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Judiciary

Farouk Lawan files no-case-submission in alleged $3m bribe case

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Farouk Lawan, a former Chairman of the House or Representatives Ad hoc Committee on fuel subsidy, on Thursday filed a no-case-submission in the alleged Three million dollars bribe scam.

Lawan, through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Thursday, filed the matter before Justice Angela Otaluka.

Ozekhome in his submission argued that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has failed to solidly establish the defendant’s intent to commit the offense he was charged with.

He further stated that the prosecution’s witnesses gave conflicting statements about the amount Lawan was alleged to have collected .

Ozekhome also said that the video evidence the prosecution presented was blurry and could not prove that the content of the envelope Otedola gave Lawan was money.

He stated that the failure of DSS to arrest Lawan immediately was enough evidence that they had no evidence.

The prosecution counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, however objected to the application.

He told the court that the defense’s failure to accept the video evidence as being valid doesn’t negate the fact that the evidence exists and is true.

He also said he has been able to prove that Lawan took money to perform a public duty that he was supposed to do.

The judge adjourned the case to Oct. 17 for ruling in the application .

Nigeria News Agency reports that Lawan is being prosecuted by the ICPC for allegedly collecting 500,000 dollars out of three million dollars bribe.

The money was said to have been requested to remove Otedola’s company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012. (NAN)

ATA/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Toluwanimi Adeeko: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Judiciary

Alleged $620,000 fuel subsidy scam: Farouk Lawan fails to open defence 

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Farouk Lawan, former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on investigation into fuel subsidy regime, on Thursday in an FCT High Court Apo for the third time failed to open his defence in his trial for an alleged infraction in the fuel subsidy regime.

Lawan,  former chairman of House Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime in 2012, was dragged before Justice Angela Otaluka by Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He was a four-term member of the House of Representatives, who represented Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State between 1999 and 2015.

In the case marked /76/13, he was alleged to have demanded the sum of three million dollars for himself from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, Femi Otedola.

He was alleged to have collected 620,000 dollars out of the amount with a view to removing Otedola’s companies’ names from the list of firms indicted by the ad hoc committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to the offence.

Following the failure of his no-case submission, Lawan had told the court on Jan. 28 that one of his witness, Babangida Abubakar, lost his brother. scheduled to testify for him that day, lost his brother .

On Feb. 11, when the case was adjourned to, the former lawmaker, through Benson Igbanoi, who held the brief of Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, said that he was applying for subpoena to compel a former member of the House and Abubakar to come to court to testify for him.

However, on the resumed sitting, Godwin Iyinbor, who held the brief of Ozekhome, informed that the defence was yet to serve the subpoena on the two witnesses.

In view of this, he asked for an adjournment to enable them do the needful by mobilising the court bailliff to serve the subpoena on the witnesses.

The prosecuting counsel Mr Fatogun Eyitayo, holding the brief of Chief Adegboyega Awomolo SAN, opposed the application for adjournment.

Eyitayo said that at the last adjourned date on Feb. 11, the court indicated that,  that would be the last adjournment to be granted the defendant.

Justice Otaluka, however, stated that the failure of the defence to serve the subpoena applied for was deliberate.

She further stated that the case was a criminal matter which ought to be held on day to day basis in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (AJCA).

Otaluka, however adjourned matter until March 19 for defence.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Oil & Gas

Nigeria’s Omar Farouk appointed APPO Secretary General

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The African Petroleum Producers Association has appointed Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim as its  new Secretary General.

Before the appointment, Ibrahim  was a Group General Manager, International Energy Relations for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The appointment was announced in a communiqué issued at the end of APPO Council of Ministers in Abuja on Thursday.

It also named Mr Waeil All Atharam as Director, Rilwanu Lukaman Research and Development Centre and Mme Maha Fouda Attia as Director Support Services.

It said the Council of Ministers unanimously appointed Minister for Petroleum of Republic of Niger and Minister of Energy of Popular Democratic Republic of Algeria as APPO  President and Vice-President for 2020 respectively.

