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Lagos Bizman, Lanre Smith Granted N30m Bail Over Alleged N10m Fraud

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday granted N30m bail to a businessman, Lanre Smith, accused of N10m fraud.

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday granted N30m bail to a businessman, Lanre Smith, accused of N10m fraud.

Justice Ibrahim Kala granted the bail following a motion filed and argued by the defendant’s lawyer, Akin Apara.

Apara who pleaded with the court to admit the defendant to bail on liberal terms stated that Smith was still presumed innocent until otherwise proved.

The judge agreed with the defence’s submission and granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N30m, with two sureties in like sum.

Kala said one of the sureties must be a Grade Level 14 at a government establishment and second, must be a landed property owner within the court’s jurisdiction.

He also ordered that Smith should submit his passport with the court’s deputy chief registrar.

However, after granting the defendant bail, trial commenced and the prosecution counsel, Mike Enejere, called the first witness, Stephen Ogunlola, an operative of Interpol Section of Force CID Annex, Alagbon.

Ogunlola told the court that after the conclusion of investigation, findings emerged and that the nominal complainant and the defendant were old team mates from the defunct Island Football Club.

He said the defendant had approached the complainant for a foreign transaction, and that the complainant availed his Well Fargo Account in the US for the transfer of the forex funds.

The witness said, “That the bone of contention from our investigation was the transaction of $26,000 which the account of the nominal complainant is under investigation by the authority in US.”

Apara, who cross-examined Ogunlola, tendered a statement made by Ogunlola who had also testified as the first prosecution witness before Justice Ayokunle Faji, in the same case involving one Precious Usifo, where he had stated that the “culprit, Usifo Precious, residing in Benin has paid back the money. So, my investigation did not review anything wrong done by Mr Lanre Smith.”

Ogunlola also told the court that the defendant had in his statement of facts, stated that: “He met the nominal complainant, Okwudili Okeke, sometime in March 2014 in a football club in Lekki where they are both members.

“Okwudili Okeke sometime in 2016 approached him to help source for the sum of $40,000 or more. And that he had informed Okeke not to pay dollar equivalent until the dollars had been delivered.

“He approached one Mr. Ahmed Mukhaila who had informed him that the dollars were available for sale in the United States. And that he had informed Mukhaila that he will only accept cash from him so as to be certain that the funds were legitimately his.

“Mukhaila initially paid the sum of $20, 000 to Okwudili Okeke’s Wilok Wells Fargo account in the United States and provided him with the deposit slip showing the cash deposit which he then sent to Okeke,” the witness said.

The witness also told the court that Okeke paid the fair market value for the dollars to Pay Express, a company not operated by him (but the company that was introduced by Ahmed Mukhaila to him). This money was then forwarded to Mukhaila. And Mukhaila thereafter provided him with a deposit slip for $26,000.

According to him, upon seeing the said slip, Okeke noticed that it was not a cash deposit and he immediately called Mukhaila to express his displeasure and instructed that the same be recalled.

“Mukhaila thereafter put him on a conference call with some of his Bureau de Change colleagues who confirmed that the reason for the bankers’ cheque deposit was as a result of the volume of the money and that the bank will not accept cash deposit of the said volume.

“Okeke then insisted that Mukhaila and his colleagues should sign an agreement to the effect that the said money is legitimate and that they will indemnify Smith against any liability as a result of the funds.

“Interpol invited Mukhaila and his colleagues which include Awulu Hassan, Saidi Paki, Huzeni Taeeb, Adigure Chares, Elizabeth Aruoma and Anthony Ojo, who confirmed that they sold the $26,000 in question,” he said.

Smith was arraigned on January 30, 2024, before the court by the police. He is facing charges of alleged conspiracy and fraud preferred against him by the police.

The police prosecutor, Mr Mike Enejere, told the court that the defendant and others at large had sometime in August 2016, conspired among themselves and conducted a financial transaction which involved proceeds of unlawful activity.

However, the defendant, who is the founder of Grocedy Limited, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case has been adjourned till March 24, for continuation of trial.

 

 

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Lagos Agog As Olusegun Aderiye Marks 70th Birthday Anniversary In Style

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The mega city of Lagos was thrown into celebration mood as an Erudite Scholar and a quintessential broadcast journalist Rev. Dr. Olusegun Aderiye celebrated his 70th PLATINUM jubilee anniversary and book launch in style.

The event which took place on Wednesday February 14th 2024 at Airport Ikeja Lagos stated with a Public Lecture titled, “The Imperative of Peace in a Troubled World” taken by Amb. (Dr) Martins Uhomoibhi (Fmr PS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria) and the formal unveiling of: “Journey to Stardom” An Autobiography of the celebrant.

