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How Ambode swindled Lagos BY ‘Eko Heritage’


Ambode EFCC Epe probe

Against the backdrop of inauguration of a committee on Tuesday 27 August 2019 by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe the immediate past administration of former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, a group by the name ‘Eko Heritage Group’, has come out with a list of methods it alleges the former Lagos helmsman used to siphon money from coffers of the state.

In a two-page advertorial published in the PUNCH newspaper of Wednesday 4 September 2019, the group, which also says the list is the beginning of a series to be released, accuses Ambode of the following misdemeanours.

1. Road contracts awarded to CRANEBURG CONSTRUCTION COMPANY. In the advertorial, the group accuses Ambode of awarding a mouth-watering contract of $300million for roads construction in his constituency of Epe. The engineering company was said to have just been established in 2016 without any road construction record. They hint that ownership of the company could be traced to him.

2. Alleged illicit business relationship with Access bank’s Group Managing Director Herbert Wigwe. According to the group, “In 2016, Wigwe was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly helping former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, launder millions of dollars. It is therefore befuddling that against sustained dissuasion, Ambode still chose to do business with him.” They accuse him of making the bank contractor and the sole banker of the state.

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3. Foreign bank accounts. He is also accused of having links with “private accounts in countries like Seychelles and Mauritius.”

4. Choice properties: The former Governor is linked with some skyscrapers in Eko Atlantic City.

5. The Lagos transit bus controversy: This was the major grouse the State House of Assembly had against Ambode’s government at the time which brought the two arms of government to a head on collision. The House accused him of embarking on the gigantic project without the constitutional approval of the assembly. He is accused of spending a whopping N45billion to purchase 820 buses as against the budget of N24billion and N7billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively which were said to have been turned down by the State House of Assembly.

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6. VISIONSCAPE DEAL: Ambode is accused of changing the Environmental Management and Protection Law of the state and signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Dubai-based Visionscape Sanitation Solutions Limited with the sole aim of personal enrichment. The group says the state Accountant General’s office was given a standing order to make monthly remittance of N713.7million to Visionscape. This, the group said, was costing the state a staggering N8.56billion annually.

7. Operating bank accounts via proxies: He is accused of operating many fraudulent bank accounts by proxies as conduit through which the state resources were heavily pillaged. The group cites the case of three bank accounts recently discovered and frozen by the EFCC. The accounts are domiciled in First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Access Bank, and Zenith Bank with numbers 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254 respectively. The accounts were said to experience fund inflow in billions from the Lagos State revenue accounts during his administration.

The anti-corruption agency said it discovered a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29 from the state accounts into the FCMB account opened on 17 September 2018 and operated by Adewale Adesanya, permanent secretary in the office of the Chief of Staff to the then Governor Ambode. Adesanya is presently being tried for money laundering.

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8. One Lagos Fiesta: The former Governor is accused of reorganizing the state’s annual end-of-the-year cross over programme in a way that would enable him to award questionable contracts to himself through fronts. According to the group, “The concerts cost the state government hundreds of millions of naira of unbudgeted funds some of which reportedly found their way back into the pockets of the governor and his cronies.”

9. Nepotism and cronyism: Ambode is accused of recklessly sacking perceived loyalists of his predecessor and replacing them with his loyalists in order to have complete hold on the state and her resources. “No contract was too big to unilaterally award cronies, friends of his wife and female friends. A case in point is the management of facilities inside the Lagos State University (LASU), which was contracted to a close ally of his wife.” The group alleges, promising more revelations.


Monarch condemns Obaseki over Edo Assembly invasion




The Ojirua of Irrua in Edo State, HRH Williams Okuagban, Momodu II, has condemned Governor Godwin Obaseki over last week’s invasion and vandalism of the state’s House of Assembly complex.

He described the incident, which saw unknown persons embark on the removal of the roof of the House of Assembly and other acts of vandalism, as sad and a waste of government resources, considering that state’s funds would be spent on repairs and rebuilding efforts.

The monarch stated these Tuesday in his palace while receiving Edo governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

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He gave an open endorsement of Ize-Iyamu by addressing him as the next governor of Edo state.

The traditional ruler said:

“I welcome you, my governor. Your visit here is just to further familiarise yourself with our people, as you have already been chosen.

“Not too long ago, I watched on television as the President (Muhammadu Buhari) handed over the party’s (APC’s) flag to you. I was not there, but what I did in my room was to clap my hands.

“This is our son; he is going to be the next governor. I am the owner of Esan land. I will be celebrating 50 years on the throne next year June. I am sure this governor, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, is going to be my chairman.”

