Ad
Category

News

Category

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Thursday shut down Ekiti for the mega rally and official presentation of party’s flag to his deputy and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Kolapo Olusola.

Olusola received the party’s flag from the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus.

At the event, former Vice- President Abubakar Atiku said the PDP was on a rescue mission in Nigeria.

He said, “The people of Ekiti, I have known you since 1992, all the projects completed which took Ekiti to a higher level have been done by the PDP alone. PDP guarantees you good hospital, road, infrastructure, education and many other dividends of democracy.

“It is time for you to ensure that this administration continues because that is the key to development. What we are doing is a rescue mission; we will bring back peace, security and prosperity of this country. Make sure you vote and stay there till the results are announced.”

Fayose had declared Thursday as a public holiday for workers in the state.

Addressing the mammoth crowd, Secondus said, “By the glory of God, Ekiti people are very peaceful and we can see the clear demonstration of love for Fayose and the incoming governor, Olusola. You won’t vote for herdsmen’s attacks and killings.

“We believe Ekiti state is full of people with the highest level of manpower and professors. Our youths are very strong, innovative and resourceful and not lazy, they are leaders of tomorrow.

“APC is broken; I am here with the National Working Committee of the PDP to appreciate you for standing for the PDP. As you can see, Fayose has worked for Ekiti and the evidence is all over in the infrastructure development, education and economic advancement.

“All PDP states are witnessing great developments, these are not so in the APC. PDP is winning and moving forward to rescue our country from economic, and security collapse and all the inhuman treatments meted out by the APC.

“You can see killings in all states, Zamfara, Plateau, and other states. APC leaders are not God, we refuse to be intimidated by them. It is their style to put fear in people but we refuse to fear.”

Fayose said he won’t receive President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday because he had not done any project in Ekiti to deserve that.

He also berated the Federal Government for allegedly closing the Akure Airport at a time the PDP leaders were coming into the state for the rally.

“I want to condemn the Federal Government for the act, it is shameful for whoever has done that. That’s not patriotic; it is shameful.

“If you vote for the APC, God forbid, you are voting for Boko Haram and herdsmen attacks. Fayemi is our customer, 16 – 0 is loading.”

Fayose urged the PDP members and supporters to shun violence but to use their votes to defend their rights.

At the event were Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Ben Ayande (Cross-River), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) while Seriake Dickson was represented by his deputy, John Jona.

The list also included former governors: Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Peter Obi (Anambra) and Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna) as well the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walin Jibril, and members of the National Working Committee, among others.

Leaders of ethnic groups, student unions in Ekiti, Okada riders, road transport unions and National Union of Local Government Employees also attended the event.

Makarfi, who is the PDP former National Caretaker Committee Chairman, said he was happy seeing “PDP family giving APC government sleepless nights.”

Secondus said, “We are experiencing civil war because of killings. Buhari and APC are behind it. PDP will rescue this nation from them. APC is shattered, ask Fayemi, on which of the APC factions’ platform is he contesting. We have the best candidate for Ekiti.”

Olusola promised to sustain legacies of Fayose and improve on it.

“I assure you of adequate security, healthcare, excellent infrastructure, civil service, education enterprises, and exemplary leadership among others.

“Ours is a divine agenda. It is a divine mission with divine agenda it cannot be conquered by APC.”

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday urged landlords in the country to start collecting rents in arrears beginning from today, July 6, 2018.

According to him, property owners across the country should understand the plights of the low-income earners.

While advocating the payment of rents after each month, as against what is obtainable across the country currently, the minister appealed to homeowners to be considerate.

He argued that salary earners, who could afford to pay rents, were not receiving their salaries in advance, but in arrears.

Fashola stated this while speaking on the theme, ‘Innovative housing finance model as a catalyst for home ownership,’ at an event for real estate operators in Abuja.

He recommended that there should be a landlord-tenant-employer’s relation, whereby the landlord reaches an agreement with the tenant’s employer to ensure the rent is deducted on a monthly basis from the tenant’s salary.

Fashola said, “If you ask me to go and bring in advance one year’s rent from what I’m going to earn monthly in arrears, how feasible is that?

