…You’re Insensitive, Unpatriotic-FPRO
… Buhari Orders Probe
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the full revelation of the circumstances surrounding the killing of three police officers recently by the Nigerian Army in Taraba state.
While expectations are mounting on the Federal Government to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book, the Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday held a closed doors meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja and set up a committee to investigate what they described as ’unfortunate killing’ of the three police intelligence officers in Ibi, Jalingo, Taraba state.
However, in swift reaction, the Police authorities said the Army was economical with the truth surrounding the killing of its personnel.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, while speaking with newsmen yesterday in Abuja with State House correspondents, said that the council decided to set up a committee to investigate the “unfortunate incidents in Ibi, Taraba state.”
According to him, the committee will be constituted under the Defence Headquarters to unearth the truth on the incident.
The air chief also said that the council evaluated the current strategy of managing internal security operations all over the country and was satisfied with the current efforts being made by the security agencies to curtailing crimes in the country.
”We are making substantial progress in all the areas of conflicts”, Air Marshal Sadique said.
The service chief, however, assured Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies would continue to work to ensure the security of Nigerian.
He added they would also ensure that no individual or group of individuals undermine the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Asked if the council discussed the issue of using technology and drones to fight crimes as earlier pledged to the south-west leaders, the Chief of Air Staff said, ”technology will continue to play a very critical role in resolving security challenges in Nigeria.
“All the services are using one technology or the other in order to ensure that our country is secured.
“So security will continue to play a role and we are also looking at other areas of technology that are not currently in use to ensure that we put together all that is required to ensure the security of Nigerian and Nigerians.”
Recalled that the Nigeria Police Force had Wednesday, accused some unidentified soldiers of shooting to death three police officers and a civilian along the Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State when they were taking an arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the command headquarters in Jalingo when they were shot at by the soldiers.
The police spokesman said that despite sufficient proof that they are police personnel on legitimate duty.
The Police alleged that several other officers were also injured during the attack.
But the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, countered the police claims stating that the policemen allegedly refused to stop at a military checkpoint and were trailed and shot dead by troops who had earlier received a distress call.
Apparently not satisfied with the steps taken by the Security Council, the Police, also yesterday, ramped up public criticism of the Nigerian Army over the killing of three officers, saying the Army authorities lied.
The officers were on an operation to arrest a suspected kidnap gang leader in a remote settlement in the northeastern state. After successfully apprehending the suspect, the police officers handcuffed him and drove him towards Jalingo, the state capital, police said.
But on their way to Jalingo between, Ibi and Wukari communities, the police team of 10 persons came under close-ranging shooting from Nigerian soldiers in the white bus they were travelling on. Three officers and a civilian were killed in the process, while several others were injured.
The soldiers then freed the handcuffed suspect, police spokesperson Frank Mba said when he first made the development public on Wednesday evening.
The Nigerian Army pushed back against the account of the police late Wednesday. Army spokesperson Sagir Musa admitted soldiers from 93 Battalion were responsible for the tragedy. He, however, blamed it on poor communication on the part of the police, saying the officers were mistaken for kidnappers.
The army also claimed that villagers made a panic call to soldiers that kidnappers had come to operate in their community, leading to the hot pursuit that ended in the killing of three police officers.
Although an investigative panel had been raised to urgently get to the root of the incident, the police appeared uncomfortable with how the matter was being handled.
On Thursday evening, Mr Mba condemned the army’s description of their personnel as suspected kidnappers and challenged the military to provide evidence of its claim that villagers made a distress call to soldiers.
Mba also raised a series of questions for the Nigerian Army to clarify to Nigerians around its culpability in the killing of detectives.
Security analysts said the strongly-worded public attacks the police have been directing at the army showed that President Muhammadu Buhari was not handling the issue well and the police felt helpless.
“For the police to be releasing statements to the media and coming to Twitter to scream about this showed they are helpless and not getting the support they need from the president,” Cheta Nwanze, a security analyst, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.
Nwanze urged Mr Buhari to urgently resolve the dispute, saying Nigeria cannot afford a total breakdown of harmony between the police and the military, perhaps the two most crucial institutions combatting the country’s acute insecurity.
The analyst also expressed concerns that the rescue of the kidnap suspect, now believed to be at large, by the soldiers could signal high-level connivance between criminals and security chiefs.
The suspect, identified as Alhaji Hamisu, had reportedly received N100 million as ransom in a recent abduction of an oil baron in Taraba.
Non-Interest Banking: TAJBank Leads in Tier-1 Capital, PBT
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
TAJBank Limited, Nigeria’s fastest growing and technology-driven non-interest banking services provider, has again blazed a new trail in the non-interest banking space in half year 2023, posting impressive performances in financial indices, particularly in recording the highest Tier-1 capital in the sub-sector of the non-interest Banking industry in the six months period.
Similarly, the audited financial statements
of the non-interest lender reflected a huge surge in its Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N6.019 billion, which is the highest in the banking sub-sector and surpassed analysts’ projections.
The bank’s latest financial performance feats came barely six months after it set an industry record with the payment of dividend to its shareholders at the end of the 2022 financial year, barely three years of its debuting in the banking space.No bank has achieved this feat in the over 100 years of banking in Nigeria.
TAJBank also made history early this year as the first corporate entity in Nigeria’s history to list the first tranche of N100 billion Sukuk Bond on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) after the successful issuance.
