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EFCC Arraigns Ex-Sterling Bank Manager for N187m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Enugu Zonal Office on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, arraigned a former acting branch manager of Sterling Bank Plc, Oliver Anidiobi, before Justice C.O. Ajah of the state’s High Court, sitting in Enugu, for a N187 million fraud.

Anidiobi, who was also the Account Relationship Officer of OHHA Microfinance Bank, is facing a 32-count charge bordering on forgery and stealing from the microfinance bank.

Investigations by the Commission revealed that he used his position to convince the microfinance bank to deposit the said amount with him with an accompanying letter of instruction (which he acknowledged) to Sterling Bank. He fixed the amount on behalf of the microfinance bank, only for him to forge a ‘Fixed Deposit Certificate’ as evidence of their investment.

He, thereafter, upon receipt of several instalments of the money totalling N187 million (One Hundred and Eighty Seven Million Naira) diverted the money to his personal use to build a two-storey building of five flats, several plots of land along Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway and an uncompleted four bedroom bungalow at Centenary Estate, Enugu. He also made an investment of over N65 million (Sixty Five Million Naira).

His journey to the dock began when OHHA Microfinance Bank decided to liquidate their two fixed deposits only to discover that there was no record of the transactions found in the system.

One of the counts against him reads: “Anidiobi Oliver Chukwuka, sometime between 15th day of August, 2014 and 28th day of August, 2014 in Enugu, within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit a felony to wit: stealing by fraudulently converting to your personal use the aggregate sum of N5 million naira only, being property of OHHA Microfinance Bank Limited and thereby committed an offence.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In view of the plea, the defence counsel, O.A.U. Onyema, informed the Court that he had an application for the bail of the defendant, but the prosecuting counsel, Micheal Ani, told the Court that “the defence just served me in court this morning some few minutes ago”.

Justice Ajah, after listening to both counsels adjourned the matter to June 7, 2019 for hearing of the bail application and ordered that he should be remanded in prison.

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BE ACCOUNTABLE- LGs COMMITTEE CHARGED

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The elected Local Government Review Committee (LGRC) members from six selected Local Governments in Ogun State, have been advised on the need to be effective and be transparent in the discharge of their duties, for sustainable development in the State. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi, gave this advice during a one- day training for LGRC members, with the theme, “The Roles of LGRC in the Community Development Project (CDP) Formulation and Implementation’’, organised by the Community and Social Development Agency CSDA, at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Mrs. Ogunremi, charged the elected committees saddled with the responsibilities of community development projects to effectively coordinate and execute World Bank assisted projects, adding that this would aid government’s intervention in executing more projects. According to her, “by the time the projects would be completed, the less privilege in our communities would feel the impact of good leadership”, adding that, accountability, sincerity, as well as transparency should be their watchword. On his part, the General Manager Community and Social Development Agency, Engineer Sakirudeen Salam, said the training was organised for elected committee members on their roles to facilitate and fast track the process of the proposed projects. He disclosed that, eighty participants which cut across the six selected Local governments including, Abeokuta North Local Government, Odeda Local Government, Ipokia Local Government amongst others, were duly represented.

Reacting, the Chairman, Board of Director, Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), Pastor Oladipupo Odeyemi, disclosed that the programme had been in existence since 2009 and the State was already involved in the second phase, while striving to be among the third phase if all projects would be done with all honesty, describing the programme as a measure for poverty alleviation in any society. One of the participants at the training, Honourable Bode Kusimo commended the International agency, as well as the State government’s effort at eradicating poverty at the grassroots, pledging to ensure the success of the project, thereby assisting in the socio-economic growth of the areas.

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SANWO-OLU: “MAKING LAGOS A SMART CITY NOT A RHETORIC”

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The plan to elevate Lagos to become a smart city is not a mere political rhetoric, but an agenda that is being supported by policies that will make the goal achievable, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.

The Governor said his administration’s commitment to reinvigorate the state’s economy and make it a smart city was reinforced by its growth potential and profile as one of the top investment destinations in Africa.

The smart city agenda, Sanwo-Olu said, is on course, stressing that his administration would achieve the goal in partnership with private sector as key driver of development.

The Governor spoke on Wednesday at the 13th Annual Business Law Conference organized by Business Law section of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), at the Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island.

To achieve the aim, Sanwo-Olu said his government had identified key areas to drive growth, stating that investment in infrastructure remained prominent. 

He said: “As Africa’s most populous city, with a population larger than several countries on the continent, but confined to a space that is less than 4,000 square miles in size, Lagos is confronted by problems that exert great pressure on its infrastructure, especially our transport infrastructure and public utilities.

“Lagos urgently needs to mobilize huge investments into these critical sectors by delivering new roads and bridges, expanding air and sea ports’ capacity, exploiting the potential of our vast waterways. And, very importantly, Lagos needs to deliver an intra-city rail network. We must have a city-wide rail system that will move people and goods faster.” 

Steady electricity, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, remains critical to delivering a smart city with a flourishing economy. He observed that Lagos, like other states, still had a huge gap to fill in the area of power supply to businesses and homes.

The Governor said a sustained but strategic investment in key infrastructure would have direct positive impacts on workers’ productivity, commerce and economy.

He said: “Provision of infrastructure creates jobs for artisans, engineers and other workers who will deliver these projects, and also for the contractors who supply raw materials. And by expanding our transport and power supply capacities significantly, we will succeed in unleashing the economic productivity long-constrained by these bottlenecks.”

Sanwo-Olu said the effort required private sector partnership and investment to deliver on the objectives. He urged local and international investors to leverage the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in facilitating collaboration, which, he promised, would be mutually beneficial.

While the Governor re-assured investors that his government would create “friendly atmosphere” for investment to thrive, he said the state had embarked on reforms in its business law to protect the interests of all parties when disputes arise in business.

He added: “By leading the way with these reforms, we are making the point that we understand the place of Lagos in the national economy, and we understand the connection between confidence in legal and regulatory systems on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a willingness by investors to invest.

“In terms of the business regulatory environment, we are fully aligned with the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business reform agenda. I am pleased to note here that Lagos was in 2018 adjudged by the World Bank as one of the most improved states in terms of the Ease of Doing Business.”

Sanwo-Olu praised members of the NBA’s Business Law section for choosing Lagos as its choice location to discuss the objectives of the business conference.

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PhotoNews:The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro

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The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro at the reception party organized for the Speaker by the Lagos State Government at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

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