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Former Taraba governor, Rev Jolly Nyame, jailed 14 years for N1.64 billion fraud

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Jolly Nyame

An FCT High Court on Wednesday convicted and sentenced former Taraba Gov. Jolly Nyame to 14 years’ imprisonment with no option of fine over N1.64 billion fraud.

Nyame was found guilty and convicted on 25 of the 41-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and graft, not guilty on 14 others and discharged on two counts.

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Delivering the judgment, Justice Adebukola Banjoko said that the money earlier seized by the EFCC from the convict should be returned to the government treasury.

Banjoko said the convict, being a clergyman, should have lived up to his calling.

She said that facts before the court showed that the convict had encouraged other government officials in Taraba during his regime to engage in reckless misappropriations.

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The judge, however, said she was moved by the plea of leniency by counsel to the convict but was morally outraged with the facts of the case to grant such plea.

“There is no moral justification for the level of outright theft and the court will be failing in its responsibility if it does not impose punishment to serve as a deterrent,’’ Banjoko said. 

(NAN)

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Close to $1bn stolen under Abacha – Buhari

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said close to $1bn was “stolen under a previous, undemocratic junta in the 1990s.”

Buhari, in an article published in Newsweek, a United States-based magazine, expressed appreciation to the “friendly nations” that returned the stolen funds.

Though the President did not mention Abacha by name, it was evident that he was referring to the deceased dictator.

Three weeks after, Nigeria received $311m in repatriated Abacha loot from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

After Nigeria recovered the loot from US and Jersey, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the money would be used in expediting the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Abuja-Kano road, and the Second Niger Bridge.

Previous recoveries had also been made from the UK and Switzerland.

Buhari, in his article, stated that the country could move forward with road, rail and power station construction, “partly under own resources, thanks to close to $1bn of funds stolen from the people of Nigeria under a previous, undemocratic junta in the 1990s that have now been returned to our country from the US, UK and Switzerland.”

The President added,

“That the friendly nations agreed to return the funds after so long is a testament to the fact that, with our governance reforms, Nigeria is rightly seen as an increasingly stable and beneficial place to transact and invest.”

He said it was “much the same“ across the continent, with sub-Saharan Africa outpacing Asia, Europe and North America by some measures in terms of foreign direct investment inflows-to-gross domestic product, “perhaps for the very first time.”

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Buhari stated,

“While that is good news for over one billion Africans, the greatest benefit to those who look to our continent as the brightest global manufacturing location is that we are not, and do not seek, to engage in geopolitical competition.

“That is not to say that African countries do not have interests or preferences. Nigeria already has, and seeks to deepen further our relations with other Commonwealth countries—particularly in the interests of trade. And the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which I signed for Nigeria last year, seeks to bind our continent in mutual growth together for the first time.

“We hold shared values in democracy, freedoms of speech and religion with the Western world—and admiration and determination to learn and follow the rapid economic growth and poverty reduction that has occurred across Asia.“

But ultimately, according to Buhari, Africa is an opportunity for all and a threat to no one.

“There will be no African armies or aircraft carriers in the future, roaming the sands of faraway lands or the straits of foreign seas. We do not seek to grow our manufacturing capabilities in order to grant ourselves a seat at the table of some new great geopolitical game—but merely to play our part as partners in development,” he added.

The President also said Nigeria and other African countries were on the verge of becoming one of the major manufacturing economies in the world in a post-coronavirus era.

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He, however, lamented that, across the world, as countries and economies slowly reopened, “Africa lags behind.”

Buhari said,

“We were last to experience the coronavirus — and we expect to be the final continent to flatten the curve. Some may say it is too early, that the crisis still too deep and the recovery too distant to dwell upon the future. But that is wrong.

In times of global crisis, it is critical to think of the life after, and how — through adversity — we can refashion the world around us. In this new, post-coronavirus age, Nigeria — and Africa, more broadly — wish to benefit the world, not be a drag on its resources or seemingly forever in need of aid.

“At last, after years of poor governance, we have the people, the purpose and the political will for this to change. What we need now is for the vision of others to match our own. And Africa is positioned to play a critical role in the remolding of a post-coronavirus world that centres around manufacturing.”

According to the President, for many lost decades, Africa’s manufacturing moment has been on the launch pad, but never leaving it.

He added,

“But this time, I am convinced, it can be different. In our lifetime, we have seen the West transform to a service-based economy, with much of its factory production relocated primarily to Asia.

“This has led to the creation of home-grown consumer goods from countries such as South Korea and China that are enjoyed around the globe as widely as are their Western equivalents.

“It is simply untrue that jobs that build the goods of today, once departed from the West to Asia, can never return. Indeed, we see already from ‘onshoring’ trends that this is not the case.”

Buhari noted that the factors of labour cost, transportation, location and availability of natural and energy resources would always come into play.

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He said,

“What is true is that no country or continent has a permanent monopoly on manufacturing jobs. Indeed, we see how Asian nations are themselves now offshoring manufacturing to their neighbours and, increasingly, to Africa.

“My continent is positioned to seize the opportunity from these trends and, in turn, benefit the world. Our young population is increasingly well-educated; governance reform, while not universal, is growing in strength in most African countries such as my own, where our sustained actions against the seemingly perennial scourge of corruption and malfeasance are well-recognised; and the energy, infrastructure and key natural resources needed to power and supply large-scale manufacturing facilities are in place.

