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Tag Archives: Bukola Saraki

Court strikes out suit seeking sack of Saraki, Dogara over defection

A federal high court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to declare vacant, the seats of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of house of representatives, and 52 other federal lawmakers who defected from their political parties in the buildup to the general election.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Okon Abang, the presiding judge, held that the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), the body which instituted the suit,  lacked the legal right to institute it.

He held that LEDAP’s status as a registered corporate body under the Company and Allied Matters Act was not sufficient to confer the right to institute the action on behalf of the public.

“The plaintiff that instituted this case is not a political party that sponsored the election of the lawmakers,” Abang ruled.

“Also the plaintiff is not Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) that regulates the activities of political parties and monitor elections. The plaintiff is not a registered voter in Nigeria.

“They are not members of the national assembly. None of the political party that sponsored the lawmakers is a party in this case.

“They, therefore, lack the capacity, legal power to institute the case. The plaintiff’s case is incompetent and thereby struck out.”

In July 2018, not less than 14 senators defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while 37 members of the house of representatives also announced their defection the ruling party.

I have nothing personal against Saraki – Magu

Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday said the ongoing investigation of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, is not personal.

Magu stressed that contrary to allegations that Saraki was being witch hunted, his investigation was no different from others as the EFCC only “invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt”.

He said this while receiving award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service by Euro Knowledge Group.

The Euro Group Award is a highest recognition for individual achievement and is awarded annually.

The award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leaders that have made significant contribution and positive impact in their specific industry.

“No,  no, it’s not personal. I am not after anybody.

“Please, I don’t want you to personalise this. It is not different from other investigations we are doing,” he said.

When asked to comment on the statement  by Saraki that he was being witch-hunted,  Magu said  “never.

“You invite people who have committed crime, people who are corrupt.

“If you are not corrupt, you are not here.

“We do our homework very well: sometimes we conduct preliminary investigations for up to six months and such persons won’t even know we are investigating them,” Magu said.

He described corruption as “a national disaster and mother of all evils.

“If you remove disaster (corruption), you have a peaceful country.”

He said banditry, Boko Haram nuisance and other crimes were “caused by corruption and sustained by corruption.

“It is been funded by stolen and laundered funds, that’s why it is being sustained.”

The acting chairman, however, said that if corruption was tackled, banditry and kidnappings would be sorted out.

He called on Nigerians and stakeholders to take ownership of the fight against corruption, saying that it was not a job for one individual alone.

Magu, expressed gratitude for the award saying it would spur him to do more in the fight against corruption.

Mrs Olayinka Fayomi, Chairman, Foreign Investment Network (FIN), who presented the award on behalf of Euro Knowledge, said the award was in recognition of those who had impacted the economy.

“It is also in recognition of those who have impacted the system from which ever sector they are operating from, and the EFCC is one of them.

“Ever since the period Magu had been acting, there has been a tremendous improvement in the fight against corruption,” she said.

She said that with the award,  Magu had become one of the African Change Agents.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Saraki had recently come under pressure from the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC had confirmed reports that it had opened a fresh investigation into Saraki’s stewardship as President of the Senate as well as a probe of his earnings as governor of Kwara from 2003 to 2011.

Tony Orilade, acting spokesman, EFCC,  said in a statement that EFCC was obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space and had supremely pursued this duty without ill-will or malice against anyone.

“It is in the interest of the public and for Saraki’s personal good that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.

“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC have had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law,’’ he said.

In his reaction, Saraki insisted that the action of the EFCC was a witch-hunt.

“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the EFCC has marked certain property belonging to President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.
“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores.

“The EFCC’s move to investigate him is a mere witch-hunt exercise, aimed at settling scores, laced with malicious and partisan motives,” Saraki’s Media Adviser, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, said in a statement.

EFCC launches yet another probe against Saraki

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a fresh probe against Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The probe, which comes a week after the commencement of an earlier probe against Saraki, was announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Yusuph Olaniyonu, spokesman to the senate president, said the anti-graft agency wrote to the clerk of the senate “late last week”, requesting among other things details of contracts from 2015 till date.

The letter said to have been signed by Mohammed Umar Abba, director of operations at EFCC, requested: “the Certified True Copies of the following: i) All Cash Books, Payment Vouchers, Contract Award Letters, Evidence of Contract Bidding, Agreement and Certificate of Contract Completion from 2015 to date. ii) Certified True Copies of all Financial Retirement made within the same period. iii) Any other information that may assist the Commission in its investigation.”

The EFCC had in a letter dated April 26, and addressed to the permanent secretary, Kwara state government house, requested details of Saraki’s emuluments during his time as governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.

Olaniyonu, however, faulted the new probe, saying it is the first time such a letter is written to the office of the senate president “at the twilight of the tenure of the national assembly indicating hostile investigation along these lines.”

“None of his predecessors got such ‘exclusive’ treatment in which their office was investigated by state officials seeking to nail them at all cost,” he said.

“What EFCC does not know is that all the issues they are seeking to probe in the office of the Senate President are handled by the National Assembly Management, that is the bureaucracy of the federal legislature.

“The Senate President has nothing to do with such issues. However, in the eagerness and desperation to nail Dr. Saraki, they ignored even the basic facts upon which the entire investigation rests.”

The spokesman to the senate president also accused the EFCC of singling Saraki out “for persistent investigation”, adding that the fresh investigations are signs of witch-hunt.

“This new investigation into his activities as Governor of Kwara State is a repeat performance. The EFCC is fishing for evidence that they did not get in the past investigations which has spanned almost nine years,” he said.

“To single out one individual for persistent investigation can only be logically and plausibly interpreted to be a witch-hunt. This is definitely no fight against corruption. It is a battle waged against a ‘political enemy’. It is a ‘label to damage’ plot.”

EFCC launches fresh probe against Saraki

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a fresh probe against Senate President Bukola Saraki over allegations of money laundering.

According to THISDAY, the anti-graft agency is investigating Saraki’s earnings during his time as governor of Kwara state.

Saraki governed the state between 2003 and 2011 before proceeding to the senate.

In a letter quoted by THISDAY, the EFCC said it is investigating Saraki over “an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money laundering” involving him.

The letter said to have been addressed to the permanent secretary, Kwara government house and dated April 26, directed the state government to release details of all of Saraki’ salaries, allowances, estacode and payments received as governor.

The letter signed by Isyaku Sharu, EFCC zonal head, reads: “In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish us with the full details of all his entitlements to include but not limited to emoluments, allowances, estacodes, other fringe benefits and severance package while he held sway as the Executive Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

“This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (1) & (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.”

The probe comes less than a year after the supreme court cleared Saraki of allegations of false assets declaration instituted against him by the federal government.

The EFCC had testified against Saraki during the trial.

Saraki, Dogara, 52 others know fate May 17

The Federal High Court Abuja, has fixed May 17 to deliver judgment in a suit seeking the removal of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and 52 other lawmakers.

Justice Okon Abang fixed the date on Monday after taking arguments from all parties involved in the matter.

