Babalakin Questions Legality Of Criminal Charge Against Him

The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin has challenged the legality of the criminal charge filed against him and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Ikeja High Court.

He also filed an application asking the court to dispense with, his physical presence in court pending the hearing and determination of his application challenging the charges.

Mr Babalakin is facing trial alongside one Alex Okoh, a banker and three companies, Stabilini Vision Ltd, Bi-Courtney Ltd and Renix Nigeria Ltd for fraudulently transferring 4.7 billion Naira on behalf of the convicted former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.

The EFCC alleged that Babalakin and his co-defendants fraudulently assisted Ibori to transfer huge sums of money through various parties to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of a Challenger Jet aircraft.

The defendants, who were however billed for a fresh arraignment before a new trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, resisted the arraignment on the basis of their pending applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

The former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, has been moved to the Commercial Division of the High Court.

Mr Babalakin also refused to go into the dock, while his counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni, argued that he could not be docked until the determination of his pending application challenging the charge and the jurisdiction of the court.

The trial judge, Justice Lawal-Akapo, ruled in favour of Mr Babalakin and subsequently extended the same ruling to the co-defendants after an application by their counsel.

The court directed the Police and the EFCC not to re-arrest Mr Babalakin because the bail earlier granted to him by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, was still in force.

The judge also ordered the EFCC to release Mr Okoh’s international passport to enable him embark on two business trips between December 2013 and January 2014. He is to return the international passport to the EFCC not later than January 30, 2014.

Further hearing in the case has been fixed for the January 20, 2014 for the hearing of all pending applications.

Videoed LASTMA Official Is On The Run But We Will Get Him – Fashola

The official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) caught on video camera negotiating a bribe from a motorist is on the run.

Governor Babatunde Fashola made this known at the re-launch and induction of the Special Traffic Mayor Corps in Ikeja where he gave an assurance that the corrupt official, who has been declared wanted, would soon be apprehended and made to face the law.

“That fellow in LASTMA, I am told is on the run, we have declared him wanted and we will get him. Be sure about that, we will get him, and as soon as we do, we will give him all his rights and he will have his day in court.”

Admonishing the elite group of LASTMA officers, Governor Fashola reiterated that the primary purpose for the establishment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority was to keep Lagos traffic moving. He insisted that the process of arresting any erring motorist should never be made a priority ahead of the primary assignment.

He reminded the officers that if traffic was kept moving, the quality of life of the average citizen would improve as less hours would be spent in traffic and more money saved by the motorists and commuters on the roads.

Mr Fashola also commended the medium through which the LASTMA official was indicted, saying “I want to salute the citizen that got that video for us on his camera, we must name, we must shame and we must use that kind of medium to fish out all the bad eggs in our society, give them a face that the public can see, and bring them to justice.”

Channels Television showed a video footage of the LASTMA official extorting money from a motorist for beating a red light and the video has continued to generate reactions from many Nigerians.

The video was sent to the station by the victim of the extortion via Channels Television’s iWitness Mobile Application which was developed to encourage Citizen Journalism among the public.


Governor Obi Commissions Agu Awka Power Plant

Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has commissioned the Agu Awka Power Sub-station in Awka.

This is a joint project of the Federal, State and Local Government under the direct supervision of the Niger-Delta Power Holding Company Limited.

While commissioning the project which is expected to ensure steady supply to Awka and environs, Governor Obi emphasized that the project will help the entrepreneurial spirit of the Anambra people to be motivated, and consequently help industrial activities to thrive in the state.

He also expressed gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to bringing about transformation in the power sector.

Also briefing the audience at the event, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. James Olowu not only assured of the usage of the best equipment in the project, he also commended the Anambra State Government for having invested a lot in the project.

The Managing Director then took the Governor round the facility, through the control room that has 33KVA Panels which is the power house of the substation.

In a similar development, Governor Peter Obi has also handed over to 58 directors in the Anambra State Civil Service, cars for their daily operation and running of their different departments.

The directors described the gesture as unprecedented and that it has rekindled in them the hope that they are part and parcel of the present administration.

The keys to the vehicles were handed over to the Anambra State Head of Civil Service, Mr. Chidi Ezeoke.

