Archives August 2023

You’ve our backing, Russian delegation tells Burkina Faso’s coup leaders

A delegation from Russia on Thursday stormed Burkina Faso and pledged full support for the military junta in the West African country.

Speaking after the meeting with military Head of State, Captain Ibrahim Traore, the Russian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Defense of the federation of Russia, Colonel General Younous-Bek Evkourov, said various areas of cooperation were discussed.

“We discussed the issues raised during the meeting between the President of the Transition of Burkina Faso and the federation of Russia during the Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg.” We have also addressed the findings of the exchanges between the ministers in charge of defense of the two countries in Russia,” the Deputy Minister said at the end of the meeting.

The Russian delegation also presented the actions already taken in the field of military cooperation and discussed the perspectives with the Head of State. “These are all spheres including military and technical cooperation but also cooperation in the fields of economy, nuclear energy and all issues that could spark cooperation,” explained Colonel-General Younous-Bek .

The head of the Russian delegation assured the military Head of State of his country’s support for the Transition and the Burkinabe people in all sectors of development.

Several media reported that a coup d’état took place in Burkina Faso on 30 September 2022, removing Interim President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba over his alleged inability to deal with the country’s Islamist insurgency.

Damiba had come to power in a coup d’état just eight months earlier. Captain Ibrahim Traoré took over as interim leader.

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Haaland joins winners’ list of UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award

Erling Haaland has won the UEFA Player of the Year award to join the list of elite footballers who have reached this feat in previous years.

The Manchester City striker was voted ahead of Kevin de Bruyne and Lionel Messi.

Haaland helped his Manchester City side achieve a treble victory, scoring 52 goals in 53 games.

We highlight the last 10 winners of the prestigious UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award. They are;

Karim Benzema (2021/22)
Jorginho (2020/21)
Robert Lewandowski (2019/20)
Virgil van Dijk (2018/19)
Luka Modrić (2017/18)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2016/17)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2015/16)
Lionel Messi (2014/15)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2013/14)
Franck Ribéry (2012/13)

(Punch)

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I’m working for Tinubu, not APC – Wike

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday, clarified that he is working for President Bola Tinubu and not the All Progressives Congress.

“I am not working for APC. I am working for Tinubu who have trust in me to help him deliver the renewed hope,” Wike said when he featured on Channels TV Politics Today.

He added, “I owe nobody any apology at all. I was in PDP and I worked for Ahmed Bola Tinubu to become the President of Nigeria.”

The PUNCH reports that controversy surrounded Wike’s reported APC membership after his name featured in the ruling party’s campaign council for the governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states on November 11.

This followed the denial, on Tuesday night, by the party of releasing the controversial documents containing notable names of chairmen, co-chairmen and members of the campaign councils for the governorship elections that went viral in the media and online platforms.

The rebuttal was contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka.

The statement read, “The attention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to National Campaign Council Lists for November 11 2023 Governorship Elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo States in circulation in sections of the media.

“The lists are not official documents of the Party and should be disregarded,” the APC rebuttal read.

The inclusion of Wike, which was revealed in the documents signed and posted on the social media platform of the ruling party on Tuesday evening by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Arugungu, generated heated debate, especially in the camp of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

But speaking on Wednesday night, the minister insisted that he is still a member of the main opposition party.

He, however, said he owes nobody an apology for supporting Tinubu during the February 25 presidential election.

Asked if he is afraid if his party would take disciplinary actions against him, the former Rivers State governor responded: “Who is the party? Who are they?

“With all due respect, I have not seen that person who will suspend me. Nobody will do it. Who will discipline me? I should be the one calling for the discipline of these people who violated the party’s constitution. Who dare say they will suspend me? Who is the person?”

(Punch)

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Presidential candidates of opposition parties beg Tinubu for appointment

Some opposition candidates who participated in the 2023 presidential election have made an appeal to President Bola Tinubu to consider them for appointment in his government of unity.

The plea was made when the candidates, under the aegis of Forum of Concerned Presidential Candidates, paid a courtesy visit to the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, at the party secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.

The delegation comprised the presidential candidate of Action Peoples Party, Charles Nnadi; his counterpart in National Rescue Movement, Felix Osakwe; All Progressives Grand Alliance flag bearer, Prof Peter Umeadi, Action Democratic Party Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr Odey Udo and the leader of the team, Adewale Adeogun.

