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Judiciary

Rivers serial killings: Court orders police to produce 2nd suspect

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A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt  on Monday ordered the police to unfailingly produce a second suspect, Nemi ThankGod, on Nov. 21, in connection to the killing of nine women in different hotels in Rivers State.

Justice Adolphus Enebeli gave the order in Port Harcourt following an application by the Attorney-General of Rivers, Prof Zacchaeus Adengo.

Adengo told the court that from the case file he received from the police, a second suspect, Nemi ThankGod, ought to be charged in the matter alongside the first accused person, Gracious David West.

The attorney-general following the new evidence, filed an application before the court, seeking to substitute the initial 10-count charge with a fresh charge, together with proof of evidence (a document which contains all the statements made by prospective witnesses as well as statements made by the accused persons themselves).

He however, urged the court to adjourn the matter to a later date to enable the defence counsel study the fresh information served on them on Monday inside the courtroom.

The defence counsel, Vincent Chukwu, opposed the application of the prosecution and prayed the court to continue with the proceedings of the matter.

But trial Judge, Justice Enebeli, adjourned the matter until Nov. 21, for the plea of the defendants.

Later, Adengo, who spoke to newsmen outside the courtroom said he applied for a substitution of the original charges with the new one, following discoveries emanating from the case file he got from the police.

”On Nov. 14, my office received the case file from the police. I studied it and the case file discloses criminal accusations against ThankGod.

“We have prepared fresh information, together with proof of evidence as required by law, but unfortunately the learned Justice was served this morning and we were able to serve the first accused person in the court and it is only fair that they should take time to study the case file, the information and proof of evidence, so the matter has been adjourned to Nov. 21, for plea,” he said. NAN

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Precious Akutamadu: 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

General news

Coronavirus: FRSC cautions commercial drivers in Nasarawa against non-use of passengers’ manifest

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nasarawa State Sector Command, has cautioned commercial drivers coming into and going out of the state against non-availability of their passengers’ manifest.

Mr Ahmed Mohammed, the FRSC Sector Commander in the State, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lafia.

Mohammed said that stringent steps would be taken to prevent commercial drivers from travelling into the state without producing the document.

He said that with the increase in the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and Nigeria, passengers’ manifest remained a vital information document for tracing those who might have come in contact with an infected person.

According to him, hence the need for commercial drivers, especially those plying interstate routes, to always be in possession of the document.

“The passengers’ manifest will go a long way in helping health officials to trace those in contact with those infected with the virus to curb its spread,” he said.

Mohammed said that the emphasis on passengers’ manifest was one of the steps taken by FRSC to curb the spread of the virus in the state and the country at large.

He stated that the command had already made its position clear on the issue at its stakeholders’ meeting recently in Lafia.

The official said that the document was also useful in contacting the relations of passengers involved in accident.

“So, we are working hard to change the narrative by enlightening them on the importance of the passengers’ manifest in their vehicles at all times,” the FRSC official said.

He said that efforts were being made by the sector command to discourage drivers from picking up passengers by the road side in the state.

Mohammed cited the wearing of face masks, handwashing, social distancing and use of sanitisers as necessary and supported by the stakeholders at the meeting to curb the spread of the virus in Nasarawa.

“FRSC feels that there is need for us to collaborate with transport officials, to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are adhered to, in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“If anyone is not ready to obey the protocols, then, the person is not to be allowed into the motor parks.

“We agreed that all operators must ensure that physical distancing is enforced, hand sanitisers are available and passengers have their face masks on at all times,” he said.

Mohammed added that the state’s FRSC Sector command would continue to collaborate with the state judiciary to organise mobile courts from time to time.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Metro

Coronavirus guidelines: FRSC arrest 1,460 drivers in Lagos

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Sector Command, said it impounded 1,460 vehicles for violating COVID-19 guidelines against overloading in the state between April and June.

The Sector Commander, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday.

Ogungbemide said the command had started the tour of motor parks in the state to monitor and sensitise transport operators to enhance adherence to COVID-19 public transport guidelines.

“We have been able to clamp down on 576 drivers in Lagos for overloading of vehicles with passengers and goods.

“We also arrested 827 drivers for overloading their vehicles with passengers against COVID-19 protocols.

“In all, we have arrested a total of 1,460 between April and June for overloading.

“Road users should know that FRSC will not condone anything that will enhance the spread of COVID-19 pandemic through land transport that happens to be under the purview of the corps.

