FG loses bid for secret trail of Dasuki
The Federal Government on Tuesday lost its bid at the Federal High Court in Abuja to conduct secret trial of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Muhammad Sambo Dasuki (rtd), on charges of unlawful possession of firearm and money laundering brought against him in September 2015.
The Court said that there was no point for the witnesses billed to be called to testify in the matter to wear masks and bear pseudo names and addresses so as to facilitate their protection.
Delivering his ruling in an application for secret trial, Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that the Federal Government had in the charge against Dasuki listed the names and addresses of 11 witnesses to be called to testify against him and made same available to the general public and as such there was no basis for any hide and seek game in Dasuki’s trial.
Justice Ademola said that there was no basis to grant the request of government to make the witnesses wear special mask, bear pseudo names and addresses because the charges were not terrorism charges and that there was no information that the life of any of the witnesses billed to be called was being threatened by anybody of group.
Army Commander escapes Boko Haram ambush
The convoy of the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu and some senior army personnel was about 8.30am on Tuesday morning ambushed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists on his way to visit troops in Bama.
This was contained in a statement signed by Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations.
According to him, one soldier lost his life and two others were injured, but the soldiers were able to clear the ambush, killing some of the terrorists and recovered vehicle and weapons from them. The recovered items include a Toyota Hilux vehicle, two AK-47 rifles and several ammunition.
The statement as posted on his Facebook page reads:
“Although 1 soldier lost his life and 2 others were injured, they were able to clear the ambush, killing some of the terrorists and recovered vehicle and weapons from them. The recovered items include a Toyota Hilux vehicle, 2 AK-47 rifles and several ammunitions.
The Acting GOC has continued his operational visit to Bama, while the body of the late soldier and the wounded have been evacuated to Maiduguri. The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has also spoken with the GOC.
The Nigerian Army wish to reiterate its unalloyed commitment and determination to continue to clear the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding.”
Senate summons on tribunal judge ‘illegal’ — Falana
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, has said that the Senate lacks the power to summon Judge Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), to testify in respect of a criminal investigation.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Falana advised the Senate to withdraw the “illegal summon” which had been issued and served on Judge Umar.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions had on Monday summoned Judge Umar to appear before it on Thursday to answer questions on allegations of bribery against him.
The said judge is presiding over the corruption trial of Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, who is facing a 13-count charge of false assets declaration and fraud before the CCT.
The summons came hours after the CCT judge had ruled that Saraki’s trial would sit daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with a one hour break in between, till the end of the trial.
In his statement, Mr. Falana noted that the allegation involving Judge Umar was already a pending criminal case before the court.
Mr. Falana said, inter alia:
“Following the allegation that the Personal Assistant of the Tribunal Chairman allegedly received a bribe from a suspect on behalf of his master the matter was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. At the end of the investigation the Tribunal Chairman was exonerated while his Personal Assistant was indicted.
Consequently, the suspect has since been charged to court. Since the case has not been concluded or terminated it is the height of contempt on the part of the Senate or any of its Committees to decide to conduct another trial on the same subject matter.”
– Femi Falana SAN
Guards Brigade Arrests 92 Armed Herdsmen In Abuja
The Guards Brigade, Nigeria Army yesterday intercepted a group of 92 herdsmen while attempting to invade the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with arms and ammunition from different entry points, an officials statement said.
Captain Bashir Jajira, the Guards Brigade spokesman, who issued the signed statement, said the weapons found in the vehicles used by the herdsmen range from pump action rifles to to knives and assorted charms.
According Captain Jajira, “A group of 36 herdsmen in Diana truck and Toyota with registration number ABJ KUj 994 FX and Niger SUL 541 XA were intercepted and arrested at 177 Guards Battalion by Keffi checkpoints.
In the course of investigation by the soldiers at the checkpoint, the herdsmen claimed to be going to Nasarawa local government area of Nasarawa State.
After thorough checking of the vehicles, the following items were recovered: One pump action; 19 cartridges dane guns; 118 Cartridges Ammo; 28 cutlasses; 3 jack knives; 14 sticks; 7 torchlights; Certificate C of O; and assorted charms and hard drugs.
Also yesterday at about 4pm, the Guards Brigade spokesman said another 56 herdsmen were arrested in Dantata, Gwagwalada general area, carrying 26 cartridges dane guns, 49 cutlasses and knives. When interrogated, the herdsmen said they were on the lookout for those that stole their cows.
Captain Jajiri said the suspects would be handed over to the police for investigation and possible prosecution.
Poll rerun: DSS arraigns Rivers SSG, APC chieftain
The Department of State Security Service (DSS) on Tuesday arraigned the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani (photo: above) and a chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC )in Ikwerre local government area of the state, Hon. Azubuike Chikere Wanjoku, before Justice Liman Mohammad of Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Kobani and Wanjoku appeared in a court with their defense counsels.
