Abba Dabo, former Special Adviser, Political Matters to thenVice President, Namadi Sambo, has told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that hehad returned the sum of N25million he had collected from Peoples DemocraticParty,PDP, spokesman, Olisa Metuh.He said the money was for him use in countering negativecriticisms against the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, both inthe traditional, and in the social media.Dabo, who appeared as the seventh witness to testify against Metuhwho is standing trial over a seven-count charge of money laundering, told thecourt that he had to returned the money to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, when he discovered that the money was part of the arms fund that wasallegedly diverted by the then National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.According to him; “On December 16, 2014, Metuh paid N25m throughDestra Investment Limited account into my personal account for purposes ofpublicity for the PDP.“When it became obvious that former President Goodluck Jonathanwill run for office, government officials, and party leaders started to meet toreview the achievements of the government and prepare for the elections.”“In the course of those meetings, a lot of concern was shown inthe opposition’s total control of the media. The PDP was getting negativepublicity, and ministers were told to speak more to the press to enhance theimage of the government.”“On my part, we set up a media support group and registered itas ‘Media Support System’ to do media work for the party. We commissionedwriters to write and be paid to promote the government.”“We called it rapid response team, which was successful. It wasits success that led to more meetings with Metuh.”The former aide, further told the court that the social media,particularly, was becoming vicious and critical of the then ruling party, PDP,just as Hausa radio stations equally became a problem for the party, so thespokesman felt he(Debo) could be of help, which was why he was given the N25million, just five days after the party’s presidential nomination convention. “With that money, we setup a team of facilitators and young IT enthusiasts to run a website called,‘What’s up Naija’ but we could not register it because the Corporate AffairsCommission (CAC) wanted it to be ‘What’s up Nigeria.’“Because the money was linked to the controversial arms deal, Idecided to return it. On my own accord, I decided the best way out of thisrigmarole was to pay back the money. I paid it back to the Economic andFinancial Crimes Commission, EFCC.”Dabo, a former editor of the Sunday New Nigeria, Kaduna, GaskiyaTefi-Kwabo, the Hausa version, is also a onetime Chief Press Secretary toformer President Shehu Shagari.
BREAKING NEWS: NCAA suspends operations of Bristow’s SikorskyS-76C++aircraft series
Following controlled ditching of Bristow Helicopters’SikorskyS-76C++ aircraft on the coastal waters of Lagos, yesterday (Wednesday),the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has grounded the operations ofthat aircraft type.The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, whoannounced the decision at a press conference in Lagos, this afternoon, said thesuspension would enable the Authority carry out a full scale audit on thehelicopter company’s operations with particular emphasis on its SikorskyS-76C++ type.He said the regulatory authority “views with utmostseriousness the successive mishaps of Bristow Helicopters’ operating aircraftSikorskyS-76C++ on the coastal waters of Lagos.”“What this means is that yesterday’s incident isoccurring a little over six months after the preceding one.“Therefore, as a responsible Regulatory Authority, itis important to stem this rapidity of occurrence and ensure the airline carryout safe operations.“This suspension of operations for the impendingwholesale audit is not a vote of no confidence on the airline. It is toascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type. This isnot new in the industry; it is one of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)all over the world,” said Usman.Usman however, stated that the suspension of theaircraft type “is without prejudice to the investigations being conducted bythe Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).” He added that it “will serve to assist in the entireprocess,” pledging that NCAA “will fully support AIB in the investigation.”It would be recalled that Bristow’s S-76C++ helicoptermarked 5N-BQJ, which departed ERHA Platform en route Lagos ditched intothe Atlantic Ocean 95 nautical miles to destination.All the nine passengers and two crew members on boardwere rescued.
EFCC Adjourns Interaction With Badeh
Former chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh was at the EFCC office on Wednesday to honour the invitation extended to him by the commission, but the interactions will continue on Monday following an adjournment by the panel of investigators to enable the commission meet up some logistic requirements.
Badeh was spotted at the headquarters of the EFCC earlier today, where he had gone to make clarifications on alleged improper procurements made under his watch as Chief of Defence Staff, but was asked to return on Monday.
