Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 18th May 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 18th May 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 18/05/19

Read also Leadership Newspapers News Today Saturday 18th May 2019

LIVE: CBN’s Explanation On N500 Billion Scandal Calls For Extensive Investigation – Economist

Dr. Ganiyu Oladapo, an economist, has weighed in on the audio released by SaharaReporters exposing plans by Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and some top officials at the apex bank to cover up stolen N500 billion from the bank.
He called for an extensive investigation into the activities of the bank and other ministries and agencies mentioned in the audio. 

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The Federal Government Is Shutting Down Enugu Airport For ‘Security Reasons’

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced plans to shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport due to security reasons.
Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, said on Friday that reasons for the closure include bad runway, proximity to a market and the wrong location of the state radio mast.
More to come.

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The Problems And The Solutions To The Nigerian Power Sector By Ettu Mohammed

The Transmission Company of Nigeria is 100 % owned and managed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and it is the weakest in the Nigerian Electricity Network.
TCN is the heart of the Generating and Disco Company that was privatized in 2013.
Hence technically the FG owns the Disco and Gencos. Moreover The FG still owns 40% of  the privatized Genco and Disco.
When the heart is not working it means you are dead no matter what you do with the body. 
The TCN is morribund and can’t push more the more than 5000MW over 24hrs as it has never since inception it will never happen. 
We have over 12500MW Electricity Generating Plants  installed in Nigeria but the absence of necessary Gas network to the plants left most of them idle. Many were built during the PDP era apart from the biggest IPP in Edo which started in 2014 kitted with Siemens gas engine. 
It was situated 1km to a gas network. 
Government is saddled with the responsibility to build a robust gas network but they ain’t doing same.
The Same Federal Government of Nigeria via NERC and NBET controls the tariff and everything in the Power Sector is technically managed by Government. 
All the agencies that drive the power sector are controlled by the Nigerian Government hence they should  never attempt to abdicate power responsibility.
Every equipment used in the power sector is import dependent and when Nigerian government  devalued her currency  in 2016 , energy was sold at N30/kWh averagely circa 2016  that was 15.2¢ after devaluation it dropped to  8.3¢ today that is 45% loss in tariff. We should not forget the Discos and Gencos  borrowed in USD and they will pay back in dollars. With devaluation they owe 132% extra on the borrowed funds because they earn in Naira.
It is simply you borrowed $1m in 2013 that is N155m without interest rate and you want to pay back in 2019 that is N360 million=$1m without interest rates. 
It means this companies are indebted to the tune of N205m extra because they will earn in Naira and pay in Dollar and your currency has been devalued.
How will they survive with this mess? 
This does NOT also exonorate the Discos from the mess the power sector is saddled with. Majority of the Disco owners have no business running a power utility firm but this is Nigeria where anything goes. 
To make the power Sector work we have to rejig the Power sector Policy.
It is whacked and will never work.
A comprehensive Power policy should address as opined by Mr Adekunle Shotubo who is also versed in the power sector and I agree 100%.
1. Pricing of gas 2. Payment systems at end user and across value chain 3. Ownership of gas pipelines 4. Location of power generating  stations 5. Grid flexibility 6. Entry requirements for diverse power generating sources 7. Extent of government involvement 8. Gas exploration, production and distribution 9. Power and all energy should be under one ministry and not a separate one for petroleum and gas 10. A real professional either in governance, discipline or commercial space in power, oil and gas sector should head the ministry 11. Transparent governance structures 12. All power facilities (from gas to home) should be covered by the national treasures act (I hope we even have one)…as is the practice in Ghana and SA. 

