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NIGERIA

No explosion at Kainji Dam, says NIHSA

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency on Monday refuted reports of an explosion at Kainji Dam in Niger State.

The NIHSA described the report as fake, urging the public to disregard the claims made by the online medium.

The Director-General, NIHSA, Clement Nze, told our correspondent that his agency investigated the claim and found out that it was false.

He said, “The general public, especially the print and electronic media, should disregard the online ‘fake news’ claiming that there was an explosion in Kanji Dam.

“I can authoritatively confirm that Kainji Dam is safe, no explosion whatsoever in the dam.”

Nze said the hydrological services agency was working in synergy with the operators of major dams across the country.

The NIHSA boss said his personnel contacted officials at the Niger State dam but none of those contacted confirmed an explosion at the site

“After reading the online news, I put a call across to the hydrologist who was holding a management meeting at the dam site at that moment,” he said.

Nze added, “He (the hydrologist) informed me that there was nothing like that.”

He further explained that NIHSA’s gauge readers working within the catchment had not reported such an incident.

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NIGERIA

EFCC arraigns ex-poly director for N27m contract scam in Anambra

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a former Director of Physical Planning, and currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Pius Ezeokafor before Justice O. Ezeoke of the State High Court sitting in Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He was arraigned on Tuesday, on three counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence and gratification to the tune of N27 million.

One of the charges read, “That you, Arc. Pius Ugochukwu Ezeokafor sometime between the year 2011 and 2012 at Oko, Aguata Local Government Area within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Anambra State, did commit felony to wit: with intent to defraud, obtained by false pretence the sum of N27m from one Emerson Associates Ltd. and Dr Okechukwu Enemuo (being Managing Director of Emerson Associates Limited), when you represented to them that you would help them get a contract of N1 billion upon payment of facilitation fee, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence.”

A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the defendant allegedly met the petitioners on site at the polytechnic where they were executing two construction contracts and offered to use his office as director of physical planning to swing the contract for them if they would pay him N27m facilitation fee.

“After receiving the payment, the defendant neither facilitated the promised contract nor refund their money.

“Upon arraignment, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the three counts preferred against him by the EFCC,” the statement said.

It said the prosecution counsel, Fortune Asemebo, asked for a trial date while the defence counsel, Lucius Ogbuagu moved a motion for the bail of the defendant.

Justice Ezeoke, after hearing from both counsel, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.

The surety must be recommended by a legal practitioner or town union president and must show evidence of tax clearance for the past three years.

The court adjourned the matter till October 14, 21, and November 5 for trial.

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NIGERIA

NAICOM to stay action in suit against insurance recapitalisation

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The National Insurance Commission, on Tuesday, pledged to stay action on its planned recapitalization of insurance and reinsurance companies in the country.

NAICOM gave the assurance through its lawyer, Mr Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), when the suit challenging the process resumed before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The incorporated trustees of the Standard Shareholders Association of Nigeria and Mr Godwin Anono had jointly sued NAICOM as the sole defendant in the suit.

The plaintiffs are by their suit challenging the legality of the recapitalization process.

NAICOM had via its circulars issued on May 20, 2019, July 23, 2019, and December 30, 2019, directed all insurance and reinsurance companies in the country to increase their “minimum paid-up share capital “not later than September 30, 2021.

But, the plaintiffs had through their lawyer, Ayodele Akintunde (SAN), instituted their suit to challenge the recapitalization policy, which they argued was commenced by the regulatory body without compliance with the requirements of the law.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Justice Mohammed noted that there was no situation warranting an urgent hearing of the case.

He added that his time as a vacation judge would end on September 25, hence, he would have to send the case file to the Chief Judge of the court for re-assignment to another judge.

But the plaintiff’s lawyer, Akintunde, expressed fear that if a restraining order was not issued against NAICOM by the court, the agency might go ahead with the recapitalisation process while waiting for the matter to be heard and determined.

Responding, however, NAICOM’s lawyer, Ume restated his earlier pledge that his client would not continue with the recapitalisation process until the determination of the suit.

“Since we have been coming in the last three weeks, nothing has changed. Everything has remained. My lord, it can never happen,” he said.

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NIGERIA

Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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