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Special Report/Investigation

Chief Judge of Anambra State kicks against holding charge

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“There is no such thing as holding charge in the law books and Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) should stop accepting any person as an inmate without proper documents from the court.’’

“There is no such thing as holding charge in the law books and Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) should stop accepting any person as an inmate without proper documents from the court.’’
Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge of Anambra, gave the warning in Awka at a workshop organised by Uchefem Consults, for officials of the Nigerian Police, NPS, and the judiciary.
The chief judge said that it was wrong to detain suspects on whom nothing implicating was found under `holding charge.’
“I will always defend magistrates who discharge a suspect on whom nothing implicating is found, provided the magistrates acted according to law.’’
Mr Uche Owete, Chief Executive Officer of Uchefem Consults, the organisers of the workshop, said the workshop was aimed at streamlining the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015)
Owete said the implementation of the law required active synergy and streamlining of roles of the various law enforcement agencies.
“This training is aimed at bringing together the police investigation and prosecution segment.
“The lower courts particularly magistrates where the bulk of criminal cases are tried and the prisons where persons are held for a long time without trial, and where human rights violations are likely to occur.
“It will increase cross -sectional coordination, competence and capacities of the actors in criminal justice to effect serious and durable changes in the overall benefit of the NPS and justice system,” he said.
Earlier, the Comptroller-General of Prisons, Mr. Ahmed Ja’afaru, said the Aministration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, was a holistic attempt made to put down law that would enhance dispensation of justice and protection of suspects.


 

(NAN)

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Special Report/Investigation

Okowa Calls For The Abolition Of Death Penalties

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…Says Prisons Should Be Reformatory Centres

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has called for the abolition of death sentence in Nigeria.
Governor Okowa made the call yesterday (18/10/18) in Asaba when he received members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy led by Mr William Alo.

Nigeria is a major player in the International community, “we need to ask ourselves if death sentence is still relevant in our society? In many states, many Governors are not ready to sign the death warrant, why are they not signing the death warrant? The world is moving away from death sentence.”

While decrying the overpopulation of Nigerian prisons, Governor Okowa urged the federal government to improve on the facilities in the prisons.
“We need to evolve measures that will make Nigerian Prisons reformation centres, so that ex-convicts can be better citizens”. He said

“There is no doubt that most of our prisons are crowded, even in Delta State; there is therefore a need to have reforms that will change the mind of the prisoners for them to be useful to the society; I pray that the committee keeps this advocacy on what to do to carry out reforms to make prisoners come out as better persons,” he said.
Governor Okowa further stated “we need to make them see life differently and acquire skills to live better life after imprisonment, we need to have a total rethink to carry out a total reformation of prisoners because if we reform their lives and does not provide skills, many of them will return to their old ways.”
Earlier, Mr Alo had said they were on advocacy visit to prisons in the state, adding that it was important for suggestions to be made on how to improve on the services in the Nigerian Prisons.

PRESS UNIT
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ASABA
OCTOBER 18, 2018

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Fayose: EFCC digs deeper, releases photos of houses

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As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) digs deeper into the graft accusation against ex-governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, it has released photos of his properties.

The Spokesman for the Commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, released copies of the pictures on Wednesday.

According to him, the properties were uncovered while the anti-graft agency was investigating the allegations of corruption against the former governor.
He alleged that Mr Fayose purchased the property with the money he purportedly received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“In the course of investigating corruption allegations against ex-governor Ayodele Fayose, especially the N1.3billion which he collected from the office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, the Commission unearthed evidence that he laundered the funds into the acquisition of properties in choice locations in Abuja and Lagos,” Mr Wilson alleged.

The EFCC released the pictures a day after the former governor arrived at its head office in Abuja, in company with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and a former minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, among other well-wishers.

Fayose had in September promised to report at the anti-corruption agency’s office after handing over government to his successor, Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Mr. Lere Olayinka, the media aide to Fayose, says his boss has since denied the allegations and insisted that he should be charged to court.

“Today is his second day in EFCC custody and I can say that his spirit is high, and his will remains very strong,” he said on Wednesday.
Olayinka: “The commission has started its usual lies by claiming that it discovered houses bought by Fayose with public fund.
“Nigerians should recall that in 2016, operatives of this same EFCC attempted to seal up a guest house located at Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, claiming that it belonged to Fayose. Whereas, the building belonged to a retired Army general.”

