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Plan To Borrow Dormant Account Balances, Unclaimed Dividends illegal SERAP gives Buhari Advice

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to use his leadership position “to promptly drop the plan by the Federal Government to borrow about N895bn of unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts using the patently unconstitutional and illegal Finance Act, 2020, and to ensure full respect for Nigerians’ right to property.”

The Finance Act, signed into law by Buhari last December, would allow the government to borrow unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances owned by Nigerians in any bank in the country.

But SERAP in a letter dated 9 January 2021 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “The right to property is a sacred and fundamental right. Borrowing unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts amount to an illegal expropriation, and would hurt poor and vulnerable Nigerians who continue to suffer under reduced public services, and ultimately lead to unsustainable levels of public debt.”

SERAP said: “The right to property extends to all forms of property, including unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts. Borrowing these dividends and funds without due process of law, and the explicit consent of the owners is arbitrary, and as such, legally and morally unjustifiable.”

According to SERAP: “The borrowing is neither proportionate nor necessary, especially given the unwillingness or inability of the government to stop systemic corruption in ministries, departments, and agencies [MDAs], cut waste, and stop all leakages in public expenditures. The borrowing is also clearly not in pursuit of public or social interest.”

The letter, read in part: “The security of property, next to personal security against the exertions of government, is of the essence of liberty. It is next in degree to the protection of personal liberty and freedom from undue interference or molestation. Our constitutional jurisprudence rests largely upon its sanctity.”

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“Rather than pushing to borrow unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts, your government ought to move swiftly to cut the cost of governance, ensure review of jumbo salaries and allowances of all high-ranking political office holders, and address the systemic corruption in MDAs, as well as improve transparency and accountability in public spending.”

“The borrowing also seems to be discriminatory, as it excludes government’s owned official bank accounts and may exclude the bank accounts of high-ranking government officials and politicians, thereby violating the constitutional and international prohibition of discrimination against vulnerable groups, to allow everyone to fully enjoy their right to property and associated rights on equal terms.”

“SERAP is concerned that the government has also repeatedly failed and/or refused to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of recovered stolen assets, and the loans so far obtained, which according to the Debt Management Office, currently stands at $31.98 billion.”

“SERAP notes growing allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of these loans and recovered stolen assets.”

“We would be grateful if your government would drop the decision to borrow unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts, and to indicate the measures being taken to send back the Finance Act to the National Assembly to repeal the legislation and remove its unconstitutional and unlawful provisions, including Sections 60 and 77, within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.”

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“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to implement these recommendations in the public interest, and to promote transparency and accountability in public spending.”

“The government cannot lawfully enforce the provisions on Crisis Intervention Fund and Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund under the guise of a trust arrangement, as Section 44(2)[h] of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] is inapplicable, and cannot justify the establishment of these funds.”

“SERAP notes that while targeting the accounts of ordinary Nigerians, the Finance Act exempts official bank accounts owned by the federal government, state government or local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution, the country’s international human rights obligations including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party, and which has been domesticated as part of the country’s domestic legislation.”

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“According to our information, your government has reportedly completed plans to borrow an estimated N895bn of unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts using the Finance Act 2020 you recently signed into law.”

“Under the law, the government will be able to access and take without consent unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts in any bank, on the basis of the vague and undefined ‘Crisis Intervention Fund,’ and patently unlawful ‘Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund’.”

“The government is justifying the borrowing on the ground that it would improve access of the Federal Government to much-needed funds, and remove the burdens of foreign exchange and punitive loan conditions imposed by multilateral lenders.”

“According to the Finance Act, the operation of the trust fund is to be supervised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and governed by a governing council chaired by the finance minister and a co-chairperson from the private sector appointed by you.

“The Nigerian Constitution in Section 44(1) provides that, ‘no moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily and no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law.’”

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DSS Denies ‘Arreseting Or Inviting’ Kano Governor’s Aide Salihu Tanko Yakasai

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Salihu Tanko Yakasai

The Department of State Security (DSS) has denied reports of arresting or even inviting the former Special Aide to Governor Ganduje, Salihu Tanko Yakasai over his comments against the government of President Buhari and the ruling APC.

Bubble Reports earlier reported that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, on Friday, February 26, via his Twitter handle, called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to either deal with bandits in the Country or resign from office. He stated this on Twitter while reacting to the abduction of 317 schoolgirls in Zamfara.

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Shortly after tweeting, his whereabouts became unknown, causing many of his friends to come on Twitter to demand answers.

This morning, one of the aides of the Kano state governor who handles the official handle of the state, Abubakar Sadiq, disclosed on Twitter, that Tanko-Yakassai was with the DSS.

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The DSS has however denied this claim, saying it did not arrest or even invite Salihu.

The DSS State Director Muhammad Alhassan, who denied the reports, said

”The DSS State Director Muhammad Alhassan said that, “we have not arrested or even invited Yakasai. don’t forget he is our friend, sometimes, he advise us on issues of critical Security situations in the state”.

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‘I Never Collected Salary For 8 Years As Governor Of Osun’- Rauf Aregbesola

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Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior and former governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has revealed that he never collected any salary all through his eight years in office as governor of Osun state.

Aregbesola who is currently serving as Nigeria’s Minister of Interior Affairs, stated this while dismissing reports published by online that he received 96-month salary arrears in secret when he served as the governor of Osun state. 

