$40m Fraud: Fmr President Jonathan’s Cousin Asks Court To Compel EFCC To Release Him

ObazeeThe detained cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to either charge him to court or release him from detention.

Azibaola, in a new case filed on his behalf by his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, claimed that his detention, which has lasted for 46 days by the EFCC, was as a result of his refusal to indict the former President.

He is specifically urging the court to order the EFCC to release him immediately from unlawful custody or institute a criminal charge and arraign him before any court of competent jurisdiction.

Azibaola was arrested by the EFCC on March 23 over an alleged diversion of $40 million dollars through a company, One-Plus Holdings, and a sister company, Kakatar Construction Limited.

The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

The EFCC on April 22, 2016 transferred him from Abuja to Lagos where it obtained a warrant from a Lagos State Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja to remand him pending the conclusion of investigation into his alleged crime.

However, in the suit, which is yet to be assigned to any judge, Adegboruwa claimed that the EFCC could not rely on sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA to continue to detain his client.

He argued that those sections of the law were designed for criminal offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and treasonable felony, which attracts capital punishment, for which the police would need time to await a legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General.

Azibaola, who claimed that he is being persecuted based on his blood relationship with former President Jonathan, also accused the EFCC of having perfected the plan to keep transferring him from state to state in order to keep renewing the remand warrant to ensure that he was perpetually kept in detention.

He also claimed that any attempt to make him indict former President Jonathan was a violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offence of another citizen.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the fundamental rights enforcement suit.

NSCDC Arrests Four Suspected Pipeline Vandals In Kogi

NSCDCThe Kogi State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) has nabbed four suspected petroleum pipeline vandals in Lokoja the state capital.

The State Commandant, Ochogwu Micheal, while parading the four suspects before pressmen at the command headquarters in Lokoja, said that they were arrested with crude oil by his anti vandal team while on patrol.

The State Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr Micheal stated that the suspects were arrested while transporting the crude oil to their illegal refinery.

The suspects, who were mainly youths, were arrested with over 20,000 liters of crude oil which was stolen from an NNPC pipeline that was being used for illicit operations.

Items recovered from the suspects include one speed boat, two boat engines, one pumping machine and three pieces of hose.

The State Commandant has warned parents to watch over their children to know the activities they engage in and what they do for a living.

Burundi Rebel Group Hands Back Officer Seized Last Month

burundiA Burundian army officer who had been captured by a rebel group last month was handed back to his unit on Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

At least three armed rebel groups have emerged since a political crisis erupted in Burundi a year ago, when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his bid for a third term in office and then won a disputed election in July.

More than 400 people have been killed in violence since April last year, worrying Western powers and regional states who fear a slide back into the kind of ethnically charged fighting witnessed during Burundi’s 1993 to 2005 civil war.

Alexis Irambona was captured by a rebel group calling itself FNL, the same name as a political party in Burundi, although the party denies any links. FNL party leader Agathon Rwasa, a former rebel commander, has said he would not take up arms again.

“He was handed over from FNL to my colleagues in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Georgios Georgantas, the ICRC head of delegation in Burundi, told Reuters by telephone.

He said the handover operation began on Friday and was completed on Saturday, after he was given to the Congolese armed forces and then to his Burundi unit, in the ICRC’s presence.

It was not immediately clear why the handover took place in neighboring Congo.

FNL circulated an image of Irambona a month ago on social media, showing him with his hands tied. They said at the time he was captured in a forest northeast of Bujumbura during fighting with the army.

Army spokesman Balthazar Baratuza said at that time that there had been no clashes in that area. He said Irambona was captured while on his own in the region as he rode a bicycle.

Most of the violence in the past year has been in the capital, but there have been skirmishes between armed men and the army and other members of the security forces in some rural areas and other towns or cities.

Opponents accuse Nkurunziza of violating the constitution and a peace agreement that ended the civil war by running for a third term. The president and his supporters cite a court ruling that said he could run again.

Friends Pay Tribute To Prince

whoopie goldbergFamily and friends of the late music legend Rogers Nelson popularly known as Prince have poured heart warming messages to the late icon.

Expressions of grief and tributes have flooded social media to express their shock over the death of the musician.

Some described him as the world’s biggest guitarist, others as a musical juggernaut.

