BBNaija: Mercy Eke signs endorsement deal with Unique Motors

Wave-making and deletable Big Brother celebrity and Mistress of the Spotlight, Mercy Lambo has recently bagged another multi-millionaire endorsement deal and this time, it’s with a top luxury auto company in Nigeria; Unique Motors

After winning the Big Brother Naija (BBN) competition in 2019 and being the first woman to do so and then featuring in high-end commercials and music videos, the welcome mat into fame and fortune was placed at the feet of Mercy Lambo (real name Mercy Eke). For a mid-twenties media personality from Imo State, this is the dream. This dream has not ended, not with the patronage of Unique Motors or the long corporate strides of Adesina Adebiyi, the Chairman of Unique Motors.

Mercy Lambo’s endorsement deal with Unique Motors comes with the responsibility of her being the corporate face of the car company. This is a smart move on the company’s part, seeing as Mercy Lambo has a vast following and is a darling in the highest levels of Nigerian society. This fact already won her a similar ambassadorial position with Mario and Julie Baby Diapers. This time, though, she got a fine car—the Mercedes Benz GLC 300—as a signing bonus.

Much the same way as Mercy Lambo is moving up the ladder of fame and fortune, so is Unique Motors. Incidentally, the company is gradually becoming the face of luxury car sales in Nigeria, even as it is taking over the car enterprise in Nigeria.

With bustling offices in Lekki, Omole Estate, Festac, and Abule Agba, it is only a matter of time before Unique Motors dominates the Lagos car market—and then onwards to the rest of Nigeria.

All these are the moves of Unique Motors’ Chairman, Adesina Adebiyi, a maestro of negotiation, sales, and marketing strategy. With plaques of local and international making and recognition from fellow Nigerian car dealers, Adebiyi intends to make Unique Motors a hallowed name in the car-dealing industry.

With the signing of Mercy Lambo into the pack, Unique Motors is set to become the alpha male of car companies in Nigeria, and a contending force on the African continent.

COVID19 UPDATE: JIGAWA, SOKOTO STATES RECEIVE AMBULANCES FROM BUA FOUNDATION

Engr. Aminu Bashar, Plant Director, BUA Cement, Sokoto Plant (2nd Right) flanked by Sada Suleiman, Head of Corporate Services, BUA Cement, Sokoto plant (Right), donating BUA Foundation ambulances to the Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State (2nd Left) in Sokoto.
Engr. Aminu Bashar, Plant Director, BUA Cement, Sokoto Plant (2nd Right) flanked by Sada Suleiman, Head of Corporate Services, BUA Cement, Sokoto plant (Right), donating BUA Foundation ambulances to the Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State (2nd Left) in Sokoto.
L-R: Aminu Abdullahi, General Manager, BUA Rice presenting the keys of donated BUA Foundation ambulances to Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa state, at the Government House, Dutse.
L-R: Aminu Abdullahi, General Manager, BUA Rice presenting the keys of donated BUA Foundation ambulances to Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa state, at the Government House, Dutse.
L-R: Aminu Abdullahi, General Manager, BUA Rice presenting the keys of donated BUA Foundation ambulances to Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa state, at the Government House, Dutse.
L-R: Aminu Abdullahi, General Manager, BUA Rice presenting the keys of donated BUA Foundation ambulances to Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa state, at the Government House, Dutse.

 

The Governors of Jigawa and Sokoto States today, received ambulances from the BUA Foundation to boost their fight against the dreaded Covid-19 coronavirus currently ravaging the world. This is coming as the NCDC announced over the weekend that the total number of cases have exceeded the 8,000 mark across the country.

Speaking at the handover ceremonies in the state capitals of Dutse and Sokoto respectively, Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State whilst receiving the Ambulances from Abdullahi Aminu, General Manager, BUA Rice, described the donation of the ambulances as timely and said that the state government is grateful for the support by the BUA Foundation in this time of need. “These ambulances will help enhance the efficiency of the State Government’s response to the pandemic.

In his comments, the Sokoto State Governor, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in the Sokoto State Capital, thanked the Chairman of the BUA Foundation and BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for being a partner in the true sense of the word in Sokoto State. It will be recalled that BUA Cement, which is the largest private employer of labour in the North West, had earlier provided N100million Naira to the Sokoto State Covid-19 response fund.