An advocacy group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, (LEDAP) dragged the lawmakers to court seeking a declaration that they were no longer members of the National Assembly having defected to other political parties before the expiration of their tenure.

The defendants comprise 17 Senators, 37 members of the House of Representatives, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the clerks to both houses.

At the resumed hearing, Mr Mahmud Magaji, SAN, counsel to Saraki and the other senators insisted that the plaintiff had no locus standi to institute the suit since it was not a political party, politician, constituent of the lawmakers or an executive member of either of the political parties.

He concluded that they were meddlesome interlopers who instituted the suit to annoy the defendants, Nigerians and their constituents who voted them to represent them.

“Allowing this suit will amount to slapping Nigerians and I urge the court to resist the temptation and dismiss the suit.”

Mr Josh Amupitan, SAN, counsel to Dogara and the other members of the House of Representatives, for his part, urged the court to discountenance the argument of the plaintiff that it had locus standi because it was a registered organisation.

“They claim that they are a registered NGO and that since this is an issue of public interest litigation, they have the locus.

“We have referred the court to our address where we said that public interest litigations in Nigeria are limited to statutory cases.

“The Supreme Court only allows the expansion of locus standi because of the provisions of criminal procedure act which recognises the rights of a private prosecutor.

“Public interest litigation is limited to cases of fundamental rights especially where the exercise of such rights has been vested on public officers or public institutions like INEC, the senate president or the speaker.”

Amupitan added that the plaintiff had failed to provide any document before the court to back its claim that there was a defection.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff was a stranger and an interloper in the matter.

Arguing on behalf of the plaintiff, Mr Jubrin Okutepa,SAN,maintained that his client had the requisite locus standi to appear in court.

On the argument that his client had not been able to prove the defection, let alone division, Okutepa said that facts admitted, need no further proof.

“Since they themselves have admitted that they defected, the allegation that we have not proved defection is a moot point and not a life issue.

“The defendants themselves put up a defence of division.”

Okutepa urged the court to grant the reliefs of the plaintiff and resist the temptation to accept the submission of the defendants which he said appeared attractive but was a dangerous omen for the Nigerian society.

Justice Abang in a short ruling noted that the court had on April 11, suspended delivering judgment in the suit, even though the judgement was ready, because of an application from the defendants to be heard.

“They have been heard and the matter will be determined on its merit.”

He adjourned the matter until May 17 for judgement.

LEDAP, in their suit filed on Sept. 14, 2018, prayed the court for an interpretation of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution.

This was with regards as to whether any member of the National Assembly who resigns from the political party that sponsored his election before the expiration of the term for which he was elected, automatically loses his seat in the assembly.

The group was also seeking a declaration that the lawmakers were no longer entitled to receive any remunerations due to a member of the National Assembly and that any of such remunerations after their date of defection be refunded to the Federal Government.

LEDAP in the suit, also prayed the presiding members of the National Assembly to declare vacant, the seats of the defectors.

Saraki lands retirement job as IHRC Ambassador

Ahead of his retirement as the President of the 8th Senate and also as a senator, Dr Bukola Saraki has landed a retirement job as an Ambassador of an international organisation.

Saraki was nominated as Ambassador ‘At Large’ at the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a statement by his media office said.

According to the statement, Saraki’s nomination letter was conveyed in a letter dated March 16, 2019, by Ambassador Friday Sani, the Diplomatic Head of the Commission to Nigeria and other African Countries.

The letter stated that as a sequel to the approval of the World Secretary General of the IHRC, Dr. Saraki has been appointed as one of the revered Ambassadors-at-Large of the multinational body.

“While our role as a regional body is to promote and encourage institutions and persons to uphold human dignity across the world, we must not fail to mention the commendation of our Nigerian team over your resolute efforts in the stability of your country and your firm leadership of the Nigerian Senate which is adjudged to be among the most proactive parliaments across the world.

“Besides, the Commission is not unmindful of the maturity that you recently displayed in the face of an obvious provocation in your constituency during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections,” Ambassador Sani said in the letter.

In the new capacity, Dr. Saraki is expected to lead the diplomatic team of the IHRC in various diplomatic missions across the world.

The Senate President, on April 10th 2019, accepted the nomination of the Commission, while also expressing his appreciation to the IHRC for his nomination.

Saraki challenges Tinubu to provide proof of budget padding

Senate President Bukola Saraki has challenged Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to provide proofs of how the leadership of the national assembly padded budgets.

The senate president’s statement is coming barely a day after Tinubu claimed that budgets were hijacked under him and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” Tinubu had said in a statement from his media office on Sunday.

Saraki, however, in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesperson, on Monday, said Tinubu’s statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the eighth national assembly and its leadership.

The senate president challenged Tinubu to make reference to where the leadership of the national assembly “sought to pad with pet projects.”

He described the allegation as careless, irresponsible and callous, while demanding that Tinubu withdraws it.

“Yesterday, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, released another of his now well expected quarterly vicious attack on the person of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate,” Saraki said.

“Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months (Quarterly) will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations.

“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.

“The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Most of the work is done by the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties.

“It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed.

“So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is ‘jockeying and maneuvering for influence’, as he puts it.

“In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make specific reference to where Dr. Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly “sought to pad with pet projects” as he alleged. Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation.”

Listing some of the bills passed under his leadership, Saraki said he is proud that the eight assembly has surpassed the records of all previous senate in the number of bills passed and its significance to the economy.

“As a leader of the Eighth National Assembly, Dr. Saraki is proud that under his watch, the Senate has surpassed the records of all previous Senate in the number of bills passed, the significance of these bills to the revival of the economy, the fight against insecurity and corruption, improvement in the provision of health service and the education sector, as well as better social service delivery to the generality of the people,” he said.

“The bills passed, motions moved, intervention made and frequent engagement with the people were all directed towards addressing the day to day issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.

“However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through.

“Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership.”

Saraki: Why Magu was never confirmed as EFCC chairman

Senate President Bukola Saraki has explained why the senate did not confirm Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Saraki gave the explanation on Monday at the orientation programme organised for senators-elect and house of representatives members-elect ahead of the inauguration of ninth national assembly in Abuja.

The country’s number three citizen said having rejected Magu’s nomination on more than one occasion, President Muhammadu Buhari should have nominated another person for the position.

The senate had repeatedly rejected Magu’s nomination after he was said to have been indicted for infractions by a report of the Department of State Services (DSS).

But Saraki said there is always “the need for political solution and dialogue” to solve such issue as Magu’s confirmation.

“In the case of the appointment of the chairman of the EFCC, the powers of the Senate are very clear in the constitution. For any nominee, we are guided by the constitution. It is an appointment made by Mr. President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, which means the Senate has the powers to either say yes or say no,” said the senate president.

“In a situation where the Senate rejects, it is up to the executive at that time to send in a replacement or in some cases, when we have appointment rejected and the executive will re-present before the Senate but if the senators again, took a decision to reject the nominee, the appointment stands rejected.”

