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Abaribe Kicks As Buhari Nominates Chairman, DG For PENCOM Board

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images 2020 09 30T170759.054 Abaribe Kicks As Buhari Nominates Chairman, DG For PENCOM Board

Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe has kicked against the nomination of Aisha Umar (North East) as Director General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter urged the Senate to confirm the nomination of Oyindasola Oni as Chairman and Aisha Umar the DG of PENCOM Board respectively.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, read the letter on the floor of the Senate during plenary.
Abaribe however raised a point of order following the reading of the letter by Lawan.
The Abia South Senator insisted that the nomination of a candidate from the Northeast to replace the former Director-General (DG) of PENCOM, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu from Southeast was in breach of the Act establishing PENCOM.
He noted the National Pension Commission Act 2014 provided that “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”
He maintained the replacement for Mrs Anohu-Amazu must come from the South East.
Abaribe said: “I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated therefore, the new letter from the President that has now moved the Chairman of the Commission to another zone may not be correct because it is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission.
“Before you send it to the appropriate committee tomorrow, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”
Lawan, in his response, said: “That is for me to interpret because I interpret the laws here.
“If there is any petition to that effect it should be sent to the committee.”
But an expert and senior official in the pension industry countered Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s submission, stating that the nomination is back up by the PRA 2014.
The expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that in furtherance to Section 20 (1) and Section 21 (1) and (2) of the Act, Section 106(4) of the PRA 2014 provides that notwithstanding section 19(2)(a) and 26(2)&(4) of the Act, where a Board of the Commission is yet to be reconstituted after six months of the dissolution of the last Board, the President of the Federal Republic may appoint fit and proper persons with pension cognate experience to constitute the Board at the first instance, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Also, Section 171 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) vests in Mr. President the power to appoint persons to hold or act in certain offices and to remove such persons.
These offices include heads of all Federal Government extra-ministerial departments, howsoever designated.
He stated that the Act did not define what constitutes ‘vacancy’, a situation that created ambiguity as to the exact occasion when Section 21(2) of the PRA 2014 becomes operational.
He said: “However, it will appear from the context that the subsection contemplates the ceazation of membership of the board through any of the scenarios listed in Section 21(1)(a) -(h) of the PRA 2014, which include resignation, death, bankruptcy, conviction of a felony, removal by the President, among others. The argument therefore is that Mrs. Amazu’s replacement as DG of PenCom must come from the Southeast zone to complete here remaining term. However, contrary to this submission, a careful review of the relevant provisions of the PRA 2014 would lead to the following conclusions:
“A reading of both subsections (1) & (2) of Section 21 of the PRA 2014 indicates that they consistently use singular phrases such as ‘a member’; ‘a vacancy’; ‘a replacement’; ‘immediate past member that vacated office’ etc. Accordingly, it is submitted that the correct interpretation of Section 21(2) of the PRA 2014 is to hold that it addresses only cases of occasional vacancies created by the exit of individual members of the board of PenCom as enumerated in subsection (1) of the same section, rather than where the whole board is dissolved or all executive management are removed by Mr. President. Section 21(2) of the PRA 2014 seeks to ensure compliance with the provision of Section 19(4) of the Act, which requires that at all times, the Chairman, Director General and four Commissioners of PenCom shall each represent each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
“There had been a precedent which illustrates the application of a similar provision under the defunct PRA 2004. Thus, in 2006 when the then President Obasanjo removed only the Chairman of PenCom, Mr. Fola Adeola, who was from the Southwest, his replacement came from the Southwest when late Chief Wole Adeosun was appointed to complete the term started by Mr. Fola Adeola. The provision of Section 21(2) of the PRA 2014 applies not only to the office of the Director General but also the Chairman and other four Commissioners of PenCom where the respective individuals vacate office leaving others in office.
“Without prejudice to the foregoing submissions, we would like to draw attention to the overarching provision of S. 171(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which gives the president unfettered powers to appoint or remove head of any Federal Government extra-ministerial department, howsoever called. This includes appointments to the office of the Director General of PenCom. This constitutional power cannot be eroded by any Act of parliament in the light of the provision of S. 1(3) of the Constitution which provides that “if any other law is inconsistent with the provision of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void”, he added.

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Fintiri Condoles With Adamawa APC Over Chieftain’s Death

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images 30 4 Fintiri Condoles With Adamawa APC Over Chieftain’s Death

Press Secretary to the Governor, Humwashi Wonosikou, made this known to press in a statement issued on Monday.Fintiri who described the demise as shocking, also sympathized with the family, Mubi Emirate over the loss, noting that Muhammad would be remembered for his tenacity and contributions to the growth and development of Adamawa state.He urged APC to take solace in Allah, describing the deceased as a great party man who used his experience towards contributing to the progress of the party and the state in general.