Rev Dr. Olusegun Solomon Aderiye was born on 14 February in Ekiti State, then Western Region, Nigeria.

He attended Methodist Primary School, Apaara, Oyo, 1958, Ifaki Grammar School, 1968-72, University of Lagos, 1977 and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) 1981.

Olusegun was the Chief State House Correspondent, Nigerian Television Authority, 1985-89; Head, Current Affairs Department, African Independent Television, since 1998; Secretary, Nigerian Television Authority Ibadan Chapel.

He was a co-author of ECOMOG, Gabumo Publishing, Lagos in 1992.

Dr. Aderiye Creative Works includes Kilo Ndan Bi Wura, 1978, Awamaridi, 1979, Maje Nse 1981, My Lord is Good, 1983, What only God can do, 2023.

His National Awards are Nigeria Television Authority’s Reporter of the Year, 1983 and Nigeria Union of Journalists, since 1978.

 

The special guest of honour of the event was General Ibrahim Babangida GCFR (Former President of Nigeria) and Chief Bode George (Former Military Governor of Ondo State).

Dignitaries present at the event were Lagos state Governor ably represented by his commissioner of information and strategy Gbenga Omotoso, Speaker, Lagos State House of representative represented by one of the honourable members of the house, Steve Ogundipe.

Others were (Dr) Martin Uhomoibhi. Amb (Dr) Yemi Farounbi, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the Philippines. The event was indeed an array of who is who in Nigeria.

 

The chairman in his remark describes the celebrant as a fine gentleman and a highly efficient, courageous and diligent media practitioner with a high sense of national patriotism and an unrepentant nationalist in broadcast journalism.

He prayed that God Almighty should continue to shower Dr. Aderiye with divine wisdom, guidance, good health, protection, prosperity and longevity, so he could continue to contribute his quota to national development in the years ahead.

Dr. Aderiye in his speech appreciates his lovely wife who shared the same birthday with him Deaconess Mary Kehinde Oluwakemi and family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances both in the physical and spiritual realms for their love, friendship and kind support all through these years.

He also thanks the VIPs, relations, friends and acquaintances who have come to honour his invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London Operation: Air Peace, Norse Atlantic Sign ACMI Agreement On Charter

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Norse Atlantic Airways, yesterday, announced that it entered into an agreement with Air Peace for an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) charter service.

This collaboration, according to the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, marks the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at providing seamless air travel solutions between London and Lagos, Nigeria.

Commencing in April 2024, the ACMI charter will operate four times a week, offering travellers convenient and reliable transportation options between these key destinations.

Norse Atlantic Airways will be using slots at London Gatwick allocated to Air Peace to facilitate this new route.

“We are thrilled to be working with Air Peace to launch this ACMI charter service between London Gatwick and Lagos. This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in charter operations to deliver a reliable and high-quality service to Air Peace and their customers,” said Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO and Founder of Norse Atlantic Airways.

“Air Peace is delighted to have signed this partnership deal with Norse Atlantic Airways for the commencement of our London service. As we make a foray into the European market, we are confident that this strategic partnership will further position us to surpass the expectations of our customers, offering them superior air travel experience while we continue to optimise our operations for more innovative service delivery”, stated Allen Onyema, Chairman/CEO, Air Peace.

Norse Atlantic and Air Peace will continue to discuss potential longer-term partnerships between the two airlines to explore avenues for further collaboration and expansion in the future.

 

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N30bn To Govs: ‘My Statement Unverified’, Akpabio Recants

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has recanted his claim that state governors received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Government to address the biting economic hardship in the country by the distribution of palliatives to Nigerians.

Recall that Akpabio made the claim on Wednesday, February 22 while the Senate considered the report of its joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

The committee had interfaced with the economic management team of the government, led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, to find out what the government had done to tackle hunger, food inflation, a free-falling naira exchange rate to the US dollar, among others.

In the course of deliberations on the matter by senators, Akpabio had repeatedly stated without mincing word that each state governor received an additional N30bn from the centre to address the challenges, besides the regular allocations the states draw from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Each of the 36 states received N30bn; they received N30bn”, he kept saying.

However, 24 hours later, governors began refuting the claim.

Prominent among them was the Governor of Akpabio’s own state, Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno, who not only said such an amount was not received by the state but also added that it was possible the Senate President was speaking with prophetic expectations.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also said much, dismissing Akpabio’s claim.

On Monday night, Akpabio’s office finally summoned the courage to recant his statement, saying that he acted on unverified information.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, in a statement on Monday night, appealed for calm, saying that Akpabio held the governors in high esteem.

Eyiboh’s full statement is reproduced below: “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance. During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30b to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that State governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable Stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance. He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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