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Togolese cook gets life imprisonment for killing Credit Switch chairman

Sunday Anani, the Togolese cook, who was arrested over the murder of Ope Bademosi, chairman of Credit Switch Technology, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sentence was delivered by an Igbosere high court in Lagos on Tuesday.

Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, the judge, convicted Anani after he pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of voluntary manslaughter.

The suspect was arraigned on a two-count charge of murder and armed robbery but he struck a plea bargain deal with the Lagos state government during the trial.

He had confessed to the court that he stabbed Bademosi to death while trying to rob him at his Ikoyi residence in October 2018.

At the resumed trial, Aderenra Adeyemi, the defense counsel, prayed the court to be lenient with judgement, saying the defendant is remorseful for what he did.

“The defendant is a young man and he is remorseful about what he has done,” Adeyemi said.

“He is a first time offender, there is no evidence that he committed any crime before this. Our humble application is to urge your lordship to grant a sentence of years certain. However, if my lordship is mindful of upholding what we have agreed in the plea bargain, we will accept the sentence therein.”

Titilayo Shitta-Bey, the state director of public prosecutions (DPP), however, opposed the request, noting that they were some “aggravating circumstances” surrounding the case.

“We urge this court to grant the maximum sentence for the offence of voluntary manslaughter act as charged,” she said.

“Judicial notice must be taken of the fact that this act of violence by domestic employees against their employers is becoming rampant.

“The sentence must reflect that this conduct is unacceptable to our society; we must send the message to others of like minds like the defendant.”

Delivering judgement, the judge said it was painful that Anani caused an endless pain to the family of the deceased.

“It is annoying that a young man like this would involve himself in this kind of crime,” said Okikiolu-Ighile.

“It is very painful that a young boy whom the family of Bademosi welcomed in their home as a cook ended up causing so much havoc and endless pain.

“It is even more painful that the defendant had no motive of working but came into the house with a criminal intention to steal to kill and to destroy.

“Sunday Adefonou Anani, defendant of this court, is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment. The term of imprisonment shall commence from today June 25, 2019.”

Benue has no land for grazing reserves, grazing routes, cattle colonies – Ortom

It has become necessary to make the position of the government and people of Benue State abundantly clear on the Ruga settlements for herdsmen being implemented by the Federal Government across the states including Benue.

A few weeks ago, the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture with his team in Benue State informed officials of the State Ministry of Agriculture that he had received directives from the Ministry’s headquarters Abuja to establish Ruga which means ‘Fulani settlement’ in parts of the State.

The Director stated that the local government areas selected for the Ruga settlements were Otukpo, Tarka and Ukum.

The Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Agriculture drew the attention of the Director and his team to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 being implemented in the state. When they were also reminded about the Land Use Act which confers on the Governor the powers to administer lands in all parts of the State, officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture left with a promise to relay the message to their headquarters. They surprisingly returned a few days later with contractors to commence work on the Ruga settlements.

We find the approach of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture not only as a gross violation of the Ranching Law but also as an insult to the sensibilities of the entire people of Benue State.

It could be recalled that the people and government of Benue State rejected cattle colonies and still reject the policy in whichever robes it is disguised.

Governor Samuel Ortom made the stand of Benue State known during the unveiling of the Livestock Development Programme in Abuja last year. He stressed that the State would embrace the policy only if it supports implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.

The Governor also insisted that Benue State has no land for open grazing of cattle and he restated ranching as a lasting solution to the incessant herders and farmers crisis which the country ought to embrace.

Governor Ortom made similar presentations at different fora to buttress why open grazing of livestock is not feasible in a densely populated country with over 200 million people.

During the National Council on Agriculture summit which took place in Owerri, Imo State in April this year, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture attempted to impose Ruga settlement patterns on the states but the Benue State delegation seized the opportunity to remind the summit that Benue State has a law on ranching which has phased out open grazing. No one at the summit put forth an alternative method of animal husbandry to counter the state’s presentation.

It could also be recalled that the National Economic Council, NEC, had also unanimously adopted ranching as the best method of livestock breeding for the country. It is therefore shocking to see the Federal Government turning round to establish Fulani herdsmen settlements in some states including Benue, contrary to the position of NEC.

We wish to remind those pushing for Ruga settlements that the Constitution of the country gives states the right to make laws for the governance of their people. Any attempt to subvert such right is a direct attack on the Constitution. Those behind such a move are enemies of peace and progress.

The Government of Benue State is willing to support cattle owners to establish ranches as stipulated by the law prohibiting open grazing.

We, however, wish to reiterate that Benue State has no land for grazing reserves, grazing routes, cattle colonies or ruga settlements. The State only has land for the establishment of ranches.

Terver Akase
Chief Press Secretary
June 25, 2019.

I paid workers’ May salary with N7bn bank loans, days Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Monday said that he requested for a bank loan from a bank in order to pay workers in the state for the month of May.

This was just as he promised not to probe the administration of the immediate past Governor, of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Abiodun said that rather than focusing on the atrocities committed by the immediate past administration, he would focus on how his vision of good governance to move the state forward.

He spoke at the presidential lodge in Abeokuta while hold a meeting with the party leaders and stakeholders of the All Progressive Congress and other parties in the state.

According to him, his administration inherited little or no nothing from the Amosun’s government.

The Governor said ”We realized that it was 31st. And I intended to keep my end of the tripartite agreement. So, I called the Head of Service. I told him that we must pay salary. But he said to me, “You’re new in government and everybody understand that you just assumed office and we don’t have that expectation of you paying salary now. They (workers) will understand. There is very little or no money. We can talk to them.”

He noted, “But I told the HoS, “Either they are expectant or not, it is my promise to the people that salaries will be paid as at when due. So, I picked my phone and called my friends who are MDs at different banks. I told them I need to pay salaries and this is the little I have; almost nothing in the state account. I requested for a credit facility to allow me to pay over N7billion, which is the state wage bill. That day, my intention was that maybe one or two will oblige me, but the five banks that I called obliged.”

“I cannot begin to describe in the open to you the Ogun State that we inherited. I cannot begin to describe it to you. And I will not because I have made up my mind that publicly and privately, I will not discuss anything about the past administration. We have by far, too many things to do than to begin to go bogged down by what someone did or what he did not do. Or what he left behind.”

“We have resolved to draw the line and to move forward from there. We need to be focused. We are going to rebrand and relaunch the security trust fund.” he added.

EMERGING STORY: Amosun surrendered 1,000 AK 47 rifles, four million bullets acquired before 2019 elections

 

A few hours to the end of his reign as Ogun State helsman, embattled Governor Ibikunle Amosun contacted the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confessing that he had thousands of firearms and millions of rounds of ammunition in store at a secret armoury in Government House.

