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Boko Haram: Visitors barred from federal secretariat, hoodlums kill cop

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Amid fear of an imminent Boko Haram attack in the Federal Capital Territory, visitors were barred from entering the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I located in the Three Arms Zones, Abuja.

One of our correspondents, who monitored events in front of one of the gates for about 30 minutes on Friday, observed that men of the Nigerian Legion as well as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen ensuring that only civil servants with identification cards were granted access onto the premises.

The security personnel were also seen turning back those without valid ID cards, pointing them to a notice on the wall of the gatehouse on the need to beef up security.

The notice directed that persons without ID cards not be allowed onto the premises, while also banning hawking in front of the complex.

Cobblers and hawkers of fruits, recharge cards and snacks were fond of selling their wares in front of the complex.

Female soldiers keep vigil at Mogadishu Cantonment

Armed female soldiers were, in the early hours of Friday, stationed at strategic points in front of the Mogadishu Cantonment, popularly called Abacha Barracks.

The troops are of the Nigerian Army Women Corps.

They were seen at the foot of the pedestrian bridge in front of the gate on both the Abuja-bound and Keffi-bound lanes of the Abuja-Keffi Expressway.

The stern-looking soldiers did not allow drivers to stop anywhere in front of the barracks.

Also, at the Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, vehicles entering the premises were seen being thoroughly searched when one of our correspondents visited.

Panic among parents

Some parents and guardians, out of panic, again stormed some schools to withdraw their children and wards.

Eyewitnesses identified the Government Science Secondary School opposite Maitama General Hospital and the Federal Government Technical College, Orozo as some of the schools in the FCT that were stormed by parents.

A woman simply identified as Sophie told one of our correspondents that she did not bother to allow her children to go to school on Friday.

“To be forewarned is to be forearmed. With all we have been hearing about possible attacks since last week, it would be foolish of any parent to still allow kids like mine to go to school today,” she said.

Cop killed as El-Zakzaky followers, police clash

Meanwhile, there was tension in the Wuse/Berger area of the FCT on Friday when members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ites, clashed with policemen.

An Assistant Superintendent of Police, Adama Ezekiel, was confirmed to have been killed in the process.

The protesters, it was gathered, were demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife from detention when they clashed with policemen.

The news of the incident further caused anxiety among residents.

A commercial driver in the area who gave his name simply as Williams told one of our correspondents, “I saw them during their protest coming from Wuse Zone 3 and chanting songs of solidarity for the release of El-Zakzaky.

“I cannot say what caused the clash but the protesters were aggressive. People ran for cover and I also did. I later saw police officers and Special Weapons and Tactics officials here.”

A trader in the area who did not want her name in print said the Shi’ite members attacked a police officer and attempted to snatch his gun.

“They were throwing stones and not long after, we started hearing sounds gunshot in the area. Everywhere was in turmoil. They also beat a policewoman mercilessly and tried to snatch her gun but she held on to it,” she said.

But the spokesman of the FCT Command, ASP Mariam Yusuf, in a statement, alleged that a police officer, Adama Ezekiel, was killed during the protest.

Yusuf stated that members of the disbanded sect went on the rampage, destroying properties and attacking innocent citizens, including police officers, with weapons, adding that 49 protesters had been arrested and would be arraigned in court upon conclusion of investigation.

She said, “The police successfully restored calm at Berger Roundabout after dispersing a violent protest by some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria – Shi’ites.

“Unfortunately, members of the disbanded sect went on the rampage, destroying public property and attacking innocent citizens including police officers using weapons such as cutlasses, sharp knives, etc.

“Sadly, one of the police officers, ASP Adama Ezekiel, deployed to restore calm during the violent protest, paid the supreme price as a result of the brutal attack where he was stabbed by one of the irate protesters.”

According to her, the Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, commiserated with the family of the deceased.

The statement added, “The command wishes to state that it will not condone further attacks on its personnel, equipment or other public property by members of the proscribed group.

“The command implores residents to remain calm and law-abiding, while reaffirming its unwavering commitment to the protection of lives and property within the FCT.”

When contacted on the telephone to react to the police’s claim, the spokesperson for the Shi’ites, Ibrahim Musa, said the police shot one IMN member and arrested over 50.

“I cannot ascertain all the causalities at our end but more than 50 of our members have been arrested and one shot by the police,” Musa said.

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We won’t tamper with foreign currency in your dom accounts, CBN assures customers

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says speculations that the apex bank is considering converting foreign exchange (FX) in the domiciliary accounts of customers to naira should be ignored.

 

Speaking with reporters on Monday in Abuja, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank’s acting director in charge of corporate communications, described those making such allegations as “criminal speculators whose intention was to create panic in the foreign exchange market”.

 

On Tuesday, CBN announced that it would discontinue sales of FX to Bureau De Change operators(BDCs).

 

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, had accused BDCs of becoming agents for illegal financial flows and working with corrupt people to conduct money laundering in Nigeria.

