Friday, 22 February 2013

Two Bankers Bag 2 Years Jail Term for Fraud

 Justice Dije Abdu Aboki on February 21, 2013 convicted and sentenced Funsho Olayele and Ayoade Peter Abiola to two years imprisonment with option of N410, 000 (Four Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira) fine each. The first accused was ordered to pay a compensation of N700, 000, while the second accused had already restituted the victim in the course of investigation.

 The convicts, both former staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc) were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on six count charge of conspiracy and misappropriation of funds.

 Part of the  charge read,”that you Olaleye Funsho, Ayoade Peter Abiola and others at large on various dates between 11th November, 2009 and 29th January, 2010 at Kano within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kano State while being officers of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now, Access Bank Plc) misappropriated the total sum of N2,700,000.00 (Two Million and Seven Hundred Thousand Naira only) by taking out of the possession of the Bank through the account of the Bank’s customer, Akkad Trading Company Limited and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 308 and punishable under section 309 of the same Penal Code”.

Jonathan, Clinton Reiterate Support For Eko Atlantic City Project, Join Fashola To Dedicate 5 Million Square Metres Of Reclaimed Land

Governor Fashola, President Jonathan & Bill Clinton During  The Dedication Of Eko  Atlantic City.

The ambitious coastline city project in Lagos, the Eko Atlantic City, Thursday attained a major milestone when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and former United States President, Mr. Bill Clinton reiterated their support for the Project in Lagos as they joined the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to dedicate five million square metres of recovered land for the project.

The dedication ceremony of the recovered land which was witnessed by very eminent citizens including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, among other prominent Nigerians and international figures, marks a major step towards the full implementation of the project.

Speaking at the occasion held at the site of the project, President Jonathan encouraged other state governments and other entrepreneurs to emulate the “noble initiative” of the Lagos State Government and supporters of the new city adding, “New cities are good, new cities are smart, new cities help to improve our thinking and lives. It encourages urban renewal and where necessary, new cities must be built to complement old ones”,

Former United States President Bill Clinton in his address said the Eko Atlantic City would help diversify the economy of Nigeria and brand Lagos all over the world with enormous opportunities adding,“Within five years, people from all parts of the world would come as tourists to see the Great Wall that has been built against possible surges. It will create opportunities, investments, employment and advanced aspirations by branding the city, the State and the nation”.

“You have no idea how much hope this project can bring to the world. Billions of people are already living within one or two miles of an ocean all around the world. It is a place of commerce, a place of enjoying the sun, a place of hope and a place of bright horizons”, the former President said.

Speaking earlier at the colourful ceremony, Governor Fashola said although it was yet to be finished, the project has already become a success story especially with the dedication of the recovered land adding that because it is fueled by the support of men of goodwill, the project continues to overcome the various challenges that have confronted it since inception.

Breaking News:Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who faces murder charges over the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, has been granted bail after a lengthy hearing.
The Paralympic sprinter denies murder, saying he shot Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder at his home.
The prosecution had argued that bail should be refused because there was a risk Mr Pistorius, 26, would abscond.
Magistrate Desmond Nair said the state had not made a case that he would flee, or that he had a violent character.
The magistrate said that Mr Pistorius had "reached out to meet the state's case" at an early stage.
Mr Nair took almost two hours to deliver his judgement.
Culled From:

Honourary Degrees Not Chief Chieftaincy Awards - FG

Prof. Rukkayat Rufa’i,

The Federal Government on Thursday read a riot act to the Governing Councils of its Universities to stop the alleged indiscriminate awards of honorary degrees to Nigerians and foreigners alike without regard to merit and integrity.

The Minister of Education who gave this warning in Abuja reminded the Governing Councils that Honorary Degrees are not Chieftaincy title affairs.

Senate Moves To Regulate High Cost Of Rent In FCT

 A bill seeking to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants as well as making provision for rent control in the Federal capital territory today scaled through the second reading on the floor of the senate.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Smart Adeyemi said the bill when passed into law seeks to address the administration of arbitrary and prohibitive rents handed down to tenants by their landlords as well as ameliorate the hardships faced by tenants especially the low income earners who are the majority of FCT residents.

 Senator Adeyemi lamented that over the years, the cost of acquiring real properties across the major cities of Nigeria has been on the rise, so much so that Nigeria is fast becoming one of the most expensive countries of the African continent.

 Other lawmakers who contributed to debate on the bill, called for massive investment in housing by government and the private sector to bring down the high cost of rents.

