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EFCC Files Fresh Charges Against Elumelu, Others

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Justice Salisu Garba of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, Abuja, has adjourned till December 15, taking of pleas in the 229 amended charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the suspended chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Ransome Owan and six commissioners of the agency.
The commissioners are Mallam Abdurahman Ado, Professor Onwuamaeze Iloeje, Dr. Abdurazaq Alimi, Mr. Mohammed Bunu, Mr. Abimbola Odubiyi and Dr. Grace Eyoma.
Counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla, said the amended charges were as a result of fresh evidence available to the commission.
But when the matter came up on Thursday, counsel to the fourth accused person, Mr. O. Owa, argued that his client could not take his plea because he was only served the amended charges that morning.
“We were served the amended charge this morning, and when there is a dispute as to issue of service, it cannot be resolved by conflicting words of counsel, it must be resolved by production of proof of service,” Owa told the court.
After listening to the submission of both the prosecuting and defence counsels on the matter, Justice Garba adjourned the case to December 15, to enable the 5th accused person study the amended charge before taking his plea.
Dr. Owan and the six commissioners were first arraigned by the EFCC on April 22, 2009, before the FCT High Court, Abuja, on a 196-count charge. The accused persons are alleged to have committed an offence contrary to sections 97, 315,122, 309, 123, 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code, all bordering on criminal conspiracy, dishonest conversion of public funds, criminal appropriation, theft and disobedience to law.
They were said to have allegedly converted billions of naira belonging to NERC for personal use.
The accused persons were later granted bail in the sum of N100 million each, two sureties for each of the accused persons with like sum; the two sureties must be prominent Nigerians with properties in either Maitama, Garki, Asokoro or Wuse, all in Abuja.
The accused persons were also barred from travelling and are to report to the EFCC head office first and last Mondays of every month.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday, preferred a fresh 130-count charge against a member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Godwin Elumelu; a Senator, Nicholas Ugbane and seven others at the FCT High Court, Abuja, for defrauding the government to the tune of over N5.2 billion in the Rural Electrification Agency project.
The nine accused persons have also been separated in the fresh charges.
The three lawmakers are jointly facing a 62-count charge, while the other six accused are jointly facing a 68-count charge.
The three lawmakers are: Mr. Godwin Elumelu, House of Representatives committee Chairman on Power, Mr. Nicholas Yahaya Ugbane, Senate Committee Chairman on Power and Mr. Jibo Mohammed.
The other accused are Mr. Samuel Ibi Gekpe, Mr. Abdullahi Aliyu, Simon Kirdi Nanle, Mr. Lawrence Kayode Orekoya, Abdulsamad Garba Jahun and Mr. Kayode Oyedeji.
Count three and four, being charges against the lawmakers, state that while the duo of Ugbane and Elumelu were serving as the committee chairmen on Power in the Senate and the House respectively in 2008, alongside Mr. Jibo Mohammed, who is Elumelu’s deputy, they conspired among themselves to the commission of offences, to wit: criminal breach of trust by public servants in the purported award of Grid Extension and Solar Electrification contracts from the Amended Budget 2008 of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), and, thereby, committed an offence punishable under section 97(1) of the penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Abuja, 1990.
In one of the charges preferred against the other six of the nine accused persons, Mr. Samuel Ibi Gekpe, Mr. Abdullahi Aliyu, Simon Kirdi Nanle, Mr. Lawrence Kayode Orekoya, Abdulsamad Garba Jahun and Mr Kayode Oyedeji, all senior officials of Rural Electrification Agency, they were alleged to have, some time, in December 2008.

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RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign

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The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.

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Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives

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The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.

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We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors

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The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”

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