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Magu, Malami Manipulating Legal System – Reps …Demands Sack Of IGP …As Senate Rejects Biased Panel Report On Benue Killings

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The House of Representatives yesterday condemned alleged manipulation of Nigeria’s legal system by Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The House also summoned the AGF, Abubakar Malami, for explanation on alleged manipulation of Code of Conduct Tribunal case involving the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.
This was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent public importance by Yakubu Barde (Kaduna-PDP).
Moving the motion, Mr. Barde expressed concern that the chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, had been charged with corruption at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court by the EFCC.
He said the same EFCC and Mr. Malami had previously cleared Mr. Umar of the same allegations that formed the basis of the fresh two-count charge.
“Any possible convictions or findings which the CCT may make from the same Danladi Umar, may be rendered null and void by the Court of Appeal, thereby frustrating the course of justice.
“The House should also recall that this same EFCC and AGF are equally prosecuting cases such as the case against the Senate President before the same CCT, which Umar sits as chairman,’’ Mr. Barde said.
Taking turns, other lawmakers condemned the actions of the AGF and EFCC after the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara, asked lawyers among the members, to educate their colleagues on the issue.
Razak Atunwa (Kwara-APC) said, “the shenanigans and intrigues in the CCT and the trial of senate president is laughable. No doubt, there is connivance between the AGF and the EFCC against the senate president.”
Also, Aliyu Pategi (Kwara-APC) said the case against Mr Saraki was an instance of political manipulation.
“EFCC and CCT are political tools used by the present government to witch-hunt perceived enemies,’’ he said.
However, Mohammed Monguno (Borno-APC) said, “the presumption of innocence gives the judge the right to go ahead to preside over the matter.’’
The motion was therefore, adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker.
Consequently, the Committee on Judiciary was mandated to interact with the AGF to ensure that sanity was brought back to the legal system.
Meanwhile, The House of Representatives yesterday unanimously called for the immediate sacking of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris. The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Abubakar Nuhu Danburam (APC, Kano) at a plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.Danburam had alleged that the IGP, in cahoots with the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Yusuf, turned a blind eye to the spate of thuggery in the state.
The ensuing debate, however, pitted the supporters of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Kano State governor, and his successor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, against one another before the House turned the heat on the IGP, adopting an amendment proposed by John Dyegh (APC, Benue).Dyegh said the House needed to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the IGP, alleging the police boss ignored the directive to relocate to Benue State in the wake of attacks by herdsmen.
He claimed that the IGP not only ignored intelligence report indicating where the herdsmen were camped, but also chose to stay in neighbouring Nasarawa State for unknown reasons. He called for the appointment of a “professional” IGP able to discharge duties effectively.
Dyegh’s motion was seconded by Ali Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) who had earlier accused the IGP and Yusuf of trampling on the constitutional rights of members of the Kwankwasiyya group to freedom of association and movement. Madaki particularly cited the refusal to allow Kwankwaso hold a rally on January 31, 2018.
But the Chief Whip of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano) and Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya (APC, Kano), both members of the Gandujiyya movement in their state, described the claims by Damburam and Madaki as misleading and mischievous.Doguwa explained that the Kwankwasiyya rally coincided with the one by the Kano APC chapter which had the approval of the state police authorities.Before passing the vote of no confidence on the IGP, the House adopted a motion sponsored by Mark Tersee Gbillah (PDP, Benue).
Gbillah demanded an unreserved apology from the IGP over disparaging remarks by Police Spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, against the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.
during a television programme.The House urged the police authorities to strip Moshood of his role. The spokesperson had described Ortom’s position on the clashes between farmers and herdsmen as the action of a “drowning man”.
Emmanuel Agbonayinma (APC, Edo), however, faulted calls for the IGP’s sacking. He told journalists: “Rumours cannot give us the right opinion. It is wrong to take a decision after hearing from one side of the divide.”
Also yesterday, the Senate rejected a report by its Committee on Police Affairs detailing failings of the Nigeria Police at curbing killings in Benue and other states.It asked the committee to withdraw the report, do a more objective investigation, and submit its findings within one week.
The Senate was particularly unhappy that the committee failed to get Ortom’s views, even after it had met Idris, who spoke against Ortom.While presenting the report, Senator Abu Ibrahim, an APC member from Buhari’s home state of Katsina, highlighted the IGP’s “achievements” on the crisis, saying they deserved commendation.
The report notes partly: “The Nigeria Police is grossly underfunded. Therefore, it is recommended that a percentage of excess crude oil fund should be made available through appropriation to the police in order to beef up their operations.”It called on politicians and opinion leaders to desist from statements capable of inciting violence, and recommended the disarming of all armed militias in Benue State and in the country.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, pointed out the defects in the report, saying: “I didn’t see where the committee made an effort to speak with the governor of Benue. This is sad because if in the circumstance they did not interview the governor and his name has been mentioned in respect of certain statements and actions, it would only be fair to him, to be invited by the committee to state his own side of the story, so that we have a balanced view of what transpired.”
Senator (and former Benue State governor) George Akume, also noted: “This report would have been more rounded if the governor who has been so massively accused by the IGP was also invited to make input.”The Nigerian Army, meanwhile, has announced it would begin a new operation in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi and Niger States.Tagged: “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma” (Tiv Language) or “Cat Race”, it would hold Thursday, February 15, to Saturday, March 31, 2018.
At a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the exercise would target killer herdsmen, cattle rustlers, armed bandits, kidnappers, armed militias and other criminal elements.The COAS refrained from saying the exercise was a presidential directive. Emphasis would be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, roadblocks, checkpoints, show of force and humanitarian activities, he said.
He enjoined citizens of the affected states not to panic, adding that governors have been put on notice.The Army Chief who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General David Ahmadu, said other participants are the Department of State Service, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Security and the Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).Still on insecurity, the Swiss government expressed worry about the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
The Regional Advisor on Migration and Development under the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Fabrice Fretz, spoke on the sidelines of the First Quarter Coordination meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on “Migration: Post 2017 National Migration Dialogue” in Abuja.He said: “Herders and farmers clash is certainly a thing of concern to the Swiss government and we are partnering Nigeria on this issue.”