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Other musical icons like Aretha Franklin, Steven Wonder, Latoya Jackson,
popular model Naomi Campbell and President of the United States of America, Barack Obama have expressed shock over the death of Prince.

Barack Obama has said that he and the First Lady ‘join millions of fans from around the world in mourning the sudden death of Prince.’

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The President commended the late singer for leaving his landmark in the music industry, he took to his Facebook page to pay his tribute.

“Today, the world lost a creative icon, ‘Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent. As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader, and an electrifying performer.’

Prince died on Thursday morning after battling with severe flu at the age of 57.

Mild Drama At CCT Over Accusations Of Chairman’s Alleged Bias

SarakiThere was mild drama at the Code of Conduct Tribunal during the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Thursday as the Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar ordered the arrest of the defence counsel for alleged contempt of court.

At the continuation of hearing, defense lawyer, Mr Raphael Oluyede wanted the chairman to attend to his application of alleged bias by Justice Umar, which makes him not qualified to continue with the case.

He also raised an allegation of a corruption case against the judge pending with the EFCC.

But the prosecution lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, told the tribunal that Mr Oluyede should not be allowed to file the suit because he has not been representing the accused on the motion.

Chairman of the Tribunal ruled Oluyede out of order because he was not a party in the suit and a member of the defence team.

According to the Chairman, the counsel was only announced as part of the team on Wednesday and cannot file the motion because he was not part of the team and is also not ripe for hearing because the application is based on falsehood.

The Chairman added that he filed the application without the consent of the defendant or his lead counsel as reported by the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs.

Counsel to Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr Oluyede got in an argument with the Chairman of the tribunal and was arrested by the Police on the orders of the Chairman of the tribunal.

But the prosecuting counsel pleaded with the Chairman not to effect the arrest which allowed the trial to continue.

Order was later restored and the proceedings continued. One of the defence counsels, Mr Paul Usoro continued cross examination of the prosecution’s witness, Michael Wekpas.

Mr Wekpas claimed the strength of the investigation team is based on the statement of account which allegedly shows clear narration of transactions in respect of sums transferred abroad.

While continuing his narration, another witness, Usman Imam also admitted like the first witness that he was not a member of the team that interviewed the defendant but was briefed by the team leader Mr Musa Sunday.

He added that his own team made some discoveries before reports were harmonized.

Meanwhile, the prosecution has filed an amendment charge against the Senate President while the lead counsel to the accused is requesting that hearing be adjourned for one week to allow them study the charges.

Justice Umar granted the request and adjourned the case till next Wednesday April 27.

Syrians Vote For Parliament Denounced By Assad’s Enemies

syrians voteSyrians voted in a parliamentary election in government-held areas of the country on Wednesday in what they called a show of support for President Bashar al-Assad, while his opponents and Western powers denounced the poll as illegitimate.

The election is going ahead independently of a U.N.-led peace process aimed at ending the five-year-long war. Peace talks are due to resume in Geneva on Wednesday as an upsurge in fighting darkens the already bleak outlook for diplomacy.

The government says the vote is being held on time in line with the constitution, a view echoed by its Russian allies. The opposition says the election is meaningless, while Britain and France dismissed it as “flimsy facade” and a “sham”.

Voters are to elect 250 MPs to parliament, which has no real power in Syria’s presidential system. The state is rallying them around the slogan “Your vote strengthens your steadfastness”.

“We are voting for the sake of the Syrian people and for the sake of Assad. Assad is already strong but these elections show that the people support him and bolster him,” said Hadi Jumaa, a 19-year-old student, as he cast his ballot at his university halls of residence in Damascus.

Dozens queued to vote at one polling station where a portrait of Assad hung on the wall. Outside, some danced.

With his wife Asma at his side as he went to vote in Damascus, a smiling Assad told state TV that terrorism had been able to destroy much of Syria’s infrastructure but not Syria’s “social structure, the national identity”. Assad said it was the first time a president had taken part in parliamentary polls.

“These elections do not mean anything,” said Asaad al-Zoubi, chief negotiator for the main opposition body, the High Negotiations Council. “They are illegitimate – theater for the sake of procrastination, theater through which the regime is trying to give itself a little legitimacy.”

The conflict has killed more than 250,000 and created millions of refugees, splintering Syria into a patchwork of areas controlled by the government, an array of rebels, a powerful Kurdish militia, and the Islamic State group. The government views all the groups fighting it as terrorists.

