Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, has expressed his wishes for his political party, the APC and Nigerian democracy, as he continues the celebration of his 80th birthday.
Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing through his Public Affairs Adviser and chairman of the Local Organising Committee of his birthday, Chief Ray Morphy, said he cannot ask for more.
According to him, it has been a journey of success in the last 80 years and he cannot wish anything less for his party, APC and Nigeria democracy. Speaking, Morphy stated that the crème-de-la-creme in Nigeria and outside would be honouring the former APC national chairman, former Edo State governor and former federal Permanent Secretary as he continues the celebration of his birthday today.
The LOC chairman, who made the briefing alongside Mr. Obiorah Ilo, dismissed the reports that some notable Nigerians shunned the birthday celebration in Edo State. According to him, the Odigie- Oyegun birthday celebration in Edo State was a state affair anchored by the state governor, Godwin Obaseki and his wife, in recognition of him (Odigie-Oyegun) as the first elected governor and his contribution to the development of the state. He said Nigerians should expect more guests including those mentioned to have shunned the celebration in the state to be in attendance.
Responding to question that some persons shunned the Benin celebration, he said: “My reaction is very simple and straightforward. Remember I said that Benin was a state function. We are two batches of the event.
“The state function, which was done by the state which is more like regional, we have national function which is being organised tomorrow (Saturday). Well, I would have a response if tomorrow we record the same kind of situation. “But I know that most people who attend event will look at which one to attend. For instance we have all this governors who were not essentially there because we have the main functions which will be a national celebration will be tomorrow (Saturday).
“We have invited everybody and across party lines. Both those who were in Benin and those who were not in Benin. They have all been invited. I am sure that you saw the advert placed by the current National Chairman.
That is to tell you that there is nothing personal between them.” On the person of Odigie- Oyegun, he said: “He has kept his name clean right and fair over the years. Even as he left office as the national chairman of the APC, you noticed that he has never engage in any battle with anybody in the party. “Until we began to hear accusations left and right which are basically just accusations.
Which was why it became necessary as his Public Affairs Adviser to begin to take on those things. We took them on not because we are interested in just replying but because at 80 what time does he has to build his name.
If people throw mud at you when you are 80, what time do you have to clean it up. “By his nature he would have kept quiet but he reached a point when he realised that he didn’t do that kind of thing, those things will soil his name and soil him and practically for life.” On the future, he said: “So, this celebration is a recognition of God’s blessing on him and his family, recognition of the contributions he’s made in our democratic development and the fact that everybody on both sides of the divide should be emulated by the younger generation “Odigie-Oyegun’s foundest wishes is for the strength and growth of not just the party but for the strength and growth and opportunities for all of us and Nigeria democracy.”
Regulatory authorities, others begin medicine traceability
Under the coordination of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), representatives from national and regional economic communities (RECs) from across Africa have signed a Call to Action for the “Africa Strategy for Pharmaceutical Traceability”.
In a statement, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said in doing so they have declared their support and commitment to undertake actions that would improve the availability of quality medicines, ensure greater visibility of products within the supply chain and enable improved patient care.
The adoption of existing global supply chain standards for pharmaceutical traceability would help to achieve these goals through stronger regional regulatory harmonisation, as well as global and national interoperability of supply chains and supporting information systems.
The Director General of th National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Moji Christianah Adeyeye said,
“Across Africa medicine regulatory authorities work hard to protect patients and provide access to quality medicines. Today we affirm medicine traceability as a key tool in our collective efforts to support healthy populations and more effective supply chains
“The Call to Action states the case – in clear language developed by Africa’s regulatory leaders – for the adoption of global standards for medicine traceability. We are watching with real admiration the commitment made today to medicine quality. This is Africa’s time to shine” added Tom Woods, World Bank’s Chairman of the Global Steering Committee for Quality Assurance.
GS1, the leading global supply chain standards organisation held its second African Healthcare conference in Lagos, Nigeria, from September 17 to 19, 2019. This conference is supported by The World Bank, The Global Fund, USAID and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA) and co-hosted by NAFDAC
Absence of witness stalls murder trial of alleged kidnap Kingpin, Evans
The absence of a police witness Friday stalled the criminal trial of an alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, otherwise known as ‘Evans’ at an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos.
