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EFCC recovers N152Bn, $386m

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From Fred Itua,Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),  yesterday said it recovered  N152, 088,698,751.64; $386,220,202.84; £1,182,519.75; €156,246.76; 1,723,310.00 Saudi Riyal, 1,900.00 South African Rand, and 1, 400.00 Canadian Dollar between January and December 2021.

According to the Spokesman of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the recovery basket also included a digital currency component with 5,36957319 Bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum.

Headquarters of the Commission dominated the recoveries with N67, 249, 744, 994.89, $375,662,223.59 and £1,151,539.75.

It is closely followed by the Lagos Command which led the Naira recoveries with N70,315,611,260.52, $9,286,497.83 and £21,500.00.

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According to Uwujaren, Kaduna zonal command emerged third in terms of Naira recoveries with a total sum of N3, 339,405,723.93 while the Ibadan Zonal Command took the same in terms of Dollar recoveries to the tune of $387,385.00.

Giving an overview of the performance, Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, explained that the monies included direct and indirect recoveries for the different tiers of government (Federal, State and Local Governments), corporate organizations and individuals (victims of crime) within the year under review.

He commended the personnel of the Commission for the performance while urging them to redouble their efforts to ensure that perpetrators of economic and financial crimes are denied the benefit of the proceeds of crime.

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FERMA completes 10 road projects appropriated to Kebbi in 2021 – Official

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From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Kebbi state, has completed 10 road projects appropriated to the state under the special maintenance repairs and special intervention of COVID-19 projects in 2021.

The agency’s Maintenance Engineer in the state, Mr Rilwanu Usman, who confirmed this while speaking with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday said that the projects were completed in view of their economic and agricultural importance to people of the state.

According to him, “the works completed under special maintenance repairs are, construction of access road in Adamu Augie College of Education (COE), Argungu, which is 1.0 kilometre of access road constructed and about 750m line drain provided.

“Construction of culvert and drainage along Lailaba to Yeldu phase one, which was an additional 4.0 kilometres of earth road constructed with eight number culverts provided as well as culverts in 2.5 kilometres of road surface dressing as we are working within the limited fund.

“Special repairs of Malando-Ngaski–Warra Road, which is special repairs, involving patching of potholes, scraping of some section of about 2 kilometres in length, repaired with asphalt, among others.

“Emergency repairs of scoured pile caps of bridge three in the flood-prone Fadama section of Argungu- Bui road. Special maintenance repairs of Tuga- Ka’oje road which is 0.72 of failed section fully repaired, involving potholes, among others,” he said.

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Usman added that there were also five projects under the COVID19 special intervention programme which were competed in 2021.

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He said: “There was general maintenance of Birnin Kebbi-Jega- Sokoto road which is 1.7 kilometre of distress pavement strengthened with wearing course and overlaid a new layer of asphalt.

“We also have Kalgo- Bunza-Kamba road, which had been giving motorists headache because of failed section and it was repaired with asphalt concrete. Argungu-Bui road, as some failed section of the road, was repaired with asphalt wearing course, patching of potholes and construction of line drain.

“We have also completed 2.3 kilometres of Malando-Ngaski-Warra road, which was the certification of failed section and repairs with asphalt and well as patching of potholes.

“Lastly, Rijau- Ribah-Wasagu road, received attention under the COVID-19 programme as two number culverts were constructed, certified road length of 1.5 kilometres and patched more than 3,000 square meters of potholes under the COVID19 programme,” he said.

On direct labour, he said that the washed-out bridge of Argungu–Bui Road has also been repaired sequel to approval by the Agency’s Managing Director, Nuradeen Rafin-Dadi, in 2021.

“We have done no fewer than 20 direct labour projects last year, and we also have a series of approval to connect key roads with the main federal roads in the state.

“Through the efforts some of the lawmakers in the state, we have installed numerous solar street lights in Koko, and are undergoing construction of drains and other road furniture, among other projects yet to come,” Usman said.

The maintenance engineer commanded FERMA’s MD, lawmakers, Attorney -General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for their efforts in making the state to be among the best in the maintenance of federal roads in the country.

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Buhari’s media aide Shehu follows Tinubu media support group on Twitter

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, is now following the Tinubu media support group on Twitter.