The former CDS was accompanied to the EFCC by two of his associates and some aides at exactly 10;00 as requested by the EFCC, he was ushered into the waiting room, where he interacted briefly with officers before the adjournment
Court Order Arrest of Ex-PDP Scribe Over Ekiti Rigging
11 rescued alive in Bristow Helicopters crash
FG Shortchanges Adamawa In Appointments- Gov Bindow
By: John Johnson, Yola
Gov. Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa State has decried what he described as unjust treatment of Adamawa state indigenes in appointments at the Federal level, his government decries injustice in the allocation of appointments in the Federal civil service.
Speaking in Yola on Monday while receiving members of the Adamawa State Investment and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee at Government House, the Governor said that his administration would pursue the lopsided allocation of slots in the federal civil service to the state with a view to correcting the injustice.
While observing that Adamawa state did not meet up its statutory quarter in the federal service, Governor Bindow expressed hopes that the APC-led federal Government would henceforth look into the matter with a view to ensuring fairness in the allocation of appointments.
He commended the committee for a wonderful job, stressing that his is committed to implementing the recommendation of the committee as soon as they submitted the comprehensive report to him.
“I will pursue this injustice mated on our state in the past especially in the area of allocation of appointment slots in the federal civil service. I will draw the attention of the SGF when the committee finally submits its reports over this matter and I believe he will be willing to correct the anomalies”, he stated.
“Sen. Jonathan Zwingina, chairman of the committee had earlier to0ld the Governor that, the state only filled 1.5 per cent of its statutory vacancies in the federal civil service, which is grossly short of the status prescribed for each state to be allocated at least 2.5 percent of the federal civil service.
The former Senate Leader said that, while some states had filled 30 per cent, Adamawa had filled only less than one per cent, following which the committee had recommended an Adamawa Investment and Promotion Forum in its report.
He explained that the forum would produce a blue print for an investment drive in the state.
PDP Chairmanship Crisis Stalls NEC Meeting
By; Peter OSSAI- Abuja
The Leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP seems to be taking newer dimensions as the proposed National Executive Committee, NEC meeting slated for Thursday has been put on hold indefinitely.
nationalTRAIL learnt from dependable sources that in National Working Committee, NWC that the meeting cannot hold because a credible candidate for the position of National Chairman from the North East is yet to emerge.
Last week, the leadership of the PDP disclosed to Journalists that the main organs of the party, including the National Caucus, Board of Trustees, BoT and NEC would meet this week to take a common position on the issuesm causing the crisis in the party.
It may be recalled that prior to the 2012 National Convention of the party, the position of national chairmanship was zoned to the North-east leading to the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from Adamawa State as chairman, he later resigned and Adamu Muazu from Bauchi replaced him, but also resigned after the party lost the 2015 Presidential election, and his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus has been running the affairs of the party in acting capacity.
On December 16, an Abuja High Court ruled that Secondus should vacate the seat within 14 days and allow a member of the party from the North East zone to occupy the national chairman’s seat.
Since then, the party has been emeshed in confusion on as the former Political Adviser to past President Goodkuck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak stormed the secretariat with his supporters and declared himself the National Chairman of the party.
Gulak, who arrived the national headquarters of PDP at 1:42pm in company of other aides of former president Jonathan went straight to the third floor of the building, asked that the office of the National Chairman be opened for him, but it was not and he immediately moved to the National Working Committee, NWC Conference hall to address Journalists, using the chair of the National Chairman.
Relying on the High Court ruling, Gulak told journalists that with the application by the PDP and the acting national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus thrown out, which sought to stop a previous ruling demanding that Secondus should vacate office within 14 days, he had the mandate to take over, being the person who went to court.
Gulak challenged the proposed date of the national convention which was proposed for March this year by the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) against the backdrop that the NWC ought to have first tabled the matter before the National Executive Committee, NEC before announcing it.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP NWC while describing the action as shocking, a taboo, unacceptable, describing him as a fifth columnist working for the All Progressives Congress, APC to cause confusion in the party, stressing that Gulak cannot come through the backdrop to become the National Chairman of the party, asking him to go to his zone, consult, lobby for his name to be submitted from the North East Zone.