“We are not going to compromise our enforcement,’’ he told NAN.

Ogungbemide enjoined commuters to support the corps and the nation in the efforts to stop the spread of the pandemic.

“So, in order for the commuters not to get themselves involved in unnecessary inconvenience through enforcement by our men, they should desist from boarding an overloaded vehicle.

“We are also pleading with transport stakeholders, especially transport unions, to try and comply with the COVID-19 protocols by reducing the passengers they carry to 50 per cent capacity of their vehicles.

“Transport unions and other stakeholders must make sure that drivers, conductors and passengers use face masks.

“There should also be water and soup at their terminals and motor parks with sanitisers.’’

He said that the corps’ tour of motor parks, which began on Friday, would be a continuous exercise to ensure that all motor parks comply with guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

Buhari salutes former governor of Rivers, Ada-George at 80

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated former governor of Rivers, Chief Rufus Ada-George, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

In a congratulatory message released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday, Buhari described the octogenarian as a great mentor to many quality leaders in Nigeria’s political landscape.

The president prayed Almighty God to grant “the Peripelebo 1 of Okrika more years of good health and longevity to see change and transformation in his immediate community and the country he loves so dearly’’.

He commended Ada-George’s dedication to the promotion of peace and conflict resolution in the Niger Delta.

President Buhari also noted that “there is no greater joy for a senior citizen order than he who bequeaths a future filled with hope, peace and prosperity for the children.’’

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Metro

Amaechi celebrates old Rivers’ governor, Ada-George at 80

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has described Rufus Ada-George, a former Governor of old Rivers, comprising Bayelsa and Rivers states, as an exemplary leader and a father to all.

Amaechi, the immediate past Governor of Rivers said this in a statement, on Friday in Abuja, to commemorate the 80th birthday anniversary of Ada-George, the Peripelebo 1 of Okrika.

“As governor of Rivers state, you raised leaders, you created opportunities for growth in politics for many of us.

“You are a father figure to many of us who served in the government of Rivers state.

“You left indelible footprints in the state and opened up a path for us to follow.

“On this occasion of your 80th birthday, I pray God to grant you more life, good health, grace, peace and joy.

“I wish you a very happy birthday,’’ Amaechi said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

Coronavirus: Hand washing cheapest way of fighting diseases — C’ Rivers Health Commissioner

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COVID-19: Hand washing cheapest way of fighting diseases — C’ Rivers Health Commissioner

Diseases

By Christian Njoku

Calabar, July 9, 2020 (NAN) The Cross River Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, on Thursday said that the cheapest way to fight various diseases was through effective hand washing.

Edu said this in Calabar while receiving over 200 hand washing stations donated by United Purpose, a non governmental organisation, for the Primary Healthcare Development Agency in Cross River.

The commissioner, who said she was grateful that the state had partners who were always ready to support it in the area of health, stressed that when sanitation fails, healthcare suffers.

“Although the state had not recorded massive number of the ravaging COVID-19 infections and deaths residents are advised to have a high index of suspicion.

“We encourage everyone to effectively use the available resources in the health facilities in the state and have a high index of suspicion.

“I call on the health workers in the state to bring the Infection Control Protocol (ICP), they have been taught to bear.

“We will be signing the Clinical Governance Agreement today to ensure that when our clients go to our facilities they are protected and the care giver is also protected,” she said.

The commissioner encouraged residents of the state to build their immunity because it was a way of protecting themselves and their loved ones.

She added that anyone who felt any symptoms of COVID-19 should go to the state’s testing centre.

Dr Janet Ekpenyong, Director General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), lauded  United Purpose and other partners for assisting the state.

Ekpenyong said it was not the job of the government alone to fight the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state but the job of everyone.

Mr Nanpet Chuktu, the Programme Manager of United Purpose, said his organisation partnered the state because it wanted to help in pushing back the virus from the state.

“We the United Purpose, through the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, are making a donation of 10 hand washing stations per Local Government Area (LGA).

“These hand washing stations are for emergency and would be delivered to the state’s Primary Healthcare Agencies.

“We are looking at about 250 of them and each of the primary healthcare facilities would get at least one.” (NAN)

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Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

FRSC mulls revamp of mobile courts in Rivers

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is planning to revamp operations of the mobile courts so as to instill discipline and quick dispensation of justice for traffic offenders in Rivers.