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The Yoruba Deserve 2023 Presidency, The Igbo Are Not A Serious People By Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

There is nothing as fatal as a blow from a “consanguineal fist”.  A cut from a “sibling” hurts deeper than that from a stranger. I have been inflicted severe cuts – caustic verbal attacks – by some Igbo persons for advocating a president of Igbo extraction in 2023. While some of them are irritated by the attention that I have been able to generate for the cause, a few others see the “advocacy” as a means of cutting deals for filthy lucre.
The fiercest opposition to the cause, “president of Igbo extraction in 2023”, has been the people for which it is championed – the Igbo.  While some of my kinsmen argued that they want restructuring and not the presidency, a great number of them say that they only want to “secure Igbo-land economically, politically and security-wise.” But when you ask them, how they intend to actualise these “dreams”, they just let off inchoate pieces of babble. As a matter of fact, most of these objurgators are just fortune seekers pinning and angling to benefit from “anything Igbo.”
I recall when Ifeanyi Uba, senator-elect, Anambra South, was trying to make an inroad into the fold of the dominant party at the national assembly, he was brutally hacked down with vicious criticisms by his own people. I have reflected pensively on what the Igbo political agenda could be, but at every point I become sectioned with a brain fag.  What do the Igbo really want?
I have written a couple of essays, expounding the reasons the Igbo deserve the 2023 presidency and why all Nigerians of dispassionate interest and untainted conscience must support the group in actualising this noble goal. I still believe, for the sake national cohesion, the southeast region deserves a shot at the presidency. But it appears they are not ready for it.
In my essay, ‘With Buhari’s 4+4, Igbo presidency in 2023 is now non-negotiable’, I wrote: “I believe healing will begin for Nigerians when political justice is seen to have been done to all. At that point we can build a country defiant to disunity. But political justice must be done to all to get to this stage.”
However, I failed to add: “Political justice must be demanded when it is not given”. How can justice be done to a people who have resigned to hopeless fate? How can a people who are stuck in political stasis be called to the table for negotiations? How can a people who are on the path of no certain destination be taken seriously?
Really, I was surprised at the reactions to the essay by most Nigerians from the north and the south-west. I have messages from reputable Nigerians across ethnic divides in my phone log, telling me that it will be grave injustice if the Igbo are schemed out of the 2023 presidential race. I remember one retired general asked at the end of his message to me, “But what is the southeast doing about the 2023 presidency?” I only responded with a “smiley OMG”. But the answer to that is, “nothing; just whining, blowing hot air, fantasising about restructuring and mouthing off about Biafra”.
Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. I can see the southwest positioning itself strategically and making the necessary noise and calculated connections for a 2023 presidential bid. I cannot begrudge a people who are resolute about what they want, and who are, most importantly, feisty about their destiny.  The cake will certainly be taken by a fiercer cat; it will not be handed to a gutless kitten.
You can demand political justice when it is not given; injustice only persists because you allow it.
Fredrick is a media personality.
Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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How Captain Iniobong Ekpong, Special Aide to Awka Ibom State Governor Tried To Conceal Love Affair By Jailing Mistress

Captain Iniobong Ekong, the Senior Special Adviser on security matters to the Awka Ibom state governor, has been reported to be  involved in a love affair that went awry.
It was gathered that he had the love affair with one Adiaesup Etukudoh and the affair resulted in pregnancy. 
The pregnancy, however, was said to be ‘cryptic’  and hence could not be detected by scans.The result of her pregnancy thus proved to be negative.
She gave birth on the 15th of November 2017.
According to the Etukudoh, the captain was in the know of everything and had given her four hundred thousand naira (N400,000) to buy things in preparation for the arrival of the kids. When the kids finally arrived, a set of twins, she had called him to come and see the kids but he refused and made no more attempts to cater for their upkeep. 

Frustrated by the burden of raising the kids alone, Etukudoh, decided to pay Ekong a visit but was prevented from entering the house and therefore resorted to causing a scene.
Captain Iniobong Ekong, who was out of the country when this happened, decided to file a petition upon hearing about her public outburst.
Ekong then had his lawyer, Bar. Mfon Udeme, put a call through to Etukudoh on the 6th of May 2019 stating that he was interested in opening an account for the kids and she should meet him at Zenith Bank. It however turned out to be a ploy by the captain to have her arrested.
Etukudoh was taken to the state police headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia and was kept there from morning to evening. She was asked to call someone to bail her but she felt it was another ploy in the captain’s grand ‘script’ of getting her jailed . Sensing how serious the matter was, she later considered contacting her mother by 6 pm in the evening which by then was too late for a bail.

