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Nigeria’s debt profile rises by N560bn in three months

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Nigeria’s debt profile rises by N560bn in three months

The Federal Government, 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) incurred additional N560 billion debt in the first three months of this year, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has declared.

This brought the country’s total domestic and foreign debt to N24.9 trillion as at end of March 2019. Compared with the debt figure as of December 31, 2018, which stood at N24.387 trillion, the first quarter 2019 figure represented 2.3 per cent increase. According to latest debt figures released yesterday by the DMO, the country’s total foreign debt stood at N7.8 trillion ($25.6 billion) while domestic was N17 trillion. Out of the total domestic debt, the Federal Government alone owed N13.1 trillion, while the 36 states and FCT owe N3.9 trillion. DMO stated that the debt, which rose by N560 billion, was accounted for largely by domestic debt which grew by N458.36 billion, while external debt also increased by N101.64 billion during the same period. Further analysis of the domestic debt showed that Lagos had the highest debt of N542.2 billion, followed by Rivers with N225.5 billion, Delta N223.4 billion and Akwa Ibom with N199.7 billion.

Figures for other states showed that Abia’s domestic debt stood at N62.8 billion, Adamawa N97.1 billion, Anambra N33.4 billion, Bauchi N93.3 billion, Bayelsa N133.3 billion, and Benue N96.9 billion. Others are Borno N78.2 billion, Cross River N167.2 billion, Ebonyi N55.5 billion, Edo N86.3 billion, Ekiti N118 billion, Enugu N55 billion, Gombe N76.8 billion, Imo N97.8 billion, Jigawa N38.2 billion, Kaduna N93.2 billion, Kano N121.3 billion, Katsina N67 billion, Kebbi N67 billion, Kogi N96.6 billion, Kwara N59.5 billion, Nasarawa N89.9 billion, Niger N43.4 billion, Ogun N97 billion, Ondo N56.9 billion, Osun N147.7 billion, Oyo N94.1 billion, Plateau N98.5 billion, Sokoto N36.5 billion, Taraba N68.5 billion, Yobe N26.9 billion, Zamfara 61.9 billion and FCT N163.5 billion.

The DMO, however, indicated that the debt figures for Anambra, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Lagos were as at December 31, 2018, while that of other states are as at March 31, 2019. Analysis of the country’s foreign debt showed that $11.01 billion of the debt was multilateral; $344.63 million was bilateral (AFD) and another $2.75 billion bilateral from the Exim Bank of China, JICA, India and KFW while $11.17 billion was commercial which are basically Euro bonds and Diaspora Bonds. According to DMO’s figures, the country spent a total of N128.6 billion ($357.2 million) to service its foreign debts in Q1 2019. In servicing domestic debts, the country spent a total of N650 billion between January and March. “In relation to the Debt Management Strategy, the ratio of domestic to external debt stood at 68.49% to 31.51% at the end of March 2019. The total public debt to GDP ratio was 19.03% which is within the 25% debt limit imposed by the government,” DMO management explained in a statement. The DMO boss, Mrs. Patience Oniha, had, on several fora, noted that borrowed funds were channelled to finance projects, fund budget deficit and meet maturing obligations. Oniha had also explained that some foreign debts were borrowed so as to refinance treasury bills because of the short tenor. A National Bureau of Statistics’ data on Nigerian states and federal debt stock data as at 31st December 2018 reflected that the country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $25.27 billion and N16.63 trillion respectively. The debt agency has been active on domestic and Euro bonds. On June 14, 2019, it listed the dual and triple tranche Eurobond issues on Nigerian domestic exchanges.

The Eurobonds, which were issued respectively in February 2018 and November 2018, were oversubscribed, demonstrating the on-going confidence of international capital market investors in Nigeria’s investment story. The Eurobonds represent the use by government of long term lower cost funds to finance infrastructure while also creating opportunities for domestic borrowers.

The listing of the latest Eurobond issues will provide benchmarks for corporations which intend to issue Euro bonds in the international capital markets and further deepen the domestic capital markets by ensuring that the securities can be traded easily by domestic investors. Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23, 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has expressed concern at the increasing nation’s debt profile. Atiku, who noted that Nigeria’s national debt at N12 trillion on May 29, 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over, was “very healthy,” regretted that the figure doubled to N24.3 trillion by December 2018. In a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, the former vice president blamed this on the profligacy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration. ”

As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented N560 billion debt to our national debt profile,” Atiku stated. According to him, “The period the latest borrowing occurred was during the 2019 electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.