One Year Memorial Prayer Held For Late Olusola Saraki

A prayer has been organized for the repose of the soul of the late strongman of Kwara politics, Olusola Saraki who passed away as a result of illness on November 14, 2012.

The prayer was organized by members of the late politician’s immediate family to mark one year of his death.

The event, which took place at the Ilorin Central Mosque, was attended by prominent personalities from different parts of the country.

The prayer session was led by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Muhammad Bashir, who admonished the people to emulate the virtues of the deceased who impacted positively on the lives of Kwara people.

The eldest son of the deceased, Senator Bukola Saraki expressed delight in the accolades poured on his late father, promising to keep his legacy going.

VIDEO: LASTMA Official Caught On Tape Collecting Bribe

An official of the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) has been caught red-handed demanding bribe from a motorist who is suspected to have broken the Lagos traffic law deliberately to expose corrupt law enforcement agents in the state.

The motorist, driving on Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi, Lagos state, was stopped at the Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant junction, recorded an amateur video and sent it to the iWitness platform of Channels Television.

The yet-to-be identified LASTMA official accused the motorist of beating the traffic light.

As penalty, the motorist was charged the sum of N8,000 and was escorted to the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to withdraw the cash to settle the officer.

It will be recalled that a police officer, Chris Omeleze, caught on film soliciting for inducement by an unknown motorist was dismissed by the Nigerian Police Force.

Anambra Polls: Police IG Orders Restriction Of Movement

The Nigeria Police High Command has ordered a restriction of movement within the boundaries of Anambra State with effect from 6.00pm on Friday, 15 November, to 6.00am on Sunday, 17 November, 2013.

Consequently, all states contiguous to Anambra State – the states of Delta, Enugu, Imo, Abia will be heavily policed. However, those on essential duties are not affected by this order.

The force has sternly warned all security details to desist from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election. It reiterates that only police personnel specifically assigned for election duties must be seen within and around the election designated places.

The Police High Command noted that the restriction order is informed by the demands of overriding security considerations. Noting that the force is not ignorant of the citizens’ right to freedom of movement, as enshrined in the constitution, it however insists that this is a pre-emptive measure aimed at forestalling elaborate plans by faceless groups to undermine the electoral process as gathered through intelligence reports.

The apex police authority therefore, while empathizing with the citizenry over the inconveniences the order may cause, implored them to see this order as very necessary in the present circumstance and geared towards the quest for a seamless, credible and successful governorship election.

The force also suggested that travellers should take advantage of alternate routes to their destinations where necessary within the days, Friday 15 – Sunday 17 November, 2013, that this order is in force.

Polio Eradication: President Jonathan Joins Bill Gates

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, November 11, attended a forum organised by the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication in company of American Inventor and Philanthropist, Bill Gates.

While speaking at the event which also had Nigerian Businessman, Aliko Dangote in attendance, President Jonathan restated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that Polio is eradicated in Nigeria.

“We don’t want to hand over Polio to another government in 2015. With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote and the Aliko Dangote Foundation and others, with the support of the State Governors I’m seeing here and the Local Government chairmen, I believe we will succeed.”

He also called on politicians across the country to ensure that political activities towards the 2015 General Elections do not affect the Government’s agenda to eradicate the wide polio virus in the country by 2014.

Mr. Bill Gates in his speech commended President Jonathan’s efforts at eradicating Polio in Nigeria, as his presence at the event to support the Presidential Task Force is an indication of his commitment to the cause. He also offered suggestions on how to make the initiative succeed.

The high point of the forum was the conferment of a National Honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic on the Co-Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, for his contribution to polio eradication in Nigeria.

Oluchi Speaks On Her Plans For Africa’s Next Top Model

Nigerian Supermodel, Oluchi Onweagba remains one of Nigeria’s biggest stars in the world of modelling and she is conscious of this.

Rubbin’ Minds played host to the US based supermodel and she shared her dreams for models in Africa alongside the steps she has taken to develop the modelling industry on the continent.

The TV reality show, ‘Africa’s Next Top Model’ debuts on television across Africa on Sunday November 10, with Oluchi as the Executive Producer. She said that this will be an opportunity to give young African models the exposure to enable them compete at the international level.

