Saraki Advises Nigerians To Live In Harmony

Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has called on citizens to continue to live in peace and have confidence in government in turning the fortunes of the country around.

The Senate leader, who spoke to Channels Television in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, assured Nigerians of the government’s determination to surmount the challenges currently faced in the country.

“I am very hopeful that the country will get better, I am very hopeful that we will get over all our problems with time, we just have to stay focused and determined and not be distracted. But most important thing is that there must be unity and peace and we must be able to come together and support the government,” Saraki said.

Senate Commences Screening Of Walter Onnoghen

Walter OnnoghenJustice Walter Onnoghen is currently facing the senate as hearing has commenced to confirm him as Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had announced that the upper chamber will screen the Acting Chief Justice on Wednesday, March 1.

Senator Saraki made the announcement at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday morning.

Justice Onnoghen has been in acting capacity since November 10, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari okayed him for the position, following the retirement of Mahmud Mohammed.

Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had sent his name to the senate for confirmation as Chief Justice Of Nigeria on February 8, just two days before the expiration of his three –month acting tenure.

Also, The National Judicial Council (NJC), had extended Mr Onnoghen’s tenure by another three months on the grounds that it may have been impossible for the Senate, which was on recess at the time, to reconvene and screen Onnoghen before the expiration date of his tenure.

The initial delay by President Buhari to send his name to the Senate had been trailed by criticism and condemnation, with some alleging ethnic bias as the reason for the president’s “seeming reluctance”.

The nomination was however contained in the presidency’s twitter handle saying: “Hon. Justice W.S. Onnoghen’s name has been sent to the Senate for confirmation as the next CJN.”

Justice Onnoghen has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2005.

If confirmed by the Upper Legislative Chamber, he would be the first CJN from the southern part of the country in about 30 years.

Geodesy Centre Confirms Kaduna Incident was Earthquake 

earthquAKE, earth tremorWhat was described as tremor that shook Kwoi in Jabba Local Government Area of Kaduna State has now been confirmed to be an earthquake.

Speaking to Channels Television at the end of an investigation of the incident, the Head of Seismology Division at the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics located in Toro Bauchi State, explained that the quake was 2.6 in magnitude.

According to Dr. Ofonime Akpan, the centre was able to accurately record the size, location as well as the time of the two incidents.

“When we got there, we got the data, analysed the data and then confirmed that it was actually an earthquake – 2.6. That was why it was just within the locality of Kwoi, except maybe up to about four to five kilometres around Kwoi.

“We tried to assure them (residents) that they should not panic. ‘This is a natural occurrence, so you don’t have to panic’.

“We saw some cracks on buildings and in some places the ceilings fell down but for us those were minor,” he said.

He went on to explain that earthquakes occur as a result of the buildup of pressure over time and “when one happens, there is what we call ‘strength drop’ which means the likelihood of it reoccurring in that place is low”.

Kwoi Tremor: Residents Fear More Danger After ‘Cracked Walls’

earth tremor, cracked walls, kaduna tremor, Kwoi TremorThe earth tremor that occurred at Kwoi, the headquarters Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna state has continued to cause more fear among residents.

The tremor struck twice on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday, September 12, 2016.

Many people were badly traumatized by the disaster and those who could not overcome the shock have fled from their homes to neighboring communities due to fear.

Although no life or property was lost, they say it will be a long time before they would recover from the shock.

Few buildings were also affected by the incident and owners of such buildings now live in fear because of the structural damage done.

Impacts on the buildings ranged from a few cracks to walls collapsing. Luckily all buildings were still habitable but apprehension remained everywhere.

77-year-old Dauda Malando, whose house was affected, said that they have never witnessed such a strange incident since he was born.

Remain Calm

Pending when the cause of the earth tremor is known, the paramount ruler of the community, Danladi Maude, has allayed fear that the absence of a secondary health facility in the community could be a major challenge in case of any emergency situation.

The Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Bala Bantex, has also been to the community to commiserate with the people.

He said that the state government was in close contact with environmental experts to identify the cause of the earth tremor and how it could be averted.

He appealed to the people to remain calm.

Kwoi is an agrarian community in the southern part of Kaduna state. It is surrounded by undulating hills and mountains. The community is popularly known for ginger production and carving of artifacts.

Being a local government headquarters, a satellite detention facility of the Nigeria Prison Service is located there.

Senate To Investigate

Earlier in the year, the Nigeria Geographical Information Service (NGIS) had warned of possible earthquakes across the country particularly in the south west region due to indiscriminate drilling of boreholes.

The Nigerian Senate has now said that it will investigate the earth tremor in Kaduna.

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, gave the assurance while addressing reporters at his residence in Ilorin on Tuesday where he was to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.

He said that the legislative chamber would invite relevant agencies to enlighten Nigerians on their preparedness in case of higher occurrence of the tremor.

Appropriate Guidance

Prior to this, the Kaduna state government had also after the first incident in Kwoi community, appealed to the people of the community to be calm.

In a statement issued on Sunday by spokesman to the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, the government said that a formal report has been made to the appropriate authorities to investigate the development and issue appropriate guidance.

The statement also directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to mobilise its officials to the area and to monitor the situation and assist the people in case of any emergency.

Senate To Investigate Kaduna Earth Tremor


Senate on Kaduna earth tremorThe Nigerian Senate says it will investigate the alleged earth tremor that happened in Kaduna State on Monday.

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, gave the assurance while addressing reporters at his residence in Ilorin on Tuesday where he was to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.

He said that the legislative chamber would invite relevant agencies to enlighten Nigerians on their preparedness in case of higher occurrence of the tremor.

There were reports on Monday that a fresh earth tremor had occurred at Sambang Dagi community barely 24 hours after a similar incident was recorded at Kwoi village both in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, in Nigeria’s North-West region.

An indigene of the area told Channels Television’s correspondent that the second vibration occurred very early in the morning on Monday, leaving residents scampering for safety.

There were also concerns that the earth tremor could destroy several artifacts that are located in Nok community.

The town of Nok is barely four kilometres from Kwoi where the local government secretariat of ‘Jaba’ is located, while Sambang Dagi is about 20km away from Nok.

Exaggerated 

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency has said that no life or property was lost from the earth tremor that occurred at Kwoi community.

Speaking to our correspondent, the Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr Ezekiel Baba-Karik, also debunked report that similar incident occurred in Nok and Sambang Dagi villages on Monday.

Instead, he explained that the earth tremor occurred twice only in Kwoi community on Saturday and in the early hours of Monday morning.

While he explained that the incident was not as devastating as being exaggerated by the public, Mr Baba-Karik said that most residents fled from their homes due to fear.

He further explained that a team of geologists have been dispatched in the area to ascertain the cause of the earth tremor.

Speaking when rescue workers visited the affected areas, the caretaker chairman of Jaba Local government, Ben Kure, said that government would do everything possible to ensure that the people are protected.

Appropriate Guidance

After the first incident in Kwoi community, the Kaduna state government had also appealed to the people of the community to be calm.

In a statement issued on Sunday by spokesman to the state governor, Samuel Aruwan, the government said that a formal report has been made to the appropriate authorities to investigate the development and issue appropriate guidance.

The statement directs the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to mobilise its officials to the area and to monitor the situation and assist the people in case of any emergency.

An earth tremor, according to geologists, is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.

Earlier in the year, the Nigeria Geographical Information Service (NGIS) had warned of possible earthquakes in the country, particularly in the south west region due to indiscriminate drilling of boreholes.

CCT Fixes July 13 To Rule Saraki’s Motion Asking Chairman To Disqualify Himself

CCT, Saraki, Senate President, Bukola SarakiThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Tuesday heard the motion filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, asking the Chairman of the tribunal to disqualify himself from presiding over his trial for alleged false declaration of assets.

