Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Sunday 12th July 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Sunday 12th July 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 12/07/20

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Magu, Maggots And Maga Dogs By Festus Adedayo

Festus Adedayo

Again, the system felled Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week. It had always done that. Olusegun Obasanjo, the maiden president at inception of Nigeria’s fourth republic, first erected the crucifixion upon which a crime-fighting czar was hung. While employing the old Yoruba verbal denunciation of thieves by way of pouting lips, clapping both hands repeatedly, literally poking hands into the face of the accused and shouting Ole! Ole! E ki’gbe ole, ole!, Obasanjo did all that against former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun in January, 2005.
He did more: Obasanjo asked Balogun to immediately tender his letter of resignation, on account of huge theft of public money traced to him. The dossier lay threateningly on the table before Obasanjo that morning inside the Aso Rock Villa. As narrated by Nuhu Ribadu, first EFCC’s Chairman’s biographer, Prof Wale Adebanwi in his A Paradise for Maggots, Balogun went on all fours as a tribal symbolic solicitation to Obasanjo to, in my words, kill me at home and not kill me abroad, whose Yoruba translation was, pa mi si’le, ma pa mi si’ta. A total sum of N2.7 billion in five different banks and jaw-dropping number of choice properties had been traced to the police chief whose mantra for combating crime was Operation Fire for Fire.  
Three people were at that meeting: Obasanjo, his Chief of Staff, Abdullahi Mohammed and Balogun himself. Mohammed had earlier summoned Balogun, on behalf of the President. The three of them, being and having affinity with the Yoruba nation (Mohammed hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State), could connect with Balogun’s symbol-baiting prostration. Here was the bodily hefty, giant-in-position Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police in total surrender to his accuser. Tafa Balogun was not only prostrate, in that prostrating position, he was pliant, literally castrated of his manhood and was in subdued acceptance of his guilt.
Balogun was to be dragged by the EFCC to court a few weeks later. He had been handcuffed and even dragged on the floor by young police officers who probably had not stopped sucking their mothers’ teats when he joined the police force. Then Chief Superintendent of Police, Ibrahim Magu, one of the EFCC operatives under Ribadu, led that operation that saw a huge crime czar like Balogun falling with a deafening thud like a common felon. Thoroughly defoliated of his manhood in the public by Magu and his boys, Balogun had reportedly pleaded with them that, “I can change your lives, please. Let me settle you and let’s settle this. I can make you rich for life.” 