The lawmakers also recommended that the act of collecting two years rent in advance by landlords should be outlawed while there should be a provision to protect the inetrest of landlords against tenants who refused to pay as at when due.

The senate therefore referred the bill to its committees on FCT and Judiciary for further legislative action and to report back in four weeks.

NJC Suspends Two Judges Over Alleged Unprofessional Conducts

 The sledge hammer of the National Judicial Council on Wednesday fell on three Judges of the high court for alleged unprofessional conducts.

The Council under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria suspended from office and recommended for a compulsory retirement of Justice C E Archibong of the Federal high Court Lagos and Justice T D Naron of High Court of Justice, Plateau State

The Judicial Council in a statement issued in Abuja accused Justice Archibong to have dismissed the grievous charges against an accused without taking his plea, refused to release the certified True Copy of his ruling to the lawyers, issued a bench warrant on some officials of PDP for contempt even when the counsel was directed by the court to serve them filed an affidavit that he had not been able to serve the contempt application and allegedly made unfounded and caustic remarks on professional competence of some Senior Advocates of Nigeria

 The offence of Justice Naron according to the statement signed by Soji Oye, Assistant Director of Information at the NJC include evidence of constant sms messages between Justice Naron and one of the lead counsel for one of the parties to the Suit in the Osun State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial officers

The NJC in the exercise of its disciplinary powers according to the statement also set up a fact Finding Committee to investigate the allegation leveled against Justice Abubakar Talba of the FCT High Court following his judgement on the Police Pension Case brought against John Yusuf and others by the EFCC

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

FCT Minister Describes APC As Political Liability

 Bala Muhammed

 The Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Muhammed has described the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) as a still born baby constituting a political liability.

The Minister stated this yesterday in Abuja at the flag off of PDP electioneering campaign in Gwagwalada and Kuje Area Councils for the forth coming election in the territory.

Senator Bala stated that the forth coming elections would be between him and the APC, maintaining that PDP was set to burry the new merger party if they summon the courage to contest the local council polls

He however stated that they would continue to give room for the opposition party to operate to allow for a keen contest and politics with out bitterness.

Federal High Fines FG Over Destruction Of Lives And Property In Odi, Amnesty International Applauds Judgement

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has fined the Federal Government over 37 billion naira damages over the killing and destruction of lives and property during the invasion of Odi community in Bayelsa State by the military in 1999. 

A judgment delivered by Justice Lambo Akambi found the soldiers deployed to Odi community during the Obasanjo administration culpable of unlawful killing and gross human rights violation in the case instituted by a team of eminent Nigerian lawyers and international human right groups on behalf of the people.

Justice Lambo Akambi said over seventy billion naira of the money is for special damages while twenty billion naira is for general damages.

The court ordered the federal government to pay the money to the people of Odi community within 3 weeks from the date of judgment.

The Lead counsel to the people of Odi community Luscious Wosu described the judgment as sound, consistent with truth and a victory to the Nigeria Judiciary.
Some legal representatives from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation told our correspondent Emeka Idika that they will study the judgment and decide on what next to do.   

In the meantime, Amnesty International has hailed the judgment of the federal high court in Port-Harcourt which found the Nigeria government culpable over the Odi massacre in 1999.

The coordinator of the Stakeholders Democracy Network of Amnesty International Joseph Croft described the decision of the court as a landmark judgment.

He said the verdict has shown that Nigerians can get justice in their own country over human rights violation no matter how long it takes.

Good Governance Impossible Without Strong Judiciary, I’ve Not Gotten Justice Yet On Olaitan, Says Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says good governance is impossible without a courageous and strong judiciary.

Speaking at the swearing-in of there new Justices of the State High Court, a Judge of the State Customary Court of Appeal and a Permanent Secretary and Solicitor-General in the Ministry of Justice, Oshiomhole said “I am sure I speak the minds of the Edo people when I say the Edo state judiciary has never been involved in any of those controversies that we read about across the country. I shows your leadership style and how that has impacted positively on the conduct of our judicial officers”.

He noted “the way you identify young men and women that we have just sworn in as Judges is a bold statement about your style and your respect for merit, fairness and justice. I am not responsible for the appointment of these judges. The appointment of judicial officers should not be determined by the vagaries of politics”.

The Governor commended the individual qualities of the appointed judges expressed optimism that their appointment would further enrich the Edo State judiciary.
‘‘I want congratulate all of you and wish you all the best. He added’’

To the newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Oshoimohole said ‘‘we cannot sustain development if we do not have an effective ministry of justice. ‘You are professional head of the ministry of justice and you are taking over a place vacated by a hardworking lady who has been made a judge”, He added. 

