The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of the sums of N1,250,000,000; $327,132.35, £167.85 and €157.91 recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Federal Government.
Justice Chuka Obiozor gave the order on Tuesday, following a suit filed by the EFCC against Heritage Bank Plc and Secure Electronics Technology Limited.
The anti-graft agency said the funds were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
Iheanacho Ekene, Counsel for the EFCC, told Justice Obiozor that “The persons in whose possession the funds were found are not laying claim to them and surrendered them for forfeiture.”
In August, Justice Obiozor had made a temporary forfeiture order in respect of the funds. He ordered the EFCC to publish the interim order in the newspapers for anyone interested in the money to show up in court to prove why it should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
On Tuesday, Iheanacho told the judge that the publication order had been complied with, adding that no one had shown up to lay claim to the money. He urged the judge to order that the funds be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
As there was no opposing application, Justice Obiozor ordered the sums of N1.2bn, $327,132.35, £167.85 and €157.90 permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In a supporting affidavit to the forfeiture application, a female investigator with the EFCC, Oghare Ogbole, had averred that the funds were discovered following an intelligence report received by the anti-graft agency.
She added that, “Heritage Bank did not provide any legitimate explanation for the above transactions (involving the sums) and consequently returned the said money through 16 separate bank drafts issued in favour of the EFCC Recovered Funds Account.
“Attached and marked as exhibits EFCC 7A to 7F are the bank drafts representing the refund of the sums of N157,000,000,000 by Heritage Bank Plc, on the sums of $327,132.35, £167.85 and €157.90,” she said.
Malam Baba Modu, an 80 year-old father to a Boko Haram commander, popularly called ‘Ba-Ana’, has begged his son to surrender and embrace peace.
Speaking with journalists on Wednesday in Maiduguri, Modu said that he was unable to persuade his son to abandon the cause and surrender under the Federal Government’s Operation Safe Corridor.
Recounting his ordeal, he said his son was conscripted by
“I lost hope of meeting my son after his abduction in the past seven years. One day, I met someone who told me that my son was alive and mentioned where I can find him.
“I was also told he is one of the commanders of the Albarnawi faction of the Boko Haram.
“I travelled to the shores of the Lake Chad to plead with Ba-Ana to surrender and embrace peace. It took me about one week to get to where I met him.
“When I arrived at the camp, I told them that I am the father of Ba’ana and after series of interrogations, they asked me to wait for him to return from a mission.
“Ba-Ana returned at night, he was marveled to see me, and when he heard my voice; he told his men that I am his father.
“I pleaded with him for about 30 days in a bid to convince him to lay down his arms and embrace peace, regrettably he did not heed my counsel.
“I did not lose hope; I will continue to pray God to heal his soul and bring him back to me,“ he said.
A source close to the airline confided in SR that the group was led by a middle-aged woman, who, with her collaborators, had booked the airline’s flight to Lagos.
According to Chris Iwarah, Corporate Communications Manager of Air Peace, the suspect booked Air Peace Port Harcourt-Lagos flight P4 7393 and during boarding, the lead member of the crew, Mojoko Ewane, observed that the suspect was handling the baby in an awkward manner and decided to question her.
When she was questioned at the boarding door of the aircraft, the suspect claimed the baby was three days old. During further interrogation, the suspect allegedly contradicted herself when she stated that the baby was born on January 5, a day before her aborted trip. The suspect said she gave birth to the baby shortly after travelling from Lagos to Port Harcourt on an Air Peace flight on January 5.
“A call was later placed to the contact numbers the suspect said belonged to her husband and the doctor who handled the birth of the child. While the alleged husband claimed that his wife was actually pregnant, the alleged doctor’s number rang unanswered. When the suspect was asked to breastfeed the baby, she could not as there was no breast milk. The suspect tried to create a scene, rallying other passengers on the flight to prevail on Air Peace crew to allow her fly, but the crew stood their ground.”
It was gathered that when the crew informed the suspect that the carrier’s standard operating procedure barred them from allowing passengers fly with a week-old baby on grounds of health, she claimed to be a nurse and insisted that the baby’s health would not be jeopardised. The airline, it was gathered, later invited personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Port Harcourt Airport to take over the case for further investigation.
Iwarah confirmed the incident on Wednesday, saying the airline was proud that its crew professionally discharged their responsibility to ensure passengers’ safety and assist government in fighting crime. A DSS source in Port Harcourt also confirmed that the suspect had been transferred to the zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for further investigation.
The suspect was said to have confessed that a lady gave her the baby. The DSS official also commended Air Peace crew for foiling the attempted child trafficking with their vigilance.
