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Mind what you say, Nigerian Army warns Sheikh Ahmed Gumi

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… As ACF Lauds Governor Matawalle For Sacking Bandits-Friendly Emir

The Nigerian Army has cautioned self-styled Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, and “opinion merchants” against portraying its image “in bad light.”

It said Gumi and the opinion merchants needed to exercise restraints in their comments because troops are not deployed for operations along ethnic or religious lines.

The caution coincided with the sacking of an Emir and a district head in Zamfara State for allegedly supporting bandits.

Army Public Relations Director, Brig.-Gen.Mohammed Yerima, in a statement yesterday specifically made reference to a viral video in which Gumi told bandits that soldiers deployed against them were non-Muslims.

The statement partly reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video-clip showing the renowned and respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.

“In the video clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims. He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non- Muslims.

“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the respected Sheik Gumi, it is however, important to restate that the Army as national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.

“Therefore, Sheikh Gumi and other opinion merchants are please enjoined to exercise restraint not to drag the image and the reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.

“The Nigerian Army remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of this great nation. Comments suggesting to mudslide of the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army are not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.

“Furthermore, most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry without any exception.

“ It is, therefore, disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigeria Army to portray it in bad light.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to seize this opportunity to advise opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognizance, the imperative for national security, particularly at these difficult times when our gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation.

“What our troops need now is public support to discharge their responsibility effectively and in the most professional manner.”

Governor Matawalle of Zamfara State

In Zamfara State, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) lauded Governor Bello Matawalle for removing the Emir of Maru, Abubakar China, and the District Head of Kanoma, Lawal Ahmed, for allegedly aiding banditry.

It also said it was impressed with the alleged arrest of a soldier and his girlfriend “for supplying arms and military uniforms to bandits.”

The ACF had a week ago called on Matawalle to name the people collaborating with kidnappers and bandits in the state. This was after the governor claimed that he knew those collaborating with bandits and that Nigerians would be shocked to know them.

The ACF, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said, “We are happy to note that the government of Zamfara State has acted appropriately.

“A soldier and his girlfriend have been arrested in Zamfara State. The deputy chief of staff to the Zamfara state governor, who represented him at a press conference, said the arrest followed information provided by community-based intelligence.

“The governor has also approved the removal of Emir of Maeu, Abubakar China, and the district head of Kanoma, Lawal Ahmed, for allegedly giving support to bandits responsible for hundreds of deaths.

“The Emir and the district head had been on suspension since June last year and were under investigation, which found them guilty of the complaints from their subjects that they were collaborating with bandits and kidnappers.”

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Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation

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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

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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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