Protesters Storm National Assembly, Says ‘Illegal Allowances’ For Lawmakers Must Stop

Protesters under the auspices of Citizen Action to Take Back Nigeria (TBN) have stormed the national assembly to demand an end to “illegal” allowances termed as “running cost” received by lawmakers.

The protesters, who have been camping out at the national assembly for two days running, said the only reason Nigerians are suffering is that “we are cowards in our own country”.

They lamented that while the lawmakers were collecting huge allowances in the name of “running costs”, children were dying of hunger in the north east due to the brewing humanitarian crisis.

“Citizens are demanding that senators should stop stealing through the running cost; they should terminate the running cost. They collect this and citizens are dying,” Ibrahim Garba said on behalf of the group.

“We are suffering because we are cowards in our own country. We are here to take back the national assembly. That is why we are here. We are not for the fun of it but because we are representing Nigerians.

“When you try to manipulate the budget… you put N7.2 billion in your constituency then say it’s lobby. What kind of lobby is that?

“We are frustrated because students have no classes, teachers don’t have no teaching aides but senators are being paid their allowances. Children are dying in the north east.protester

“Their convoy alone can build factories. Running cost is ruining our lives. EFCC, ICPC and the police should arrest them, they should consider the citizens, we need children to go back to school.”

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Attempted Murder: CORHD Condemns Illegal Arrest And Oppressive Arraignment Of Eleven Citizens By The Police In Uyo

In the evening of Thursday, September 15, 2016 we received a report of a case of indiscriminate and mass arrest of eleven (11) persons, comprising of nine (9) males and two (2) females at No. 5 Udi Street in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State by officers of the Nigeria Police Force, A Division, Uyo.

The facts available to us indicate that a certain aged woman was found within the prescient of No. 5 Udi Street in Uyo at about 2 am on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by a private security man working at the apartment. According to reports, the said woman was a stranger and was not known to the security man before then. Upon being confronted, the strange woman reportedly explained to the security man that she came to visit her daughter who is a tenant at the apartment. Queried on what she was doing outside at such odd hour, the woman reportedly told the security man that she came outside to urinate. Dissatisfied with her explanation, the security man and about two others reportedly accused her of being a witch; they reportedly harassed and molested the woman. The woman is said to be recuperating at the hospital.

Upon returning to the apartment in the morning, the daughter of the woman who is an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDS) was briefed about the incident. She went to the police and reported the matter.

The following day on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at about 12 pm, a team of armed policemen stormed the apartment and arrested every person they could lay their hands on and took them to A Division, Uyo. In all, eleven (11) persons were arrested. Among the persons arrested are five (5) staff of Motion Studios, a private music/movie recording company situated at the apartment.

The names, gender and ages of the staff are as follows:

1. Kate Augustine (female, 17); 2. Armstrong James (male, 17); 3. Joseph Bassey (male, 23); 4. Elvis Johnson (male, 23) and 5. Ubong Ime (male, 19).

None of the above five (5) persons is living at No. 5 Udi Street, Uyo where the incident took place and none was present during the incident. Business at the Motion Studios where they all work closes at about 6 pm every day.

At the police station, the eleven (11) persons were kept for hours and asked by the Investigation Police Officer (IPO), one ‘Idoko’, to “cooperate” and pay money to secure their bail. We advised the staff of Motion Studios who contacted us over the matter not to “cooperate” as illegally demanded.

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, CP. Murtala Usman was contacted at about 7:20 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2016 and urged to intervene in the matter. The Commissioner upon being briefed over the matter directed that the five (5) staff of Motion Studios be released immediately. Accordingly, they were freed and asked by the IPO to return the following morning.

We understand that the IPO and his immediate bosses at the A Division in Uyo were visibly angry over the superior order from the Commissioner of Police and the decision of the staff of Motion Studios to reach out to a lawyer who is the Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD). The IPO pointedly declared in their presence that they may have won temporarily but that their release was not the end of the matter since they decided to involved a lawyer instead of “cooperating” with him.

Shockingly, when the staff of Motion Studios reported at the station in the morning of Friday, September 16, 2016 the IPO told them that they were going to be taken to court to be arraigned for “Conspiracy” and “Attempted Murder” of the aged woman.

All our efforts to reach out to the Commissioner of Police to stop the unwarranted arraignment proved abortive.