“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out-of-school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.” Atiku said he has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing, “as someone who headed the National Economic Council (NEC) that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo.”We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments. “We raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.” National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told New Telegraph that the party has no comment on the allegation of rising debt profile of Nigeria from Atiku.

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House panel delays historic Trump impeachment vote

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House panel delays historic Trump impeachment vote

The House Judiciary Committee abruptly postponed a historic vote late Thursday on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, shutting down a divisive 14-hour session that dragged with sharp partisan divisions but had been expected to end with the charges being sent to the full House for a vote next week.

Approval of the charges against the president is still expected early Friday in the committee. But the sudden turn punctuated the deep split in the Congress, and the nation, over impeaching the president.

The committee, made up of some of the most strident Democrats and Republicans in Congress, clashed for all day and into the night as Republicans insisted on lengthy debate on amendments designed to kill the two formal charges with no hope of winning votes from the majority Democrats.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), said the committee would resume the session at 10 a.m. Friday, reports The Associated Press.

“It is now very late at night,” Nadler said after presiding over the two-day session. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these past two days and to search their consciences before they cast their final votes.”

Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival, Joe Biden, while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s efforts to probe his actions.

The Republicans on the panel, blindsided by the move, were livid.

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Senate probes DSS’ invasion of Abuja court

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Senate probes DSS’ invasion of Abuja court

 

The Senate, yesterday, directed its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to thoroughly investigate the widely reported invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, last week Friday, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS). The court invasion occurred during the trial of the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu. The resolution to carry out the probe was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance raised by the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

He drew the attention of the Chamber to the invasion and controversy trailing it, when he cited Order 43 of the Senate’s Standing Rules, arguing that since the matter had come to public domain, there was need for the Senate to look into it. The lawmaker noted that Senate’s attention on the matter was specifically needed in addressing the concerns it had raised within the leadership of the judiciary in particular in the last one week.

He said: “I rise to draw the attention of this Senate to a matter that has been in public domain and especially as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the reported alleged invasion of the courtroom again by alleged officials of the DSS.

“It is one issue that has raised a lot of concern in different quarters in Nigeria. The leadership and members of the judiciary are particularly concerned about this development because they believe, like the rest of us do, that the courtroom is meant to be a sanctuary.

But for us as Senate, we cannot begin to take a position or analyse the issues based on conclusion without facts that we consider incontrovertible. “Yet, much as we cannot just jump into conclusions, it is also a fact that we cannot pretend not to know that Nigerians are concerned about this development.

“The reason I have chosen to come under Order 43 so that I will not generate any controversy or even make the Senate to begin to debate or engage in a debate over an issue in respect of which, like I said earlier, we still need to have incontrovertible facts and evidence.

“In view of this, I just want to say that as elected representatives of the people in whom Nigerians, including the judiciary, must find their voice that we mandate our Committee on National Security and Intelligence to interface with the relevant security agencies, look into this matter, investigate what happened and report back to the Senate on this matter.” In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary to carry out the investigation and report back within a week. Lawan explained that since Bamidele moved the motion through Order 43 under personal explanation, there would be no debate on it. “Distinguished colleagues, you know Order 43 does not allow for any debate and since this is a matter that affects the judiciary, we rather mandate to your committee to find out what happened. “So I would suggest that our committee on judiciary investigates, finds out what actually happened and then report back to us in one week,” he said.

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Sifax creates 3,000 jobs to boost operations

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Sifax creates 3,000 jobs to boost operations

Sifax Group has created more than 3,000 direct jobs across its subsidiaries, in the last few years, as part of its contribution to the Nigerian economy.

Its Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye, disclosed this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the company’s head office in Lagos by the management of Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publishers of New Telegraph newspapers.

The GMD noted that the group was a multinational corporation with diverse interests in maritime, aviation, haulage & logistics, oil & gas and hospitality.

He noted that the company was leading changes daily in the maritime industry, saying that the group was in the eyes of the people.

Oyinloye explained that a number of the group’s subsidiaries were in the same value chain.

