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Kwara revokes acquisition of Alimi Chalet by Saraki

The Kwara State House of Assembly has revoked the acquisition of a four-bedroomed government challet (Alimi Chalet) by the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who is a former governor of the state.

The revocation followed the voiding of the acquisition, valuation and certification of Land title (Right of Occupancy) in respect of the chalet in the personal name of Dr Bukola Saraki for non-compliance with the provisions of Pensions Law 2010.

These was part of the resolutions of the House at its plenary on Tuesday following the presentation of the report of the House Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development by its Chairman, Omotayo Awodiji.

Reading the resolutions of the House, the Speaker of the Assembly, Yakubu Danladi, said the revocation became expedient to ensure an enduring end to all forms of illegalities and abnormalities and to pave the way for meaningful development of the state.

The House then urged the state government to explore every available legal process to recover the chalet from the former governor.

Awodiji had, while presenting his report, observed among other things that the Alimi Chalet was purposely built by the state government as a guest chalet for governors and not transferable as exit package.

A source close to Saraki said, “What is the big deal about this bungalow? The government has broken into the house and the Deputy Governor has been living there. Did their report state that the property was illegally acquired? No. The governor and his people are interested in the house and they can have it if it makes them feel better.”

EFCC desperate to nail me, says Saraki

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said he is innocent of the allegations of fraud levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He also said he is not engaged in any media war with the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC had in May marked some properties saying it believed Mr Saraki purchased them from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sale of Government Properties through shell companies.

In a recent allegation, the EFCC also accused Mr Saraki of taking N12 billion from the treasury of the Kwara State Government while he was governor of the state between 2003 and 2011.

The commission said the money was withdrawn in cash.

The money, EFCC said, was allegedly used by Mr Saraki to offset the N1.36 billion bank loan he used in purchasing homes at 15, 15A, 17, 17A and four flats on Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, hence, its decision to seize the properties.

The agency, in a statement on Sunday, said no amount of “media campaign” against its acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, will stop the prosecution of the former All Progressives Congress chieftain.

The spokesman of the commission, Tony Orilade, said Mr Saraki “seems to have chosen outside the shores of Nigeria as the launch pad of his campaign of calumny against the EFCC and its leadership.”

“We wish to state without any contradiction that the ongoing investigation against the former Senate president and other Politically-exposed Persons (PeP) are on course, while Saraki and his co-travellers will surely have their day in court shortly,” he said.

Mr Saraki addressed some of the allegations on Monday.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the politician said he has not engaged in any media war ”but has rather been the one at the receiving end of the media onslaught sponsored from the office of the EFCC”.

He said that various documents and court processes from the agency had been given to a newspaper for publication.

“While the EFCC distributed copies of its letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court immediately it was submitted, we are still surprised how Dr Saraki’s response written early May found its way into a newspaper last Sunday.

“It should be known that if we were interested in leaking the letter, we would not wait for seven weeks to do that. Dr Saraki believes he is on firm ground on the points of law and has nothing to be afraid of. He is innocent of the charges.

“We need to reiterate that Dr Saraki is not interested in obstructing any investigation by the EFCC or any security agency. While the EFCC claims that it is investigating the Office of the Senate President between 2015 and 2019, we make bold to say that it is just on a wild goose chase.

“That Office has nothing to do with contract awards and handling of the finances of the National Assembly. These are functions of the bureaucracy of the National Assembly, otherwise known as the National Assembly Management,” part of the statement read.

Mr Olaniyonu said all the issues the EFCC are presently raising were ”the same issues that are contained in four of the charges filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and taken before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court”.

He said since the issues have been determined by the courts up to the Supreme Court, ”the EFCC is just on a persecution and smear campaigns with its current investigations”.

“At the time the CCT charges were filed, it was generally believed some of the charges should not have been lumped up with the asset declaration issues.

“However, in their desperation to nail Dr Saraki, some of the charges that contained insinuations that Kwara State funds were paid into accounts owned by him and companies in which he has interests were filed. And twice, the charges went before the highest court in the land, and he was discharged and acquitted,” he said.

