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Alleged Diversion: Court Remands Ex-NSITF Boss In EFCC Custody

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An FCT High Court sitting in Jabi, yesterday, ordered that the former board chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund(NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme, be remanded in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s custody, until today.
The judge, Justice Maryam Hassan gave the order after listening to both counsel submissions on the defendant’s bail application.
She directed that the defendant should be in the EFCC’s custody pending the ruling on the application for bail, today.
Olejeme is standing trial over an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, abuse of oûce, diversion of public funds and money laundering.
The offence it was alleged she committed between 2012 and 2015 when she was the board chairman of the NSITF.
The none-count charge bordering on mismanagement, giving false statement, taking kickback from contracts and diversion of NSITF funds into personal accounts and companies she had interest in, formed the basis for the defendant’s arraignment.
One of the charges alleged that the funds were diverted through the award of suspicious contracts to proxy companies.
The offence according to prosecution contravened the provisions of sections 8,19 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice & other Related Offence Act 2000 and Section 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against her.
With the defendant pleading not guilty, the prosecution counsel, Steve Odiase prayed for a date for hearing to enable the prosecution to prove her case against the defendant.
The defendant counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN, therefore, informed the court of the bail application dated and filed on October 18 before it.
Erokoro submitted that the application was supported by a 20-paragraphs affidavit attached with six exhibits.
He also informed the court that his client was not a flight risk, as she voluntarily returned to Nigeria when she heard that the prosecution wanted to question her.
Erokoro further stated that his client had been reporting to the commission’s office as she was questioned and released on bail in 2017.
The counsel equally urged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognisance or in the alternative, in the most liberal terms.
He said the bail application was predicated on medical grounds as the defendant has been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years.
In addition, the counsel said that the defendant has had four major surgeries in the U.S and South Africa.
He further stated that the defendant four months ago suffered a heart failure and got infected with the Covid-19 virus in September.
He submitted in addition that the defendant had been scheduled for another follow-up surgery for November in South Africa.
Erokoro said the defendant’s recent medical report from a medical facility stated that she required close medical monitoring as her medical status can lead to a medical emergency.
Odiase, on his part, responded that he was not opposing the bail application, but opposed to the granting of bail on self-recognisance as submitted by the defence counsel.
He said that there was no consideration for bail on self-recognisance in Section 165 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA),2015.
He urged the court to grant the defendant bail with reasonable surety.
The court, therefore, adjourned until today to rule on the bail application.

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Keep Your Records Straight, Fubara Tells Newly Sworn-In Commissioners

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has charged eight newly sworn-in Commissioners to cultivate the culture of keeping accurate records of their dealings in their various Ministries of posting.
The Governor maintained that such culture was essential for the effective functioning of any organised system, particularly the civil service because they provide useful history of events, decisions and actions, including indices of productivity.
Governor Fubara gave the charge to the eight new commissioners shortly after they were sworn in at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt yesterday night.
The eight commissioners include: Hon Prince Charles Bekee; Barrister Collins Onunwo; Hon Prince Solomon Abel Eke; Dr Peter Medee; Hon Elloka Tasie Amadi; Hon Basoene Joshua Benibo; Mr Tambari Sydney Gbara; and Dr Ovy Orluideye Chinendum Chukwuma.
The Governor said it was regrettable how some commissioners, who had left the administration, ignored the culture of proper documentation because they had no record of activities in the Ministries that they served.
He said, “I know what I am saying. Some of them who left here as commissioners, there are no records in their Ministries. We’ve had a few meetings with people. We were looking for records which we could not find, but that is for them and their gods, I am not bothered about that.
“But, you that are coming in now, please, do this work as seasoned administrators. Work with your Permanent Secretaries, the things that you don’t know, ask questions from them, they will tell you, they will teach you too. It doesn’t reduce you as not being the head. But it helps you to succeed as a good administrator,” he said.
Governor Fubara enjoined them to emulate his work culture and pay attention to details, adding that it should reflect in the nature of records they keep.
The Governor said discipline is central to his administration, a work culture that has been nurtured while growing through the ranks in the civil service, saying that it must be the hallmark of anybody who is associated with his government.
He said, “Let me say this: this government is a government that is birthed by high level discipline.
“I don’t know about other people that are working with me, but as a person, from the time that I started working as civil servant, from the time I worked in the Office of the Accountant General with my boss, we didn’t play with keeping good records.
“I can boldly stand here to say that whatever that transpired, the records are there right from the time we worked from 2007 to date. They are there for anybody to go and see.
“Likewise, what happened from the time of the immediate past administration. I carefully kept my records clean. The records are there.
“So, I want you to understand that, while I am sitting here to pilot the affairs of this State, as a matter of fact, the records I am keeping are even more excellent because I have a day-to-day report of what I am doing.”
Governor Fubara further said: “So, I am not bothered or afraid. Call me any day, call me anytime, I will stand and defend every action, every decision that we have taken.
“So, I want you to stand on that premise, knowing fully well that whatever you are doing, in case you are called upon tomorrow to give account, you can do so confidently. Keep your records straight,” he added.
Governor Fubara stated that they have taken their oath of service and the content was sufficient charge to guide their conduct while they serve the State.
He urged them to appreciate the fact that it is God that had given them the opportunity to be chosen and so appointed, and therefore, should know that they owe God the responsibility to deliver to Rivers people.
According to him, “The oath you took is the charge. I am not asking you to be obedient to me. I am not asking you to do my biddings. But, I am requesting from everyone of you here to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the dignity of our dear State.
“Your position as a Commissioner today is not just for you to answer to me. It is to work for the interest of our State.
“But, I know that with what I have heard, with the few of you that I have related with, I know that you are men of integrity.
“You are not going to bring shame to our dear State, you are not going to bring shame to your families, you are not going to bring shame to your local governments. You will stand tall, no matter the situation,” he said.
Governor Fubara expressed the belief that as they are coming on board, they will add impetus to what has been done by his administration, urging them to ensure that greater success is achieved, while defending the interest of the State and what is right always.