According to the representatives of BUA Foundation, BUA will continue to support various mechanisms aimed at helping the country flatten the curve whilst curbing the spread of the virus. It was also revealed that the company set aside about 20million dollars at the start of the crisis to support various efforts to fight the virus through the provision of equipment, cash, grants, and infrastructure support.

ACCA joins the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) global call to action to save small-to-medium-sized businesses

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) United Kingdom.

 

The MOU sees ACCA joining forces with ICC in its “Save Our SMEs” (SOS) global campaign, as well as sharing professional insights research. 

 

The SOS campaign highlights the challenges many SMEs are facing due to the impact of Covid-19, and has clear, six-point recommendations for governments around the world to offer tangible support to SMEs in these difficult times.

 

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive at ACCA says: ‘ICC’s SOS campaign is an impressive global initiative, highlighting the vulnerability of SMEs at this time. Our own research into the impact of Covid-19 on business sectors clearly shows that small businesses have a more pessimistic view of what lies ahead compared to larger organisations. Revenue and profit are specific concerns. Among business leaders in smaller organisations – those with fewer than 200 employees – 85% expect year-on-year revenue to be lower than the previous year, and 86% expect year-on-year profit also to be lower.’

 

Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC United Kingdom says: ‘We are delighted to have ACCA’s support in this venture. This is a critical moment for businesses across the world – in particular for SMEs that may operate with smaller margins. These businesses form the backbone of the economy and governments globally must give them the support they need throughout the crisis, or they risk incurring long-term economic damage.’

 

ACCA and ICC will work together to share with their respective memberships’ insights and guidance to sustain SMEs and the SMPs that support them throughout the current crisis and beyond. They will also invite their stakeholders to take part in each other’s events and research initiatives. 

 

Options will be explored to work together on co-branded research projects, policy development and co-hosted events around critical issues for businesses. These will leverage the diverse and complementary know-how of our networks to support SMEs globally, and drive inclusive growth and prosperity.

Develop Homegrown Solutions And Human Capacity  Experts say at UBA Africa Day Conversations

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African thought leaders and great minds have noted that the development of homegrown solutions and adequate investment in human capacity building and agricultural expansion are key steps that will help to rebuild Africa and put the continent on a stronger footing post Covid-19.

 

Analysing the theme ‘Domestic Policies, Regional Development and a Global Agenda: SDGs and African Development at Crossroads; the speakers collectively gave this submission during the second panel session of the 2020 edition of United Bank for Africa (UBA) African Day Conversations.

 

The virtual session, which was moderated by Veteran Journalist and Media Consultant, Eugenia Abu, was made up of thought leaders from across Africa, including the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa, Abiola Bawuah (Ghana); Senior Program Coordinator, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, Dr Nalishebo Meebelo (Zambia); Leadership Coach and Chairman, Go Ahead Africa Ltd, Roland Kwemain (Cameroon); Founder and Executive Director, Social Change Factory, Sobel Aziz Ngom (Senegal); Special Assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi (Nigeria); and Social Entrepreneur and Founder, LEAP Africa, Ndidi Nwuneli (Nigeria).

 

Abiola Bauwah who emphasised how Africa should rely less on foreign donors, said, “There are five areas we should work on more for us to reach the SDG goals; the private sector; rapid industrialization; institutions and the rule of law; develop our human capital; remove the barriers across Africa. We should institute Africapitalism which is an economic philosophy that says that the human and capital resources of Africa are the only ways in which we can develop Africa.”

 

Nalishebo Meebelo noted that there’s a lot that young people can do along the value chain of manufacturing, transporting, technology and marketing, adding that, “Government cannot do it alone, they need to work with other stakeholders. Cut and paste solutions do not work for us here in Africa, we need to have our own homegrown solutions to fight this pandemic.”

 

Eugenia Abu, who focused on the huge role that women and youth must play in rebuilding the continent, said that Africa had to work together to provide solutions to its numerous challenges. “Women, entrepreneurial champions, young people and collaborations between African countries are very key to developing Africa,” she stated.