“Even my salary as a minister is paid at the end of every month, not even at the beginning; then you the landlord is now asking me to bring next year’s salary, and we’re complaining that there’s corruption.

“I tried to intervene as a governor, passing the resolution to our own council in Lagos then, but the outcome was not peaceful, because there were landlords in our midst.”

The minister made it clear that he was not pleased with the practice of advance rent payment, arguing that all the developed economies Nigeria was being compared to were not collecting one year’s rent in advance.

“Those who get paid weekly, pay their rents weekly; those who get paid monthly, pay monthly rents,” Fashola stated.

According to him, the masses, unlike the well to do in the society, cannot afford to pay their house rents in advance.

“I believe this meeting is about the critical mass of Nigerians, the taxi drivers, market men and women who earn their money daily and are not even sure of making any revenue for that day. Meanwhile, landlords expect advance payments,” the minister told his listeners.

Fashola charged all landlords in the country, starting from Friday, July 6, 2018, “to agree to take one month rent in arrear,” noting that the payment pressure on the side of the tenant would be reduced in 12 months.

The minister also stated that there was no country in the world where everybody owned a home.

Fashola, at another function in Abuja, stated that claims that Chinese firms in Nigeria could be harbouring workers originally serving prison terms in their home country were subjective and unconfirmed.

He also suggested that the conditions for loans given to Nigeria by China might include the use of certain number of Chinese labour to execute infrastructure projects in the country.

He added that it was necessary for Nigeria to upgrade its influence in the world by developing its economy such that it could take such decisions in its engagements with the rest of the world, especially countries it would lend money to.

Mr Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives (APC) has reiterated his appeal to aggrieved members of the party to be patient with his leadership, in an apparent response to the emergence on Wednesday of a rebel group, Reformed APC(R-APC)
“My appeal to all those who are aggrieved is to be patient,” Oshiomhole said.

However, former Senate leader and the Senator representing Southern Borno, Alhaji Ali Ndume, dismissed the new group, saying that only God and time could determine the direction of the APC in 2019.

Oshiomhole spoke to newsmen after receiving the report of the party’s just concluded National Convention Appeal Panel Committee’s report on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alhaji Buba Galadima who is the National Chairman of the Reformed APC, announced its formation at a news conference at the Sheraton Hotels in Abuja on Wednesday.

“The assurance is that under my leadership, we will make honest mistakes and once our attention is drawn, we will find courage to make up for our mistake.

“Some people say how can people eat their words, for me, I will eat my words if it is nutritious enough and if that is what I have to do to have peace in the family,” Oshiomhole said.

He expressed appreciation to members of the party for his election and for entrusting with him, the responsibility to pilot the party’s affairs at this time.

He acknowledged that he new of the party’s challenges before accepting the task, saying that it was a huge opportunity for him and other newly elected executives of the party to make a difference.

This, Oshiomhole said, was not only for the party, but for the country generally.

“So, I appeal to people to realise that a blind man can redeem his eyes if he applies the correct medication, but you can’t force it to open over night,” he said.

He added that forcing the eyes to open over night, would create more problems and damage the eye the more.

The APC national chairman maintained that he would do everything possible to sustain confidence and trust, adding that everybody was important in the party.

He also said that everybody in the party matters, adding that he would run an inclusive party.

“I pray for wisdom and courage and I believe that we have it and we will deploy it for peace within the APC family, Oshiomhole said.

Senator Ali Ndume, in a separate interview dismissed the new group.

He said the threat by the R-APC and nPDP to leave the APC would never spell doom for it, but only God and time would tell.

The Senator who admitted that politics is all about interest, said there was however, nothing wrong if an aggrieved group voices out its displeasure.

He added that movement from one political party to another is normal in politics.

“What is happening is part of politics, especially now in our political days, all of us are Nigerians and we know what is happening.

“So, politics is about interest and if somebody feels that his or her interest will be more protected by voicing out his dissent, it is Ok.

“This party is a party of time, decided by Nigerian masses and it is only God that can decide the time of a political party: God and Nigerians know that APC government is the light at the end of the tunnel,”the Senator said.

