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Akpabio hails Navy’s stride in combating crude oil theft

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio has lauded the Nigerian Navy over improved security in the maritime environment and increased onslaught against crude oil theft in the country.

Akpabio gave the commendation on Friday at the Regimental Dinner organised by the Nigerian Navy in honour of its retired senior officers of Flag Rank in Abuja.

He commended the efforts of the officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy in curbing crude oil theft.

Akpabio said that the endeavour has reduced illegal bunkering, illegal refining sites, smuggling of goods and narcotics, adding that it has also increased oil production.

He said that the feat was achieved through the tireless efforts of the navy in combatting the nefarious activities undermining Nigeria’s economy.

He, however, challenge the Navy to persevere and redouble its efforts in safeguarding the Nigerian maritime environment.

“The nation looks up to you and expects nothing short of professionalism which you have exhibited thus far.

“Be assured that the National Assembly will support you with all processes needed to succeed,” he said.

The Senate president thanked the retired senior officers for devoting themselves to the defence of the nation, adding that it had been volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

He said their selfless services had left an indelible mark in the Nigerian navy, the armed forces as a whole, and the nation in general.

“Nonetheless, we are assured that you will continue to contribute towards the development of the Nigerian Navy and the country at large.

“My speech will, however, not be complete without remembering your colleagues who lost their lives in the line of maritime operations and the service of our dear country,” he said.

Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, said that the retired officers had exhibited honour, courage and commitment during their careers.

He said their expertise and experience were also instrumental to shaping the Nigerian navy towards enhanced operational readiness in fulfilment of its mandate.

The CNS gave assurance that the Nigerian navy would remain professional and ethical in fulfilment of national security objectives, adding that the navy had recorded some modest achievements since he assumed command.

“I must add that the Nigerian navy has rejigged her operations particularly by launching Operation DELTA SANITY to curb crude oil theft.

“This has led to the dismantling of several illegal oil refining sites in the Niger Delta region.

“According to Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, crude oil production rose from 1.08 million barrels per day in July 2023 to 1.427 million barrels per day in January 2024.

“This represents an increase of 319,000 barrels within the last six months.

“This is a testament to the positive outcome of the renewed drive by the Nigerian navy towards ensuring that oil contributes optimally to national development,” he said.

Ogalla thanked President Bola Tinubu for his continuous support to the navy and the welfare of the veterans.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Regimental Dinner is part of military tradition aimed at promoting regimentation and honouring deserving officers and men on special occasions.

The event had in attendance the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, some members of the National Assembly, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa and other top military officers.

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Kano Court sacks Ganduje as APC Chairman

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The Kano State High Court has sacked Abdullahi Ganduje as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Court granted an ex parte order restraining the Ganduje from parading himself as a member of the party.

Subsequently, the court ordered that henceforth, Ganduje should desist from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee of the APC.

The application granted by Justice Usman Na’abba on Tuesday followed an ex parte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’s ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area, the Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani and Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs), who were part of the nine ward executives who suspended Ganduje on Monday.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC, NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee, and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30, 2024.

Justice Na’abba, also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

The ex parte order read, “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (first), APC National Working Committee (second), Kano State Working Committee APC (third), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (fourth), to maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the first respondent (APC) from recognising the fourth respondent (Ganduje) as a member of APC and prohibiting the fourth respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the fourth respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as a member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of the APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of the APC from the National Chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption charges against the former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed on April 8, 2024, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted upon the petition, a decision that led to Ganduje’s suspension.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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