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In the past 12 months, PREMIUM TIMES published numerous well-researched investigations, exclusives and special reports that delved into various aspects of our national life.

From reports that unveiled human-angle issues, individual and institutional graft, untold stories and research-backed features, PREMIUM TIMES, widely known for its hard-hitting pieces, unveiled reportorial masterpieces that attracted both local and foreign attention and initiated changes in many cases.

As the year rolls out, we bring you some of these reports and urge you to take time to flip through them again, for those who read them. Or if you never had time to read up during the year, we republish links to some of them for your reading pleasure.

1. No fewer than 815 contractors were recently shortlisted by the Border Communities Development Agency (BDCA) for hundreds of constituency projects despite failing to meet federal contracting requirements, an ongoing investigation by PREMIUM TIMES has revealed.

It is the second time in less than a month that the agency has been exposed for procurement irregularity…

2. An elite crime-busting police squad has come under fire from human rights organisations for its treatment of the family, and takeover of multi-billion naira properties of a suspected kidnapper who was killed by the police a year ago.

The Intelligence Response Team is now scrambling to extricate itself after being accused in separate petitions by the Nigeria Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International of gross human rights abuses and illegal expropriation of suspected proceeds of crime…

3. The leadership of the Nigerian Army in 2015, led by Kenneth Minimah, a lieutenant general, activated a last-minute plan to truncate that year’s presidential election to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from being declared winner, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.

But the plot failed after four senior officers charged with executing it deliberately failed to deliver on the tasks.

A two-year investigation by this newspaper revealed that after the results of 35 states and Abuja were released by INEC on March 31, 2015, indicating that then-President Goodluck Jonathan was losing the election, the top hierarchy of the army made a desperate push to halt the release of the pending Borno State result…

4. In the last fifteen years, the Nigerian government has spent at least $107.4 billion (the equivalent of N15.46 trillion) from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) under the administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

A Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) report revealed that Nigeria earned $109.37 billion, approximately N15.274 trillion, as excess crude money between 2004 and 2018. According to the report, the fund reached its peak with a real inflow of $18.16 billion in 2008…

5. The management of Lagos State University (LASU) diverted N198 million it illegally withdrew from the contributory pension of the institution’s employees to purchase 12 luxury vehicles for members of its top echelon, a PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed.

The management also used an additional N83.37 million from the same fund to buy four buses, documents obtained by this newspaper revealed.

6. Nigeria’s 36 states and the federal capital territory, Abuja, have pocketed or diverted over N15 trillion federal allocation meant for local governments areas in the last 12 years, depriving the nation’s third tier of government funds for desperately needed developmental projects, data analysed by Dataphyte has shown.

Although that amount was allocated to the 774 local government areas in the country, there is no public information on what portion each local government received…

7. In what seems like a parody of the clean-up of the heavily polluted Ogoni land, a PREMIUM TIMES investigation has revealed that almost all of the 16 companies awarded contracts for the first phase of the exercise by the Buhari administration have no experience whatsoever in the remediation of oil spills.

Our investigation showed that the bulk of the successful companies were set up for businesses such as poultry farming, cars sales, textile dealership and fashion, palm-oil production, building design, and construction…

8. The 17-year-old student of the University of Ilorin said she had asked her lecturer for help on two occasions.

The first time, she requested assistance with signing her course form after she became frustrated with the official responsible for authenticating the document. Later, she spoke to him about her inability to pay for a matriculation gown at a crowded campus bank.

The Arts Education teacher, introduced by a graduate friend to help keep an eye on her academic progress, never asked for a romantic relationship nor propositioned her, the 200 level student said.

Then, one day in February this year, the man locked his office while she was still inside, pushed her to a table and raped her…

9. For nearly two years, Chris Chom and 61 other inmates shared a filthy cell in the Kaduna State Central Prisons.

According to the 34-year-old, the cell had only three beds, so the inmates slept in a pile on the bare floor at night and yearned for the day they would see the priceless light of freedom.

Mr Chom spoke with undercover reporters from PREMIUM TIMES who visited the prison last December. He said what was worse for him than his prison experience was the fact that the authorities could not explain why they were keeping him…

10. The congested area of the Out-Patient Department (OPD) of the Orile-Agege General Hospital in Lagos smelt of drugs, sweat and body odour. At the concrete pavement leading into the hall, a middle-aged woman sat on the floor, head bent to the ground.

