Towards more transparent sale of forfeited assets

Towards more transparent sale of forfeited assets

EFCC operatives

EFCC operatives


On Dec. 24, 2022, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced the commencement of bids for more than 100 forfeited properties in cities across Nigeria.

Two weeks after the advertorial, the commission commenced the sale of forfeited real estate assets by sealed bids to the highest bidders.

Secretary to the EFCC, Dr George Ekpungu, said at the auction that the commission had adopted a competitive bidding format to guarantee accountability and ensure that the government gets the right value for the assets.

Guidelines for the auction included the prohibition of staff of the EFCC and persons who have or are being prosecuted in respect of the assets from participating in the process.

The commission also said that the occupants of the properties for sale had the Right of First Refusal.

It, however, added that it would ensure that former owners of the forfeited properties do not attempt to repurchase the assets by proxy.

“If you have information about any bid by owners of the assets, please let the commission know, and we will take appropriate action, including possible prosecution,” Dr Ekpungu said during the bidding process.

Crucially, the EFCC said proceeds from the sale of the assets will be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Properties Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This is in accordance with Section 69(a) of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022.

Indeed, the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 stipulates that such proceeds be paid into the said account with the CBN.

However, the Act also assigns the right of forfeiture of assets to other prosecutorial agencies asides the EFCC.

Section 69 partly reads: “There shall be paid into the Confiscated and Forfeited Properties Account— (a) money realised from the proceeds of sale, management or other form of disposal of forfeited assets under this Act and other relevant laws; (b) proceeds of any property forfeited under section 23 (2) (c) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, which relates to forfeiture to the Federal Government of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office…”

Additionally, Section 6 of the same Act called for cooperation among agencies in the sale of such forfeited assets.

“In the performance of their functions and exercise of their powers under this Act, the relevant organisation shall cooperate with other relevant entities. (2) In this section, “other relevant entities” includes any other institution or authority not listed as relevant organisation”, it said.

The EFCC said it would resist attempts by former owners of forfeited assets to reclaim the assets by proxy.

However, judging by allegations that some of its officials also buy forfeited assets by proxy, experts say the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 has not gone far enough to address the fact that the prosecutor itself (in this case the EFCC) is an interested party.

Hence, there should either be a provision that would subject the EFCC to a form of check/supervision or provide for an entirely different entity to handle the forfeiture procedure given the conflict of interests.

This is similar to the point recently raised by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loot Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilisation.

Adeogun complained that the House does not have the powers to determine how the assets should be disposed of, or to whom they should be sold.

“Then, the enabling law allows the (anti-graft) agencies to auction directly. The EFCC is supposed to auction what it seized, subject to due process,” Adeogun said.

Some stakeholders argue that due process cannot be seen as adequately adhered to if the enabling law allowing anti-graft agencies such as the EFCC to directly auction forfeited assets does not provide for an extra layer of due diligence.

In December 2022, when some forfeited assets were auctioned in Lagos, The Guardian reported that some prospective bidders for forfeited vehicles being auctioned by the EFCC accused the commission and the auction house of shady deals.

The newspaper quoted one bidder to have said: “So far, the experience has been frustrating; first of all, the whole exercise does not appear transparent because it seems some people have been selected to pay for some vehicles.”

It appears that an important step towards the transparent sale of forfeited assets is for the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 to be amended.

Hoever, EFCC insists that it has been transparant and followed due process in the discharge of its responsibities and auction process.

Some stakeholders believe that  new provision, which would mandate the setting up of an independent inter-governmental commission with civil society participation should be included.

This, they argue, would ensure that a prosecuting agency like the EFCC does not enjoy absolute control over the forfeiture process.

Hopefully, such a step would curb pervasive corruption and abuse of prosecutorial and investigative powers in our clime which constitute a threat to public interest.

Curbing menace of sex for grades

For ages, sex has been used as a tool to influence outcomes, decisions or gain undue favour or advantage over others in high and low places.

Both men and women can use sex as a bait, to get what they desire or to achieve personal aggrandisement.

They may get away with it, depending on the value of the society.

Sex was used in the Bible by Delilah to seduce Samson to reveal the secret of his strength, while King David was lured by the beauty of Bathsheba and he committed the unthinkable.

However, in Nigeria’s higher institutions, the phenomenon of sex for grades, has been on for decades as part of the “usual’’ on campuses.

But in recent years, the menace assumed alarming dimension and a big dent on the image of the country in the international community.