The council invited member countries that had not subscribed to capital of African Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP) to do so.

It further extended the tenure of the Managing Director of AEICORP to  the first General meeting of the shareholders of AEICORP.

It congratulated Nigeria on provisional maintenance  of APPO headquarters in Abuja, pending its final decision and successful end of transition.

It also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and hosting of the meeting.

The council agreed to retain the APPO Headquarters in Congo.

It instructed the secretary general to recover APPO assets from ex-group II staff whose contract terminated in May and also terminate contracts of Group III Staff effective Dec.31.

Edited by: Chukwudi Ekezie
(NAN)
(NAN)

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Judiciary

FCT High Court orders Farouk Lawan to enter defence in $500,000 bribery allegation

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Justice Angela Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court ,Apo on Thursday ordered Farouk Lawan a former House of Representatives member to enter his defence in a case of 500,000 dollars bribery allegation against him.

The court had over ruled the no-case submission made by Lawan, through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) concerning the 500,000 dollars bribery allegation against him.

The judge held that the perusal of evidence before the court showed that the prosecution had made a case sufficient enough for the defendant to make some explanations.

Otaluka therefore ruled that the no case submission made by the defendant was thereby over ruled.

The judge adjourned the case until Nov. 11, for the defendant to open defence.

Ozekhome, had on the Oct. 10, filed a no case submission at the continued hearing of the bribery allegation against Lawan.

The SAN in his submission said that the prosecution had failed to solidly establish the defendant’s intent to commit the offense he was charged with.

He stated that the prosecution’s witnesses gave conflicting statements about the amount Lawan was alleged to have collected as bribe.

Ozekhome also said that the video evidence the prosecution presented was blurred and could not prove that the content of the envelope Otedola gave Lawan was money.

He stated that the failure of the Department of State Service (DSS) to arrest Lawan immediately was enough evidence that they had no prove.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Lawan was being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly collecting 500,000 dollars part of a 3 million dollars bribe.

The money was said to have been requested to facilitate the removal of Otedola’s company from the list of firms indicted by the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012. (NAN)


ATO/ECN/ABI


Edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Judiciary

Alleged $3m fuel subsidy: Farouk Lawan to file no case submission

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Suit

Abuja, June 10, 2019 The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, Farouk Lawan, facing alleged $3million fuel subsidy bribe, on Monday hinted that he would file a no-case submission in an FCT High Court, Apo.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), charged Lawan, before Justice Angela Otaluka.

He was alleged to have collected $620,000 out of the amount with a view to removing Otedola company’s name from the list of firms indicted by the ad hoc committee for allegedly abusing the fuel subsidy regime in 2012.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, following prosecution counsel, Chief Adegboye Awomolo, SAN, informing the court that it was closing its case, the counsel to Lawan, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said that the defendant was making a no-case submission.

Justice Otaluka, therefore adjourned the case until Sept. 24 for the adoption of addresses by parties on the no-case submission.

Otedola stated this while being cross examined by Ozekhome, adding that the alleged bribe was given to the defendant in a sting operation.

However, he said that the DSS did not catch Lawan red handed as of the time of collecting the money from him (Otedola).

Asked if the content of the envelope exchanging hands in the video could have been a letter or an invitation card, Otedola, who testified as the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), declared, “Possibly, the content could have been a letter or an invitation card.”

The witness further told the court that going by the video shown in the court, Lawan did not remove his cap and stuff it with dollars.

According to him, Lawan demanded for a bribe of $3million out of which he handed over the sum of $620,000 to him.

The witness told the court that he did not have any documentary evidence to the fact that the money was given to him by the DSS, saying that the money was given to him in bits.

He further stated that that he did not take down the serial numbers of the money given to him by the DSS, adding that he did not sign any document when collecting the money in bits.

Otedola told the court that he knew Phillip Akinola, who he said was the Chief Operating Officer of Zenon Oil and Gas Limited, but was not aware that Akinola wrote a letter to Lawan, informing him that Zenon supplied petroleum to Forte Oil on carefully agreed terms.

