Wednesday, 20 January 2021

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, ordered the resumption of trial in the N1.9 billion money laundering charge against former Governor of Niger, Babangida Aliyu.

Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed an administrative directive that okayed the trial of Aliyu, which started in 2017, to start de-novo (fresh).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ex-governor is facing an eight count money laundering charge alongside his former Chief of Staff and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Umar Nasko, filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ekwo held that former Chief Judge (CJ) of the Court, Justice Abdul Abdul-Kafarati, acted in breach of Section 98(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, when he re-assigned the case-file to a new judge for a fresh trial, after EFCC had called 10 witnesses in the matter and tendered several exhibits in evidence.

The judge noted that EFCC only had four pending witnesses to conclude its case before the matter was handed to a new trial judge.

NAN reports that the defendants were accused of diverting ecological funds of the Federal Government released to Niger State in 2014, to the tune of about N1.940 billion.

Though they were initially arraigned in Abuja before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba in 2017, however, following an application by the defendants, the case was transferred to the Minna Division of the Federal High Court.

Following the transfer of the case to Niger State, it was assigned to Justice Yellim Bogoro by the then CJ and the defendants were arraigned afresh and released on bail on Nov. 16, 2017.

However, midway into their trial, the CJ, in June 2019, ordered Justice Bogoro to hands-off the case.
The CJ subsequently transferred the case to Justice Aliyu Bappa for the trial to begin afresh, citing a petition that was brought to him by the EFCC.

Dissatisfied with the CJ’s decision, the former governor filed a suit to challenge it, insisting that the aim was to unnecessarily prolong his trial.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/620/2020, which has the FHC CJ, the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively, Aliyu urged the court to reverse the decision.
Meanwhile, in his judgement on the matter, Justice Ekwo agreed with the former governor to the effect that the CJ acted beyond his administrative powers.

Justice Ekwo held that the suit called for the judicial review of the action of the CJ in transferring a judicial proceeding mid-stream, from one judge to another, after the prosecution had called 10 witnesses.

“I have reviewed the facts, evidence and circumstances.

“Ordinarily, certiorari would not lie where the chief judge of a court acts administratively in the routine transfer of cases pursuant to the rules of court.
“This case is not predicated on the administrative power of the chief judge under the rules of this court.

“This is a statutory matter whereby the provisions of the law, the power of the chief judge to transfer a case, is curtailed.

“Where power is curtailed by statute and It is exceeded, review of such act by certiorari becomes inevitable. It is my opinion that order certiorari must be made in this circumstance where evidence has clearly demonstrated that a quasi-judicial function of a chief judge has been exercised in excess of statutory authority, and I so hold.

“As it is, I find merit in the case of the plaintiff and I enter judgment as follows:

“Declaration is hereby made that having regard to the provisions of Section 98(1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court lacks the legal power to transfer or re-assign a criminal case from a judge before whom witnesses have been taken, to another judge where the trial will commence de novo.

“A declaration is hereby made that having regards to the provision of Section 98(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the purported transfer or re-assignment of the charge to Justice Bappa to commence de-novo, is ultra bored the powers of the Chief Judge and therefore null and void”, Justice Ekwo held.

He equally declared that the petition the EFCC submitted to the CJ through a letter dated Feb. 21, 2019, “failed to meet the requirement of Section 98(3) and 98(4) of the ACJA, 2015, as a basis for justifying the transfer of the criminal case with Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/71/2017, from Justice Yellim Bogoro to Aliyu Bappa J”.

He then made an order directing the CJ to recall the case-file from Justice Bappa and to remit the same to Justice Bogoro to continue and conclude the case.

As well as, “an order directing Justice Bogoro to complete the trial, having heard 10 prosecution witnesses”.

NAN recalls that Justice Bappa had, on May 23, 2019, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the former governor and his co-defendant, after they failed to appear before him for trial.

The court further revoked the bail that was previously granted to them by Justice Bogoro.

Published in News & Stories
Monday, 18 January 2021 18:36

Soyinka backs Kukah on Christmas speech

By Samuel Oamen/ THE NATION

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has carpeted those who criticised the Christmas Day speech of Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah.

