Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WHEN A MAN ALWAYS TALKS WITHOUT THINKING : After criticizing Buhari’s China trip, Governor Fayose also jets out to China ... PremiumTimes

Ayo Fayose, Ekiti state governor.
After lambasting President Muhammadu Buhari for trip to China, Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, has also travelled to China to attend the country’s 119th Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair.
The event, scheduled for April 14 and 19, will be staged in Guangzhou.
Justifying the trip, the governor’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, said on Tuesday that Mr. Fayose had before now travelled out of the country only twice since he assumed office in October 2014, saying his trip to China, which was planned six months ago, would be his third travel outside Nigeria.
Mr. Olayinka argued that his principal’s trip to China was different from that of the President because Mr. Buhari’s trip was aimed at borrowing $2 billion, while the governor would use his to secure partnership with prospective Chinese Investors and technical experts without committing the state to any loan.
He said the governor would hold talks with prospective investors on mechanised farming, experts in skill acquisition, particularly training in the area of perfect finishing in building construction as well as experts in auto-repairs and modern technologies.
According to him, the Canton Fair, held biannually in Guangzhou every spring and autumn, with a history of 59 years since 1957, attracts various types of business activities such as economic and technical cooperation and exchanges.
Mr. Olayinka said apart from the scheduled bilateral talks on agriculture, Governor Fayose would also take advantage of the Canton Fair to hold talks with technical experts on training and technological exchange programmes for artisans in the State as part of his plan to get technical support for the proposed Artisans Village to be built in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

THUMBS UP, GOV AJIMOBI : Ajimobi okays death sentence for kidnappers ... PunchNews

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan
The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, has signed into law the kidnapping prohibition bill, which makes kidnapping a capital offence in the state.
The new law states that kidnapping has become a serious offence in the state which attracts maximum punishment of death sentence in the event of the death of a kidnap victim while in the custody of the abductors.
The bill had earlier been passed into law by the state House of Assembly following the submission of a report on it by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary and Justice Olukayode Akande.
The Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Michael Adeyemo, and the Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the House, Mr. Paul Bankole, had earlier signed the bill before the governor’s assent.
The law states that a convicted offender will be liable to life imprisonment if the victim is released or rescued unhurt upon the payment of a ransom, while the kidnapper will be made to pay back the ransom.
The bill, which was signed into law on Friday by the governor, “stipulates similar punishment for any person who procures, engages or gives information culminating in the kidnapping of a victim.”
The new law also prescribes life imprisonment for any person who kidnaps or threatens to kill, maim or cause bodily harm in order to compel another person, corporate body or organisation to do or abstain from doing any act as a condition for the release of the victim.
Under the new law, 20 years imprisonment awaits anyone who makes an attempt to kidnap, while anybody, who aids or abets kidnapping, is liable to 15 years imprisonment upon conviction.

NOW WE ARE TALKING ... VERY MUCH UNLIKE THE VULTURES IN IMF : China offers $6bn infrastructure loan to Nigeria ... Punch News

