The Lagos State Government on Tuesday commenced trial of two suspects arraigned for attempting to defraud the State Government to the tune of N50million by cloning the official line of the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The suspects - Rilwanu Jamiu and Balogun Oyewole were arraigned before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court in Igbosere on three-count charge bordering on the alleged crime.
Specifically, they are standing trial for possession of fraudulent document, impersonation and attempt to commit felony.
While testifying before the court, the State’s Accountant General, Mrs Abimbola Shukurat Umar revealed how she received a text message from the suspects on February 10, 2016, purportedly from Governor Ambode, directing her to transfer the sum of N50million to a designated Keystone Bank account.
Umar, who was led in evidence by the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adenijii Kazeem, said she found the message suspicious and highly irregular of the official accounting protocol.
This, prompted her to bring the message to the attention of the Governor, who, after distancing himself from the message, ordered the immediate investigation of the matter.
The investigation, which was conducted by the Department of State Security (DSS), led to the eventual arrest of the defendants, who were subsequently charged before the court.
The prosecution also called Mr Wale Odu, Director of DSS, Lagos State Command, to give evidence in the matter.
In his testimony, Odu confirmed that the investigation leading to the arrest of the defendants was conducted by his team.
According to him, investigation revealed that the second defendant (Oyewole) is one of the directors and shareholders of a firm, Clayder Limited to whose Keystone Bank account, the N50million fraud money would have been paid.
The matter was later adjourned to February 14, 2018 for continuation of the trial, while the defendants were to continue to be remanded at the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday urged Nigerians to always give peace a chance and embrace dialogue as a necessary mechanism for conflict resolution.
Speaking after performing the laying of wreath and release of pigeons in commemoration of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos, Governor Ambode noted that one of the best ways to appreciate and acknowledge the supreme price paid by gallant members of the armed forces who lost their lives in the defence of the sovereignty of the country is to ensure that conflicts are always resolved amicably.
Represented by his deputy, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, Governor Ambode said that 15th of January has remained sacrosanct in the political history of the country as according to him, the day in 1970 marked the day in which “Treaty of Surrender’’ which ended the three-year bloody Civil War in the country was signed.
The Governor, who commended officers and men of the armed forces for always demonstrating courage and gallantry to protect the sovereignty of the country, urged Nigerians to always eschew violence and bitterness while resolving their differences, adding that the nation and its people stand to gain a lot when there is peace and political stability in the land.
“While commending officers and men of our armed forces for demonstrating courage and gallantry in the face of threat to national unity, I call on fellow citizens to give peace a chance. Let us eschew violence and embrace dialogue as the preferred mechanism for conflict resolutions,’’ Governor Ambode pleaded.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment to all inclusive governance, the Governor also called on all Lagosians and indeed Nigerians to show love and care to the families and the loved ones of those who lost their lives while defending the country, which according to him, would further reassure them that their loved ones had not died in vain.
One of the ways to do such, the Governor said, is to engage the services of the ex-Service men and women, some of who have suffered physical disabilities while defending the territorial integrity and the unity of the country.
“As we conclude this year’s armed Forces Remembrance Celebrations, Let me use this opportunity to reiterate my call to all Lagosians and indeed Nigerians to show love and care to the families and the loved ones of our deceased patriots, One of the ways we can support the survivals of these people is to engage the services of ex–service men and women, some of whom have suffered physical disabilities while defending the territorial integrity and unity of the nation’’, he appealed.
The Governor, who assured that his administration would continue to implement policies and programmes that would promote justice, security, equity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians resident in the State irrespective of their religions, tribes or political associations, urged government at all levels to prioritize people-oriented programmes that would bring development to the door step of a common man and bring political stability to the country.
The Governor, while calling on Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, unity and progress in the country, charged the youths to contribute their quota to the growth and stability of the country by shunning any act capable of promoting hatred or disunity in any part of the country.
The Deputy Governor took on the first duty of inspecting the guard of honour mounted by the combined detachments of the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and the Nigerian Legion immediately she arrived the venue of the ceremony.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, several gun salutes was fired and the Deputy Governor led others to the pigeon case, where she released the birds to signify peace.
Other notable personalities, who performed the laying of wreath ceremony include Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Service Commanders of military and para-military formations, a representative of the widows of the fallen heroes, among others.
