Sahara Reporters Latest News Thursday 7th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Thursday 7th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 07/02/19

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target=_blank>Aviation Professionals ‘Embarrassed’ To See Osinbajo Being Flown Around Nigeria By A Foreign Pilot

Less than a week after the ill-fated helicopter crash involving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo occurred in Kabba, Kogi State, aviation professionals have raised concerns over the security arrangements around the nation’s number two man.
In a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr. Olumide Ohunay, the Aviation Round Table (ART) also expressed worries over the crowd that surged towards the helicopter immediately it crash-landed.
ART said it was an embarrassment that the nation’s Vice President was being flown by a foreign pilot, whether contracted or chartered, in a Nigerian Police helicopter as noticed in a previous flight during this campaign season.
ART insisted that the crashed Augusta AW139 helicopter with the registration number 5N-CML could have been engulfed in fie immediately after it crash-landed on the field, stressing that the horde of people within the crashed site was a dangerous sight.
The body however said that it would be restrained to make further comments on the crash until the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the body saddled with conducting investigations in cases of major accidents, comes out with its report.
“The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) join other Nigerians in thanking God for sparing the lives of the Vice President and members of his team on board the Agusta AW139 with registration number: 5N-CML and serial number: 31389 owned and operated by Caverton Helicopters, which crash-landed in Kabba, Kogi State, with 12 passengers on board, our Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo inclusive.
“While waiting for the AIB report of the accident, we are disturbed about the preparation made for the landing of the helicopter in that area and the crowd that surged towards the helicopter after the crash, if there had been fire, we would have experienced some casualties.
“We are deeply concerned about the management of security of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is embarrassing to see the Vice President of Nigeria being flown by a foreign pilot whether contracted or chartered in a Nigerian Police helicopter as noticed in a previous flight during this campaign season.
“It is a slap on the huge human resource of pilots Nigeria has in abundance.”
It would be recalled that Caverton Helicopter, the manager of the crashed police helicopter, had attributed the crash to “unusual weather conditions”. Also, on Monday, the AIB said it had concluded field investigation on the crash, while preliminary report would be released soon.

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target=_blank>‘Known Promoters Of Violence’ Among Five New LG Chairmen Appointed By Dickson

African Ukparasia, popularly known as General Africa, and four others have been appointed as committee chairmen for five local Government councils in Bayelsa State.
The appointment of General Africa, who defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC), has caused unease among camps of the opposition. They claimed the appointment of Ukpariasia by Seriake Dickson, Governor of the state, is an indication of an alleged plan for violence in Southern Ijaw constituencies during the election.
Others appointed alongside General Africa as the new caretaker chairmen are Sunny Erewari (Nembe); Hon. Ebinyon Turner (Ogbia), who served as the Vice Chairman of the Council; Tolumoye Ibani Bikikoro (Kolokuma/Opokuma) and Austin Sambo (Yenagoa).
Those not changed from their position as caretaker chairmen are Magbisa Micheal (Sagbama), Tolu Amatu (Ekeremor) and Victor Isiah (Brass).  
Messers Victor Isiah and Hon. Tolu Amatu are known for alleged promotion of violence in Ekeremor and Brass ahead of the general election.
While clearing the appointment of the caretaker committee chairmen, Kombowei Benson, Speaker of the Bayelsa State Assembly, enjoined them to be alive to their duties and also to remain in their council headquarters at all times for easy accessibility by the people in order to deliver the dividends of democracy.
Also at plenary, the House deliberated and passed the Administration and Criminal justice Bill 2018.

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E2%80%99t-proceed-onnoghen-case-supreme-court target=_blank>EXCLUSIVE: The Real Reasons Saraki Couldn’t Proceed With Onnoghen Case At Supreme Court

