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Defection: APC Slams Saraki Again, Calls Him A Traitor, Betrayer |RN

 National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

John Alechenu and Olaleye Aluko

 

The All Progressives Congress on Thursday launched a tirade against the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, calling him a traitor, betrayer and a man unfit to hold a public office.

The party’s renewed attack on Saraki was contained in a statement by the acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, in Abuja.

According to the ruling party, the position of the Senate President is one of the highest political offices one can attain in every democratic country and it is a position usually reserved for the best, experienced and exemplary politicians who by their character and conduct in public offices, serve as role models for the younger generation.

The statement reads,  “In terms of exemplary personage, the reverse is the case in respect of the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who has been a dismal failure and has been involved in one controversy or the other: budget padding, filibustering, legislative rascality, sabotage of matters of national interest, among other criminalities too numerous to mention.

“Having suffered under the 16-year misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Saraki will go down in our country’s history as the worst Senate President Nigeria has had the misfortune to have.

“Since his usurpation of the coveted seat, achieved through a wicked conspiracy with members of the opposition PDP, it has been from one controversy to another: the code of conduct trial for false declaration of assets; conspiracy with his deputy to fraudulently alter the rules of the Senate; and links to the deadly armed robbers who wasted many lives in the Offa robbery attack. It is alleged that some of the robbery suspects were his political thugs used to rig elections. A common adage says, “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”

The party argued that all over the world, the leadership of the legislature was provided by the political party with the majority members but Saraki took advantage of the absence of many members of his former party – the All Progressives Congress – to conspire with members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to emerge Senate President and, in the process, traded off the position of the deputy Senate President to the opposition.

The APC described the alleged trade-off as “a political betrayal and treachery even the devil would be envious of.”

The party decried Saraki’s continued occupation of the position of Senate President even after he had dumped the majority party to join the minority.

It said it was not surprised at what it called the Senate President’s greed, selfishness, treachery, disregard for protocol and constituted authority.

The statement further read, “A traitor will always be a traitor, however the time and place. The Senate must do everything possible to put Dr Saraki where he rightly belongs – the back seat. He is definitely not a fit and proper person to preside over the country’s upper and revered legislative house.

“A man who betrayed his father, sister (many times), his party the PDP in 2014, the APC in 2015 by conspiring with the opposition PDP senators to emerge Senate President, APC administration by sabotaging the executive and defecting to the PDP in 2018 has no character, principles, values and integrity.”

It said Saraki would dump the PDP a second time if his interest was not served, alleging that such a man was not interested in the Nigeria of our dreams.

APC hasn’t recovered from failure to subvert democracy –Saraki

When contacted, the Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said, “We can’t descend into the gutter with these characters. Apparently, they have not recovered from the shock of their Tuesday’s failed attempt to subvert democracy.”

Meanwhile, national chairmen and other leaders of 45 opposition political parties on Thursday raised the alarm over an alleged plot by a government agency to freeze the bank accounts of the Senate and Saraki.

The parties raised the alarm during a solidarity visit to the Senate President in the Senate building in Abuja on Thursday.

The National Chairman of the National Unity Party, Chief Perry Okpara, who led the delegation and spoke on behalf of the group, said they were aware of the plot and warned against it.

Okpara, who did not name the government agency that was behind the plot, said, “We have it on good authority that there are moles in the Senate and there are moves to freeze the accounts of the Senate, Senate President and governors.”

The moves, he said, was aimed at crippling the parliament and forcing a leadership change in the National Assembly.

Okpara said, “We wish to alert Nigerians to a new plot by the same people, whose first shameful attempt to unlawfully overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly failed; an attempt, which brought Nigeria to the bad international limelight.

“We have it on good authority that a fresh plot is being hatched to make another attempt to cripple the parliament in the guise of impeachment, even when they know that there is not the constitutional majority to achieve the sinister move.

“We wish to state that we, the chairmen and leaders of political parties, will not support or standby to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the National Assembly.”

