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Malami, Falana disagree on court order unfreezing #Endsars promoters’ accounts

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately unfreeze 20 bank accounts linked to protesters and promoters of #EndSARS.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order after the withdrawal of a suit instituted against them by the CBN through its counsel, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

But the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the #Endsars promoters’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) have sharply disagreed on whether the FG could be compelled to comply with the court order or not.

Malami, in an interview with Channels TV, said the Federal Government was not wrong to freeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners, adding that “the decision to comply with the court order or not is not a decision that is a product of intimidation.”

Falana, however, said on Thursday morning also in an interview with the TV station that the CBN could not appeal the court judgment.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, Aondoakaa told the court that he had discussed with the counsel for the defendants and in the spirit of reconciliation, his client was withdrawing the suit.

Justice Mohammed then struck out the suit.

He stated, “All processes filed deemed to have been withdrawn in the spirit of reconciliation, the suit is hereby struck out. The order of November 4, 2020, freezing the accounts of the respondents is hereby set aside. An order is made de-freezing the accounts of the respondents immediately.”

The CBN had in an ex parte application filed on October 20, 2020, asked the court to freeze the accounts of the respondents which was granted by Justice Mohammed.

The court order was addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa and Zenith Bank.

The court directed the banks to freeze all transactions on the accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as an exhibit for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry by the bank.

The 180 days lapsed last week.

Some of the bank accounts holders were Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

Also on the list are Adegoke Yusuf, Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.

Malam, however, said, “The decision to comply with the court order or not is not a decision that is a product of intimidation; government cannot be intimidated, government cannot in anyway be compromised as far as the exercise of its constitutional powers is concerned but that does not mean the government is perpetually inconsiderate.

“The bottom-line is that the public interest matters most in whatever decision the government arrives at, as far as compliance or non-compliance with the orders or judgments of the court is concerned. Intimidation is out of it, threats are out of it; constitutionality is the bottom-line.”

Falana urged the CBN to focuson its business of banking and refrain from jumping into the political terrain.

He also said his clients would drag the Federal Government and the CBN to court for trampling on their rights by unlawfully freezing their accounts last October.

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NAF bombs bandit hideouts, kills scores in Kaduna

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The Nigerian Air Force aerial assaults on terrorist camps across three Local Government Areas of Igabi, Chikun and Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna State have led to the killing of many terrorists.

The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, was, however, silent on when the operations were carried out.

He said, “The Nigerian Air Force has continued with assaults on identified bandit camps and enclaves around Kaduna State.

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“Feedback to the Kaduna State Government revealed that a camp in Riyawa, Igabi LGA, was targeted and destroyed. A terrorist location at Tofa general area of Birnin Gwari LGA was similarly engaged and struck.

“Close air support was provided to ground troops conducting operations in Maidaro, Dogon Dawa, Damari, Saulawa and Farin Ruwa areas of Birnin Gwari LGA.

“Armed reconnaissance was carried out along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road, Buruku, Kurmin Dande, Damba, Ungwan Yako, Udawa, Manini, Kuriga, Gagafada, Kushaka, Polewire and Kamfanin Doka areas spanning Chikun and Birnin Gwari LGAs. No suspicious activity was observed at the locations covered.

“Further updates will be communicated as they emerge.”

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JUST IN: Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, wife finally part ways

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After 25 years of marriage, the popular Pentecostal pastor, Ayo Oritsejafor and his wife Helen have finally parted ways.

POLITICS NIGERIA learned that the split is caused by a protracted and bitter misunderstanding.

According to Niger Delta-based self-styled ‘Bishop of Godism’, Ufuoma Bernard, Helen in a WhatsApp message earlier in 2022 accused the estranged husband of wanting her dead.

She’s rumoured to be in a sizzling romance with a man for 10 years.

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“Helen reportedly moved out of the matrimonial home and relocated to Britain with the kids and Pastor Oritsejafor has moved back to the house after abandoning it for almost a year,” Bernard said.

Oritsejafor is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, located in Warri, Delta State.

He became the national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) on 7 February 2005, a position he held for five years.

In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the apex body of all Christians in the country. In doing so he became the first Pentecostal leader to hold the position.

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ICPC confirms arrest, detention of D’Banj over N-Power fund fraud

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Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj

Popular Nigerian musician, Oladapo Oyebanji, also known as D’banj, has been arrested and detained in Abuja over alleged diversion of N-Power fund.
The pop star was arrested and detained Tuesday by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.

The ICPC on Wednesday confirmed this in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua.

D’banji was accused of fraudulently diverting huge funds earmarked by the Nigerian government for N- Power project, an empowerment programme set up by the Nigerian government in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.
According to an ICPC source, D’banj was said to have colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme.

The money meant for those beneficiaries was then paid to accounts that have now been allegedly linked to the pop star.

D’banj was reported to have dodged summons by the ICPC for weeks, claiming to be overseas for scheduled concerts for interrogation over fraud allegation before the commission’s operatives closed in on him.

On arrival at the ICPC office, D’banj was reportedly subjected to a prolonged interrogation session after which he was detained.

His plea for administrative bail was reportedly rejected by officials who said the musician could not be trusted to attend his trial if released on bail.

The statement issued read in part, “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) confirmed on Wednesday the arrest and detention of Mr. Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj, over the investigation of fraud associated with the N-Power Programme.

“The N-Power is a scheme established by President Muhammadu Buhari on 8th June, 2016, to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment, and help increase social development.

“In line with its mandate, the Commission had received numerous petitions on the diversion of N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government. Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the Government.

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“About 10 persons have been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the N-Power fraud, and have been granted administrative bail after their detention. Several invitations to Mr. Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, to appear before a team of investigators were ignored and not honoured.

“D’banji turned himself in and was taken into custody at the ICPC headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, and is currently assisting the investigators to unravel the circumstances of the fraud allegations by the petitioners.

“The investigation will be all-encompassing and also be extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled.

“This press release has become necessary to set the record straight in view of the reports awash in the media. The investigation is ongoing and the Commission prefers not to preempt its outcome and also avoid the frenzy of a media trial.”

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