The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has reacted to the certified judgment documents released by the Chicago, US court, where he was indicted of drug dealings and money laundering in 1993.
The certified US court judgment documents surfaced and have been making the rounds on the internet since Tuesday, showing that a US District Court indicted the former Lagos State governor for drug dealings and money laundering.
The certified court documents indicated that Tinubu was a drug lord who entered a plea bargain in which he voluntarily agreed to forfeit his assets to American authorities in 1993 instead of going to trial.
Reacting to the circulation of the documents, the spokesman of the APC presidential campaign, Bayo Onanuga, on Wednesday described the documents in circulation as a “campaign of calumny” adding that “The Muckrakers are back in business.”
Onanuga on his Facebook page wrote, “The Muckrakers back in business.
“The Tinubu traducers on Tuesday returned to their usual campaign of calumny, this time waking up the carcass of a drug allegation in America that was buried in 1993.
“Long after the campaign failed in 2003, it resurfaced weeks to the primary election of the All Progressives Congress. The opponents thought it was lethal enough to make the APC disqualify Tinubu from the race.
“It failed spectacularly and Tinubu went on to win the primary with a landslide. The muckrakers are back again with the same story, dressed as ‘certified true copy’ from the U.S. Court.
“The campaign’s media and publicity director, Bayo Onanuga had perused the new document and dismissed it as the same old tale. It is as dead as a dodo”, Onanuga told a news medium on Tuesday and made reference to a section of the campaign’s FAQ’s manual.
“One of the unconscionable and wicked lies peddled by political opponents about Bola Ahmed Tinubu was to paint him erroneously as a drug baron.
“The accusation arose out of an investigation by FBI agent Kevin Moss of Tinubu and Compass Investment and Finance accounts at First Heritage Bank and Citi- Bank in the U.S.
“On January 10, 1992, Mr Kevin Moss requested and obtained a court order to freeze the accounts.
“On January 13, 1992, Mr Moss telephoned Tinubu in Nigeria to justify the amounts in the accounts, running into $1.4 million. Part of the money was said to have been deposited by two Nigerians, being investigated for drug offences.
“After the telephone conversation, Tinubu instructed his lawyer in the US to file a lawsuit against the order freezing his accounts.
“This dragged on till 15 September 1993, when an agreement was reached for an out of court settlement. Judge John A Nordberg, of the US district court for the Northern District of Illinois, read out the agreement reached by the two parties. Part of the funds, $460,000 was seized by the government.
“The FBI never charged Tinubu with any drug offence; the case did not go on trial. Tinubu was never convicted. And he was never barred from entering the United States.
“In 2003, ten years after, when the PDP opponents wanted to use the shuttered allegation to disqualify Tinubu from running for a second term in Lagos, the Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun made an enquiry with the American Consulate on Tinubu’s status.
“The Consulate gave Tinubu a clean bill in a reply by the Legal Attache, Michael H. Bonner.
“The letter read: “Our sincerest greetings to you and all of the law enforcement personnel in the Nigeria Police Force, whose continued assistance is very much appreciated. In relation to your letter, dated February 3, 2003, reference number SR. 3000/IGPSEC/ABJ/VOL. 24/287, regarding Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a records check of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Centre (NCIC) was conducted.
“The results of the checks were negative for any criminal arrest records, wants or warrants for Bola Ahmed Tinubu (DOB 29 March 1952). For information of your department, NCIC is a very centralised information centre that maintains the records of every criminal arrest and conviction within the United States and its territories.”
“Almost thirty years after the allegation was discharged and the case declared dead, Tinubu’s opponents keep waking up its corpse, in futile efforts to malign him.”
Tinubu Presents N27.5tr 2024 budget to NASS, Seeks Speedy Passage
President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, presented the Appropriation Bill of the Federal government for the year 2024 tagged ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ to a joint session of the National Assembly.
This is the president’s first budget presentation to the National Assembly since assuming office on May 29.
The President arrived at the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2024 budget at about 11:09 am accompanied some ministers and aides. and senior officials.
He was led into the chamber of the House of Representatives for the presentation of the N27.5trillion Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly which began after the rendition of the National Anthem and opening prayers.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC)on Monday approved N27.5 trillion as the 2024 budget estimate.
It will be recalled that Tinubu had about three weeks ago forwarded the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP), proposing an expenditure of N26.1 for the 2024 fiscal year.
After two weeks of deliberations and interface with heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the revenue and expenditure projections, the Senate through its Committee on Finance approved the MTEF.
It specifically approved the N26.1 trillion proposed as 2024 budget and other parameters proposed by Tinubu.
It also approved new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, while pegging the oil price benchmark for 2024 at $73.96 and oil production at 1.78 million barrels per day.
