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Monthly Archives: November 2019

Woman kills husband by squeezing his manhood

Men of the Edo State Police Command have arrested a middle-aged woman identified as Eki Ekhator for allegedly killing her husband by squeezing his manhood.

The incident was said to have happened at Ukhiri community in Ikpoba-Okha local government area.

Sources said the woman had a quarrel with her late husband after accusing him of infidelity.

She was said to have always had fracas with her husband any time he returned home late.

On that fateful day, the source said the deceased slapped his wife after a fracas and the woman went for his trousers and held onto his manhood in a violent manner.

The man was said to have collapsed and later confirmed dead at the hospital.

It was learnt that men of the Homicide department in the Edo state police command are currently investigating the murder.

Sources at the police headquarters said the suspect has blamed the incident on the devil.

Police spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, could not be reached for comments.

Military releases 983 suspected Boko Haram members

The military authorities on Wednesday released 983 suspected Boko Haram members cleared of complicity with the terror group.

The head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the North–East (Operation Lafiya Dole), Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi handed the men to Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Umara at the Giwa Barrack, Maiduguri.

Presenting the men to the governor, Adeniyi said they were alleged to have links with the terror group.

The Army appealed to the Borno State Government to empower them by training them in various trades and vocations.

READ ALSO: Gunmen abduct monarch in Abuja

He told the insurgents still in the trenches that those that voluntarily surrender will be welcomed back to the society.

He, however, called on those freed to go and sin no more. He asked Boko Haram members willing to surrender to submit themselves to any army formation, police stations or any security agency office.

He said then the process of reintegrating them into the society will commence without intimidation.

In his address, Borno Governor said the state government will take the men to the rehabilitation centre to be trained in various vocations.

He noted that the government has always been taking such cases to the rehabilitation centre through Operation Safe Corridor.

Monarch abducted in Abuja

Some yet to be identified gunmen have kidnapped Alhaji Ibrahim Pada, a third class traditional ruler of Rubochi in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Rubochi, SP Michael Ada, who confirmed the incident on Wednesday, said the traditional ruler was abducted at his residence on Tuesday.

“We received information that gunmen at midnight stormed the residence of the chief of Rubochi and took him to an unknown destination,” he said.

He said on receiving the information, the command immediately formed a search-and-rescue team which is now working to rescue the traditional ruler unhurt.

He added that the command would update members of the public on developments on the issue.

Mr Madaki Dogara, a resident of the community, who also confirmed the incident, said it happened around 1.30 a.m.

He alleged that the gunmen, who wore army camouflage in their numbers and carried sophisticated weapons, shot sporadically in the air before whisking away the chief.

According to him, two children belonging to the traditional ruler were seriously injured in the ensued confusion.

IPPIS: No retreat, no surrender, says ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says there is no going back on its stand concerning its refusal to be included in Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, National President of the union, said on Wednesday in Lagos that there is nowhere in the world where such a development is obtained.

The Federal Government had recently directed that public sector workers, including universities must be captured on the payroll system to save cost and fight corruption by blocking leakages in its salary payment structure.

The move had since been resisted by university lecturers.

“ASUU has not changed its position and ASUU believes that whoever chooses to go for the IPPIS should also remember that a time will come when they will regret it.

“Our stand against it is not for selfish reasons but we expect that things must be done right at all times.

“ASUU once said that the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Nigeria will make the people poorer, increase misery, want as well as compound our economic crisis. This was disclosed about 30 years ago.

“Today, we have seen the manifestation of these crisis and, therefore, IPPIS is an aberration. It does not apply to universities because there is no university anywhere in the world where IPPIS is applied.

“Even in Ghana where they have something similar to the IPPIS, they went ahead to exclude the universities and that is why we are saying our own cannot be different,’’ he said.

According to him, the world over, people keep advocating for internalisation so as to bring in experts from around the globe to work in a system, whether on a long or short term basis and such persons are normally subjected to the rules of the civil service.

He insisted that IPPIS is designed for civil servants and not for the universities, noting that universities were meant to be governed according to their laws, which explains what is called autonomy.

The ASUU boss added that rejecting the IPPIS did not mean there was anything to hide on the part of the universities.

According to him, it is cheap blackmail for persons to come up with allegations that the stand of the union on IPPIS is as a result of fear of the unknown.

“If there is any such thing, it should be with government because for over 30 years now, we have been calling on government to conduct visitations to universities.

“We have done petitions against some of the Vice-Chancellors that government will need to look into their management of funds on our campuses but government failed to do anything; so, how can people now turn around and accuse us of hiding cases of corruption?

