By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Nigerian Senate has been urged not to delay the screening and confirmation of Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Mr Bawa as the new head of the country’s anti-corruption agency. He is to replace Mr Ibrahim Magu, who occupied the position for about five years in an acting capacity.
Reacting to the development, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), through a statement signed by its president, Mr Solomon Adodo, commended the President for picking the 40-year-old “world-class crime buster” to lead his anti-corruption campaign as it is the “biggest masterstroke” in his administration’s effort to crush the monster called corruption.
They said the next step would be for the upper chamber of the parliament to confirm his appointment so as to enable him to get the ball rolling.
They appealed the Senate to “immediately screen and approve the nomination of Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa,” adding that, “We shall be mobilizing our members to the National Assembly within the next seven days to press home our point.”
The youth council emphasised that the services of Mr Bawa are “greatly needed to advance the fight against corruption in Nigeria as his appointment “signals a positive turn in the war against corruption” and must therefore be urgently considered for approval by the Senate.
It said Mr Bawa’s appointment was not only a great win for Nigerian youths but goes further to remind young Nigerians to always be prepared to take the position of leadership.
“We have diligently looked through the untainted records of this great and young compatriot who has risen through the ranks of the EFCC.
“No one can better understand the workings of the commission than a young officer who has spent all his career years within the establishment beginning from the point where the commission was set up with its unique mandate to halt the negative tide of financial crimes.
“It is imperative to stir to the memory of all discerning observers that Mr Bawa has been strongly averse to any act of corruption or financial crime, he has fought with all determination against this hydra-headed monster even at the risk of threats to his life, unfounded attempts to blackmail him and several concerted smear campaigns against this world-class crime buster.
“Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa has been assigned several sensitive investigations to head including the Diezani Allison-Madueke case between 2015 to Date which resulted in the recovery of millions of Dollars worth of properties in Nigeria, U.K., U.S.A, and U.A.E including 92 properties in Nigeria; the Atlantic Energy Group case between 2014 to 2015 where he recovered millions of Dollars worth of properties in Nigeria, UK, USA, Switzerland, UAE and Canada; the highly controversial Crude Oil Swaps and OPA case between 2014 to 2015, again he recovered Billions of Naira for the Federal Government putting an end to haemorrhagic loss revenue.
“Through diligent investigation, Mr Bawa was able to unearth the Petroleum Subsidy Fraud between 2012 and 2015 N70 billion, recovered billions and several companies were prosecuted duly.
“It may be recalled that several men hitherto identified as men of integrity (including Members of the House of Representatives) could not resist the massive bribes and inducement from the subsidy cabal, Mr Bawa, however, remained unbent and rather put the nation first.
“At all his duty posts, the records bear it clear that the sole and singular focus of this fearless fighter against corruption has been to ensure that all traces of financial crimes are identified, exposed and suffocated,” the group said.
The group noted that Bawa’s years of experience and training by global institutions such as the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the World Bank and the United Nations Office of Drug and Crimes, amongst others, could not have escaped the eyes of any employer seeking a competent hand to head to the anti-graft agency.
We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.
The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.
The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.
On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.
According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”
“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.
“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.
“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.
Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”
Adisa Receives Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For his contributions to the infrastructural development of his constituency and outstanding achievements as a lawmaker, the member representing Afijio constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seyi Adisa, has been given the Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award.
The award was conferred on the state legislator by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council during its press week at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Chairman of the NUJ Oyo chapter, Mr Demola Babalola, disclosed that the award was in recognition of Mr Adisa’s outstanding performance as a lawmaker, who has excelled in his calling as well contributed to the development of society.
He said his contributions to the development of his people, communities in his constituency and his senatorial district of Oyo North are laudable.
“You are given this special award of exemplary performance and also awarded as the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year in Oyo state because we believe you deserve it,” he said.
While receiving the award, Mr Adisa declared his appreciation of the gesture, saying “big thanks to the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for this special recognition and Award of Exemplary Performance that also doubled as an Award for the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year.
“I do not take this for granted.”
We Will Defend Free Press in Nigeria—US Government Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United States government has promised to do everything possible to defend free press in Nigeria, which it said remains vital to democracy and good governance.
The American government expressed this with a partnership, through its Embassy, with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for the first of the six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops in Lagos on Thursday.
The event will also take place across the country in the next several months.
The capacity-building programme will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices and to also hear from the United States government.
Experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public will be provided.
Delivering keynote remarks at the opening programme in Lagos, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strength: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself.
She quipped that when belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, Nigerians will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.
Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”
The US government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria, she added.
According to her, for years, the US Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement.
On his part, the General Secretary of NGE, Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions towards this.
“Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”
The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the NGE.
In addition to Lagos, the programmes will take place in Kano in January 2022, then Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu will follow in subsequent months.
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