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Alleged N40bn Fraud: I Have No Case To Answer, Nyako Tells Court

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A former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, yesterday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja, to strike out the alleged N40 billion money laundering charge filed against him and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Nyako, in a no-case submission motion filed by his team of lawyers led by Kanu Agabi, on behalf of 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants, told Justice Okon Abang that “no case has been made out by the prosecution warranting an answer from them.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Nyako; his son, Abdulaziz Nyako; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd who are 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants respectively in the trial.
Others are  Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd are 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th defendants respectively.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-counts bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako was Adamawa governor.
Our source also reports that the anti-graft agency had called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.
Reacting, the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants argued that from the testimonies of the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution, there was not a single shred of evidence that suggested even remotely that a case had been made out against them.
“Apart from the fact that the charges are in themselves incompetent and irredeemably bad thereby rendering the entire trial a nullity,” they said.
According to them, the prosecution made allegations against persons and companies who were not charged.
“The allegations made against these companies and individuals constitute elements of the offences charged.
“In order to succeed in all the counts, these elements must be proved. These elements cannot be proven behind the back of the companies and individuals against whom the allegations were made, having not been charged.
“Even if these companies and individuals were called as witnesses, that would not have been sufficient but none of them except Mary P was called.
“The failure to charge these companies and individuals against whom allegations were made in these counts constitute a failure of the prosecution to prove essential elements of the counts.
“Accordingly, the charges laid out in Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37 fail on that account,” the defendants added.
They argued that the essential elements of the offences charged had either been omitted or not proved.
“Under Sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the failure to prove an essential element of the offence charged is a ground for upholding a submission that the prosecution has not made out a case warranting an answer from the defendants,” they held.
However, at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the EFCC Lawyer, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, told Justice Abang that the commission intended to comprehensively respond to the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants’ no-case submission.
He prayed the court to give him seven days within which to file his responses.
Abang, who gave the prosecution seven days to file and serve their written address in opposite to the defendants’ no-case submission, said the defendants would be at liberty to file and serve their reply on point of law within seven days.
He adjourned the matter until March 25 for parties to adopt their written addresses for and in opposition to the defendants’ no-case submission.

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Gov Emmanuel Shuts Borders, Suspends Ibom Air

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Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has ordered the closure of all borders and roads leading to the state with immediate effect.
The governor also directed that Ibom Air suspends all flight operations with effect from Sunday, March 29.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo, yesterday.
Emmanuel was quoted as directing that workers in the state should stop work with effect from Monday, March 30 for one week. “Following a critical analysis of the situation relating to COVID-19 situation, I have been directed by His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel to make the following announcements:
“Salaries of state government workers for the month of March will be paid on or before Friday, March 27, 2020.
“Workers are advised to prepare to stop going to work and stay at home for one week with effect from Monday, March 30, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced. March 30, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced.
“All borders and roads leading in and out of the state are closed with immediate effect; except for transportation of food items. Ibom Air will suspend all flight operations from Sunday, March 29, 2020.
“Markets are to remain open for sale of foodstuff and essential items only,” Emmanuel said.
The governor appealed to all Churches in the state to fast t situation. and pray on Sunday, March 29 for God’s intervention in the present situation.
He added that while the one week stay at home order would be on, government would continue to monitor the situation and provide update on the coronavirus in the state.
“While the one week stay-at-home order subsists, the Akwa Ibom State government will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on any development in the COVID-19 situation in our state,” he said.

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Partisan Politics: Awuse Wants Civil Servants Isolated

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Elder statesman and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Chief Sergeant Awuse, has said civil servants should be isolated from partisan politics in order to achieve maximum productivity.
Chief Awuse stated this in his remarks at the public presentation of the book, ‘A Handbook on Discipline of Civil Servants in Nigeria’ written by the State Head of Service (HOS), Rufus Godwins in Port Harcourt, recently.
“He stated, “By 1971/72 when we finished our secondary school, I was in Ministry of Establishment. The Permanent Secretary that they had then, if I may say, was a position that many people wanted to have. They were secure. I will want the writer in subsequent review to consider the importance of career civil servants and not political permanent secretaries.
“The reason is simple. Loyalty is always the ingredient for their appointment. But those days, permanent secretaries were judged by their ability to deliver, their ability to perform and they were more secured. I know you may not include that in your book now for obvious reasons.
“But in future, when you are reviewing, please make sure you mention that area. But remember, in every sector today, the politicians are also very important.
“The important thing is that future civil servants should be isolated from partisan politics. They should be allowed to function and use their brains. They should be allowed to do the job, irrespective of which party is in government,” he stated, noting that it was difficult to get the best out of the civil service with frequent rotation.
“Some of them are afraid to function properly because they know that the words that are used that ‘I am directed’. If you are not directed properly you are on your way out,” the elder statesman noted.

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Lagos Assembly Lifts Suspension On Four Lawmakers

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The Lagos State House of Assembly, yesterday, reinstated four of its members earlier suspended indefinitely over alleged misconduct and insubordination.
The Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, made the announcement during the plenary in Lagos.
The House, had on March 9, passed a resolution sacking two of its principal officers and suspending two members indefinitely for alleged misconduct, insubordination and action that could destabilise the House.
The speaker announced the punitive measures following the voice votes by members present during the plenary.
He said the principal officers that were removed included the Chief Whip, Mr Rotimi Abiru and Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Olumuyiwa Jimoh.
The speaker also announced the suspension of Mr Moshood Oshun (Lagos Mainland Constituency II) and Mr Kazeem Raheem Adewale (Ibeji Lekki Constituency II).
The offices of the four lawmakers in the House were subsequently locked by the Speaker on March 10.
Obasa said on Thursday during plenary, that the House decided to lift their suspension following the intervention by the Governor’s Advisory Council and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The Governor’s Advisory Council and the National leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have intervened in the crisis and directed that the House should reinstate the suspended lawmakers.

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