Evans, who is standing trial alongside three of his gang members, namely; Joseph Ikenna Emeka, 29, Chiemeka Arinze, 39, Udeme Frank Upong, 43, was arraigned on a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to kidnap and selling of firearms.
Friday’s proceedings were billed for the continuation of evidence in chief of a police inspector, Idowu Haruna, an Investigation Police Officer (IPO).
The witness, attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team for six years, was billed to continue his evidence against Evans and his gang members for allegedly shooting the Young Shall Grow Motors (YSG) Chairman, Chief Obianuju Vincent and killing two of his escorts.
However, as a result of the IPO’s absence, the State Prosecutor, Mrs. O.A Badulaiye-Bishi, informed the court that witness has travelled outside the court’s jurisdiction.
Badulaiye-Bishi said: “My lord, the matter is for a continuation of trial. But unfortunately, the prosecution witness is unavailable because has travelled outside the court’s jurisdiction. We will kindly have to request for an adjournment.”
Meanwhile, the IPO, in his earlier testimony, narrated how the YSG Chairman was shot while his two escorts were murdered by Evans and his gang in an attempt to kidnap him.
Presidential poll: Atiku thanks Nigerians, calls for more support
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their support during the 2019 presidential election, saying he owe his success in life to Nigeria.
Atiku, who spoke for the first time since the September 11 judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that upheld the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, said he enjoyed the support and solidarity of Nigerians from all walks of life since he declared to contest the presidential election on July 21, 2018.
“Nothing good comes easy, and hard as the task to rid Nigeria from the forces of fascism, and be an instrument for the full restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria is, your support makes the struggle worthwhile.
“I note the immense outpouring of goodwill from ordinary Nigerians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and from all regions, religions and relationships.
“Once again I thank you all for your support. I also thank the governors elected on the platform of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as well as the National Executive Committee, for their unanimous and unambiguous support for the judicial phase of this struggle, especially after it was announced that we would go on to appeal.
“I urge all Nigerians to continue their support for this recourse to constitutional order via the courts. Even if there is little or nothing you can do to ensure that justice is done in Nigeria, just believe that it will happen. Let us never underestimate the effect of our belief in Nigeria,” Atiku stated.
Army: Troops kill 7 Boko Haram commanders
The Nigerian Army has announced the killing of seven suspected Boko Haram commanders during joint operations between its troops and elements of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
The Army further reiterated earlier claims that the suspected terrorists were fleeing to North and Central Africa, to escape the heat from ongoing operations in the North East.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sagir Musa, who made the disclosure in a statement Friday, noted that the said feat has since attracted the commendation of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“The MNJTF and the Nigerian Armed Forces are in celebrative mood today and have been basking in the successes of their combined efforts of artillery and air bombardments of suspected hideouts of erstwhile Boko Haram/ISWAP at the Tumbus of Lake Chad region that neutralized many including key commanders.
“However, it was mourning and a monumental set back to the erstwhile Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters hibernating at the triangular area.
“Reliable information coming out from the inner circles of the demented and criminal group’s enclave escaping to Sudan and Central African Republic, indicates that at least not fewer than seven of their key commanders have been wasted by the superior forces of the MNJTF.
“The neutralized commanders are said to be Abba Mainok, Bukar Dunokaube, Abu kololo, Abor Kime (said to be of Arab origin – likely their ISIS trainer), Mann Chari, Dawoud Abdoulaye (from Mali) and Abu Hamza” Musa said
Tribunal judgment, triumph of truth over falsehood – Kwara Gov
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday said the tribunal judgment dismissing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s certificate forgery allegations against him and upholding his election was a triumph of truth over falsehood and a sweet victory for Kwarans.
“This judgment affirms the truism that never will falsehood triumph over truth nor evil over good till the end of time — no matter the efforts or public grandstanding of the purveyors of such falsehood,” he said, according to a statement by the governor’s spokesman, Rafiu Ajakaye.
The statement said the judgment confirmed the party’s long-held position that the entire allegation was malicious and a tale by moonlight.