Malam Bolaji Abudullahi, APC National Publicity Secretary was more laconic in his reaction. He said the party leadership would get the full details of what happened.

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary seizure of a parcel of land in the Lekki area of Lagos linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The land, designated as Plot 13, Block II Oniru Chieftaincy Private Family Estate, Lekki, Lagos, is said to be worth N325.4m.

The order temporarily forfeiting the property to the Federal Government was granted by Justice Babs Kuewumi in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Anslem Ozioko, who took an ex parte application before the judge on Wednesday, said the land was suspected to be acquired with proceeds of crime.

Joined as defendants in the ex parte application were Diezani, one Mr. Donald Amamgbo and a firm, Mez Group LLC.

Justice Kuewumi, after granting the temporary forfeiture order, directed the anti-graft agency to publish same in a national daily to put interested parties on notice.

The judge gave anyone interested in the property 14 days to appear before him to show cause why the land should not be permanently forfeited.

The EFCC is seeking an order of the court to appoint “a competent person(s) or firm to manage the assets/property named and described in the schedule to this application.”

An investigator with the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the anti-graft agency stumbled upon the documents of the land sometime in 2016 while executing a search warrant on the office of Amamgbo, an ally of the ex-petroleum minister.

SOURCE – PUNCH

Air Peace, on Monday elevated one of its Senior First Officer, Sinmisola Ajibola, to a captain.

The airline said the development was in fulfillment of its pledge to always ensure gender equality, adding that Ajibola joined the airline in February 2017 as a senior first officer before making history as its first female captain.

READ ALSO : The Worrisome Trend of Sensational Social Media “Journalism” and the Impact On Legitimate Business Concerns: Recent Travails of FCMB, GTBank and First Bank.

According to the airline, the new captain is from a family of pilots – father and four brothers, three of whom are with Air Peace.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, while presenting Ajibola for decoration, said he was proud of her achievement.

Onyema, urged the new captain to sustain her outstanding performance in and out of the cockpit.

He also commended the airline’s pilots for displaying excellence in the cockpit, as well as standing tall among their counterparts, globally.

Onyema explained that Air Peace caused a revolution in the nation’s aviation industry in the area of pilots’ benefits, saying, “The airline currently has eight female pilots in its workforce.”

According to him, women occupy most of the top positions in Air Peace and also run four of the carrier’s stations.

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has re-echoed President Muhammadu Buhari’s allegations that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration spent $16bn on the power sector without tangible results.

Oshiomhole said this while addressing party supporters after receiving handover notes from his predecessor, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, at the APC National Secretariat, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

READ ALSO : Herdsmen attack 11 Plateau villages, kill 86, torch 50 houses

Although the new party chairman did not mention ex-President Obasanjo by name, events he talked about took place while Obasanjo held sway as Nigeria’s President (1999-2007).

Oshiomhole also faulted the alarm raised by the former President that there were plans to kill him.

The APC chairman said, “As I was reflecting, I watched our President recently asking questions rhetorically, ‘you have spent $16bn on power under the PDP, to lay emphasis, he repeated, where is the power?’.

“Nigerians in their various homes, those who had power that day or generator, said, Mr. President, we don’t have. So, $16bn spent, the more dollars they spent, the more darkness the people suffered.

“Now the questions I had in my mind were: maybe because the President has not yet proceeded to now ask the follow-up questions that ‘since we don’t find the power, then, you must bring the $16bn that you spent.’ If he doesn’t do that, then the accusations of limited anti-corruption may begin to gain some currency.

“Our President needs to do the needful. After all, it is already on record what other presidents didn’t do, with regards to the issue of MKO Abiola, and the criminal manner by which the election was nullified, and people pretended that that was never an issue, the President showed courage.

“That same courage should not fail him, so that he can proceed to recover the $16bn and return it to the treasury from the man who superintended over the spending of that money.

“When he does that, people will say, yes, there is a difference because there are Nigerians who are saying so.