The letter was tendered by Ozekhome as exhibit and was admitted after argument and counter-argument on its admissibility subject to the production of receipt of payment of necessary fees at the next adjourned date.

Edited by Bayo Sekoni

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Judiciary

Otedola’s ill health stalls Farouk Lawan’s subsidy trial

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The of trial of a former member of House of Representatives, Mr. Farouk Lawal, pending before the FCT High Court was stalled on Tuesday due to the ill health of the prosecution witness, Femi Otedola.

Lawan, who was the Chairman of House of Reps Adhoc Committee on Petroleum Subsidy Regime, is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on behalf of the Federal Government.

On resumption of the case on Tuesday, the Prosecution Counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), informed the court that Otedola, who was giving evidence for the prosecution, was not in court because he was sick.

Awomolo then tendered a medical report notifying the court of the sickness of the Zenon Oil and Gas boss.

The senior advocate said the counsel told the defendant to continue cross examination of the prosecution witness, which started in January.

As a result of the development, Justice Angela Otaluka adjourned the case till June 10 and June 11 for continuation of the hearing.

While being cross examined at the last sitting by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, Otedola told the court that Lawan demanded $3 million from him as bribe to exonerate his company from the alleged subsidy scam in 2012.

According to him, the $500,000 he gave the defendant as part payment from the $3million demanded was given to him (Otedola) by the Department of State Service (DSS).

He said the DSS gave him the money following a petition he wrote against the former lawmaker after he made the demand.

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General news

Buhari salutes ex-DG of NOA Idi Farouk at 70

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Congratulations

According to a statement issued by the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, President Buhari joined all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to celebrate the party stalwart.

The president acknowledged Farouk’s many achievements in both public and private sector which he said, had brought him into limelight, particularly his contributions to human and community development over the years.

President Buhari also commended Farouk’s “steadfastness, loyalty and sacrifices in bringing the governing party to where it is today’’.

He noted that the former NOA Director General had assisted the party in “winning the Presidential Elections for the second time, and recording outstanding success in the National Assembly and states election, by consistently placing Nigerians first in its manifesto and implementation.’’

According to him, Farouk’s wealth of experience remains an asset to the APC and the nation, and commended him for always making himself available for national assignments.

The President prayed that the almighty God would grant Farouk “longer life, good health and more wisdom to keep serving the nation he loves so much.’’

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Agriculture

President Buhari greets veteran Journalist Farouk Muhammed at 70

Congratulations
By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Feb. 3, 2019(NNN) President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Farouk Muhammed, a seasoned journalist,  on his 70th birthday.

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Congratulations
By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Feb. 3, 2019(NNN) President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Farouk Muhammed, a seasoned journalist,  on his 70th birthday.

Muhammed, who was born on Feb. 3, 1949, is a former editor and later member, Board of Directors and Executive Director (Administration) of Daily Times of Nigeria,.

The president’s message was communicated to the celebrator in a statement by Mr Femi Adesina,, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Sunday.

The president said he joined the media industry and communication strategists in celebrating the former spokesman for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, his family and friends.

He commended Muhammed’s dedication to “a profession that has consistently shaped the history of Nigeria, even before independence’’.

The president also lauded his doggedness as a journalist and  “penchant for strong and insightful analyses as an editor and consultant for many years’’.

Buhari also commended Muhammed’s  `willingness to serve his state, Kano, as an adviser on many committees, before moving to the national and international levels.’’

He said he believed that the veteran journalist had left his footprints on the sands of time through diligence and forthrightness to guide younger generations of media professionals.

The president prayed for longer life, good health and more wisdom for Muhammed. (NNN)

SYC/JCE
========

 

Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie

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Foreign

Ramadan: Jewish NGOs donate food packages to Nigerian Muslim community

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The Chabad of Nigeria, on Thursday, donated food items to support the Muslim community in commemoration of the on-going Ramadan fasting.

