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APC chieftain seeks dissolution of NDDC board, asks Buhari to address ‘administrative fraud’

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Yekini Nabena, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to redress the “injustice and illegality” regarding the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) .

In an open letter to the president dated February 26, 2018, Nabena said the tenure of the board ended in December and its continued stay is like “allowing illegitimacy to run riot”.

He demanded the removal of the Nsima Ekere, managing director/chief executive, and Victor Ndoma-Egba, chairman of the commission’s board.

Nabena, who is from Bayelsa state, said judging by the terms of their appointment and the law establishing NDDC, the members of the board were to complete their respective state’s tenure.

“The tenure of Nsima Udo Ekere as managing director and chief executive of NDDC has since elapsed. This is according to his letter of appointment from the office of the secretary to the government of the federation, dated November 1, 2016, with Ref. No: SGF.55/S.2/C.3/IV/52, which was signed by the then SGF, Babachir David Lawal,” he wrote.

Nabena said Ndoma-Egba was appointed to serve out the tenure of Bassey Ea-Henshaw, a “fellow Cross River state indigene”, while Ekere was chosen to complete the tenure of Bassey Dan-Abia, a “fellow Akwa Ibom citizen”.

“Ewa-Henshaw and Dan-Abia were inaugurated in 2013 for a four-year term that ought to have ended last December,” he said.

The APC leader said Ndoma-Egba and Ekere’s continued stay in office is a loss to Bayelsa.

He accused the managing director and the chairman of allegedly applying manipulative schemes to try to change the rules to give themselves more time in office.

“The resort to sit-tight, crude propaganda and manipulation does not only display an arrogant contempt for the law guiding the Commission, but it also offends basic decency and public morality,” he said.

“In fact, it amounts to administrative fraud. Any further day the board exists is tantamount to allowing wilful iniquity and illegality to run riot. Moreover, the fact that they have been paying themselves all manner of allowances even after the expiration of their legal tenure is criminal.”

Nabena urged Buhari to “quickly redress the anomalous situation” by disbanding the NDDC board and reconstituting it “based on fairness in order to restore sanity to the commission’s leadership and save the image of his government and its campaign to bring about change”.

Pius Ughakpoteni, spokesman of the agency, could not be reached for comments as of the time this report was filed.

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Why we don’t pay workers salaries regularly – Kogi Govt

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The Kogi State Government says huge loan servicing is responsible for its inability to pay the salaries of its workers regularly.
Kingsley Fanwo, the state Director-General, Media and Publicity, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lokoja.
Mr Fanwo said that the loans were taken by the two previous administrations for projects that did not add value to the state.
“Sometimes, we repay between N400 million and N500 million monthly as loans that add no value to the state.
“These loans were taken by the last two administrations and some of them were invested on projects that were never completed.
“When you go out, you will see Kogi Hotels, billions of naira was collected for that project and it was not completed, and it is not adding any value to the state.
“Also, the Kogi House in Abuja has gulped billions of naira, yet, it is not completed, not adding any value to the state,’’ he said.
The DG said the previous administrations collected N200 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) development, which was not used for the purpose intended.
According to him, rather than using the money for SMEs development, some people just shared the money.
“There is no record of anybody given loan and now we are repaying. So all of these have taken its toll on the resources and finances of the state’’
He said despite the poor resources accruing to the state, the government still strive to pay workers’ salaries.
“We cannot shy away from the fact that the resources that is coming to the state now has dwindled due to the loans we are repaying.
“It is increasingly difficult to muster enough resources to pay salaries regularly.
“As I speak with you, we are still owing March and April salaries,’’ Mr Fanwo said.
He said despite the dwindling resources of the state, the government will remain committed in the payment of salaries even if not as when due.
“When you do a comparative analysis of wages in the North Central geo political zone, Kogi pays the highest and despite that, we have been very faithful,’’ Mr Fanwo said.
He denied allegations that workers were being owed 24 months salary.
He said those peddling the falsehood were the people that benefited from the rot in the state in the past.
On bailout funds received from the federal government, Mr Fanwo said that they were used to pay workers’ salaries.
He, however, noted that the bailout funds were not free gifts.
“The bailout funds were not gifts from the federal government, it was more or less a loan, so you have to prioritise what you use your bailout funds for.
“So, we used it basically for salaries and we were the only state in the federation that published how we used that bailout funds.
“Transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of this administration,’’ he said.

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BREAKING: CJN Panel submits report, identifies reasons for slow pace of corruption cases in courts