The state Sector Commander, Corps Commandant Salusi Galadunci, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Port Harcourt.

According to him, the court is an arbiter of justice which is the reason why all FRSC formations are mandated to embark on the mobile courts.

Galadunci said that activities of the mobile courts had in many ways promoted transparency in justice delivery for traffic offenders and also helped cultivate sanity among commuters and other road users.

“We have plans to meet with the Chief Justice of the state to seek collaboration so that they can permanently assign magistrates for the mobile courts to enable us carry out sittings either weekly or on a quarterly bases.

“The Command would strive very hard to ensure a drastic reduction in traffic offences in the coming weeks by engaging the mobile courts and promoting safety education,” he said.

NAN recalls that the FRSC had recorded a number of 276 traffic offences in 7 days, a situation which has raised serious concern for the new Sector Commander in the state.

The Commandant in a bide to promoting positive driving culture had also pledged readiness to strengthen cooperation with relevant bodies in the state.

“From the little analysis in my three weeks of operation in the state, I have discovered that so many drivers here are driving without drivers licence and authentic vehicle particulars.

“My intention is to set up a task force as soon as the COVID-19 restriction is completely eased.

“The task force is going to be only in change of drivers and vehicle licenses and it would be established in collaboration with the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service.

“We would also involve other stakeholders like the Police Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and others.

“The idea of this task force is that when a culprit driving without licence is apprehended, his vehicle would be kept in our custody till the licence is processed,” he said.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Judiciary

Rivers APC crisis: Appeal Court fixes July 16 to hear Ogbobula’s suit

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The Appeal Court in Abuja, on Wednesday fixed July 16 to hear an appeal filed by former  Rivers All Progressives (APC) Chairman Caretaker Committee, Isaac Ogbobula.

A three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, fixed the date for hearing in the substantive suit after the court dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the Acting Chairman of the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC), Igo Aguma.

Delivering a ruling, the Court of Appeal dismissed the objection on the grounds that the argument of the first respondent was misconceived and therefore liable to dismissal.

Adah held further that the appellant’s application complied with the rule of the Appeal Court.

“The application for preliminary objection was a complete waste of court’s time and abuse of the court process.

” It was a disgraceful act that ought not to be at the Court of Appeal” Adah held.

He then fixed the date for hearing of the substantive appeal to July 16.

Ogbobula had approached the Court of Appeal to  challenge the judgment of Rivers  High Court which nullified his Caretaker Committee and affirmed Igo Aguma as the authentic acting chairman of the APC in the state.

Aguma, APC and former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole are the first, second and third respondents.

Justice George Omereji of a Rivers High Court had on June 9 declared Aguma as the acting chairman of the party in the state.

The court also compelled the party to allow all members of the party loyal to Sen. Magnus Abe to participate in the new congresses.

The court voided the Caretaker Committee appointed by the now dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in 2018.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Ogbobula went to the appellate court, praying the court to set aside Omereji’s judgment and restore him as the authentic APC chairman in the state.

Earlier, counsel to Aguma, the first respondent, Mr Emeka Etiaba ,SAN raised a preliminary objection, arguing that the appellant did not comply with the rule of the court in compiling and transmitting record to the Appeal Court.

Etiaba further argued that it was near impossible for a court to have delivered a judgment on Thursday and the record filed and transmitted to Court of Appeal in Abuja the following day.

He said further that the Appeal Court cannot depart from its own rule to give vent to non proper filing and regularisation of application, especially when it was not yet time to file.

He said the appellant put “the horse before the cart” in transmitting record to Appeal Court in that as when the application was filed the record had not been properly compiled.

Etiaba also raised the issue of non proper service on one of the respondents.

The appellant’s counsel, Mr Tuduru Ede ,SAN , argued that the court can set aside and depart from its own rules when the need arises to regularise a process.

Tuduru argued also that the court has the power to deem an application properly filed and start running from the time.”

“I hold this hounourable court has the power to grant prayers we are seeking,” Tuduru said.NAN)

 

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Politics

Rivers APC crises: Aguma remains chairman – Sen. Abe

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Sen. Magnus Abe, a former Rivers South East District Senator at the National Assembly, says Mr Igochukwu Aguma remains the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers.

Abe, in a statement issued by his media aide, Parry Benson, on Sunday in Port Harcourt, said the alleged suspension of Aguma from office was in clear breach of a valid court judgment.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that a State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had on June 9, declared Aguma as chairman of the party’s caretaker committee following a petition to the court.