Okpara, who didn’t name the agency, warned that political parties would not sit by and watch the country slide into anarchy, where life had become short, brutish and lawless.

He added, “Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state and all the institutions of state have been compromised and desecrated. This is the time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood.”

The parties condemned the use of the police, Department of State Services and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to clamp down on the opposition, the leadership of the National Assembly and also to lay siege to state assemblies.

“Today, our country is facing the challenges of pervasive insecurity, massive joblessness and unemployment, ethnic irredentism and disunity. We enjoin the National Assembly to use its constitutionally guaranteed powers to legislate to arrest the slide; to give the country a new direction and create hope for our countrymen and women,” he pleaded.

Okpara also disassociated the 45 parties from what he called an attempt by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of the National Assembly.

He said, “We note that the courts have rejected attempts by the Accord Party to undermine the constitutional powers of the National Assembly to undermine the sequence of elections. We, the majority of the political parties, disassociate ourselves from that inglorious attempt.”

In his response, Saraki expressed the hope that those behind the plot to destabilise the National Assembly by forcing an illegitimate leadership change have learnt their lesson from the resistance put up by Nigerians during the invasion of the National Assembly by officials of the DSS.

He said, “I hope that the anti-democratic forces have learnt their lesson in the past few days. We in the National Assembly will continue to follow due process and the rule of law.”

The political parties that attended the meeting were the United Democratic Party; Rebuild Nigeria Party, People for Democratic Change, Peoples Party of Nigeria, Progressives Peoples Party, Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria, Alliance for Democracy, and Young Democratic Party, among others.

No plot to impeach Buhari, senator replies Tinubu

Also on Thursday, The Senator representing (PDP, Bauchi) Isah Misau, debunked claims by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju  Bola Tinubu, that the National Assembly was planning to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.

Misau made the rebuttal in a statement in Abuja on Thursday. He urged Nigerians to disregard what he described as an empty talk by the APC chieftain.

The senator spoke in response to a claim by Tinubu at Wednesday’s APC rally in Uyo that there was a plot by some senators to impeach Buhari. Tinubu had described what was going on in the nation as “a war between progressives and the conservatives.”

He noted that the comment made by the politician was “mere partisan rhetoric aimed at catching the attention of the crowd” at the rally planned for the declaration of Senator Godswill Akpabio for the party.

Misau said, “I am surprised that a politician of Tinubu’s calibre will be playing politics with a serious issue like the impeachment of the President of the country just because he wanted to catch the attention of a crowd. Politicians at his level should not be engaging in unnecessary sabre-rattling and empty speculation.

“We, members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate, have no plan to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari. There is no need for that process and we are not contemplating it.

“Our focus right now is to defend democracy and its institutions, fight for the enthronement of the rule of law, independence of the legislature and the judiciary and ensure good governance.”

He added, “If Tinubu has any concrete, reliable and verifiable evidence to the contrary, he should come forward and prove it. A man like him should not be getting carried away by the crowd and making claims that have no basis.

“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians and members of the international community to ignore that claim. There is no basis for anybody to make such a claim. It is a mere fabrication and a stunt pulled to please the partisan crowd to which it was uttered.”

EU condemns NASS invasion by DSS operatives

Still, on Thursday, the European Union said the 2019 general elections in Nigeria were vital to ensuring stability and prosperity. It demanded that Nigerians must decide the outcome of the elections.

The EU said all stakeholders in Nigeria must play their part so that “voters can make their decision through a free, fair, credible and peaceful election process.”

The union, in a statement, also condemned the siege laid to the National Assembly complex by the operatives of the DSS, noting that law enforcement agencies must remain neutral in the political process.

The EU said the security agencies must ensure that independent institutions such as the National Assembly operated in line with their “constitutional mandates, free from interference and intimidation.”

The union said, “The EU Heads of Missions have noted with concern interference in the democratic process by law enforcement services, the most recent case being the barring of access to the National Assembly on August 7. The EU is fully committed to supporting democracy in Nigeria and it commends the Federal Government’s swift action to protect the independence of the National Assembly as a critical pillar of democracy.