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Rivers People Celebrate Wike On Birthday

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As Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike marks his birthday today, both Rivers indigenes and people resident in the State have expressed myriad of opinions in celebrating the special day with the Governor.
There is no doubt that, so far, the greatest encomiums showered on the Governor have derived from his obsessive knack for massive infrastructural development across the state.
What baffles many observers is that the execution of such projects comes with the speed of a sprinter, regardless of the season. Their commissioning is always a marathon performed by notable politicians from across party lines. And, above all, these projects have proved to be of top-class quality.
In fact, it was during the commissioning of one of such people-oriented edifices that Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, of a rival political party and an unlikely source for such tangible praise, gave him the most fitting appellation of ‘Mr. Projects’.
Obviously borrowing from this, one of our respondents, Mr. Edward Amatigha, said “Governor Wike is a good man. Look at the three flyovers he is constructing at a go; whereas his counterparts elsewhere are busy emptying their state treasuries into their personal bank accounts. The man is Mr. Projects, no doubt.
“As for his birthday on Friday, I join other well-meaning Rivers men and Nigerians in wishing him a happy celebration and God’s continued guidance”.
Amatigha, a bank clerk, wished the same level of infrastructural transformation could be achieved in his native Bayelsa State.
Chikwendu Nwokorogwu, a civil servant in Port Harcourt, sees Governor Wike as a blessing to the people of Rivers State and one of the best governors the state has had since its creation.
Nwokorogwu was particularly grateful to the Governor for his contributions to the health sector. She called on all Rivers people to celebrate their son who has done them well in all aspects of governance.
A trader, Mrs Ifeoma Chukwuemeka, referred to the Governor as a man of “timber and caliber”; a man of good taste and immense strength. She praised Wike for ensuring that traders enjoyed comfort while doing their business by building ultra-modern markets for them.
The food vendor wished him well on his new age while urging him to maintain his service delivery stance with the Rivers electorate as more goodies were being expected from the government.
Also speaking, Gabriel Ejiofor noted that “Governor Wike, beyond all reasonable doubt, is doing well, but I just pray that he becomes friendlier with the youths, because we have a lot to explore in our own state. God bless Wike! God bless Muhammadu Buhari! And God bless Nigeria!”
Muhammad Kadiri, who is of the Muslim community in Rivers State could not express his excitement and gratitude enough to Governor Wike. He saw the governor as a man of the people whose peaceful mien is very palpable across the state.
Kadiri said that Muslims in the state, who are mostly non-indigenes, still partake of the governor’s generosity, even as non- Rivers people. According to him, they can access the health and educational facilities in the state and also do business without any fear of intimidation or molestation; all because the governor is very accommodating.
Mallam Muhammad appreciated Allah for Governor Wike’s life and wished him well on the occasion of his birthday today.
On his part, a motorist, Anthony Chibor, paid special tribute to Governor Wike for inaugurating the task force on illegal parks and street trading in Port Harcourt. According to him, there is better traffic flow and an improved ease of doing business in the city.
He wished the Governor many years of success and advised him to remain focused while avoiding any temptation to be distracted by unnecessary political rantings and hate speeches from enemies of the state.
Also responding, Miss Goodness Idong, a student of Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt, opined that it is actually a double celebration for the state’s chief excutive as his birthday anniversary falls in the same month as Jesus Christ’s.
She assured that the governor’s vision and support towards improving the standard of education in the state would not be in vain as it will surely serve to produce students who would become very sound future leaders.
Another trader, Mr. Cletus Nwankwo, said that Wike’s good legacy at ensuring a better Rivers State is unrivaled. He described the state’s helmsman as the “Governor of all governors”, saying that his birthday would bring him good fortunes as the Heavens would surely shower him with multiple blessings.
For Elder John Chimezie, it was a very simple and apparently honest confession: “I like the governor’s work. The truth is that I have never seen a governor like him. I wish him goodluck, long life, prosperity and a graceful birthday”.
A civil servant who craved to be known simply as Mrs. D said she was always proud of Governor Wike’s accomplishments as a politician.
“Politicians hardly keep their election promises. But in Governor Wike, Rivers people and, indeed, Nigerians have found a politician whose word has always been his bond; a man who has consistently matched words with prompt action. In fact, an Ekwueme (talk-and-do) governor,” she eulogized.

