Saturday, 23 September 2017
Items filtered by date: October 2016

The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday convicted a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, for failure to declare his property at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, Abuja, in any of his asset declaration forms he completed as minister.

As punishment, the Danladi Umar-led tribunal in its judgment ordered that the property which the former minister failed to declare be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Umar, reading the judgment of the CCT, said, “The tribunal has been satisfied with the prosecution that up till now it is the name of the accused person that is with the Federal Capital Territory Land Registry as the owner of the property and not DW1/Divention Properties Limited.

“The tribunal hereby adjudges the accused person (Orubebe) guilty as charged and on that premise hands down the following punishment in accordance with section 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal Act as incorporated under the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution as amended:

“The property known as Plot 2057 which belongs to the defendant is hereby seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The tribunal does not have the power to sentence a person it convicts to prison.

It is the first time in the recent history of the tribunal that a top politically-exposed person would be convicted by the tribunal.

The tribunal rejected the ex-minister’s defence that he (Orubebe) acquired the property after he became minister and  sold it to another company before he left office.

The Federal Government had on March 8, 2016, re-arraigned Orubebe on an amended charge of failure to declare his property at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, Abuja, in his asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau as a minister between 2007 and 2011.

The offence was said to be contrary to section 15 of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) of the same Act.

The prosecution called an official of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Samuel Madojemu, as its only witness to prove its case.

Madojemu had in his testimony, given details of how the CCB  discovered the property allegedly owned by the ex-minister in Abuja but which the former minister was said to have failed to declare as his in his asset declaration forms.

He said Orubebe submitted five asset declaration forms to the CCB between 2007 and 2011, copies of the forms were admitted by the CCT as exhibits.

He added that  the former minister failed to declare the plot of land as of the time of leaving office on May 29, 2011.

The witness said Orubebe ignored the CCB’s invitation to him to make statements during the investigation of the case.

The prosecution also tendered some documents, including the title documents of the property and Orubebe’s asset declaration forms submitted to the CCB.

Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Selekowei Larry (SAN), the former minister testifying as the second defence witness (DW2), said the plot of land was allocated to him by the Federal Government as a minister, through the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory in 2011.

But he said he sold the plot of land for N10m, which he said he used to settle his accumulated rent for two years between 2009 and 2011.

He explained that he did not declare it as his asset when he assumed office in 2007 because it had not been allocated to him then.

Orubebe also said he did not declare the plot of land as his asset in 2011 because he had sold it to his landlord before he made the last asset declaration while leaving office.

He said he never visited the plot of land because he sold it on the same date it was allocated to him to offset the N10m backlog of rent of two years.

Orubebe earlier called the owner of the company, Divention Properties Limited to which he claimed to have sold the property, Mr. Akinwunmi Ajibola, as the first defence witness, who also testified that he had bought the land from the former minister.

But in its judgment on Tuesday, the tribunal held that it found it absurd to believe that after six years of transfer of the ownership of the property, the new owner had yet to register the title documents with the Federal Capital Territory Land Registry as required under the Land Instrument Registration Law.

The tribunal chairman ruled that the prosecution had been able to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt in line with the provisions of section 139 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

Published in Headliners
Unless the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, quickly wade into the dangerous storm that seems to be quietly building up in the Maryland layout of Enugu, it may soon degenerate into a more serious and highly embarrassing crisis.
 
At the centre of the brewing crisis is the newly appointed Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu and his wife who are being accused of illegally grabbing of the Command land meant for a Police Station.
 
Mr. Ojukwu, a former Force Public Relations Officer, who is billed to retire in two months is said to have cornered the land set aside for a Police Station in the Maryland layout in Enugu State.
 
Our sources said his wife is now building a set of shops on the site with incredible speed, working day and night, apparently to complete the project before the CP’s retirement.
 
It is gathered, and strangely too, that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Uwani, Enugu appears in the picture as he is personally supervising the project on their behalf.
The land was said to have been donated by Professor Godwin Odenigwe and family in 1980 for the purpose of building a Police Station and on which the Professor built a Police Post for the community. 
 
The angry residents of state the Maryland Layout whose complaints have so far fallen on deaf ears, are now  imploring both the IGP and the governor, himself a former resident of the layout, to step in and stop the construction work immediately.
 
They have  also called for a thorough investigation of the matter, with a view to bringing the Commissioner of Police to book if found wanting.
.
While the citizens of Maryland layout Enugu are crying foul,  as a set of shops owned by the new Police Commissioner and his wife is still being erected on the site. 
 
