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Osinbajo: FG Can Seize Assets Whether or Not There’s Corruption Allegation

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government can seize assets from citizens who cannot explain the source of their wealth.

The vice president made this known on Tuesday while declaring the anti-corruption conference organised by the office of the vice president and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC, recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil process which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence,” he said.

“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”

According to him, corruption has made Nigeria’s debt and poverty figures double in spite of the highest oil revenues in Nigeria’s history

He said the Buhari-administration is not deceived into thinking that it has won the battle against corruption as it was tackling grand corruption first.

“By that, we mean the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury; usually at the highest levels of executive authority; and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes,” he explained.

“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption; especially where the average person interacts with government.

“Corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals; there is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give bribe to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports or to clear goods at our ports.

“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption; our next level is to create the environment for collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.”

He said the enforcement of treasury single account(TSA), the presidential initiative on continuous audit, and transferring civil servants on the IPPIS electronic platform has helped to control official theft of public funds.

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$2billion Arms Fraud: Group Petitions Buhari Over Probe Panelists

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A group has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to re-examine the composition of the $2 billion fund misappropriated during the last regime of President Jonathan.

The group, Egalitarian Coalition of Nigeria, in an open letter to President Buhari, alleged that senior members of his cabinet who were complicit in the transaction
cannot turned round to become a judge in case involving them.

When the president assumed office in 2015, he directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to convene an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces from 2007 till now.

Accordingly, the National Security Adviser, constituted the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement, CADEP.

But the group in the petition, signed by Dr. Suleiman Attahiru, Executive Director and Sir Fabian Aigbosua (KSJ),
Secretary, told President Buhari, that domiciling the powers to constitute the committee in the Office of the National Security Adviser was albeit an error because the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungono was a part of the rot in the system at the time as Commander, Brigade of Guards, Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency and later Commandant TRADOC in 2013 when he retired from the Nigerian Army.

”Mr. President, there is no way the NSA, Babagana Mungono could feign ignorance of all the underhand dealings in the purchase of arms and ammunition in the period under review because of the strategic positions he occupied.

”Mr. President, and as predicted, the NSA did well to cover his tracks by taking charge of the proceeding of the committee and ensuring that underhand deals linked to him while he was within the corridors of power were left untouched by the committee. All of these are in public space.

”Mr. President, as a fact, some members of CADEP are culprits in the same act in which they have crucified others just because the National Security Adviser has your ears and attention at all times.

”This was evident in the arrest of Air Commodore Usman Mohammed, a member of CADEP by the Department of State Security for fronting for members of CADEP in receiving financial gratification from those been investigated by the committee”, the group said.

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Lawan: My Support For Buhari Will Not Make Senate His Rubber Stamp

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Ahmad Lawan, majority leader of the Senate, says the national assembly will not become President Muhammadu Buhari’s “rubber stamp” if he is elected Senate president.

Lawan told journalists in Abuja on Saturday that although he is a fan of Buhari, his support for the president will not jeopardize the upper legislative chamber under his leadership.

Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had endorsed Lawan to succeed Bukola Saraki as Senate president.

The Yobe lawmaker said he will ensure that the decisions of his colleagues be carried out without any fear or favour.

“I won’t deny it; I am a president Buhari man. I believe in him and I believe in my party because of the ideals they stand for. But if you believe in someone and they have an issue that you think can be carried out in a certain way other than the way it was presented, suggesting you go the other way demonstrates that you are really for that person.” he said.

“So my support for the president, for example, must not be misconstrued as going to make the national assembly a rubber stamp if I am senate president.

“The function of the legislature is for the members of the legislature in majority to take a decision after a debate or whatever; then the minority would have had their say and the decision goes to the majority. You cannot as a presiding officer say no, I am not going to go with that position. Else you will be sacked.”

Lawan also said that the legislature and executive must ensure they work harmoniously for the common good of Nigerians.

“If you choose to fight, the two arms suffer and the country suffers even more because it is not possible for you to fight and get something done for the country. I don’t belong to the school of thought of encouraging fighting between the two arms,” he said.

“When you have to work together, you will disagree, and by the design of the constition, the legislature has been given some functions that will naturally make the executive sit up.”

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Release Our N25bn, ASUU Tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has urged the Federal Government to release the N25bn it approved for lecturers.

ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, made the demand during a valedictory lecture and book presentation by the former Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Prof Ikenna Onyido, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Saturday.

He said the union was getting impatient with the FG over the delay in releasing the money.

However, Ogunyemi denied reports they were planning to embark on strike over the matter.

He said, “ASUU has not said it is going on strike. What we said was the reported N25bn the Federal Government said it had approved, we’ve not seen it.

“When we signed the Memorandum of Action with government on February 7, we agreed that by February 28, the N25bn would be released, and government signed it. We have yet to see it three months after.

“That’s why we’re saying that government has defaulted and if our members come up with any decision because government has defaulted, the leadership can’t stop them. That’s the challenge we have.

“We’re only calling on Nigerians to prevail on government to make good its promises and not just to tell us about paper release. Let’s see the actual release.”

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