Thus, all the eleven (11) persons were hurriedly taken before a Chief Magistrate Court in Uyo on a holding charge of “Conspiracy” and “Attempted Murder”. They were all remanded in Prison Custody and denied bail by the court.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has ruled that the practice of holding charge at the Magistrate Court is unconstitutional and has no place in our criminal jurisprudence. There is at present no statutory provision under the Criminal Procedure Law of Akwa Ibom State that empowers a Magistrate to remand accused persons in a charge like Attempted Murder which is outside its jurisdiction.

It should also be noted that the police had not conducted any sensible investigation into the alleged assault and molestation of the woman before they hurriedly arraigned the eleven (11) persons. No identification parade was conducted and no reasonable steps were taken to identify the real culprits who are said to be currently at large.

All that the Nigeria Police Force in the 21st century could do was to invade the crime scene in a commando style and effect a mass and indiscriminate arrest of every unlucky person that they could lay their hands on and charge them to court for refusing to “cooperate”.

To show the unprofessional and oppressive manner the police acted in this case, the police in a desperate effort to shield the woman’s daughter who is working with a sister agency, the NSCDC claimed that they received information about the incident through a radio message and that there is no complainant.

We call on the police to tell Nigerians who called them, the date and time they received the “radio message” and how they came to the conclusion that each of the eleven (11) persons they arrested, particularly the five (5) staff of Motion Studios were the persons who molested the aged woman?. The police should exaplain to the public how they came about the charge of “Conspiracy” and “Attempted Murder”? Who conspired with who and who attempted to murder who?

It is indeed an unprecedented record that our own Nigeria Police Force was able to conclude investigation into an alleged case of “attempted murder” within 48 hours of the alleged crime. Nobody is deceived by this despicable and condemnable show of force. Nigerians are too familiar with the police and their modus operandi to be cajoled.

It is a sad commentary that at a time the federal government is seeking ways to decongest our prisons, innocent and poor Nigerians have been sent to the Uyo Prisons over what they know nothing about simply because we have a police force that has no respect for human rights and a complacent judicial system.

We at COHRD condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the police against these innocent citizens. We urge the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police to withdraw the trump-up charge against the innocent citizens and go after those who allegedly assaulted the aged woman.

We call on the Inspector General of Police to look into this matter and bring any officer found to have acted criminally, illegally and or in an unprofessional manner to justice.

While we empathise with the aged woman and wish her a smooth recuperation, we totally reject the unjustifiable actions taken against those who from all indications are innocent of the crime. The police cannot use the court as a shield to cover their wrongful actions in this case. The police should not be seen to be using oppressive and illegal means to fight crime.

Injury to one, is injury to all.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong, Esq.

Convener, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).

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The Planned Arraignment Of Chinakwe For Naming His Pet Dog “Buhari” Is Oppressive, Illegal By Inibehe Effiong

The Nigeria Police Force, Ogun State Command has rearrested a 41-year-old trader who named his pet dog “Buhari”, Mr. Joe Chinakwe and will arraign him before the Sango Magistrate Court in Ogun State on Monday. It is likely that the powers that be in Abuja have instructed the police to deal with the man for an act that is not a criminal offence.

Confirming his second arrest to the Punch, Mr Chinakwe said:

“I had to leave for Eleweran very early on Friday after receiving a letter on Thursday evening inviting me to the Command. I thought I was being called over for a peace talk, I never knew it was for the purpose of detaining me again.

“I am a law-abiding citizen of this country, I have never deliberately committed any offence before, I don’t know why I am being treated like this.

“I only called the dog that name for the love I have for President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria, I didn’t mean to taunt or hurt anybody with it. I don’t know what next could follow this, I am afraid for my life, I am in danger, please help me.”

Narrating how the whole matter started to the Punch, Obinna Obasi, a relative of the detained man stated thus:

“Kalilu, the main accuser, said Buhari was the name of his father and that Joe deliberately gave his dog that name to taunt him and the rest of the Hausa residents in the area. But we are still wondering if it is now an offence to give your pet animal the name of your choice. Even if you say it is an offence, at least we have all sat together to resolve the whole issue and the man himself has shown some sense of responsibility by saying he was sorry if his action offended anybody. So, why is he still being harassed till now? This is not fair. His persecution is affecting his pregnant wife and little daughter who have both been very sick as a result of the problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chinakwe and his relatives according to the Punch have “vehemently” denied the allegation by the police that he inscribed “Buhari” on both sides of his dog’s body and walked around with it.

This development has made it imperative for me to once again intervene in this matter by drawing the attention of the authorities to the unconstitutionality of their actions against Mr. Chinakwe.