Festus Adedayo

Within the period he held the brunt of power, Ribadu oscillated in the air like a pestilence to a commune of Nigerian fraudsters and corrupt Politically-Exposed Persons (PEPs) who were mutating in the air like a ravaging virus. Aside allegations against him that he was Obasanjo’s poo-poo bowl carrier, Ribadu succeeded in instilling fears into the hearts of Nigerian malefactors clothed in the euphemism of political office holders. His rout of criminals was so celebrated that late literary giant, Chinua Achebe, in lauding the clinical way he fought crime and criminals, compared him to Eliot Ness. Ness was an American crime-bursting legend of the 1930s renowned for bringing down the Al Capone gang in Chicago, Illinois. His law enforcement team, a 1,000-strong group called Bureau of Prohibition, was nicknamed The Untouchables. When the system was to chop Ribadu off, it made mincemeat of him and flushed the Adamawa-born crime-buster down the cistern like a common felon.
In quick successions, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde came, appointed into office by Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. They also made noise and got some criminals to scamper off their felonies. However, not long after, they became the proverbial Maga dogs, biting the systemic hands that recruited and fed them, thereby getting drenched in the sewage waters that seemed to have been reserved for Nigerian crime-busting chiefs. So, why did the four EFCC czars come into office with so much hope, so much adulations, expectations, vapory glories, but ended up being drenched in a haze of ignominy? Is there a latent systemic error that will always ensure that the after-office graveyards of these crime lords must be garlanded with stench and shame?
As against what its minders are making us to believe, it is a huge minus to the Muhammadu Buhari government that Magu is being tried now. It is either the government has no mind of its own and was amenable to being swept right, left and center by the currents of some individuals’ whims and caprices, or that it is seriously implicated in the politics of crime-fighting, the ocean of which is alleged to have drowned Magu. This is because, in the cache of allegations said to have been leveled against the ex-EFCC boss, there is a rehash of same allegations which the DSS, about five years ago, saw as reasons why Magu’s nomination should not be upheld by the Nigerian senate.
Throughout the years spent by Magu as EFCC chair, those who understood the workings of the mind of the Buhari government claimed that he was an insider-outsider therein. This meant that though Magu was of the government, he was not for them. If he was for them, his confirmation as EFCC chair shouldn’t have lingered as embarrassingly as it did, like the cry of a wife who clandestinely murdered her hubby. There is the claim that he was of the Bola Tinubu/Yemi Osinbajo rump of the current power calculus. This then must explain why it was easy for those who cooked the slur on the Vice President’s name, using alleged proceedings of Magu’s interrogation, to reinforce the believability of their claim.
The truth is, there are far weightier allegations against Buhari government functionaries hanging in the public domain than those leveled against Magu. For instance, owning property in Dubai, UAE is alleged to be one of Magu’s errs. However, it is common knowledge that the UAE remains a haven where corruptly acquired wealth is laundered for the Nigerian political elite and owning eye-popping property in this Arab country is the rule, rather than the exception. No wonder cyber-heist kingpins like Hushpuppi and Woodberry found a comforting nest there. A minister in Buhari’s government was recently accused of owning humongous mansions in Abuja. His riposte was that he acquired them as a teacher. The Attorney General of the Federation, the one who must be popping champagne for having seen the back of Magu, also has a mountain load of his own allegations trailing him like recalcitrant flies envelope oozing stench. There is no doubt that illicit financial outflows from Nigeria daily trickle out of PEPs’ conduits and pipes.  
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai was, not long ago, enmeshed in an asset declaration scandal pronged on allegation of ownership of property in Dubai. In his reply, he claimed that the property belonged to his unstated family and that the family made these investments in this Middle East city in 2013, long before his appointment. No further questions were asked. No further investigations needed to be carried out. As far as Nigeria and government were concerned, Buratai’s answers were QED.
Matthew Page, in a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace page, had made a damning condemnation of this capricious craving of Nigeria’s political elite. “For Nigeria’s corrupt political elites, Dubai is the perfect place to stash their ill-gotten gains and enjoy luxury real estate worth millions. But unless authorities stop turning a blind eye, the long-term costs to Nigeria’s economy and Dubai’s reputation could be high,” he had written.
If the truth be told, Magu was an accident waiting to happen on the Nigerian crime-fighting system. So also were his predecessors. This is because, an office which is that consequential is subjected to inconsequential indices of operations which cannot but render its occupants dead on arrival. What procedure, process or rules guide the appointment of EFCC czars? In other words, how do they emerge? Are they chosen on account of moral gallantry, their ethnicity, man-knows-man procedure or mere seniority? How many times did past occupiers of that office, before and after coming on board, demonstrate ability to look at enticing lures in the face and tell them to go jump inside the River Niger? Elliot Ness, who Achebe compared Ribadu to, in 1931, had a member of the Al Capone gang bait with two $1,000 notes (about $17,000) if he turned a blind eye to the group’s illegal merchandizing. He refused and even though he died penurious at age 54, Ness’ heroic reputation is legendary in America.
Is there a crime-fighting institution or architecture in Nigeria? The answer is no. Our measurement of their suitability is the candidate’s ethnic affiliation, the person who introduces them and their loyalty to the occupier of authority seat. To expect a thorough-bred czar to come out of such a nebulous system is hypocrisy of the highest order.
The story is told of how Obasanjo picked Dora Akunyili without any bother about her ethnicity but a buzz that she had demonstrated an unusual moral courage alien to this clime while working with the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as pharmacist. When she eventually came on board at NAFDAC, she merely rehashed what was her internal constitution. In serious climes, anyone who is to be appointed into an office as critical as the EFCC, who would naturally confront billions of Naira in kickbacks and illicit perks of office must have been psychologically grilled before society can arrive at their suitability. In Nigeria, politicians, who know the criminal functionality of having their Man Fridays occupy such positions, fight tooth and nail to have them in office.
Again, are we being fair to appoint a policeman with no pedigree of snubbing ill-gotten wealth, whose salary is a paltry few thousands of Naira, to superintend over a potential illicit wealth empire like the EFCC? The Carnegie Endowment said PEPs – “individuals who are or have been entrusted with a prominent public function” like Magu and the likes, “are at higher risk of involvement in unlawful activity due to their positions of influence and access to assets.” In fact, it states that, as at 2016, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (now known as C4ADS) “acquired the data of a private database of Dubai real estate information (dubbed the  ‘Sandcastles’ data) and that, at a conservative estimate, “at least 800 properties were found to have links to Nigerian PEPs or their family members, associates, and suspected proxies.” So why are we crying wolf now when we exposed a police officer whose take-home is less than a million naira to assets in multiple of billion naira worth?
In a Nigeria that is brimming with street mindsets of fraudulently acquired wealth, of filthy wealthy men and women who crawl in a cesspit like maggots, are we sincere to think we would always have men/women who will kick against what has become normal among us? Are we seriously looking for a clean EFCC chairman in this dirty clime? Those are the honest questions we must ask ourselves. If we now seek a person who is unlike the filth associated with us, should we just pick them peremptorily like they pick a fallen mango off the tree? 
This is why, if we think that, with Muhammed Umar as replacement for Magu, or even any substantive name brought up eventually, the maladies in the EFCC would stop, we are fooling ourselves and are on a Pyrrhic victory binge. This is because, no institution of consequence is so forged in saner clime.
By the way, I read that Magu is bitterly complaining that his tormentors-in-chief had treated him with rank ignominy, like a common criminal, inside the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence (FCIID) dungeon where he is said to be currently held. Oh, right? How did he, as CSP who led the assault operation against Tafa Balogun, treat the then Inspector General of Police? Wickedness is like the story in the Myth of Sisyphus, a 1942 essay by the Algerian-French philosopher, Albert Camus. While Sisyphus pushes the boulder down the mountain, he goes back again and does the same thing, till the end of time. Good is the only thing that can break the jinx.
Ondo: Heroines live here!
As interesting as the political soap opera that is playing out in Ondo State now is, we must take out time to acknowledge the pleasantly absurd scene that jutted out of the soap last week. In the thick of the melee to get the Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi, impeached and the usual shamelessness advertised by politicians in the state, we must not forget that the state swam out of this usual Nigerian water. This was exhibited by the Chief Judge of the state, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, who to my mind is the heroine of that soap opera. The Chief Judge, not kowtowing to political office holders, no matter their power and position, literally told the actors behind the impeachment that they were riding a roller-coaster of infamy.
To a request by the apparently financially instigated Ondo State House of Assembly, which was drunk on the bid to illegally impeach the deputy governor, Akeredolu, like a fearless judge that she apparently is, faulted the process of impeachment earlier spurned by the state legislators. In a letter dated July 9, 2020, Akeredolu had told the unruly and ostensibly shameless legislators driven by everything but the love of Ondo State, that their request to her to constitute a 7-man probe panel ran foul of constitutional requirements.
For me, no matter whether or not the legislators succeeded or eventually lived down their apparently influenced bid to impeach the deputy governor, that valiant pronouncement by Akeredolu could only have come from a heroine. This is at a time when men and women of honour, who can look political authorities in their bloodless faces and underscore justice, are becoming very rare in Nigeria. It also strengthens the hope that we will survive the mercantilists and buccaneers in political offices who are gallivanting about like Lords of the Manor of Nigeria. It probably also confirmed the thesis which Ondo State people flaunt that men and women of honour still inhabit that land.