Fearing serious consequences after he lost control of the governship seat albeit by proxy,  Amosun decided to hand the largely illegal items over to the police, according to a report by online newspaper,  Premium Times now gaining traction on social media.

Thenewsmatrics is also tracking the story.

The report indicates that after Amosun’s anointed candidate for the March 9 governorship election, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), had been roundly defeated by Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress,  the governor now became desperate to clear the Government House of any incriminating material as Mr (Dapo) Abiodun moved in to take charge.

Shortly after he was contacted, Commissioner Makama raced to Government House with some of his subordinates. On arrival, truckloads of arms and ammunition were brought out of a nondescript amoury inside the Ogun State Government House.

And then begun a short hand-over proceeding during which the governor surrendered at least four million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 units of AK47 assault rifles, 1,000 units of bulletproof vests and an armoured personnel carrier (APC).

At the event, Amosun said he procured the arms and ammunition to check the widespread insecurity in his state of 3,751,140 residents, according to the 2006 census. He said he decided to keep them at the Government House Armoury to ensure they were not allocated indiscriminately by security agencies.

The speech making over, the arms and ammunition were driven to the police command headquarters in the Elewe-Eran area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Four weeks after the event, top Nigerian security operatives remained alarmed that a civilian governor would create an armoury and store thousands of arms there. The agents are also wondering why Mr Amosun has not been arrested and prosecuted for violating sections of the Nigeria Firearms Act.

The law forbids individuals and civilian institutions from illegally operating armouries or possessing prohibited firearms, including artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosive or gas diffusing projectile, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades, machine-guns and machine-pistols, military rifles (namely those of calibres 7.62 mm, 9 mm, .300 inches and .303 inches), revolvers and pistols whether rifled or unrifled (including flint-lock pistols and cap pistols).

It remains unclear how Amosun obtained the weapons. Authorities are wondering how he imported the weapons, and how he transported them to Government House and stored them for prolonged periods without being detected.

Some security experts say they are suspicious he might have acquired far more weapons than he gave up to the police and that some of them might be in wrong hands already.

The former governor, now senator, declined to give his own side of the story. He did not answer or return telephone calls made to him over five days. He also did not respond to text and WhatsApp messages sent to him.

When contacted, his media adviser, Rotimi Durojaiye, requested this reporter to email him the questions meant for Amosun. Five days later, Mr Durojaiye is yet to respond with answers.

Authorities at Nigeria’s key security agencies suggested that Amosun may have procured the arms and ammunition without securing End-User certificates from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). End-User certificates are absolutely required to import controlled products into Nigeria.

A guideline by the NSA office stipulates that End-User Certificate requests for arms and ammunition must be made by approved security agencies on behalf of themselves or their qualified vendors. Neither Mr Amosun nor his state is an approved security agency or qualified security equipment vendor.

“In line with international best practices EUCs for arms and ammunition are to be obtained before the shipment of the items from the originating country. These conditions equally apply for parts and accessories of all military armaments and hardware,” the guideline states.

A spokesperson for the Office of the NSA, the only government institution responsible for issuing end-user certificates, did not return requests for comments. But the paper said it learnt from multiple sources within the agency that Amosun or his state could not have been granted certificates to procure and store arms.
Also, the Nigeria Customs Service said Mr Amosun did not clear the deadly equipment through Nigerian ports, and that no one without an end-user certificate could be allowed to bring controlled items into Nigeria.

“Only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue end-user certificate for importation of arms, and any person or organisation without the document cannot import weapons into Nigeria,” the spokesperson for the Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, said , “I repeat: weapons can never be imported into Nigeria without end-user certificates.”

Mr Attah said even security agencies, including the police, military and Customs, are required to secure end-user certificates before embarking on arms purchase.

The Customs regularly intercepts attempts to import illegal arms into the country, but the owners often disappear as soon as such illicit shipments are discovered. Yet, security analysts believe that for every container intercepted by Customs, dozens would slip through the ports due to Nigeria’s porous security measure.

Illegal possession of arms is a criminal offence under several Nigerian statutes, including the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act (1984) and the Firearms Act (1990).

In May, three Nigerians were sentenced to a combined 120 years in prison, including 20 years each for illegal possession of firearms. The Oyo State High Court relied on the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to convict the trio.

Bolstering suspicion

Arms proliferation has long been a big driver of election-related bloodshed in Nigeria, with hundreds of deaths reported across the country in the 2019 elections alone.

In Amosun’s Ogun State, a number of residents died in widespread shootings between February 23 and March 9, the days of the presidential and governorship elections, respectively.
Most of the election-related deaths, including of police officers, were reported in Ilaro, Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode, three of the state’s largest cities. Security sources blamed the killings on arms proliferation across the state, a menace they said had been largely difficult to contain.

Security analysts and civic groups contend that politicians are the major suppliers of deadly weapons into the streets because of their desperation for victory — which they often find impossible to recover post election.
Aside election violence, arms proliferation has also been linked to the growing spate of kidnapping, banditry and herdsmen violence — claiming tens of thousands of civilian deaths within the last four years alone.

Amosun also recognised the danger of arms proliferation in the early days of his administration. Less than four months after he assumed office as governor in September 2011, he raised a judicial panel to probe the proliferation of arms in Ogun.

He blamed his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel, for fostering an atmosphere of gun violence for political benefits, and imposed a moratorium on gun ownership in the state.

Amosun, police in conspiracy of silence

Premium Times reported that efforts to get  Amosun’s comments were rebuffed by the politician. Several text messages, WhatsApp messages and telephone calls to his two active telephone lines went unacknowledged or returned over five days.

Senator Amosun’s spokesperson, Rotimi Durojaiye, also took questions from the paper on behalf of his principal, but said he could not respond to them because he was unable to reach his principal after several attempts. Mr Durojaiye served as Mr Amosun’s special adviser on media and publicity when he was governor.

The police also declined to give comments. Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, directed all enquiries about police involvement in the matter to Commissioner Makama.

But when the paper sent a set of five questions to Makama, he declined to respond. This was despite his initial promises that he would respond to the enquiries once he received the questions, which were sent to his telephone line and also through the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi.

Some of the clarifications the paper sought from Makama included whether he asked Amosun the source of the weapons before or after he accepted them, whether it was appropriate for a civilian governor to stockpile a massive cache of weapons and why he was yet to escalate the matter to Force Headquarters nearly a month later.