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The Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) has identified poor prosecution, absence of counsel for parties in Court, reliance on irrelevant documentary evidence, multiplicity of charges, non-adherence to Court rules and procedures, retirement and transfer of Judges, re-assignment of cases to start de-novo, amendment of charges after commencement of trial, and cumbersome record transmission process to the Court of Appeal amongst others as some of the factors militating against speedy disposal of corruption cases.
These facts are contained in the interim Report presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Justice Suleiman Galadima, (Rtd) CFR, at the 86th Meeting of the National Judicial Council.
The Committee distilled the issues from its findings from discussions with Heads of Courts and observations made from the surprise visits of the Members to Courts handling corruption and financial crime cases in some parts of Country.
POOR PROSECUTION:
On the part of the prosecution, the Committee observed the following:-
• that offenders are charged to Court before proper investigations of the charges are done, and afterwards, expecting the Court to detain such alleged offenders till conclusion of their investigation;
• inadequate prosecuting personnel at the prosecution Agencies;
• that some prosecutors lack the requisite experience to prosecute corruption cases, which invariably leads to poor handling of such cases;
• lack of commitment on the part of some prosecutors and collusion between them and defence counsel to pervert justice either by stalling the trials of cases or achieving pre-determined results;
• that there is no threshold to the number of witnesses the prosecution calls;
• inadequate funding of prosecution Agencies to carry out thorough investigation of the corruption cases with attendant low quality prosecution cases; and
• frequent requests for adjournment by the Prosecutors.
DUPLICATION OF CHARGES:
The Committee submitted that the prosecution in most cases duplicate charges which could be up to 170 against a Defendant, but at the end, are unable to substantiate them, leading to the discharge of such Defendant.
MULTIPLICITY OF CASES:
The Committee also observed the issue of multiplicity of cases involving the same Defendants, and on similar subject matters going on in different Courts at the same time. This particular factor makes it impossible for some trials to proceed. In spite of the fact that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, provides for day-to-day trials of Criminal Cases, a Defendant who is undergoing trial in other Courts is always unavailable for trial.
ABSENCE OF PARTIES IN COURT:
This is a major factor delaying criminal justice administration as cases are mostly adjourned when parties are absent in Court.
EXTRA JUDICIAL STATEMENT:
Where the defence challenges the voluntariness of a confessional statement, the Judge has to order a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the confession, thereby causing delay.
DOCUMENARY EVIDENCE:
The Committee submitted that both the defence and prosecution are often culpable by relying on irrelevant evidence they would not necessarily use thereby causing unnecessary delay.
COURT:
On the part of the Court, the Committee identified the following as contributing to the delay in quick dispensation of corruption cases:
• retirement\transfer of Judges handling such cases. When this happens, such cases which may have gone far are re-assigned to another Judge to start de-novo;
• granting of remand order by a Court without following up to ensure suspects are brought to Court;
• inadequate provision for proper record keeping and shelving of Court files and other relevant documents in some Courts;
• cumbersome process of transmission of records from trial Courts which impedes the early disposal of appeals; and
• difficulties associated with ascertaining addresses for service of process by Bailiffs
PRISON:
Prison on its part contributes to the delay by failing to remind Court of subsisting order to reproduce suspects in Court and most times lack means to convey awaiting trials to the law Court.
RECOMMENDATIONS:
For the speedy trial of corruption cases, the Committee recommends the following:-
• importance of proper training for prosecution in the area of investigation, especially in the area of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015;
• need for prosecuting Agencies to have competent prosecution departments manned by qualified personnel;
• synergy between the various prosecution Agencies to enhance proper prosecution of criminal cases;
• use of professionals, such as accountants, auditors, etc, to investigate high profile and complicated cases;
• need for training and re-training of staff of Court handling criminal cases;
• need to provide Judicial Officers with a Legal\Research Assistant to make their work easier.
• proper funding for the Judiciary and prosecuting Agencies;
• deployment of more Judges to handle designated corruption cases;
• complete overhaul of both physical and technical infrastructures in designated Courts as some of them are small and not well ventilated; and
• need to come up with Practise Directions for corruption cases trial to cure anomalies in the trial of the cases.
The Committee will continue to monitor corruption and criminal cases all over the country and to meet with stakeholders on the way forward.
Soji Oye, Esq
Director, Information

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Nigerian Newspapers: 10 things you need to know this Sunday morning

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Good morning! Here is today’s summary from
Nigerian Newspapers
1. Party stakeholders and delegates escaped attack on Saturday as the Enugu State Congress of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ended in a fiasco.
Reports said that accreditation of delegates were underway when some thugs stormed the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, venue of the congress and chased party members and leader, including, former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, ex Governor of Enugu State, Barr. Sullivan Chime, national vice chairman of the party, Mr. Emma Eneukwu and the congress committee members.
2. The former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore on Saturday announced his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and formally declared for Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Omisore, in a statement gave a vivid historical allusion to his political career since 1999, saying his new political move would remain irrevocable and irreversible.
3. A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State Saturday went ahead to conduct the state congress of the party on Saturday despite an order by the Federal High Court in Owerri stopping the exercise.
But in order to beat the police security, APC members, who are not in tandem with Governor Rochas Okorocha, conducted the state congress at an undisclosed venue.
4. The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that the Federal Government has put in place workable funding mechanism, to ensure the Second Niger Bridge is completed.
The former Lagos Governor said the modified tax credit policy, the Sukuk Intervention Fund and the Presidential Infrastructural Fund, among others, were aimed at funding infrastructure projects that would make the country globally competitive.
5. Spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Abdullahi, has said the party will not recognize any parallel state congress, organised by any factional group of the party in the country.
He noted that the National Working Committee of the party, would only acknowledge the congresses conducted by the committees set up by the national leadership of the party.
6. At least 19 members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) were involved in an accident along the Benin-Auchi road on Saturday.
They were believed to be staff of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) chapter of the union on their way to a function in Auchi, when the accident occurred.
7. At least, six persons, including two teachers of the Makurdi Local Government Education Authority, were reportedly killed by Fulani herdsmen near Ikpayongo, Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State during the weekend.
It was gathered that the victims were among the 10 persons who had gone to assess farmland for rice cultivation under the umbrella of a cooperative society, but were ambushed by suspected herdsmen.
8. The Nigerian Army says it neutralised two female suicide bombers, who attempted to infiltrate troops in Kawuri, in Konduga Local Government Area on during the weekend.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, said that the suicide bombers had used the cover of darkness to stalk the military camp at about 9.45 p.m., but were promptly detected by the vigilant troops who engaged them when they refused to comply with their order.
9. Prince Harry and US TV star Meghan Markle were married in Windsor Castle on Saturday in a star-studded and emotional ceremony watched live by cheering crowds and beamed into homes around the world.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, declared the couple husband and wife after they exchanged vows and rings.
10. Eden Hazard scored what proved to be the decisive goal, as Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 to win this year’s FA Cup final.

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