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NEW NAIRA: CBN, EFCC TO TRACK LARGE WITHDRAWALS

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Redesigned Naira Notes

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has said that it would work with law enforcement agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, to complicate and track large withdrawals.

He said this while briefing the press after the launch the new Naira banknotes in Abuja on Wednesday.

At the briefing, Emefiele said that the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the counter would be reduced drastically, adding that bulk withdrawals would require several procedures and security checks to track use.

He said this would ensure a steady transition into a cashless economy.

“There is no economy imbued with the thinking that it has to be a cash economy; the world has moved from predominantly cash to a cashless economy. And I think Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria are prepared to move towards a cashless economy. And that is why following the redesign and issuance of this note, we will insist that cashless will be nationwide.

“We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter. If you need to draw large volumes of cash, you will fill out uncountable forms; we will take your data, whether it’s your BVN or NIN so that our law enforcement agencies like EFCC and ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for a good purpose.”

He also noted that this move alongside the redesigned notes would ensure that the apex bank has ample control over the amount of money in circulation.

The CBN Governor further argued that the new move is not targeted at anyone while noting that the past attempts to redesign the naira notes were resisted.

According to him, “The Central Bank of Nigeria, by law, has the mandate to reissue and redesign currency for the country, and for Nigerian people, every five to eight years. And I want to hope that after the event of today, the Central Bank of Nigeria can take it as part of its programmes to see that the currencies are designed or reissued every five to eight years.

“It is mainly because the central bank should be able to control the size of currency in circulation fully. That is the actual mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria because it has implications for monetary policy management in the country.

“There is no need for anybody to think this program is targeted at anyone. Like you heard the President, he said, this discussion to redesign and reissue currency started early in the year.”

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said the naira notes are long overdue for a change as the current tender has been in circulation for nearly 20 years.

This was as he said the newly redesigned notes have unique security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.

Buhari said this when he launched the new Naira banknotes at the council chamber of the State House, Abuja, shortly before the kick-off of this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

According to a statement signed by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari also expressed delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC.

Speaking at the launch of the new banknotes, the President noted that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years.

He lamented that it is almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done.

‘‘This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look.

“A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving the security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management,” he said.

He added that “the new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.’’

Explaining why he approved the redesign, the President said there is an urgent need to control the amount of currency in circulation.

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BUHARI BRANDS GOVS THIEVES OVER LG FUNDS

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President Muhammadu Buhari

•Accuses them of stealing councils’ funds, remitting half of allocations, stifling rural development

President Muhammadu Buhari has again knocked governors, accusing them of stealing local government funds and stifling development of rural communities.

The criticism came barely 24 hours after the Minister for State Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba had blamed the state executives for the high rate of poverty in the country by investing in the construction of flyovers and airports rather than improving conditions of rural dwellers.

President Buhari, who spoke after delivering his speech at an event hosted for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, flayed governors who collected money on behalf of council areas in their states only to remit half of such funds to council chairmen.

The president said he spoke from personal experience involving a governor he declined to name. He connected the vice to the issue of lack of integrity in many people holding positions like governorship and council chairmanship. He said such behaviour was reprehensible and spoke to the height of corruption in the country.

“I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is as a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.

“And then the chairman of the local government must see how much he must pay in salaries and to hell with development. When he pays the salaries of the big man, the balance he will put in his pocket. This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated.”

The president urged public office holders to be guided by their conscience and personal integrity on their beats. He pledged that the recommendations contained in the presentation of SEC 44 would be painstakingly studied by with a view to implementing its recommendations.

Declaring that his administration has done so much in building trust between the government and the people, het noted that the report would largely assist in the provision of good governance to the people at the grassroots and by extension win back their trust in government.

“It is obvious that government cannot afford to pay lip-service to the recommendations contained in this report. I assure you that the report will be treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Government will study the report with the view to implementing the carefully detailed recommendations,” he said.

Commending the quality of the report and the commitment and dedication that went into it, President Buhari said the National Institute can always be trusted to deliver on critical and sensitive assignments of national importance. He expressed delight that the Institute has been exceptional in handling several assignments, and the current submission is a commendable improvement on the existing standards.