 

Ndidi Nwuneli who was saddened that the agricultural sector remained hugely untapped, emphasised the need for a change of mindset where people usually equated agriculture to poverty. “This is a $1 trillion industry and we are neglecting it; therefore my charge to you is that we invest in the agricultural sector, prioritize it, leverage it, transform our educational system to prepare our young people for this sector, change the mindset and trade with each other,” she explained.

 

Sobel Aziz Ngom pointed out the need for the youth to take charge in Africa. “It is time to not just serve young people, but to trust them to lead. The challenge that we have at the domestic and continental level is making the change in our structure and in the political system that give the place to young people to be 100% engaged,” Ngom stated.

 

In his own submission, Tolu Ogunlesi, said, “All over the countries young people are seizing opportunities, and we need to start thinking about how to make sure that this is not just for the age of COVID but for now and beyond COVID-19. Even if the pandemic was to disappear today, I hope that the lessons we’re learning, we’re not going to forget them and go back to where we used to be.”

 

For Roland Kwemain, more institutions need to tow the line of UBA in events such as UBA Africa Conversations. “If 100 multinationals in Africa were doing that UBA is doing, we would go far because CSR is an amazing leverage not just for the brand but also for supporting people & women in terms of activities. The truth is that we need partnership between the government, corporates and the civil society,” he said.

 

The United Bank for Africa is a leading pan-African financial institution offering banking services to more than twenty million customers globally. With footprint in 20 African countries and presence globally in the United Kingdom, the USA and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross border payments and remitt

Analysing Uduk’ s Two Years as SEC Acting DG

By Akeem Oyetunde

Appraising the performance of the Nigerian investment space the past two years that Ms. Mary Uduk held sway as Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, reflects a sector that has continued to respond proactively to emerging global trends following innovative strategies being adopted by those saddled with the responsibility of guiding the investment market towards desirable direction for sustainable growth.

As it were, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) serves as the hub for formal transactions in equities and other instruments like its counterparts in other climes. Beyond the official listing and trading of stocks and other securities in the bourse, however, lies the more fundamental ‘regulatory radar’ being provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A cursory assessment of the commission’s transformational strides in the past two years has reflected remarkable innovations and the attendant positive developments, especially when understood against the backdrop of the pervasive effects of the economic sluggishness on capital markets on emerging economies across geo-political zones globally in the past few years.

But then, like a clairvoyant Amazon endowed with requisite professional skills and cognate experience in investment management, Ms. Uduk came with a mission of fulfilling the SEC’s statutory mandate through team work, collaborative engagements of stakeholders and a deep sense of purpose.

Looking at the performance of the SEC in the past two years on critical rating parameters showed that the management has done reasonably well in terms of sustaining investors’ confidence in the capital market; instilling discipline in transactional processes in the bourse; and enlightenment and engagement of investors and their associations on emerging trends in global investment space.

Similarly, the SEC intensified sundry initiatives to protect of the public from fraudulent or scam investment promoters, improve the contributions of the capital market to nation’s economy; investment in human capital training and development; promotion of innovative technology and solutions in the SEC and capital market operations; and sustained the implementation of the 10-Year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP) with remarkable achievements recorded so far, amongst others.

As part of the initiatives of the Capital Market Master Plan, a committee was set up with the objective of enhancing capital formation and investment through a National Saving Scheme. Against the background knowledge that savings is necessary for investment and growth, the Commission, through this committee, has facilitated the development of a concept paper seeking to establish policies that will drive national savings with a clear structure for mobilizing domestic savings. The report of the committee has been reviewed and submitted to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and plans are now in top gear to inaugurate a National Working Group on National Savings Strategy.

With the advent of COVID:19, the Regulator went ahead to release about three circulars concerning the action against the COVID-19. One of them was to direct the entire Capital Market Operators to provide report on their Business Continuity Plan and processes (BCP), for public companies to make sure that they continue to send out information to investors and also to give out information on how COVID– 19 would affect them if possible make forecast and outlook to let investors know how the pandemic can affect their operation volatility and others.