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, withdrew the Senate’s suit at the Supreme Court challenging the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) because it was clear he was going nowhere with the move, SaharaReporters understands.
On January 28, three days after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen as CJN, the Senate cancelled its sitting for the day and instead filed a suit through Saraki before the Supreme Court praying for, among others, an order reinstating Onnoghen as CJN.
In the suit, marked SC.76/2019, the Senate asked the apex court to declare the suspension of Onnoghen without support of two-thirds majority of the Senate as a violation of section 292(1)(a)(i) of the Constitution.
It also asked the apex court to issue an order restraining the two defendants in the suit – the President and the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami – from continuing or repeating the violation of the Constitution and disregarding the power of the Senate in respect to the suspension of the CJN.
The Senate made an about-face on Tuesday February 5, citing trust “in the ability of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to resolve the issues”. However, SaharaReporters understands that this position was mere public posturing.
The NJC formally took up the Onnoghen case on January 29 at a meeting from which both the suspended CJN and his successor Tanko Muhammad recused themselves. At the end of the meeting, the NJC gave both Muhammad and Onnoghen seven days to respond to the various allegations against them — meaning that if the Senate truly trusted the NJC in full, that was the day to withdraw the suit instead of Tuesday.
But Saraki did not have the backing of the National Assembly to go to court. To file the suit, he would have needed a resolution of the Senate, which he didn’t get. And it became clear this loophole would be exploited when the Senate caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), comprising 56 senators, applied to the Supreme Court to join in the Senate’s suit.
“As you can see, we already protested and we were asked to be joined in the suit,” an APC senator who didn’t want to be named told SaharaReporters. “The Senate never made a resolution to file that suit; and even if there was an attempt at such resolution, it would have died a natural death as we, who have the majority, are firmly with the president on this.”
Also, public sentiment was beginning to count against Saraki after members of the public were reminded of how he sacked the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Raliat Elelu-Habeeb, in 2009 during his tenure as Governor of the state.
However, the Supreme Court eventually reinstated Elelu-Habeeb, with Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who delivered the judgement of a seven-member panel of justices, holding that when all the relevant provisions of the constitution were read together, it would become obvious that a state Governor could not remove a Chief Judge from office without having recourse to the NJC.
“It is not difficult to see that for the effective exercise of the powers of removal of a chief judge of a state by the Governor and House of Assembly, the first port of call by the governor shall be the NJC,” Mahmud had stated back then.
“From these very clear provisions of the constitution which are very far from being ambiguous, the governors of the states and the houses of assembly of the states cannot exercise disciplinary control touching the removal of chief judges of states or other judicial officers in the states.”
Incidentally, Onnoghen was one of the six other justices, the rest being Christopher Chukwumah-Eneh, Muhammad Muntaka-Coomassie, Olufunmilola Adekeye, Mary Peter-Odili and Olukayode Ariwoola.
Interestingly, Saraki lost the case against Elelu-Habeeb at all levels. When he sacked her, she instituted a case against him at the Federal High Court, where she won. But Saraki appealed to the Court of Appeal in Ilorin. In July 2010, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Elelu-Habeeb, and Saraki again appealed at the Supreme Court. On February 2012, the Supreme Court, as expected, reinstated Elelu-Habeed.
Finally, Paul Erokoro (SAN), counsel to the Senate, has been one of the numerous SANs leading the lawyers’ revolt against Onnoghen’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). On the opening day of the matter at the CCT — way before the Senate dreamed of filing a suit against the Nigerian Government at the Supreme Court — Erokoro was one of at least 47 SANs who trooped to the tribunal in defence of Onnoghen.
Meanwhile, the decision of the NJC on Onnoghen and Muhammad is being expected soon, as the seven-working-day deadline for their responses to the allegations against them will elapse on Thursday.

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target=_blank>Shiites Deny Plans To Attack Detention Facilities To Forcefully Release El-Zakzaky