This government has proven once again that it has no respect for human rights. Chinakwe’s conduct may be morally questionable, but certainly not a criminal offence under our extant laws. There is no sanctity or special protection for the name ‘Buhari’ under the law. If what Chinakwe did is a crime, it means that any Nigerian, including political office holders and policemen, that has given his or her pet dog a human name is liable to be arrested, detained and prosecuted.

The feeling of the so-called “average Northerner” as ridiculously stated by the police is legally inconsequential. Offences are not created by human feelings. They are created by the express provisions of the statute. The courts cannot rely on Section 249 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code to begin to define or itemise “conducts” that are “likely to cause a breach of the peace”. That is the exclusive power of the legislature under Section 4 of the Constitution.

Crimes must enjoy precision under the law. It is not within the judicial powers of the courts to create offences by probing into the feelings of people. That will amount to setting fire on our constitutional freedoms and democracy. It will also be a rape on the principle of separation of powers.

Nigerians should know that the Criminal Code Cap. C38 LFN 2004 is a colonial legacy that was handed down to the country upon independence. The anachronistic law actually came into force on the 1st day of June, 1916 (100 years ago).

Most of the provisions in the law were made to meet the oppressive and undemocratic aspirations of the colonialists. Most states in the federation, including Ogun State (See Criminal Code Cap. 29 Vol. 11 Laws of Ogun State 2006) have merely reproduced the archaic law word for word without substantial amendments.

I submit that a “conduct” that is itself lawful (such as giving a dog a human name) cannot become unlawful overnight because of the peculiarities of the environment or the feelings of members of a given community, tribe and religion. If it were not so, the National Assembly would not have bothered to enact the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013 since homosexuality and lesbianism were repulsive and offensive to the feelings of most Nigerians before the intervention of the National Assembly.

The need for the National Assembly to enact the anti-gay law arose partly because except a conduct is specifically made a criminal offence, there can be no tenable argument about its likelihood of causing a breach of the peace under Section 249 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code.

This is very elementary.

The letters and spirit of Section 36 (12) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of a person for a conduct that is not a criminal offence under a written law. The Supreme Court in the celebrated case of Aoko v Fagbemi (1961) 1 All NLR 400 said so clearly.

Under our criminal law and jurisprudence, offences are principally constituted by two indispensable elements: The physical element – act or omission (actus reus) and the mental element – criminal intent (mens rea). The offence that the police is erroneously alluding to is a simple offence with a punishment of one month imprisonment.

Giving a dog a human name, irrespective of the status of the human beings bearing that name, as at today is not a criminal offence in Nigeria. Both the actus reus and mens rea are absent and neither the police nor “the average Northerner” can arbitrarily manufacture them. If the police and the Government of Ogun State intend to criminalise giving pet dogs human names they should sponsor a bill to the parliament to that effect.

Until such an absurd law is enacted and tested to be consistent with the Nigerian Constitution, the offensive and illegal efforts to punish Chinakwe in the guise of enforcing Section 249 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code or any other provision thereof remains an exercise in futility.

This is the height of impunity.

This is one case that the police will not be able to prove and secure conviction. On a personal note, I would have willingly represented and enforced Mr. Chinakwe’s fundamental rights pro bono (free of charge) but for my current national assignment which is really holding me down from helping the oppressed. Fortunately my service period will be over in about six weeks time.

In the light of the foregoing, the Nigeria Police Force and those instigating them should immediately release Mr. Chinakwe and stop embarrassing Nigeria before the international community. The Police and the government should concentrate on pressing security challenges facing the nation and stop chasing shadows and dissipating scarce resources on frivolity.

May a day never come in this country when offences will be created based on the feelings of members of a particular community, tribe or religion and not by statute.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at:

inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

 

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Sheriff Declares Edo PDP Gov Primary Illegal, Appoints New Acting NWC Members

Factional National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has declared Monday’s governorship primary of the party in Edo State as illegal, dismissing it as the work of an illegal care-taker committee.

The faction of the party led by a former Governor of Kaduna State, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, conducted the primary, which produced Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the candidate.

Makarfi is the chairman of the party’s caretaker committee put together by PDP governors at the convention held in Port Harcourt on May 21.

Sheriff had called off the convention but the governors disregarded his action.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sheriff urged members of the party nationwide, especially in Edo State, to disregard the primary.

A letter addressed to the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), signed by Mr. Sheriff and the National Secretary of his faction, Prof. Wale Oladipo, urged the electoral commission not to give legitimacy to what happened in Edo State.

The party said that the party would conduct a “proper primary” in the state.