In June 2018, Air Peace crew exposed a suspected trafficker of a three-month-old baby on its Lagos-Banjul flight.
Workers earning more than N30,000 – the likely new minimum wage – will have their pay renegotiated, the President said yesterday.
It is important to prepare the minds of those to be affected — that a windfall is not on the way — so as not to be caught unawares, President Muhammadu Buhari said.
The government will begin talks with the workers after the new minimum wage Bill must have been passed into a law.
The President spoke at the inauguration of the Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of a New National Minimum Wage.
The development came barely 24 hours after the government and Labour agreed that a New National Minimum Wage Bill will be sent to the National Assembly on or before January 23.
The unions are demanding N30, 000 for the least paid worker. But governors are willing to pay N22, 500 and the Federal Government is offering N24, 000.
The President named Bismarck Rewane as head of the panel, which he inaugurated at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja, before the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) began.
Mermbers of the committee have been drawn from the public and the private sector.
It has a month to complete its work and summit its report and recommendations. The members are: Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Chairman Babatunde Fowler, ex-FIRS boss Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Dr Ayo Teriba and Prof. Akpan Ekpo.
Others include: Budget Office Director-General Ben Akabueze, who is the secretary of the committee, representative of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF); National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission Chairman Richard Egbule; Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack; Permanent Secretary, General Service Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Olusegun Adekunle; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Olajide Odewale; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, and Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.
The other members are: Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Economic Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna; Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Director-General, Debt Management Officer, Ms. Patience Oniaga; Director-General, National Institute of Social and Economic Research, Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith; Statistician-General, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale; Mrs. Aisha Hamad, Mamman Garba and Tunde Lawal.
Pointing out that the last time Nigeria’s national minimum wage was reviewed was in 2011, Buhari said that it was evident that a review was necessary, despite the prevailing fiscal challenges.
He said: “This is why I constituted the Tripartite Committee of government (federal and states), the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Labour to consider the national minimum wage and make recommendations to the government for its upward review.
“That committee has since submitted its report with some recommendations. We are currently working on the final steps that will lead to the submission of a National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the National Assembly.
“I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the National Minimum Wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the Minimum Wage.
“Also, it is important to explain that even though the subject of a national minimum wage is in the exclusive legislative list, we have been meeting with the state governors because it is imperative that the Federal Government carries the state governments along in determining any upward review of the minimum wage for workers.
“This is especially necessary considering the prevailing public sector revenue challenges, which have made it extremely difficult for some of the governments to pay workers as and when due.
“As you know, we, at the federal level, have made adequate provision for the increase in the minimum wage in our Budget 2019 proposals which we submitted to the National Assembly.
“Therefore, we will be able to meet the additional costs that will be incurred in moving up all personnel who are currently earning below the new minimum wage.
“However, we anticipate that after the new minimum wage has been passed into law, we will be going into negotiations for salary review for all the workers who are already earning above the new minimum wage. It is therefore important that we are properly prepared to meet these demands.
“We must therefore look at ways of implementing these consequential wage adjustments in a manner that does not have adverse effects on our national development plans, as laid out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The ERGP sets appropriate targets for levels of capital expenditure, public debt, inflation and employment among others.
“It is absolutely important that the implementation of a new minimum wage does not adversely affect these targets, and thereby erode the envisaged gains for the workers.
“It is against this background that I have set up a Technical Committee to advise the government on how best to fund, in a sustained manner, the additional costs that will arise from the implementation of the consequential increases in salaries and allowances for workers currently earning above the new minimum wage.”
Buhari said the committee will be chaired by an economist and financial expert, Rewane, with other experienced economists and administrators from the private sector working with government officials.
The committee is to advise the government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases and identify new revenue sources, and areas of existing expenditure from where some savings could be made in order to fund the wage increases without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the ERGP.
It is also to “propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases, any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases”.
“Given the urgency of this exercise, the Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month today.
“It is now my pleasure to formally inaugurate the Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of an Increase in the National Minimum Wage.”
President Buhari had during the budget proposal presentation promised a new minimum wage which, he said, will help maintain jobs for the teeming unemployed.
The World’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, on Wednesday, announced his divorce from his novelist wife of 25 years, MacKenzie.
On his verified Twitter handle, Bezos released a statement, signed by him and his soon-to-be ex-wife, revealing their intention.
The couple’s statement read, “We want to make people aware of a development in our lives.
“As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.
“We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”
“We’ve had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures.
“Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends.”
Mr Bezos is the richest man in modern history. His wealth increased by over $60billion between 2017 and 2018 which places his worth higher than that of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has previously topped the rich lists – even at his peak in 1999.
Bezos is currently worth $160bn.