Sahara Reporters Latest News Friday 22nd February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Friday 22nd February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 22/02/19

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target=_blank>Ex-Finance Minister Nenadi Usman Accused Of N4.9bn Fraud Allowed To Travel Abroad

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has granted permission to Nenadi Usman, a former Minister of State for Finance, to embark on a trip to the United States.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, on Thursday, ordered that Usman’s passport be released to her so she could embark on the trip.
The former minister, who is being tried for an alleged fraud of N4.9billion, had dropped her passport in the court’s custody as part of the conditions attached to the bail granted her.
Usman is facing 17 counts of money laundering and theft alongside Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, and one Danjuma Yusuf with a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting them in connection with the campaign funding for the failed re-election bid of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
At the proceedings, Norrison Quakers (SAN), counsel to Fani-Kayode, opposed the attempt by the prosecution to tender a set of 108 Zenith Bank cheques as exhibits against his client.
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had sought to tender the 108 cheques through the third prosecution witness, Shuaibu Shahu, an investigator with the EFCC.
Oyedepo had told the court that the 108 cheques were relevant to proving the allegations against Fani-Kayode, noting that they were recovered by Shahu and his team, while investigating the case.
However, Quakers urged the judge to reject them on the basis that they did not comply with Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and the Practice Direction of the Federal High Court 2013.
Justice Aikawa, after listening to arguments from both sides, adjourned till March 15, 2019 for ruling.
In the charges, Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Publicity of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, Fani-Kayode and others were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500,000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300million, N400million and N800million, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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target=_blank>Court Admits More Evidence Against Ex-NHIS Boss Faji Over $2million ‘Fraud’

Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has admitted more evidence against Martins Oluwafemi Thomas, a former Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The evidence was tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday.
Thomas was re-arraigned alongside one Kabiru Sidi, a Bureau De Change Operator, on June 28, 2017, on an amended six-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2,198,900.
He was alleged to have conspired with his wife to make a cash payment to one Ibitoye Bamidele at their residence on 20, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos. Sidi was also said to have lied to an EFCC investigator, Afeez Mustapha, that he was the owner of the money.
One of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Kabiru Sidi, on or about the 15th day of July, 2015, at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Lagos zonal office, Ikoyi, before the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, made a false statement to Afeez Mustapha, an investigating officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 39 2(b)and punishable under Section 39 (2)(c)of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004.”
Emmanuel Egwu, a prosecution witness who is also the Director of Finance of the NHIS, gave a breakdown of total amounts of the entitlements, salaries and emoluments received by Thomas, while he worked at the NHIS between November 2013 and May 2015.
Egwu, who is also the third prosecution witness, while being led in evidence by Ekele Iheanacho, counsel for the EFCC, revealed that the total money Thomas received in his official capacity was a sum of N62,919,154.75.
When Egwu sought to tender the said documents as evidence, there was no objection by counsels for the defendants.
The documents were, thereafter, admitted in evidence as exhibits F1 and F2 respectively.
When Collins Ogbona, counsel to the first defendant, asked the witness during cross-examination, if he knew the first defendant personally and all his sources of income, the witness said: “I only know the first defendant in his official capacity as well as only his official income.”
Consequently, Justice Faji adjourned the case till March 8, 19 and 20, 2019 for continuation of trial.

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E2%80%99s-brother-two-others-who-invaded-cbn-firearms target=_blank>Police Arraign Delta Lawmaker’s Brother, Two Others Who Invaded CBN With Firearms

For attempting to break into the Asaba branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with firearms and cart away sensitive electoral materials belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Police in Delta State have arraigned the younger brother of Chief Peter Okagbare Uviejitobor, the member representing Udu Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Police in Delta State on Wednesday arraigned one Akpevwe, a younger brother to Uviejitobor, for illegal possession of firearms.
He was arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court in Asaba, the Delta State capital, alongside two other suspects identified as Alfred Joseph and David Ukiri, all from Udu Local Government Area of the state for the same offence.
The three suspects, SaharaReporters reliably gathered, were caught with firearms last week by Police detectives at the Asaba branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where INEC had kept sensitive electoral materials for onward distribution to the various LGAs in the state.
Our correspondent gathered that Akpevwe had allegedly made a confessional statement to the Police that his lawmaker brother gave him the gun and Sienna vehicle carrying the official number plate of the state House of Assembly with which he had gone to attack the apex bank branch in Asaba, before he was caught.

It was also learnt that the suspects, who claimed to be members of the Udu Vigilante Group, were said to have also been detailed by the local government chairman to ensure safety of electoral materials for the council before their arrest.
In a statement obtained by SaharaReporters confirming the arraignment of the suspects, Chuks Oresewezie, the Delta State acting Police Public Relations Officer, said the decision to arraign the suspects was to serve as deterrent to vigilante members diving into security and electoral matters in the state.
The statement read: “The three suspects were today (Wednesday) arraigned at Chief Magistrate Court, Asaba, to serve as a deterrent to who would be offenders and as well as to inform members of the public that the sole responsibility of securing INEC materials, INEC offices/officials, polling units, collation centres, rests squarely on the Police in collaboration with other approved security agencies as mentioned in the earlier press release.
“The Police authority will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute any offender according to the law, while assuring members of the public of its commitment to the security and safety.”

