Pandora Papers

PANDORA PAPERS: FIRS vows to go after culpable individuals

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has vowed actions to determine and punish possible tax offences following the landmark Pandora Papers investigation in which a number of rich and powerful Nigerians have been named.

The Pandora Papers project involves 617 journalists and 151 media outlets collaborating to investigate a vast amount of previously hidden offshore records of the powerful and super rich in the world.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the trove of 11.9 million confidential files and led the partners, including Nigeria’s PREMIUM TIMES, that spent two years sifting through them, tracking down sources and digging into court files and other public records from dozens of countries.

The leaked records come from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients often seeking to keep their financial activities in the shadows.

In the Nigerian series, published by PREMIUM TIMES, a number of Nigerian serving and past public officers have been reported as having links to offshore companies, many undeclared in accordance with the law and some others used to anonymously acquire UK properties.

Offshore firms are not necessarily illegal and they are at times used for legitimate purposes. But they feature prominently in illicit financial flows. Corrupt politicians use them to steal and launder proceeds of corruption across international jurisdictions.

Nigerians reported so far include ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu; former minister and serving senator, Stella Oduah; NPA acting chief Mohammed Bello-Koko; and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State as well as their associates.

PREMIUM TIMES

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IPOB suspends sit-at-home indefinitely

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has reiterated the suspension of all forms of sit-at-home till further notice.

A statement by the media and publicity director of the group, Emma Powerful, yesterday, however, warned anybody attempting to enforce the order to shelve their plan or have themselves to blame.

Powerful disclosed that already, a task force has been set up to that effect to check those who might attempt to enforce the order especially on Friday.

“We have set up a taskforce to deal with such hooligans. My fellow Biafrans, there is no crack in IPOB and there is no sit at home order again this week until the day our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, will appear in court and our people must disregard any statement that is not from our media and publicity secretary Emma Powerful.

“IPOB is not going to order sit-at-home on Friday again because our people have suffered a lot but agent of darkness living in Europe thinks he can succeed but it’s little time he will realise that we are smarter and intelligent than him. Our people should go their normal business on Friday there is no more sitting at home order from IPOB,” Powerful stated.

Similarly, the group denied involvement in the killing of an Anglican priest, Reverend Emeka Merenu in Ihitte Ukwa, Orsu council area of Imo State recently.

“It is not in our DNA to kill ordained priest who was not in any way working against Biafran restoration. We want to make it categorically clear that Nigeria security agencies created unknown gunmen which are select Fulani terrorists operating in the name of unknown gunmen,” Powerful alleged.

IPOB has also warned traditional rulers, highly placed politicians and religious leaders in the South East to be more cautious, claiming that there was a secret plot to eliminate them and blame it on its Security outfit,Eastern Security Network (ESN).

“God has endorsed Biafra restoration.  We, therefore, advise all tradinonal rulers,  politicians, religious leaders and other VIPs in Biafra land to be very circumspect. The enemies have a secret agenda to eliminate them and blame it on IPOB just to demonise us. They should take this alert very seriously,” Powerful warned.

SUN

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Buni’s Position as Caretaker Chair Not Injurious to APC Congresses, Anambra Guber, Says APC Counsel

Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Ondo State governorship election, which upheld the victory of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the lead counsel of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Michael Akinyola (SAN) during the legal tussle has said the position of the Governor of Yobe State and the Caretaker Chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni is not injurious to the party congresses slated for weekend and the forthcoming Anambra election.

Akintola who addressed a press conference on Thursday morning alongside the Secretary of the party, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, called on all prey members not to entertain any fear.

He said the Tribunal ruled that the holding of political position does not contravene Section 183 of the Constitution, which he said was upheld by the Appeal Court as well as the Supreme court.

Akeredolu’s victory, which rested on a split judgment of four against three out of the seven justices on the election panel, had managed to scale through because the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to join Buni in the matter.

The PDP candidate in the election, Eyitayo Jegede, apparently not satisfied with the appeal court judgment in the petition, had approached the apex court to upturn the decision of the appellate court and declare him and the PDP winner on grounds that Akeredolu was not validly nominated as candidate of the APC in the said election.

His prayer was hinged on the fact that the acting National Chairman of the APC and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, was the one, who forwarded Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidate of the APC in the October 20, 2020 poll.