“The EU reiterates the importance of all law enforcement services staying neutral and ensuring that independent institutions can operate in line with their constitutional mandates, free from interference and intimidation.

“The upcoming general elections in 2019 are vital in ensuring national stability, peace and prosperity for all Nigerians. It is for the Nigerian people to decide the outcome of the elections, and the EU calls upon all stakeholders in Nigeria to play their part so that voters can make their decision through a free, fair, credible and peaceful election process.” (Punch)

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Igbo Pressure Group Demands Unconditional Release Of Abaribe

Enyinnaya-Abaribe

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in court

Raphael Ede, Enugu

Igbo pressure group Voice from the East (VEAST) has called on the Federal Government to release Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, describing his arrest as intimidation and undemocratic.

Senator Abaribe was arrested last Friday by operatives of Directorate of State Security (DSS) on his alleged support for Biafran separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

According to the group that embarked on a peaceful protest in Enugu over the Senator’s arrest, Abaribe was not responsible for the disappearance of the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu and should not be wasted or killed in detention.

They carried placards that read: “Release Abaribe”, “Democracy destruction day by Buhari on 31st December 1983”; “Free Abaribe”, “Islam is the Nigeria problem”, “Free Abaribe, kill Fulani herdsmen”, “Free Abaribe, DSS of satanic services”.

While addressing newsmen, the convener, Comrade Kindness Jonah, said that “we are demonstrating in the streets of Enugu to tell Nigeria Government to release Sen. Abaribe immediately and unconditionally.”

Jonah warned that his group is ready to ground the government should they decline to release him.

“If they fail to heed the call, we’ll do everything to clamp down on this nation. This is because Buhari is insensitive to life. We can’t allow him to kill Abaribe,” he fumed, claiming “the way he killed Nnamdi Kanu.”

He said that Abaribe was about to bring Kanu to court before the military struck and, therefore, Abaribe should not be molested.

Alleging that “the military went to Nnamdi Kanu’s house, brought him out and killed him before Abaribe would bring him to court,” Jonah declared that “Abaribe is not responsible for the killing of Nnamdi Kanu by the military. He should be released immediately.”

Jonah posited that they used the demonstration also to show angst against the killing of 150 people in Plateau State by Fulani herdsmen, accusing President Buhari of being the sponsor of Boko Haram as well as the Fulani herdsmen.

“We use this avenue to clearly say that Buhari is the sponsor of both Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and let every Nigerian know this assuredly,” he alleged.  (The Sun)

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Arraign Abaribe or Grant Him Bail, Falana Tells DSS |The Republican News

enyinnaya

Senator Enyinnaya  Abaribe

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday asked the Department of State Services to immediately charge the senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Eyinnaya Abaribe, to court or grant him bail if it has not completed its investigations.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all security agencies in the country to respect the fundamental rights of every citizen, as he charged the human rights community to be prepared “to halt fascism which has continued to rear its ugly head in the land.”

Falana, who anchored his demands on the undertaking by the Buhari-led Federal Government to stop impunity and respect the human rights of every person living in Nigeria under the rule of law, noted that the arrest and detention of criminal suspects and law-abiding people without court orders had continued unabated.

Operatives of the DSS reportedly arrested Eyinnaya and raided his home in the Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja, on Friday.

But Falana regretted on Sunday that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government had been unable to end impunity which members of the then opposition including Buhari suffered in the hands of the then Peoples Democratic Party-led government.

He said if the DSS had any evidence of the alleged offences against Abaribe, it should arraign him in court, or grant him bail if it had yet to complete its investigations.

He said, “The Department of State Services has said that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe is being detained on account of his links with the Indigenous People of Biafra.

