Magu: Presidential panel begins verification of seized assets

The Presidential panel set up to probe the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , Ibrahim Magu, has begun a physical verification of all assets seized by the EFCC, The PUNCH has learnt.

The panel , led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami , has visited Lagos , Abuja , Rivers State and a few other major offices of the commission.

A source close to the panel said the aim of the exercise was to verify claims made by Magu regarding the seizure of assets .

The source , who wished to remain anonymous , said , “Members of the panel have been visiting major zonal offices of the EFCC. We have visited Abuja , Lagos , Port Harcourt and we will visit Ibadan this week .

“We visited some of the houses which Magu claimed to have seized . However , some of them which he claimed to have been seized had no markings of ‘EFCC Keep Off !’ while in some other cases , the alleged looters were still living in them .

“Some houses are also being occupied by strange persons. Magu claims to have obtained presidential approval to allocate the properties to them . Unfortunately , he has not been able to provide the letter of authorisation he purportedly got from the President .

“A lot of vehicles that were seized were also in a bad shape . Some of these vehicles had some parts of their engines removed while for some others , tyres had been removed . We are compiling all the reports .”

When asked when the final report would be submitted to the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , he said the panel would most likely submit it next week .

“As you know , we ended sittings like two weeks ago . It is the verification that is delaying us . Once we are done with our nationwide tour , we will compile our report and send it to the President ,” he said .

Magu and over 13 other senior officials of the EFCC including its Secretary , Ola Olukoyede , were suspended in July following a report by the Attorney- General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) , accusing Magu of being unable to account for the interest that accrued to over N 550 bn recovered funds.

The report of the AGF , which was based on the investigation of a separate panel he personally set up , stated that Magu allegedly purchased a house in Dubai for N 570 m , an allegation that the suspended EFCC boss has constantly denied .

Based on the allegations , Buhari named a panel of seven including Justice Ayo Salami ( North -Central ); Deputy Inspector -General of Police , Michael Ogbezi ( South- South); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice , Muhammad Babadoko ( North -Central ); and Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services ( North -Central ) .

Others are Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation ( North -West ) , Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit ( South- East ) , and Kazeem Atitebi ( South- West ) who serves as the Secretary .

Efforts to speak to Magu’s lawyer , Tosin Ojaomo , on Wednesday proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.

Police Brutality: Rep recommends regular training, adequate funding for security agency

A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, on Monday, recommended regular training and more funding for the Nigerian Police Force, to reduce recurring cases of brutality against the citizenry.

The lawmaker, representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, made the suggestion through a press statement in Abuja.

He said, “there should be improved funding and regular training for the Nigerian Police, to help reposition it for efficiency”.
He observed that “the agitation for the disbandment of the Federal Anti Robbery Squad, (FSARS) should not be seen as the only solution to the alleged police brutality”.

According to the lawmaker, ” the squad had done their best in combating violent crimes in the country, noting that it was regrettable that the excesses of a few bad eggs among the officers drafted into the unit have eclipsed the successes recorded by FSARS”.

Nnaji who is also the Chairman of House Committee on Aviation, also ” suggested an enhanced welfare package for the personnel adding that their work environment and remunerations must be addressed”.

He observed that “the police barracks all over the country do not look habitable coupled with the pathetic state of most Divisional police stations and Area Commands where in most cases there are little or no tools to work with.

“It is amazing that most Divisional police stations and Area Commands don’t have Electric generators and they also lack funds to fuel their operational vehicles. We need to be holistic in addressing police problems if we must achieve the desired results”.

He praised the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu” for giving into to the popular demands by disbanding the unit but added that efforts should be made in ensuring that the officers that Will constitute the proposed new anti-crime unit are thoroughly screened so that only the best are enlisted”.

Nnaji also advised that “the Police Service Commission should in future engage the services of experienced psychologists in the recruitment of officers into the police to ensure that candidates with the right sanity get recruited”.

UN sets to celebrate women on October 15

The United Nations, UN, member countries set to celebrate women on October 15, 2020 in recognition of social, economic, and political progress made by 1.7 billion women and girls who live in rural areas across the world.

This was made known in a statement by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, where it called on governments to see how effective development and violence prevention interventions could create positive behavioural change in their communities.

IFAD also pointed that women are major contributors to agriculture and rural economies, and their work and lives are not immune to the effects of the global pandemic.

The Fund also called for violence prevention interventions and increased support for women’s livelihoods in smallholder farming, fishing, livestock-keeping and rural entrepreneurship; enabling greater access to land, credit and other productive resources; strengthening women’s representation in producers’ organizations and community decision-making bodies and working with rural men to create positive behaviour change.

“Women are major contributors to agriculture and rural economies, and their work and lives are not immune to the effects of the global pandemic. Restrictions on movement increased caretaking duties and increased incidences of gender-based violence all reduce livelihood opportunities during this time. Lower-income can create secondary effects, as women typically invest in education, health care, and business reinforcement.

“Every year, on October 15, the UN’s family of countries celebrates the social, economic, and political progress made by 1.7 billion women and girls who live in rural areas.