There was a twist to the story the next day when she was asked to provide the children for a DNA test before she could be granted bail.
Etukudoh however refused to provide the kids deducing the influence of Captain to have the DNA results doctored in his favour.
She was held behind bars till Monday, 13th of May 2019 and was eventually charged to court without the knowledge of her lawyer, Barr. Ekanem. In court, the magistrate asked that she be remanded in the prison pending the sitting on Wednesday.

After a magistrate sitting on the 15th May, the trial judge said the case was not in his jurisdiction and therefore Etukudoh could not be granted bail. The case has however been transferred to the DPP High Court in the state.
Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Captain Iniobong Ekong and his lawyer, Barr. Mfon Udeme, through calls and text messages proved abortive.

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EFCC Arraigns Two Lawyers In Court For Stealing N188.7m From Dead Boss

Tom Awhana, the former Head of Chambers for the Law Office of Mr. Mogbeyi Sagay, a late Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was on arraigned on Friday at an Ikeja Special Offences Court for stealing N188.7 million belonging to the law firm of the late senior lawyer. Awhana was arraigned alongside Paul Okoro a former lawyer in the law firm who is also accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of stealing N3.6million from the firm. Awhana and Okoro pleaded not guilty to a joint charge of conspiracy to steal.
Okoro denied the charge of stealing while Awhana pleaded not guilty to a 16-count charge of stealing. According to the EFCC, Awhana was the Head of Chambers of the law firm of Mogbeyi Sagay and Co. from 2010 to 2018. 
Sagay his Principal, died in 2012.He was made signatory to the law firm’s Zenith Bank Account alongside three administrators of the late SAN’s estate. It was allegedly mandated that three persons out of the four administrators can withdraw from the bank account with the cheque booklet of the Zenith Bank account in Awhana’s possession. The prosecution said that unknown to the staff of the firm, other administrators and the consultant to the law firm, Awhana opened other secret bank accounts in the name of Mogbeyi Sagay (SAN) and Co. in FCMB, Union Bank and Heritage Bank Plc. The first defendant (Awhana) is alleged to have diverted drawn cheques into those secret accounts. He is also alleged to have from 2012 to 2017, stolen a total of N188.7 million belonging to Mogbeyi Sagay (SAN) and Co. Okoro, the second defendant, is alleged by the prosecution to have from Oct. 14, 2012 to June 28 2013, stole N3.6 million belonging to the law firm. According to the EFCC, the offences contravene Sections 287 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.Following the plea of the defendants, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the lead prosecuting counsel for the anti-graft agency,  requested for a trial date adding that  the court should impose stiff bail conditions on the lawyers. “I have discussed with my learned friends, I will leave it to my lordship to impose bail conditions that will make the defendants available in court throughout this trial,” Oyedepo said. Ms. Oluwaseun Olusiyi, the defence counsel to Awhana, via a bail application dated May 17 asked the court to grant him bail in self recognisance. “The first defendant is a legal practitioner of high repute and negotiations towards an amicable resolution are underway with the complainant. He was the Head of Chambers of the firm,” Olusiyi said. Mr. K. U Ani, the counsel to Okoro the second defendant in his bail application dated May 17 also asked the court to grant him bail on self recognisance. “The second defendant has fractured his legs and is depending on medical treatment. I ask that ypu grant him bail on self recognisance My Lord,” he said. Justice Mojisola Dada in a short ruling noted that settlement talks were ongoing between the complainant and the defendants. She ordered that as a bail condition, Awhana and Okoro should submit their international passports to the court. “The  defendants shall however submit their international passports pending the determination of this suit. “They shall be remanded in prison custody till the perfection of their bail condition. This case is adjourned until June 4 for trial,” she said.

