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Ex-NNPC GMD, Yakubu sues EFCC, CBN over alleged non-release of $9.8m

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Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) over alleged refusal to release his $9.8 million dollars after a court judgment.

Yakubu, through his counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, filed the suit before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The originating summons, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2023, was dated and filed on March 8, with EFCC, CBN and GTB listed as 1st to 3rd defendants, respectively.

The News Men reports that Justice Ahmed Mohammed had, on March 31, 2022, discharged and acquitted ex-NNPC GMD of money laundering charges.

Justice Mohammed held that the EFCC failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, but the anti-corruption agency had appealed against the judgment.

Yakubu, in the suit, asked whether “the court did not become dominus litis of the respective sums of $9,773,200 and £74,000 belonging to” him when same was put in issue, and in evidence before the court in charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/43/2017 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Engr Andrew Yakubu, and in respect of which judgment was delivered on the 31st of March, 2022.”

He said if the question was answered in the affirmative, he further asked whether the EFCC ought to still have in its custody his seized monies after a sister court gave a judgment in his favour on March 31, 2022.

Yakubu, therefore, asked whether the monies ought not to be released to him forthwith or paid into an account under the control of the registry of the court, pending the outcome of the appeal lodged by the EFCC against the said judgment.

He sought an order directing the defendants to immediately release the monies to him in view of the court judgment.

Alternatively, he sought an order directing them to immediately transfer the said monies into an account under the control of the FHC chief registrar or into an account to be operated by the chief registrar, the EFCC and him, pending the determination of the appeal.

But the EFCC, in a notice of preliminary objection, prayed the court to dismiss Yakubu’s application.

In the motion dated March 20 and filed on April 12 by Faruk Abdullah, the anti-graft agency argued that the suit constituted an abuse of court process.

It said that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The commission said it also relied on the earlier processes filed before the court, where it raised jurisdictional issues and urged the court to strike out the entire suit.

In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Sambo Mayana, a detective with the commission, EFCC averred that most of Yakubu’s depositions did not reflect the correct position of the case.

It said that an appeal had already been file in appeal number: CA/ABJ/CR/653/2022.

Besides, it said that there were other appeals arising from the case pending at the Supreme Court with appeal number:. SC/CR/241/2020, between the Federal Government and Yakubu, and appeal number: $C/CR/223/2020 between Yakubu and FG.

The EFCC argued that while parties were awaiting a date for hearing of case SC/CR/223/2020 at the Supreme Court, Yakubu brought an application before the apex court to direct the commission to deposit the monies in a bank account to be managed by the registry of the Supreme Court.

It said Yakubu, by this present suit, replicated his application at the Supreme Court and sought the same to be determined by this count.

The EFCC urged the court to discountenance Yakubu’s application and uphold its preliminary objection in the interest of justice.

When the matter was mentioned on Thursday, A.A. Usman, who appeared for Yakubu, said they received counter-affidavits from the defendants, and he would need time to respond.

GTB’s lawyer, Idaye Imbu, informed that a motion to regularise their processes had been filed and the court granted her prayer after it was not opposed by parties in the suit.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until May 18 for hearing.

NAN reports that the anti-graft agency had, in 2017, raided the residence of the ex-NNPC boss in Kaduna and found $9,772,800 and £74,000 in a safe.

Yakubu was, however, arraigned on March 16, 2017, on six counts, but the trial court struck out counts one and two.

The Court of Appeal also struck out counts five and six and ordered Yakubu to defend himself on counts three and four.

Counts three and four, which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution and intent to avoid a lawful transaction in alleged violation of Section 1(1) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.

He had pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

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Marine and Blue Economy sector recorded N242bn in Q1 2024 – Oyetola

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy has said that the ministry recorded a revenue of N242 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

Oyetola spoke in Abuja on Tuesday during a sectoral briefing to mark President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office.

He said the revenue recovered represents a 92 percent increase from the N126 billion recorded in Q1 of 2023.

Oyetola said the ministry has “achieved a ramp up of revenue” to the government in the last year and is poised to do more.

“A comparison of quarter 1 2023 against quarter 1 2024 revenue performance across the agencies reveals a 92% increase,” the minister said.

“The increase in revenue performance has largely been due to a 10% increase in the number of vessels calling our ports due to strategic investments in port infrastructure in the last one-year, mooring boats, patrol vessels, and dredging of the port’s channels.

“We have also tightened revenue assurance by deploying technology. Revenue generation is critical to us.”