Arguing the motion, Paul Erukoro, who is counsel to the Senate President said that it would no longer be possible for the Chairman to be fair to both parties in the suit.

Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr Danladi Yakubu Umar, had on June 7 accused the Senate President of trying to delay his trial.

The tribunal Chairman, who was reacting to the allegation of delay tactics by the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs against Saraki’s lawyers said that the consequences of the trial and the charges will in no way be reduced on the accused person by his tribunal.

Mr Paul Erukoro said that the prosecution did not object to the facts of the statement and proceeded to read the statement but the prosecutor objected to reading the statement and his objections was upheld.

Erukoro then referred the tribunal to the written address of the prosecution where they, according to him admitted that the Chairman of the tribunal made the statement.

He also told the tribunal that the Chairman of the tribunal was personally served as required by law so that he can refute any part of the motion if he so wishes but the Chairman did not do so.

He said that it is therefore in order to agree that all sides agree that the Chairman made the statement.

He added that the position of the prosecutor that the chairman spoke out of anger and that meanings should not be read into his statement is not admissible.

He also told the Tribunal to reject the proposition of the prosecution that the judgment should be left to the end of the trial because the motion is asking him to disqualify himself from the trial.

Should he go ahead, it will be assumed that he has taken his decision again, citing the decision of the tribunal on April 27, 2016.

Abuse of Court Processes

Responding, the prosecution counsel said he had filed a counter affidavit showing that the prayer being sought is the same trial they have been seeking since the start of the trial.

He added that considering the motion would mean the Chairman taking over the duties of the Appeal Court.

Mr Jacobs also said that the affidavit of concern submitted to the tribunal is not known to law as the law says only a reasonable person who was in trial can speak on an issue.

According to him, the persons listed in the affidavit of concern are political supporters.

He also argued that the Chairman of the tribunal did not state the consequences of offences but the consequences of a trial which can mean an acquittal.

He said that the Chairman did not say “I will convict you” instead he said the consequences of trial, which can be anything; either acquittal or conviction.

He told the tribunal that what the Chairman meant by his statement is that he must conclude the case.

He concluded by saying that the application is frivolous and an abuse of court processes intended to delay the matter.

Tribunal Disbandment

The other member of the tribunal then asked the defence to speak on the issue raised by the prosecution that they want the tribunal to be disbanded.

Mr Erukoro explained that the circumstances will bring to the attention of the executive, the need to properly constitute the tribunal, if the Chairman of the tribunal agrees to disqualify himself.

He added that the law makes provision for appointing persons to hear the case.

Having heard both parties the tribunal initially adjourned to Wednesday, June 22 for ruling but the Chairman quickly changed his mind, saying he would be travelling for two weeks

So he would be adjourning the matter for ruling after his return. He suggested Thursday, July 7 and again suggested July 13 which all the parties agreed with.

Saraki’s Trial Adjourned After Motion Seeking CCT Chairman’s Disqualification

sarakiThe trial of Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, for false asset declaration has been adjourned after he again asked the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to disqualify himself from hearing the case.

He is calling for the disqualification of Mr Danladi Umar, citing what he called an ‘unguarded statement’ which he claimed was made by the chairman on the sitting of June 7.

The Senate President quoted the chairman as saying: “I am not happy at the delay tactics by the defence counsel and I must say this thing out that this delay tactics will not reduce the consequences the defendant will met from the Tribunal at the end of the trial”.

‘Now Lives In Fear’

Dr Saraki in his motion filed by his counsel also said that the threat of consequences issued by the Chairman of the Tribunal had caused him to lose confidence in the impartiality of the chairman and that he was not confident that he could get justice from the Tribunal if the Chairman continued to preside and ultimately decide the case.

He also claimed that he ‘now lives in fear’ and is deeply worried that the Mr Umar had already decided his fate.