The residents  have, however, vowed not to surrender to the tyranny - a situation that causing and tension to quietly build up in the area.
 
It was learnt that the land in question, situated along Ugwuaji Village Road, Enugu, and measuring over 6,000 square meters, was acquired by Dr. G. A. Odenigwe by Indenture of Leases dated 10th day of November 1962.
 
It was registered as No. 61 at Page 61 in Volume 332 of the Land Registry Enugu; 9th March 1963. It was again, registered as No. 56 at Page 56 in Volume 352 of the Land Registry Enugu on 24th March 1972 and as No. 45 at Page 45 in Volume 624 of the Land Registry Enugu as depicted on Plan No. E/GA 209/62 and Plan No. OKE/L447/72. In 1973/74.
 
The said Property was laid into Plots 190, 191, 192, 192A, 206, 207, 208 and 209 Maryland Layout, Enugu.
 
According to Mr. Ani Ugwu, an 80-year old indigene of Ugwuaji Village and a longtime resident of the Maryland layout Enugu, Prof. Odenigwe, in 1977, built a palatial mansion on part of the land and that it was the only development in that part of Enugu for over 20 years.
 
Mr. Ugwu then gave a brief history of the Maryland layout Enugu, recalling that when the area was laid into an official layout by the licensed surveyor, the late Fredrick Okoli, his people approached Professor Odenigwe to rename Ugwuaji Road “Odenigwe Road” because of his contributions to the area.
The latter refused. Mr. Ugwu also said he was part of a delegation from the Ugwuaji community, led by their traditional ruler, that approached the surveyor to name the new layout Odenigwe Layout but that Professor Odenigwe, again, refused and instead opted to name the new layout after his favorite saint – the Virgin Mary.
It was Professor Odenigwe who made sure NEPA brought light to the area. He also worked with the Enugu Water Corporation to lay
 
 

 

Published in Business and Economy

Masked Jewel thieves put gun to Kim Kardashian’s head and tied her up in the Paris bathroom.

The police and her publicist said that the thieves left her tied up in the bathroom of her luxury residence in Paris and stole millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery in the early hours of Monday.

“Kardashian, wife of rapper Kanye West, later left France aboard a private jet from Le Bourget airport after speaking to investigators.

“Five attackers, wearing ski masks and clothes with police markings, struck inside the exclusive apartment block where Kardashian was staying while attending Paris Fashion Week.

“Two of the men entered Kardashian’s apartment after threatening the night guard with a hand gun and stole a box with $5.6-$6.7 million worth of jewels and a ring worth about 4 million Euros.’’

According her publicist, Ina Treciokas, “Kardashian was discovered badly shaken but physically unharmed.

As news of the event spread, West abruptly ended a performance in New York less than an hour into his set.

The Paris apartment block is a discreet building behind the city’s Madeleine church, with several secret entrances, often frequented by movie and music stars who pay up to 15,000 euros a night.

The source said that the attackers fled on bicycles and Police found the night guard in the staircase, his hand and feet bound.

Kardashian was in Paris with her mother, Kris Jenner and her sisters, Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian, to attend the fashion week but the rest of the family stayed in a hotel.

The robbery set social media alight, with many users expressing disbelief at the latest headline-grabbing event in the life of a TV star whose life is continually documented on screen and the internet.

Paris had seen several armed robberies on high-end jewelry stores in recent months.

The armed robbery could add to worries about safety in Paris, hit by a series of attacks by Islamist militants last year.

Tourist numbers to what is traditionally the most visited city in the world, fell 6.4 percent in the first half of 2016 as many Asians and Americans stayed away.

Published in Headliners

BROADCAST BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON OCTOBER 1ST 2016 TO MARK NIGERIA’S 56TH ANNIVERSARY

Today – 1st October is a day of celebration for us Nigerians. On this day, 56 years ago our people achieved the most important of all human desires – freedom and independence. We should all therefore give thanks and pray for our founding fathers without whose efforts and toil we would not reap the bounties of today.

2. I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis. The recession for many individuals and families is real. For some It means not being able to pay school fees, for others it’s not being able to afford the high cost of food (rice and millet) or the high cost of local or international travel, and for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.

3. I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices.

4. But let me say to all Nigerians today, I ran for office four times to make the point that we can rule this nation with honesty and transparency, that we can stop the stealing of Nigeria’s resources so that the resources could be used to provide jobs for our young people, security, infrastructure for commerce, education and healthcare.