On improving the sector’s revenue throughout the year, Oyetola said the ministry has commenced the rollout of some initiatives such as the commissioning of revenue enhancement studies focused on the ministry, its departments, and agencies.

The minister said the objective is to identify and block leakages while identifying recommendations to expand current revenue sources.

“Automation of revenue collection processes to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance transparency and accountability,” he said, further highlighting the initiatives.

“Deploying revenue assurance technologies to ensure accurate and complete billings in line with established contracts and services rendered.

“Ensuring the efficient utilisation of existing assets through concessions to the private sector and public-private partnerships as required.”

Oyetola also said the ministry has carried out campaigns targeting both domestic and international investors for investments in the marine and blue economy sub-sectors.

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Lagos to begin demolition of Oshodi market extensions July 30

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The Lagos State Government is set to begin the demolition of Oshodi Market by July 30.

This was disclosed by the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Gbolahan Oki, on Monday.

He said, “The Lagos State Building Control Agency, in conjunction with the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Council Authority, has embarked on the sensitisation of property owners, residents, shop owners, and market women and men on the removal of illegal structures, extensions built on road setbacks, shops, buildings, and public school premises around the Oshodi-Isolo LCDA.”

Oki noted that the expiration period before demolition compensation is July 30.

He said, “The expiration period that we are looking at is July 30, and the action we are taking is to remove all the attachments.

“As you can see, some buildings are right on the road, and it is because of these attachments. Some believe that the attachment is part of the building.”

The general manager asserted that change was the simplest thing but very difficult to achieve.

He added, “If we want change, it is going to affect us, and we are going to have that change at all costs.

“All these extensions are on work, which should not be.

“People selling on the road is unnecessary, and that is what we are trying to put in place; it is not a tribal issue. We must all comply with the rules and regulations.”

Oki urged traders without building plan approval to leverage the 90-day amnesty period given by the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu.

“The reason we are here is to enforce; the directive of the governor is very clear; there is no attachment.

“Nothing should disrupt the flow of movement, which is very important, and that we stand on.”

The Executive Chairman, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, Kehinde Oloyede, said in every market, accessibility was essential.

He said, “For market women to maximise whatever they are selling, they need access to the road.

“The state government believes that good access to roads would better help them in the performance of their duty, particularly agencies like the fire service.”

Speaking on the local government partnership with LASBCA, Oloyede asserted that the state government had given the traders grace until after the festive period.

He added, “The local government is partnering with LASBCA to the end that we have been given grace that after the festive sale ends in July, the state will intervene.

“However, before then, the local government would see to it that most of these extensions and attachments were removed.

“Those that fail to comply, then the Lagos State Government will take charge and do what they deem fit.”

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Lagos Govt returns 11,957 children to school under project zero initiative, establishes nine new schools

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By Sodiq Adelakun

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced that his administration’s Project Zero initiative has successfully helped 11,957 out-of-school children return to their studies.

This achievement was revealed on Monday during the Children’s Day celebration parade and rally held at Police College, Ikeja, where the Governor was represented by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.

In addition to the success of Project Zero, the Governor highlighted other efforts made to improve children’s access to education. These include the establishment of nine new schools in busy and remote areas, which now cater to 4,588 students, comprising 2,310 girls and 2,278 boys.

“We have also improved many existing schools, completing over 1,500 projects that include building, renovating, and providing new furniture,” he said.

The governor said public schools are now secured with fences, CCTV cameras, and other safety measures, noting that it was working closely with security agencies to keep students safe.

“For our older students, we have hired over 2,000 new teachers in subjects like STEM, History, Yoruba, French, and Geography since May 2023,” he said.

Mr Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the new Digital Situation Room had also been established to monitor school performance and ensure smooth operation.

The governor charged children to continue to dream big, strive for goals and surpass imagination, assuring them that his administration would continue to advocate the mantra, “No Child Is Left Behind”.

He stressed that the state government was fully committed to providing the children with the environment, skills, opportunities and security to achieve their dreams.

The governor explained that the yearly celebration rededicated the government’s responsibilities to the children by preparing them for the challenges of the future in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive world.

He stressed that the 2024 theme, “Advocate for Children: Policies & Actions that Protect and Support Children’s Well-being,” encouraged all to speak up, take action, and always stay safe, happy, and thriving.

Earlier, Jamiu Alli-Balogun, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, urged students to maintain excellence in both their academic and co-curricular pursuits, emphasising that they represent the future of the state and nation.

Mr. Alli-Balogun praised the Sanwo-Olu administration for its dedication to the education sector and acknowledged the crucial role teachers play in guiding and mentoring the students.

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