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have denied allegations that they are plotting to raid selected detention facilities in the country to set some of its members free during the general election.
The memo was dated January 25, 2019.
The memo read: “The planned attacks are meant to forcefully effect the release of their national leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, his wife, and several members of the sect currently in custody. It also reveals that the leadership of the sect has commenced mobilisation of supporters across the country through social media platforms, to ensure the success of the offensive. 
“In view of the above, the National Security Adviser directs that you be availed of this development to enable you put in place necessary measures to neutralise the imminent threats.”
Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, revealed this on Tuesday in Abuja during a peaceful protest to mark one year remembrance of the assassination of a scholar, Sheikh Kasim Umar Sokoto.
Responding to a memo which originated from the office of the National Security Adviser, which was sent to the office of the Inspector General of Police to alert them on a purported planned attack by IMN, Musa said the movement had no plan to raid any detention facility, with the view to releasing its members who are currently in detention.
He stated that the allegation is spurious and unfounded, adding that “government is running away from its own shadow”. He also noted that the group would always employ legal means to secure the release of its brothers and sisters who are being illegally detained.
His words: “It is pertinent to state that, yesterday, Monday, 4 February, 2019 a Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, discharged and acquitted numerous brothers that were under detention. The released brothers are now with their families.
“I am sure that the Nigerian Police will mock and laugh at Sanusi M. Galadima, Director of Internal Security, and the Office of the National Security Adviser, because the Police are fully aware of our lawful approach on securing the release of our brothers and sisters that are under detention.”
He explained that the group is protesting “the conspiracy of silence by President Muhammadu Buhari over the killing of Sheikh Kasim Umar Sokoto by the team of Nigerian Police that attacked the Free Zakzaky protest at Wuse Zone 6 in Abuja on February 9, 2018”.
He continued: “Sheikh Kasim Umar Sokoto is a great and prominent Islamic scholar from Sokoto and representative of followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara. While condemning the killing of Sheikh Kasim Umar Sokoto, I want to reiterate that the Police killed Sheikh Kasim in order to demoralize the Free Zakzaky protest in Abuja, but fortunately his martyrdom encouraged us to continue the protest and also increased the momentum of the protest.
“This reflects the saying of His Eminence, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), where he said the more you touch (attack) us, the stronger we become.
“Sheikh Kasim Umar Sokoto was shot by the team of Nigerian Police that attacked Free Zakzaky protest at Wuse Zone 6, close to Sky memorial on 9 February, 2018.”

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target=_blank>Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Leads ECOWAS Election Observation Team To Nigeria

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, has arrived Nigeria.
She is heading the Election Observation Mission team of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
She is currently at a meeting with Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at the commission’s conference hall, in Abuja.
The visit forms part of a pre-election solidarity mission to Nigeria. 

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target=_blank>Court Convicts Defunct Integrated Microfinance Bank MD Akinteye Of $166m Fraud

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday, convicted Simon Ademola Akinteye, the former Managing Director of the defunct Integrated Microfinance Bank Limited, over $166.9million fraud.
The court, presided over by Justice Cecilia Mojisola Olatoregun, convicted Akinteye, after finding him guilty of all the nine counts in the charge bordering on reckless granting of loans without collateral, levelled against him by the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), Federal Ministry of Justice.
The court, however, discharged and acquitted his deputy, Gabriel Adepoju, who was charged on a one-count charge of unlawful diversion of N22.250million to a printing company named Gad Press Limited.
Justice Olatoregun adjourned till February 21, for the sentencing of the former bank MD.
The DPP, in a charged marked FHC/L/234c/16, alleged that the two bank chiefs recklessly, without collateral, approved credit facilities running into $166million, and N33.250million to themselves and one Mrs. Temitope Muhammed Imam.
In the charge, Akinteye was said to have, at different times, withdrawn from the bank’s account the total sum of N11million and diverted it into his personal company named ‘Deblad Nigeria Limited’.
He was also said to have unlawfully withdrawn the total sum of $166million USD, and paid into the account of Temitope Muhammed Imam, domiciled with Citi Bank N.A. of Utica/Clarkson, 702, Utica Avenue, Brooklyn New York, United State of America; and another account domiciled with Washington Mutual, 391, Eastern Parkway, Belford Avenue, New York, USA.
The second defendant, Adepoju, was alleged to have withdrawn total sum of N22.250million and diverted same to a limited liability company, Gad Press Limited.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mrs. Ndidi Glady Ezinwa-Ukuba, are contrary to sections 18 (1)(a) and 18(3) and 15(1)(a)(I) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under Section 18(2) and 16(1)(a) of the same Act.
Prior to the duo’s arraignment of the defendants on May 18, 2016, their lawyer, A.O. Sheriff, through a notice of preliminary objection, urged the court to dismiss the charge on the ground that the defendants had earlier been acquitted and discharged by Justice Okon Abang of the same court when they were formerly arraigned.
But the presiding judge, Justice Olatoregun, had dismissed the defendants’ application on the ground that the facts of the charge are not the same.