Saraki also said that the senators in the incoming ninth assembly should decide who is best to lead them as senate president, as it is important to ensure stability in the upper legislative chamber.

There has been much news about who takes over from Saraki as senate president after he failed to secure re-election in the chamber.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is, however, expected to produce Saraki’s replacement having emerged with majority lawmakers.

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the APC, had on Friday told party members in the national assembly to pick Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as their preferred candidates for senate president and speaker respectively or leave.

But Saraki urged incoming members of the national assembly to be present in the legislative complex and elect their next leaders themselves.

“The point I am making is that we should not make too much news on the process of electing a presiding officers,” he said.

“What is important is for the members of the Senate to decide who is the best to lead them so that they can have stability.”

Leave Saraki out of 9th Senate leadership tussle – PDP to APC

Senators-elect of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been cautioned to stop dragging the name of the President of the Senate Bukola Saraki into their tussle for the 9th Senate’s presidency.

The Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upper legislative chamber gave the caution in a statement jointly issued by the Majority Leader, Abiodun Olujimi and Senator Dino Melaye on Tuesday in Abuja.

The PDP advised their APC colleagues to desist from involving Saraki in their schemes to hold on to certain leadership positions in the 9th Senate.

The PDP caucus stated that it has observed closely as the contenders for the various Senate leadership posts in the APC sponsor various publications in the media to make it appear that Dr. Saraki is seeking to play a role in determining who occupied various leadership posts.

“We have noted with regret and surprise how some Senators who are interested in becoming the next Senate President and those seeking to occupy various leadership positions in the next Senate have been busy dragging the name of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, into their schemes for fulfilling their ambitions.

“We believe those involved in this dirty game are only afraid of the shadow of the Senate President.

“Such people should know that Dr. Saraki is not interested in their plots, schemes and manipulation.

“His concern now is to continue to provide leadership to the Eighth Senate and to ensure that the Senate achieves as much as is possible in the remaining two months of its tenure.

“It is obvious that many Senators and even Senators-elect still defer to Saraki. And this is understandable because he is a national leader of the PDP. He is a respected Senator who has also provided solid leadership for the Senate.

“So, those who are afraid of his influence should find a positive way to deal with that, not sponsoring falsehood in the media.

“Last week, PDP Senators paid Dr. Saraki a visit in his home as a way of encouraging him and in recognition of the personal sacrifice that he has had to make for providing strong and purposeful leadership to the National Assembly, for protecting the independence of the legislature and judiciary, separation of powers, inclusiveness in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria and working for the creation of a conducive environment for business to thrive.

“Those who are not sure of their grounds in their quest for Senate leadership are busy putting a spin on that visit.

“Let it be known that no matter the mischief being sponsored by these spineless people, Dr. Saraki knows that it is the duty of all Senators in the Ninth Senate to elect their Senate President and other leaders. Nobody from outside the Senate has such powers.

“Ït is also the right of every Senator to aspire to that position as stated by the constitution. He has benefitted from this practice of Senators within the chambers exercising the right. He is conscious of this fact and will not be a party to any plan to seize or interfere with the process of evolving the leadership of the Ninth Senate,”the satement said.

The PDP caucus therefore urged APC members in the senate as well as their handlers to leave Saraki alone and concentrate on how they will convince the Senators-elect to vote them.

The APC senators and to-be senators were further urged to focus on ensuring that the election of the next Senate President takes place in a conducive atmosphere with a view to strengthening the institution.

Offa bank robberies: Suspect alleges he was told to implicate Saraki

One of the five persons  standing trial  for  last year’s bank robberies in Offa, Kwara State, Ayoade Akinnibosun, on Friday told an Ilorin High Court that the police deliberately killed Michael Adikwu, a  principal suspect and  the  mastermind  behind  the robberies, which claimed many lives.

Testifying before the court in a “trial within trial”, Ayoade also narrated how the police asked him to implicate the  Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki,  in the robbery incidents.

Akinnibosun and two other accused, Ibikunle Ogunleye and Adeola Abraham,  alleged  that they made their statements under duress.

Answering questions during cross-examination by the defence counsel,  Mathias Emeribe,  Ayoade,  who is the first accused  in the case,  claimed  Adikwu,  who was the mastermind of  the robberies,  was shot dead by one Inspector Vincent attached to the police Intelligence Response Team.

While being   examined and cross-examined by their counsel, Emeribe,  and  the prosecution counsel, Razaq Gold,  they  alleged that they were  tortured and threatened by the police to make their  confessional statements.

The prosecution witness, Inspector Hitila Hassan,  on Thursday told the court that the suspects voluntarily made  their statements under his supervision.

Lead prosecuting counsel, Prof Wahab Egbewole,  sought to tender the statements as exhibits but Emeribe objected.

Emeribe argued that the accused  did not volunteer their statements which the prosecution wanted to tender before the court, noting that they fell short of the provisions of the Evidence Act, particularly sections 28 and 29.

At the resumed hearing on Friday,  Akinnibosun said,  “Abba Kyari told me to  say that  the Senate President Bukola Saraki  gave me the guns  we  used  for the operations but I declined.

“He (Abba Kyari) promised that they would reward me handsomely and set me free if I could  indict Saraki. When I disagreed,  they asked  some policemen to take me back to the cell. During this time,  my hands were tied to my legs.”

The suspect  said  he was the leader of Kwara South Liberation Movement mobilising young jobless graduates for the  representative of  Kwara South  at the Senate, Dr Rafiu Ibrahim.

The trio also  claimed Inspector Vincent  shot dead five Fulani men  when they were kept at the IRT ‘theatre room’.

They added that it was in the same ‘theatre room that Inspector Vincent, popularly known  as Mr Torture, allegedly shot dead Adikwu for failing to indict them.

Ogunleye  said “they brought the late Adikwu to implicate us and he said he had not met any of us in his life – that was  why Mr Torture shot him to death.”

The trial Judge, Justice Halimat Salman,  adjourned the case till  March 25, 2019 for the continuation of trial within trial.

EFCC rearraigns Saraki’s aide Makanjuola, two others over N3.5bn fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday rearraigned Gbenga Makanjuola, a Deputy Chief of Staff to Senate President Bukola Saraki before Justice Maureen Onyetenu of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on an amended 11-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, accepting cash payment beyond threshold and money laundering to the tune of N3.5billion.

Makanjuola is charged alongside Kolawole Shittu, cashier to the Senate; Robert Chidozie Mbonu, a former Managing Director, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, who is at large; Melrose General Services Limited; and Obiora Amobi, Operation Manager, Melrose General Services Limited.

At the resumption of hearing, EFCC counsel Bashir Kamil informed the court that Wednesday was slated for the rearraignment of the defendants due to the transfer of Justice Babs Kuewumi, who was handling the case earlier.

Justice Kuewumi was among the judges transferred out of Lagos early this year.

Justice Onyetenu ordered that the charge be read to defendants for their plea to be taken.

