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Again, FG Stalls Orubebe’s CCT Trial

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The Federal Government again yesterday stalled the commencement of the trial of a former Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, with a proposal to amend the four counts of N70 million bribery and false assets declaration preferred against him.
Earlier on November 9, 2015, the prosecution asked for two weeks to prepare its witnesses when asked to commence the trial shortly after the accused pleaded not guilty to the four counts.
The Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal had then adjourned till Thursday for the commencement of trial.
However,  the prosecution, led by Peter Danladi, rather than call its first witness, proposed to orally amend counts two, three and four, an application which the defence lawyer, Selekowei Larry (SAN), opposed.
Danladi, while applying for the amendment of the charges, cited section 216 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which he said allowed the prosecution to amend or alter the charges it filed at any time before judgment was delivered.
He said: “The matter was adjourned till today for hearing. But before we proceed, we are applying to amend counts two, three and four.
“The applications is brought pursuant to section 216 of the ACJ Act and pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable tribunal.”
The prosecuting counsel was about to give details of his proposed amendment when Larry raised an objection.
In opposing the application, Larry said it could only be done through motion on notice and not orally.
He said: “This is serious business. You ýcan’t just jump up and say you want to amend the charges. You have to notify us about what you want to do. You have to do it through motion on notice. You cannot come and take us by surprise. We have to know what you are doing.
“This is a court of record. Whatever they want to do let them do it properly by way of motion on notice.”
In response, Danladi said the use of word, “anytime” in section 216 of the ACJ Act showed that an application for amendment of charges by prosecution could be done orally.
However, while the tribunal chairman agreed that the prosecution had the right to amend the charges as it wished, it needed to put the defence on ýnotice.
Danladi then asked for two weeks to file the necessary processes for the amendment.
But Umar said since the year was already winding up, the tribunal would only be able to entertain the case in January.
The matter was then adjourned till January 27, 2016.

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FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil

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In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.

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FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.

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Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m

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The  Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s  request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects  in 2021 approved budget.
This approval  followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in  the assembly, had  moved a motion asking  the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing  a number of developmental projects.

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