The 2015 general elections may have come and gone but the allegations of massive bribery of voters and electoral staff has refused to go away following the arrest of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Cross River State, Gesila Khan and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The NATION reports that the suspects are being held for a N650.9million 2015 poll bribery scandal.
The arrest also yielded the recovery of sensitive election materials for the 2015 presidential and senatorial polls from the residences of some of the suspects as were many documents on financial and landed properties.
The report, which cited EFCC sources last night, said some of the documents are receipts of payments made into the suspects’ accounts.
The suspects allegedly committed the poll bribery fraud in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
There were indications that many INEC staff and Ad hoc workers benefitted from the bribe-for-poll results scandal.
Khan, who was the REC in Rivers State during the last general election and was widely accused of receiving bribe from a particular party – a claim she vehemently denied – allegedly pocked N185, 842,000 out of the bribe sum under probe by the EFCC.
The other suspects and the bribe cash against their names are Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State) – N112,480,000; Uluochi Obi Brown (INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State) –N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River state, Edem Okon Effanga – N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo – N214,127,000.
The newspaper reports that all the suspects and their accomplices have made useful statements to EFCC.
It quoted a top EFCC source as saying: “During the preliminary grilling of Khan, she admitted that she went to a bank to identify one Peter Popnen (who is on the run) to collect N185, 842,000.
“We have launched a manhunt for Popnen to ascertain how the deal was struck. As far Fideli Omoile, we discovered that her signature and driver’s license were allegedly used for some of the N112.48m transactions.
“Regarding Uluochi, investigation confirmed that she had $75, 857 in her account with the Bank of America as at February. This indicated that she laundered some of the N111.5m poll bribery cash abroad.
“In any case, EFCC is quizzing her on why she is operating a foreign account in violation of the Code of Conduct Act”.
Another source in the commission said those who benefitted from the scandal appeared to be many.
The source gave more details on the confessions of some of the suspects.
“On his part, Effanga told interrogators that although he cashed the N241,127,000 at a branch of Fidelity Bank in Calabar, he only got $290,000 as his share.
“But from his testimony, many INEC staff and Ad hoc workers benefitted from the loot. We are probing the sources of these slush funds which were deployed in some of these states to bribe INEC staff. Certainly, we are looking into many accounts which were used by some INEC staff”.
Asked about Immaculata Asuquo, the source added: “She said she was directed by the REC in Akwa Ibom to go and identify Effanga in order to cash the N241,127,000”.
It was learnt that all the suspects had been granted bail but they could not fulfil the conditions.
The source said: “EFCC may have no choice than to approach a court for a warrant to detain them.
“I think we may go to court on Monday accordingly”.
The potential for iGaming in Nigeria uncovered
There is a growing positivity surrounding the Nigerian iGaming industry. As the nation breathes a collective sigh of relief following the announcement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), it’s hoped that many burgeoning industries such as the world of iGaming can be allowed to flourish and bring much-needed tax revenues to the country.
Many analysts within the iGaming industry believe Nigeria has the potential to become Africa’s iGaming hub. Its domestic market is already forecast to be worth $2 billion, due largely to sports betting and the fascination with Nigerian soccer stars overseas like Odion Ighalo at Manchester United. Meanwhile, the domestic penetration of smartphones is also recognised, with some 83% of the population now owning a mobile device.
Nigeria was also a major focal point during this year’s SBC Digital Summit Africa, which was understandably conducted virtually earlier this month. Ahead of the summit, experts enrolled in the event were asked to vote on which African country offered the best foundations for iGaming operators to thrive. Nigeria outperformed every other nation, with 31% of all votes labelling Nigeria as the country with the highest potential to make a real
success of its domestic iGaming sector.
Even South Africa, which has a well-established domestic iGaming market, ranked second with just 28% of the vote. Prospective Nigerian iGaming operators should certainly take a leaf out of the book of South African iGaming brands, many of which have cultivated a strong customer base through the use of incentives and sign-up bonuses. The vast majority of offers available at platforms like Casinos.co.za, direct gamers to the safest and most reputable
One of the main reasons that industry experts believe in Nigeria’s iGaming potential is that it already boasts an engaged target demographic. Many of its young adults are already betting on sports like soccer and boxing, and there is a feeling that introducing them to casino gaming verticals would not be too difficult a stretch. Marry that with a growing number of smartphone users, which is predicted to reach over 140 million people by 2025, and you can
see the potential for iGaming apps and web applications to provide immersive, secure gaming
on the go.