One of the counts read: “That you, Gbenga Makanjuola, sometime in December 2016 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of the sum of $500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars Only) from Kolawole Shittu without going through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”

Another count read:  “That you, Robert Chidozie Mbonu (now at large) and Melrose General Services Limited between the 14th day of December, 2016 and January 2017 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took control of the sum of N3,500,000,000.00 (Three Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira Only) transferred from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum’s account into Access Bank Plc account number 0005892453 by Melrose General Services Limited, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund represented the proceeds of lawful activities to wit-conspiracy, stealing and fraud, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (9) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by the Act No.1, 2012) and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

In view of their pleas, Bashir Kamil, the prosecution counsel, asked the court for a trial date.

However, Okwudili Anozie, counsel to the second and fourth defendants, holding the brief of Paul Erokoro (SAN), applied that the court should allow defendants continue on the bail earlier granted by Justice Babs Kuewumi who was transferred out of Lagos earlier this year.

Also, Omeoga Chukwu, counsel to the third defendant, urged the court to allow his client continue on the existing bail.

Consequently, Justice Maureen Onyetenu granted the defendant application to continue on the existing bail earlier granted and adjourned till May 20, 21 and 22 for trial.

The EFCC had submitted a report to President Muhammadu Buhari linking the Senate President and some of his aides to the diversion of the sum of N19billion from the N522.74billion Paris Club refund.

In December 2016, the Nigerian government approved the sum of N522.74billion to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement of the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan from 1995 to 2002.

However, the EFCC discovered that the loan refunds were illegally diverted through the account of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Investigation revealed that following the receipt of the fund, the NGF, in alleged connivance with Saraki, remitted huge sums of money to private consultants who eventually laundered about N19billion.

Investigation further revealed that a sum of N3.5billion was allegedly lodged into Melrose General Services’ company account number 0005892453 domiciled in Access Bank from the NGF.

Saraki, Melaye, Aisha Yesufu… Abuja ‘stands still’ for Pius Adesanmi

Some residents of the federal capital territory (FCT) paid last respect to Pius Adesanmi, Nigerian-born Canadian professor, on Wednesday.

Adesanmi was among the passengers on the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on its way to Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday.

All the 157 persons on board died in the accident.

At the Unity Fountain, different people, mostly clad in black and teary-eyed, recounted how the professor touched their lives in numerous ways.

Speaking at the event, Senate President Bukola Saraki said Adesanmi was not his enemy despite criticising him.

Describing Adesanmi as an ambassador of Nigeria, Saraki said the professor “did not die in vain.”

The procession

“As I was leaving my house somebody said, ‘Sir, do you know that he was very critical of you?’ I said we are not enemies, we share different views and we must appreciate his talent. He had his views, he had his thought about some of us,” he said.

“We can learn from some of those things and that is why I came here to join you and appreciate those that are good ambassadors of this country. His wife and his daughter, let them know that their father and husband did not die in vain. I’m here to give him that respect.”

Deji Adeyanju, convener of Concerned Nigerians, said Adesanmi was a patriot who ought to be celebrated.

“There is no greater patriot than a person who speaks the truth, we must celebrate Pius Adesanmi. I’m touched by this death and I prayer that his memory be blessed,” Adeyanju.

“We must take the lives of Nigerians more seriously than business.”

Nwabufo paying tribute to the late professor

Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, said the professor was one who spoke the truth “fearlessly.”

Melaye said one way to honour Adesanmi is to stand for the “truth he wrote.”

“He was a great Nigerian, one who spoke the truth fearlessly. He is gone but his works are here and the only way to appreciate this transparent ordinary Nigerian is to make sure that the truth is stood for,” the senator said.

“The truth he wrote about we will defend it. In an unjust society, silence becomes a crime.”

Frederick Nwabufo, media personality, said Adesanmi would live forever.

“You wrote your legacy in the sands of time. Archaeologists have work to do excavating the artefacts of truths you left sprawling everywhere on red earth. Rest on, Prof,” he said.

Aisha Yesufu, an activist, spoke on how they used to exchanged banters on social media.

After the speeches, a procession was held within the vicinity of the fountain.

Saraki loses, Dogara wins … Buhari, Atiku in tight race

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Sunday became one of the major casualties of the 2019 general elections as he lost his bid to return to the Senate. Apart from Saraki, the other two senatorial candidates of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, lost to the All Progressives Congress.

Saraki lost to the Kwara Central Senatorial District candidate of the APC, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, in what election observers described as a major upset.

Oloriegbe polled 123, 808 votes to defeat the Senate President who scored 68, 994 votes in the four local government areas of the Kwara Central Senatorial District.

The result of the election was announced by the Senatorial District Returning Officer, Prof. Olatunbosun Owoyomi, from the University of Ilorin

In Asa Local Government Area, Oloriegbe polled 15, 932 votes to defeat Saraki who scored 11, 252 votes.

The APC candidate also got 30, 014 votes in Ilorin East Local Government Area to 14, 654 polled by his PDP rival.

In Ilorin West, which is considered Saraki’s stronghold, Oloriegbe polled 51, 531 votes to defeat the Senate President with 30, 075 votes.

The situation was the same in Ilorin South where the APC senatorial candidate floored the Senate President with 26, 331 votes as against 13, 031 votes garnered by Saraki.

The APC’s candidates won the House of Representatives seats in Asa/Ilorin West and Ilorin South/Ilorin East Federal Constituencies.

In the presidential election, the APC maintained the lead in 14 out of the 15 local government areas already announced.

NAN reports that the PDP only led in Oke Ero Local Government with 6,242 votes to 6,079 votes polled by APC.

Balewa/Bogoro Constituency by the Prof. Mahmoud Abdulhamid.

The result was declared at the Zwall Collation Centre, in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Dogara, who contested on the platform of the PDP polled a total of 73,609 votes to defeat his closest rival, Abubabakar Kantana of the APC who got 50,075 votes.

INEC opens collation centre, adjourns proceedings till today

Meanwhile, INEC on Sunday performed the last step in the conduct of the 2019 presidential election by opening the National Collation Centre for the collation and announcement of results.

The Chairman of INEC and Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who performed the brief ceremony held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, however, adjourned sitting for the collation and announcement of the presidential results till 11am today (Monday) after setting the ground rules.

Earlier during an updated press briefing, Yakubu said Ekiti State was the first state to have completed the collation of the results of presidential election and is expected to present it in Abuja.

According to him, the commission was doing everything possible to ensure the speedy collation of results and the declaration of winners of the elections conducted on Saturday.

He announced that one of its personnel in Rivers State, Mrs Ibisaki Amachree, was the first casualty of the elections.

The victim was reportedly hit by a bullet while returning from election duty from Degema, Rivers State.

While praying for the repose of her soul, the INEC chairman condemned the attacks, adding that INEC would submit a comprehensive report.

Yakubu urged security agencies to expedite investigations and prosecution of the culprits.

Buhari wins in Ekiti

Though the INEC chair did not announce the result of the election in Ekiti State, the commission’s Returning Officer, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, did.

