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Criminals Converging on West Africa, Interpol Warns

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The International Police Secretary-General, Jurgen Stock, says criminal networks in narcotics, weapon and migrants’ smuggling were taking advantage of lack of information sharing system by security agencies in West Africa to carry out their activities unhindered.

The Interpol chief warned that transitional criminal gangs were converging on the sub-region and feeding off one another.

Stock said this in Abuja on Tuesday during the signing of an agreement for the implementation of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS) by the Federal Government and Interpol.

He stated that the signing of the agreement was a bold step forward in the collective fight against crime.

While commending the West African states for coming together to respond to the threats in the region, Stock said collective will was needed to ensure the success of the WAPIS programme, which he said would enable West African countries to have access to the global 24/7 communication network.

Stock said, “Increased criminal data available to law enforcement agencies within Africa and wider global police network is at the centre of our vision. Ultimately, the WAPIS programme will bring critical information closer to the front line for police officers across West Africa.

“Information is the life blood of law enforcement and the WAPIS programme will help police on the ground across the region and the global police community to have access to the vital data they need,” Stock said.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahaman Dambazau, said the establishment of WAPIS would boost information exchange, identify crime patterns, encourage best practices and develop an all-inclusive operational mechanism capable of neutralising identified and emerging security threats in the sub-region.

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Court Revokes Marina’s Son’s Bail, Orders His Arrest

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

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FG, S’South Govs, Leaders Set to Meet in Rivers Tuesday

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A delegation from the Federal Government is expected to meet with Governors and leaders of the South-South geo-political zone in Government House, Port Harcourt today (Tuesday).

The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to lead the presidential delegation.

A Government House source in Port Harcourt, who confirmed the meeting to our correspondent, said Gambari is on his way to Port Harcourt.

The rescheduled meeting is coming on the heels of the botched stakeholders’ forum, which angered the Southern Governor, during which the South-South Governors’ Forum, demanded an apology from the presidency.

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Makinde Presents N266.6bn 2021 Budget to Assembly

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The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Monday presented a budget of N266.6bn as the 2021 budget to the state Assembly.

While presenting the budget tagged, ‘Budget of continued consolidation’ Makinde announced that 53.2 per cent of the total budget was being proposed for capital expenditure.

He said, “The 2021 budget is N12bn above the 2020 budget and this is to further drive a consolidation effort that we started this year.

“We were able to achieve 50.2 per cent of the 2020 budget implementation and you will agree with me that it was due to causes beyond our control like the COVID-19 pandemic and other crisis that bedevilled the nation and the world at large.”

Makinde further explained that the recurrent expenditure is N136, 262,990 while the capital expenditure is N130. 381bn.

According to him, 21 per cent of the budget, amounting to N56.348 bn, is allocated to education while infrastructure is to gulp N46bn, representing 17.2per cent of the budget.

For health, a total of N13.2bn, representing 4.9per cent of the budget was set aside for the establishment of primary health centers across 351 wards in the state.

Makinde lauded the state lawmakers for their cooperation.

“So, it is pertinent that we appreciate the members of the state House of Assembly for their support.”

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