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Naira Redesign: ICPC busts bank, discovers N258m, makes arrests

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By Ogaga Ariemu

As part of ongoing efforts at ensuring that commercial banks comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive on the distribution of the redesigned Naira note, operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last week Friday, discovered the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight Million Naira (N258m) stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.

According to a statement by the commission’s spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the discovery followed one of the Commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.

When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.

The team however found out that only the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) each was distributed to their various branches.

Both the Regional and Service managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while investigation continues.

In a similar vein, the Commission has effected the arrest of the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State for frustrating its customers at getting the new Naira notes.

The ICPC team, while on its routine operation, found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to its customers, while other bank customers were accessing only One Thousand Naira.

It was only after the arrest was made and clarification received from CBN that the position of the officers of the Bank was not correct, that the ATMs started dispensing Five Thousand Naira to non-customers and Ten Thousand Naira to its customers.

The team also arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar.

While Shaibu, the Security Guard was arrested for being in possession of five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the Bank premises at that time, Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new Naira notes.

In another development, two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo have been taken into custody for assault of officers of ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.

Recall that it was reported last week that the said branch was caught twice for loading wrapped bank notes inside its ATMs.

The team, on a follow up visit to ascertain the bank’s compliance level, was assaulted right inside the Branch Manager’s office by the bank officials who vehemently refused to allow ICPC carry out its lawful duty, and then held hostage for about two hours.

By the time the reinforcement of Police and NSCDC officers arrived the scene of the incident, the masterminds of the assaults had gone into hiding, leading to the arrest of two bank officers who were also complicit.

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‘Tinubu paying fuel subsidy more than before’ – El-Rufai

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The former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has claimed that the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government is currently subsidising fuel for Nigerians.

Fielding questions from journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday, El-Rufai said the FG is now paying fuel subsidy more than before.

President declared during his inauguration on May 29, 2023, that the country can no longer subsidise fuel for the citizens, saying the petrol subsidy is gone.

The development skyrocketed the price of fuel and other products and services, triggering the economic hardship that has been bedevilling the nation since 2023.

But the former governor told journalists on Monday that the subsidy is back.

According to him, the FG returned the subsidy because “the impact has been seen and the packages of support that would reduce the impact have not been so effective in reducing the impact, so the federal government is back now subsidising petrol.”

He said many people don’t know that the fuel subsidy is back.

“If they want to know whether we are subsidising or not, they should compare the price of petrol and diesel because petrol should be more expensive than diesel but diesel is priced above a thousand naira while petrol is at N600 per litre.

“So, we are still subsidising Petrol because the government has realised that the way it implemented the fuel subsidy initially required some adjustments,” El-Rufai said.

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Clark calls for special taskforce for release of Chibok girls

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Pa Edwin Clark, Leader of  the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged the Federal Government to appoint a special taskforce to ensure the rescue of the remaining Chibok girls held by Boko Haram

The elder statesman made the call while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday at a ceremony to mark the Chibok girls’ 10th anniversary in captivity.

While expressing displeasure over the failure of past administrations to rescue the girls, Clark urged President Bola Tinubu to leave no stones unturned to secure the release of the girls.

“About 90 of them are still missing after 10 years. This should be a source of worry and concern to any government.

“Tinubu should appoint a special taskforce with brave soldiers, who are competent and transparent and not nepotic.

“Their main duty will be to travel at all times to Sambisa forest or where ever these citizens are, to look for these girls and rescue them.

“In giving this advice, I also want to add that a time limit should be given to them to carry out this task.”

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Oodua Nation Agitation: NSCDC puts personnel on red alert in Ondo

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Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, has ordered divisional officers and tactical teams to be on red alert and ward off any incursion into the state by Oodua nation agitators.

NSCDC Commandant in the state, Oluyemi Ibiloye, who stated this at the weekly muster parade where the corps’ operations during the last Eid-el Fitr celebration were reviewed, also ordered the teams to be on standby for other miscreants.

Ibiloye, in a statement made available to newsmen by the command’s Spokesperson, Aidamenbor Daniel on Monday in Akure, admonished officers to take positive posture toward their job.

He reminded the officers and men of the corps of the ongoing political activities within the state and the need to be professional and apolitical in their operations.

“The intelligence department, armed squad, counter terrorism unit, rapid response squad and operations are to be on red alert to ensure that the security breach that took place in Oyo State does not happen in Ondo State,” he said.

According to him, this has become imperative especially now that various political parties are having their rallies in the state, with mixed crowds in attendance.

“The command wishes to reiterate its commitment to safeguarding lives and properties, and ensuring the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.

“We would do all within the ambits of the law to ensure the safety of all good and law-abiding citizens of Ondo State.

“For quick intervention and actionable intelligence sharing, the command’s quick response lines 08034027234, 08037871044 and 08032797388 are open for public use,” Ibiloye said.

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