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EFCC Confirms Attack On Commission’s Website

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images 28 4 EFCC Confirms Attack On Commission’s Website

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday admitted that its official website was attacked by yet-to-be identified cyber criminals during the weekend.

A group of activists with a motto: ‘We are anonymous’ had last Friday announced on Twitter in a series of tweets that it had gained access into some critical federal government agencies’ websites in solidarity with #EndSARS protests going on in the country.

The agencies, as announced by the activists included websites of EFCC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) among others.Checks revealed that the commission’s website on Friday showed it was offline due to an internal server error.

The activists also announced that they had gained access to the Twitter account of National Broadcasting Corporation via the victim-agency’s account, where they also posted #EndSARS protest materials on the agency’s Twitter timeline.

Confirming the attack, spokesperson of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, in a tweet said the attack was successfully repelled.

He wrote, “Though there were attempts, over the weekend, to compromise the website by some cyber criminals the attacks were successfully repelled. The EFCC website is up and running.”

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Money Laundering: Court Gives Senator Ndume 21 Days To Produce Maina

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images 23 3 Money Laundering: Court Gives Senator Ndume 21 Days To Produce Maina

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, gave Senator Ali Ndume who is representing Borno South, 21 days, to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has repeatedly failed to appear for continuation of his trial on money laundering charges.
The former pension boss is facing a 12-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and a firm, Common Input Properties & Investment Limited.
Maina spent over seven months on remand at the Kuje Correctional Center before the court released on bail after Senator Ndume agreed to stand surety for him.
EFCC alleged that he used account of the firm and laundered funds to the tune of about N2billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
EFCC has already opened its case and called witnesses that included bankers and Maina’s relatives, who testified and tendered exhibits in evidence before the court.
However, the Defendant had since September 29, failed to appear in court for his trial, even as the prosecution alleged that he has jumped bail.
*Senator Ndume had on October 2 when the matter came up for trial, informed the court that he does not know the whereabouts of the Defendant.
Likewise, at the resumed proceedings on Monday, the lawmaker, lamented before the court that all his efforts to locate the 1st Defendant, proved abortive.
Ndume begged the court to issue an arrest warrant to enable security operatives to track down and apprehend Maina.
Ndume said he was willing to forfeit his own freedom to ensure that Maina is arrested and produced before the court.
Addressing the court after he was queried about Maina’s whereabouts on Monday, Ndume said: “My lord, I understand that the defendant is in Abuja and I did all I can to locate him without any definite result.
“My lord, I am constraint because I cannot take the law into my hand.
“I had reported to the DG SSS, the AIG of Police Investigation; I even wrote to police commissioner and I also reported the case to DPO of Jabi where the defendant resides.
“But my lord, even if I see Maina today, I can’t force him to come to court. I am appealing to u to issue a warrant on him.”
Trial Justice Okon Abang then reminded Ndume that the legal implication of such arrest warrant is that he would also be remanded in custody pending when Maina is apprehended.
“I don’t mind my lord. My concern is to have him in court so that I can continue my life”, Ndume responded.
He told the court he had only met Maina once in his life before he decided to stand as his surety, being the lawmaker that represents his constituency.
Besides, Ndume told the court that he was pressurized to stand surety for the Defendant by three former governors.
“As a senator serving him (Maina), his family, wife, mother and uncle appealed to me to stand as a surety.
“I went to prison to confirm for myself whether he was actually sick and the prison officers told me that he was actually sick and appealed to me to be his surety so that he could have access to medical attention.
“Orji Kalu when he was in prison then, Joshua Dariye, former Governor of Taraba, Rev. Jolly Nyame, all appealed to me in the prison to assist him.
“It took me eight months my lord to take that decision. In fact, I have to be given an indemnity by his uncle; signed by me, him and a lawyer that Maina would always be in court.
“He guaranteed but since that day, I went to Maitama Hospital to check their record, I went to Abuja Clinic, I went to the house he is purported to be living in Jabi, Abuja.
“This is one of the professional hazards we face as lawmakers, representing the good, the bad and the ugly.
“If I was not a serving senator, I wouldn’t have cause to stand as surety,” Ndume added.
He decried that Maina who claimed to be ill, had recently released a video clip which went viral on social media about his state of health, but refused to make himself available.
“I am helpless before you my lord. I appeal that such innocent citizens like me holding a public office for over one million people should not be subjected to this,” Ndume pleaded.
Earlier, EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, applied for leave of the court to try Maina in absentia.
He also urged the court to not only revoke Maina’s bail, but to also direct his surety, Ndume, to pay the sum of N500million, being the total bail bond.
Maina’s lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, opposed the application to revoke his client’s bail, though he also admitted not knowing his whereabouts.
“My lord, the information we have is that the Defendant is admitted in hospital after a surgery. He said he was undergoing treatment after the surgery and the location was not disclosed.

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