Sitting opposite her was a man in African fabric, popularly called Ankara, with anger and frustration written on his face.
Beside him, a frail-looking old man lied on the bench in anticipation of being called upon for medical attention. Adjacent the old man sat two young men, complaining endlessly about the frustration and delays experienced in the congested OPD…

11 “You want to enter? Come, let’s go in,” the badgering voice of Abubakar Sadiq urged this reporter. “Just follow us, you don’t need to be afraid. Come and see how we get this thing from under the ground,” he added, now motioning the newcomer to the opening of the cave.

To an onlooker, the agitated Mr Sadiq is a miner who will dare all odds to enter the cave. But that was not the case in his first visit to the Tsani mine located in Kankara, Katsina State.

Mr Sadiq narrated how life began for him as a miner…

12. As a top army officer holding command position, he abused public trust and was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Realising that he had been boxed into a tight corner, with clear evidence of guilt laid bare before him, the officer sang like a canary as he confessed his thievery of public fund.

Sullen and distraught, he begged authorities, offering to forfeit more than two-thirds of his loot hidden in a secret bank account offshore, those familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES.

He did not want to be prosecuted or publicly humiliated over the matter. His traducers empathised with him, accepted his offer, secretly reprimanded him and allowed him the freedom to enjoy the remainder of his loot in peace…

13. “I’ve spent all in this case. I lost the pregnancy I was carrying at that time. My husband lost his job, and he is now serving someone in Anambra to make a living. Just on this case…,” Chinwendu Obilor told this reporter, with tears welling up in her eyes.

Her pains are apparent as much as her frustration. The 39-year-old said she ‘lost it all’ in the process of seeking justice and the recovery of her missing child.

The painful experience started in January 2015, when her last child, Chisimdiri, was abducted from their residence, No.10 Ibo road, Aba in Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State, by a stranger…

14. Oilfields across the resource-abundant Niger Delta spew flames day and night, fired by gas associated with oil production. Daily, Nigeria flares some 700 million standard cubic feet of such gas at over 170 sites.

Nigeria’s proven reserve of natural gas stands at 202 trillion cubic feet (tcf). This includes non-associated gas — that is natural gas that exists independent of oil. The country is estimated to have about 600 trillion tcf in unproven gas reserves, making Nigeria among the top 10 gas producers in the world…

15. Investigative journalist FISAYO SOYOMBO, in this piece spent two weeks in detention — five days in a Police cell and eight as an inmate in Ikoyi Prison — to track corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system, beginning from the moment of arrest by the Police to the point of release from prison…

16. In the second report of a three-part undercover investigative series, FISAYO SOYOMBO exposes how the courts short-change the law, and the prisons are themselves a cesspool of the exact reasons for which they hold inmates…

17. In the third and final part of a three-part undercover investigative series, FISAYO SOYOMBO documents the soft side of his time in a police cell and prison, and how prison, police and court officials conspired to abduct him after his cover was blown….

18. On the night of June 25, Ibikunle Amosun, a serving senator and former governor of Ogun State, issued a lengthy rebuttal to a PREMIUM TIMES story that exposed his curious surrendering of a massive cache of arms and ammunition to the police in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

It was a day after our publication detailed how he hurriedly handed over 1,000 AK-47 rifles, four million bullets, 1,000 bulletproof vests and an armoured personnel carrier to the state’s police commissioner on May 28 — a day before he was due to vacate office after an eight-year tenure…

19. Till date, 20 years after the controversial demise of one of Nigeria’s last military leaders, Sani Abacha, one sore thumb still aching local and international financial crime investigators is the full extent of his legacy of corruption.

In the years since 2002 when the first insight into the depth of corruption during his administration was revealed, Nigerians came to know through out-of-court settlement the Abachas struck with the Nigerian and Swiss governments that the family will return $1.2 billion siphoned out of Nigeria by the late general through a huge criminal network and enterprise. Still, that offered no adequate tally of the famous loot.

20. When the Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Ibrahim Barau, was presenting the just passed 2020 budget, he justified the increase in the budget by saying the top-up would offset the infrastructural deficit in the country.

The president’s initial proposal was ₦10.33 trillion. However, when the National Assembly passed the bill, certain new projects inserted into the budget moved it up to ₦10.594 trillion (₦10,594,362,364,830).

The budget the president signed was loaded with items federal law enforcement agents have typically characterised as frivolous and fraudulent, a common practice they say is common to budget-making schemes in the National Assembly.

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