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Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo goes to Belgium on exile

Belgium has agreed to take in former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo following his acquittal at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Under the terms of his release, he has to remain in a host country until the tribunal rules on whether to grant the prosecutors’ request for a new trial.

He is also forbidden from contacting witnesses in the case and speaking publicly about it.

“In response to a request from the International Criminal Court, Belgium has agreed to take in Laurent Gbagbo,” said foreign ministry spokesman Karl Lagatie.

“That is also part of the framework of our support for international criminal jurisdictions,” he added.

The ICC finally freed Gbagbo on Friday after his shock acquittal last month on charges of crimes against humanity.

He and his aide Charles Ble Goude were cleared on January 15 over the wave of violence after disputed elections in the west African nation in 2010.

His release was also on condition that he stay in whichever host state accepted him until the court decided whether to let an new trial go ahead.

Defence lawyers had argued for the two men’s immediate and unconditional release.

Under further conditions, Gbagbo also had to surrender his travel documents, report weekly, avoid contacting witnesses in Ivory Coast and refrain from making public statements about the case, the court documents said.

According to Belgian press reports, Gbagbo’s second wife, 47-year-old Nady Bamba, lives in Belgium.

Gbagbo, now 73, was the first former head of state ever to stand trial at the ICC.

More than 3,000 people died on both sides after Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to his internationally backed-rival — and now-president — Alassane Ouattara.

He had been held by the ICC in the Netherlands since 2011.

The ICC’s unwillingness to let Gbagbo return to Ivory Coast may be because of the country’s refusal to surrender Gbagbo’s wife Simone, despite an outstanding ICC warrant for her arrest.

She was convicted and jailed by the courts there in 2015, but Ouattara granted her an amnesty last year, allow her release after seven years in detention.

Gbagbo’s release comes at a particularly tense time in Ivory Coast.

With presidential elections due in 2020, Ouattara has not said whether or not he will run for a second term, and the coalition he formed with Henri Konan Bedie, his former ally against Gbagbo, has collapsed.

Onnoghen’s trial, proof of deeper rot in judiciary – SANs

Twenty Senior Advocates of Nigeria, under the aegis of The Justice Reform Project, have described the corruption allegations against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as “a manifestation of deeper malaise” in the nation’s judiciary.
The SANs, who said they were deeply embarrassed by the Onnoghen saga, said it pointed to the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary.
They admitted that there were cases of litigants and lawyers procuring court judgements and orders, saying the spate of conflicting judgements being churned by judges is one proof of the corruption and incompetence in the system.
As a result of the rot, the SANs noted with regret, that unlike in the past, judgements from Nigerian courts were no longer being cited with approval in foreign courts.
From the composition of the National Judicial Council, to the process of appointing judges, to the criteria for the award of the SAN rank and others, the SANs said the system needed to be reformed.
They said these in a statement on Saturday, which they jointly signed.
Those who signed the statement are Mr Ebun Sofunde, Mr Kayode Sofola, Kola Awodein, Ademola Akinrele, Dr Eyimofe Atake, Mrs Olufunke Adekoya, Oluwafemi Atoyebi, Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson, Olasupo Shasore, Dr Babatunde Ajibade, Osaro Eghobamien, and Mr Babatunde Fagbohunlu.
Others are Mr Wemimo Ogunde, Mr Jibrin Okutepa, Mr Olumide Sofowora, Prof Ernest Ojukwu, Mr Olatunde Adejuyigbe, Dr Adewale Olawoyin, Mr Adeniyi Adegbonmire, and Mr Oyesoji Oyeleke.
The group said, “Certain facts are hardly contestable.There is a widespread perception that there is corruption in the judiciary and this perception is supported by anecdotal evidence.
“Unscrupulous litigants and some complicit lawyers, including some Senior Advocates, procure judgments and orders by corrupt means. It is also beyond dispute that the system for self-regulation in the judiciary and the legal profession has failed. Lack of transparency and a depreciation of the basic ethos of governance in the processes and procedures of the relevant institutions lies at the very heart of the challenges that the Bench and the Bar are currently facing.”

APC has destroyed Nigerian economy, Atiku cries out

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has blamed the All Progressive Congress-led federal government for destroying the Economy of Nigeria.