“The quality of the presentation, and the confidence with which they were made strongly attests to the quality of training the participants received during the course. I congratulate you for justifying the confidence and trust reposed in each and everyone of you by your respective nominations.

He added that he was convinced that they were all now well equipped for the strategic tasks, increased responsibilities, and positions of authority of trust.

“I challenge you to go back to your various establishments, units, posts, beats, departments, directorates, Ministries, Parastatals, commissions, commands, agencies to revitalise, reinvigorate, reform and rejig your various platforms and spheres of influence, responsibility and leadership,” he said.

After listening to some demands by the leadership of NIPSS, President Buhari promised to look into some of the challenges facing the Institute, adding that no government establishment exists without challenges.

He assured them that his administration is poised to complete the review and passage of the NIPSS establishment act and condition of service before handover in May 2023.

To this extent, the President directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation to take all necessary steps to its actualisation.

Director-General of NIPSS, Prof Ayo Omotayo, said the Course participants undertook study tours of 14 States of the Federation, six African countries and six countries outside Africa.

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OGUN POLICE NAB TWO BROTHERS FOR CAR THEFT

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Ogun-State-Map

The Ogun State Police Command has arrested two brothers who reportedly stole a Toyota Camry in Lagos.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday by its officers on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway while trying to escape with the stolen car to Imo State.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

Oyeyemi explained that the suspects, who worked at a car wash, stole the car from a customer who took his car to them for a service.

He said, “Police in Ogun State on the 30th of November 2022 arrested two brothers, Emanuel Nwachukwu 28 years. and Sunday Nwachukwu 24 years, for stealing a Toyota Camry with registration number JJJ 661 GJ while on their way taking the said vehicle to Imo state.

“The two suspects were arrested by men of the Federal Highway patrol, who were on a stop-and-search duty along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“The vehicle was stopped by the policemen for routine check at about 11:30 pm, but while the officers were asking questions from one of them who drove the car, the two brothers who were the occupants suddenly abandoned the car and took to their heels.

“They were hotly chased and apprehended by the policemen, who there and then took them to the Ewu-Oliwo divisional headquarters for proper interrogation.

“On interrogation, the two brothers who live at No 2, Onifade street, Fagba Lagos confessed to stealing the car from one Bello Muyideen Kolawole of Arobaba street, Idimu Lagos.

“Upon their confession, the DPO Ewu-Oliwo division, CSP Toyosi Bello, quickly got in touch with the said owner, who confirmed that the two brothers were working at a car wash very close to his shop, and that he took the car to the place for wash, only for the two brothers to run away with it.”

The PPRO, however, said the Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole, had directed that the two suspects be transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department for onward transfer to the Lagos State Command, where the crime was originally committed.

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POLICE ARRAIGN CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKETER OVER ALLEGED N51.7M FRAUD

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Cryptocurrency

The Lagos State Police have arraigned a cryptocurrency marketer, Temitope Longe, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for allegedly obtaining the sum of N51,789,222 by false pretence and fraud.

Longe was docked before Justice Tijjani Ringim on the alleged offences by the officers of the Police Special Fraud Unit Ikoyi, Lagos.

The PSFU’s prosecutor, Mr Justin Enang, told the court that the cryptocurrency operator and others now at large, committed the offences in Lagos sometimes in 2017.

Enang told the court that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of N25,894,711 from one Dr. Abiodun Adefunrin with false pretence of investing same in cryptocurrencies and forex trading.

He further told the court that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of  N25,894,711 property of Francis Aremu, and converted same to his personal use.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1){a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He also told the court that the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as Amended in 2012.

However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegations levelled against him.

Following the defendant’s plea, the prosecutor asked for a trial date and also urged the court to remand him in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the determination of the charges against him.

But the defendant through his counsel pleaded with the court to admit him to bail in the most liberal terms.

His counsel told the court that his client was a first-time offender and that charges against him were bailable ones.

Justice Ringim, after listening to the counsels’ submissions, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.

The Judge further ordered that one of the sureties must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 14, among others.

Justice Ringim ordered that the defendant be remanded in NCS custody until when he is able to meet the bail conditions, and adjourned the case to March 30, 2023, for trial.

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