…Directive Breaches Constitutional Provisions
The 36 state governors in the country have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari on the recent decision of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for the release of funds from the Federation Accounts directly to the 774 local government councils in the country.
Besides, the governors have asked the President to intervene in NFIU’s decision to dig into the accounts of the councils with a view to ascertaining how the monthly allocations were withdrawn and spent.
Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, stated in a letter dated May 15, 2019 that the 36 state governors have expressed dismay and angst at this brazen attempt by the NFIU to ridicule our collective integrity and show total disregard for the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended.
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, which was excised from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, set June 1, 2019, as the take-off date of the new order, making it compulsory for all LGA allocations to go straight to their respective bank accounts. The decision is contained in a guideline released by the NFIU after a lengthy meeting with officials of commercial banks in Abuja.
The NGF letter was titled: “Re: NFIU Enforcement and Guidelines to Reduce Crime Vulnerabilities Created by Cash Withdrawal from Local Government Funds Throughout Nigeria Effective June 1st, 2019”.
Extracting copiously from the constitution, governors drew the attention of the President to section (6) (a) and (b) which confers on the States and National Assemblies the powers to make provisions for statutory allocation of Public revenue to the Local Councils in the Federation and within the states respectively.
Similarly, the Governors added, Section 162 (6) expressly provides for the creation of the States Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA) into which shall be paid all allocations to the LGAs of the State from the Federation Account and from the government of the state.
The NGF Chairman emphasises that nothing in the NFIU Act 2018 gives the body the powers that it seeks to exercise in the guidelines that it released and is therefore acting in excess of its powers and by so doing, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar added, NFIU exhibits complete disregard of the constitution of Nigeria.
The NGF Chairman further accused the NFIU of “stoking mischief and also deliberately seeking to cause disaffection, chaos and overheat the polity.”
The NGF says that Local Government Councils are a creation of the constitution and are not financial institutions. They are, governors also said, not Reporting entities and are therefore not under the NFIU in the manner contemplated by the NFIU so-called guidelines.
In principle the NFIU should concentrate on its core mandate of Anti-money laundering AML activities and Combatting financing Terrorism CTF as prescribed in the Act establishing it and should desist from encroaching on or even breaching constitutional provisions.
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is the Nigerian arm of the global financial intelligence Units (FIUs) once domiciled within the EFCC but now for the purpose of institutional location domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria. This means the NFIU is only mandated to trace or track laundered money that finds its way into terrorism financing and report such to the nation’s security agencies. The NFIU should seek to comply with those standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and its proliferation as stipulated and not dabble into matters that are both constitutional and beyond NFIU purview.
Police Parade Suspected Killers of Former Benue Judge
By David Trough, Abuja
The Benue State Police Command has paraded four suspects in connection to the murder of Retired Justice Margaret Igbetar, who was murdered in August this year.
State Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Tuesday said the suspects have since confessed to the crime.
According to him, among those who were arrested was a nephew to the deceased, Aondohemba Joseph, adding that Joseph had alleged that Justice Igbetar was holding his father’s property which should have been bestowed on him, but she (Justice Igbetar) had refused to relinquish the said property.
Onyeka said, “You will recall that on 24th August 2023, a case of Culpable Homicide involving the late Justice Margaret Mary Igbetar (rtd) was reported and I had promised to ensure that Justice is served. One Aondohemba Joseph, a nephew of the deceased was arrested immediately.
“A more detailed and advanced investigation started when the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and handed over to the Operation Zenda investigative team to continue.
The suspect who eventually confessed to having planned and recruited other people to help him in killing his Aunty (Justice Igbetar) led a team of detectives to Adikpo, in Kwande Local Government Area of the state where more suspects were arrested including, Igbazenda Gbidye, 63yrs old and Dzungwenen Ukor, 40yrs old.
“These suspects admitted that Aondohemba Joseph had reported to them that his father died and left so much property in the hands of his aunty (the deceased) and she has refused to hand the said property over to him. They agreed to join him in eliminating her so that he could have access to his property.
“One Akuhwa Barnabas, 32yrs old, a driver to the deceased who was also arrested, corroborated their statements by admitting that he was the one who allowed the gang access to the house and manned the gate for them until they finished the assassination process”, the State Commissioner of Police stated.
