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Tinubu celebrates Akume at 70

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President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, felicitated the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, on his 70th birthday.

Tinubu described him as “one of the most reliable citizens” Nigeria can boast of.

The president’s birthday message was contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled ‘President Tinubu celebrates Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, on 70th birthday.’

“The people of Benue have subscribed to his sterling leadership principles and leveraged his remarkable talent for so many years because of what he has always stood for.

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“He will be with you in the best of days, and even most reliably, in the worst of days. The country has been blessed with the dedication and sure-handedness of Senator Akume,” the President said.

Tinubu commended the former Benue State Governor for his consistency and perpetual dedication to duty in coordinating government affairs.

He also cited Akume’s “rich portfolio of leadership experience and laurels as governor, minister, senator, and top-flight public servant, which he brings to bear in his current role,” the statement read.

Ngelale disclosed that “President Tinubu celebrated Senator Akume, extolling the temperance, affability, harmony, and stability he consistently personifies as he coordinates activities both within and with other arms of government, making himself accessible, focused, and dependable in bridging the divide between policy and implementation.”

While wishing the SGF good health and strength, the President implored him not to relent in his diligent service to the country.

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CBN releases more dollars as naira weakens to 1,300/$

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The naira depreciated further against the United States dollar at the official market on Tuesday, closing at 1,300/$.

This came as the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped up efforts to stem the tide, selling more dollars to Bureau De Change operators.

The apex bank disclosed the dollar sale in a new circular referenced TEM/FEM/PUB/001/013 and uploaded to its website on Tuesday.

It was signed by the CBN Director, Trade and Exchange Department Dr Hassan Mahmud.

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The apex bank said it was set to sell $10,000 to BDCs at N1,021 per dollar and directed the operators to sell at a spread not more than 1.5 per cent above the CBN rate.

Amid the development, the naira maintained a depreciation trend against the United States dollar on Tuesday, falling to N1,300 per dollar at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market.

The new rate is N66 per cent weaker than N1,234 per dollar recorded on Monday.

A summary of the forex transaction showed that the intra-day high depreciated by N22, closing at N1,317 per dollar from N1,295 per dollar. The intra-day low however gained to N1,000 from N1,051/$.

While the total daily turnover increased slightly to $133.65m from $110.17m on Monday.

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At the parallel market, currency traders sold the dollar between the rate of N1,300 and N1,320 on Tuesday from N1,260 recorded on Monday.

Earlier this month, the apex bank sold $10,000 to BDCs at a rate of N1101/$ and directed the BDCs to sell to eligible customers at a rate not exceeding 1.5 per cent above the purchase price.

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This initiative represents the second such occurrence this month and the fourth instance this year, underlining the CBN’s proactive strategy in managing currency volatility and ensuring the availability of essential foreign exchange.

Theheute reported on Monday that the Naira depreciated against the United States dollar reaching an exchange rate of N1,234 at the official foreign exchange market. This represents a decline of N65 or approximately 5.26 per cent from the previous rate of N1,169.99/$1 recorded on Friday. The fluctuation in exchange rates can have significant implications for trade and economic stability.

The statement read, “We write to inform you of the sale of $10,000 by the CBN to BDCs at the rate of 1,021/$. The BDCs are in turn to sell to eligible end users at a spread not more than 1.5 per cent of the purchase price.”

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This recent move follows the CBN’s resolve to continue to defend the naira as stated by the bank earlier.

The CBN directed all eligible BDCs to commence payment of naira deposit into the designated CBN accounts from April 22, 2024.

It also asked the operators to submit proof of payment and other documents at the appropriate CBN branches for disbursement.

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Yahaya Bello withdrew $720,000 from Kogi account to pay child’s school fees -EFCC chairman

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, transferred $720,000 from the government’s coffers to a bureau de change before leaving office to pay in advance for his child’s school fee.

Olukoyede revealed this during an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?”

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Olukoyede further stated that he personally reached out to Bello, offering him a chance to clarify the situation in a respectful setting within the EFCC office but the ex-governor reportedly declined to cooperate, citing fears of harassment from an unnamed woman.

The EFCC boss added, “I didn’t initiate the case; I inherited the case file. I called for the file, and I said there are issues here.

“On my own, I called him, which I am not supposed to do, just to honour him as an immediate past governor. ‘Sir, there are issues. I’ve seen this case file. Can you just come let us clarify these issues?’

“He said, ‘Ha! Thank you, my brother. I know, but I can’t come. There’s one lady that has surrounded EFCC with over 100 people to come and embarrass me and intimitade me.’

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Bello was said to have suggested that the EFCC come to his village rather than conduct an investigation at the agency’s quarters.

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“I said if that is the issue, I’m going to pass you through my own gate, and you will come to my floor. We will accord you that respect. I will invite my operatives; they will interrogate and interview you in my own office. What could be more honourable than that to allay the fear?

“You know what he said: ‘Thank you, sir, but can’t they come to my village? Olukoyede added.

The chairman also highlighted the agency’s achievements during his tenure, stating, “We have recovered close to 120 billion and secured over 1,600 convictions in six months.

“I’m so passionate about the need for us to move forward in this country. We need the EFCC to survive. There are so many victims that we have wiped tears off their eyes, people that have been swindled in their millions. Every day, we keep recovering money for victims.”

Theheute reports that the EFCC chairman, Olukoyede, has vowed to resign from his position if Yahaya Bello is not prosecuted.

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The EFCC is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

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FAAN reopens Lagos airport runway after Dana Air incident

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has announced the reopening of Runway 18L/36R at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, following a temporary closure caused by a Dana Air plane skidding off the runway on Tuesday

This was disclosed in a press release signed by the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN, Obiageli Orah, on Wednesday.

The statement read, “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is pleased to notify the public and all stakeholders that Runway 18L/36R was reopened for flight operations at 19:58hrs.

“This development follows the earlier closure of the runway this morning due to an incident involving a Dana Air aircraft, with registration number 5N-BKI, which overshot the runway during its landing sequence.

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“Prompt actions were taken by our emergency response team to evacuate and recover the aircraft from the site. Subsequently, comprehensive clearing operations were conducted to ensure the runway was free of any Foreign Object Debris that could impede flight safety, Orah added.

According to the statement, the FAAN Operations Division and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency have jointly inspected the runway surface and deemed it safe for the resumption of operations.

FAAN acknowledged that the area affected by the overshoot was significantly muddy, necessitating extensive cleaning efforts to restore safety.

“A concerted effort was made for the thorough and efficient cleaning of the area to facilitate the swift resumption of operations on Runway 18L/36R,” she said.

Orah apologised for any inconvenience caused, stating, “Ensuring the safety and security of our passengers, staff, and airport operations remains our top priority.

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“FAAN is committed to providing a safe, secure, and efficient air transport environment for all users of our airports.

“FAAN wishes to express its gratitude to the travelling public, our airline partners, and all stakeholders for their patience, understanding, and cooperation during the temporary closure. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this incident may have caused,” the statement read.

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