“It is a misnomer, it does not apply to us,’’ he said.

Ogunyemi also said there was the need for government to intensify efforts in ensuring a total blockage of sources of financial leakages through corruption in the system.

“For instance, one could see what the country is losing through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as other agencies of government.

“We all know that there are several sources through which we can recoup monies to successfully fund key sectors of the economy such as education in this country.

“It is no longer news that we still have political office holders with stupendous salaries and wages they are paying to themselves.

“A situation for instance, whereby a former governor will be demanding as much as N10 million to be paid to him by his successor as maintenance allowance leaves much to be desired.

“Such things must be condemned and rather such monies should be channeled into profitable things that will turn around the lives of the people and take the country to its desired place,’’ he said.

The unionist added that there was the need for government to prioritise, noting that it was not as if the country did not have the capacity to fund education adequately but rather did not see it as a priority.

He noted that the union had proposed some alternative sources to ensuring adequate funding of education in the country.

Ogunyemi said that one major alternative was that of the proposed stamp duty.

According to him, a lot of money is coming through stamp duty most of which the country cannot account for, adding that Nigeria could generate trillions of Naira through this source to fund education.

He said that the union before now, had also suggested to government the need to turn over most of its abandoned properties in various parts of the country like Lagos to the universities.

“We had an agreement on this with government as far back as 1992. The same goes with consultancy on our campuses.

“It may shock you to discover that government will go ahead to get people to be doing consultancy on our campuses. This is unacceptable.

“There is no area of expertise that we cannot attract experts on our campuses. It is indeed like we are obsessed with anything foreign in this country and this mentality must stop,’’ he said.

UK would be ‘outgunned’ in Russia conflict, says think-tank

British ground forces would be “comprehensively outgunned” in a conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe, according to a defence think-tank.

Research by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) found that the Army, as well as Nato allies, has a “critical shortage” of artillery and ammunition.

It concluded that it could not maintain a credible defence position.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the UK works closely with Nato and is “well equipped to take on a leading role”.

The research comes ahead of a meeting of Nato leaders in London next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

The UK, along with other Nato members, has positioned military forces in Eastern Europe to deter any potential Russian aggression in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Around 800 British troops are currently stationed in Estonia . The first were sent in 2017.

But the study by Rusi found that the UK armed forces lack critical firepower compared to Russia’s military.

It analysed military capabilities in the “unlikely” context of “a high-intensity conflict between Nato and Russia, in which the UK has promised to deliver a warfighting division”.

“At present, there is a risk that the UK – unable to credibly fight – can be dominated lower down the escalation ladder by powers threatening escalation,” the report said.

It said Britain is “comprehensively outgunned and outranged”, leaving enemy artillery free to defeat UK units.

Russian artillery and rocket batteries have already proved to be potent, destroying two Ukrainian battalions in 2014 within minutes.

UK and other Nato forces not only have a limited number of artillery pieces, but also a shortage of munitions stockpiles and transportation.

The report said the “rejuvenation and modernisation” of Britain’s ground-based artillery is an “urgent and critical priority”.

In response, the MoD said: “The UK does not stand alone but alongside its Nato Allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.”

It added: “As the largest Nato defence spender in Europe, the UK’s armed forces are well equipped to take a leading role in countering threats and ensuring the safety and security of British people at home and abroad.”

The statement comes less than three weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron described Nato as “brain dead” – stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US.

MoD figures released in August found that the size of Britain’s armed forces had fallen for a ninth consecutive year.

The finding came just six months after the Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, claimed the MoD had a funding black hole of at least £7bn in its 10-year plan to equip the UK’s armed forces.

Number of full-time trained personnel. . .
A delegation of Russian military personnel visited Scotland last year to observe one of Europe’s largest Nato exercises.

The visit was in line with the UK’s obligations to the Vienna Document which aims to promote mutual trust and transparency among states signed to it.

It came as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres claimed the Cold War was “back with a vengeance” as he warned abut the dangers of escalating tensions over Syria.

Pastors, choirs attend conference On ‘Witchcraft’ amidst protests by Christian groups

The International Conference on Witchcraft on Tuesday kicked off at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka as scheduled, despite opposition to the conference from the Christian bodies.

Our Correspondent reports that the opening prayer for the conference was conducted by a Catholic priest, while the moderator was a cleric.

Music was also provided by the UNN Christ Chapel choir.

