Offa Bank Robbery Case Stalled Due To COVID-19

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The trial of five suspects in the 2018 Offa bank robbery has been stalled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice Halima Salman had last week, adjourned the case till today but a circular from the office of the Chief Registrar of the Kwara State High Court directed all members of staff below grade level 14 to work from home.

As early as 8:00 am when Channels TV crew got to the court premises, the entrance was locked with no member of staff in sight.

The five suspects standing trial were brought to the court but the prosecuting and defense counsel did not show up.

It is now unclear when next the court will sit on the case.

Customs Destroy Impounded Goods Worth N12m

 

The Kwara State Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has destroyed some impounded foreign goods worth 12 million Naira.

Briefing journalists before the destruction of the goods on Tuesday, the Comptroller of the Kwara Command, Ahmed Bello said the goods included 927 bags of rice, 148 bags of Semolina, and 35 cartons of vegetable oil.

According to him, the goods had been certified unfit for human or animal consumption because they had expired.

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Comptroller Ahmed Bello, thereafter, advised the smugglers to desist from the illegal act as the Service, through intelligence gathering, will always be on their trail.

Kwara Suspends Perm Sec, Four Others Over ‘Ghost Workers’ Probe

Kwara Senator, Eight Others Arrested Over Alleged Killing Of Two

 

Kwara State Government has suspended five senior officials implicated in the ongoing investigation of ghost workers and suspicious deductions of workers’ salary at the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

The officials are the Permanent Secretary of the parastatal Bayo Audu Onimago; Director of Finance and Supply of SUBEB Husseni Ahmed; account officers Mujeeb Ibrahim and Oyerinde Fatai; and a staff of the Teaching Service Commission who doubled as the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers Toyin Saliu.

“The indefinite suspension is connected to some discoveries of alleged fraud in the parastatal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This is in line with the efforts of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration to cleanse the system, particularly at SUBEB where some startling discoveries have been made,” Murtala Olanrewaju, Commissioner for Communication, said in a statement.

“Salaries connected to the controversial names on the payroll have been flagged and suspended until the end of the exercise.”

Kwara Gov Sacks Driver, Queries COVID-19 Team Over Mishandling Of Case

 

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has directed the sack of a government driver in charge of a COVID-19 response team ambulance.

The driver in a video which has gone viral on social media is seen evacuating a suspected COVID-19 patient in an unprofessional manner with the help of members of the public.

He was reported to have turned deaf ears to directive and gone ahead to evacuate the victim without waiting for the arrival of the Rapid Response Team (RRT).

“The governor totally condemns the shoddy handling of the gentleman who was clearly going through a hard time,” Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He has directed that the driver be fired immediately. As the investigation revealed, the driver failed to heed clear directive not to take any action until the Rapid Response Team (RRT) arrives the scene. He evacuated the gentleman with the help of members of the public without waiting for the arrival of the RRT.

“That incident was avoidable, and we sincerely apologise to the gentleman and to the people of Kwara State for the embarrassing development. We assure them this will not happen again,” the statement added.

Governor AbdulRazaq also directed the issuance of queries to top officials of the state ministry of health for failing to act with necessary caution and expertise in the handling of the incident.

The governor directed that members of the RRT be queried so as to ensure such incident of dangerous violation of COVID-19 safety protocols does not repeat itself.

He added that it is equally distasteful and unacceptable that the driver, who had long been involved in such operations, made unethical comments to somebody in distress.

COVID-19: Kwara State Announces Total Lockdown

File: The governor of Kwara State Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq.

 

The Kwara State Government has announced a total lock down of the entire sixteen local government areas until further notice.

The Chairman, Technical Committee on COVID-19 and the Deputy Governor of the State, Kayode Alabi, announced this while addressing journalists in Ilorin.

He said the order would take effect from six o clock in the evening (Thursday).

READ ALSO: Hold Buhari, APC Responsible For Any COVID-19 Upsurge – PDP

The markets will, however, be allowed to open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday between ten in the morning and two in the afternoon.

COVID-19: Kwara Govt Shuts Down Schools, Orders Civil Servants To Work From Home

 

The Kwara State Government has ordered the closure of all public and private nursery, primary, secondary schools and state-owned tertiary institutions as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The government has also banned all gatherings of more than 25 people.

Apart from the Ministry of Health and other essential workers, all civil servants are expected to work from home.

This was contained in a statement signed by the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Sunday.

Read Also: Three New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed In Lagos

Although the state has no confirmed case of the COVID-19, it says it is taking the proactive measures to avoid any future incidents, while noting that they are embarking on a healthcare transformation agenda to give residents access to better quality and affordable healthcare.