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Legality Of Marijuana In Nigeria: A Legal Opinion By Kayode Ajulo PhD

AbstractIn the recent times, there have been calls from different quarters on the need to legalize the use of Marijuana in Nigeria. This legal opinion considers the mischief behind the laws proscribing the production, possession, sale and use of Marijuana and thereafter considers the benefits of legalizing Marijuana in Nigeria.
IntroductionClassified as an illicit drug in many countries, marijuana is outlawed by many governments. In Nigeria, it is often referred to as ‘Indian hemp’, in the country, Cannabis Sativa, which has enjoyed use as fibre, seed and seed oils, medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug traces its origin to Central and South Asia. The drug also has many other aliases igbo, dope, ganja, sensi, kuma, morocco, eja, kpoli, weed, trees, etc. Though usually smoked, the plant can be soaked in alcoholic drinks dubbed ‘monkey-tail’, and consumed mostly in the south-south parts of the country. Some people cook food with it, some boil it to drink as tea, while others just chew the plant and seeds. 
Physiologically, cannabis causes euphoria, relaxes the muscles and increases appetite. On the downside, the drug can impair motor skills, cause anxiety and paranoia and decrease short-term memory.
Deemed an illicit drug by the law, it had always been an offence in Nigeria to smoke marijuana, and it has largely been frowned upon by society. However, paradoxically, despite increased hounding of growers, sellers, and users, marijuana appears to be consumed in ever greater quantities.
The Agency saddled with the enforcement of drug laws in Nigeria is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The Agency has the job of curtailing the consumption of drugs in Nigeria. The general powers of the Agency is contained in section 3 of the NDLEA Act.
Under the NDLEA Act,  which came about by the promulgation of Decree Number 48 of 1989, the possession or smoking of cannabis, or even allowing one’s premises to be used for dealing in cannabis, can result in a prison sentence from 15 years to life. Its precursor, the Indian Hemp Act, was even harsher, carrying a maximum sentence of death.
Marijuana in NigeriaStatistics show that cultivation to transportation and to sales, the marijuana industry connects different cities throughout Nigeria. At many outdoor markets and public motor garages, it is not strange to see marijuana smokers puffing away.
The 2011 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report stated that cannabis use was prevalent among 14.3 per cent of 15 to 64 year olds in Nigeria. The same report in 2014 revealed that Nigeria had made the highest number of cannabis seizures of any African country. Following this report, the NDLEA launched a programme dubbed ‘Operation Weed Eaters’ that aimed to rid the country of cannabis.
While marijuana can be grown in all parts of the country, according to the NDLEA, the states that are notorious for cultivating the plant are Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta. In September, the NDLEA destroyed cannabis farms in Ute and Ose local government areas in Ondo State and arrested 30 suspects, seizing 31 kilograms of dried weed suspected to be marijuana in the Suleja area.
Between January and June 2014, NDLEA arrested 4,511 suspected drug traffickers and seized 47,423 kilograms of drugs. Of that number, cannabis accounted for 45,875 kilograms. Though these seizure figures are high, large quantities of marijuana still find their way to the market baffling the law enforcement system.
Legalizing Marijuana in NigeriaWhile it is important to note that many countries including Nigeria have enacted harsh laws against the cultivation, possession or sale of cannabis. In fact, dealing or using marijuana in countries such as Singapore, China, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia could land one from four years in jail to public beheadings.But in recent years, some nations have adopted a different strategy, of decriminalizing marijuana usage as a way of combating it. These societies have also often reduced the penalties for possession of small quantities of cannabis, so that it is punished by confiscation or a fine rather than by imprisonment. The idea has been to focus more resources on those who traffic the drug.
Uruguay made history by becoming the first country to legalise cultivation, trade and usage of marijuana in December 2013. In countries as varied as the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Peru, and Canada, the emphasis has shifted towards the decriminalization of marijuana. Jamaica, a country where marijuana smoking has long been popular, is set to decriminalize it too.In 2018, Thailand’s military government unanimously approved medical marijuana use, which would make it the first country to legalize cannabis use in any form in Southeast Asia.There are several laws in Nigeria which prohibit cultivating, possessing and using Marijuana. 
Section of 11 of the NDLEA Act provides that:Any person who, without lawful authority-(a) imports, manufactures, produces, processes, plants or grows the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life; or(b) exports, transports or otherwise traffics in the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life;(c) sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale or otherwise deals in or with the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life; or(d) knowingly possesses or uses the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroine or any other similar drugs by smoking, inhaling or injecting the said drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years but not exceeding 25 years. See also Okewu v FRN (2012) LPELR-7834(SC); Nwadiem v. FRN (2018) LPELR-9845 (CA) Similarly, section 7 of the Indian Hemp Act prohibits the use of Indian hemp. From the above provisions, the law proscribes the illegal cultivation, use, sell and possession of Narcotics. The poser from the above is “whether there could be instances of legal cultivation, use, sell and possession of Narcotics?” A careful perusal of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act will reveal that there was no mention of legal use of Narcotics. What could appear to seem as a provision for legal use is provided for under section 3 of the NDLEA Act. The section provides that:(1) Subject to this Act and in addition to any other functions expressly conferred on it by other provisions of this Act, the Agency shall have responsibility for-… (h) the