Olayinka said the standard bearer of the APC in the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari, scored 219,231 votes in Ekiti State while the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the state, scored 154,032.

The total valid votes in the poll, he said, were 381,132, rejected votes 12,577, while total votes were 393, 709.

Atiku leads in Ondo, wins 12 LGs, APC 6

However, Atiku is leading in Ondo State after winning 12 out of the 23 local government areas released by INEC as of the time of filing this report.

The INEC Returning Officer in the state, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, on Sunday said the PDP candidate won in nine out of 15 local government areas of the state while Buhari won in six.

According to INEC, the local government areas won by the PDP included Idanre, Ondo East, Ose, Ifedore , Akure North and Ile Oluji /Oke Igbo, Irele and Okitipupa Local Government Areas.

However, the APC candidate won in Akoko South-East, Akoko South-West, Akoko North-East, Akoko North-West, Owo and Odigbo Local Government Areas.

Similarly, the senator representing the Ondo North Senatorial District, Ajayi Boroffice, was declared winner of the senatorial election in the district by INEC.

The two-term senator of the APC won the election by polling 53,199, defeating the candidates of the PDP and the Action Alliance, who scored, 34, 490 and 43,100 votes respectively.

INEC declared the Ondo South Senatorial District poll inconclusive. The PDP won the Ondo Central senatorial seat.

Buhari, Atiku share 2 LGAs in Benue

In Benue State, Buhari scored 12,197 votes in Tarka Local Government Area to floor Atiku who had 4,875 votes.

Announcing the results on Sunday in Makurdi, the INEC Collation Officer for the election in Tarka Local Government Area, Prof. Simon Ejembi, said the local government area had 10 registration areas with 50,180 registered voters.

Also announcing the result of the presidential poll for Ado Local Government Area of Benue State, the collation officer, Prof. Idugba Echi, said the PDP candidate polled 8,614 to defeat Buhari, who polled 5,373 votes.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the results of the presidential poll in 21 other local government areas were being awaited.

Buhari in early lead in Katsina

Expectedly in Katsina State where Buhari hails from, the APC presidential candidate cleared all the three local governments declared so far by INEC.

The local councils are Daura, Matazu and Ingawa.

In Daura LG, Dr Abdu Yau of the Federal University, Dutsinma, who is the collation officer, said the APC polled 37,648 to defeat the PDP candidate who had 4,650 votes.

None of the remaining political parties that participated in the election scored up to 10 votes.

The Collation Officer for Matazu council, Dr Christopher Ndabula, also of FUDMA, said the APC scored 27,625 votes, while the PDP polled 9,151 votes.

He put the total votes cast in the council at 37,297 while 567 votes were rejected.

In Ingawa Local Government Area, Buhari won with 29,230 votes, while Atiku who came second polled 7,625 votes.

The collation officer for the council, Dr Suleiman Hassan, who announced the results, put the total votes cast in the council at 39,025.

INEC Chief Returning Officer for Katsina State, Prof. Fatimah Mukhtar, was still supervising the announcement of the presidential election result as of the time of filing this report.

Buhari wins seven of nine Borno LGs

Buhari has also won seven of the 27 Local Government Areas in Borno State, as election result collation is progressing in the state.

The exercise, presided over by the state’s Presidential Returning Officer, Prof. Saminu Abdulrahaman, said Buhari scored the highest votes cast in seven of the 27 local government areas as indicated in the results so far submitted for collation by the returning officers of the councils.

The councils were Nganzai, Mobbar, Dikwa, Abadam, Guzamala, Gubio and Magumeri.

The presidential election results so far collated indicated that Buhari was taking the lead against Atiku, his closest opponent.

The results as announced by the Returning Officer in charge of Nganzai, Dr A. Fusami, showed that the APC candidate scored 6, 804 as against the 975 votes scored by the PDP’s candidate.

In Mobbar, Baba Shehu, the Returning Officer, declared that Buhari polled 13, 122 votes while Atiku scored 280 votes.

For Dikwa; the Returning Officer, Dr. J. Ibrahim, disclosed that the APC candidate scored 17, 805 against the 100 votes scored by the PDP candidate.

Dr Ahmed Musa, the Returning Officer in charge of Abadam, said the APC candidate polled 5, 907 while the PDP candidate got 270 votes.

The Returning Officer in charge of Guzamala, Dr Zarma Alhaji, announced that Buhari polled 5, 370 votes against the 521 votes scored by Atiku.

Also, Dr Kachalla Mohammed, the Returning Officer in charge of Gubio, declared that the APC candidate polled 10, 207 votes while the PDP standard bearer got 510 votes.

Dr Babagana Gambo, the Returning Officer in charge of Magumeri, announced that Buhari polled 12, 739 against the 694 votes scored by Atiku.

Buhari leads in 7 out of 9 announced LGAs results in Gombe

Buhari is leading Atiku in Gombe State, according to the results of nine Local Government Areas announced on Sunday.

Gombe is a PDP state being governed by Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, who is running for the Senate on the PDP platform.

The results of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections received in Gombe, show that the APC is ahead of the PDP in seven of the nine LGAs in results announced.

NAN reported that the collation was being presided over by Prof. Kyari Mohammed, Vice Chancellor, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola.

The presidential election results from Gombe LGA showed that the APC polled 86, 162 votes, while PDP scored 7,634 votes.

In Nafada LGA, the APC scored 15, 417 votes while the PDP scored 5, 792 votes.

In Yamaltu-Deba LGA, the APC scored 56, 157 votes to defeat the PDP which scored 13, 248 votes.

In Dukku LGA, the APC scored 36, 010 votes against PDP’s 7,435 while in Kwami LGA, the APC polled 36, 317 to beat the PDP which had 6,614 votes.

In Balanga LGA, the APC scored 29, 647 to defeat PDP which had 14, 614 while in Kaltungo LGA, the APC scored 20, 944 against PDP’s 20, 733.

However, the PDP defeated the APC in Shongom and Billiri LGAs.

In Shongom LGA, the PDP scored 12, 871 votes against APC’s 9, 642 while in Billiri LGA, the APC scored 15, 331 votes while the PDP scored 21, 328 votes.

Buhari leads in 13 Kano LGs

Buhari is leading in 13 local government areas released so far in Kano.

Buhari secured an early lead in the number of votes collated and announced by INEC.

Buhari swept all 13 local government areas announced as of 8pm on Sunday.

Even though Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso who is one of the Directors of the PDP Presidential Campaign secured his polling unit by ensuring that Atiku won with 278 votes to Buhari’s 215, he could not prevent Atiku’s loss to Buhari, in Madobi, his local government area.

The APC won the area by polling 26,110 votes almost double the 13,113 votes the PDP candidate got after the final tally.

The INEC collation officer for the presidential election in charge of the local government, Dr Sani Umar, while presenting the results at the Kano State INEC collation centre, gave the total number of registered voters as 84,067 out of which 40,764 were accredited to vote.

The total number of votes cast was 40,286 out of which 39,524 were valid and 762 were rejected.

