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Economy & Politics

Transport Minister sets April 2020 deadline for Lagos-Ibadan railway project 

April 2020 has been slated as the completion date of the N2 billion Lagos-Ibadan railway project.

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Rail transport: More coaches set to arrive from China - Amaechi , Transport Minister sets April 2020 deadline for Lagos-Ibadan railway project , Again, FG shifts deadline to complete Lagos-Ibadan railway project 

April 2020 has been slated as the completion date for the $2 billion Lagos-Ibadan railway project, according to BusinessDay.

The Details: This was made public by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who inspected the project last weekend.

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Giving details of the ongoing standard gauge project, Amaechi was quoted saying: “The initial contract was from Ebute Metta, but because the federal government wanted it to end at the seaports, so it had to be extended to facilitate the movement of goods and services out of the seaport and to decongest trailer and container gridlock.”

Transport Minister sets April 2020 deadline for Lagos-Ibadan railway project 

The Minister said attention had been diverted to the completion of the stations and communication and signal terminals since contractors were advocating for the speedy completion of the railway line.

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He also hinted that the railway line for Ibadan-Kano would begin as soon a contract is gotten for the project.

To make the work faster, the Minister advised contractors to make use of Nigerian materials so the project could meet the April 2020 deadline.

” Before they wanted to import glasses and doors as if we don’t have in here, the pressure we are putting is now making them buy the glasses and doors in Nigeria and they are installing them which will quicken the process. They are still expecting pipes and other things and they requested that we give them one or two months to complete the stations

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“We don’t have enough coaches and locomotives, but we will start with as many as we can take pending when the 20 locomotives that we imported arrive. They will arrive end of December or latest second week in January 2020,” he said.

Transport Minister sets April 2020 deadline for Lagos-Ibadan railway project 

What you should know: The Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project which was awarded in 2012 under the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, was meant to last for three years. The project which was expected to start in 2012 and end in 2015 faced several delays. The project is being executed in six phases, projected to cover 2,733 kilometres.

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Patricia

Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Economy & Politics

Buhari sheds light on why Magu was suspended

Shehu’s statement sheds more light on Magu’s suspension.

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Buhari says large proportions of new COVID-19 infections now occur in communities

Following the suspension of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), the Presidency has revealed the grounds for his suspension through the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu in a statement on Saturday evening.

He revealed that a preliminary review was conducted on allegations leveled against Magu and other EFFC staff that justified reasons for an investigation on his activities, and a panel was constituted “in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body,” adding that in cases of allegations against the head of the EFCC, it was proper procedure for the Chair to step down to enable a fair investigation.

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“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent & unhindered investigation” he said.

The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.

“Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.”

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He added that the EFCC is committed to fighting economic and financial crimes in Nigeria, and Magu would have the opportunity to defend himself against allegations leveled against him as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution where “every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.”

He said the war against corruption was not a static event, but a continuous process that required transparency and accountability, where people must be held to account for their activities so as to improve Nigeria’s democratic institutions.

“Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.

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“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system,” he said.

“Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered,” Shehu said.

He also said Magu was not immune to investigations regardless of the “obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him” may have caused the Nigerian Government, however, the government maintains its fight against corruption.

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Ibrahim Magu was suspended as EFCC Acting Chairman this week after facing a preliminary panel at the Aso Villa and was replaced by Mohammed Umar.

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Economy & Politics

Magu probe: New facts suggest case is about re-looting of previously stolen funds

The report exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

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Ibrahim Magu, Buhari appoints new Ag. Chairman of EFCC, gives reason for Magu's suspension

There appear to be more troubles for the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, as some new cases bordering on alleged re-looting of recovered funds and bribery may be lined up against him.

Some new facts also emerged on how accumulated interest rates on the recovered N550 billion by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted. The suspended EFCC boss is expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.

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The final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to November 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about the contradiction in the recovered funds by Magu. These contradictions include;

For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments was N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.’’

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“These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.’’

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgments were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.’

READ ALSO: Gold down over increased investor confidence in economic recovery

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It should be noted that the about N39 billion discrepancy excludes the missing accrued interest.

With all these, the report suggests that there is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and has greatly eroded public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts.

The PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

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The NFIU report shows that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of money.

The PCARA report also said that Magu was linked to a N28m payment to Falana who is alleged to be his close associate and ally.

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READ ALSO: Air Peace’s Onyema saga: EFCC seizes passport, as Northern Youths plan rally at US embassy

Background

According to reports from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the former EFCC boss is being interrogated by the Rtd, Justice Ayo Salami led Presidential Probe Panel over allegations bordering on mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by EFCC.

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A final report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances by EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020 had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations levelled against him.

The terms of reference for the investigative committee were

’Investigate, verify and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the Commission.’’

‘’Identify Avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (Interim and Final) assets are valued, managed, disposed and/or mismanaged with a view to ascertaining compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations, processes and procedures.’’

‘’Review the existing procedures on the Management of the seized, recovered and Forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer Standard Operational Procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets.’’

‘’Determine whether assets recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad, are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value and determine: –

  • Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman.
  • To confirm if any of the assets have been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends or favoured staff.
  • To recover any such diverted assets and return back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s external reserves up by 7% in 21 days, currency speculators to lose over N10 billion 

The committee was also to probe and report on corruption and money laundering allegations based on petitions and intelligence reports, involving Magu and Bureau De Change operators as well as some of his associates.

It was to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015-2020, with a view to establishing compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s public debt is officially N29.83 trillion

Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external.

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Q1 2020 National Debt report

The total public debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeriastates within the Nigerian federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) jumped to N28.63 trillion as of Q1 2020. This is according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which was released on Friday. 

A breakdown of the report showed that the total debt stock of the states as of 31 March 2020 is N4.1 trillion. Meanwhile, these states’ total Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2019 was N1.3 trillion. They also received N2.47 trillion from FAAC. 

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Note that as always, Lagos State recorded the highest IGR at N398.7 billion. The state also received N117.8 billion in FAAC disbursements and has a total debt stock of N444.2 billion, thereby making up 10.8% of the total debt stock of the states. 

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On the other hand, Yobe State recorded the lowest debt stock out of all the states with just N29.2 billion. This made up just 0.7% of the total debt stock of the states. Meanwhile, the state generated a total IGR of N8.4 billion in 2019. 

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Part of the report by the NBS said: 

“Nigerian States and Federal Debt Stock data as at 31st March 2020 reflected that the country’s total public debt portfolio stood at N28.63trn. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external while N18.64trn or 65.11% of the debt was domestic. 

“Similarly, States and FCT domestic debt was put at N4.11trillion with Lagos state accounting for 10.8% of the total domestic debt stock while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.7%.” 

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READ MORE: World Bank’s statement on Africa’s debt status is inaccurate, misleading, AfDB replies

Meanwhile, the FCT had total debt of N106.8 billion, making up 2.6% of the total debt stock of the states. The FCT also recorded an IGR of N74.5 billion in 2019 and received N71.9 billion in FAAC. 

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READ MORE: FG responsible for 80% of Nigeria’s N25.7 trillion debt profile 

The Federal Government’s total domestic debt stock by Q1, 2020 was N14.5 trillion, with FGN bonds making up 72.5% of the total portfolio followed by treasury bills at 18.24%. 

The total public debt stock has risen by 4% since December 2019, as the previous figure stood at N27.4 trillion. 

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You may download NBS’ Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt report by clicking here.  

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