ICPC discovers N258m hidden in bank’s vault, arrests managers; NNPC apologises to Nigerians, says fuel scarcity will ease in one week | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • ICPC discovers N258m hidden in bank’s vault, arrests managers
  • Nigeria has suffered enough – Obi
  • NNPC apologises to Nigerians, says fuel scarcity will ease in one week
  • We’ll provide cash for your logistics – Emefiele to INEC
  • Buhari meets EFCC chairman, Emefiele, Bagudu, Tambuwal

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

ICPC discovers N258m hidden in bank’s vault, arrests managers

 Operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission discovered N258 million stored in the vault at Sterling Bank’s main office in Abuja last Friday.

This finding stems from an operation conducted by the commission to prevent commercial banks and other interest groups from disobeying the central bank’s directive.

On Tuesday night, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the agency’s anti-graft agency spokesman released a statement.

According to Ogugua, the ICPC monitoring team was told by the bank that the new naira notes it found hidden away in the vault were the remainder of the funds the CBN had allowed the bank to disperse to its various branches.

“The team however found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to their various branches.

“Both the Regional and Service managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while investigation continues,” she said.

Read also: EFCC arrests bank manager in Abuja for ‘hoarding N29m new notes’

The commission has similarly arrested the Keystone Bank’s Head of Operations in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, for allegedly hindering customers’ attempts to get the new naira notes.

While doing standard operations, the ICPC team noticed that the branch’s ATMs were not dispensing to clients and that other bank customers could only withdraw N1000 notes.

Ogugua further explained that the ATMs only began distributing N5,000 to non-customers and N10,000 to its clients after the arrest was made and confirmation was received from the CBN that the position of the executives of the bank was not valid.

In addition to Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar, the squad also detained Abdulkareem Shaibu, a security guard at the Zenith Bank on Third Avenue in Gwarimpa.

Adam and Umar were detained in front of the Zenith Bank on 1st Avenue in Gwarimpa for selling the new Naira notes. At the same time, Shaibu, the security guard, was arrested for possessing five ATM cards and using them to collect money for various unknown people who were not present at the bank at the time.

Nigeria has suffered enough – Obi

Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi has issued a call to action to Nigerians, urging them to help preserve their nation from impending disaster.

On Tuesday in Abuja, during the launch of the book Peter Obi: Many Voices, One Perspective, Obi made the call.

The upcoming presidential election is “an existential election,” the ex-governor of Anambra said, adding that Nigeria cannot afford to treat it lightly.

Obi cautioned that the nation’s future was uncertain if its citizens made the incorrect option for leadership in the next election.

At the rally, Obi also urged the people to vote for him so that he could provide the kind of leadership they hoped for.

He said, “We urge all of you to support us, especially in these final days, to reach the end of this race. Nigeria has suffered enough. This is a great country that can be turned around. We can’t succeed without your intervention.”

Obi had on Monday, promised to reduce the cost of governance if elected in the upcoming presidential election.

He disclosed this via his official Twitter handle on Monday as part of his address to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

He tweeted, “We will work with the CBN to reduce the ‘ways and means’ to what is allowable under the law and for a more transparent and liberalized foreign exchange market.”

NNPC apologises to Nigerians, says fuel scarcity will ease in one week

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has apologised to Nigerians for the over three months of pains caused by the nationwide fuel scarcity.

The Group CEO, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s special election programme The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday, assured the public that the “glitch” will be resolved to everyone’s relief.

“I apologise for the situation. On behalf of all of us, the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry. Definitely, not surely exclusive. Having said this, it is unfortunate. It’s a glitch – we are responsible to [resolve] this glitch. We will resolve this,” he said.

Asked to specify when Nigerians will begin to see a turnaround, Kyari expressed a strong belief that the relief will be be felt “within the next one week.”

But there is a caveat.

“I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next one week,” he added. “No, I can’t guarantee that because a number of things are out of our control.”

The NNPC boss explained that market forces will determine how quickly the situation is resolved, but in his view, the country is going to see substantial and relative ease in the next one week compared to the situation at present. 

He gave an assurance that the NNPC will bring succour and relief to the Nigerian people, saying no one orchestrated the fuel scarcity.

“We have no benefit in doing this. We are families. We are members and part of this community. We are very proud of this country.

“We would like this country to prosper. We don’t want Nigerians to suffer and of course as a matter of condition, we don’t think that anyone should go through this thing,” he said.

We’ll provide cash for your logistics – Emefiele to INEC

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele has stated that the CBN would not be used to obstruct the next general election.

Emefiele made the comments on Tuesday at the CBN offices in Abuja, where he was meeting with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chief Mahmood Yakubu.

Because of worries about the present shortage of naira, a meeting was called.

Yakubu, who spoke at the meeting, noted that while most election service providers are paid by electronic transfer, there are certain exceptions, including the transportation sector and emergency cases.

“In view of the recent policy involving the redesign of some denominations of our national currency, and the limits placed on cash withdrawals and availability, we consider this meeting important in addressing some of the areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general election,” he said.

“We are confident that arising from this meeting, we can assuage the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers.

“We’re determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best organised elections in Nigeria but we cannot do it alone.”

Responding, Emefiele said the CBN remains committed to supporting INEC towards ensuring credible polls.

“Just a few months ago, I visited your office and you raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured for you to import other forms of election materials that needed to be imported,” he said.

“And I gave you my word that foreign exchange will be provided for that purpose. I sit here to confirm that as at today, not one dollar is owed. All dollars needed to procure those materials have been provided.

“Now, this issue of paying logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials to wards, certainly I give it to you that because we regard the INEC project as an urgent national assignment, it cannot fail.

“The central bank will not allow itself either to be used or to be seen as an agent that frustrated positive outcome of the election.

“I give you the commitment that if in this case, after making your electronic payment you require some money to pay transporters, in this case cash, we will make it available.

“I will make sure that we will not allow ourselves to be seen as an agent that frustrated a positive outcome of the election.”

Buhari meets EFCC chairman, Emefiele, Bagudu, Tambuwal

On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari met with Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The meeting took place at the President’s office at the State House in Abuja, and was also attended by Aminu Tambuwal, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and Atiku Bagudu, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum.

General Lucky Irabor, head of the defense force, was also present.

It is unclear what was discussed at the meeting, although there are clues that the cash swap policy in Nigeria was the topic.

The governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met with Buhari on Friday, February 3, requesting that the old and new notes coexist to relieve the cash constraint reported in the country.

High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 27 commercial banks to proceed with full implementation of the naira redesign policy, preventing Buhari from further extending the deadline.

To prevent CBN from further extending the deadline for the usage of obsolete naira notes, the court has temporarily enjoined CBN from doing so. The first term of the injunction will be seven days, or until the hearing on the motion for notice on February 14.

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