The Chabad of Nigeria is a division of the global Jewish assistance and relief network.

The cartons of food items donated to Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society in Abuja contained rice, beans, groundnut-oil, pasta and maize.

Rabbi Israel Uzan, Rabbi of Israel to Nigeria, who presented the donation said that the items were put together in collaboration with four non-governmental organisations.

The NGOs are ChabadAid, MAG Tech System Ltd., Kings of the World and Brand Life Vision Foundation.

According to Uzan, many people through the Jewish community in France, U.S., Brazil, Israel and wherever, have a mission to give support across the globe.

“They asked us to help them with logistics, to organise the humanitarian programme and to support Nigerians in many different situations on education, food or anyways.

“On behalf of the Jewish people, Jewish religion and Jewish community, this is what we try to do here in Nigeria.

“ChabadAid try to assist during the Ramadan and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand there are challenges, this is why we decided to bring succour to people.

“We decided to support 770 families and 34,000 children.

“We received a call from the Jewish community in France saying they want to support additional 230 families.

“This will raise the number to 1000 cartons of food items that we are going to give to different people in the Muslim community.’’

In an interview, Imam Adeyemi Fuad, Chief Imam of the Society, who received the items commended the ChabadAid for the gesture.

According to him, our friendly interaction with the Jewish community is just starting and we are taking it to the next level.

“On behalf of the Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society and the Muslim community, we are grateful to the Jewish community.

“We appreciate the Rabbi who is passionate about working with Al-Habibiyya and working Muslims.

“We thank them and pray that religion will bring more peace to the world,’’ Fuad said.

Also, Alhaji Farouk Suleiman, Chairman of Foodbank, commended the donation by the Jewish community to promote good neighbourliness.

“This is the first time we are getting collaboration from the Jewish community and we feel happy and proud.

“This how to promote good neighbourliness.

“They felt the need to give and called us and they have also done so,’’ Suleiman said.

NAN reports that ChabadAid is a humanitarian programme of the Jewish community.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Judiciary

Man, 30, docked for allegedly obtaining N155,000 under false pretence

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A 30-year-old man, Stephen Adams, was on Thursday brought before an Ogbeson Magistrates’ Court in Benin, for allegedly obtaining N155,000 under false pretence.

The defendant is being tried on a two-count charge of obtaining goods under false pretence and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Abass Farouk, told the court that Adams committed the offence on March 8 in Down Jehovah Road, Ikpoba-Hill, Benin.

Farouk alleged that the defendant obtained N155,000 from the complainant, Mr Friday Aiguehiven, for the digging of a bore-hole for him, knowing same to be false.

The prosecutor also alleged that the defendant stole the said amount from the complainant.

Farouk said the offences contravened Sections 419 and 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap. 48 Vol. 11 Law of the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria, 1976, now applicable in Edo.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Chief Magistrate, Prince Mutairu Oare, admitted him to bail in the sum of N50,000 with one surety in like sum.

Oare said the surety must be a guardian and must be verified by the court registrar.

He adjourned the case until June 3 for further hearing.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Gov. Ganduje commends FG on palliative distribution 

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Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has expressed satisfaction with the distribution pattern of the COVID-19 palliative to the poor and vulnerable Nigerians by the Federal Government.

Ganduje spoke on Sunday in Kano, while receiving 4,718 metric tonnes of assorted food items from the Federal Government.

He said that the relief items would go a long way to complement the efforts of the state government in providing palliatives to  residents.

Ganduje said that the state government had concluded distribution of food items to 50,000 households in the first round as part of efforts to ease hardship during the lockdown.

He said that the second round of the exercise would commence this week, where another 50,000 households were going to benefit

The governor said that some of the beneficiaries include poorest of the poor households, women, elderly people, correctional centres and orphanages.

