Daily News Portal

Buhari knocked for economic crisis, EFCC defies order with night raid: Weekly news recap


As the week comes to a close, here are top stories from across the country.

Following the death of the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, in a helicopter crash in the United States, the Nigerian government and his kinsmen have called for a probe.

The Super Eagles lost the AFCON final to Cote d’Ivoire and midfielder, Alex Iwobi, was the target of internet attacks by angry fans.

Several prominent figures exonerated President Tinubu from the current economic woes.

Tinubu said no to food importation amidst the food crisis, while the Labour Union pushed for a N1m minimum wage.

Below are highlights from the week’s biggest news stories, from February 11 to February 17, 2024.

Following the tragic helicopter crash in California that claimed the lives of prominent Nigerian businessman and CEO of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, his family, former Nigerian Exchange Group Plc Chairman Abimbola Ogunbanjo, and others, investigations have been launched by both Nigerian and American authorities.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has engaged in talks with the US National Transportation Safety Board to provide support for the investigation, aligning with international aviation regulations.

Meanwhile, American investigators have begun examining the wreckage, identifying major components and recovering electronic devices for analysis.

Witness reports of adverse weather conditions at the time of the crash are being verified through meteorological analysis.
Nigerian dignitaries, including Governor Dapo Abiodun, Aliko Dangote and Pastor E.A. Adeboye, have made condolence visits to the families of the deceased.

There were protests in Wigwe’s hometown, demanding thorough investigations and the repatriation of the victims’ remains.

The NTSB is expected to release preliminary and final investigation reports, with ongoing efforts aimed at determining the cause of the crash and ensuring transport safety improvements in Nigeria and the United States.

Meanwhile, Access Holdings named Bolaji Agbede as the acting CEO following the tragic helicopter crash.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have made a significant jump in the latest FIFA rankings, moving from 42nd to 28th in the world, marking their best leap since 2013.

This rise followed their performance in the 2023 African Cup of Nations, where they secured silver after a loss to hosts, Ivory Coast, in the final.

Despite not winning the tournament, their strong showing contributed to their improved ranking. Ivory Coast, the AFCON winners, also moved up 10 places to 39th globally.

South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola also saw improvements in their rankings based on their performances in the AFCON.

The next FIFA ranking update is scheduled for April 4, with Nigeria expected to continue its preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in June.

Following Nigeria’s defeat to Ivory Coast in the 2023 AFCON final, Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi, faced heavy criticism from fans, prompting him to quit social media due to cyberbullying.

The loss, which handed the Ivorians their third AFCON title and extended Nigeria’s record of final losses to five, led to an onslaught of negative comments directed at Iwobi.

However, he received support from teammates, including captain Ahmed Musa, and Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, who urged him to remain resilient amidst the negativity.

Enoh condemned the cyberbullying, emphasising that such behaviour does not reflect the majority’s sentiments, and reassured Iwobi of the country’s pride in his efforts.

The Nigeria Labour Congress proposed a N1m minimum wage, citing economic challenges like currency depreciation and high inflation.

This sparked reactions from state governments and employers of labour who deemed the demand unrealistic. They emphasised the need for realistic negotiations based on economic factors and companies’ ability to pay.

Despite the NLC’s defence of the proposal, stakeholders highlighted the importance of considering economic conditions and ensuring fair wage structures that balance workers’ welfare with sustainable economic growth.

  • Buhari’s forged signature

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, testified on Tuesday that $6.2 million was illicitly released from the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2023 using a forged document.

This revelation came during the ongoing fraud trial of a former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja.

Mustapha, appearing as the prosecution’s fourth witness, highlighted that neither the documents nor the approval originated from the President’s office.

These documents claimed the funds were requested for foreign election observers. He emphasised discrepancies in the forged document, including improper protocol and a failed attempt to forge ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature.

Mustapha denied any involvement with the funds and clarified that the Federal Government had no jurisdiction over foreign election observers, debunking the alleged directive. The trial continues, with the next hearings scheduled for March 7, 11, and 25.