“It is therefore imperative for him to step aside from the case,” a counsel to Dr Saraki told the Tribunal on Wednesday.

However, a prosecuting counsel, who told the Tribunal that the principal prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, was at another proceedings at the appeal court, informed the Tribunal that they have received the motion.

He went further to tell the Tribunal to discountenance the motion at the Wednesday sitting since what was before the Tribunal was the continuation of cross-examination and that the Tribunal should proceed with that.

At this point the Chairman of the Tribunal asked him if he had replied to the motion and Mr Pious Ukeyima said he had just received a further affidavit at the premises of the Tribunal and would be needing time to respond to it.

“The prosecution intends to oppose the motion,” he said and insisted that the cross-examination should continue.

The Chairman of the Tribunal then told the defence counsel that he would hear the motion on Tuesday June 21 and then proceeded with the trial.

He reminded the counsel to Dr. Saraki that it was not the first time, he had been asked to disqualify himself from the trial.

At this point counsel to Dr. Saraki, Mr Kana Agabi, told Mr Umar that his statement had prejudiced the hearing of the motion, insisting that the statement of the Chairman of the Tribunal showed he had made his design already.

But the chairman of the Tribunal told him that he, Mr Agabi, had misconstrued his statements.

“Saying I will continue with the proceedings doesn’t mean I have decided not to disqualify myself,” he told Dr. Saraki’s counsel urging him to be patient until the hearing.

Having heard both parties in the suit, the chairman of the Tribunal then adjourned the proceedings to June 21 for continuation of hearing.

Discrepancies In Saraki’s Assets At CCT As Tribunal Adjourns

Senate President, Bukola SarakiThere was a heated argument at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over the ownership of a property allegedly bought by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, from the Federal Government.

Senator Saraki is standing trial for alleged false declaration of assets.

Under cross-examination at the proceedings on Wednesday, the prosecution witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, told the Tribunal that the property sold to the Senate President was privately owned.

This was contrary to the claim by the witness that the property was bought from the Presidential Implementation Committee for the Sales of Government Property.

However, the witness while on further cross-examination maintained that from the letters his team received from the Presidential Committee on Sales of Federal Government Houses and the Lagos Land Registry the Property indicated to be on MacDonald Street in Ikoyi, Lagos was number 15 MacDonald Street and Block 1 and not number 15 A and B which was declared by the Senate President in his asset declaration form.

He testified that from his investigation he was able to establish that number 15A MacDonald Street, Ikoyi was the same as number 15 and house 15 flat 1 to 4.

He was then told to read the letter by a second bidder on the property on 15 MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, one Energy Marine Limited

According to the letter, the company pointed out to the then Minister of Works and Housing and the Presidential Committee on the Sales of Federal Government Property that besides the land on ground being different front the measurement on paper, the numbering of the houses were ambiguous.

The letter showed that the property was labelled number 15A and B MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, behind another number 15 and as such there would be need to make clarifications.

He admitted that as investigators, they did not invite Energy Marine Limited, the second bidder to explain the letter.

He also admitted that he had seen the letter before now while he said he did not visit the property to clarify the discrepancies.

When asked if based on the letters he went to inspect the discrepancies, he said other members of the investigation team visited MacDonald Street and reported to him.

He also said the report was verbal and that “when the other witnesses in the case take a stand, they will be in a better position to explain”.

When one of the judges of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, William Atedze, asked him how he came to the conclusion that number 15 and block 15 MacDonald Street, Ikoyi, were the same as number 15A and B as declared in the asset of the defendant, he said although he was not conversant with how houses were numbered, as an investigator, he relied on the reports from the Lagos Land Registry and the Presidential Committee which listed the houses as number 15 and block 15 MacDonald Street Ikoyi .

In comments about the day’s sitting, the prosecutor accused the defense of deliberately trying to delay the trial, decrying the way and manner he was handling the cross-examination.

But the defence disagree with him.