The conference, organised by Prof. B.I.C Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies and Research, UNN, met stiff opposition and criticisms, but organisers rebuffed the calls to cancel the conference, and instead changed the initial theme: “Witchcraft, meanings, factors and practices,” to ”Dimensions of human behaviours.”

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UNN management had directed the organisers to drop the initial theme of the conference on account of outcries from various Christian bodies.

However, speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference holding at Nsukka main campus of UNN, the Director of the centre, Prof. Egodi Uchendu, regretted how ordinary academic conference was twisted to cause confusion by social media and other media platforms.

“The casualty of this confusion went beyond being asked by UNN management to change title but also the withdrawal of our keynote speaker, Prof. David Ker.

“I am delighted that social media hyper on the conference didn’t deter participants and organisers from attending the conference, which is completely academic,” she said.

Prof. Damian Opata, in his paper titled “The wealthy are no witches: Towards an Epistemology and Ideology of Witchcraft among the Igbo of Nigeria,” explained that the way witchcraft was propagated and believed by some Nigerians had continued to kill the development of knowledge on the issue.

“Some people have killed the initiative for creative indigenous thinking because of mere belief in witchcraft.

“Pastors, prophets, seers in the foreign religions and charismatic priests of variegated persuasions very frequently use perceived attacks by witches and wizards to put fear in the minds and hearts of their various congregations.”

Continuing, he said, “The truth is, for those who believe that witches and wizards exist, it exists for them; and those who believe it does not exist, it doesn’t exist.

“What we are doing today is completely an academic conference; it’s unfortunate that some people tried on social media to give it different interpretations.”

Head of Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the UNN, Prof. Peter-Jazzy Eze, who spoke on what he titled, “Which witch? What Anthropology knows of the Adult Bugbear,” explained that witchcraft did not exist but only existed in the mind of the people who believed in it.

“Science and technology have overtaken the superstitious belief of witchcraft, which has no practical proof.”

Eze said it was time Africa dropped the belief in witchcraft and embraced robust knowledge in science and technology, “the application of which is very practical and verifiable.”

“If Africans can fully embrace science and technology, in the next 50 years, there will be nothing like superstitious belief in witchcraft, ” he said.

Matawalle: Yari paid himself over N300m as severance just before leaving office

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said that he will use savings from the state’s repealed pensions law for youth empowerment and development of infrastructure in the state.

Matawalle gave the assurance on Wednesday while assenting to the repealed law in which former governors, deputy governors, speakers of the state House of Assembly were supposed to collect about a billion Naira annually as upkeep allowance from the state government.

He noted that “the repealed law which was hurriedly passed by the immediate past administration of the state did not take into account the social and economic realities of the state”.

According to him, former Governor Abdulaziz Yari paid himself over N300 million as severance just before he left office.

He promised that his administration would only pay allowances as provided by the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilization Commission.

“I was shocked when I received a letter from former Governor Yari for the payment of the money that the failure of which I learned, the former governor threatened my administration with a court case.

“I called a meeting with my deputy as well as the speaker of the House of Assembly and we all agreed that we do not have any interest in such retirement allowance,” the governor said.

“Although the immediate past administration in the state left behind pensions liabilities of local government workers, primary school teachers and state civil servants amounting to about N10 billion.

“Apart from other liabilities such as promotion benefits, workers annual increment and the rest which have put the state in a terrible financial quagmire.

“The immediate past governor Yari is requesting the state government to pay him a whooping amount of N120 million annually, made up of a monthly upkeep allowance of N10 million.

“The ex-governor who recently wrote to the state government in this regard, was also under the repealed law supposed to be collecting the exact amount he was collecting as his monthly salary while as governor which should continue for him for life as his pension.

“In addition to these, he is supposed to get two vehicles to be bought by the State Government and replaceable after every four years; Free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and outside.

“Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria and a 5-bedroom house in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the country,” he said.

The governor further noted that the law also extended similar largesse to former Deputy Governors, former Speakers of the State Assembly, and former Deputy Speakers.

“If allowed thus, it will overstretch the lean resources of the state at a time when the same people who were supposed to pay the meagre amount as pensions to retired civil servants refused to do so and handed them over as liabilities to the present administration,” Mutawalle observed.

He said his administration was trying to put the state on a sound footing through the stoppage of armed banditry and other security challenges by attracting direct local and foreign investors to the state to gainfully engage its teeming unemployed youths towards rebuilding the state to the envy of others.

The governor, who tasked the past leaders to be selfless while charting a new course for the state, stressed that his administration will continue to focus more on matters of state development and the wellbeing of its citizens

Matawalle assents law banning payment of jumbo allowances to Zamfara ex-governors, deputies, others

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, on Wednesday signed into law a bill banning the payment of jumbo allowances to former governors, their Deputies, ex-Speakers and other past political office holders in the state.