Responding on behalf of the newly appointed judges, Justice Osaretin Uwuiegbe, thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in them and assured that they would dispense justice without fear or favour.

The newly appointed judges are Hon. Justice Nogi Imoukhede, Rita Ifijeh, Victor Oviawe and Stalla Uwuigbe. While the new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice is Mr Oluwole  Iyamu.

 Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has again tasked the police to unmask the killers of his Principal Private Secretary, Comrade Olaitan Oyeride, saying if a 

Governor can’t get justice, then the ordinary man has no hope of getting same.
While receiving the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Foluso Adebanjo in his office, Comrade Oshiomhole said: “I cannot pretend, I remain aggrieved and I believe it’s a shame, a national embarrassment that a Governor can’t get justice. If a Governor can’t get justice, what is the hope of a tomato seller, what is the hope of a road-side mechanic, what is the hope of an okada rider?

“The Police will not rest, I will not rest until the Police get the killers of Olaitan.”
The governor noted that the police as law enforcement officers must recognise that they have a duty to protect the citizens.

He said: “all of us must recognise that we are trustees of the Nigerian people. We must earn the position that we are privileged to occupy. Anywhere I see a police officer, I will keep saying it, you must produce who killed Olaitan and explain why they bungled the investigations.

“I have said it to the IG, I have said to the President and if I have the opportunity I will say it to the UN’’.”

The Governor explained that his insistence on the Police to produce Olaitan’s killers is to entrench the rule of law, noting that “if the rule of law collapses, even men in uniform can’t walk free because those outside uniform are more in numbers. So when they submit to arrest, it’s because in their sub-consciousness, they recognise that the state exists and that the instrument of the state is a responsible police force. So help me tell the IG that I still renew my demand that he has to produce those who killed Olaitan.”

The Governor however noted that the Police is providing invaluable services to the country, saying the failure of a DIG will not stop him from relating with the Police as an institution.

Unknow Gun men Kidnap Six Foreign Sailors In Bayelsa

Unknown gunmen have kidnapped six foreign sailors at Koluama waterways in  Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

This is coming few days after the State Government signed into law the anti- kidnaping  bill affirming death sentence to offenders and the procurement of fifteen gunboats to fight sea piracy and other forms of criminal activities perpetrated at the waterways.

The foreign sailors include a Russian,three Ukrainians and two Indians working with Century Group of Company,an oil servicing and marine company based in Lagos.

There were fifteen crew members on board the company vessel when the gunmen numbering about ten in two speed boats attack them and whisked away the foreigners.

The Bayelsa State Police Public Relations Officer Fedelis Odunna who confirmed the incident says the police have already swung into action to track down the kidnappers.

Meanwhile the kidnappers of the foreign sailors at the Koluama river in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are demanding the sum of two hundred million naira before they would be released.

Report says the kidnappers dropped their demand before whisking away the foreign sailors.

Pics: Gov. Fashola Receives Victorious Super Eagles Team At Lagos House, Ikeja

 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (middle), Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr Seni Adetu (left) and the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi (right) during a reception hosted by the Governor in honour of the victorious Super Eagles team at the Lagos House, Ikeja

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (left), Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi (middle)  and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu (left) during a reception hosted by the Governor in honour of the victorious Super Eagles team at the Lagos House, Ikeja

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (middle), Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr Seni Adetu (left) and the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi (right) during a reception hosted by the Governor in honour of the victorious Super Eagles team at the Lagos House, Ikeja 
Cross section of the victorious Super Eagles team during a reception hosted by the Governor in honour of the victorious Super Eagles team at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, February 15, 2013. INSET: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (left), his Deputy, Hon. (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (right) and the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi (middle).

 Cross section of the victorious Super Eagles team during a reception hosted by the Governor in honour of the victorious Super Eagles team at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, February 15, 2013. INSET: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (left) and the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi (right) addressing the team.

Ogun State Local Government Workers Embarks On Indefinite Strike

Ogun State National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has embarked on strike. 

 The president of the union, Comrade Olusesi Tajudeen, told newsmen at  a press conference in Abeokuta that the NULGE has began an indefinite strike as a result of the hiking of the 100% payment of primary school teachers salaries, leave bonuses, pensions,and other charges on local government owes by the State government. 

  It will be recalled that the union went on a 3-day warning strike in September the previous year.

  The industrial action however ended with an agreement reached by the union and the Ministry of Local Government and chieftaincy affairs to pay its dues.

