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Absence of EFCC counsel stalls ex-minister, Diezani’s trial

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Diezani Alison-Madueke

The absence of counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former Minister of Petroleum Resources,  Diezani Alison-Madueke, in court on Wednesday stalled the money laundering trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Federal High Court, Abuja had fixed today, Nov. 3, for the EFCC to give a report on its effort at extraditing Alison-Madueke to the country to stand her trial, and for possible mention of the case.

NAN reports that though Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu was the presiding judge in the matter, the case was reassigned to Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, following the transfer of Ojukwu to the Calabar division of the court.

Although the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018, was on number 9 on the Wednesday’s cause list, neither the EFCC lawyer nor Mrs Alison-Madueke was in court.

When the matter was called, the court registrar said: “No counsel in court my lord.”

Justice Olajuwon then adjourned the matter until Jan. 24, 2022, for report of mention.

NAN also reports that the trial of the ex-minister before the former judge was, on May17, hindered  due to the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

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The matter was fixed for the date, following the absence of the EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, in court on March 3.

On March 3, the case, which was earlier fixed for report or arraignment of the ex-minister, could not proceed as neither Abdullah nor Diezani was in court.

NAN reports that the court had, on Dec. 3, 2020, adjourned the matter until March 3 following the inability of the anti-graft agency to fully comply with its orders in the trial of Diezani.

Ojukwu fixed the date after counsel to the EFCC, Abdullah, prayed the court for more time to enable the anti-graft agency ensure full compliance with the court orders.

The judge had, on Oct. 28, 2020, refused to grant the EFCC’s application seeking the court order on issuance of warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke.

Ojukwu held that an affidavit with evidence in support to proof that the earlier court summon granted the agency had failed in the extradition of Diezani must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.

The judge noted that the EFCC had informed the court that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) hinted that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the International Police (INTERPOL) the impetus to  bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.

The judge, however, said it would give the anti-graft agency a room to put its house in order in the trial of the ex-minister because court orders were not made in vain.

Abdullah had, in an application, urged the court “to issue an arrest warrant against Alison-Madueke, who is believed to be in the UK to enable all law enforcement agencies and the INTERPOL to arrest her anywhere she is sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation made against her before the court.”

He said since the summon had not been able to achieve the desired result, the need for a warrant of arrest cannot be over-emphasised.

The court had, on July 24,  2020, ordered the former minister to appear before it and answer to the money laundering charge filed against her by the EFCC. The judge gave the ruling in an ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 brought by Abdullah.

The EFCC had accused the former minister of fleeing the country for the UK in order to escape justice, among others.

The lawyer, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said it sought to question Alison-Madueke, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including “her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited by NNPC.

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Wike alleges politicians recruiting cultists to destabilise Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says he has received intelligence reports that some misguided politicians are already recruiting cultists, ex-convicts and thugs in furtherance of their political aspirations for 2023.

The governor said the state government waa aware that owners of hotels and entertainment centres were planning to give out their premises to politicians and political parties as a convenient bases for the gathering of these political thugs across the state.

Wike, in a state broadcast on Sunday, emphasised that the government is not taking the intelligence reports at its disposal lightly, and will therefore not allow any politician, no matter his previous or present position, the chance or opportunity to upset the prevailing peace and security in Rivers.

He said, “We will not allow any political party, be it the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to threaten the safety and security of life and property during the campaigns with mayhem, thuggery or violence.

“Accordingly, we have already alerted and set the security agencies on the trail of these misguided politicians and leaders of political parties and stop them in their tracks with the full weight of the law.

“We also wish to warn owners of hotels and proprietors of relaxation centres to take notice and desist from releasing their facilities for politicians and party leaders to use to meet and plot against the peace, safety and security of our state.”

The governor warned that the state government would demolish hotels and other entertainment places linked with such criminal political activities.

 

 

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How IPPIS Has Deprived OAUTH Non-Clinical Staff of Salaries Since January

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Some non-clinical members of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) staff have lamented a delay in the payment of their salaries from January 2022 to date.

They told FIJ that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) failed to capture their data last year, and as a result, they did not get their salaries in January, February and March.

On condition of anonymity, a staffer told FIJ that it was only in April that they were paid, but after that, their salaries did not arrive in May, June and July.

“There was a recruitment last year at the institution. Both clinical and non clinical staff were recruited,” one affected staffer told FIJ. “IPPIS came during the recruitment and captured many of the new recruits while those people not captured were promised that IPPIS would come back to capture them.”

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The source said staff members who were not captured under the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) had not been paid since January.

“They paid both clinical and non clinical staffers that were not captured with GIFMIS till December last year, but from January 2022 till date, the ones that were not captured have not been paid.”

When FIJ contacted Kemi Fasoto, the hospital’s Public Relations Officer, she confirmed the development.

She said, “The university does not pay staff salaries. I have been paid, and I am a non-clinical staffer. IPPIS will come back and capture them; it is not in our hands.”

FIJ attempted to contact the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the IPPIS office, but phone numbers attached to them were not reachable as of press time.

FIJ also sent messages to the numbers, but there were no responses at press time.

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Oyedepo tells ‘Winners’: Be obedient

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Oyedepo

Wife of the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, LFC, Worldwide, Pastor Faith Oyedepo, has urged winners to be obedient in the affairs of the Kingdom (of God).

On his part, the husband, Bishop David Oyedepo, said obedience is better than sacrifice.

The couple spoke at the church’s monthly leadership conference.

The declarations were yesterday, interpreted as a subtle endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi.

Obi’s supporters have been campaigning under the alias ‘Obi-dients’.

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The candidate himself visited the Oyedepos at the Ota-based church after which photos from the visit went viral as supporters lavishly shared them on social media.

Oyedepo’s wife, while citing Isaiah 1:19-20, stressed the need for Christians to be obedient to spiritual instructions to enjoy the good of the land.

Her words: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 1:19-20).

She urged the church to pray for God’s Spirit to serve and be obedient.

In his own sermon, Bishop Oyedepo, while unravelling the mystery of the covenant of obedience, said: “To be obedient is better than sacrifice. Obedience may be costly but the end result is always priceless.

“When you live your life as a seed, its impact lives for generations after you”.

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