Civil Servants rake fortune from illegal gold deal

...Bank accounts of civil servants across country being investigated

By Rasheed Olanrewaju
November 19, 2018, a Nigerian man named Bukar Mandara Zarami, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, by security agents stationed there. Mandara, a businessman and managing director of Bukar Mandara Zarami Limited, was found to be in possession of 35.58kg of gold bars which was worth N252,900,000.00. They were wrapped in six bags. Zarami who claimed his company dealt on purchase and sale of gold, was on his way to Dubai and was about boarding an Emirates flight with his boarding pass EK-262707771 with the gold bars, when he was nabbed. Although the businessman had permit from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Comptroller (Import & Export) of Nigeria Customs Service, the gold found in his possession exceeded the approval given to him by 5.58kg. According to sources close to the investigation, Zarami paid monies into accounts of civil servants directly linked to agencies of government where he did business. For example, the N3,300,000.00 that he claimed he paid for royalties was paid into the personal account of an Assistant Director in the Ministry of Solid Minerals. Another N2,111,194.00 he claimed he paid for Nigeria Export Proceed, NXP, was made in cash to Mr. Babangida Kani, a customs officer who works at the Lagos Airport. This newspaper learned that Zarami had made series of foggy payments into Mr. Kani’s Zenith Bank account, even before the NXP payment. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, we learned, have stepped into the matter and now investigating private accounts of civil servants across the country, especially those of the senior cadre.

Atiku’s U. S. Visa: Is a trap being laid by PDP’s flagbearer?

By Alhassan Baba

Against the plea of Mr. Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, not to grant visa to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former vice president and presidential candidate of theAtiku Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the United States of America has granted visa to the politician. Atiku has not visited the United States since 13 years ago when the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, investigated a bribery and money laundry scandal, which involved him and a former U.S. Congressman, Mr. William Jefferson. Atiku, then vice president of Nigeria, was accused of demanding a kickback of $500,000 for facilitation of contract awards to two American telecommunication firms in Nigeria. Mr. Jefferson was found guilty and has since served a jail term and refunded monies, but Mr. Atiku has continued to claim innocence. Members of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, had always taunted and dared him to visit the U.S., if he would not be arrested. But his former boss and Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, widely believed to be one of the very few “owners of Nigeria”, stepped into the matter. The visa has now been granted. Obasanjo, believed to possess wide local and international contacts, is believed to be supporting Atiku for the office of president in 2019. However, a socio-political group, Initiative to Save Democracy has alleged that despite being issued with a visa, Atiku may not be able to make the trip to the U.S., as he may have gleaned from his recent London trip. A statement signed by its President, Akinloye James, claimed: “His (Atiku Abubakar) mission in the United Kingdom is to get the British government to help him secure the assurances of the United States Department of Justice that he will not be arrested upon setting foot in the U.S. soil. But the British government is reported to have informed Abubakar that the U.S. Department of Justice has made it clear that it cannot guarantee he will not be arrested.” A top source in the intelligence community has, also, hinted this newspaper that the visa issuance may be a Greek gift. “He may have been lured. If he falls for it, then there may not be a serious presidential election in 2019, as the major opposition party, that is, the APC, will not have a flagbearer”.

