N5.5bn withdrawn from stock market by foreign investors in February, NSE

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has revealed that a total of N5.5 billion was recorded as foreign outflows from the stock market for the month of February.

This was contained in its latest foreign portfolio investment report published on its website on Friday.

It stated that the figure increased by 97.8 per cent from N27.81bn in January 2019 while foreign inflows increased by 91.24 per cent from N22.97bn to N43.93bn between January and February.

PDP takes over Adamawa Assembly

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken over the control of Adamawa state House of Assembly following the victory of its candidates in the remaining two constituencies of Uba/Gaya and Nasarawo/Binyeri in Hong and Mayo Belwa local governments.

Prior to the exercise, both the PDP and their APC counterpart had 11 elected members each out of the 24-member assembly with ADC having one leaving two seats vacant.

The elections in Nasarawo/ Binyeri were postponed due to the demise of the APC lawmaker and its candidate few days to the election and the declaration of Uba/Gaya seat as inconclusive because of cancelled votes in some polling units in the constituency.

But in the supplementary election conducted last Saturday a former EFCC staff who also served in the Assembly from 2011 to 2015 Aminu Iya Abbas of the PDP defeated his close rival and the incumbent member representing Uba/Gaya constituency Mohammed Hayatu Atiku of the APC to emerge winner.

Also, the PDP candidate for Nasarawo/ Binyeri constituency of Mayo Belwa local government also defeated his APC counterpart to emerge winner of the election.

Reacting to his victory in a telephone conversation Aminu Iya Abbas thanked the people of Uba/Gaya for the confidence reposed in him and assured them of better days ahead in terms of dividends of democracy.

He applauded the people of his constituency for the peaceful way and manners they conducted themselves throughout the election and urged them to unite in the interest of the constituency.

He promised effective representation, fairness, equity and justice for all.

9th Senate: 15 Senators with multi-billion Naira fraud cases taking shelter in National Assembly

Lawmakers who will represent various federal constituencies across the country were elected on February 23 to occupy the 9th National Assembly. There were 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives elected to stay at the Red Carpet and Green Carpet chambers of the National Assembly.

President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration wears the fight against corruption like a toga. The fight against corruption is one of the fundamental wings on which he flew to power. Thus, acts of corruption by any public officer attracts due prosecution by the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The outgoing senate had several members who faced corruption charges. This includes the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was frequently in courtrooms and the custody of anti-corruption agencies, attending to queries on alleged corrupt practices.

Just like the outgoing Senate President, the incoming 9th National Assembly, billed to be inaugurated on June 9, also has members who are facing various degrees of corruption cases. The newly elected senators, about 10 per cent of them, have corruption probes.

eDigitalnews reviews the incoming senators facing corruption cases.

Bukola Saraki

Senate embarks on another two weeks break

Perhaps, a good place to start is the out-going Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Though Saraki, of the PDP, will not be part of the 9th National Assembly – having lost in the Kwara Central senatorial district election to Ibrahim Oloriegbe, of the APC – it is wildly believed that the party’s caucus will continue to wield some influence in the incoming senate.

Saraki has been embattled with several corruption charges which include: embezzlement of funds, disregard of government due process and conversion of State government assets into his and cronies during his tenure as a governor of Kwara State between 2003 – 2011, and falsification of assets leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) – a 13-count corruption charge was leveled against him as the Senate President.

He was also alleged to have falsified Senate standing order and linked to the N298m armoured Range Rover SUV seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.

More so, he was also linked to $19.5 billion Paris Club Loan refund scandal.

Gabriel Suswam

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, of the PDP, will be in the 9th National Assembly to represent the interests of the people of Benue North East senatorial district. He had a resounding victory having defeated incumbent Senator Barnabas Gemade of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). This will be his first time in the senate.

Suswan is facing 32 charges brought against him by the Federal Government. Him and his aides – former Commissioner for Finance, Omadachi Oklobia and then Accountant of the State House, Mrs Janet Aluga – were accused of diverting N9.79b – part of which was meant for Police Reform Programme and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme – while he was state governor from 2007 – 2015. They allegedly diverted the money while he was governor – between 2012 and 2015. They were also accused of conspiracy conversion of property derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretense and accepting cash payments, exceeding the amount authorized by law.

