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Six suspects arrested for harassing Assembly member in Kogi

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The Kogi State Government said six persons have been arrested in connection to the harassment of a member of the National Assembly who came on a courtesy visit to the Governor in his Lugard House office in Lokoja, the state capital on Tuesday.

The Governor has subsequently banned unauthorised persons from accessing the Government House while calling for the immediate prosecution of the culprits.

This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Mohammed.

He said the lawmakers from Kogi State in the Senate and House of Representatives, had visited Governor Yahaya Bello to congratulate him on the peaceful and credible conduct of the November 11 governorship election and to pledge their loyalty to him and the incoming administration.

“Shortly after the fruitful discussion, the Governor received with rude shock the news of the harassment of some of the lawmakers on their way out of the Government House and swiftly ordered the arrest of the culprits,” Mohammed said.

The Governor charged security agencies to investigate the issue thoroughly and ensure that the offenders face the full wrath of the law.

His directive to the heads of security agencies reads, “Information just got to me as I left the office to the residence that one man called Suleiman and others embarrassed Senator Jubrin Echocho in the Government House.

“I’ve directed CSO to arrest all those involved in such a stupid act and bring them to justice immediately. I will never condone acts of hooliganism and indiscipline.”

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Kogi East in the National Assembly, Isah Echocho narrated how thugs attacked him inside the Government House, Lokoja, Kogi State.

The lawmaker, in a telephone interview, said the incident happened on Tuesday immediately after a meeting with the governor.

Echocho said himself, Senator Sunday Karimi (Kogi West) and other All Progressives Congress federal lawmakers from the state had gone to pay homage to the governor after the festive season.

He said the thugs singled him out from other legislators and pounced on him, accusing him of being responsible for APC’s poor performance in the last governorship election in Kogi East senatorial district.

Though APC’s Usman Ododo won the election with 446, 237 votes, his main challenger, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party, who came second, won the majority of his 259,052 votes in Kogi East Senatorial District.

Both Ajaka and Echocho are from the Kogi East Senatorial District.

Narrating how the incident happened, the senator said, “I was attacked by thugs in Government House Lokoja but the police rescued me.

“What happened was that all APC senators and the House of Representatives members from the state visited the governor on a courtesy call for the New Year.

“What happened was that all APC senators and the House of Representatives members from the state visited the governor on a courtesy call for the New Year.

“Being one of them, I was not left out. We went up and we had some brief meeting with the Governor, though he expressed dissatisfaction over APC performance in Kogi East (my senatorial district) in the last governorship election.

“I told the Governor that I tried all I could to convince my people to vote for the APC. I campaigned vigorously for APC in Kogi East but the people were resolute in voting for another candidate despite my efforts.

“It is not as if APC performed woefully in the election in Kogi East. There were pockets of LGs and wards that we won. There was no other thing I could have done beyond what I did. We exchanged pleasantries with the governor, took a group photograph and left.

“As we were coming out, in front of the Governor’s Office, the thugs pounced on me that I was responsible for APC’s failure in Kogi East.

“To my surprise, they brought out knives and other weapons to attack me but police officers around were able to rescue me inside my vehicle and we zoomed off. I thank God I didn’t suffer any injury. The police were able to provide sufficient security.”

When asked if the governor was aware of the attack, he said, “The Governor cannot descend so low and send thugs to attack me.

“The Governor spoke with me after the attack, and he assured me that the thugs would be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law, but I told him not to worry since I’m safe.”

Crime

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: Hearing in EFCC’s suit against fleeing Briton stalled

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Hearing in two separate money laundering suits filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against British national, James Nolan, could not proceed on Wednesday at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was scheduled for adoption of final written addresses of parties by Justice Donatus Okorowo, suffered setback due to failure of Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, to file and serve his processes on the EFCC”s lawyer, Bala Sanga.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Okorowo had, on Nov. 20, 2023, fixed today for adoption of the final addresses after Nolan, who jumped bail and fled Nigeria in the alleged 9.6 billion dollars Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd scandal, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

Ajara had told the judge that he did not intend to call any witness upon resumed hearing in the matter in the last adjourned date.

He said after his evaluation of the EFCC’s evidence, he would rely on the case of the prosecution and Sanga did not object, upon which the matter was fixed for today.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Ajara had not filed their final written address.

The lawyer prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him do the needful.

The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Christie Makar, who held Sanga’s brief, did not oppose the oral application.

Justice Okorowo consequently adjourned the matter until May 6 for adoption of final written addresses.

NAN reports that the EFCC is prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 as 1st and 2nd defendants in the case.

Also, the commission is also prosecuting the sister case marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022 filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd, another company, and Corrado Fantoli as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively before Okorowo.

Fantoli, also a foreigner and an associate of Nolan, was one of the suspects behind the alleged $9.6 billion P&ID fraud.

The suspect, said to be at large, alongside the company, was arraigned in absentia on Nov. 25, 2022, on eight-count money laundering charge.

He was not present in court or represented by a lawyer when they were arraigned.

The court also declared him wanted and ordered for his arrest anywhere he is sighted after Sanga made application to the effect.

Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, were said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.

Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd and Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited are two of the over 30 companies associated with the $9.6 billion scam.

NAN reports that other cases linked to the scandal are currently before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Zainab Abubakar of FHC, Abuja, besides other charges at FCT High Courts.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had, in October, quashed the 11 billion dollars awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID.

Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.

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NAF bombs terrorists hideouts in Borno

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The Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, OPHK, and the Nigerien Air Force on Tuesday eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their hideouts in Damasak and Mobbar local government areas of Borno State.

A statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information of NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the interdictions were under the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF.

Gabkwet said the terrorists had attempted to attack troops of Sector 4 of the MNJTF at Lada, a border town between Niger Republic and Nigeria, and subsequently fled across the border into Nigeria.

According to him, the fleeing terrorists who were on eight motorcycles were later tracked to two locations in Zarri village, about 28 kilometers east of Damasak and Mala Alide in Mobbar areas of Borno.

He further stated that they were observed hibernating in the village with their motorcycles hidden under trees.

“Subsequently, airstrikes from the Air Component of OPHK and Nigerien Air Force, under the watchful eye of Niger’s Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, struck the terrorists’ locations.

“Real-time ISR footage later confirmed numerous terrorists were eliminated and several structures within the targeted areas destroyed.

“Collaborative efforts of this nature have continued to yield positive outcomes on both sides of the border.

“It has also led to the reduction in terrorism and other forms of cross-border crimes perpetrated by criminals crisis-crossing the borders to evade justice,” he added.

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Crime

Sex Scandal: We won’t oppose any sanction against lecturer — ASUU UNN

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the union would not oppose any sanction against the lecturer allegedly involved in sex scandal in a video trending in the social media.

Chairperson of ASUU, University of Nigeria Nsukka, (UNN), Dr Oyibo Eze said this in Nsukka on Tuesday while reacting to the alleged attempt by a lecturer in UNN to have sex with a female student in his office on Monday.

“ASUU will not oppose any sanction if after investigations, the suspect is found guilty of allegation to have attempted to have sex with a female student in his office.

“We should all know that every action has its consequences,” he said.

He said that ASUU condemned the alleged act by the lecturer identified as Mr. David Udom-Udom of the Social Science Unit, School of General Studies (GS) of the UNN.

“I saw the trending video of the alleged act yesterday and this morning I went  to GS department and confirmed the incident in the viral video on Monday.

“Lecturers should see students as their children by displaying high sense of discipline, morality and avoid asking sex for mark.

“It is condemnable and that is what happens when a dog eats the bone hung on its neck.

“Our job as lecturers is to teach students not to harass them sexually,” he said.

Reacting to the incident, Comrade Enoch Utazi, the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of the UNN, also condemned the alleged act by Udom to have sex with a student for mark.

Utazi said SUG would follow the matter to its logical conclusion to ensure that the affected randy lecturer was punished according to rules and regulations of the university.

“SUG will ensure this randy lecturer is punished to serve as deterrent to others who exploit female students sexually in order to give them mark,” Utazi said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chris Alumona, the Chief Security Officer of UNN, when contacted, confirmed the incident and said that the randy lecturer Udom-Udom had been arrested and handed over to the police.

Alumona said his office acted on tip-off from UNN Department of Students Affairs on what was happening on Monday in Udom’s office

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