Nyako Trial: FG to present evidence of 30 bank accounts

The Federal Government on Wednesday sought to tender documents of over 30 bank accounts in evidence against former Gov. Muritala Nyako and seven others who are facing trial in the Federal High Court Abuja.
Nyako, the former governor of Adamawa and seven others, including companies, are standing trial before Justice Okon Abang on a 37-count bordering on money laundering.

The charges against the defendants include criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, opening of multiple bank accounts and stealing to the tune of N29 billion.

The defendants, who were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), allegedly opened over 30 different accounts with Zenith Bank Plc. with the money between 2011 and 2013.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), sought to tender the documents used in opening the account through the bank’s officer, Olabode Farinoola, who identified himself as a compliant officer.

“Some of the names used by the defendants in opening these accounts are Tropical Agro Farms Clinic Ltd, Redcapet Protocol Ltd, Tower Asset Management Ltd and Government Service Department account.

“Others are office of the secretary to the state government, Muru Ngbula-Joran, Bincola Engineering Service Ltd, Blue Ribbon Service and Travel Tour Ltd and Blue Opal Nigeria Ltd,” Jacobs said.

Names on the accounts also include Pagoda Petroleum Marketing Ltd, Pagoda Fortunes Nigeria Ltd, Sebore Farms Extension Service Ltd and Blue Opal Nigeria Ltd (Project account).

Also contained in the names of the accounts are Kikary Investment Ltd, Blue Ribbon Multilink Ltd, Russelley Farms Nigeria Ltd, Agric International Tech Trade (Agrited Ltd) and Amdak Investment Ltd, among others.

However, Counsel to Nyako, Kanu Agabi (SAN), raised an objection to the request to tender the documents on the grounds that the defendants needed to go through the documents before they could be tendered in evidence.

Agabi prayed the court to adjourn the matter to enable the defence to go through the documents to ascertain their authenticity as claimed by the prosecution.

He said “I plead for adjournment to enable the defence to go through the documents the prosecution seeks to tender through the witness.”

Other defence counsel agreed with Agabi’s prayer for adjournment to enable them to go through the documents before being tendered in evidence.

Justice Abang agreed to the prayer and adjourned continuation in the matter until Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 to enable the defence counsel to go through the documents sought to be tendered in evidence.

NAN

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A’Court hearing on Sheriff, Makarfi leadership dispute resumes Thursday

The Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, will on Thursday resume hearing on  appeals relating to the leadership tussle between the Ali Modu Sheriff an‎d Ahmed Makarfi factions of the Peoples Democratic Party.

It was learnt late on Wednesday that parties to the appeals had been served with the hearing notices.

The appeals were fallouts of the legal dispute over which of the candidates of the two factions was entitled to run the last Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State on the party’s platform.

About 48 hours to the election, the Saulawa-led panel of the appeal court ruled in favour of the candidate of the Makarfi faction in the state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, removing the Sheriff faction’s candidate, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, who was earlier recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Why I omitted Tinubu in my victory speech – Akeredolu

The Ondo State Governor-elect, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, on Wednesday said he did not acknowledge a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in his victory speech on Sunday because it was not expedient to do so.

He said having acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari who is the recognised national leader of the party and the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, it was safe to infer that he had acknowledged all party leaders.

Akeredolu said this while answering State House correspondents’ questions shortly after he and his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, met Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

They were led to the meeting, which was their first after their victory, by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Campaign Council in Ondo State, Governor Simon Lalong.

The governor-elect who said the relationship between him and Tinubu was cordial explained that mentioning the name of the former Lagos State Governor specifically would have amounted to him mentioning names of about 37 other leaders of the party.

He said, “On the names that were mentioned in my speech when expressing gratitude and that I didn’t specifically thank Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I thanked the President and the leader of our party profusely for the leadership which he showed leading to this election.

“I also thanked our indefatigable chairman for standing by the truth and for his position on this matter that led to this election. I have no reason to do otherwise.

“Party structure to the best of my knowledge is very clear. You have the leadership of the party and that is represented by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

“After the election, a chief executive emerges, he becomes a leader of the party, you don’t have to personalise and be looking for leaders all over the place.

“If we have to do that, then I will have to mention 36 or 37 leaders. So I believe the leadership as represented by the President covers all leaders and that tells me it would include Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would include even Baba Akande, Onu, and so many leaders.

“But President Buhari is the leader of the party. So, that is my position there.”

Akeredolu however added that Tinubu remains one of the leaders of the party, noting that he has since sent congratulatory message to him after he won the election.

“For me as a person, I believe he is one of the leaders of the party and I don’t see any strain relationship between us. And you would observe that he has sent in his congratulatory message after the election, so what else do you expect?