The Tribunal then adjourned till May 17 for the defence to continue the cross-examination of the prosecution witness.

Pro And Anti Saraki Groups Protest At National Assembly

SarakiSupporters and opponents of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, stormed the National Assembly as lawmakers resumed legislative proceedings for the week.

One group was protesting against the trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

They alleged that President Buhari is witch-hunting the Senate President because he emerged Senate President against the wishes of the party.

However, another group of protesters demanded that the Senate President steps down over allegations of false declaration of assets.

Both groups, armed with placards bearing varying messages marched to the National Assembly demanding that their voices be heard.

The protesters were, however, not allowed to proceed beyond the main gate of the National Assembly.

the protesters have vowed that they will lay siege to the National Assembly for the next three days.

Reacting to the protests, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume described the anti-Saraki protest as a dangerous precedent.

 

 

Saraki Seeks Disqualification Of CCT Chairman In His Trial

Code of conduct tribunal on Saraki trial Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has asked the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from the case.

Senator Saraki is accusing Mr Umar of bias, insisting that he could not get justice under his chairmanship.

In a motion he filed against Mr Umar, Saraki asked the chairman to disqualify himself from further participation in his trial on the alleged falsification of asset declaration.

In the motion on notice filed by Senator Saraki on Wednesday, it was contended that the continued presence of Mr Umar on the panel of the Tribunal offended the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The constitutional provision prescribes that “in the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality”.

The applicant claimed that with the unfolding events and the ways and manners his trial was being conducted by Mr Umar, there is a likelihood of bias from the chairman and as such he should withdraw himself from further prosecuting him.

The motion on notice was brought pursuant to section 36 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the common law rule on likelihood of bias and the rules of natural justice.

Senator Saraki said that the interest of justice would be served if Mr Umar disqualifies himself from sitting in the panel of the Tribunal to hear and determine the charges being prosecuted against the applicant.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the motion.

Senator Sariki’s trial on alleged false asset declaration was on Monday put on a day-to-day basis by the Tribunal.

On Wednesday the cross examination of the prosecution’s witness continued, with the witnessed asked to go through some of the exhibits he had brought before the court. he had on Tuesday told the court that he did not investigate some of the exhibits.

Senators Express Reservation Over EFCC’s Invitation Of Mrs Saraki

SarakiSenators who are members of the group called ‘Like Minds’ have described as curious, the decision of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to invite the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki, in connection with an unknown investigation.

The senators, in a statement signed by Senator Dino Melaye, stated that they hoped that the invitation of Mrs Saraki was not politically motivated or linked with the ongoing leadership tussle in the Senate.

The lawmakers stated that although they did not want to make any hasty conclusion, they were surprised that about five years after Senator Saraki left the Kwara State Government House, the EFCC suddenly realized the need to invite the wife for questioning.

They urged the EFCC to perform its lawful duties but warned that it should not return to the dark days when the anti-graft agency was frequently and flagrantly used as a political weapon.

Terror Attacks: Saraki Advocates Peace For Nigeria

Terror Attacks: Saraki Advocates Peace For NigeriaNigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, says Nigeria can only harness its economic potentials when its people live together harmoniously, irrespective of tribal, religious and political affiliations.

Senator Saraki made the statement while expressing concerns about the recent bomb attacks in some parts of Nigeria’s north, purportedly carried out by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The resurgence of the terrorist attacks in the country prompted members of the Northern Reawakening Forum to meet with the Senate President on Tuesday, to discuss ways to tackle the insurgency.

The group also listed some problems confronting the northern part of the country, which they were anxious that the present administration should address.

However, Senator Saraki maintained that every part of Nigeria was important and should be encouraged to actively participate in the development of the nation.

He further emphasised that Nigeria was blessed with abundant resources, but advised that the only way to ensure the efficient utilisation of the possessions was for all the geo-political zones to contribute their quota to the growth of the economy.