5. I ran for office because I know that good government is the only way to ensure prosperity and abundance for all. I remain resolutely committed to this objective.

6. I believe that this recession will not last.

7. Temporary problems should not blind or divert us from the corrective course this government has charted for our nation. We have identified the country’s salient problems and we are working hard at lasting solutions.

8. To re-cap what I have been saying since the inception of this administration, our problems are security, corruption and the economy, especially unemployment and the alarming level of poverty.

9. On Security, we have made progress. Boko Haram was defeated by last December – only resorting to cowardly attacks on soft targets, killing innocent men, women and children.

10.Nigerians should thank our gallant men of the Armed Forces and Police for rescuing large areas of the country captured by insurgents. Now, residents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, as well as several neighbouring states go about their daily business in relative safety. People can go to mosques, churches, market places in reasonable safety.

11. Commuters can travel between cities, towns and villages without fear. Credit for this remarkable turn-round should go to our Armed Forces, the Police, various sponsored and private vigilante groups, the local traditional leaders. Security is a top to bottom concern and responsibility.

12. Besides Boko Haram, we are confronting other long-running security issues, namely herdsmen vs farmers, cattle rustling, kidnappings. This Administration is firmly resolved to tackle these challenges and to defeat them.

13. A new insurgency has reared up its head in the shape of blowing up gas and oil pipelines by groups of Niger Delta Militants. This Administration will not allow these mindless groups to hold the country to ransom.

14. What sense is there to damage a gas line as a result of which many towns in the country including their own town or village is put in darkness as a result? What logic is there in blowing up an export pipeline and as a result income to your state and local governments and consequently their ability to provide services to your own people is reduced?

15. No group can unlawfully challenge the authority of the Federal Government and succeed. Our Administration is fully sympathetic to the plight of the good people of Niger Delta and we are in touch with the State Governments and leaderships of the region. It is known that the clean-up of the Ogoniland has started. Infrastructural projects financed by the Federal Government and post amnesty programme financing will continue.

16. We have however, continued to dialogue with all groups and leaders of thought in the region to bring lasting peace.

17. Corruption is a cancer which must be fought with all the weapons at our disposal. It corrodes the very fabric of government and destroys society. Fighting corruption is Key, not only to restoring the moral health of the nation, but also to freeing our enormous resources for urgent socio-economic development.

18.In fighting corruption, however, the government would adhere strictly by the rule of law. Not for the first time I am appealing to the judiciary to join the fight against corruption.

19. The Third Plank in this Administration’s drive to CHANGE Nigeria is re-structuring the economy. Economies behaviour is cyclical. All countries face ups and downs. Our own recession has been brought about by a critical shortage of foreign exchange. Oil price dropped from an average of hundred USD per barrel over the last decade to an average of forty USD per barrel this year and last.

20. Worse still, the damage perpetrated by Niger Delta thugs on pipelines sometimes reduced Nigeria’s production to below One million barrels per day against the normal two point two million barrels per day. Consequently, the naira is at its weakest, but the situation will stabilize.

21. But this is only temporary. Historically about half our dollar export earnings go to importation of petroleum and food products! Nothing was saved for the rainy days during the periods of prosperity. We are now reaping the whirlwinds of corruption, recklessness and impunity.

22.There are no easy solutions, but there are solutions nonetheless and Government is pursuing them in earnest. We are to repair our four refineries so that Nigeria can produce most of our petrol requirements locally, pending the coming on stream of new refineries. That way we will save ten billion USD yearly in importing fuel.

23. At the same time, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank have been mobilized to encourage local production of rice, maize, sorghum, millet and soya beans. Our target is to achieve domestic self-sufficiency in these staples by 2018.

24. Already farmers in thirteen out of thirty six states are receiving credit support through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme. Kebbi state alone this year is expected to produce one million tonnes of locally grown rice, thanks to a favourable harvest this year. As part of the 13 states, Lagos and Ogun are also starting this programme. Rice alone for example costs Nigeria two billion USD to import.

25.The country should be self-sufficient in basic staples by 2019. Foreign exchange thus saved can go to industrial revival requirements for retooling, essential raw materials and spare parts. It is in recognition of the need to re-invigorate agriculture in our rural communities that we are introducing the LIFE programme.

26. Government recognises that irrigation is key to modern agriculture: that is why the Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources are embarking on a huge programme of development of lakes, earth dams and water harvesting schemes throughout the country to ensure that we are no longer dependent on rain-fed agriculture for our food requirements.

