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Aisha Yesufu lied over Enugu’s N100bn Agric Deal – Group

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Aisha Yesufu

• Alleges activist overrated, biased

The Enugu Good Governance Group, E-3G, has reprimanded former Chibok Girls’ activist, Aisha Yesufu, over what it described as “willful lies and misinformation” over the N100bn deal recently signed by the Enugu State government and a private firm to revive the moribund state-owned United Palm Products Ltd.

It said whereas Yesufu claimed that the Governor Peter Mbah Government awarded N100bn contract to a newly incorporated firm, it is actually the company, which is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), that is funding 60 percent of the transaction value.

It accused her of rushing to the social media to amplify Enugu LP’s mischief and ignorance-driven claims over the N100bn deal without doing her due diligence.

The Enugu Good Governance Group, however, commended Governor Peter Mbah highly for what it described as “a mega deal that would change the fortunes of United Palm Products Ltd. from a moribund entity to a profitable asset.

The group weighed in on the matter in a press statement issued by its National Coordinator, Comrade Odinaka Okechukwu, on Thursday.

“In Yesufu’s words, ‘How do you give N100bn contract to a company that was registered days ago? A company that is registered nine days ago is now collecting N100bn contract.’

“But ironically, there is no N100bn contract and we did not see the award of N100bn contract anywhere in the government’s statement announcing the deal.

“As clearly stated in government’s explanatory, it is actually Pragmatic Palms Ltd. that is funding the revival of the state-owned United Palm Products Limited to the tune of 60 percent of the transaction value.

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“Enugu State Government, on the other hand, holds 40 per cent of the equity, which is the value of the land or assets, which it is contributing to the transaction. In other words, government is not contributing any money,” the group stated.

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The Enugu group wondered if Aisha Yesufu had never heard the term “Special Purpose Vehicle” in all her years of activism, which is what Pragmatic Palms Limited represents in the N100bn deal.

It said, “For the avoidance of doubt, SPVs are subsidiary companies, which are formed to undertake a specific business purpose or activity.

“In this instance, because many partners are involved and also to guarantee both the government and investors’ corporate interests, it became necessary to incorporate an SPV to handle the transaction.

“It is for this reason that the Enugu State government produces the Board Chairman and other Directors, while the SPV’s parent company, Diamond Stripes, produces the MD/CEO.

“Therefore, it is very unfortunate that Aisha Yesufu chose to mislead the unsuspecting public when people like Oby Ezekwesili could have schooled her for free on how investment deals and partnerships like this are made if only she asked questions.

“We sincerely urge other activists to learn from this unfortunate advertisement of ignorance, mischief, bias, and the proclivity to latch on anything to trend on social media at the expense of others.

“Meanwhile, we commend Governor Mbah for this mega deal. We believe that the resuscitation of United Palm Products Ltd. will boost the state’s economic recovery, create jobs, and further strengthen security in the state,” the statement said.

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Ex-Kogi Gov Bello’s trial for alleged N80.2Bn graft stalled again, to appear in court June 27

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Follow AGF’s advice, submit to EFCC – Group tells Yahaya Bello
Former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello

The arraignment of former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello for alleged N80.2 billion fraud slated for Thursday was stalled again as the case was adjourned to June 27 based on requests from both counsels in the case.

Bello, who was expected in court on Thursday, before Justice Emeka Nwite at the Federal High Court Abuja on a 19-count charge, was absent.

According to the EFCC, through the counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the court had previously adjourned the case on May 10 with the expectation that Bello would be present for arraignment today.

However, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), argued there was a misunderstanding.

He claimed the lead prosecutor, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), had suggested to his colleague, Aliyu AbdulWahab, of postponing the arraignment to June 27 for convenience sake during an informal meeting outside of court.

Adedipe stated that he was surprised to find EFCC lead counsel, absent from the court today.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsel would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this.

“Kemi Pinhero, SAN, has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” Adedipe said, accusing the prosecution of attempting to “ambush” him.