Governor Umar Ganduje was able to secure victory for Buhari in his ward and his Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area.

While giving a breakdown of the results in the area, the INEC collation officer for the local government, Dr Musa Muhammad, announced that Buhari polled 19,984 as against Atiku’s 7,732 votes.

He said, “The total number of registered voters is 101,254, those accredited to vote were: 61,144. The APC received 37,417 and the PDP got 6,507; valid votes were 45,056 while rejected votes were 2, 306. The total votes cast, 47,362.”

The collation officer for Garun-Malam Local Government Area, Dr Umar Abdulkadir, announced that the APC presidential candidate received 23,810 votes while the PDP got 4,861 votes.

Number of accredited voters stood at 31,641. There were 29,004 valid votes and 1,982 votes were cancelled. The total number of votes cast was 30,986.

In Rimin Gado Local Government Area, the collation officer, Prof. Ibrahim Sa’ad, announced that 63,347 persons registered to vote out of which 32,878 were accredited. Of this number, APC got 20,589 votes while PDP received 10,035. The total of votes cast stood at 32,343 while 31,472 votes were valid, 871 were rejected

In Tofa Local Government Area, the INEC collation officer, Dr Murtala Badamasi, gave the number of registered voters as 71,348 out of which 30,227 were accredited to vote. Of this number, the APC got 19,984 votes while the PDP got 7,732. Total number of votes cast, 29,753, valid votes cast was 28,101, rejected votes 1,652

The collation officer for Kunchi Local Government, Prof. Saminu Bala, said 58,334 registered to vote, 27,281 were accredited to vote. Of this number, the APC got 20,375 while the PDP got 4,983. The total number of votes cast stood at 26,895 of which 25,753, were valid while 1,142 were rejected.

For Bagwai Local Government, the collation officer, Prof. Abdulrasheed Jibya, said the number of registered voters was 89,134 out of which 36,929 were accredited to vote. At the end of voting, the APC got 23,375 while the PDP got 10,584. Total number of votes cast stood at 35,697, valid votes 34,697, rejected votes, 1,096.

In Gabasawa Local Government Area, the INEC collation officer, Prof. Mustapha Muktar, said 78,627 people registered to vote; those accredited were 32,847 out of this number, the APC secured 24,420 while the PDP went away with 6,130. Total number of votes cast, 32,440, valid votes 31,106, rejected 1,334.

The collation officer for Bunkure Local Government, Prof. Hafiz Yakasai, said 89,616 persons registered to vote, 39,803 were accredited. The APC got 27, 232 while the PDP got 9,528. Total votes cast, 38,970, valid votes, 37,318 while 1,652 were rejected.

In Karaye Local Government, the INEC collation officer, Mohammed Isa, said 33,243 were accredited to vote; APC got 23,023, PDP got 8,265, valid votes, 31,923, rejected votes 962.

PDP wins Osun East senatorial seat, two Rep seats

PDP’s Prince Francis Fadahunsi has been declared the winner of Osun East Senatorial election, defeating Hon Ajibola Famurewa of the APC.

According to the result of the poll as announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Adegbehingbe Oladiran, Fadahunsi polled 115,893 votes to defeat Famurewa, who got 105,720 votes.

The PDP candidate Mr. Ajilesoro Abimbola, has been declared the winner of Ife Central/Ife North/Ife South and Ife East Federal Constituency election.

Ajilesoro was returned elected after garnering 52,801 votes to beat the APC candidate, Oladoyin Folorunsho, who got 46,373 votes.

The INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof. Suraju Ajadi, announced the results at Oluorogbo Government Middle Schools, Road 7, Ile-Ife on Sunday evening.

Similarly, Mr Bamidele Salam of the PDP was declared the winner of the Ede Federal Constituency poll.

The Returning Officer, Prof Adeniyi Adewusi, said Salam got 46,994 votes to defeat APC’s Adejare Bello, who got 44,866 votes.

Buhari leads Atiku in Oyo, Ajimobi loses four councils to PDP

Meanwhile, Buhari, is leading Atiku based on the total number of votes from 17 local government areas of the state released so far by INEC.

While the APC polled 190,940, the PDP scored 176,101. But the PDP is leading in 11 local governments, while the APC leads in six local government areas.

The PDP candidate won in Afijio, Saki East, Kajola, Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East, Itesiwaju, Iwajowa, Ibadan Northwest, Olorunsogo, Ona Ara and Ibadan North while the APC won in Irepo, Egbeda, Oluyole, Saki West, Iseyin and Atisbo local government areas as of 10pm when this report was filed.

The Collation Officer for Egbeda Local Government Area, Prof. Olajide Fashola, said some thugs came with guns and hijacked a lot of election materials, card readers and ballot boxes around 5.30pm on Saturday.

Fashola said there was no victim among the INEC officials in the area. He said quick intervention of security officials put the situation under control.

Meanwhile, the candidate of the APC in the Oyo South Senatorial District, Abiola Ajimobi, has lost in four of the six local government areas declared so far by INEC.

The state governor lost to his rival, Dr Kola Balogun of the PDP.

As of the time of filing this report, results announced by the Collation Officer for the poll, Prof Kolawole Akinsola, the PDP floored the APC in four local governments.

In the Ibadan North-West LGA, PDP polled 12,144 votes, beating APC and African Democratic Party which recorded 8,916 votes and 5,819 respectively. PDP also won in Ibadan North with 18,690 ahead of the APC which scored 17,947 while ADC came third with 10,202 votes.

In Ibarapa North, the PDP recorded 8,083 votes to edge out the APC which polled 5,837 while ADC gathered 2,536 votes. The PDP equally emerged winner in Ibarapa East with 9,982 votes, beating APC to second position with 6,951 votes while ADC secured 3,670.

However, APC won in the Ido and Ibarapa Central LGAs. In Ido, APC polled 8,108 votes to beat PDP, which recorded 8,108 votes to come second. ADC came third with 5,265 votes. The APC got 7,147 votes in Ibarapa Central, winning PDP and ADC which polled 6,577 and 1,475 respectively.

The results of the three remaining local government areas that constitute the senatorial districts were being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

The PUNCH

BREAKING: Saraki loses in one of four local governments

Senate President Bukola Saraki lost one of the four local governments in the Kwara Central Senatorial District in Saturday’s National Assembly elections.

Mr Saraki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost to APC’s Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

There are four local governments in the senatorial district including Asa, Ilorin West, Ilorin East and Ilorin South local governments.

While Asa local government’s result has been collated and announced, other local governments were not ready Sunday afternoon.

In the official results announced at the INEC office on Sunday for Asa Local Government, Mr Saraki’s PDP scored 11, 252 votes.

In the same local government, the APC candidate polled 15,932 votes.

Saraki tells Buhari to meet the demands of ASUU

Senate President Bukola Saraki has asked the federal government to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in order to end the ongoing strike.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his media aide, Saraki said it is unacceptable for the students who registered to vote in their institutions to be disenfranchised due to the strike.

