The former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, on Monday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he could not fulfill the conditions of the bail granted to him.
Mr Maina is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds, and is facing trial for alleged money laundering. He is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge, and is also accused of operating fictitious accounts and carrying out other fraudulent activities.
The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service last year.
The SSS handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.
His son, Faisal, who was arrested alongside the father in September, is accused of operating an account he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million.
The two men were arraigned by the EFCC on October 25 on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty.
The court on November 25 admitted the former pension chairman to bail in the sum of N1 billion.
Justice Okon Abang, who gave the ruling, also ordered that Mr Maina must produce two sureties who must be serving senators.
The judge said the two lawmakers must not be standing criminal trial in any court in the country.
He also ruled that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500 million bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.
Mr Osigwe presented an application pursuant to section 181 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), seeking a bail variation for Mr Maina.
According to the lawyer, although two senators had indicated interest to stand as sureties, “they have stated that they neither have properties in either Asokoro or Maitama worth the amount specified by the court.”
Justice Abang asked Mr Osigwe if he obtained documents containing the information of landowners in Abuja from the land registry and he replied, “No”!
“The land registry treats such documents as confidential,” he said.
Mr Maina’s lawyer added that “to even conduct a search on an identified property, the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), would not permit you to do so unless you produce the original titled document together with a letter of consent.
“When you approach a person to be your surety and the person says I don’t have this property, I think it would be disrespectful to go behind investigating whether what the person has told you is true,” he said.
However, Justice Abang, held that Mr Maina ought to have attached documents to prove their claim.
“The court did not fix those conditions for fun. The court has reasons for imposing those conditions. So, if you want the court to vary it, convincingly, you have to establish the fact that the applicant is unable to comply with those conditions,” the judge said.
Mr Abang also added that the defendant failed to challenge the prosecution’s claim that he (Mr Maina) no longer resides in Abuja and might run away if released on bail.
But Mr Osigwe in his argument said all Mr Maina’s travel passports had been seized by the anti-graft agency.
“All the documentation relating to his residential permit in Dubai, UAE is all with the EFCC and a High Court of the FCT,” he said.
FirstBank Wins Best Mobile Banking App, Fastest Growing Retail Bank Awards
FirstBank of Nigeria Limited has been named 2019 “Best Mobile Banking App” and “Fastest Growing Retail Bank” winner by Global Business Outlook. The Global Business Outlook Award recognises and rewards excellence in business in companies across the world, both in the public and private sectors. The award rewards innovation, creativity and the drive to create value.
FirstBank earned the Fastest Growing Retail Bank recognition because of its leading role in promoting financial inclusion in the country, a drive which has resulted in its 44,000 Agent Banking network designed to complement the provision of bespoke financial services at its over 750 branches nationwide.
It also won the Best Mobile Banking App award thanks to its Firstmobile banking app’s capability at performing a wide range of financial transactions in a safe, adaptable, futuristic and efficient manner. The user friendly app is widely renowned for its ease of navigation and state of the art security features to mitigate risk against fraud.
In the course of 2019, FirstBank bagged numerous awards across various areas of its business operations. The awards comprise Women Empowerment Category – Sustainable Banking Awards by CBN Bankers Committee, Best Private Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Global Finance Magazine and World Finance Magazine respectively; Best Process Automation Initiative, Application or Programme by Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services; Best Banking Brand Nigeria 2019 by Global Brands Magazine; Best Retail Bank in Nigeria by Global Banking and Finance Review and Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards respectively; Cashless Driver: Highest Volume in Bill Payments and Highest Transaction Volume in Real-Time Payments by CBN Electronic Payments Incentive Scheme (EPIS) – Efficiency Awards; Long Service Corporate Award by Nigerian Economic Summit Group; Best Financial Inclusion Program – Nigeria 2019 and Bank of The Year – Nigeria 2019 by International Investor, amongst many others.
Speaking on the awards, Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Bank’s Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications said, ”We appreciate these awards and the recognition by the respective awarding bodies. The awards are dedicated to all our customers across the globe as their continued patronage of our services is appreciated. We remain steadfast and would not rest on our laurels at rendering bespoke financial services tailored to meet the financial needs of our valued customers, irrespective of where they may be.”
UK-Based Techpreneur, Popoola, Makes Case for Siting of Proposed Federal College of Education in Gbongan
Popoola spoke in the light of the Federal Government’s decision to establish six new federal colleges of education in each of the six geo-political areas in the country to compliment the 22 already existing ones. This the government said is intended to increase the number of quality teachers in the country.
According to the public relations officer of National Commission for Colleges of Education, Mr Ameh Isaac, the newly approved institutions would be situated in Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto, and Edo states, where there were no presence of Federal Colleges of Education.
During a press conference in Gbongan City Hall on January 15, 2020, the paramount ruler of Gbongan kingdom,
Nigeria Needs 300,000 Medical Doctors to Meet WHO Recommendation, Says NUC
The National Universities Commission says Nigeria needs about 300,000 medical doctors to meet the doctor-patient ratio of 1:600 recommended by the World Health Organisation.
The Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said this during the maiden matriculation of the Bayelsa Medical University held on the university campus, Amarata, Yenagoa, on Wednesday.
About 208 pioneer students took the matriculation oath on the occasion.
The BMU, which started on January 31, 2018, received the NUC accreditation five months’ after.
Rasheed said the current “doctor-patient ratio in the country stands at 1: 3,500,” stressing that this was among the several challenges bedeviling the nation’s health sector.
According to him, the nation’s medical schools produce about 3,000 doctors yearly and this is not enough to achieve the WHO standards to deliver on health care services.
The NUC boss, who was represented by the Director, Protocol and Special Duties, Mr Chris Maiyaki, said, “With less than 40,000 registered medical doctors practising in Nigeria, the doctor-patient ratio in the country is about 1:3,500.
“What this means is that we need about 300,000 doctors to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended doctor-patient ratio of 1:600.
“It is also common knowledge that the Nigerian health care sector continues to face myriad of challenges, chief among which is the brain-drain syndrome occasioned by an absence of the enabling environment for medical practitioners to thrive.”
Rasheed further noted that medical tourism embarked upon by patients seeking “robust health care systems of other countries” had also significantly affected the Nigeria’s health care system.
He said there was an urgent need for huge investment in health education and health care services by all stakeholders to mitigate the acute shortage of manpower and services in the sector.
In his address, the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of BMU, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, said the institution was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to aid teaching, learning and research.
Also speaking, the Pro-Chancellor, BMU and a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, described the medical university as “a dream come true in our section of the country.”
He commended Governor Seriake Dickson for conceiving the idea of a specialised medical school and charged the students to focus on their studies as the institution had given them hope of an assured future.
Dickson, in his remarks, said the establishment of the BMU was “a strategic decision to maximize the state’s investment in education and development.”
The outgoing governor called on the incoming government to support the university to achieve the objectives for which it was established.