Yar’Adua’s Ill Health: PDP Hails Jonathan, FEC For Steadfastness
Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor has reviewed the nearly two months absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the country on medical grounds and commended Vice President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for holding brief for the President, describing them as patriotic and steadfast.
Prince Ogbulafor who was presenting his New Year Message at a press briefing Wednesday in Abuja also chided opposition politicians and civil society groups who he accused of desperation in their desire to truncate the nation’s democracy, describing their conduct as unnecessary, shameful, and completely out of tune with the national mood.
The message reads in part: ‘I pray that this year would bring forth peace, prosperity and stability to our dear nation, Nigeria.
I wish to also thank you all for the cooperation we enjoyed from you last year and I hope that the mutual goodwill that exists between us will be enhanced and sustained this year.
As we join hands to serve Nigeria better this New Year, there is the need for an extra vigilance on the part of all Nigerians in the face of the onerous challenges that the emerging national circumstances have imposed on us.
I once again wish to express our deep concern on a trend that is becoming a favourite pastime of some politicians who do not know when to draw the line between mere politicking and the larger national interest.
I am referring to the tendency by some politicians to exaggerate the health condition of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, leading to the recurrent unfounded rumours all aimed at destabilizing the country.
The President’s interview on the BBC yesterday has finally put the lie to the malicious, baseless and devious rumours orchestrated by those who do not wish Nigeria well.
We are indeed alarmed at the level of desperation manifested by some people in their desire to truncate the nation’s democracy. We are at a loss as to why some people for whatever reason would want to contrive an atmosphere of instability and confusion when what is required is a sober reflection and a firm commitment to the National cause.
It is in the light of this that we find yesterday’s road show by some politicians and some members of the Civil Society unnecessary, shameful, and completely out of tune with the national mood. It is clearly an insensitive display of lack of respect for our institutions, our leaders and a debasement of our common humanity.
I wish to use this occasion to commend the entire leadership and members of the National Assembly for the unrelenting crucial roles they have been playing in defending and advancing democratic values.
We also wish to state very clearly that what the nation demands from each one of us at this point in time is unmitigated patriotism, maturity and restraint especially on the part of all those involved in our democratic project.
There is no stronger evidence of the commitment of leaders to the people they represent than allowing the full import of these values to guide their actions.
Now that the President has personally reassured all Nigerians on the progress made in his recovery, we call on all compatriots to continue to pray for his complete recovery and safe return to continue the goodwork he has been doing.
I also want to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to His Excellency, The Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCON and all members of the Federal Executive Council for their patriotism and steadfastness so far in steering the ship of state effectively while the President has been away. They have been an outstanding example of the values of team work and commitment to duty.
In conclusion, we wish to restate our commitment to the ideals of democracy, justice and the rule of law as the guiding principles of all our actions. We shall continue to pursue those ideals that would lead to the transformation of Nigeria in line with the Seven Point Agenda of Mr. President’.
Justus Awaji, Abuja
Judge Warns Against Text Messages In EFCC’s N5bn Suit
Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has warned those sending him private messages in the N5 billion suit filed by the EFCC against Sen. Stella Oduah and others to desist from intruding into his privacy.
Justice Ekwo gave the warning on Monday during the hearing of the matter.
The judge made this known after counsel for Oduah (1st defendant), Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and lawyer to Crystal Television Ltd (7th defendant), Ogbu Onoja, SAN, informed that moves were ongoing to resolve the matter without going through trial.
The judge then said: “Somebody has been breaching my privacy on this matter by sending me messages concerning this matter saying it is part of a concerned group.
“I will send security agencies to fish him out. You cannot be intruding into my privacy.”
Justice Ekwo, who condemned the act, said his records were public documents that could be assessed by anybody after the public laws had been complied with.
Responding, prosecuting lawyer, Hassan Liman, SAN, who appeared for the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), also condemned the act.
He said even if the person was a party in the suit, he had no right to communicate with the judge.
Earlier, upon resumed proceeding in the matter, Liman told the court that the matter was slated for formal arraignment of the defendants pursuant to the order made in the last adjourned date.
He said he was ready to proceed.
