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Ex-minister Agunloye may suffer same fate as Bola Ige — Soyinka warns

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Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has warned that embattled former Minister Dr. Olu Agunloye may suffer the same fate of death as Late Chief Bola Ige.

Dr. Olu Agunloye has been remanded in Kuje Prison by the court over the Mambilla scam case. Justice Onwuegbuzie ruled that the defendant be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre and set Thursday, January 11, 2024 for hearing on the bail application.

In a statement released on Wednesday titled ‘A pivotal witness and a custodial danger,’ it reads, “Dr. Olu Agunloye, we learn, was finally charged to court today. The case was adjourned, and the presiding judge, in his or her wisdom, proceeded to remand the accused in Kuje Prison, pending resumption of his case.

“I wish to alert the nation and the government that there exists a justifiable, high-level concern for his safety,” Soyinka stated.

The Nobel Laureate further stated, “His predecessor in office, the late Chief Bola Ige, was murdered in his bedroom by a professional assassin even while his police protection detail took time off, all at the same time, to a nearby eatery. Till today, those mystery killers have yet to be identified, arrested, and tried.

“I have made it clear, even as recently as a few weeks ago, that Bola Ige’s murder was not unconnected with the Mambilla scam.

“Olu Agunloye worked closely with me, both within and outside routine police motions, to unmask Ige’s killers.

“It would therefore amount to unpardonable complacency to propose that there are no forces sufficiently desperate to accord him the same fate as Bola Ige. That goal is made easier by the abrupt decision to remand him in prison.

“I have called for an independent, non-partisan commission to probe at length and in-depth, in public sittings, this scandal of expanding dimensions that has crippled the energy needs of a nation of two hundred million citizens over the past two decades. The latest development is sinister and alarming.

“Let it be understood that if anything happens to this pivotal witness while in custody, the inference will be heard loud, clear, and unambiguous,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the former Minister of Power and Steel Development on seven count charges bordering on fraudulent award of contract and official corruption.

One of the count reads: “That you, Olu Agunloye, whilst being the Minister of Power and Steel on or about the 22nd of May, 2003 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court awarded a contract, titled “Construction of 3,960mw Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station on a Build, Operate and Transfer Basis” to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited without any budgetary provision, approval and cash backing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(4) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

Another count reads: “That you, Olu Agunloye, on or about the 10th of August, 2019 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, corruptly received the sum of Three Million Six Hundred Thousand Naira (N3,600,000.00) through your Guaranty Trust Bank account no.0022530926 from Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL) and Leno Adesanya for having conveyed the approval of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the construction of the 3,960 megawatts Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station in favour of SPTCL which you did whilst serving as the Minister of Power and Steel without the approval of the Federal Executive Council contrary to and punishable under Section 8(1)(a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to them.

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Anambra boat mishap: Police recover 3 more bodies

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The Police Command in Anambra, said it had recovered three more bodies from the  boat mishap that occurred on Wednesday, in Anam community, Anambra West Local Government Area of the state.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Tochukwu Ikenga, said this in a statement in Awka on Friday.

Ikenga said that the command’s Marine Police unit in Anambra recovered the remaining three bodies of the boat accident during the shooting of a movie.

He said that two of the bodies were recovered on April 11, while the last body was washed ashore by the tide early Friday.

Ikenga said that the bodies have been deposited in an undisclosed mortuary in Asaba, Delta.

He said that the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has been notified of the recovery.

“Mr Aderemi Adeoye, Commissioner, Anambra Police Command, has urged all water commuters to be safety conscious,” he said.

He advised water commuters to avoid behaviour that might jeopardise their safety and that of others on water transit.

Adeoye assured that the command would thoroughly investigate the cause of the sad accident that claimed the lives of five actors and proffer a lasting solution.

He commended the Marine Command Unit and its Commander for their dedication to duty.

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FIRS generates N12.3 trn in 2023 – CEO

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The Chief Executive, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, said that the organisation witnessed unprecedented progress in revenue collection, culminating in a remarkable achievement of N12.3 trillion in 2023.
The chief executive, who was represented by a staff of the organisation, Mrs Aisha Ribadu, said this on Friday at the FIRS special day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Adedeji said that this success was a testament to its dedication to nurturing and empowering its workforce, and to ensuring they possessed the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to excel.
He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the Enugu State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) for its discerning choice of theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”.
The FIRS boss added that the choice of theme reflected the collective aspiration to not only dominate the African market but to assert relevance on the global stage.
“Investing in human capital is the cornerstone of sustainable development, and nations that prioritise human  development inevitably experience  enduring growth and prosperity.
“The FIRS has spearheaded transformative reforms aimed at diversifying revenue sources and enhancing the overall taxpayer experience.
 “One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Taxpromax Solutions, an innovative e-service platform designed to empower taxpayers to fulfill their obligations seamlessly from anywhere at any time,” Adedeji said.
He expressed gratitude to ECCIMA for affording the FIRS the invaluable opportunity to showcase its commitment to national development.
In a welcome address, the ECCIMA President, Mr Odeiga Jideonwo, said that the essence of the special day was to bring the business community and the general public closer to the activities and operations of the FIRS.
 Jideonwo, who was represented by the first Deputy President, Nnanyereugo Onyemelukwe, said that the FIRS should  work in tandem with other agencies of government and stakeholders in the organised private  sector.
He said that it would enable the FIRS to redefine and streamline tax administration and regime in the country.
” It will also bring about a society  wherein the rich and poor will leverage each other in contributing to the development of the society in a fair and just manner, as it affects company tax by various businesses,” he said.
 He commended the chief executive for its various innovations aimed at voluntary bringing into the FIRS database, companies in order to boost the tax network.
Jideonwo added that it would also boost revenue with the attendant grace offered in the process to those who had been evading tax payment.
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NEMA confirms recovery of male body from Lagoon

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the recovery of the body of a male passenger that drowned having fallen into the Lagoon from the bus that crashed on the Third Mainland Bridge on Wednesday.

Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, Lagos Territorial Coordinator, NEMA, made the confirmation in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Farinloye said the Marine Police recovered the body close to the scene of the accident.

He, however, said search and rescue was still ongoing to recover the body of the female passenger.

NAN reports that two passengers were thrown out of a commercial vehicle on the Third Mainland Bridge on Wednesday when the bus somersaulted and hit the rails of the bridge.

Emergency responders have been searching for the bodies of the two passengers, a male and a female, that were thrown into the lagoon as a result of the impact.

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