The presidential media aide, who has over 1.2 million followers, joined the microblogging site in April 2015 and follows 365 other Twitter users.

The Tinubu Media Support Group (TMS) with the handle @TinubuMediaS was opened this month following former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu’s public declaration to contest for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

The profile of the group describes it as “Volunteer Media Support, BAT Fans, Promoters of BAT’23 project.”

So far, the group follow 455 Twitter users and it is being followed by 954 followers including the presidential spokesman.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had declined to disclose his choice of successor in a recent media interview with Channels Television, saying he would rather keep it to himself to prevent the individual from being “eliminated.”

Buhari had said: “No. I wouldn’t because he may be eliminated if I mention it. I better keep it secret.”

Tinubu had on January 10th, while in the State House Abuja, disclosed that he had informed President Buhari of his intention to vie for the presidential ticket of the ruling party.

He said as a democrat, President Buhari did not stop him from attempting to pursue his lifelong ambition.

The APC chieftain had while responding on if he had informed President Buhari about his ambition said: “I will answer that with categorical yes. I’ve informed the President of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people will I consult. You will soon hear, all you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten the truth from me that I have informed Mr President of my ambition, you don’t expect more answers than that.”

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#EndSARS: Borno youth regains freedom after 15 months, says ‘hunger almost killed me in Kirikiri prison’

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Fifteen months after being arrested and wrongly detained for taking part in the #EndSARS protest, Peter John, regained freedom.

John, who hails from Borno State, told that he is 23 years old.

According to John, he was arrested on October 23, 2020 on his way to work but set free 15 months after his arrest.

“I had a horrible expereince in prison. I was arrested for what I didn’t do. I was not arrested at any riot venue. I was arrested days after the riot on my way to work at Lekki new market,” he told our correspondent while sharing his ordeal in prison.

The young man said he thought that he was going to die in prison because of hunger and beating from “senior” prisoners.

While emphasing that he suffered for an offence he knew nothing about, the 23-year-old said, “They arrested me at Lekki Phase I. I was arrested because of the #EndSARS protest that I never took part in.

“They told me that I was part of those that caused riots in Lagos State. They also said I was part of those that burnt government properties. These are lies.

“I saw many bad things in the prison. I also learnt how to praise God and stay with people in difficult times. I  have many painful experiences to share.

“I really suffered there. It was a very painful experience. I almost died ofhunger. A lot of people die of hunger there. Prisoners cannot even consume the kind of food they give to us.  They give us food two times a day. In the morning, they give us beans and you dare eat the beans, you will fall sick and suffer diarrhoea.After the beans, they will give us Garri (casava) in the evening.

“I fell seriously sick in the prison. If not for God and my family, I should have been dead. I wouldn’t have been alive to grant this interview. Some people who are seniors in the cell do beat us. They also send us on errands.

“Kirikiri prison is a place where you must do everything you are asked to do. You have no freedom. You will be severely beaten if you resist, your human rights don’t matter, and you can’t say anything.”

John said it took the intervention of his parents and human rights lawyer, Festus Ogun, for him to regain freedom.

“I thank God that the lawyer helped me out. He also helped others. I have really suffered a lot. We are plenty that they arrested. Many innocent people are in the prison because of EndSARS. Some are still there as we speak,” he added.

While lamenting that John was kept in prison despite the strucking out of his case by the court, the lawyer called for a reform of Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

He said, “We need an urgent reform in our criminal justice system. This should not happen in the first place but the criminal justice system is criminal.

“The case was struck out December 17, 2021.  It is the authority who arrested and took him to prison that should ensure he is out since the case was struck out, but they refused. We need to fix the system.”

The #ENDSARS protests lasted between October 7th and 20th in Lagos and several other states of the federation.

While the protests lasted, relations, friends, and associates of missing persons claimed their relations had either been killed or held incommunicado by security agents.

Of particular concern was the Lekki toll gate shooting of Tuesday, October 20, where peaceful #ENDSARS protesters were shot at by security agents, leading to a yet-to-be ascertained number of casualties.

The shooting incident had attracted national and international outcry, with the Lagos State and Federal governments being urged to unravel the identity of the shooters and who deployed them.

Ajudicial panel set up by Lagos State said people were killed at Lekki tollgate by security operatives but the government through a whitepaper panel debunked the claim.

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