Ike Ekweremadu

ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION: To dispel police submission, Ekweremadu threatens to release video of attack

The deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, of the PDP, for the fifth time, won the Enugu West senatorial district election. In March 2018, the federal government applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order of temporary forfeiture of no fewer than 22 properties purportedly owned by him – in Abuja, London, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. On August 1, 2018, the EFCC detained him for questioning. He has long denied all the accusations.

Orji Uzor Kalu

Alleged N7.6bn fraud: Court revokes Orji Kalu's bail

The former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, OUK, of the APC, finally made it to the senate. He was in contest for the seat of Abia North senatorial district in 2011 and 2015 but lost. Fortune, however, shined on him in the recently concluded National Assembly election when he defeated his closest contender, and incumbent Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, of the PDP. He is the only APC senator from the South-east geopolitical zone, in the list of senators-elect released by the INEC.

OUK’s corruption case commenced after he left office, as Abia State governor in 2007. He has a 39-count charge brought against him by the EFCC on October 31, 2016, accusing him of defrauding Abia State to the tune of N7.2b while serving as the governor of the state between 1999 and 2007. He is being prosecuted alongside his former Commissioner for Finance, Ude Udeogo, and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited.

Ifeanyi Ubah

Reps direct SEC to take over Capital Oil

The Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Ifeanyi Ubah, will be representing Anambra South senatorial district on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP). He will be the only senator who is not from PDP and APC that will be in the Senate. He defeated his closest rival, Chris Uba, of the PDP.

Ubah, a former governorship candidate in the state – Anambra – is reportedly being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly receiving N43.29bn perpetrated through the petroleum subsidy scheme. The EFCC and the police accused him of obtaining subsidy payments by false pretences, money laundering, stealing and forgery with connection to the purported fraudulent payment of the N43.29bn in the transactions in 2011.

Abba Moro

Abba Moro should be in jail, Nigerians hit ex-minister over APC “promised change but brought pains” comment

The former minister of Interior, Abba Moro, of the PDP, will be in representing the interest of the people of Benue South senatorial zone. He will be replacing former Senate President David Mark who endorsed him for the position. It could be recalled that Moro, under the former President Goodluck Jonathan, was sued for fraud over a clumsy Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise, in 2014, which led to a stampede that left 20 people dead. More so, he is currently facing a corruption trial in his role in an alleged $2.5 million fraud, involving missing application fees.

Theodore Orji

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The immediate former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, of the PDP, will return to the Senate for the second time to represent Abia Central senatorial district. Orji, who was governor from 2007 – 2015 was interrogated at the EFCC office, in November 2018, in Abuja. He was invited over the allegations that he mismanaged about N27bn. The invitation by the EFCC was learnt to have stemmed from series of petitions written against him shortly after he left office in 2015.

The allegations leveled against him includes: alleged diversion of billions of Naira disbursed to Abia State by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Small and Medium Enterprise, diversion of money from the Ecological Fund account, which should have been used in tackling erosion and other disasters peculiar to the state, diversion of money from Abia State Oil Producing Development Area Commission – an agency of government set up for the development of the oil producing areas of Abia State.

Orji alleged used the funds to acquire buy properties in Abia, Port Harcourt and Abuja – some of which the EFCC is reportedly planning to confiscate. The EFCC had invited officials from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks and other agencies to make statements on the former governor’s corruption case.

More so, it was reported that the EFCC, in December 2018, arrested the son of the former governor, Ogbonna Orji over allegations of money laundering.

Aliyu Wamakko

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, of the APC, will return to the senate to represent Sokoto North senatorial district. The EFCC, in April 2018, confirmed that Wamakko is under investigation over allegations of theft of public funds and money laundering totaling N15b. He has since denied the allegation.

Peter Nwaoboshi

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

Peter Nwaoboshi, of the PDP, will be in the Senate for Delta North senatorial district. In April 2018, the EFCC arraigned him for an alleged fraud of N322 million. He appeared in court with two firms on charges bordering on money laundering and conspiracy. Though the trial is still ongoing, it could be recalled that Mohammed Idris, the judge of the Federal High Court, on April 25, 2018, ruled that the senator should be remanded in prison. He got bail two days later.