Com. Olusesi lamented that there hasn't been any improvement in the various Local Government Councils since the strike was called-off noting that members welfare dwindled.

He emphasized that the workers' salaries were not being paid as at when due adding that all deductions such as: pensions, cooperative, check-off, leave bonuses and the likes were left out.

Saying that the benefits of its members were denied, the president of the union stressed that the recent allocation distributed favoured the statutory primary school teachers salaries while the Local Government Councils was left with negative balances with VAT inclusive.
He ordered that the indefinte strike begins with immediate effect after the 14-day ultimatum given to the government expired the previous day. 

However, work has ceased in all local Governments across the state with all gates shut.

Friday, 15 February 2013

National Assembly Stands Still For Super Eagles

Super Eagles In A Photo Session With President Goodluck

The House of Representatives held a special session in honour of the Super Eagles for winning the 2013 AFCON.

The Eagles were given special honour to sit in the Chamber as a mark of appreciating their contributions the glory brought into the country. 

In his remarks, Speaker Aminu Tanbuwa described the victory as uncommon achievement worth celebrating. 

Other lawmakers poured encommium on the Eagles. 

While the Senate in a sponsored by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and virtually all senators commended and congratulate the Super Eagles for winning the trophy and making the nation proud. 

The Upper Chamber also commended the contributions of the home-based Super Eagles to the overall success of the team. 

A cross section of senators who contributed to the debate on the motion noted that the victory is worth celebrated since the AFCON trophy eluded Nigeria for the past 19 years.  

The senate therefore urged the sports managers in Nigeria to sit up and return to the grassroots to source and develop the nation's abundant sports talents to sustain this new dawn in the nation's football and sports in general. 

The senate above all urged President Jonathan and the Federal Government to reward the team handsomely and also  conferring befitting National Honours Awards on them. 

In his remarks,  Senate President Senator David Mark stressed the need for grassroot training, improved sports facilities and funding both from government and the private sector. 

Wole Soyinka Urges African First Lady To Disassociate Self From Proposed 4 Billion Naira Building Project

Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laurete Wole Soyinka has called on African First Lady to dissociate themselves from the proposed four billion naira building of Patience Jonathan's African First Ladies Mission Initiative in Abuja.

Soyinka's position was contain in a Valentine message send to the First Lady and read during a protest by a cross section of woman against the project in Lagos. 

The Nobel Laurel urged the African First Ladies to reject what he described as a mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation of four billion naira in their names. 

He said this is an attempt to openly institutionalize an illegality by bringing down democratic process. 

For her part, organiser of the rally and the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative, Doctor Joe Okei-Odumakin called on the  President to direct the FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed to withdraw budget allocation and sack him for this assault on public morality.

She also called for the scrapping of the unconstitutional office of the First Lady and spouses of elected officials to play no more than ceremonial roles.

Governor Babatunde Fashola in his response, urged the protesters to take advantage of the ongoing constitution review to address their problems. 

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson Signs Anti-Kidnaping Law

Seriake Dickson

Bayelsa State Governor,Seriake Dickson has affirmed his position on the prescription of death sentence for kidnappers by signing into law the Bayelsa State kidnapping and Allied offences bill 2013.

Assenting to the bill passed by the legislative arm of government, Dickson said he would not hesitate to sign the death warrant of any person or group of persons caught in the act of kidnapping and other related offences.

According to him, anyone  involved in any act of kidnapping should not come to Bayelsa State saying every security measures has been put in place to arrest defaulters.

Dickson said  he has also commissioned 15 fast moving patrol gun boats for use by security forces to ensure maritime security and safety.

Federal Government Uncovers 45,000 Ghost Workers; Raises Committee To Verify Nigeria’s Assets Abroad

The Federal Government yesterday says it has discovered 45, 000 ghost workers from 251 Ministries Departments and Agencies of government under the integrated Payroll and Personal Information system, IPPIS.

Minister of state for Finance, Yerima Ngama disclosed this  while briefing newsmen at State House, Abuja after Wednesday's Federal Executive Council meeting Presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The IPPIS was introduced to enhance efficiency in personnel cost, planning and budgeting by ensuring that personnel cost will now be based on actual verified number and not on estimates.
Government has so far undertaken staff auditing in 215 Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs that make up the Federal Public Service, auditing 153,019 staff as at January, 2013.

Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama noted that 321 MDAs are yet to be captured on the IPPIS but government had also established the Treasury Single Account as a unified structure of government bank account that gives a consolidated view of the cash position.