There was consensus amongst several police chiefs who spoke with tje paper that Makama should have at least invited Amosun for questioning after receiving the arms and ammunition from him. Mr Amosun lost immunity from arrest and prosecution on May 29 when his tenure ended.

Two police sources said the commissioner had been making frantic moves to quickly inform Force Headquarters ahead of this story’s publication.

“He is afraid he would be in trouble if the headquarters learnt about the matter in the media,” a police source said Sunday evening.

Even though there were initial claims that the State Security Service’s state director, David Tuksa, was also present when Amosun handed in the weapons, the agency’s spokesperson completely distanced the Service’s officials from the matter.
“Our state director was not there and the SSS did not take any part in the matter,” spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, was quoted as having said by the paper.

Top national security officials believe the quantity of weapons Mr Amosun held was large enough to destabilise a country.

“You can overrun a country with that quantity,” a top security official said. “Imagine given 1,000 thugs AK47 rifles — what is the size of the Gambian Army for instance?”
The official, who had served two national security advisers, said there were legal options Amosun would have pursued if the arms were primarily imported as donation to the police.

“When Tunde Fashola bought weapons for the police during his tenure as governor in Lagos, he obtained an End-User certificate, and the weapons were delivered to the police and not to his official residence,” the official said, adding that he was amongst those who worked on the matter at the time.

The paper said it learnt from multiple security sources that the SSS became aware of the arms in the Ogun Government House Armoury just as the 2019 elections were about to begin.
“We immediately placed him and his surroundings under a heavy security watch,” an SSS agent who had knowledge of the operation told PREMIUM TIMES. “We knew he had enough arms to make the state a field of dead bodies during the election if he wished.”
Another senior law enforcement official said he was convinced Mr Amosun handed over the weapons because it became too late for him to relocate them and he knew the incoming governor would not give him a cover.

“It was too late for him to organise an efficient logistics for the relocation of the remaining weapons,” the official said. “He also did not expect the incoming governor, Dapo Abiodun, to continue keeping the arms in Government House as a cover-up.”

Premium Times

Some kidnapping stories are not true, Osinbajo tells Nigerians in US

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has told Nigerians in the Diaspora that the spate of kidnappings in Nigeria is exaggerated and not entirely new.

This is despite recent travel advisories issued by the United States and the United Kingdom asking its citizens not to visit some states in Nigeria due to the rising insecurity occasioned by kidnapping, banditry, militancy, terrorism and other challenges.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in New York on Sunday evening, Osinbajo said the social media “tends to be hysterical about practically everything”, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Vice-President spoke in response to several questions and comments on the security situation back home.

Many members of the audience had taken turns to express concern about the reported spate of killings and kidnapping back home, and wanted to know what the government is doing to address the situation.

He said, “With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fuelled by politics.

“There are cases of kidnapping, no question at all about that, but some of the more dramatic stories that you hear are simply not true.

“Every report of kidnapping we receive, we try to verify, and at the end of the day you find out that people just tell all sorts of stories.

Osinbajo said the Federal Government was working with the states to check kidnapping where it was actually taking place, using technology to track the perpetrators.

He said the efforts were already yielding results with several arrests made by security agencies in affected areas.

Osinbajo said the government was capable of addressing the security challenges, assuring Nigerians that the news “will be a lot better very soon”.

Turning to banditry and farmers/herders clashes in the North-west and central, the Vice President described them as “resource conflicts”.

According to him, banditry, especially in Zamfara and Katsina, was more of a fight over the control of mining sites by armed groups.

He said the government was taking several measures, including shutting down the mines, to address the problem.

The Vie-President added, “In the North Central, we have the livestock transformation plan to address the farmers/herders conflict.

“Ultimately, it is ranching that will solve the problem because you cannot have people wandering across the country with their cattle.

“It is not helpful to them, this they know, because ranching is more convenient and profitable.

“So, we are building herd dams in the northern states so that people don’t necessarily come down south in search for water and green pastures for their herds.

“We are also trying to ensure we provide grazing areas before we come to cattle routes.”

Osinbajo said in fairness to herders, the livestock sector had not enjoyed the kind of government’s funding and support accorded farmers over the years.

My predecessor spent N2.3bn on burials within five months – Bauchi gov

The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has alleged that his predecessor, Mohammed Abubakar, spent N2.3bn to buy materials for burial in the state.

But Abubakar has dismissed the allegation, describing it as laughable.

The governor, who spoke through his spokesperson, Dr Ladan Salihu, in an interview with journalists in Bauchi, said the funds were spent between January and May, 2019.

He explained that over N900m was spent on the purchase of white cloth used for wrapping corpses while over N1.4bn was used to buy the wood for lacing the graves after burial.

According to him, the government discovered issues of corruption, venality, daylight robbery of the commonwealth of the people of the state.

Ladan alleged, “This money which ought to have been appropriated by the state House of Assembly before expenditure, all of a sudden emanated from our treasury books. How could you imagine that a state government, within five months, that is, between January and May, 2019, spent well over N2.3bn on funeral materials, dresses for wrapping dead bodies and the woods that you lace the graveyards with.”

Asked if the state government had any proof to substantiate its claim, he said there was no iota of doubt on the matter, saying that there was documentary evidence to prove that.

“All these are captured in the report of the transition committee and these were gathered from documents and vouchers and payments made from our treasury books. There is the Freedom of Information Law, use it and find out for yourself from those documents,” Ladan said.

The governor’s spokesman vowed that the state government would use every instrument of the law, including petitioning the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and other anti-corruption agencies on the matter, “until every kobo stolen is returned.”

Ladan said, “Government will take stern measures; we will recover every kobo that has been looted or stolen by the immediate past administration and, in fact, the administration before it. Where it is established that there is a clear case of misappropriation or outright stealing of public funds, it’s an obligation, you don’t allow criminality to run roughshod on the rest of us because these are public funds.”

When contacted by our correspondent for a reaction, the media aide to the former governor, Ali M. Ali, said he was not aware of such allegation.

He said, “I’ve not heard of anything like that so I will speak on it when I make my findings but this is laughable. I will get back to you on that when I have done my findings.”

He had yet to get back to our correspondent 24 hours after he was first contacted on the matter.

How Unilorin lecturer raped 17-year-old student; varsity yet to act — Report

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. The man covered her mouth to stifle screams and later left her alone in the office after the encounter, according to a report by Premium Times.

The accused staff, Solomon Olowookere, a senior lecturer, denied the allegations. He said he had helped the student multiple times but denied there was any possibility of a sexual incident between them. Mr Olowookere said the story was made-up.

But multiple interviews with senior university officials, including the head of Department of Arts Education, the dean of Faculty of Education and the dean of Students’ Affairs, confirmed the attack occurred.

