By Adedapo Adesanya
The Supreme Court has affirmed the six years of imprisonment imposed on a former Federal Director of Pensions (FDP), Mr John Yakubu Yusuf, and also ordered him to refund the sum of N22.9 billion to the federal government.
The N22.9 billion was part of the police pension fund he admitted before a high court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to have been misappropriated.
Justice Tijjani Abubakar in a judgment on Wednesday, following an appeal filed by Mr Yusuf, upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal which in 2018 sent him to six years imprisonment in addition to the refund of the sum.
The apex court held that Mr Yusuf and others engaging in fraudulent practices must be told through court judgments that it is no longer business as usual.
Justice Abubakar said that the appeal of the ex-pension director seeking to set aside the six years of jail term against him was frivolous and devoid of merit.
He further held that victims of the convicted director deserve restitution which can only be achieved through justice.
Mr Yusuf had dragged the federal government before the apex court seeking to overturn the six years of imprisonment slammed on by the Court of Appeal.
The former federal civil servant, who is serving a six years jail term at the Kuje correctional facility, also asked the Supreme Court to set aside a whopping sum of N22.9 billion he was ordered to refund to the government treasury by the Court of Appeal in a 2018 judgment.
He was sent to prison in 2018 by the Court of Appeal in Abuja upon being found guilty of defrauding the federal government to the tune of N22.9 billion through police pensions.
ICAN, BOI Partner to Drive Stakeholders Inclusion in Tech
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have strategically inaugurated an ICAN-BOI Tech Hub that will promote job creation, entrepreneurship and skill development in the technology space.
This was the central point of the tech hub inaugurated on Tuesday at the ICAN annexe office in Lagos which will ensure that members of the institute and the public can access the necessary skills and competencies required to become job creators and productive contributors in today’s tech-savvy world.
According to the Managing Director of BOI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, the project was necessary, given the increasing importance of technology to development and youth empowerment.
Mr Pitan said the dominant role of technology in many professions, including accountancy, had transformed the way businesses operated, resulting in improved efficiency, cost-saving, and simplified processes.
“The tech hub shall encourage development and testing of new ideas, products and business models as well as create an environment to prepare for start-ups and existing businesses for sustainability.
“It also aims at boosting business mentorship, market linkages and accelerated programmes to enable young entrepreneurs to scale up.
“Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are key factors shaping global trends and there is a need to continually scale up on them for our national economic growth and development,” he said.
The BOI boss noted that young people were embracing an entrepreneurship mindset and technological skills, which had resulted in the provision of innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors.
According to him, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 14.7 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2020 and increased to 15.21 per cent in 2021.
“We can see a perfect example of the value of tech hubs when we consider Silicon Valley, which is one of the earliest tech hubs in the world.
“It houses the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high tech operations as well as thousands of promising start-ups and we have started on that journey here in Nigeria.
“Nigerian Fintechs are fast gaining recognition globally. In 2021, Nigerian FinTech start-ups raised about $1.37 billion out of a total of $4 billion raised by African start-ups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, we can boast of having technologically-driven products and services such as Flutterwave, Opay, Andela, Interswitch and Jumia.
“This shows the growing significance of ICT in driving the economy,” he added.
Mr Pitan also added that the BOI, through its corporate social responsibility programmes, would proactively continue to support the establishment of tech hubs across the country.
He said the ICAN-BOI tech hub collaboration brought the total tech hubs established by BOI to 10 in six states across the country.
“Structurally, the ICAN-BOI tech hub boasts of over 250 co-work desks, meeting rooms, private offices, a relaxation centre and a hybrid area for organising competitions and hackathons.
“In collaboration with ICAN, we have made provisions for all divider networks, IT equipment, power supply and all required to enable the hub function at optimal capacity.
“The bank is committed to making all its financing products and services available to bankable projects that emanate from users of the tech hub.
“We are confident that this hub will help users to innovate, incubate, collaborate and scale up as they become employers of labour and contributors to the economy of the nation,” he said.
The 57th ICAN President, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, adding her input said the hub was positioned to empower users through different stages from idea generation to actualisation of products or services.