Abubakar who spoke in Umuahia, the Abia state, capital on Saturday during his presidential campaign visit to the state, said the economic foes caused by the APC government has rendered millions of Nigerians jobless.

He said the future of Nigerian youths would be uncertain if such a government continued in power.

“We have 21 million people unemployed which is the highest in the history of Nigeria and this is not the government we want to continue in this country,” he said

The PDP candidate told the party faithful in the state to work hard for the party to win the presidential and other electoral offices in the forth coming election, saying the outcome of the election would determine the future of the Country.

He said, “This election is one of the most important elections in our life time because it will determine if we will be able to empower our youths and our women.

You had always voted PDP in this state, continue doing that because your support for the party has brought you good governance, development, progress and we will do more for Abia people”.

He urged his party men to ensure that their votes are counted and declared before leaving the polling units after voting.

“When you vote on the Election day don’t leave your polling units, make sure INEC officials counts the result and declares them before everybody because they know that they will lose and they will want to rig the election and if you allow them to rig our children will suffer the consequences. APC want to steal this election but we will not allow them to steal it”.

Also canvassing for votes for her husband the wife of the PDP presidential candidate Mrs. Jennifer Abubarkar urged Abia electorate to vote for her husband.

She urged voters who had yet to collect their permanent voters’ card to endeavor to collect them before the end of next week.

The PDP National chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus while campaigning for Abubakar, asked the security agencies in Nigeria to block the Country’s borders and ensure that no foreigner is allowed to vote in the 2019 election.

“All we are asking from INEC and the security agencies is not to rig the election, because if they rig the election it will cause violence and crises.

“We are for peace, they should allow the people to vote and defend their votes because their vote matters. We wouldn’t accept a rigged election and foreigners from Niger Republic and Chad coming to vote in Nigeria, INEC should take note of this.

“We call on the foreign affairs minister to close our borders; we saw foreigners demonstrating at the APC rally in Kano and we will not want them to give our PVCs to them to influence the election,” he stated.

“I will work with your Governor to create employment for the youths through small and medium scale enterprises because Aba is the head quarters of SMEs in Nigeria, we will create a business hub to ensure that Aba serves its purpose for Nigeria and by doing so many young men and women will be gainfully employed.


Next Level continues, says Osinbajo after surviving second air crash in eight months

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Next Level engagements will continue, despite surviving an air crash in Kogi state on Saturday.

The accident is the second air mishap the vice-president will survive in eight months, after surviving the first in June 2018.

The professor of law and pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) returned all glory to God for keeping him and his team safe.

“All thanks and glory to God, the chopper we boarded today from Abuja just crash landed in Kabba, Kogi State, and the entire crew plus myself are all safe,” Osinbajo said.

“We are continuing with our Next Level Engagements and plans for Kogi State.”

On June 7, 2018, the chopper conveying the vice-president from the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja, was forced to land few seconds after take off.

At the time, Laolu Akande, VP’s senior special assistant, explained that the vice-president avoided using his chopper from Gwagwalada where he had gone for an official assignment back to the Presidential Villa due to “technical reasons.”

He said the vice-president returned to the Presidential Villa by road and continued with his schedule.

“VP Osinbajo attended the graduation ceremony of Nigeria Customs Senior Course in Gwagwalada today (Thursday June 7, 2018),” he had tweeted.

“On his way back, it was decided, for technical reasons, not to fly the chopper that had brought him to the venue. He drove back to the Presidential Villa and continued his schedule.”

Osinbajo has continued his campaign in Kogi state, following the accident.

BREAKING: Osinbajo’s helicopter crash-lands in Kogi (video)

The chopper carrying Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and members of his team crash-landed in Kabba, Kogi state.

This was disclosed by Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the vice-president on media and publicity.

The vice-president is safe.

“VP Osinbajo’s Chopper crash lands in Kabba, but he and the entire crew safe. He is continuing with his engagements and plans for the day in Kogi State,” Akande said via Twitter.

More to follow


Breaking news Vice President Yemi Osinbajos helicopter crashes in Kogi, all occupants are safe. He is continuing with his engagements and plans for the day in Kogi State.

Posted by Biyora Online TV on Saturday, February 2, 2019