The newspaper review for Wednesday, January 31, leads with the administrative panel of inquiry which recommended the sacking of Mounir Gwarzo, the embattled DG of the Securities and Exchange Commission from public service, President Buhari's vow to end killings in Nigeria among other stories.
The Punch reports that the Administrative Panel of Inquiry, which was set up in November last year to investigate corruption allegations against the suspended director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mounir Gwarzo, has recommended the sacking of the embattled DG from public service.
The panel, which is headed by the permanent secretary, federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, was set up by the minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.
In the recommendation, which was sighted by our correspondent in Abuja, the committee also suggested that the suspended DG should refund the sum of N104.85m, which he allegedly approved and received as severance package while still in office.
The panel also recommended that Gwarzo be referred to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for further investigation of the allegation of using his position as SEC DG to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited.
In the report, which has already been submitted to the finance minister, it was recommended that the holding of the position of the DG of SEC as well as a director in two private companies (Medusa Investment Limited and Outbound Investments Limited) was in breach of public service rules 030424 and 030402 and Section 6 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007.
The panel stated in its report: “Mr. Mounir Gwarzo should be referred to the ICPC for further investigation of the allegation of using his position as director-general to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited in view of the provisions of Sections 57 (12) (b) and 58 (5) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
“Gwarzo should be dismissed from the public service of the Federal Government, in line with the PSR 030402 (in relation to the allegation on golden handshake), having breached paragraphs 313 and 316(4) of the Financial Regulations (Government Notice No. 219 of October 27, 2009) (engaging in extra-budgetary expenditure without appropriate approval).
“Should be discharged on the allegations of award of contracts to Medusa Investments Limited; award of contracts to other companies as mentioned in paragraph 5.1.1 and to which no relationship with Mr. Mounir Gwarzo was sufficiently established.”
Vanguard reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, vowed that his administration would no longer tolerate acts of killings and kidnapping for ransom by armed gangs in the country.
Buhari further expressed worry that the recent upsurge in insecurity in different parts of the country has affected the nation’s development, adding that his administration would not fail to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The president’s warning came on a day unknown gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, attacked and killed an official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, while his group was busy working on the petroleum pipeline at Tse Torkula, a border community in Guma Local Government Area, between Nasarawa and Benue states.
This is even as minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday described herdsmem/farmers clashes, Niger Delta militants activities and kidnapping for ransom by armed gangs a threat to peace in Nigeria.
Similarly, Amnesty International and Nigerian Air Force were yesterday locked in war of words over air raids on Numan, Adamawa State, that had claimed lives, amid killings by herdsmen, which the rights group put at 168 in January alone.
President Buhari spoke in Port Harcourt while declaring open the 9th General Assembly of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, NCTRN, with the theme: ‘Community Policing as a Catalyst to Crime Prevention – The Role of Traditional Rulers.’
Buhari, who was represented by the minister of Interior, Lt. General Abduraham Dambazau, said: “I am very worried and saddened about the persistent killings and kidnappings happening in our country, especially the wastage of innocent lives in different parts of the country by whatever means it is done, particularly in Benue State.
‘’I have, therefore, directed that no effort should be spared in identifying and bringing to justice all those that are carrying out the acts. I have also directed the Chief of Army Staff to relocate to the North East to ensure that the activities of Boko Haram are stopped.”
The Nation reports that Obasanjo broke the news of the coalition in a long “special statement” in which he lashed the President Muhammau Buhari administration.
Today’s event may have ignited a new wave of support for President Buhari, with an army of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) endorsing him for the 2019 election.
The NGOs also vowed to start a nationwide rally in support of Buhari’s administration from February 6.
Of the 36 governors, 10 and some senators are said to have indicated interest in being part of the CN.
Seven governors are believed to be of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and three Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) members.
Others who are said to be part of the formation of CN are a former national security adviser, some ex-governors, such as Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Cross River state Governor Donald Duke and former Jigawa state governor Sule Lamido and retired generals, among others.
The launch of CN Movement will hold this morning at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre.
Former Osun state Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is said to be the coordinator.
Oyinlola’s Asokoro Quarters, Abuja home was a beehive of activities yesterday, with politicians flocking the place.
It was gathered that Oyinlola is set to resign his appointment as the chairman of the National Identity Management Commission(NIMC) to enable him take up the role of coordinating the coalition.
Although the programme for the launch was already in the public domain yesterday, the list of attendees was kept under wraps.
The programme, however, stated the mission of the CN as follows:
“The Coalition for Nigeria Movement is a movement that seeks to promote and ensure socio-economic development, improvement, growth, social justice, egalitarianism, cohesion, cooperation, equity, equality of opportunity, transparency, societal order, rule of law, human security and human rights leading to National Unity, good governance and general well-being and the welfare of all citizens and inhabitants of Nigeria.”