Details later….

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Malami, Buratai behind Sunday Igboho’s detention in Cotonou -Yoruba Nation agitators

Yoruba Nation agitators under the aegis of Yoruba Koya Liberation Movement have blamed the Minister of Justice and Antoney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and a former Chief of Army Staff and Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Tukur Buratai, for the detention of Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho in Cotonou.

Sunday Igboho, a Yoruba rights activist, was on Monday, returned to prison with fresh charges levelled against him.

The Yoruba Self-Determination Group also told the president, President Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd), and other officers of the Nigerian Government to “desist from oppressing humanity or face a disastrous end”.

In a statement signed by Yoruba Koya Director of Media and Communications, Oluwafemi Oluwajuyitan, the agitators urged Buhari and other Nigerian leaders “putting political pressure on Benin Republic to jail Ighoho to remember that nothing lasts forever”.

“Events unfolding in recent times has made it imperative to remind those who currently wield power to tread softly and remember that everything with a start will surely have an end.

“Recent events only remind one that in the face of suppression of truth and oppression of the masses, the oppressors have always consistently lost at the end.

“One cannot help but remember the brutish rule and reign of the dark-goggled General Abacha and how he ruled with iron fist. We remember how individuals who stood for the truth and the declaration of June 12 election were hounded by state-sponsored hitmen. We remember how the dictator ended in ignominy.

“The present administration, being a democratically elected government, has surpassed previous military juntas in the bare-knuckled use of brute force to silence every voice of dissent.

“More worrisome is the rate of nepotism and a barely veiled attempt to the lord an ethnic group over others. The dual law being applied by the state is also a cause for concern as Bandits, terrorists, and kidnappers in certain parts of the country are treated to sumptuous dinners with state actors while agitators for self-determination of their people are hounded and treated as common criminals.

“The Gestapo invasion of Chief Sunday Igboho’s house, the killing and abduction of his associates and his eventual arrests in Benin Republic at the request of this government are testaments of this government’s effort at ensuring that their lawlessness remains unchecked.

“We, as a Yoruba self-determination group, sees it’s time that this government and its actors of impunity are reminded that nothing lasts forever. Nigerians are in the countdown to the end of this administration even as calls are made to the International Criminal Court to keep the dossier of reports sent to them as they will become useful in no distant future,” the statement added.

PUNCH

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Nation

I thought Odumakin’s death was April Fool Day’s prank – Ozekhome

A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Dr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on Sunday described Yinka Odumakin as a “courageous wordsmith whose pen is mightier than the sword.”

Yinka, a vocal activist, and columnist, died at LASUTH on Saturday from COVID-19 complications.

His wife, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, told The PUNCH that he was recovering and had asked for his phones and gadgets before he relapsed and died.

Ozekhome in a statement said, “When I saw a posting concerning Comrade Yinka Odumakin’s death, I thought the poster was still carrying out the pranks of ‘April Fool’s Day’… Out of sheer curiosity, I called one of our soul mates in the human rights and pro-democracy world, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, who has been a life-long Yinka’s wife.”

He added that he was devastated when Joe confirmed Yinka’s death, adding that he had “not found my clarity of thought since then.”

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, described the death of Odumakin as a monumental loss to the country, the human rights community and the OAU.

A statement on Sunday by the Public Relations Officer of OAU, Abiodun Olarewaju, said Odumakin who graduated from the Department of English Language of the institution in 1989, “was a vibrant student activist, a mass mobiliser, a great orator and the Public Relations Officer of the Students Union.”

The statement said, “As an Alumnus, he assisted the Faculty of Arts in raising funds for a few projects that were of immense benefits to the staff and students.”

Source; PUNCH

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Buhari’s son in-law poses with rare lion, sets tongue wagging

Ahmed Indimi, son-in-law of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), has shared pictures of a white lion on the leash on social media with the caption “my new pet.”

It is not immediately clear if Mr. Indimi is in a petting zoo.

The white lion is a rare color mutation of the lion, specifically the Southern African lion, Wikipedia reports.

“White lions in the area of Timbavati are thought to have been indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa for centuries, although the earliest recorded sighting in this region was in 1938,” it says.

According to online portal, Travel & Leisure, only about a dozen white lions exist in the wild today.