” I mean all of us see this as victory for the APC, not for Akeredolu, not for us an individual but for the party as a whole. I believe he is a member of the party. Mr. Femi Adesina had issued a release but you journalists just want to put words into our mouths,” he said.

Akeredolu also said despite his decision not to probe the administration of the outgoing governor, Olusegun Mimiko, he would not close his eyes if he stumbled upon any established cases of wrongdoing in the course of carrying out his responsibilities as the governor.

Cattle Rustling: Police recover 200 cattle in Niger

The Police in Niger have recovered about 200 stolen cattle following deployment of 500 policemen in troubled spots in the state over the last two weeks.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Zubairu Muazu, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday at the Command’s launch of the “Change Begins with Me” Campaign in Minna‎.

Muazu stated that 12 suspects had been arrested in connection with the stolen cattle, adding that lots of arms and ammunition were also recovered in the process.

“You recall that two weeks ago, we deployed 500 officers and men in some areas where this problem is rampant and our deployment is yielding a lot of success.

“As at today, I am glad to tell you that we have recovered about 200 cattle‎, arrested 12 suspects and recovered lots of ammunition as well,” he added

The commissioner lauded the “Change Begins with Me” initiative of the Federal Government, saying the force had keyed into it.

“We believe in the noble objectives of this project, which is conceived on the basic principle that if you change yourself, Nigeria will change.

“We want to drop those things that people abhor and make the public lose confidence in us; it is about self-discipline and doing what is right,” he said.

He admonished the officers and men on respect for the fundamental human rights of people they came across in the discharge of their duties.

On the issue of an inspector who allegedly shot and killed a bus driver in the state recently, Muazu‎ said that trial in the case had been concluded, and proceedings forwarded to the headquarters to enforce the appropriate punishment.

We’ll begin disbursement of N25bn ETF in December – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), presenting a merit award to one of the graduands, Mr. Agboola Olusola (right) while the Commissioner for Wealth Creation & Employment, Dr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti (middle), watches during the 7th Tradesmen and Artisans’ Week & Graduation Ceremony for Re-trained Artisans and Traders, at De Blue Roof, Agidingbi, Ikeja, on Tuesday.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said the State Government will commence the disbursement of the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) initiative of his administration by December, 2016.
Governor Ambode, who spoke in Lagos at the graduation ceremony for 500 artisans trained by the State Government on modular employability programme in nineteen different trades, said the informal sector remained a critical vehicle for economic recovery, adding that Government was passionately committed to repositioning the sector for economic gains.

He said the N25 billion ETF, which would be disbursed for the next four years on N6.25 billion annual basis, was one of the initiatives designed to empower the informal sector, adding that government was open to ideas and strategies that would aid sustainable growth of the sector.

“Let me tell you clearly that the N25bn ETF is for artisans and entrepreneurs in Lagos State. We will commence disbursement from the month of December, 2016 and let me assure you that a larger percentage will go to our carpenters, our tailors, our hairdressers, our vulcanizers, and so on. Everybody that is a tradesman and is an artisan in Lagos will have automatic access to the Employment Trust Fund (ETF),” Governor Ambode said.

Speaking at the event which also coincided with the 7th Tradesmen and Artisans’ Week, the Governor said the ETF was an initiative with the cardinal mandate to support the establishment and growth of small businesses to create job opportunities for the people, adding that soft loans would be provided to genuine and credible artisans and traders in the State.

Besides, the Governor said it was now time for conscious and concerted efforts to re-engineer the mindsets of young ones and advance entrepreneurs with the view to repositioning them to face modern challenges, saying that except focus is shifted to equip and rebuild the informal sector, members would not be vibrant enough for the prevailing realities of the moment.

He assured that his administration would not sit and wait for oil prices to rebound in the international market before arriving at a solution to the challenges confronting the state, hence the need for the ETF and other initiatives.

On the training for artisans, Ambode said such was one of the platforms for recognizing and projecting the significant contributions of the informal sector as a vehicle for economic development, adding that government was equally mindful of the fact that artisans were the major players and the conveyor belt for industrial enterprise in the country.

While urging the newly trained artisans to leverage on the strategic position of Lagos as the contributor of 25 percent of the total GDP of Nigeria and 5th largest economy in Africa, Governor Ambode said the training which they passed through was designed to address this skills mismatch and provide the right mix of skills needed to service the industrial needs of the State.

Responding to requests by artisans through their representatives, Ambode approved that the beneficiaries of the training should be increased to 1,500 artisans next year and a yearly subvention of N12million and brand new operation bus for the Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), among others.

Earlier, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti said the 500 artisans were re-trained and up-skilled on eight weeks intensive programme solely sponsored by the State Government for better service delivery.