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Festus Adedayo

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PHOTONEWS: Kano Governor, Ganduje Hosts Top APC Members At State Government House For Second Leg Of Malami Son’s Wedding

PHOTONEWS: Kano Governor, Ganduje Hosts Top APC Members At State Government House For Second Leg Of Malami Son’s Wedding
This is despite Malami’s claim that he only “notified” people and never invited anyone for the wedding.

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REVEALED: New Multi-million Naira Property Built By Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, For Son In Kebbi State Uncovered

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REVEALED: New Multi-million Naira Property Built By Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, For Son In Kebbi State Uncovered

Irked by his tepid denial of corruption-fuelled wedding of his son, evidence has now surfaced of a second mansion worth N100m built by Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, in Kebbi State in the name of the same son, Abdulaziz.
The building was discovered to have been erected in only under two months in readiness for Abdulaziz and his new bride, Khadija Danbatta, to move in to after the second leg of their lavish wedding on Saturday (today).
The sprawling edifice is located in the choice neighbourhood of Gesse Phase II in Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State. 
Abdulaziz and his wife are expected to also make use of the property aside the one in Abuja.

Interior Photos of the property:

Exterior Photos of the property:

A video of one leg of their lavish ceremony had shown guests flouting the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control guideline on Coronavirus after they failed to wear face masks and were seen closely interacting during the event.

Video of Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria's AGF, Malami

Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria’s AGF, Malami

WATCH VIDEO: Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria’s AGF, Malami…

Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rule forbidding individuals from abusing the naira was violated during the ceremony as guests were seen spraying the young couple with wads of United States dollars and naira.
A denial by Umar Gwandu, spokesperson for Malami, earlier on Saturday only went to further expose the infractions perpetuated right under the nose of Nigeria’s chief law officer.
A little-known lawyer until he was appointed into the government of President Muhammadu Buhari where he has risen to become one of the most influential figures, Malami is said to also own a massive event centre already in use and 3-star hotel under construction named AZBIR Arena along Sani Abacha Bye-pass Road in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State where he hails from. 

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, Confirms ‘Naira Rain’ At Son’s Wedding After SaharaReporters’ Story

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The AGF is also said to own a newly constructed school at the back of Nitel in Gesse Phase 1 also in Birnin Kebbi.
Despite these questionable acquisitions, 53-year-old Malami continues to portray a saintly stance in the Buhari government whose fight against corruption has been called into serious question in recent times.
 

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, Buys Multi-million Naira Mansion For Newly Married Son, Guests Flout Social Distancing Guidelines During Lavish Wedding Ceremony

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, Confirms ‘Naira Rain’ At Son’s Wedding After SaharaReporters’ Story

Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has confirmed that indeed there was ‘naira rain’ at a lavish wedding ceremony for his son, Abdulaziz, and his bride, Khadija Danbatta, held recently.
Malami’s reaction followed an exclusive report by SaharaReporters on Friday where it was revealed that social distancing guideline of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control was breached by guests, who failed to wear face masks and were closely interacting during the event.

The report also exposed how wads of United States dollars and Nigerian naira were sprayed on the young couple by guests, who were more than 20 — in contradiction of NCDC protocols and also in violation of a rule by the Central Bank of Nigeria forbidding the country’s currency from being abused in public.

