NEWS AND STORIES
“Omo Ghetto” ( The Saga), a movie by Actress Funke Akindele-Bello, popularly known as Jenifa has been declared Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie of all time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2020 comedy film has broken a four-year record formally held by Kemi Adetiba’s ‘The Wedding Party’.
In a statement released by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the 2020 comedy film has so far grossed N468,036,300 after holding the number one spot for its third week in a row.
“Omo Ghetto’ has officially broken a four years record by knocking off Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 Comedy movie” The Wedding Party”
The movie had been Nollywood Highest Grossing Movie with N453,000,000, in the third place is ‘The Wedding Party 2 with N433,197,377,” the statement said.
NAN also reports that Akindele-Bellos’ latest feat is probably the most shocking news in recent times, as it comes amidst a pandemic that crippled the film industry for months.
The comedy movie was released on Christmas day 2020 and is a sequel to the 2010 trilogy ‘Omo Ghetto’, follows the chaotic life of Shalewa aka Lefty (Funke Akindele)
Lefty (Funke Akindele) struggled between living a life of wealth and comfort provided by her adopted mother or returning to her ghetto lifestyle.
The comedy stars Funke Akindele in the dual role of Ayomide and Lefty, Tina Mba, Adebayo Salami aka Oga Bello, Chioma Akpotha, Bimbo Thomas.
Other were Eniola Badmus, Deyemi Okanlawon, Zubby Michael, Mercy Aigbe, Timini Egbuson, Alex Ekubo among others.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga/ PM NEWS
Nigerians have hailed the sack of Service Chiefs and the appointment of new ones by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari had bowed to pressure by sacking the service chiefs after millions of Nigerians had called for their sack over wanton insecurity in the land.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Media adviser, Femi Adesina, said Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.
Those involved are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The new Service Chiefs are: Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Nigerians have reacted to the sack of the service chiefs by Buhari, saying it was good riddance to bad rubbish.
A strong critic of Buhari, Reno Omokri hailed the president for the action.
“I commend General Muhammadu Buhari for listening to voices of reason and sacking his clueless and nepotistic service chiefs. Good riddance to bad rubbish. It is disappointing that he maintained his practice of appointing largely Northern Muslim males, but half bread is better than none,” Omokri said.
Another critic, Ayodele Fayose, said the sacked Service Chiefs only served themselves and their pockets and could at best be described as “Disservice Chiefs” under whom Nigeria became completely insecured.
Senator Shehu Sani also said the removal of the service chiefs was good.
“Service Chiefs’ removal; better late than never. To the new Chiefs; Confront and end the killings, kidnappings and the violence in Nigeria and restore law and order,” he said.
· Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff
· Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff
· Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff
· Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Service Chiefs.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said he has named the replacements for the sacked chiefs.
The statement reads: “PMB appoints new Service Chiefs. Maj Gen LEO Irabor, CDS, Maj Gen I Attahiru, Army, Rear Adm AZ Gambo, Navy, AVM IO Amao, Air Force.
“He congratulates outgoing Service Chiefs on efforts to bring enduring peace to the country.”
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.
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.
Nollywood Actress Ebube Nwagbo has lost her mum.
She announced this on her Instagram handle.
Sharing a photo of her late mum, she wrote:
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 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!
By Abankula/ THE NEWS
Two retired top civil servants, Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, and an ex-Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko have disclosed how they refunded N8.2billion loot to the treasury.
They did the refund to avoid prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
Otunla, AGF between 2011 and 2015, and companies linked to him refunded N6.3 billion.
Dikko, the Customs chief between 2009 and 2015 refunded N1.9 billion.
Details of the refunds were revealed court documents filed by the two former public officials.
In the suits, according to a report by The Nation, they queried the decision of the anti-graft agencies to insist on prosecuting them on corruption charges after they were told to make refunds in lieu of prosecution.
Otunla claimed that the now suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, promised him that he would not be prosecuted, should he return funds traced to him, companies linked to him, and his associates.
The companies are Gold Reef Industries Limited, Lambster Nigeria Limited, G.C. Electronic Limited, Sinmilak Nigeria Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Shepherded Field Global Resources Limited and Stellavera Development Company Limited.
There was also Ade Adelakun charged with him.
Otunla stated that sometime in 2015, he was invited by a team of EFCC investigators, probing alleged diversion of funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) pension funds.
Otunla said he met with Magu in the course of the investigation, when the then acting EFCC chair told him to “refund the monies linked to your companies and nobody will prosecute you.”
He said based on Magu’s promise, he had a reconciliatory meeting with the investigator, where he immediately undertook to make available some funds as refunds.
In line with the agreement, Otunla said one of the companies linked to him – Stellar Vera Development Ltd – refunded N750m; another company – Damaris Mode Coolture Ltd – refunded N550m, while the two firms later made additional joint refund of N2,150,000,000.00.
He added that, at a point, he raised several bank cheques for N10m in favour of the EFCC which he handed to its Economic Governance Section.
Otunla said in all he made a refund of N6,392,000,000.00 to the Federation Account through the EFCC.
He is praying the court, in the suit he filed against the EFCC, to, among others, hold that in view of the assurance given to him by Magu, which informed his refund of the money, he could no longer be prosecuted for his actions while in office.
Dikko, said he entered an agreement with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami “to return $8m or its equivalent in naira atN197 to a dollar.”
Dikko explained, in one of the court documents, that shortly after he retired, he entered in an agreement on May 25, 2016 with the AGF and the Director General of the State Security Service.
The ex-Customs boss said he met with the two Federal Government’s representatives at the International Hotel, Park lane, Mayfair, London, during which Malami directed him “to return $8m or its equivalent in naira, at N197 to a dollar so as to prevent the Federal Government of Nigeria from prosecuting me.”
Dikko said he fully complied with the directive of the AGF by paying the money in its naira equivalent.
In a recent judgment, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, agreed with Dikko that he could no longer be prosecuted by the ICPC in view of the agreement with the AGF.
Justice Mohammed cited an earlier decision by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja) in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/587/2018.
In the judgment, Justice Dimgba found that in view of the agreement with the AGF, Dikko could no longer be prosecuted by the EFCC and any other federal prosecuting agency in relation to his activities while in office.
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.
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.