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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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2023: BVAS Won’t Fail, INEC Assures Following Mock Accreditation

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The Chairman of the Independent National Elec-toral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines have never failed and will not fail Nigerians at the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu said this in Abuja on Saturday while assessing activities at polling units in the Federal Capital Territory where mock accreditation of voters was held using the BVAS machines.
“In the two polling units we have visited so far, there is no report of failure; the machines have performed optimally and this is the report we are getting so far nationwide.
“We have also made contingency arrangements like we will do on election day, that there is a spare machine in case, and in the unlikely event of a malfunction we will be able to respond and fix the machines’’, he said.
Yakubu explained that from the mock exercise witnessed, it took less than 30 seconds to accredit a voter, adding that this was the report INEC was getting from all the selected polling units nationwide.
“The speed is good and also the authentication is good.
“The BVAS has never failed anywhere,’’ he stressed.
Yakubu said also that no incident of failure had been recorded and INEC was hoping and praying, having worked very hard, that on February 25 and March 11, the machines would also perform optimally.
He assured that accreditation and electronic transmission of results would be done seamlessly during the elections.
“I would not like to comment on the Osun issue because it is a matter in court and is sub-judice.
“However, in every situation the Commission learns, carries the experience from what has happened to improve the processes for the next election.
“We have learned some lessons from what happened and one of the lessons is to be able to transmit the accreditation data,’’ he said.
Yakubu also assured on Saturday that in the forthcoming general election, INEC would transmit both the results on election day and the accreditation figures simultaneously so that the two would rhyme.
He said INEC created a new Uniform Resource Locator on its Results Viewing Portal where both the accreditation and results could be viewed.
“We are going to transmit both the accreditation figures and the results on election day”, he added.
“We are giving assurance to Nigerians that on Election Day, both the accredited data and the actual votes cast will be transmitted simultaneously and accurately,’’ the INEC boss stressed.
Yakubu said the mock exercise was organised to further test the integrity of the machines to be used on election days.
He said it needed to test the machines in the field ahead of the election bearing in mind that this was the first time of deploying the machines nationwide.
He explained that for the mock exercise, INEC identified 436 polling units nationwide on the equality of states and on the basis of two local governments per senatorial district.
Four polling units were used in each local government area where the exercise held, making a total of 16 polling units per state.

 

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Appeal Court Receives 600 Pre-Election Cases – President

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Monica Dongbam Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal, says the court has received over 600 pre-election cases.
Dongbam-Mensem spoke last Friday when Samuela Isopi, an ambassador with the European Union, led a delegation to her office in Abuja. She said the court started receiving the pre-election appeals in November 2022, noting that more were trickling in.
“The court received over 600 pre-election appeals in the 20 divisions of the court from November to date and more appeals are still being filed,” she said.
“Over 60 panels were set up in the various divisions to hear and determine all pre-election appeals filed. Mindful of the pressures under which the honourable justices are working, some experienced registrars of the court were empanelled to summarise the decisions so far made and distribute to the various divisions to avoid conflicting decisions”, she added.
While commending the delegation for the visit, Dongbam-Mensem said the work of election observers played a role in the nation’s electoral reforms.
“Pertinent to state that the role of these observer organisations has greatly impacted the resolve to review the 2010 Electoral Act. The 2022 Electoral Act has introduced laudable innovations to strengthen our democracy and ensure credible elections. The Court of Appeal has reviewed, developed and expanded the scope of working materials for judges,” she said.
She, however, said insufficient funding has affected the operations of the court. “In preparation for delivering its constitutional mandate, the court is faced with numerous challenges which include but are not limited to paucity of funds.
“To effectively manage the tribunals, deployment of ICT equipment and the need for continuous training of support staff with a view to enhancing their capacities and powers to effectively drive the electoral adjudication process.
“Permit me to state that the court is in a dilemma, we have just 21 days to the general election and the special intervention fund to conduct the election petition tribunal is yet to be released,” she said.
“It is expected that by now, provisions would have been made for the procurement of necessary materials and equipment needed for the smooth running of the various tribunals.
“Also, we ought to have organised further training for honourable justices, members of the tribunals and secretariat staff but we cannot due to paucity of funds. We are hopeful that these challenges will be soon addressed before the conduct of the general election.”

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Units Mobilisation, Key To PDP’s Victory In Rivers – Wike

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As part of measures to ensure total victory for all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State in the forthcoming general elections, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has emphasised the need for effective mobilisation at the various units to sensitise voters on where to cast their votes.
The Governor also stated that the conduct of the election through electronic accreditation and transmission of results will check the tendencies of ballot box snatching by election riggers and called for vigilance on the part of the electorate to ensure that their votes count.
The Governor who gave the charge during the Rivers State PDP campaign rally at Akinima Town in Ahoada West LGA last Tuesday, urged the people of Ahoada West to vote massively for candidates of the PDP in Rivers State to attract more developmental projects to the area.
Governor Wike also took a swipe at the national leadership of the PDP for showing no concern to the plight of the people when  the LGA suffered a devastating flooding, stating that there was no moral justification for the national leadership of the PDP to seek the vote of the people.
Similarly, the Rivers State PDP campaign team led by the Rivers State Governor held it’s rally in Port Harcourt LGA last Wednesday. Speaking at the rally which held at the Elekahia Primary School field in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike expressed dismay over what he described as the compromising security situation in the state and accused the Rivers State Police Command of aiding instigators of electoral violence.
The Rivers State Governor urged the Police and other security agencies in the state to act statutorily,  professionally and apolitically to safeguard the state from a break down of law and order, orchestrated by some political actors in the state, noting that the Rivers State Government would not hesitate to deploy the Neighborhood Security Watch to protect the state from sliding into lawlessness.
On Thursday, the Rivers PDP campaign train moved to Degema LGA to canvass for the votes of the people. Governor Wike disclosed that his administration has executed many developmental projects in the area in appreciation of the overwhelming support of the people to his administration.
He pointed out that  Degema will experience more developmental transformation when they elect Siminialayi Fubara as the next Governor of the state, and urged the people to vote for all PDP candidates in the state in the forthcoming general elections.
Governor Wike also used the event to clarify why the Rivers State Government cancelled its earlier approval of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for  the use of the PDP Presidential Campaign rally, stating that the decision was to protect the facility from being vandalised.
Okrika LGA also, on Friday, hosted the Rivers PDP campaign rally. Addressing the mammoth crowd of party faithful at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ibaka  Town, Governor Wike said Okrika would have proper recompense for their mandate in terms of developmental projects when they vote for Siminialayi Fubara as the next Governor of the state and also elect other PDP candidates in the state.
The Governor expressed concern over the pains associated with the new naira re-design policy on the masses, stating that some cabal was behind the anti-people policy, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the policy to save Nigerians from the  stress and hardship inflicted on them.
The Rivers PDP capped its campaign rally for the week under review at Opobo/ Nkoro LGA on Saturday. Speaking at the event, Governor Wike who described Sir Siminialayi Fubara as a seasoned administrator and technocrat who will not fail Rivers people, urged the people of Opobo not to undermine the opportunity of having their son as the next Governor of Rivers State.
He therefore urged the people of Opobo to vote for Fubara and other candidates of the PDP in Rivers State.

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