Other parameters approved are GDP growth rate of 3.76 per cent, the inflation rate of 21.40 per cent, a suggested benchmark exchange rate of N700 to $1 and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Old, New Naira Notes Will Exist Side-by-Side Till Further Notice, Supreme Court Rules
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said both the old and the new resigned naira notes remain legal tender till further notice.
The apex court, in a ruling by a seven-man panel of justices led by Justice John Okoro, said the banknotes should remain in circulation, pending when the Federal Government, after due consultation with relevant stakeholders, takes a decision on the matter.
It made the order, after it heard an application that was moved on behalf of the federal government by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
It will be recalled that the court had on March 3, nullified the ban on use of the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes as valid legal tenders by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The court held that the old Naira notes should be used alongside the redesigned currencies, until the end of the year.
In its lead judgement that was prepared and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court slammed FG for unilaterally introducing the demonitization policy, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, without consulting the Council of States, the Federal Executive Council, the National Security Council, the National Economic Council, Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders.
It held that FG failed to give valid notice to all the federating units, before it decided to withdraw the old banknotes from circulation and introduce new ones.
The cupreme court maintained that evidence before it established that a purported notice on the monetary policy was through “mere press remarks” by governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
It held that such remarks did not qualify as “reasonable notice” to the states as envisaged under section 20(3) of the CBN Act.
Besides, the court invalidated the directive President Buhari gave in the broadcast he made on February 16, which allowed only the old N200 note to remain a legal tender till April 10.
While accusing President Buhari of disobeying the interim order it made on February 8, which directed that the old banknotes should remain in use till the determination of the case before it, the apex court stressed that the President, by going ahead to ban the old banknotes, acted in a way that was inimical to democratic governance.
According to the court, having acted in disobedience to its order, FG lost its right to be granted audience before it.
Following the end of the last administration, the President Bola Tinubu-led government re-approached the apex court for an indefinite extension of its December 31 deadline.
Subsidy Removal Killing Us, Pensioners Cry Out to Tinubu
The National President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr. Godwin Abumisi, has cried out to President Bola Tinubu that the removal of fuel subsidy has brought pains, frustration, and hardship to average pensioners in the country.
Abumisi said this in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at the opening of National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union.
He appealed to the Federal government not to renege on its promise to include pensioners in the N25,000 cash award announced to cushion the economic hardship of the petrol subsidy removal, in order to assuage the pains of his members.
The National President, who lamented that the petrol subsidy removal has further impoverished pensioners, urged the Federal government to fulfill its promise to the pensioners.
He said: “The Pensioners’ Day this year was celebrated on the 5th of October, 2023 in line with the declaration of the day as the Older Persons’ Day by the Federal government.
“We addressed a world press conference and demanded the inclusion of pensioners in the N25,000 cash award announced by the Federal Government.
“Immediately after this, we met with the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Betta Edu and it is our hope that the list submitted will be treated with the needed zeal.
“This is why the theme of this year’s NEC meeting “Effect of Subsidy Removal on an Average Pensioner” is very apt and explicit.
“Without mincing words, the subsidy removal has brought with it pains, frustration and hardship to average Nigerians, including the pensioners.
“In the light of this, we wish to use this occasion to passionately appeal to both the Federal, State and Local Governments to do something very fast to assuage the pains of our members and other vulnerable Nigerians.”
The national president said that its members have been struggling and battling for financial survival.
Abumisi pointed out that if the palliatives are religiously implemented to the letter on record time devoid of the usual bureaucratic bottlenecks, it will go a long way to calm down frayed nerves of its members.
Also speaking, the Ondo State Chairman of the union, Johnson Osunyemi, who pledged their support and loyalty to the National Headquarters, promised to always operate in accordance with the spirit and constitution of the union.
Osunyemi lauded the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for giving priority to the welfare of pensioners in the State.
“Distinguished pensioners, although we still tremble under the cumbersome yoke of unpaid gratuities, we have decided to celebrate our governor today because he paid all the arrears of pensions he inherited from his predecessor.
” Equally, he has implemented all the increase in our pensions.
“Incidentally, and sadly too, his promises to ease the problems of pensioners are being encumbered by ill-health.
” As a parting request by the host council to our guests, we appeal to you to kindly join us in praying for the quick recovery of our kind and God-fearing governor.
The State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said that as part of his admission’s commitment to the welfarism of pensioners, monthly pensions are being paid as at when due while government priorities allocation of substantial amount of money for payment of gratuities.
Akeredolu was represented by his Special Adviser on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr. Dare Aragbaye.
An award of excellence was presented by the pensioners to governor Akeredolu, NLC Vice President, Comrade Sunday Adeleye; the State Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa among others.