Court Adjourns Case Against Dele Belgore Till May 31

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned to May 31, 2017 the hearing of a motion seeking to terminate the charge against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore and a former Minister Of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Suleiman.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mr Belgore alongside Professor Abubakar Suleiman for alleged money laundering.

Both men were accused of conspiring to take possession of the sum of 450 million Naira, which the EFCC claims forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

The defence council filed the application seeking to terminate the proceedings on the grounds that the prosecution did not file an affidavit to show it had not completed investigation on the matter.

The prosecution, however, argued that if an application is brought after a plea has been taken as to the validity of a charge, it can be considered alongside the substantive matter.

After listening to both counsels, Justice Reliwan Aikawa agreed that the motion could be heard alongside the substantive matter, and therefore adjourned the matter to May 31.

We Will Continue To Make Every Naira Count – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has outlined some steps on how Nigeria’s economy should be taken out of recession.

She was one of the guests on the 2017 special May Day edition of the programme, The Platform; a lecture series organised by the Covenant Christian Center Lagos.

While addressing Nigeria’s financial crisis, Mrs Adeosun blamed the past administration for concentrating only on current expenditure, leaving the agriculture sector and other areas unattended to.

According to her, what the government spent money on, were the wrong things and that’s the result the nation now suffers.

“There is always a lag between action and effect. We are now suffering the effect of what was done two, three years ago.

“Ninety per cent of government expenditure was on what we call recurrent, which involves salaries, travel, training, welfare (food), that’s what we were spending money on and only 10% went on capital.

“Capital includes roads, rail, power, housing, building educational institutions and only 10% of government expenditure was capital.

As a way forward, she however, stated that “For the rest of the economy, agriculture, services, banking, trade, people must pay taxes; there must be more revenue. We can’t all rely on oil.

“We are going to be pushing out quite a few initiatives to improve our revenue. Then on our course, we will continue to be efficient, prudent, continue to make sure that every Naira counts.”

Also speaking at the programme was the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who believes that the nation has imbibed a system of eating for today only and letting tomorrow take care of itself.

“The reason why we are talking about massive borrowing today is because we didn’t save yesterday.

“No nation can survive without saving for tomorrow – Never, and that is the crisis we face today,” he asserted.

Mrs Adeosun however, stressed that the past is gone and in moving forward, the plan is to improve oil and non-oil taxes in order to get the balance right.

Atiku Hints At 2019 Presidential Run

The intrigues of the fast approaching 2019 General Elections, appears to be taking definite shape as a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar is hinting that he may participate in the 2019 presidential race.

The nation’s former number two citizen hinted at his ambition, while giving a lecture on issues of national unity and prospects for national restructuring.

The longtime presidential aspirant joined a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani to speak at a launch of a newspaper publication in the nation’s capital.

“Controversies have sometimes threatened the very existence of our country. The country is truly at a crossroad and things are made worse by the cocktail of economic, social and political problems which we have had to contend with.

“Poor GDP growth rate, millions of school age children, out of school – I believe with the right kind of leadership, the right kind of vision, we can transform this country in less than eight years.

“When I first went to Dubai in 2007, none of the infrastructure that you see today in Dubai was there but because there was vision, leadership, look at where they are today – We can do it,” Mr Abubakar asserted.

Meningitis: UNICEF Places Ekiti On Surveillance

Libya Identified As Epicenter For Migrant Child AbuseThe United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has placed Ekiti state on Surveillance to prevent an outbreak of meningitis which has killed over 400 persons in some northern states.

The international organisation said although there is no reported case of the outbreak in Ekiti, the organisation is working with experts in the Ministry of Health on the need to be alert.

The UNICEF Representative in Ekiti, Mr Abiodun Olagunju, said this on Thursday, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting held to discuss the second phase of polio vaccination in the state.

Olagunju said: “Though Ekiti is not within the meningitis belt, we are keeping watch because someone can bring it from the meningitis endemic state to Ekiti.

“UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO), are not fond of folding their arms and allowing communicable diseases ravage the land before taking actions. This is not medically wise.

“The target for the polio vaccination which will be administered for children below age five is 100 per cent in Ekiti. We recorded 87 during the first phase .

“Let me also enlighten our people that the vaccines for polio, measles, meningitis, Hepatitis B, are available in all the health centres in Ekiti, so we are on ground to fight communicable diseases to safeguard the health of our people”, he added.

Giving the overview of the first phase of the anti-polio campaign held in the state, the State Immunization Officer, Mrs Christianah Ajimati, said a total of 579,704 children were immunized with the polio vaccine during the exercise held in March, 2017 out of the projected 667,145.

She said Emure Local Government had the highest turnout of children for the exercise, with 95 per cent, while the least amount, with about 66 per cent, was recorded in Ekiti West.