facilitation of rapid exchange of scientific and technical information and the conduct of research geared towards eradication of illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; It is on the heels of this provision that the NDLEA had given a letter of “No Objection” to Medis Oil Company Limited and two others to import seeds of industrial cannabis for research purposes. Similarly, Under Article 3 paragraph 5 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to which Nigeria is signatory to, it is envisaged that as a result of research, a drug may be deleted from schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention if researches reveal its therapeutic advantages. At the risk of repetition but for the sake of emphasis the Paragraph provides: A Party shall, if in its opinion the prevailing conditions in its country render it the most appropriate means of protecting the public health and welfare, prohibit the production, manufacture, export and import of, trade in, possession or use of any such drug except for amounts which may be necessary for medical and scientific research only, including clinical trials therewith to be conducted under or subject to the direct supervision and control of the party.(Underlining supplied for emphasis)  A careful reading of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs reveal that Narcotics may be used by signatory states for research and medical purposes. Cannabis plant or its resin or extract with THC content lower than 1% is considered as CBD (medical) cannabis and not psychoactive. Economic benefits of Marijuana: Thailand as a Case Study Despite the facts that the mischief which several stringent laws against Narcotics seek to prevent is the harm they do to human health, recent medical studies have also indicated that marijuana can also be beneficial to health.
Thailand’s military government unanimously approved medical marijuana use, which would make it the first country to legalize cannabis use in any form in Southeast Asia.It is apropos to note that Thailand was once infamous for its harsh penalties on drug users, including the death penalty. Cannabis was also once extensively used in Thailand for medicinal purposes as well as clothing, where fibers from both marijuana and hemp plants were used in creating fabrics. Thailand’s cannabis is one of the country’s largest exports.Globally, the medicinal cannabis industry is projected to be worth $55.8 billion dollars by 2025. Considering the High rate of employment in Nigeria, legalizing Marijuana will provide job opportunities for many Nigerian youths.   Health Benefits of CannabisOne of the first big medical issue that cannabis was shown to effectively treat is Glaucoma. Ingesting cannabis helps lower the pressure in the eyeball, giving patients at least temporary relief.It can improve lung health. Some conditions like lung cancer and Emphysema have been shown to regress when cannabis is thrown to the mix.Cannabis can also offer serious relief for arthritis, especially when using quality cannabis creams and balms. It’s helpful for those with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). It could help regulate metabolism: as it helps your body process and deal with food and obesity, it also helps maintain and regulate metabolism. It also helps people with AIDS/HIV in the sense that cannabis helps those living with it cope by helping them maintain their diets and handle associated pains and aches. It proved effective for treating nausea: chemical compounds in cannabis react with brain receptors to regulate feelings of nausea. Cannabis could potentially treat headache naturally and won’t chew through your stomach lining or take its toll on ones body. It has also been found to be at least somewhat effective in the treatment of a handful of sexually transmitted diseases, including Herpes and Chlamydia. It could help with speech problems: if anyone has an issue with stuttering, cannabis can help in the same way that it helps calm spasms and twitches. It can improve skin conditions and treat skin conditions like eczema vide cannabis topical. Recreational Benefits of Marijuana Apart from the argument for the legalization of cannabis for medical and medicinal purposes, there is the argument that its possession and use for recreational purposes should be decriminalized. As would be seen, some countries have passed legislation that decriminalizes possession up to certain amounts and allows recreational use and cultivation up to certain amounts too. Notwithstanding, there remain ethical questions to its widespread use. At the core of this ethical debate is the question: Is it morally wrong to be high? I am certain that we will agree that we might not have a winner in that debate.If we are to go by the fact that it impairs cognitive abilities, then it might be morally wrong to ingest anything that impairs our sense of judgment in any way. ConclusionTaking clue from the Utilitarian theory that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness”, from the facts and benefits highlighted above, there is really a need to legalize the use of Marijuana in the country.
It is succinct to point out that war on drugs is often far costlier than the drugs themselves.  Thus if the money pumped against the use of drugs could be redirected in cultivating Marijuana for economic use, there will be a great boast in the economy of the Country. 
Finally, one of the greatest problems in policing the illegal use of cannabis is the enforcement of the laws governing its illegality. This in itself has been one of the big drivers for the calls for its legalization across many countries of the world. Most of the proponents of the legalization of its use for both medical and recreational purposes have stated that its criminalization has not stopped its increasingly widespread use but instead, has helped deny people of its ‘wonder working powers’, as a drug, especially in treating chronic pain as earlier mentioned. Recommendations Having considered the benefits accruable to the production, sale and use of Marijuana, it is hereby recommended that the National Assembly should be lobbied to amend the provisions of the NDLEA Act and other relevant laws in order to make room for the legal production, manufacturing, sale and use of Marijuana in Nigeria which in turn boast the economy of the Nation as a whole. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency should also enforce the provisions of 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and allow the use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes. 

