Drama As Ozekhome Disowns Colleague During Trial Of Ex-Plateau Gov, Jang

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

There was mild drama at the continuation of the trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, on Friday as his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, disowned another defence counsel, over the line of questioning.

Ex-governor Jang is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), alongside Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, for alleged N6.2billion fraud.

According to a statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, Ozekhome disowned S.A Oguntiyi, Pam’s lawyer and expressed dismay at his line of questioning.

Oguntiyi while cross-examining the 11th prosecution witness, Musa Sunday, an operative of the EFCC, queried the testimony of the witness, with regards to monies paid to Jang.

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Replying, Sunday, however, revealed more of the findings while investigating the alleged fraud.

He said: “Although there was no withdrawal from the OSSG account, a cash deposit of N500,000 by the second defendant was seen on that particular day.

“In the course of investigations, during one of the interrogations with the team of EFCC detectives, the second defendant said the sum of N500,000 was a thank you gift and could not be accountable for.

“In the statement, dated January 16, 2017, made by Pam, he had however denied any receipt of any financial benefits from the Plateau State Government except salaries as a civil servant which was less than N80,000 monthly; so where then did he get cash of N500,000?

“The charges against Pam were not exclusive, but based on what the Legal team of the EFCC considered appropriate and as a civil servant there was no other source of income accrued to the second defendant, who is unable to prove the source of N71million in less than four years.

“Sometimes allowances are paid in cash by the second defendant to officials of the Plateau State House of Assembly and such allowances can be over N1million cash and in no particular order for sitting allowance, furniture allowance, domestic staff allowance, security allowance, and so on as sighted in the statement from Francis Bot, former Chief of Staff to the first defendant.”

At this point, however, Ozekhome, rose up and expressed dismay at the line of questioning of Oguntiyi, and promptly disowned him.

“I urge the judge to dismiss this line of questioning as it only further supports the investigation made by the EFCC and we are washing our hands off this mediocrity.

“If the documents are there why are you simply beating about the bush for hours on end?

“For lack of a better word, the judge must conclude the judgement on this case before his retirement by ending 2019. We do not want to embark on a de novo.

“At this point, we (the counsel for the first defendant) disassociate ourselves from this line of questioning during cross-examination by the second defendant,” Ozekhome said.

Afterwards, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that he had wanted to present the 12th prosecution witness, “but due to the listlessness and lack of valid substance that the defence counsel took so much time, it is unfortunate that the witness may have to appear at another trial date”.

However, Oguntiyi pressed on with his cross-examination, asking the witness if there were Closed Circuit Television, CCTV Cameras, at the Government House, and whether there was an investigation report on the case, wherein findings and recommendations were contained.

Responding, Sunday simply said: “The question about CCTV cameras cannot be answered by me, but the officials of the Plateau State Government House”, adding that, “there was a comprehensive investigation report, however, this is highly confidential and restricted for the EFCC perusal.”

Justice Longji, thereafter, cautioned the counsel, noting that the questions being asked, were mostly repetitions, and not necessary, wondering what Oguntiyi was trying to establish.

Continuing with the cross-examination, Oguntiyi thereafter inquired from the witness, if he was aware that the N10million found in the account of Pam, was a pay-off for his late wife.

Expressing dismay, Sunday noted that he was hearing that for the first time.

Judge Longji subsequently adjourned to September 30, 2019, for the defence team to close the cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.

Three Persons, Over 300 Cattle Killed As Gunmen Attack Plateau Villages

 

Police authorities in Plateau have confirmed the killing of three persons and over 300 cattle in separate attacks on some villages in Bassa local government area.

The state police spokesperson, Terna Tyopev said the killing of the cattle occurred in Billi and Ariri districts,  a day after three persons were killed and another injured in different attacks in Maiyanga and Rotsu villages in the same local government area.

READ ALSO: Residents Nab Two Suspected Ritual Killers In Ondo Community

He said two herders have also been declared missing after the attack.

A search and rescue team has been deployed to the affected villages to rescue the missing herdsmen, while a combined team of police mobile force and detectives are on the hunt for the perpetrators.