Addressing Journalists, PDP National Legal Adviser, Barrister Victor Kwon, who dismissed claims by Gulak, however urged him to go and lobby if he wants to be chairman, saying, “he cannot proclaim himself national chairman as the court did not tell the party to name him national chairman.”
Soon after the development, Governors elected under the PDP subsequently advised Secondus to step aside while the National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, was asked to take over. But the NWC of the party kicked against the order, insisting that Secondus remains the acting National Chairman.
It was against this background that the NEC meeting was slated for Thursday, but sources said it may not hold, due to yet unresolved issues.
Badeh Honours EFCC Invitation
Former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh (Rtd), has put arrangements in place to honour the invitation extended to him by the Economic and financial crimes Commission, EFCC, in furtherance of investigations into procurement in the Armed Forces under his watch.
Dependable sources revealed Tuesday that Chief Badeh received the EFCC invitation on Monday and he has promptly directed his personal aides to make arrangements for his visit to the Commission’s office by Wednesday morning, as requested by the ant-graft agency.
The former CDS will be visiting the EFCC from his house where he has been since he left office, to explain certain activities that were alleged to have taken place in the Armed Forces under his watch as the coordinating officer for all the arms of the Armed Forces.
According to a reliable source, Badeh has maintained a low profile in the face recent allegation. Some military sources who worked with Badeh believe that the former CDS is being deliberately framed up by people whose toes he may have stepped upon while in office.
“While it is impossible to say any human is perfect, we believe some of the allegations as contained in the order directing EFCC to probe Badeh and others are particularly strange to those of us who worked with him” one of the military sources said.
“We are even more curious because, we understand this officers were not invited for questioning by the Presidential panel that conducted prelimanry investigations into the matter.
“Well, we are glad he now has an opportunity to defend his good name built over years of dedicated service to the nation,” the source said.
Efforts to speak directly with the former CDS did not yield results,but reliable sources said he has made up his mind to honour the invitation by the EFCC.
Customs Releases New Export Guidelines
Stories by Mathew OMEJE, with
The Tin Can Island
Command of the Nigeria
Customs Service, (NCS),
has rolled out new wood
export guidelines, saying
only semi-treated and fully processed
wood products would be exported
through its terminal.
Addressing stakeholders recently,
the Customs Area Comptroller
Mr Yusuf Bashar said that it had to
sensitise the business community
particularly exporters on the need
to ensure that only exportable wood
products are brought in to the port,
adding that anything short of what
the law permits, will be confiscated.
Oil price per barrel is going down;
it is our major foreign exchange earner
so Nigerians must be encouraged to
export as much lawful products as
“At a point, we asked ourselves
how we can encourage exports from
our end, we thought that the best way
to do that was to sensitise the people
and tell what products are allowed by
“We took wood products as
the first item amongst exportable
products because it attracts a lot of
“The need for the campaign
became imperative due to the
seeming confusion emanating
from the export of wood products
as almost every container with
wood export despite the status,
is considered contraband by the
“So we met exporters of wood
products, freight forwarders of
wood exporters, our own Customs
personnel and any interested
members of the public and let them
know the categories of wood that are
lawfully exportable,” he explained.
He explained that exports do not
attract any duty, adding that in the
light of falling oil price, government
was trying to encourage Nigerians
to export as much as they can
with a view to repatriating foreign
currencies back home.
According to him, “It is an
incentive to encourage export
because it is assumed that money
will come to government based on
exportable products from Nigeria
especially now that Nigeria is having
challenges with crude oil.”
Bashar also said that the
command had to bring in officials of
the Federal Environment Protection
Agency, (FEPA) to assist the Customs
in explaining and showing to
exporters difference between treated
and untreated wood products.
According to Bashar, other
government agencies that approved
such exports were also invited to tell
exporters what is called processed
and semi processed woods.