27. In addition, government is introducing Water Resources Bill encompassing the National Water Resources Policy and National Irrigation and Drainage Policy to improve management of water and irrigation development in the country. We are reviving all the twelve River Basin Authorities, namely;

I. Anambra – Imo
II. Benin – Owena
III. Chad Basin
IV. Cross River
V. Hadejia – Jama’are
VI. Lower Benue
VII. Lower Niger
VIII. Niger Delta
IX. Ogun – Osun
X. Sokoto – Rima
XI. Upper Benue
XII. Upper Niger

28. The intention is eventually to fully commercialise them to better support crop production, aqua –culture and accelerated rural development.

29.This Administration is committed to the revival of Lake Chad and improvement of the hydrology and ecology of the basin. This will tune in with efforts to rehabilitate the thirty million people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad basin countries.

30. The second plank in our economic revival strategy is centred on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The Ministry will lead and oversee the provision of critical infrastructure of power, road transport network and housing development.

31. Power generation has steadily risen since our Administration came on board from three thousand three hundred and twenty four megawatts in June 2015, rising to a peak of five thousand and seventy four megawatts in February 2016.

32. For the first time in our history the country was producing five thousand megawatts. However, renewed militancy and destruction of gas pipelines caused acute shortage of gas and constant drop in electricity output available on the grid.

33. There has been during the period June 2015 to September 2016 big improvement in transmission capacity from five thousand five hundred megawatts to the present seven thousand three hundred megawatts.

34.There were only two system collapses between June and December 2015, but due to vandalism by Niger Delta militants the over-all system suffered 16 system collapses between March and July 2016 alone. As I have said earlier, we are engaging with responsible leadership in the region to find lasting solutions to genuine grievances of the area but we will not allow a tiny minority of thugs to cripple the country’s economy.

35. In the meantime, government is going ahead with projects utilizing alternate technologies such as hydro, wind, and solar to contribute to our energy mix. In this respect, the Mambilla Hydro project, after many years of delay is taking off this year. Contract negotiations are nearing completion with Chinese firms for technical and financial commitments.

36. The project is to be jointly financed by Nigeria and the Chinese-Export-Import Bank. In addition, fourteen Solar Power Projects have had their power purchase agreements concluded. Hence the plan to produce one thousand two hundred megawatts of solar electricity for the country would be realized on schedule.

37. And in line with the objective of government to complete all abandoned projects across the country, the Rural Electrification Agency’s projects needing completion are provided for in the 2016 Budget. Bringing electricity to rural areas will help farmers, small scale and cottage industries to integrate with the national economy.

38.Roads Construction and Rehabilitation has taken off. The sum of twelve billion naira was allocated to this sector in the 2015 Budget, not enough even to pay interest on outstanding unpaid claims.

39. Notwithstanding the budgetary constraints, the current budget allocated two hundred and forty billion naira for highway projects against twelve billion naira in 2015. Many contractors who have not been paid for three years have now remobilized to sites. Seven hundred and twenty point five billion naira has so far been released this budget year to capital projects.

40. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has received one hundred and ninety seven point five billion naira. Work on the following highways has now resumed.

1. Dualization of Calabar – Itu Road in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States.
2. Dualization of Lokoja – Benin Road, Ehor – Benin city, Edo State.
3. Re-construction of outstanding sections of Benin – Shagamu Express way, Edo/Ogun States.
4. Expansion works on Lagos – Ibadan Dual carriageway, Ogun/Oyo States
5. Rehabilitation of Onitsha – Enugu Expressway, Anambra/Enugu States.
6. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual carriageway, Abia/Rivers States.
7. Rehabilitation of Hadejia – Nguru Road, Jigawa State.
8. Dualization of Kano – Katsina Road, Kano State.
9. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road, Borno State.
10. Dualization of Azare – Potiskum Road, Azare – Sharuri Road, Bauchi State.

11. Rehabilitation of Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Birnin Gwari Road, Kwara State.
12. Construction of Oju/Lokoja – Oweto Bridge over River Benue, Benue State.

41. Other major highways are in the queue for rehabilitation or new construction.

42. Already contractors have recalled about nine thousand workers laid off and Government expects that several hundreds of thousands of workers will be reengaged in the next few months as our public works programme gains momentum.

43. On railways, we have provided our counterpart funding to China for the building of our standard gauge Lagos -Kano railway. Meanwhile, General Electric is investing two point two billion USD in a concession to revamp, provide rolling stock, and manage the existing lines, including the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line. The Lagos-Calabar railway will also be on stream soon.

