The Big 5: EFCC charges NBA President, Usoro over N1.4b fraud; Aisha Buhari speaks on fraud committed by her alleged associate | Other top stories

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, a N1.4 billion fraud charge against the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Paul Usoro (SAN), for allegedly converting and laundering the fund belonging to the Akwa Ibom government, “sometime in 2015″ in connivance with Governor of his home state, Udom Emmanuel.

The anti-graft agency however, did not list the Governor as a defendant indicating that he is “currently constitutionally immuned against criminal prosecution,” but mentioned four other defendants listed as officials in the government of the state: Nsikan Nkan, described as commissioner for Finance; Mfon Udomah, described as the accountant-general; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the attorney-general and commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.

Justice Hassan adjourned till December 10, 2018, for the arraignment of the NBA President.

Following the arrest by the Department of State Services and subsequent arraignment of one Amina Mohammed, a suspect alleged to have been defrauding many victims under the guise of being an associate of the wife of the President as well as impersonating the wife of Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, wife of the President Aisha Buhari has reacted.

As contained in a statement by her Director of Information, Suleiman Haruna, Mrs. Buhari dissociated herself from all the individuals involved in the stated fraud case, while stating categorically that the claim of one Mariyatu being her sister or that Amina Mohammed, the alleged impostor is her associate are not true, hence she was not in a position to transact any business in her name or that of her office.

“She wishes to further state that she does not run businesses in her office, therefore whoever does business with anyone in her name will be doing so at his/her own risk. “As for the staff of her office, she wishes to state that anyone found to be engaged in fraudulent dealings will face the full wrath of the law,” she added.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja from Poland, where he participated in the opening of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice.

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has warned that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, may incur the wrath of God for allegedly toying with His name.

Oshiomhole who disclosed this at his Abuja office on Wednesday, said that unlike the 2015 elections where ethnic religious sentiments were considerations at the Presidential election, people are now going to look at character, adding that “Nobody has ever said Buhari is a thief. But who said the other person (Atiku) is a thief? it was his boss (Obasanjo).”

“When you are working with me and I said you are a thief, God will punish me if I support you. And when you are confused because your supply line has been chopped off, you now turned around to support the same person. That God that you called with your name to punish you if you support the person is about to go to work. And He will go to work in February and He will punish him thoroughly and the person he is supporting against Nigeria,”Oshiomhole added.

Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), on Wednesday suspended its two-month old strike action.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja after its expanded National Executive Council meeting, President of the union, Nuhu Ogirima, said the government has accepted that there is decay in colleges of education and agreed to implement the NEEDS assessment report. Hence, the suspension became necessary following reassurances from government to meet key demands of the workers.

He however noted that the union will reconvene in January to re-access the government’s commitment and will not hesitate to resume the strike if it reneges in the agreement.

In a related development, a bill seeking to repeal the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 1986 and to re-enact Federal Colleges of Education, 2018, went through second reading at the Senate on Wednesday.

Leading the debate on the bill, Senator Barau Jibrin, representing Kano North moved that the bill be amended to accommodate new provisions such as granting powers to the  Federal Colleges of Education who currently award Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), to award first degrees like universities on the approval of regulatory agencies governing the institutions, as well as make provision for two Deputy Provosts – one Provost for Academic and another for Administrationin the institutions.

The amendment which he said is aimed at putting an end to the dichotomy between the federal colleges and universities, also proposed a period of five year-tenure for Provost of the Colleges as against the previous four years which is similar to that of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Bursars and Registrars of Colleges have also been provided a single tenure of five years.


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