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LAGOS STATE PROPERTIES :• Lagos Assembly Asks Sanwo-Olu To Account For State’s 3 Helicopters

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LAGOS STATE PROPERTIES :
• Lagos Assembly Asks Sanwo-Olu To Account For State’s 3 Helicopters

The Lagos State House of Assembly has asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to explain the whereabouts of three helicopters belonging to the state government.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the matter was raised during plenary on Monday sequel to the Matter of Urgent Public Importance moved by the Chief Whip of the House, Mrs Mojisola Miranda.

The House, therefore, summoned some key government officials to explain to the Assembly the agreement between the state and Caverton Helicopters, the managers of the helicopters.

The state officials summoned were Chief of Staff to the governor, Tayo Ayinde; Commissioners for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube; Special Duties, Seye Oladejo and management of Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF)

“Recall that in 2007, Lagos House of Assembly passed a bill for the establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) for the state government to equip and strengthen the security agencies in the state.

“Three helicopters were bought to strengthen security in the state. But, the helicopters are nowhere to be found now.

“I will want us to look at it and get the concerned parties to tell the House the location of the three helicopters to see if they are just lying fallow.

“If the state government has entered into an agreement with an entity on the equipment, let’s see to what extent the agreement has been working,” Miranda said.

The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, noted that the helicopters were meant for dual purposes – for security and for commercial purposes.

Obasa emphasised that the House should know the amount that had accrued to the state from the helicopters so far.

“What we have said so far has nothing to do with the image of the state or the assembly.

“What the Chief Whip has done is not too much. We need to know what has happened to the helicopters,” he said.

In his contribution, Mr Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu I) said that the House had approved the purchase of two helicopters during the era of former Gov. Babatunde Fashola.

Olowo said the House learnt that the state had an agreement with Caverton Nigeria Limited to partially commercialize operations of the helicopters on behalf of the state government.

He added that it was important to know how the three helicopters had been managed so far.

Also speaking, Mr Fatai Mojeed (Ibeju Lekki I) said the assets were purchased for security purposes and to generate money for the state government.

Mojeed said the House needed to know what had happened to the helicopters and urged that a committee should be set up to look into the matter.

Corroborating, Abiodun Tobun (Epe 1) said the helicopters should be at the reach of the state for security, probity and accountability.

However, Rotimi Abiru (Shomolu II) cautioned that the assembly ought to have approached the office of the Chief of Staff over the helicopters before bringing it to plenary.

Another lawmaker, Olawale Olayiwola (Mushin II) noted that it was important to call the attention of the state government to the matter.

Olawale said the House needed to know the whereabouts of the helicopters, adding that many vehicles that were donated for security purposes in the state were also not functioning well.

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APPOINTMENT OF WTO CHIEF IN DOUBT AFTER KEY MEETING CANCELLED

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APPOINTMENT OF WTO CHIEF IN DOUBT AFTER KEY MEETING CANCELLED

• Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had been expected to be confirmed as leader on Monday

By Richard Partington

The race to find a new leader of the World Trade Organization has been thrown into renewed uncertainty after the cancellation of a key appointment meeting following the US presidential election.

The Geneva-based WTO, which acts as an international arbiter for trading disputes, said it had put off a meeting scheduled for Monday that had been called to appoint Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its next director general.

Donald Trump’s administration opposed her selection in one of its final acts before the US election, despite the former Nigerian finance minister securing the overwhelming backing of the WTO’s 164 members.

The special meeting of the trade body’s general council had been convened to take a formal decision on the appointment. Officials had been set to put forward Dr Okonjo-Iweala as the candidate most likely to attract a majority, after most countries expressed a preference for her over South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee.

Okonjo-Iweala had moved a step closer to becoming the first woman and the first African to be director of the global trade watchdog after securing backing from the EU, China, Japan and Australia. Liam Fox, the leading Brexiter and former international trade secretary, had run as the UK government’s preferred candidate but failed to win enough support from other countries to reach the last two in the process.

Trade experts said Joe Biden defeating Trump in last week’s election may have led to countries calling for a delay in the WTO leadership race, with the aim of securing the Biden White House’s backing for Okonjo-Iweala after he takes charge in January.

The delay in selecting a new WTO director general comes at a fragile moment for the world economy amid the second wave of Covid-19, and after years of criticism of the WTO and calls for reform from Trump.