But Ikpeazu said there were applications they planned to file and that they felt discussion should be had on this with the prosecution.
Onoja, who represented the 7th defendant, also informed the court that his client had approached the anti-graft commission and paid almost 95 per cent of the money alleged in the case.
“We are waiting for the commission’s response and almost about N80 million is remaining,” he said.
Liman admitted that it was true that counsel for the 7th defendant wrote to the EFCC, seeking for the discontinuance of the matter.
“I confirm also that Mr Ikpeazu spoke to me this morning,” he said.
The lawyer, who said that the matter was filed since 2020 said though he agreed that there was reconciliation move, he however argued that the defendants must take their plea once the matter had been filed in court.
“The money we are talking about is over N7 billion,” he added, saying it was not such amount Onoja was making allusion to.
Liman said though a letter had been written, he said the commission had not even considered it, despite making the payment.
He admitted that the delay in the prosecution of the matter was not the court’s fault.
“I urge my Lord to order them to take their plea,” he prayed.
Justice Ekwo, who said he was ready for the arraignment, said it would be better to dialogue with the defendants and if that failed, the trial could commence.
He consequently adjourned the matter until June 15 for report or commencement of trial.
Recall that the EFCC had sued Oduah, former Aviation Minister, alongside Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi and Chukwuma Irene Chinyere.
Others include Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and others.
The senator, who currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, was scheduled to be arraigned on alleged N5 billion fraud and financial misappropriation while she served as minister during President Goodluck Jonathan government.
In the 25-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/2020, they are accused of conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with a commercial bank.
RSHA Elects Amaewhule As Speaker
The Rivers State House of Assembly has elected former House Leader and the lawmaker representing Obio/Apkor constituency 1, Hon. Martin Amaewhule as the speaker of the 10th Assembly.
The House also elected the lawmaker representing Gokana constituency, Dumle Mao, as Deputy Speaker.
Amaewhule was elected yesterday after the 10th Assembly was proclaimed by Governor Siminalayi Fubara through a nomination by the lawmaker representing Okrika Constituency, Linda Somiari Stalwart and seconded by Major Jack of Akuku-Toru Constituency.
The Speaker in his speech, shortly after the oath of office, promised a top class Assembly that will come up with legislations that will stand the test of time.
Amaewhule commended members for voting him and assured them of a new assembly that Rivers people will be proud of.
He, thanked Governor Fubara for proclaiming the Assembly and also the immediate past governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his developmental strides in the state.
He also thanked the staff of the Assembly for assisting in the business of government.
Amaewhule is currently serving his fourth term as a legislator and was unanimously voted for by all members present.
The governor had earlier dissolved the 9th Assembly based on the constitutional provision as contained in the 1999 constitution as amended.
By: Ike Wigodo
Terrorism: Tinubu’s Charges Security Agencies On Synergy
President Bola Tinubu has charged security agencies in the country to share information in order to combat the negative effects of terrorism.
He said that hoarding such resources would be counter-productive in the fight against the menace.
The president stated this last Monday, during a tour of the new office of the National Security Adviser and facilities at the National Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Abuja.
He said his administration recognised the relationship between security and economic revival, prosperity and development.
Tinubu said that terrorism is a global phenomenon that must be tackled with all resources in order to eliminate completely.
“If we as Nigerians are looking for economic revival, prosperity and development, then we have to give priority to security.
“What I have seen here is a demonstration of intelligence efforts to counter-terrorism. This must be backed by knowledge.
“Counter-terrorism that is not backed by knowledge and intelligence is not going to be of any service to any nation. We are going to work on that together.
“The effort of the entire armed forces of this country must be put together in a way that there will be one single focus on securing the country,” he said.
Tinubu, who described the tour of facilities at the new ONSA building as very important, said his administration would provide necessary support to the nation’s security architecture.
In his remarks, the NSA, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, thanked the president for making the visit his first engagement outside the Villa.
He said: “It reinforces his commitment, dedication and inflexible rigidity to ensuring that the security misfortunes of Nigeria and by extension the sub-region are overcome within the shortest possible time.”
Monguno pledged the total commitment and dedication of ONSA to ensuring that the president realises his promises to the people on security.
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