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A statement from Aregbesola’s media aide, Sola Fasure, described the report as a fiction written by elements bent on casting “aspersion on the integrity of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola”

“The report is entirely a piece of fiction, a good exemplar of fake news and disreputable journalism. Let me state categorically again, that Ogbeni Aregbesola did not receive any salary in the entire duration of his eight-year stint as governor in Osun.

His reason being that the state government provided accommodation, security, transportation, food and other conveniences for him and would not need to pay for these from his pocket.

He also explained that all his children are grown up and have graduated and he would not need to pay school fees again. He therefore donated his salaries to the state government.

The author of the report claims to have got the information from some anonymous government officials. He provides no evidence.

The report fails basic journalistic ethical requirement that only truth and verifiable fact should be reported as news. Reading through it, one is not in doubt that the evil intention behind the piece was to smear and cast aspersion on the integrity of Ogbeni Aregbesola.”

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Governor Ganduje Sacks Adviser Salihu Tanko Yakasai, After He Criticized President Buhari And APC

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Ganduje

The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has sacked his Special Adviser on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai.

The state Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, in a statement on Saturday, February 27, said the sacking followed Salihu’s “continued unguarded comments and utterances which are deemed contrary to the stand of the All Progressive Congress, APC, government which he is serving”.

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Garba added that Salihu had failed to differentiate between personal opinion and official stand on matters of public concern and therefore cannot be allowed to continue to serve in a government he does not believe in.

The governor via the statement warned political appointees and public servants to guard against making statements capable of drawing superfluous controversy.

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The statement reaffirmed the commitment of Governor Ganduje to the policies and programs of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Salihu while reacting to the abduction of the Zamfara schoolgirls, asked the President Buhari-led administration to stop the insecurity or resign from office.

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Oby Ezekwesili Demands For Indepent Medical Evaluation Of President Buhari’s Physical and Mental Capacity To Govern Nigeria

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Oby EZEKWESILI and Buhari

Former Minister of Education and Presidential Candidate, Oby Ezekwesili, has demanded for an independent medical evaluation of President Buhari’s physical and mental capacity to govern Nigeria.

She made this demand while reacting to the abduction of 317 students from the Government Girls Secondary School GSSS Jangena, Zamfara state.

She tweeted;

”Yesterday I woke to the news of the abduction of over 300 school girls from GSSS Zamfara and the deepest pain hit me into a clamp-up. I rejected requests from @cnni, @BBCAfrica, @channelstv, @ARISEtv etc to be interviewed. What have I not already said these 7 years in Nigeria?

This morning in my personal prayer, I cried out to God, “Was this not why You asked me to STAND for Chibokgirls 7 years ago and give my ALL to their cause?” “Was it not to get @NigeriaGov  to ACT DECISIVELY and forbid abomination from becoming the NORM in our Land, Lord?”

The abduction of 219 #ChibokGirls in 2014 was an ABOMINATION in our Land. What did we not do over the cause of 2 different Administrations to demand Justice for them so it NEVER REPEATS? Two Administrations egged on by their admirers failed to hear us and ACT DECISIVELY.

With 112 remaining #ChibokGirls FAILED by @NigeriaGov, 110 #DapchiGirls happened and #LeahSharibu remains unaccounted for. With #LeahSharibu abandoned, 334 #KankaraBoys happened, then 41 #KagaraStudents and now 317 #JangebeGirls yesterday. Abomination has become a Norm.

When KagaraBoys happened, outraged, I made the strongest possible DEMAND a citizen can regarding the failed leadership of @NGRPresident

@MBuhari. I wrote: Nigerians should collectively ask for an Independent Medical Evaluation of @MBuhari . Nothing else makes sense now.

It is NOT NORMAL for a Leader of a country to be carrying on unperturbed while SERIAL ABNORMALITIES occur all around him. There’s NOTHING NORMAL about the nonplussed manner @MBuharisits in Aso Rock uncaring that Nigeria is falling apart. Nigerians better WAKE UP to this.

My DEMAND goes beyond asking @NigeriaGov of @MBuhari to #BringBackJangebeGirls. My DEMAND goes beyond asking Justice of Rescue for our schoolgirls. My DEMAND is to commence the process for an Independent Medical Evaluation of @MBuhari ‘s Physical and Mental Capacity to govern”

ALSO READ  DSS Denies 'Arreseting Or Inviting' Kano Governor's Aide Salihu Tanko Yakasai
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DSS Arrests Kano Governor’s Aide After He Asked Buhari To Resign

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Salihu Tanko Yakasai

The Special Adviser on Media to the Kano State governor was reportedly arrested by the Department of State Services’ operatives.

Bubble Reports reported yesterday that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai called on the President Buhari-led government to either deal with bandits in the country or resign.

Salihu Tanko-Yakasai was arrested hours after he gave his comment while reacting to the abduction of 317 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, February 28, Salihu had tweeted;

“Clearly, we as APC government, at all levels, have failed Nigerians in the number 1 duty we were elected to do which is to secure lives & properties. Not a single day goes by without some insecurity in this land. This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign.”

Hours after his tweet, his whereabouts were unknown as many on Twitter asked questions.

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However, Abubakar Sadiq who is the handler of the Twitter handle and official website of the Kano state government, in a tweet posted on Saturday morning, February 27, disclosed that Salihu is with the DSS.

The DSS is yet to confirm or deny his arrest.

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