With just eight days remaining until the highly anticipated novelty match between The PUNCHERS and the Media Amalgamated team as part of The PUNCH’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, The PUNCHERS honed their winning strategies on Friday at Mountain Top University, Ogun State.

The clash, scheduled for February 24 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos, marks the start of activities for the newspaper’s anniversary.

Led by AFCON 1992 bronze medalist Friday Ekpo, The PUNCHERS intensified training with 31 players from various company departments.

Veteran midfielder Godspower Otor emphasised the team’s focus on training, responding to opponents’ media bravado with determination to let their performance speak on the pitch.

The team, under Ekpo’s guidance, fine-tuned their strategy during Friday’s session and will continue preparations with their third training on Saturday.

On the other hand, former Super Eagles forward, Victor Agali, will coach the Media Amalgamated team, which begins training at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos, today.

  • Food Crisis, state police and other matters

President Bola Tinubu held a meeting with all 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, in Abuja to address the escalating food crisis and security challenges plaguing the nation.

During the meeting, Tinubu emphasised the need to enhance security measures, including recruiting more police personnel and exploring the establishment of state police.

He also directed collaborative efforts to increase local food production and curb the hoarding of food items by merchants. He said, “What I will not do is to set a price control board. I will not also approve the importation of food.”

The President underscored the importance of clearing salary arrears, gratuities, and pensions owed to workers and retirees, urging governors to prioritise this to stimulate economic activity. The meeting highlighted a collective commitment to tackling the pressing issues of security and food crisis mitigation strategies.

In a series of statements, prominent figures, including Senator Adams Oshiomhole and former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, have pointed to former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as the cause of Nigeria’s current economic woes.

Oshiomhole, representing Edo North, criticised what he termed reckless policies under Buhari’s leadership, which he argued were designed to dehumanise the population. He emphasised that these policies, which he protested against, are now resulting in long-term consequences that the country is still facing.

Similarly, Sanusi attributed Nigeria’s failing economy to the mismanaged economic policies of the past eight years, highlighting the burden of debt accrued during Buhari’s tenure. Both Oshiomhole and Sanusi defended  Tinubu, asserting that he should not be held accountable for decisions made by the previous government, as he was not directly involved in policymaking.

In a similar vein, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, also weighed in on the economic challenges facing Nigeria, squarely placing the blame on the mismanagement of Buhari’s administration.

These statements came amidst widespread criticism of the current administration’s handling of economic affairs, with many Nigerians feeling the brunt of soaring inflation and unemployment rates.

Nigerian families are grappling with a severe economic downturn, facing soaring prices of goods and services. Staples like rice now cost up to N77,000 per bag, exacerbating the hardship for households already struggling with an inflation rate of 28.9 per cent.

Protests had erupted across the country, from Lagos to Kano, as citizens demanded relief from the escalating cost of living. It was also found that a 50-kg bag of cement sold for N9,000 in the FCT, an increase of N3,500 or 38.8 per cent from the N5,500 it was sold the previous week.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, however, called for a meeting with manufacturers of cement and other building materials in the country.

  • EFCC defies own order, arrests FUTA students

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission announced the arrest of 14 undergraduates from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, alongside 19 others for suspected internet crimes.

The arrest, conducted by EFCC operatives of the Benin Zonal Command, occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

Videos shared on social media depicted a midnight raid, with reports of broken window frames and allegations of student mistreatment.

The EFCC justified the operation as a response to calls from concerned parents and neighbours, aiming to prevent youths from engaging in internet-related activities.

While items such as cars, phones, laptops, and a motorbike were seized during the arrests, the EFCC’s statement did not address the discrepancy with the ban on nighttime operations issued by EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, in November 2023, following a similar controversial raid involving the arrest of around 70 students from Obafemi Awolowo University.



Read Nore:Buhari knocked for economic crisis, EFCC defies order with night raid: Weekly news recap