The SEC on its part has put up email addresses that people can use to send returns, applications, which are all on its websites so that the Capital Market can continue to work even during the pandemic. 

Complementarily, the Commission has equally ensured that companies’ annual reports are distributed electronically thereby aiding timeliness of information to shareholders and cost reduction to public companies.

In a bid to address challenges associated with identity management in the capital market, the Commission has recently developed a standardised Investor’s Data and Consent Form to be adopted by all Capital Market Operators which has been exposed on the Commission’s website.

Identity management has been a problem not just in the Capital market in Nigeria, but in many sectors of the economy. 

For instance, on the issue of sustaining investors’ confidence in the Nigerian capital market, the Uduk-led leadership of the SEC continued to promote the E-Dividend Mandate Management System, the Direct Cash Settlement and the Multiple Subscription service option for investors. In addition, the SEC has raised the bar of investors’ confidence through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk-Based supervision and the Complaints Management Framework that opens communication channels for investors to lodge complaints and get prompt responses.

The importance of the E-Dividend Mandate Management System is to eradicate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of unclaimed dividend. To boost the e-dividend mandate and Direct Cash Settlement initiatives, the commission has engaged the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) on behalf of the capital market community to facilitate identity validation and account validation in an effort to enhance market processes.

Recently, in furtherance of its investor protection mandate, the commission, in line with the provisions of Section 13 (w) of ISA 2007 which empowers the commission to close any illegal investment companies, sealed off the premises of various illegal fund managers while also pasting a list of 12 of such illegal; entities for the information of the general public.

The 12 unlawful/unlicensed investment schemes are: Loom Nigeria Money, Box Value Trading Company Ltd, Now-Now Alert, Flip Cash Investment, Result Investment Nigeria Limited, Helping Hand and Investment and No Failure Development and Empowerment Nig. Ltd

Others are MBA Forex and Investment Ltd, Federate Investors Trading Company, Jamalife Helpers Global Ltd, Flexus Global Solutions and Investment Ltd, United Capital Investment Company Limited.

Also, the Nigerian capital market has also grown over time. For instance, exchanges such as FMDQ, NASD, AFEX and the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) have been established in the last 5 years and many of them are listing and trading new and innovative products.

Complementarily, the commission had recently also approved the amendments to its regulatory framework which prohibited stockbrokers from engaging in any form of guaranteed investments on behalf of shareholders.

The amended regulation also requires stockbrokers to categorically inform their clients, in writing, that they cannot engage in guaranteed investments on their behalf. Prior to the commission’s directive, there had been a significant increase in the abuse of guaranteed investments which, unfortunately, resulted in losses.

These regulatory measures, as some analysts have commented, are desirable to the current drives by Ms. Uduk and her team to make transactions in the capital market totally transparent for investments in line with global best practices.

On the way forward for the capital market, it is strongly recommended that all stakeholders in the investment space, including the fiscal and monetary authorities as well as the National Assembly, extends hands of support to the SEC management in the task of attracting long term investments into Nigeria and by so doing, close the funding gap that has remained the bane of the country’s sustainable development over the years.

Africa Day : APRA President Urges African Leaders to Look Inwards for Solutions

In commemoration of the annual Africa Day, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, President of the African Public Relations Association has called on the continents leaders to look inwards for homegrown solutions rather than waiting for foreign aids from the West.
The APRA president said, Since inception, the need for Africa to stand together cannot be more acute than the present when the continent faces a global pandemic that has left every part of the world struggling for its own survival, with little room or thought for us.
But rather than brood over the situation, it presents a unique opportunity for Africa to look inwards by developing its own homegrown solutions be they medical equipment and innovation, to cures and indeed distinct economic models.
It offers us the opportunity to break away from preconceived notions and mindsets that have held us bound for too long.
Badejo-Okusanya said this years theme for Africa Day Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africas Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic is quite apt while congratulating the African Union for managing the organisations cause for the past fifty-seven years.
He added that In the words of the founding father of African Unity the late Dr. Kwame Osageyefo Nkrumah delivered during the launch of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,1963, We must unite now or perish. We must recognise that our economic independence resides in our African Union and requires the same concentration upon the political achievement. True words then, truer words even now.
However, if we must silence guns and create conducive conditions for the development of Africa by jointly fighting this pandemic, communication is key and extremely vital.
The African Public Relations Association (APRA) will continue to lead the charge in creating a positive narrative for the continent and its people. We will create synergies with other professions, governments and organisations to achieve this goal.
Badejo-Okusanya announced that APRA has set up a Post COVID 19 Advisory Team made up of respected professional colleagues from across the continent to advice the association.
The team which is headed by an Honorary Counsel and their appointment ratified by the Executive Council will be announced very shortly. They are charged with the responsibility of giving Africa and APRA a voice on issues of governance, leadership and development.
Borno IDP Camp Fireoutbreak : NEMA Provides Relief