A source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “As you can see, we are set for the formal launch of the CN Movement on Wednesday in Abuja.
“Our membership is open to all Nigerian citizens of 18 years and above. It is a common platform to rescue this nation from its challenges.
“Shortly after the launch, we will have interim officers and we will immediately start meeting with people and groups of like minds nationwide on the way forward for this country. We will traverse the length and breadth of this country to ‘change the change’ at hand.”
Thisday reports that the administrative panel of inquiry set up by the minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to probe the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, has recommended his dismissal from office.
The recommendation for this dismissal came just as the finance minister appeared before the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions where she defended her decision to suspend Gwarzo, stating that she did not have to wait for the anti-graft agencies to handcuff Gwarzo before suspending him from office over allegations of financial misconduct.
She equally disclosed that the report of the administrative panel of Inquiry was ready for submission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Her defence of her actions remains debatable, however, given that Gwarzo’s suspension last November coincided with his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando Plc, a Nigerian energy firm, after Adeosun had pressurised him to do so.
Gwarzo, in his capacity as the DG of SEC, had ordered the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to place the shares of Oando on technical suspension, following allegations of capital market infractions against the energy company.
Gwarzo had also acted on the petitions by two shareholders of Oando – Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Investment Inc. – who had accused the executive management of Oando of financial mismanagement and had sought for their ouster.
Based on SEC’s subsequent investigation into the allegations by the company’s shareholders, Gwarzo as DG had listed various infractions committed by Oando and ordered a forensic audit be undertaken of the company to reaffirm the commission’s findings.
However, the forensic audit was put in abeyance after the finance minister was alleged to have put pressure on Gwarzo to stop the audit, which he bluntly refused to do.
Following his refusal, the minister suspended the DG, citing allegations of financial misconduct levelled against him and the setting up of the administrative panel to investigate him.
But an incriminating memo with a record of the meeting in Adeosun’s office, where she had asked Gwarzo to stop the audit, was immediately leaked from her office less than 24 hours after his suspension was announced.
Although the minister has denied that she attempted to stop the forensic audit of Oando, no audit has been carried out of the firm to date.
Trading on the company’s shares on the NSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where it has a dual listing, however, have remained under suspension.
A copy of the report by the panel set up by Adeosun showed that it found Gwarzo guilty of violating public sector rules and financial regulations.
The Guardian reports that Cameroonian soldiers have invaded Nigerian communities in Cross River State, the second time in two months.
The soldiers had reportedly killed a Nigerian and a Cameroonian refugee in Danare, Boki Local Government Area (LGA) of the state in December, last year.
The incident followed a military crackdown on Anglophone secessionists in the neighbouring nation, resulting in displaced persons streaming into Nigerian territory.
Sources at Danare said the soldiers stormed the community on Thursday, demanding that the village head hand over some refugees to them. The leader turned down the request and the troops left without hurting anybody.
On Monday night, however, the soldiers returned. Numbering between 50 and 100, they allegedly crossed the international border into Danare, searching for Cameroonian militants said to have sought refuge in Nigeria. The militants had allegedly attacked the soldiers, prompting the reprisal.
The spokesman for the community and a former councillor in Boki LGA, Douglas Ogar, flanked by some indigenes, yesterday, told newsmen in Calabar that the soldiers invaded the village at about 2:00 a.m. on Monday, shooting intermittently.
He said: “Our people did not sleep, yesterday (Monday), because gendarmes from Cameroon invaded our community, claiming they were looking for Ambazonian militants. The militants, who have since taken refuge in the surrounding forests, were also shooting. The entire community was in chaos.
“It is important to recall the sad invasion of Danare communities, which happened on January 25 this year, when more than 80 Cameroonian soldiers with various weapons crossed the Danare-Daddi/Danare-Bodam international border openings and abducted five natives.”
Ogar said the situation posed a serious danger to the safety of refugees and the entire Boki communities.
According to him, the soldiers said their mission was to warn the residents of Danare to be aware they would return and stage a raid intended to cleanse the communities of all threats to the Cameroonian government.
“This is a calculated offensive from the Cameroonian military on Nigeria. They have shown outright defiance of Nigeria’s territorial sovereignty and despised the consequences of crossing the international boundary to carry out intimidations and harassment on the already alarmed citizens of Danare, with warnings of further assault.”
Commenting on the latest invasion, the Cross River State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji, said: “The issue has gone beyond the police. The Nigerian army has just deployed a battalion in the area. No Nigerian has been killed. And as you know, this is an international issue which is being handled at the highest level of government.”
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