In his speech, Osakwe disclosed that they are not known to practice politics with bitterness, stressing that it was evident by their refusal to jump on the bandwagon of candidates dragging the president to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in the wake of the poll result.

Consequently, the NRM candidate demanded they be drafted into the campaign councils for the November 11 elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States, stressing that they are willing to offer their services to the president in the spirit of inclusive politics.

He said, “I feel Mr chairman you will be the right person to lead us to meet with Mr. President. So that we can air our own views in his presence and also to let him know that it is not all the presidential candidates that were against him. We chose not to go to court because this is Nigeria. We are here to thank you and God.

“The former presidential candidates are willing to offer our services to this country. We have a demand and it is for the party. That a slot in the campaign council for the Governorship elections should be made available to us. Those of us that have piloted this, we held a meeting. And we are asked to demand from you a presence in the campaign Council. We believed that our job is much more wanted now as we prepare to go into the polls in the three states in November.

“I am to submit two names to the chairman. And we believe by your power and by the special grace of God, it shall be done with your help. We will do our best to make sure that the three states that are going for the polls succeed. And with what we have been doing, we are going to mobilise our parties in those states for your party.”

Reacting, Ganduje applauded the team for putting for supporting the president’s ideology of inclusive politics and government of national unity.

The APC national chairman also reassured the delegation that he will present their demand to the president.

The former Kano governor also threw a jab at an undisclosed presidential candidate, who he claimed hijacked his party, which he subsequently converted to a revenue generation platform.

“I will convey your request and ensure that you see Mr President eye to eye. I thank you for being faithful to your respective parties. You are not like one political aspirant who became a presidential candidate by accident and by hijacking another party because he was partyless. He could not give account accordingly to INEC because it cannot qualify it to be a political party. He decided to hijack a political party. And since, he could not realise his aspirations he decided to make that party a revenue platform rather than a political party.

“He has now decided to even expel the founder. God forbids. He will not succeed. But I salute you presidential candidates for being good ambassadors of your own political parties, not destroyers of your own political parties and for not turning your political parties to your source of revenue. Since you cannot get the presidential tickets, you will get pocket ticket. I thank you. No doubt we will include you in the three states that we are having elections come November this year,” Ganduje reassured the delegation.

(Punch)

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Banks dismiss 110 top executives, others over N82bn fraud in two years – report

At least 110 top bank executives and junior staff members have been sacked for fraud-related cases in the past two years, findings by The PUNCH have shown.

These were contained in the ‘Reports of Fraud and Forgeries in Nigerian Banks’’ released by the Financial Institutions Training Centre between the second quarter of 2021 and Q2 2023.

FITC’s institutional members are members of the Nigerian Banker’s Committee, which comprises the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, and all licensed banks in Nigeria.

A breakdown showed that while only four bank officials were sacked in Q2 2021, the figure rose by 175 per cent to 11 in Q2 2023.

The highest number of sacked top bank executives and junior staff members was recorded in Q3 2022. Twenty officials were fired.

The PUNCH observed that between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, 52 bank staff members were sacked for fraud-related issues.

However, between Q3 2022 and Q2 2023, 58 bank staff members were sacked for the same reason.

Also, within the period under review, the sacked staff members were involved in a total of 967 fraud cases.

The highest number of cases was recorded in Q4 2021, with 410 cases involving bank staff, while the lowest was recorded in Q3 2021, with 32 cases.

The PUNCH further observed that between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, bank staff were involved in 657 cases, while between Q3 2022 and Q2 2023, they were involved in 310 cases.

Also, about N18.01bn was lost due to fraud committed by bank staff and outsiders within the reviewed period out of a total of N81.69bn involved in fraud cases.

The PUNCH learnt that the highest amount lost was N5.79bn in Q2 2023, while the lowest amount lost was N472.28m in Q1 2023.

For the total amount involved, the highest amount was N34.78bn in Q3 2021, while the lowest amount was N1.18bn in Q2 2022.

The PUNCH further observed that mobile fraud, computer/web fraud, and P0S-related fraud were the most prevalent types of fraud, and this trend persisted in Q2 2023.

In June 2022, the PUNCH reported the continued trial of three former workers with the First Bank of Nigeria facing attempted fraud charges before a Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja.

