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Monday, 18 June 2018

Court Sentences MASSOB Leader, Uwazuruike To Prison

Court Sentences MASSOB Leader, Uwazuruike To Prison

An Owerri High Court, in Imo State capital, has sentenced Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, founder of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), to prison custody. 

The court order, which was served on the police last Thursday, signed by J.C. Okoro Esq. and dated June 6, 2018, indicates that Uwazuruike will be in prison custody for one month for contempt of court.

Upon reading through the Motion On Notice filed on July 6, 2017, praying for an order of court to commit the plaintiff in the substantive suit, Uwazuruike, to prison for disobeying the order of court made on Wednesday, 

April 2, 2014 and after due consideration of the unchallenged oral evidence of the 1st defendant, Chigozie Iheama and exhibits tendered in the contempt proceedings, the presiding judge, Justice Kemakolam Ojiako, ruled that: “The plaintiff, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, is hereby found guilty of contempt to the said order of court made on April 2, 2014.

“That the plaintiff, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, is hereby sentenced to prison custody and shall be so detained for a period of one month from the date of his commitment to prison.”

The judge further re-strained Uwazuruike, his agents and proxies from entering into the said land subject matter until the suit is determined. Uwazuruike had dragged Iheama to court in 2013 over a land transaction issue in suit No. HOW/265/2013. According to Iheama, from 2013 to 2017 that the case was on, Uwazuruike had refused to appear in court in a matter he is the plaintiff.

He also added that before the matter was transferred to the present court, the former judge, Justice Florence Duruoha Igwe, was hearing contempt proceedings against Uwazuruike for defying the orders of court for parties to maintain status quo and commencing building on the disputed land. Iheama alleged that plots by the MASSOB leader to frustrate justice did not stop when the matter was transferred to the court of Justice Kemakolam Ojiako.

“Consequent order of the court to seal the property by chaining and padlocking the gates was subverted by Uwazuruike who instead removed the gate and sealed up the area with a block wall, making it impossible for court officials to enforce the order,” he said.

Uwazuruike had, however, argued that he was not under obligation to be in court as the case was a civil matter, but Iheama differed, saying that the case at hand was the contempt proceedings and not the substantive suit. He said every contempt proceeding is considered in law as a quasi-criminal matter.

Counsel to Uwazuruike, Emma Chukwuka, maintained that the order to jail the MASSOB leader was an abuse of court process as his client had since appealed against the hearing of the suit, but the presiding judge, Justice Kemakolam Ojiako, had insisted on continuing hearing on the matter. 

While Justice Ojiako noted in his ruling that “the substantive proceeding is adjourned to the July 10, 2018, to await the outcome of the Motion for Stay of proceedings,” counsel to the MASSOB leader, Emma Chukwuka, said that hearing on the appealed suit comes up on October 2, 2018.
EFCC Re-Launches Investigation Into N21.7bn Power Plant Project Alleged Fraud

EFCC Re-Launches Investigation Into N21.7bn Power Plant Project Alleged Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reopened its investigation into a N21.74 billion Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Oghara, Delta State.

The contract for the project was awarded by the Delta State Government to an indigenous firm, Davnotch Nigeria Limited, on June 23, 2009 for the supply and installation of two Rolls Royce Trent Gas Turbine Generators to boost power generation and distribution in the state. 

It had an initial contract term of 60 per cent down payment and completion period of 24 months. On June 24, 2009, Davnotch accepted the offer and promised to complete the contract within the stipulated time frame.

A total sum of N1billion was paid into Davnotch’s accounts in three banks on the same day. Subsequently, other payments were made to the same company in respect of the project. According to the interim report of investigations conducted by the EFCC, the total sum of N9,829,495,000 has so far been paid to Davnotch Nigeria Limited.

Investigations by the anti-graft agency also revealed that the contract might have been a huge scam as the contracting firm was directly linked to a top official in the government of Delta State.

It was discovered that the then Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei, was the proprietor of the company (Davnotch) which got the contract. 