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EFCC: Buhari, APC under criticisms for detaining Fayose

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A former aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has scolded President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, for the detention of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose by the EFCC.

Fayose who made himself available to the EFCC office in Abuja yesterday, has been kept on detention after his refusal to return the fund which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
I wonder why the EFCC would detain Fayose while Gov. Ganduje, who was recently caught on camera allegedly taking bribe, was still moving freely, Omokri said.

That is who Buhari really is. If the members of the APC forge certificates, they are escorted to the airport to escape, like Kemi Adeosun.

But the police will escort you to court if you are a member of the PDP, just like Senator Adele.”

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Azibola Denies $40M Fraud

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A cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibola, on Tuesday, told the federal high court Abuja, that he is being defamed by the present administration for serving his country.

Azibola made the claim as he and his company, one plus holding ltd opened their defence on the allegation by the federal government of conversion of 40million Dollars received from the office of the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki to personal use.
Led in evidence in chief by his counsel, Goddy Uche, SAN, Azibola told the court that apart from being the founder of the Niger Delta Human and Environmental Rescue Operation, he has championed several crusades on behalf of the federal government in the past.

Prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir raised an objection and asked the court to expunge Azibola’s statement from its records since the charge he is facing is in relation to money laundering and has nothing to do with pro-democracy activism and environmental crusade.
However, in his ruling, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba dismissed the objection for lacking in merit.
The court had on March 29, 2018, discharged and acquitted Robert Azibola’s wife, Stella of all the nine count charges but held that Azibola and his company have explanations to make in respect of two counts.

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NNPC denies holding $3.5bn subsidy fund

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NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied claims that it has in its custody 3.5 billion dollars Subsidy fund.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
He explained that at the hit of the shortage of products supply at the close of last year, the National Assembly asked the NNPC to do everything possible to stem the hiccups.
Ughamadu said the corporation initiated the move to raise a revolving fund of 1.05 billion dollars, since the corporation was, and still the sole importer and supplier of white products in the country.
He noted ever since, the fund had been domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that at no time was it in the custody of the NNPC.
Ughamadu said the fund, called the National Fuel Support Fund, had been jointly managed by the NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) andthe Federal Ministry of Finance.
Other manager include the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OGF), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).
He further clarified that NNPC did not independently spend a dime of the fund which he said was to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply in the country.
He added that the corporation was fully aware that it was only the National Assembly that has the statutory responsibility to appropriate on petroleum subsidy matters.

(NAN)

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Senate Begins Investigation into $3.5billion Unappropriated ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’

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Today, the Senate began an investigation into the $3.5billion spent under the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
A point of order raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, cited a ThisDay article on the $3.5billion earmarked as subsidy recovery funds by the NNPC.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi

The Senate Minority Leader said:
“I bring before this chamber this very important issue of national importance. It has to do with an article published in today’s ThisDay newspaper and it deals with the $3.5billion earmarked as subsidy recovery funds by the NNPC.
“Mr. President, since 1999, there has always been a budget for subsidy, however, this has been jettisoned by the current government, which leaves this administration in a very dire strait.
“What is happening now is that there is a fund named the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ and it is being managed by only two individuals in the NNPC: the Managing Director and the Executive Director on Finance.
“This fund is too huge for two people to manage, and right now, the $3.5billion is too huge to be managed without appropriation without recourse to any known law of the land.
“You remember Mr. President that following the passage of the budget, you mentioned in your remarks, that there should be a budget for the subsidy and it should be brought before the National Assembly — that has not been done.
“What has happened is that by the report of ThisDay newspaper, it is almost certain that $3.5billion is a slush fund which is just being managed by just two individuals — and that is not correct.
“I want to urge the Senate to cause the Committee on Downstream, Chaired by Senator Marafa, to compel the NNPC to come before the Senate Committee and explain why this is so. Nigerians need to know what has happened to the funds that have been used so far — and the new terminology that is being used under subsidy recovery,” Senator Olujimi said.