He said: “We are leading changes daily in the maritime industry and we want to ‘Nigerianise’ the maritime industry as soon as possible. We are excited to meet you in the changing phase of maritime. If we are not dissatisfied with the status quo; we won’t be able to create a change. We want many Nigerians to be in the industry. This is our desire. Our partnership with you is going to be an enduring one.”

However, the GMD lamented that the decayed infrastructure in the sector was a national embarrassment, saying that the body of a truck could disappear in a hole on Apapa road.

Oyinloye said: “The Federal Government is attending to the roads. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said that the embarrassment was getting too much. In the next few months, I am sure Apapa will come back to its glorious past and you can be there in 30 minutes.”

The GMD, who appreciated the management team for the recognition accorded the group, was hopeful that in the next few months, when the roads are fully rehabilitated, Apapa would come back to its glory.

“In the maritime industry, we don’t just want to appear and disappear but we want to be there,” he said.

He praised the newspaper for the outstanding appearance and contribution in the country.

Reacting, Mrs. Juliet Bumah, Sunday Editor and Mr. Waheed Bakare, Saturday Editor of the newspapers, said that the visit by the management of the company to Sifax Group was in recognition of its achievements in the country.

Bumah explained that the newspaper would continue to support the growth of the company.

Also, Bakare said that the newspaper, like Sifax, had made a mark within five years of its establishment.

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Wike accuses Dickson of plotting to destabilise Rivers

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Wike accuses Dickson of plotting to destabilise Rivers

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has accused the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson of plotting to create disunity by visiting the state under the guise of coming to see Ijaw people without getting in touch with the relevant authorities.

Wike, who made the allegation when Kalabari people paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, noted that while the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor professes love for Ijaw people in Rivers State, he was busy working to take the state’s oil resources in Soku and Kula.

He said: “Already, we have gone back to court in relation to Soku oil wells. This is the man who is claiming Kula oil wells and Soku.

“I have gone back to court and we will reclaim the Soku Oil Wells for Rivers State. This is the same man you claim loves you and you roll out drums against protocol.

“It is not good for anyone to come and divide Rivers State, because the state is one. It is unfortunate what my colleague did. I handed him over to God and prayed for God to do his will.”

Wike said that Dickson had called two monarchs in Kalabari (which boasts of three council areas in the state; Asari Toru, Akoku Toru and Degema) of his visit without informing him, stressing that the move was aimed at destabilising the state.

Wike urge the Kalabari leaders to prevail on the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, not to allow himself to be used by external forces to create disunity in the state.

According to the governor, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari deliberately allowed Dickson to use him to promote divisiveness.

He said: “I want to publicly lay a complaint on the action of Amanyanabo of Kalabari. The next time it happens, I will act as a governor.

“He (Dickson) said he was coming to see Ijaw people in Rivers State and he would be hosted by the Amayanabo of Kalabari and Amanyanabo of Abonnema.

“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema didn’t do it, he called me on phone when the Governor of Bayelsa, Dickson tried to create problems in Rivers State.

“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema called me and said how can that be? The Rivers State governor did not call me. The Amanyanabo of Kalabari did not call me. What he did was to roll out the drums to receive the Bayelsa State Governor”, Wike said.

Wike warned that should the Amanyanabo of Kalabari take such action in future, he will face sanctions.

He said: “That day, I would have removed him, but I held myself. What they would do is to go to radio and abuse me. But I am used to insults. I am trying to complain to you people.

“If any of such things happen again, I will take the necessary action. I will not listen to any further excuse. That is why I am saying this publicly. Tell him to respect constituted authority.”

The governor commended the peace initiative of the Amanyanabo of Abonnema and urged other traditional rulers to emulate him.

He said: “I thank the Amanyanabo of Abonnema for his peace initiative. I urge other traditional rulers to emulate him. Work towards peace amongst your people. You cannot live where there is no peace.”

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Tension in Edo as APC youths barricade roads

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Tension in Edo as APC youths barricade roads

Thousands of youths loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, yesterday, protested against the planned mega rally to receive a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and other defectors into the ruling party.

The visibly angry youths blocked the two sides of the busy Airport Road, in Benin City, setting bonfire that impeded vehicular movement as well as causing panic in the state capital.

They also set the bonfire around Golf Course, Akenzua junction and along Akenzua Road, all in Benin metropolis, thereby disrupting human and vehicular movements.

In a swift reaction, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, suspended the rally till further notice, citing “overriding internal security interests.”

