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THE STATES

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Benue

The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi last Tuesday dismissed the appeal filed by the defeated PDP gubernatorial aspirant, Terver Khaki, against Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State.

Khaki dragged the governor to court claiming that the primaries were not properly conducted and alleged that Suswam was not educationally qualified to contest the election.

He alleged that the governor forged his secondary school certificate and described the conduct of the primaries as “a charade and stage managed’’.

The Federal High Court in Makurdi in 2012 gave judgment in favour of the governor, in which Justice Marcel Awokulehin, held that the case was a pre-election matter and a party’s affair.

 

Ekiti

The police last Tuesday arraigned a 70-year-old man before an Ado-Ekiti Magistrates’ Court for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old girl.

The police prosecutor, Cpl. Curtis Enabulele, told the court that the accused committed the offence in January, opposite a palm wine outlet on Ilawe Road in Ado-Ekiti.

Enabulele told the court that the accused unlawfully had carnal knowledge of the girl, causing her grievous harm.

He claimed that the latest incident was the third, after two earlier failed efforts by the accused.

The offence, he added, contravened Section 358 and 359 of the Criminal Code Cap. C 16 Vol.1 Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

 

Gombe

The Gombe State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has urged its members to register in the ongoing exercise to enable them to access fertiliser allocation.

The chairman of the association, Alhaji Gambo Sarkin-noma, made the call in an interview with newsmen last Tuesday in Gombe.

Sarkin-noma said that the new method was introduced by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure fairness in the distribution process.

He said that the registration forms would be distributed at the ward level by facilitators in each ward.

 

Jigawa

The Jigawa Savings and Loans Ltd., a mortgage finance company, last Tuesday said it had concluded plans to construct 150 low cost houses in Dutse.

Its Managing Director, Alhaji Babangida Umar, stated this in an interview with newsmen in Dutse.

Umar said 100 houses would be constructed at the Mobile base quarters while 50 houses would be sited at strategic locations in the city.

He said the houses would be constructed in one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom categories.

Umar said the project would be executed under the National Housing Fund (NHF), adding that the houses would be sold to civil servants and interested persons on owner-occupier basis.

 

Kaduna

The Kaduna State House of Assembly last Tuesday amended the 1991 District Court Law empowering it to adjudicate in civil cases.

The speaker, Alhaji Muazu Gangara, said that the amendment of sections 13, 14, 15, 25, 31, 32 and 81 of the law, had empowered the courts to entertain cases with material value of up to N500,000 as against N50,000 previously.

He also said that the amendment made had repealed the District Court (Amendment) Edict of 1994.

Gangara said the law now empowers the Chief Judge of the state to regulate the practice and procedure of the district courts where no specific provisions were made by the subsisting law.

 

Kebbi

The Kebbi State Government has said that work will soon resume at the N50 billion Zauro Folder irrigation project that was abandoned two years ago.

Alhaji Sunusi Ibrahim, the Director of Water Supply in the state Ministry of Water Resources, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi.

Ibrahim said that the project would be jointly executed by the federal, state and affected local government areas.

According to him, the state government has so far spent N18 billion since the commencement of the project seven years ago.

 

Kogi

A socio-cultural group, Nigerian Cultural Development Consultants, has urged the Federal Government to accord Lokoja a prominent position in the celebration of the country’s 100 years of nationhood.

The call is contained in a statement by the Chairman of the group, Dr Hinmikalu Paul and Secretary, Dr Jacob Olorunshola, in Lokoja.

It said the call was necessary due to the prominence of the historical and political roles of Lokoja in the emergence of Nigeria.

It said the anniversary, slated for 2014, was worthy of celebration because it would be a period of national rebirth through “self evaluation of our past and the quest for a better future”.

 

Kwara

An Ilorin Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday remanded in prison custody a member of a vigilante group, Ibrahim Seko, for allegedly killing two persons.

The accused was alleged to have conspired with eight others now at large to shoot Abubakar Ali and Abdullahi Chumo on February 19 during a rift.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons shot dead the deceased over the allegation that they were armed robbers.

The prosecutor, Sgt. Yakub Emmanuel, told the court that investigation was on-going in order to apprehend the fleeing suspects.

 

Lagos

A 25-year-old unemployed man, Amidu Shittu, who allegedly broke into an apartment and stole three mobile phones, including a blackberry, worth N47, 500, was last Tuesday charged before an Ojokoro Magistrates’ Court, Lagos.

Shittu, who is of no fixed address, is facing a two count-charge of burglary and theft.