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has provided relief to internally displaced persons that were affected by a fire outbreak.

According to a press release signed by Abdulkadir Ibrahim, spokesperson NEMA North-east, the fire incident occurred at Muna Albadawy IDPs Camp in Jere LGA Maiduguri Borno state on May 23, 2020.

The fire was caused by flame from cooking points in the IDPs Camp.

About 1613 HouseHolds comprising 9678 persons were affected.

One death was recorded without any injury.

All the two sources of water facilities in the camp were destroyed. The Emergency shelters were also destroyed.

Some of the domestic animals and food items were burnt during the inferno.

The NEMA zonal office has deployed water tanker to provide temporary solution to water problem pending the repairs of the water facilities.

Immediate needs of food, water, clothes, non- food items, emergency shelter were mobilized for delivery to the affected IDPs.

The Director General NEMA AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (rtd) has also approved food and non food items to the affected IDPs.

A team from NEMA North East zonal office maiduguri led by acting zonal coordinator Chonoko Ishaya Isah delivered the items to the camp.

NEMA has informed SEMA to liaise with ministry of water resources and WASH sector to restore the water and toilet facilities.

A total of 11,354 patients has received treatment and various dental care services at the Department of Dental and Maxillofacial Surgery, of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH).

The gender distribution of the patients, who came from the Hospital’s catchment area, shows that 5,069 of them were females, and the remaining 6,285 were males.

According to a press statement signed by
Hauwa M. Abdullahi, Head of Information and Public Relations of AKTH, data in the hospital’s latest edition of its annual report to the end of 2018 indicate that, “the range of dental treatments and services offered by the hospital cover almost every aspect of contemporary dentistry.”

The department’s five units at which it treats patients are the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Restorative Dentistry and Child Dental Health. The other units are Oral Diagnostic Sciences and Preventive Unit.

The treatments and services offered by the Department include fabrication of partial and full dentures; tooth extractions in adults and children; provision of stainless steel crowns for children; scalling and polishing.

The report explained that the Preventive and Community Dentistry Unit of the hospital “is responsible for prevention of dental diseases and community education.”

More details given in the report indicate that,”The Child Dental Health Unit offers services in both general paediatric dentistry and orthodontic treatment which involves the alignment of the teeth and the jaws. The Unit can offer a full compliment of child dental health treatment available anywhere in the world.”

“With 12 consultants, 11 Senior Registrars and a staff strength of more than 60, the Department has conducted numerous oral health awareness lectures on proper care of teeth and other oral issues at various fora in Kano for the benefit of the citizenry.”

How Police Squad Invaded Abuja Estate, Shot Teenager, Assaulted Family

About a dozen detectives of the Nigerian Police Force have invaded the Abuja residence of former Sole Administrator of the National Iron Mining Company, Itakpe, Engr Abubakar Yaro Ibrahim and extra-judicially shot one of his sons.

The police officers, who are members of the Special Tactical Squad (STS) of the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), it was gathered stormed the residence of Engr Ibrahim, penultimate Monday, 18 May, at about 12:45 pm, when he was preparing to join other members of his family to perform the afternoon prayer (Salatul Zuhr).

The STS personnel, PRNigeria learnt, violently molested members of Ibrahim’s family, threatening to eliminate their mother and Sadiq, the teenage son shot by one of the armed policemen.

The Force Spokesperson said the Police is investigating the incident.