In another statement, the faction said a scheduled congress in Edo State would hold between June 23rd and June 29th, with the inauguration of Congress Committee scheduled for the first of those dates.

Sheriff  warned state chairmen and officers of the party to desist from meeting or having anything to do with what he called the illegal caretaker committee, warning that anybody dealing with them is on his own.

In yet another statement, the faction announced the appointment, in an acting capacity, of some deputy national officers as members of the National Working Committee.

It said it was acting following the resignation of five members of the NWC and in accordance with the provisions of sections 39(2), 42 (2), 43 (2), 44 (2) and 47 (6) of the Constitution of the party 2012 as amended.

The newly appointed officers are:

1. Mr. Okey Nnadozie – Acting National Organizing Secretary

2. Mr. Alonge-Niyi Dennis – Acting National Youth Leader

3. Mrs. Hannatu Ullam – Acting National Women Leader

4. Barrister Bashir Maidugu – Acting National Legal Adviser.

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More Troubles For PDP As Court Declares Caretaker Committee Illegal

The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), appears to be deepening further as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has declared the Makarfi-led caretaker committee of the party illegal.

The party had on Saturday dissolved the National Executive Committee led by former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff and constituted a caretaker committee led by former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.

But the court on Tuesday declared as invalid the constituted committee.

Meanwhile as the PDP lurched into another crisis, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it would take a position on the PDP leadership tussle only after studying the report of the team it sent to monitor the Port Harcourt convention.

The Deputy Director in charge of Media and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang said the commission was aware of the events in the opposition party, but would wait for the report of the monitoring team before making its position known on the Port Harcourt convention.

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AIG Accused Of Illegal Seizure of Car And Allegedly Gifting Same To A Female Friend Of FCT Police Commissioner

The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 7, Bala Nassarawa has been accused of illegally seizing a citizens Mercedes Benz car and gifted same to another individual who has no right over it.

Citizen Naif Hassan, in a petition to the Inspector General of police, Solomon Arase, a copy of which was seen by Abusidiqu accused the Police AIG of seizing the Mercedez Benz C350, Registration No.NSR 144 AE and gifted it to a female friend of the FCT Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu.

Narrating how the incident occurred, Hassan said a colleague of his from whom he purchased the car alongside two other police officers allegedly on the instruction of one Assistant Commissioner of police, Babangida had on the 7th of March prevailed on him to present the car at the Zone 3 police Station for assessment, a directive he acceded to only to be told to leave the car till the 9th of March before he can take possession of it.

Hassan said several days after he was asked to come and collect the car, nothing was forthcoming, as all the parties involved including the police officers never called nor returned his telephone calls.

“I was asked to leave the car by a certain Achemu and come back on Wednesday the 9th of March to collect the car. On Thursday 10th, I was called by the Police who asked me to be patient as they were still assessing the vehicle, and that I should come and pick the vehicle the following week, precisely on the 17th of March. The officer Achemu- never called and my calls were not picked nor returned,” Hassan stated in his petition.

He said he later realized that the Mercedes Benz car has been released to a female friend of the FCT Commissioner of police far away in Kaduna on the order of AIG Zone 7, Bala Nasarawa and all efforts to retrieve the car has proved abortive.
He added that while the Female friend of the Police Commissioner has the car in her possession, the title documents to the car which he legally purchased are still in his possession. He quoted the car REGISTRATION NUMBER and CHASIS NUMBER as NSR 144 AE and WDDGF54X98F075795 respectively.

When Abusidiqu questioned him further on the development, Hassan said he was reliably told that the female friend of the FCT police Commissioner who is now in possession of the car is the original owner before she tendered it to a car dealer in Kaduna with an addition of some amount of money in exchange for Jeep.

He said unknown to her, the jeep was sold illegally to the car dealer by the owner’s son. At this point, Hassan said he paid and bought the Mercedes Benz car from the same car dealer the woman had done a trade by barter with and was given all due papers of the car.

He said trouble started when the owner of the jeep which the woman got in exchange for her Mercedes Benz discovered it was sold to the car dealer by his son and requested that it should be returned. That was how the woman returned the jeep. Meanwhile, her Mercedes car had already become the property of Naif Hassan. But rather than the car dealer paying the woman for the car which he has already bought, they connived and used their connection with the police and returned the car to her.

While the woman got her Mercedes car by returning the jeep she had earlier received for the exchange, Hassan who paid for the Mercedes Car as everyone would have done is left with no car or the refund of his money.