This is as the state government ordered the closure of all schools today (Friday) over what it described as “disturbing security report concerning the use of school premises for a political rally.”

The APC rally was slated to hold at Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwan Road.

The protesting APC youths, who said they were drawn from the 192 wards in the state, insisted that the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, must toe the path of peace by cancelling the rally to avoid plunging Edo into further crisis.

Spokesman for the protesters, Mr. Imafidon Utete, said they were on the streets to protest against plans to disrupt public peace under the guise of receiving PDP members into the APC.

His words: “We the Edo APC youths and other persons will resist any attempt to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state. We have been enjoying peace in the state and this has brought development to different sectors of the economy.

“How would somebody try to join a party by forcing himself in? The governor has said he is not aware of any rally and they want to come and cause crisis here. We will not allow them.”

The police’s suspension of the rally was contained in a letter addressed to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, and signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, ACP Idowu Owohunwa.

The letter read: “In cognizance of the security consequences of the proposed mega rally, I am to confirm that the Inspector General of Police has directed the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command to emplace appropriate security framework that is directed at suspending the rally until further notice.

“He has also been directed to summon a meeting of all parties involved in the political development with a view to engaging them towards giving effect to his directives in overriding internal security interests.”

Announcing the closure of schools, the state government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Education, Barr. Jimoh Ijegbai, said it is disturbed about the tensed security situation in the city.

Ijegbai stated: “I am to add that on no account should the premises of the schools be used for any political rally, gathering, event or other purposes by whatever nomenclature or in whatever guise.

“May I state, for the avoidance of any doubt, that any attempt to disobey this directive will result in such schools being closed down indefinitely.”

In another development, Governor Obaseki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said he is not aware of the proposed rally by the party in the state.

Obaseki said: “We want to reiterate that we are not aware of any rally being organised in the state by the APC. As the leader of the party, it is only proper that the governor is made aware of any such rally. But as at today, we are not aware of any rally, as there has not been communication between the governor’s office and the party chairman to that effect.

“We want to consequently warn troublemakers to steer clear of the state and not attempt actions that would lead to a breach of peace. During the last security meeting, we reviewed the situation in the state and zeroed in on the rising cult clashes in the state. Relevant security agencies have been put on notice to check the incident and ensure that people celebrate the Yuletide season in peace.”

Meanwhile, the apex socio-cultural youth group in Edo State, Edo Youth Vanguard (EYV) has warned the national leadership of the APC to steer clear of the state over the planned rally scheduled for today.

In a statement issued in Benin by its president, Nosakhare Oseghale and Secretary General, Edward Ikhide, the EYV questioned the rationale behind the proposed rally, stating that the timing and approach are not only wide off the mark, but has sinister motives of eventually fomenting pandemonium to create an impression of anarchy in the state.

According to the group, issues of public safety are hanging in the balance if the purported rally is allowed to take place, adding that available security reports clearly give credence to the apprehension that the event has sinister motives.

EYM statement read in part: “We are amused that some politicians are planning an ill-conceived political rally for Friday and it is being done without the knowledge of the state’s Chief Security Officer, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is on a national assignment with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“More curious on the ill-timed proposed rally was the complete and deliberate neglect of the party’s state executive led by its chairman, Mr. Anslem Ojezua. So, the question begging for answer is, who is the Abuja team organizing the rally for?

“This is the Yuletide season and there are already movements within and outside the state. Why the desperation to pull down the fragile peace in our state just to prove that a deteriorating influence is still potent?

“For all intents and purposes, this planned rally is provocative and highly susceptible to violence. How can you guarantee the safety of Edo people in a rally where neither the state governor, who is the leader of the APC in Edo State, nor other leaders of the party is aware of the purported declaration rally?”

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Physical activity could lower prostate cancer risk – Study

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Physical activity could lower prostate cancer risk – Study

Researchers in the United Kingdom (UK) have found a link between lack of physical activity and increased risk of prostate cancer.

Their findings were published in the ‘International Journal of Epidemiology.’

Going by the new evidence, being physically active could help reduce prostate cancer risk.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among males both in the United States (U. S.) and among men of African descent.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) had listed some risk factors driving prostate cancer to include age, a family history of prostate cancer, and the levels of Vitamin E, folic acid, and calcium in the body, adding that perhaps other lifestyle-related factors could be at play.