 

By: Ibelema Jumbo, Ngozi Dennar, Chioma Peters & Odinakachi Oko

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Sowore: SANs Seek Judicial Inquiry Into Court Invasion

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The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BoSAN) yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to reveal the identities of those who invaded courtroom number 7 of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Department of State Services (DSS) last Friday re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow, a situation that has generated local and international criticisms.
BoSAN warned that unless the truth is unravelled, Nigeria would lose respect and become an object of ridicule among the comity of Nations.
The body gave the warning on Thursday in a speech made at a special valedictory court session to mark the retirement of Justice Kumai Aka’ahs from the Supreme Court.
The event held at the headquarters of the Supreme Court in Abuja.
Chief Onomigbo Okpoko (SAN) who delivered the body’s Speech remarked that the incident with similar ones in the last three years points to the level of disregard to the rule of law and the judiciary.
“The Nigerian Bar Association has come up with a statement from the bar condemning the action. As members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, associates itself with the condemnation of the show of shame.
“It will, however, go one step further to suggest that this matter should not be swept under the expanding carpet of deceit in Nigeria.
“The pertinent question is who was responsible for the action in the courtroom? This is a task that the government must carry out to ascertain the truth”, he said.
While stating that the Nigeria Police being a sister organisation cannot investigate the matter thoroughly, he said even the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Customs and other paramilitary forces in the country cannot also not do a thorough job.
Okpoko (SAN) added that even the National Assembly is not sufficiently equipped to investigate the matter.
“The way out is an Independent Commission of Enquiry under the law. This can be achieved. The Body of Senior Advocates hereby demands that Mr. President considers without delay, the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry to hear publicly and determined the perpetrators of the acts, their sponsors and their objectives.
“Unless this is done, Nigerians are unlikely to be convinced by any other explanations that the act was not the work of the DSS.
“It is the result of any such judiciary inquiry that will lead to the re-establishment of discipline in the society. The DSS and its officers are not above the laws of the land and the Constitution.
“In Nigerian law and in the Common Law, the Superior Orders is no defence to a criminal conduct. It has never been and this administration must not allow it to be”, the body said.
Also speaking at the occasion the NBA President, Paul Usoro (SAN) condemned the persistent disobedience and flouting of court orders by the authorities in the country.
“We desecrate the temple of justice when we blatantly flout and disobey the orders of courts. A court that is made to be helpless in the face of flagrant disobedience of its orders is as useless to society as a toothless bulldog is to its owner.
“No one fears a bulldog that is known to be toothless, it has no capacity to keep away a marauding army or a band of invaders”, he said.
In a related development, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has warned that disobedience to any court order is a recipe for lawlessness and chaos.
In a veiled reference to the arrest of the #RevolutionNow convener, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Services in violation of a court order, Abubakar stated that “everyone must be law-abiding in the interest of national development.”
He gave the warning yesterday in Abuja at the 2019 fourth quarter meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council with the theme: ‘Religion and Civil Authorities in Dialogue for Nation-Building.’
The monarch said, “We must regularly obey and respect the laws of our land. We should never disregard the laws to avoid the consequences. If a court makes a judicial pronouncement on a particular matter, it should be obeyed to the letter.
“If you have any problem or disagree with the pronouncement, the next step is to appeal the pronouncement instead of disregarding or violating court judgments.”
Speaking further, the Muslim leader noted, “If you are served a court order and you deliberately refused to obey it because you are a governor, president or any influential person, then you are setting a dangerous precedent.”
“There’s no society that will prosper through lawlessness; Citizens must be law-abiding so that we can achieve the desired development,” Abubakar said.
The NSCIA President-General also stressed the need for inter-religious dialogue in the country, noting that it would foster a better understanding among the people.
He admonished the citizens to be wary of extremism and prevent extremists from causing trouble in the polity.
Abubakar further emphasised the importance of education and particularly stressed the need to enrol street children in school and to combat the rising menace of drug abuse in the country.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha commended the Co-Chairmen and members of the NIREC for being steadfast in maintaining the peace and harmony in the country.
He said the Federal Government recognised the efforts of NIREC in bringing the two major religions together and providing religious leaders and traditional rulers a veritable forum to promote greater interaction and understanding among the leaders and their followers as well as lay foundations for sustainable peace and religious harmony in the country.
The SGF stated, “The time has now come for governments at all levels to sit down and discuss the issue of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with our religious and traditional rulers because the success or failure of security administration in the country depends largely on both institutions.
“You, therefore, remain in the frontline of stakeholders in the business of peacebuilding in every community.”
The NIREC Executive Secretary, Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua said justice and good governance remained the most effective means for promoting peace, harmony, mutual co-existence and development.