44. We have initiated the National Housing Programme. In 2014 four hundred million naira was voted for Housing. In 2015 nothing. Our first budget this year is devoting thirty five point six billion naira. Much of the house building will be private – sector led but Government is initiating a pilot housing scheme of two thousand eight hundred and thirty eight units uniformly spread across the 36 states and FCT.

45.We expect these units to be completed within 4 – 6 months. These experimental Nigeria House model Units will be constructed using only made in Nigeria building materials and components. This initiative is expected to reactivate the building materials manufacturing sector, generate massive employment opportunities and develop sector capacity and expertise.

46. The programmes I have outlined will revive the economy, restore the value of the naira and drive hunger from our land.

47. Abroad, Nigeria’s standing has changed beyond belief in the last 18 months. We are no longer a pariah state. Wherever I go, I have been received with un-accustomed hospitality. Investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria. This government intends to make business environment more friendly because we can not develop ourselves alone.

48. All countries, no matter how advanced, welcome foreign investments to their economy. This is the essence of globalization and no country in the 21st century can be an island. Our reforms are therefore designed to prepare Nigeria for the 21st century.

49. Finally, let me commend Nigerians for your patience, steadfastness and perseverance. You know that I am trying to do the right things for our country.

50. Thank you and may God bless our country.

Published in Headliners

The New York Times urged Latinos Saturday to get out and vote, calling it a way to help defeat Donald Trump and assert their growing role in American society.

In an editorial, the influential paper noted that Trump has pledged to built a wall on the border with Mexico to keep out migrants and insulted Mexicans and other minorities throughout the campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, it added, has solid plans to address issues that matter to Latinos, such as the economy, education, and access to health care, and has pledged to make immigration a reform a priority.

“In addition to defeating a bully, Latinos have plenty of reasons to enthusiastically support Mr. Trump’s main rival,” said the editorial, also published in Spanish.

Strong Latino turnout on November 8 could help Clinton win in key battleground states and change how US political parties perceive Hispanic voters and how they deal with them in the future, the paper said.

“America’s 56 million Latinos — one third of whom are under 18 — are helping to shape America’s future in classrooms, workplaces and neighborhoods. It is only a matter of time before their mark on the nation’s politics matches their contributions in other spheres,” the paper said.

“That moment should start now.”

AFP

Published in Business and Economy
Saturday, 01 October 2016 19:41

My first assignment as governor – Obaseki

Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the Governor-elect of Edo state has stated that his first assignment would be to put a team together for the purpose of preparing the 2017 appropriation budget immediately.

He said the focus of his administration would not change from the incumbent in terms of infrastructure and education, but that job creation and empowerment would be added.

Obaseki who spoke during an interactive session with journalists in Benin City, said he would have to prepare the budget in order to hit the ground running, noting that he has only four weeks to present the budget before the legislative arm go on recess.

His words: “My first assignment is to put together a team and get appropriation for next year because we have to hit the ground running.

“The focus will not change in terms of infrastructure and education. The added focus will be on job creation and empowerment. That is why I need to focus on the budget and ensure I get enough appropriation to emphasis the social aspects which I promised during my campaigns. We will continue to build roads and refurbish schools. What is important is how to get people to work.”

The Governor-elect who ruled out anything like government of unity or having members of the opposition political parties as part of his government, however said he would reach out to the opposition in terms of explaining his administration policies to them.

According to him, “I will not be able to accept anybody from the opposition as a commissioner in my cabinet.”

Recall that at the inception of Governor Adams Oshiomhole administration in 2008, he appointed three members of the Peoples Democratic Party as members of his cabinet.

Commenting on the plight of pensioners in the state, Obaseki noted that 700 out 11,700 documented pensioners that retired under the state civil service were yet to be paid.

He explained that the 700 pensioners were those that retired from 2012 to 2015 and that vouchers for payment for those that retired from 2012 to 2013 were ready.

He said the opposition tried to use it against the APC.

“Some people took advantage of the electioneering campaign to get at us on this issue. People tried to use the anxiety to win election, we will resolve the issues. Pension issues are not as they are reported.

“Vouchers are ready for payment for 2012 and 2013 pensioners. We are waiting for a little savings to pay them. For 2104 and 2015, we need to find the cash to pay them. We pay our pensioners regularly. We will have to help the local government fiscally responsible. We will reduce their cost and increase their revenue so that they can meet their obligations, including pensions and salaries.