Recently, researchers from the University of Bristol and Imperial College, London, in the United Kingdom, alongside colleagues from other academic institutions across the globe, used a different approach called ‘Mendelian randomisation,’ to find out more about prostate cancer risk factors.

This method allowed researchers to look at genetic variations to assess causal relationships between various potential risk factors and the development of certain outcomes, in this case, prostate cancer.

The ‘Medical News Today Newsletter’ reported that individuals with a genetic variation that increased their likelihood of being physically active had a 51 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer than people who did not have this genetic variation.

Moreover, the researchers explained that ‘physical activity,’ in this case, referred to all forms of activity, not just exercise and following on from this, the study authors concluded that interventions encouraging males to increase their levels of physical activity may have a protective effect against this widespread form of cancer.

Study co-author, Sarah Lewis (PhD), said: “This study is the largest-ever of its kind, which uses a relatively new method that complements current observational research to discover what causes prostate cancer.”

The team accessed the medical information of 79,148 participants with prostate cancer as well as 61,106 participants without cancer, who acted as the controls.

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NSA: I’m not in position to condemn Bayelsa, Kogi guber polls

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NSA: I’m not in position to condemn Bayelsa, Kogi guber polls

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), said he did not condemn the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.

At an Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting on Wednesday, his representative, Mr. Sanusi Galadima, had said that “unthinkable” things happened during the November 16 governorship elections in the two states.

“Violence erupted in the two states of Bayelsa and Kogi, particularly, the violence that occurred in Kogi State which aftermath of that election led to the death of a woman leader in that state,” Galadima had stated.

But a statement yesterday from the Office of the NSA, said he was not in position to pass judgement on the elections.

“Neither the ICCES nor the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) are in a position to pass verdict over the validity of gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states as some reports suggest.

“Only the courts are empowered by law to determine issues arising from the conduct of the elections.

“The planning and management of the electoral process is a continuous undertaking and through the ICCES, we are identifying the challenges recorded in the recent polls and working with all stakeholders to ensure that the outcomes of future polls are improved,” the ONSA noted.

It added that there is no difference between the position of the Nigeria Police Force and the ONSA on the recent polls, noting that both agencies have condemned the unfortunate death of Mrs. Salome Abuh, in Kogi State.

“The Nigeria Police has already made arrests and all security agencies are working to identify other perpetrators of election violence for prosecution,” it stated.

NSA promised to continue to work with law enforcement and security agencies involved in election security “to identify gaps, strengthen our collective preparedness and ensure that future elections are safer and conducive.

“All aggrieved parties to any election are advised to resort to the election tribunals provided by law.”

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INEC officials bag 42 years jail term for N362m fraud

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INEC officials bag 42 years jail term for N362m fraud
  • Court orders IGP to arrest Alison-Madueke

 

Justice Nathan Musa of an Adamawa State High Court has sentenced two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to a cumulative jail term of 42 years in prison for N362 million fraud.

The two officials, Ibrahim Mohammed Umar and Sahabo Iya Hamman, as well as a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (at large) were found guilty of the alleged offence by the judge.

The judge also urged the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, to liaise with the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) to arrest the former petroleum minister for prosecution.

Ibrahim Mohammed was the electoral officer in charge of Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State while Sahabo Iya-Hamman is a retired INEC official and Adamawa State coordinator of West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), during the 2015 presidential election.

In his judgement, Justice Musa disclosed that going by testimonies of the 15 prosecution witnesses who appeared before the court, it was clear that the defendants were guilty of the offence.

The judge further noted that although N362 million was received by the officials, they only shared five per cent of the money to other staff of the commission, leaving the balance unaccounted for.

Justice Musa consequently sentenced the two officials to seven years each on each count. The sentences were, however, to run concurrently.

The INEC officials were docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a three-count charge bordering on the alleged offence.

Alison-Madueke was also joined as co-defendant in the charge.

In the charge, EFCC alleged that the two INEC staff collected N362 million from the former minister with the aim of compromising the result of the 2015 presidential election in Adamawa State.

Count two of the charge read: “That you, Ibrahim Mohammed Umar, Sahabo Iya Hamman and Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (now at large) sometime between March and May, 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while being a public officer working with INEC and retired public servant and former Minister of Petroleum Resources (now at large) and in capacities, did corruptly procure monetary benefit of N362 million in favour of public officers and staff working with INEC of Adamawa State, contrary to and punishable under Section 9 (1) (a) & (b) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act,  2000.”