“It is common knowledge that the Senator had stood surety for Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB.”    (Punch)

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Bank Robbery, Kwara Killings: Saraki, Gov. Ahmed Gave Us Firearms, Money Vehicles – Suspects

By Emmanuel Onani

 

Kwara killings, bank robbery: Saraki, gov gave us firearms, money, vehicles – Suspects
  • Senate President, Ahmed: Allegations baseless
  • Police summon Saraki
  • DSS withdraws 11 operatives attached to Senate President
  • Ahmed’s Chief of Staff, Personal Assistant arrested
  • Revolver pistol, pump action gun recovered from gov’s aide

 

Five suspects arrested in connection with the April 5th bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State and killing of 30 persons in the state have confessed to their alleged links with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.

During the investigation, the police stated that the five gang leaders allegedly admitted and confessed that they “have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles” by Saraki and Ahmed.

The suspects, who were arrested in the wake of the robbery incident, had made confessional statements alleging that they were political thugs of the Senate President. Parading the five suspects and eight others yesterday in Abuja, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), ACP Jimoh Moshood, said the suspects operated under the name of Youth Liberation Movement (a.k.a Good Boys).

To buttress their case against the Kwara State Governor, the Police noted the separate apprehension of Messrs Alabi Olalekan and Yusuf Abdulwahab, Personal Assistant (Political), Chief of Staff to the Governor, respectively.

Consequently, Saraki has been invited to report at the Force Intelligence Response Team’s Office in Abuja, “to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the five gang leaders.”

The police gave the names of the suspected political thugs, who were said to be the gang leaders of the bank robbery, as follows: Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, and Niyi Ogundiran.

The quintet was among eight other suspects paraded at the Force Headquarters, yesterday, over the robbery incident, which claimed 33 lives, including pregnant women and nine police officers. According to Moshood, “The five gang leaders confessed and volunteered statements to the Police investigators, giving a clear account of how they planned and carried out the bank’s robbery operation in Offa, the attack on the Police Division in Offa and how they killed the 33 innocent persons during the robbery.

“The five gang leaders further confessed during the investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement, a.k.a “Good Boys”.

They admitted and confessed to having been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.”

He further alleged that a Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with a sticker bearing “Saraki” was used for the robbery incident. “In the course of discreet investigation into the confessions of these five gang leaders and the other 17 principal suspects, a Lexus jeep GX-300 (Ash Colour) with a sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” used by the gang leader (Ayoade Akinnibosun ‘M’ 37Yrs) during the bank robbery and the killing of the 33 innocent persons was taken to Government House, Ilorin on 16th May, 2018 where the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, the State of Harmony” was removed before another plate number (Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM) registered in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall commander of the Offa bank robbery was then attached to the vehicle to cover up the identity of the said vehicle.

“The exhibit vehicle was subsequently recovered from the premises of the Ministry of Environmental and Forestry in Ilorin, Kwara State. While the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” removed from the vehicle was recovered from one Adeola Omiyale who drove the said Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin immediately after the bank robbery,” the police said. This was as the Police said two guns were recovered from one of Governor Ahmed’s aides in custody.

The police: “The Personal Assistant (Political) to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Alabi Olalekan, who is privy to information that the Police are looking for the Lexus Jeep as an exhibit used in the Offa bank robbery and the killings of 33 innocent persons directed one Adeola Omiyale to relocate the Lexus Jeep to Government House, Ilorin.

“The PA (Political) is currently in Police custody and has made useful statement assisting the Police in further investigation into the case. A revolver pistol and pump action gun were recovered by the Police Investigation Team from the Personal Assistant (Political) to the Governor of Kwara State, Mr Alabi Olalekan’s farm where he directed his brother to hide them after his arrest by the Police.

“In order to conceal evidence, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kwara State, Mr. Yusuf Abdulwa-hab, who has been arrested and taken into Police custody, arranged the removal of the sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony” from the exhibit vehicle and also registered the exhibit Lexus Jeep used in the Offa bank robbery and the killings of 33 innocent persons in the name of Ayoade Akinnibosun, the overall Gang Commander of the Offa bank robbery while the Ayoade Akinnibosun was already in Police custody for more than six days before the registration of the vehicle.” While noting that efforts to arrest other suspects were ongoing, the police said they will continue to carry out their constitutionally- guaranteed duties, with a view to enthroning a peaceful and orderly society.