“That propelled Prof. Wole Soyinka to say that, if people had immunity as sitting presidents, when the immunity expires, should they transit from immunity to impunity? I think impunity is deadlier than immunity.

“What we need to do as a party is to provide the support that our President needs and for the Nigerian people to provide those supports and then they want to distract our attention when they are in trouble and say, ‘Eh! they want to kill me.’”

While faulting claims by the former President that he was being targeted for elimination, Oshiomhole said, it was on record that no politician of note had been killed under President Buhari’s watch unlike what happened in the past.

He said, “The man said they wanted to kill him. No! To kill is to prevent the investigation. He must be alive to account. That is a typical distraction.

“I think all of us should be ready to do anything we can to help Nigerians not to forget in a hurry. Those who thought they can loot for 16 years, destroy the fabric of our growth system, and tender apology later, so, that they can be allowed to come back.”

Earlier, in his address, the former APC National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, prayed for the success of the new party leadership, describing their victory at the just concluded national convention as a victory for the party.

According to a Punch writer, The decision by government to share this money to the poor and the vulnerable has its own immediate benefits. But in the long run, it will not solve the problem of poverty. This is for the simple reason that if you are distributing the funds to Nigerians, especially the poor who constitute about 70 per cent of our population, the question is: what are the beneficiaries going to use such funds for? The immediate benefits they can derive from the funds will be consumptive in nature. By this I mean the beneficiaries will spend the money to buy consumables such as food, clothing and allied products. I feel the funds should be used to create jobs through skill acquisition programmes. The poor could be incorporated into such programmes. This, I believe, will be the best way to ensure that beneficiaries enjoy regular incomes on a sustainable basis.

That would be better than embarking on a one-off distribution of money. Will the distribution be made annually or monthly? On the other hand, if the Federal Government will take a bill to the National Assembly saying that every recovered looted fund will annually be distributed among the poor and that it would be a consistent source of income, like a social welfare scheme to a certain category of vulnerable Nigerians it would be better. But in a developing society like ours, what the people actually need is a set of skills that will make them productive for their own benefit as well as that of society.

If a Nigerian is supposed to get N100,000, for instance, and the government puts the funds together, it can set up skills acquisition centres in the 774 local government areas in the country and then, the poor can be incorporated. An amount could later be given to beneficiaries to get the tools so that they can become self reliant. But with things like these create lot of room for corruption as experience in Nigeria has shown over the years. We will still have cases of corruption and abuse like we’ve heard about the SURE-P. Such issues come up largely due to the fact that beneficiaries don’t get their funds directly. There should be a committee to manage such funds; they should be tied to a ministry that has the responsibility to oversee social development. •Arodoye Nosakhare (Public Sector Economist, University of Benin)

READ ALSO |Prepare For APC’s defeat in Ekiti, Fayose Tells Presidency

It is certainly not. You don’t solve a huge problem such as the skills and infrastructure gaps by simply throwing money at people. As it is often said, give a man fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. This applies to the situation we have at hand. If the Federal Government is serious about reducing poverty through job creation, it must take the issue of technical and vocational education seriously. This money that has been recovered would have been put to better use in this area. Government should have used a bulk of the money to build and equip at least one skills acquisition centre in each of the six geo-political zones of the country. Qualified personnel who will be properly remunerated should be engaged to handle these centres. These centres must also be properly supervised by relevant agencies of government. That way, Nigerians will get value for money and the people so trained will be useful to themselves and the society at large. But this idea of sharing money to people without a deliberate effort to improve their lives in the long run will be counterproductive. There is nothing wrong with government using part of the money to revamp our technical schools spread all over the country; most of them are in a terrible shape. This can change for the better where there is a political will. •Prof. Tunde Fatunde (Department of French Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo)

The Abacha loot should be shared among the three tiers of government. This is the position of the constitution. Indeed, the Federal Government of Nigeria is supposed to run a zero-net account where all revenues come in and are constitutionally distributed to all tiers of government. The loot, if treated as revenue, is supposed to be deposited in the Federation Account and divided among all tiers of government for development purposes.