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Nathan granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10 million each and two sureties in like sum.

After more than two years of trial in which the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence, the Judge, yesterday, convicted Mohammed and Iya-Hamman to 7 years imprisonment on each of the three count charges for receiving a bribe of N362 million from the former Minister of Petroleum.

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Oshiomhole, NWC members arrive Benin for rally

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Oshiomhole, NWC members arrive Benin for rally
  • APC chair calls for calm

 

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has appealed to members of the party in Edo State to remain calm following the mayhem unleashed on the people of the state yesterday by armed thugs loyal to the state government.

Oshiomhole made the appeal while addressing party members who escorted him to his house.

The party chair and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party was in Benin to receive over 30,000 members and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, into the APC.

But political thugs at the early hours of yesterday took over the Benin Airport, shooting sporadically. Bonfires were observed at strategic places in Benin City, while roads leading to the residence of the party chairman were blocked with heavy duty vehicles.

It took the party chair and other members of the NWC over one hour to get to his residence after soldiers came to disperse the armed thugs.

Oshiomhole, who reacted while addressing party members, said: “I know you are hurt with what we are passing through here, but I want to plead with you, don’t be provoked. Any reasonable party leader will be happy to welcome people from another party into his party; particularly when those coming were people who fought us in the last election.

“And when you look at the margin then, it was like 50,000. So we are in Benin to welcome them, but you could see how their thugs are unleashing mayhem on people.

“But I want to tell you, APC is our house and we will not destroy it, neither are we going to allow anybody destroy it. We don’t want anyone to be killed, so please don’t fight back. Those who know me know that I am not a coward, I am not afraid of a fight. But I will not and I urge you to remain calm.

“We are getting conflicting report now, the IG ordered the Commissioner of Police to give us protection for our rally. But we are being told now that the same authority said it has been cancelled. But I am going to make calls and find out what the problem is, if the police are saying they cannot protect a political rally.

“I will find out and let you people know. But even if they said we cannot hold it, please don’t fight anybody. I will meet them and find out when it will hold. But the rally will still hold some day. We have the right of association. This is not the first time we are seeing situations like this, but I can assure you it will not last forever.

“No condition is permanent. We must do everything to keep APC in Edo State no matter what the devil thinks. APC is our house, so we must resist any temptation to fight back. We must remember that our President, Muhammadu Buhari is a peaceful man. We must remain peaceful and go home and tell everyone, we remain strong. Nobody can shake our spirit. We will receive our brothers into the party to fortify our party.”

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2019: Appeal Court disposes 805 election cases – Bulkachuwa

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2019: Appeal Court disposes 805 election cases – Bulkachuwa

…says four new divisions to be open soon

 

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, yesterday, said that a total of 805 cases that emanated from the 2019 general election have been successfully disposed of by the appellate court. Justice Bulkachuwa said the 805 appeals arose from the various petitions filed by aggrieved contestants against the results declared in the elections. Speaking at the 2019 annual conference of the Appeal Court Justices held in Abuja, Justice Bulkachuwa showered encomiums on his colleagues on the Appeal Court bench for their hard work and resilience during adjudications of the election cases.

She, however, admitted that handling of the election cases was so hectic, adding that it took collective efforts of the Justices for the cases to be disposed of to make the country’s democracy stronger. Reviewing the performance of the court in the outgoing year, the Appeal Court President announced that a total of 4,007 judgements were delivered while 7,911 motions were also disposed of during the period. She attributed the performance of the court to the reforms carried out on its Rules and the Practice Direction which are now giving speedy hearing to cases before the court.

As a result of hard work of Justices of the court, Justice Bulkachuwa disclosed that four justices of the court have been elevated to the Supreme Court bench. On the yearly conference, she said it was put together for the justices to brainstorm and sharpen their skills having discovered training as vital part of human development.

To enable the court successfully clear the backlog of pending cases, Justice Bulkachuwa announced that four new divisions of the court will soon be opened. She appealed to participants to take maximum advantages to be provided, adding that experts from various fields have been carefully selected to present papers on different topics.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammad, in his brief remarks at the conference, urged the appellate court justices to co-operate with each other, be truthful, hard-working and shun egoism in the discharge of their judicial functions.

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