It was also discovered that as at the time the contract was awarded and the sum of N1 billion paid to Davnotch Nigeria Limited, the firm was not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), due process was not followed and there was no formal agreement between the Delta State Government and Davnotch Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC commenced investigation into the contract during the tenure of Mrs. Farida Waziri as chairman of the anti-graft agency. The investigation was ordered following a petition from a law firm and operatives of the antigraft agency visited the proposed site of the IPP at Oghara in Delta State. 

In 2010, the Delta State Elders’ Forum wrote series of petitions on the same matter which compelled the EFCC to expedite action on the matter.

However, nearly eight years after the EFCC completed that investigation, no action was taken in terms of prosecuting those behind the contract scam. It was gathered from reliable sources within the EFCC that the case file has been re-opened in line with the policy of the present administration to recover all public funds and stolen assets.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, could neither deny nor confirm the re-opening of the case file. It would be recalled that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa set up a committee to also investigate the matter while the Delta State House of Assembly has also set up a five-man committee to investigate the same contract without success. 

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative, has urged the EFCC to expedite action on the matter and ensure that all those linked to the multi-billion naira power project were brought to justice.

National Coordinator of the group, Charles Adodo, who gave the advice in a chat withNew Telegraph, expressed concern that monies that were supposed to be devoted to the development of the nation have been diverted to private pockets through corruption.

Adodo confirmed that his group recently submitted a petition to both the EFCC and the National Assembly on the abandoned IPP project. He said the fresh petition was to remind the antigraft agency that the issue must not be swept under the carpet.

“In a nutshell, we authored that petition and we are ready to stand by it any time we are called upon to do so. We can’t just fold our arms and let corruption ride roughshod over us.

“To the best of our knowledge, nothing has been done at the site of the Delta Independent Power Project at Oghara all these years to show that it is not a fraudulent contract. 

“In fact, if the EFCC does not act on time, we might be compelled to stage mass protests both in Abuja and Delta State to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and other anti-corruption crusaders to the issue,” Adodo warned.

Source: New Telegraph 
CKN News Newspaper Headlines...Monday 18 June 2018

CKN News Newspaper Headlines...Monday 18 June 2018

APC In Last Minute Ditch Effort Attempt To Save National Convention

APC In Last Minute Ditch Effort Attempt To Save National Convention

Barely six days to the elective national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Presidency and the party’s 24 state governors are locked in serial meetings in a last ditch effort to avert a possible outbreak of crisis during the make or mar convention.

The main item on the troubleshooting agenda, is the attempt to put together a unity list that would accommodate diverse interests of stakeholders, by adopting their preferred candidates for the available elective positions in the party’s working committee.

Given the crucial nature of the negotiations, especially against the background of the forthcoming primary elections for National Assembly, governorship and other elective offices, the comprehensive unity list may only be perfected two days to the convention.

Governors of the party, including the six coordinators of the geopolitical zones, have been engaged in intense consultations and meetings with the supposedly anointed candidate for the position of national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, with a view to building the much needed consensus and harmony among those that would eventually make the list, which would be presented for affirmation by the 6, 800 delegates during the convention.

Although the party resolved to retain the subsisting zoning arrangement, there are indications that frantic efforts by some members of the outgoing NWC to retain their positions might hit a brick wall, given the horse-trading by entrenched interests.

For instance, investigation by The Guardian revealed that the former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo is being positioned to succeed Segun Oni, as the deputy national chairman of the party in the South, while Adamu Fanda, a protégé of Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is most likely to take over the position of national treasurer from Alhaji Bala Gwagwarwa, a close ally of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who has lost control of the party structure to Ganduje in the state.

From Kogi State, Hajia Salamatu Umar-Eluma, is being propelled by Governor Yahaya Bello to replace Hajia Ramatu Tijani Aliyu as the national women leader, just as a former minority leader of the House of Representatives, Farouk Adamu Aliyu, who is Oshiomhole’s campaign coordinator, is billed to step into the shoes of Senator Lawali Shauibu, as the deputy national chairman of the party in the North.

But the party appears to be running into troubled waters concerning positions zoned to the South East, because while chieftains of the party from the zone at a meeting at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, endorsed the trio of Senator Osita Izunaso, George Muoghalu and Emmanuel Eneukwu for national organising secretary, national auditor and national vice chairman (South East), respectively, new contenders have been propped up by some powerful elements with the support of the Presidency.

Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee and Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, informed stakeholders that since state governors are zonal coordinators, it does not make sense for South East leaders to meet outside their zone, and in the absence of the governors.

Governor Badaru maintained that any zone that fails to harmonise its position, the governors would move against them at the convention.

Consequently, parallel candidates expected to challenge the former NWC members include, a United States trained chartered auditor, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwogbo (national auditor), Chidi Nwogu (national organising secretary) and Chief Executive Officer of AutoStar Travels and Tours, Chief Onyemauche Nnamani, who is eyeing the post of the national vice chairman, South East.

In what appears like the preparation for a showdown at the convention, members of the Chuba Okadigbo Rainbow Organisation in the party have declared their support for Izunaso’s challenger, Nwogu, for the position of national organising secretary.

The group, which met in Abuja said they decided to back Nwogu because of his loyalty to their leader when he ran with Buhari for the Presidency in 2003, stressing that Nwogu would uphold the principles of their late leader, having worked closely with him.

In a communiqué signed by the National leader of the group and Owelle Awkuzu, Chief Peter Emenaka, the North East Coordinator, Alhaji Yakubu Das, and the South West leader of the group, Dare Falade, they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the memory of Dr. Okadigbo by accepting Nwogu as the national organising secretary.

A chieftain of the party, Osita Okechukwu, cited sections 12 and 20 of the party’s constitution, contending that the fact that the South East has rejected Governor Rochas Okorocha does not mean that leaders should be imposed on the zone, adding that the 400 delegates from the zone and other states would perform their statutory roles if the appeal committees finalises its work.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 19 persons seeking various positions in the party have been disqualified. Chairman of the appeal sub -committee of the National Convention, Governor Okorocha told reporters that the decision was taken by the Governor Aminu Masari led screening sub committee of the National Convention.

He disclosed that his committee is considering 18 petitions filed against those who scaled the hurdle of the Masari led Committee.

Assuring that his panel will treat the petition in a just and fair manner, he explained that apart from office of national chairman and the national secretary, there were petitions against other positions, which include that of the national organising secretary and the national women leader.

He noted: “This means they have been disqualified from contesting the election. If there is anybody who has been screened and there is a petition against him, we have power to uphold his qualification or disqualify him based on the merits of the petition.

“As you can see, we have started receiving petitions and appeals. Right now, we have seven aspirants here. We have resolved to give everyone a fair hearing so that Justice, equity and fairness will prevail so that we prevent crisis in the party. We are carefully selected Nigerians from all works of life from different states that constitute membership of this committee.

“We have two days to do this job and we will be submitting our report by Monday barring any other reason. We are here to work all day and all night and take our decision. The screening appeal is the final appeal in this case. After this appeal committee, the next appeal will be after election, which will come after the convention. We are not unmindful of the fact that the convention committee will need time to start printing of ballot papers for the convention and so, we will ensure that we complete this job on time.

“So far, we have about 18 petitions before us and we have 19 persons that did not make it at the screening level. These are the things we are looking to see the merit or otherwise of their claims. We are going to use the screening committee report as a major guide to what we are doing. As soon as we are through with this, we are going to make it known to the public those who have succeeded at the appeal committee level.”

On those who were petitioned against, he said; “of course we have petitions against all other positions except that of the national chairman and national secretary. However, there is a general petition as to whether members of the NWC can be judge in their own case, having supervised the congresses and now coming to present themselves for election. We are also looking at that.”

On whether the committee has power to disqualify those already screened and qualified, he said; “yes, if you don’t make the appeal screening, then you are disqualified because there is no other appeal after this.”
32 People Killed At Borno's Post Eid-el-fitri Celebration Bombings

32 People Killed At Borno's Post Eid-el-fitri Celebration Bombings

At least 32 people have been confirmed dead and more than 50 injured in an explosion on Saturday night after the Eid-el-Fitri celebration in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.

But while security agencies believed the blast was by Boko Haram members, a local source,  who asked not to be named, told SaharaReporters that the military artillery gun wreaked more havoc than the blast itself.