The other option is for all the tiers of government to come together and decide what to do with the money. They can appoint an administrator to help them achieve that aim. If this happens, it means that the three tiers of government are involved. It would also mean that they have received equitable compensation from the money which originally belonged to them before it was diverted; it is like returning a lost but found item to the owner.

Whichever option is taken must be within the provisions of the constitution. It does not matter what the parties do with their portion of the recovered loot.

My advice, however, is to request government at all levels to come together and do a meaningful revenue yielding project with the money, using a sort of fund manager or as equity participation in a private sector driven projects. It must be a private sector driven project because government has no business going into business. Successive governments have shown a lack of capacity to successfully run a profitable business venture. • Mr Sunday Babalola (Ex-Kwara State PDP governorship aspirant)

The so called plan to pay the recovered Abacha loot to poor and vulnerable Nigerians is deceitful. The President is deceiving us with this plan but we all know that this is a ploy to either embezzle the money out rightly or to use same to rig the 2019 presidential election. The 2019 election is close and corrupt politicians will do anything to remain in power; we cannot be fooled by this plan. It is deceitful and we reject it.

Why can’t the Federal Government use the money to develop agriculture or invest in the transport sector which will have positive impact on every Nigerian? I disagree with their so called plan to pay the money to the poor. What criteria will they use to determine the poorest people? They want to start paying the money to some people so that they can manipulate them to gain undue political advantage before the next election. This is ungodly! Is that how much they love the poor?

The loot can also be shared to all the states and the state governors can decide how best to apply it to solve the most pressing needs of their people. However, there should be a way of ensuring proper supervision to prevent a situation where money recovered is lost again to another set of greedy public officials and their cronies.

So many states still owe salaries. And we know artisans and other category of citizens in most of these states depend on the regular payment of salaries to keep their business running. If this fund is paid to states, it will definitely have positive impact on the economy. But this direct payment into the accounts of party members is bad and should not be allowed.

Who are the masses they want to pay this money to? The money should be paid like a bailout to states and each state will determine how best to use the money. But they should make it public and people in each state should be given the opportunity to monitor how these funds are spent. •Mr Tosin Odeyemi (Chairman, Restoration Party of Nigeria)

I think we need to rethink some of our interventionist approaches to poverty reduction. It is good to give money to the poor and the vulnerable, but is this sustainable? I think it should be tied to some form of productive activity so that beneficiaries will be given the necessary skills to survive without depending on handouts from government. The Federal Government also has to undertake a review of its strategies in the area of dealing with the issue of poverty. We may need to ask why previous efforts failed.

This will help us to develop new strategies to get better results. I will love to see a situation where beneficiaries will be in a position to take others out of poverty by showing them the way after they must have benefitted from this gesture from government. • Auwual Musa (Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre)

A former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, countered President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on the restructuring of the country, saying there was no alternative to restructuring if Nigeria must make progress.

Atiku stated that he remained resolute in his support for the restructuring of the country, positing that there was “too much power” in the hands of the Federal Government, a situation he said had made governance in the country less competitive particularly among the states.

President Buhari had on Monday told a delegation of Urhobo Traditional Rulers and Urhobo Progress Union, who visited him in Abuja, that the calls for the restructuring of the country was parochial and laced with self-interests, hence discussions and arguments on the matter failed to capture his attention.

But the former VP disagreed with Buhari, saying that the country must be restructured for Nigeria to rapidly move forward.

Atiku spoke in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, during his consultative visit to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state on his presidential ambition ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He stated that he had been in the forefront of the calls for the restructuring of the country since 2004 while still serving as VP because restructuring would bring out the best among the federating units and lead to economic development across the board.

The PDP presidential aspirant also called on the Federal Government to review the current security architecture to meet the emerging security threats in the country, adding that he would always support any cause that would move the country forward.

Atiku, who also vowed to tackle unemployment in the country when he becomes President, noted that he was in the presidential race because of his burning desire to ensure that Nigeria made progress and was united irrespective of its religious and ethnic diversity.

He decried the situation where security agencies didn’t take orders from the state governors, saying “as an individual, I don’t think this is true federalism, we must restructure the security architecture.”

