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 February 1, 2016 - 5:47 PM EST
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EFCC Raids Former VP Sambo's Office in Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the weekend carried out a raid on the

Abuja
office of former Vice President Namadi Sambo, action official sources said was not unconnected with the ongoing probe of the arms deal fraud.

Sambo, the number two figure in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was alleged to have been a beneficiary of the looted arms fund believed to have been allocated to his office from the office of the embattled former national security adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

A top official of the EFCC, who craved anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the raid took place on Saturday when officials of the EFCC raided the former VP's office located at the Central Business District, atop the European High Commission's Visa Processing Centre, opposite the National Defence College,

Abuja
.

The raid is said to be a follow-up to an earlier arrest of two of Namadi Sambo's aides on January 11, this year, by the anti-graft commission who took them in for questioning. The source said their confession led to the raid of the ex-vice president's office.

Inside EFCC sources said ex-VP Sambo had sometime in December 2014 received the sum of N25 million from one Destra Investment, a company owned by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national spokesman, Olisa Metuh. One of his aides, Abba Dabo, was said to have taken delivery of the money.

It was also alleged that the office of former Vice President Sambo had been on a monthly stipend of N20million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, which is usually received by his aide, Dabo.

The EFCC operatives were said to have forced their way into the office and recovered various sensitive items, including an undisclosed amount of cash.

Corruption Must Be Kicked Out of

Nigeria
, Obasanjo Insists

One week after calling on the National Assembly to be more prudent and transparent, former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday reiterated that corruption must be kicked out of the country because it has destroyed all spheres of the society.

The former president, who was the chairman at the inaugural conference of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), said the malaise manifests in corruption of money, attitude, nepotism and favouritism.

"Today, corruption drains billions of dollars from our economy that cannot afford to lose even a million dollars. It seems we are just beginning the fight against corruption afresh. Until recently, it seems corruption had returned with a vengeance, taking seat at the very heart of government," he added.

According to him, the different forms of corruption must be kicked out of the society.

He said it was good that this initiative was coming at this moment when the country was in search of new ways of doing things given the economic crisis that government is facing over the drastic fall in the price of oil in the international market, which had unravelled the weakness of governance in

Nigeria
.

He recalled that the minister of finance had recently announced that the 2016 budget deficit might be increased from the current N2.2 trillion in the draft document before the National Assembly to N3 trillion due to decline in the price of crude oil.

If the current fiscal challenge was not creatively addressed, the former President said,

Nigeria
might be on its way to another episode of debt overhang which may not be good for the country.

Obasanjo said given these governance challenges and country's experience with reform, it was clear that change didn't just happen;

"Rebuilding the foundations of governance involved paying attention to values, principles and practices that promote hard work, innovation and sacrifice. Leaders who call for sacrifice from the citizenry cannot be living in obscene opulence," he said.

He said government must address these foundational issues to make the economy work, to strengthen the institutions, build public confidence in government and deal with peace and security challenges.

Speaking, the guest speaker, Richard Joseph said that the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy should aim to be not just a school of governance, but a school of transformative governance and effective democracy.

PMB's Anti-graft War Receives Royal Blessing, As President Visits Ogun

President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-graft war received a royal blessing from the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, yesterday as the president began a two-day official visit to Ogun State where he is expected to inaugurate some projects to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the state.

He is also billed to meet with notable personalities in the state, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and traditional rulers.

Buhari, on arrival, held a closed-door meeting with Oba Adetona at his palace in Ijebu-Ode.

The president, who arrived at 6:20pm in company of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, flew into the Dipo Dina International Stadium, Ijebu-Ode, in a chopper.

Dignitaries who received him at the palace included the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and her counterparts in Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Solid Minerals Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

After his closed-door meeting with the Awujale, which lasted about 20 minutes, Buhari was hosted to a banquet where he briefly addressed eminent personalities and monarchs in Ijebuland. In his remarks, the Awujale described Buhari's visit as a "homecoming" and prayed for the success of his administration.

Oba Adetona praised the president for his leadership by example and endorsed his fight against corruption.

"If we don't face corruption, corruption will kill us; and we don't want corruption to kill us. So, Nigerians must support your efforts," the revered monarch said.

Buhari immediately left the Awujale's palace in company with Governor Amosun and travelled by road from Ijebu-Ode to Abeokuta.

Dignitaries at the event included former governors Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel; All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice Chairman (South), Chief Segun Oni; Oba Otudeko, Otunba Mike Adenuga, Senator Adegbenga Kaka; Chief Judge of Ogun, Justice Olatokunbo Olopade and Olorogun Sunny Kuku.

Others were incumbent senators Lanre Tejuoso, Gbolahan Dada and Buruji Kashamu; Senator Lekan Mustapha, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Alhaji Agboola Alausa, Vice Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Prof. Yemisi Obilade; Vice Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Saburi Adesanya, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, Biodun Sobanjo, Chief Kesington Adebutu and Otunba Subomi Balogun.

Earlier, Governor Amosun hosted former governors of the state to a special State Executive Council meeting as part of activities marking the 40th celebration. The meeting, held at the Executive Chambers of the Governor's Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, was attended by seven of the former military administrators of the state: Seidu Balogun, Oladipo Diya, Oladayo Popoola, Oladehinde Joseph, Daniel Akintonde, Sam Ewang and Kayode Olofinmoyin.