Published in Politics

After a massive police operation involving the use of helicopters, kidnappers of Margaret Emefiele, wife of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, have released her.

Margaret Emefiele who was abducted at Ugoneki, a few miles from Benin City, Edo State on Thursday night was released in the early hours of Saturday by her abductors.

It was not clear if any ransom was paid to her abductors before her release.

A source revealed that Emefiele’s orderly died when the kidnappers struck.

Investigations revealed that Mrs. Emefiele boarded a flight from Abuja and landed safely at the Benin Airport, from where she left for Agbor in Delta State by road.

It was gathered that the hoodlums intercepted the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) she was travelling in and shot her orderly, who attempted to resist the operation.

The heavily armed men, it was learnt, pushed Mrs Emefiele into their vehicle and sped away into the bush with their captives.

Published in Headliners
Saturday, 01 October 2016 12:11

3 Nigerian judges sacked for fraud, misconduct

Three Nigerian judges who delivered controversial rulings and took bribe in the course of their adjudicating in cases brought before them have been suspended by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The suspended judges, including a Court of Appeal justice, were also recommended for immediate retirement and dismissal for fraud and gross misconduct during the 78th meeting of the NJC which held on Thursday September 29.

The affected judges are Ladan Tsamiya of the Illorin division of the Court of Appeal, I. A. Umezulike of the Enugu High Court and Kabiru Auta of Kano State Federal High Court.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and chairman of the NJC, Mahmud Mohammed, had earlier stated that all judges involved in giving conflicting rulings in various suits that caused the leadership crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be adequately sanctioned.

The suspension of the judges was contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director of Information of the commission, Soji Oye, on Friday.

Read the full statement by the NJC below:

The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, at its 78th meeting which was held on 29th September, 2016 recommended compulsory retirement from office of Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Hon. Justice I. A. Umezulike, OFR, Chief Judge, Enugu State and the dismissal from service of Hon. Justice Kabiru M. Auta of the High Court of Justice, Kano state with immediate effect.

In the case of Hon. Justice Kabiru M. Auta, he is to be handed over to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 1, Kano, for prosecution.

Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal was recommended for compulsory retirement from Office to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, pursuant to the ‘Findings’ by the Council in the petition written by Nnamdi Iro Oji against him and Hon. Justices Husseini Muktar, F. O. Akinbami and J. Y. Tukur, all Justices of Court of Appeal who sat on Election Appeal Panel in the Owerri Division of the Court during the 2015 General Elections. The Petition contains the following allegations, among others.

Corruption, malice and vindictiveness; and giving perverse and conflicting decisions on the same issue in similar matters in Appeal CA/OW/EPT/SN/50/2015: Chief Dr. David Ogba Onuoha Bourdex Vs Hon. Mao Onuabunwa & Anor;

CA/OW/EPT/SN/47/2015; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu & Anor Vs Hon. Mao Ohuabunwa & Ors; and CA/OW/EPT/HR/61/2015: Nnamdi Iro Oji Vs Nkole Uko Ndukwe & 16 Ors.

During deliberations, Council found as follows:-

That there was evidence that the Petitioner met with Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya thrice, in his residence in Sokoto, Gwarinpa, Abuja and Owerri where on each occasion, he demanded from him the sum of N200,000.000 (Two Hundred Million Naira) to influence the Court of Appeal Panel in Owerri or risk losing the case;

That the allegations of giving two conflicting judgements on the same matter was not true as the two judgements were in respect of two different appeals: one was in respect of House of Representative Seat, a Federal Constituency, while the other was in respect of a Senate Seat which covered one third of the state.

That there was no allegation and no evidence that the Petitioner ever met or discussed with Hon. Justices Husseini Mukhtar (JCA), F. O. Akinbami (JCA) and J. Y. Tukur(JCA) in respect of the appeal before them.

In the Light of the foregoing that Hon. Justices Husseini Mukhtar (JCA), F. O. Akinbami(JCA) and J. Y. Tukur (JCA), were exonerated.

Hon. Justice I. A. Umezulike, OFR, Chief Judge, Enugu state was recommended to the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for compulsory retirement sequel to the findings by the Council on the following allegations levelled against him by Barrister Peter Eze.

That the Hon. Chief Judge failed to deliver Judgement in Suit No E/13/2008: Ajogwu V Nigerian Bottling Company Limited in which final Addresses were adopted on 23rd October, 2014. The judgement was however delivered on 9th March, 2015, about 126 days after addresses were adopted, contrary to constitutional provisions that judgement should be delivered within a period of 90 days.