He said, “I will have a very small Federal Government with powers and resources devolved to the states to manage the affairs while they pay taxes to the Federal Government. With this, each zone can survive on its own without leaning on oil money.

READ ALSO : Military Deploys Seven Fighter Aircraft In Benue, Taraba

“I’ll create jobs; you must liberalise the economy, support the private sector, create incentives to make the private sector boom and open up the economy to foreign direct investments. The security architecture of the country must be reviewed and decentralised to meet modern-day security challenges.”

He, however, thanked the people of the Niger Delta region, particularly Okowa, for the return of peace which in turn had led to increase in oil production, appealing that the peace in the area should be sustained.

Also speaking in a similar vein, Okowa stressed that restructuring would help to resolve the myriad of challenges currently confronting the country.

“I strongly believe that the way out of the challenges of the country is to have stronger states, stronger federating units,” he stated.

By Emefulenwanne Ibeayoka

On June 25, 2018 I woke up to yet another social media trend – a news story with the bold and quite salacious headline “How Safe Are Customer Deposits At FCMB?” had taken over the digital airwaves. Between the shares and likes and comments, a storm in a cup had brewed to great proportions in a matter of hours. Yet again, a demonstration that the basic ethics of responsible journalism and ethical reporting have been thrown away in business and, indeed, everyday life.

In writing the article, the author had made detailed reference to alleged cases of fraud involving staff of FCMB and went ahead to imply that perhaps the bank’s depositors funds are unsafe.

It is quite of great concern to see so-called professionals go to town with such alarming headlines, with the full knowledge that most Nigerians will not bother to read the actual details. It is indeed of greater concern that this sort of material was released in the way it was, when by his own admission, the author had received specific information from the bank about its financial performance and ability to remain a growth driven and existentially sustainable institution.

I do not have an account with FCMB, neither am I in any way connected to the bank or its principals. I, however, do have the simple capacity to read between the lines and remove chaff from substance.

In the first place, for FCMB to have increased its shares in Legacy Pension to make it a full-fledged subsidiary as reported in this article, it means the bank is forward-thinking and focused on both diversifying and improving its service offerings and earnings. That’s a bold move, when you consider that the Pensions industry in Nigeria has the potential to be bigger than the banking industry in another decade or so.

But even more interesting is the fact that by his very own article, the author admitted that FCMB’s deposits grew to N689.9billion as at the end of December 2017, an increase of 5%, from N657.6billion in the corresponding year. Do customers increase their deposit in a bank they have fears over or which is on the brink? Is it not only logical that customers are only likely to increase deposits in a bank where they enjoy good service and feel at home? For a fact, I know that the KPMG Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey 2017 placed FCMB in 5th position in the entire Nigerian banking industry in Retail Banking, SME Banking and Wholesale Banking. That’s no mean feat when you take into account the number of operators in the industry.

I think what stumped me the most is the fact that by his own article, the author let us in on key financial metrics of FCMB, including the fact that FCMB reported a gross revenue of N169.9 billion and a profit before tax (PBT) of N11.5billion, while profit after tax (PAT) was N9.4billion.

At face value, it seems to me that the author for reasons best known to him or her was determined to demarket FCMB and portray it in the most negative light possible. I do not dispute the possibility that there were some fraudulent activities – afterall, there is no smoke without fire and that tends to ring through more in Nigeria than elsewhere. However, this is an industry challenge – the Managing Director of the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Adebisi Shonubi (who a few weeks ago was nominated a Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank) recently shared some startling statistics on fraud in Nigeria’s banking industry, revealing the number of reported fraud cases in Nigerian Banks had steadily risen from 1,461 in 2014 to 10,743 in 2015, 19,531 in 2016 and 25,043 in 2017. It has been argued that frauds in the Banks are not alien. In the United States of America it has been said, with compromised credit cards and data breaches often in the news in the past couple of years, fraud is top of mind with many people.

This deliberate attempt to demarket FCMB for reasons best known to the author also brings to mind the most recent attack on GTBank over the Innoson case.

