I am Igbo ticket to presidency – Atiku; Banks unable to meet surging demand for new naira | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • I am Igbo ticket to presidency – Atiku
  • Banks unable to meet surging demand for new naira
  • EFCC recovers over N30 billion from suspended AGF
  • 83,000 Boko Haram fighters surrender
  • EFCC keeping tabs on politicians’ spending

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

I am Igbo ticket to presidency – Atiku

The PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has stated that he is the quickest path for Igbos to produce the President of Nigeria.

Speaking at the PDP presidential rally at Awka’s Alex Ekwueme Square, Atiku pledged to work with the Igbo to put up a candidate for president in the future.

“I will be the stepping stone to actualise Igbo presidency if elected in 2023.

“I have shown it by my actions because this is the third time I will be contesting with an Igbo man as my running mate.

“If you really want to produce a President, then vote Atiku/Okowa,” he said.

He also promised to make the Onitsha Port functional if elected as president in 2023.

Atiku, who earlier paid a courtesy call on Governor Chukwuma Soludo on arrival in Awka, described the Anambra State governor, as a trusted partner he would need to move Nigeria forward if elected in 2023.

He said that his relationship with Soludo was beyond partisan politics, but a commitment to undertake reforms in the Nigerian economy.

Banks unable to meet surging demand for new naira

Many bank clients demanded the new notes, but some refused the newer bills in banking halls throughout major Nigerian cities as the new naira notes officially entered into circulation on Thursday.

On December 15, 2022, the newly redesigned N1,000, N500, and N200 banknotes became legal money, more than three weeks after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), revealed them at the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele declared on October 26 that the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes will no longer be legal money as of January 31, 2022, and that a new design would replace the current ones.

Emefiele argued that Nigeria’s inflation, currency counterfeiting, and general insecurity made it imperative to rework the country’s currency.

He also said the redesign of the currency was made to prevent kidnappings and terrorism by limiting the availability of cash and the ability to pay ransoms.

Some bank branches reportedly ran out of the limited numbers of the new notes issued to them from their head offices as early as 12 noon on Thursday, and this was the case in various cities across the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja.

It was also discovered that not all bank branches had received their allotment of replacement notes, with several bank staff claiming that the fresh notes were still anticipated.

Also, it was discovered that the bank branch’s ATMs were handing out only old naira notes.

Customers were also spotted placing old banknotes over the counter, while cashiers at the center were dispensing additional old naira notes.

However, in certain cases, cashiers were observed including some new naira notes among older banknotes when doing over-the-counter transactions.

Meanwhile, some customers in the banking rooms were dismissive of the new notes after hearing that several local merchants were refusing to accept them as legal money.

Because of this, a few bank clients flat-out refused to take the new notes for over-the-counter transactions.

EFCC recovers over N30 billion from suspended AGF

Yesterday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that it has recovered more than N30 billion in connection with the corruption investigation against the now-suspended Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Idris Ahmed.

Abdulrasheed Bawa, the commission’s chairman, made this announcement at a ministerial media briefing hosted by the presidential communications team in Abuja.

If you’ll recall, the commission is presently pursuing the troubled AGF for suspected N109 billion in fraud.

Other recoveries were N134,33,759,574.25; $121,769,076.30; £21,020; €156,925; 21,350; CFA300,000, as highlighted by the EFCC chief.

Over 3,615 convictions were made throughout the same frame, he said, proving that the administration took its anti-corruption initiative seriously.

In addition, he said, after a countrywide auction of repossessed cars, over 150 homes will be sold to the highest bidder.

Bawa promised that once the SCMUL (Special Control Unit against Money Laundering) is fully functional, money laundering will be extremely difficult in the country.

Since May 2022, he said, the EFCC has transferred at least N136 billion into the Federal Government’s account designated for the management of criminal gains.

According to him, the monies are divided as follows: N120 billion, $ 29 million, €6.6 million, and around GBP 1.1 million. The money is worth around N136,651,505,114 in Nigerian naira.

He promised that the money will be put to good use by funding existing infrastructure projects including the Abuja-Kano Road, the Second Niger Bridge, and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Despite reporters’ persistent attempts to pry him open on the subject, he remained tight-lipped on the individuals and organizations from whom the money had been collected.

Bawa countered claims that the EFCC may be used as a political instrument by asserting that the agency was impartial enough to examine the N109 billion money laundering case involving the suspended Attorney-General, Ahmed Idris.

83,000 Boko Haram fighters surrender

The Theater Commander Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa has revealed that the number of Boko Haram terrorists who have surrendered with families is about 83,000

The Commander revealed this on Thursday when he paid a courtesy visit on Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni at the Government House, Damaturu.

He said out of the number, 41,000 are children who would have been Boko Haram fighters.

“The terrorists were trying to develop a new set of terrorists, their own children and that would have been very dangerous, because normally for children when they grow up and whatever they see is what they imitate.

“So, if they grow and think killing, they become very dangerous”, he said.

Maj. Gen. Musa commended Gov. Buni for the support rendered to the military in the state in the fight against insurgency.

“We want to assure you that we are here as partners in progress. Whatever it takes for us to have peace, we are determined to achieve that,” he assured.

According to the Theater Commander, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruq Yahaya has been very supportive, something which makes their work a lot easier.

Governor Mai Mala Buni commended the army for their resilience in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

He assured the support of his administration to all security agencies in the state.

Governor Buni was presented with an award of a “Warrior”.

EFCC  keeping tabs on politicians’ spending

As politicians heighten campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said it is closely monitoring the spending patterns of top politicians in order to forestall a situation where they would use funds to influence the electoral process.

Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the commission is being careful not to invite some of them for questioning in order not to be misconstrued as political witch-hunting.

He confirmed that there are a number of petitions already before the commission against some key political figures which the anti-graft agency is critically looking into currently.

Confirming the development on Thursday while featuring at the weekly briefings coordinated by the Presidential Media Team at the State House, Abuja, he said the Petitions Vetting Desk/Committee of EFCC, comprising experienced officers from the Legal Department as well as those trained to investigate such petitions are currently reviewing these petitions with a view to seeing whether they have merits that will warrant prosecution.

According to Bawa, the EFCC is working on every petition directed to it to establish the veracity of such petition, stressing that the anti-graft agency which he leads is poised to work for the interest of Nigerians without fear or favour.

Asked if EFCC has received any petition against any of the 18 presidential candidates jostling to occupy the presidency by 2023, Bawa simply responded saying: “My concern is, at this hour, do you want us to start inviting all the presidential candidates to come to our office to make statements? You, the same media, will say it’s politically motivated.

“So we are not, but we are working behind the scene regarding such petitions we have received to see those that have merits, so that’s why we are not politicizing it.

“That’s another reason why we have what we call Petitions Vetting Desk/Committee made up of experienced officers from the Legal Department as well as those trained to investigate that will review these petitions to see whether they are in line with our own mandate before they will recommend whether they will be prosecuted by the EFCC.

“There are also benchmarks, so to speak, that guide our procedures, you know, in terms of accepting or rejecting petitions, as we also have criteria which have even been publicised to guide petitioners on the requirements to make a petition to have merit.”

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