The playwright said he had studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrated Islam.

He, however, noted he was not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe.

Kukah, in the speech, summed up the country’s challenges ranging from insecurity, poverty to frustration under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Soyinka spoke in a statement on Monday titled, “The Kukah offence and ongoing offensives.”

He said: “One of the ironic features of religionists is, one is forced to conclude, a need to be offended. It is as if religion cannot exist unless it is nourished with the broth of offence. This may be due to inbuilt insecurity, a fear that even the ascribed absolutes of faith may be founded on nothing more than idealistic human projections, not grounded in anything durable or immutable. Hence the over prickliness, aggressiveness, sometimes even bullying tendencies and imperious posturing. This leads to finding enemies where there are none. In certain social climates, it degenerates into inventing enmities in order to entrench theocratic power.

“In its own peculiar way, this is actually a rational proceeding. A perceived threat to a collectivity tends to rally even waverers round the flag. The core mission of faith custodians then becomes presenting religion as being constantly under siege. It all contributes to interpreting even utterances of no hostile intent as “enemy action.”

“There is a deliberate, emotive displacement of central concern. It is calculated avoidance, diversionary, and thus, nationally unhealthy. Humans should not attempt to play the ostrich.

He noted that Kukah’s Christmas message, and the ensuing offensives, could not be more fortuitous, coming at a time “when a world powerful nation, still reeling from an unprecedented assault on her corporate definition, is now poised to set, at the very least, a symbolic seal on her commitment to the democratic ideal.”

According to Soyinka, some of the most extreme of the violent forces that recently assaulted the governance citadel of the world’s powerful nation sprung from religious and quasi-religious affirmations.

He added that the condition still enabled many of them to be brainwashed into accepting literally, and uncritically, indeed as gospel truth, any pronouncement, however outrageous and improbable, that emerged from their leadership.

He added: “It should not come as a surprise that a section of our Islamic community, not only claims to have found offence in Bishop Kukah’s New Year address, what is bothersome, even unwholesome, is the embedded threat to storm his ‘Capitol’ and eject him, simply for ‘speaking in tongues.’ Any pluralistic society must emphatically declare such a response unacceptable.

“On a personal note, I have studied the transcript as reported in the media and found nothing in it that denigrates Islam but then, I must confess, I am not among the most religion besotted inhabitants of the globe. That, I have been told, disqualifies me from even commenting on the subject and, quite frankly, I wish that was indeed the case. Life would far less be complicated. However, the reverse position does not seem to be adopted by such religionists in a spirit of equity. They do not hesitate to intervene; indeed, some consider themselves divinely empowered to intervene, even dictate in secular life.”

Soyinka stressed that everyone should be reminded that religion was upheld, and practised, not by robots, not by creatures from outer space, not by abstract precepts, but by human beings, full of quirks, frailties and conceits, filled with their own individual and collective worth, and operate in the here and now of this earth.

“That makes religion the business of everyone, especially when it is manipulated to instil fear, discord and separatism in social consciousness. The furore over Bishop Kukah’s statement offers us another instance of that domineering tendency, one whose consequences are guaranteed to spill over into the world of both believers and non-believers, unless checked and firmly contained. In this nation of religious opportunism of the most destructive kind especially, fuelled again and again by failure to learn from past experience, we must at least learn to nip extremist instigations in the bud,” he said.

Published in Business and Economy
Monday, 18 January 2021 18:23

Nollywood diva loses mum

Our Reporter/ THE NATION

Nollywood Actress Ebube Nwagbo has lost her mum.

She announced this on her Instagram handle.

Sharing a photo of her late mum, she wrote:

“Nnem Oma….

Jee Nke Oma…

You Were A FIGHTER!!!

You Fought Till U Breathed Ur Last!!!

You Held On Through The Pains Becos You Wanted To Live For Us..

The Strongest Of Them All!!

You Raised A Strong Woman In Me!!

I Promise To Be Strong For Daddy And My Younger Ones.

Heaven Just Gained An Angel..I Know You Are Up There In Heaven.. Charming The Angels With Ur Beautiful Smile And Beautiful Self..