 

The development has heightened fears of forex scarcity among Nigerians and led to a significant drop in the value of the naira against the dollar.

 

Addressing insinuations about CBN’s plan to check the purported unavailability of forex, Nwasinobi assured that the apex bank will not tamper with the foreign exchange deposits in the accounts of customers.

 

“At no time did the CBN ever imply that it would tinker with the foreign exchange deposits of customers,” he said.

 

Nwasinobi urged operators of domiciliary accounts and other members of the banking public to go about their legitimate foreign exchange transactions and disregard fictitious stories aimed at pitching them against the apex bank and triggering chaos in the system.

 

Nwanisobi assured the banking public that the CBN would monitor the commercial banks to ensure they meet the legitimate FX demands of customers.

 

He said the CBN had put in place monitoring mechanism to guarantee the seamless sale of foreign exchange to customers who supported their requests with relevant documentation.

 

He also said the CBN had extracted the commitment of the banks, through their chief executive officers, that customers with legitimate FX requests will not be turned back.

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FG adopts gas as strategy towards climate-change-net-zero-emission ― Sylva

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Tuesday, disclosed that the Federal Government has adopted gas as a strategy to meeting the nation’s climate-change-net-zero-emission target.

 

Speaking at the Annual International Conference & Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Lagos with the theme: “The Future of Energy – A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market”, he expressed the government’s concern about joining the rest of the world to transit from oil to cleaner fuels.

 

Specifically, he said: “Let me state categorically that our approach towards the climate-change-net-zero-emission debate is to optimize the use of our abundant gas resource domestically as a transition fuel option towards meeting our Nationally Determined Contributions to climate change.

 

“As a Government, we are determined to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilisation, power generation, gas-based industries, and propulsion in all aspects of the national economy. This would in a fundamental manner address the great challenge posed by volatile oil market, the environmental issues and public health concerns.”

 

The Minister of State, who reflected on current issues in the global oil market, said: “Regarding the global oil market in the foreseeable years, it is becoming obvious that a global migration from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable would engender a corresponding decline in hydrocarbon including possible divestiture in the sector as deliberate frameworks are being championed to discourage the extraction of carbon-laden resources. The COVID-19 Pandemic has further exacerbated the investment decline.

 

“The Government of Nigeria in collaboration with global partners are exploring policies, technologies, and investments to address the current global challenge that will support migration from our reliance on carbon dependent fuels to meeting our commitment to the Paris Agreement.”

 

He, however, added: “It is our belief that the distinguished Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will be at the forefront of our quest to achieve the desired balance of a clean environment, safe public health, and a renewed global oil market. This SPE Annual International Conference and Exhibition will be an appropriate platform to bring to the front-burner the critical discussions that would forge a robust and implementable clean energy solutions pathway for Nigeria.”

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Court unfreezes Dokpesi’s accounts, orders release of seized documents

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered accounts of businessman and politician, Raymond Dokpesi be unfrozen.

 

The Court also ordered the release of his documents being held by the State.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained court order freezing the accounts and seized his documents in the course of prosecuting Dokpesi and his company, Daar Investment and Holdings Limited, before the court.

 

They were charged with engaging in procurement fraud and breach of public trust, in relation to the N2.1billion they got from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

 

In a judgment on April 1, the Court of Appeal in Abuja set aside the November 21, 2018 ruling by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, rejecting their no-case submission and ordering Dokpesi and his company to enter a defence.

 

In her lead judgment in the unanimous decision of the appellate court’s three-man panel, Justice Elfrieda Williams-Daudu, held among others, that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Dokpesi and his company to warrant their being called upon to enter a defence.

 

The Court of Appeal then upheld their no-case submission, quashed the charge against them and discharged and acquitted them.

 

Armed with the Court of Appeal decision, Dokpesi returned to the Federal High Court, Abuja with an application for orders directing the EFCC to unfreeze his account and return documents seized from him while his trial lasted.

 

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Tsoho rejected the opposition by the prosecution and proceeded to grant the application by Dokpesi and his company.

 

Justice Tsoho, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, held that since the charge which precipitated the restriction on the accounts had been quashed and the applicants discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal, the restriction could no longer be justified.

 

The judge further held that the EFCC had no basis to sustain the post no debit order on the accounts in view of the subsisting and valid order of the Court of Appeal.

 

He noted that the EFCC did not obtain any order staying the execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal since it was delivered on April 1.

 

On EFCC’s argument that it has lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgment of Court of Appeal, Justice Tsoho held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court cannot, in law, stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.

 

He added that the prosecution ought to have obtained an order staying the execution of the judgment.

 

Justice Tsoho was of the view that in the absence of any order staying the execution of the judgment by the Court of Appeal, his court was bound by law to give effect to the judgment.

 

He then ordered that the vacation of the freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC on the accounts in compliance with the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

 

The judge equally ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi or voluntarily surrendered by him to the state be immediately returned to him.

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