Daily Trust reports that the Zamfara State House of Assembly had yesterday outrightly repealed the law that allows jumbo payment of pension and other allowances to former governors, their deputies, Speakers and their deputies in the state.

The abolishment of the law came barely 72 hours after a letter written by a former governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, to Zamfara State Government demanding for the payment of his upkeep allowances running into millions of Naira leaked into the public.

The letter generated heated debates within and outside the state.

According to the letter, the monthly upkeep allowances for an ex-governor in the state is N10million and backed by law which was amended and assented to on the 23rd of March, 2019.

Nigerian lawmakers face-off with ECOWAS MPs over border closure

Nigerian representatives at the ECOWAS Parliament have berated Members of Parliament from its West African neighbours over unfriendly criticisms over the decision of Nigeria to close its borders.

Reacting to questions and comments from the MPs who criticized the border closure, Hon. Idris Wase who leads the Nigerian delegation said that the critics of the closure were unfair to Nigerian.

Members of Parliament from other countries had criticized Nigeria for the border closure, accusing it of violating ECOWAS Protocol, adding that Nigeria should not stop playing its big brother role.

However, according to Wase who is the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, he stressed that many of the countries that are complaining had been violation of ECOWAS protocol for many years.

“We have a protocol, the protocol is very clear: No country in the ECOWAS sub-region is allowed to export into another country what it does not produce.

“This means that by our own actions we want to be self-sufficient, we do not want to be dumping grounds, we want to encourage production.

“This is not acceptable to Nigeria and I believe that as good citizens and as MPs, we should encourage our citizens to be productive.

“The population we have should not just be a number in size, it should be number that can be helpful to the nation of Africa and to the world.

Wase who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives informed the Parliament that the border closure was mainly for security reasons not economic.

He said that the fight against insecurity had been hampered by the porous borders and the complicity of neighbouring countries from where arms were being shipped into Nigeria.

He expressed displeasure at particular comments by some MPs who criticized Nigeria over delay in payment of its community levy.

On contribution to ECOWAS, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria has contributed over $700 million to ECOWAS in the last 12 years, an amount that is more the contributions of all other countries put together except Ghana.

“Nigeria has paid its dues, we have been there for our neighbours, but sadly by the comments of some of our colleagues here these countries are not being fair to us.

“From the close of these borders, Nigeria has started seeing some changes in its security. These borders have not just been used for the purpose of importing goods.

“From the day we closed our borders, Nigeria have now started seeing peace. I want to confirm to the World that even the so called insurgency has now stopped.

“This is because the same border is where the arms are coming through, they will package rice but inside it they would put arms and bring into Nigeria.

“No country would support that. If we do that to you I don’t think you would accept it.

“Even the human trafficking that is taking place, that is the common route. If Nigeria goes into disarray, I don’t think West Africa can contain it,” he said.

Throwing more light on the matter, Hon. Ibrahim Sadiq concurred that many neighbouring countries had been violating ECOWAS [protocol

He corroborated that since the closure of the borders that the level of dangerous incursion by Boko Haram has dropped drastically.

De described as unfair the situation where some countries take advantage of Nigeria and pepetrate actions that sabotage the economy of Nigeria.

“Republic of Benin has 11 million population, but you cannot believe it, Benin Republic is the 5th largest importer of rice in the World. Where is that rice going to.

“In other words, that rice is coming to Africa’s largest market which is Nigeria.

“If the purpose of our coming together is to encourage local production to feed our local markets and compete favourably, then what is happening now is against that protocol.

“This issue is clear, we do not need to be sentimental about it,” he said.

He stressed that Nigeria was not the only country that has closed its border over security issues, saying that Rwanda and Kenya had closed their borders in the past over security.

He stressed that the borders had not been shut but were only closed to certain items, stressing that if neighbouring nations do not assist Nigeria then the drill will be intensified.

NAN reports that the issue of border closure has dominated deliberation at the Parliament from the opening Day with Parliament Speaker Moustapha Cisse Lo calling for the borders to be reopened.

 

Driving with phone google map an offense – FRSC warns

The FCT Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Ayuba Gora says driving with the aid of Google map using mobile phones is a serious traffic offence.

Gora said this at the inauguration of the 2019 Ember Months Campaign by Lugbe Unit Command of the FRSC in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to him, the law forbids motorists from using mobile phones in any form while driving, as it can lead to accident.