“The investigation into the Offa bank robbery and gruesome killings of more than 33 innocent persons in Offa, Kwara State on the 5th April 2018 directed by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, has made significant progress, successes and more revelations have been recorded.

“The gang leaders and some of the principal suspects arrested for their active participation in the robbery and the killing of innocent persons have made confessional statements admitting to the various criminal roles they and their sponsors played in this dastard and heinous crime.

“The five gang leaders and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa bank robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons which includes (some pregnant women and nine Police personnel) admitted, confessed and volunteered statements that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed,” the Police said.

The Force further noted that the arrest of the “political thugs”, and others, was facilitated by the earlier confessions made by two principal suspects – Kunle Ogunleye and Michael Adikwu.

“The arrests of the above mentioned five gang leaders and 17 others were made possible after the arrest of two principal suspects (Kunle Ogunleye, aka Arrow, 35yrs and Michael Adikwu an ex-convict) whose pictures captured by CCTV in one of the banks during the banks’ robbery were circulated to the media and the public.

“The two principal suspects confessed to being among the suspects led by the five gang leaders listed above to carry out the Offa banks robbery, the attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters, Offa and the killings of 33 innocent persons on the 5th of April, 2018,” the police said.

Meanwhile, the police disclosed that a total of 21 AK-47 rifles, which were carted from the Armoury of Offa Police Divisional Headquarters, had yet to be recovered.

The following exhibits, according to the police, were recovered from the suspects: Two AK-47 rifles, two barrette pistols, one pump action rifle and one revolver pistol.

Vehicles in Police custody in Ilorin are Lexus RX300 Jeep with Reg. No. Kwara, KMA 143 RM belonging to Ayoade Akinnibosun (gang leader) – used for the bank robbery; Mercedes Benz – Compressor with Reg. No. Lagos LT496 KJA belonging to Ayoade Akinnibosun (gang leader) – used for the bank robbery, and one Toyota Prado Jeep with Reg. No. 19KWGH belonging to the PA (Political) to the Governor, Kwara State. Other exhibits recovered were: One Toyota Camry Saloon Car with Reg. No. LRN 481 FE in Police custody in Ilorin; N600,000 in Police custody in Ilorin; four phones of victims recovered and one sticker plate number with inscription “SARAKI” “Kwara, State of Harmony.  (New Telegraph)

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Nigeria Police Invite Senate President For Questioning Over Armed Robberies |RN

By Camillus Eboh
BukolaSaraki

 

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian police on Sunday said the president of the upper house of parliament had been invited for questioning over allegations that he financed a criminal gang that carried out a spate of armed robberies and killed 33 people including pregnant women.

Bukola Saraki’s three-year tenure as Senate president has been marred by numerous accusations of misconduct and investigations, though he has consistently stated that he is innocent and none have led to convictions.

The Nigeria Police Force issued an emailed statement in which it gave details of an investigation into six armed robberies at banks in Offa, a city in the central state of Kwara, in April 2018. An attack on the city’s police headquarters during the wave of attacks was part of the probe.

It said 22 suspects were in police custody and confessions had been secured by some in which they claimed to have been “sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate president”.

“Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki is being invited to report to the police to answer allegations indicting him from confessions of five gang leaders arrested for active participation in Offa bank robbery and killings of thirty-three innocent persons,” the Nigeria Police Force statement said.

It said Saraki – Nigeria’s third most senior politician – had been invited to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office in the capital, Abuja, to answer to the allegations.

A spokesman for Saraki declined to comment but said a statement would be issued in due course.

Saraki ran unopposed for the post of Senate president in 2015, mainly with the backing of the opposition. He was not the ruling party’s preferred candidate, which led to strains in his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari.