Read the full statement below.

Statement by His Excellency Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State on COVID-19 pandemic

Dear Kwarans:

The welfare, security and well-being of all Kwarans are of utmost importance to our administration and, as such, we have embarked on a robust healthcare transformation agenda to give every Kwaran access to better quality and affordable healthcare.

At this moment, however, the world is faced with a viral pandemic caused by coronavirus.

Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new strain of coronavirus to infect humans. It was first detected in China and has now spread around the world, including Nigeria.

Currently, we have no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kwara State. However, as a proactive government, and consistent with our determination to upgrade healthcare infrastructure in Kwara state, I have since approved funding for the construction of an isolation centre at the onset of our administration.

Now, the number of cases in Nigeria is increasing, there are a total of 27 confirmed cases. The federal government of Nigeria is leading the fight against coronavirus by taking bold and decisive decisions that will save lives.  In Kwara State, we are following the lead of the Federal government by mobilising all resources available to us to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Kwara.

Even so, basic preventive measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As individuals, we are all responsible for the general well-being of fellow Kwarans and should work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:

1) washing our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as much as possible daily;

2) avoiding touching our eyes, mouths, and noses;

3) covering our mouths and noses with our bent elbow or tissue when we cough or sneeze;

4) staying more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick and coughing, and wearing a mask if you are ill (especially if coughing) or looking after someone who is ill and coughing;

5) abstaining from handshaking until the threat of this COVID-19 is zero; and

6) avoiding crowded area and minimising any gathering to a maximum of 25.

As a community, we must do everything possible to prevent any transmission of COVID-19 by embracing the concept of social distancing and self-isolation. These measures are to prevent anyone that may be infected with COVID-19 from spreading the disease to others. An exponential spread of COVID-19 in our community might be catastrophic because we could have thousands of our citizens sick at the same time.

Given the aforementioned and the global health emergency situation, our administration has taken the following difficult but important decisions to protect Kwarans:

1)     Closure of all public and private nurseries, primary, secondary and state-owned Tertiary institutions.

2)     Aside from Ministry of health and essential workers, all civil servants are to work from home.

3)     All gatherings of more than 25 people are hereby discouraged until further notice.

We need to encourage all Kwarans to get involved in this fight against COVID-19. We believe we will achieve desired results only if and when our people are properly sensitised on how to protect our communities from the virus.

We are determined to continue to make the necessary investments in healthcare to safeguard the lives of our people. A 20-bed high-quality isolation centre has been completed and equipped at Sobi Specialist Hospital and plans are underway to build additional and well-equipped 12-bed intensive care unit at the General Hospital, Ilorin.

We have put in place a “COVID-19 Technical Committee” comprising healthcare professionals and officials whose primary responsibility is to assist our administration in combating COVID-19 in Kwara State. This committee is headed by the Deputy Governor.

In addition to the above measures, including the emergency telephone lines already given by the Ministry of Health, you will be receiving regular briefings and bulletins from us on the development.

Finally, l wish to reassure all Kwarans of the determination of our administration to prevent, contain, and limit the impact of the pandemic on our people.

God bless Kwara State! God bless Nigeria.

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq
Governor, Kwara State.
March 22, 2020.

Ile-Arugbo: Court Fixes March 25 For Hearing After Parties Fail To Settle

 

A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin has fixed March 25, 2020, for definite hearing on the case between the Saraki family and the state government.

Both parties have been in dispute over the demolition of the Saraki family home known as Ile Arugbo, which was demolished by the state government.

According to the state government, the property which was used as a venue for political meetings was destroyed over alleged illegality in its acquisition.

Counsels to both parties had told the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Adewara, that the matter will be settled out of court.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Ize-Iyamu’s Alleged Money Laundering Case To March 26

However, Channels Television gathered that several meeting held at the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, ended in a brick wall as both parties failed to reach amicable terms of a settlement.

In the terms of the settlement, the Kwara government wants the land to be left for the public interest; but the claimant proposed that the government should vacate the revocation order on three plots on Illofa road, GRA, which Ile Arugbo sits on.

The claimants added that the government should rebuild all the demolished structures on the land, and issue a public apology to the aged who were traumatised by the demolition.

On Mondays sitting, Justice Adewara commended both parties for trying to find an amicable resolution to the crisis as advised by the court, and fixed March 25 for the hearing of the case.

Customs Impounds 48 Sacks Of Marijuana In Kwara

The Nigeria custom officers in Kwara State have seized 48 sacks of Cannabis Sativa popularly known as Marijuana.

