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Osinbajo physically present at cabinet meeting



Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday physically attended the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Osinbajo underwent a surgical operation on July 16, at the Duchess International Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos.

The vice president was discharged from hospital on July 25 after a successful surgery and rehabilitation.

On Aug. 3, the vice president virtually joined the cabinet meeting.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande,  in a tweet, said,“ VP Osinbajo is physically attending the weekly Federal Executive Council today.

“He is grateful for all the get-well wishes sent by Nigerians and others from all walks of life since the surgical operation and the recuperation period.

“He intends to be getting up and doing more and more.”

The vice-president had after his discharge from hospital, expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their good wishes.

“My deep gratitude to everyone for your get-well wishes and prayers following my surgery.

“And special appreciation to the amazing team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and the management of the Duchess International Hospital, Lagos, for providing such excellent care. “God bless you all,” he said.

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Anti-money laundering report rates Nigeria high



GIABA, an inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West Africa, says Nigeria recorded significant achievements in its war against money laundering and terrorism financing in 2023.

GIABA said this in its 2023 annual report unveiled for ambassadors of member states, technical and financial partners on Thursday in Dakar, Senegal.

According to the report, Nigeria made progress in addressing the technical compliance identified in GIABA’s Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) in relation to various recommendations made to the country.

The report further said Nigeria had taken several measures to promote transparency and accountability in the administration and management of Non Profit Organisations (NPOs).

It added that the country also raised awareness in the financial sector about the vulnerabilities to Terrorist Financing (TF), developed and refined best practices in collaboration with the NPOs sector to address the deficiencies and challenge information on NPOs suspected to be at risk in terrorism abuse.

“Nigeria demonstrated that it has mechanisms for international cooperation and procedures to respond to international requests for information on NPOs suspected of terrorist financing or involved in other forms of support for terrorists.

“Nigeria demonstrated that it has a system for maintaining statistics on its Anti-money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) system,” the report said.

Despite the progress made in the country, the report, however, said the requirements for application of simplified due diligence measures were not consistent with the country’s assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

It added that the country did not demonstrate compliance with its internal procedures to designate target pursuit to United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR).

The report noted that GIABA had discussed and adopted the MERs of Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Guinea, which indicated that 88 per cent of the member states had been assessed.

It said the performance of Cote d’Ivoire showed that the country required major improvements in its AML/CFT regime in relation to its understanding of the risks, among others.

Similarly, the report said Liberia had demonstrated low effectiveness on 10 of the 11 parameters, noting that its shortcomings had impacted effectiveness such as lack of comprehensiveness of National Risk Assessment (NRA) in some areas.

It also said Guinea demonstrated low effectiveness on all the 11 parameters, indicating that the country required fundamental improvements of AML/CFT regimes.

Earlier, GIABA’s Director General, Mr Edwin Harris Jr, said this year marked the 24th anniversary of the fight against money laundering, “a mandate that has evolved to adapt to changes, and which now includes the fight against the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“GIABA is the response to the call of the international community for an alliance against transnational organised crime and its harmful effects on peace, security, stability and economic development of our member states.

“In June 2006, through relentless efforts and stakeholders’ mobilisation, GIABA was granted the status of a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-Style Regional Body (FSRB) and in June 2010 became an Associate Member of FATF.

“There is no doubt that our West African space is highly vulnerable to carry with it many consequences of money laundering and terrorist financing, and without a strong political commitment to combat it, the negative impacts on our economies will be enormous,” he said.

The director general said it was important for all the stakeholders to fully understand the need to take ownership of the fight and appreciate their contribution to building economies and by extension, the communities to achieve GIABA’s desired common prosperity.

“This is also in line with the core objective of the GIABA’s Strategic Plan 2023-2027 that focuses on sensitisation for the benefit of the various targeted audiences,” he said.

Despite challenges posed by the changing global trends and emerging threats, Harris said GIABA had focused its interventions on protecting national economies and their financial and banking systems from laundering the proceeds of crime and combating the financing of terrorism.

He said the organisation had also improved measures, intensified efforts to combat the laundering of proceeds of crime and strengthened national and international cooperation.