A faction of the president’s All Progressives Congress party with close ties to Saraki last month issued a public letter stating that many of its members felt ostracized just months before a presidential election in February 2019 which Buhari says he plans to contest.

The allegations are the latest to be levelled against Saraki since he took office.

Nigeria’s court of appeal, in December 2017, dismissed 15 charges against him relating to allegations that he falsely declared his assets when he was Kwara state governor from 2003 to 2011, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Last year lawmakers cleared Saraki of any wrongdoing over allegations that he attempted to evade payment of customs duties on a car and in October 2016 he was cleared of altering Senate rules to get himself elected.  (Peoples loves Toronto)

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2015 Slush Funds Nightmare For PDP Chieftains As EFCC Comes After Them

By FELIX NWANERI

 

It is not the best of time for some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of receiving various sums of money from the N23 billion allegedly shared by former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, for them to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. FELIX NWANERI reports

 

Many Nigerians were shocked when pictures of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, were published by an online medium in November 2015. The charming lady, who called the shots in the nation’s oil and gas sector, when his kinsman and immediate past president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, held sway, looked her old self in the pictures. She was said to have been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy in a British hospital.

Before then, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which succeeded Jonathan had accused Alison-Madueke of an illegal withdrawal of $6.9 million from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fund a “bogus purchase of three stages for Jonathan’s public appearances” when she superintended over the affairs of the Petroleum ministry. Despite her pitiable state, there were divided opinions among Nigerians over the pictures.

While many described the images as a sympathy stunt, others opined that the new look of the former Petroleum minister was saddening. Amidst the doubts, the Madueke family opened up on the former minister’s health and money laundering allegations against her.

The family described reports on the latter as a “smear campaign.” Confirming that the former minister is down with cancer, it urged Nigerians to pray for her recovery. Perhaps, the recovery prayers for the minister were answered, but shocking revelations about her activities, when she presided over the nation’s cash cow – the oil and gas sector paints a picture of one who conducted public affairs for private advantage.

For instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said its investigations revealed that the former minister purchased a sky-scrapper on the highbrow Banana Island of Lagos State sometime in 2013 at a cost of $37.5 million for which she paid in cash. Shortly after that was another shocker.

This time, the EFCC revealed that it has so far traced N47.2 billion and $487.5 million in cash and property to the former minister. The anti-graft agency further revealed that a search of one of Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja also turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewellery, worth several million pounds. The most numbing record-shattering acquisitions of Alison-Madueke, the EFCC added, were also found in the ritzy Banana Island, Lagos.

It said they consist of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court. The apartments, which have penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N. For them, the commission said a $350 million hole was dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Alison-Madueke. Also in Lagos, the former minister was alleged to have bought a block of six units’ serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.

The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, playground and a water treatment plant and was bought at the rate of N800 million on January 6, 2012. Other properties, the commission said it discovered are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. Both properties, worth N1 billion were paid for on May 30, 2012, the same day Alison-Madueke also allegedly splashed N900 million for an estate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The EFCC further said it traced to the former minister in Lagos is a twin four-bedroom duplex on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, with an estimated value of over N200 million; a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, bought on February 16, 2012, for N135 million; plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi; a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building bought for N12 Million on December 20, 2011.

In Abuja are a duplex on plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, Asokoro District acquired in December 2009 at the cost of N400 million; a mini estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, purchased on April 2, 2012 at N650 million; a 6-bedroom en-suite apartment in Aso Drive, Maitama bought on July 20, 2011, for N80 million, while in her native Bayelsa State, was an apartment with two blocks of flats on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa.

The anti-graft commission added that Alison-Madueke has N23.4 billion and $5 million (about N1.5 billion) in various Nigerian banks. While the former minister, who is still recuperating in London, has persistently claimed that she is a victim of EFCC’s persecution, the claim that she received $115.01million (N23 billion) from three oil marketers ahead of the 2015 general elections and distributed the money to some chieftains of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for them to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, has perhaps, dwarfed other allegations against her. Among those presently being tried for allegedly benefiting from the slush fund are former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide; former senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Adeseun; a PDP leader in Oyo State, Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.