International News Network Obtains Chibok Girls Proof Of Life Video

chibok girlsToday marks two years since Boko Haram terrorists walked into a school in Chibok town, Borno State, in the dead of the night and took away final year students waiting to complete their final exams.

On the night of April 14, 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in Chibok town, Borno State, north-east Nigeria .

Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by the Boko Haram sect.

A video appearing to show proof of life of some of the kidnapped Chibok girls is being aired, along with images of tearful parents recognizing their daughters, unheard of since the mass abduction by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram two years ago.

CNN showed the video, reported to be made in December of the girls wearing the hijab and of one mother reaching out to a computer screen as she recognizes her daughter.

CNN reported that the “proof of life” video was sent in December to negotiators trying to free the girls.
“we are all well,” one of the girls said in the video.

Two mothers and 16 fathers of the girls have died since the mass abduction, some of them victims of Boko Haram attacks.

Others died from illnesses blamed on stress, according to Yakubu Nkeki, Head of a Support Group and uncle of two abducted girls.

Syrians Vote For Parliament As Diplomacy Struggles

SYRIAN VOTESyrians voted in a parliamentary election in government-held areas of the country on Wednesday in what voters called a show of support for President Bashar al-Assad, who is holding the poll in defiance of opponents seeking to oust him.

The election is going ahead independently of a U.N.-led peace process aimed at finding a political solution to the five-year-long war. The government says it is being held on time in line with the constitution. The opposition says the vote is illegitimate, while Britain and France dismissed it as “flimsy facade” and a “sham”.

“We are voting for the sake of the Syrian people and for the sake of Assad. Assad is already strong but these elections show that the people support him and bolster him,” said Hadi Jumaa, a 19-year-old student, as he cast his ballot at his university halls of residence in Damascus.

Dozens queued to vote at one polling station where a portrait of Assad hung on the wall. Outside, some danced.

With his wife Asma at his side as he went to vote in Damascus, a smiling Assad told state TV that terrorism had been able to destroy much of Syria’s infrastructure but not Syria’s “social structure, the national identity”. It was the first time he had voted in a parliamentary election.

The conflict has killed more than 250,000 and created millions of refugees, splintering Syria into a patchwork of areas controlled by the government, an array of rebels, a powerful Kurdish militia, and the Islamic State group. The government views all the groups fighting it as terrorists.

The government controls around one third of Syria, including the main cities of western Syria, home to most of the people who have not fled the country. The United Nations puts the number of refugees at 4.8 million.

With parliament elected every four years, it is the second parliamentary election held by the government in wartime. Assad was reelected head of state in a presidential election in 2014.

Voters are to elect 250 MPs to parliament, which has no real power in Syria’s presidential system. The state is rallying them around the slogan “Your vote strengthens your steadfastness”.

Sudan’s Darfur Votes on political future, rebels cry foul

sudanDarfuris began voting on Monday in a referendum on whether to reunite the states of their arid western region into one entity, a poll that Sudan says will settle a contentious issue at the heart of the long-running conflict.

The Sudanese government’s decision to split Darfur into three states in 1994 helped fuel discontent that erupted into fighting in 2003 – rebels and many from the large Fur tribe said the break-up allowed Khartoum to divide and rule them.

Sudan, which later split Darfur further into five states, has presented this week’s vote as a major concession. But rebel and opposition groups have again cried foul, saying the vote will be rigged and calling on their supporters to boycott it.

Students inside El Fasher University, in the government-controlled capital of North Darfur state, protested against the vote and witnesses said similar rallies took place in at least three refugee camps in Central Darfur state.

“I will not take part in the referendum as the results are already known. The option of states will win as this is what the government wants. This referendum is meaningless,” said one man at Abu Shouk refugee camp outside El Fasher, where the turnout was weak.

Analysts and diplomats say the government opposes a unified Darfur, concerned that this would give the rebels a platform to push for independence – just as the south successfully did in 2011, taking with it most of the country’s oil reserves.

Turnout was strong in the center of El Fasher, where security forces were out in force.

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“We came out since morning to give our opinion… I want the states system, it’s best for us,” Samia Abkar, a 24-year-old woman in tattered clothing, told Reuters at a polling center.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the Arab-led government based in the capital Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination and of marginalizing the area.