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Rivers Finance: House Committee Assures On Reforms

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The Joint House Committee on Finance and Public Accounts has promised to champion new reforms that will inject accountability into the management of funds in the state.
They made public their plans, yesterday, during a public hearing on two executive bills: Rivers State Audit Reform bill and Rivers State Finance Control and Management bill 2019.
While the Audit bill seeks to repeal and re-enact an existing bill of 1999, the Finance and Control bill is a new bill set to streamline public finance and enforce transparency.
Chairman House Committee on Finance and Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison said the public hearing is to get input from stakeholders and ensure that all forms of misappropriation are eliminated.
In his words, “if the bill is finally approved and passed into law the state would be one of the first to legally fight corruption.
Hon. Edison affirmed that the Chief Wike-led administration is against all forms of misappropriation hence it has sponsored the bill to streamline adequate appropriation of government funds.
Earlier, Chairman House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Major Jack submitted that the public hearing will streamline the bill and give it a modern look.
In his view it was high time the state reformed its audit system to give room for efficiency.
In the future, he said, accounting officers will be responsible as they are expected to be more prudent in their duties.
In a related development, the call for the establishment of the Rivers State Audit Service Commission has divided stakeholders in the public finance and accounts sector in the state.
Their views were made public during the public hearing on “The Rivers State Finance Control and Management bill 2019”, and “The Rivers State Audit Reform bill of 2019” held at the Assembly Complex yesterday.
While the Auditor- General of the State, Eliaz Akazu, advocated for an independent body to oversee audit processes in the state, Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Chief Oris Onyiri said it will conflict with service rules and duplicate functions.
Speaking through one Emmanuel Dappa, the Chairman of the State Civil Service said if the Commission is established, it will conflict with the mandate of the commission to oversee all public service matters, and therefore urged the Assembly to ensure that such provisions are duly addressed.
“When it comes to the discipline and promotion of auditors, it will relegate the duties of the Civil Service Commission, “ Onyiri declared.
Except in the appointment of Auditor General, which is exclusive of the Governor, Onyiri stated that other aspects of employment, promotion and discipline are under the Commission, stressing that auditors are civil servants.
Akazu had earlier posited that the Commission was necessary to inject efficiency and transparency in audit system.
He reasoned that, “auditing is moving away from the traditional system… The office should be funded through direct charge on government account or through budgeting”.
The State Auditor -General also sued for the establishment of a legal department to oversee grey legal areas instead of resorting to staffs loaned from sister agencies.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Rivers State University and Professor of Accountancy, Loveday Nwayanwu, has called for the inclusion of members of various high institutions in the proposed board of state audit.
Besides, Prof Nwayanwu argued that it will not be transparent if the auditors generally appoint somebody to audit his office.
Such duty, according to Nwayanwu, should be done by an independent body to create transparency.

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