The popular case at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) exposed the dastardly acts going on in the nation’s higher institutions perpetrated by randy lecturers.

The lecturer, Richard Akindele, who was at the centre of the first major scandal, served two years jail term for sexual harassment of a female student, Monica Osagie.

The case opened pandora box of the menace going on in the nation’s higher institutions.

However, stakeholders decried the menace, and stressed that higher institutions should not in any way tolerate sex for grades,

They also said that it has contributed in no small way to the falling standard of education in the country.

According to Dr Olaitan Alloh, an Agribusiness Consultant,   school authorities must show zero tolerance for ‘sex for marks’ relationship.

He suggested that students on entry into the school should also be made to understand that they should face their studies rather than looking for easy ways to pass their examinations.

“Don’t forget that many students are coming into the universities from the larger society. Many of them have been exposed to thinking that sexual relationship in whatever form is a normal way of life and a tool to progress in life.

“The females think it’s a compensation to offer, while the males think it’s a compensation to receive,’’ he said.

According to him, generally this menace is part of the fallouts of the decadence in our society at large.

Alloh stressed the need to amplify the consequences of violation and punish any lecturer found to be insisting on using sex for grades.

“There should be a way to monitor lecturer and student relationship.

“Violations must be well and severely punished when established and counselling for students is very important, particularly on entry into the school.

“We need new orientation for people to think right and be upright in all dispositions. We all must be involved in fighting the menace with sincerity,’’ Alloh said.

Some educationists have put the blame on weak students, who will always throw themselves on lecturers with the hope of passing their examinations.

For others, it is the lecturers that should take the blame as they are expected to be disciplined and with high moral ethics.

Prof. Peter Okebukola, the former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, recently caused controversy by asserting that academically weak students are to blame for the sex-for-grades incidents in Nigerian universities.

However, some experts faulted Okebukola’s  assertion, saying that  lecturers should not take advantage of weak students and indulge in unethical and immoral conducts.

Dr Kabiru Danladi, of the Department of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, said the menace of sex for grade “is not different from the general societal decay we see everywhere.’’

According to him, over the years, recruitment process in the universities and other tertiary institutions has been bastardised and all kinds of people are employed and entrusted with the responsibility of teaching in tertiary institutions.

“That’s the root of the problem. So you have people who have nothing to do with teaching in higher institutions being employed to teach; people who are morally weak and professionally poor and the result is what we see today.’’

Danladi agreed that academically weak students were likely to fall victims of sexual harassment.

“Mind you, I didn’t say they lure lecturers, but they are vulnerable. They go for free marks, promising `to do anything’ to get their carry overs cleared.

“Anyone doing this is putting himself or herself in a very disadvantaged position.

“I am aware of the problem; in fact, I was shocked by media reports recently on what is happening, especially regarding relationship between lecturers and their students.

“The problem of this sex for grade, you only read it in social media or conventional media. University authorities cannot act based on hearsay or claim, unless a formal complaint is lodged.

“Those affected should be courageous enough to lodge complaint with evidence, ‘’ Danladi said.

In spite of punishments meted out to perpetrators of sex for grades, the menace continued to be on the increase, an indication that enough measures are not put in place to curb it.

Mr Louis Eriomala, the former Acting Executive Secretary, Nigerian Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), echoed that higher institutions are not doing enough to tackle the problem.

“No, they are not doing enough. They can and should do more than they are doing.

“ And it’s a matter of  demand and supply. The randy lecturer and the willing lazy female student; both are guilty.

“However, there are situations where the lazy female student lures an unwilling lecturer.

“There are also cases where a randy lecturer lures an unwilling lazy female student. In these cases, the person making the offer is guilty,’’ he said.

Eriomala said the issue of sex for marks could be attributed to randy lecturers and lazy female students, both willing to trade sex for marks.

According to him, this has become prevalent because Nigeria places more emphasis on certificates rather than what you know!

“When employment is based on individual’s ability, all these will stop!’’

He agrees that weak female students lure lecturers because they are weak academically, saying “it’s true in some cases, but there are cases where lecturers demand for sex directly or indirectly from students as condition for passing them.’’

The International Federation of Women Lawyers, Kaduna State chapter, on its part, urged female victims of sexual abuse in tertiary institutions to speak out in order to put a stop to the ugly trend.

The association assured that it would give legal cover to victims and ensure that lecturers’ sexually exploiting and molesting students were prosecuted.

“It’s time for victims to name such lecturers and others in the system,” Mrs Zainab Atoba, Chairperson of FIDA in the state said.