“For us, the judgment serves as a tonic to go the extra mile to build a polity where players will be motivated only by truth and the dream of serving our people and not by unbridled ambitions,” the statement added.
Earlier, the Kwara State Election Petition Tribunal had dismissed the (PDP)’s petition seeking the nullification of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s election on the ground that he lacked the academic qualification to run.
The tribunal said the PDP’s candidate Razaq Atunwa failed to prove the allegations, holding instead that “all evidences before us show that (AbdulRazaq) sat the exam and was therefore qualified to run for the office of governor.
“From all the evidences before us, we hold that the petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Bassey Effiong, Chairman of the three-person panel, held in a unanimous judgment in Ilorin, the state capital.
Effiong said the law is that where a petitioner makes the commission of a crime the kernel of their petition, then they must prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
“Has the petitioner discharged the burden of proof expected of them? From the evidence in this case, the answer is a resounding no,” Effiong added.
“We hold that all the evidences presented by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) – which the petitioners had relied upon and subpoenaed – were at variance with the pleadings of the petitioners,” Effiong added.
He insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that the governor forged a certificate or presented a forged certificate in support of his candidature as alleged in their petition.
The judge said WAEC confirmed to the tribunal that AbdulRazaq’s certificate was “genuine and authentic”, adding that a classmate of the governor also told the panel that the latter sat in front of him in the secondary school leaving certificate examination of June 1976.
Tribunals dismiss petitions against Ikpeazu, Ishaku Darius’ elections
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Friday dismissed the petition challenging the election of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu’s re-election as Governor of Abia.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its candidate, Dr Alex Otti had approached the tribunal to nullify the declaration of Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the petitioners alleged that Ikpeazu did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast in the March 9, 2019 election.
NAN reports that Otti came third while Uche Ogah, the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) was second in the governorship election.
However, the petitioners urged the tribunal to declare the election invalid by reasons of criminal practices, non-substantial compliance with the electoral guidelines, and over voting in 788 polling units in the conduct of the election
Delivering a unanimous judgment, Chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye dismissed the petition for the failure of the petitioners to prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubts.
The tribunal held that testimonies told by 65 polling units agents who appeared as witnesses for the petitioners were not sufficient to prove allegations of over voting in 788 polling units.
The tribunal held that if even there were some infractions in said polling units, they were not substantial to invalidate the entire election.
The tribunal therefore held that the petitioners failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt and thereby dismissed it for lacking in merit.
Speaking newsmen, Dr Paul Ananamba, SAN, counsel for the second respondent (Ikpeazu) described the decision as “a landmark judgement borne out of thorough scrutiny and solid analysis.”
And in a related development, The Taraba Governorship petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of Gov. Ishaku Darius of the PDP, as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
Alhaji Abubakar Danladi of the APC filed a petition, challenging the election of Darius.
Delivering judgment, Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice M.O Adewara, declared that Danladi and his party, APC, were not qualified to contest in the election.
Adewara held that due to the disqualification of Danladi by the Federal High Court, Jalingo APC had no candidate in the governorship election and as such can be deemed to not have participated in the election.
“A political party can be said to have participated in an election where it has not been restricted by the law.
“A candidate that has been disqualified isn’t a candidate under the law and the political party should not have sponsored him,” the Tribunal ruled.
JUST IN: AbdulRazaq qualified to run for gov – Tribunal
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin on Friday dismissed the petition challenging the election of Kwara Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on the grounds of forgery.
In its ruling the Tribunal said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which filed the appeal, failed to prove the forgery allegations.
Afghanistan: US confirms drone attack that killed 30 farmers
The US forces in Afghanistan have admitted that a drone attack that killed at least 30 pine nut farmers in Nangarhar province on Thursday was conducted by them.
At least 40 others were injured in the attack in Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district that was previously attributed to the West-backed Afghan government.
A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan confirmed on Thursday that the drone attack was conducted by the US with the intention of destroying a hideout used by the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.
“Initial indications are members of Daesh [ISIL] were among those targeted in the strike,” Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the American-led coalition in Afghanistan said.