He added that the current investigation constitutes an infringement on Mr Saraki’s fundamental human rights.

He said in the exercise of his belief in the judiciary; he filed a case seeking the court’s intervention for the protection and enforcement of the rights.

EFCC to arraign Saraki for allegedly diverting N12bn

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused former Senate President Bukola Saraki of diverting N12 billion from the treasury of the Kwara State Government illegally while he was governor of the state between 2003 and 2011.

The commission said the money was withdrawn in cash, the Punch is reporting.

The money, EFCC said, was allegedly used by Saraki to offset a N1.36 billion bank loan he used in purchasing homes at 15, 15A, 17, 17A and four flats on Macdonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, hence, its decision to seize the properties.

The EFCC had in May, marked the said properties placing inscriptions ‘EFCC, Under Investigation’ in red on the walls and the fences of the houses.

It said Saraki purchased them from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sale of Government Property through shell companies.

In a counter-affidavit to Saraki’s originating motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019, the anti-graft agency asked Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to rescind the ex parte order preventing the commission from investigating and prosecuting Saraki.

In a counter-affidavit deposed to by Ojilibo Stanley on behalf of the EFCC, the agency said it had established a case of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy by the immediate past Senate President.

The EFCC said Saraki, through his companies had taken loans worth N1.36 billion from the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank) between 2005 and 2006.

In a bid to offset the loan, the ex-governor “began to divert N100 million from the coffers of the state monthly,” the commission said.

The affidavit stated that on February 28, 2005, the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of Federal Government Landed Properties wrote a letter to Saraki conveying the approval of the then minister of lands and housing for the sale of properties at 15 and 17 Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.

The EFCC said, sequel to the letter, Saraki wrote to GTB on March 8, 2005, requesting N200 million loan to finance the acquisition of the properties and on March 24, 2005, GTB approved the loan to partly finance the purchase of the properties.

The agency said on October 11, 2006, another loan of N380 million was granted to the ex-Senate President by GTB to partly finance the acquisition of properties located at 17 and 17A Macdonald Road, Ikoyi.

And on January 30, 2007, a personal loan of N380 million was again granted to the former governor to partly finance the same properties, it said.

According to EFCC, another loan of N400 million was obtained by Saraki to develop the same properties on April 28, 2009.

“The personal loans used to acquire the properties were later liquidated with the proceeds of the applicant’s (Saraki’s) criminal breach of trust or misappropriation of funds of the Kwara State Government.

“The applicant (Saraki) procured one Abdul Adama, who was his personal member of staff to receive cash from then Controller of Finance and Account of Government House, Kwara State, Mr Isiaka Kareem, on a monthly basis, the sum of N100 million.

“While the applicant was the governor of Kwara State, the total sum of N12 billion was withdrawn in cash from the Kwara State Government House’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank,” the affidavit read.

The EFCC further denied being controlled by the All Progressives Congress.

It said the ‘fresh investigation’ was different from the one conducted by the Code of Conduct Bureau, which had once arraigned Saraki.

Saraki’s defence

In an earlier reaction, Saraki had said the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was on a revenge mission because of the role he (Saraki) played in blocking his confirmation as EFCC chairman.

“Apart from the instigation by my political adversaries, my close contacts have confirmed to me that the 4th respondent (EFCC) renewed its harassment as a way of punishing me for the decision of the Senate not to clear acting chairman of the EFCC, Alhaji Ibrahim Magu, to be appointed as the substantive chairman of the commission,” he said.

He said the EFCC was also pained because he was in charge of the Senate when the legislative arm of government ensured the creation of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit “to Magu’s annoyance”.

He had also alleged that he was being witch-hunted by the anti-graft body because he emerged as the Senate President against the wishes of certain elements in the APC in 2015.

According to him, the allegations levelled against him were not new as he had been charged before the CCT and emerged victorious.

He said the aggrieved elements in the APC were using the EFCC agency to harass him.

The case has been adjourned till July 2, 2019.

Saraki donates severance allowance to Leah Sharibu, others

President of the 8th Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has donated his severance allowance to the victims of insurgency in the North East among other persons.