He also informed motorists that the corps would soon begin massive enforcement of installation of speed limiting devices.

Gora advised motorists, especially commercial vehicle operators, who have yet to install the device to do so to avoid the wrath of the corps.

“We will embark on massive checks of vehicles without this device soon and arrest those that disconnected the devices from their vehicles.

“It is very important that all vehicles should have the device installed in their vehicles.

“The required speed limit for commercial vehicles even on the highways should not exceed 90 km/hr for buses and taxis.

“By doing this today, we are simply reminding motorists that they must drive with care and observe traffic rules and regulations in order to make the job very easy for all of us.

“If you are arrested this period, you will not just pay fines but must be taken for emotional evaluation test in the hospital to ascertain your mental fitness before we let go,” he said.

He urged the public to dial 122 or 112 in case they noticed unusual behaviour by road users and in the event of an accident.

Gora debunked speculations that the device damages car engine, saying it had nothing to do with engine, but only cut fuel supply during attempted speeding.

“Once the vehicle reaches a predetermined top speed, the computer steps in and restricts the flow of air and fuel to the engine and even the Sparks that cause combustion.

“Either way, the vehicle will be unable to exceed the top speed as determined by the car’s manufacturer.

“The problem we have with the operators of these vehicles is that, when a speed limiting device has been installed, they temper with it. In the process of tempering by disconnecting, it leads to problem,” he added.

The Lugbe Unit Commander, Mr Martins Ohiani said it was necessary for all road users to obey traffic rules and regulations and avoid overloading their vehicles with goods.

“Ember months usually represent the peak of human and vehicular movement which in turn attracts high rate of road crashes in the country.

“There is need for us to avoid speeding and use of illegal motor parks for safety sake.

“For long journey drivers, you need to observe 15 minutes rest after four hours of drive to avoid fatigue and ensure that passengers manifest is duly filled,” he said.

He, however, appealed to members of the public to always respect road safety officials while performing their duties as cases of assault had been noticed and won’t be tolerated henceforth.

Mr Abdulłahi Diwa, Divisional Traffic officer, Nigerian Police Force, Lugbe Division called for synergy between the law enforcement agencies to achieve greater result collectively.

“No organisation can achieve meaningful achievement. I pray with this, we will see the need to collaborate together by supporting each other where necessary to ensure that our roads are safe and our environment crimes free.”

Mr Yakubu Abdullahi of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services, Lugbe Command appealed to FRSC to make such campaigns quarterly and not just during ember months going by the increase of road crashes in the country.

On his part, Dele Agboola, the Chairman, NURTW, Lugbe branch, pledged on behalf of members to be of good conduct, especially this period, adding that a lot of campaigns were ongoing to sensitise the drivers on the need to be careful while driving.

 

Board suspends Kirikiri prison boss, eight others over $1m scam

The Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board has approved the suspension of three officers and six other men of the Nigerian Correctional Service implicated in the $1 million internet fraud allegedly perpetrated by Olusegun Aroke, an inmate serving a 24-year term in Kirikiri Maximum Security Custodial Centre in Lagos.

Those arrested include the Deputy Controller in charge of the facility, Emmanuel Oluwaniyi, and DC Hemeson Edwin.

Aroke, who was serving a 24-year jail term was given a referral to be treated outside the facility during which he pulled a $1 million scam.

An investigation panel constituted by the Controller-General of the Service, Jaáfaru Ahmed, was said to have indicted the officers of complicity in the scandal.

According to a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by the NCS spokesman, Controller of Corrections, Francis Enobore, the CG, while handing down the suspension order noted that “the task of correcting maladjusted persons in the society requires a measure of moral rectitude to make a positive impact on offenders in custody.”

He restated the “irreversible commitment” of his administration to ensure that those without adequate strength of character and integrity are not allowed to “taint the sanctity of the Nigerian Correctional Service.”

The statement read, “The Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board has approved the suspension of three officers and six other ranks of the Nigerian Correctional Service implicated in the alleged internet fraud suspected to have been perpetrated by Hope Olusegun Aroke, an inmate serving a term of imprisonment in Kirikiri Maximum Security Custodial Centre, Lagos.

“This is based on the preliminary report of the investigation panel earlier constituted by the Controller-General of the Service, Jaáfaru Ahmed which indicted the officers of complexity in the scandal.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on Monday arrested Oluwaniyi and Edwin, for allegedly procuring exaggerated medical report for Aroke.

The agency said it’s preliminary investigation revealed that the convict, against established standard practice, had access to the internet and mobile phone in the Correctional Centre.