“However, we are working with local officials to determine whether there was collateral damage.”
Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in Nangarhar said on Thursday that the drone attack killed 30 workers in a pine nut field and at least 40 others were injured.
The defence ministry in Kabul confirmed the raid, but refused to share casualty details immediately.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar confirmed the air raid.
“The government is investigating the incident. So far nine bodies are collected from the attack site near a pine nut field,” he said.
Malik Rahat Gul, a tribal elder in Wazir Tangi, said the air raid happened at a time when tired workers, mainly daily wage earners, had gathered near their tent after harvesting pine nuts in a field nearby.
“The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” said Gul.
Earlier this month, four brothers were killed in a raid by the CIA-trained and funded 02 Unit of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency.
Spike in Taliban attacks
Also on Thursday, at least 20 people were killed in Zabul province’s Qalat city in a suicide car bomb blast claimed by the Taliban armed group.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the past several weeks, as the West-backed government forces and Taliban fighters have stepped up attacks since a peace deal between the armed group and the United States collapsed earlier this month.
The Taliban fighters wanted to target a training base for Afghanistan’s powerful spy agency, NDS, in Qalat city but parked the explosives-laden truck outside a hospital gate nearby, a defence ministry source said.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said several women, children, health workers and patients in the hospital were critically injured in the blast.
“[The] truck bomb that drove up against an exterior wall of the NDS building detonated, but right next door was a provincial hospital that has taken the brunt of this explosion … the death toll is likely to rise,” he said.
The spike in Taliban attacks comes as Afghanistan prepares for the presidential election scheduled to be held on September 28.
The Taliban has warned that its fighters will step up their campaign against the Afghan government and foreign forces to dissuade people from voting in the presidential election.
“The government is still going ahead with its preparation for elections and trying to open up the number of polling stations,” McBride said.
“As the Taliban say, they are still open to peace talks; the Afghan government is saying it has to resume only after elections.”
More than nine million Afghans are expected to vote in the presidential election, for which the government has deployed more than 70,000 security forces across the country.
US President Donald Trump abruptly ended talks with the Taliban earlier this month for a deal on the withdrawal of thousands of American troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
The talks, which did not include the Afghan government, were intended to lead to wider peace negotiations to end the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan.
One killed, five injured in shooting near White House
A man has been killed and five injured in a shooting on the streets of Washington DC.
Gunfire erupted in the courtyard of an apartment complex in the Columbia Heights neighbourhood just after 10pm on Thursday night.
The complex is around two miles from the White House.
Police have not confirmed whether they have arrested a suspect but Reuters news agency cited a law enforcement source as saying it was not an “active shooter” situation.
Police Commander Stuart Emerman said the injuries ranged from “non-critical to critical” and all were being treated in hospital.
They are four men and one women. No children were among the victims.
When asked how many shots had been fired, Cdr Emerman said: “Multiple shell casings were at the scene so it could be an accurate assessment that [witnesses] did hear a lot of gunshots.”
$9.6bn judgement debt: How P&ID defrauded Nigeria
The Federal Government yesterday told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja how Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) and its Nigerian affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, defrauded the country and equally evaded tax.
This was just as the Federal Government arraigned the two firms on an 11-count charge bothering on fraud and tax evasion in respect of the contract leading to the recent controversial judgement of a British court empowering the firm to seize $9.6 billion worth of Nigerian assets.
The firms, through their representatives, Mohammed Kuchazi and Adamu Usman, respectively pleaded guilty to the 11-count charge when they were docked.
While Kuchazi was represented by his counsel, Dandison Akurunwua, Usman, who is also a lawyer, represented himself.
The court, however, ordered the forfeiture of all assets and properties to the Federal Government, as well as the winding up (closure) of the two firms.
The order was sequel to the conviction of the two firms.
The defendants were alleged, among others, of fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement which led to the $9.6 billion judgement.
The prosecution also alleged that the defendants conspired with certain officials of Nigerian Government to commit felony to wit: dealing in petroleum product without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act.
The defendants were also alleged of attempt to deal in petroleum products without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(19) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act.