Also, 953 bags of imported rice weighing 50kg each were seized.

The Area Comptroller, Ahmed Bello said the seizure was made at Bukuru in Baruten Local Government Area of the state between August 2019 and January 2020.

He said the seized marijuana weighs 3,593kg and the total duty paid value of the items seized is N448million.

Bello also condemned the act of smuggling and the increased consumption of marijuana by youths. He revealed that the command would continue to dialogue, engage, sensitise and educate the public on the strategic role of the customs activities to the social and economic stability of the country.

Ile Arugbo Demolition: Kwara Govt To Revoke More Illegal Properties

 

The Kwara State Government says it will soon revoke more properties that are found to be illegally acquired.

The chairman of the committee on the review of the sales of government properties, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, said this on Sunday while addressing journalists on the demolition of the Saraki Property by the state government.

Ajadi noted that the committee which was established to look into the sales of government properties from 1999 to date has recommended some properties to be taken over by the government.


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According to him and contrary to the belief in some quarters, the Saraki property known as Ile Arugbo did not have any documents.

He added that the committee which submitted its report four months ago discovered that no application nor payment was made in respect of the land in question.

Before the demolition, the Saraki family house was used as a venue for political meetings when the family held sway over the Kwara Government.

Policemen, numbering about 50 were said to have gone to enforce the action at about 3:00 am on January 2 but were initially resisted by some the old women.

They later returned at about 4:00 am when the structure was eventually pulled down.

Several reactions have continued to trail the action, including that of the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, who is a member of the APC, and a member of the Saraki family.

According to her, although she had chosen to remain silent over the previous happenings in the state as part of her loyalty to the party, she felt it was necessary to speak up now in order for her silence not to be misconstrued as approval.

She condemned the manner in which the issue was approached and therefore called on members of the party “to stand up against vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity.”

Police Take Over Saraki’s Ancestral Home

 

Policemen have surrounded a property belonging to the family of the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The property has in recent days been a subject of controversy between the former Senate President and the current Kwara State Government.

Prior to this development, the state House of Assembly had deliberated on a petition against the ownership of the expanse of land which was reportedly not paid for, prompting the call for the executive to take over the property.

The matter has also triggered political arguments between the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State and the state government.

Kwara Workers Threaten Strike Over Non-Payment Of New Minimum Wage

Kwara workers during the emergency meeting held at the Labour house in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

 

Workers in Kwara State on Tuesday threatened to embark on industrial action if the State Government does not implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.

The labour union which comprises of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) disclosed this during an emergency meeting held at the Labour House in Ilorin, the state capital.

According to them several efforts made to convince the state governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on the need to constitute minimum wage committee has not been met.

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According to the workers, six states have commenced the payment with ten already negotiating; therefore Kwara State should not be left behind.

The state chairman of TUC, Kola Olumoh during the meeting said the “issue of the N30,000 minimum wage has been passed into law and it should be seen as an act of the law that is binding for state governors to emulate.

“We are ready and willing to ensure that the state government pays the minimum wage of N30,000 by the virtue of the adjustment that has been made and signed by Labour.

“We hope and expect that the state government will be magnanimous as a way of giving back to the workers, the dividends of having voted them in to pay us our N30,000 minimum wage before December 31st.”

Meanwhile, the state government through a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaye says the governor has directed the head of service to immediately constitute a minimum wage committee.

Alleged N4bn Misappropriation: 16 Kwara LG Chairmen Released By EFCC

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released the 16 Local Government Chairmen of Kwara State invited for questioning into the alleged misappropriation of N4bn loan and ten percent of Internally Generated Revenue.

In a statement by the antigraft agency, the LG Chairmen were released after volunteering statements to the Commission.

The Head, Media & Publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren clarified that the invited men were not detained, contrary to reports.

“They were invited over allegations that border on misappropriation of part of the N4bn loan obtained from Sterling Bank for the payment of arrears of salaries and pension of local government employees and teachers through the State Universal Education Board, SUBEB. They also allegedly diverted 10 percent of state internally generated revenue.”

RELATED: EFCC Arrests 16 Kwara LG Chairmen Over Alleged N4bn Misappropriation

The Chairmen, after a meeting, decided that N100,000,000.00 (one hundred million Naira) be shared among themselves from the loan.

“All the council chairmen were released after questioning on Friday, November 1, 2019, contrary to reports in mainstream and social media, that they were detained by the Commission. “

The Commission stated that investigations are still ongoing.