According to the United Nations, as many as 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur, some 4.4 million people need aid and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.

Although the killings have eased in recent years, the insurgency continues and Khartoum has sharply escalated attacks on rebel groups over the past year.

The two main rebel groups fighting in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army, have called on their followers not to take part in the three-day referendum.

They had called for a political settlement to come first and have warned that the referendum will only lead to more violence.

South Sudan, roughly the same size as a unified Darfur, fought the north through decades of civil war until a 2005 peace deal gave it the right to a referendum on whether to secede.

In 2011, southerners overwhelmingly voted to declare independence and South Sudan became independent that year though both countries remain at loggerheads over disputed territories and other issues while the south has slipped into civil war.

NANS Demand Reinstatement of Sacked Vice Chancellors

NANSThe National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) are calling on the Federal Government to reinstate the Vice Chancellors of thirteen federal universities who were sacked over a month ago.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, National President of the Association, Comrade Tijani Shehu, said the sacking was unjustly done by the government in violation of rules governing the appointment of vice chancellors.

The Association appeals to the Minister of Education to advise President Buhari properly in order to reverse the sacking of the thirteen vice chancellors which they described as unconstitutional.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had earlier in the year sacked and appointed Vice Chancellors (VC) of Federal Universities established by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

President Buhari Urges Nigerians To Love One Another

Muhammadu-Buhari-on-north-east-StarvationPresident Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to love one another and be disciples and flowers of Jesus Christ, just as He (Jesus) did during his ministry on earth.

President Buhari made this known in his Easter message to Nigerians. The statement says, “As we celebrate Easter this year, I sincerely believe that it will serve our dear nation very well if we all imbibe this essential message of Jesus Christ and truly learn to love our countrymen and women as we love ourselves.

Indeed, we will surely make faster progress towards the achievement of the peaceful, united, strong, progressive and prosperous country we all desire if, as a nation, we eschew all divisive, parochial, ethnic and religious sentiments and rivalries, and begin to live more harmoniously with our compatriots, as Jesus Christ and the founders of the world’s other great religions enjoined mankind.

Our unfortunate notoriety in recent years as a country where the blood of men, women and children are wantonly and callously shed in frequent orgies of criminal, political, ethnic and religious violence has become very embarrassing and utterly unacceptable.

My administration is determined to achieve greater peace and security across our nation by ending the avoidable conflicts and crises that hinder our national progress.

I ask for greater support from all Nigerians in this regard. We must put a stop to politically motivated killings. Our communities must be made safe again for all inhabitants to live together in peace and harmony”.

He further noted that “Our armed forces, police and other security agencies are being progressively reformed, re-positioned and empowered to win the war against terrorism and make mass killings, abductions and other criminal atrocities things of the past in our beloved country.

Let us all also play our parts as patriotic citizens and do all that we can to ensure that we make Nigeria a safer, more peaceful and happier place for its people and others.

Faith, belief and the fulfillment of expectations are also key themes of the Easter celebration. I urge you all therefore, to continue to have faith in the future greatness of our country and to believe that the CHANGE my administration promised will surely come to fruition.

That CHANGE, which we all yearn for, will certainly occur more rapidly if we all place the love of our country above selfish personal and group interests”.

President Buhari stated that the National Assembly has just passed the 2016 budget.

“I assure all Nigerians that we will do our utmost best to ensure that the budget, the first since my election as President, is efficiently and successfully implemented towards achieving our objective of faster economic growth and development.

“I thank the vast majority of Nigerians for their patience and understanding in the first ten months of this administration.

As we go forward, I assure you all that we are working very hard to overcome the challenges we encountered on assumption of office.

We are moving on with an unshaken resolve and determination to deliver on the mandate you gave us on March 28, last year”.

I wish you all very happy Easter celebrations.

Military Aircraft Skids Off Runway In Yola

yolaA military aircraft on Thursday skidded off the runway while landing at the Air Force Base in Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

Sources in the Aviation Sector say no casualty was recorded in the incident but that the aircraft lost a tyre in the incident.

This incident is coming five months after an Air Force aircraft, NAF801, belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, crashed in Hong, Adamawa State.

The Director, Defence Information, Colonel Abubakar Rabe, confirmed this to Channels Television.

The plane was said to be returning from an interdicted mission when it went down due to bad weather.

Only the pilot is said to have died in the accident.