Mr Eyitayo expressed gratitude to the management of BOI for partnering with the institute to ensure members and youths were equipped with the necessary skills for economic growth and development.
On his part, the ICAN Registrar, Professor Ahmed Kumshe, commended Eyitayo, who through the ICAN Entrepreneurship Development Centre initiative brought about the partnership with BOI that resulted in the establishment of the tech hub.
He urged the institute to enlighten members and students to maximise the benefits of the hub since technology had taken over every aspect of life, especially in finance.
Lagos Guber: Group Alleges Plot to Disqualify Mustapha
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
There is a plot to disqualify a former permanent secretary in the Lagos civil service, Mr Olorunfemi Mustapha by the screening committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state, a support group known as Mustapha4Lagos Agenda has alleged.
The body, which is working for the actualisation of the gubernatorial ambition of the gubernatorial aspirant, claimed that the reason for the plan to disqualify Mustapha is to give the incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, an easy ride to the government house next year.
Mr Sanwo-Olu wants to serve the state for another term of four years when his current tenure expires on May 20, 2023, but Mr Mustapha also wants the position. However, he must get the party’s ticket to unseat the Governor or go to another party to contest against him.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the head of Mustapha4Lagos Agenda, Bukola Ogundipe, claimed that the strategy is to screen out Mr Mustapha today as he is regarded as one of the biggest threats to Mr Sanwo-Olu.
The group revealed that the politician’s legal team is meeting with the national body of the party to quash the plot.
“We have uncovered a plot to disqualify our aspirant from the race; they know that the only way they can stop Mustapha from getting the party ticket is to make sure he doesn’t participate in the primary.
“Let us forget about the noise they are making, he is the man to beat. We are very certain that their plot will not see the light of the day because Mustapha is clean and meets all the criteria required by the constitution of our party and the guidelines for the elections,” Ogundipe said.
“As we speak, our lawyers have met with the leadership of our party in Abuja to make sure that this evil plot does not see the light of the day. The national body must step up and quash this evil plan.
“Sanwo-Olu has been throwing money around, spending billions to buy people but this is about the future of our state and the leadership of our party in Lagos knows that we can’t continue with the abysmal performance of the incumbent,” Ogundipe added.
80% of Buhari’s Ministers, Appointees Grossly Incompetent—CNPP
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has claimed that 80 per cent of the Ministers and appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari are grossly incompetent.
The group, which made this claim in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, on Tuesday, called for an overhaul of the cabinet and an injection of fresh hands.
“It is about time President Muhammadu Buhari overhauled his cabinet and injected fresh hands with new ideas into the federal cabinet to redeem his image within the remaining one year of his administration.
“By our several assessments, at least, 80 per cent of President Buhari’s ministers and appointees have proved to be grossly incompetent in the last seven years.
“Worse still, many of the appointees swim in unprecedented corruption that was unimaginable even in the years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments.
“President Buhari as a former Head of State could not afford about N53 million presidential nomination forms seven years ago and the ease with which virtually all his ministers bought the exorbitant presidential and governorship forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should be the clearest signal that most of the presidential appointees have been corruptly enriching themselves.
“For us, the recent corruption case involving the country’s Accountant-General is one of the least among the appointees. And if a financial gatekeeper like the Accountant-General of the Federation can be involved in such a monumental fraud, then President Buhari’s administration has a lot of image redemption activities to carry out before 2023.
“This can be best achieved by the immediate replacement of most of the current ministers and appointees who have obviously not delivered meaningful democratic dividend since their appointment,” the CNPP stated.
Meanwhile, the group has applauded the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, for withdrawing a suit he filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over his alleged 2023 presidential ambition.
The central banker had approached the court to argue that the electoral body and the nation’s chief law officer do not have the right to stop him from becoming the president of Nigeria next year while still being in office as CBN governor.
After he could not submit his presidential forms procured for him from the APC, Mr Emefiele withdrew the suit from the court.
This action sweetened CNPP, which described it as “a step in the right direction,” commending the banker “for being a good listener and respecter of public opinion.”
In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, on Tuesday, the group also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sack “incompetent and corrupt Ministers” in his cabinet.
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