Confirming the incident to PRNigeria, the traumatized father of shot teenager, said: “On Monday, 18th May, 2020 at about 12:45pm, I was preparing to join other members of my family to perform the afternoon prayer (Salatul Zuhr), when I heard several gunshots, and some strange people shouting at the top of their voices at members of my family, while some other people were banging doors, trying to forcibly gain entrance into the house through other doors.

“I rushed downstairs to the main living room of the house to know exactly what was happening and to my greatest dismay I found members of my family laying down on the floor of the living room with their faces facing down and several armed men were standing keeping a watch over them, threatening to shoot anyone that may attempt to run away.”

Ibrahim, who has already demanded an apology from the Police Force and is also pressing for damages, explained that he did not immediately realized that they were operatives from the ST Squad of the IGP office.

He further narrated: “I assumed naturally that they were armed robbers, since I could not immediately identify them. More so, as we have had experience of attack by armed robbers in the past.

“They led all of us out of the main building into the open space in front of it. It was then that I realised that they were actually security operatives from STS. Then naturally, myself and some of my children started asking them why they were treating us in the manner they were doing. They slapped my children who asked that question saying, ‘’you even have the mouth to talk’’.

“Earlier, while they were in the process of gathering us, one of my children also sought to know why they layed siege in our house and a gun was fired very near his ear apparently to deafen him.”

According to the retired director in the Federal Civil Service, some of the operatives re-entered the boys’ quarter premises and other parts of the house, apparently for further search.

“And thereafter, they came back to meet us at the spot we were gathered. They then decided to take us (myself, my male children, seven in number, and my driver) to their office at Guzape.

“We left my female family members, amongst whom were small children confused, crying and highly traumatized. While entering the vehicle which was meant to convey us to their office, a son of my neighbour happened to be passing by, and when questioned by a member of the STS team, he explained that he came to inform us that my son, Sadiq was shot and that he was at their house.

“We therefore, went with the STS operatives to pick Sadiq who was obviously in a state of shock and severe pains. Blood had stained his clothes and the piece of the cloth that was used to bandage the wound was greatly soaked with blood.

“I could not control the tears coming from my eyes when I saw my son in that pathetic situation, and I pleaded with the STS operatives to help quickly rush him to the hospital for him get prompt medical attention, and we can thereafter, face any charge they may decide to place on us. All they said was that we should wait for them to finish what they wanted to do, and that they had a clinic in their office where Sadiq would be attended to,” Ibrahim said.

He further said, “the STS operatives came into his house by jumping over the fence between
my house and that of my next door neighbour.”

His words: “They met Sadiq doing ablution for the afternoon prayer in the premises of the house. He was greatly frightened due to the manner by which they gained access in our house. He immediately
concluded that we were being attacked by armed robbers. To add to his shock the officer who shot him then pointed gun at him and started pursuing him. The officer pursued him over a distance of at least 200m.It is only by the mercy of the Creator that Sadiq survived.

“The officer shouted at the top of his voice saying, ‘thief thief’ so that people in the neighbourhood shall close their doors, and not allow Sadiq entrance. It is also obvious that the officer wanted Sadiq to be lynched by members of the public.

“The STS operatives asked Sadiq to produce his handset before we would be driven to their office, and he told them that it had fallen while he was escaping from the STS operative who was pursuing him and firing at him. The STS operatives insisted that they needed to obtain the handset before we would leave for their office. God so kind the handset was eventually traced and we were eventually taken to the STS Office at Guzape, Abuja In the afternoon.”

He continued by saying: “At the venue of interrogation we were each asked to make statement, and it was while we were doing so, that it became evident that they were trying to link us up with a kidnap case. According to them, that a Nigerian Army major and one or two other people were recently kidnapped in Kogi State, and the kidnappers demanded a huge ransom before they could be released.

“According to them,
they were trying to track the kidnappers when they arrived at a spot (near my house, but on the road which passes in front of it) as the location of the kidnappers when they were last contacted. They claimed that the kidnappers asked them to take ransom to that spot which they automatically assumed to be part of my house. No recorded voice conversation with the kidnappers to that effect was presented to us.