Others are former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau; a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali; former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtar Shagari; former governorship candidate of the party in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and chairman of the party in the state, Dan Orbih.

Akinjide, Adeseun and Otiti alleged to have received N650m

An EFCC investigator, Usman Zakari, who testified before a Federal High Court in Lagos, presided by Justice Muslim Hassan, in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, charged alongside Senator Adeseun and Chief Otiti, said the accused allegedly received N650 million cash in March 2015 at the Dugbe branch of a bank in Ibadan on Alison-Madueke’s instructions, and that the money was part of N23 billion which the former oil minister kept in the bank.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Zakari said the commission received a “Category A intelligence” about a meeting at Alison-Madueke’s house in December 2014 with the bank’s Managing Director and some oil marketers. According to him, the former minister told the bank chief that the oil marketers would bring hard currencies to the bank and that he should keep the money until further directives.

Giving a breakdown of how the money was raised, Zakari said Autus Integrated Ltd took $17.8 million to the bank, Northern Belt Oil and Gas lodged $60 million, while Mid-Western Oil Services Ltd paid $9.5 million. “An individual, Lano Adesanya, brought the sum of $1.8 million.

Our findings further revealed that the three oil marketers made payment of the sum of $89 million and some fractions. Investigations further revealed that the then petroleum minister’s aides made available $25 million and some fractions in suitcases,” the witness said, adding that Alison-Madueke later directed the bank to convert the dollars to naira, which was complied with, after which she allegedly directed that the defendants be paid.

They accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail. At the commencement of trial, the defence counsel had objected to the admissibility of the statement of the first accused on the grounds that same was not voluntarily obtained. Consequently, the court ordered a trial within- trial to test the voluntariness of the statement obtained by the EFCC.

Shekarau, Wali and Ahmad accused of collecting N950m

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State and ex-minister of Education was last week Tuesday quizzed by the EFCC alongside former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Engr Mansur Ahmad for laundering N950 million, funds earmarked for 2015 general elections logistics.

The anti-graft agency had invited the trio in preparation for their arraignment last Thursday. Counsel to Shekarau, Abdul Fage, who briefed newsmen shortly after the arrival of the former minister at the EFCC’s office, said: “Shekarau is being accused of collecting N25 million as a person from the total sum N950 million.

We are here to honour their invitation after we received their letter about a week ago demanding that our clients should be available today for further questioning in preparation for Thursday arraignment.”

The former governor in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Sule Ya’u Sule, said: “the EFCC despite lack of evidence is insisting on prosecuting the former Minister of Education Mal Ibrahim Shekarau over the N25 million 2015 election logistics fund allegedly given to him.

Since 2016, when the issue of election fund came up, Shekarau was invited by the EFCC to explain the amount given to him along with other stakeholders of the party in Kano to prosecute the election, but he denied ever receiving such amount and challenged EFCC to produce anyone who has given him the money or any evidence to prove that he actually collected the money.

“Based on this, the former minister was asked to go, however, surprisingly, for reason best known to EFCC, we received communication from the agency that the former minister is to be arraigned before a Federal High Court in Kano on Thursday this week over the same alleged N25 million election fund.”

But the EFCC was not swayed by political meanings read about its invitation to the former governor given that he has declared an intention to contest the 2019 presidential election as it went ahead to arraign him alongside Wali and Ahmad as scheduled on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

Counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojoghame, told the court that the defendants had between March 26 and 27, 2015 in Kano, conspired between themselves and received various sums of money without going through financial institutions.

He told the court that the money was issued out to the defendants by the PDP and Alison- Madueke. The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges and their counsel, Mr Ologunolisa Sam (SAN), made a written bail application in respect of the defendants under Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015. He said: “The defendants were, early in May 2016, invited by the EFCC and at no time were they found wanting when they were granted bail. If granted bail, the defendants would not jump bail, nor commit any offence and would not tamper with a police investigation.”