The beneficiaries are the families of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi school girl remaining in the custody of the terrorists group, Boko Haram; Hussaini Ahmed Khoisan and Hauwa Liman, the two humanitarian workers kidnapped and killed by the terrorists.

Also to benefit from the generosity are the children of some late senators of the Eighth Assembly who might need support for the furtherance of their education.

The information are contained in a statement issued by Saraki’s media aide, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu.

Saraki said his decision was based on the need to support the victims as their cases were indeed touching.

According to him, they were some of the major issues debated in the Eighth Senate.

Specifically, Saraki said 20 per cent of the severance allowance should go to the family of Leah Sharibu while 20 per cent should go to the family of Hauwa Liman.

He said another 20 per cent should be given to the family of another aid worker, Hussaini Ahmed Khoisan.

Khoisan was also murdered by the terrorists.

The remaining 40 per cent, he stated, should be used by the National Assembly Management to set up a trust fund to support the education of the children of senators of the eighth assembly who died.

Said he:  “It is my hope that this TRUST FUND should grow with more contributions from my dear colleagues, present, past and future, who may be moved to put in additional money into it.

“The Clerk of the National Assembly will immediately get an official letter from me mandating him to act as stated above on the disbursement of my Severance Allowance.”

 

BREAKING : Saraki’s Senate adjourns Sine Die

The 8th Senate, presided over by Dr Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, adjourned sine die after a valedictory session which marked the last official assignment of the 8th Senate.

There were mixed feelings on at the valedictory session, when senators took turns to appraise their performance for the past four years.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Upper Chamber, which for some time has been scanty in attendance after the 2019 general elections, was packed full with lawmakers taken turns to speak on their experiences since 2015 when the senate was inaugurated.

Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers), commended his colleagues for working tirelessly in preserving the senate as an institution.

He said it was the desire to serve Nigeria that brought us here. We preserved this institution for others to come and make their contribution.

“We may not have served perfectly but we represented the highest standard of integrity. May God bless us all,” he said.

Also speaking, Sen. Shehu Sani said lawmakers were not elected to only represent their constituents, but also to protect the interest of the country at large.

He pointed out that lawmakers had a duty to define their role in history by defending the institution of the national assembly.

He said that one thing every lawmaker ought to take note of was to serve with honour and leave with more honour and also by standing for the truth irrespective of religious, ethnic affiliation or party leaning.

“The national assembly is not an agency or a ministry, but an institution created to protect Nigerians.

“As a parliament, it is a calling. We are not just here to represent the people, but to stand for issues that are germane,” he said.

On the performance of the 8th Senate, Sani said, there was no doubt it passed through turbulence, noting that “every national assembly has its challenges.

“This country is faced with problems, but as an institution, we must work together to address the challenges, but we cannot do so with a divided house. The survival, dignity and honour of this institution lies in the lawmakers.

“We must also note that we are not here to be subservient to anyone, but to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Sen. Ajayi Borofice (APC-Ondo), in his comment, applauded the leadership style of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.

He also commended his colleagues for demonstrating patriotism towards protecting the interest of the country.

Said he: “Saraki has demonstrated uncommon leadership. Yes there was turbulence but because of his dexterity he was able to stabilise the senate.

“No matter the perception of the public about us, we have demonstrated that we are patriots. We discussed issues of security among other critical issues.

“We worked together irrespective of our differences to get to this point and as such I thank you all for your support.”

Also speaking, Sen. Bassey Akpan (PDP-Akwa Ibom), said he had a memorable time in the 8th senate, noting that we was leaving a refined and better person.

He commended Saraki for his exemplary leadership, saying, ” your leadership is an exemplary one and with that the 8th senate has a place in history.

“I learnt so much from my colleagues and to my constituents, your mandate will be defended as I return to the 9th senate.”

The lawmaker said, the 9th senate had a lot to learn from the 8th senate, adding that it stood for Nigeria and defended its course.

Sen. Abdullahi Adamu said there was much to learn from the 8th senate, including the disappointments.