Senate President

Responding, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, reminded the Senate that he had called for the executive to submit its petroleum subsidy budget to the National Assembly, when the 2018 budget was passed in May.
“Distinguished Colleagues, when we passed the budget, I said that there was a need for the executive to bring forward the budget for the subsidy.
“In light of the enormity of the issues before us — where we are talking about a subsidy of almost $3.5billion — I would like to direct that the Senate Leader and the Chairman of the Committee of the Downstream, should urgently summon those in NNPC who are responsible for this. We must look into this matter and report back to the Senate plenary by next week, where the Committee will have a report that we can debate.
“On this issue, I do not want us to be speculative. Let us go by the facts, so that our contributions are not seen to be partisan. This matter is too serious for us to be partisan about it.
A lot of us have been around long enough to know how this matter should have been treated. Now, it has gotten to a level where it involves over $3billion — which is not a small amount of money.
“With the leave of my colleagues, if we all accept, we direct the Leader and the Chairman of the Downstream Committee, to look into this matter and report to the Senate by next week,” the Senate President said.

 

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Lawyer Otike-Odibi killed by wife found with genitals, intestines cut

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By Chinyere Omeire/Lagos
Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, the 50 year-old lawyer who was allegedly stabbed to death by his wife, Udeme, also a lawyer, was found on his matrimonial bed with his genitals and intestines cut off.
Two siblings of the lawyer and his friend gave the graphic details in testimonies before the court on Monday.
Udeme Otike-Odibi, a 48-year-old lawyer, was on June 13, arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a two-count charge of murder and misconduct with regard to a corpse before an Igbosere High Court in Lagos.
She pleaded not guilty and was remanded in Kirikiri Prison.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Symphorosa’s friend and neighbour, Mr Stanley Grange-Koko, was led in evidence by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem (SAN).
He told the court how the deceased’s younger sister, Dr Anwuli Akwukwuma, called him at 2.00am on May 2, to go to the deceased’s (Symphorosa) house and check what was happening.
Grange-Koko said he rushed out of his car but could not gain access to the compound because no one answered when he knocked the gate and called out the deceased’s name several times.
Grange-Koko said he went back to his house but rushed back to the deceased’s house the second time when Akwukwuma called him back.
“Dr Akwukwuma called me back and said I should go back to the deceased house because it seems life is involved.
“At this point, I went with my wife, also called the estate security men, we had to climb the fence into the deceased compound.
“We also broke down the front door to gain access to the house because no one answered our several knocks,” he said.
Grange-Koko said that he ran upstairs and saw blood on the floor, adding that he followed the blood trail to the bathroom and to the deceased room.
He said both he and the security men had to break the door to the deceased’s room.
“I saw the deceased lying on his bed with his wife (the defendant) lying beside him and there was blood everywhere.
“The deceased intestines were outside, I ran out and met the deceased sister coming up to the room, I tried to stop her from entering the room but she ran past me and entered,” Grange-Koko said.
He said the deceased sister ran out of the room shouting that her brother was dead but the defendant was breathing.
Grange-Koko said the defendant was however taken to hospital for further valuation.
After Grange-Koko’s evidence, the second witness, Dr Akwukwuma was called.
She narrated exactly what Grange-Koko had told the court but added that she called Grange-Koko because he was living in the same estate with the deceased and was a family friend to the deceased.
Akwukwuma also added that she got the information about the problem through her mother whom the deceased called earlier to complain that his wife was hitting him and had a knife.
She added “when I got to the deceased house and saw him lying on his bed with his intestines out, I checked him and saw that he was already cold and stretched out.
“I noticed that he had died for hours and he was holding something in his arm but I couldn’t see what it was because he was already stiff.
“The police told me that it was his genitals that he was holding and asked me if there was another person in the room when I got there, I answered no,” Akwukwuma narrated.
The prosecutor also called a third witness, a younger brother to the deceased, Mr Andrew Otike-Odibi, who narrated the same story.
After listening to the three witnesses, Justice Adedayo Akintoye adjourned further hearing until Oct. 10.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prosecutor had during arraignment told the court that the Udeme committed the offences on May 3, at Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos.
He said that Udeme stabbed her husband and mutilated his corpse by cutting his genitals.
The offences contravened Sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Section 165 (b) provides five years imprisonment while Section 223 stipulates death penalty for offenders.