Aroke was one of two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC in 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos and convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on two counts of obtaining money by false pretence, cheque cloning, wire transfer, and forgery.

Three Chinese miners abducted in Osun released

Three Chinese miners abducted in Ijoka village near Itagunmodi, Osun State, on Monday have been released.

The three men regained freedom on Wednesday.

Although details of how they were freed was not available as of the time of filing this report, the Osun State Police Commissioner, Abiodun Ige, however, confirmed their release in a chat with our correspondent.

Details later…

US indictment: Allen Onyema disowns suit filed at Abuja court

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has distanced himself from a human rights suit that was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Onyema’s lawyers, A.O Alegeh & Co, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that the suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/1446/2019 filed before a federal high court in Abuja by one Mr Johnmary Jideobi was instituted without the consent of their client.

Part of the statement read, “The attention of our client, Allen Onyema has been drawn to news reports now trending in the social media suggesting that an Abuja based Legal Practitioner, Mr. Johnmary C. Jideobi, has instituted an action in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1446/2019 – Johnmary C. Jideobi v. Federal Government of Nigeria & Ors at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, purportedly seeking the enforcement of our client’s fundamental human rights.

“We hereby state on behalf of our client, that at no time did he instruct the said Mr. Johnmary C. Jideobi to institute any action on his behalf in respect of the subject matter of the Indictment now pending against him in the United States of America. Our Client has no knowledge of the said action and did not consent to the filing of same. As a matter of fact, Our Client does not know the said Mr. Johnmary C. Jideobi.”

Onyema has been indicted by the US on allegations of money laundering and bank fraud.

EFCC says charges against Diezani not dropped

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has not withdrawn the criminal charges it filed against Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources.

The commission filed a 14-count charge of money laundering against Alison-Madueke, Dauda Lawal, a former executive director of First Bank; Ben Otti, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Stanley Lawson and Lanre Adesanya, in 2018.

They were accused of diverting $153 million public funds in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Attempts to arraign the accused have been stalled several times.

Reacting to reports that the charges against the suspects have been withdrawn, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, said it is not true.

He said the suspects, including Alison-Madueke, were charged separately because some of them are frustrating the trial.

“At no time did the commission withdraw the charge, which is still before Justice Muslim Hassan of the federal high court, Lagos,” Uwujaren said.

“The only development was that the commission took a prosecutorial decision to split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of the defendants following a spate of adjournments that prevented the arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.”

“The charges were first filed on November 28, 2018. Since then, every attempt to arraign the defendants had been frustrated by one excuse or the other. In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either that Lanre Adesanya was sick and bedridden in a London hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or Stanley Lawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.

“It was clear that these recurring excuses were ploys to frustrate the arraignment. To get around this, the Commission took a deliberate decision, which was disclosed in open court, to separately prosecute the defendants in different courts. This explains why the four count amended charge brought against Dauda and Lawal did not include other defendants, except the two who are at large( Diezani Alison-Madueke and Ben Otti). And the ingredients of the offence stated therein only pertains to Lawal’s involvement in the alleged crime, which is the receipt of $25million from the $153million 2015 Peoples Democratic Party presidential election slush fund.

“The non-inclusion of other defendants in the original charge in the amended four count charge does not mean that have been exonerated by the Commission of any criminal allegation.”

Police ‘shoot schoolgirl’, arrest two journalists at IMN protest in Abuja

A secondary school student was shot on Wednesday when policemen who were dispersing protesting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN ) opened fire at Wuse market in Abuja.

The girl was returning from Government Secondary School, Wuse, when she ran into the policemen dispersing the crowd.

A witness said a policeman identified as Geoffrey A. Rafah was the one who mistakenly shot the victim but TheCable could not independently verify this claim.

Two journalists, who were covering the incident, were arrested. One of the arrested reporters is Afolabi Sotunde of Reuters.

Anjuri Manzah, spokesman of the federal capital territory (FCT) police command, was not available for comments as of the time this report was filed.

In July, the federal government outlawed IMN following a clash between IMN members and security operatives.

Precious Owolabi, a journalist, and Usman Umar, a deputy commissioner of police, were among those killed during the protest which held in Abuja.

IMN members have been protesting over the detention of Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, their leader, who has been in detention since 2015.

Border closure contributing to rising inflation, says finance minister

Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, says the closure of the country’s land borders is contributing to rising inflation.

Last week, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released figures that showed that the consumer price index, which measures inflation, rose to 11.61% in October, an increase of 0.36 percentage points compared to 11.24% recorded in September.