Video of Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria's AGF, Malami

Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria’s AGF, Malami

WATCH VIDEO: Money Rain At Wedding Of The Son Of Nigeria’s AGF, Malami…

The exclusive report by SaharaReporters also revealed how Malami booked several private jets ahead of the second leg of the lavish ceremony in Kano today (Saturday) to fly important dignitaries from across the country to the event while also purchasing a N300m mansion in Abuja for the new couple to help them start their marital journey on a strong footing.
These breaches occured despite Malami being Nigeria’s chief law officer.
But reacting to the report through his spokesperson on Saturday, Umar Gwandu, Malami while trying to deny some of the points made in the report, indirectly confirmed that there was indeed ‘naira rain’ at the ceremony, stating quickly that they were not in support of it.
He denied purchasing a house for his son and wife despite evidence to the contrary. 

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Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami, Buys Multi-million Naira Mansion For Newly Married Son, Guests Flout Social Distancing Guidelines During Lavish Wedding Ceremony

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“God knows that I did not purchase any house for him in Abuja. Not even a rented house was secured for my son in Abuja because he has no plan to live in Abuja.
“It is important to note that the wedding fatiha took place in Kano on Saturday, 11th July, 2020 in the morning.
“Any other activity before or after the wedding fatiha is not connected with the marriage, and we therefore disassociate ourselves from it in its entirety,” Malami said through Gwandu.
The AGF did not deny that it was his son, daughter-in-law and guests that were in the now viral video were wads of cash were sprayed on them while dancing to Hausa/Fulani music.
The video also sufficiently punctures the lie of the AGF that social distancing guideline and Coronavirus safety measures were not breached during the ceremony.
Curiously, Melami’s reaction comes few hours after documents showed how he gave approval to an oil firm standing trial in court for stealing crude oil to auction the illegal consignment.
In one of the approvals, the AGF mandated the firm, Omoh-Jay Nigeria Limited, to sell five vessels despite the fact that the firm and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009.
Apart from this matter, instances of Malami taking over high profile corruption and human rights abuses cases and truncating such against public interest abounds.
 

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EXPOSED: How AGF Malami Granted Approval To Firm Standing Trial In Court For Stealing Crude Oil, Diesel To Auction Goods Seized From It

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E2%80%94president-buhari BREAKING: Why Magu Was Suspended —President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the ongoing investigation of the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, explained why he approved the suspension of Magu from office.
“A series of documented allegations were made against the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the Ag. Chairman and several other members of his staff, there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted. 

“Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body. As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the chief executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the chief executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.
“The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual. Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.
“The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice. Meanwhile, Mr Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty. 

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President Buhari Approves Magu’s Suspension, Names Umar As EFCC Acting Chairman

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“We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.
“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of accountability and the recognition of the rule of law.
“Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government. No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.”
Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services and Force Criminal Investigation Department after failing to honour two invitations from the panel.
He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Friday withdrew his security.
His travails followed a memo by Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation, in which the suspended anti-graft czar was accused of grave malfeasance. 

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BREAKING: DSS Arrests EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

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He was alleged to have mishandled the recovered loot and was selling seized assets to associates. 
He was also alleged to have refused to subject himself to the supervision of the office of the Attorney-General.

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BREAKING: Nigerian Lady Accused Of Attempted Murder In Lebanon Rescued, Returned Home

Ariwolo Olamide Temitope, a Nigerian lady, who was barred from boarding an evacuation flight from Lebanon by her ‘master’, has returned to Nigeria.
She was rescued by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission headed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa together with the Lebanese authority. 

Confirming the development, NIDCOM tweeted, “BREAKING NEWS. Temitope Arowolo who was accused of alleged theft and attempted murder in Lebanon is back home.” 
BREAKING NEWS.Temitope Arowolo who was accused of alleged theft and Attempted murder in Lebanon is back home. pic.twitter.com/UZEEAR4GaM— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) July 11, 2020

Recall that SaharaReporters had exclusively reported that Temitope was missing for three weeks after she was barred from returning to Nigeria.
SaharaReporters later learnt that Temitope was being detained in a prison in Lebanon on false charge of attempted murder.
Sources in Lebanon revealed to SaharaReporters that she was being framed up for attempted murder by her boss in Lebanon, who prevented her from returning home.
 

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EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian Lady Barred By Lebanese Owner From Repatriation Suffers In Prison On False Charge Of Attempted Murder

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E2%80%94ngozi-okonjo-iweala Well-connected Nigerians Sabotaging My WTO Candidacy —Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Minister of Finance and the country’s candidate for the leadership of the World Trade Organisation, has said powerful and well-connected forces were working against her candidacy. 
Okonjo-Iweala whose candidacy is dividing the African Union, in a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, said those against her candidacy were manufacturing controversy to link her to.
Nwabuikwu said, “It has come to our attention that there is an ongoing effort by some well-connected Nigerians to sabotage the campaign of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the country’s candidate for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

“As part of this campaign, these persons and their cohorts are peddling outright lies and distortions designed to invent a non-existent scandal in order to paint the candidate and her campaign in negative light.
“The attempt by these elements to manufacture a controversy in the local and international media by distorting the facts and creating falsehoods to link the campaign with some of Mercury’s current or past clients to push a false impression is contemptible. 