“I didn’t buy a stolen car. I bought the car at market price. Whatever must have transpired between the car dealer and the woman is none of my business. I saw the car, loved it and payed for it. I still have the car documents in my possession,” Hassan said.

Hassan is therefore calling on the Inspector General of Police to use his good office to ensure that justice is done and his cr is returned to him.

“It is in light of these facts that I write to your office seeking your help and quick assistance on this matter. Your office is one that is revered highly; and this era of change and reforms in our country, I am certain that you will wade into this matter to see that justice is done and my car returned to me,” Hassan concluded.

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CBN Illegal Hires: The Recruitment Policy Of ‘Targeting’ By Umar Hassan

The CBN illegal hires scandal jolted everyone.Not that it was anything out of the ordinary to the ears of the average Nigerian but it had an angle never-before-seen.

The ‘unofficially’ official version had fingered one Mrs Chizoba Mojekwu, a former director of human resources at the bank now deployed to Capacity development and IT as the whistle blower. She reportedly got irked by the CBN governor’s move to keep his job by employing the children of influential persons in the APC. Yet some felt the 91 name list had a ‘Buhari’ element to it. Northerners were favoured well ahead of everyone else thereby rubbishing the ‘targeted recruitment of specialists’ and from ‘left out states’ defence issued by the bank.

This ‘school’ believe the CBN governor couldn’t be as daft as to court such unnecessary controversy following the attention the bank was getting from the whole Dasuki saga .Only a directive from above would grow him such balls.

However, the truth remains a privileged few were hand picked and handed jobs they didn’t apply for.The recruitment ‘targeted’ the kids of a minister, a former speaker, a former Vice-President and a nephew of the President among others.This is nothing new if you didn’t move down here recently but the thing is we voted to put an end to it almost a year ago.We voted for change.Change driven by a modest  anti-corruption crusader and man of the masses.

Even before his Vice-President’s ‘1.5 million jobs in three years’ pledge a mere few days ago, he had spoken so persuasively of his plan to tackle unemployment during the run-up to the March polls.Nothing has changed.

A good degree still can’t guarantee you a job unless you are privileged to get a note from the President’s nephew or lucky enough to get thrust a slot offered a minister by someone desperately trying to curry his favour.You get the feeling sometimes, the average Nigerian graduate is being saved the stress of applying for government jobs and waiting for interview dates.The most unfortunate part of this menace is that even if it is eventually curbed, it won’t change the fact that a lot of undeserving and perhaps incompetent hands have been lined up to one day play pivotal roles in nation-building.After the present leaders finish recycling themselves, they will usher in ‘targeted specialists’ to be ably assisted by their likes in running this country down.In effect, we would still be screaming ‘Change’ many elections from now.

The Nigerian Youth voted for Buhari’s ‘Change’ not because he wanted to receive a N5,000 stipend monthly but because he was going to be guaranteed a corruption-free atmosphere to tussle for the jobs available.Buhari was not only going to create them, he was going to ensure only the right people got them.Sadly, we are still here on the same spot.

The Apex bank’s ‘targeted specialists’ recruitment policy has been on for about two years now according to its acting director of corporate communications and when asked about the ‘very important appointees’, he said he couldn’t speak much but that any qualified Nigerian could work for the CBN.But if we have to adopt ‘targeting’ as a recruitment policy, then we must put it to the best use possible.

We must reward the gate man who slaved to put his child through school by ‘targeting’ that child.We must ‘target’ the child of the roadside mechanic that topped his class instead of a Minister’s because it would encourage other parents to send their kids to school where he comes from.

They are lighter baggage who wouldn’t put anyone through the stress of ‘remixing’ their names to deceive the public.Its really sad what we have become.

Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

Twitter:@alaye26
Email:uhassan077@gmail.com

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Ex-EFCC boss, Lamorde, Tells Police To Disregard Senate’s ‘Illegal’ Arrest Warrant On Him

The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, has asked the Nigeria Police to disregard the Senate’s order for his arrest.

In a statement issued by his lawyer, Festus Keyamo, Mr. Lamorde said ?the police and other law enforcement agencies should resist the invitation to drag themselves into “this illegal scheme.”

“We most respectfully urge the Nigeria Police Force to await the outcome of the matter pending in court before deciding one way or the other about the enforcement of the said Warrant of Arrest, if eventually issued,” Mr. Lamorde said in a statement on Thursday.

“If the court decides otherwise against our position, our client is prepared to appear before the Senate or any of its Committees.”

