsibilities at this time do not allow me to accept to considered,” the statement read in part.
“I remain fully engaged and committed to the mission that Nigeria, Africa and all the non-African shareholders of the African Development Bank have given me for Africa’s development.
“I remain fully focused on the mission of supporting the accelerated development and economic integration of Africa,” Mr Adesina added.
Less than two weeks ago, a coalition of 28 groups purchased the N100 million APC presidential forms for the former Agriculture Minister.
The coalition consists of groups such as the Youth Arise Movement, Nigerians in Diaspora, One Nigeria Group, Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, women groups, farmers, and other civil society groups.
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