On November 4, 2018, ASUU embarked on what it had described as a “total, comprehensive and indefinite strike” following government’s failure to implement the agreement reached in November 2016.

Saraki said the country cannot continue a system whereby its universities are frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of young people.

“In November 2016, the Senate intervened in the ASUU strike and met with the officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour, Employment and Productivity and the Academic Staff Union of Universities,” the statement read.

“At that meeting, which was attended by the Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity in the National Assembly, we agreed that the Federal Government should work to implement the agreement that it reached with ASUU in 2009, and subsequently, we set up a sub-committee to liaise with both ASUU and the Federal Government on this issue.

“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) because this issue goes beyond negotiations. It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections.

“Make no mistake, we cannot continue this system whereby our universities will be frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of our young people — and creating negative bottlenecks that place unnecessary stress on our universities.

“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.

“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue.”

Atiku didn’t travel to US as my aide —Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki says the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, did not travel to the United States as an aide to the Senate President.

The All Progressives Congress had said Atiku was finally allowed to travel to the US because he posed as an aide to Saraki.

Speaking on AIT’s Kakaaki programme on Wednesday, Saraki, who is the Director-General, Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, described the allegation as nonsensical.

He said, “These are desperate claims. When you are campaigning and you see that you have suffered a setback, just move on and don’t make a fool of yourself. To say the candidate travelled on my merit is not true.

“He applied for his visa, was given the visa and he was invited to attend functions. How do you do that? How do you travel as an aide? That is ridiculous! They know it. It is very difficult for them to respond because they have sold a lot of propaganda and lies to Nigerians.

“I remember when we sat a lot of young people down when we started and introduced him (Atiku) as our candidate and they said they would support him because he has a good agenda for the youth and knows how to create jobs but the concern was that the government said Atiku could not travel to America and how can we have a President that cannot travel to America?

“And he (Atiku) always said it was not a problem but it was important for us to address the problem and put it behind us and because the other party was using it as propaganda, we decided to go to America and instead of them to keep quiet and move on, they say he went as my aide.”

Saraki also lambasted the Buhari-led government for operating an opaque fuel subsidy regime.

The Senate President, who exposed subsidy fraud at the National Assembly in 2011, said the corruption was still taking place.

He admitted that corruption thrived under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s subsidy regime but argued that Buhari’s own was worse because his government was give money to marketers  with funds that were not approved by the National Assembly.

Suspected PDP thugs attack APC rally in Ilorin

The Nigerian Police Force has said that suspected Peoples Democratic Party, PDP thugs went on the rampage in Ilorin, Kwara stste on Sunday and disrupted a rally being held by the All Progressives Congress.

This was contrary to the impression created by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Friday that it was the APC members that were attacking his family home and supporters.

“As we speak, the situation report from Kwara State Police Command was that the APC holding a Governorship campaign rally at Agbaji in Ilorin came under a sudden attack by suspected PDP thugs, who disrupted the rally, damaged five vehicles and some Keke Napep and wounded two innocent people”, police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said.

“The family house of the Senate President was not attacked as being peddled in some social media”, Moshood added.

The APC governorship candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak confirmed the attack on the party’s rally, but he gave a different location.

“Today’s attack on us during our rally in Ode Alfa Nda shouldn’t shake us rather we should see it as one of the last attempts of a drowning dynasty to stay alive by clutching at anything including violence. Their time is up, they just don’t know it yet”, Abdulrazak tweeted, along with photographs of some of the vehicles damaged during the attack.

The Nation reported that Abdulrazak was whisked away from the rally as thousands of supporters also scampered into safety, after shots were fired. Two persons were injured.

According to The Nation, there was also another attack on APC supporters in Ile Aiyelabegan, a household that is a short distance from the Agbaji homestead of the Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Police revisited Saraki’s allegation in light of Sunday’s disruption of APC rally by suspected PDP thugs.

Senator Saraki at a press conference in Abuja raised concern over his safety, his family and those of his political supporters in his state, Kwara.

He claimed that the police have continued to show hostility to him and his supporters in Kwara State as part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine his personal security and that of his immediate and larger family.

He cited three incidents to illustrate his fear about his security. One of them was the allegation that on Thursday, some supporters and thugs of the APC attacked PDP supporters at Adewole/Adeta, Ilorin, who were holding their weekly ward meetings.

He claimed that the same thugs went to his family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin and vandalised houses, shops and inflicted machete wounds on three persons.

“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care, as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people.

But in a rebuttal, repeated Sunday, the police said all the allegations of the Senate President “are incorrect, misleading and false and should be disregarded and discountenanced by the general Public”.

Police even gave another instance why Saraki’s complaint should be disregarded.

“The media will recall that while Senator Dino Melaye was evading arrest by hiding inside his residence in Maitama, Abuja, the Senate President made a statement that the Nigeria Police Force did not send a letter of invitation to the Clerk of the National Assembly by the Police inviting Senator Dino Melaye to report to the Kogi State Police Command for investigation for offence of criminal conspiracy, attempted murder and culpable homicide, this statement by the Senate President on Senator Dino Melaye was however discovered serially and entirely untrue and false, as the Police Investigation Team provided an acknowledged copy of the said letter stamped received on the 24th July, 2018, by the Clerk of the National Assembly”.

Police reiterated that they did not give any protection to any political thug or shield any APC thug to go to the family quarters of the Senate President in Agbaji, Ilorin and vandalize houses, shops and inflict wounds with machete on three persons as claimed by the Senate President.

“The Police did not equally receive any complaint or report of gunshot and wounding as claimed by the Senate President in other areas he mentioned such as Adewole/Adeta, Ile-otan and ubandawaki/pakata in Ilorin, Kwara State”.

The Police further said that the senate president is fully protected as he enjoys the full panoply of security provided by them.

“It is pertinent to state that all Police personnel attached to the person of the Senate President, his office and family are intact and all the statutory security protection on the person of the Senate President are also accorded him all the time and there was no complaint whatsoever from the Senate President before now to the Police on this.

“The Force sees this unprovoked and unwarranted attack on person of Inspector General of Police by the Senate President as criminal defamation, hate speech and insulting. No doubt, the statement of the Senate President is evidently his characteristic mind set and pattern of misleading and misinforming the public to unjustifiably deride and castigate the leadership of public institutions such as the Nigeria Police Force.

“It is incumbent on the Force to set the record straight and correct the wrong impressions that must have been created in the minds of the general Public and the International Community from the misinformation and misleading account from the Senate President. The Inspector General of Police is not after the life of the Senate President and did not try any trick to implicate the Senate President in some criminal charges as alleged by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki; the facts are in the public domain about the suspects of the Offa Bank Robbery now being prosecuted who implicated the Senate President on his involvement in the matter”.

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Saraki: Hold IGP responsible if anything happens to me

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Friday, raised concern over his safety and those of his political supporters in his state, Kwara.

Saraki, Director-General of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation, at a news conference in Abuja, accused security agencies of  giving cover to people who were unleashing violence on PDP supporters across the state.

