The Federal High Court, Abuja, has admitted into evidence, records of expenditure of the N400 million the former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh is alleged to have fraudulently received.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang admitted the document titled; “President National Assignment Account, into evidence and marked it as exhibit D20.
Metuh had testified that the N400 million was paid to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan for a special national assignment.
He had also testified that he disbursed the money under the directives of the former president, after which he also tendered account with receipts of payments to him.
Metuh who was led in evidence by his counsel, Abel Ozioko, at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, confirmed that no part of the N400 million was used for the campaign activities of the PDP.
He said it was exclusively used for the presidential special national assignment.
The records of account tendered by Metuh contained details of the disbursements and signatures of those who received funds in the execution of the said special national assignment.
Metuh further told the court that he had no dealings with an aide of the former vice president, Abba Dabo, the seventh prosecution witness, with regards to the special national assignment.
He explained that the N25 million he paid to Dabo was from the PDP for PDP activities and not from the N400 million.
He said this was because Dabo did not carry out any role in the special national assignment and was never assigned any role in the project.
“All the dealings I had with Dabo had nothing to do with the special national assignment.
“Nothing about Dabo was contained in the record of account submitted to the former president and there is no record of payment made to Dabo in the special national assignment”, Metuh said.
According to Metuh, I had previously testified in court that as National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, I usually make payment from my personal resources for party activities after which I get refunds from the party.
He drew the attention of the court to exhibit D11 tendered by the Head of PDP Publicity Directorate, Mrs Chinwe Nnorom.
The exhibit reflected a refund of N25 million to Metuh for the fund he paid to Dabo for a project he carried out for the party.
Metuh said he was shocked that Dabo did not ask him about the source of the N25 million refunded him by the party before refunding same to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
Justice Abang adjourned the matter until April 10 for continuation of trial.
Metuh is standing trial along with his company, Destra Investment Limited on a seven count charge which involves laundering $2 million.
Farmers, Herdsmen’s Crisis: Assembly Moves To Establish Peace Commission
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly, has expressed its readiness to enact a law for the establishment of a peace commission to proffer solutions to farmer/herder crisis in the state.
Speaker of the Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi,gave the assurance at a peace dialogue workshop in Lafia, Monday.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for members of the Assembly and other stakeholders.
Abdullahi who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Nehemiah Dandaua said the importance of peace to societal development cannot be overemphasised, hence the need for the establishment of the commission.
“We want to commend the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for organising this workshop, which is aimed at promoting peace in the state.
“We, as an Assembly, are ready to support any programme that will promote peace in the state, as no society or nation can achieve any meaningful progress and development without peace.
“Peace is the necessary requirement for development, particularly for any nation, hence the need to support any organisation out to promote peace in the state and the country at large,” he said.
The speaker also expressed the determination of the Assembly to pass resolutions and enact laws that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people of the state. Alhaji Shehu Chindo, the Emir of Keffi, who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers, also commended UNDP for organising the workshop, assuring of the traditional rulers’ commitment to promoting peace in the state.
Earlier, Abdulwahaba Ba, the Project Manager, UNDP said that the programme was organised to create awareness on the need to establish a peace agency in the state.
“This will go a long way in promoting peace among farmers, herders and other people of the state and Nigeria at large,” he said.
Police Partner NYSC To Fight Cultism In Schools
The National Coordinator, Police Campaign Against Cultism and Other Vices (POCACOV), SP Ebere Amaraizu, yesterday said the group would partner with National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to eradicate cultism in schools nationwide.
Amaraizu said this when he led members of the group on a courtesy visit to NYSC State Secretariat in Enugu.
The visit featured formal induction of NYSC state coordinator, assistant directors, zonal and local government inspectors and key officers as Police Community Relations Committee members.
According to him, a strong synergy with NYSC will be a veritable platform for sustenance of various government and police programmes.
“We need the NYSC partnership to stop cultism and other vices in primary and secondary schools, then tertiary institutions nationwide.
“This is in-line with the tenets of community-oriented policing, which are the cardinal ingredients for effective policing of various communities,’’ he said.
The NYSC state coordinator, Mr Stephen Dewan, said that NYSC was happy with the efforts of the police command in the state and POCACOV in checking crime.
Dewan said that the NYSC would continue to partner with the Nigeria Police to ensure safe and secured society.
Human trafficking, according to Oxford dictionary is a crime which involves unlawful movement or transportation of persons or people within and across international borders forcefully against their wish either by threat or by promise of benefits for purposes of being used for sex trade, forced or involuntary labour or all manner of commercial activity which is detrimental to the victim but beneficial to the person or persons doing the act. The Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 (NAPTIP ACT) section 50 provides thus:
Trafficking means all acts and attempted acts involved in the recruitment, transportation within and across Nigerian borders, purchase, sale, transfer, receipt or habouring of a person involving the use of deception, coercion or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding the person whether for or not involuntary servitude (domestic sexual or reproductive) in forced or bonded labour or in slavery like condition”.
This definition is wide and covers both the act itself and attempt to do the acts prohibited under the Act. Looking at the way and manner the crime of human trafficking is committed, the excruciating effects on the victims and their immediate families, the law cannot close its eyes but see it as a human right issue and concern. In Nigeria, the crime of human trafficking has been addressed to an extent through legislation and policy measures initiated by government. Section 34 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended guarantees the right see copy prohibits the subjection of any person to slavery or servitude. The section categorically provides that every individual is entitled:
(a) To respect for dignity of the person and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment,
(b) Any person be held in slavery or servitude let alone,
(c) Being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
The enforcement of these rights is reinforced by section 46 of the same constitution as well as order 11 of the fundamental Rights (Enforcement Proceduce) Rulers 2009 which authorizes such victims to bring application for enforcement of the rights before a High Court in the state when such alleged infraction may have taken place with the inclusion of the phrase “within” and outside the state borders under section 50 of NAPTIP Act.
Aside the constitution, other legislations enacted locally also made provisions relating to human trafficking. The criminal code for instance makes it an offence to procure women and girls for prostitution in or outside Nigeria, (see section 223CC). this is punishable upon conviction for a term of two years imprisonment which is not commensurate to the offence committed. Note that from the above section of the criminal code, the procurement of such women or girls must either be to make them become inmates of a brothel or make them leave their place of abode in Nigeria with the intent of becoming prostitutes in brothels in Nigeria or elsewhere. Section 270 of the penal code criminalises forced labour but merely provided a penalty of one year imprisonment or an option of fine to be determined by the court. This will encourage the trafficker who knowing how lucrative the offence of trafficking is, to continue with the trafficking and wait for a possible fine he or she will pay and continue with the business.
It is clear the penal and especially the criminal code made progressive provisions against the act of human trafficking in and outside Nigeria but failed to prescribe adequate penalties sufficient enough to serve as deterent. It is my humble submission that these provisions be reviewed.
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