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PDP chief Says Jonathan gave Fayose $37m to tackle Ekiti poll

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  • As Metuh’s torn statement linked Jonathan to N400m –EFCC

Former President Goodluck Jonathan gave Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose $37 million cash for the June 21, 2014 governorship election, it was learnt yesterday.

A former Secretary of the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Temitope Aluko, a member of the team that prosecuted the election, said Dr. Jonathan gave Fayose $2 million in March 2014 for the primary election. He alleged that the cash was collected at the NNPC Towers in Abuja from businessman Ifeanyi Uba, who last night denied playing any role in the election or giving Fayose any money.

Aluko said the cash was taken to Fayose’s private house in Abuja from where it was moved to Ekiti.

“Immediately after the primary election, we collected another $35 million from Jonathan on June 17, 2014. The money was brought to us by the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

“We all assembled in front of Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, owned by Fayose. Thereafter, the cash was taken to a Bureau De Change in Onitsha  where, with the support of Chris Uba, it was converted to N4.7 billion,” Aluko added.

But Fayose dismissed Aluko as a “distraction” and his story “untrue”.

The embattled PDP chief, who fell out with Fayose shortly after the election, disclosed that the governor collected about N3 billion cash from Senator Buruji Kashamu in 2013 to revive the then comatose PDP structure in Ekiti.

But Kashamu’s aide Augustine Oniyokor said: “While it is true that Senator Buruji Kashamu supported PDP candidates, including the Ekiti State governor, as a true party man, I’m not aware of the financial implications.”

Giving an insight into how the military and other security agencies were drafted into the Ekiti State election, Aluko said Fayose insisted that the only way the PDP could win was to use the military.

Said he: “The former President agreed with Fayose and summoned a security meeting at the Presidential Villa for the purpose of the election.

“Those at the meeting were the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, then Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimmah and former PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu.

“Others included Fayose, Senator Iyiola Omisore, then Minister of Police Affairs Jelili Adesiyan and Obanikoro.

“At that meeting, the former President made it clear to the ex-Chief of Defence Staff that Fayose would stand for him (as Commander-in-Chief) in terms of providing security for the election.”

According to Aluko, the implication of Jonathan’s directive was that the military chiefs were to take orders from Fayose for the duration of the election.

On the strength of Jonathan’s directive, Aluko said Fayose then approached the former Commander of the Army Brigade in Akure, Brig.-Gen. Dikko, to take charge of the election for the PDP.

“But Gen. Dikko did not give us audience. He stated bluntly that he would not be available for such operation. So Fayose sponsored a petition against him, which led to his replacement with Brig.-Gen. Aliyu Momoh who was amenable to our plans,” Aluko stated.

Giving details of how the military and other security agencies were mobilised to win the election for the PDP, Aluko said four party stalwarts were picked from each of the 16 local government areas.

According to him, the 64 party stalwarts were carefully picked because they knew the terrain in their local governments very well.

“They gave detailed information regarding names and locations of opposition members in all the local governments, the various routes, areas of strength and weaknesses of the PDP in the 16 local government councils.

“Today, most of these 64 men are members of the Senate, House of Representatives, state House of Assembly, commissioners, local government chairmen, special advisers and the rest,” Aluko said.

“We went into the election with 1040 recognised soldiers and another batch of 400 unrecognised soldiers brought from Enugu by Chief Chris Uba.

“In addition, we raised 44 Special Strike teams, brought in Toyota Hilux buses from Abuja and Onitsha. We made special stickers for the vehicles that conveyed members of the Strike Team and black hand bands for each of them.

“Each Strike Team was made up of 10 members headed by a soldier and comprising soldiers, policemen, DSS operatives and Civil Defence Corps. They were detailed to attack and arrest prominent APC chieftains in all the local governments.

“We set up anchorage, mainly residential houses, in every local government where the Strike Team members collected their welfare and other allowances.

“To encourage the Strike Team members, we gave them orders to share money and other valuables they could lay their hands on in the houses of APC chieftains they raided.

“Then we set up detention camps, mainly in primary schools, where most of the APC chieftains were detained. Others were detained in police stations where the DPOs were friendly with us. We let them off after the election was over.

“A day to the election, we used the military to block all routes in the local governments and prevented APC chieftains, including former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, from coming into Ekiti.

“So we ensured that no APC chieftain was in sight on election day. We provided polling agents for the APC in most of the polling units so we had no problem getting them to sign election results in the units.

“All these local and foreign observes that described the election as free and fair only witnessed the voting on election day without knowing what transpired before the voting.”

Meanwhile, details have emerged about what the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, allegedly wrote in the torn statement which he made under caution while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on January 5.

The statements of the operatives who were said to have witnessed the incident and the “incidence record book” which gives details of the occurrence were part of the documents filed along with the charges of destruction of evidence preferred against him by the EFCC before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

The court papers obtained by our correspondent on Sunday indicate that five operatives of the commission witnessed the incident which was said to have happened on January 5, 2016, the day the PDP spokesperson was arrested.

Metuh allegedly tore his statement on January 5, 2016 while being investigated for an alleged fraudulent receipt of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser and money laundering allegation involving a separate sum of $2m.

The court documents indicate that the pieces of the torn statement have been kept with the commission’s exhibit keeper.

The entry number 049 in the incident duty log which was recorded at 4.30pm by an EFCC detective, Junaid Sa’id, on January 5, 2016, reads, “Destruction OF Written Statement: I have booked the incident of tearing into pieces of statement by Mr. Olisa Metuh, who was given his statement to endorse after volunteering his statement and he decided to tear into pieces the third page of his four-page statement.

“The torn statement has however been registered with the Exhibit Keeper. Entry made by Det. Junaid Sa’id.”

The document gives the timeline and details of how Metuh’s arrest was effected at about 10.55am in his residence at Prince and Princess Estate in Gudu, Abuja, on January 5, up till when he allegedly tore part of the statement at about.4.25pm on the same day.

It also indicates that Metuh had stated in the part of the torn statement that the account in which the N400m was paid was requested for by former President Goodluck Jonathan, for payments to be made to settle some debts owed by the PDP.

It reads in part, “12.30 hours: Mr. Metuh Olisa began to volunteer his statement under words of caution.

“15.30 hours: Mr. Metuh Olisa concluded his statement which was of four pages. I passed the statements to the team leader, CSP Ibrahim Musa, to read over and endorse accordingly but in the process of reading and after endorsing pages one and two, he swiftly tore into pieces page three of his statement which read that former President Jonathan had asked him to make available, account details owed by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the debts owed him personally and some media houses.

“He further stated that he gave the account details of Destra Investments Ltd. to the President and thereafter he received the payment of N400m into his company’s accounts which he used for specific assignments given to him by the President of which he was not willing to disclose for what purpose.

“I thereafter refused to give him page four of his statement for endorsement because I did not want him to tear it as well. This incidence (sic) happened in the presence of the following officers: Mr. Ibrahim Musa, Mr. Wetkas Michael, Mr. Bello Umar, Ms. Ibrahim, who were all carrying out their various assignments.

“16.30 hours: The torn page of the statement which is in pieces was registered with the exhibit keeper and the incident recorded in the incidence record book of the commission.”

Nation with additional report from Punch

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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