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EFCC Drags Judge To NJC Over Okorocha, Saraki

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After granting similar injunctions stopping the probe of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has dragged a Federal High Court judge before the National Judicial Council
The commission, apparently pissed off by what it considers as a brazen attempt by Justice Taiwo Taiwo to stop its constitutional duties, will today formally present a strongly-worded petition before the NJC against the judge.
At the same time, the petition, which was personally signed by the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, is to be made available to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, asking him to retrieve all corruption cases filed by EFCC from Justice Taiwo’s court.
A top EFCC source told newsmen that the commission came to the unavoidable decision to move against Justice Taiwo after he gave similar restraining orders to two top politicians facing probe by the anti-graft agency within a week. incidentally, the two injections issued in favour of Saraki and Okorocha against their investigation by the EFCC were argued by the same lawyer, Sunday Onubi and and granted by the same judge on May 15 and May 8, 2019 respectively.
One dies as Ogun SSG survives auto crash – FRSC(Opens in a new browser tab) In the two injunctions sighted by Vanguard last night, the same set of government agencies and officials were listed as the respondents while Governor Rochas Okorocha and Senator Bukola Saraki were the applicants.
The judge effectively restrained the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, the DSS, the EFCC and the ICPC from going ahead with the probe of the applicants despite decided cases that the agencies have the right to do so.
In a ten-paragraphed petition addressed to the NJC dated May 21, 2019, accused Justice Taiwo of professional misconduct and impropriety and asked that he should be appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrent. Part of the petition reads:
“My Lord, we respectfully petition Your Lordship on the unwholesome Conduct of Honourable Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo for granting orders ex-parte restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from performing its statutory functions in the ongoing investigation of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. N107.7m fraud: ex-SMEDAN boss, Masari, secures N30m bail(Opens in a new browser tab)
“The EFCC is conducting investigation into allegations of corrupt practices by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while serving as the Executive Governor of Kwara State and also as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the course of the investigation, Senator Saraki instituted two separate suits Nos. FHC/ABJ/cs/507/2019 and FHC/ABJ/cs/508/2019 essentially seeking to restrain the EFCC from performing its statutory and the matters were assigned to Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo.
“My Lord, it is a well established legal principle that no court has the power to stop the investigative powers of the EFCC or any agency established under the laws to investigate crimes. This principle has received judicial pronouncements in a host of cases, which include: Orji Uzor Kalu v Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney General of Anambra State v Uba and Obiwusi v EFCC 2018.
“My lord, despite this well established principle, Honourable Justice Taiwo made to separate ex-parte orders in the said cases on 14th May, 2019 restraining EFCC from performing its statutory functions of carrying out criminal investigation pending the determination of the motions on notice.
“My lord, by ignoring or refusing to follow the above laid down principle by superior courts; Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo acted in bad faith and had abused his powers as a judicial officer.

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INEC Vows To Prosecute Kogi Gov For Double Registration

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says its allegation of double registration against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State still stands.
“The allegation of double registration has not been swept under the carpet; we cannot prosecute Bello now because he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor.
“He has committed an offence and we shall prosecute him when he is out office,” INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Prof. James Apam, said in Lokoja.
He said that the recent issuance of a temporary voter card to the governor did not mean that the issue of double registration had been swept under the carpet.
The INEC had, on February 26, issued a temporary voter card to the governor after applying for the transfer of his permanent card from Abuja to Okene.
INEC, had last year, declared the second registration done by Bello, on May 23 at the Government House, Lokoja as illegal and contrary to the Electoral Act.
The electoral body, through one of its National Electoral Commissioners, Mr. Emmanuel Shoyebi, said that the registration, which was done outside the designated registration centre, also amounted to double registration which is a criminal offence.
Shoyebi said that Bello did his first registration at Wuse Zone 11 in Abuja, on January 30, 2011.
For their involvement in the double registration saga, a senior official of INEC was compulsorily retired from service while two others were summarily dismissed last month.

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RSG, Julius Berger Sign Pact For N21bn Flyovers …Flags Off Construction Work, ‘Morrow