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“It is sad that the elements behind this campaign are placing their squalid concerns above the interests of the country.
“We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to ignore this condemnable effort.”

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E2%80%99s-deportation-order-immigrant-students-wrong-chido-nwangwu Trump’s Deportation Order On Immigrant Students Is Wrong By Chido Nwangwu

On Monday, July 6, 2020, at the instruction of the Trump White House, the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced that, “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.” It added that “Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status…. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
With that announcement, the likelihood of the deportation, in government lawyers’ language carefully baptized in neutral phraseology as “the initiation of removal proceedings” became immediate and traumatizing factors in their lives. 
It adds to the list of xenophobia and spoken words, fundamentally, against almost all forms of immigration by President Donald Trump. He’s opposed to, and has suspended the H1-B and L-1 visas. 
Whatever President Trump’s motivations might be,  I do know and believe that his actions and decisions on this issue are, strategically, misguided. They do not serve the interests of the United States in this competitive high tech environment. 

And, you ask why? 
My answer is simple: both visas are the building blocks from where all of the largest technology corporations, here in the United States of America, attract and hire some of the world’s most intelligent mobile technologies and ioTs specialists, social media, data and algorithms experts and students! 
I have witnessed and participated in the engaging digital genius of the diversity of talents shown by some of these individuals during my first attendance as a member of the BBC-PRI World Technology Forum, in San Francisco, in 1993. 
It is through those visas that Apple or Google or Microsoft legally sponsor the exceptionally gifted and hard-working computational science programmers who power the Amazon juggernaut in Seattle and the Googleplex in Mountain View. They make things “happen” inside, around  Silicon Valley, Half Moon Bay, Cupertino, Menlo Park,  San Francisco; in my nearby city of Austin Texas; and continents away in Mumbai, India  etc. I have been to all these tech cities, except Mumbai; and I’ve learned a lot.
These students who come to the promising shores of the U.S will study in person or online via Zoom or FaceTime  to fulfill and feed their quest for education. 
I know that education is a catalyst; the kickstarter for the mind and intellection. Consequently, the most potent instruments of indoctrination, propaganda and persuasion are, organically, rooted into the systematics of formal or informal education. 
It was the great statesmen and icon Nelson Mandela who said that “education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.”  Without any doubt, such is the power of education. 
Hence, in the early 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, American colleges, organizations and individuals offered scholarships to many students who will turn out to become the new leaders of their countries. Around the centers of power and influence in Washington DC, being “American-trained” technocrat, ordinarily, gave such a person a contextual, advantageous consideration.
There was competition between the east and the west; between communist, socialist countries and the capitalist, relatively free market forces driven economies over who will offer more scholarships and educational opportunities. 
In a practical sense, Nigerian and African students will be affected, as much as the long-term business and acculturation interests of the United States. It is a quixotic, self-serving, diversionary action by a deliberately divisive man; the President who is stuck in the  shibboleths of confederacy of the 19th century American South, and continues his nakedly racist vernacular of degradation and subjugation of mainly persons of African descent.
How did “God’s own country” get to this unusual, giddy and vulgar twists in its modern history?
Dr Chido Nwangwu is the Founder of USAfrica Multimedia Networks and Public Policy Organisation since 1992 in Houston.
@Chido247+1-832-45-CHIDO (24436)

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EXPOSED: How AGF Malami Granted Approval To Firm Standing Trial In Court For Stealing Crude Oil, Diesel To Auction Goods Seized From It

Abubakar Malami

Despite being charged to court for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009, Omoh-Jay Nigeria Limited was in 2019 granted an approval by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to dispose the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels through an open bid.
According to a report by Saturday PUNCH, Malami last year granted approval to some operators in the oil industry to sell five sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Nigerian Government.
The vessels valued at millions of naira and laden with tonnes of crude oil and diesel were seized by security agencies from illegal oil bunkering operators during different operations. 

Abubakar Malami

In separate documents, the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd to dispose of the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels through an open bid.
In another approval, the AGF mandated the firm to sell five vessels despite the fact that the firm and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009. The auctioneer was to get three per cent of the sale.
The EFCC had in 2015 arraigned four persons on charges of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen goods.
The accused included a businessman and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Edo Central Senatorial District, Chief Francis Inegbeneki; Chief Executive Officer of Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd., Mr Jerome Itepu; Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. and Ine Oil Ltd. owned by Inegbeneki.
The suit, numbered A/EFCC/1c/2015, was filed on March 24, 2015 by A.J. Arogha, Esq. and U.R. Ewoh, Esq. on behalf of the EFCC.
 