“There was bomb explosion in Shuwari village, not far from Damboa town on Saturday night,” he said. “The military responded by firing artillery gun towards the direction and many civilians were hit.”

However, Borno State Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, gave a different account.

“At about quarter to nine, yesterday night, a loud explosion was heard at Abacahri village, along Damboa/Chibok road. The DPO mobilised with our men from the SARS and civilian JTF to the scene and found 20 people dead and 48 others injured,” Chukwu said.

“Some of the bodies were found chattered, indicating that the explosion came from an explosive device.”

Chukwu said further that the Police was yet to confirm if the explosion was as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or a rocket-propelled grenade.

The injured persons have since been rushed to Damboa General hospital while some others were conveyed to the Teaching Hospital in Maiduguri for specialists’ attention.

He said the number of victims is on the high side because most of them were returning from celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr holiday when the attackers struck.

The military, however, said the attack was carried out by suicide bombers.

Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, dispelled reports that the explosion was from military artilleries. He said six suicide bombers were to blame.

He assured the public that the troops were on the ground to stabilise the affected area and forestall any further untoward occurrence.

Also, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) disclosed that 12 out of the injured are in critical condition, while the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is organising a chopper to evacuate them to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Buhari Fears No One...Methodist Bishop Of Abuja

Buhari Fears No One...Methodist Bishop Of Abuja

The Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev . Oche Job , says he admires President Muhammadu Buhari because he is a man that fears no one.

The archbishop’ s remark was sequel to the recent signing of four bills into laws by Buhari.

The President had, on June 8 , assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill, which grants financial autonomy to the State Houses of Assembly and the states’ Judiciary nationwide .

The law is to ensure that the budgetary allocations of the states’ Houses of Assembly and the judiciary will no longer go through the budgeting process of the executive arm at the state level, but will be transferred directly to the their accounts.

Buhari also signed into law the Bill No . 16 which stipulates that where a Vice -President succeeds a President or a Deputy Governor succeeds a Governor, he or she can no more contest for that office more than once .

Other bills signed into laws were the Constitution Amendment No . 21 , which relates to determination of pre - election matters and the Bill No. 9 which gives the Independent National Electoral Commission ) sufficient time to conduct bye - elections .

The clergyman , in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday, said if Buhari “is a man who fears what people will say , by now, he would have become very nervous .

“For sure , I commend him . You see , Buhari fears no one and that ’ s why I like him . He makes up his mind and says and does what he thinks is the best for the nation .

“People may not praise him now; but by the time he leaves the seat, and somebody comes in and they begin to do comparison , they will say if it were in the time of Buhari , oh my God , this thing would have been this. ”

The clergyman also said that a good leader must have self - confidence.

“If you must rule and have the blessings of the majority , you need to have what is called self - confidence, ” he said .

He noted that though there are cabals in Aso Rock, they are not as pronounced as in the period of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“There are cabals in Aso Villa till now, but they are no longer well - pronounced like before . At the time of Goodluck Jonathan, every time and then, you hear of cabals.

“But I think because Buhari makes up his mind and he knows where he is going, he doesn ’ t listen to people .

“That’ s why the issue of cabal is no longer pronounced like in the past , ” he said.

Obasanjo Is Corrupt.... Edwin Clark

Obasanjo Is Corrupt.... Edwin Clark

Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark has spoken on how former President Olusegun Obasanjo supported the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

He said Obasanjo’s condemnation of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan played a part in the latter’s defeat.

“My disagreement with him is that he alleged that some people are corrupt and I know that he is also corrupt. He was one of those who made President Muhammadu Buhari to win in the last election by condemning the former President (Goodluck Jonathan), who he also made President”, says Clark

“He made him (Jonathan) governor because of his hatred for Alamieyeseigha. He (Obasanjo) made Jonathan vice president and contributed to his becoming President.

“So, I don’t know what went wrong. Jonathan became like somebody that was carrying leprosy and because of that, Obasanjo started abusing the Ijaw.

“Obasanjo is still my friend. We have always been very friendly. Recently, somebody said we will meet. I am ready to meet with him at any time.

“He is not my enemy. When he says things that are true, I praise him. When he says things that are bad, I condemn him. That is politics.”