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Monday, 20 January 2014

Police Framed Us - Suspect

LAGOS - An Ikeja High Court in Lagos was recently into shock when two alleged robbery suspects narrated how they were framed up by the police for refusing to offer bribe after their arrest since December 2008.

The whole court was shunned when two men, Kingsley Ogwunze and Benjamin Nwafor dropped the bombshed while testifying before Justice Lateefat Okunnu on Monday.

Led in evidence by their counsel, Mrs. Tate Akingbote, the defendants told the court that they were arrested separately at Charity Bus Stop on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway on 7 December, 2008 and had never meet until the arrest.

According to them, “We have never meet before, not until 4th February, 2009 when we were ‘paired up’ by the police for arraignment first at an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, Lagos and charged for robbery”, adding that they were remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, after their arraignment on a four-count charge of conspiracy and robbery.

Ogwunze, the first defender who claimed to be an undertaker, said he was arrested by plain-clothes policemen while he was going to collect money from a customer, saying “Despite that I showed the policemen my identity card and driver’s licence, they still bundled me at gun point into a commercial bus they used in the raiding along with some other persons”.

The first defendant said, “When we were inside the bus, they told me to cooperate and that I should give them money. But I refused because I had done nothing wrong. As we were going, the bus stopped and some persons came and gave the policemen money to release their relatives and friends, who were also in the bus”.

According to him, they were later taken to Makinde Police Station, Mafoloku, where they were detained for several weeks.

Ogwunze said the police seized his wallet and mobile phone which prevented him from reaching his family members in Abia State.

“From there, I was taken to Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, where I was tortured physically for several weeks to make a confessional statement. Later, one Inspector Cyprian came to meet me that if I could raise money that they will let me go, but I told him I had no money”.

Ogwunze said he was eventually charged to court for allegedly conspiring with the second defendant and others at large to rob people of their mobile phones.

Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Femi Adamson, the first defendant insisted on his innocence, saying “I have never met the second defendant and I do not know him.
My Lord, the job I do is far better than snatching of mobile phones and I want the court to strike out this case because I do not know anything about it and my future is at stake”.

Also testifying, Nwafor, who claimed to be a trader, corroborated the first defendant’s claim, declaring that he had never met Ogwunze and was surprised when they were charged to court together.

The case has been adjourned to March 3rd 2014 for adoption of final addresses.