INEC Issues Certificates Of Return To Plateau Gov, House Of Assembly Members

File Photo

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued Certificates of Return to the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, his deputy Soni Tyoden and elected members of the state House of Assembly.

The event which took place at the INEC office in Jos, the capital had their family members, party chieftains as well as well-wishers in attendance.

In her remarks at the occasion, INEC National Commissioner supervising the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna and Plateau States, Professor Antonia Okoosi Simbine, decried what she described as a lack of internal democracy among political parties.

Read Also: Plateau Governor Simon Lalong Re-Elected For A Second Term

According to her, the desperation of politicians and their supporters compounded the problem of inconclusiveness in the just concluded elections.

The elections which held in the state on March 9 had been declared inconclusive as a result of the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates, which was less than the 49,377 cancelled votes.

Governor Lalong had initially polled a total of 595,582 votes ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the PDP, Mr Jerry Useni, who polled 546,813 votes.

During the supplementary election held on March 23, Lalong defeated Useni with a difference of 48,769 votes, after which he was returned as the winner.

Plateau Election: Gov Lalong Pledges More Youth Employment In Second Term

 

Governor Simon Lalong has pledged to create an atmosphere in which more youths can gain employment in Plateau State. 

Reacting to his re-election as governor of Plateau state, Lalong said the mandate given to him is further revalidation of the trust that the people have in him with respect to what his government has achieved in the last three and half years.

He said his government kept all its promises including payment of backlogs of salaries and the maintenance of peace even in the face of threatening crisis.

READ ALSO: Ortom Dedicates Victory To Supporters, Extends Hand Of Collaboration

Speaking about new projects in his second term, Governor Lalong said most of the things he will do are a reflection of the continuation of things on the ground.

Focusing on the youths, the Plateau State Governor noted that the employment of young people is a priority.

“My motive is to try and see the possibility of now going to engage and employ youths” who are idling away.

Lalong said the people of Plateau State voted their hearts and as such he was not afraid when the supplementary elections got underway.

The governor said he will run an all-inclusive government, stressing that no one will be left out, not even those who ran against him.

Lalong Confident Of Victory Ahead Of Plateau Supplementary Election

 

Ahead of the supplementary election in Plateau State, the governor, Simon Lalong, says he is confident of victory.

“For me, the election is as good as concluded. I see it as an opportunity for those whose votes were cancelled.

“That is why I will support the election and if they like, let them conduct the election more than once, we will still win in Plateau State,” Governor Lalung told journalists at the State House, Abuja on Monday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the governorship election in the state inconclusive on March 11, after the Returning Officer, Professor Richard Kimbir, announced that the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates was less than the 49,377 cancelled votes.

Lalong who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had polled a total of 583,255 votes while Jerry Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 538,326.

Read Also: INEC Declares Plateau, Adamawa Governorship Election Inconclusive

Beyond his optimism about the outcome of the elections, the governor lamented that some politicians were responsible for the recent killings in the state.

“Why is it happening immediately after elections? Things like that, I will say there is no doubt it has some political connotations,” he said.

He, however, stressed the need for continuous peace in the state.

Plateau State has in the past few months suffered attacks which have left many dead and resulted in mass destruction of property. Read More

House Of Assembly Member Dies Shortly After Re-Election

 

 

An All Progressives Congress member that was re-elected to the Plateau State House of Assembly has died.

Mr. Ezekiel Bauda Afon, representing Pengana Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, was said to have slumped and died on Sunday afternoon at his residence in Jos, the state capital.

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The APC Secretary in the state, Bashir Sati confirmed the death of the lawmaker, whom he described as “a gentleman to the core, loving and a dedicated member of the party who served the state diligently.”

Mr. Afon was elected into the Plateau State House of Assembly in 2015 to represent Pengana Constituency of Bassa Local Government Area and was re-elected in the election that was held March 9, 2015, before his demise. The late legislator is survived by his wife and four children.