The Senate on Thursday issued a warrant for Mr. Lamorde’s arrest for repeatedly failing to appear before its committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions.

The committee, chaired by Samuel Anyanwu, investigating Mr. Lamorde for alleged corruption, had requested for the arrest warrant.

Mr. Lamorde, a commissioner of police currently on course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), was removed as EFCC chairman in November last year, four years after he took over as head of the anti-graft agency.

Three months earlier, a petitioner, George Uboh, had accused Mr. Lamorde of diverting about N1 trillion proceeds of corruption recovered by the agency, prompting a Senate committee to commence an investigation.

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions invited Mr. Lamorde to a “meeting” on August 26 but the former EFCC boss failed to attend.

Another letter of invitation? from the Senate committee was sent to Mr. Lamorde proposing another meeting on November 5.

Again, Mr. Lamorde was unable to attend the meeting.

On November 11, the Senate committee issued another invitation letter to Mr. Lamorde urging him to appear before them on November 17.

Mr. Lamorde also failed to appear on the said date, with his lawyer? saying he was out of the country on his three-month terminal leave.

On November 19, Mr. Lamorde instituted a legal action at the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an interpretation of the powers of the Senate with respect to investigations.

“Both the Senate and the Committee were served with the Originating Summons and a Motion seeking an Interlocutory Injunction restraining the Senate from continuing with their investigations pending the determination of the suit,” Mr. Lamorde’s statement read.

“The processes were served on them on 20th November, 2015, but since then, they have refused, ignored and failed to file any process in defence of the suit.”

Mr. Lamorde said he would appear before the Senate or any of its Committees if the court decides against him.

?”In any event, the Senate Standing Rules are clear to the effect that matters pending before a court of law should not be deliberated upon or discussed on the floor of the Senate or any of its Committees,” he said.

“This is the reason why our client’s case is clearly different from the case of other citizens against whom Warrants of Arrest have been issued by competent courts of law.

“Whilst there is no restriction on the powers of a court of law to issue a Warrant of Arrest against anybody who fails to honour its Summons, the Senate’s own rules forbid it to do anything in respect of matters that are pending in a court of law.

“The conducts of the Senate and the Committee amount to legislative rascality as they seek to usurp the powers of the judiciary and to undermine its authority.”

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Illegal Call For Street Protest By Labour Over Tariff Threatens Power Sector Development –  Experts

… As lawyers describe move by NLC, TUC as illegal, anti-development

Industry experts at the weekend expressed concern that the call by organized labour to shut down the Power Distribution and Generation companies over the Multi Year Tariff Order that came into effect in February would impact negatively on the Power Sector and the nation’s economy.

According to the experts , the planned disruption of the operations may have more severe consequences than the new Tariff which is aimed at ensuring cost recovery in the power sector value chain, removal of the fixed charge , encouraging power conservation by focusing on metering before billing and insisting that consumers are billed for only what they consumed.

Some of the experts argued that any disruptions at this time would negatively affect the steady progress being made in the sector in spite of challenges posed by gas pipeline vandalism and other acts of sabotage recently being recorded in the petroleum and power sector.

It would be recalled that on February 2, the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry sent out a peak of 5,074MW at 2130hrs – a record setting figure that displays significant improvement in the capacity of the transmission system. This is the highest figure ever recorded by the industry in recent times.

The total energy sent out on February 2, 2016 was also a record setting figure of 109,372.01MWH (an average of 4447.88MWh/h).

According to industry statistics, the past three months has seen a series of record setting figures and incremental growth in spite of very challenging operational environment, with the previous peak figure achieved being 4,883MW on 21:15h on November 24 2015, and the previous maximum total energy sent out achieved on January 27,  2016 being 107,142.32MWH.

The experts noted that though a lot of work remains to be done, such record breaking figures are only achievable due  to the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders in the country, from gas suppliers, generating plants, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, distribution companies and all citizens who have been patient with the industry as  work towards improving the sector has been intensified under the leadership of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN.

The progress and the fresh  investment drive into the sector being aimed at with the tariff order may be jeopardized by any poorly considered call for street protests or shut down of operations rather than dialogue , an Energy expert noted.

Legal practitioners who also spoke with our correspondents expressed the view that the subject of change in tariff was not a matter for labour agitation. According to them, the statutory objective of a trade union recognised under the Trade Unions Act is to regulate the terms and conditions of employment of workers. Price determination is a product of market forces. Electricity is like any other product and its price reflects its cost of production.

Following the privatisation of the electricity sector, the distribution and generation aspects of the industry are now in the hands of private investors. Consequently, price is now determined by market forces in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws.