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target=_blank>Failure To Serve AGF Hearing Notice Stalls Kashamu’s Suit Against Extradition

The scheduled hearing of a suit filed by Buruji Kashamu, the senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, seeking to restrain security agencies from extraditing him to United States of America (USA) to answer alleged drug charges, was stalled at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, due to improper service by Kashamu’s lawyer on other parties.
In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/930/18, Kashamu has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to restrain the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Department of State Security (DSS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, for an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents from arresting or detaining him in any matter whatsoever, interfering with his personal liberty and freedom of movement on the basis of his lawyer’s letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation requesting for his extradition to USA.The Senator had also urged the court for a declaration that the instructions given by the AGF to other respondents on May 25, 2018, in a reaction to his letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation to the USA to send a request for his extradition to US, and the attempt and any further attempts by the first to fourth respondents to arrest him on the basis of the AGF’s said instructions, are a breach of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom as guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and article 14 of the African Charter on human and people’s rights.
However, one of the respondents, NDLEA, in its preliminary objection filed before the court by its legal officers, J.N. Sunday and Ichakpa Oigoga, had urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit on the basis of incompetence, as it failed to disclose any infringement of his right, as well as for being an abuse of court processes.
In an affidavit in support of the preliminary objection deposed to by one of its litigation/exhibit officers, Kareem Olayinka, NDLEA held that the USA authorities are currently seeking to have Kashamu extradited to their country to answer charges relating to the trafficking in heroin, and that the USA government had made the request sometime in May 2015.
The deponent also stated that since the applicant got wind of the extradition request, he has filed multiple lawsuits relating to the issue.
Among the suits filed by the applicant are suit numbers FHC/L/CS/508/14, FHC/L/CS 508/2015, FHC/L/CS/763/2015 and FHC/L/CS/479/2015, before Justice O.E. Abang, Justice Nasir Ibrahim Buba and Justice G.O. Kolawole.
He also added that the AGF successfully prosecuted an appeal against the judgment of Justice O.E. Abang in both substantive and contempt cases, and obtained judgments setting aside the decisions of the lower court in appeal numbers CA/L/1030/2015 and CA/L/1030A/205.
He urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit as it failed to disclose any cause of action against the AGF on violation of his rights, adding that the multiplicity of actions continuously filed and maintained by the applicant against NDLEA is intended to annoy and divert its energy and attention from discharging its mandate to the nation.
He also stated that it is apparent that Kashamu is only engaged in forum shopping that will grant his desired reliefs by the multiplicity of his actions.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, while counsel to all parties informed the court of their readiness to proceed with the hearing of the suit, the DSS lawyer, M.O. Bajela, informed the court that Kashamu’s lawyers have complied with the court’s directive that ordered them to serve the hearing notice on all parties.
Bajela informed the court that the AGF who is vital to the suit was not represented.
However, upon perusal of the court’s file, it was discovered that the hearing notice which was meant for the AGF was served on the DSS, which Bajela signed for, a situation Kashamu’s lawyer, Mobolaji Akintunde, described as unfortunate.
“I’m so surprised that the court’s bailiff copied out the wrong address. It’s quite unfortunate,” Akintunde said.
Akintunde pleaded with the court for adjournment to enable them properly serve the AGF.
Justice Aneke consequently ordered that the hearing notice be issued and served on the AGF, and adjourned the matter till March 8 for hearing of Kashamu’s motion on notice and NDLEA’s preliminary objection.

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target=_blank>Ganduje Orders Closure Of Kano Stadiums Ahead Of PDP Rally

Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State, has ordered the immediate closure of the two major stadiums in the state for renovation.
The governor gave the order on Tuesday ahead of the presidential campaign rally of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A government official, who spoke with TheCable, said the shutdown of the two stadiums – Sani Abacha Stadium situated at Kofar Mata and Kano Pillars Stadium at Sabon Gari – was intended to frustrate the campaign rally of  PDP.
However, Abbati Sabo, spokesman of the Kano State Sports Commission, the closure of both stadiums was not because of the presidential rally of the PDP presidential candidate.
He added that the stadiums were under renovation as a result of the 2019-2020 Nigeria Premier League.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, this directive doesn’t have a political undertone. The state government was advised to renovate the stadium, ahead of the NPL season.
“The government had now heeded to the advice and ordered for the commencement of the project in order to have smooth conduct of the league. As you can see, the facility is in need of repair and the government has now answered the call for its renovation.”
President Muhammadu Buhari used the Sani Abacha Stadium for his reelection campaign last week.
The proposed general renovation reportedly included the installation of a new scoreboard, the running track, and provision of sources for steady water supply to all parts of the stadiums
Atiku’s rally is scheduled for February 10 while the renovation is expected to end on February 18. 