The prosecutor, Insp. Clara Olagbayi, told the court that the accused committed the offences on November 18, 2012 at No. 1 Olorunda St., Ijaye, Lagos at 3:00 a.m.

“Shittu broke into Miss Blessing Chukwu’s apartment, in her absence, and stole a Blackberry phone, as well as Nokia and Techno phones valued at N47, 500,” she said.

 

Ondo

An Ore Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ondo State last Tuesday sentenced a motor mechanic apprentice, Sheriff Adegoke, 32, to 6 months imprisonment for stealing a Nokia phone and N2,000.

Magistrate Tope Aladejana sentenced the accused to prison— with hard labour— after he pleaded guilty to the one count charge of stealing.

Earlier, the police prosecutor, Insp. Johnson Agboola said the convict committed the offence on February 16, at about 2:00 .p.m. at Ajelanwa St., Ore.

Agboola told the court that Adegoke allegedly stole one white Nokia Asha handset valued at N15,000 and two thousand naira cash, belonging to one Simeon John.

 

Oyo

A 32-year-old man, Olawale Badru, was last Tuesday arraigned before an Ibadan Chief Magistrates’ Court on a two-count charge of fraud and assault.

The prosecutor, Mr Oluseye Akinola, told the court that Badru assaulted one Damilola Adelanwa by stabbing him with a broken bottle on the back and causing him bodily harm.

Akinola said Badru also caused a breach of the peace by unlawfully demanding an illegal fee from a tanker driver, Olalekan Oseni, while discharging kerosene to customers, claiming “ son of the soil’’ status.

The alleged crime was said to have been committed on March 3, 2013 at about 9:00am at Idi- Mango area, Soka, Ibadan.

 

Plateau

Senator  Gyang Pwajok (PDP-Plateau) last Tuesday blamed “external groups’’ for the incessant attacks on rural communities in Plateau.

“The modalities and nature of the attacks indicate that these groups of attackers are largely external to Plateau and the sole aim is the decimation of the people in a bid to destabilise the state,’’ Pwajok said in a statement in Jos.

“Clearly, what they want is to stifle our determination to shun violence, embrace and trust one another so as to live as brothers in peace,’’ he said.

He said that the attacks were “a hallmark of organised and specialised terror with no empathy or regard for human dignity,’’ and advised the residents to quickly realise that they must unite “so as to overcome these trying times’’.

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NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets

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The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, has called for the prioritisation of child rights issues in both the national and state budgets.
Ojukwu, represented by Abdulrahman Yakubu,  director, political and civil education rights in the commission made the call in Abuja at an event organised by the commission to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the African Child  (DAC), celebrated every June 16.
He also called for alignment of national implementation plans of the Child’s Rights Act with international action plans like the Agenda 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda to ensure a more holistic and measurable implementation outcome
“While progress has been made on the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act and Laws across the   states that have adopted it, challenges bordering on non-prioritisation of child rights in the budget, poverty.
“Harmful traditional practices, inadequate access to educational and health services, armed conflicts and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to slow down process across all sectors.
“I call on all concerned Ministry , Departments and Agencies and child-focused organisations to explore  new tools and innovations like technology and social media to accelerate the implementation of child-based laws and policies in the country,” he said.
He also called for the adoption and implementation of measures to ensure universal health coverage, access to quality health-care services for all while closing all gender and vulnerability gaps.
Ojukwu also called for equal access to compulsory and quality education to all children, including children in rural communities, the girl child, children living with disabilities, children in conflict and humanity settings.
“We must address the root cause of conflict and engage early warning mechanisms to eliminate the impact of armed conflicts on children” he said.
The executive secretary said the DAC serves as a strong advocacy and sensitization tool for implementation of children’s rights.
“Beyond honouring the memory of the fallen heroes, the DAC celebration calls for introspection and self-assessment by the AU member states on the level of child rights implementation in respective countries.
The theme for the 2021 DAC celebration as selected by the African committee of Experts on the Rights and welfare of the child, he said, 30 years after the adoption of the charter: accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children.
In a goodwill message, the Country Representative of UN  Women Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey called for education-in-emergencies in Borno,  Yobe and Adamawa.
The country representative, represented by Patience Ekeoba,  National Programme Officer,  UN Women Nigeria,  Lamptey said that children of these three conflict affected states need education -in-emergencies.
“ In the north east of Nigeria, 2. 8 million children need education -in-emergencies support. No fewer than 802 schools remained closed and 497 classrooms are listed as destroyed with another 1, 392 damaged but repairable in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“In addition to this,  the COVID-19,  insecurity and humanitarian crisis and other prevailing challenges have presented new and additional challenges,” she said
“A lot of countries in Africa have robust legal frameworks policies,  conventions and other frameworks that guarantee the rights of the child,” she added.

