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Fake CSP, cleric among alleged invaders of Odili’s home

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Fourteen suspects, including a fake Chief Superintendent of Police(CSP), Lawrence Ajodo, who laid siege to the Abuja home of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili were yesterday paraded by the Police.

Ajodo described himself as a consultant on recoveries to the Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. He was found with Police and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) identity cards.

Malami has, however, distanced himself from the fake police officer and alleged mastermind of the October 29 siege.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike condemned the invasion, alleging that the Federal Government is intimidating the judiciary ahead of 2023 elections.

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Frank Mba, who paraded the suspects at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Headquarters, Area 10, Abuja, said seven other suspects, including two soldiers, are still at large.

Mba said the suspects with different professional backgrounds were members of a criminal syndicate that operated as law enforcement officers. One of them is a herbalist and an Islamic prayer warrior, Ali Ibrahim. A journalist, Stanley Nkwaezema, was also among those paraded.

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The FPRO, who described the suspects as “loose cannons and document forgers”, said they conspired to raid Odili’s residence on learning that the jurist had foreign currencies.

He commended the resistance by the security personnel deployed in Odili’s home for not allowing the suspects access to the premises.

Mba said it would have been a huge embarrassment to the country if the suspects had succeeded.

Ajodo confessed that he was not a policeman, does not work with the EFCC, and was not detailed by anyone for the botched task.

He also admitted to having forged Malami’s signature on the EFCC identity card found on him.

His words: ”I work for Malami as a consultant on recoveries. There are five of us. I was given 18 accounts to recover, though Malami did not send me to this mission. I am a banking expert with a specialty in finance and forensic.”

Ajodo also claimed that there was a mix-up during the siege, adding that the search warrant they obtained from a chief magistrate’s court was “supposed to be for No 9 but it read No 7.”

The herbalist, who served as the syndicate’s whistleblower, said he was contracted by Justice Odili’s godson, whose name he did not give.

Ibrahim confessed that after he conducted prayers and got a revelation that there was money in Odili’s residence, he proceeded to swear an affidavit to that effect at the office of the EFCC.

He claimed that Ajodo diverted the affidavit to the Ministry of Justice and later led a team on a surveillance mission to Odili’s residence before the siege.

Ibrahim said: ”I am the whistleblower and I swore an affidavit that millions of money were stashed in that house. I was introduced as an Islamic prayer warrior to the godson of Justice Odili and I prayed there on October 13. I prayed to know if the story that there was money in the house was true.

“So, after the prayers, I decided to go through the EFCC as a formal channel and I was interviewed and interrogated.

“However, I ended up in the Ministry of Justice because Ajodo told me it was the same thing; that the EFCC is under the ministry.

“We went for surveillance before the raid. I took him (Ajodo) to the address and directed them to Justice Odili’s house.”

Nkwazema, who described himself as a Contributing Editor with ThisDay, said he was following a lead on recovery of assets brought to him by one of the suspects, Alex Onyekwere, a lawyer.

He said he followed the lead for three days before joining the team for the raid. However, he claimed he did not enter the premises.

In a statement shortly after the parade, Malami described Ajodo claim as “an orchestrated attempt to stir unnecessary controversies and public apprehension.”

He urged the Police and other relevant security agencies to get to the root of the siege to Odili’s home.

“This is a case of a drowning man scavenging for a dying partner. We are happy to note that investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances and personalities behind the invasion and sponsored,” he said in a statement by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu.

The statement added: ”It only takes the imagination of evil minds to assume or think that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will descend so low to engage a quack or fake police officer to serve as his consultant.

“This is a case of a drowning man scavenging for a dying partner. We are happy to note that investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances and personalities behind the invasion and sponsored campaign of calumny against the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

“We ask the suspect to present documents of engagements where he worked as a consultant to the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, whether in past or now.

Also, THISDAY said in a statement by its Managing Editor, Bolaji Adebiyi, that Nkwazema was neither its staff member nor a contributing editor.

It added that Nkwazema resigned more than 15 years ago after serving as one its Sports correspondents.

The statement reads: “The attention of the management of THISDAY Newspapers has been drawn to the news making the rounds that Mr. Stanley Nkwazema, one of those suspected to have invaded the home of Justice Mary Odili claimed to be a staff and Contributing Editor of THISDAY.

“Contrary to his claim, Mr. Nkwazema is neither a staff member of THISDAY nor a contributing editor. He was a Sports correspondent and resigned more than 15 years ago.

“However, occasionally, he, like hundreds of other readers of the newspaper, sends for publication articles and analyses and is usually obliged, a privilege ThisDay gives to some of its ex-staff members. That does not in any way make him a staff member and Contributing Editor of THISDAY.

“Since his resignation, THISDAY had at no time contracted Mr. Nkwazema to investigate any story, and we know nothing of his alleged investigation of a story leading to the raid of the residence of Hon. Justice Odili.

“The police authorities and the general public should therefore note that Mr. Nkwazema, whatever may be his involvement in this matter, was not on any reportorial assignment in any shape or form on behalf of THISDAY.”

