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2019 Polls: Niger Delta Group disowns Orubebe, faults Rigging plan

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The  Niger Delta Ambassadors for Change (NDAC) has disowned former Minister of Niger Delta, Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe on plans by the All Progressive Congress, APC led Government to rig the 2019 polls.

The group rejected his position even as it distanced the Niger Delta region from his faulty claim.

The National President of the group , Comrade Lucky Spiff in a statement said Orubebe was quoted by several publications as making utterances to the effect that there would be dire consequences if the elections are rigged. 

He said such statement, being anticipatory and premised on the mindset of a man once saddled with rigging the Presidential Election in 2015, is irresponsible, callous, uncalled for and totally condemnable.

He said the former minister must have concluded that the 2019 polls would be rigged based on his own failed attempts to execute such anti-democratic plot in 2015. 

“The show of shame he put up at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and on live television, in which he bodily tried to frustrate the announcement of results, was a last resort after he woefully failed to rig the election.

“Elder Orubebe is aware that President Muhammadu Buhari, like our kinsman former President Goodluck Jonathan did, has instructed all agencies and organizations involved in the conduct of the elections to allow the will of the people prevail, so there is no basis to suspect or conclude that the votes would be rigged. 

“What we cannot deny is that President Buhari’s performance to date gives him a significant edge over the closest opposition candidate, which would explain why Orubebe is out to discredit the election even before one ballot has been cast”he said

Spiff urged the nation’s relevant security agencies as well as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take note of the utterances of Orubebe, with a view to establishing his motives for inflaming passions in the country at a sensitive time like this.

“We make this demand because there are talks that Orubebe’s spurious assertion is part of a well-choreographed plot to incite members of the opposition to violence and consequently truncate Nigeria’s Democracy.

“But for the professionalism of the security agencies deployed to the INEC Headquarters in 2015, Orubebe would have succeeded in his mission after his principal lost the elections to President Buhari. He is back to undertake a similar mission.

“Our apprehension is premised on the knowledge that many of our youths were by this time four years ago primed to unleash mayhem on other ethnic nationalities in the country in the event that Dr. Jonathan, our kinsman, loses. To the extent that Orubebe was named as one of those that armed the youths and passed down the instruction, we believe that he, at this time, lacks the moral right to make any comment or intervention as far as our democracy is concerned.

“That Orubebe could threaten “consequences” even when the candidate he supports legitimately loses the election is a red flag that indicate he must have again armed youths and put them on standby to attack members of the ruling party in the event that President Buhari is re-elected, which is daily appearing likely since even some reputable international publications that are critical of him are already predicting his victory over other candidates.

“Our view is that there should be a deterrence to veiled hate speech like the one coming from Orubebe because of the potential to deepen divisions along political, geo-political and ethno-religious lines. A failure to decisively call him to order will encourage other frustrated or desperate political players to toy with the stability of the nation’s democracy. Orubebe, or anyone that engages in inflammatory utterances, must therefore be declared persona non grata, which would extend to his (their) being ineligible to be accredited as polling agent, collation agent, observer, monitor or any other clearance that places him at electioneering venues other than  his registered polling unit.

“The international community must be informed to note that Orubebe does not mean well for Nigeria’s democracy and must be managed in a way that his jaundiced views do not taint the election processes. 

“We as members of Niger Delta Ambassadors for Change, and as representatives of our various communities and constituencies, dissociate ourselves and the entire Niger Delta from the views expressed by Orubebe. He speaks for himself in expectation of what he could make out of the people he is running errands for. Niger Delta people are now wiser because six years of Orubebe as a Minister did not translate into anything meaningful for the region whereas President Buhari made progress in a short time with the East West Road that had languished when the former minister held sway. 

“The project could not have been completed under Orubebe anyway given the level of corruption that crippled the Ministry of Niger Delta under his watch, the resulting restiveness in the region and the attendant widespread underdevelopment. These are issues that President Buhari’s government addressed to a great extent, which is why he is the candidate to beat in the Niger Delta. So, if anyone plans to rig the elections it is Mr. Orubebe and his co-travelers”he said

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Crime

Court Convicts Former NIMASA DG, Obi over N136million Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, secured the conviction of a former acting Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Callistus Obi. Also convicted was Alu Dimas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA. They were convicted by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi.



The duo were arraigned alongside two companies, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment, on April 12, 2016 on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, conversion, and money laundering to the tune of N136million (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira).

The prosecution proved that the convicts converted the sum of money, N136million, belonging to the Agency to their personal use on August 5, 2014.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Callistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon, on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eleven Million naira) property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby commited an offence.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby leading to their trial.

In the cause of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted in evidence by the court.

At the resumed hearing today, Justice Olatoregun discharged and acquitted the defendants of the charge of conspiracy preferred against them.

The Judge, however, convicted them of conversion and money laundering.

The Judge said:  “The prosecution has proved the charges preferred against you beyond reasonable doubt with evident conversion and money laundering of N136million”.

Justice Olatoregun, however, deferred sentencing to May 28, 2019 and ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison custody.

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Brands

Zenith Bank Emerges First Nigerian Bank To Repeatedly Audit Its Carbon Emissions

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Zenith Bank Plc was presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after a successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year. The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date.  He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager, Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. 

She commended the bank for proving its commitment to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.”  In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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Lagos Matters

Senate okays bill seeking to upgrade Yabatech to varsity status

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The Senate, on Thursday, passed the City University of Technology (Est, etc) Yaba Bill, 2018 for second reading.

The decision followed a motion by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) at the plenary presided over by Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill essentially sought to transform the Yaba College Technology (YabaTech) in Lagos State, to the City University of Technology Yaba.

Leading the debate, Ashafa, who represents Lagos East Senatorial District, argued that if the bill is considered, it would enhance the capability of the institution to achieve its objectives.
”Nigeria’s steady march towards education for all in the shortest possible time has taken a giant leap with the introduction of this bill.

”I am personally excited by the prospect of transforming this polytechnic to a university of technology because it will motivate both students and academic staff.
”It will also upgrade the facilities and enhance it capability to achieve its objectives.
”Similarly, the new university of technology will encourage the advancement of learning and hold out to all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex or political conviction the opportunity of acquiring a higher and liberal education,” he said.

Citing instances, the lawmaker noted that in similar circumstances in the United Kingdom, most of the polytechnics were upgraded to universities.
”If Nigeria has plan to become one of the world’s leading economies as currently being pursued by government, we must be ready to adjust and position our educational institutions so that its products are geared for the technological challenges inherent in such projections,” he said.

According to him, the attainment of university status would definitely enhance the operations of the Yaba Polytechnic and clarify its mission and vision.
Lawmakers, who contributed to the motion, also supported it.

When the motion was put on a voice vote, it was unanimously adopted by the legislators.
Saraki, therefore, referred the bill to Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative action and report back within a week.
Similarly, the Senate also passed a Bill for the Establishment of Federal Polytechnic Iwerekun, Ibeju-Lekki Lagos, sponsored by Ashafa for second reading.

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