“Our call is for all students who have this kind of problem to speak out. If they don’t speak out, we won’t be able to know what is happening for us to even come in to intervene on their behalf.

“We as FIDA, our primary responsibility are protection, preservation and promotions of rights of women and children where issue of sexual harassment occurs.

“If it is not brought to our notice, there is no way we will know, to enable us to come out and carry out our function,”  Atoba said.

According to Atoba, the issue of sex for marks in higher institutions of learning is very disturbing and has been going on for a long time.

“We are vehemently in opposition to this kind of issue happening in all the higher institutions.

“Even in secondary schools, we have incidences of teachers trying to sexually abuse students, to sleep with them so as to pass them in their exams.

“It has been happening for a very long time, we are happy that students are now coming out to mention it to the hearing of everybody.

“Before now, students are afraid to voice out what was happening to them. We have a case of a professor that is in prison now for rape of a student in his office.”

Are there solutions in sight to reduce the menace that has become a cankerworm in the nation’s ivory tower to the barest minimum?

According to Alloh, addressing sex for grade is difficult because of human nature, but the first thing to do is to strengthen disciplinary institutions in our universities, where both students and lecturers will feel protected.

“Also recruitment process has to be reviewed to employ competent and highly morally upright people. This will encourage professional conduct in discharging their duties,’’ Alloh said.

For Danladi, he says ABU does not tolerate indiscipline of whatever kind.

“And the university has a system in place from the departmental level up to central administration to address issues of professional misconduct.

“Whoever is accused of misconduct will definitely face disciplinary committee and if found guilty, appropriate disciplinary measures are taken against him.

Stakeholders suggest that to effectively tackle the scourge, strong monitoring team should be put in place in the country’s higher institutions for continuous monitoring of the activities of both students and lecturers.

They also said that very close lecturers/ students relationships, should be discouraged to curb the menace of sex for grades cases in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

Assessing public perception of military as brutal, lawless institution

Due to the onerous task of protecting territorial integrity and suffocating external aggression, the military is among other things trained to kill adversaries but in Nigeria these special skill of killing with modern weapons is allegedly been visited on innocent and armless citizens instead of the adversaries and the military is up in arm to stop whoever will dare challenge her new found perverseness and aberration of unleashing terror and brutality on citizens writes LINUS ALEKE

Nigerian military has no doubt done well in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the past one decade with several soldiers and officers paying the supreme price in the process.

These patriotic sacrifice by the nation’s military cannot be taken for granted as they stay awake and put their lives on the line for Nigerians to enjoy peace and sleep with their two eyes closed notwithstanding the murderous activities of few misguided criminal elements striving to carve out Caliphate within Nigeria territorial boundary and make the nation ungovernable.

To this end, Nigerians owe their military unquantifiable debt of gratitude and appreciation.

The current crop of Nigerian military elite also deserve commendation for submitting to the legitimately constituted democratic authorities for over 2 decades and still counting unlike those before them who interrupted democratic rule for more than 3 decades.

Regrettably, some few bad eggs and trigger happy personnel in the system are dragging these excellent job done by the nation’s military in the past decade to the mud.

Like swam, these few bad eggs are staining the patriotic effort of the military with dirt that is as black as scarlet.

Unfortunately, illegitimate and nefarious activities of these misguided personnel is shaping the perception of the public on civil military relations in Nigeria.

To substantial percentage of the nation’s population, especially the youths, Nigerian military is brutish, lawless, unfriendly and averse to the civilian populace.

This seeming perception has given rise to drama skits and jokes in all social media platforms depicting the military as a brutish and lawless institution, a scenario that does not go down well with the Military High Command, especially the Nigerian Army.

But to say that the civil – military -relations in Nigeria is excellent and cordial is to live in denial or simply put reside in a fools paradise, as news report of military brutality and extra judicial killings of civilians at any slightest provocation dots the landscape of local and international media.

These news reports are often conferred legitimacy by reports of human right violations periodically released by international human right and graft watchdogs, Amnesty International and Transparency International.

Only recently, Mr. Joseph Pessu was allegedly murdered in cold blood by a soldier for disobeying lockdown order in Warri, Delta State.

While expressing displeasure over the extra judicial killing, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Barr Festus Keyamo (SAN), condemned in strong terms the killing of lives in Warri, Delta State by soldiers enforcing COVID-19 lockdown order.

He threatened to petition military authorities to ensure proper investigation into the matter so that justice will be served.