Lassa Fever Claims Four Lives In Plateau

FG Officially Declares Lassa Fever Outbreak, Activates Emergency Response Centres

 

Four persons have died as a result of Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever in Plateau State.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kuden Kamshak, confirmed this to Channels Television on Wednesday.

According to him, 22 suspected cases were taken for samples and thirteen were later confirmed to have the virus out which of four did not survive.

Read Also: FG Officially Declares Lassa Fever Outbreak, Activates Emergency Response Centres

Kamshak further explained that the remaining patients are been managed at Bingham Teaching Hospital as well as the Jos University Teaching Hospital where they are responding to treatment.

He said the primary contacts are also being monitored by the surveillance team.

The outbreak is currently prevalent in Jos North, Jos South, Shendam, Bassa and Riyom Local Government Areas of the state.

With the resurgence of the disease, the Federal Government has activated emergency response centres in the country.

Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, announced this in a statement signed by him on Tuesday.

The NCDC boss added that recent epidemiological data showed that the trend usually occurs during the dry season – between January and April.

“As at 13 January 2019, a total of 60 confirmed cases have been reported in eight states,” he stated.

Buhari Takes Presidential Campaign To Jos

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken his campaign to Jos, Plateau State, ahead of next month’s general elections.

The President was accompanied by the Director-General of his campaign team Rotimi Amaechi and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) among other top officials.

Earlier today, he made a stop in Niger State where he commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port after which he held a rally in Minna, the capital.

China Donates N6m Worth Of Relief Materials To Plateau IDPs

 

The Peoples Republic of China has donated relief materials worth about N6 million to Internally Displaced Persons in Plateau State.

Deputy Chinese Ambassador, Mr Lin Jing, presented the items during a ceremony organised by the Civil-Military Relief Initiative and Operation Safe Haven on Friday at the Angul Di Internally Displaced camp, Jos.

 

APC Wins Plateau LG Elections

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has emerged victorious in the Plateau State local government elections conducted in the state.

The Chairman of the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission, Fabian Ntung, declared the APC winner in all 13 Local Government Areas of the state on Thursday.

He, however, stated that results in two Local Government Areas of Mangu and Lantang North were inconclusive due to irregularities and violence during voting.

The party also won 204 councillor seats across the state.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the other hand, won six councillor seats and no local government chairmanship.

The party condemned the results, describing it as a daylight robbery.

Chairman of the PDP in the state, Damishi Sango, rejected the outcome claiming that election result sheets were still pending at the various polling centres.

Killings: Plateau State Gets New Commissioner Of Police

Austin Agbonlahor

 

Following incessant attacks and killings in Plateau State, a new Commissioner Of Police has assumed duty.

Austin Agbonlahor, a Police Commissioner of Department of Operations in the Force Headquarters on Tuesday takes over from Andie Undie.

Before he took over as the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Agbonlahor was the Commissioner of Police Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

The new Commissioner of Police has since resumed duty.

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The new commissioner’s resumption comes few days after an attack was carried out by some gunmen on Kiendoro village, Bassa Local Government Area of the state.

Five persons were killed and several others injured and houses burnt down in the attack.

The gunmen attacked Nkiendoro village of Bassa Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night, barely 24 hours after 19 persons were killed in Ariri Village of the same local government.

Among the five who were killed was a member of the Nigerian Army’s special task force, Operation Safe Haven.

Five Killed, Several Houses Burnt In Fresh Plateau Attack

 

Five persons have been killed, several others injured and houses burnt down in another attack by gunmen in Plateau State.

The gunmen attacked Nkiendoro village of Bassa Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night, barely 24 hours after 19 persons were killed in Ariri Village of the same local government.

Among the five who were killed was a member of the Nigerian Army’s special task force, Operation Safe Haven.

Read Also: 19 Feared Killed In Fresh Plateau Attack

The spokesman of the Operation Safe Haven, Major Umar Adamu, told Channels Television that the officer died while exchanging fire with the attackers.

Adamu further stated that security personnel are currently liaising with the community to fish out perpetrators of the attack.

He also appealed to the residents of the community to always be on the alert and report suspicious movements in the area.

See photos below.