We Are Hurt,We Are Broken,But God Knows Best..

He Gives..

He Takes..

He Decided It Was Time For You To Rest …

Away From The Pains..

He Couldn’t Wait To Have You In His Bossom

We Miss And Love You Mum..

You Will Live In Our Hearts ForEver!

Published in Entertainment
Wednesday, 13 January 2021 23:30

Donald Trump impeached for second time

Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.

The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will escape the risk of being forced to leave early. He will, however, depart in disgrace — and likely due to face a Senate trial later.

The only question in the House had been how many Republicans would join the Democratic majority.

In the end, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s number three in the House, Representative Liz Cheney.

Holed up in the White House, Trump had no immediate reaction but he earlier issued a brief statement insisting that he opposed violence among his supporters.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for,” he said.

“I call on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

Reflecting the fear of upheaval, armed National Guards deployed across the capital and central streets were blocked to traffic.

In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

Trump survived a first impeachment almost exactly a year ago when the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of abusing his office to try and get dirt on Biden’s family before the election.

This time, his downfall was triggered by a speech he delivered to a crowd on the National Mall on January 6, telling them that Biden had stolen the presidential election and that they needed to march on Congress and show “strength.”

Amped up on weeks of election conspiracy theories pushed by Trump, the mob then stormed into the Capitol, fatally wounded one police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide, interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden’s victory.

One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of “medical emergencies,” bringing the toll to five.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the chamber that Trump “must go.”

“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.

And Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump a “tyrant,” saying that “for us to able to survive as a functioning democracy there has to be accountability.”

But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman said that while lawmakers “need to hold the president accountable,” the speed of the impeachment “poses great questions about the constitutionality.”

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said that while Trump deserves censure, hurriedly impeaching will “further divide this nation.”

– McConnell open to impeachment –
Trump, who has been stripped of his social media megaphones by Twitter and Facebook, and finds himself increasingly ostracized in the business world, is struggling to impose his message — let alone any kind of resistance.

His refusal to accept any responsibility for the horrifying scenes on January 6 — including his insistence Tuesday that his speech was “totally appropriate” — has infuriated allies and opponents alike.

The main question now is to what extent former Republican allies in the Senate will turn on their party’s figurehead. Last year, they acquitted Trump overwhelmingly after the House impeached him for abuse of office.

Powerful Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made clear there is no time before Trump’s January 20 exit to hold an impeachment trial, given that the Senate is in recess until January 19.

However, he said Wednesday that he was open to the possibility of voting to convict Trump in a trial, which could still be held after Biden takes over.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell is signaling privately that he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses.

This presents a potentially fatal shift in the ground under Trump’s feet, because it could lead other Republican senators to join in convicting Trump with the goal of turning the page in the turbulent relationship between the party and former reality TV host and real estate magnate.

Meanwhile, the increasingly toothless Trump’s social media woes deepened late Tuesday when video-sharing giant YouTube said it was suspending his official account for at least a week, out of concern his videos could incite violence.

He is also being cut out by the business world, threatening his financial future once he leaves the White House.

The latest blow to the Trump empire was when the mayor of his native New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced Wednesday a termination of contracts to run a golf course, two ice-skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park.

“New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists,” de Blasio, a Democrat, tweeted.

Published in Business and Economy

By Adamu Suleiman, Sokoto/ THE NATION

There was a new twist to the lingering crisis between Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Matthew Kukah and the Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), on Tuesday as the Islamic group warned the cleric to “quickly and quietly leave” Sokoto, the seat of the caliphate.

MSF said Kukah’s “innuendos and parables” in his speeches were against Islam and its adherents, adding that they were provocative.

The threat by the forum came barely 24 hours after Kukah accused the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the umbrella body of Muslim groups, of inciting violence against him over the Christmas message

The cleric, according to reports had in the message accused the Muhammadu Buhari administration of not living up to expectation due to mounting economic and security challenges confronting the nation.

He said Buhari was “institutionalising northern hegemony against national interests,” adding that if a President of non-Northern extraction had done a fraction of that, he would have been removed from office via coup de tat.