The prosecutor, Mr. C.S. Eze, urged the court to allow them pick a new date for hearing.
Before then, Justice Liman read the charges of the accused persons.
Kobani was arraigned for three count charge of breach of peace and breakdown of law and order.
The SSG was also accused of breaching peace by leading his followers to barricade the entrance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Port Harcourt during the rerun election.
Wanjoku was also arraigned on a three -count charge.
He was accused of causing breach of peace by falsely accusing one Kingsley Osifu, the Ikwerre INEC Electoral Officer, of receiving an unspecified amount of money from him.
Senate denies buying 108 cars
The Nigerian Senate Tuesday denied purchasing 108 cars for it members, saying that only 36 cars were purchased one for each state of the Federation. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Senate Services, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, gave the clarification during a meeting in Abuja.
He told reporters that the Senate decided to purchase only 36 cars which cost about 36.5 million Naira each due to lack of funds.
“I will like to say that the issue that we bought 108 cars is wrong.
“We bought 36 cars and this is because each Senator in each state is either a chairman or a vice chairman and we gave one car to each state to share among themselves as utility car.
“And on the issue of buying cars without appropriation, it is very wrong. This has been appropriated in the 2015 budget and we used what we had in the 2015 budget to by the 36 cars.
“The issue of the cost of the car. The showroom price is 36.5 million Naira and we are surprised. The car we bought is Land Cruiser VSR V8 not V6 and the minimum showroom price is about 31 million Naira and when you put 10 per cent VAT and Tax that will arrive at 36.5 million Naira,” Senator Gobir explained.
Going by the figures given by Senator Gobir the 36 cars cost about 1.3 billion Naira.
No Grazing Reserve Commission Bill in Senate — Sen. Abaribe
Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe has called on the Committee on Rules and Business of the Senate to clarify issues on the existence of a Grazing Reserve Commission bill in the assembly.
Mr. Abaribe made the call at plenary on Thursday under a point of order.
He said he had sought clarification from the clerk of the Senate and confirmed that there was no such bill contrary to reports in the media.
Mr. Abaribe said he had received so many calls on the issue and had been accused by some of his constituents of being an absentee senator when the said the bill was not before the Senate.
Mr. Abaribe said, inter alia:
“I have gotten more than 1,000 calls and this has to do with something called the Grazing Reserve Commission Bill.
When I asked where is the information coming from, they said the information is coming from the social media.
Mr President the last time a Grazing Reserve Commission Bill came to this Senate was in the 7th Senate and was proposed by Sen. (Zainab) Kure who is no longer in the Senate.
So the reason why I am making this personal explanation is so that my constituents in Abia South will know that there is no such bill called Grazing Reserve Commission Bill before this Senate.
CCT rejects Saraki’s request for one week adjournment
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Tuesday rejected the plea by Senate President, Bukola Saraki for a one week adjournment in his trial for false asset declaration.
CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, in a ruling held that having earlier directed the that proceedings in the trial would be held day-to-day, it would be wrong for the tribunal to grant the defendant’s request for a week adjournment when there was no compelling reason.
Umar noted that the defence team, including about 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, did not raise any objection on Monday when the tribunal elected to conduct proceedings on daily basis.
He also noted that the defence team, upon its request, was promptly provided with all documents tendered during Monday’s proceeding by the prosecution.
The CCT chairman further held that having agreed to commence the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness on Monday, a process that continued on Tuesday, a week’s adjournment would disrupt the flow of the witness and the court’s observation of the witness’ testimony.
Umar, who upheld argument by the lead prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), rejected the argument by Paul Usoro (SAN) for the defendant that the provision of Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 conflicts with the provision of Section 36 of the Constitution in relation to the right of the defendant in a criminal trial for adequate time to prepare for his defence.
CCT bars senators from Saraki’s trial
Judge Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has declared that the Senate was not on trial before the CCT, therefore the lawmakers had no reason being in court daily. Umar consequently asked them to stay back at the Senate and conduct their constitutional duties.
Judge Umar who spoke against the backdrop of the request by the counsel to Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, Kanu Agabi SAN for an adjournment to enable the senators sit, noted that it was the personality of the accused, who happened to be the Senate president who was on trial and not the entire Senate.
Earlier, objecting to Agabi’s request, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) said it was shameful and disgraceful to the nation that the senators were in court as according to him, they were not parties and as such, not needed to be in court.
“The Senate is not on trial. The senators should sit down and do their work. They don’t need to be here. It is shameful and disgrace to the nation”.
About 13 senators accompanied the Senate president to the CCT trial proceedings in solidarity with Saraki.
The senators who attended the proceedings at the CCT with the Senate President on Monday are: Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Kabir Gaya, Shabah Lafiaji, Samuel Anyanwu, Stella Oduah, Danjuma Goje, Dino Melaye, Ali Ndume and Tayo Alasoadura.
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