Ganduje urged the federal government to revisit the data and increase the number of pupils in its school feeding programme because of the integration of Almajiri and free and compulsory education in the state.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, who presented the donation, said it was to support the vulnerable segment of the society who were undergoing hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Farouk said that the items include 10 trucks of rice from the Nigerian Customs Service; 2,438 metric tonnes of Maize; 1,380 metric tonnes of millet and 900 metric tonnes of sorghum.

The minister implored the state government  to ensure that the poor and vulnerable, including the elderly and persons living with disabilities, were prioritised in the distribution of the relief materials.

In his remarks, Prof Yahuza Bello, Chairman, Fund Raising and Palliative Committee, promised that the items would be distributed judiciously to the beneficiaries.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Health

COVID -19: Coalition lauds FG for taking palliatives to homes of elderly

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Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has commended the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for taking palliative packages to the homes of older persons in the country.

The President of COSROPIN, Sen. Eze Ajoku, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.

Ajoku said the gesture had helped the older persons who would not have the strength to struggle with the younger ones during normal distribution of such packages.

He said that some older persons were comparatively physically weaker than younger persons because of old age and related illnesses.

“Therefore any palliative not directly targeted at them as in this case would not get to them.

“We have insisted that older persons would not be mixed with younger persons to struggle for palliative packages, and that palliatives not targeted directly at them would surely not get to them.

“We insisted that palliative packages should be taken to the homes of older persons who of course you know are fragile and in no mood to struggle and may get infected more easily  by COVID-19, in a crowdy situation,” Ajoku said.

The president emphasised the need not to expose older persons to crowd and COVID-19, saying that they have also been advised to always stay at home.

“We have also asked them not to interact with younger persons much because if they get infected, they may not be able to survive.”

Ajoku said that the current rate of death of older persons through COVID-19 in Nigeria even with the smallest population stood at about 15.5 per cent.

He reiterated the commitment of the coalition to protecting older persons with the strong partnership with Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.

According to him, the palliative for the rest of FCT older persons  would be given to the coalition and chairmen of area councils to be delivered to them at their door steps.

He said that the distribution of palliative packages to the homes of older persons would be continued with the strict enforcement and monitoring by Joint Task Force of COSROPIN, chairmen of councils and Humanitarian Affairs.

Ajoku appealed to the Federal Government to subsidise or  reduce the prices  of drugs for aging ailments as cardiovascular obstructions, diabetes, eye problems, arthritis among others.

He commended  President Muhammadu Buhari through the minister of humanitarian affairs  for the direct support to older persons

NAN recalls  that Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, commenced the distribution of palliative packages to older persons in Karshi, Abuja on Saturday.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

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Economy

COVID-19: Katsina State Govt reduces 2020 Budget

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Katsina State Government has reviewed its 2020 budget from N244billion to N213billion due to the fall in price of crude oil and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gov. Aminu Masari disclosed this when he received the reversed budget from the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Farouk Jobe at the Government House, Katsina on Thursday.

The governor, who signed the reversed budget, said that the Members of the state House of Assembly had deliberated before passing the bill.

“The House also decided to review the budget in view of the issue of COVID-19 pandemic, which had affected the state economically, socially and spiritually.

“In view of this, the members deliberated and passed the bill, which slashed the 2020 appropriation budget from N244 billion to N213 billion representing a difference of N31 billion.

“The budget was reviewed based on the oil benchmark of 30 dollars per barrel as against the pre-review benchmark of 57 dollars per barrel,” he said.

Masari urged stakeholders to redouble their effort in the fight against COVID-19 with a view to curbing the spread among communities in the state.

Earlier, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Alhaji Tasiu Maigari said that the house passed the bill for reversed budget in less than two weeks.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Judiciary

AFAN drags Kabiru Ibrahim-led NWC to court over alleged refusal to hand over assets

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The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has sued Mr Kabiru Ibrahim and his dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) over alleged refusal to hand over association’s assets and property.

