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EFCC arraigns Senator Bassey, makes damning revelations

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, arraigned Senator, Albert Bassey, popularly known as OBA, before Justice A. A. Okeke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The Senator appeared in court following a bench warrant issued on him by the same court on June 17, 2019, for breaching the terms of bail granted him by the Commission.

The case against the Senator is hinged on the allegation that he took possession of six vehicles worth N204million, at the instance of one Olajide Omokore, whose companies had contracts with the State Government, at the time.

EFCC said its investigations revealed that the said vehicles were proceeds of crime and that he committed the offence while he doubled as the Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee, in December 2012. It is an offence which contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

The vehicles are, Infinity QX 56 BP, valued at N45million; Toyota Land Cruiser V8 BP, valued at N40million; Range Rover, valued at N40million; Toyota Hiace, High Roof, valued at N27million; Toyota Hiace High Roof, valued at N16million and Toyota Hilux 4×4, valued at N36million.

One of the counts against him reads: “That you, Albert Bassey, whilst being the Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee, IMDLCC sometime in December 2012, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, indirectly took possession of a vehicle (Infinity QX 56 BP) valued at N45,000,000.00 at the instance of one Olajide Jones Omokore (whose companies had contracts with Akwa Ibom State Government at that material time), when you reasonably ought to have known that the said vehicle formed part of proceed of unlawful activity (to wit: corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the counts.

In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, prayed the court for a trial date, to enable the prosecution prove its case against him.

Defence counsel, Solomon Umoh, SAN, informed the court of his client’s bail application and moved same, praying the court to grant the defendant bail.

Umoh said: “The applicant in his application regretted the issuance of the bench warrant and explained his absence. The respondent has not disputed the fact that the applicant is on bail, granted him by the EFCC even as we speak.”

Responding, Abubakar strongly objected to the application on the ground that the terms of the bail application earlier granted the defendant by the Commission, were breached, hence the issuance of the bench warrant.

He further urged the court to discountenance the submissions of Umoh and refuse the application.

But after listening to the arguments canvassed by both counsels, the court discharged the bench warrant issued against the Senator and granted him bail.

While adjourning to July 2 and 3, 2019 for trial, Justice Okeke held that: “The defendant is hereby granted bail in the sum of N20million and one surety in like sum. The surety must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of this Court which will be verified by the court registrar, and the court registrar shall file the report of verification.”

The trial judge further ordered that the Senator should be held in EFCC custody, pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.

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Crime

Father to court: I defiled my daughter to test if she is virgin

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A 37-year-old security guard, Wasiu Orilonise, has confessed to defiling his 15-year-old daughter after being arraigned before Oyo State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ibadan.

The suspect was arraigned on one-count of having unlawful carnal knowledge of his daughter with Charge‎ No. Mi/271c/2019.

He, however, begged the court for forgiveness as he claimed to have committed the said offence because he wanted to test the virginity of his daughter to protect her.

The prosecutor, Mr. Sunday Ogunremi, told the court that the accused, in December 2018, at Omo Village, Agbofieti, Ibadan, in the Ibadan magisterial district, did rape one Orilonise Adenike.

Ogunremi‎ said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 34, Subsections 1 and 2 of the Child Rights Law of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2006.

No plea was‎, however, taken during the arraignment.

However, when the Chief Magistrate, Mr Taiwo Olaniran, sought to know from the accused what could have pushed him into defiling his biological daughter, Orilonise said that since he lost his wife a few years ago, he had been taking care of Adenike and others siblings.

He further told the court that he committed the act in an attempt to protect his daughter and check if she had lost her virginity.

“The incident happened as I was trying to ascertain if Adenike had lost her virginity,” he said.

Upon discovering that she was still intact, he started having sex regularly with her both in the morning before she leaves for school and at night.

‎The magistrate criticised fathers who were fond of sexually abusing their daughters and other under-aged girls.

He thereafter ordered that the accused be remanded in Agodi Prison pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and adjourned the case till July 30, 2019.

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Buhari

HURIWA to Buhari: Continuous detention of El-Zakzaky, Dasuki is an act of treason

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the continuous detention of the leader of Shiites Islamic movement, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd.) as an act of treason.

In a statement on Thursday, the civil rights group called on global leaders to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to release on bail the duo “who have languished in underground jails for over three years extralegally”.

Citing section 36(5) and section (6) of the Nigerian constitution which states: “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty; provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts”, Huriwa expressed disbelief that world leaders could fold their arms and watch as President Buhari “unleashed venoms and vicious attacks on its citizens”.

“It is the view of the human rights platform that the continuous detention and duplication of charges against the duo by President Muhammadu Buhari is an act of treason against the constitution just as HURIWA stated that it is necessary that they are not allowed to die in detention following reports of their deteriorating health conditions,” the statement added.

The group also reacted to the recent order issued by the Inspector General Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, on the restriction of public protests in certain locations in Abuja.

It will be recalled that the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, gave the order on Wednesday.

According to Huriwa, the order by the IGP is “illegal” as it is “against the clear provisions of the constitution in chapter four and provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly, including the binding Appellate court’s verdict clearly stating that police don’t have any legal right to stop protests and against the most cherished values of constitutional democracy built around the tripod of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of movement which are even guaranteed by a plethora of global human rights laws.”

The group added that they were shocked that whilst constitutional democracy gradually dies away in Nigeria due to deliberate whittling down of respect for human rights by the current administration, world leaders in the US and UK simply don’t care but pretend to be unaware of the global consequences of a deluge of refugees from Nigeria should democracy collapsed under the heavyweight of tyranny and totalitarianism of the current administration.

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Law

Frail-Looking Picture Of El-Zakzaky, Wife Emerges As Court Adjourns Ruling On Application For Medical Trip Abroad

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The Kaduna State High Court has adjourned its ruling on the application filed by the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, seeking permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Members of Zakzaky’s movement and rights group have raised alarm concerning his deteriorating health in recent months, ChannelsTV reports.

Justice Darius Khobo, the presiding judge, adjourned sitting on the matter to July 29, 2019, to rule on the application.

Counsel for Elzakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), told the court that the health condition of his client was getting worse by the day, hence the need for him to seek urgent medical treatment abroad.

In a written application filed before the Court, Falana, said his client is in dire need of medical attention, having lost one of his eyes while in custody of the Department State Services.

The lawyer argued that Elzakzaky and his wife, Zeenat had not been given adequate medical care since their detention on December 14, 2015.

The Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero, objected Elzakzaky’s application because Nigerian medical doctors had yet to be invited to ascertain if the IMN leader should be treated locally or abroad.

Elzazaky and his wife are facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges filed against them by the Kaduna state government.

They were first arraigned on May 15, 2018, following their arrest in Zaria, in December 2015.

Justice Gideon Kurada, who is handling the case, had on March 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely.

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