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target=_blank>Judgement Day Fixed On Agip Oil’s $110m ‘Indebtedness’ To Nigerian Government

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has fixed April 20, 2019, for judgment in the suit filed by the Nigerian government to recover the sum of $110million from Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun fixed the judgment date on Thursday, after the parties adopted their final written addresses.
In the suit, the Nigerian government accused Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.
The government alleged that the oil giant short-changed it to the tune of $55million and it is praying the court to compel the oil firm to pay the $55million with an annual interest of 21 per cent.
It also wants the court to award another $55million against Agip as exemplary damages.
The legal battle has been on since 2016.
There are similar lawsuits pending against Total E&P Nigeria Plc and Chevron Nigeria Limited by same government.
In the case of Total, the Nigerian sought to recover $245,258,640, “being the total value of the missing revenues from the shortfall under-declared/undeclared crude oil shipments of the Federal Government of Nigeria”. It sought another $245,258,640 as general damages.
The government said the lawsuits followed a forensic analysis linking the decline in crude oil export and government revenue at the time to the alleged under-declaration of the volume of crude oil shipped out of the country by the oil companies.
The Nigerian government claimed to have uncovered the alleged illegality using high-technology information technology system, including satellite tracking systems, which were deployed by its consultants.
The statements of claims were backed with supporting affidavits deposed to by three United States of America-based experts – Prof David Olowokere, a US citizen and Lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, US; Jerome Stanley, a lawyer in the law firm of Henchy & Hackenberg; and Micheal Kanko, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Trade Data Services Company, State of Arizona, US.
According to the deponents, about 57 million barrels of crude oil were allegedly exported illegally by Total and sold to buyers in the US between January 2011 and December 2014 without making due remittance to the government.

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target=_blank>INEC ‘More Than 98% Ready’ To Conduct Elections In Ondo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ondo State says it is almost ready for the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections in the state slated for Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Rufus Akeju, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), made the disclosure on Thursday at a briefing with newsmen on the readiness of the commission for the elections.
Akeju said the electoral body in the state was “98 per cent ready” for the elections, maintianing that the hitches that caused the postponement had been cleared.
The REC also said INEC in the state had retrieved the materials that would be deployed for Saturday’s rescheduled election from the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), noting that all stakeholders in the electoral process were on hand to monitor its distribution.
“I can tell you that in Ondo State, we are more than 98 per cent ready to hold the Saturday election. Right now, we are faster because some of the materials have already been moved to the RAC centres,” he said.
He confirmed that the commission in Ondo State lost huge amounts of funds in deploying materials to the riverine axis of the state, before the elections were postponed.
He continued: “For us here, we are facing that one squarely because we lost a lot of money there. We had to make the move the first time they asked us to move. We (INEC) had to carry the people (ad hoc staff) across that water and also bring them back again, but now it is a huge loss.
“In fact, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and they met all the conditions we gave them. They even took all their vehicles to the VIO for inspection to truly certify that they are in good condition.”
Akeju, however, restated the commitment of the commission to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

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target=_blank>PDP Chairman Defects To APC As 12 Presidential Candidates Withdraw for Buhari

Sani Inuwa Nguru, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yobe State, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.
He came in the company of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Muhammad Lawal Yahuza.
Meanwhile, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said 12 presidential candidates have withdrawn from the race to support President Muhammadu Buhari.
The candidates and parties who endorsed Buhari are Shittu Mohammed Kabiru, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA); Hon. Edozie, Nnamdi Madu, Independent Democrats; Danjuma Mohammed, Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy; Mamman Yusuf Naptali, Allied Peoples Movement, and Ahmed Buhari, Save Nigeria Party.
Others are Alhaji Isabi Dansaki, Mass Movement of Nigeria;, Ikechukwu Nwokeafor, Advanced Congress of Democrats; Alistar Shoyode, Yes Party; Charles Ughalli, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party; Kenneth Ibe Kalu, United People’s Congress; Comrade Isiaka Paul Ebili, Nigeria Element Progressives Party, and Robinson Apu, National Democratic Liberty Party.

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target=_blank>AAC Becomes Second Party To Denounce Planned Endorsement Of Atiku By Coalition Of Parties