The WTO said the meeting would be postponed until further notice, during which time the organisation would continue undertaking consultations with delegations from countries around the world to pick a new leader.

It said in a statement: “For reasons including the health situation and current events, delegations will not be in a position to take a formal decision on 9 November.”

  • TheGuardian

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES LIFTS VISA RESTRICTION ON NIGERIANS, SAYS GOVERNMENT

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UNITES ARAB EMIRATES LIFTS VISA RESTRICTION ON NIGERIANS, SAYS GOVERNMENT

BY SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK

The United Arab Emirates has agreed to resume visa issuance to Nigerians, the government has said.

Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, announced this via his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

He disclosed that the move was to allow Emirates Airlines resume operations in Nigeria

He said, “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.

“Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks.”

  • SaharaReporters

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UK RETURNS $100,000 CONFISCATED FROM DUPED NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN

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UK RETURNS $100,000 CONFISCATED FROM DUPED NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN

Mr Danu had protested the seizure of the money saying it was his legitimate earning and that he declared it with customs.

The United Kingdom has returned the sum of $100,000 confiscated by airport security from Nigerian businessman, Nasiru Danu, after a court gave judgment in his favour in a confiscation suit.

Court documents and banking details seen by this newspaper showed that the money was paid with interest that accrued in the last one year as ordered by a magistrate court on September 7.

Mr Danu was intercepted by officials of the United Kingdom Border Force and Immigration officials on arrival at the London airport on September 13, 2019 after his then newly-acquired Maltese passport with which he travelled there turned out to be fake.

The businessman, PREMIUM TIMES gathered, was duped of $35,000 by a ‘travel agency’ which offered to help him obtain a Maltese passport. Unknown to him the passport delivered to him by the agency was fake.

On returning to Nigeria, Mr Danu petitioned the State Security Service (SSS) over the passport fraud and his resultant arrest and deportation from the UK.

The SSS later referred the case to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is now pressing charges against one Rabbi Okpara.

PREMIUM TIMES had in December reported how Ms Okpara was docked by the EFCC before an FCT High Court for allegedly defrauding Mr Danu and other unsuspecting Nigerians.

Ms Okpara is the owner of Green Valley Concept Limited, a purported travel agency.

EFCC investigators said Ms Okpara used her travel agency to lure unsuspecting members of the public to buy into a sham travel/residency arrangement in Malta.

The EFCC said Ms Okpara in her statement to the agency admitted to liaising with a third party, one Mr Ugbaja, in obtaining these fake travel document for her clients.

Count one of the charges reads: “That you Rabbi Okpara and Jude Ugbaja(at large) sometime in August 2019, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired between yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit; causing to be used as genuine forged documents, thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP, MI7 laws of Federation Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same act.”

Count two reads: “That you Rabbi Okpara, Jude Ugbaja ( at large), Green Valley Concept Ltd and Palmary Travels and Tours Ltd, sometimes in August 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court forged a maltase passport with the name Nasiru Haladu Danu with number 9647443 dated 27 April/AVR 2018 with intent that it be used as genuine; thereby committed an offence contrary to 320(a) of the Penal Code, Law of the Federation 1990 and punishable under section 322 of the same law.”

Seized cash returned

Aside deporting Mr Danu to Nigeria on his arrest at the airport in September, the UK authorities also took possession of $100,000 found on the businessman.

The businessman had protested the seizure of the money saying it was his legitimate earning and that he declared it appropriately with customs authorities in Nigeria before travelling with it to the UK.

Mr Danu also explained that he travelled with that amount of cash because his credit card had failed him repeatedly, leaving him stranded on a number of occasions.

But despite his explanations, the UK authorities seized the cash and approached a court for confiscation hearing.

However, the legal team for Mr Danu challenged the UK Border agency’s move to permanently confiscate the money. They succeeded.

“The court found that the security officials were wrong to seize the money as the money was from legitimate income which was not intended for an unlawful purpose and should therefore be returned to the owners,” said Mr Danu’s lawyer, Femi Joshua.

Mr Danu’s Nigerian Bank account was credited with the money with interest in two tranches of $50,471 on September 23, according to documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

When contacted Tuesday, Mr Danu said he was pleased that the court noted that he was a victim of crime by a syndicate which swindled him and sold him a fake passport.

“The court saw that I am a legitimate and honest businessman and that the cash found on me were legitimately earned and properly declared,” Mr Danu said.

  • PremiumTimesNg

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