That Hon. Justice Umezulike, OFR, in Suit No E/159M/2014, Ezeuko Vs Probate Registrar, High Court of Enugu State and 3 Ors ordered the arrest of Mr. Peter Eze by police and be brought before his Court after the matter was amicably resolved and judgement entered on terms of Settlement.

That the Hon. Chief Judge in a speech delivered by him to the Eastern Bar Forum on Friday 4th March, 2016, openly made uncomplimentary remarks containing vulgar language against the Petitioner, contrary to Rule 1.3 of the National Judicial Council Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

That at the time of the book launch of the Hon. Chief Judge, donation of N10 million was made by Prince Arthur Eze during the pendency of the two cases in His Lordship’s Court, both of which Prince Arthur Eze has vested interest.

That there have been many instances of abuse of Judicial powers, by the Chief Judge, particularly against the two defendants in Suits Nos. E/6/2013 and E/88/2016. The Chief Judge clung to these two suits to remain in his court, despite all genuine efforts made by the defendants to get the suits transferred to another court.

That the Chief Judge sitting at a vantage position of Senior Judicial Officer and Head of Court for that matter, should not have allowed his emotions to dictate his judicial functions to the detriment of the defendants in both suits.

In the case of Hon. Justice Kabiru Auta of the High Court of Justice, Kano State, he was recommended to the Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for dismissal and be handed over to the police for prosecution following the findings of the Council on the allegations levelled against him by Alhaji Kabiru Yakassai as follows:-

That the Petitioner paid the sum of N125, 000.000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty-five Million Naira) into an account approved by the Hon. Judge.

The Petitioner also made cash payment of N72,000,000.00 (Seventy-five Million Naira) to Hon. Justice Auta in several instalments through his Personal Assistant, Abdullahi Bello, ostensibly for the purpose of assisting a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who had just been appointed to secure accommodation and for the Petitioner to be in turn rewarded by the award of some contracts by the said Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria.

That Hon. Justice Auta facilitated telephone communications in his house between the Petitioner and purportedly the former Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria on the other end.

That Hon. Justice Auta facilitated meetings between the Petitioner and a lady who introduced herself as the purported Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria in a Prado Jeep, escorted by armed Police Officer in a hotel in Kaduna.

That after the Petitioner suspected foul play and reported the matter to the police, Hon. Justice Auta agreed to pay the Petitioner the sum of N95, 000.000.00 (Ninety-five Million Naira) as part of his claim while Abubakar Mahdi was to pay the sum of N125, 000.000.00 (One Hundred and Twenty-five Million Naira) to the petitioner.

That pursuant to the agreement, Hon. Justice Auta made a part payment of $11, 000.00 (Eleven Thousand U. S. Dollars) and N16,000.000.00 (Sixteen Million Naira) cash to the Petitioner and undertook to pay the balance before the commencement of the Fact Finding Committee set up by the National Judicial Council to investigate the allegations.

That Hon. Justice Kabiru Auta admitted accepting to pay the money as agreed in AIG’s Office in Kano according to him “having suffered humiliation, and incarceration and had nowhere to go for help and in order to protect my image and the image of the judiciary”. He however, said that the settlement was for him to pay N35 million and not N95 million and that to that effect, he paid N20 million so far including the $11,000.00; and

That Hon. Justice Kabiru stated in his evidence, that the purpose of the petitioner visiting his house at times was that as a friend, he used to seek favours for his people who had matters before him, a conduct that is in itself self-indicting and a serious abuse of Judicial Oath.

The above allegations against the three Judicial Officers constitute misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 3.2, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 8.4a, 13.1, 15.2 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, has suspended Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Hon. Justice I. A. Umezulike, OFR, Chief Judge of Enugu State and Hon. Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court from Office with immediate effect, pending the approval of the recommendations of the Council for their compulsory retirement and dismissal respectively, from office by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR; Governor Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, of Kano State, respectively.

Published in Headliners

In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.

From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

Whether through indifference or ignorance, Trump has betrayed fundamental commitments made by all presidents since the end of World War II. These commitments include unwavering support for NATO allies, steadfast opposition to Russian aggression, and the absolute certainty that the United States will make good on its debts. He has expressed troubling admiration for authoritarian leaders and scant regard for constitutional protection.

