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N6bn Loan: Court Remands Sylva In EFCC Custody

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Embattled former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva yesterday made a surprise appearance at a Federal High Court in Abuja, where he pleaded not guilty to a 6-count charge bordering on money laundering and diversion for personal use of about N2 billion naira obtained from Union Bank Plc on behalf of Bayelsa State Government.

Sylva was alleged to have connived with certain officials of the state, and others reported to be at large, in defrauding the state of N2 billion while he ruled the state.

Soon after he pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge, his lawyer, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) asked the court to admit him to bail, an application that was vehemently opposed by prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo.

Fagbemi told the court that the former governor submitted himself to the court and was never declared wanted, adding that the Supreme Court had established, in several cases, that an accused should be presumed innocent pending his being found guilty by the court.

Opposing the granting of bail to the former governor, Keyamo drew the attention of the court to efforts made by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve him. He urged the court to deny him bail and as well make an order for expedited hearing.

The court subsequently adjourned to Thursday, 7th June, to deliver ruling on the bail application, and ordered that the former governor be remanded in the custody of EFCC.

No sooner had the court concluded proceedings in the matter and was about to call up the next case than EFCC operatives swooped into the court to arrest Sylva.

Justice Bello, who found the action of the EFCC operatives, reprehensive cautioned them and directed Keyamo to advise them appropriately. He then ordered the operatives out of his court, saying he was yet to sign the order for the custody of the former governor, which must be done before the commission could take him into custody.

Count One of the charges against Sylva reads: That you, Timipre Sylva, as governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, sometime between October 2009 and February 2010, at various places in Nigeria, including Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court did conspire to commit a crime to wit: conversion of properties and resources amounting to N2,000,000,000.00 belonging to Bayelsa State Government and derived from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said amount and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act), 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.

He was also alleged to have converted the sum of N380,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Habibu Sani Maigidia, a Bureau De Change Operator with Account No. 221433478108, in Fin Bank, Plc, which sum he knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

Count 3 of the charge alleges that Sylva, as Governor of Bayelsa State, with others now at large, on or about the 5th of February 2010, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, converted the sum of N50,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one Enson Benmer Limited with Account No. 6152030001946, in First Bank, Plc, which sum you knew represented the proceeds of an illegal act with the aim of concealing the nature of the proceeds of the said illegal act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2004 and also punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

Silva was also alleged to have converted the sum of N20,000,000.00, property of the Bayelsa State Government, through the account of one John Daukoru with Account No. 04800250000418, in United Bank for Africa, Plc, and also conspired to commit a crime to wit: inducing Union Bank, Plc, with the intent to defraud, to deliver to Bayelsa State Government the sum of N2,000,000,000.00, under the false pretence of using the amount to augment salaries of the Bayelsa State Government and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud.

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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