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Ambode and the Godfather’s Rage

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The Verdit By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

…When in 2014, he was asked about his successor, Fashola said he was not worried yet at the same time expressed concern. “I hope, firstly, that the next person is a lot better than me. I hope that he can do in four years what we did in eight years, and that can only be beneficial to all of us. We want somebody who can do these things in a shorter time and make all of the things we have done child’s play. That is why I said I don’t want to be the best governor of Lagos State. The best governor of Lagos is a futuristic idea. Every governor of Lagos should be better than the last one. My innermost interest in the next election is for who will best protect and advance the interest and the course of the state,” he stressed.
No doubt, the emergence of Ambode against Fashola’s preference had put the former governor in an uncomfortable position but he nonetheless campaigned for the man who is now his successor. The challenge of the moment is that Ambode’s handlers are trying to use Fashola as a distraction. The response of my friend and current Lagos State Information Commissioner, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, to a recent critical story published by “The Economist”, is to say the least, very unfortunate and rather unhelpful in the circumstance. I wonder why government spokespersons believe that abusing people would win the argument (or support) for their principal.
I have never met Ambode before but I have no doubt that he will eventually come good if he takes a lesson from Tinubu who himself spent the first year in office being compared to his predecessor, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd) and falling short in the estimation of most Lagosians at the time. But Tinubu did not try to find fault. He accepted his mistakes, challenged himself and his team and he eventually did well. What that teaches is that Ambode should accept that right now, Lagos is not working, what with soaring crime rate and traffic chaos. But the governor has time on his side to fix the problems. That is the best way to respond to his critics, not by abusing them or taking potshots at his illustrious immediate predecessor. It is important for Ambode to see the bigger picture…

