Weekend Report: Nigeria

Buhari ready to meet Jonathan over arms scandal – Presidency; Buhari set to leave Nigeria for UAE on Sunday; Foreign currency deposits in domiciliary accounts restored; Soldiers invade Tompolo’s community over bombing of pipelines . . .

Jonathan & Buhari

Buhari ready to meet Jonathan over arms scandal – Presidency

The Presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will be willing to meet former President Goodluck Jonathan to get clarifications on the multi-million dollar arms procurement scandal, which is under investigation.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, stated this in an interview with Punch Newspaper on Saturday.

When asked if Buhari would be ready to grant Jonathan audience if the former President sought to make clarifications in view of the revelations coming from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s probe of the scandal.

Adesina said because of Buhari’s belief in decency and civility, he would not shut out his predecessors, even if some people had done so in the past.

Adesina said, “A former President should always have access to a sitting one. It would be uncouth and indecent to shut out a former occupant of such lofty office. If some people did it to their predecessors in the past, it is not this President who believes in decency and civility.

“Yes, President Buhari will always grant audience to former President Jonathan, if there is any request for such. A rebuff does not come into the picture at all.”

A top government official told our correspondent on the condition of anonymity that the former President had tried to reach out to the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongunu.

The source, however, said he did not know if Jonathan had succeeded in establishing a contact.

“I know that the former President has been trying to reach the NSA. Whether he has succeeded, I do not know. You can ask the NSA himself,” he said.

It was the NSA, on the orders of the President, who constituted the committee that has audited the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to 2015.

Most of the information in public domain on the arms scandal is from the findings of the committee, which has submitted two preliminary reports so far.

Based on the finding of the committee, the EFCC has ordered 18 military chiefs to appear before it on Monday.

It was learnt that the commission had sent invitations to some of the Generals and the companies, whose names featured in the report submitted to the President.

Buhari had on Friday directed the EFCC to carry out further investigation into the alleged misconduct established against some retired and serving officers of the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Army.

Those affected in the order include embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. ​Sambo Dasuki (retd.); former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.); and two former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshal MD Umar (retd.) and Air Marshal Adesola Amosun (retd.).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, disclosed the President’s directive in a statement made available to journalists on Friday.

He listed others that the President asked the EFCC to probe to include Maj.-​Gen. ​E.R ​Chioba (retd.); AVM​​ I.A​ Balogun (retd.); AVM ​A.G​ Tsakr (retd.); AVM​​ A.G​ Idowu (retd.);AVM ​A.M ​Mamu; AVM ​O.T ​Oguntoyinbo; AVM ​T. ​Omenyi; AVM ​J.B ​Adigun; AVM​​ R.A ​Ojuawo; AVM ​​J.A ​Kayode-Beckley; Air Cdre ​SA ​Yushau (retd.); Air Cdre ​A.O ​Ogunjobi; Air Cdre​ G.M.D ​Gwani; Air Cdre S.O ​Makinde; Air Cdre A.Y ​Lassa​; ​and Col. N ​Ashinze.

Shehu said the directive was based on the recommendation of the committee established to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to 2015.

In its first interim report, the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment established that the sum N643bn and $2.1bn interventions were received for procurements by DHQ and the services between 2007 and 2015.

Buhari . PMB departs

Buhari Departs Nigeria for UAE on Sunday

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja today for a three-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The President’s itinerary was contained in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The statement read in part:

“In a move signalling Nigeria’s reengagement with the Middle-East region, President Buhari will also lead a team of his ministers to bilateral talks with the government of the UAE.

After the talks, a number of agreements between both countries on economic, trade and bilateral relations are expected to be signed.

From the visit, Nigeria also expects to get more support from the UAE for its war against terrorism and the recovery of Nigeria’s stolen funds.

President Buhari is also scheduled to meet with leading UAE businessmen who are interested in Nigeria with a view to encouraging greater investment inflows to critical sectors such as power supply, oil, gas and agriculture.

The President, who will be accompanied by the Ministers of Power, Works and Housing; Petroleum, Environment; Justice; Trade and Investment; Finance and Foreign Affairs, as well as the National Security Adviser, will also meet with Nigerian professionals in the UAE before returning to Abuja on Tuesday, January 19″

– Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the President

Dollars

Foreign currency deposits in domiciliary accounts restored

Bank customers can now transfer Foreign Currency Cash deposits made into their domiciliary accounts via Internet Banking, Mobile App or at any branch nationwide.

Amount to be transferred is however subject to a daily cumulative limit of $10,000.

The new policy has been communicated to bank customers.

Late last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria banned cash deposit into domiciliary accounts.

Confirming the policy shift yesterday to newsmen, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spokesman, Ibrahim Mu’azu, said the apex bank decided to reverse the policy because its finding showed that currency substitution by customers which made it enforce it in the first place has been tackled.

According to him, bank customers before now were converting naira to dollar and depositing the proceeds in the hope that the dollar would continue to appreciate at the parallel and official markets. He said stability has now returned to the market despite the volatility in the parallel market rate with the naira exchanging for over N300 to one dollar.

The banks are already communicating the new changes to their customers.

Tompolo 2

Soldiers invade Tompolo’s community over bombing of pipelines

Due to the renewed bombings of oil installations in Warri axis of Delta State by militants suspected to be foot soldiers of Government Ekpemukpolo aka Tompolo, soldiers on Saturday night stormed Okpelama community in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State.

Defence Headquarters may have directed the soldiers to go after the economic saboteurs who may have breached their Presidential Amnesty pact they signed with the Federal Government to resume militancy and bombing of oil and gas pipelines in the state a few hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Tompolo, last Thursday.

The latest report is that the soldiers were also keeping surveillance on Kurutie, the hometown of Tompolo and Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom.

Tompolo who is at the centre of the saga has continued to plead his innocence in the attacks, saying he did not carry out any bombing and did not send anybody to destroy oil installations, insisting that his enemies who want President Muhammadu Buhari to go after him are cashing in on his recent frosty relationship with the Federal Government to rope him in as “Enemy of the State” by bombing oil installations to do him in.

MM

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