It is not to be forgotten how earlier this month, social media went agog with news that a court had directed GTBank to pay 12 billion naira to Innoson Group, one of its clients with whom it has had a long-standing court battle. The misleading reports on social media had extremely sensational headlines such as “Court Orders GTBank To Pay 14bn To Innoson”; “GTBank Must Pay Innoson 14Bn Within 14 Days”; “GTBank In Trouble As Court Orders Payment of 14bn to Innoson”.

It was such a terrible jamboree on social media that there were certain broadcasts sent across Whatsapp and other social media asking people to withdraw their funds from GTBank immediately, on the premise that the bank would go bankrupt after payment of N14bn to Innoson. Of course, Nigerians will not pause to ask whether paying N14bn in settlement can actually cripple a bank that is widely considered Nigeria’s biggest bank brand and clearly, one of the most solid financial behemoths within the African continent. Nobody stops to ponder. The fact that this latest melee was a result of seemingly deliberate attempts to smear the GTBank brand raises more suspicion about the recent publication on the same online platforms questioning the safety of depositors funds with FCMB.

The GTBank vs Innoson saga has so terribly deteriorated on the account of sensational journalism and reportage, that it has taken an ugly ethnic dimension amongst the unlearned. Thus, on various online communities and platforms in Nigeria, you see Nigerians taking sides on the basis of GTBank being a “Yoruba company” and Innoson being an “Igbo company”. What a sad reality for a nation!

First Bank of Nigeria also witnessed the harsh and merciless bite of sensational reporting when recently there was commotion over the contempt judgement against the Bank and some of its key officials in the case Chief Isaac Osaro Agbara & 9 Ors. v. Shell Petroleum Development Ltd, Shell International Petroleum Ltd and Shell International Exploration and Production BV. Before fact could be removed from fiction, so many broadcasts and “breaking news” articles had surfaced online, all leading with headlines that were designed to damage and not just state the facts.

To make progress as a country and support businesses to thrive, this approach must be arrested. Must we sensationalize everything just so we can earn readership and our 5 minutes of fame, to the detriment of businesses and companies that provide livelihood for thousands of families across Nigeria? I think not.

Even where we need to address real matters arising, surely, the reporting can be more facts-based and less about blackmail and demarketing. As my Yoruba friends have a saying in their language “Even if they sent you on the errand as a slave, deliver the message as a free born”. Crying wolf falsely too many times has serious downsides. Social media credibility is extremely important for the dissemination of relevant, topical, up to date and authentic information. Using it constantly as a vehicle to settle scores, blackmail and seek for attention will ultimately harm the reputation of not only the charlatans in that field but also the real professionals. The fake news toga will be cast on all. That will be a big shame. Freedom presupposes responsibility. Freedom devoid of responsibility is excessive liberty.

These institutions need protection and we really need to stop portraying ourselves to the rest of the world as people always thinking of fraud and sleight of hand strategies to make ill-gotten wealth. There are many honest and hardworking people all over Nigeria. We deserve better than these constant sensational but fake so called ‘investigative’ write ups.

Emefulenwanne Ibeayoka is a public analyst writing from Abuja

Plateau State was on Sunday thrown into mourning with the killing of 86 persons in the attacks on about 11 communities in the Gashish District by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Police Command in Plateau State had earlier on Sunday confirmed the attacks, saying it had only recovered 11 corpses from some of the villages. But residents had insisted that about 200 people were killed by the marauding herdsmen.

However, the police later issued a statement that indicated that the death toll in the attack on the communities in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area on Saturday night had risen to 86. It added that six people were injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles razed while two motor vehicles were torched.

The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in an updated statement issued on Sunday night, said the earlier 11 death toll in the attacks was due to the information at its disposal as of then before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA.

Tyopev had identified the 11 corpses as Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala,Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.

He said, “Sequel to the attack in the Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) June 23, 2018, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Jos, Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel in the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today (Sunday) for an on-the-spot assessment.

“The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations had also the DPO of the Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38. After a careful search of the villages attacked in the District, the following were discovered: 86 persons altogether were killed, six people injured, 50 houses burnt, 15 motorcycles and two motor vehicles also burnt.