He opined that the more there
is communication, the higher
the compliance level adding that
unprocessed wood is banned from
He further explained that he will
ensure that the four policy thrust of
the Customs management will be
implemented to to the letter adding
that the agency must facilitate trade
as much as possible so as to make the
NCC Bows, Agrees To Settle With MTN
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecoms giant, MTN may have reached an understanding as both parties have agreed to settle out-of-court on the fine imposed on MTN for not disconnecting unregistered lines according to NCC directions. Mathew OMEJE reports
All seems to be well between the NCC and MTN as the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has explained that the Commission may consider MTN Nigeria plea to settle its dispute out of court. Speaking at an international press conference over the weekend, Danbatta explained that NCC’s counsels were already talking with MTN’s counsels on the issue of out of court deal.
According to him, “I can confirm that MTN still seeks out of court settlement. MTN is trying to get this issue settled amicably. We have been informed by our own counsel that the Honourable Judge handling the case has granted the request for a settlement on the matter.
“The intention is not to kill MTN because we would like the industry to continue. We would like it to be vibrant and I think this is a matter that needs to be resolved amicably and we are working towards that”, he said.
He pointed out that MTN had filed a law suit, but that the NCC was told by its lawyers late on Tuesday that it wanted an out-of-court settlement.
While speaking on the net worth of the sector, Danbatta disclosed that ICT has contributed over N500 billion in revenue into the coffers of the federal government and that there was every indication for the current 11 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Progression (GDP), to rise astronomically in the years ahead.
He also appealed to Nigerians to have their SIMs registered, and unveiled an eight point agenda on accessibility of service, affordability and availability of service.
It would be recalled that the telecommunications company, MTN, had sought an out of court settlement over the N1.04 trillion fine the Federal government through the National Communications Commission, slammed on it last year for failing to deactivate 5.1 billion unregistered phone lines.
MTN, which had initially dragged FG to court over the fine, arguing that it was outrageous, at a resumed hearing of the suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos recently, through its lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, told the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, that they have considered settling out of court with the Federal government.
Following the request by MTN, the presiding judge adjourned the case to March 18, 2016 hoping that both parties would have reached an agreement before then.
The Federal government had reduced the fine to N780 billion after the company complained.
Meanwhile, the management of MTN had dared the federal government of Nigeria and said it will not pay the N780bn fine.
According a statement issued by the telecommunications firm ahead of the December 31, 2015 deadline issued by the NCC, the Public Relations and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina, said when a case is in court, there was a limit to the comments that could be made on it.
“Suffice it to say that based on the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), all parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria,” Aina stated.
He further said that notwithstanding the lawsuit, “we would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to try and ensure an amicable resolution in the best interest of the company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities. We urge our customers not to panic as we do not envisage any disruption to our operations.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that within a period of one year, the GSM networks have added 16,511,295 lines, an increase of 12.28 per cent.
The report obtained from the NCC, shows that in September 2014, the total number of subscribers stood at 134,507,329 lines, the total number of subscription to all telecommunications networks rose to 151,018,624 by the end of August this year. This means that within a period of one year, 16,511,295 lines, an increase of 12.28 per cent have been added.
The continued growth in the GSM networks may not be unconnected to the increasing difficulty that subscribers have been facing in recent times.
The acting Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, had at a public function in Abuja recently, acknowledged the problems being experienced by subscribers with the telecommunications networks.
According to him, the regulatory agency had stepped up its efforts to monitor and improve quality of service in the industry.
Danbatta said a quality of service task force had also been inaugurated to identify and recommend appropriate solutions to address the problem of poor quality of service from telecommunications operators.
Also, the report shows that the Code Division Multiple Access (popularly referred to as the CDMA) networks shrank as the lines in the network decreased from 2,406,382 lines to 2,125,941 lines within the one year period. This shows the dwindling fortunes of operators of the CDMA technology.
Although the CDMA operators deployed by Intercellular, Multilinks, Starcomms and Visafone preceded the introduction of the GSM technology in Nigeria, the technology has continued to decline as the GSM operators have over the years proved that they have better resources and market plan.
Similarly, fixed services declined from 190,719 lines in September 2014 to 189,523 lines by the end of August, 2015.
This shows that the growth in subscriber base in the country has been driven by the GSM operators, which include the four main service providers deploying this technology namely: MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat.