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Palace of Priests Assembly hosts workshop to address corruption among Christians holding public office



By Matthew Denis, Abuja

In a bid to reduce corruption to a minimum level, a non-governmental organisation popularly known as Palace of Priests Assembly (PPA) has organised a workshop for Christians in government parastatals to ensure  transparency and accountability.

Speaking during the event, the General Overseer and  Founder of Palace of Priests Assembly, Dr. Otive Igbuzor said, “I welcome you to this meeting on transparency and accountability for Christians in Government as part of the SHUN Corruption Project supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“The SHUN Corruption project was conceived by PPA in furtherance of our mission as a church and the mandate that God has given to us. Our mandate is, among other things, to promote the dual mandate of the church and the priesthood of all believers.”

He explained that the project is implemented by the social arm of the church, the Priests Peace and Justice Initiative (PPJ) with the goal of mobilising Christians, especially Pentecostals, to join the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The Founder of PPA stressed that the problem of corruption is a global one.

“Over the years, several scholars, development workers, activists, politicians, international organisations, public affairs commentators and the general public have given attention to the problem of corruption and its attendant effects on society.

“The problem is not new to humankind even though it has reached unprecedented proportions in recent years. It is as old as society itself and cuts across nations, cultures, races and classes of people. Corruption poses significant challenges to economic development, social justice and stability.

“It has been argued that one of the major obstacles to the development of poor countries is corruption. Corruption is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our time, a challenge that is not only leading to impoverishment and loss of lives but also threatening the stability of society,” He said.

Speaking further, he said, “Over the years religious groups in Nigeria do not engage in the fight against corruption but in recent time many religious groups in Nigeria especially those working in the behavioural change cohort with the support of MacArthur Foundation have become agents of change engaging in anti-corruption initiatives.”

He revealed that since the commencement of this project, it has been a harvest of firsts, noting  that they have harvested 115 scriptures that capture the meaning of corruption and the imperative to adhere to the standards of honesty, integrity and transparency expected of Christians.

“We trained a total of 2,892 Pentecostals. 1,186 additional Pentecostals have endorsed the pact on Transparency and Accountability. 91 Pentecostal churches have established a social arm of the church to fight corruption and address other social issues in the society. We have established 61 anti-corruption platforms including Ministers against Corruption, Christian Women against Corruption and Youth Vanguard against Corruption.

“At PPA, we firmly believe that the fight against corruption is not merely a civic duty but a fulfilment of the dual mandate given to the church by Jesus Christ to minister to the people spiritually and physically including the social dimension of the church.

“Our approach to this project utilises the behavioural change model. We utilise a multifaceted approach that targets negative behaviour, influences social norms and promotes ethical conduct. The approach emphasises altering behaviours through media, advocacy, technology and creative methods to reshape attitude, behaviour, norms and morals at individual and institutional levels.

“The channels we used include mainstreaming anti-corruption messages in religious teachings in sermons and other avenues such as Sunday School and bible school; advocacy to government and religious leaders to engage in anti-corruption fight- for government to sanction corrupt officials and for religious leaders to shun, speak up and stand up against corruption; building the capacity of religious leaders to engage in anti-corruption activities using the holy books; identifying religious leaders who are models of integrity or champions of anti-corruption and projecting them as models for others to follow.

“In the remaining one year of the project, we will focus on consolidating sustainability of the project. The Platform on Transparency and Accountability for Christians in Government is an important aspect of this project especially in terms of our plans for consolidation.

“The platform is meant to bring together Christian leaders in government  across Nigeria to focus on Christianity and Accountability. The platform is based on a recognition that there are Christian ethics based on the word of God (the Bible) which should guide the behaviour of Christian adherents.

“The ethics include holiness, faithfulness, worship, humanitarian spirit, liberality, self-discipline, defence of the poor and oppressed, opposition to cruelty, deceit, luxury and selfishness.”

On her part, the Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Community Engagement North Central zone, Mrs. Abiodun Essiet tasked the participants to live a righteous life by treating fellow Nigerians with tolerance.

She said, “You should emulate Christ’s life in our offices so that people will see that true reflection of Christianity in us.”

Also speaking, the Coordinator of MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Amina Yusuf encouraged the participants to live doing good for others as a gesture to humanity.

The highlights of the programme was a goodwill message from key stakeholders cut across the country, panel session and interactions by all the participants.

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Kano Court sacks Ganduje as APC Chairman



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



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



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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