Buhari and the fake news of his death

By Raymond Eze
There is no gain saying the fact that all mortals are indebted to death. In Nigeria’s history, the fate of losing sitting or former Presidents and other prominent leaders has befallen us a number of times. Among such incidences were the deaths of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello(the Sardauna of Sokoto), General Aguyi Ironsi, General Murtala Muhammed, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, General Sani Abacha and Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’ Adua. In spite of the circumstances of their death, the news at least was never hidden. Some of them, if not all, were accorded State and/or religious rights of honour due them. Presidents die. They are human and mortal. But President Buhari has not died. He is not dead. He perhaps died only on the social media, Facebook pages and whatsapp groups. What has become the height of fake news which is now making the rounds started with one Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB. He dropped an allegation that Nigeria’s living President Muhammadu Buhari is an impostor. And the news is spreading like wild fire. The pain is that even lettered people who should know better are buying the story. Nonsense! What could have made these people this gullible? What magic or recreative power could have made this new Buhari have retentive memory or power of recognition? This must be a joke taken too far. There is no known technology that can impute his experience in the military, identification of associates, friends and relatives as well as experience in office if he is an impostor. Taking ill is not synonymous with death. If so, all that had taken ill before would have been dead. And perhaps the earth would have been empty because people fall sick every second. It baffles one that some people take their hatred for the President to the extent of wishing him dead. These haters should know that his family members still love him and want him alive, if not as President but as a father, a husband, a grandfather or an uncle etc. But proponents of this fake news won’t have any of such. They are rather engrossed in their infamous act of spreading fake news. They hate the President that, even if he is standing before them, they would prefer to believe that he is a ghost or an impostor as it is in this case. The masterminds of this ignoble act have attempted to convince their gullible audience through non-existing physiological comparisons. They maintain that he was sick beyond recovery. So how could he have recovered? To them, no miracle or medical efficacy could have restored his health, otherwise how can he look chubby after his sunken jaws and cheeks closed up in good health. Some have also gone to the extent of alleging that the Queen of England even commiserated with the country over the purported death. Others said the AU had a minute silence in his honour. Unbelievable! And no International protocol observed for or accorded him? For crying out loud, are these no longer World Affairs that could not have been hidden from international focus? Or did all the CNNs and BBCs of this world also die along with him? If the Queen commiserated with the country, who received her as the Chief mourner? It is important to put on record that President Buhari is an accomplished man, a member of the Kastina Emirate, a retired General of the Nigerian Army, Former Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. His death would, no doubt, be celebrated as done in the case of personalities of his class. He is indeed an accomplished person. The man is ain’t going anywhere yet. Life and death are beyond humans and their knowledge and abilities. Death is beyond our control. It has become obvious some people would have asked Buhari to die or take his life were that to be in their hands. Some others have insinuated that Buhari does not look sick anymore neither does he go for medical checkups as he used to. Why are you disturbed? This is an unusual and unsolicited care for the President. And sure, not out of love. Only mischief smells here. What is really the annoyance of these President haters? Are they really angry that he no longer travels often to seek medicare or are they pissed that they can no longer use that against him? The presidential campaigns for the 2019 general election is set to begin and so much thrash of this nature would be spilled on gullible individuals with the aim of defaming their opponent and canvassing for votes. This type of dirty politics is not healthy for the growth of democracy in the Country and Nigerian must beware. Although every individual is entitled to their opinions, it is disappointing for some interests to easily buy into the fake narrative being propagated by mischief makers who do not wish the country well. This is obviously not the best of times for the country. Some misguided groups or persons, for their selfish interests, are selling a toxic idea to the vulnerable. This, at a time like this, is capable of setting the Nation aflame. It is believed that Buhari has supporters. Who can say what kind of negative narratives they may have against their political opponents. And what if they have and decide to use it, who can imagine the extent to which it may go. Nigerians should be guided. We must join hands together to resist the unfolding propaganda in the interest of national unity and stability. Everything is not politics. This is not the time to play politics with the life of our President.

Armistice Day: Macron urges world leaders to reject nationalism

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged world leaders marking the centenary of the World War One Armistice to reject nationalism.

Addressing about 70 leaders in Paris - including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin - he called on them to "fight for peace". "Let us build our hopes rather than playing our fears against each other," he said. Many other events have been taking place around the world. Some 9.7 million soldiers and 10 million civilians died in World War One, which lasted from 1914 to 1918. Source: BBC News.

Corps members warned against strike action

Corps Members have been warned against embarking on strike action but rather remain at their duty posts as loyal and patriotic Nigerians. The Director-General, Brigadier General Suleiman Kazaure gave this warning today while address 2018 Batch "C" Stream One Corps Members at Ogun State Orientation Camp in Sagamu. Kazaure, while reading riot act to the Corps Members urged them to be law-abiding and respect the constitution of the country as responsible leaders of today and tomorrow. He added that there is no provision for strike action in NYSC Act but services that will uphold the corporate entity of the nation. The NYSC boss cautioned that any Corps Member that violates the rules and regulations of the NYSC Scheme would be sanctioned accordingly. Speaking further, General Kazaure promised that NYSC Management would continue to strive for the improved welfare and security of all Corps Members. He used the forum to appeal to the Corps Members to embrace skill acquisition in order to reduce the increasing rate of unemployment as it would enable the become wealth creators and employers of labour. Ogun State Coordinator, Mrs Josephine Bakare in her brief lamented the inadequate accommodation for Corps Members and Camp Officials and the need to expand the lecture hall in order to accommodate more Corps Members during lectures and other social activities. She also informed that the attention of the State Government has been drawn to non-payment of State allowance to Corps Members. "Corps Members with serious health challenges were given instant relocation. 21 nursing mothers and 4 Corps Members got instant relocation on health grounds", Bakare added. A total of 2,464 Corps Members comprising 1,207 males and 1,257 females registered in Ogun Camp
updated 12 minutes ago