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Unlawful detention: Court awards N100m damages to Emefiele

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…We detained him with a valid court order — EFCC

A High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has awarded N100 million damages to the suspended former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi on Monday awarded damages against the federal government and Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for violations of his rights.

The embattled Emefiele had dragged the Federal Government, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), EFCC to enforce his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement.

Emefiele sought a declaration of the court that his continued detention by the agency of the first and second respondents since June 10, 2023 and subsequent transfer to the custody of the third and fourth respondents on October 26, 2023 without being arraigned in court is unlawful.

He said the respondents in deviance of several valid subsisting court orders for his release amounts to a grave violation of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

He, therefore, among others sought an injunction restraining the respondents from further arresting and or further detaining him up on his release by the court without proffering a criminal charge against him.

He also sought damages of N1 billion in his favour for the violation of his fundamental rights.

Meanwhile, reacting to the judgement of the Court, the EFCC in a statement vowed to appeal the judgement of the court.

The anti-corruption body noted that the decision failed to take cognisance of the fact that the former CBN boss was held with a valid order of court.

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Anambra Assembly passes bill to prohibit cult activities, killings

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The Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill to prohibit secret cult activities and killings in the state.

The Bill, entitled: Anambra State Secret Cult and Similar Activities Prohibition Bill 2024, was passed after the third reading on Wednesday.

The lawmakers, at the Committee of the Whole House, took turns to scrutinise the executive Bill before its passage.

The Speaker, Dr Somtochukwu Udeze, conducted a voice vote on each of the clauses of the bill before it was passed.

Udeze said the passage followed the consideration of the report presented by the joint committee on Education, Judiciary and Justice.

Subsequently, Udeze directed the acting Clerk, Mr Okechukwu Nwobi, to transmit a clean copy of the bill to Gov. Chukwuma Soludo for assent.

The bill states that any person who participates in a meeting or activity of a secret cult shall be presumed to be a member of the secret cult.

It says that any person who has in his possession or custody or under his control any of the insignia, documents or other properties belonging to a secret cult or wears such insignia shall be presumed to be a member of the secret cult.

“The law also empowers the police or any security agent to arrest a person who is in possession of an offensive weapon being kept in any house or building.

“Any person, who is a member of a secret cult, commits an offense whether or not in possession of offensive weapon and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life or a minimum of 21 years imprisonment without an option of fine.

“Any member of a secret cult who voluntarily renounces his membership of the cult and submits any offensive weapon in his possession to the Police, shall be free from prosecution.

“A rehabilitation agency shall be created where persons who renounce their membership of secret cult or any proscribed society shall receive counseling,” it said.

Speaking to newsman at the end of plenary, Mr Ikenna Ofodeme, Majority Leader and member representing Ekwusigo Constituency, said the bill would go a long way in assisting government to curb crime and criminality in the state.

He said it would help save lives of residents and empower authorities to take decisive actions against perpetrators.

The House adjourned plenary till Thursday.

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FG to prioritise application of technology in education – Minister