Akinpelu Dada, Olalekan Adetayo and Oyetunji Abioye
China has offered Nigeria a loan worth $6bn to fund infrastructure projects in Africa’s biggest economy.
“It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, told reporters who travelled with President Muhammadu Buhari to China.
“It won’t need an agreement to be signed; it is just to identify the projects and we will access it,” he said.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a statement that the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, offered $15m agricultural assistance to Nigeria for the establishment of 50 demonstration farms across the country.
The offer was in response to Buhari’s vow to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production.
The offer, according to Shehu, was made during talks between Buhari’s delegation and high-ranking Chinese government officials led by Jinping.
During the talks, China and Nigeria also agreed to strengthen military and civil service exchanges as part of a larger capacity building engagement.
In line with this, China offered to raise its scholarship awards to Nigerian students from about 100 to 700 annually, while 1,000 other Nigerians would be given vocational and technical training by China annually.
Shehu quoted Jinping as applauding the war against corruption being waged by Buhari and assured him that Nigeria would always have a special place in the affairs of China.
Buhari shortly after the talks directed that technical committees be immediately established to finalise discussions on new joint Nigeria/China rail, power, manufacturing, agricultural and solid mineral projects.
The technical committees, he said, would conclude their assignments before the end of next month.
“China also expressed an interest in setting up major projects in Nigeria such as refineries, power plants, mining companies, and textile manufacturing and food processing industries as soon as the enabling environment is provided by the Federal Government,” the statement added.
Nigeria also agreed a currency swap deal with China as it looks for ways to shore up the ailing naira and fund a record budget deficit, possibly by issuing yuan-denominated bonds in China.
The nation is facing its worst economic crisis in decades as sinking oil prices eat into its foreign reserves and the naira weakens against other currencies.
Reuters reports that Nigeria has been for months looking for sources to help plug a projected 2016 deficit of N2.2tn as Buhari plans to triple capital spending.
During Buhari’s visit to Beijing, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, the world’s biggest lender, and the Central Bank of Nigeria signed a deal on yuan transactions.
“It means that the renminbi (yuan) is free to flow among different banks in Nigeria, and the renminbi has been included in the foreign exchange reserves of Nigeria,” the Director-General, African Affairs Department, China’s Foreign Ministry, Lin Songtian, told reporters.
The move comes after the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said on Saturday that Nigeria was looking at panda bonds or yuan-denominated bonds sold by overseas entities on the mainland, which she noted would be cheaper than Eurobonds.
The CBN had said it planned to diversify its foreign exchange reserves away from the dollar by switching a stockpile into yuan. It converted up to a tenth of its reserves into yuan five years ago.
Lin said a framework on currency swaps had been agreed with Nigeria, making it easier to settle trade deals in yuan.
Similarly, the ICBC signed a $2bn loan deal with the Dangote Group, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to fund two cement plants.
“The interest rate is okay, quite favourable with me,” Dangote said, without elaborating. “It’s for my two cement companies that we are establishing in Nigeria.”
China’s official Xinhua news agency cited President Xi as telling Buhari that there was huge potential for economic cooperation, naming oil refining and mining.
In a speech to business leaders, Buhari said both countries wanted to work together in the areas of agriculture, fishing and the manufacturing of cars, construction materials and textiles.
Aly Khan Satchu, a portfolio manager at Rich Management, said the deal would pave the way for panda bonds but this would not be enough to ease pressure on the naira.
Buhari has rejected calls to devalue the currency.
“Nigerian FX policy remains the elephant in the room and China or a panda bond is not going to be enough to stop what will eventually become a tsunami of a devaluation,” he said.
An economic expert and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukuwu, said the deal would help boost trading between both countries.
According to him, the currency swap agreement will allow Nigerian banks to issue Letters of Credit in renminbi (yuan) in place of the dollar or euro.
Chukwu said, “It will facilitate trade deals between Nigeria and China. The ongoing foreign exchange scarcity has been affecting the amount of Nigeria’s import from China. The new deal may ease pressure on the dollar since demand for yuan/renminbi will start rising.”
A Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sherriffdeen Tella, said the currency swap deal was good to the extent of the amount of commodities Nigeria had to export to China.
Unless Nigeria has substantial export to China, ease of payment of trade deals between both nations may not be enough reason to ink such a deal, he said.
Tella stated, “China must be encouraged to buy our crude oil, gas and other products that we may have for exports. Otherwise, we will soon run out of renminbi if it is being demanded only for the purpose of importing commodities from China.
“We have to encourage China to buy our products so that we can have enough renminbi in our reserves.”
The International Monetary Fund had in November agreed to add the Chinese yuan to its reserve currency basket.
The decision, which marked another step in China’s global economic emergence, came after the IMF evaluated the Asian nation’s standing as an exporter and the yuan’s role as a “freely usable” currency.

I STILL WONDER HOW THIS MAN CAME TO HOLD SUCH A POSITION OF TRUST IN THIS NATION : Badeh Had An Officer In Charge Of Converting N558.2m To Dollars Monthly — Witness ... SaharaReporters

Former Director of Finance and Accounts at the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau, retd, on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the erstwhile Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, had a particular officer whose duty was to monthly convert the sum of N558.2million to dollars.
Former Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh
Yushua, who is the star witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which is prosecuting Badeh over allegation that he siphoned about N3.9billion from NAF account within ‎2013, told the court that the dollar equivalent of the N558.2m was usually handed over to the defendant at his official residence at Niger Barracks in Abuja.

The witness said the money was deducted from monthly salary allocation for NAF officials. Even though Yushua earlier informed the court that all the past Air Chiefs also indulged in such practice, however, he said that upon his assumption of office, Badeh, detailed one Group Captain Sini to handle the dollar conversion. He said that Badeh subsequently influenced the redeployment of Group Capt. Sini to the Finance and Accounts Unit.
“The Chief later asked me to post Group Capt. Sini to take over the changing of over N558.2m into dollars which he brings to me and I personally take the dollar equivalent to him (Badeh).
“My Command Finance Officers have all the records of all the money I gave to Chief Badeh.
“While I was in custody of the EFCC my finance officers where also invited and they gave the records of all the properties procured for the defendant”, the witness stated.
Meantime, while being cross-examined by Badeh’s lawyer, Chief Akinolu Olujumi, SAN, the witness said he never told the EFCC that the defendant used N90m to furnish a mansion he bought for his son, Alex Badeh Jnr.
“In EFCC, I was never asked how much was used to furnish Alex Badeh Jnr’s house. It was in the court that I first mentioned the issue of the N90m. It is however in the record of the Nigerian Air Force that the money was paid”, he added.
Yushua also denied allegation that he was coerced by operatives of the EFCC to implicate the former Defence Chief.
“All the statements I made were answers to questions from the EFCC. But the statements were mine and were voluntarily made”, he insisted, saying the N558.2m was left over from funds meant for the payment of salaries.
More so, the witness told the court that prior to his appointment as the CDS, Badeh, hitherto held sway as the officer in charge of budget office of the NAF.
He said: “The responsibility of budgeting for the NAF was under the Chief of Policy and Plans and the 1st defendant was in charge of that office from August 2010 to sometime in 2012. That was during the time of Air Marshal M.D. Umar.
“Budget office of NAF was not under the Director of Finance and Account when I was there. So I did not know what was going on in respect to budgeting.
“It was the deputy director budget that was in charge of preparing NAF budget, but I only make input just like other directorates.
“At the end of every month we retire all the allocations to the Accountant General and Auditor General of the federation. It was usually carried out by Pay and Accounting group.
“It consists of the allocation received and allocations to commands and units. Each command and direct reporting units make their own retirement of funds released to them. Funds were released to headquarters of NAF Abuja, not to the Director of Finance and Account.
“However, allocations were made to my directorate every month. When allocations are made to all NAF formations, the money is disbursed to all the units. My deputy director of finance was in charge of our own allocation. If there is any need for fund within the directorate, he writes to me and I approve, then he goes to NAF headquarters account and collect the money from our own vote.
“After that, he makes his retirement to the office of Command Finance Officer at the headquarters of NAF. It is the duty of the Command Finance Office at the headquarters of NAF to render returns of all money released to the units.
“I was the accounting officer for the directorate that is why I have to give approval first. At the end of every month all other formations of NAF also render account of funds paid to them by their respective accounting officers”.
Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang has adjourned further cross-examination of the witness till April 19.

