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CCT: Saraki Knows Fate July 13 …Forgery Trial Stalled by Poor Service …Reps Kick Against Trial

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The Code of Conduct Tribunal, yesterday, fixed July 13 to deliver its ruling on an application filed  by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, asking its Chairman, Danladi Umar to disqualify himself from further presiding  over his trial.
The tribunal fixed the date for ruling after hearing parties, with the prosecution led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), describing the application as frivolous and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.
On the other hand, defence counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN),  maintained that with the comment of the tribunal chairman during the June 7, 2016 proceedings which he said his team had  adjudged to be biased  against the defence, the tribunal chairman could no longer do justice.
Erokoro quoted Umar to have warned that the delay tactics deployed by the defence  would not reduce the consequences of the trial.
The lawyer maintained that the comment was tantamount to a threat of conviction of the defendant when trial was yet to be concluded.
But Jacobs said the consequences referred to by Umar  could either be acquittal or conviction going by the provisions of Section 309 and 310 Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the CCT on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration, which he allegedly made between 2003 and 2011 when he served as the Governor of Kwara State.
He is  also accused  of operating foreign accounts as a public officer and of receiving governor’s salary or emoluments  in addition to his salary as a senator for some periods after completing his two terms as governor and got elected as a senator .
However, the House of Representatives, yesterday, rose in defence of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, saying that the Federal Government should “desist” from its bid to prosecute them over forgery allegations.
It noted that dragging Saraki and Ekweremadu to court did not only amount to interfering with the “internal affairs” of the Senate, but was also part of a plot to cripple the institution of the National Assembly.
In a resolution in Abuja, the House specifically urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by cautioning top officials of his administration and stop them from “progressing in error.”
A member from Kogi State, Mr. Tajudeen Yusuf, who brought up the issue under matters of urgent public importance, recalled that the lack of respect for the National Assembly was exemplified in the non-implementation of the resolution passed since March, taking over the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The House argued that seeking to prosecute Saraki and Ekweremadu after an Abuja Federal High Court had ruled that the case in question was an internal affair of the legislature, suggested desperation to rubbish the National Assembly.
Calling on the executive to abide by the principle of separation of powers and independence of the legislature as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Resolution read further, “The House strongly urges Mr. President, who has sworn to an oath to defend and protect the constitution, to prevail on the members of the executive council to desist from further steps that will cripple the National Assembly.
“These include prosecuting the presiding officers of the Senate over alleged forgery of Senate Rules, which a  competent court of law has also recognised as strictly the ‘internal affair of the National Assembly’, and which judgement has not been set aside by any superior court.”
Citing more instances of disregard for the National Assembly, the House observed that Ministers and heads of agencies ignored invitations to appear before committees for oversight.
“It is now commonplace that ministers and heads of parastatals ignore invitations by committees at will.
“The House committees have therefore been rendered toothless because no consequences attach to such wanton refusal of ministers to attend sessions,” the House added.
The session was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
But, he did not allow the motion to be debated on the grounds that it was “straightforward.”

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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