She also spoke about her private life, maintaining her shape after childbirth, inter-racial marriage and other exciting sides to her successful career, including how she has managed to stay away from controversies.

Enjoy the interview.

IPMAN Crashes Price Of Kerosene

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has flagged off a nationwide distribution initiative.

This initiative, according to the organization, is to ensure that kerosene sells at a controlled pump price of 50 Naira per litre and also improve the sales of the product across the country.

An initiative of the Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, PPMC and NNPC, the National President of IPMAN, Abdulkadir Aminu said that the exercise is to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians who cannot afford the cooking gas.

He said the process would be monitored to ensure compliance of retail outlets and that consumers buy only for their use only.

Governor Obi Flags Of Multiple Road Projects

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has flagged off the construction of the 2 bridges across the popular Agulu Lake in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The project which will gulp a total cost of 2billion Naira is being handled by 2 different construction companies, with March 2014 fixed for completion.

In addition to the bridges, over 5 road construction projects in various communities have also been flagged of.

Mr. Peter Obi said the flag off of many projects is part of the final launch towards the realization of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, MDG in Anambra State.

The Governor also flagged off the Ekwulobia – Ezinifite road which is a 7 kilometre stretch, costing 800 million Naira. The State Commissioner for Works, Calistus Ilozumba said the contractors have been fully mobilized.

The flag off ceremony had a large turnout of Agulu people in attendance.

PDP Appeals Oyinlola’s Re-instatement

The People’s Democratic Party, PDP has appealed against the purported re-instatement of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the party’s National Secretary.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division had on Thursday, November 7 nullified the Federal High Court ruling which removed Oyinlola as the National Secretary of the PDP.

However, counsel to the PDP, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, told Channels Television Judiciary Correspondent, Shola Soyele, that the Appeal Court’s judgment was based on errors of law and misdirection of facts.

“The party has already filed 3 grounds of appeal before the Supreme Court in reaction to the Appeal Court ruling,” he said.

Mr Oluyede also explained that contrary to the impression created in the media, “the Appeal Court ruling does not imply a reinstatement of Prince Oyinlola.”

In an earlier interview with Channels Television, Oyinlola said: “It is the right of the PDP to go to the upper court, but I don’t think that will change the fact of the case. We will all go there to present our cases before the Supreme Court and I have no doubt in my mind that justice will equally be served at the Supreme Court.”


Senate Decries Underfunding Of Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

The Nigerian Senate has termed as inadequate the funding of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji North West Nigeria.

At an oversight visit to the college by the Senate Joint Committee on Defence and Army on Thursday, the committee members lamented that the annual budgetary allocation to the college is insufficient to meet its demands, while at the same time; the funds approved are never released fully by the Ministry of Defence.

Worried by the insufficient funds allocated to the college in the 2013 budget, the committee said it was totally unacceptable that such a foremost military training institution in Sub Saharan Africa would be starved of funds to carry out its duties of churning out highly skilled officers for the country.

Chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo who led other members to the college said the committee will do everything within its powers to ensure that the institution is funded properly by the Federal Government, given its importance to the security of the nation.

Senator Sekibo told the commandant that the committee was at the college to ascertain if the funds approved to the college in the 2013 budget have been released by the relevant offices and also to know how the funds were spent.

In their separate presentations, the commandant of the college, Air Vice Marshal Eko Effiom Osim and Director of Finance, James Iliyasu told the lawmakers that out of the 3 billion Naira appropriated to the college for various projects this year, only 1.5 Billion Naira has been accessed on paper, while only the sum of 743 million Naira was released for Capital Expenditure as at October 31, 2013, a situation that has hindered rapid development of infrastructure in the college.

Despite the challenges, the commandant said the management has been able to execute some capital projects.

At the end of their presentation, the committee members were not impressed with the budgetary allocation to the college and blamed the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for the disparities in funds approved and the ones released to the college.

The committee however, expressed satisfaction with the expenditure pattern of the college and called on the Federal Government to take the college as a priority by allocating enough funds to the institution.

The Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji,  is a joint Service Institution established in 1976 to offer increased capacity for academic and professional training of military officers and other ranks of the Nigerian Armed Forces.