SARAKI FINALLY GOES FOR BROKE : Saraki Mobilizing Nigerian Legislators To Take Down The Federal Laws Under Which He Is Being Tried ... Sahara Reporters

In another desperate attempt to evade justice, Senate President Bukola Saraki convened a meeting last night in his home with "likeminded" Senators during which they agreed to go after two of the major laws that have ensnared him.

As a result, following resumption from the Senate’s long recess today, the Senators went into a private plenary session, and two bills were promptly listed on the Senate Order Paper, seeking amendments to the Nigerian Constitution.
The bills, which have now already undergone First Reading, are:
The Code of Conduct Act CAP C15 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (SB 248), nominally sponsored by Peoples Democratic Party Senator Peter Nwaboshi (Delta North); and
The Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (Amendment) Bill 2016 (SB 249), sponsored by Senator Isah Misau representing Bauchi Central.
The invitation to last night’s meeting in Saraki’s home was sent by former “anti-corruption” crusader Dino Melaye, using the mobile telephone number of Peter Makanjuola (0803 390 3330).
Makanjuola is Saraki's Deputy Chief of Staff.  The strategy seemed to have been to send the invitation using that phone to avoid detection. Text sent by Dino Melaye to "likemind Senators" to meet at Saraki's house in Abuja

One Senator, who attended the meeting, said that when concern was expressed that President Muhammad Buhari would veto the bill, Saraki told them he had enough support in the Senate and the House of Representatives to override such a veto.
During the meeting at Saraki’s home, he took the opportunity to announce to members of his core support group that he has ordered the purchase of Toyota Landcruiser V8 engine Sport Utility vehicles to be given to each Senator.   The Senate President is hoping that greed will override commonsense and that with each Senator getting a car, his support base would be solidified.
Our Senate source noted that 36 cars have already been purchased, each one costing N35 million

36 2016 Toyota Landcruiser V8 engine SUV purchased and given to Senators
Order paper listing the bill sponsored to amend the CCT and ACJA laws under which Saraki is being tried

WHAT A WAY TO GO ... SIGNS OF THE TIMES : Gospel Singer Yvonne Omoarebokhae Found Dead in a Hotel With Lagos Pastor ... Naijahub

A female gospel singer identified as Yvonne Omoarebokhae has been found dead in a hotel owned by a former lawmaker in the Edo State House of Assembly.
She was said to have lodged into the hotel with a Lagos based Pastor whose name was given as Apostle Psalm Okpe of the Fresh Oil Ministry.
Husband of the deceased, Odion, said his wife met Apostle Sam on Facebook and after several months of chatting, his late wife was invited last week Thursday by the Pastor to perform in Warri, Delta State.
Odion said Apostle Sam claimed to have programme in Warri, Asaba and Benin City where his wife was to perform.
He said his wife called him at about 10am last Friday that she would be home soon.
The physically peeved husband said, “At about 9:30pm, the police used my wife phone to call and invited me to report at the Airport Road police station.”
“I waited for more than two hours at the police station until the police asked me to go home but I insisted on knowing the whereabouts of my wife.”
“The DPO later told me that my wife was picked at a hotel in the GRA and rushed to the Benin Central hospital where she was confirmed dead.”
“I am yet to see the corpse of my wife to know want happen and who is responsible for her death. We have a three-year old baby at home.”
It was however learnt that the pastor has been arrested and helping police with the investigation.
State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, confirmed the death of the woman and said the matter was under investigation.
Ezike said a post mortem examination will confirm the cause of death.
His words, “It is under investigation. The man is married and the woman is married. Not until a post mortem is conducted, we cannot conclude what happened. I have asked the matter to be transferred to the State CID.”

Yvonne with her three year old son