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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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CROSIEC Deploys About 8,000 Personnel For LG Elections

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Ahead of the next Saturday’s rescheduled Local Government elections in Cross River, about 8000 personnel are said to have been deployed across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, who disclosed this in Calabar while
speaking on preparations by the commission, said they are ready for the elections and one hundred percent compliant with post COVID-19
elections guidelines recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the National Centre for Diseases
Control.
He said: “Eight thousand personnel have been mobilised to cover the two thousand, two hundred and twenty-six polling units in the state.
There will be three personnel per pooling unit, five at the accreditation centres, five at the local government and ward coalition centres.
“Accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously and  in line with INEC guidelines, there will be two levels of queuing  and voters
will vote in batches while maintaining social distance.
“We had to make sure that we are on course and lives are protected. Luckily INEC released the procedure for post COVID-19 elections and I
must say that we are in full compliance with it. INEC said we have to provide hand sanitizers, face masks and we have adopted all the
procedures one hundred percent.
“ We have gone beyond INEC  and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, a good number of face masks  and
we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
He added that the commission has given sufficient notice for the elections and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in Saturday’s elections.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar.
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Ambassador Desmond Akawor Inaugurated As New Rivers State PDP Chairman

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The new Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executive Council has been inaugurated in Port Harcourt.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly,  Mr Ikuinyi Ibani administered the oath of office on the new executives led by Ambassador Desmond Akawor.
In a charge, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike called on the new executives to work towards consolidating the gains of the immediate past Executive led by Bro Felix Obuah.
He commended immediate past Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah for leading to victory .
He said: “We had challenges at the beginning, but that Executive was committed to service. Obuah has shown capacity to deliver.  It will not be easy for the new executives, but the new executives must start to prepare the party for the challenges ahead.
“Work hard to surpass the records of the past executives.  Working together is key, unity is key.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government will never condone criminality or any attempt to violate the law.
He said: “But for the steps that , the number of cases would have been more. What makes a leader is the ability  to be firm. I value life more than property.
“Since 2015, we have not demolished any property.  But, someone who was SSG superintended over the demolition of several properties.  Now the person is talking about the draconian process.
“My joy is that majority of Rivers people love what we are doing.”
Governor Wike added that from Information from the State Health Commissioner,  the State is likely to have more cases,  mostly oil workers.
National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee,  advising them to work for the growth of the party.
Commenting on the fight against coronavirus,  Uche Secondus blasted the Federal Government for refusing to assist State Governments and provide direction for the country.
He said: “The Governors are working without help from the Federal Government.  But for God, the situation would have been worse.
“Governors are running from pillar to post. We must be grateful to Governor Wike for the initiative that he took. What the Governor has done has helped to drastically reduce the number of cases.
“Rivers State is lucky to have Governor Wike at this time of crisis .”
He said those who spread negative propaganda do so out of hatred.
New Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Ambassador Desmond Akawor thanked ththe leadership and members of the party for giving him the opportunity to serve.
He said God has used Governor Wike to rebuild a new Rivers State.  He saluted the resilience of PDP in weathering the storm.
Akawor assured that the new Executive will serve the party diligently.
Immediate Past PDP State Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah said that the Executive Committee under his leadership led the party to victory  since 2015.
He said that the outgone Executives will continue to work for the party  to ensure future victory.
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Bode George Urges FG To Relax Lagos Lockdown

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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.

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