Naija News reports that the anti-graft agency submitted the documents at the Federal High Court Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Friday, March 15.
This online news platform understands that Okupe is being prosecuted by EFCC on a 59-count charge for allegedly receiving money from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and rendering no services.
At the resumed trial, the third prosecution witness, Hassan Saidu, who was led in evidence by Mr Ibrahim Audu, submitted documents, including account opening package for an account in Zenith Bank, a statement made by Okupe and other documents.
Saidu told the court that following intelligence report regarding misappropriation by Okupe, he was invited to the EFCC office and interviewed.
His words: “We invited him in June 2016 to our office and interviewed him in respect of the payments he received from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) that was tagged “special services.
“Okupe said the money he received; N50 million, N35 million, N15 million and subsequent N10 million severally was used to set up his office, pay staff salaries and pay for a programme on NTA called insight, Saidu told the court.
”When we asked him where the instructions that led to the payment of all the monies came from, he claimed that there was a request that was approved by the former president to the NSA to effect the payment,” he said.
The witness, however, added that Okupe could not produce evidence of the said request.
He told the court that upon further investigations, the agency could not link any disbursement to the payment of staff salaries.
Saidu also said that the only receipt Okupe could produce when asked for receipts of all the things he claimed he used the money for was one of N120,000 paid to Infinity Security Services.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, the trial judge, adjourned the matter until April 1 for the defence team to cross-examine the witness.
Naija News reports that Okupe was arraigned alongside two companies, Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd, over allegations of misappropriation of funds amounting to over N240 million received from the former NSA.
The money is said to be part funds set aside during the Goodluck Jonathan administration to purchase arms at the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Okupe was a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Source: Naija News
‘Africa Has The Best Herbs’ – Says Ooni As He Unveils COVID-19 Herbal Drugs
Respected Yoruba monarch, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has said he is still in wonder why the African continent go after developed countries to import medical ingredients.
Naija News understands that Ooni stated this while unveiling a series of traditional medicines, made from local herbs, that is capable of fighting against infectious diseases including the dreaded COVID-19 disease.
Speaking at the product launch which was held at the Ile Oodua Palace of Ile-Ife on Thursday, February 25, the monarch said it is a proven fact, which is equally established by the World Health Organisation, that Africa has the best herbs which can be used for vaccine production.
This online news platform understands that the launching of the herbs was done through a platform called Herbal Remedies with the Ooni as the Chairman, in partnership with ace traditionalist, Dr Akintunde Ayeni, C.E.O/Chairman of YEMKEM International LTD.
“We are not doing this in isolation and I am happy to inform you that the National Assembly is currently working on a bill submitted by the Federal Executive Council,” Ooni noted while addressing newsmen.
He added that “the bill has passed through several legislative procedures and shall be passed into law very soon.“
According to Ooni, a foundation has been launched for indigenous research-based initiatives in traditional medicines.
He continued: “I am very honoured to be in partnership with the oldest, YEMKEM International, which has been in the industry for the past 40 years.
“He owns the largest (herbal medicine) production plant in Nigeria; We have been on this for over one year during which we have worked with various stakeholders in the health sector, including the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“To the glory of God, NAFDAC gave us all the approvals last September but I insisted that the products be packaged properly. To the glory of God, these products have been tested, especially on thousands of COVID-19 patients, including some in positions of authority who are currently free from the pandemic,’’ the Oba said.
The Yoruba monarch revealed that one among many others of their focus is to employ 100,000 youths within the next fifteen months.
In his goodwill message, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, commended the Ooni over the innovation, adding that many youths would be engaged productively.
He said: “If you study the value chain associated with this innovation right from the cultivation of herbs, production, packaging and distribution, it is obvious that many jobs will be created and countless doors of opportunities opened for our youths,”
On his part, the Chairman of YEMKEM, Dr Akintunde Ayeni, described the development as his greatest achievement in his over 40 years of practice. Ayeni explained that such landmark achievement was more spectacular because it is coming from Ile-Ife, the “source of mankind’’.
He said: “It was not easy and I wish to state that the Ooni, who conceived the idea, gave us all the support, including huge sums of money.
“He has been supportive morally, financially and spiritually and I appealed to other monarchs to emulate these good virtues,”
Speaking also at the event on behalf of the Commissioner, Osun State Ministry of Health, Mr. Gbenga Adepoju, pledged the government’s support for the newly launched products, noting that the country had what it would take to solve her problems.
Adepoju, who is the Director of Public Health in the Ministry, said Ooni’s effort in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 was a huge addition to the government’s effort.
“As we keep fighting against this common enemy, I want to implore us to keep observing the COVID-19 protocols, including wearing of nose masks, observing social distancing and maintaining personal hygiene.”
In their separate speeches, NAFDAC Director-General, who was represented by the agency’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Jimoh Abubakar, commended the fatherly role of Ooni in ensuring that the citizenry enjoys qualitative health. Also, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), represented by Mr Gideon Amosun, declared the organisation’s support for the innovation, applauded the frontline African monarch over the medical breakthrough. (NAN) The herbal products unveiled included Verozil, an immune booster; Bitter Leaf Capsule and produced to attack diabetes and high blood pressure.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 634 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.
Naija News reports that the new cases were reported in a post on the disease control agency’s Twitter handle on Thursday night, February 25, 2021.