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target=_blank>Onnoghen Sues CCT Chairman, Asks Him To Recuse Himself From Trial

Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has filed a motion at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) seeking that Danladi Umar, the CCT Chairman, disqualify himself from prosecuting him.
In the suit, Onnoghen posited that Umar is not qualified to try him, as he is also being investigated for bribery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He also accused Umar of the likelihood of bias in the case against him.
Onnoghen filed the case is pursuant to Rule 12(1) and (1A) of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the tribunal.
According to the suit: “The applicant is seeking an order of this honourable tribunal for the honourable chairman of the tribunal, Honourable Danladi Umar, to disqualify/recuse himself from further participating in the adjudication of this case on the grounds of real likelihood of bias.
“The CCT Chairman has constructively convicted the CJN sought to be arraigned before him without either hearing from him or his being formally arraigned.
“The learned chairman of the CCT (Hon Danladi Umar) is a tainted arbiter by reason of a criminal charge at the instance of the EFCC for receiving bribe money in the sum of N10m in charge number: CR/109/18 in FCT High Court by an organ under the supervision of the Attorney General of the Federation.
“Incidentally, he (AGF) is the prosecutor and complainant in this matter such that with such a sword of Damocles hanging over him, and himself not just recusing himself from a quasi-judicial function, he is himself not likely to be a fair arbiter, but instead more likely to trade in the charges against him in a quasi-plea bargaining in the charge against him and enter summary conviction in this proceedings to please the prosecutor.”
Onnoghen maintained that he has no confidence in the chairman of the tribunal to do justice between parties in his case as he is a man on a mission to please his masters.
The suit was supported by an affidavit deposed to by Blessing Ezedimma, a lawyer, who stated that the CCT Chairman granted an ex-parte order removing Onnoghen from his position without trial.
“The chairman authored and signed an ex parte order directing a man that had not been convicted to step aside on account of a charge not yet before him as the CJN, which is itself a conviction prior to arraignment and plea or trial.”
The suit was signed by Onnoghen’s counsel: Chris Uche (SAN), Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), Okon Efut (SAN), Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), Noah Abdul and George Ibrahim.

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One Year After New Year Massacre, Herdsmen Attack Benue Communities

Armed men, suspected to be herdsmen, have attacked Tomatar community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
The attack happened on Monday, barely 48 hours before the scheduled visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to continue his presidential campaign.
Many people were said to have been injured, while some are still missing.
News gathered from local inhabitants indicated that the gunmen invaded the area in the early hours, and shot sporadically.
Dennis Mernyi, an indigene of Tse-Tseghem, whose community was worse hit in the attack, told New Telegraph that he received a phone call from his people that their village and other surrounding villages were under severe attack by the insurgents.
According to Mernyi, Tse Tseghem settlement is a riverine area where more than 50 persons were massacred on New Year day in 2018.
He said: “My brothers who are in the village called me on Tuesday morning that two people were shot dead, three houses burnt and a few other people sustained gunshot injuries during the attack.
“The armed gangs engaged the Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS) of the Nigerian Army stationed in the area in a gun battle that lasted for several hours before they were pushed back to the neighbouring Nasarawa State.”
Speaking on the invasion, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, Force Commander of OPWS, told journalists that the armed mercenaries tried to invade Tomatar in Guma, but his troops engaged them in a gun battle and inflicted heavy casualty on the attackers.
The Force Commander added that his troops did not suffer any casualty in the battle, and assured the residents that the OPWS would continue to do its best to ensure the safety of lives and properties by dislodging and bringing to justice all armed criminals anywhere in the state.

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