The Judge, Justice Zainab Abubakar- Bage granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum. She said that the first surety should have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court while the second surety should not be below the rank of a director.

The judge ordered the defendants to surrender their international passports and two recent passport size photographs to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court while adjourning to June 26, for trial.

Ize-Iyamu, Orbih, three orders remanded over alleged complicity in N700m

In Edo State, the PDP’s candidate in the 2016 governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the state chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih; former Deputy Governor of the state, who is now a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Lucky Imasuen; a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tony Azegbemi and one Efe Anthony, were also last Thursday arraigned before Federal High Court sitting in Benin over their alleged complicity in N700 million campaign funds.

The accused had been in the custody of EFCC for 11 days before their arraignment before Justice P. I. Adjokwu on an eight-count charge of money laundering. According to the EFCC charge sheet, Ize-Iyamu and others were accused of taking possession and control of the sum of N700 million without any contract award, which they ought to have known to form part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; fraud and corruption; and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

However, they pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them by counsel to the EFCC, Larry Peters Aso. Justice Adjokwu later granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each and a surety in like sum, who must be Grade Level 16 public servants or above, and should deposit the Certificate of Occupancy of their building with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

Earlier in their arguments for bail applications, counsels to the accused, Charles Edosomwan (for Ize-Iyamu); Dr O.G Izevbuwa (Mr Imasuen); Kehinde Ogunsumi (Azegbemi); Ferdinand Orbih (for Chief Dan Orbih) and Prof. Jim Akhere Akhere, pleaded that their clients be granted bail on self-recognizance. On his part, counsel to the EFCC, Aso, noted that the bio-data of the suspects had not been captured and requested the court to order stringent bail conditions and money to ensure the defendants are in court.

But, Justice Adjokwu, in her ruling, said she only exercised her discretion in granting the accused person bail. The judge, however, ordered that they should be remanded in prison custody pending when they would have met the bail conditions, while adjourning sitting on the matter to July 4, 2018.

Shagari, four others were tried for N500m

Mukhtar Shagari, a deputy governor of Sokoto State and ex-Minister of Water Resources, was arraigned last week Tuesday before Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court Sokoto on a five-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N500 million. Charged alongside the former minister was Senator Abdallah Wali, a PDP governorship candidate in 2015; Alhaji Ibrahim Gidado, a former commissioner of information; Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, PDP State Chairman and Treasurer of the party, Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa. According to the anti-graft agency, the defendants allegedly benefited from the slush cash to senior members of the PDP to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, which was not distributed through any financial institution in flagrant violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

One of the charges preferred against Shagari read:“You Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Gidado and Ibrahim Milgoma sometime in March 2015, within the justification of this honourable court did conspire among yourselves to receive cash payment of the sum of N500 million from one Abdulrahaman Ibrahim without transacting through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16(2) of the same Act.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them. Prosecution counsel Johnson Ojogbane requested a date for trial in view of the plea of the defendants and also asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody. Counsel representing the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants, Ibrahim Abdulaziz, as well as counsel for the 2nd and 5th defendants Ibrahim Idris, and L.A Abdulkadir, respectively applied for bail of their clients pending the determination of the case.

Responding, Ojogbane confirmed that he was served with the various bail applications by the applicants but also reminded the court that he was only served on May 21 and therefore needed time to respond. Justice Idrissa after listening to the arguments of both parties remanded the defendants in police custody till Thursday, May 24 for the hearing and determination of bail, which they were granted in the tune of N25 million each. In his ruling on the bail applications, Justice Idrissa Sale Kogo said they should equally provide two sureties who must be civil servants of grade level 13 and residing within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge further directed that the five defendants deposit their international passports in the court, while their sureties must have properties worth the amount of bail and must depose to an affidavit before the court.   (New Telegraph)

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