Counsel to AFAN, Modibbo Bakari, filed the suit before Justice Taiwo Taiwo at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

 

In the originating summon with number: /322/2020, Bakari also asked the court to stop Kabiru Ibrahim-led NWC from parading themselves as executive members of the association.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Ibrahim, the embattled national president, and his dissolved NWC are the 1st defendants, the Inspector General (I-G) of Police is the 2nd defendant in the case.

The lawyer wanted the court to determine whether by virtue of the established law of AFAN, the 1st defendants whose tenure expired in June 2018 still vested with powers to manage and run the affairs of the association.

Bakari sought: “a declaration of this honourable court that by the combined effect of Article 13.1 of the Constitution of the AFAN and Section 593 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1 Cap. C20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the 1st defendants who were inaugurated in June 2013 had served their single term of 5 years which tenure expired in June 2018.

“A declaration that by virtue of the provision of the aforesaid Article 13.1 of the plaintiff’s constitution, the 1st defendants are divested of any powers, rights, prerogative and/or privileges to perform or carry out the work, duties and/or functions of the National Executive Council and/or National Working Committee or any other committee or committees whatsoever whether collectively or severally.

“An order directing the 1st defendants to hand over the assets and property of the plaintiff in their possession and custody.

“A perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendants from parading themselves or holding out as members of Exco and executive.”

Bakari also sought the order of the court, restraining the 1st defendants from using the services of the 2nd defendant or his agents to harass, arrest or detain the members of the caretaker committee of AFAN, among others.

The interim Secretary-General of AFAN, Yunusa Halidu, in an affidavit in support of the application, said “having exhausted the 1st defendants’ tenure, the plaintiff (AFAN) set up a 13-member caretaker committee led by Farouk Rabi’u Mudi as interim national president.”

According to him, on March 3, we had a resolution dissolving the National Executive Council and we were inaugurated into office by Admiral Murtala Inyako (rtd.), who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of AFAN, on March 4.

“The caretaker committee is to run the affairs of the plaintiff (AFAN) for two years to enable the plaintiff conduct election of substantive members of the National Working Committee and National Executive Council.

“However, despite the inauguration of the caretaker committee, the 1st defendants have refused to hand over the plaintiff’s assets and property in their possession,” he deposed.

Halidu said if not checked, the actions of the defendants could ground the activities of AFAN against the economic interest of the country.

Justice Taiwo was yet to fix a date for hearing of the case as at the time of filing the report.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

Buhari prays for speedy recovery of Emir of Daura

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sent goodwill and prayers to the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar, after he was admitted to the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina State.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

President Buhari, who holds the traditional title of “Bayajidda” Daura, his hometown, said: ”I received the news of the Emir’s sudden illness with concern and expressed best wishes for the speedy recovery of the monarch.

“I join the Daura Emirate and the entire people of Katsina State in praying for the recovery of our humble and dedicated Emir, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar.”

The President expressed satisfaction with the reported progress and recovery of the Emir since his hospitalization.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Tambuwal constitutes “COVID-19 friendly Ramadan feeding committee” in Sokoto

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Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, has constituted a 32-member “COVID-19 friendly Ramadan” feeding programme committee in the state.

Tambuwal in a statement issued by his special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Muhammad Bello, said the feeding programme, is a slight departure from its kind executed in the past.

The governor said the programmed will take cognizance of the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Although the number of feeding centres in the state has been increased from 137 in 2019 to 150 this year, steps have been taken to ensure that they are not crowded during breakfast distribution sessions.

“This is in order to ensure that we observe the guidelines, raw food would be mainly given to the beneficiaries while some selected centers will be designated to provide only takeaways,” he explained.

The governor further explained that the rise in the amount to be spent from N380 million in 2019 to N500 million this year, is informed by the increase in the number of envisaged beneficiaries and the increase in the prices of commodities.

Tambuwal said that the committee will be headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Malam Saidu Umar, while House of Representatives member representing Silame/Binji Federal Constituency, Alhaji Mani Maishunku (PDP- Sokoto) will serve as member.