Source

Ex- Gov. Mu’azu, accused of stealing N19.8billion, is new PDP chairman

Barring any last-minute change in plan, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will, at its National Executive Committee meeting on Monday (today), ratify a former governor of Bauchi state, Adamu Mu’azu, as its new national chairman, party and presidency sources have said.
The usually reliable sources told PREMIUM TIMES early Monday morning that Mr. Mu’azu emerged the consensus candidate for the job after a rash of meetings involving President Goodluck Jonathan, PDP governors and other influential chieftains of the party, including Vice President Namadi Sambo and President of the Senate, David Mark.
Mr. Mu’azu, who will now replace Bamanga Tukur, who was forced out of office Thursday, emerged ahead of Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, a former Minister of Commerce, Idris Waziri, former Acting National Secretary of the party, Musa Babayo, a former party spokesperson, Ahmed Rufai Alkali   and a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Ibrahim Bunu, who were all widely reported to have jostled for the position.
A party source familiar with the maneuverings and negotiations that threw up Mr. Mu’azu said President Jonathan actually preferred Minister Umar for the position but was outfoxed by governors from the North-East geopolitical zone who all rooted for Mr. Mu’azu.
When Mr. Jonathan tried to insist on Mr. Umar, insiders say, the North-East governors reminded him of how they deferred to him two years ago when he insisted on Mr. Tukur for the position in spite of massive opposition from the zone.
Our sources said Bayelsa state governor, Seriake Dickson, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, and President of the Senate, Mr. Mark, joined the North-East governors in pushing that position.
They reportedly warned the president against foisting an unpopular candidate on party members to avoid a repeat of the Tukur situation where the party was perpetually  in crisis throughout his reign.
Mr. Mu’azu, 55, was among candidates who contested for the PDP chairmanship position in March 2012.
In a zonal congress election conducted by the North-East PDP in Bauchi to choose a consensus candidate for the zone at the time, Mr. Mu’azu got only one vote to place last.
Mr. Babayo got 14 votes  to defeat other contenders. Mr. Tukur, who was clearly the president’s anointed candidate for the position at the time, got four votes.
Former Ministers Bunu and Shettima Mustapha scored 2 votes each while Mr. Alkali , just like Mr. Muazu, scored only one vote.
Mr. Mu’azu and corruption
In November 2013, President Jonathan appointed the former Bauchi governor chairman of the Nigerian Pension Commission, PENCOM.
He was appointed to the position even though he is still being investigated for graft by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly looting N19.8billion belonging to his state while he was governor between 1999 and 2007.
The former governor has consistently denied any wrongdoing but he is yet to be cleared of the allegation.
The civic group, Transition Monitoring Group, protested the appointment at the time, saying it was morally wrong for the president to appoint a man being tried for corruption to such a high office.
Mr. Jonathan and the National Assembly disregarded that position and proceeded to clear the former governor for the position.
The TMG statement at the time reads in part, “The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, is astonished and peeved by this move of the President, especially in the light of the fact that the former Governor is yet to be cleared by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of the corruption charges he is facing for allegedly defrauding the coffers of Bauchi State to the tune of N19.8billion when he was Governor of the State,” the group said in a statement on Monday.
“This and other similar acts of Mr. President, particularly his penchant for surrounding himself with famed corrupt individuals, makes his government’s so-called anti-corruption efforts a laughing stock, for it is patently obvious from his antecedents that President Jonathan endorses corruption.
“The EFCC is investigating Mr. Mu’azu for allegedly stealing billions of naira belonging to Bauchi State during his term as governor between 1999 and 2007.Other names forwarded to the Senate for confirmation as Commissioners of PENCOM include Chinelo Anohu-Amazu (South East), Reuben Omotowa (North Central), Mohammed Ka’oje (North West), and Adesojo Olaoba-Efuntayo (South West).But the group said that appointing Mr. Mu’azu to head the commission is in line with his practice of shielding corrupt individuals.
“TMG recalls that in the heat of the corruption charges against the same Mu’azu Adamu, President Jonathan appointed him in 2011 as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),” said the statement signed by Ibrahim Zikirullahi and Eddy Ezurike, the group’s Chairman and Publicity Secretary respectively.
“It was with the President’s nod that Business Mogul, Mike Adenuga and his wife, Titi Adenuga in late 2010 walked free from the EFCC charges they were facing for reportedly collecting bribes from Siemens officials; and it was this same attitude of Presidential Romance with alleged corrupt individuals that enabled controversial Lawyer, Dele Oye to walk scot free from EFCC charges of allegedly acting as front for the defunct Oceanic Bank CEO, Cecilia Ibru; and aiding her to loot tens of billions of Naira in Bank assets.
“The Nigerian people of course will not forget in a hurry how this same President granted presidential pardon to a notorious convicted corrupt former Governor and his kinsman, DSP Alamieyeseigha, and other criminals, including a paedophile.
“Those who recently looted the Police Pensions Board, including its former Director are yet to be brought to book. The list is endless; yet Jonathan’s regime talks about fight against corruption. The attitude of Mr. President in recycling corrupt individuals in public places is worrisome and does not inspire confidence at all.
“In fact, on issue after issue, he has shown that he will never combat corruption but will rather aid, abet and shield corrupt officials.
“The group called on President Jonathan to withdraw, immediately, Mr. Mu’azu’s nomination and take “creative steps” to rebuild confidence and imbue confidence in the anti-corruption war.
“This is the only pathway to redemption, prosperity and development in this country.”

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

We were arraigned for refusing to offer police bribe – Accused tells court

Two men, who were charged with armed robbery, on Monday told an Ikeja High Court that they were framed up by the police for refusing to offer bribe after their arrest more than five years ago.
The men — Kingsley Ogwunze and Benjamin Nwafor — made the allegation while testifying before Justice Lateefat Okunnu.

Led in evidence by their counsel, Mrs Titi Akingbote, the defendants told the court that they were arrested separately at Charity Bus Stop on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway on Dec.7, 2008.

The men said they never met until Feb. 4, 2009 when they were “paired up’’ by the police for arraignment first at an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court.

According to them, they were remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos, after their arraignment on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy and armed robbery.

Ogwunze, who claimed to be an undertaker, said he was arrested by plain-clothes policemen while he was going to collect money from a customer.

He said despite showing the policemen his identity card and driver’s licence, they still bundled him into a commercial bus with some other persons.

The first defendant said:“When we were inside the bus, they told me to cooperate and that I should give them money. But I refused because I had done nothing wrong.

“As we were going, the bus stopped and some persons came and gave the policemen money to release their relatives and friends, who were also in the bus.’’

According to him, they were later taken to Makinde Police Station, Mafoloku, where they were detained for several weeks.

Ogwunze said the police seized his wallet and mobile phone which prevented him from reaching his family members in Abia.

“From there, I was taken to Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, where I was tortured physically for several weeks to make a confessional statement.

“Later, one Insp. Cyprian, came to meet me that if I could raise money that they will let me go, but I told him I had no money.”

Ogwunze said he was eventually charged to court for allegedly conspiring with the second defendant and others at large to rob people of their mobile phones.

Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Mr Femi Adamson, the first defendant insisted on his innocence.
He said:“I have never met the second defendant and I do not know him.
“My Lord, the job I do is far better than snatching of mobile phones.
“I want the court to strike out this case because I do not know anything about it and my future is at stake.”
Also testifying, Nwafor, who claimed to be a trader, corroborated the first defendant’s claim.
He said he had never met Ogwunze and was surprised when they were charged to court together.
The case has been adjourned to March 3 for adoption of final addresses. (NAN)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Kaduna Assembly Suspends Member Over N10m Bribe Allegation

The former minority leader of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Dr Shehu Adamu has been handed a six-month suspension for alleging that 18 members of the House received N10 million bribe each to impeach the Speaker, Mu’azu Usman Gangara and other principal officers of the assembly.
The decision of the House followed a motion by Alhaji Muhammad Ali, the member representing Kawo constituency, who drew the attention of members to an interview granted by Dr Shehu Adamu, (Maigana-APC), where he made the allegation.

But the suspension of the Member was rejected by 16 members of the House known as G16.
The lawmakers stated that Dr Shehu Adamu in an interview on Sept 23, 2013 in the electronic media and  national dailies, accused members of the House of collecting N10million each to remove the leadership of the assembly.

Presenting the report of the suspension, the chairman of the committee on education, ethics and privilege, Mr Philemon Usman Gidan-Mana said after three summonses to the defendants, he failed to appear to defend himself and bluntly indicated that he would not appear before the committee.

Gidan-Mana noted that the provision of the Legislative Houses (power and privileges) Act 1990, Cap L12 section 24(1) a, b and c says “any statement, whether in writing or otherwise, which falsely or scandalously defames a Legislative House or any committee thereof shall be guilty of an offence”.
He added that “the standing penalties for misconduct by a member would result in reprimand or demotion, withdrawal of privileges and expulsion from the House.”

LeadershipNGA

Friday, 3 January 2014

Nyame Denies He Was Bribed To Launder Suntai’s Image

Ex-governor of Taraba State Rev. Jolly Nyame has denied allegations that he was paid to carry out an image-laundering campaign for ailing  governor of the state Pharm Danbaba Danfulani Suntai.
A group known as Northern Taraba Elders Forum had, at a press conference in Jalingo   on Wednesday, called on Nyame to clear himself of allegations that he was invited to Abuja and given huge sums of money by an influential personality from the state to work for the interest of a cabal around  Suntai ahead of 2015.

Chairman of the forum Alhaji Bakari Bala had alleged that “Nyame’s romance with members of the cabal in recent times leaves much to be desired. We see this romance as a deliberate move to mortgage the political fortune of northern Taraba to the south. It is indeed surprising to many of us, the elders from northern Taraba, how Nyame has suddenly turned to one of the apostles or disciples of Suntai.”

The forum, which accused Nyame of being inconsistent as a leader, noted that his constant visits to Suntai at the Government House as well as moving around with him to churches and other places were “clear indications” that he “has been paid to carry out the dirty job for Suntai, same as the cabal”.

But, in a swift reaction, Rev. Nyame refuted the allegation of being sponsored to do any hatchet job or image-laundering campaign for Governor Suntai.

“ I think all the misgiving in the state from people left and right now is coming because I decided to go and commiserate with Danbaba of recent when he came back from an extended treatment abroad,” he said. “I want to make it abundantly clear that there is no doubt about it that Danbaba became a governor as a result of my contribution; as far as I am concerned, he is my political son. So, there is no way your son would be sick… whatever differences you have with your son, as far as you are a father,there is just no way you cannot go and see how he is faring.”

Nyame said his reconciliation with Governor Suntai was done on the basis of his Christian faith which emphasises the need for forgiveness and had nothing to do with being influenced with money by anybody.

“ I think some people maybe were feeding fat because of my broken relationship with Danbaba; so they want that kind of broken relationship to continue, and I want to say here that, as a practising Christian, it is just necessary for me to forgive if I want to make heaven.


“Bakari Bala is a Muslim, I’m a Christian; so he may not understand the motivation behind my going to Danbaba, because, in Christ’s teaching, he said whatever you do to the least you are doing unto me,” he said.

On the governorship race for 2015, Nyame said anybody could contest and that he alone as an individual cannot determine who becomes the governor of Taraba. As such, he said, there was no basis of anybody saying that he was sabotaging the political fortune of any zone.

Leadership

Police honour 10 junior officers in Jigawa

The Jigawa Police Command on Friday honoured 10 officers and men of the command for their oustanding performance in 2013.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Kayode Theopulus, said that the policemen were honoured for their courage, hard work and determination in the discharge of their duties during the period.

He said the efforts put in by the officers had contributed to the success of the command in the last 12 months.

Theopulous said that the gesture was to encourage other policemen to commit themselves the more, to their duties.

He urged the beneficiaries to maintain the tempo and earn more recognition in 2014.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that those honoured include DSP Anthony Aruwo, DSP Ibrahim Muhammad, ASP Akwage Ndibusi and Insp. Nicolas Akorobe.

Others are Sergeants Ayuba Muhammad and Anthony Sabo; Corporals Dauda Dadi and Emmanuel Adiga; Constables Habu Umar and Sani Abdullahi.

NAN also reports that Akorobe and Adiga received additional cash gift from the commissioner for their exceptional performances.

PUNCH