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The Rivers State Government and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, last Friday, signed an agreement for the construction of three flyover bridges to develop the landscape of Port Harcourt and resolve traffic congestion in the city.
The three flyover bridges are worth an estimated N21billion.
The Attorney-General of Rivers State, Dr Zaccheus Adango led officials of the Rivers State Government during the signing process, while the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter led the Julius Berger team.
The length of the flyover bridges include: Artillery 1 and 2, measuring 517.5metres; Rumuokoro, measuring 360metres; and Garrison, measuring 360metres.
Speaking after the agreement signing ceremony, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike assured that the flyover bridges would be completed within 16months and in line with approved specifications.
He said that the Rivers State Government would pay 70 per cent of the contract sum to ensure that the contractor execute the three flyover bridges on schedule.
The governor said: “These three flyover bridges will be completed within 16months as agreed with the contractor. This contract will cost about N21billion.
“We are going to pay 70 per cent of the contract sum upfront. After payment, we expect Julius Berger to give us the required quality and on schedule”.
Wike said there will be no excuse for variation or extension of the time of project completion.
“There should be no excuse. This contract should be completed within schedule. When the government pays Julius Berger the 70 per cent upfront, there will be no variation.
“Everything has been done. What is left is compensation. The money for compensation has been set aside”, he said.
Wike said that the simultaneous construction of the three flyover bridges would generate thousands of jobs for Rivers people within the period of construction.
The governor charged the management of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to ensure that Rivers people were given priority in the employment of construction workers, insisting that Rivers people would always benefit from Rivers resources.
Aside the construction of the flyover bridges, Wike said that his administration has awarded contracts for the reconstruction and expansion of key roads in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
He said: “Most of the roads have been awarded for construction. We have the New GRA, the Old GRA, Ikwerre Road and other key roads. They will be handled by major contractors.
“Our second term will be like the first term. I appreciate the opportunity that Rivers people gave to me, and I will repay them with quality service and projects’ delivery”.
He called on host communities of the flyover bridges to cooperate with the contractor to ensure speedy delivery of the contract.
“Our people should make sacrifices for us to achieve success. We want to change the landscape of Port Harcourt. The flag off will take place next week Tuesday” (tomorrow), he said.
Wike said that he would continue to place the interest of Rivers State above other considerations
He said: “The only political party that I belong to is Rivers State. Anything that is against the interest of Rivers State, count me out.
“For this project, I am directly responsible for community relations. I will liaise with the communities to ensure that nobody stops the development process”.
He stated that the Rivers State Government chose Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to execute the project because of the administration’s commitment to quality.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, assured that the company would deliver the three flyover bridges within the approved 16months period.
He said: “Julius Berger will deliver the projects in the record time of 16months. Governor Wike, I assure you that Julius Berger will deliver”.
Richter said that Julius Berger would continue to partner with the Rivers State Government to deliver quality projects across the state.
He said that Julius Berger has also delivered quality projects under the Wike administration.
During his inauguration for a second term, Wike had promised Rivers people that he would construct three flyover bridges in Port Harcourt.
However, the official signing of contract for the construction of three flyover bridges in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has elicited reactions from residents of Port Harcourt City.
Some residents, who spoke to our correspondent in Port Harcourt, over the weekend, described the project as a crucial step that would redefined the socio-economic landscape of the city.
Hon Eric Ejigini said that the three flyover bridges would transform the transport situation in the city and its environ.
“Rumuokoro Flyover Bridge has been expected for a long time from the past administrations in the state and the Federal Government.
“This is the most significant project by any administration in the state. I commend Wike for this bold and pragmatic step”, he said.
Another respondent, Mr Chinedu Egbom hailed the governor for the projects, saying the step would check the traffic challenges in the city.
“Kudos to our hardworking governor, what we have been begging the Federal Government to do for us has been embarked upon by Mr Project”, he added.
Another resident, Mr Ibim Clifford, hailed the governor for the projects, saying, “What excites me most is the choice of Rumuokoro, Artillery and Garrison for the flyover projects. This is because of the traffic challenges residents of the city suffer daily at these places”.
Also speaking, Chief Tams David, a businessman and resident of the city, lauded the project, and said it would influence positively every sector of the economy in the state.
“They call Governor Wike ‘Mr Projects’ and by the day, he lives by the name. If all the state governors in Nigeria work like Nyesom Wike, Nigeria will be transformed”, David argued.
A commercial driver in Port Harcourt, Chima Madume, applauded the state governor for the huge project, and said it would enhance transport operations in the city.
“It is true that during the construction of the three flyover bridges, there would be obstruction of traffic particularly as the three flyover bridges would be done simultaneously. But by the time they are completed, we shall enjoy the projects”, he added.

 

Chris Oluoh

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Smith, IGP Fight Dirty Over New 10,000 Policemen

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The Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, has written to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, explaining the reasons for the legal action taken by the PSC against the police at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The commission is seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, from going ahead with the recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
The processes filed before the Federal High Court 5 on September 27, 2019, by Kanu Agabi (SAN), will be heard on October 23.
Smith in his letter dated October 16, stated that the commission and the police were involved in the recruitment process, but the force, he said, subsequently took over the exercise by unilaterally releasing the list of candidates for medical screening.
The police authorities had insisted on conducting the recruitment, saying the commission had no mandate to recruit men for the force.
Despite the PSC’s opposition and legal challenge, the force had penultimate Sunday, released the final list of successful candidates who had been directed to resume at 18 police colleges and training schools nationwide for the commencement of training on October 21.
Smith drew the COS’ attention to previous legal opinions by four Attorneys-General on the long-drawn recruitment dispute with the police authorities, noting that Kalu Agabi (2002), Bayo Ojo (2007), Mohammed Adoke (2010) and lately, the current Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (2019) had taken different positions on the issue.
The letter read, “Since the return to civil rule on May 29,1999, four legal opinions listed here have been issued. When the copy of the opinion of 2019 was received and it was observed that the only earlier opinion considered was that of 2010, the attention of the Attorney-General was drawn to his oversight in a letter from the commission.
“Please, note that the legal advice of Kanu Agabi (SAN) and that of Bayo Ojo (SAN) expressly and exclusively vested the power of recruitment/appointment in the commission as against that of Mohammed Adoke and Abubakar Malami.”
“Because nothing was subsequently heard in the matter, the board of the commission met and decided to approach the Federal High Court, Abuja, for proper interpretation of section 30 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution, which, amongst others, gave the commission the power of appointment of policemen,” the retired IG explained.
Smith further pointed out that the commission’s attention was drawn to the release of the final list of candidates by the Force Headquarters on October 14 despite the pending court case.
The PSC stated that the failure of the police authorities to break down the candidates’ list local government by local government made it suspect “the injection of names that ought not to be in the final list.”

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