After the defendants pleaded guilty to the charge read to them, the court called on the EFCC investigator, Usman Babangida, to the witness box for review of facts.
This was, however, not opposed to by the defendants.
The investigator tendered documents relating to the controversial 2010 gas supply contract and EFCC’s investigation activities to the court.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo subsequently admitted the documents as exhibits.
Also, the defendants did not object to the admissibility.
After reviewing the facts before it, the court pronounced the two firms guilty.
This was followed by an allocutus (plea for mercy) by P&ID’s counsel, Akurunwua.
He pleaded with the court to consider “the forthrightness and candour” of P&ID by pleading guilty and not wasting the time of the court in the trial.
Similarly, the second defendant aligned himself with the submission of counsel to the first defendant.
Prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, urged the court to deliver its sentencing in line with the provision of the Money Laundering Act which stipulates the winding up of the firm as well as forfeiture of all their assets to the Federal Government.
Delivering judgement, Justice Ekwo held that the firms, having admitted to the crime, he had no option than to convict them accordingly.
Relying on provisions of section 19(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, and section 10(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006, the court ordered the Federal Government to wind up the two firms and confiscate all their assets in the country.
“With the facts before the court, and the plea of guilty entered by the defendants, this court is left with no option than to convict the defendants accordingly.
“Relying on Section 29(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 and Section 10(2) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006, the court makes an order of winding up of the defendants’ firms in this matter and also an order of forfeiture of all assets and properties of the defendants to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Justice Ekwo held.
It will be recalled that a British Commercial Court had, on August 16, awarded judgement in the sum of $9.6 billion against Nigeria over a failed contract between P&ID and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2010.
The charge reads in part:
*That you, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (Nigeria) being a company Incorporated in the British Virgin Island, Process and Industrial Development (Nigeria) Ltd., Michael Quinn (deceased), Neil Hitchcock (deceased), and Brendan Cahill (at large), on or about the 11th day of January 2010 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain benefit to wit: petroleum product from the Federal Government of Nigeria by falsely representing to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources,that Process Development Ltd. was allocated land by the Cross River State Government which representation you know to be false, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 8(a) and punishable under section (1) (3) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Offences Act, 2006.
*That you, Process and Industrial Developments Limited, being a company incorporated in the British Virgin Island, Process and Industrial Developments (Nigeria) Limited, Michael Quinn (deceased), Neil Hitchcock (deceased) and Brendan Cahill (at large), on or about the 11th of January, 2010 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired with certain officials of Nigerian Government to commit felony to wit: dealing in petroleum product without appropriate licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act.
*That you, Process and Industrial Development Limited, being a company incorporated in the British Virgin Island, Process and Industrial Developments (Nigeria) Limited, Michael Quinn (deceased), Neil Hitchcock (deceased) and Brendan Cahill (at large) between August 2006 and August, 2010 at Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, conspired amongst yourselves to launder proceeds of unlawful act to wit: tax evasion and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 and punishable section 15(2)(b)(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No.1 of 2012).”
In count seven, they were accused to have, between August 2006 and December 2006, concealed the unlawful origin of the sum of N1,856,503.50 through the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc Account No: 3223250230110 operated by Process and Industrial Developments (Nigeria) Limited, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful act to wit: tax evasion and you, thereby, committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(a) and punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended by Act No: 1 of 2012).
In count eight, the prosecution accused the defendants of concealing the sum of N3,923,237.65 and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(a) and punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended by Act No: 1 of 2012.
In count nine, the defendants were said to have concealed the sum of N2,290, 472.50 and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(a) and punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended) by Act No: 1 of 2012.
In count 10, the defendants were accused of concealing the sum of N1,414, 955.50, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 15(2)(a) and punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended) by Act No: 1 of 2012.
Following a British court ruling that Nigeria owed the Irish firm about $9.6 billion for violating terms of the contract, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced an investigation into the contract between Nigeria and P&ID.
The contract for gas supply and processing (GSPA) was signed by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and P&ID.
The company was to build gas processing facilities around Calabar, Cross River State and the government was to supply wet gas up to 400 million standard cubic feet per day.
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