The law that regulates changes in tariff is the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act and it empowers  the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to allow a licencee to recover the “costs of its business activities, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business” and “provide incentives for the continued improvement of quality of services” in the country.

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Banker Reveals How He Ran N2bn Illegal Accounts For Ex-pension Boss Maina

A banker has told detectives how she ran five  accounts used to perpetrate a N2bilion pension fraud in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Former Pension Reform Task Team chief Abdulrasheed Maina is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the alleged pension fraud.

The EFCC is probing Maina’s alleged complicity in the operation of the accounts, following the confessions of  Fidelity Bank Account Officer Toyin Meseke.

Besides, Meseke is said to have told the EFCC that Maina had been operating a safe deposit box with the bank.

EFCC’s investigators found that withdrawals from the five accounts were usually channelled through some bureaux de change to an account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The bureaux de change are JIEK BDC, West Waves and Alnasara.

A document obtained identified the accounts as Cluster Logistics, Nafisatu Aliyu, Abdullahi Faizal, Kangolo and Drew Investment.

Meseke spilled the beans on how the accounts were managed by a suspected pension fraud syndicate.

Meseke said: “I managed Nafisatu Aliyu, Cluster Logistics and Abdullahi Faizal for Abdulrasheed Maina as soon as his brother, Khalid Aliyu, left the bank three years ago.

“Though all the three accounts do not carry Abdulrasheed Maina’s name but I carried out instruction on the accounts for him as explained to me by his brother that Abdulrasheed Maina owns all funds in the accounts before he resigned from the bank.

“He is not a signatory to the three accounts mentioned. He usually called me on my phone number -08057465698 – to carry out instruction on all the three accounts.

“And he also sent e-mail instructions through his email gajipeace@gmail.com to my personal email freshicekiddy@yahoo.com  to carry out instructions.

Thereafter, he would send someone to the bank to give me a form of regularisation on the transactions done on all the three accounts.

“Sometimes when it is getting too late to regularize, I would call to remind him and asked me to come to his house in Kado to receive the regularised cheques.

“Most time, precisely on two occasions, I received the already signed regularised cheques in an enveloped sealed at the gate of his house.

“On 3/10/14, Abdulrasheed sent an instruction to debit Cluster Logistics with the sum of N15, 870, 690 and credit to a Bureau De Change account (JIEK BDC). This amount was converted to US dollars for onward delivery to him. I don’t know, I cannot remember the USD equivalent.

“Also on May 2, 2014, Abdulrasheed Maina sent a mail carrying instruction that the sum of N33, 880,000 be debited from the same Cluster Logistics and transferred to a Bureau De Change (West Waves). This was converted by the BDC customer and delivered to him.

“He scanned and sent another instruction on May 6, 2014 to me to debit Cluster Logistics with N47, 500, 00 and credit to BDC Customer, West Waves BDC who converted and sent to him.

“On the transaction that took place on July 3, 2015 in Abdullahi Faizal, he (Abdulrasheed Maina) sent an e-mail that the account be liquidated and converted to US dollars (USD). So, I got a bureau de change customer to convert the sum of N108million for him.”

Regarding accounts opened in the names of Kangolo and Drew Investment, Meseke added: “I am not sure who the account officers are. Sometimes last year, I got to know that Abdulrasheed Maina owns these accounts. I have never initiated any transaction on these accounts.”

Meseke also confirmed that Maina was operating a safe deposit box with the bank.

She, however, said Maina has sole access to the box.

She added: “As for the safe deposit box, I got to know that Maina maintained a safe deposit box after I joined in 2011 when he came to access his box and that the box had been in existence before I joined the bank in 2008. The last time I saw him coming to access his box was in 2013 but I cannot remember the exact month.”

Yesterday Maina’s lawyer Mrs Esther Uzoma, said: “We are waiting for the amended charges which the EFCC said contained the allegations.

“The EFCC has been saying that Maina operated slush accounts but they have not shown us any evidence.”

In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja she said: “The EFCC should come clean on the matter of my client, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina. When I appeared before His Lordship, Justice Kolawole on July 21, I made it clear that the EFCC was yet to file any charge as well as serve any summons on Dr. Maina.

“It is trite law that you cannot say an accused is on the run when there is no charge preferred against him or any invitation extended to him.

“During the hearing for the bail application, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), wanted the court to direct me to produce Maina in court at the next sitting but I argued that there are clear procedures, which the EFCC is familiar with and should follow.