Onyeka said commended the people of the state for their patience and cooperation adding that the command would continue to do its best to rid the state of crime
DMO Offers N150bn Sukuk Bond for Subscription at N1, 000 Per Unit
The Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday offered for subscription, Ijarah Sukuk valued at N150 billion.
According to a statement by the DMO, the Sukuk is issued by Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Roads Sukuk Company PLC, on behalf of the Federal Government.
It said that the Sukuk were offered at N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter.
“Rental payment is made half-yearly, and bullet repayment is done on the date of maturity.
“Proceeds will be used solely for the construction and rehabilitation of key road projects and bridges across the six geopolitical zones of the country,” the DMO said.
It added that the Ijarah Sukuk was backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government.
“It qualifies as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act.
“Qualifies as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds among other investors.
“To be listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited, ” it said.
It added that the Ijarah Sukuk was classified as liquid asset by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and certified by the Financial Regulation Advisory Council of Experts of the CBN.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Sukuk is a Sharia-compliant instrument that represents the interests of the owner in an asset or pool of assets.
It ensures that every financial activity is backed by real economic activity, is usually linked to specific infrastructure projects.(NAN)
Release of Chicago Documents Stirs Uproar, Stereotypes, Sarcasm
By Ben Atonko, Abuja
The release of documents by the Chicago State University (CSU) to clear doubts on President Bola Tinubu’s certificates on Monday has caused huge public uproar in Nigeria.
Lawyers and social media users are particularly agog with different views.
While some call it a disgrace to President Tinubu, some say it is a dashed hope for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
The documents contained Tinubu’s admission records, and a letter dated 27 June 2022 confirming that he attended the university from August 1977 to June 1979 majoring in Accounting.The letter said Tinubu was awarded Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honours on 22 June 1979. CSU released the school documents to Abubakar.
In his reaction, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wahab Shittu said Abubakar’s case against President Tinubu in the February 25 election may have collapsed completely.
Shittu is of opinion that the release of Tinubu’s educational results as ordered by Justice Nancy Maldonado of the Northern District of Illinois Court, USA, does not alter the likely outcome of the case.
A subpoena was issued after a federal judge in the United States ordered the university to turn over records pertaining to Tinubu’s time there in the late 1970s.
Tinubu has been accused by Abubakar of falsifying his academic credentials.
Abubakar alleges in court that the documents showing that Tinubu graduated from CSU in 1979 are not authentic and that is grounds to nullify Tinubu’s election victory.
His application sought four categories of documents from CSU, which confirmed Tinubu’s graduation in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Following the release of the documents, Shittu said aside from the fact that CSU exists, there is proof that President Tinubu attended the institution, stressing that his claim is not a fabrication.
He said, “The constitutional requirements for qualification to aspire for the presidency is at least school certificate level or its equivalent. The three diplomas issued by the university satisfy this requirement.”
He noted that the university has not denied issuing the certificate issued to the president in 1979 adding that “the school merely says it does not keep duplicate copies of issued certificates.
Similarly, a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka in an essay entitled “The US Court Proceedings on Order Directing Discovery from Chicago State University: A National Embarrassment” maintained that however the certificate matter ends, Nigeria has been disgraced.
Chidoka is a staunch member of PDP.
He wrote, “The decision of the District Court and the whole proceedings is not a moment of triumphalism but a sober moment of introspection. It is a moment when as a nation we ask ourselves:
“What are our national values? Who or which institution should have ordered the full investigation of the questionable certificate?
“If the certificate is not forged, the president should conduct a wide-ranging reorganisation of our national security system for failure to save the country from this needless embarrassment and reputational damage.
“If and that is a big if, the certificate is forged, President Tinubu should resign immediately. It is not a legal matter but a national honour and moral issue.
“If he does not, the National Assembly should do the needful to restore our dignity as a people. I also expect the Supreme Court to rise to the occasion and restore order to our electoral process.
“On either count, the National Assembly should start a constitutional amendment process to end all election judicial challenges before the assumption of office of all elected persons at all levels.
“The bold challenge of President Tinubu by HE Abubakar Atiku in the US is the most prominent sign of state failure.
“It is depressing but maybe it is an inflection point to alter the character of the Nigerian state to live up to the words of the second stanza of our old national anthem.”
Social media users also take opposing position, espousing that which suits their narration.
X formerly Twitter and Facebook have been buzzling since. Users lace their comments with stereotypes, sarcasm and abuses.
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