The officials said Mr Olowookere had admitted to them he assaulted the girl and had pleaded for help, but later changed his testimony. They said in committing the act, the lecturer abused his position further by increasing the student’s test score as compensation.

The interviews, conducted by a panel set up by the university to review the case, formed the basis for a recommendation the lecturer be dismissed. Two months after the report, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, was submitted to the authorities, the university is yet to act, either by adopting or rejecting it. The lecturer has also remained in the employment of the institution.

Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin. 

The vice chancellor of the university, Sulyman Abdulkareem, told the psper he would prefer not to comment on the matter because it “was in court” already. He said the school would make its decision known later.

A spokesperson for the university, Tunde Akogun, also declined comment, saying he had not been briefed on the case.

Together, the report provides a rich coverage of a case that has shocked staff and students of the university, one of Nigeria’s oldest and best known tertiary institutions. In the age of #MeToo, it sheds light on the challenge of rampant sexual harassment in Nigerian schools and how institutions struggle to check its occurrence or manage the fallouts.

With no reliable statistics, little is known about the exact scale of the problem, particularly as few cases go to court. But many universities have in the last year been enmeshed in sexual harassment scandals as reported in the media, especially those involving lecturers trading marks for sex.

In June, the Ekiti State University said it questioned a lecturer after a video circulated on the Internet showing the official trying to sleep with his student in return for high scores.

Between April and June 2018, three Nigerian universities– Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, and Lagos State University – faced similar scandals. In the most widely reported case, the Obafemi Awolowo University sacked a professor, Richard Akindele, for demanding sex from a student, Monica Osagie, in exchange for marks.

Ms. Osagie released a secretly-recorded conversation with the lecturer that was widely circulated on social media.Mr Akindele wassentenced in December 2018 to two years in prison, a rare prosecution success for a matter whose judicial prospect experts say is usually undermined by the inability to gather formidable evidence.

In building its case, the University of Ilorin panel said it relied on a surfeit of interviews and a recording of Mr Olowookere’s admission of guilt.

The panel repeatedly interviewed Mr Olowookere and his accuser – whose name is being withheld since she might be stigmatised. The panel also interrogated two deans, the head of department, two faculty professors, and the lecturer responsible for signing course forms.

Denying rape

In his first testimony, Mr Olowookere said his accuser was introduced to him by a former student he supervised, and that the girl later sought his help to sign her course form after the staff who should have done so, called the level adviser, seemed difficult to track. She also complained about not being able to pay for her matriculation gown because the bank was congested.

He said he introduced the student to the level adviser who later signed the form and nothing happened beyond that. He said the next day he was summoned to the dean’s office, accused of raping the student.

Mr Olowookere hinged his rejection of the probability of rape on the fact that the corridor to his office was always busy and if anyone had screamed, students would have been attracted. That is more so since the level adviser, a photocopy vendor and another lecturer were around that day.

Second, he said the air-conditioner in his office never worked since he took up the space, as a result his windows were always open. He also said if indeed the girl was raped, she would have cried out of his office and her clothes would not have been intact.

Mr Olowookere said at a second meeting with faculty professors and the girl, her guardian and a lawyer, that the guardian told him he did not rape the girl and that “she was not a virgin as she claimed”. He said the guardian said tests conducted on the girl turned negative and that it was a “set-up”.

At a third meeting, he said he was informed by the head of department, Folakemi Adeniyi-Egbeola, that the faculty was trying to prevail on the student to drop the matter, and that he should pay N5 million as damages for the case to be resolved. When he said he had no such money, he was asked to pay N1 million instead. He declined still, and was later made to face a faculty panel and was queried by the registrar of the school about two weeks after the controversy started.

When asked why he offered to resign if he was not guilty, the lecturer who has worked with the school for five years, said he was advised by friends that men stood little chance of being believed in rape charges.

“They said some things that are almost true; that when an allegation of this nature is raised against a man, people would listen to the female; that I would be ridiculed and put to shame and honestly, the girl was given more attention than me,” he was quoted as saying.

Mr Olowookere said he later withdrew the resignation after being so advised. Asked why the girl would have chosen him for a frame-up from amongst all other lecturers, he said he did not know.

Asking for justice

The victim contradicted most of Mr Olowookere’s claims.

The student said she first met the lecturer few weeks after she was transferred from the Faculty of Social Sciences to Education. She said she was at the level adviser’s office when Mr Olowookere asked her to get him water from one of the shops. She delivered.

She said on another day, she met the man when she had issues with signing her course form. She said Mr Olowookere assured he could sign the form personally since his signature was recognised in the faculty and could be honoured. The level adviser later signed the form, and she returned to the lecturer’s office to inform him not to bother. She also paid for her matriculation gown after initial difficulty.

The student said as she was leaving the faculty, Mr Olowookere drove in and asked her to see him in his office. There, the lecturer showed her her script for a course test he was only asked by the head of department to help invigilate.

She scored 24 over 40, but he offered to raise to 30. The student said she declined the offer. He said the lecturer continued and said the course was tedious, and she did not argue with him again.

She said the lecturer started asking about her state and church and finally allowed her leave. But as she stood up and took her bag, the man locked the door. She said she tried to open the door but he would not allow her. The duo struggled before he pushed her to a table.

She said she tried to scream but the man covered her mouth with his hand. The attacker pulled down her underwear and forcefully penetrated her. After the incident, he left her in the office.

“I wore my cloth and walked out of his office to one corner as I did not want anybody to see me,” she said.

It was her first sexual experience, she said. Asked by the committee what signs she felt, she described swelling in her genitals. She said she reported to the hospital hours later, and was told she was late in coming.

“They said whatever test they would have done then there would have been a lot of evidence. I went a day after the incident and they did not find much of him in me. I had swelling but no bruises at all,” she said.

There was no blood stain on her clothe after the alleged attack, the student said.

“Semen, I don’t know about that. But as for blood stain, there was no blood stain on my underwear. I did not do proper scrutiny of my underwear I just soaked it in water because it was not something I want to be talking about.”

The committee pressed further: “Or maybe he did not penetrate? He only attempted to?” She responded: “He did. In the medical report it was stated there.”

Asked why she did struggle or shout, especially since the man covered her mouth with one hand, meaning he used only one to attack her, she answered, “I want to believe that I have some level of strength, but not enough to overpower him to make my way out of his office.”

On why she turned down the favour of a score upgrade, she answered: “First of all, I am Christian and it is against my religion to have aid to enable me pass a course. In my family they won’t encourage failure.”

