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Police commence Maina’s extradition to Nigeria

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Former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrashid Maina, arrested in Niger Republic, on Monday, will soon be extradited, the police have said.

He was said to have been arrested through the joint efforts of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Abuja, and their Nigerien counterparts.

Maina is currently in a detention facility in Niger Republic awaiting the extradition process.

The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, in a statement on Tuesday, said the police were perfecting the paperwork for the repatriation of the fugitive from Niger where he fled in a bid to escape justice for allegedly stealing N2 billion.

He said Maina would soon be brought back to the country to continue with his trial.

A former Ministry of Interior director, Maina is being prosecuted on 12 counts of money laundering to the tune of N2 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He had jumped bail forcing the trial judge, Justice Abang Okon, to issue an arrest warrant against him.

He was said to have stopped attending his trial since September 29, 2020, prompting Justice Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the remand of Senator Ali Ndume, who stood as surety for him.

The court, however, granted bail to the Borno South Senator, last Friday.

The police in their statement titled, ‘Abdulrashid Maina to be extradited to Nigeria soon,’ said, “Following the arrest of former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrashid Abdullahi Maina in Niamey, Niger Republic, the Nigeria Police Force is perfecting extradition processes of the fugitive to Nigeria to enable him to face trial in pending criminal proceedings against him.

“Maina, who was declared wanted by a court of competent jurisdiction, was arrested on 30th November 2020 through the collaborative efforts of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL NCB, Abuja and their Nigerien counterparts.”

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Ex-Minister Diezani in court to recover seized assets

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Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, to vacate an order granted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for final forfeiture of her seized assets.

Alison-Madueke sought an order extending the time within which to seek leave to apply to the court for an order to set aside the EFCC’s public notice issued to conduct the public sale on her property.

The anti-corruption agency had planned to conduct a public sale of all assets seized from Alison-Madueke beginning from Jan. 9 as contained in its public notice following various court judgments/orders issued in favor of the commission as final forfeiture orders against property and personal effects of the former minister.

But in the motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/21/2023 dated and filed Jan. 6 by her lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, before Justice Inyang Ekwo, the ex-minister sought five orders from the court.

While Alison-Madueke is the applicant, the EFCC is the sole respondent in the suit.

The former minister who argued that the various orders were made without jurisdiction, said these “ought to be set aside ex debito justitiae.”

She said she was not given fair hearing in all the proceedings leading to the orders.

“The various court orders issued in favor of the respondent and upon which the respondent issued the public notice to conduct a public sale of items contained in the public notice most of which court the interest of the applicant were issued in breach of the applicant’s right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered, and other similar constitutional provisions,” she said.

She argued that she was neither served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence in any of the charges nor any other summons howsoever and whatsoever in respect of the criminal charges pending against her before the court.

She further argued that the courts were misled into making several of the final forfeiture orders against her assets through suppression or non-disclosure of material facts.

“The several applications upon which the courts made the final order of forfeiture against the applicant were obtained upon gross misstatements, misrepresentations, non-disclosure, concealment, and suppression of material facts and this honorable court has the power to set aside same ex debito justitiae, as a void order is as good as if it was never made at all.

“The orders were made without recourse to the constitutional right to fair hearing and right to property accorded the applicant by the constitution.

“The applicant was never served with the processes of court in all the proceedings that led to the order of final forfeiture,” she said, among other grounds given.

But the EFCC, in a counter affidavit deposed to by Rufai Zaki, a detective with the commission, urged the court to dismiss Alison-Madueke’s application.

Zaki, who was a member of the team that investigated a case of criminal conspiracy, official corruption and money laundering against the ex-minister and some other persons involved in the case, said investigation had clearly shown that she was involved in some acts of criminality.

He said Alison-Madueke was therefore charged before the court in charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

“We hereby rely on the charge FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 dated 14th November 2018 filed before this honorable court and also attached as Exhibit C in the applicant’s affidavit,” he said.