“The team also carried out a detailed deployment. Corpses were released to the families for burial. The command earlier in the day confirmed only 11 people dead as the result of the attacks due to the information at its disposal before the arrival of the search and rescue team from the Barkin Ladi LGA. This is to update members of the public of the situation as regards the attacks in the Gashish District as promised earlier on.”

Also, there were fears that some soldiers were missing during the attack but the Commander of the Special Military Task Force codenamed Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe, dismissed the report. He said, “it’s not true, no soldier died and no soldier is missing.”

While the Peoples Democratic Party and the Christian Association of Nigeria, called on the global community to rescue Plateau State from the attacks, the Plateau State Government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South LGAs.

The decision, according to the government, is to avert the breakdown of law and order.

A statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, said movement would be restricted from 6 pm to 6 am, except those on essential duties.

“The soil of Plateau smells with rotten dead bodies as a result of silent killings and many people are missing,” CAN stated.

The attack was said to have been launched at Xland. Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish District were completely sacked by the assailants.

Other areas affected by the attacks included Rakok, Kok and Razat in the Ropp District.

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petition Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly representing the Barkin Ladi constituency, Peter Gyendeng , in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday said the attacks were a declaration of war on his constituency.

He claimed that mercenaries were hired to kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA.

Gyendeng said, “As a matter of fact, the casualty rate is in hundreds; it is more than 100. In one place, it is above 51, in another, over 32 and yet in another area, it is same. For now, based on what we have on the ground and the corpses that we have been receiving, it is probably over 200 casualties.

“Altogether, about 11 villages were attacked and our people are there now trying to ascertain the number of deaths. The casualty rate is above 200 and counting (of the corpses) is still going on.

“This is war; it is a declaration of war on my people. War has been declared on the Barkin Ladi LGA completely. There are mercenaries that have been hired to come and kill people in the Barkin Ladi LGA. The killing started around 11pm last (Saturday) night till this (Sunday) morning. And the killing still continues.”

Reacting to the killings, the PDP described Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State as an “absentee governor, who had been out of the state for the past three weeks.

The party called on the international community to “come to the aid of Plateau people as apart from the over 130 people killed, many are missing.”

The PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary in Plateau State, John Akans, described the attacks as genocide.

He said, “We received with rude shock the level of genocide going on now in the Gashish District, Razat, Ruku Nyarr and Gana-Ropp, all in the Barkin Ladi LGA. We also note with great pains the dastardly attacks ongoing in many other LGAs in the state by the Fulani militias.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the level of continuous genocidal attacks on Plateau people. At the moment, Barkin Ladi is under siege by the marauders with over 130 people feared to have been killed. As of the time of issuing this statement, CAPRO School of Missions-SOM in Gana-Ropp is under heavy attack by the militia.

“…We call on the international community to come to the aid of Plateau people as beside the over 130 people killed, many are missing. While we mourn our people, we are calling on this failed, incompetent and ineffective APC government at all levels to, for once, be sensitive by discharging its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of its citizens.

“While killings are going on, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is busy telling members of the international community that Nigeria is safe for investment and tourism.

“While the Federal Government is planning to pump hundreds of billions of naira into the construction of cattle ranches in states, killings are ongoing in states that have not put in place any ban on open grazing.”

But the Plateau State Government commiserated with citizens especially, Xland, Gindin Akwati communities of the Barkin Ladi LGA, saying it held every single life as sacred.

The government requested citizens to use the “early warning system” mechanism recently launched by Operation Rainbow on 30812 for SMS and 09060100010 for voice calls.

A statement by the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Yakubu Dati, said the government was deeply pained that despite concerted efforts which had led to the restoration of relative peace in the state, “some unpatriotic elements are bent on disrupting the gains so far made.”

He said, “The government condemns these attacks and has mobilised the full compliments of security forces and they are restoring normalcy in the affected areas and the environs. Furthermore, the government holds every single life as sacred hence has mobilised medical and relief agencies to ameliorate the suffering of those in distress.

“As a government, we are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment that will guarantee peaceful coexistence among the various groups in the state as we remain resolute to the well being of our people.”