The panel pressed further:
Q: From what you have said, this thing definitely happened, but the other party said that it did not happen at all; are you sure you are not lying?

A: “I am not lying sir.”

Q: Are you trying to implicate him for some reasons? You are a good Christian, you should know that God is watching you and God is always with the righteous. You know the implication of getting him involved in this?”

A: “Yes, I do sir. For a case as delicate as this one, I don’t think anybody in his right frame of mind would want to punish somebody for what he did not do. He has wronged me in any way. I have never met him before. I can’t just wake up and say I don’t not like this man. All of these things have been a lot for me. I was supposed to be in Abuja now by my father had to cancel all his appointments to enable me honour the invitation to appear before this committee. My family is under a lot of pressure.”

The committee said it consoled the student not to cry and commended her courage. It also asked her about the N5 million or N1 million demand. She said proceedings and charges were all done by the lawyer and only the lawyer could answer the question. Premium Times said it could not reach the lawyer for comments.

Asked what she wanted from the Mr Olowookere, she responded:

“In as much as people committed offence or crime, rape cases are very rampant in Nigeria and people don’t want to hear about it because it is stigma. If at all I should be an example to the coming generation, there have to be processes and procedures. Dr. S.K. Olowookere to the legal people is a criminal. Right now, a criminal is let loose walking around the street. Who knows whether he has been doing this before or this is the first time. The law should be allowed to take its just course. He should be jailed if tried and found guilty.”

Contacted, Mr Olowookere told the paper, “That’s a lie. I have never done such.” Asked whether it was consensual sex, he insisted without clarifying that “I have never done such, never. And I will never do it.”

Told that his senior colleagues involved in the case said he admitted he raped the student, he said “That is a misguided information. It is not true.”

He said the newspaper can carry out its investigation since the lady has gone to court.

More testimonies

While Mr Olowookere told the panel he did no wrong, his senior colleagues said he had earlier admitted assaulting the student. To some, he said the sex was consensual, and to another he blamed the devil.

The dean of the faculty, Medinat Salman, a professor, said when the matter first came to her, she invited senior professors and Mr Olowookere to meet with the student and her family. There, the lecturer said the intercourse was consensual, but the student insisted it was forceful.

She said at that instance, the lecturer confessed before all present that the allegation was true. She said they tried to pacify the family and pleaded that the school would handle the matter administratively.

At a second meeting, Mr Olowookere came with his wife and prostrated while his wife knelt as they apologised to the student’s family. She said the matter was reported to the deputy vice chancellor and the registrar.

Professor D. O. Durosaro, who headed a faculty panel to probe the matter, also said the lecturer confessed but later denied.

The dean of student’s affairs, L.T. Ajibade, a professor, said the lecturer admitted during a meeting with him that he raped the girl but said it was the work of the devil. It was Mr Ajibade who first confronted Mr Olowookere with a list of his four alleged offences.

First, he showed the student her test score; second, he altered the score; third he raped the girl and fourth the sexual assault took place in his office.

Mr Ajibade said when the gravity of the offences dawned on Mr Olowookere, he broke down and wept. He said there was solid evidence of the confession as the interaction with the lecturer was recorded.

Still denying rape
Confronted with the counter testimonies, Mr Olowookere stood his ground.

But asked this time whether he changed the girl’s test score, he said, “I wouldn’t know.”

Told that the dean of his faculty said he had confessed to the offence, he said he only cried and that he cried because the allegation was “false”.

At the final meeting, the committee finally invited the student into the venue of the meeting to meet Mr Olowookere face to face.

She insisted the man raped her and reaffirmed her claim that he adjusted her score from 24 to 30. Asked to respond to the allegations, Mr Olowookere said he could not remember.

The committee in its report said Mr Olowookere “lied and was not truthful” in his submission before the Staff Disciplinary and Appeals Committee.

“Based on the totality of evidence before the committee, Dr. Solomon Kehinde Olowookere was found culpable of: wrongly, deliberately and forcefully sexually assaulting” the student in his office on February 27. The committee recommended his dismissal.

It cautioned the level adviser, Mr Badru, that the controversy might have been averted if he had attended to students as expected, and signed their course forms without duress.

It advised the head of department, Mrs Adeniyi-Egbeola, to be on the lookout whenever students flock around a particular lecturer

 

Premium Times 

JAMB seek embargo on establishment of new universities

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has called for an embargo on the establishment of new public and private universities in the country.

The registrar of the board, Is-haq Oloyede, said emphasis should rather be placed on developing the 170 universities in the country.

According to the National Universities Commission, (NUC), Nigeria has 43 federal universities, 48 state universities and 79 private universities.

According to Punch newspaper, Mr Oloyede said this on Friday while speaking at the 4th convocation lecture of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State.

In its weekly bulletin, the registrar said there was need to place an embargo on the establishment of new universities so that the country’s existing institutions could be adequately catered to.

“Since education is everybody’s business, all Nigerians should support the effort towards educational development. Universities should not be established just to boost the ego of rich individuals and politicians, ” the Punch newspaper quoted the registrar as saying.

Mr Oloyede restated the recommendations of the 2017 Presidential Retreat on Education which made a case for a declaration of a state of emergency on the education sector.

The registrar advocated increased funding of education in the country “by committing nothing less than 15 per cent the national budget to the sector”.

Background

In April, a report by Premium Times quoted  the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, as having said the commission  was processing about 303 new applications for the establishment of private universities in Nigeria.

He said 208 out of the 303 applications are on ‘step 3’ in the processing of their applications.

“Sixty-three applicants representing 20.79 per cent of the total applicants, are on step 6 having only submitted their completed application forms and strategic documents and are waiting for first verification visit, while 30 applicants, representing 9.9 per cent are on step 8 and have had first verification visit conducted to their proposed university campuses.”

He said two of the applicants, representing 0.66 per cent, have attained step 10 and the second verification visit has been conducted for them.

He did not elaborate on the specifics of the process.

But Rasheed said the 75 private universities in Nigeria account for less than six per cent of students’ population in the country’s university system.

He said some of the challenges confronting Nigerian universities are partly internal, ranging from funding, admission processes and (not) getting enough candidates as in the case of private universities.

Meanwhile, the JAMB registrar, in April accused the private universities of “aiding academic corruption in the country”.

He said private university operators “are going against many laws guiding university operations in Nigeria”.

CSO urges new SEC board to review Oando sanction

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria (ILEWN), has urged the new board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to embark on policies and programmes that will ensure confidence in the capital market.

A statement signed by the Executive Director of ILEWN, Mr Splendour Agbonkpolor, tasked the new SEC board to right all perceived wrongs perpetrated against some companies particularly the sanctions imposed on Oando Plc and its management team.

