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Alleged $6.2m fraud: Forensic expert confirms forgery of Buhari, Mustapha’s signatures



Bamaiyi Haruna Mairiga, Sixth Prosecution Witness, PW6, in the trial of a former governor of  Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele on Thursday, March 7, 2024 told Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court,  Abuja, that forensic examination showed that the signatures of former President Muhammadu Buhari and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha were allegedly forged for the payment of $6.2million to foreign election observers in the 2023 General Election.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo,  SAN,  Mairiga, a forensic expert informed the court that forensic evaluation of the “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observers Election A” and “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observer Election A2,” which were the documents upon which the payment was made by the CBN under Emefiele, showed manifest evidence of forgery of the signatures of Buhari and Mustapha under forensic scrutiny, and a clear evidence that the seal of execution was equally fake.

“My Lord, the conclusion of the examination showed that the questioned signature marked ‘X-X1’ had suspicious evidence of forgery or copying act, as line quality, the form, skill of execution and pen movement were found to be different from the specimen signatures marked A-A2 and B-81,”  he said.

Continuing, he stressed that,  ”specifically, the form and formation of the disputed signature marked X and specimen signatures marked 1 were different with respect to pen movement impulses, initial and terminal strokes, loops, tremors, and individual characteristics.

“This confirms that the author of specimen signatures marked B-81 did not write the signature of Muhammadu Buhari on the disputed document marked X. Also, the form and formation of the disputed signature marked X1 and specimen signatures marked A-A2 were also different with respect to pen movement impulses, initial and terminal strokes, loops, tremors, and individual characteristics. This confirms that the author of specimen signatures marked A-A2 did not write the signature of Boss Mustapha on the disputed document marked X1 and the same was produced into a report and returned to the requesting unit.”

The “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observers Election A” and “Presidential Directive on Foreign Observer Election A2” were tendered in evidence and admitted by the court.

Under cross-examination by counsel to Emefiele,  Matthew Burkaa ,SAN, Mairiga revealed that he was seconded to the EFCC in 2018 from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and that NIS remained the agency of his primary employment.

After listening to the cross examinations,  Justice Muazu  discharged Mairiga from the dock, and adjourned the matter till March 11, 2024.

Earlier on Monday,  February 12,  2024, Ogau Onyeka Michael, a prosecution witness, had disclosed before Justice Muazu that Emefiele approved the payment of $6,230,000 (Six Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Thousand Dollars) in cash for international election observers in the 2023 General Election.

Michael, a former Abuja Branch Controller of CBN, led in evidence by Oyedepo revealed that on January 8, 2023, a request for payment in the sum of $6,230,000  came to his office and that the documents for the disbursement of the money were approved by the then CBN governor in cash for international election observers.

Similarly, another prosecution witness, Boss Gida Mustapha, former SGF on Tuesday February 13, 2024 told Justice Muazu that neither the former President Buhari nor himself raised a memo directing the apex bank to pay the said sum to international election observers in the last general election. Mustapha told the court he never came across the transaction while he served as the SGF.

“My Lord, all through my years in service at my capacity, I never came across such a document. Having served for five years, seven months,”  he said.

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Despite TotalEnergies snub, Oil Minister anticipates over $16bn investments into Nigeria



…As Lokpobiri, Ekpo insist Tinubu has made Nigeria attractive to investors

Despite a recent outburst by the Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné at the Africa CEO Forum revealing that the company chose Angola over Nigeria to make a $6 billion investment, Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources (oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri  has declared that the country is anticipating over $16 billion significant investments in the oil and gas sector.

The TotalEnergies CEO had stated that the company chose Angola over Nigeria because of the violative state of the Niger Delta noting that the company has not conducted oil exploration in the region for 12 years.

Reacting, the Minister revealed that the country aims to achieve a minimum of $20 billion worth of investment in the coming months while assuring investors of a stable policy environment.

Speaking at a sectoral Ministerial briefing to commemorate President Tinubu’s one year in office, Lokpobiri said his Ministry does not deal primarily with executing projects but fostering an enabling environment needed to attract investments into the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

“The government is working, and its effort is already bringing back investors’ confidence in this present administration. The government has done what the government is expected to do to attract investors,” he declared.