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Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to amend its charge in the $9.8million, £74,000 fraud trial of an ex-Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, yesterday, held that granting the application by the EFCC would amount to varying a subsisting judgment given by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on April 24, 2020, where it, among others, ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to counts three and four of the six counts originally contained in the charge on which he was arraigned.
Justice Mohammed was emphatic that allowing the prosecution (the EFCC) to amend the charge was tantamount to disobeying the subsisting order made by the Court of Appeal in its judgment of April 24, 2020.
The EFCC claimed that its operatives, acting on a tip-off, raided Yakubu’s house located on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State on February 3, 2017, and recovered the $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash kept in a fire proof safe.
It arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge relating to money laundering offences.
He was among others, accused of failing to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.
The prosecution closed its case on October 17, 2018, after calling seven witnesses.
The seventh prosecution witness, an operative of the EFCC, Suleiman Mohammed, spoke about how his team recovered the $9,772,000 and £74,000 cash in Yabubu’s house in Kaduna, which was later deposited in CBN in Kano.
At the closure of the prosecution’s case, Yakubu made a no-case submission, which Justice Mohammed, in a ruling on May 16, 2019, partially upheld by striking out two of the six counts contained in the charge and ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to the remaining four counts.
The judge was of the view that the prosecution failed to prove counts five and six of the charge, which related to allegation of unlawful transportation of the money.
“Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am, however, constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four,” Justice Mohammed said in the May 16, 2019, ruling.
Dissatisfied, Yakubu challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which, in a ruling on April 24, 2020, upheld Justice Mohammed’s ruling and proceeded to strike out two more counts – one and two – in the charge.
The Court of Appeal, then, ordered Yakubu to enter his defence in respect of the remaining two counts – three and four.
Proceedings later resumed at the Federal High Court, with the defendant commencing his defence as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
But, on March 10 this year, the prosecution applied for leave to amend its charge, arguing among others, that the law allows the prosecution to amend charge at any stage of the proceedings before judgment.
The defence countered, arguing that the Court of Appeal, in its judgment of April 24, 2020, made an order to guide further proceedings in the trial.
It noted that the Court of Appeal ordered that the defendant was only to enter defence in relation to counts three and four in respect of which a prima facie case was established.
The defence urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application for amendment and allow the defendant to continue with his defence, a prayer Justice Mohammed granted in his ruling, yesterday.
When the judge ended the ruling, yesterday, the defence indicated its intention to proceed with its case, but the court elected to adjourn till June 30 following plea by the prosecution for an adjournment on the grounds that the lead prosecuting lawyer was not immediately available.

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Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate

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An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has queried World Bank’s prediction that Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to fifth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021.
Ekpo, a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, questioned the prediction in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Lagos.
Recall the bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria, Macro Hernandez while presenting its six-monthly update on development in Nigeria on Tuesday, said Nigeria was lagging the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation.
Hernandez included heightened insecurity and stalled reforms as slowing growth and increasing poverty.
The professor said: “First of all, we need to examine the methodology the World Bank used to arrive at the conclusion because we know that inflation has declined slightly.”
Ekpo, also Chairman, Foundation for Economic Research and Training in Lagos, said, however, that if government could solve the insecurity problems limiting economic growth and increase Agricultural production, the prediction might not hold.
According to him, there are countries with double digits inflation and still doing well.
“This means you can have inflation and yet your GDP is growing, so, it’s when you have what we call run-away or hyper inflation that is when you get worried.
“Run-away inflation means that prices are increasing everyday or every month without control,” he said.
On predictions that the inflation would push seven million more Nigerians into poverty due to falling purchasing power, Ekpo gave a suggestion to the federal government to stem it.
He urged the Federal Government to seriously implement the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Programme and the Economic Sustainability Plan documents.
“I cannot fault them on this one because already, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said about 85 million Nigerians are living in poverty.
“So, World Bank just saying that confirms what our own NBS has already said.
“Now, if the government implements the National Poverty Reduction initiative document as well as the Economic Sustainability plan seriously, then we can begin to reduce the poverty rate.

“Then the economy must grow double digits, that is, 10 per cent and above for us to see reduction in poverty and more jobs creation as well, because poverty is linked to unemployment,” he added.

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