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BREAKING: Plateau State Gov, Lalong Emerges Chairman Northern Governors’ Forum

Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has emerged chairman of the Northern Governors Forum.
He was elected at a meeting of Nothern governors which was held in Kaduna on Friday.
Lalong’s association with the caucus in the past has caused rancor especially among some Plateau indigenes who feel his presence in the bloc is baseless.
The position was  previously held by Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno State.
More to come.
 

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Nigerian Judicial System Favours Rich ‘Over’ Poor, Says Falana

Femi Falana (SAN), foremost human rights lawyer in Nigeria, has condemned the Nigerian bar and bench as well as the criminal justice system for working in favour of the rich as against poor Nigerians.
Speaking at the 2019 law week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Epe branch, Lagos state, Falana stated that the Nigeria judicial system treats the rich with respect, presuming them innocent of all criminal activities until proven guilty.
The veteran lawyer also said that the anti-graft agencies in the country are part of the problem because they are yet to secure the convict many high profile cases.
Falana stated that “By virtue of section 17 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law. 
“But in practice, the rich and poor defendants are not treated equally by Nigerian courts. Apart from the fact that rich litigants have the means to hire the services of the best lawyers in any area of the law, the courts are manned by judges who are not neutral in the class struggle being waged daily by the Nigerian people.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that apart from two former governors, Messrs Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, other convicted persons are lowly-placed individuals in the society.
“Notwithstanding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been accused by the bourgeois media of engaging in Gestapo tactics with respect to the treatment of suspects, it cannot be denied that the rights of influential criminal suspects are well respected by the commission,” he said.
Falana also posited that rich defendants have continued to frustrate their prosecution with the connivance of some senior lawyers adding that rich suspects do apply to be kept in EFCC’s cells rather than police and prison cells.
He said: “The big men and women implicated in allegations of serious economic crimes being investigated by the commission usually receive polite letters of invitation, telephone calls or text messages advising them to contact named investigators whose telephone numbers are supplied.
“If and whenever influential criminal suspects report themselves they are treated with the utmost courtesy by the investigators. Since they are presumed innocent until they are proved guilty by the State they are never paraded before the media, regardless of the gravity of the offence committed by them.”
He urged the Nigerian judicial system to follow the pattern obtained in Western countries where the rich and the poor are treated equally before the law.
“Unlike what obtains in western countries it is infra dignitate to subject big men and women to the restraint of handcuff in Nigeria. Hence, hell was let loose when a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party on trial for money laundering was recently handcuffed by the Kuje prison authorities.