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The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), countered by saying the defense team was misrepresenting the situation. He argued that holding an unofficial meeting was not a valid reason for Bello’s absence and called for an apology to the court.

“Assuming without conceding that there was a conversation between the counsel for Bello and the prosecution (outside the court), to have this matter adjourned, the fundamental issue today is compliance with the order of my lord; to with, the appearance of the defendant,” he said.

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According to Adedipe, Yahaya Bello was prepared to appear today as originally scheduled.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe argued.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judge acknowledged the confusion and accepted the defense team’s apology.

“I am minded to take the apology on the ground that the defendant is making a fresh undertaking that the defendant (Bello) will be produced on June 27.

“The matter is adjourned to June 27 for arraignment,” the judge ruled.

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Alleged N80bn Fraud: Yahaya Bello to appear in court for trial today

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Ex-Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

After several months of hide-and-seek between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the ex-governor is expected to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 13 for arraignment on the corruption charge against him.

The former governor, through his lawyer, finally agreed to submit himself to the court at the last adjourned date.

Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, gave the undertaking to Justice Emeka Nwite on May 10, shortly after the court rejected the defendant’s request for suspension of trial.

According to him, the former governor was not afraid of arraignment but of the safety of his life in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

He said the life of his client has been under consistent threats in Abuja, hence his decision to go underground for safety.

The agreement to submit to court trial was informed by Justice Nwite’s remarks that the EFCC, as a law-abiding body, would not do anything contrary to the provisions of the law.

The judge said Bello was not the first former governor to be merely invited by the anti-graft agency and would not be the last.

The judge also said that the charges are based on allegations that have not been proved, adding that the law presumes any accused person innocent until proven otherwise.

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He advised the senior lawyer to prevail on his client to respect the law and order of the court as a law-abiding person.

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Bello’s lawyer, responding to the admonition, thanked the Judge for the hint, adding that, with the assurance that the EFCC would not do anything untoward, the former governor would be brought to court.

“All my client needs is just an assurance for the safety of his life, which has been under threat for some time in Abuja.”

The lawyer requested for four weeks to bring his client before the court.

He said Bello would, however, come to the court instead of the EFCC to take his plea in the charges.

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‘I did my Dobale’, Tinubu breaks silence on Democracy Day fall at Eagle Square

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Minimum Wage: FG denies offering N105,000
President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu late yesterday, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, broke his silence on a viral video on social media where he missed his steps and tripped earlier in the day during the proceedings at the Democracy Day Parade at Eagle Square, Abuja.

Speaking at the Democracy Day Dinner, Tinubu, a Yoruba from South West Nigeria, said tongue-in-cheek that he was only performing a traditional Yoruba gesture of respect.

“Early this morning, I had a swagger and it is on social media. They are confused on whether I was doing Buga or doing Babariga but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘dobale’ for the day. I am a traditional Yoruba boy and I did my Dobale,”

The president also underscored the importance of national orientation and collective effort in fostering a prosperous future for the country.

“Nigeria is blessed, our complexity, our diversity is there, but is the best road to success. Whatever we have to invest in our national orientation, we have to do it,” Tinubu declared, stressing the need for a concerted effort to instill a sense of service and patriotism among Nigerians.

He also noted that the nation’s national anthem encapsulated the essence of service, a value he observed being practiced by many governors across the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the governors, acknowledging their dedication to serving their people irrespective of their political affiliations.

“We include in our national anthem, the essence of service. I have seen many governors, both live and on tv, serving their people. They belong to other parties and many of them are here tonight. Thank you, Governor Eno, of Akwa Ibom, thank you Governor Okpara, my comrade from Kaduna, thank you, Sheriff and Abia, thank you. If I miss you, forgive me. Everybody has forgotten the partisanship column and embraced that green, white, green that depicts Nigeria.”

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Acknowledging criticisms of the national anthem, he called on governors to redouble their efforts in fostering a sense of duty and national character among citizens.

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“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it, it is the actual character. Let us teach this to our children, so that Nigeria collectively, we will do the job that we are called upon to do as both family or nation under God almighty,” Tinubu urged.

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