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The accused were charged with “conspiracy, contrary to, and punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006”.
According to the anti-graft commission, the accused, sometime in 2009, at Warri, Delta State, within the jurisdiction of the court, allegedly conspired to “commit a felony, to wit: stealing and, thereby, committed an offence.”It stated, “They were alleged to have committed the offence of stealing, contrary to section 383 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006, which is punishable under section 390(4)(c) of the same law.
“According to the particulars of the offence, they allegedly stole about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.k.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009, being the property of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The third count indicated that the accused also allegedly stole about 4,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, loaded in a vessel, MT Hope, valued at N128m belonging to the Nigerian Government.
Inegbeneki, the second accused in the charge sheet, was also charged with allegedly receiving stolen goods contrary to, and punishable under section 427 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP C21, Laws of Delta State 2006, “having allegedly received from one Itepu (first accused) and Omoh-Jay (third accused), about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, knowing same to have been stolen.”
However, findings by the newspaper indicated that the AGF authorised Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd to auction the forfeited vessels.
In a letter dated April 3, 2019, with reference no. HAGF/ARMU/RMDOVSC/2018/T addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff, Nigerian Navy, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the AGF said Omoh-Jay Ltd. had been granted approval to conduct an open bid and solicited the cooperation of the navy.
The letter signed by Malami, titled ‘Re: Suit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. vs unknown persons (arrested vessels), was received by the CNS on the day it was signed.
It read, “Please be informed that Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. has been granted approval to conduct an open bid for content only for the following vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gas Oil (diesel), MV Zahra with AGO and MV Long Island with AGO (with leave of court).“For the purpose of disposal of the products under reference, the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice requests the Chief of Naval Staff to kindly grant access and necessary support as always for the whole process.”

In the second approval, Malami directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd to conduct another open bid for five sea vessels, three of which were laden with crude oil and diesel.
The letter addressed to the MD of Omoh-Jay Ltd, dated September 9, 2019, with reference HAGF/ARMU/NSA/2018/1, was also signed by the Justice Minister. It was titled, ‘Re: Report on suit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. v unknown persons (arrested vessels).It read in part, “Pursuant to your earlier instruction dated September 12, 2018, on the above subject matter, you are hereby instructed further to conduct an open bid sale for the following vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gas Oil, MV Zahra with AGO, MT Peace and MV Anuket Emerald.”
It further directed the firm to revert with offers to the AGF for final approval before the conclusion of the sale.
“Be informed that the success fees remain three per cent of the total value recovered from the auction. You are, therefore, expected to submit acceptance letter within 72 hours of the receipt of this instruction,” Malami directed.

It was also gathered that the AGF has directed the EFCC to submit high profile corruption cases to his office.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how Malami was in the habit of taking over high profile corruption cases only for persons involved in such alleged infractions to be left the hook shortly afterwards.
For instance, Malami recently ordered security agencies to cover up an ongoing multi-billion naira fraud in Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending. 

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Also, he was behind the reinstatement of a former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service after his dismissal in 2013 for a N2bn theft of pension funds.
Another case taken over by Malami and which never saw the light of day was the N25bn fraud trial of Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe State. 
The AGF stated that having thoroughly reviewed the matter, found no prima facie case while adding that it was weak.
Malami withdrew the charges against Goje from the court in exercise of his constitutional power, allowing him to now walk as a free man.
Analysts posit that with his latest order to the EFCC, many top corruption cases may fizzle out of reckoning in the coming weeks if events of recent past are taken into consideration.

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INTERVIEW: Former Female Employees Recount Toxic Work Culture At OkayAfrica, Say Justice Should Go Beyond Abiola Oke’s Resignation

Antoinette Isama
Ivie Ani
Ex-employee Hanan Osman (Operations/Executive Assistant to the CEO, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer).
Ex-employees Sinat Giwa (Director of Events and Activation, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer + Program Director, Okay Space)
Ex-employee Winnie Kassa (Executive Assistant to the CEO + Special Projects, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)
Ex-employee Olabisi Famakinwa (Senior Buyer, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)
Ex-employee Olabisi Famakinwa (Senior Buyer, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)

On June 23, female ex-employees came forward via Twitter to detail their experiences about a toxic work environment under the leadership of Abiola Oke, the former Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of Okayplayer and OkayAfrica brands.
They narrated that from 2015 until 2020 while working under Oke, they were subject to “a lack of support and resources, below-market salaries, inadequate leadership, targeting and sabotage, slander, verbal abuse, inappropriate behaviour, gaslighting, lack of empathy, manipulation, rationalising poor or unethical conduct and wrongful termination.”
The ex-employees are Antoinette Isama (Arts and Culture Editor, OkayAfrica), Oyinkan Olojede (Marketing Manager, OkayAfrica), Hanan Osman (Operations/Executive Assistant to the CEO, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer), Sinat Giwa (Director of Events and Activation, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer + Program Director, Okay Space), Winnie Kassa (Executive Assistant to the CEO + Special Projects, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer), Olabisi Famakinwa (Senior Buyer, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer) and Ivie Ani (Music Editor, Okayplayer)
In this interview with SaharaReporters, Ivie Ani, Oyinkan Olojede and Antoinette Isama shed more light on the issues.
What were some of the things you felt were inappropriate in the organisation? 
Antoinette 

Ex-employee Antoinette Isama (Arts and Culture Editor, OkayAfrica)