“Other members are: Abubakar Shamaki, Abdullahi Maigwandu, Bello Aliyu, Malam Abubakar Jibril, Malam Abubakar Mabera, Malam Auwal Romo, Malam Lawal Maidoki, Prof. Abubakar Yagawal, Malam Bello Yabo and Malam Yahaya Na Malam Boyi.

“Also on board are: Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, Malam Amadu Helele, Malam Nura Hausare, Dr Jabir Sani-Maihula, Malam Zaruku Masallacin Shehu, Malam Husaini Gandu, Ibrahim No Delay, Farouk Suyudi and Bello Guiwa.

“The remaining members are: Sarkin Yakin Gagi, Ubandoman Sabon Birni, Sarkin Kudun Guiwa, Prof. Sadiya Bello, Malama Aishatu Salihu, Malama Zainab Binji, Hajiya Inno Attahiru and Hajiya Fati Illo .

“The State Ministry of Health and all security agencies in the state would be represented by one person each.

“A former Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Religious Affairs, Alhaji Bello Mailato, would serve as Secretary to the Committee,” the governor said.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: PTF lauds journalists, says efforts won’t go unrewarded 

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has lauded journalists and media organisations over their efforts to curtail the Coronavirus pandemic, saying their efforts will not go unrewarded.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, said this while answering questions from newsmen at the daily briefing by the PTF on Tuesday in Abuja.

The question came against the backdrop of frontline health workers being given insurance and hazard allowance while leaving out journalists who were daily reporting the activities of PTF and other efforts at combatting the disease.

The minister said that journalists in the country and especially those covering the COVID-19 pandemic were the frontline warriors in the move to curtail the virus.

He added that just like frontline health workers and others, Nigerian journalists had been tremendous in their bid to help fight COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that their efforts are fully recognised.

According to him, it will not be out of place to take the matter of your insurance and welfare up with the PTF as to what arrangement can be made for those covering the PTF daily press briefing.

The minister thanked Nigerian media for their unwavering support to fight the virus, adding that the story of COVID-19 pandemic and the move to curtail it will not be completed without mentioning journalists in the country.

He also commended the government owned media houses and private media for their unwavering support, while assuring them that when the war against COVID-19 pandemic was over, they would be among the heroes.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouk, said that the ministry would decentralise payment for the vulnerable and would henceforth be paying via BVN.

She said that the federal government palliative was for the minimum of two months, which according to her is to provide food and money for the poor and vulnerable in the country.

She noted that of the 700 metric tonnes of grain approved for distribution by President Muhammadu Buhari, 279 had been distributed in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States, while the remaining would be distributed to other states.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Buhari condoles with Emir of Daura over wife’s death

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President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar over the death of his wife, Hajiya Binta Umar.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said the president, who originated a telephone call to the Emir on Friday, said:

“I am personally touched and saddened by the death of your senior wife Hajiya Binta Umar at the age of 70.

“The deceased had lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation. She was an epitome of great virtues.

“My heart and prayers are with you and members of your family over the demise of this pillar of your household.’’

President Buhari prayed that Allah would bless Hajiya Binta’s soul and reward her good deeds with paradise.

The President also prayed that ”God will grant the Emir and his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.’’

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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General news

Emir of Daura loses wife

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Hajiya Binta Umar, the first wife of the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar has died on Friday in Daura at the age of 70, after a protracted illness.

The death of the Emir’s wife was confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria by Malam Usman Ibrahim, the Sarkin Labaran Daura (Chief Information Officer) of the Emirate Council, on Friday in Daura, Katsina State.

He said that Hajiya Binta died at about 8am on Friday at the emir’s palace and has been buried according to Islamic rites.

Ibrahim said that  the funeral prayer was led by the Chief Imam of Daura Central Mosque, Malam Suleiman Salisu.

The deceased was survived by her husband, six children and many grand children, as well as her adopted children.