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja called on the government and people of Benue State to exercise restraint following the recent attacks on some communities, assuring that all the perpetrators of violence in the state will be made to face the wrath of the law. Receiving a delegation of political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of the state led by Governor Samuel Ortom at the Presidential Villa, President Buhari said all those involved in the conflict that culminated in loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state. The President commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, and the families who lost loved ones and properties, noting that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims. President Buhari said relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs. He said: “Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished. “I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation.’’ The President told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country. President Buhari said the Inspector General of Police had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties, urging all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state. In his remarks, the Benue State Governor said the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks. Ortom said: “We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people.’’ The Tor-Tiv, Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, said his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks. Ayatse added: “We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation.’’ Present at the meeting were: Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, former Senate President, David Mark; former Benue State Governor, Senator George Akume and Senator Barnabas Gemade. Others include: Senator JK Waku, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd), Brig. Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa; Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe; and other members of the National and State Assembly from the State.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers has restated its position that the teachers in 10 states that still owe salary arrears should not resume work until all arrears were paid. Dr Mike Ike-Ene, General-Secretary of the union, spoke on the directive in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja. Ike-Ene said that 10 out of 36 states still owed teachers several months of salary arrears in spite of the Paris Club Refund given to states by President Muhammadu Buhari. He listed the states to include: Abia, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, Kwara and Taraba, describing them as chronic debtors as far as teachers’ salaries are concerned. According to him, Abia owes primary school teachers four months and secondary school teachers one month, Adamawa; two months to primary school teachers and one month to secondary. Ike-Ene said: “Others are Bayelsa; seven and half months to primary school teachers and four and half months to secondary, Benue owes 12 months to primary school teachers and seven months to secondary. “Ekiti owes eight months to primary school teachers and five months to secondary, Kogi; three months to primary school teachers and three months to secondary. “Taraba; six months to primary school teachers, Delta; four months to primary school and one month to secondary. Kwara and Ondo owe teachers three and four months’ salary arrears of 2016 respectively.’’ Ike-Ene said that the union has directed its members in the affected states, especially the primary school teachers not to resume work until all the arrears were cleared. He also said that NUT had in 2017, appealed to the governors concerned to use the period of the Christmas holiday to clear all the arrears, but yet some still failed to do so. NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017, advised state governors to use the Paris Club Refund to liquidate any form of arrears they owe workers.
Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning has assured Nigerians that the economy would be better in 2018.
Udoma gave the assurance in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr Akpandem James in Abuja.
Udoma spoke at an economic forum organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Kings Court Parish in Lagos on Sunday. The minister said the economy would significantly be better in 2018 going by the consistent positive trend of key indicators since the country emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2017.He said international and local rating agencies had shared same view that the Nigerian economy would grow rapidly in the year.
Udoma said the growth would create opportunities for investment in areas such as agriculture and agro-processing, industry, mining, construction and services.The minister, however, assured that the Federal Government would continue to sustain the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“The government is determined to lead in that effort and appealed to the private sector to respond to the various initiatives which the government has been rolling out.
“There is no doubt that more work needs to be done and we all must work together to achieve sustainable results.” Udoma said the ERGP was designed to tackle constraints to growth, leverage the power of the private sector, promote national cohesion and social inclusion, allow markets to function and uphold our core values.
In addition, he said the ministry had set up implementation unit to drive results in the implementation of the ERGP and to monitor the implementation of critical initiatives.
Udoma said the ministry would soon organise laboratories in the critical areas of Agriculture and Transportation, Power and Gas as well as Manufacturing and Processing.
He said laboratories which would commence fully in the next few weeks would bring all the relevant stakeholders (public and private) into weeks of intensive working sessions.
According to him, the aim is to brainstorm on practical steps to overcoming identified challenges in the sectors.
Udoma, however, urged Nigerians to stop putting the country down through lack of confidence in the achievements of the government.
“Nigerians should develop confidence in our ability to take on challenges and the capacity to achieve positive results.
“This country has great potential, both material and human, but we need to harness these potential for the growth of the country and the benefit of our people,” he said.
Also, the Senior Pastor of the Kings Court Parish of the RCCG, Pastor Ben Akabueze, said he was very expectant of 2018 as all economic indicators showed that the year would be better than 2017.
Akabueze, who is also the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, said the Kings Court had been organising such economic fora annually.
He said the Church had a duty to get the people to understand the marketplace and to approach the market with understanding and wisdom.
The Federal High Court in Lagos has nullified the appointment of an interim board for telephone firm 9Mobile.
Justice Ibrahim Buba made the order based on an application by Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd, which invested $35million in 2009 in Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS)/Etisalat, the fourth largest telecommunications service operator in Nigeria.
The judge ruled: “An order is hereby granted discharging the ex-parte order made by this court in this suit in favour of the respondent on the 3rd day of July 2017.
“The order made pursuant to motion ex-parte dated 3rd day of July 2017 was a nullity, made without jurisdiction and obtained by misrepresentation of facts. Same be and is hereby discharged and vacated as prayed.“The motion for stay is struck out, having set aside the order. The respondent shall reverse all steps taken by it since the order was a nullity.”
The order nullifies the appointment of Dr Joseph Nnana of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as chairman, Mr Boye Olusanya as Managing Director, Mrs Funke Ighodaro as Chief Financial Officer, Mr Seyi Bickersthet and Mr Ken Igbokwe on the EMTS board.
The nullification follows Justice Buba’s dismissal of a preliminary objection filed by United Capital Trustees Ltd in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS.