“We have all benefited in one way or the other and even in disappointment there is something to learn, like the need for us to emphasise the fact that God made it possible for Nigerians to elect us.

“It is a rare privilege that was bestowed on us and we must not disappoint the electorate,” he noted.

He said that there was nothing wrong with opposing the Executive at times, but we have to avoid extreme partisanship. We have to be bipartisan, adding that people depend on what we do and the example we show.

“I subscribe to the believe that the senate will go on record to have passed the highest number of bills.

“It has also experienced the highest number of vetoes, but we did not use our power to override the vetoes,” he observed.

Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) said under Saraki’s leadership, the committee on Ethics and Public Petitions,which he chaired recorded great achievement.

“In the 6th and 7th assemblies, 66 petitions were filed, 26 were attempted and only eight were considered.

” Meanwhile, we entertained 642 petitions, considered 153 and 420 people who were disengaged, were reinstated back to their offices.

Sen. Ben Murray Bruce (PDP-Bayelsa), in his comments urged senators of the 9th senate to make laws for the future and not in the past.

According to him, what is happening today is that knowledge changes in six months. Some of the bills I presented that were not considered makes me feel some of us do not read.

“I therefore call on the senators coming into the 9th senate to put that in mind, “he said.

Sen. Binta Masi (APC-Adamawa), thanked her colleagues for their contribution to the success of the 8th senate.

She said that 39 bills were vetoed and we did not upturn any adding,”it shows there was collaboration.”

Sen. Joshua Lidani (APC-Gombe), said one thing he would always remember was that we (senators) maintained our calm and continued to sit when some hoodlums absconded with the Mace.

“It showed a great sense of patriotism. I salute your courage. We have learnt a lot.

“I also appreciate the tradition of ranking, and I hope the 9th senate will uphold it. I hope the 9th senate will be better having learnt from our mistakes,” he said.

Sen. Kabiru Marafa (APC-Marafa), thanked God for seeing them through the turbulence that characterised the 8th senate.

“To the leadership let me say a big thank you and I have learnt a lot.

“I learnt from your wisdom in legislative business as well as the trust you have in us. I also thank my colleagues,” he said.

He thanked the lawmakers for approving the sum of N10 billion for Zamfara, following the security situation.

He said, “I will always remember Saraki as a person that respects loyalty and pays for loyalty.”

NAN reports that the 8th senate was inaugurated on June 6 and will officially cease to be on June 8.

The valedictory session is the last official assignment of the lawmakers. The 9th Senate is expected to be inaugurated on Tuesday, by president  Mohammadu Buhari.

Saraki and the 8th National Assembly

As the 8th National Assembly winds down in less than a fortnight, it becomes inevitable to assess its performance given the pivotal role that the legislative arm of government plays in the entrenchment and practice of democracy, which key feature is the doctrine of separation of powers.

This doctrine holds that the three arms of government – Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary – must function independently an act as a counterweight to check any intemperance on the part of one another, thereby protecting all democratic institutions as a whole.

This of course can only be achieved if all arms of government act independently within their constitutional powers.
In the case of Nigeria, the National Assembly has not enjoyed the sort of synergetic relationship with the executive, which appears bent of having its way at every turn. This could be blamed on the long years of military dictatorship to which the polity has been subjected to since independence in 1960, and which has apparently permeated into the civil space.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, the executive has actively sought to dominate legislative activity, especially the selection of leaders and has succeeded in deposing quite a few Senate presidents and Speakers of the House of Representative deemed uncooperative.

The National Assembly has been subject of attacks and has been painted by the executive as largely self-serving and even worse, as the bastion of corruption in government all in an attempt to cow lawmakers into submission.

This situation has been similar in the last four years with the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, notably without the endorsement of leaders of his own party but on the wishes  of senators from all sides.

Unsurprisingly, Saraki’s era signaled the start of a truly independent legislature, which clearly refused to be reduced to a rubber stamp of Aso Rock but as expected, this generated a lot of friction.

