DSS Confiscates Emefiele’s Passport, Plans Home and Office Search; We Won’t Relent to Bring Leadership That Nigerians Deserve – Peter Obi | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • DSS Confiscates Emefiele’s Passport, Plans Home and Office Search
  • We Won’t Relent to Bring Leadership That Nigerians Deserve – Peter Obi
  • Hadi Sirika Clarifies Unveiling of Nigeria Air by Shareholders
  • Femi Falana Urges Proper Handling of Emefiele’s Case by DSS
  • Betara, Yusuf Gagdi Withdraw from Speakership Race in Favor of Tajudeen Abbas

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

DSS Confiscates Emefiele’s Passport, Plans Home and Office Search

The Department of State Services (DSS) has reportedly seized the passport of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This development came to light as it was revealed that the DSS may conduct searches of Emefiele’s home and office later this week.

Following his suspension on Friday, as a result of an ongoing investigation into his office and planned reforms in the financial sector, Emefiele was arrested in Lagos and transported to Abuja in a private jet on Saturday.

Peter Afunanya, the spokesperson for the DSS, confirmed in a statement that Emefiele was in custody and under investigation. It is standard procedure for the DSS to confiscate the travel document of an individual during an ongoing investigation, as stated by a source within the DSS.

The source further revealed that searches would be conducted at Emefiele’s residence and office to gather any relevant documents that could assist in the ongoing investigation into his management of the CBN.

In addition, there are reports that other senior directors of the CBN may also be questioned or arrested in connection with their roles in the administration of the apex bank.

It is speculated that the DSS may revisit the criminal charges previously filed against Emefiele, which include allegations of terrorism financing and fraud. The DSS has also accused the suspended CBN governor of mismanaging the CBN subsidiary, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

We Won’t Relent to Bring Leadership That Nigerians Deserve – Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has expressed his determination to continue his pursuit of bringing about the leadership that Nigerians truly deserve. In his Democracy Day message, Obi called on Nigerians to be motivated to correct the flaws of the 2023 elections.

Obi highlighted the significance of June 12, 1993, when Nigerians, despite being under military rule, demonstrated their unwavering preference for genuine democracy and a transparent voting system. He emphasized that the choice made on that day transcended divisions of ethnicity, religion, and region, making June 12 a remarkable milestone in the pursuit of true democracy.

However, Obi noted that the current state of Nigerian politics tells a different story, with democracy facing deep challenges and the nation’s destiny appearing uncertain. He stressed the need for a credible electoral system that garners the trust, confidence, and belief of all Nigerians, akin to the spirit of June 12.

According to Obi, Nigeria requires an electoral system that respects the wishes of the people as expressed in their votes, while the government must uphold and protect the institutions of democracy, fulfilling its responsibilities of responsible governance and abiding by the rule of law.

Obi expressed concern about the erosion of foundational democratic principles, citing prevalent impunity, pervasive violence, and bloodshed. He acknowledged the growing trust deficit between leaders and Nigerians, exemplified by the lack of trust and efficiency in recent elections. Nevertheless, he encouraged Nigerians not to lose faith in the inherent capacity of the democratic system to self-correct.

With conviction, Obi affirmed the possibility of a new Nigeria, where equity, justice, security, and peace prevail. He emphasized the importance of selfless leaders committed to the national interest, sustainable development, and innovative thinking that provides every Nigerian with the freedom of choice and protection of lives, property, and liberties.

Obi concluded by reiterating his promise to Nigerians, assuring them of his unwavering determination to fight for leadership that prioritizes their needs and aspirations. He emphasized that a brighter future is within reach and that Nigeria possesses abundant human and natural resources to achieve it.

Hadi Sirika Clarifies Unveiling of Nigeria Air by Shareholders

Hadi Sirika, the former Minister of Aviation, has asserted that the unveiling of Nigeria Air was carried out by the national carrier’s shareholders and not the federal government. He made these comments during an appearance on Arise TV on Sunday.

Nigeria Air, with an ownership structure comprising 49 percent held by Ethiopian Airlines, 46 percent by Nigerian private investors (including SAHCO, MRS, and other institutional investors), and five percent by the federal government, was unveiled just days before the end of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

In response to the launch, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation criticized the process leading to the unveiling, labeling it a “fraud.”