“In Nigeria, a major global oil producer, we have finally established our first private oil refinery—which is also one of the largest in the world. The Mambilla power plant, finally unlocked for completion after a successful decision by the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, earlier this year, removed impediments, will electrify the homes of some 10 million of our people.“

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One year in Office: We inherited moribund sectors; says in Kwara Gov

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Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara says his administration inherited moribund sectors in the state when he assumed office on May 29, 2019.

Abdul Razzaq made this known on Friday at the Government House, Ilorin, while briefing newsmen on his administration’s achievements in the last one year.

According to reports, the briefing enjoyed live broadcasts where the people of the state asked questions on government activities in the last year.

According to him, his administration inherited a state with huge water scarcity, unfunded education system, uncompleted and abandoned projects, moribund healthcare sector, agriculture, and decayed infrastructure.

“Everything was moribund when we came in, the education system and other sectors were in disarray,” he said.

He declared that the situation in the education sector of the state was worsened because previous administrations did not invest in it and other sectors.

“N8 billion was piled up in the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) waiting for Kwara to pick up.

“Because no investment had been made on education in the state for many years, students, pupils were just sitting in classrooms looking at the blackboards without exercise books.

“We realized there are challenges we need to catch up with because there are no chairs, laboratories, and furniture in our schools, and ghost workers in the sector were also a major challenge.

“WAEC had to fine us N20 million because our teachers colluded with students,” he said.

The governor explained that though previous administrations in the state had invested heavily in the water projects, there was scarcity of water supply in the state.

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AbdulRazaq added that his administration was not in a rush to purchase official vehicles or renovate the Government House for him to move into.

This, he said, was due to the fact that the state was littered with unbefitting infrastructure that has kept it down the ladder of socioeconomic development over the years.

He said his conducts, prudent handling of public funds, and prioritization of people’s welfare were in agreement with the spirit of Otoge; the campaign slogan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

“What Kwara people voted for was change. They were tired of how things were being done before.

“They needed a new beginning to chart a new course. That’s the task we are charged with.

“The question they are asking us is how we are funding our numerous projects? The answer is because we are prudent in the management of public resources.

“I thank members of the state House of Assembly. All the lawmakers are entitled to a vehicle each. So far, they have sacrificed that.

“That possibly runs to over a billion Naira. Our Commissioners are also entitled to vehicles. That also runs to over a billion Naira. The Governor and the Deputy Governor and their aides are also entitled to vehicles which also run to over a billion Naira.

“We all have sacrificed much in order to invest in critical infrastructure for the state,” the governor said.

AbdulRazaq said he was not ready to share money to selected few as was the practice in the past.

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According to him, Kwara people did not vote for him in order to lavish public funds on acolytes or entrenched interests.

He declared that his priority was to share projects across the state to deepen development in the grassroots.

“We abandon the renovation of Government House which is also over N100 million. That’s not important to us now.

“We need to focus on essential things. We believe that there should be a change in the way things are done.

“Let us make sure that we start delivering now with the right trajectory because our people voted for change and change has come to stay.

“People will continue to see the change. Yes, some people will complain that we’re not sharing money. We’re not doing this, we’re not doing that.

“We are not here to share money; we are here to share projects and infrastructure. We expect people to stay with us and stay focused,” AbdulRazaq added.

He commended the people of the state for their support over the last year, urging them to remain steadfast as the administration will continue to commit public funds to serve them.

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On the plummeting oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic that have slowed down the global economy, AbdulRazaq said the government would slash the N162 billion 2020 budget by roughly N40 billion.

He said the administration would place emphasis on cutting the cost of governance and some infrastructural projects that do not immediately impact on the lives of the people.

He said more money would now go into social investments to shore up the purchasing power of the masses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AbdulRazaq said the state government had nearly finalized debates on the national minimum wage until the pandemic struck.

He added however that the recent presidential order granting autonomy to local governments has justified his position that the third tier of government must be allowed to manage its own resources and take its own decisions.

The governor commended the workers in the state, including the leadership of the unions, for their understanding while the debate lasted, reiterating the government’s commitment to the welfare of the workers.

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Edo 2020: PDP aspirant promises affordable housing, security

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A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Edo, Engr Gideon Ikhine, has promised to provide affordable housing for the residents if elected.

Ikhine made the promise while interacting with his supporters and journalists on Friday in Benin.

He said successive governments in the state had failed to provide affordable shelter for the people despite all the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and allocations from the Federation Account accruing to it.

“If elected governor, I will ensure that I provide affordable housing which is one of the basic needs of life for the people.

“I will also ensure that I provide security in the state so that our farmers can go to their farms without fear of being killed by herders,” he said.

According to him, although the incumbent All Progressives Congress administration of Gov.Godwin Obaseki has been able to “sanitize the corridor of power,” the basic needs of life are still lacking in the state.

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Ikhine further said that Edo did not have to depend on allocations from the federation account with all the natural resources it had.

“Having toured all the nooks and crannies of the state, I have come to realize that resources abound in Edo waiting to be tapped,” he added.

According to the PDP aspirant, past and present administrations in the state had displayed a lack of knowledge on how to turn things around for the people.

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