Ondo Residents Protest Road Accident

OndoAngry residents of Ilaramokin, a town located along Akure- Ilesa highway near Akure, the Ondo state capital, have taken to the streets to protest the alleged shooting of a resident in the town.

Trouble started when a commuter bus hit a motorcyclist on the highway.

This led to the instant death of the passenger on the motorcycle while the rider sustained serious injuries.

The accident sparked off protest by the residents who are calling for speed breakers to be constructed on the highway to limit the rate of road accidents.

However, the protest turned awry when men of the Police arrived the scene as the protesters claimed that Policemen had shot five of the protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

The Ondo State Police Command, however, gave a different account of the incident.

“Some irate youths went to the scene and descended heavily on the occupants of the vehicle as well as the driver, damaging the vehicle.

“So we needed to be there and we were right there, tried to prevail on them, asking them to be calm but unfortunately they went against us and descended heavily on our people.

“Our own brand new patrol vehicle was burned to ashes, our boys had to scamper for safety,” said the Ondo State Police PRO, Femi Joseph.

The Police said that peace efforts were on as they continue their investigation into the cause of the accident that triggered the burning of the bus, a barricaded highway and a traffic jam.

Abuse Of Power: Court Frees El-Rufai

An Abuja High Court has freed former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai, of charges of abuse of power.

The former FCT minister, now a leading member of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, was charged under the Corruption and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 for using his position to corruptly revoke a plot of land from its previous owners – Power Holding Company of Nigeria Plc – and re-award same to his wife, Hadiza Ahmed El-Rufai.

The court gave the verdict acquitting Mr. El-rufai of criminal charges on Friday morning.

In his reaction, Mr El-Rufai said that he holds no grudges against his accusers. His media aide, Muyiwas Adekeye said: “It is a vindication he never doubted will come, confident in his innocence and the integrity with which he served this country.”

“Despite the magnitude of the pains he has endured, El Rufai has decided to put all this in the past. He intends to move on, stepping confidently into the future with forgiveness and goodwill, devoid of the cobwebs of grudge.”

Mr. El-Rufai has been on trial since 2008.

Witness tells court how El-Rufai allocated land to himself, family and companies

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday told an Abuja High Court that a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai and two of his officials unilaterally revoked some juicy plots of land and allocated same to themselves, their relatives and their companies.

Sunday Idowu, a former operative of the EFCC made the disclosure while being led in evidence by the commission’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun, in continuation of trial of the former minister who is facing an eight-count of abuse of office.

The two other accused persons are the Director General, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Atine Jubrin and former General Manager, AGIS Ismail Iro.

Mr Idowu, an Inspector of Police gave detailed steps taken by his investigative team in unravelling facts behind the accusations against the accused persons.

“We interacted with interested parties notably Abuja Geographical Information Services (AGIS), Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) among others who gave us insight into what actually happened,” the police officer said.

He said that his team identified an official memo written by a senior official of FCDA advising against the irregular conversion of the plots.

“At AGIS, investigation revealed that plots 1201 and 3352 which were originally allocated to PHCN and NIPOST were revoked and then re-allocated to 9 private individuals including two wives of the former minister, daughter of former President Obasanjo, Iyabo Obasanjo–Bello, a serving senator, Philip Aduda and the 2nd and 3rd accused persons,” Mr Idowu said.

The witness further told the court that his team discovered from the Corporate Affairs Commission that Misters El-Rufai, and Iro are directors in the three companies which benefited from the re-allocation, namely: System Property Development Company, SPDC, Express Procurement Ltd and Pure Environment Services.

“In the course of investigation, it was discovered that one of the irregularly converted plots, allocated to one of the wives of the 1st accused person ,with new plot number 337 was also used by him as one of the properties declared as his own in his Asset Declaration Form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” the police investigator said.

A former Executive Secretary with the FCDA, Sani Alhassan, told the court that after a meeting with the management of PHCN it was discovered that the earlier revocation was no more necessary. He said a memo was written to the former minister advising him to revert to status quo.

The case was adjourned to 25 April for further hearing.

Mr El-Rufai and his co-accused persons were first arraigned on an amended eight-count on Thursday 7 April 2011. Their arraignment followed a petition to EFCC, detailing allegations of abuse of office against the former minister on how he misappropriated government land which he allocated to his friends and family members, in flagrant breach of the Abuja Master plan.