Danjuma Goje

Despite return of cash, document, police insist Goje risks being arrested

The former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, of the APC, for the third time, won the seat of Gombe Central senatorial district. He is also battling a corruption case. The EFCC filed a fraud charge against him at the Federal High Court in Gombe. He is roped with four others in a six-year old money laundering case. According to the EFCC, Goje, while governor of Gombe State, conspired with four officers of his administration to defraud the state of N25b through illegal acts, contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering – Prohibition Act – 2011, as amended.

Chimaroke Nnamani

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The former governor of Enugu State, Chimaraoke Nnamani, made it to the senate. He will represent Enugu East senatorial district. This win resurrected the political career of the former governor. However, Nnamani, his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six companies were first arraigned in 2007 for allegedly diverting over N5b while he was Enugu State governor. His case was later dismissed by the Federal High Court in Lagos State in February 2018 based on the premise that it lacked proper charge. But, then, EFFC resolved to file fresh charges against the former two-term governor.

Stella Oduah

Nigerian govt drags Senators Oduah, Uzodinma to court over failure to declare assets

Former Aviation minister under the then Goodluck Jonathan administration, Stella Oduah, will be returning to the Senate as she won the February 23 Anambra North senatorial election. She is not left out of the list of newly elected senators who have corruption cases wrapped round their necks. She is being questioned by the EFCC for money laundering. She is under investigation for allegedly awarding dubious contracts worth N9.4b – particularly diverting N3.9b from the N9.4b meant for the installation of security devices at 22 airports while she was a minister. She has denied the accusations.

Sam Egwu

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The former governor of Ebonyi State, Sam Egwu, of the PDP, will return to the Senate to represent Ebonyi North senatorial district. Egwu, who was the former Minister of Education under the then late President Umaru Yar’Adua administration, was alleged to have misappropriated close to N8obn while in office as governor between 1999 – 2007. He is also reported to have left a debt profile of N10bn for his successor, now a former governor of the state – Martin Elechi.

Abdullahi Adamu

The former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, will be in the 9th National Assembly for Nasarawa West senatorial district. The EFCC, in 2010, arrested Adamu for allegedly misappropriating N15b alongside 18 others. At a later time, he was arraigned on a 149-count charge of fraud worth N15b with his co-accused. Nuraini Adamu, the son of the senator, and one Felix Onyeabo Ojiako before Justice Farouq Lawal of the Kano State High Court on a four-count of obtaining money by false pretence, conspiracy and forgery.

Adamu Aliero

Incoming and Returning Senators Enwrapped in Corruption Cases

The former governor of Kebbi State and Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Adamu Aliero, of the APC, will return to the Senate to represent Kebbi Central senatorial district. Aliero, who was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory under the then late President Umaru Yar’Adua administration, is yet to be investigated by the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) over an alleged N10.2bn fraud. The EFCC and ICPC had between December 2006 and August 2008, received three petitions asking them to investigate him over the N10.2bn alleged fraud. The petition was written by Alhaji Abubakar Kane, Alhaji Sani Dododo and Alhaji Shuaibu Y. Mungabi, all from Kebbi State.

The Way Forward

In saner climes, lawmakers who are faced with corruption charges are supposed to be tried and prosecuted accordingly. They should not be allowed to contest for public offices. This is because they are supposed to be a paragon for rightness and accountability in handling the resources of the generality of the people they govern and/or represent.

The National Assembly should not be a resting home for looters. It should be a place where men and women of integrity should stay and right the wrongs that have kept Nigeria at the highest level of corruption and abuse of elective office. According to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International Corruption Rank, Nigeria is the 144 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries. The fight against corruption stands a slim chance of being won when national lawmakers are immersed in it.

SITUATION ROOM TO INEC: Do away with supplementary elections

The Nigerian Civil Society group, Situation Room, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to scrap the idea of supplementary elections.

According to the group, the practice of conducting such polls should be jettisoned as it has become a tool for manipulating the electoral process in Nigeria.

The group in a statement signed by the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, regretted that the safety of electoral officers was not guaranteed during the exercise and also condemned the violence that characterised the exercise in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states.