He added, “Somebody was asking me that Total announced $6 billion of proposed investments in Angola. I’m also very happy to announce that we have a company that will announce a $10 billion investment in deep offshore in the next few weeks. And they are in town, waiting for me.”

“These were companies that left Nigeria because they believed that there were inconsistent policies, and the atmosphere was unfavourable, but following this administration’s policies of deliberately creating the best environment that are competitive globally, they are all coming back.

“There’s also another company that will invest about $5 billion. These are not stories, but I don’t want to preempt the announcement, so I let it be that we announce it so that Nigerians will know that Angola cannot be compared to Nigeria. In Africa, Nigeria is the leading oil and gas producer and we are still dominating that position.

“Our target in 2024, having worked very hard to create an enabling environment, is to ensure that we have a minimum of $20 billion in investment this year.”

Speaking further, the Minister noted that the only way to sustain increasing production and generate money that the government needs to finance the economic programs is the oil and gas sector, stating that the quickest way to the nation’s economic prosperity is the oil and gas sector.

“Every country that has oil prioritises investment in oil. And Nigeria can never be an exception. So what we are doing is to see how we can create that investing opportunity for companies to come and invest.

“The way the oil and gas sector works is this, if you have an oil block and you do not sustain your drilling program, it’s just like somebody who has dug a well. As you keep fishing, it will keep going down.

“This morning I was with a company and that company is saying that they are happy that the slum beach is back to town and they have a drilling program of drilling a hundred wells. You know what that means? That will be another major investment that will attract billions of dollars. The Ministry of Petroleum is not a ministry where you execute projects.”

He explained even though Nigeria has the highest reserves in Africa, there had been no significant investments. This, he said, has hindered the country from seeing the benefits of these huge reserves.

“You ask yourself the question, why did the companies in Nigeria fail to invest in the last 12 years? The reason is simple. The PIA took longer than ever to be passed and nobody wants to invest billions of dollars in any client where there’s uncertainty.

“Now we have told them that the PIA is now passed. We have a stable governance structure. We have the best fiscals. As the President has signed executive orders, we have the best fiscal terms that are globally competitive. And we’re saying that you have a long history with Nigeria. So come back to Nigeria and invest.

“And that is why those who want to invest in the $10 billion is an old IOC. Those who want to invest the $5 billion is an old IOC. There are also a lot of smaller companies that are coming in. One is in fact proposing to invest $1.6 billion,” he said.

“We have countries that have perfectly integrated policies like Angola. So, we went to Angola and announced a very large $6 billion project at the beginning of the week because their framework is stable. So we know where we go,” he added.

However, Lokpobiri said that the FG has had and will continue to have a stakeholder’s meeting with oil majors in the country to foster a way forward in the sector.

“We are already bringing back investors because now they have confidence in this present administration,” he said.

In the same vein, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo has stated that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made investing in Nigeria’s gas sector attractive.

The Minister stated this as he informed investors and other stakeholders in the gas sector of regulatory frameworks that are now in place, incentivises investments, streamlines bureaucratic processes, and provides clarity on fiscal terms.

Delivering a keynote speech at a colloquium on promoting investment in Nigeria’s gas sector organised by Babalakin @ Co in Abuja, he assured investors that the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government has created a conducive environment for investments in the gas sector.

He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and the recent Presidential Directive for Oil and Gas Companies on Tax Incentives, Exemption, Remission, etc. by His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu have created a conducive environment for investment. These reforms ensure transparency, accountability, and regulatory certainty, making Nigeria an attractive destination for investors.”

Ekpo, represented by the Executive Director, Midstream and Downstream Gas Infrastructure Fund (MDGIF), Mr. Oluwole Adama, said Nigeria stood at a pivotal moment in its history, particularly in the realm of energy.

According to him, with vast reserves of natural gas, the country possesses a resource that holds the key to unlocking immense potential for economic growth, industrialisation, and sustainable development.