“Beyond information, these sessions aim to encourage the governments of member states to act in the relevant areas of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing for the integrity of their economic and financial systems.

“By so doing, we are calling on you all to add your voices to the authorities back home, to strengthen the AML/CFT regimes in your countries,” Harris said.

GIABA is a specialised institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for strengthening the capacity of member states toward the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region.

In addition to that, GIABA also grants observer status to African, non-African states and inter-governmental organisations that support its objectives and actions that apply for observer status.

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Abia Assembly threatens to terminate contract with IVM over alleged breach



Abia House of Assembly has threatened to terminate its contract with the Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Ltd for allegedly reneging on agreement to produce vehicles for all the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Emmanuel Emeruwa, made this known on Thursday in Umuahia, during an interaction with the media,  as part of activities to mark the one year anniversary of the 8th Assembly.

He regretted that members were yet to have their vehicles one year after their inauguration.

He said that the preference for IVM vehicles was informed by Gov. Alex Otti’s quest to promote local contents.

Emeruwa said that Innoson had received all the money required to produce vehicles for Assembly members, but  had reneged more that 10 times to produce them.

“So far, Innoson has not been able to produce or perform its own side of agreement.

“At this point, we are at the verge of terminating that contract and ask for our money back if he doesn’t perform within the next 15 days.

“This house is very serious about it and they cannot continue pacifying us after one year,” he said.

Giving a scorecard of the 8th Assembly in one year, the Speaker said that it had passed five out of 15 bills into law.

He said that the house had also made 40 resolutions and had received 46 petitions and 55 motions.

According to him, this Assembly is very active and before this time next year, more would have been achieved.

He said that the 8th Assembly had been very peaceful and had been enjoying a good relationship with the Executive.

The present Assembly which consists of 24 members, was inaugurated on June 15, 2023.

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Ogun Commissioner debunks housing scam, assures of transparency



Commissioner for Housing in Ogun State, Jagunmolu Jamiu Omoniyi,  has debunked an alleged scandal in the housing scheme embarked upon by the government of Prince Dapo Abiodun, saying such allegation is an illusion by fifth columnists.

He added that individuals behind the alleged scandal are criminals in civil regalia who had tried unsuccessfully in the past to manipulate the laudable initiative, especially the ongoing Ogun State GRA Regeneration Schemes, especially that of Ibara Abeokuta.

It would be recalled that an online media platform alleged a scandal in the housing scheme, specifically that of Prince Court Estate, Kobape, Abeokuta.

The Commissioner, in a statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta on Thursday explained that the issue surrounding the delay in the allocation of the property to various applicants was caused by the present galloping inflation in the country, which subsequently necessitated little variations in the price of the property.

He added that the market value of the property has astronomically  gone up as high as N20m as against the N5.5m paid by the applicants, noting that the government had immediately activated stakeholders’ meetings to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

The statement reads in part: “In actual fact, those who are behind this fake news are individuals who had tried unsuccessfully in the past to undermine and manipulate the ongoing Ibara Housing Estate Regeneration Scheme for selfish considerations.

“They, therefore, resorted to propaganda and cheap blackmail to paint the government and its laudable projects black in the eyes of the people, not knowing that the good people of Ogun State are too sophisticated to fall for these machinations.

“The truth of the matter is that the delay in the process of allocation to applicants was caused by the sudden need for variations in the cost of the property as a result of galloping inflation as witnessed in the last year, as the cost value of the houses have gone up as against the N5.5m initially paid by the applicants, with such houses commanding up to N20m in open market.

“Consequently, the Government plans to engage all the applicants through various stakeholders’ meetings, as there will be an adjustment in the price of the property.

“To this end, those who are willing and able to meet up with the little adjustment will immediately get their allocations attended to and delivery structured within record time at the conclusion of the stakeholders’ meetings while those who cannot afford the adjustment will be free to request for instant refund of their deposits plus CBN’s prescribed interest rate.

“We want to reiterate that unlike before, the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun remains committed to its avowed pledge from inception, which is to be transparent, compassionate, and considerate in all its dealings without exception.” he said.

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