That was the exact inflation rate recorded in May 2018 when the country was recovering from the recession and high inflation rate.

At the end of the federal executive council meeting on Wednesday, Ahmed told state house correspondents that inflation rose due to hikes in food prices arising from border closure.

“On inflation, headline inflation declined every month for several months before we noticed an optic in the last two months. And now headline inflation is at about 11:61 percent as at the end of October. The slight increase in this inflation between September and October is due to food inflation,” she said.

“The food inflation we are ascribing to prices of cereals, rice and fish. And part of the reason is the border closure but the border closure is very very short and temporary and the increase is just about two basis point. Remember there was a time inflation was nine percent and it grew to about 18 percent in January 2017 when we were in recession.

“The relationship between inflation, interest rates and growth is managed by the monetary authorities and is a management that is tracked on a regular basis.

“So if you reduce interest rate you expect more borrowing for investments in the real sector. But at the same time that also has the tendency of reducing money that is used for consumption on a day to day basis.

So it’s a balance that we continue to watch on a regular basis, we expect that this will be moderated as border closure impact fizzles out and also as the monetary authorities continue to support the MPR rate therefore ensuring that interest rates are not on the high side.”

Ahmed added that closure of the border is temporary, highlighting the benefits of closing the borders.

“I need to remind us that the border closure is temporary. We have really advanced in our discussions between ourselves and our neigbours. We expect that the outcomes of those discussions and agreements is that each party will respect the protocols that we all committed to and then the borders will be open again,” she said.

“What we are doing is important for our economy. We signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement, we have to make sure that we put in place checks to make sure that our economy will not be overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the ACFTA. That is why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we all committed to.”

Senate introduces bill to establish Electoral Offences Commission

The Senate has finally introduced a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission in the country.

The long awaited bill, titled, “Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill”, 2019 passed second reading at Wednesday’s plenary session.

Abubakar Kyari, senator representing Borno north, sponsored the bill.

It was introduced a day after the senators lamented the violence and irregularities that have continued to mar Nigeria’s elections.

For instance, the just concluded elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states witnessed widespread violence and intimidation of voters and electoral officials.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as is currently constituted is not empowered to prosecute electoral offenders.

Even the electoral commission has at various times expressed frustration at its inability to handle such cases.

If passed into law, the legislation will help unbundle the commission as well as help in speedy prosecution of electoral offences.

British Airways flight heading to Abuja loses engine mid-air

British Airways flight heading to Abuja from London on Tuesday returned to Heathrow Airport after the plane lost one of its engines mid-air.

The airline confirmed that BA 083 flight returned to Heathrow and was met by the emergency services as a precaution measure after what it called “a minor technical issue.”

In a mail sent to media outlets, the airline said, “For your information, the aircraft experienced a minor technical issue and our pilots elected to return to Heathrow. In terms of the emergency services meeting the aircraft, this is standard practice.

“Our aircraft returned to Heathrow and was met by the emergency services as a precaution after experiencing a minor technical issue. Our teams looked after our customers last night, providing them with overnight accommodation. We’re sorry to our customers for the delay to their travel plans.”

 

Abubakar Tsav’s verdict: Our politicians don’t believe in God

Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, says most politicians in Nigeria do not believe in God.

This was contained in a statement he personally signed in Makurdi on Tuesday.

“Our politicians do not believe in God and the nothingness of this world. They don’t even think of death.

“Our democracy is turning into something else. We seem not to know what democracy even means. Many see it as a means to acquire wealth albeit by fraudulent and dishonest means,” Tsav said.

He said unless the courts expedite trial of accused corrupt public officials and possibly convict them to serve as deterrents to others, many would continue to indulge in corrupt practice.
Tsav said public condemnation without commiserate punishment by the law would not deter corrupt officials in the country.

“The fight against corruption has no impact on our people and that is why politicians are still fighting and killing themselves for elective offices.

“If the courts expedite trial of accused persons facing corruption charges in various courts, perhaps their conviction will serve as deterrent to others.
“This will slow down the urge and madness for corruption,” he said.

Tsav further said developments at the just concluded Kogi governorship election showed that it was time for full amendment of the electoral laws to accommodate stiffer punishment for electoral offenders.

He also condemned the killing of the state’s PDP Women Leader after the election, describing it as the most horrible thing he has heard of in recent times.

“I am happy that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for a thorough investigation on this dastardly act with a view to bringing all those involved, no matter their status to justice.

“Buhari should go beyond that. The electoral laws should be amended for true democracy to take root.

