Category Archives: Breaking News

Dear Readers, We Have Moved!!!

 Dear Readers, We Have Moved!!!

The management and staff of The Times of Nigeria will like to thank our loyal readers for keeping faith with us during our turbulent period when our main site was hacked and we had to temporarily relocate to this blog.

Our site has been restored. It is a indeed an improvement on the old site and we hope to continue to serve with fresh and relevant news from Nigeria.

Please from now on, point your browsers to www.thetimesofnigeria.com for your favorite online news source.

Once again, we thank you for your loyalty.

Signed:

Editor

 

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Ribadu Under Probe Over Mansions In Dubai, Abuja

It seems the Police High Command has begun a probe of sleaze buster, Nuhu Ribadu – who, himself, has ferreted the cupboards of the great and the small in the past five years as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman.

Ribadu: No longer at ease?

It was learnt at the weekend that the police authorities are in possession of dozens of petitions from corporate bodies, and individuals accusing Ribadu of sundry vices, among them graft.

It is alleged that he owns a mansion in the Palm beach area of Dubai where his wife stayed for the most part of last year.

But a source close to Ribadu explained that the house was a “gift” from a Northern business tycoon (name withheld).

There is also the allegation that he bought the official residence of former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, for N200 million and paid it in cash.

The house is on Mambilla Street near Aso Drive in the Maitama area of Abuja.

The petitioners alleged that Ribadu engaged in business activities that breached his oath of office.

“I think it is after a careful study of these petitions the Police High Command is working on those that may have substance,” a police source said.

Ribadu may face an inquiry after evidence is established against him, although there is disagreement in the House of Representatives over which committee should probe the EFCC.

Besides, the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes has summoned him over the directive by the police authorities to send him on course at the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos.

Committee Chairman, Dave Salako, explained in Abuja on Sunday that the controversy generated by the directive made it imperative for him to appear before the committee.

He claimed ignorance of moves by members of the Lower House under the aegis of Integrity Group (IG) to initiate a probe of the EFCC, stressing that his committee is the appropriate one to do it.

Some members of the IG met at the weekend during which they resolved to initiate a probe of the EFCC when the House reconvenes on Wednesday.

But Salako said his committee, which has oversight functions on the EFCC, had already begun investigating its activities before now, and would progress that with the appearance of Ribadu.

More disclosures have equally emerged on why the Presidency approved Ribadu’s study leave.

President Umaru Yar’Adua may have acted on a memorandum written on April 3, 2003 by Aliyu Mohammed, the Chief of Staff to President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The memo, copied to all security agencies and all departments in the Presidency, argued that Ribadu’s appointment as EFCC Chairman was an anomaly which needed to be corrected, in accordance with the EFCC Act 2002.

Mohammed said the appointment contravened the Act which stipulates that the EFCC Chairman should be an officer not below the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG).

 

The memo stated that Ribadu was, at the time, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, and that all ex-officio members of the EFCC were by far senior to him

 

– Daily Independent

Atiku Won’t Rejoin PDP – AC

The Action Congress (AC) has denied reports that its presidential candidate in last year’s election, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, planned to re-join the PDP.

A statement issued today in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the report also stated that Atiku was offered the chairmanship of the PDP Board of Trustees.

AC described such reports as “the figment of imagination of those behind them as the insinuations lack any truth whatsoever”, the statement said.

It said that it would not make any difference even if the former V-P was offered the chairmanship of the PDP’s Board of Trustees as well as the party’s Sole Administrator at the same time.

“The people who are now planting the story of Atiku’s possible return to the PDP in the newspapers or begging him to forgive them were the same people who shamelessly drove him out of the party.

“What has happened that has now forced them to realise the worth of the man they maligned so unjustly?

“Why is it that they can’t leave this man alone? In any case, why do they think he will abandon a party of progressives, patriotic and decent men and women like the AC?” the statement asked.

– NAN

Reps Set To Probe Ribadu!

The National Assembly is set to launch an investigation into the conduct of out-going chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Members of the lower House have started compiling allegations and petitions against Mallam Nuhu Ribadu whose redeployment on training has stirred up controversy.

National Assembly sources who spoke with The Times of Nigeria said that the same group that influenced the removal of former Speaker of the House, Olubunmi Etteh has concluded plans to initiate a probe into the controversial Third Term financing.

The source said that there are very credible evidence before us that Ribadu played a very prominent role if the distribution of bribes to members of the House of Representatives and Senators in a failed attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.

“That massive fraud must be investigated and, we are ready to jumpstart the process.”A member of the Integrity Group told The Times of Nigeria.

Spearheading the effort to probe Ribadu are prominent members of the Integrity Group of Niger Delta states.

Some governors of Niger Delta state are said to have conferred with members of the National Assembly from their states and instructed them to initiate the probe claiming that Ribadu’s anti corruption fight has unfairly targeted the region more than any other region in the country.

Apart from the issue of Ribadu’s role in the ill-fated attempt to secure a third term for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the group also intend to challenge the legality of the rapid promotion the EFCC chairman received from the past administration. Also on their list of grievances is what they called “financial impropriety” by Ribadu.