Why we’re breaking tradition: Our view

We’ve been highly critical of the GOP nominee in a number of previous editorials. With early voting already underway in several states and polls showing a close race, now is the time to spell out, in one place, the reasons Trump should not be president:

He is erratic. Trump has been on so many sides of so many issues that attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target. A list prepared by NBC details 124 shifts by Trump on 20 major issues since shortly before he entered the race. He simply spouts slogans and outcomes (he’d replace Obamacare with “something terrific”) without any credible explanations of how he’d achieve them.

He is ill-equipped to be commander in chief. Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements typically range from uninformed to incoherent. It’s not just Democrats who say this. Scores of Republican national security leaders have signed an extraordinary open letter calling Trump’s foreign policy vision “wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle.” In a Wall Street Journal column this month, Robert Gates, the highly respected former Defense secretary who served presidents of both parties over a half-century, described Trump as “beyond repair.”

He traffics in prejudice. From the very beginning, Trump has built his campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia, whipping up resentment against Mexicans, Muslims and migrants. His proposals for mass deportations and religious tests are unworkable and contrary to America’s ideals.

Trump has stirred racist sentiments in ways that can’t be erased by his belated and clumsy outreach to African Americans. His attacks on an Indiana-born federal judge of Mexican heritage fit “the textbook definition of a racist comment,” according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected official in the Republican Party. And for five years, Trump fanned the absurd “birther” movement that falsely questioned the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president.

His business career is checkered. Trump has built his candidacy on his achievements as a real estate developer and entrepreneur. It’s a shaky scaffold, starting with a 1973 Justice Department suit against Trump and his father for systematically discriminating against blacks in housing rentals. (The Trumps fought the suit but later settled on terms that were viewed as a government victory.) Trump’s companies have had some spectacular financial successes, but this track record is marred by six bankruptcy filings, apparent misuse of the family’s charitable foundation, and allegations by Trump University customers of fraud. A series of investigative articles published by the USA TODAY Network found that Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades, including at least 60 that involved small businesses and contract employees who said they were stiffed. So much for being a champion of the little guy.

He isn’t leveling with the American people. Is Trump as rich as he says? No one knows, in part because, alone among major party presidential candidates for the past four decades, he refuses to release his tax returns. Nor do we know whether he has paid his fair share of taxes, or the extent of his foreign financial entanglements.

He speaks recklessly. In the days after the Republican convention, Trump invited Russian hackers to interfere with an American election by releasing Hillary Clinton’s emails, and he raised the prospect of “Second Amendment people” preventing the Democratic nominee from appointing liberal justices. It’s hard to imagine two more irresponsible statements from one presidential candidate.

He has coarsened the national dialogue. Did you ever imagine that a presidential candidate would discuss the size of his genitalia during a nationally televised Republican debate? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine a presidential candidate, one who avoided service in the military, would criticize Gold Star parents who lost a son in Iraq? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine you’d see a presidential candidate mock a disabled reporter? Neither did we. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to ignore criticism raises the specter of a president who, like Richard Nixon, would create enemies’ lists and be consumed with getting even with his critics.

He’s a serial liar. Although polls show that Clinton is considered less honest and trustworthy than Trump, it’s not even a close contest. Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to the quality and quantity of his misstatements. When confronted with a falsehood, such as his assertion that he was always against the Iraq War, Trump’s reaction is to use the Big Lie technique of repeating it so often that people begin to believe it.

We are not unmindful of the issues that Trump’s campaign has exploited: the disappearance of working-class jobs; excessive political correctness; the direction of the Supreme Court; urban unrest and street violence; the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group; gridlock in Washington and the influence of moneyed interests. All are legitimate sources of concern.

Nor does this editorial represent unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis). The Editorial Board does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement.

Some of us look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service — as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State — and believe she’d serve the nation ably as its president.

Other board members have serious reservations about Clinton’s sense of entitlement, her lack of candor and her extreme carelessness in handling classified information.

Where does that leave us? Our bottom-line advice for voters is this: Stay true to your convictions. That might mean a vote for Clinton, the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. Or a focus on down-ballot candidates who will serve the nation honestly, try to heal its divisions, and work to solve its problems.

Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.

Published in Business and Economy

The kidnappers who abducted Margaret Emefiele, wife of Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are demanding N1.5b for her release.

Reports say the kidnappers had contacted the Emefiele family for the ransom.

Margaret Emefiele was kidnapped Thursday night along Benin-Agbor Road by heavily armed men.

Investigations revealed that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris had already dispatched the anti-terror tactical team and hundreds of policemen to comb the forest between Benin and Agbor to locate the abducted woman.

Published in Headliners
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