“That’s according to the Global White Lion Protection Trust, which was founded by South African conservationist Linda Tucker in 2002 to help protect white lions and reintroduce them into the wild.

“White lions are not albinos,” the portal adds.

White lions occur naturally in South Africa and have been sighted in the Greater Timbavati and southern Kruger Park region.

According to the Global White Lion Protection Trust, the white colouration in white lions is similar to blue eyes in humans, which is also due to a recessive gene.

In Nigeria, singer Runtown, businessman Soso Soberekon and DJ Cuppy are proud owners of the rare lion.

To show that he’s also a proud owner of a white lion, Indimi flaunted his pet on Instagram in a picture that has him dressed in white to match.

In the comment section, one @amma_licious said, “I really hope it’s a joke because these are endangered animals. Their population is diminishing due to poaching and such acts of keeping as pets.”

One Lilvicky68 on Nairaland forum said, “I wish the lion could take a lovely bite.”

Another member of the forum, Wallade, said, “In a sane country, Animal Control Authority or Animal Rights Group would evacuate the animal from his custody, with or without his consent. No one has the right to keep a wild and very dangerous animal like a lion as a pet. The animal belongs to the zoo or wild.”

On Twitter, @sadedoyin1990 wrote in Pidgin English, saying, ” Nah the lion go kill ham las las.”

Source: PUNCH

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Experts Identify Steps Required to Tackle Fake News

Experienced media practitioners and Public Affairs commentators, including veteran broadcaster, Bimbo Oloyede and Canada-based writer, Susan Ponting, have pointed out that upholding basic ethics of journalism by practitioners are still important tools needed to address fake news and hate speech brought about by citizen journalism and social media.

In particular, the two top practitioners have urged journalists to ensure information is properly checked before going to the public with the news.

Speaking at a virtual conference anchored by Richard Landau and Ola Adebayo recently, the media practitioners expressed concern over the damage citizen journalists and social media have caused, stressing that journalists in the mainstream media must change the narrative.

With the theme: ‘Citizen vs Civic journalism: Dealing with fake and hate news in the digital age”, Oloyede specifically said social media has been very misleading in many instances, though it has some of its advantages but “we have to be careful”.

“As journalists, we are professionals. There is a responsibility that goes with information that many people don’t have. They don’t have the training and knowledge and I agree that it is important for all news organizations inasmuch as we need information, but we have to be very careful that what we are collecting and disseminating is actually as close to the truth as possible,” she said.

Similarly, Ponting observed: “I am sceptical about a lot of stories. Whatever that maybe, it’s about weighing a lot of information and taking time to get the stories right and pick out the truth and presenting them. With so much information coming from everywhere, I think what we need to do as journalists and writers is that we must investigate the stories. Journalists must follow the code of ethics and the younger generation must also learn from the older generation about the standards and procedures of telling stories.”

Conclusively, Bimbo added that civic journalism focuses on real issues. It chases substance and not shadows. Civic journalism embraces the traditional approach to journalism, increases public awareness, encourages responsible public engagement but citizen journalism has led to the emergence of fake news.

“My problem with citizen journalism is that there is a freedom that is almost too much. Definitely news has become more entertaining since there has been wide access to information through social media. And I don’t take away from the fact that news is drama and drama is entertainment.

“We have to be truthful and accurate. We should not manipulate public sentiments. We should make efforts to tell all sides of the story and we also need to exhibit fair coverage,” she said.

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Final year student commits suicide over ‘cheating girlfriend’

A final year student of the Federal University, Dutse (FUD), Jigawa State has committed suicide after accusing his girlfriend of cheating on him on Valentine’s Day.

The university’s spokesperson, Abdullahi Bello, told PREMIUM TIMES the incident occurred on Monday. He added that the vice chancellor, Abdulkareem Sabo, has ordered an investigation.

He said the deceased, Abdullahi Bashir, a 400-level student of Mathematics, died after ingesting an insecticide, Sniper, at his off campus apartment at Yalwawa quarters in Dutse.

Mr Bashir was pronounced dead at Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital in Dutse, the official added.

The university identified his girlfriend as Rafi’atu, but gave no further details.

To check recurrence of incidents like that, Mr Bello said the university is establishing a mentorship programme “in which each students will have an academic mentor attached to him throughout their stay in the university”.