The call is coming following Monday’s inauguration of the new SEC board appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Agbonkpolor congratulated the new SEC board, Chaired by Mr Olufemi Lijadu, and urged the team to justify the confidence reposed in them.

He stated that the SEC legal team had also acknowledged queries in several quarters challenging the lack of due process in the investigation of Oando.

“The SEC has enormous responsibility of ensuring that the Nigeria capital market is robust to ensure local and international investors have confidence in it.

“However, recent actions of the SEC management have cast aspersions on its neutrality as a regulatory agency.

“Therefore, the new board has enormous task of correcting all the perceived injustices seen to have been done by the SEC to some players in the sector.

“Worthy of note is the decision of SEC to keep Oando Plc suspended in spite of its failure to make public its findings of the investigation it carried out two years ago,” the group stated.

Agbonkpolor further argued that the failure of the commission to make public the findings of its investigation before sanctioning the oil company created the impression that it was acting a script.

It would be recalled that SEC had On May 31, ordered Oando’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wale Tinubu, and other affected board members to resign based on the report of forensic audit performed by Deloitte and Touche which revealed alleged infractions.

The infractions according to SEC include: False disclosures, market abuses, misstatements in financial statements, internal control failures, and corporate governance lapses, stemming from poor board oversight, among others.

But the company immediately replied, saying the alleged infractions and penalties were unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.

Similarly, SEC further directed Oando to suspend its annual general meeting.

 

Airtel Africa receives pre-IPO interest worth $200m

One of the bookrunners handling Airtel Africa Ltd.’s planned initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange said on Monday it had received indications of interest worth about $200 million from pre-IPO investors.

Airtel Africa, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd., last week set a price range of 80 to 100 pence per share for its IPO.

The firm is expected to raise 595 million pounds from the issuance of 595.2 million to 744 million new shares. (Reuters/NAN)

South-East govs reject Miyetti vigilante, cattle colony

Governors of the South-East have flatly rejected a proposal by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to organise local vigilante groups in the region..

According to MACBAN, the proposal is to assist leaders in the zone curtail criminal activities in the region.

But the governors said they will not allow such idea to come to fruition.

In a statement, Dave Umahi, chairman of south-east governors forum, described the allegation of the governors allowing MACBAN to form vigilance group as strange.

“I find it extremely strange for anybody to think that none locals in any part of the country including south-east can be allowed to form vigilance outfit,” he said.

“The Miyetti Allah group may have made that suggestion which I believe will never mean to form a vigilante in south-east whichever is the meaning, no governor will allow that.

“South-east governors have their local vigilance groups working with security agencies; any such demand by Miyetti group is a joke and not acceptable. Governors of the zone are doing their best and we have no problems receiving insults from our people, it is the price of leadership.

“The important thing to us is the safety and well-being of our people; the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and other pressure groups may not have found it fashionable to insult their leaders even when their leaders may not be saints.”

Umahi said his task is to develop Ebonyi and contribute to the rebuilding of the south-east and the country at large.

“My calling is not to insult others. Have we been fairly treated? No. Can we solve the problem by hate speeches? For me, the answer is no,” he said.

“Nobody, no matter the level of pretence can change my style of peaceful leadership. Ebonyi, in particular, has suffered so much even in the context of south-east.

“We believe that we do not need hate speeches as a strategy to solve our problems.

“Finally, we insist there will be no Miyetti vigilante, no cattle ranch or colony; but we must live peacefully with herdsmen that do not destroy our farm lands especially those that were born here and have lived peacefully with us.

“All South-East governors are together in this position.”

Buhari is a civilian autocrat, says Adebanjo

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political organisation, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is a civilian autocrat disguising under the guise of a democrat.

In an interview with Tribune, the elder statesman said the power Buhari enjoys is preventing him from changing the constitution to suit the current demands of the country.

He also said Buhari has not been active in solving the several problems ravaging the country.

“We have no democracy now, particularly with Buhari in government. He is the greatest civilian autocrat under the guise of being a democrat,” he said.

“I am Ayo Adebanjo. Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. What I am saying is that Buhari is the greatest civilian autocrat. Why? I am judging him by his actions. Will a democrat, in a democratic society, disobey court orders on two, three, four individuals? Will a democrat, under the rule of law, invade judges’ quarters under the pretence that he wants to wipe out corruption? These are my reasons I don’t just label him. I call him a dictator by his actions and let people tell me that those actions are consistent with democratic principles. That’s all.

“Unfortunately, the so-called governors from the South-West, who are in alliance with him, are so sheepish. Their hands are so dirty that they cannot talk to him. It is because their hands are so dirty that is why they don’t have the courage to stand up to him.”

The Afenifere leader alleged that more deaths have been recorded under the leadership of Buhari than the civil war which occurred between 1967 and 1970.

He said Buhari having contributed to the insecurity in the country, he has “turned a blind eye” to the “incompetence” of service chiefs in the country.

“We don’t hate him, but he does not understand the job he has taken upon himself,” he said.

“These are issues in the country which he (Buhari) has not even said a word about on Democracy Day. We don’t know what Nigerians have done to make us deserve a man like Buhari. The number of people that have been killed under him is more than the number killed during the civil war and yet, the man still has the effrontery to be telling us the security is alright.”

He called on the federal government to restructure the country immediately, adding that there is no other solution to the numerous challenges in the country than restructuring.

 

 

Rivers is a Christian state, Wike insists

Governor of Rivers, Nyrsom Wike has inisted that the state is “Christian state and cannot be touched by anyone”.

Nigeria is a secular nation, according to the constitution.

But speaking during a crusade organised by the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Church in Port Harcourt, the state capital, the governor said God heard the prayers of the Christian community in the state and the people prevailed against “forces”.

He had said it was God’s intervention that ensured his victory in the March governorship election.

The governor said his administration would continue to support and partner with the church.

“We saw forces, but the greater force, God Almighty came. With this crusade, Rivers State will be abundantly blessed,” Wike said.

“I repeat once again without apologies, Rivers is a Christian state. That is why nobody can touch us. When it mattered most, the Christian community prayed and God heard your prayers.

“I will continue to support the activities of all churches. This government will always partner the churches, whatever the programme they are engaged in. I urge the church to continue to pray. Each time you pray, put us in your prayers.

“On March 9, light prevailed over darkness. God showed himself and he is in charge. But for God, I wouldn’t have been here addressing the Christian faithful. The enemies came to Rivers state to take over and stop the will of the people but God said no, and the people’s will prevailed.”