The defendants, Ozioma Ugorji, 35; Ugwu Emeka, 32; and Obike Chukwuka, 38, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission for allegedly attempting to steal N20bn from the bank.

The PUNCH learnt that the defendants conspired to tap into the bank’s server to grant access to a syndicate.

They were, however, apprehended by the EFCC on March 6, 2021, following an intelligence report.

In June this year, four men were arraigned at the Yaba Magistrates’ Court for allegedly defrauding their employer, Think Finance Microfinance Bank of N150m in the FESTAC Town area of Lagos State.

The defendants include the company’s Head of Risk Management, Ojimi Ayodeji, the Loan Officer, Isaac Eddy, Joseph Setonji and Juwon Irinyemi, and were arraigned before Magistrate Patrick Nwaka on three counts of theft.

The PUNCH had reported recently that four Nigerian deposit money banks lost a total of N1.77bn to fraudulent activities involving the banks’ employees and consumers in 2021.

This was contained in the 2021 financial statements of the banks, which included Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, First Monument City Bank, and Wema Bank.

The PUNCH also reported that Access Bank, GTB and Fidelity Bank recorded 26,877 fraud cases in the first six months of this year, according to analyses of their financial reports for the first half of 2022.

This was a 56.45 per cent decrease from the 61,715 fraud cases that were recorded by the banks between June and December, 2021.

The President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogunbunka, recently urged banks to educate their staff and create protective measures that would discourage fraud.

Commenting, ICT expert and Senior Partner of e86 Limited, Olugbenga Odeyemi, recently said several fraud cases needed insiders from banks.

He stated, “Some of the hacking and fraud cases that we’ve seen, happened not because of the lack of security on the banks’ electronic platforms, but because of poverty, greed, and sometimes the lack of education on the part of the customers.

“Other than asking banks to invest more in the security of their platforms, it’s equally important that banks spend more resources on educating their customers.

“That said, several fraud cases couldn’t have happened without the help of insiders in some of the banks. I think Nigerian banks should spend more money on the welfare of their staff while making appropriate changes to their internal processes, starting from their hiring processes.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, recently urged the CBN to introduce sanctions and eliminate policies that promote corruption.

He said, “I think what they can do is to activate sanctions on anyone found wanting. Aside from the tracking, there must be evidence. And once there is evidence, they should close in on anyone they find. Cyber fraud is the biggest threat in the banking industry.’’

The FITC advised banks to strengthen their security protocols and utilise advanced fraud detection systems.

It said, “Considering the rise in the total amount involved in fraud cases and the amount lost, Nigerian banks should strengthen their security protocols and systems to prevent unauthorised access to customer accounts and sensitive information. This may involve incorporating measures such as multi-factor authentication, implementing strong encryption techniques, and ensuring regular security updates are in place.”

(Punch)

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NSCDC nabs security guard, teacher for raping teenagers in Kwara

The Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on Wednesday paraded two suspects, Idowu Yahaya and John Balogun, for allegedly raping and sexually abusing two teenagers.

 Yahaya (39), a private security guard at the Gaa Akanbi area of Ilorin was alleged to have raped a 15-year-old girl in an office in the Gaa Akanbi area, Ilorin while 49-year-old Balogun, a teacher in a private school, allegedly raped his step-daughter, a 17-year-old girl at the Osere area also in Ilorin.

The state Commandant of the NSCDC, Mohammed Umar, urged parents and guardians to be vigilant always.

He also stressed that children should be encouraged to have intimate talks with their parents if they have problems, not only with a stranger but also with a friend or close relative.

“They should know a safe, well-travelled route to take to and from school and Isolated areas should be avoided,” he added.

(Punch)

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Pastor sets lady on fire during special prayer in Ogun

A 21-year-old lady identified as Sukura Owodunni has allegedly been set ablaze by a pastor, Taiwo Odebiyi, when he was trying to perform deliverance on her at his Cherubim and Seraphim Maberu Parish located in Offin in the Sagamu area of Ogun State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the incident happened on August 17, 2023, when the victim visited the church for a special prayer at the pastor’s invitation.

Our correspondent further learnt that the pastor directed the victim to buy Amazing Grace perfume, local eggs and a candle for the special prayer.

While praying for her, the pastor was said to have poured the perfume on the lady’s body and lit the candle.