“Also, the university will strengthen the guidance and counselling unit under the Student Affairs Division where every students will have dedicated time to interact with their mentor on problems affecting them in the school,” Mr Bello said.

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It was Fun, Pomp, and Pageantry at Bamisaye’s Sendoff Ceremony.

Yesterday, it was an escalation of joy, pomp, and pageantry as the former General Manager of Ekiti State Community and Social Development, EKCDA, Mr. Steve Bamisaye was finally bid farewell after he retired from the agency. The sendoff party which was put together by the management and staff of the agency was an unexpected parting gift to Bamisaye who was generally described at the ceremony as a man of honor, character, and integrity. 

His passion and commitment for development services was the first thing that endeared him to me, said the board chairman of the Agency, Chief Biodun Akin Fasae in his goodwill message to the outgoing GM. 

“Mr. Steve Bamisaye is a man who gave everything to community services. His unparalleled passion and commitment for community services gave rise to the level of successes recorded under his leadership at the agency. He is no doubt a man of honor, character, and integrity. We will all miss him,” said Akin Fasae.

The Acting General Manager of the Agency, Mr. Femi Ojuawo in his opening remarks told the gathering that he respected Bamisaye for his integrity and passion for his work. 

“I was the Project Manager Finance and Administration under Bamisaye for over 10 years, and I can tell everyone here that at no point did Mr. Bamisaye ask me to do anything in his favor. He carried community work on his head and he delivered to all the communities the promises of the agency without looking back for any form of gratification. If there is anything that cannot be taken away from him, is his integrity, even his worst enemy will tell you that,” Ojuawo said.

The Secretary to the Government of Ekiti State, Hon. Biodun Oyebanji who was represented at the ceremony by Mrs. Kemi Ayegbusi, a Permanent Secretary at the SSG’s office described Bamisaye as someone she had known for over forty years.

“Bamisaye is another name for integrity. As a young girl in those days, I have known him for what people have been saying about him today. He was a man in the heart of my late father who himself a thoroughbred disciplinarian. Bamisaye gave everything to community development and the service of Ekiti State.”

Other guests at the ceremony also spoke glowingly of Bamisaye. The Manager M&E, Mr. Folarin Osatuyi said the agency would greatly miss Bamisaye, a father-like leader. Dr. Olu Ayeni, the Operations Manager, who handed the agency parting gift to the outgoing GM described him as a great ally in community projects development. Prayers were also offered to the outgoing GM before staff and guests took to the dancing floor to dance with the celebrant.

Under the leadership of Mr. Steve Bamisaye, the Agency supported more than 600 communities in 313 communities reaching over 300,000 beneficiaries across the 16 Local Government Areas of the State. The Agency during this period made a significant impact in the provision of rural infrastructure under varied sectors such as electricity, water, road, health, social-economic, environmental, gender, and vulnerable group investments across the state. 

In all these, Mr. Bamisaye displayed the highest level of trust in the discharge of his responsibilities to the state, communities, and all the relevant stakeholders on the project. His commitment, dedication, and purposeful leadership helped the Agency to receive many accolades from various stakeholders particularly from the World Blank, FPSU, and from the Committee of General Managers of all CSDP in the country.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Steve Bamisaye is a perfect gentleman whom the Board, Management, and staff of the Agency and community of CSDP would miss.

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Disqualification: Set Aside High Court Judgement, Ize-Iyamu Tells Appeal Court

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 Edo 2020 Governorship election, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has appealed a High Court ruling nullifying his candidacy alongside the running mate, Gani Audu.

Igbere TV had reported how an Edo State High Court, Wednesday, disqualified both candidates from the tightly-contested guber race which remains subject of litigation over contended discrepancies in the academic credentials of the winner, Governor Godwin Obaseki.

In an appeal against the judgement over alleged infractions contained in the documents submitted to INEC by the Deputy Governorship candidate, Gani Audu, Ize-Iyamu asked the court of appeal to set aside judgment of the trial court delivered in suit No. B/358/2020 on the 6th January 2021.

The appeal, sighted by Igbere TV, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the Edo state high court sitting in Benin City contained in judgment of Honorable Justice Helen A. Courage-Ogbebor.

Among numerous reasons for the appeal is that the suit is statute-barred.

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