For one, the senate president was perceived as disloyal to his party and combative, but he stood his grounds insisting that his duty was to serve all Nigerians irrespective of party affiliations and that a truly independent legislature was the only guarantee for the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy.

In spite of the situation and apparent bad blood between the executive and legislature, which the numerous public interactions and photo ops failed to conceal, the 8th National Assembly under Saraki, proved to have been the most active so far.

In the last four years, the Senate passed 293 bills including important constitutional amendments compared with 128, 72 and 129 for the 7th, 6th and 5th Senates.
Some of these bills are the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Act (Amendment) Bill, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Bill (NFIU),, Nigerian Railway Bill, Electronic Transactions Act and the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), include Bankruptcy and Insolvency (Repeal and Reenactment) Act and the Credit Reporting Act among others all geared towards improving economic performance and transparency in the business space.

Other landmark bills include the Not Too Young to Run Act, which widened the political arena for younger Nigerians; Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill , National Poverty Eradication Commission (Establishment) Bill, North East Development Commission (NEDC) (Est., etc.) Bill, Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institution Bill, Police Reform Bill, National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency Bill, and Senior Citizen Centre Bill,, which are aimed at protecting vulnerable segments of the population.

Also scores of polytechnics and other tertiary institutions were established by acts of parliament during the 8th National Assembly, a key issue in catering to the teeming youth left stranded after secondary school.

Remarkably, the schism between the executive and the 8th National Assembly widened with the defection of the key leaders – Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara – to the opposition PDP as the 2019 election season approached but both still held on and skillfully steered parliamentary affairs till the very end while retaining the respect if not admiration of their colleagues despite the fact that both were in the opposition.

This speaks volumes about the huge clout that Saraki commanded throughout his tenure.

However, as he leaves office and prepares to take his seat in the National Council of State, the result of yet another constitutional amendment, Saraki’s insistence on preserving the independence of the legislature is being met with retribution.

The EFCC is now actively investigating his past, a move some analysts will insist is no more than a witch hunt given that fact that Saraki had previously been cleared of such charges by the Supreme Court.

While Saraki’s fate remains unclear, we urge the incoming executive and legislative arms of government to consciously reach across whatever divides in the realization that both are working towards the same purpose – the upliftment of ordinary citizens and deepening democratic tenets and practices in the land.

After 20 years of the Third Republic, politicians should have weaned themselves of the dictatorial tendencies of the past and strive to preserve the freedoms earned with tears and blood.

Crucially, the legislative arm should hone their credentials as true representatives of the people and not themselves as they have been repeatedly accused so far.

Regardless, we believe that improved communication and cooperation, respect for the rule of law and doctrine of separation of powers – which has come under attack not just the legislative but also in the Judicial circles – should also become the norm rather than the exception as government tries, even with limited resources, to make Nigeria a much better place to live.

Saraki disowns NASS clerk over ‘satanic’ journalists’ accreditation guidelines

The President of the Senate,  Bukola Saraki, has disowned the management of the National Assembly led by the Clerk,  Mohammed Sani-Omolori, over the stringent conditions imposed on journalists seeking to cover the activities of the Ninth Assembly.

Saraki, in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, stated that he remained committed to the freedom of the press.

The statement explained that Saraki’s antecedents as the Chairman of the Eight National Assembly showed that he has always believed in the right of journalists to operate unhindered in order to promote transparency.

The President of the Senate, therefore, vowed to institute and probe into the idea behind the guidelines because neither himself nor the Speaker,  House of Representatives,  Yakubu Dogara,  were aware of it.

The statement reads,  “The attention of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has just been drawn to a story that is circulating on social media about the National Assembly issuing new guidelines to journalists.

“These alleged guidelines have not emanated from either the Senate President or the Speaker and will be promptly investigated.

“The public should note that the Eight National Assembly has been committed to the freedom of the press as exemplified by its work to bring governance closer to the people through live streams and live tweets.

“This is because the leadership of the 8th National Assembly believes strongly in the freedom of the press and in carrying the Nigerian public along.

“Hence, the Senate President and all his colleagues will continue to work to ensure that these freedoms remain unhindered,” Onemola said.

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