United Capital comprises a consortium of local banks that provided funding for Etisalat.
Spectrum Wireless claimed that the order was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that alienated its interests in the company.
The interim board of EMTS, which has the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), received bids from five bidders in its intended sale of the company, which was to be concluded by last December 31, but was moved to January 16.spectrum Wireless Communication’s lawyers warned that any institution or company who transacts business for the purpose of sale or acquisition of EMTS or 9Mobile does so at his or her own risk.
EMTS, popularly known as Etisalat, secured a telecommunications licence in 2007.
It has equity participation by local and foreign investors. In 2011, it secured N115.6billion and $235million from a consortium of domestic banks under the auspices of United Capital Trustees.
EMTS’ alleged default to service the facilities led to a recovery by United Capital.
To avert possible negative impact on the economy and the financial system, the CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) intervened.
Following the exit of Etisalat and its directors in June 2017 from EMTS, United Capital obtained the ex-parte order of July 3, 2017 to appoint a Transitional Board to superintend over the company’s affairs.
The Transitional Board rebranded the company 9mobile and announced a bid for its sale to interested investors. Concerned that United Capital’s action did not consider their stake in EMTS, other non-bank investors in EMTS, led by Spectrum Wireless, challenged last December the ex-parte order granted United Capital.
Justice Buba nullified the order, approved for the board’s appointment on the grounds that it was granted based on misrepresentation of facts.
British-Nigerian model Harry Uzoka was stabbed to death in East Acton, West London on Thursday in what has been described as a “robbery gone wrong”.
According to Evening Standard, “The 25-year-old was found collapsed on a pavement suffering a knife wound to his chest in west London on Thursday afternoon. He is understood to have staggered through a nearby estate before falling to the ground in front of horrified passers-by in Old Oak Road, East Acton.”
One woman told Evening Standard that her husband saw some teenage boys apparently mugging a man less than 20 yards from where Harry collapsed.
“My husband was walking our child home from school. They walked past three teenage boys who were shouting and ran past the garages. The three teenage boys then pinned a guy up against the garage holding him by the neck.
They were shouting they were going to kill him. My husband said he heard them shouting to give them something. It sounded like they wanted something from him,” the woman said.
Efforts by the medics to to save him proved futile as he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigations are ongoing and no arrest has been made.
Pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA), has today, changed the face of e-banking with the introduction of Leo, the UBA Chat Banker who enables customers make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transactions.
At the official launch of Leo, UBA’s Chat Banker, which took place in Lagos on Thursday, customers of the bank were given a step by step demonstration on the novel way of delivering lifestyle and quality banking through the Facebook Messenger chat platform.GMD/CEO, United Bank for Africa( UBA )Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka addressing customers and staff during the launch and introduction of Leo, a Chat Banking Personality on Social Media Platforms by UBA in Lagos on Thursday
This is the first time that a financial institution in Africa has come up with this manner of solution to simplify the way customers transact. Something that has become necessary in today’s fast-paced world with demands for quick-time transactions and response.
With the launch of the Chat Banking, customers will be able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds and airtime top up. They will also be able to confirm cheques, pay bills apply for loans, freeze accounts, request for mini statements, amongst other things.
At the occasion, the Group Managing Director, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, said that the launch of Leo is part of initiatives aimed at putting the bank’s customers first with UBA continuously developing strategies aimed at easing transactions for the bank’s numerous users, while ensuring utmost safety of their transactions.
Mr. Uzoka said, “The formulation of this product, is consistent with the bank’s customer 1st philosophy, where we are doing things not the way we like, but focusing on what the customers want, where they want it, and in the exact platform they want it.’
“At UBA, we have been working with technology giants that have the global capacity to ensure not only seamless but also effortless banking for millions of our customers across Africa. We at UBA, have collaborated with Facebook to come up with this innovation that is capable of revolutionising the way banking is done in Africa,” he said. Uzoka noted that Leo will in the nearest future, show up on other social platforms and added that all it takes to enjoy the services is simply to have a Facebook account.
As he unveiled the character of Leo, Uzoka stated: “Leo being an intelligent personality will give you feedback instantaneously as you transact your business on the platform. A solution that is from the customer’s standpoint and is easy to use by anyone’Also speaking at the launch of Leo, the Group Head of Online Banking at UBA, Mr. Austine Abolusoro, who conducted a step by step demonstration on the working of Leo, reitirated that Leo is not just a chat machine, but an artificial intelligence personality meant to address any type of banking concerns raised by customers.
“Leo is ready and waiting to help with most transactions and to deliver any form of banking services. Leo is operating a lifestyle banking platform on facebook messenger to assist with your transactions while chatting with your friends and business partners. The security with this platform is that for every transaction, an OTP (One Time Password) is generated to the phone number that is registered on your account.”
He explained that with Leo your banking needs become easy and simple. As simple as chatting.
UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The Bank provides services to over 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.
UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.