“My sad experience during my days in the Nigeria Police Force, was that, where government was interested in a case; such case does not see the light of the day. Let that not happen in this case o!”.

EFCC withdraws charges against Diezani co-accused

 

With increasing speculation on the tenure of office of the Acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, the commission has recently been sending out mixed signals on its treatment of several persons accused of financial crimes under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.

While there have always been concerns about the selective prosecution of accused persons by the EFCC, some recent actions by the EFCC have buttressed this perception, fueling the belief that the Commission may be acting a script aimed at persecuting some persons who are believed not to be in the good books of the Government, while letting others off the hook.

A case in point is the recent Interpol arrest warrant executed against the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, in Dubai, which is believed to have been based on a request from the EFCC, even though the Judge who issued the initial warrant, Justice D. Senchi had quashed the warrant since on 25th October, 2019.

Surprisingly, while the EFCC has gone ahead to seek Mr. Adoke’s extradition based on the quashed warrant, it has continued to develop cold feet with respect to Diezani’s extradition to Nigeria to face trial.

Prior to the arrest of Mr. Adoke in Dubai on 11th November, 2019, the EFCC had in a surprising twist withdrawn all charges against three accused persons Nnamdi Okonkwo, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Lanre Adesanya, former Executive Director, Sterling Bank and Stanley Lawson, former Group Executive Director, NNPC, regarding the alleged transfer of US$153 million.

While the charges allege, that the transfer was done on behalf of Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke, they do not show any nexus between the accused persons and in particular, Mr. Dauda Lawal and Diezani.

Although, this is the only case in which Diezani has been directly mentioned, the EFCC is yet to formally arraign any of the accused persons, since it first filed the charges in November, 2018. Yet at the last sitting of the Court on 5th November, 2019, the Commission surprisingly withdrew charges against the principal accused persons and only charged the former Executive Director, First Bank, Mr. Dauda Lawal with sundry charges of money laundering in an amended charge sighted by our correspondent.

Mr. Lawal’s case in particular, is quite intriguing, as he is not accused of been a beneficiary of any the funds allegedly transferred on behalf of Diezani, rather he is accused of having facilitated the transfer of the funds in the course of normal banking operations.

Mr. Lawal was the Executive Director, Public Sector at First Bank, in which role he was responsible for dealing with government agencies and officials and it is believed that his close relations with top officials in the Goodluck Jonathan administration is the reason for his current travails with the EFCC.

Mr. Lawal was first arrested by EFCC in May, 2016, where he spent weeks with the EFCC and was subsequently released without any charges. After resigning from First Bank, he joined politics and declared his intention to run for Governor in Zamfara State, it was only after his declaration to run for office that the EFCC revived the case of 2016 and again arrested him in 2018, where he was detained for another two weeks without any Court order.

Since commencing its investigation into the alleged transfer of US$153 million, the Commission is yet to arraign the accused persons and take a plea from them.

This latest action of the EFCC in withdrawing charges against Nnamdi Okonkwo, Lanre Adesanya and Stanley Lawson, but retaining only Mr. Dauda Lawal, has again brought to the fore the inconsistent approach of the EFCC to some of its cases.

In some instances, such as that of Mr. Adoke and Mr. Lawal, the EFCC is seen to be bullish in its approach, while it treats other cases with kid gloves, which opens the Commission to charges of bias, political persecution and trial by media.

In particular some legal experts have posited that the EFCC has no actual intention of trying Mr. Lawal, before the Courts, but is rather using the charges to harass him and deter him from pursuing his claims against EFCC to recover some funds that were wrongly seized from him.

One issue that is confusing is the withdrawal of charges against accused persons who are physically available for trial in Nigeria and substituting them with persons such as Ben Otti and Diezani Allison Madueke who are both stated on the charges to be at large and are therefore not available for trial.

It is even more curious that Nnamdi Okonkwo, Lanre Adesanya and Stanley Lawson and Dauda Lawal were charged with the same offences, yet the others were discharged from the case, while fresh charges were filed against Dauda Lawal.

The EFCC is a body funded by taxpayers and the burden of transparency and responsibility is on the Commission to prove that they have not truly become an agent of witch-hunt and for settling personal scores.

It is therefore widely believed that this recent act of the EFCC in Diezani’s case and others will only fuel the belief that the EFCC may be subject to political and extraneous influence in its choice of persons to prosecute for alleged financial crimes, while letting others with even worse allegations off the hook.

Political watchers are of the view that Mr. Magu is acting out a script towards achieving a particular end and that time will reveal all.