A further analysis of the latest audited financial statements of the non-interest and most innovative lender in H1 2023 showed that its Total Assets rose from N212.021 billion in December 2022 to N335.017 billion at the end of June 2023, indicating a 58% increase while its Gross Earnings increased by 67% from N136.149 billion at the end of December 2022 to N227.031 billion as of the end of June this year.
Other highlights of the bank’s financial scorecard in H1 2023 reflected that the Financing also significantly increased by 62% from N78.235 billion recorded as of December 2022 to N126.725 billion in H1 2023; the Deposits base surged to N251.250 billion from N161.958 billion as of December 2022; while its Total Equity grew by 88% from N19.135 billion in December 2022 to N36.706 billion as of H1 2023.
On the bank’s superior performance in the period under review, TAJBank’s Founder/CEO, Hamid Joda, attributed the financial indices feat to the increasingly proactive strategies being adopted by the management to respond to emerging trends in non-interest banking and deployment of the right resources, especially the well-trained personnel, to meet the expectations of the bank’s customers.
He said: “What I can say about TAJBank’s latest scorecard is that we have demonstrated that hard work pays. As we have maintained over the past three years, our interest is in our customers and we are pursuing this goal with all resources available to us to tell the whole world that “TAJBank is the way to go” in non-interest banking.
“To demonstrate our commitment to this customer-friendly corporate slogan, we are investing in world-class technologies and digital payment solutions in our services nationwide. Also, in pursuit of our non-interest financial inclusion drive, we have also opened five branches this year and plan to open more in other states in the next few months”, Joda assured.
In his brief remarks, the bank’s Co-Founder/Executive Director, Mr. Sherif Idi, linked the successes to the bank’s shareholders and customers, saying that “our thanks go to our growing customers and shareholders whose belief in our vision and capacity to drive TAJBank to the leading edge of market competition has taken us this far.
“Let me assure them that TAJBank’s management and staff will continue to do its best to serve them better and protect their interests, which we value so much in all areas of operations”, the banker added.
UK Court Restrains Alison-Madueke With Electronic Tag
By Ben Atonko, Abuja
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke was granted bail by a London court on Monday with conditions that will make her escape from the UK very difficult.
Alison-Madueke faces bribery charges filed against her by the United Kingdom (UK) government.
In August, the UK’s National Crime Agency said it suspected Alison-Madueke had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
Before the charges against her by the UK government, the former minister was a subject of intense investigations and legal proceedings by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Buhari succeeded Goodluck Jonathan under whose administration Ms Alison-Madueke was Minister of Petroleum Resources and chair of the former national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
She quickly fled Nigeria when Buhari government began investigations into her activities while in office.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had pressed a 13-count charges bordering on money laundering against her alleging that the former minister stole $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.
On different occasions, the Federal High Court in Abuja issued a warrant of arrest against her as part of the process of bringing her to Nigeria to face charges.
Efforts by the Buhari eight-year administration to extradite her were futile until she was arrested in the UK over similar charges.
The District Judge Michael Snow granted her bail in terms and conditions including a curfew that ordered her to stay indoors between 11P.M. and 6P.M.
The judge ordered her to always wear an electronic tag and imposed a 70,000-pound surety to be paid before she could leave the court building on Monday.
The former minister, during her Monday appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address.
The charges against her were read out in court, but she was not asked to formally enter a plea.
Her lawyer, Mark Bowen told the court she would be pleading not guilty.
She is scheduled to have her next court appearance at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases on Oct 30.
Ms Alison-Madueke allegedly received bribes as Nigeria’s petroleum minister in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts.
Prosecutor Andy Young accused her of accepting a wide range of advantages in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts said to be worth billions of dollars in total.
The advantages, according to the prosecutor, included a delivery of 100,000 pounds ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.
They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, aged 63, who also served as president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015.
PDP Jubilates as Tribunal Sacks Nasarawa Gov
From Benjamin Nyitamen, Lafia
Huge jubilations greeted the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State on Monday.
The tribunal headed by Justice Ezekiel Ajayi in a split decision annulled the declaration of Gov.
Mr David Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the election.
The chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi declared Ombugadu the rightful winner of the election.
Many supporters of PDP poured into streets and major roads in towns and villages singing songs of solidarity following the virtual judgment that lasted more than four hours.
The supporters who defied heavy downpour came out brandishing pictures of the Ombugadu. Women who were half naked were also jubilant.
Responding to the judgment, former Senate President Bukola Saraki tweeted, “I congratulate Hon. David Ombugadu of our great party, PDP, who has been declared the winner of the Nasarawa State Governorship election by the Nasarawa State Election Petition Tribunal.
“This judicial victory is a resounding affirmation of the people’s will and it serves as a reminder that democracy is and must always be the bedrock of our nation.”
Similarly, Gov Sule reacted saying the judgment was a temporary setback that they would learn from in order to restrategise and come out stronger.
“I still remain the governor till Supreme Court decides otherwise because the law allows me to appeal and we will do that to reclaim our mandate,” Sule said.
The governor called on his supporters to remain calm and not take laws into their hands by engaging in street protests.
He cautioned the youths and supporters of APC against responding to the opposition, especially on social media.
Justice Chiemelie Onaga, a member of the panel agreed with the lead judgment read by the panel chairman.
However, Justice Ibrahim Mashi gave a dissenting judgment, upholding the declaration of Sule by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the election.
Justice Mashi said the petitioner failed to prove his case.
Ombugadu’s counsel, Mr Johnson Usman (SAN) lauded the tribunal for a detailed judgment saying the tribunal affirmed the decision of the majority of the people of the state.
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