QuickRead: EFCC and Yahaya Bello’s royal rumble. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter - Ripples Nigeria
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QuickRead: EFCC and Yahaya Bello’s royal rumble. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, last week alleged that the former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, withdrew $720,000 from the state government’s account to pay his child’s school fees.

The same week, two commissioners in Rivers State loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, resigned from the state executive council to protest the minor reshuffle of the cabinet by Governor Similaye Fubara.

These and the three stories we tracked dominated public discourse in the country last week.

1. EFCC and Yahaya Bello’s royal rumble

On April 23, the EFCC chairman told journalists in Abuja that the embattled former governor withdrew $720,000 from the Kogi State’s coffers to pay his child’s school fees.

Olukoyede said: “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?

“I didn’t initiate the case; I inherited the case file. I called for the file, and I said there are issues here.”

Why it matters

The drama, especially the alleged role of the Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo, in the escape of his predecessor from the EFCC, reinforces the call for another look at the 1999 Constitution, especially sections shielding elected public officials from investigation and possible prosecution for wrongdoings while still in office.

The many anomalies in the document have been identified as the cause of the current problems in the country and the challenge lies on the National Assembly to refresh it in the interest of Nigerians.

On its part, the EFCC should wean itself of the usual practice of subjecting suspects to media trial and do more to discharge the burden of proof on cases, particularly the ones that concern Kogi because of the recent spats between the commission and the Bello administration.

2. Two of Wike’s allies quit Rivers government

The duo of Rivers State Attorney-General, Prof. Zacchaeus Adango, and his Finance counterpart, Isaac Kamalu, on April 24 resigned from the administration of Governor Similaye Fubara following a minor cabinet reshuffle undertaken by the governor.

In a letter to the Secretary to the State Government, Adango said: “Regrettably, the peace in government that we, citizens and residents of the state desire has remained out-of-reach.

“This has affected our ability to protect and defend the gains we made these past years. It is not the point of service that is important but the climate.”

Why it matters

The latest development shows that there is no end in sight in the Rivers State crisis despite interventions by stakeholders.

There are signs that peace may continue to elude the state unless President Bola Tinubu calls to order individuals behind the tension in the state because of their greed and lust for power.

3. EFCC arrests ex-aviation minister

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 23 arrested a former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over an alleged N8 billion fraud.

He was arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged fraud in the ministry under his watch.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Shaibu impeached by Edo Assembly. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

An EFCC source who confirmed the development to journalists said: “Yes, that was Hadi Sirika who was taken into our FCT custody. He is currently meeting with EFCC investigators over the alleged N8, 069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud.”

Why it matters

The arrest of another top official in ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s government speaks to the extent of corruption in the last administration.

It again points to the penchant for breaching oath of office by the leaders, especially in the management of public resources and this reinforced the call for stricter punishment to deter public servants from stealing from the state’s purse.

4. Reps demand technology in fight against insecurity

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Army, Abdullahi Mamudu, on April 25 urged the military to use modern technology to tackle the country’s security challenges.

Mamudu made the call when he led members of the committee on an oversight visit at the Headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF) North East, Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK) in Maiduguri, Borno State.

He said: “It’s the responsibility of the National Assembly to provide a budget that would enable the military to carry out its constitutional duties.

“The military personnel, especially those who lost their lives during duty deserved commendation for their sacrifice.”

Why it matters

The growing spate of killings and other violent attacks by non-state agents underscores the need for various measures, including the rejig of the security architecture, to stem the problem in the bud.

The government and its security agents’ inability to offer effective responses to the criminal acts of these mass murderers has emboldened them to continue in their ways and left Nigerians at their mercy.

The onus, therefore, is on the authority to find a quick solution to the security challenge and halt the country’s slide into a failed state.

5. Tinubu approves credit scheme takeoff

President Bola Tinubu on April 24 approved the takeoff of the Consumer Credit Scheme to facilitate the purchase of houses and cars by Nigerians.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

He said the scheme would enhance the citizens’ quality of life by allowing them to access goods and services upfront and paying responsibly over time.

The statement read: “It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, essential for ongoing stability to pursue their aspirations.

“Through responsible repayment, individuals build credit histories, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. Additionally, the increased demand for goods and services stimulates local industry and job creation.”

Why it matters

The approval of the credit scheme, if allowed to sail through and not end in the passages of newspapers will be a step in the right direction, especially in a country like Nigeria without a recognised social security programme.

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