There was essentially a lack of system in the organisation contrary to what one would see in a typical newsroom. There was no editorial structure and that was a red flag for me. Aside from that, the then CEO (Abiola Oke) was involved in the editorial space even though his role was outside of that. 
Ivie

Ex-employee Ivie Ani (Music Editor, Okayplayer)

Because I also worked on the editorial for OkayPlayer, my experience is similar to Antoinette’s. There were many red flags when I first signed on. The main red flag was the lack of infrastructure and the lack of resources. We were hired to do a job but we really could not execute them efficiently owing to some challenges.
There were just many red flags; like being told to use my laptop on my very first day in the office. Simple tools that every editorial team should have were not given to us. 
Everything I tried to do was met with conflicts whereas, in a regular newsroom, it would be standard practice. It was the semblance of startup culture at the company that just trickled down and presented itself through poor leadership strategy, lack of communication, lack of resources, and lack of operational hands. These affected us on a day-to-day basis.
Oyinkan

Ex-employee Olabisi Famakinwa (Senior Buyer, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)

Overall, there was not only a lack of infrastructure; there was a lack of accountability; a lack of system in place. There was also a sort of pushback and resistance. 
Can you tell us more about your personal experiences with Abiola Oke?
Ivie
The editorial team didn’t work directly under Oke but there were moments that he inserted himself into the editorial space, which was quite the contrast to what a normal CEO would do.
Our requests (editorial support, resources, staff writers, malfunctioning website) were always ignored. They were met with conflict or lack of compliance from Oke. He would refer to himself as a journalist despite having no journalism or media experience.
There were instances where we needed to cover major events but we were not granted press passes whereas Abiola would be present at many events, especially major ones.
Opportunities that should be presented to staff writers or editors were not given to us. I remember there being confusion externally about the editor absent from certain events yet the CEO would be present and there was nothing to show for it on the website. It just trickles down to the experience of one not being able to properly do one’s job.
Oyinkan
It was sort of a constant battle. There were a lot of things that had to be managed. Working with him (Oke) has a lot to do with manipulation of employees who were directly challenging him — the issues in question were aimed at improving the workspace and improving brand representation. They were questioning the decision that was made and it would result in backlash. He would say, “It’s not your place to question or tell me what to do.” That was the kind of environment that was created.
Were any of you sexually harassed?
Antoinette
None of what we detailed in that thread mentioned sexual harassment; what we said was that he lacks the quality to be a good leader and he was distracted.
Oyinkan
None of us as former employees, ever came out to accuse him of harassment or assault of any kind. He puts that in his statement. I’m not sure where that comes from but it’s not what any of us said. 
What we did speak about was inappropriate behaviour; the way women were spoken about, the way we were spoken about among his friends and things of that nature that were inappropriate. What we had detailed were the behaviour that we see make up the profile of a predator.
Ivie
Everything we outlined was specific. There is only one thread of inappropriate behaviour, which Abiola has referenced in his statement that confused people. What we laid out was that an unchecked workplace environment could lead to different types of harm outside of the workplace and within the workplace.
What we experienced, in terms of a toxic work environment, manipulation and sabotage, are traits that you can liken to predatory behaviour outside of this professional space. Some have come forward with sexual assault against Abiola but we never accused him of that.
Can you be a little bit more specific about the kinds of toxic behaviours he exhibited?
Ivie
One of the threads referenced inappropriate DMs, comments made towards employees; that is the main example.
Was Abiola particularly harsh to women or did that generally to the employees?
Ivie
The demands of women in the company were different from the demands of men.
Women were expected to be the face of the company; the same (expectation) was not placed on men. Women outnumber men in the company. 
We were the face of the company but we didn’t receive extra compensation for that specific role. The men were subjected to different kinds of treatment but most of the men in the company were in high ranking positions so the demands and treatments were different.
Do you think the leadership of the company acted too late in addressing these complaints?
Antoinette
I mentioned in my thread that I spoke several times to the Editor-in-Chief about my concerns and grief. They promised change and ultimately there was no change. Because of that, I learnt that they were inclusive in making this type of leadership and behaviour continue for so long. It is disheartening to see that it took the current leadership some time to acknowledge our story and demands from the first statement on June 23rd. But it took one woman speaking out anonymously about her assault by Abiola for them to take action. Their attitude shows that there is a lack of care. 
Ivie
Since we left, efforts have been made both internally and externally to bring this up but it has been denied. Yes, they did act so late.
Oyinkan
At this point, they have yet to address us publicly or privately. 
What’s your take on the perception that Black-run/owned businesses are inherently better for Black people? 
 
Ivie
 
I don’t think so. People think the solution to this problem is to establish in every company black leadership; we see that does not work. People think we should replace men with women; we see that does not work.
More deep-rooted issues need to be addressed. So long that this same hierarchy is in place, it does not matter how the person at the top looks because there will always be someone at the top and more people at the bottom being exploited. 
Antoinette
Everyone has different perspectives as to whether or not we need corporations at all. Some people even believe all corporations should be abolished. Some people also believe capitalism should be abolished. I believe we should look at how we model our labour practices, stateside and globally. Why are specific people being exploited, overworked and underpaid? I think that is what we need to evaluate.
 