================================================================
The foregoing excerpts is from my column, ‘Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode and Nigeria’ published on 19th November, 2015 and it serves as a background to the defeat on Tuesday of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in the state. While most people may be surprised, I am not. Although it is commendable that the governor finally yielded to common sense yesterday by gracefully accepting defeat, he must, on introspection, realise that he is the architect of his own downfall. I knew as far back as March this year that Ambode would find it difficult securing a second term.
Following public outcry over provisions of the 2018 Land Use Charge (LUC), I wrote a piece titled “Between Ambode and Lagos Landlords” where I warned about the underlying subterfuge in the repeated use of ‘law’ to legitimize extortion as taxation in Lagos State. “In history, some of the greatest outrages against humanity have been committed under ‘laws’ passed by manipulated parliaments. But history is also replete with empires that crumbled under the weight of their own contradictions” I wrote before I concluded that “The glaring abuse of the legislative process (with names of private companies even being written into laws) in a revenue-generating gambit that fails to take into account the prevailing economic situation in the country can only lead to one inevitable conclusion: Hubris!”
Quite naturally, I expected reactions from Lagos. What I did not bargain for was the nature of the reactions. From close associates of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to senior government officials and party leaders in the state, my critical appraisal of the tax administration in Lagos did not elicit the negative response I expected. More shocking was that all the people who should ordinarily be angry with the piece were actually praising me for being ‘bold to tell the governor the home truth’. Almost everybody who called put the blame on Ambode who was said to be running a one-man-show in the state and would not listen to any advice. One particular refrain that kept coming from the reactions was “If he (Ambode) thinks Asiwaju can save him, he is making the mistake of his life”.
What the responses suggested was that Ambode was behaving like the foolish Yoruba wife who goes into marriage with a “me-and-my-husband” attitude that discounts the in-laws. In the event of crisis, such a wife will have nowhere to run for succour. But even at that period, I could also sense a feeling of frustrations from the camp of the godfather. I tried to gauge the mood in Bourdillon and the feedback was that Ambode “is a loudmouth, always bragging that he is now in charge. He sidelines any official known to be connected to Asiwaju (Tinubu) like the SSG and Chief of Staff among others and any commissioner known to be visiting Bourdillon regularly is in trouble”.
Until then, I had assumed the relationship between Tinubu and Ambode to be very cordial but the governor must have been given a false sense of security. I was therefore not surprised when the story broke recently that a certain Jide Sanwo-Olu had been endorsed as the preferred APC candidate in Lagos ahead of Ambode. By then, the governor had not only lost many of the critical constituencies in the state, he had become more a political liability than an asset to Tinubu. There are several stories of a governor who would sack officials at the slightest provocation and gloat about it with the refrain, “Mo bee lorun” (I cut off his neck). From the LASTMA boss to 18 permanent secretaries, Ambode spent his first weeks in office dismissing Lagos State officials he suspected were loyal to Fashola without any evidence.
Ambode’s human relations is another issue altogether. Generally regarded as arrogant and distant, even by peers, there is hardly any prominent citizen in Lagos who speaks well of him. Besides, unlike most other states where commissioners are glorified errand boys, Lagos has always been different with commissioners that had the authority of their ranks. That was until Ambode came. A commissioner told me as far back as March this year: “Our Exco meetings are nothing but a joke. The governor is the only thinker and he doesn’t like debate. He comes with pre-conceived ideas and any contrary opinions would be met with a stern ‘I am the governor here’ rebuke. The person I pity most is the deputy governor. Contrary to what has been established over the years in the state, it took Asiwaju’s intervention for her to be given approval to control the education ministry. But she can’t go beyond that ministry so effectively, the governor has reduced her to a commissioner.”
As if all these were not bad enough, Ambode dared his godfather by dissolving the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) structures. Incidentally, several of the experienced officials who were posted out of these agencies were trained by the governments of the United States, Finland, Netherlands and Germany, including those that had become experts in pollution and toxic waste management. These officials, mostly domiciled in the ministries of works and environment, were punished for being part of ‘Fashola’s crowd’.
Unfortunately, the multi-million dollar Visionscope deal under which the state has been subjected to a monthly Irrevocable Payment Order (IPO) running to hundreds of millions of Naira, has not worked. Lagos is now an environmental nightmare, a city littered with refuse. So, invariably, he is paying more than he would under the old arrangement and there is no result. But that is not even his sin. By uprooting the Private Sector Participation (PSP) in waste management started by Tinubu and continued by Fashola, which empowered political leaders at the grassroots and yet delivered on refuse collection, Ambode had dug his own political grave.
In Lagos, the PSP is more than just a waste management outfit; it is an elaborate political patronage system that took care of thousands of party supporters and kingpins from the ward level to local government. Yet, by the stroke of his pen, Ambode took food out of the mouths of381 powerful PSP operators each of whom also had hundreds of people under them. With that, he also dismantled a thriving economy in the state. Many of the ‘Area Boys’ displaced from Oshodi and other areas as well as influential market women were absorbed under this programme as drivers, sweepers etc. When the pleas of the PSP operators fell on deaf ears, they sent a petition to Tinubu, who forwarded it to the governor, asking that the issue be resolved because of its political implications. Ambode ignored his godfather. On Tuesday, these injured politicians came out in full force to deal a fatal blow on the governor who does not understand the significance of ‘Jeun Soke’!
In all, Ambode did not lose the primaries because of his performance in office. But it is difficult to isolate the fate that ultimately befell him from what is happening all over the country vis-a-vis the role of godfather and its implications for the future of our democracy. While the governor may have congratulated the new godson, I am concerned about the manner in which Sanwo-Olu emerged because it suggests the same under-hand method of imposition that could also backfire with the people left to bear the brunt somewhere along the line. I am particularly not impressed by what I have seen so far. Sanwo-Olu’s response to Ambode’s desperate and ill-advised press conference of last Sunday was good on message but I could count up to ten grammatical/typo errors in the statement which betrayed a clear lack of attention to details.
Whichever way one looks at it, all the contradictions that define politics in Nigeria are in full display in Lagos. A fairly enlightened electorate that votes according to the dictates of one man and a governance standard that is measured by its municipal efficiency have been the essence of its stability since 1999. Yet the leadership selection method is in accordance with a rule book that could have been written by some Sicilian Families in the heydays of the Italian mafia. For those who choose to play the game, those rules are pretty clear: know the godfather and his political family; understand the meaning of loyalty and most importantly, the price tag of that loyalty and the consequences of deviant behaviours.
As it would happen, Ambode spent his first year in office pursuing his predecessor instead of learning the ABC of power politics and paying attention to the signals from Bourdillon. He is so naive that on Tuesday, he even thought he could outfox his godfather by hijacking the ‘Seven Wise Men’ from Abuja sent by the APC leadership. At the end, whatever the deal he might have struck with those politicians, it was a waste of time and efforts.
The lessons of Ambode’s defeat are too many and a day will come when we will appraise them. But we must be very clear about it: at the centre of it all is the role of patronage politics that has in turn empowered a few individuals to decide the fate of others at every election cycle.
That then brings me to my final word which is for the emperor of Lagos who, feeding on the frustrations of his starved subalterns, eventually got his way; leaving no one in any doubt as to who calls the shot in the state. But this is his stiffest fight so far, and an intimation that even his hold, repeatedly under threat across the South-west, will eventually fade away. No empire lasts forever. Therefore, there is wisdom in a Yoruba adage that will also serve him: When the talking drum is sounding too loudly, the signs are ominous. So, as there is a deep lesson for Ambode, there is even a bigger one for the Lion of Bourdillon. In his own interest, he must reinvent his politics that has become the leitmotif for godfatherism in Nigeria today.