On issues of the budget, the Minister of State for Finance noted that the Ministry for the first time had broken the jinx surrounding late preparation as the 2013 budget was presented at a record time, in September, 2012.

He however was silent on why President Jonathan had not yet signed the appropriation bill into law.

Nevertheless Dr Ngama disclosed that government had plans to increase capital expenditure to 60 percent and reduce recurrent expenditure to 40 percent.

President Goodluck Jonathan also on Wednesday, set up a special Committee to verify Nigeria’s assets all over the world,valued at Billions of Naira.

PDP National Chairman Commends Amaechi Development

Bamanga Tukur

The national chairman of the people’s Democratic Party PDP, Bamanga Tukur has commended Rivers State governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi over his developmental strides in the state.

The PDP national chairman came out with this in Port Harcourt after inspecting projects embarked by the governor across the state.

Some of the projects inspected include the new world class kesly Harrison hospital. Dental hospital, roads, primary schools, new model secondary schools and the 38 thousand sitter new stadium.

BAMANGA Turkur said the level of social and economic development in the state can be compared to any city in the world

He said the party will never loss to any party, if transformational leaders like Governor Amaechi are boldly behind the party.
He urged party faithfuls as to always embrace peace and reconcile differences to achieve set targets for the party.
On his part, Rivers state governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi assured Tukur that PDP governors will support and remain loyal to the party.

Obasanjo Lauds Oshiomhole On Edo Dev

Governor Oshiomole & Fmr President Olusegun Obasanjo During The Later's Courtesy Visit To The  Comrade Governor

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lauded Governor Adams Oshiomhole for the transformation taking place in the state even as he advised the Governor to learn from him, and opt for a private-sector driven economy.

Chief Obasanjo who made the commendation at the Edo State Government House during a courtesy call on the Governor on his way to deliver the 1st Dr. Abel Guobadia memorial lecture, explained that when God gave him a second chance to become President of the country, he learnt from his past experience.
According to him, “I can see the signs that this state which was run down is now being run up.”

He said he learnt from his experiences as head of state to run a better eceonomy when he was elecvted President in 1999. According to him, ``I was Head of State and I see that there was no way to manage Nigeria economy except by indigenization and we went for indigenization.

“But the truth is that indigenization did not succeed the way we wanted and I became an apostle of genuine private sector-driven market economy. I hope Governor  Oshiomhole is learning the lesson I have learnt so that this state, I can see the signs, which was run down is now being run up.”

In his response, Governor Oshiomhole said he learnt from the style and courage of the former President when it comes to taking major decisions which every leader requires to drive change.

He told the visiting former president that his administration was re-focusing and re-inventing governance to give the people confidence so that democracy can work, adding “and indeed, it is working and we are able to deliver on some critical areas of infrastructure.”

He commended the former President on the launch of the Obasanjo Foundation, saying the former president has demonstrated that as an elder statesman, “he can continue to contribute to national and international efforts in dealing with the basic needs of the under-privileged and to create a platform for sustaining constructive engagement on development options and strategies to lift the level of development in Africa.”

The former President who spoke to reporters after the courtesy visit said government must expose corruption  as it would not help covering it up, he maintained that he has flogged the horse of corruption internally and externally with some people agreeing with him and others abusing him.

“Some people do all sorts of things but the point is that when you have a problem and you attempt to cover it, you are not solving the problem. If anything, you are complicating the problem.”

On security, he said ; “even security, I have talked about it, I have been called names. I have gone out on fact finding. I have found out what is there and what is not there. I have talked and reported, I have nothing more to add.”

Stay Away From Partisan Politics- Sultan Warns Monarchs

Sultan of Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar on today asked traditional rulers in the country to stay away from partisan politica in order to preserve their dignity. 

The Sultan who was in Oyo on a twin-visit of solidarity and sympathy to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi however added a caveat which is that monarchs can support their friends in politics but should not do it brazenly.

He noted that the dignity of the traditional institution is lost once a ruler  put his two eyes and mind in partisan politics. 

According to him, politicians would come and go but the traditional institutions remain the same.

He stressed the need for bilateral visits among traditional rulers in order to strenghten the cord of brotherhood existing among them.

"For those in leadership position, there must be justice. It is the bedrock for any development. Electoral victory should not be the end of politicians contact to the people.

The Sultan urged the Alaafin to regard the January 8, 2013 fire disaster that ravaged part of the Oyo palace as the will of Allah and a divine blessing in disguise

In his response, the Alaafin stresses the need for monarch to rule administer their subjects with jufstice and fairness.