NAN reports that Daura local government area is currently under total lockdown over COVID-19 cases in the area.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Politics

COVID-19: Group applauds FG’s palliatives, faults critics

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A group, Save the poor Coalition (SPC), has applauded the implementation of the Federal Government’s cash distribution to poor and vulnerable households to relieve them of the effects of coronavirus lockdown.

The group, in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Coordinator, Mr Emeka Enechi, and Secretary, Mr Adamu Maikasuwa, also faulted some critics’, who described the palliatives as fraudulent.

“We are in league with the plethora of criticisms emanating from various quarters especially that of distinguished and eminent members of the National Assembly, as per the National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Households and by extension the COVID-19 palliatives.

“However, after observing the comments and steps taken by Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, we take solace in the truism that she has noted all the salient points raised.

“We of the SPC disagree with the canvas of Sen. Ndume that the distribution of cash transfer register in states was a fabrication and full of fraud and that the ministry lacks the capacity and structure to carry out the assignment.

“The distribution of cash transfer register is neither a fabrication nor a fraud, albeit as stated earlier, Hajia Farouk did not mince words in talking of challenges in addressing and making comprehensive the National Social Register.

“Our understanding is that she has commissioned professionals to update the National Social Register she met on ground, and because of the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis, she cannot throw the current register away.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the authors of the National Social Register never said they covered the 774 local government areas of the country.

“Rather, they listed what they covered as 421 local government areas, 4,347 wards, 43, 258 communities, 2.25 million poor of poorest households, and 9.54 million extreme poor,” the group said.

It will be recalled that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Sen. Ali Ndume, had alleged that the distribution of cash transfer register in states was a fabrication and was full of fraud.

Others alleged that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the Office of the National Social Investment Programme lacked the capacity and structure to carry out the assignment.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Urban poor with less than N5,000 to benefit from Social Register-Minister

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By Ismaila Chafe

Urban poor dwellers with an account balance of N5,000 or less will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, made this known when she fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.

Umar stated that the prospective beneficiaries would be part of the additional one million households approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost the nation’s social register.

President Buhari had on Monday in a broadcast directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.

The president said that the expansion of the social register was part of the palliative measures to address the hardship being experienced by the poor and vulnerable members of the society as a result of the extension of the lockdown order.

The minister, who had earlier updated the president on the activities of her ministry, revealed that those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out president’s directive on expansion of the social register would focus more on the urban poor.

“You are also aware that Mr President in his broadcast yesterday (April 13) has directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer by one million.

“In this regard, we are going to focus more on the urban poor. These are people who depend on informal sector to earn their livelihood – They are daily wage earners and these are people we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities,’’ she said.

The minister further explained that apart from the National Social Register, the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and previous record of purchase of  recharge card by mobile phone owners would form parts of criteria in identifying  the beneficiaries of the cash transfer.

“We are also using the mobile network, people that top up their phones with maybe N100, N200. These are the people we consider to be poor and vulnerable,’’ she added.

By Ismaila Chafe

Urban poor dwellers with an account balance of N5,000 or less will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, made this known when she fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.

Umar stated that the prospective beneficiaries would be part of the additional one million households approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost the nation’s social register.

President Buhari had on Monday in a broadcast directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.

The president said that the expansion of the social register was part of the palliative measures to address the hardship being experienced by the poor and vulnerable members of the society as a result of the extension of the lockdown order.

The minister, who had earlier updated the president on the activities of her ministry, revealed that those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out president’s directive on expansion of the social register would focus more on the urban poor.

“You are also aware that Mr President in his broadcast yesterday (April 13) has directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer by one million.

“In this regard, we are going to focus more on the urban poor. These are people who depend on informal sector to earn their livelihood – They are daily wage earners and these are people we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities,’’ she said.

The minister further explained that apart from the National Social Register, the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and previous record of purchase of  recharge card by mobile phone owners would form parts of criteria in identifying  the beneficiaries of the cash transfer.

“We are also using the mobile network, people that top up their phones with maybe N100, N200. These are the people we consider to be poor and vulnerable,’’ she added.

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