• You can follow Olusegun Adeniyi on my Twitter handle, @Olusegunverdict and on www.olusegunadeniyi.com

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Court Orders IGP Idris To Honour Senate Invitation

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A federal high court in Abuja, has struck out the suit filed by the inspector-general of police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris challenging the power of the senate president, Bukola Saraki and the senate to summon him over national issues relating to his office.

In a judgment delivered by Justice John Tsoho, the court held that the IGP’S suit amounts to abuse of court process.
Justice Tsoho said he did not see any harm that would have been caused if the police IGP had honoured the invitation of the senate, adding that the IGP’S action he said amounted to an abuse of court process and deserved to be struck out.

Justice Tsoho also held that the IGP ought to have honoured the second invitation of the senate to him, having failed to respond to the first one as he was on an official assignment to Bauchi state with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Justice Tsoho also returned another suit the IGP filed against the senate and its president to the chief judge of the federal high court, Justice Abdu Kafarati for re-assignment haven noticed that it’s similar to the one he just dispensed with.
In the suit filed by his lawyer, Alex Izinyon the IGP had urged the court to declare that the senate letters inviting him by the senate dated April 25, 2018 and April 26, 2018, relating to pending criminal proceedings against Senator Dino Melaye in court of law is beyond its powers under section 88 of the 1999 constitution and same is contrary to the senate standing order, 2015.

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Migrants escape detention in Libya with WhatsApp appeal

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A group of Nigerians are now free after managing to film the shocking conditions in the detention centre where they were being held in Libya back in July 2018. They used WhatsApp to send the video to a friend, who promptly shared it widely. The video, in which they appeal for help from the Nigerian authorities, went viral. The UN migration agency organised for the migrants to be brought home to Nigeria. Now safe and sound, they told the FRANCE 24 Observers about their terrifying experience.
On July 17, 2018, a contact sent this video to the France 24 Observers. In it, two Nigerians show viewers the cell that they are confined to in the Al Nasr detention centre in Zawiya, Libya and talk about the horrible living conditions.

تلقى 1564 مهاجر في مركز شهداء النصر للإيواء مساعدة طبية يوم 1 أكتوبر ضمن حملة لتعقيم المركز ومعالجة المهاجرين ضد عدوى…

Slået op af IOM LibyaTirsdag den 3. oktober 2017

The FRANCE 24 Observers team started investigating the detention centre in Zawiya where the migrants said they were imprisoned. Meanwhile, the video began to go viral in Nigeria.
Our team found photos of the interior of the detention centre published in the media. The cells in those photos matched those in the video: same wall coulour, same size, same doors. Moreover, the meals given to the prisoners also matched.
FRANCE 24 then sent the video to the Libyan branch of the UN’s migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), whose staff visit the Zawiya detention centre regularly to provide humanitarian assistance to residents (as shown in photos posted on their Facebook page). In the video, the men say several times that they want to go back to Nigeria and call on the IOM, their government and several different well-known Nigerian pastors to help them.