During the committee hearing, Dapo Olumide, the CEO of Nigeria Air, explained that the aircraft used for the unveiling of the national carrier was a chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines.

Affirming Olumide’s statement, Sirika clarified that while the plane was indeed chartered, the government was not responsible for covering the cost of the flight. He explained that the unveiling of the single aircraft was a marketing strategy employed by the Nigeria Air partners and that the national carrier would commence operations once the Air Operator Certification (AOC) process was completed.

“The unveiling on a special allowance which is called a chartered flight is their own marketing strategy as equity partners,” stated the former minister. “Chartered does not mean they paid for it. If there is anybody that paid for it, it would have been Ethiopian Airlines. No penny was paid. It was the owners of Nigeria Air, the consortium of the federal government (five percent), that decided to do the unveiling as part of their marketing strategy. So it is not the government that was doing the unveiling to start the operations. Not at all. It was them who did it, and I was invited.”

Sirika refuted allegations that the unveiling of the national carrier was shrouded in secrecy, describing such claims as “mind-boggling and disturbing.” He highlighted that the airline had been advertised during the procurement stage in reputable publications like The Economist and national dailies. He also emphasized that there was a bidding process in which members of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) participated.

Furthermore, Sirika revealed that the government had allocated approximately N3 billion over a period of seven years to facilitate the operationalization of the airline. Contrary to reports of N85 billion, he clarified that the released funds amounted to around N3 billion from 2016 to 2023.

Femi Falana Urges Proper Handling of Emefiele’s Case by DSS

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has urged the Department of State Services (DSS) to handle the case of suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele with utmost care to avoid any mishandling.

In a statement released on Sunday, Falana recommended that the secret police prosecute Emefiele for alleged terrorism financing, which falls under its jurisdiction, and subsequently hand him over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution on charges of suspected money laundering and other corrupt practices.

Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu on Friday, who directed the bank’s Deputy Governor of Operations, Folashodun Shonubi, to assume the role of acting governor.

On Saturday, the DSS confirmed that Emefiele is currently in their custody.

Falana, in his advisory statement, cautioned the secret police against mishandling the case involving the suspended CBN chief by prosecuting him for alleged money laundering and economic crimes, as these offenses fall under the jurisdiction of the EFCC.

Instead, he suggested that the DSS should investigate Emefiele for alleged terror financing and subsequently transfer him to the EFCC for prosecution on charges of money laundering.

In Falana’s words, “A few months ago, the State Security Service (SSS) leveled grave allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and other economic crimes against Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). At the material time, the attempt by the SSS to arrest, investigate, and prosecute Mr. Emefiele was frustrated by the erstwhile Buhari administration.”

He continued, “However, following the suspension of Mr. Emefiele as the Governor of the CBN by President Bola Tinubu, the SSS quizzed him in Lagos and flew him to Abuja yesterday. According to media reports, the investigation of the suspect by the SSS has commenced. Even though the SSS, which initially denied the arrest, has since turned round to admit that Mr. Emefiele is in its custody.”

Falana referred to a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dr. Bukola Saraki v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, where it was determined that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission lacks the authority to investigate and prosecute individuals for breaches of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. He emphasized that it was on this principle of law that Senator Saraki was acquitted by the apex court.

Betara, Yusuf Gagdi Withdraw from Speakership Race in Favor of Tajudeen Abbas

In a significant development, Aliyu Betara and Yusuf Gagdi, both aspirants for the speakership position in the House of Representatives, have decided to step down from the race and support Tajudeen Abbas, the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). This decision was reached after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima on Sunday.

The APC recently nominated Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for the positions of speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, in the 10th National Assembly. However, the nomination of Abbas faced opposition from some lawmakers, including Idris Wase, the immediate-past deputy speaker, who has expressed his intention to contest the speakership position during the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Vice-President Shettima commended Betara and Gagdi for their decision to step down and endorse Abbas. He expressed President Tinubu’s appreciation for their gestures, emphasizing the unity of the APC.

“They have accepted to step down and accept the candidature of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas for the speaker of the House of Representatives,” Shettima stated. “The president was quite touched by their gestures because what binds us together is superior to whatever that divides us. We are one big APC family, and together we shall cross the Rubicon on Tuesday.”

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