However, Amosun's two civilian predecessors, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, were absent at the special SEC meeting. Ogun State was created out of the defunct Western Region on February 3, 1976. The state was administered by the military for 22 years while civilians have governed for 18 years.

A minute's silence was observed in honour of the late ex-governors of the state, Brigadier Harris Eghagha, Navy Captain Mohammed Lawal and the first executive governor of the state, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo.

Subsidy: FG To Re-open Farouk Lawan's Case

The federal government will this morning re-open the trial of a former chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, and its ex-secretary, Boniface Emenalo, for allegedly obtaining $620,000 bribe money from business mogul and chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola.

Lawan and Emenalo were first arraigned on a seven-count charge before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama,

Abuja
, on February 2, 2013.

They were dragged before the court by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for receiving $620, 000 as bribe from Otedola, ostensibly to exclude his companies - Synopsis Enterprises Ltd and Zenon Petroleum and Gas - from the list of companies found to have allegedly defrauded the federal government of billions of naira in the petroleum subsidy scam, which their committee was created to investigate.

Before the prosecution could proceed to trial, Lawan and Emenalo appealed the decision of a High Court, to the effect that the prosecution had not established a prima facie case against them

On May 12, 2014, the Court of Appeal,

Abuja
, dismissed their appeal for lack of merit. But before proceedings could resume again at the trial court, Justice Oniyangi was elevated to the Court of Appeal, prompting the court's Chief Judge to reassign the case to another judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Gudu division of the High Court of the FCT.

Nigeria Will Emerge Powerful Under PMB - Italy PM

The Italian government has expressed confidence that

Nigeria
will become one of the most powerful countries of the world under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Also, the Nigerian and Italian governments yesterday in

Abuja
signed an agreement on intelligence sharing, capacity building and provision of logistics that will enhance the operations of the Nigeria Police.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with Buhari at the Aso Villa in

Abuja
.

The Italian prime minister emphasised that President Buhari's leadership was important to

Italy
and that his country was in total support of the ongoing anti-corruption war of President Buhari's government.

Describing

Nigeria
as a very important partner of
Italy
in
Africa
, Renzi also expressed his country's support to
Nigeria
in the fight against terrorism. He called on the international community to consider
Africa
as priority in the fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile The signing of agreement, witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Matteo Renzi, in the State House, was part of bilateral meeting between the two countries which covered issues on energy, security, agriculture, immigration, human and drug trafficking, infrastructure and education.

The agreement on enhancing cooperation between the Nigerian and Italian Police was signed by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, and the Italian National Police Chief, Alessandro Pansa.

Speaking at the bilateral meeting, President Buhari said:"I am impressed by the resilience and commitment of the Italian business to

Nigeria's
development shown by the Italian construction companies and companies in the oil sector.

"I am happy to hear that an Italian oil company, Eni Ltd, is investing $4 billion in the coming three years in the economy spite of the downward spiral of oil prices," the president said.

Boko Haram: Weapons Bought By Jonathan Led To Death Of Many Soldiers - FG

The federal government yesterday said that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan procured substandard weapons for the military in its fight against Boko Haram which led to serious casualties and death of many soldiers.

In a statement issued in Abeokuta yesterday, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described as unfortunate and unsubstantiated the statement credited to former President Goodluck Jonathan attributing the recent successes in the war to the weapons allegedly bought by his administration that were delivered after he had left office.

He insisted that those weapons could not have been responsible for the string of successes recorded by the military in recent times.

He noted that most of "the ammunition he was referring to were back-loaded because they explode within the barrel when fired, thus leading to deaths and injuries among soldiers."

"The weapons, munitions and equipment which the former President said he bought were refurbished and lacked the basic components and spare parts. Additionally, the ammunition bought for both high calibre and small weapons have mostly expired, incompatible with weapons and grossly inadequate.

"This administration owes it a duty to put the records straight, especially because the issues raised by the former President are of public interest and borders on national security."

He explained that the troops also lacked the much-needed lift and operational vehicles and other equipment which they needed for an effective prosecution of the war, until the present administration ameliorated the situation.

He said, "The situation was so pathetic that soldiers were often transported in Civilian JTF vehicles, civilian vehicles, trailers and water tankers when going to the theatres of operation. The revelations on the sorry state of things in the past, which have emanated from the investigative panel so far, point clearly to the kind of legacy bequeathed to this administration by the past government.

"That explains why troops remained largely static and were unable to effectively deploy to completely rout the Boko Haram terrorists in all their known enclaves. The high level of casualties sustained by our gallant soldiers was most unprecedented and cannot be compared to any known military operations in recent times, all because of the terrible state of affairs suffered by the military under the Jonathan administration.

"It is also clear, as has been shown so far by the outcome of the panel probing past arms deals, that the purchase of substandard weapons apparently resulted from the massive corruption that enveloped the deals, the kind of horrifying graft that saw the purchase of refurbished choppers that lacked rotors, or fighter jets that could not be deployed to the theatre of war because they were not up to par."

The minister insisted that the needless loss of lives of gallant troops resulting from the lack of standard weaponry and low morale in the past was not a matter to be trivialised under any circumstance.

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Source: Equities.com News (February 1, 2016 - 5:47 PM EST)

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