Oyinkan
Replacing someone is not going to change the system. When it comes to the board and executive, they are complicit. It demonstrates how the whole system works together to keep someone like him (Abiola) in the position of authority at the expense of everyone below him.
If the company wants to address this, they need to take a look at the full structure. We have seen this in other media and companies.
There is a system in place. That system ensures the maintenance of the current status quo which results in people being oppressed. If you want to address the issue, it needs to go beyond more than one individual who has exhibited inappropriate and manipulative behaviour to step down. You need to address the system that allows him to be there in the first place. You have to ask why this individual, and others like him across different companies, are put in this position. You need to go to the beginning to change it.
 
What are you doing with other people in society to ensure that other victims are courageous to step out and make their voices heard?
 
Ivie
 
Staying silent does not help anybody. I wanted people to be aware that these things happen. This is beyond all of us now. It brings attention to a larger issue, which no one has to go through. People should try to push that fear, share their story and they will make an impact.
Oyinkan
What was key for us is coming together to support one another but more so is our collective community. They rallied behind us to amplify the story. People that we have worked with know our integrity and what we contributed to OkayAfrica across the board. People know that we worked across the company, not just editorial. We are talking about events, marketing and partnerships. We all worked across different sides of the brand. People that know the brand know that we are behind the work. The current system does not have what it takes to call for accountability when this kind of behaviour occurs. We are just simply asking for accountability here. We also stand with people who want to speak out. We are here to amplify their stories as well. We know that working together will help the business as well.
Do you plan to go back to OkayAfrica if the opportunity is presented again?
Antoinette
We included that in the statement because there are still some of our peers who work there and we don’t want to see the company go up in flames and not only for them but for the work that we contributed as well. OkayAfrica is a necessary space that we need to tell African stories on a global scale. That is something that we are keeping in mind.
What are you all trying to do next?
 
Ivie
 
What is important for us is getting proper resources and care for women who have been violated, assaulted and coerced by Abiola Oke. We are working with specific partners in the community to help us with that. We have endured a lot of emotional trauma and financial loss. We want to see the change that we devoted our time to develop. We want to give support to other women and colleagues who are facing similar issues within the workplace.
 
What advice do you have for women facing similar issues in the workplace?
 
Antoinette
 
For starters, I want women to know that these issues are not normal, even though it is spelt out to be very normal. It is a big issue. Whatever that is nudging you, trust your gut that you do not have to stand for this kind of behaviour.
You are not obligated to stay there and you have the chance to use your voice to talk about it. We don’t do enough in our community. Even pushing through that, all we did was to share facts on Twitter and it brought about significant change. Know that you have a voice; no one can shake you or stop you.
Ivie
Since we have come forward, so many people have contacted us. They said they never saw someone experience what they went through in the workplaces because they didn’t know there is a language to describe it. It speaks to the fact that this behaviour has become normalised and this shouldn’t be. 
If many women have gone through this, we need to address it. We cannot wait until it leads to assault or physical harm to address it. That is what many people do.
We cannot wait until the behaviour escalates to a different type of harm. The types of harm that we experience in the workplace, just because it was not assault, don’t mean it is not valid.
Other women in the media space should understand that what they think is nothing could lead to something and if we don’t stop it, we would continue this way and we shouldn’t.
 
What has the experience taught you?
Oyinkan
What we have learnt and saw in the past as a group collectively is that many people protect the system of misogyny, assault and rape culture. These are not just the people perpetuating this but also the people who stay silent; they would rather protect their friend and social status than believe that somebody who is as connected as Abiola might be.
Many people are afraid to speak out because of that; because of the idea of bringing down a black man instead of holding someone accountable for their actions. There are lots of disappointments but it is also to be expected within the system because there are certain measures in place but silence makes it thrive. It is the silence of many that keep many in the predatory behaviour and Abiola in the position of authority.
 

Ex-employee Hanan Osman (Operations/Executive Assistant to the CEO, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer).

Ex-employee Sinat Giwa (Director of Events and Activation, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer + Program Director, Okay Space)

Ex-employee Winnie Kassa (Executive Assistant to the CEO + Special Projects, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)

Ex-employee Olabisi Famakinwa (Senior Buyer, OkayAfrica/Okayplayer)

OkayAfrica Reacts
In the last few weeks, we have heard our former employees as they expressed the shortcomings of the work culture in the Okayplayer and OkayAfrica offices. 
As we get back to publishing and forging a new path forward with all critique in consideration, we are committed to continuously re-imagining our company structure and values for all creators, our audience, and the creatives we dedicate this space to amplifying. We ask that you bear with us as we work to make these changes. 
As an external investigation into our workplace culture and the allegations made is underway, we will continue to chart our development, advancements, and fair practice initiatives while we work as a collective staff to rebuild our company and ensure our livelihood and professional contribution to society.
 

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OkayAfrica & Okayplayer CEO Abiola Oke Resigns Amid Allegations Of Inappropriate Behavior

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