The king also hailed the governorship candidate of APC for the presentation of his documented manifesto, the SIMPLE agenda, stating that anyone desirous of leadership must present a manifesto and roadmap to inspire trust and give room for assessment.

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Ize-Iyamu, in his remarks, expressed gratitude to the monarch and the people of Irrua for their acceptance, promising to run an administration respectful of the traditional institution and partner with all traditional rulers in Edo to address the security challenges of the state.

The campaigns of the governorship candidate of APC have elicited excitement in Edo Central Senatorial District, since the first stop in Igueben Local Government Area on Monday.

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Yobe SIEC is my political party, says Chairman



 Dr. Mamman Mohammed, Chairman, Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission (YOSIEC), has refuted insinuations from certain quarters that he is a card-carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mohammed told newsmen in Damaturu on Tuesday that the allegation by some opposition party members was baseless and unfounded.

“ As far as I am concerned, by coming to this office, I am no longer partisan, and in all my activities, there is transparency.

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“ Therefore, there is no cause, whatsoever, to accuse me of any wrongdoing.

“ Since I became chairman, many people had left the APC for PDP, just as some also left PDP for APC. So, my own big party is this commission (YOSIEC),” he said.

The chairman assured all stakeholders of the level-playing field before and during the upcoming elections, saying his neutrality was intact.

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Mohammed blamed the delay in the conduct of the local government elections in the state, to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“ Actually, approval was given for the election in March; we were about to start accessing money when the COVID-19 stroke”, he said.

He, however, said the commission was prepared to conduct the elections in about 2,000 polling units within three months if the required funds were made available.

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The chairman said with adequate resources, the target could be achieved even with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

On conducting the elections in areas with security challenges, he said the commission would rely on advice from security agencies.

He, however, said units in areas with confirmed challenges would be moved to where security could be guaranteed

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Don’t politicise issues of security, Gov. Matawalle urges Nigerians



Gov.  Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has urged Nigerians to desist from politicizing issues of insecurity affecting any part of the country.

Matawalle made the call when he visited the Special Army Super Camp Faskari, Katsina state  alongside Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state on Tuesday.

The two governors visited the super camp to ascertain the level of successes of the recently launched Operation Sahel Sanity to deal with banditry in the North-Western region.

Matawalle also said the call in some quarters to change the security architecture of the country was not necessary, adding that change of security would not provide the needed solution.

According to him, safeguarding and ensuring security is not just the responsibility of the President, the Governors, Service Chiefs, and security apparatuses alone but that of every patriotic citizen.

“In fact, we, the politicians, are to be blamed for the intractable security challenges bedeviling our communities. It is evident that some politicians exploit insecurity for political gains.

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“These unscrupulous politicians will hardly commend the military for their successes at the battlefronts. However, they will be eager to rush to the media to report attacks by bandits or other miscreants.

“For these crop of politicians, politics is not about genuine commitment to the wellbeing of the people; it is all about power and nothing more.

“I, therefore, urge the security agencies to deal decisively with anyone found politicizing security no matter how highly placed.

“It is by so doing that we can significantly address the current security challenges confronting not just the North-West, but the entire federation,” he said.

Matawalle commended the Nigerian Army for the commencement of Exercise Sahel Sanity geared towards enhancing the combat readiness of the troops to rout out banditry and various crimes in the North West.

He said that the troops would be in a better position to defeat the criminals at the end of the exercise, considering the monumental nature of the challenge in the region.

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He assured that the government would continue to support the Nigerian army to achieve the desired operational efficiency in the performance of its roles.

According to him, the state has begun to witness some level of peace in different parts compared to what it used to be.

Also speaking, Tambuwal commended efforts of the Nigerian army in the fight to end banditry and other forms of insecurity in the Northwest.

Tambuwal said that Sokoto state had witnessed situations where farmers had returned to their farms while those who left their villages as a result of attacks had started returning to their homes.

According to him, Sokoto is gradually returning to peace especially the eastern part where we have had many challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping.

“If we can have more and more of this, we will soon end this issue of insecurity,” he said.

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Tambuwal said that the military needed more funding in terms of equipment and welfare, adding that there should be special funding other than the conventional budgetary appropriation by the national assembly.

He added that the northern governors had agreed to adopt a carrot and stick approach in addressing the issue of banditry and all forms of insecurity in the region.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai conducted the governors round the camp and briefed them on the operations of the troops against banditry in the region.

The GOC 3 Division, Maj.-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, thanked the governors for their confidence in the Nigerian army to stem the tide of banditry in their respective states.

Angbazo also commended the governors for their support for the troops and cooperation that had made Operation Sahel Sanity a success.

He said that the supports of the governors had boosted the efficiency of the operations to end the scourge of banditry in the region.

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