The EFCC operative, who said he had seen the ex-ministers motion, said most of the depositions were untrue.

He said contrary to her deposition in the affidavit in support, most of the cases which led to the final forfeiture of the contested property “were action in rem, same were heard at various times and determined by this honorable court.”

He said the courts differently ordered the commission to do a newspaper publication inviting parties to show cause why the said property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government before final orders were made.

Zaki argued that one Nnamdi Awa Kalu represented the ex-minister in reaction to one of the forfeiture applications.

“We humbly rely on the judgment of Hon. Justice I.LN. Oweibo dated 10th September 2019 shown in Exhibit C of the applicant’s affidavit,” he said.

The officer said that contrary to her, the final forfeiture of the assets which were the subject of the present application was ordered by the court in 2017 and that this was not set aside or upturned on appeal.

According to him, the properties have been disposed of through due process of law.

Upon mentioning the matter on Monday, Alison-Madueke’s counsel, Oluchi Uche, told Justice Ekwo that they were just been served by the EFFC on Friday and they would need time to respond to the counter affidavit.

Farouk Abdullah, who appeared by the anti-graft agency, did not oppose and the judge adjourned the matter until May 8 for a hearing.

Alison-Madueke was Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.(NAN)

 

 

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Lagos to erect barricade on Ojuelegba Bridge as another container truck falls

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised that barricades will be constructed on the Ojuelegba Bridge to restrict the movement of articulated vehicles.

This is coming just as another container-laden truck Monday fell on the road along the Dopemu area of Lagos.

The truck barrier by the state government is in reaction to the accident on Sunday in which a truck carrying container fell on a passenger bus around the bridge, killing nine people.

Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, permanent secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), confirmed that two children were among the casualties of the Ojuelegba incident.

Another nine people were injured and treated in a hospital.

The Federal Road Safety Corps in its reaction to the Sunday accident immediately recommended the construction of barricades on the bridge, noting that the cases of loaded trucks falling on vehicles under the bridge were becoming frequent.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has confirmed that another container-laden truck fell Monday on the road along the Dopemu area of Lagos.

LASTMA in a tweet also shared a short clip of the truck, saying the container is “occupying 90 per cent of the road.”

The tweet read, “A 40ft container-laden truck fell at Sawmill inward Dopemu under the bridge.

“It’s occupying 90 percent of the road. Our men are on ground doing the needful as Effort is on for recovery.”

 

 

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Obasanjo worries about depreciating economy, govt appointments based on favouritism

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country, especially the continued drop in living standard.

He lamented that government’s appointments were based on “favouritism” and not merit or competence.

The former president said this in a statement while felicitating the Federal Government College, Kaduna, on its 50th anniversary.

He said the economic situation in the country had increased hardship, insecurity, and affected the quality of leadership.

According to him, leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the country’s survival, adding that the religious tensions in the country have been intentionally instigated by politicians.

“Once again, our nation is dancing on the precipice and some of us are truly worried about the state of affairs today. I expressed that worry in my open letter to Nigerians and Nigerian youths on New Year’s Day,” he said.

“As I stated in the letter; ‘If we fall prey again, we will have ourselves to blame and no one can say how many more knocks Nigeria can take before it tips over. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.’ Of course, I pray that Nigeria will never tip over. We must constantly work at it and pray.

“My worry is premised on a number of issues. First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.

“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard of merit and competence.

“Elections are here and may compound the problem. Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.”

Speaking further, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to change the political course of the country by participating actively in the forthcoming elections.

The former president said the concerns raised about the presidential candidates are real, adding that Nigerians would have themselves to blame if they do nothing about the situation.

The statement read, “Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.

“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.

“The beauty of democracy is that the options before us cannot be imposed on us if we all do what we need to do to send a message to those who have had the audacity to present those options to us with little or no interest for the 225 million Nigerians.

“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”

 

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