“…after the necessary formalities we were asked to fill bond forms and thereafter, we were allowed to depart at about 5.45pm. I requested that we be provided escort to accompany Sadiq to hospital for proper medical attention. They assigned the person who shot at him to take him
along with a relation to National Hospital, Trauma Centre, Abuja for treatment.”

Engr Ibrahim however said, while they were on their way to hospital, Sadiq asked the officer who shot him why he did so, but the officer replied him, saying he should count himself lucky that he was still alive.

“The officer unapologetically stated that he intended to kill Sadiq. He also stated, without any remorse, that he had aimed at Sadiq’s head while shooting towards his direction. When they arrived at the National Hospital, Trauma Centre, Abuja, they simply dropped Sadiq and the relation accompanying him at the entrance of the Centre and left. This refusal to provide the statement was in spite of the insistence for it by doctors,” Ibrahim noted.

Engr Ibrahim who is currenting a visiting lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, maintained that the STS team did not stormed his house with a search warrant authorizing them to search his house.

He said: “They did not enter my house through the main door, in spite of the fact that it was not locked. They instead jumped over the fence between my house and that of my immediate next door neighbour.

My son, Sadiq was performing ablution when they entered the home by jumping over the fence between my house and that of my neighbour; this very manner of entering the house greatly frightened him.

“More so that one of the operatives pointed gun at him and pursued him trying to kill. Sadiq actually assumed they were armed robbers when he saw them. The particular person that shot him had hair style that is not befitting responsible people, making the boy to believe they were armed robbers. None of the officers wore a protective gear which they normally wear when they are on such operation. This cast doubt on the motive of the mission of the STS team.

“The same officer who shot Sadiq told my wife, who at that time they entered our compound was in the kitchen preparing food for children, to open the kitchen door or be shot. One of the children advised her to open for him and she did. But for that invention by the child it could have been a different story.

The shock and trauma we were subjected to, caused another son of mine to collapse at the interrogation venue. The STS operatives had disgraced us as a family by treating us as criminals without the slightest justification for that.

“I served this Country to the best of my ability and I retired as a Director from the Federal Civil Service, and I had never been linked to any criminal act. Even on retirement I am still contributing to the development of the country through many different facets. I am presently a visiting lecturer in the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. I am living no stone unturned in trying to bring up my children in the best Islamic way. Three of my children have memorized the Holy Quran, and Sadiq is one of them.

“I and members of my family have been unjustifiably humiliated, traumatised and inhumanely treated by the STS operatives. My fundamental human rights have been violated and trampled upon. I therefore demand that the STS staff involved be appropriately sanctioned for unprofessional and unethical conduct in the conduct of their duty to serve as deterrent to other officers. They should also forward a letter of apology to myself and my entire family.”

When contacted, the Force Spokesperson DCP Frank Mba told PRNigeria that the Police Headquarter is investigating the incident and would make it position known shortly.

Frank said: “There are different versions to this report. We are, nevertheless, investigating the controversy over the incident and we will surely make our position known and take appropriate actions on the issue.”

Over 500 Ghost Projects Approved In 2019 Budget For NDDC – Acting MD

The acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has alleged that the agency’s 2019 budget was padded with about 500 non-existing projects.

Professor Pondei, who spoke to journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, explained that a huge amount of money was appropriated for bogus projects.

He was reacting to allegations of corruption levelled against the Commission’s interim management committee.

Pondei, a Professor of Medicine at the Niger Delta University, was appointed by Buhari in February 2020.

In October 2019, President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the NDDC.

Pondei is leading the President’s forensic audit.

“We discovered that after NDDC forwarded its budget to the national assembly committees on NDDC, what was sent back to the commission was no longer recognisable,” Pondei said.

“The 2019 budget was classically over padded, with almost 500 new projects inserted to it when it was sent back to us.

“We found out the budget appropriation was done in such a way that meaningful projects were allocated very little sums of money.

“It is unfortunate that the 2019 budget will expire on May 31 without any project executed in the region. It was passed two months to the end of its implementation period.”

Pondei also alleged that some members of the national assembly have put pressure on the agency not to submit certain files to forensic auditors.

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