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Allied Air takes delivery of brand new N8billion B737-800SF aircraft



• Nigeria’s economy picking up more and more-Emefelie
• Aircraft set to distribute COVID-19 Vaccines across Nigeria-Sirika
• Acquisition shows signs we are leaving a recession-Wigwe

ALLIED Air, Nigeria’s first cargo airline has taken delivery of a brand new Boeing 737-800 SF aircraft which according to the airline, financiers and government, will support the country in its distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines when they arrive.

The aircraft which was said to have been procured for about N8Billion, arrived Abuja amidst the customary water canon salute at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The plane was received by dignitaries including the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefelie, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika as well as Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe and Managing Director of Allied Air Captain Val Thongo.

Emefelie who spoke on the financing of the aircraft explained that the aircraft was financed through the intervention fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via Access Bank stating that the industry was growing.

He said, “First thank the honorable minister for aviation Hadi Sirika for what he is doing in the aviation industry in Nigeria and we are here to commission the B737-800 aircraft which has been funded through the intervention fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through access bank.

“We are happy because only two or three weeks ago, the aviation minister also commissioned another aircraft for Air Peace so what does that tell us, that with the hard work of the aviation minister we can see that Nigerian aviation is picking up more and more, investment are happening in the aviation industry and only just last week, we even got a call from one of the West African countries asking that they want Allied Air to participate even in lifting currency.

“It might interest you to know that Allied Air is Central Banks own major currency lifting company.
“We need more and more investment in the area of aviation and I can assure us that CBN is ready, Nigerian banks are ready and that is why you can see one of the largest banks in Nigeria Access Bank also standing here ready as the major financier taking all the credit risk to support Access Bank.

Also speaking on the aircraft acquisition, Aviation Minister, Hadi sirika, expressed his thanks to the Central Bank and Access Bank for their support, stating that the country is now thinking into the future.

He also stated that government was putting policies in place to make financial institutions get involved in investment opportunities like the aircraft acquisition which is an index for growth too.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefelie, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, Director General NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu as well as Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe and Managing Director of Allied Air Captain Val Thongo Inside the aircraft

“First and foremost, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Central Bank and Access Bank and we’ve seen how forward looking CBN is and how futuristic Nigeria has become; this kind of partnership is what we have been canvassing for since we assumed leadership of this industry.

“And because you know before COVID-19 aviation grew to be the second fastest sector of the economy in 2018 and in 2019 became the fastest growing sector, it is activities like these with support of central bank and other financial institutions like Access Bank that has made it possible so the policy we are putting in place is okay

“This aircraft will be dedicated to cargo and also the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, so the aircraft is ready, the cargo shed is ready and everything is ready to receive the vaccine and distribute” Sirika said.

Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe in his speech expressed pride to be part of the Allied Air venture, stressing that the aircraft will further increase the country’s capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive.

He said,”We are proud to be part of this endeavour by allied air supported by the CBN and the Ministry of aviation but I think what is important is that these are little signals to show that we are coming out of a recession. We just visited the facility for cargo that would allow them ship things pout of the country. This shows Nigeria is opening up, we now have aircraft that would deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the entire country. Yes we receive products internationally but to distribute them across the country, now we truly have the facility to do all of that. We are very happy .”

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, CBN Governor Emefelie, Access Bank Managing Director Herbert Wigwe and others at the airport

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Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation



Says “It is money versus life”


President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa at the State House, Abuja, during a visit by Marwa to brief him on the activities of the agency (photo by The Guardian)

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has enjoined members of the National Assembly not to support to move to legalise cannabis, cautioning that members who vote for it might not be able to return to their constituencies.Marwa made the submission yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

The former military administrator of Lagos said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, disclosing that Nigeria was the highest consumer of the substance globally.

Vowing that Nigeria would not submit to the push for its legalisation, Marwa said: “Now, the WHO itself has declared that cannabis affects the brain, alters brain function. It destabilises and affects behaviour. It also affects body organs, and at some point, it can lead to death.

“So, while we appreciate those who want to legalise it for financial gains, we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So, it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.

“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health; it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalisation. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users; this is the highest in the world. Isn’t it sad?

“We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, physics and not highest in cannabis. That is something we need.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the bill because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalisation. They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalisation because we are seeing the implication on the ground. The youth, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalised by the grace of God.”

Marwa, who revealed that he has received constant death threats from criminals in the course of his assignment, said he was not concerned even though he takes precautions.

Specifically, on the threats, he quipped: “Severally! It’s almost a daily occurrence because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, through colleagues, and sometimes people at random whom we don’t know but I live in the territory. That said, we also take precautions.”

The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency, especially the move to construct barracks for personnel of the agency, saying he received a positive response from the president on the initiative.

“Well, the President told us well done. And that well done does not go to Gen. Marwa but the NDLEA officers and men. And if there’s a secret behind it, we thank the Almighty God for the successes recorded so far, and also to the gallant and professional officers and men of the NDLEA who have remained upstanding.”

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Court freezes Kogi State Govt’s Bank Account over N20billion Salary Loan Fraud



Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday froze a Kogi salary bailout account domiciled in a new generation bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.

Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim made the order pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The agency approached the court via an ex-parte application brought pursuant to Section 44(2) of the Constitution and Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act.

Its counsel, Mr A. O. Muhammed, informed the court that the order was necessary to preserve the res and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.

Moving the application, Muhammed alleged that the N20b loan was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government but was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.

He added that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the Kogi State Government instructed the bank to transfer the money from the loan account and place same in a fixed deposit account.

According to the agency, the bank is yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.

Granting the application, Justice Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make a quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation.

The judge adjourned the matter till December 1, for the report of Investigation.

The EFCC’s allegations were made in its 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos of the EFCC.

The document averred that the Commission received credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in the account with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account

He said the Commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned same to the Chairman Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on April 1, 2019, the management approved an offer of an N20billion bailout loan facility for the Kogi State Government.

According to the deponent, on June 19, 2019, fiscal year, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Office of the Commissioner, applied for a credit facility of N20billion with an interest rate of nine per cent for a tenure of 240 months from the bank”.

The agency added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government.

It stated further that on June 26, 2019, the credit facility offer was accepted vide a memorandum of acceptance signed by Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, the Commissioner of Finance Kogi State; and one Alhaji Momoh Jibrin, Accountant General, Kogi State.

It averred that before the said application for a loan, the Kogi State Government on the 19th June 2019 vide a letter to the Manager of the bank in Lokoja applied for an account opening in the Bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account with Alhaji Momoh Jubril, Accountant General of the State and Elijah Evinemi Ag. Director Treasury as the signatories to the said account.

“That upon the opening of the said account disbursed salary intervention loan to the tune of N20billion to the account.

“That rather than use the intervention funds for the purpose for which it was granted, the State Government proceeded to open a fixed deposit account No. 0073572696.

“That on the 25 day of July 2019, the bank acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed same on the aforementioned fixed deposit account.

“That the said account sought to be frozen received the sum of twenty billion naira, (N20, 000,000,000) on the 25th July 2019.

“That as of 1st day of April 2021 the balance standing to the credit of the said fixed deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36 billion

“That we are still tracing what the sum of N666,666,666.64 billion, has been deducted from the said funds and were not used for the payment of the salary.

“That the Commission has the statutory mandate to prevent the Commission of economic and financial Crimes with the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That investigation in this matter is still ongoing and this application is pertinent to secure the funds in the said account to prevent them from being totally dissipated.

“That without freezing the nominated accounts, there is no better way of preserving

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