The cleric, who later said he was misquoted in the portion of the message about coup, maintained that that “he is more interested in how religion can be used to foster unity.”

His words: “The Secretary-General has accused me of being an enemy of his religion, Islam. He accused me of what he calls, firing an arrow at the heart of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria. He says I have been accorded respect and accommodated in Sokoto and I have turned around to bite a finger that has fed me.

“He poses a question: How can Muslims continue to be hospitable to one who proves to be an ingrate many times over? How can Muslims be comfortable in associating with a bitterly vindictive person disguised in the garb of a religious cleric?

“I can only take this statement from the secretary-general of JNI as a clear case of incitement to violence against me.”

But at a news conference in Sokoto, Sokoto State, the MSF aligned with JNI, accusing Kukah of not only unable to “appreciate in his Muslim hosts or their religion,” but disparaging them with “provocative and uncouth language..”

Acting Chairman of the forum, Prof. Isah Maishanu, described Kukah’s comments as an attempt to break the age-long peaceful coexistence between the predominantly Muslim population and their Christian.

Although Maishanu said the MSF was not holding brief for the President, he urged the Catholic mission to stop Kukah’s “malicious vituperations” against Islam and Muslims.

He alleged that the cleric’s comments signified a deeply-rooted and blind pathological hatred for Islam.

To buttress the group’s belief that the Bishop disliked Islam, Maishanu alleged that Kukah opposed Shari’ah law’s implementation in some Northern states claimed that Christians were being denied places of worship and protested in the heart of Sokoto over the killing of a Christian priest.

His words: “Kukah who lives peacefully and happily at the centre of the seat of the caliphate for almost a decade now, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the city that is founded on the teachings of Islam and benefitting from the goodwill of Muslim leaders right from childhood and up to this moment could not see anything good to appreciate in his Muslim hosts or their religion, to disparage them.

“Rather, he is always using provocative and uncouth language. His callous statements and acts of hatred is unbecoming of someone who parades himself a secretary to the National Peace Committee and a member of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).

“We therefore call on Kukah to immediately stop his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims and tender an unreserved apology to the Muslim ummah or else, quickly and quietly leave the seat of the Caliphate, as he is trying t break the age-long peaceful coexistence between the predominantly Muslim population and their Christian guests.”

Maishanu noted that Muslim leaders out of magnanimity, shown goodwill to the bishop, adding that he was taking their kindness for granted.“ To Kukah, the Acting MSF chairman said: “ We call on him to act as Bible commands’ seek ye truth and it shall set you free’, by embracing the pristine monotheistic teachings of Jesus, son of Maryas, finally revealed by Allah the Almighty Lord, through the last Prophet ,Muhammad.”

However, efforts to reach the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar to comment on the stand of the forum did not yield result as he was said to be away.

Also, the state JNI leadership could not be reached on phone. The Sultan heads the JNI.

Efforts to speak with the General-Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Joseph Daramola, were also futile as he neither picked his call nor replied text messages.

Published in Headliners

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sabur Dimeji Bankole, will, on Friday, January 15, tie the nuptial knot with Miss Aisha Shinkafi Saidu, daughter of the Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.

Bankole, who divorced his first wife in 2017, had, in the past few years, been a much sought after bachelor in the circle of eligible spinsters both within and outside Nigeria.

Friday’s marriage ceremony will draw the curtain on speculations regarding his matrimonial intentions since the divorce.

The bride, a lawyer and graduate of the University of Hull in the UK, is a granddaughter of the late political heavyweight and onetime head of Nigeria’s security organisation, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Marafan Sokoto. The bride’s mother is Shinkafi’s daughter and a sister to the former Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi.

A statement from the Bankole family of Iporo, Abeokuta, disclosed that a quiet introduction between the two families had taken place a few weeks earlier to kick off the joining together in line with Islamic and traditional injunctions.

At the introduction ceremony, the Governor of Sokoto State and Bankole’s successor as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, had led the groom’s family to the bride’s family home to seek her hand in marriage.