The expert also noted that the second phase of the fight against polio would kick off between May 6 and 9, 2017, in order for Nigeria to maintain her polio-free status conferred by the United Nations.

Ajimati expressed delight that the country, particularly Ekiti state, has overcome the barrier of indigenous beliefs that had been considered a great impediment, preventing many of the parents from presenting their children for the oral vaccine.

“We want to commend our donor agencies and Ekiti State government for the release of funds. Timely release of funds and kits really helped this exercise.

“Nigeria has been listed a polio-free nation and we should not recede backward on the ladder by allowing our children to be killed by polio and other preventable diseases,” he urged.

Court Dismisses Charges Against 44 IPOB Members

Courtesy: Naij.com

A Yenagoa Magistrate’s Court in Bayelsa State has freed 44 detained members of the Indigenous People ‎of Biafra (IPOB).

Presiding Magistrate, Penawei Mukoro, on Tuesday, dismissed the three counts of conspiracy, breach of public peace and unlawful gathering levelled against the suspects by the police.

The IPOB members were arrested in October 2016 while meeting at a popular bar in Okaka area of Yenagoa, the state capital, by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Delta Safe.

The suspects were later handed over to the police authorities for investigation and prosecution.

The ruling is coming hours after IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Read Also: Nnamdi Kanu Granted Bail

[Updated]: Tears, Anger As Senator Isiaka Adeleke Is Buried

It has been an atmosphere of tears and anger in parts of Osun State as Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in the early hours of Sunday, April 23, 2017, at a private hospital in Osogbo, was laid to rest on Monday.

Read Also: Senator Isiaka Adeleke Dies At 62

corpes being carried in

Mr Adeleke was the first civilian governor of Osun state and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Angry supporters of the late Senator, trooped out to express their grief, following the sudden death of the politician by barricading the Osogbo-Gbogan expressway and making bonfires on the very busy road.

While their actions had led to a gridlock, and motorists were forced to use alternative routes, armed policemen, however, moved to the scene and cleared the barricade.

Read Also: Ooni Of Ife Mourns Adeleke, Famakinwa, Bakare

Court Strikes Out Obanikoro’s Application Against EFCC

Musiliu Obanikoro, EFCC, Ekiti election, ObanikoroA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a 100 million Naira suit instituted by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, and his family against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over allegations of property seizure.

Justice AbdulAziz Anka held that the suit lacked merit.

The Senator, his wife, his two sons, Gbolahan, Babajide and his daughter-in-law, had dragged the EFCC before the judge over allegations bordering on what they considered a breach of their fundamental rights.

Specifically, the plaintiffs had asked Justice Anka to make a declaration that the forceful seizure of their personal effects by the EFCC amounted to a gross violation of their rights.

The judge was equally urged to issue an order, setting aside the forceful detention of their property during a raid on June 14, 2016.

They also made a demand for an “unreserved public apology”, as well as the sum of 100 million Naira as general damages from the anti-graft agency.

The Obanikoros also wanted the court to issue an order restraining the anti-graft agency from arresting, detaining or harassing them or entering their premises again to seize their property.

On their part, the EFCC argued that Senator Obanikoro got suspicious payments from the Office of the National Security Adviser through some companies linked to the family.

The anti-graft agency argued that $1,018,000 was transferred from the office of the NSA to Mob Integrated Services on March 18, 2015.

The family through their counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN), however told the judge that the said documents and property seized by the EFCC had nothing to do with the office of the NSA.

Justice Anka’s ruling subsequently held that the application of the Obanikoros lacked judicial procedure and was incompetent.

He also noted that the applicants’ houses were searched by the EFCC based on search warrants secured by the anti-graft agency from the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court.

The judge further said he could not declare the recovered items as null and void, so as not to foreclose the possibility of the EFCC tendering them as exhibits in imminent criminal cases against the Obanikoros.

He added that if the claimants decide to make a case of breach of their rights, they could do so during the criminal trial.

Ex-Kaduna Gov. Condemns Dasuki’s Continued Detention

Col. Dasuki To Take Fresh Plea In JanuaryThe former Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar (rtd), has condemned the continuous detention of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

He also faulted the government’s anti-graft war, calling it selective and stating that it is only targeted at the opposition parties.

Mr Umar said the Federal Government had refused to grant Dasuki bail, a year after several law courts, including the ECOWAS court did.

Col. Dasuki was arrested on December 1, 2015 over alleged arms procurement and has been under detention since then.

Why FG’s Investigative Panel Should Continue Behind Closed Doors

Policy analyst, Tokunbo Adedeji, has stated reasons why the investigative process of the committee set up by the  Presidency, over the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Babachir and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, should be kept behind closed doors.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, he also raised concerns that it is not enough to accuse and probe but rather, claims of wrong doing must be proven.