“Where did a serving policeman get the money to buy his Abuja residence that belonged to the former deputy Inspector General of Police?” The source queried.

The group is said to have been irked by what it called the “Holier than thou” attitude of the EFCC chairman.

“We know his associates and when the probe start Nigerians will be surprised by who the information that will come to the fore. We will disclose for the world to see the role that Ribadu himself played during the elections. Corruption is not only about taking money, you can corrupt your position by abuse your office.”



Ribadu Visits President Yar’Adua

Amid the controversy surrounding his study leave, EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, met with President Umaru Yar’Adua behind closed doors today in Abuja.

Beaming with smiles, Ribadu parried questions from State House correspondentsas he repeatedly said Happy New Year.

It was not clear what they discussed, but sources said it had to do with the controversy surrounding Ribadu’s new assignment.

Last December, the Nigeria Police Force nominated Ribadu for a yearlong course atthe National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos.

This sparked off a controversy as many Nigerians questioned the rationale for his nomination for the course.

Police authorities said, however, that by his rank Ribadu, an Assistant Inspector-Generalof Police was due for such study leave.

Many Dead As Militants Invade Port Harcourt!

Niger Delta militants attacked two police stations, a luxury hotel and a night club in Nigeria’s oil city Port Harcourt on Tuesday leaving 18 people dead, police said. The New Year’s Day assault came after troops bombed suspected rebel hideouts near the city last weekend and after the collapse of peace talks between militants and the government of Africa’s top oil producer. “The gunmen came into town from different directions and attacked several places,” said Ireju Barasua, a police spokeswoman in Port Harcourt.

Barasua said four police officers were killed at two police stations in the riverside metropolis in the south of Nigeria.

Seven civilians also died in the cross-fire outside the Borokiri police station, and a security guard was killed at the Presidential Hotel when gunmen opened fire on the lobby, Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu was quoted as saying by the state news agency.

Several other civilians were wounded by stray bullets near the hotel as they returned from midnight mass, witnesses said. The lobby wall had bullet marks and dozens of empty AK-47 shells were lying on the road outside.

Gunmen also struck the Skippers night club, and police said they killed six of the attackers.

A prominent militia leader in Port Harcourt, Ateke Tom, had been expected to stage a counter-attack in the city after troops bombed his suspected hideouts with helicopter gunships in the creeks around the city last weekend.

Authorities have not provided details on casualties from those raids, but local media have reported that several people were killed.

Violence has driven thousands of foreign oil workers from the Niger Delta since February 2006 when militants launched a new wave of attacks.

They have cut oil exports by a fifth and chased away new investment from Africa’s biggest oil and gas reserves.

There was a lull for about four months after the inauguration of President Umaru Yar’Adua in May, when the new government began tentative peace talks. But militants pulled out and resumed attacks after the arrest of one of their leaders in September.

Several armed groups in the delta demand local control over oil revenues, an end to what they see as neglect of their impoverished communities, compensation from oil companies for pollution, and greater political autonomy.

They have blown up pipelines and oil wells and kidnapped hundreds of foreign workers to press their demands. However, crime and militancy are intertwined in the delta, where armed groups make big money from ransoms, smuggling stolen crude and gun-running, often with the complicity of corrupt government officials. (Additional reporting by Tom Ashby in Lagos, writing by Tom Ashby: Editing by Alison Williams)

 – Reuters

House May Indict El-Rufai Over Abuja Land Scam!

The report of an administrative panel set up by the administration of Aliyu Modibo, minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Aliyu Modibo to probe allocation of lands under the tenure of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai has locked both in battle of wit.

The panel, according to sources was set up by Modibbo to investigate allegations of funds diversion, revocation of lands without due process, underpayment and possible diversion of land funds from the purse of the FCT administration to private hands.

Sources said that the report turned in some damning findings against the past administration of El-Rufai.

The camp of El-Rufai was reported to have responded and claimed that the former minister was not invited to appear before the panel to defend himself.

Sources claimed that the probe investigated allegations that former minister consolidated Plot 132 Wuye(B03), said to have been consolidated and allegedly diverted to some other persons on further allegation that it was transverse by a sewer.

Another plot, according to the report and for which the former minister was investigated was Plot 123, Central Business District (A00), said to have been revoked from the National Eye Hospital.

The allegation against the former minister, according to sources was that he revoked the land without taking due cognizance of the humanitarian use the hospital was meant to serve.

Other land allocations the former minister was investigated included Plot 28, Kukbawa and Plot 388 in the Central Business District. Both lands were alleged to have been revoked without due process and allegedly allocated them to some other persons under questionable circumstances.

Sources close to the El-Rufai however claimed that the former minister had prepared his defense to the allegations even though he was not confronted by the panel.

Sources said that the controversial plots were revoked and awarded under the Accelerated Development Programme of his administration as FCT minister.

The plots in the central area were specifically mentioned as falling under the Accelerated Development Programme.