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The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu has said that the ministry would continue to prioritise the application of technology in education for informed decisions.
Sununu said this in Abuja on Wednesday, at the 2024 Information Technology Professionals’ Assembly.
The assembly withthe theme: ‘Artificial Intelligence: An Enabler for Economic Transformation and Sustainable Development’, was organised by the Computer Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN).
The Minister emphasised the importance of technology in providing students with access to online resources as well as encouraging researches.
“In the last few days, President Bola Tinubu has approved the project of the education which encapsulated the generation of overall data of all school in Nigeria right from kindergarten to our tertiary institutions.
“This will enable us to have the actual data and number of students, their performances, the number of schools and their current status, so that where we need to intervene and otherwise we can,” he said.
Sununu said the ministry is collaborating with other governmental agencies to ensure a comprehensive data of out-of-school children.
He recalled that one of the campaign promises of the Tinubu’s administration was
to move out-of-school children from street back to school.
“It is worrisome that Nigeria has first position in the number of out-of-school children globally.
“Over 20 million out-of-school children is unacceptable and that’s why we must find solution to it,” he said.
The Minister commended the efforts of the council at eliminating quackery in the profession, urging them to redouble their strategies at ridding quackery out of the system.
“Your efforts at eliminating quackery in the profession through the registration of individuals and corporate organisations that are practicing Information Technology have not been unnoticed.
“The Federal Ministry of Education is conscious of your efforts at enforcing the Act that established CPN by making it mandatory for all individuals and corporate organisations that are practicing IT in Nigeria to be duly registered with CPN.
“The global practice is for professionals to regulate their profession properly in order to exterminate quacks and undesirable elements from making incursions into the profession.
“Therefore, all individuals and corporate organisations that are into Information Technology practice should register with CPN to allow for effective regulation of computer education and practice in Nigeria,” he said.
The minister, therefore, urged the council to align with the vision of the administration in their programmes and activities so that it would not be a mirage.
The President and Chairman of CPN, Mr Kole Jagun, said the IT Professionals’ Assembly had continued to set the tenor and directions for IT policies for successive governments.
He said this was part of the various initiatives of the Council to ensure that Nigeria is positioned to take maximum advantage of the knowledged-based economy globally.
He noted that 400 new members would be inducted into the profession on Thursday.
“There is no doubt that our profession is a critical sector to the development of any nation in this modern world.
“In fact, no meaningful development can take place if the Information Technology sector is prostrate.
“That is why we have to be alive to our responsibility of moving with the dynamics and realities in the world.
The profession has evolved and should take the centre stage of national development,” he said.
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NEITI develops corrective action plan to enhance Nigeria’s EITI implementation – Orji

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says it has developed a Corrective Action Plan to address issues identified in its validation report by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

It said the corrective action plan had been shared with the EITI International Secretariat, outlining concrete steps to enhance Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary, NEITI said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing the newsmen on the status of the EITI implementation in Nigeria.

A delegation from EITI International Secretariat had visited Nigeria in January to officially communicate the validation outcome to the government.

Global EITI was established with the objective of transparency and disclosing payments and revenues from extractive resources.

The global institution has made significant progress in facilitating openness though the entire processes in the resource extraction value chain.

Orji, however, said the briefing was necessary to address important developments since after the EITI Mission in Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, as part of the follow up actions to the EITI delegation visit, NEITI has developed a corrective action plan to address the issues identified in the validation report.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria’s corrective actions will focus on improving our ranking on Stakeholders’ Engagement, which include: Government, Company and Civil Society Engagements as well as Multi Stakeholders’ Governance.

“Other requirements are Contracts and licence allocations and Licence Register Contracts.

“Already, our strategy on improving stakeholders’ engagement has yielded very positive results. We now have the NSWG in place with the SGF chairing the NEITI Board,’’ he said.

He said one major message the EITI International Mission communicated clearly to our government was the urgency to reconstitute the NEITI NSWG (Board) which was dissolved on June 19, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu had on April 22, approved reconstitution of a 15- member National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) for NEITI.

The executive secretary said to reaffirm Nigeria’s highest commitment, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume was announced as the Chairman of the NSWG.

“Other members of the new NEITI Board (6th NSWG) include; the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji representing government and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Malam Mele Kyari representing Companies, among others.

“I wish to clarify that it is a 15-member Board, no more, no less as provided by law. As Secretary to the Board and NEITI Executive Secretary/CEO, I remain on a five-year single term, no more, no less as provided by law.

“NEITI is following with interest but from a distance, the ongoing independent process by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to elect their representative on the Board.

“While we commend the painstaking efforts from the CSOs constituency, we hope this will be completed very soon to enable them take up their rightful position waiting for them on the reconstituted Board.

“For this to happen, I appeal and call on the civil society to close ranks and bury their differences. NEITI is and always will be their institution ready and open to work with all CSOs as important partners in the EITI,’’ he said.

Orji, while commending the larger CSOs on the support it had received from them in areas of partnership and collaboration, he said that its relationship with the media had been impressive, especially on information dissemination and public enlightenment efforts.

He reassured stakeholders, international partners and the global EITI that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring that at the next validation, Nigeria would score the maximum points of 100 in its assessment.

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