Friday’s event will be the culmination of a courtship that both families had kept very discrete. Political observers, however, note that the marriage would appear to straddle Nigeria’s great political divide, as Bagudu is the chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, while Tambuwal is the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum.

Meanwhile, the Bankole family advised that in keeping with the requirements of COVID-19 protocols, the ceremony would be low-key. It, therefore, implored invited guests to observe all health and safety directives at the event, while appealing to friends and well-wishers who might not have received invitations for their understanding given the uncertainties of the present times.
Published in Arts & Culture

The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Tuesday said schools across the country will resume on Monday, January 18, 2021 pending the review by the federal government.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu had on Monday said the federal government would review the resumption date of schools as a result of rising cases of Coronavirus.

“On the January 18 resumption date, we are reviewing it. We are going to review it.

“At the PTF meeting today, we considered it, and tomorrow, the ministry is going to take it up,” he said.

But PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu in a TV programme on Tuesday said what the minister of Education said on Monday was that the ministry was going to do a review of resumption.

READ ALSO COVID-19: Second wave hits Nigeria - PTF

He said Adamu never said the Education ministry was going to change the date of resumption, saying that what he said was that “they will review the situation and let the nation know.”

Aliyu stated emphatically that resumption date for schools nationwide remained January 18 until the Ministry of Education comes up with an alternative date.

Published in Business and Economy

Moyo Thomas, nee Ojo, the former FCMB staff who had two children for Adam Nuru, the managing director of the bank, is now involved in a hide and seek game, on the internet.

She had two children for Nuru while married to Tunde Thomas.

She revealed the heart shattering news to Thomas, after she escaped to the U.S. in 2017.

Adam Nuru FCMB managing director: in extra-marital mess

Thomas could not bear the shock and died on 16 December, 2020.

His friends are now mounting a campaign to get Nuru sacked on ethical grounds.

On her LinkedIn account, Moyo has done an identity change.

She is no more Moyo Thomas, but Mo David.

People who have been tracking her discovered her trick and blew the whistle on Sunday.

She responded by removing her photo from the new profile, but left her history with FCMB intact.

Moyo now claims she works for Park Nicollet Health Services, Minneapolis, in America, as a recruitment manager.

Moyo attended Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife from 1998 to 2004, where she read economics.

She later went for a Masters degree in International Human Resource Management at Cranfield School of Management, in UK.

She worked for FCMB for almost 13 years in the human resource department.

Published in Business and Economy

Our Reporter/ PM NEWS

Literary icon Prof. Wole Soyinka may no longer want to comment on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He told an on-line TV in a chat that went viral yesterday that “for the sake of sanity, one must imagine that the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari does not exist”.

The Nobel laureate, who was seen being interviewed onboard a train, described the new Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan standard gauge train, as marvellous and long overdue.

He told the Kaftan TV reporter that he would not like to talk about the Buhari administration because he imagined the regime doesn’t exist.

When asked whether the new train was a plus to Buhari’s regime, he said: “I don’t want to talk about Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. I think it is best for my sanity just to avoid that overall question. I can take bits and pieces of Nigeria’s present predicament but I think for one’s sense of balance, one must forget the existence of the Buhari administration.

Published in Business and Economy

Famous transporter, Augustine Ilodibe Jnr. was among the three persons who died of COVID-19 complications in Lagos on Monday.

The death of the 42-year old, who inherited his billionaire father’s business in 2007, was made known by a family member.

The two other victims have not been identified.

Lagos now has 250 death toll of COVID-19 patients in the state, according to the NCDC.

Ilodibe’s death was announced by Obinna Ilodibe.

“With great sadness we announce the passing unto glory of our dear son, husband, father, brother and uncle, Ekene Dili Chukwu Augustine Chukwunonso ILodibe (Junior) who died this morning from complications of COVID-19 in Lagos.

“We pray that his soul rests in peace and the Lord comfort his family and all of us he left behind.

“In consideration of the current pandemic, we kindly ask that you respect and maintain safety protocols through calls and messages to the family rather than physical visits.

Augustine Ilodibe took over his father’s transport business in 2007.

He was the first son of Chief Augustine Ekene Dili Chukwu Ilodibe.

Published in Headliners
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