The Newspaper headlines on Tuesday, April 18, have focused on the continued controversies surrounding the N13billion cash found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an apartment at Osbourne Towers in Ikoyi area of Lagos state ahead of other top stories.
The Punch reports that transport minister Chibuike Amaechi has written to former minister of aviation Femi Fani-Kayode and accused the former media director of the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign in 2015 of defaming his character.
According to the letter dated April 14, 2016 and written on Amaechi's behalf by his lawyer Lateef Fagbemi SAN, Fani-Kayode's claims that he owned the N13billion cash discovered in Lagos defamed his character.
Amaechi then demanded that Fani-Kayode pay him N500m as damages caused by such allegations which he made on his Twitter handle to thousands of his followers.
The letter read in part:“Our client neither owns the cash nor the house where the cash was found and your story and claim are unfounded. As a matter of fact, our client does not own any house in Lagos State not to talk of keeping cash in one and your story is preposterous.
“Your twitter rant of 14/04/2014 at 04.16 was viewed by your 316. 000 followers, re-tweeted 1,209 times and made a favourite by 434 followers as of the time of writing this letter today at 7.15pm and the list is increasing by the minute and same has satisfied all the conditions needed for a successful defamation case against you.
“We have our client’s mandate to state to you unequivocally that the said twitter publication constitutes libel, and is defamatory of him as same (the claim) is aimed at impugning our client’s character and credit in the eyes of right thinking Nigerians and foreigners.”
A similar letter was written to Lere Olayinka, an aide on new media to Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose.
However, Amaechi, through Fagbemi, demanded N750million from Olayinka after accusing him of making defamatory and untrue comments on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
On its part, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied that the N13billion was moved directly from the apex bank to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) which has claimed ownership of the huge cash, Vanguard reports.
CBN spokesman Isaac Okoroafor said there was no way this could have happened because the institution deals directly with banks and not government agencies or individuals.
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He said: “It is true the Central Bank of Nigeria issues mint-fresh notes, but it is only to banks. After that (issuance to banks), CBN does not know which of their customers they (the banks) give those notes to and for what purpose.
“I cannot say if the notes the NIA is claiming came from the CBN. So, I will not be able to answer questions on it for now, except I receive a specific request.”
Continuing the issues surrounding the seized N13billion, ThisDay reports that Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that the EFCC did not manage the situation well.
According to Saraki, the EFCC should have prepared better to prevent the unending speculations that have trailed the discovery.
The former Kwara state governor also said the EFCC owes it to Nigerians to find out and reveal to them who really owns the money it found.
Saraki said: "I believe this is something simple that the organisation (EFCC) should manage, even before the speculations started coming out. The circus has to come to an end as to whether it belongs to individuals, companies, agencies or a state government.
"We however believe they will sort it out and eventually tell Nigerians who owns the money. Nigerians deserve to know. The circus must stop."
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Meanwhile, Nigeria has lost its position as Africa's largest oil producer to Angola again after its crude oil production fell by 156,900 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.269million (bpd) in March. This is down from 1.426million recorded in February, The Guardian reports.
The latest data was provided by Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which reports that Nigeria lost altogether 4.8million barrels in March. The cost of this was put at $271.8million (N82.8billion) when calculated at the prevailing price of $55.89 per barrels for Brent crude.
This is not the first time that Nigeria is losing its position as Africa's number one oil producer to Angola.
Watch this video of transport minister Chibuike Amaechi tell Nigerians about how hard the government is working.
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