IPOB: Nnamdi Kanu Vows To Hunt Down Governor Wike
The leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has vowed to hunted Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for atrocities allegedly perpetrated against Oyigbo people.
Naija News reports that the pro-Biafra activist made the threat in a post on his Twitter page on Thursday.
Members of IPOB had allegedly engaged security operatives in Oyigbo River State, a situation that led to the killing of people.
Nnamdi Kanu stated that Wike will be hunted by domestic and international legions.
He wrote: “Anyone close to Wike should tell him that till the last days of his miserable life, he will be HUNTED down for all the atrocities he spearheaded against my people at #Obigbo.
“He will be hunted by legions, domestically & internationally. And it will be scorched-earth & fiery.”
Anyone close to @GovWike should tell him that till the last days of his miserable life, he will be HUNTED down for all the atrocities he spearheaded against my people at #Obigbo. He will be hunted by legions, domestically & internationally. And it will be scorched-earth & fiery. pic.twitter.com/qqZDB6zZuo
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) February 25, 2021
Meanwhile, Mazi Kanu has revealed why Fulani herdsmen have refused to graze their cattle in the north.
The IPOB leader claimed that herdsmen are refusing to graze in the north and relocating to the south because they are terrorists.
According to the pro-Biafra activist, the terrorists are only disguising as Fulani herdsmen.
“If it’s true that these herdsmen are merely looking for the green pastures of the South to graze, why then did they abandon the expansive green pastures of the North that lie fallow in the lower Sahel?
“Don’t believe the hype: They’re not herders; they’re terrorists in disguise,” Nnamdi Kanu said.
‘You Can Not Say That Nigeria’s External Debt Is Too High’ – Finance Minister
The Federal Government of Nigeria has insisted that the nation’s external debt rate can not be described as unreasonable.
Despite the accrued N31 trillion external debts, the incumbent government in a statement by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the borrowing by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration can not be considered too high yet.
Naija News understands that the Minister stated this during a media briefing at the statehouse in Abuja on Thursday, February 25. According to Ahmed, Nigeria cannot make progress if it doesn’t borrow to fund the building of its infrastructure.
The minister disclosed that Nigeria’s problem was that of revenue, adding that there is a lot of sensitivity in Nigeria about the level of borrowing by the government and it is not misplaced.
The Minister’s statement reads: “I said earlier that the level of borrowing is not unreasonable, it is not high. The problem we have is that of revenue.
“So, what we need to do is to increase revenue to be able to enhance our debt to GDP obligation capacity. If we say we will not borrow and therefore not build rials and major infrastructure until our revenue rises enough, then, we will regress as a country. We will be left behind, we won’t be able to improve our business environment and our economy will not grow.
“So, it is a decision that every government has to take. Our assessment is that we need to borrow to build our major infrastructure. We just need to make sure that when we borrow, we are applying the borrowing to specific major infrastructure that will enhance the business environment in this country.
Giving further explanation on her claims, Ahmed said “Again, we all have to work not just the federal government but state governments to increase our revenue to enhance our debt service obligations.
“We also have to make sure that when we are choosing the projects, we are choosing carefully the ones that will enhance the business environment so that more revenue yields come into the treasuries of the country,”
Ahmed revealed that her ministry will soon secure the federal executive council meeting approval to compel federal government agencies to buy made in Nigeria vehicles as much as is practicable, adding that a supplementary budget will be sent to the National Assembly in March specifically for COVID -19 vaccination.
She added: “We already releasing money to the health authority to start operation in the first batch of vaccines that are going to arrive in the country in one week. But what we have in the budget is not enough.
“So we are working with the health authorities to provide a plan that will be taken to the President for approval and to is be taken to the National Assembly as a supplementary budget specifically for COVID -19 vaccination.
“On the Supplementary budget, she said “there will be a supplementary budget, the first one will be in March relating the COVID-19 pandemic but we will also have a mid-year review like we did last year of the budget and if at the time we do the review and there is a need to go back to do any amendment for a supplementary budget, at that time we will take that decision, if not, we will just report the review.
Speaking on Chinese loans which received a series of condemnations by many Nigerians recently, the Minister said: “If I may be permitted to speak to the question by the business. I think it’s useful to look at the budget for each year; look at the revenues, look at the expenditure, if you take out the new borrowing, really, what will the size of the budget be? How much can the government spend?
“So there will be a lot of capital projects that are affected, so we need to look at it that borrowing is, even as you see it in the budget every year, used to support infrastructural development, otherwise, there’ll be a challenge.
“Secondly, let me add, I think we’re going through a process where we need to borrow now, let’s just say in the short to medium term, to get the economy going, while we also expect revenues to improve.
“So in terms of the pressure of debt service, by the time the revenue comes up, that should be lower, but there are some things you need to do now, to ensure that revenue comes up. So we need to keep that in mind that if the economy grows and revenues improve, then debt service to revenue, in future, should be lower,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has confiscated $919,202 – equivalent to N350 million from Rivers State High Court staff.
Naija News reports that the ICPC found the money in the savings accounts of three people working for the court, including the Chief Registrar, the Deputy Registrar of the Federal High Court and the Station Road, Port-Harcourt Branch of Union Bank of Nigeria.