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Don’t Reopen Schools Now, ASUU President Tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday kicked against the reopening of schools by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the country.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, spoke with the with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun.

According to him, the Federal Government needed to address the challenges of education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.

Ogunyemi urged the Federal Government to provide ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening schools.

“The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open, because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.

“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individual, but the Federal Government must take the lead,’’ he said.

The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.

Ogunyemi said that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools.

“It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks which is avoidable,” he said.

Ogunyemi noted that how many of these schools could afford to provide hand sanitiser, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to talk of having facility for washing hands.

He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.

The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.

Ogunyemi appealed to the Federal Government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.

He further said that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.

Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government needed to tell Nigerians the steps they intended to take in reopening schools.

The ASUU leader said that for government not to tell people their minds was like running away from “our shadow” which would later hunt the country. (NAN)

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EFCC: Magu Failed To Account For 332 Recovered Property Worth Billions — Report

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The suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),Mr Ibrahim Magu, has again been accused of allegedly failing to give proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate property in March, 2018.

A report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) confirmed the development, indicating that the unaccounted property was worth billions of naira.

The report also noted massive wastage and deterioration of physical assets (including landed property, cars and vessels recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.

It also noted with concern the failure to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow.

“A disturbing example is the two vessels that allegedly sunk at NNS Beecroft Naval BASE, Lagos and NNS Pathfinder Naval Base in Port Harcourt without trace under the watch of the acting Chairman of EFCC.

“The vessels named MT GOOD SUCCESS, MV PSV DERBY and MV THAMES were allowed to sink in spite of several warnings from the Navy on the need to evacuate the petroleum products in the vessels.

“The total value of the assets lost due to the negligence runs into millions of US dollars. 

“The (suspended) acting Chairman is yet to provide a report on what happened to these vessels,’’ the report said.

NAN reports that Magu, who is currently facing charges of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets as well as flagrant disobedience to directives and to court orders, would be expected to provide answers to the conflicting figures.

The PCARA report also noted that the few consultants hired by EFCC were not managing a substantial number of the recovered assets and that the EFCC has no capacity to manage the entire assets on its own.

The committee, therefore, alerted the nation on the economic and environmental implications of this negligent of duty by the commission.

It equally observed that EFCC made conflicting submissions or returns to it in respect of the non-cash assets which substantially affected the committee’s assignment.

The report read in part: “For instance, EFCC stated 836 as the number of Recovered Real Estate in the Original Returns it made to the President on 07/04/2017.

“However, in its 1st Returns to PCARA on 13/12/2017, EFCC short changed the system and gave the figure of 339 thereby failing to account for 497 property.

“It is interesting to note that when the Acting Chairman was further queried on this lapse, he made further contradictory 2nd return of 504 on 09/03/2018 thereby bridging the gap to 332 property.’’

The committee identified lack of internal control mechanisms/ systems within EFCC and Lack of adequate returns by EFCC Departments and Zonal Offices as reasons for these discrepancies and inconsistencies by the commission.

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Magu Re-Looted Interest On ₦550 Billion — Report

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A presidential panel that Investigated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s handling of recovered loot, has “seriously indicted” the acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, the News Agency of Nigeria reported Saturday.

Mr Magu was arrested on Tuesday and has since then been interrogated by a panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami on allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the commission.

He was later suspended and has remained in custody since then.

In his first public reaction to the Magu case, President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said there were serious allegations of fraud against the EFCC chief, and the administration acted after a preliminary review of the accusations.

“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system,” the president said through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

Citing the report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, the state-owned news agency, NAN, said there was a revelation how interests on N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review was allegedly re-looted.

NAN said the panel’s report that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to Nov. 22, 2018, also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Mr Magu.

“It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds,” it quoted the report as saying.

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“These inconsistencies cast a serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgments were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It therefore cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts,’’ the report stated in part.

NAN also reports that the report revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Mr Magu.

“The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

The report said a particular Bureau de Change linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

It also said N28 million was paid to a senior lawyer who is a close associate of the Acting Chairman.

NAN reports that the Salami probe panel is expected to continue sitting on Monday while Mr Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.

(NAN)

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Magu Used ‘Pastor’ To Buy ₦573 Million Property In Dubai — Report

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A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has revealed details of how the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the commission.

A copy of the report made available to NAN on Saturday in Abuja said one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of Hand of God Prophetic Ministry was used by Magu in laundering the funds.

Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA).

According to the report, the unknown clergy is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

“Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale (Hand of God Prophetic Ministry).

“He is reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu and his name was used in purchasing property in Dubai for Mr Magu.

“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41,’’ the report said.

NAN also gathered that efforts had been intensified to expose the real identity of the Pastor with a view to arraigning him for prosecution, if found culpable.

On the Diezani Alison Madueke case, the PCARA Report accused Magu of failure to cooperate with authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate effective prosecution of the case.

“In the Diezani Alison Madueke case, the Acting Chairman is failing to further cooperate with the UK NCA to enable them charge the Former Minister to court in the UK.

“The Acting Chairman despite his knowledge that Mrs Madueke will not be extradited to Nigeria until after her trial in the UK, has consistently been accusing the UK government on the pages of print and electronic media of not wanting to extradite her to Nigeria,’’ the report maintained.

Magu was also accused of deliberately refusing to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the nation’s Attorney-General to commence the extradition process of Diezani Madueke.

“This has strained the EFCC relationship with Europe most strategic partner,’’ the report further observed.

NAN reports that Magu, who is being held at the Police headquarters, Abuja, is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday, to defend himself against several allegations.

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