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Alleged N2.1bn Fraud: Court Adjourns For Dokpesi To Present Documents

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The Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned the ongoing trial of Chairman emeritus of DAAR  communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi until May 14 to enable him produce more documents in his defence.
At the resumed trial yesterday, counsel to Dokpesi, Mr Mike Ozekhome, SAN, asked the court for an adjournment to enable him subpoena documents from the presidency and some ministries.
Ozekhome told the court that they had previously written letters to the concerned offices but they had failed to honour the letters.
He said that following their failure to respond to their letters,  they had to subpoena them in order to get the certified true copies of documents he needed to defend his client.
He named the offices to include the presidency, the ministry of information and culture and the office of the secretary to the government of the federation, among others.
Opposing the application for an adjournment, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, said that no sufficient reason had been given for an adjournment.
Jacobs added that, moreover, if such documents were really important in the defendant’s defence, the defence team should subpoena them or summon the offices to give evidence.
He urged the court to refuse the application for adjournment adding that no injustice would be done if the defendant gave his evidence and the prosecution cross examined him.
The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho adjourned the matter until May 14 and May 15 to enable the defendant acquire the certified true copies of the documents to aid him in defending his case.
Earlier, while being led in evidence by Ozekhome, Dokpesi told the court that after the media initiative was adopted in 1994, it was recommended that it should be handled by the office of the National Security Adviser.
He added that in 2014, the Jonathan administration saw a need for the media campaign to correct the bad image the country had with respect to the raging insurgency.
He said he was contacted by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and a short extract was presented for a media campaign to rectify the image of the country adding that it was not a political campaign.
Dokpesi is being tried alongside his company, DAAR Investment and Holdings Ltd on a six- count charge bordering on procurement fraud and breach of public trust to the tune of N2.1 billion.

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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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