‘We’ll spend our last kobo to eliminate Boko Haram’

Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno state, says his administration will spend its last kobo to support the military and strengthen civilian JTF and hunters, defeat the Boko Haram sect.

Zulum made the comment when he received Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, who visited him in Maiduguri, the state capital, on Monday.

He vowed that the state government would rise to the challenge of defending the people by supporting the military in terms of intelligence and logistics.

“The chief of army staff, count on me. Believe me, the government of Borno state will spend its last Kobo in ensuring that our civilian JTF and hunters are strengthened,” he said.

“We cannot afford a situation whereby two persons (terrorists) come with motorcycle or vehicle, ransacking town and killing hundreds of people.”

The governor said security is everybody’s business and not only a military affair.

He commended the military, particularly the army for their efforts so far in dealing with insurgents, saying it is “very difficult to deal with an enemy you do not see”.

“People do not understand; it very difficult. Considering the land mass of Borno state, about 76,000 kilometers; it is not easy.’’

He pleaded that military operation should be followed with stabilisation, saying “once an area has been liberated, there is the need for the government and military to work out modalities for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement”.

He added that this should be done with the support of the military and paramilitary organisations

“Without this, an area liberated can be taken over by insurgents.’’

The governor said to achieve success in the fight against insurgency, the root causes of Boko Haram must be addressed.

He listed some of them as unemployment, endemic poverty, high illiteracy, poor socio-economic infrastructure and climate change.

“Right now, over 80 per cent of our population (Borno), including the youth and able bodied men, are unemployed,” he said.

“The situation is catastrophic, and unless we address the root causes of these problems, I think we cannot make any meaningful progress.”

Zulum said that the mainstay of the state’s economy was agriculture but regretted that over 90 percent of the population did not have access to farmland due insurgency.

“The area under cultivation in the last 10 years is less than that of the last two years. We are getting some significant improvement. This year, 2019, we are also getting more significant improvement,” he said.

“One area that the people of Borno wish to collaborate with the military and the police is to have access to their farmland.”

Earlier, Buratai had congratulated the governor on his election, saying the military was working out solution to insecurity in the state and the north-east.

Buratai also said that the military was moving into the stabilization phase in the region, pleading for more support.

 

Nigerians won’t wait longer than necessary for Buhari’s cabinet, says Adesina

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari will announce his cabinet when the time comes.

It has been 26 days since the president was inaugurated for his second term in office. He has since made just three appointments–Mele Kyari as the group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and renewal of Ahmed Idris’s appointment as the accountant-general of the federation and renewing the appointment of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He is, however, yet to make any ministerial appointment. In 2015, it took the president six months to announce his cabinet.

But speaking in a chat with The Interview, Adesina said “the circumstances are not the same”, adding that it would not take as long as it did in 2015.

“Nigerians will not have to wait a day longer than necessary, before they have a cabinet,” Adesina said.

“And as the president himself has said, the process won’t take as long as it did in 2015, because the circumstances are not the same.”

Speaking on the insecurity in the country, Adesina said it has been in existence for a long time, as far back as the 1914 amalgamation.

He added that the Buhari administration is, however, not overwhelmed, assuring Nigerians that “the country shall be victorious”.

“It was an unwilling union, forcefully consummated by Lord Frederick Lugard. Since then, it had been uneasy, with grave suspicion rifling through the polity,” he said.

“It was not helped by the colonial masters themselves, who played one ethnic nationality against the other, to serve their own interests.

“These tensions spiked in recent times, particularly with the advent of democracy, in which people could make utterances, however indecorous or divisive they may be.

“The security challenges are enormous. Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, communal strife, criminality generally. These are truly dire times, and as the president has said, they are results of the corruption, decay and neglects of the past.

“But is the government overwhelmed? By no means. The challenges are being tackled, and we will eventually overcome. Nigeria is greater than the challenges, no matter the hidden hostile hands that are encouraging them.”

S’ Court dismisses appeal against Dapo Abiodun

 

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by Abdul Rafiu Baruwa in the suit Appeal No SC/524/2019 challenging the eligibility of Ogun Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to contest the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Ogun State.

Baruwa had challenged the qualification of Dapo Abiodun on ground of failure to disclose all his academic qualifications. On March 7, 2019, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja ruled that the suit lacked merit, and the judgment was appealed by the litigant.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had on Monday, May 6, 2019 dismissed the appeal in a ruling by a three-member panel led by Justice Datti Yahaya. Not satisfied, Baruwa proceeded to the Supreme Court.

However, when the matter came up for hearing at the Supreme Court earlier today, Baruwa’s lawyer, Mr. Kanu Agabi SAN, deposited that in view of the position of the law as canvassed by Abiodun’s lawyer, he will withdraw the appeal.

Justice Mary Odili JSC, who delivered the lead judgement, in a short ruling, dismissed the appeal.

Bank mergers likely as CBN hints at new capitalisation requirements

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele says there are plans to carry out a recapitalisation exercise for deposit money banks in the country.

Emefiele made this known on Monday while unveiling the five-year plan of the bank.

Bank recapitalization is the act of changing the capital structure of a bank to provide more equity funds to meet the bank’s long-term financing needs to ensure the security of shareholders fund.

In July 2004, the CBN announced the recapitalization of the banking sector from N2 billion to N25 billion with effect from December 31, 2005.

This led to the reduction in the number of banks to 24 from 89.

“We will continue to improve our on-site and off-site supervision of all financial institutions while leveraging on data analytics and our in-house experts across different sectors to improve our ability to identify potential risks to the financial system as well as risks to individual banks,” he said.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalising the Nigerian banking industry so as to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world.

“Banks will, therefore, be required to maintain a high level of capital as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis on the financial system. With a rise in digital payment and cybersecurity threats.”

According to Emefiele, the apex bank will continue to defend the naira within the next five years as there are no plans to float the naira.

He said this would “reduce the impact that exchange rate volatility could have on our economy”.

On the country’s external reserves, Emefiele said the balance now stands at $45bn as of June 2019.

He said the bank put all necessary measure to ensure the steady growth of the country’s external reserves after the recession.

“I am delighted to note that our external reserves have risen from 23 billion dollars in October 2016 to over 45 billion dollars by June.

“Inflation has also dropped from 18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 11.40 per cent in May.

“Our CBN purchasing manufacturers index has risen for 26 consecutive months since March 2017, indicating continuous growth in the manufacturing sector.

“As a result of measures implemented by the CBN which improved access to raw materials and finance for manufacturing firms GDP growth has risen for seven consecutive quarters following the recession.

