The report that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission recovered 301 houses from two public officers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said the agency recovered 301 houses from two public officers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The revelation came at the inauguration of the House of Representatives adhoc Committee on Investigation of the Operations of Real Estate Developers, yesterday.
The ICPC chairman said while 241 buildings were recovered from one of the suspects at different locations within the FCT, the remaining 60 were recovered on a large expanse of land at another location.
Owasanoye, who did not disclose the names of the affected civil servants, lamented the alarming rate at which corrupt public officers were using real estate investment as a vehicle for hiding ill-gotten wealth and money laundering in the country.
He, however, accused officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as collaborators in the scam.
According to him, “Public officers acquire estates in pseudonyms to conceal the illegal origin of funds. This is made possible by the absence of proper documentation, the registration of titles to land and estates in the country, and the non-enforcement of beneficial ownership standards.”
The newspaper says that the venerable writer and Africa’s first winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka, has described the country as being in a mess and gradually disintegrating ‘before our very eyes.’ The renowned playwright spoke, yesterday, at a media briefing held at the Freedom Park, Lagos.
He said this while reacting to a question on the situation in the Southeast. Responding, the playwright was pessimistic about solution from government, saying: “We are in a mess. This country is in a mess. It is disintegrating before our very eyes.
“The government is floundering. It is not mainly that the government is devoid of a holistic solution, the problem really is that this government does not have a holistic grasp of the problems of the nation and environment in which we live and the time in which we are living.”
Soyinka, who didn’t think that it should be more difficult to enter one’s country than to leave, bemoaned the lack of efficient service on the part of those managing the country’s online travel portal, as he narrated how he was ‘banished’ from entering Nigeria when he was in France recently.
While speaking at the news conference with the theme: ‘Covid, Technology and Citizens Banishment,’ the Nobel laureate said he was denied his right to movement twice, describing his experience as banishment.
Soyinka called on the Nigerian government to respect the universal principles of fundamental human rights by allowing the citizenry to exercise their freedom of movement as occasion demands, just as he decried a situation where officious government agents would make Nigerians feel like exiles when returning to the country from anywhere in the world. “Nigerians should be allowed to come into their own country through the front door,” he said.
He further tasked the Federal Government on efficient management of the Nigeria International Travel Portal, following his failure to obtain a travel permit on a recent return trip to Nigeria.
The portal nitp.ncdc.gov.ng is a mandatory website for all travelling passengers to Nigeria to visit and obtain the permit to travel. It was established in compliance with international travel protocol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Punch reports that the Federal Government, on Thursday, launched the made-in-Nigeria barite, saying it would save the country the foreign exchange spent on the importation of the product.
Barite is used as a weighting material in oil and gas drilling, primarily to prevent the explosive release of gas and oil during drilling. The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, who spoke at the launch, said barite was among the seven strategic minerals designated for top-priority development by the ministry.
According to him, the ministry will commission an open marketplace portal that will connect all stakeholders along the barite value chain to a hub that allows for easy coordination, stocking, effective costing and seamless sale of barite.
The minister said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been unwavering in his support for the development of the solid minerals sector.
Adegbite said, “We have facilitated the development of an industrial mineral roadmap to optimise Nigeria’s industrial minerals to meet the standards of the manufacturing, industrial and construction industry so as to reduce import dependency.
The newspaper says that Nigeria and 10 other African countries have stopped foreign airlines from repatriating ticket sales proceeds estimated at $700m to their various head offices in overseas, the International Air Transport Association has said.
The Regional Vice President, Africa and Middle-East, IATA, Kamil Al-Awadhi, in an opinion-editorial article obtained by The PUNCH on Thursday, disclosed that Nigeria alone had held back foreign carriers from repatriating $208m out of the $700m.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based IATA represents over 290 international airlines, had in August put the blocked funds for Nigeria at $143.8m. On Thursday, Kamil Al-Awadhi said the latest development was threatening to hamper aviation in Nigeria, adding that the figure was rising every week.
In the op-ed titled, ‘Blocked funds threaten to hamper Aviation in Nigeria’, the IATA VP said, “At the onset of COVID-19, Nigeria’s air connectivity was severely damaged as aviation took its biggest hit in history. In April 2020, Nigeria lost over 75 per cent of its international route connectivity compared to 2019, and passenger demand still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
“But COVID-19 is not the only threat to connectivity, to aviation’s recovery in Nigeria, or to the country’s economic revival.
The Nation newspaper reports that Nigeria is losing about $I billion revenue annually to falsification of gas flare data by Multinational Oil Companies (MOCs) operating in the country, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Rasheed Bawa said yesterday in Lagos.
In his contribution at a “One-day workshop on Illicit Financial Flow, Gas Flaring and COP 26” organized by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, re:Common and Cornerhouse in collaboration with Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, with support by MacArthur Foundation, the EFCC Chairman, represented by the Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Ahmed Ghali said the big oil companies falsified gas flare data in order to cut down on payment of penalties.
“Multinational Oil Companies (MOCs) operating in Nigeria has over the years been falsifying gas flare data to cut down on payment of penalties.
The former Petroleum Minister, Dr lbe Kachukwu put the loss from this illicit flow to between $500,000,000 and $1,000,000,000 in revenues that would have accrued from the penalties. “This is as a result of not having an independent tracking mechanism to monitor gas flare data and reliance on the figures submitted by International Oil Companies (lOC),” he said.