Employees from the IOM went to the centre and offered the detainees the possibility of being voluntarily returned to their country of origin.
To protect the people detained in Zawiya, the FRANCE 24 Observers team decided to wait to publish this article until they were back in Nigeria, safe and sound. However, in spite of these precautions, the guards at the detention centre learned about their video and punished the two men who made it, Efe Onyeka and Frank Isaiah. FRANCE 24 spoke to Onyeka and Isaiah after they had returned to Lagos, along with 162 other Nigerians.

Twenty-five-year-old Efe Onyeka filmed the video of the migrants’ appeal. Back at home in Delta State, Nigeria, he told the FRANCE 24 Observers how he managed to film inside the detention centre.

  • Other prisoners managed to sneak a phone into the detention centre. They hid it from the guards because phones are forbidden inside its walls.
    Once we had the phone, we were able to talk to our friends and families on WhatsApp and explain to them what we were going through. One of my friends suggested that I make a video to plead for help. I thought it was a good idea. I spoke to the 31 other men in my cell and they all agreed that I should make this video, in spite of the risks.
    At the end of the video, we say that if the guards found out what we had done, we’d be in trouble. And that is exactly what happened. We were beaten and deprived of food, especially the six Nigerians in our cell. But they really took it out on Frank.

Thirty-five-year-old Frank Isaiah is one of the men who appears in the video.

  • I spent four months in the Al Nasr detention centre in Zawiya after trying to cross the Mediterranean. My friend and I made this video to show the horrible living conditions that we were subjected to, including the food and the so-called bathroom.
    The problem is that someone told the guards about this video. They watched it on Facebook.
    So they put a metal chain around my neck and beat me for six hours outside of the prison. I slipped into a coma and they thought that I was dead.
    When they saw that I was still breathing the next morning, they locked me in a cell by myself. I could no longer walk. They deprived me of food and water and told me that I couldn’t go back to Nigeria.
    They contacted my family and made them pay about 500 euros as punishment for my having filmed the video. They later asked them for 600 more euros to pay for my food.
    Now, I am back in Rivers State, Nigeria. The IOM has promised to help me find a job, but I am still waiting. I’m 35 years old and I would like to go back to school so that I can have a good profession.
    But if I stay stuck here with no job, then I will make another attempt to get to Europe, if the opportunity arises.

The IOM chartered a flight between Tripoli and Lagos on August 30 so that Frank, Efe and other people trapped in the Al Nasr detention centre could return to Nigeria.
Three days later, Frank, Efe and other survivors participated in a religious ceremony held in the church of the well-known Nigerian pastor TB Joshua, who Efe had appealed to in the video. The survivors were given food and money, which was donated by congregants.

Very often, people on the migration route through Libya have their phones stolen early on in their journey, sometimes by the first smugglers who they encounter.
“The only way to get a smartphone in a detention centre is to pay”, says a Libyan human rights researcher in Tripoli who asked for his name to be withheld for security reasons. “If you have money, you can get almost anything smuggled into these centres, from good food to a smartphone. You can even buy your freedom if you have money. But managing to film a video and share it on social media under the noses of the guards is much rarer and much more dangerous. Very few migrants would dare to do such a thing.”

A detention centre implicated in charges of human trafficking
The detention centre where Isaiah and Onyeka filmed their appeal is an official centre and is thus supposed to be under the control of the internationally-backed Libyan government. (Libya has been enmeshed in civil war for years and this government is contested by a second rival government known as the GNC). Since it is an official center, the government agency dedicated to combating illegal migration should be running it. However, in reality, this detention centre is being run by one of the most powerful militias in Libya.

Conditions in the detention centre “are inhumane, with severe overcrowding, shortages of food and other basic necessities, and no access to medical care,” according to a report by the UN mission in Libya.
The Zawiya coast guards, who have strong links to the Al Nasr brigade, are accused by UN investigators of human trafficking. In spite of this, they are considered partners by the European union in the fight against illegal immigration, according to the Washington Post.
They get both grants and training from the European Union, whose goal is to keep as many migrants from reaching Europe’s shores as possible.


This article was written by Liselotte Mas .

 

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