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Monarch Recommits To Peace, Security Of Ekpeye Land

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 Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, His Imperial Majesty, Eze Kelvin Ngozi Anugwo, has reiterated his commitment to peace, security and development of Ekpeye land.
Eze Anugwo stated this last Saturday, during the 2nd anniversary of his coronation, in his palace at Ula – Upata Community, in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
 Anugwo who recalled  the painful incident that led to the detention of all the first class traditional rulers in Ekpeye land, appealed to Police authorities not to arrest any other traditional ruler.
Eze Ekpeye Logbo III called for a minute silence in honor the  slain Divisional Police Officer, SP Bako Angbashim and prayed  that the ghost of Bako should continue to haunt those responsible for his death.
He also hinted how he scaled through the keenly contested election of Eze Ekpeye Logbo held in 2022, at Ahoada, the administrative headquarters of Ekpeye Kingdom and thanked his guests for honouring him.
In their separate solidarity speeches, Ada Ekpeye Logbo, Dr. Patricia Wudhiga Ogbonnaya; the President- General of Uzugbani Ekpeye, Dr. Michael Ukechukwu Nyemenim; His Royal Highness, Eze Macauley Esonwo among other speakers extolled the virtues of the celebrant.
While pledging their unalloyed support to the administration of Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, they equally charged him to be stronger.
High points of the occasion include visitation of the ancestral home of Ekpeye people Ula-Ubie Community in Ahoada West Local Government Area, where the King was crowned;  thanksgiving service at the First African Church Ula-Upata and presentation of assorted drinks by the people of Igbu Orlukowor clan.
Recall that Anugwo, a business mogul, who beat three other contenders to emerge as the Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, in an election conducted on April 9, 2022 and was crowned on May 4, 2022  following the demise of His Imperial Majesty, Eze (Flt. Leut.) Robinson O. Robinson (rtd.).
The Tide learnt that Eze Anugwo, until his emergence as the Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, was occupying other traditional offices such as the Nye-Udu (King) Ede I, Agida Ekpeye II, and a member of corporate and professional bodies.
Present at the colourful occasion include the  Rivers State Commissioner for Housing, Dr. Gift Worlu, who represented Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara; His Majesty, Eze (Hon.) Cassidy O.W Ikebhidhi, Eze Igbu Akoh II; His Majesty, Eze Chinemerem Idoke, regent of Igbu Ehuda;  High Chief (Prof.) Kingsley Beke Kalagbor; High Chief Peter Wobeareri Wagbara, (Nye Weli Elele); ACP Cecy Brown, Ahoada Area Commander; among other dignitaries.
 Agimo, Emenike Benson
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Delta Attorney-General Laments Hike In Human Trafficking

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Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ekemejero Ohwovoriole (SAN) has lamented the increasing rate of human trafficking, especially the girl child in the state.
Ohwovoriole decried the increase in his office in Asaba when the zonal commander of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr Nduka Nwawenne paid him a courtesy visit.
The Attorney-General stated that it was against the dignity of the state and disheartening to see that Delta State now ranked first in human trafficking, overtaking Edo State.
He stressed the need for stakeholders to tackle the menace, adding that if it was one single victim that was rescued, they would be rewarded for their efforts.
Ohwovoriole stated that young girls were the most vulnerable ones in the issue of human trafficking, stressing that children from poor family backgrounds also fall victim to human trafficking.
While saying that their request for an office space in the state would be looked into, to see how the government could be of assistance to them, he assured them of his ministry’s partnership in the fight against human trafficking.
He said that the Task Force on human trafficking and irregular migration, which he chairs, should be having regular meetings.
Earlier, the Zonal Commander of Naptip, Mr. Nwawenne informed the commissioner that Delta state had overtaken Edo state as the foremost state in human trafficking in nigeria.
He told the Attorney-General that their Zonal Command was the first to be established in Nigeria because of the prevailing issues of human trafficking in the area, noting that ika south was the highest in cases of human trafficking as a result of its proximity with edo state.
Nwawenne appealed to the Commissioner and the State Government to provide office accommodation for their officials to operate in Asaba.

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