 Read Also: Why Buhari Suspended SGF, NIA DG

“It’s a step in the right direction that the general public is getting to know a number of the rot that we have had in the system – It is good and it is salutary that these issues be pursued.

“However, we must all remind ourselves that it is not just a question of doing wrong or accusing someone of doing wrong, you must be able to prove that the person has done wrong. Therefore, there is the course of the law that must be followed.

“Under the present circumstance, we have seen a number of cases go to court and lost in court by the Federal Government and therefore, I would imagine that the Federal Government wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes again,” Mr Adedeji stated.

Hands Are Tied

Speaking further on the intentions of the Government, he said: “What they have done in this instance of the NIA DG, is to ensure that they follow the due process.

“I think where their hands are tied with regards to the NIA DG is simply because he came up to own that the money found in Ikoyi, belongs to his organisation and it was meant for a covert operation. Once you hear that, then you have to be a little bit careful. It may be true, it may not be true.

“That’s why there is need to find out internally – That’s why they set up that committee internally to be able to go through that process.”

He, therefore agreed that the investigative process should continue behind closed doors because of the nature of the issue of the DG.

“These are people who in other climes are faceless – You don’t even know who they are – That particular organisation, they remain faceless. Therefore, it is left for us to understand without emotion, the direction these things are going.”

According to Mr Adedeji, there are certain things that are said there that are meant for internal consumption only and eventually the outcome of the investigations would be presented to Nigerian.

“I would want to believe that the position of the Vice President is in line with the position of the President with regards to corruption and therefore, he would follow through with that determination that if it is true that this is a corrupt practice, it will be exposed and the person would be made to go through the process of investigation before they even go to court.”

World Bank, Others To Support Nigeria’s Power Sector

The Nigerian Government has come into an agreement with the World Bank group to scale up disbursements for critical projects in the country.

Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun told journalists in Washington at the end of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings that the power sector in particular, has received the backing of the World Bank and other development partners.

“If there is one thing that would really drive growth in Nigeria, its power. If we had to choose just one thing, it would be power because of the number of jobs it would create, the number of opportunities and amount of wealth it would create. So we have said getting power right is non-negotiable.”

She further stated that all the projects are contained in the economic recovery and growth plan adding that while the foundation has been laid, implementation is what is left.

“This phase we are now, is about implementation. We’ve put the foundations in place, now it’s about really accelerating the implementation in certain key areas and we are quite confident that we are going to get back to growth and hopefully, would be sustainable growth that would be less volatile so that even if the oil price falls in future, Nigeria would not be as vulnerable as we have found ourselves in the last few years.”

Army Recovers Large Cache Of Arms In Southern Kaduna

The new Operation Harbin Kunama (II) jointly set up by the Army and the Kaduna state government, has begun yielding fruits as the group recovered large cache of arms in Southern Kaduna.

The discovery was made when troops of the 1 Division Nigerian Army, embarked on a cordon and search of Gwaska, Dangoma, Angwan Far and Bakin Kogi general area of Southern Kaduna state.

Recovered during the operation were: 73 Dane guns, 4 locally made rifles, one locally made machine gun and one locally made pistol. Others include 260 cartridges, 14 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 63 rounds of 9mm ammunition, one locally made small machine gun magazine, a pair of worn out military boot and some quantities of assorted improvised ammunition and pyrotechnics hidden in dug out pits.

The recently launched operation will also cover some forests in Bauchi, Kano and Plateau states.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman.

Usman noted that while efforts are ongoing to track down the owners of the arms and ammunition, it is imperative to state that the good people of the area have been very supportive and cooperate fully with the military which led to the unprecedented findings.

“Similarly, in sector 1 of the operation which covers Kano state, troops in conjunction with other security agencies are carrying out operations in suspected armed bandits camps in Falgore forest. The operation is ongoing,” he added.

Northeast Crisis: Oxfam Calls On Global Communities For Support

As part of efforts in tackling the security challenges in Nigeria’s northeast region, international humanitarian organisation, Oxfam, is calling on the global community for urgent support.

The organisation has also asked the Federal Government to do more to give every region a sense of belonging.

The Executive Director of Oxfam International, Mrs Winnie Byanyima, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, at the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.

“The military is making progress in claiming back some towns but the situation is that people are only safe in the towns the military is controlling. They are restricted, they can’t even move several kilometres outside to farm, so the hunger is severe.

“They are depending on food aid and I was calling on the international community to deliver more food aid because the people in the areas that are still inaccessible, are probably starving because we don’t even know their situation.”

She stressed that there is need for more humanitarian assistance as among other issues, some women and children are still found sleeping out in the open.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian government which is a rich government needs to put in long term solutions to end the conflict and to develop the area,” Byanyima added.