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QuickRead: Court orders forfeiture of N775m, properties linked to ex-AGF. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, last week ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N775 million and three properties in Abuja linked to a former Accountant- General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, and Col. Bello Fadile, an aide to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

This and four other stories we tracked dominated newspapers’ headlines last week.

1. Court orders forfeiture of N775m, properties linked to ex-AGF

On November 21, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) confirmed the court’s ruling on the forfeiture of the former public officers’ assets in a statement posted on its website.

The statement read: “The judge gave the order while ruling on an application filed by the commission’s counsel, Christopher Mshelia.
“The properties include a plot of land at Plot 1960, Cadastral Zone A05, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja; a hotel which is under construction with generating set, located at Plot 621, Road 37, Gwarimpa, FCT, Abuja and a twin 4 bedroom duplex with guard quarters located at Plot 736, 7th Avenue Gwarimpa, FCT, Abuja.”

Why it matters

The ruling speaks to the complete erosion of values in our society where stealing, particularly among public officers, and other hitherto unacceptable conduct have become the new normal.

The development is a reminder of how corruption has eaten so deep into the fabric of our society that no institution in Nigeria is exempted from the rot that is threatening to launch the country into the unenviable status of a failed state.

With a judicial system hamstrung by corruption as well, a cleaning of the Augean stable looks far-fetched unless anti-graft institutions are strengthened to fight the war, complemented by a total value-re-orientation programme.

2. CAN revisits demands for restructuring

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on November 23 stressed the need for the restructuring of the country during a meeting with one of the presidential candidates in the country.

The CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, who addressed the duo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, at a meeting in Abuja, said: “The Charter for Future Nigeria makes genuine recommendations for resolving the recurrent crises that border on justice and fairness, equality of all ethnic and religious groups, equal access to basic economic and social rights, political freedom and an egalitarian and just social order.
“The document starts with a diagnostic of Nigeria’s issue and pinpoints the root of it in an illogical institutional and constitutional framework that governs Nigerian governance and social and economic relations.”

Why it matters

The CAN’s position is another reminder of the unfinished discussion on the need to chart the way forward for the country and quickly too, through honest dialogue between and among its various entities to address the fundamental problems threatening its fragile unity.

This lends credence to the continuous push for state police as the ultimate solution to current insecurity and other arrangements that will redefine the workings of the perceived faulty structures in the country.

3. PDP campaign council downplays Wike’s influence in 2023 election

The spokesman of the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign council, Daniel Bwala, declared on November 23 that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his group’s refusal to participate in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign would not diminish the party’s chances in the 2023 election.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Attack on Atiku’s campaign team. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

Bwala, who stated this in a Channels Television’s programme, “Sunrise Daily,” said: “Our party is poised to win the election. Wike’s non-participation would affect a little bit of the margin. So, if we are supposed to win with nine million votes or eight million votes, that may reduce to six million votes or something like that.

“But this victory is destined by God and I can tell you that there can be conspiracy and collaboration or anything. We know the Electoral Amendment Act and what it brings. We saw it in Osun where some members of our party even worked against the party in that state.”
Why it matters

Bwala’s posturing speaks of the PDP’s deliberate attempt to hide from the public the enormity of the crisis threatening to derail its preparations for the 2023 election.

The refusal of all parties in the current crisis to tow the path of peace has also shown that the present crop of leaders and supporters in the PDP have failed to learn a lesson from the 2015 debacle that pushed the party out of power at the center.

4. UK warning on 2023 elections

The United Kingdom on November 24 promised to watch closely the conduct of individuals and political parties during the 2023 general elections in the country.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, who gave the assurance during a meeting with members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, said the UK would impose visa restrictions on promoters of violence in the election.

She said: “That is a real concern and we want to exchange our thoughts on what you can do as a political party to ensure that the elections are as peaceful as possible.
“When people feel intimidated, they can’t get out to vote; the election itself will not be credible. That is why violence is of great concern.”

Why it matters

The UK government’s concerns are a fair attempt at improving the country’s electoral process.

It is also aimed at ensuring that the democratic culture is deeply engrained in the country while the institutions of democracy are also strengthened.

The threats, no doubt, may go a long way to check malpractices in Nigeria’s electoral processes and guarantee the integrity of next year’s and future elections in the country.

5. Gov Zulum’s position on Boko Haram insurgency

The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Friday identified poverty as the direct cause of Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

Zulum, who stated this during a meeting with members of the Barewa Old Boys’ Association (BOBA) at the Government House in Maiduguri, insisted that there were direct links between poverty, criminality, and the insurgency.

He said: “For we the leaders, there is the need to do the needful.
“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has clearly spelt out that security is under the control of the Federal Government but that does not mean that the state governments are not important, but they also played a critical role in the situation within the state.”

Why it matters

The governor’s remark illustrates why the government must create an enabling environment for people to find their means of livelihood.

This also reinforces the call for the government to address the problem of school enrolment in the North and other issues that send hapless children into the waiting hands of radical and terror groups in the North.

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