However, Aguma was later suspended from office by the Sen. Andrew Uchendu-led State Executive Committee (SEC) faction, on the grounds that Aguma allegedly took critical decisions concerning the party without the committee members.

Abe, a lawyer, however, said that the decision of the faction was inconsequential due to the subsisting court judgment.

”So, even if the judgment is set aside, the action of the SEC members was already in defiance of a subsisting court judgment, considering the time they took the action.

”They should have collected the signatures of SEC members and served a notice to Aguma with a demand to summon a meeting.

”There are constitutional provisions in our party’s constitution to summon an extraordinary meeting of the state executive committee of our party,” he explained.

Abe noted  that Aguma, after he was declared chairman by the court, invited the party SEC members for a meeting and that members fully attended the meeting.

He added that a quorum was formed and decisions reached with the party’s state executive committee members at the meeting.

”The SEC members met and took certain decisions, including, asking the acting chairman to draw a blueprint on the way forward and present to the members at a later date.

”The proper procedure for those (SEC faction) who later met, would have been to collect the signature of members and serve a notice to the chairman, with demand to summon a meeting.

”So, they cannot call a meeting in his (Sen. Uchendu’s) house, which other members were not invited and usurp the powers of the SEC, to set up a factional executive.

”This action, at the time it was done was a clear breach of a valid court judgment,” he pointed out.

Abe insisted that the party’s SEC could only meet if summoned by the party chairman or when a proper procedure was used by members to override the chairman.

The Senator urged the party members to emulate President Muhammadu Buhari’s obedience to court orders, advising factional members not to deepen the crises in the party.

 

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court rejects Rivers’ request for interim stoppage of police fund deductions

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Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, turned down a request of the Rivers Government to temporarily halt the deduction of funds from the federation account for the funding of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF).

Earlier, Joseph Daudu, SAN, who represented the state’s government, had urged Justice Mohammed to issue an interim order suspending the funds deduction after the Federal Government’s agents in the case pleaded for more time to explore the option of amicable resolution of the dispute in the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Tijani Gazali represented the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st defendant, Mr K. E Idoko represented the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) and Chinedu Achoume represented the Minister of Finance as 2nd and 4th defendants respectively.

The 3rd defendant, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, was not represented by any lawyer at the proceedings.

Arguing, Daudu told the court to make the interim order or make the government’s lawyers to give an undertaking to stop the funds deduction pending the conclusion of the settlement talks.

However, the defendants’ lawyers opposed the request for the issuance of an interim order and declined to give an undertaking for the suspension of the funds deduction.

Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), who was joined as the 1st defendant in the case, Mr Tijjani Gazali, argued that the deduction of funds was based on provision of a law whose operations could not be stopped by consent of parties in a  case.

“Agreed, it is a contractual relationship which is about give-and-take, but parties cannot by consent stop the operations of the law,” Gazali said.

Delivering a ruling, Justice Mohammed, said it was clear that parties to the case could not reach any agreement.

He said while the court would not want to stand in the way of an amicable settlement of the matter, it would also not entertain any steps capable of frustrating the expeditious determination of the case.

The judge, who refused to grant Daudu’s plea, reaffirmed the order of accelerated hearing which he earlier issued for the case on June 10.

He then adjourned the case until July 20 for hearing, saying, “This adjournment is without prejudice the right of parties to pursue an amicable settlement of the  matter.”

The Rivers State Government, through its AGF, had, on May 20, filed the suit, /511/2020, to challenge the constitutionality and validity of section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, which permit the  deduction of 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account and be paid to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.

Gov. Nyesom Wike-led of Rivers contended that it was not the responsibility of the state governments but that of the Federal Government to fund the police.

Its lawyers led by Daudu argued that by virtue of Section 162 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution, funds standing to the credit of the federation account “can only be distributed among the Federal Government, state governments and local government councils in each state of Nigeria and not directly to any agency of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Police Force”.

It urged the court to, among others, declare the  section of the law “permitting the direct deduction of any sum or percentage of revenue accruing to the federation account or which ought to have been paid into the federation account for the purpose of providing  funds for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund” as  “unconstitutional, null and void”.

It also urged the court to order a refund of the money deducted from the federation account and paid into the NPTF since when it was informed about it at the in April 2020 Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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