The statement by the group reads thus, “Some of the flaws observed in the supplementary elections are recurrent in Nigeria’s elections. As a country, we need to condemn these acts of voter intimidation and insecurity that have recurred in the supplementary elections, even leading to the shooting of a returning officer.

“The safety of election day workers, staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission and ad-hoc staff, returning officers and observers is not guaranteed and portends great danger for future elections in Nigeria. The actions of political parties and their supporters continue to undermine the confidence in our electoral process as well as the rights of citizens to participate fully in elections and cast their votes without fear.

“Situation Room also calls on INEC to ensure that there is an end to supplementary elections, as it appears that the process is now a manipulating tool to circumvent the elections.

“The widespread incidents of violence, thuggery and abuse of the electoral process, especially as reported in Gama ward of Kano State, must be addressed by INEC. Situation Room believes that the level of abuse recorded in Gama ward is of such monumental proportions as to necessitate INEC expunging the outcome of the supposed voting results coming from Gama ward from the final collation of results for the Kano State Governorship elections.

“In Benue State, there were also reports of violence. In Gboko Local Government, for instance, a local government returning officer, Prof. Comfort Dooshima Tuleun, was shot by unknown gunmen in Makurdi and now hospitalised.

“There was also the issue of political thuggery. In Uyam Ward in Ukum Local Government of Benue State, armed thugs invaded the polling unit and set the election materials on fire.

“The act of underage voting was recorded in Sokoto and Plateau states. In Sokoto State, underage voting was reported in PU003 and 011 Tauma Ward, Bodinga Local Government, while in Plateau, Rafan Ward, Barkin Ladi Local Government, there was report of underage voters with valid Permanent Voter Cards.”

FG mulls diversifying stock market instruments

The Federal Government is considering diversifying instruments of of the nation’s stock market through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while speaking at the maiden Awards Night of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The minister, who restated Federal Government commitment to building a vibrant capital market that would contribute to the growth and development of the country, said the ERGP policy objectives for the financial sector aimed to further diversify instruments of the stock market, review the capitalisation of the financial institutions and encourage lending to the real sector of the economy similar to the Capital Market Master Plan.

Ahmed also noted that the capital market played a central role in the development of the economy through the mobilisation of long-term savings for investment, as well as efficient pricing of financial instruments.

She said: “The government is making a lot of efforts to diversify the economy, raise revenue and block leakages; efforts are also being made to ensure the mobilisation of resources that will aid investment in small and medium enterprises and provide infrastructure.

“The main thrust of the Capital Market Master Plan aligns with the vision of the ERGP for the financial services sector. When the ERGP was being prepared, copious references were made to the 10-year master plan.

Speaking further, the minister bsaid that the ERGP vision for the financial services sector was to strengthen relevant market institutions and mitigate risk by building a healthy and competitive financial system, which would be better positioned to support the private sector and contribute towards the sustainable development of the economy.

She also insisted that the strengthening of the capital market is necessary for the government to be able to create jobs, wealth and increase the standard of living of the people.

She said: “The capital market is central to all of these efforts. As the ERGP recognises the power of the capital market to drive its own forms, the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council has proven to be an embodiment of recognition.”

CBN predicts 12 percent inflation, to keep current MPR

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has estimated that the country’s inflationary rate will rise to 12 percent and thereafter moderate.

The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele stated this on Thursday in Lagos at the Businessday post election economic agenda conference, adding that the apex bank would also keep the current monetary policy stance of the bank.

“The CBN has set the post-election agenda for the nation’s monetary policy, projecting that the current monetary policy stance of the bank is expected to continue while inflation is estimated to rise to 12 per cent and moderate thereafter,” he said.

The inflation rate is currently put at 11.31 percent for February, according to statistics from the CBN and the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS

Hinging the monetary policy stance of the bank on rising inflation expectations, the CBN governor however noted that the bank would adjust the policy rate in line with unfolding conditions and outlooks, adding that the bank would continue in its drive to ensure that the policy interest rate was set to balance the objectives of price stability with output stabilisation.