The African Action Congress (AAC) has condemned the plan by the Council of National Youth Leaders of Political Parties (CONYLOP) to endorse Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Olakunle Olawole, National Youth Leader of Kowa Party, had sent out an email invitation stating that CONYLOP would endorse Atiku at a live press conference scheduled for Thursday in Abuja.
The statement generated some controversy as it was not clear which parties fielding youth candidates would be part of the endorsement.
However, a statement by Rachel Onamusi-Kpiasi, Director, PR, Media and Communications, Sowore 2019 Campaign, condemned the said endorsement, and stressed the dissociation of the AAC, as well as Omoyele Sowore, the party’s presidential candidate, from such a move.
The statement read: “It has come to our notice that CONYLOP, which purports to be an organisation for youth, is going to endorse the PDP presidential candidate. It has come as a shock that our party, the African Action Congress, was listed amongst the parties associated with CONYLOP and this recent development.
“We want to make it unequivocally clear that the AAC and the Sowore 2019 campaign has absolutely nothing to do with CONYLOP, and that we are neither part nor party to any endorsement action that they may take.
“We consider it to be a travesty that any serious political organisation that purports to be in support of the Nigerian people would ever consider the endorsement of the PDP or its candidates. Perhaps such people need to go back to our recent history to recall the disastrous sixteen years of unbridled corruption, ineptitude and economic destruction that the PDP and Abubakar Atiku subjected Nigerians to.
“The AAC stands for peace, progress and prosperity. We are the voice of the Nigerian populace; the disenfranchised, the forgotten, the marginalised, and, as such, would like to clarify that we are NOT part of this endorsement.
“We cannot imagine why an organisation concerned with youth issues would choose to jettison youth leaders in favour of an old, corrupt, retrogressive and frankly parasitic order.
“We take this opportunity to again disavow any knowledge, participation or membership of CONYLOP, and we advise the organisation and its leadership to desist from including the AAC in any statements or activities they might engage in.
“On Saturday, 23rd February, we ask all Nigerians to look for the third party on the ballot, the African Action Congress, and vote Omoyele Sowore as the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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target=_blank>How Christian Leaders Refused To Back Buhari During Osinbajo’s Nocturnal Visit To Yola

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Yola, Adamawa State, on Wednesday night in a desperate move to sway Christian votes to the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the rescheduled polls.
This is coming amidst hot speculation that elections may not hold this Saturday in three states of Adamawa, Borno and Kaduna, as alleged by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP).
The speculation followed a meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Kaduna states, as well as the service chiefs two days ago.
On his Yola mission, Osinbajo’s plane touched ground at the Yola International Airport at about 7:15 pm and he was driven straight to Catholic Secretariat, where he was billed to meet with leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Details of his engagement with CAN were not made public. However, SaharaReporters learnt that the VP had pleaded with Christian leaders to consider endorsing the Buhari government for a second term.
SaharaReporters further gathered that Osinbajo left the meeting disappointed as CAN leaders were said to have bared their minds on topical issues, highlighting the failure of the present regime.
A source at the meeting said “it was frank talk; Christian leaders were blunt to the VP on their grievances against the Buhari regime”.
It was further gathered that CAN Chairman and Catholic Bishop of Yola, Most Rev. Stephen Dami Mamza, had earlier declined the VP’s request to have audience with Christian leaders.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), was said to have persuaded CAN to grant audience to Prof. Osinbajo on three conditions: it would not be a media event; the VP would not canvass support for any APC candidate, including Buhari; and the VP will respect the conditions.
SaharaReporters can report that the meeting ended in deadlock, as the VP could not provide answers to many questions regarding the plight of Christians under the Buhari regime.
In particular, CAN wanted the VP to explain why the government neglected Leah Sheribu and other Christian faithful from Chibok who are being held by Boko Haram terrorists.
The VP, as learnt, was asked to explain why the government agreed to a negotiation which only favoured Dapchi Muslim schoolgirls, at the detriment of Leah, a Christian faithful. 
Osinbajo could not explain why no action was taken to ameliorate the suffering of the people of Numan, who were persecuted by herdsmen for a long time. Also, they wanted answers on Amnesty’s report on Air Force bombing of communities in Numan.
The meeting, which ended in deadlock, saw Osinbajo depart Yola around 9:00pm

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target=_blank>With Over One Million, Lagos Has Highest Number Of Uncollected PVCs In Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says Lagos State has the highest number of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in the country.
According to data made available to journalists by the commission on Thursday, more than one million PVCs had not been collected as of the final count.
In the document, Lagos State had the highest figure of 6,570,291 registered voters. Of that figure, 1,038,902 persons did not collected PVCs.
The deadline for collection of PVCs was February 11, 2019.
However, states with highest collection of PVCs are Lagos State – 5,531,389; Kano – 4,696,747 and Kaduna – 3,648,831.

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For ‘Stealing’ A Soldier’s Phone, Bayelsa Community Pays With 27-Year-Old’s Life

Whoknowstomorrow Bright, aged 27, has been killed by some military personnel in Biogbolo area of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, over stolen phone.
This situation has led to outrage and protest, as indigenes took to major roads in protest in of what they term the extra-judicial killing of their kinsman.
SaharaReporters gathered the soldiers went on reprisal mission after their colleague was robbed at gunpoint and his mobile phone stolen.
A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Frank, said the youth were sitting in the area when the soldiers suddenly invaded, and without questions shot sporadically, killing one and leaving several others injured.
Narrating the incident, Frank said: “We were just sitting at an area drinking, when suddenly we saw soldiers. Before we could ask what was happening, there was a rain of bullets. Some of us ran for safety; some were injured, while one of the youth was killed.
“One person was taken into custody and later released at their headquarters at Igbogene after investigations.
“What has happened is unjust. We did nothing to be shot at and we are calling on all human rights and pressure groups to seek justice for the innocent victim.”

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