“And, our exchange rate has appreciated from over N525/$1 in February 2017 at the Bureau De Change window to N360/$1.

“With the improved inflow of foreign exchange, the exchange rate has remained stable around N360/$1 for the past 27 months,” he said.

According to him, with concerted efforts by the monetary and fiscal authorities the bank implemented a series of measures which led to the recovery of the economy from the recession by the 1st Quarter of 2017.

Speaking on recovery efforts, Emefiele said part of the measures deployed to support the recovery included tightening of the monetary policy rate in order to rein in inflation.

 

Nigerians voted Buhari, not Daura, Kyari, others… massive protest rocks Abuja

A group of Concerned National Stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) early morning on Monday staged a massive protest against some persons identified as members of the cabal allegedly running down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying Nigerians voted for the President and not the cabal.

Those mentioned in the protest,which took place at Defense House in the Maitama area of Abuja are Mamman Daura, Ismaila Funtua and Abba Kyari.

Addressing newsmen during the protest, the national convener of the group, Dr. Symeon Chilagorom, said Nigerians will not accept the repeat of the President Buhari’s first term, as the slogan of the 2019 campaign dictates.

“Our demand is a simple one, the people of this country elected Muhammadu Buhari as their President, not Mamman Daura, not Ismaila Funtua, and definitely not Abba Kyari. Only President Buhari has our mandate to govern over the affairs of this nation.

“In light of that, we are simply asking that President Buhari should take back control of his Government and begin to walk his talk during the campaign by delivering on the promises made. These promises can only be achieved if the President is in the drivers seat not passenger’s seat and if he is surrounded by patriotic men and women of goodwill who assisted him during the campaign in the eyes of the world, travel the nooks and crannies of this country to sell the ideology of the change mantra to the generality of Nigerians. And not those who hide away when the going get tough, only to re-emerge when the tough work is done and the battle is won.

“The Nigerian people will not accept the repeat of the first term, as the slogan of the 2019 campaign dictates, this is the next level and we dare ask, have we not arrived at the Next Level, if indeed we have arrived at the Next Level, then why is it feeling like we are one step forward and ten steps backward.

“By now, we expected that a new cabinet independently formed by the President based on merit and other constitutional criteria is made public at the very least, not a situation where few members of the cabal are hiding in shadows trying to handpick their allies and cronies who have contributed to neither the growth of the country nor assist the Party and the Presidential campaign in the run up to the 2019 General Elections.”

The protesters who came in hundreds with various anti-cabals placards said the protest was the first step to inform the presidency on the need to do away with some persons around the President Buhari.

Dr. Chilagorom also said: “Today, Insecurity permeates a vast area of the northern region majorly caused by poverty and slow pace of governance at all levels, time for governance is now.

“Let it be known that despite our coming here today, we are believers in the personal integrity and capabilities of Mr. President, his die hard supporters and it is for this unshaken belief and love for the President and the desire for us to see him carry our country to the Next Level that we call on him to take the wheel of the Nigerian Ship and navigate us through the murky waters of our many challenges to the promised land, let him not forsake us in the hands of those without peoples mandate or human sympathy.”

Also speaking, Ayo Oyalowo, who was the head of Buhari Campaign on Social Media during elections, decried a situation whereby loyal members of the party who worked for the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari were abandoned after the election.

He called on leaders of thought in the ruling party not to repeat the mistake of abandoning the real stakeholders for those who campaigned against the president when its time to make appointments.

Innoson vs GTB: Court orders Chukwuma’s arrest

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Innocent Chukwuma, chief executive officer of Innoson Nigeria Ltd.

Ayokunle Faji, the presiding judge, issued the bench warrant on Monday, citing Chukwuma’s failure to appear before him over an alleged N2.4 billion fraud case.

According to NAN, the court also ordered the arrest of two of Chukwuma’s employees.

The Innoson CEO is being prosecuted alongside Charles Chukwuma, Maximian Chukwura, Mitsui Osk Lines (MOL), a shipping company and Anajekwu Sunny.

The defendants had been charged to court for their alleged role in conspiring to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.

They were accused of presenting the falsified shipping documents as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to obtain a loan of N2.4 billion.

The federal government claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa Wharf, Lagos, on October 10, 2013.

Abubakar Malami, who was attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice at the time, had taken over the case.

Julius Ajakaiye, the prosecutor, had said the charge was served on the defendants by an order for substituted service on February 8, 2016 following the AGF’s take-over of the case.

Ajakaiye said since then, the third and fourth defendants had been coming to court, while the first, second and fifth defendants had refused, failed and neglected to appear in court till date.

He had argued that the defendants were yet to take their pleas and so, should be compelled to appear.

Ajakaiye had also urged the court to grant his application by ordering their arrest.

The team of defence counsel had on their part, urged the court to dismiss the application as the defendants were not properly arraigned before the court, adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to do same.

After arguments, the court had then adjourned the case for ruling.

Delivering his ruling, Faji first highlighted the various arguments and submissions as canvassed by respective parties.

He held that it is clear that the first, second and fifth defendant have not appeared in the criminal charge and consequently held that the application by the prosecution has merit.

“I hereby order as follows: warrant of arrest is hereby issued against Innocent Chukwuma, Charles Chukwuma and Sunny Anajekwe,” he held.

He then adjourned the case till June 28.

In the charge, the prosecution accused the defendants of conspiring to unlawfully falsify shipping clearance documents.

They were accused of “uttering” (presenting) the alleged falsified shipping documents as collateral to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to allegedly obtain a loan of N2.4billion.

The prosecution claimed that the defendants committed the offence at Apapa wharf on October 10, 2013.

The alleged offence is contrary to sections 1(2) (c) and 3(6) of the miscellaneous offences act, cap M17, laws of the federation 2004.

JUST IN: Tribunal rejects Atiku’s request to inspect INEC server

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has turned down the application by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to allow the duo inspect the central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The two who are joint plaintiffs in the petition lodged against the declaration of Muhmmadu Buhari as president of the country claim that the central server of INEC would give evidence of the returns that they claim gave victory to them.

INEC has denied the existence of the server and the respondents, President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC have objected to the request.

Giving their ruling on the application by Atiku and the PDP, the panel said it would be pre-emptive as it is an interlocutory application which could betray the issues on the substantive motion.

“It will not be expedient that the court should grant prayers contained in the application”, Justice Mohammed Garba, chairman of the five man panel submitted.

“The scenario will be unpalatable and will create the impression that the court has indeed recognised the existence of a central server and that the result was electronically transmitted.

“The law is settled that the court should ensure caution while dealing with interlocutory application so as not to make any observation that affect the substantive case.”