A similar allegation had been made by the opposition All Progressives Congress members in the state, who alleged that PDP thugs destroyed billboards and posters across the state and in one instance at the Emir’s Palace in Ilorin, prevented the APC governorship candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, from making a speech.

Saraki  said that the  police had continued to show hostility to him  and his supporters in Kwara State as part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine his personal security and that of his immediate and larger family.

The Senate President  cited  three incidents to illustrate his fear about his security, alleged that on Thursday, some supporters and thugs of the APC attacked PDP supporters at Adewole/Adeta, Ilorin, who were holding their  weekly ward meetings.

“They disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded by mentioning our own slogan, they fired gun shots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta.

“They also inflicted machete cuts on some of them. As a result of this attack, two people suffered bullet wounds.”

Saraki added that also on Thursday, the same  thugs  went to his family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin and vandalised houses, shops and inflicted machete wounds  on three persons.

“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care, as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people.

“For me, personally, I believe the decision to attack people and properties in my family ancestral compound is a direct affront and attack on my person.

“And whatever signal these APC elements with support from the police believe they are sending is definitely sinister, uncivilized and unfortunate.

“Our people have filed reports of the incidents in relevant police stations in Ilorin but we have doubts that anything tangible and constructive will come out of these reports.”

Saraki added that the  same Police under the directive of Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim  Idris on Thursday  commenced the transfer of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) out of Kwara.

The Senate President said that while the police  are free to take decisions on the deployment of their personnel, they found the postings in Kwara State strange and more than a mere coincidence.

“It should also be noted that IGP has posted three different Commissioners of Police to Kwara State in the last six months.

“In fact,  the previous and current Commissioner of Police in the State got strict instructions from the IGP not to relate or engage with the Senate President.

“The usual practice has been that the Commissioner of Police personally ensures the security of the Senate President whenever he visits his home state.

“That was the practice during the period of my predecessor and in my first year in office. “

Saraki said that now that  he is set to begin  ward to ward campaigns  in the state, he is not  sure what instructions the IGP had given to the police command in the state.

“Thus, the entire world should hold the IGP responsible if anything untoward happens to members of my family and myself.”

Saraki alleged that IGP Idris had tried thrice to implicate him in some criminal charges.

One of them was the arrest of  some cultists, who claimed  they worked for him. Another, he said, was   the Offa robbery. Saraki said none of the plots succeeded.

“A situation where political thugs and operatives attack opponents of the APC under the watch and protection of law enforcement agents does not present Nigeria well in the comity of nations,” Saraki said.

Saraki’s senatorial zone, easiest nut to crack for APC, says Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says Kwara Central Senatorial District, represented by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, will be the easiest to be delivered to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in this year’s general elections.

The minister said this on Thursday in Ilorin while inspecting the Campaign Office and Situation Room of the Buhari/Osinbajo Project (BOP) 2019, a political group druming support and votes for the APC in Kwara.

The minister inspected the office ahead of Friday inauguration of the 18,000 grassroot votes canvassers across all polling units in Kwara State.

Reacting to prediction in certain quarters that Saraki would be returned to the Senate even if APC wins other elections in the state, the minister said the revolution in Kwara was total.

“The easiest nut to crack will be the Kwara Central Senatorial District because the first revolution started from there.

“Cast your minds back to what happened in the last Local Government elections, you will see that the people of Kwara are ripe for change and we have no fear in any part of the state.

“When revolution comes, it comes in total and hence the slogan across nooks and crannies of Kwara today, “O to ge’’ meaning “Enough is Enough’’.

“What is happening today in Kwara is mass movement and that is why everywhere we go in the state we are warmly received, whereas the PDP are being received there with hostility,’’ he said.

The minister said that after inspecting the campaign office and the situation room of BOP, and interacting with the people, he was confident that the 2019 elections in Kwara would be a walk over for the APC.

He said the party had no fewer than 18,000 foot soldiers at polling units level all over Kwara who would in turn target 10 supporters each before the elections,.

According to him, the party will on Friday inaugurate 2,800 grassroots canvassers, 193 wards coordinators, 193 wards secretaries, 193 wards women leaders and 193 wards youths leaders.

Mohammed said the most important was the situation room at the BOP headquarters which would have the details of every ward coordinator and contact them daily on the progress made and their challenges.

“We have telephone numbers of all our canvassers, 10 of them in each polling units and we have the mechanism with which we are going to be calling them daily.

“This method is very important and key strategy even than rallies.

“Yes, rallies are very good for perception and moral boosting, but the real electioneering campaign work is what is being done here,’’ he said.

The minister said it would be difficult for moles to infiltrate the votes canvassers, but if they do, there were mechanism in place to fish them out.

He thanked all the party supporters and financiers for their selfless services and reassured them of victories in the coming polls.

Otunba Ganiyu Zubair, the Coordinator of the BOP 2019, said the situation room inspected by the minister “is a place of deep thinking to map out strategy to deliver Kwara from slavery and looters.’’

Zubair assured that in the general elections scheduled for February, APC would record outstanding votes and victories never witnessesd in the history of Kwara.

Speaking in the same vein, the BOP 2019 Secretary, Hon. Ayoola Obisesan, said the party was well prepared for victory and nothing would deter APC from taking over Kwara State.

Saraki lied! He didn’t donate a dime after Offa robbery – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has asked Senate President Bukola Saraki to stop dancing on the graves of victims of the Offa robbery incident.

Mohammed said this while reacting to a comment credited to Saraki’s aide.

The minister had asked Saraki, who said he donated a sum of N10 million to the victims, not to play politics with the incident.

Thereafter, Yusuph Olaniyonu, media aide to the senate, said Mohammed known to be an “unrestrained and compulsive perjurer” only commented on the incident to score cheap political points.

But the minster said the claim by the senate president that he donated the sum for the care of the robbery victims is false.

“Instead of stopping at that, which in itself constitutes an acceptance of wrong-doing, Dr. Saraki went ahead to hurl insults at me, even when I have been largely restrained in issuing my earlier warning,” Mohammed said.

“Had I not been restrained, I would have gone ahead to divulge what actually transpired. For example, the claim by Dr. Saraki that he donated 10 million Naira to care for the victims of the Offa robbery is patently false.

“He did not! The 10 million he referred to was donated when the Offa market got burnt, and it was made in Ilorin, not Offa. When Dr Saraki visited Offa to commiserate with the community in the aftermath of the robbery, he did not donate a dime! I challenge him to prove me wrong.

“But with politics in the air, the truth becomes the first casualty. Realising that he goofed, Dr. Bukola apparently caused the radio interview in question to be edited to remove the donation reference, and then re-aired. Is it not an irony that the people who engaged in this egregious act of dishonesty are the same ones calling others names?

“The people of Kwara, who are bone-tired of the long years of ‘bolekaja’ governance in the state, are all saying in one voice, ‘O to ge’ (enough is enough), and will soon have the opportunity to express their frustration with their votes.”

In April, not less than 20 persons were killed after armed robbers invaded Offa and raided banks.