Emefiele, who disclosed that the apex bank based the inflationary projection on productivity gains in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, said the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, was expected to pick up in the first half of the current year owing largely to the continued efforts at driving indigenous production in high-impact real sector activities.

Speaking on the bank’s foreign exchange rate policy, Emefiele said the CBN, in spite of expected pressures from the volatility in the crude oil markets, would maintain its stable exchange rate over the next year.

“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market, given increased oil production and contained import bill,” he said.

OSUN: I’ll remain in office pending judgment on my appeal, Oyetola says

Ousted Osun State governor, Gboyega Oyetola has revealed that he will remain in office pending the outcome of his appeal challenging last Friday’s judgment of the election petition tribunal.

Governor Oyetola who made the comments while inspecting some on-going road and drainage projects in the state capital, Osogbo, also noted that his faith in the judiciary remains unshaken despite the nullification of his election.

He said; “I am confident that our mandate will be reaffirmed at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. As you all know, it was a split judgment, telling us that it was not a unanimous decision. This is part of our strength at the Appellate Court.

“I must correct the impression that I have been removed from office. I remain the governor of Osun till all the electoral litigations are finalised.

“So, my visit to this site is in furtherance of our commitment to ensure a better life for all residents of the state and to demonstrate that governance brought about by our government continues”, Oyetola added.

Benue Collation officer who was shot has died

The collation officer for Gboko local government area of Benue state, Comfort Dooshima, has been reported dead.

Dooshima who was a lecturer at the University of Agriculture, Benue, was attacked on her way to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) head office in Markurdi, the state capital, on Saturday night.

More details coming…

KANO RE-RUN: CUPP calls for cancellation, says thuggery at polls a manifestation of Buhari’s body language

Opposition Political Parties under the platform of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) have insisted that supplementary elections in Kano State be cancelled.

The coalition said reports of massive bloodshed, violent activities of armed thugs and sporadic shooting of voters during the exercise was a manifestation of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) party body language.

First national spokesman of the group Imo Ugochinyere, stated this in a statement on Saturday.

“We are calling for an immediate halt of the exercise because what is ongoing in Kano State cannot be described as an election but a bloody vampire ceremony.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must put an end to this unnecessary shedding of blood by putting an immediate end to the exercise.

“It is regrettable that the state had been taken over by armed thugs who are busy shooting voters in the name of election and killing anything standing on their way.

“These thugs armed with sophisticated weapons took over accreditation and voting and murdered party agents.

“These shameful acts are physical manifestations of the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the statement read.

Incumbent Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who entered into the supplementary election trailing behind the PDP candidate, is now leading following the results announced so far.

Dr. Ifeanyi Okonkwo Blows Hot Over Umeh’s Desperation

The elections of February 23 have come and gone. In a sane environment, this period would be used for a fruitful interaction between the outgoing and incoming senators to exchange ideas and ventilate approaches that will ensure a smooth transition, thereby ensuring that Anambra Central continues to enjoy the fruits of effective representation. Unfortunately, Anambra central is once again witnessing the same rascality and madness that have characterized previous elections.

It has become prevalent for people to contest elections and before even the election is conducted, already start making arrangements to go to court to thwart the people’s choice. Some don’t even campaign but go to court after the election to frustrate the winner and the voters in a bid to reap where they did not sow. Some have turned it into a money making scheme to assist the more wealthy opponent of the winner create parallel court cases to strangulate the actual winner financially.

It will be recalled that Chief Victor Umeh, even before the elections was threatening to go to court to challenge the candidature of Senator Uche Ekwunife, notwithstanding that they belong to different parties. It will not be far-fetched to believe that the other parallel suit challenging the election of Senator Ekwunife by one Barr. Tony Chukwuelue on the grounds of omitting the SDP logo by INEC may be reminiscence of the proverbial hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.  Anambra Central is now becoming notorious for instituting parallel law suits against Senator Uche Ekwunife, all in a bid to frustrate her and deprive the people of Anambra Central of their choice. It is therefore time for all Anambra Central stakeholders to rise and reject this recurring affront to their collective will. These law suits are not just against Senator Uche Ekwunife but a challenge to Anambra Central people. It will not be out of place to caption the suits as those between Victor Umeh/Tony Chukwuelue Vs Anambra Central.