Presently, the country has three separate bodies responsible for licensing online betting activities – the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). At the time of writing, online betting at a domestic Nigerian site is strictly prohibited by law. Loopholes regarding offshore operators make it possible for
Nigerians to play elsewhere, but it seems somewhat short-sighted for the Nigerian government to steer clear of creating its own regulated, revenue-making iGaming industry.
In a nation of substantial population, supporters of developing a domestic iGaming industry in Nigeria believe that the most would be a positive step, creating new career opportunities for everyday people. This could be in customer support, game development or any other facet of an iGaming operator. All the while, generating tax revenues for the Nigerian government and helping to breathe new life into the domestic economy.
There is a general feeling that Nigeria’s gaming industries tend to follow the same path as South Africa’s. The SBC Digital Summit Africa revealed that there has been a “seismic shift” from sports betting markets to casino games in the last eight months, including live dealer tables, that’s according to Sean Coleman, CEO of the South Africa Bookmakers Association.
Live dealer games seemingly “appeal to millennials” across South Africa. Dean Finder, CEO of Evolution Services SA believes the fact that live dealer games are “not gender biased” is an opportunity to reach out to female players, which are an often “unserved market” across Africa.
For these trends to follow suit in Nigeria, operators will need to build further trust in their
games and regulatory measures to curry favour with the country’s legislature.
Femi Otedola Reacts To Lekki Tollgate Shooting
Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has finally reacted to the shooting that took place at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos on Tuesday.
Information Nigeria recalls men dressed in military wears opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters, who convened at the area.
Otedola took to his Instagram page on Sunday to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.
Sharing a photo of the Nigerian flag, he wrote;
“The horrors that have been unfolding in our country have left me filled with sadness. I deeply commiserate with those who have lost their loved ones and as a father, I share the sentiment of my three daughters who protested in Lagos and London. As a young boy of 16, I participated in the ‘Ali Must Go Protest’ of 1978, so I understand the determination of our youths who rightly want our country to be better. We must all do our part to make Nigeria great! I will continue to do my own quota in providing for those who are most in need of support in our country in these tough times .…F.Ote💲”
See his post below:
“Oke Wasn’t Killed By Stray Bullet, He Was Stabbed By Thugs” – Brother Claims
Information Nigeria recalls a graphics designer identified as Oke, was killed hours after tweeting “Nigeria will not kill me” on Wednesday.
It was reported that the young man had passed away after he was hit by a stray bullet.
The deceased’s younger brother, Daniel has come out to clear the air regarding the circumstances leading to his death.
Daniel revealed his brother was stabbed on the neck by thugs who infiltrated and ransacked their home.
In his words;
“Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State.
Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning the police station at makinde was attacked by thugs who wanted to destroy the station, I my mom and brother were holed up in our house.
The attack went on for hours before the thugs eventually breached the police and proceeded to set the station on fire, after accomplishing this they set their sights to the barracks and began the assault, they proceeded to destroy every car in the barracks, my mom’s 2 cars where destroyed and set on fire and then they infiltrated our house by breaking the door they then proceeded to ransack the house and carted away with everything we own.
my brother on trying to get them to take everything but spare us was pushed to my mom’s room and stabbed on the neck, the attacker then proceeded to attack me but missed my neck but got my chin instead, after this my mom and I carried my brothers body to the entrance of the station soliciting for help from the thugs still ravaging the barracks, we were finally able to put him in a wheelbarrow and took him to a hospital where he was rejected because “he was already dead” unfazed we moved him to another hospital where he met the same treatment this was where he bled his last drops of blood and died, his body has now been moved to a morgue
we have lost every single thing we own, as our house was completely ransacked and set on fire the only thing left is my brothers phone and at about 8 o’clock this evening the barracks was still on fire but Okechukwu has paid with the ultimate price
I and my mother are homeless with nothing now but we’re safe for now, we thank everyone that has been able to reach out to us, and were able to share consoling words with us in these trying times, God bless you
While we were holed up in the house the three of us said these words together and we say it again ” THREE OF US ARE HERE, THREE OF US ARE TOGETHER, THREE OF US ARE SAFE”
Let it be known that my brother @O_Okee was NOT killed by a police bullet but died a hero protecting my mother and I.
If you see this please retweet, let the world know how Okechukwu died. He was NOT killed by a police bullet but thugs in his home!”
See his post below:
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