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Rivers: PDP kicks as Fubara defends Tinubu over peace deal

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Rivers: PDP kicks as Fubara defends Tinubu over peace deal
• Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara
Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Monday defended the peace deal initiated by President Bola Tinubu between him and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, over the crisis in the state.

Fubara, in a broadcast on Monday, said the resolution brokered by the President to resolve the crisis was not a death sentence, adding that it would ensure lasting peace in the state.

He expressed his commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement in such a way that would restore political stability in the state.

But the Peoples Democratic Party National Working Committee in its reaction warned the governor against implementing the agreement he signed without the input of the party (PDP) on whose platform he was elected.

The crisis rocking the state took a new turn on December 11, 2023, when 27 members of the state House of Assembly defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress.

At the instance of Tinubu, Fubara on December 18 signed an eight-point peace agreement with Wike, who is the Federal Capital Territory, in a move to end the political crisis in the state.

However, the PDP officially joined a suit seeking to declare vacant the seats of the lawmakers who defected from the party to the APC.

The party vowed to vigorously pursue the case despite Tinubu’s peace meeting with Rivers State political stakeholders.

Peace deal

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But speaking on the peace pact during his Christmas Day broadcast, the governor pledged to implement the agreement without compromising the interest of the people of the state.

Fubara said, “By this singular effort, our dear President has demonstrated that he loves Rivers State and cherishes nothing short of a reign of perfect peace in our State with his presidential peace proclamation on the 18th of December 2023. Mr President’s Peace Proclamation has naturally elicited mixed reactions from our people and across the country.

“As a principal participant in the entire saga, I have taken some time to study the terms therein and have come to the conclusion that the peace pact is not as bad as it may be portrayed by those genuinely opposed to it.

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“It is certainly not a death sentence. I reaffirm my acceptance and my commitment to implementing both the letter and spirit of the declaration in such a way and manner that will restore political stability to our dear state without compromising the collective interest of our people and our cherished and shared democratic values.”

The governor also confirmed that he had released the allowances of the lawmakers and that the defected lawmakers had withdrawn their ‘purported’ impeachment.

He stated, “Both parties have demonstrated some goodwill in the implementation process with the withdrawal of the purported impeachment notice on their part and the release of hitherto withheld allowances of the members of the State House of Assembly by the Government.

“I have said before there is no price too much to pay for peace and with the realization that the worst peace is better than the best war.

“We will strive to make peace with all segments and interest groups without surrendering our freedom nor jeopardizing the interest and well-being of the good people of Rivers State who graciously entrusted us with their cherished mandate.”

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He added he would toe a path that would best advance and protect the collective interest of the state and its people.

The governor said, “Let me, therefore, crave your kind understanding and call on you to have confidence in the process we are embarking upon to find lasting peace in our state as we are confident that we can achieve stability and progress without endangering the collective interest of our people.”

He commended President Tinubu for his intervention that has brought some lasting peace to the political crisis in the state, stating that the effort showed that Tinubu loves Rivers State.

He pledged that 2024 would witness a speedy transformation of the state with the completion of several projects and programmes, such as the sections of the Port Harcourt Ring Road, the Andoni section of the Unity Road, the Ahoada-Omoku Road, the Emohua-Degema Road and the commencement of many other laudable projects, both in infrastructure and human capital development, as outlined in our 2024 budget.

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PDP fumes

But the PDP NWC in its reaction faulted Fubara’s plan to implement Tinubu’s peace deal.

The party Deputy National Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the peace pact could not be implemented.

He said “ First and foremost the governor is an adult and he was the Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election, now the governor of the state. But the issues at stake that President Bola Tinubu bothered himself with are bigger than him. They are also bigger than the governor because they are constitutional issues.

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“ The question of the seats of the defected lawmakers being vacant is a clear constitutional issue, not at the wishes and discretion of President Tinubu or any other person. It is a clear constitutional matter.

“ Also, the PDP constitutionally owns the votes, so I don’t see how Governor Fubara will tell the PDP that because he met with the President in Aso Rock, the PDP should not take charge of its votes. As we speak the PDP is in court, the votes belong to the PDP, not to Fubara or the Villa.

“The one within the governor’s purview is to pay salaries and allowances of the lawmakers to the date their seats become vacant. I am sure the governor knows his limit.”

On his part, a former National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri cautioned that the governor would be committing a political blunder to implement a peace pact against his party’s stand.

The member of the PDP National Executive Council noted said the implementation would be morally right, but politically incorrect.

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Tsauri stated “As a complete gentleman, he went there and signed the agreement, even though without the consent of the party. So implementation will be made by him and not by the party. But certainly, it won’t be in the interest of the party.

“ The PDP will not allow itself to be dragged into that trap, but he failed to consult the party. If he implements it, he is in trouble, if he doesn’t, is in trouble. Implementation of the agreement is like jumping into awaiting problems. And if he fails to implement it, he is going to enter the Federal government’s trouble. So, either way, is trouble for him.”