He however, noted that realising this potential requires concerted efforts, innovative strategies, and unwavering commitment from both the public and private sectors.

“Promoting investments in Nigeria’s gas sector is not merely an economic imperative, it is a commitment to harnessing our natural resources for the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations,” said Ekpo.

“By embracing bold strategies, fostering collaboration, and upholding the highest standards of excellence, we can unleash the transformative power of gas to drive inclusive growth, create jobs, and propel Nigeria towards a brighter and more sustainable future,” he added.

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Palace evacuation: Dethroned Kano Emirs in limbo, get 48-hour deadline as Gov. Yusuf reinstates Sanusi



…NEF condemns undermining of centuries-old Customs and Traditions, says new Emirate threatens unity

…No raid on Emir’s Palace, says DSS Director   …Fubara hails Sanusi’s return, commends Kano Govt

Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, has reinstated Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi as the 14th Emir of Kano, while ordering emirs of Bichi, Gaya, Rano and Karaye to vacate their palaces within 48 hours. This decision overturns that of the Ganduje-led administration to dethrone Muhammadu Sanusi II as Emir of Kano in 2020.

This move was announced following the assent of the Governor to the newly passed Kano State Emirate (Repeal) Bill into law, reinstating Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano State.

The law abolishes the five emirates established by former Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and paves the way for Sanusi’s return to the throne.

The Governor issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the former emirs, including Aminu Ado Bayero, Nasir Ado Bayero, Kabiru Muhammad Inuwa, Ibrahim Abubakar II, and Aliyu Ibrahim Abdulkadir, to vacate the palaces and hand over all emirate properties to the office of the Deputy Governor.

Yusuf expressed satisfaction that the new law will bring unity and foster sustainable socio-economic development in Kano State.

He emphasised that Sanusi’s return will propel peace and prosperity, restoring the revered legacy of the Kano emirate, which has stood the test of time for over a thousand years.

The governor urged the populace to continue supporting his administration in delivering infrastructural advancements that will propel Kano to greater heights. With the signing of the bill, Kano State is now under one emirate, marking a significant milestone in the state’s history.

Recall that the affected emirs were installed by the previous administration of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who had split the Kano Emirate into five.

The emirs ousted by Governor Yusuf’s directive are Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero and four others, who were installed as first-class emirs in the newly created emirates of Karaye, Gaya, Bichi, and Rano.

However, with the passage of the Kano State Emirate Council Law 2024, these emirates have been dissolved, and Sanusi has been restored as the sole Emir of Kano.

The law has been hailed as a move to restore the traditional unity and cohesion of the Kano Emirate.

…NEF condemns undermining of centuries-old Customs, Traditions, says new Emirate threatens unity

However, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in a statement signed by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, expressed concern over the dethronement of the emirs, warning that the crisis in the Kano emirate has significantly raised public tensions and concerns.

The forum blamed the previous administration for creating new emirates, which it said threatens the unity and cohesion of the traditional structure and undermines centuries-old customs, values, and traditions.

The reinstatement of Sanusi, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as gathered, is a nod to change the political landscape of Kano State.

His dethronement in 2020 was widely seen as a move by the previous government to consolidate power and undermine the traditional authority of the Kano Emirate.

According to NEF, “It is important for all parties involved to approach this matter with the utmost care and professionalism, keeping in mind the potential consequences of their actions. Rash decisions and inflammatory statements can only serve to worsen the situation and jeopardize the peace and stability of the state.”

The Forum also called on the public to remain calm and law-abiding, stressing that violence and unrest would only further divide the community and hinder peaceful resolution efforts.

The Elders emphasised the need for unity and mutual understanding during this crisis, noting that the traditional institution in Nigeria has long faced challenges that have rendered it weak and ineffective.

According to NEF, “Creation of multiple emirates in Kano is a deliberate attempt to weaken the authority of traditional rulers, making them more susceptible to political control and manipulation.”

The arbitrary dethronement and replacement of high-ranking traditional rulers in Kano, according to the NEF, undermine their authority and legitimacy.