Mr Keyamo who made this condemnation in a statement in Abuja, also described the action of the Armed Forces of Nigeria as barbaric.

“I have received disturbing reports and images of the high-handedness and shooting of innocent citizens by men of the armed forces deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown in my State, Delta State.
Specifically, I have received reports of the killing of an innocent young man, Mr. Joseph Pessu in Warri. I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace.
I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to book. In the interim, let us not take the laws into our hands, please,” the statement reads.

He however, appealed to Deltans to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restrictions imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government.

Recall that
Soldiers of 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, on August 6, 2019, shot members of a special anti-crime squad from the Inspector General of Police Office, who had arrested a notorious kidnap kingpin Wadume and were transporting him to the state police command in Jalingo, for interrogation.

The soldiers killed three policemen and two civilians on the spot, during which the troops allegedly freed the suspect.

The matter is still in court.

Also, the Nigerian Army admitted that a soldier shot dead a commercial motorcyclist in Abia State in August last year.

Ajayi Johnson was identified as the soldier who fatally shot Chimaobi Nwaogu of Umuokereke-Ngwa, Obingwa Local Government Area.
Mr Johnson, a lance corporal, was said to be away without official leave when the incident occurred near a military base in Ohanze community, according to a spokesperson for the 82 Division, Aliyu Yusuf.

Meanwhile, eye witnesses accused the soldier of opening fire after Mr Nwaogu allegedly refused to pay a N100 bribe at the military checkpoint.

These and many other ugly incidences of brutality and lawlessness too numerous to mention accounts for the negative public perception of the military.

Expressing unhappiness over the negative public perception of the military, Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa in a statement titled,
‘Stop depicting the military as brutal in your drama skits’ warned comedians and social media warriors to desist from depicting Nigerian military in a negative light.

The statement reads, “There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a variety of measures to stem its spread in our country. Some of these measures include restriction of movement, lockdown and stay at home directives which are being enforced by various government and security agencies. Some creative Nigerians found it expedient to provide comic relief through the production of funny jokes, graphics, drama skits and video clips to entertain the public. The materials are circulated through social media.
Unfortunately, most of these clips circulating on social media bordered on the Nigerian soldier and projecting the military as lawless, brutal and being harsh on people flouting the stay at home order pursuant to the lockdown and stay at home directives imposed in some states in Nigeria. There is no doubt these drama skits and video clips denigrate and cast the military and the security forces in a bad light. This development creates a wrong impression and general perception of our soldiers negatively and projects them as undisciplined and brutal. Thus, creating an erroneous impression of the military”.

Colonel Sagir asserted that Nigerian military are well trained and dedicated professionals that perform their constitutional duties diligently and dispassionately with utmost regards for human rights and rules of engagement.

He averred that it was wrong to continue to produce such drama skits, video clips and graphics at the expense of the excellent image of the Nigerian soldier, stressing that it affects troops morale and has a broad implication for national security.

While positing that no nation or good citizen make jest of its military, the military warned well-meaning Nigerians and producers of such materials to desist forthwith.

“The military or security agencies should not be made the subject or focus of those skits at the expense of a key and strategic arm of the security architecture of our great nation.
On our part, we will continue to discharge our constitutionally assigned tasks professionally respecting human rights and rules of engagement. We will also investigate the source of such props and costumes and ensure that military uniforms will not be used to denigrate the military,” he further posited.

the High Command of the Nigerian military earlier denied in strong terms alleged brutality and human right violation by its officers and soldiers while enforcing the presidential order on COVID-19 two weeks lock down of 3 cities – Abuja, Lagos and Ogun, which is trending on all social media platforms.

The Armed Forces of Nigeria said the videos were old clips of past incidents that took place in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche who made the rebuttal in a statement argued that the clips are being used by some mischievous elements to tarnish the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to some video clips trending in the media. Those videos are misleading, as they are not related to the present military engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards the lockdown on COVID-19. The Nigerian Armed Forces sees those clips as calculated attempts to tarnish its professional integrity by some mischief makers,” he explained.

The statement further enjoined Members of the public to disregard those videos, saying it is the handwork of false news propagators.

Major General Enenche said the Nigerian military remains undaunted and would not be distracted rules of engagement.

Edo Stands Still As Ogbemudia Finally Goes Home

By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City

Benin City, the Edo State capital on Friday stood still as Samuel Osagbovo Ogbemudia finally made his journey home.

As early as 9am, dignitaries from all walks of life including students from various schools in the state have already taken their seat at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium waiting for the arrival of his remains.