“Naturally, the court agreed with my submission on the position of law. Therefore, it is misleading for the EFCC in its statement of Monday to mislead the public that there exists an order for Maina to be produced in court when there is no invitation extended to him let alone a charge preferred against him by the commission.

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Gov Ben Ayade’s Continue Seizure Of Council Allocations Is Illegal – Obla

Governor Ben Ayade’s seizure of Councils’ allocation is illegal. I am pleasantly surprise that Governor Ben Ayade is still indulging in the seizure of allocations to local government councils in Cross River State of Nigeria from the federation accounts despite the change that is currently sweeping across the country ; a consequent of the historic victory of the All Progressives Congress last March in the general elections in the country.

Consequently, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai announced recently the abolition of the Joint State/Local Government Accounts which the successive Governors in the State have used as a pretext to impound allocations from the federation accounts to local government councils in his State under the cloak of supervisory control. Also recently the Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum admitted that the seizure of allocations to local government councils by State Governors in the country is unconstitutional and illegal.

I recall that soon after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari , he said that in as much as his government would respect the principle of federalism, it would not tolerate the seizure of allocations to local government councils in the country by State governors under any guise. One would have thought that Governor Ayade would desist from indulging in the unwholesome and indeed criminal seizure of allocations to local government councils in the State that started in the regime of Donald Duke, and became worse under Liyel Imoke.

I understand that for the past two months local government workers in the State have not been paid even though local government councils have received hundreds of millions from the federation account. This is inexplicable and a huge disappointment. I have to sound a note of warning that Governor Ayade continue seizure of allocations of local government councils from the federation accounts to the State will be his albatross. I therefore Governor Ayade to respectfully put an end to it.

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Controversial PDP Man Ikenga Ugochinyere Holds Illegal Youth Council Congress At A Church In Mararaba

Controversial hatchet man of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ikenga Ugochinyere, is in the news again for the wrong reason.

According to our source, Ugochinyere who is reputable for playing the job of a hatchet man for the PDP especially against political opponents within and outside the party organised an illegal congress of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), at a church in Mararaba in the outskirts of Abuja where he was said to have declared himself president.

This is despite the indefinite postponement of the congress by the Board of Trustees of the youth council and the ministry of youth which oversees the youth body.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Youth Council revealed that Ugochinyere had prior to organising the illegal congress claimed to be the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

“He even wrote a profile of himself and attached a picture of him and former Governor of Rivers State, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi, so as to create an impression that he has the blessings of APC.

However, another source close to the APC hierarchy said Ugochinyere cannot be the candidate of the party because he is not only a traitor, but a man with a clear sectional and divisive agenda.

Abusidiqu recalls that in 2013, Ugochinyere, who is said to be a card carrying member of the PDP made attempts to register a phantom political party, the African Peoples Congress, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with a clear agenda to scuttle the registration of the All Progressives Congress, a result of a merger of four opposition parties, which had also commenced a registration process with INEC. 

Samuel Chinedu, the lawyer Ugonchinyere approached to file the papers of the registration had exposed him when he gave details of his transaction with the PDP hatchet man.

Ugochinyere Ikenga approached me sometime in February 2013 to put in an application for the registration of a political party by name African Peoples Congress,” Mr. Chinedu said.

“He paid me an initial sum of N30, 000 and later added another N50, 000 and a Samsung Galaxy phone after I had filed the papers, with a promise that he was going to settle me after the party must have been registered.

“I filed the application in the honest belief that it was just another political party because even the application I entered at INEC only bears the name African Peoples Congress. The acronym APC was not included in the application,” Mr. Chinedu said.

READ: PDP Youth Activist Paid Me to Register the Party, Lawyer Behind Phantom APC Confesses Mar 15, 2013

The plot to register the phantom APC however failed with the eventual registration of the All Progressives Congress by INEC.

“Ugochinyere, with the emergence of an APC-led government at the national level decided to align himself with the party so as to claim the presidency of the National Youth Council”, our source said. “This is why he went about parading himself as the candidate of APC”, he added.

We however learnt that the the BOT of the council and the ministry of youth decided to put the congress on hold, but Ugochinyere could not wait so he went ahead to organise his own congress in a church in mararaba.

A source in the ministry of youth who spoke to us in confidence however dismissed the congress as nothing.

“Gone are those days when someone think that such nonsense will go unpunished or unchecked. This is a serious government that will accept nothing short of a legal action. The boy has done himself in. And he will soon know that government has changed”, the ministry source said.

 

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