Immediately after the pastor lit the candle, Owodunni was said to have gone up in flames, causing serious burns to her chest, shoulder and legs.

PUNCH Metro further gathered from an eyewitness that the suspect was immediately arrested after the Divisional Police Officer in Adigbe, CSP Abdulfattah Ogunsanya, and his men stormed the premises on Tuesday.

Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Omolola Odutola, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent on Wednesday, noted that further investigation had commenced to unravel the circumstances surrounding the case.

“The lady was said to have been abandoned to fend for her medical bills after the incident. The victim has been taken to the hospital for medical attention.

“Our men have arrested the suspect. The case will be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department after the preliminary investigation is perfected,” Odutola told PUNCH Metro.

(Punch)

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LG polls: APC, PDP, other five parties battle for 210 seats in Edo

Electorates in Edo State are expected to vote for 18 council chairmen and 192 councillors in Saturday’s local government polls that will take place in 4,519 polling units across the state.

Chairman of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission, Justice James Oyomire (retd.), who stated this on Wednesday in Benin, said arrangements had been finalised to ensure the deployment or movement of electoral materials to the polling units.

He stated that there are 18 registered parties in the country but only 11 invited EDSIEC to capture their primaries and forms were given to them with only seven parties submitting forms before the deadline.

Parties that will participate in the election, according to the chairman, are the Accord Party, African Action Congress, Africa Democratic Congress, Allied Peoples Movement, All Progressives Congress, Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party.

Oyomire said, “Seven political parties who submitted their forms will take part in this election. The election will take place in 4,519 polling units in 192 wards in the state. 18 local government chairmen and 192 councillors seats will be contested across the state.

“In order to ensure adequate security before, during and after the election, the commission engaged relevant security agencies in the state, while we interacted with the electorate and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the exercise.”

“The commission is ready. Adequate training has been given to election officers and personnel, while logistic arrangements are in place for the deployment of election materials to polling units,” he added.

(Punch)

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UK tops list of registered Nigerians in diaspora – Commission

The United Kingdom tops the list of registered Nigerians in Diaspora, according to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

On June 29, 2021, NiDCOM launched its Data Mapping and Registry Portal in Abuja, in a bid to galvanise holistic and realistic data of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

According to the data made available to our correspondent on Wednesday, Diasporas from 28 countries have so far registered on the portal as of the time of filing this report.

Although the commission did not provide a figure for the total number of registered diasporas, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs put Nigeria’s Diaspora population at 1.7 million in 2020.

The breakdown of the data provided by NiDCOM showed that registered Nigerians in the UK were at 22.5 per cent, followed by the United States of America at 21.4 per cent; and the United Arab Emirates at 5.4 per cent registered Diasporas.

Others include Qatar, 4.8 per cent; Canada, 4.4 per cent; South Africa, 4.0 per cent; Germany, 2.5 per cent; Saudi Arabia, 2.3 per cent; Italy, 2.3 per cent; Gnana, 1.5 per cent; Malaysia, 1.1 per cent; France, 0.9 per cent; Spain, 0.9 per cent; and Uganda, 0.7 per cent.

The data also showed that Australia had 0.7 per cent; China, 0.7 per cent; the Benin Republic, 0.7 per cent; Sierra Leone, 0.7 per cent; Turkey, 0.7 per cent; Switzerland; 0.7 per cent; Russia, 0.6 per cent; Philippines, 0.6 per cent; Niger Republic, 0.6 per cent; Ireland, 0.6 per cent; Ukraine with 0.5 per cent; and Kyrgyzstan, 0.1 per cent.

Speaking on the low registration, the NiDCOM’s Head of Technology Transfer Innovation, Abdulrahman Terab, said “Most Diasporas are just gaining confidence in the country. We try as much as possible that the Diasporas register online whenever we have programmes, events, or activities.”

(Punch)

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UCL group stage draw: Real Madrid, Arsenal, Man City, others to know opponents today

The draw for the group stage of the 2023/2024 Champions League will be conducted on Thursday, August 31.

It will be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco from 5pm West African Time (WAT).

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan are just some of the major clubs that will be competing in UEFA’s flagship tournament.

A total of 32 teams compete in the Champions League group stage and they will be divided into four pots of eight for the draw.

There are five teams from Spain and four each from England, Germany and Italy.

These teams account for more than half of the representation in the competition.

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