The body arrived Samuel Ogbemudia stadium at 11am and was led in by military personnel and was formally received by the clergymen led by the Christian Association of Nigeria’s president, Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen at the entrance of the stadium.

In a homily titled ‘The Man And His Work’ by Bishop Oyenude Kure of the Evidence of The Gospel Church, Benin, said what one will be remember for when one is gone is his work on earth. This he took from the book of Rev. 14:13.

He said whenever one talks about Ogbemudia one remembers his great work in Edo, delta Nigeria and across the country noting that he was a gift to the nation.

Speaking at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Gen. Yakubu Gowon said the rank of ‘old soldier was depleted on March 9, 2017 with the passing of Brigadier (Dr.) Samuel Osagbovo Ogbemudia who was many things to him.

“He was many things to me: comrade-in-arm; fellow strong believer in one Nigeria; a good administrator and a brother.

“As a soldier, he played well his part before, during and after the Nigerian Civil War even before the war; he saw action in the Congo as well as Tanzania. He was bold and brave soldier.

“Between 1967 when he was appointed as governor of then Midwest Region by my government and 1975 when we were both sent out of office alongside our other colleagues, Sam exhibited good leadership qualities.

“He did well in office and his legacies still speak well for him today in whatever area of life that he touched: sports, culture, agriculture, transportation, industry, just name it.

“The old Mid-West and old Bendel State bore his imprint of service; little wonder several major landmarks bears his name.

“In word and in indeed, he exemplified the concept of exemplary service to the people in my government. He was also one of the most vilified.

“The people believed in him for that reason, he was returned to office as civilian governor of Bendel State in 1983. Regrettably, he was set to beat his own record of service as a military officer when, again, he and other key players in the 3rd republic were sent packing by the military.

“Sam contributed to the process of my settling down in the UK after the overthrow of my government. Without a home to call my own, I was rescued by my late friend, Emmanuel Oti, who gave me his London home to live without paying rent for about two years. Oti and Sam went further to buy several items of furnishing for the house. They comforted me when it mattered.

“It is sad that Sam is no longer with us but as it is said, to live in the hearts of people is not to die. Sam has played his part and has made his exit.

“I pray God to comfort his family as well as the government and the good people of Edo State and indeed, Nigeria.

“Old soldier never die. Sam Ogbemudia has just moved to another barracks”, he said.

Also, Edwin Clark said ‎”Even though, he (Ogbemudia) was 84, it was sad to me. It came to me as a rude shock. You me sitting down here, but I am today, the only one surviving out of all members of his cabinet. So, you can imagine my sadness.

“He was a great man. He was a man of many strides. He was very nationalistic. After the war, he brought unity to the Mid-West. He did so many things; he gave jobs to the people.

“He promoted sports everywhere. He was number pne sports governor and Mid-Westerners were number one everywhere they went. He established Afuze sports centre. He established New Era Grammar School for athletes.‎”

He also said that the establishment of the University of Benin by the late governor was the most surprising achievement.

Clark said, “When the war broke out, all Mid-Western students were driven away or they went to other universities. He established the Mid-West Institute of Technology; I was the pro-chancellor.

“He established the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. He did so many things.‎ But above all he was a very peaceful man.”

The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie Oyegun said late Ogbemudia brought honour and dignity to the Bendelites as there was no parts of the country where he did not build one or two structure.

On the part of Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, said Samuel Ogbemudia was a true officer and a gentleman stressing that he left behind an endearing legacy of good governance and selfless leadership that will continue to inspire the generation after him

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki said the state was privilege to have had Samuel Ogbemudia who contributed immensely to the development of the both states and the nation at large.

He urged Nigerians to keep the memories of the late Ogbemudia alive and never to turn their backs on the children he left behind.

He noted that the state government would always look after the family he left behind.

“Let us not forget him and those he left behind, his family. On the part of the government of Edo State, I want to assure you that will not forget you”, he said.

The immediate past Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole said Ogbemudia gave his all to the nation.

“And for me, this is a day of celebration because the bible tells us that those who died in the lord, simply transit to the great beyond to begin another life. As a human being, there is no question that Ogbemudia gave his all not only to Edo State not only to Bendel State as Gen. Gowon rightly captured it, he gave his best to our nation.

“To me, he immortalized himself before he departed. The time we named New Era after him, it was just a way to say we appreciate a lot of things he did”, he said.

His remains however left the stadium at 12: 45 pm to his residence, 26, Iheya Street, Benin where he was finally laid to rest with 2