“This move threatens the unity and cohesion of the traditional structure and undermines the centuries-old customs, values, and traditions that are the bedrock of Nigerian society,” the Forum stressed.

…No raid on Emir’s Palace — DSS Director

In the same vein, the Department of State Security (DSS) has denied reports that its operatives stormed the palace of the Emir of Kano following the dissolution of the five Emirate Councils by the State Assembly on Thursday.

The State Director of the DSS, Muhammad Alhassan, described the reports as untrue and clarified that no DSS operatives were dispatched to the Emir’s Palace.

According to Alhassan, the First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, was on an assignment in Kano and had scheduled a visit to the Emir’s Palace, but learned that the Emir was out of town and postponed the visit.

The DSS director emphasised that there was no truth to the reports of a raid on the palace, and urged the public to disregard the misinformation.

The clarification comes amid tensions following the dissolution of the Emirate Councils and the reinstatement of Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi as the Emir of Kano.

“We drafted our men as part of our schedules on the visit of the First Lady Oluremi Tinubu but learned that she was not going there and we withdrew our men,” he added.

“Therefore, the story that our men stormed the Emir’s Palace in the wake of the happenings with regards to the Emir is false, malicious and did not happen, “ he said.

…Fubara hails Sanusi’s return, commends Kano Govt

Also, Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has congratulated Muhammad Sanusi II on his reinstatement as the 14th Emir of Kano.

Fubara expressed excitement over the news, which coincides with Sanusi’s visit to Rivers State, where he is supporting the state’s economic development efforts.

The Governor described Sanusi’s dethronement in 2020 as an “unjust act” against the people of Kano State and commended the Kano State Government for correcting the past wrong.

He urged the people to support the Emir and called on Sanusi to lead the Tijanniyah Sufi order with love, wisdom, and courage, bringing peace, justice, and prosperity to Kano.

Fubara wished the Emir a successful and fruitful reign.

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Nigerians react as N’Assembly reverts to old national anthem



By Adejoke Esther

Reactions have greeted the new act returning the country to recite the old National Anthem. The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill seeking to return Nigeria back to reciting the old National Anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” which was adopted as the country’s first national anthem upon gaining independence from Britain in 1960 and discard the present one, ‘Arise O’ Compatriots.’

The proposal to change the national anthem had emerged from a growing sentiment among the populace that the current anthem no longer resonated with the diverse and evolving identity of the country.

Under the sponsorship of the leader of the House, Julius Ihonvbere, during plenary in Abuja on Thursday.

Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill, the lawmaker said that the current national anthem was not helping.

He added that there was a need to go back to the old national anthem, whose wordings were more patriotic.

Mr Ihonvbere said, “Going back to memory lane to a time in history when things were done in a proper manner, the old national anthem helped Nigerians to be more patriotic. The bill will bring us together, and give us hope and courage, a sense of duty to the nation. That does not necessarily deny the reality and that is the maintenance of contemporary societies.”

 The proposal has struck several reactions. A Social commentator and lawyer Inibehe Effiong said on X (formerly Twitter) noted, “Changing the National Anthem of Nigeria will not change the national culture of corruption and disregard for democratic principles. It will not cure the entrenched injustice in our country, and will certainly not restore the rule of law.

“Parliament should go beyond cosmetic legislative interventions and address the real issues besetting our country. Patriotism will not be birthed by the beautiful words of the national anthem.”

Another X (formerly Twitter) user said: “I had already asked, are they sure they are ready to uphold ‘Truth and Justice?’”

“This one may attract a more dangerous rebuke if not transparently supported. One proposal suggests, They should also scrap the current fraudulent constitution and return Nigeria to the regional system of government. The system we’re operating now is the reason for the weak state of the nation and also the reason for the unrest and unhealthy economic situation in the country. Return Nigeria to the regional system of government with the 1960 constitution.”

The discourse surrounding the national anthem and governance reforms reflects a larger struggle within Nigeria to find solutions that not only address symbolic aspects of national identity but also tackle the substantive issues affecting the country’s progress and stability.

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