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Should Indian Hemp Be Legalised In Nigeria? By Natasha Akpoti

It suddenly turned cold in Boston and I wasn’t properly dressed for the weather.My hotel was far away and my only option was to dash into a store for some jeans or leggings to wear under my long dress. Patagonia was right beside me. I walked in and began hunting for the perfect pair. Then I saw a signage “HEMP CLOTHING “ and in smaller letters : Natural . Misunderstood. Legal. I walked up to the racks beneath and behold, all clothing from jeans to skirts; baby wears to socks were made out of hemp. Trust my Nigerianess… Indian Hemp ke. I no dey buy . Make cold kuku kill me. I remembered all the horrible ideas of how destructive hemp is. So I ended up walking away from that store into another for my purchase. However, curiosity got the better part of me… so I opened my laptop and began my research into hemp.  My discovery left me astonished Hemp has been used by humans for over 10,000 years and it’s the strongest natural fiber in the world. Interestingly, there are no wasted parts of the hemp plant . Both seeds and stalks are used to produce the following;Hemp SeedFrom hemp seeds we get lotions, hair creams, makeup, nail polish, cooking oil, paint production, fuel production, ink, animal feeds, bakery products, dairy production, beer production, butter, milk, chocolate , cereal etc. Hemp stalks All clothing made out of cotton can be made from hemp e.g jeans, shirts, face caps etc. Moreover, Fiber board for construction, fiberglass , compost, fuel as biodiesel and ethanol, carpets, plastic products, baby diapers, papers, bags, canvas, shampoo, sneakers and so much more are made from hemp. Little wonder, China’s hemp market generated $1.1b in 2017 while America’s hemp market generated $1b in 2018. So let’s ponder, if the world has created over 50,000 uses from hemp and countries cashing in on the vast market thereby generating revenue and jobs, why is Nigeria still stuck on its illegal pronouncement by the Indian Hemp Act of  31st March of 1966. Do you think we are being hypocritical in the management of hemp in Nigeria? Is there a way legislative reforms and of course some regulatory measures can be put in place to balance hemp’s consumption while Nigeria operates a sustainable manufacturing industry? Remember, Hemp is illegal in Nigeria yet Nigeria is the 8th ranking country in the world’s hemp consumption. Sadly by mostly idle youths who are not properly educated about its vices. Probably, discussions and debates on hemp and cannabis generally should be held often to help educate and guide our youths against its abuse… this would also help create a world of entrepreneurial opportunities and have our youths gainfully employed from the same “destructive” product . Suffice it to applaud the out-of-the-box economic diversification efforts of Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state who is charging Nigeria to key into the 2025 forecasted $145b Cannabis market. By the way, we are talking about industrial hemp. Note: it’s about time we get leaders who are disruptive in their ability to create thriving innovative yet inclusive economics. Leaders bold enough to challenge our blind-spots and launch Nigeria out of hopelessness into adventurous prosperity. Natasha Akpoti is a senatorial candidate, Kogi Central, 2019 general election.

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