Also, a former PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, in a statement on Monday by his Media Adviser, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja, on Sunday, urged the political class to be wary of actions that might constitute a threat to our nascent democracy and national security.

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Abonyi quoted his principal as saying, “With particular reference to the crisis in Rivers State, the former PDP boss contended that the intervention of President Bola Tinubu must be by the spirit and letter of our constitution for it to be implementable.

“There are creative ways a political conflict can be resolved if and when the President acts like a statesman and the President of all Nigerians.

“Mr President would have violated this sacred role if he acted in such a way and manner that gave an unconstitutional advantage to his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and an individual political godfather.

“This is the scenario the unenforceable agreement reached at the instance of Mr President purports to foster.”

He urged well-meaning Nigerians to call on the President and other stakeholders to act in the interest of peace in Rivers State and “ensure genuine, unbiased, generally acceptable, and enforceable reconciliation of the crisis.” (The PUNCH)

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the sale of $10,000 to each licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operator nationwide.

This marks the second such intervention this month by the apex bank.

In a circular addressed to the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), the CBN outlined the details of the intervention.

BDCs will be able to purchase dollars at the rate of N1,021 per dollar.

They are, therefore, authorized to sell this forex to eligible end users at a maximum spread of 1.5 percent above the purchase price, translating to a maximum selling price of N1,036.15 per dollar.

On the 8th of April 2024, the CBN sold $10,000 FX to each of the 1,588 participating BDCs at a fixed rate of N1101 per US dollar at a spread capped at 1.5 percent above the purchase price from the CBN (approximately N1,116.15 per dollar). This limited the potential profit BDCs could make on each transaction

The latest circular has instructed all eligible BDCs to commence immediate payment of the Naira equivalent for their allocated $10,000 into designated CBN Naira Deposit Accounts.

This deposit must be accompanied by the submission of necessary documentation to facilitate the disbursement of forex at respective CBN branches.

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The latest intervention by the CBN is likely to be met with cautious optimism by market participants. The continued injection of US dollars into the BDC segment aims to improve access to forex for legitimate transactions, potentially alleviating some pressure on the parallel market.

However, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges on several factors: the extent to which the allocated amount meets the current demand for forex remains to be seen; strict adherence to the stipulated maximum selling price by BDCs is crucial for ensuring transparency and preventing market distortions; and while stop-gap measures like these can provide temporary relief, addressing the underlying causes of FX scarcity is essential for achieving long-term market stability.

SEE ALSO:  CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

The CBN’s recent actions since February 2024 highlight its ongoing efforts to manage forex liquidity and ensure the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market.

The success of this strategy will depend on continued monitoring, adjustments as needed, and fostering a more market-driven approach to FX allocation in the long run.(NATION)

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge
Emefiele

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a fresh charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

EFCC in the charge accused Emefiele of approving the printing of N684,590,000 at the rate of N18.96 billion.

In the charge sighted by PUNCH Online on Tuesday, EFCC alleged that Emefiele broke the law with intent to harm the public during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The document dated April 2, 2024, and marked Suit No: CR/264/2024, was filed by EFCC’s top prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN revealed that Emefiele will be arraigned on a new four-count charge before Justice Hamza Muazu bordering on disobeying the law to punish Nigerians, iilegal printing of money, abuse of office, among others.

Counts one to four of the charge, read, “STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: Public Servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

“PARTICULARS OF THE OFFENCE: That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“COUNT 3: “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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“COUNT 4: “That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Recall that Emefiele was on November 18, 2023, arraigned before the court on six counts of procurement fraud, in what is the most high-profile corruption case under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He was also accused of abusing his office by approving a contract for the acquisition of 43 vehicles totalling N1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the EFCC arraigned the former banker alongside one Henry Omoile before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud. (PUNCH)

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name – Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name - Kogi Assembly tells EFCC
• Embattled former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello
Kogi House of Assembly has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the ‘wanted’ tag it placed on the name and picture of the immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday and follows a matter of urgent public importance presented on the floor of the House by the member representing Ajaokuta Constituency, Hon Jibrin Abu.

Their resolutions made available to newsmen on Tuesday read: “The EFCC, IGP, Immigration, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish the image of personalities from Kogi State, especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not constitute a threat to internal security or treasonable felony.”

Earlier in his motion, titled,: “A call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Abu lamented the anti-graft agency had been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor for a long time.

“The recent reports on the print, electronic and social media had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process by Nigeria’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens, and by extension, Nigerians. Kogi State, over the years, has witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government and officials.

“This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a non-existent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right thinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendetta.

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“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over the allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja.

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“The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“A point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

“Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support,” he stated.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

Former Deputy Speaker Hon. Enema Paul told the anti graft agency to respect the rule of law.

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He said: “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

SEE ALSO:  CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if he is really qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in Appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has a lot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days.”

Speaker Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti-graft agency not to act contrary to the law of the country.

“This House is not against the EFCC doing their job but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The country belongs to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law,” he stated.

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