The Nation

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FG Threatens to Sanction Chinese Firm over Slow Pace of Rail Project

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The federal government has threatened to sanction the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) over the firm’s alleged failure to provide 85 per cent counterpart funding for the rail project in some parts of the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, decried the slow pace of work in the Kanu-Kaduna and Maiduguri-Port Harcourt rail lines.
Sambo gave the warning yesterday while briefing journalists in Lagos at the end of a tour of the Lekki Deep Seaport to ascertain the level of work done so far.

Sambo, who frowned at the attitude of the Chinese firm, said two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC had not provided any of its 85 per cent counterpart funds.

According to him, the agreement stipulates that CCECC is to provide 85 per cent of the project cost while the federal government provides the remaining 15 per cent.

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He said: “I have given them till October 2022 to fulfill their own part of the agreement or stiff sanction would be meted out to them.
“How could it be said that two years after the agreement was signed, CCECC is yet to provide a dollar?”

A former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in March accused the firm of playing politics with the Kanu-Kaduna rail project, urging the contractor to provide funding for the project.

Amaechi had said, “The pace is extremely slow, the equipment are supposed to be 2,000 plus, but what they (CCECC) have brought so far is 541, they claim that 300 and something equipment are in Kaduna. I will send people to check. Even if you add that all together, you will have 800 equipment in place of 2,000 equipment they are supposed to bring. That means something is wrong somewhere.

“I know they (CCECC) claim that there is no money, that we have not funded them. But what of their responsibility in the contract, which is to look for the money?

“CCECC has not brought money; the Chinese are no longer giving us money for more than three to four years now. So CCECC can’t afford to delay their responsibility to look for money for the project. That is what the Chinese must do.”

Thisday
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Oshiomhole praises Jonathan, says he left enviable legacies

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Former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress,Adams Oshiomhole, has said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan left enviable legacies behind.

The former Edo State governor said no leader is appreciated until they leave office, explained that his disagreement with former President Jonathan was due to their differences in political interests.

He stated this at the one-year memorial lecture in honour of late Captain Hosa Okunbo, in Abuja on Saturday.

Oshiomhole said, “You (Jonathan) left legacies even though I had cause to fight because it is politics. The legacy you have left, there is no successor who can afford to do less.

“But the logic of multi-party democracy is that even an angel can be defeated. You have set a standard that none of your successors can afford to go below.

“Part of your (Jonathan) legacies was when you launched the almajiri school and your thought was that no Nigerian child should be left on the street and also appropriated special funds.

“These ideas are not new but what we lack is the will to transform it to practice. We never know who are our friends until when we are no more. No one is appreciated until he or she leaves office.”

Other speakers at the event were Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase III decried the glorification of stomach infrastructure in Nigeria’s political culture, among others.

They described the late Captain Hosa Okunbo as a man with a large heart and spirit of philanthropy.

They noted one of his legacies that would continue to endure was that he nurtured and mentored many to become responsible members of the society.

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Shaving Inibehe Effiong’s hair, beard a security measure, says NCoS

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The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Akwa Ibom command, says the shaving of the hair and beard of Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner, is a security measure.

Effiong was sent to prison July 27 by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom, Ekaette Obot, after the lawyer reportedly protested against the presence of armed policemen in court.

The human rights lawyer was in court to defend Leo Ekpenyong, a lawyer, in a libel suit filed by Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom.
Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations (CSOs), have called for the release of the human rights lawyer.
On Thursday, reports surfaced on social media that Effiong had been transferred to the Uyo correctional centre, and that the lawyer’s hair and beard had been forcefully shaved.
Speaking on the reports, Femi Falana, human rights advocate, said such action was a violation of Effiong’s fundamental human rights.
In a statement on Friday, Richard Metong, NCoS Akwa Ibom spokesperson, said the shaving was not done with blunt instrument as speculated on social media, adding that the action was “a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility”.
“On arrival at Uyo, he was duly admitted into the facility and was also informed of the need to cut his hair and beards as a security measure as well as a routine practice in the facility, which he obliged and willingly allowed the barber using a clipper and not a blunt instrument as speculated on social media,” the statement reads.
Meeting told TheCable on Saturday that the decision to shave Effiong’s hair and beard was carried out to ensure his safety among other inmates.
“On the security aspect, you know that the cells where they stay is not only for one person. There are a lot of other persons, and if you know barrister Effiong very well, he has a very long beard,” he said.
“In case of an argument or altercation with somebody in the cell, it can lead to him being harmed in a way if there is anything ensuing between himself and other inmates.
“You know he is a very popular human rights lawyer and I’m also very sure that there are other persons he prosecuted their cases who are also in the same facility.
“So, we are also considering his own safety by asking him to please shave to be clean. It is for his own best interest. It poses security threat to him as he goes into the facility. We don’t want him to be harmed.”
Speaking further, Metong said the decision was in line with the personal hygiene clause stipulated in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Nelson Mandela rules.
Rule 18 (personal hygiene) of the Nelson Mandela rules states: “Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.
“In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be able to shave regularly.”

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