On his part, LASCOTA Chairman, Alhaji Nurudeen Buhari thanked Governor Ambode for the various efforts aimed at improving the productivity of artisans in the State, especially the Tradesmen and Artisans’ Empowerment Programme (LASTEAP), saying that the continuous training had impacted positively on their productivity and enhanced them economically.

NAFDAC destroys N252m worth of unwholesome items

Mrs Yetunde Oni, Acting Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The Northern zonal office of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday destroyed unwholesome items worth N252,882,020 million in Gombe, Gombe State.

The items destroyed include: bags of flour, packs of body creams and drugs such as Analgin injection, groundnut oils and various juice drinks.

Mrs Yetunde Oni, the Acting Director-General of the agency, said that the items were either voluntarily surrendered to the agency by those who had them in stock or mopped up by NAFDAC officers during enforcement surveillance.

The D-G said faking of regulated products or selling of unwholesome products was the greatest evil of the time, calling it an act of terrorism.

He said products counterfeiters were not just a problem to the country, but were more dangerous than armed robbers.

A representative of the Secretary to the State Government SSG, Mr Obel Yaji, used the occasion to appeal to NAFDAC to regulate the activities of traditional medicine hawkers.

He said NAFDAC had been active in saving lives and that checkmating traditional medicine hawkers would help in deepening the impact of the agency on the public.

Investor to invest N86bn in Lagos waste management

L-R: Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Babatunde Hunpe, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Engineer Adeyemi Saliu at the Ministry’s Monthly Press Briefing on Tuesday.

The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it has struck a deal with a renowned investor to invest N86 billion in domestic waste management in the state.

Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare disclosed this at the ministry’s monthly news conference on Tuesday in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

Though, Adejare did not disclose the name of the investor, but he said the new plan in waste management would involve Public Private Partnership (PPP) in domestic waste management and that the investor was coming to invest with about N86 billion in 4 years and the deployment of over 600 new Mercedes Benz Compactors and the engagement of street sweepers in all wards in the state.

Adejare also stated that this new dimension in waste management which would involve closure of existing landfill sites, their replacement with engineered Landfill sites, creation of transfer Loading Stations in Local Government Areas, deployment of over one million ultra-modern waste bins with censors to monitor their movement against theft, was aimed at injecting technology and resources into waste management in Lagos State through partnership with world renowned waste managers.

“The expected impact of this new arrangement is that waste disposal will no longer be a challenge as efficient system will be on ground for effective management of waste which will inevitably push cart pushers out of business,” he said.

The commissioner also said that its recent cancellation of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise would not have any negative effect on the state, but that it would enhance the prosperity of the people through increased business activities.

Adejare pointed out that it had been the position of the state government overtime that a mega city like Lagos State should run a 24-hour economy to bring about greater prosperity for the people, stressing that it had become inappropriate to continue to restrict movement of people for three hours in a mega city like Lagos.

According to the commissioner, “Sanitation of the environment should be an everyday affair as it is done in other parts of the world. There is no place in the entire world where the whole state is shut down for three hours because of sanitation.”

He disclosed that cancellation of the monthly environmental sanitation was a win-win situation with

While restating government’s resolve to expeditiously apply regulatory and enforcement measures against contraventions of government’s policies and regulations, Adejare enjoined residents to voluntarily comply with the State environmental laws.

Recounting activities of his ministry in the month of November, the environment commissioner stated that a total of 32,662.00 metric tons of waste was evacuated in the Central, Western and Eastern parts of Lagos while 216 marine waste was evacuated in 13 major water bodies locations in the state.

He said that efforts had been accelerated on recycling in the State as recyclable materials totalling 1, 407,242 were collected from the buy-back centre and recycling banks.

The Commissioner said that to make potable water more abundant in the State, government carried out repair works on Borehole Control Panels at Igando Mini Water Waterworks; Epe Old Waterworks; Ikeja Mini Waterworks; Clear Water Pump (No 1&2) at Ojokoro Mini Waterworks; Clear Water Pump (No 2) Bandar; Clear Water Pump (B & E) at Epe Old Waterworks and High Lift Pump at Epe, Agric Waterworks. Other repairs include rehabilitation of Borehole (No. 1) at Agege Mini Waterworks and also the completion of resuscitation at Ajangbadi Mini Waterworks among others.

While restating government’s policy on water consumption in the State, adejare urged high volume consumers of water to obtain licences from government.

“I wish to restate that all Water Service Providers and High Volume Consumers of water such as Estates, Hostels, Hotels, Food and Beverages produces are advised to obtain Licenses and Borehole Permits from the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission in compliance with the provisions of the law and pay for the volume of water they consume.”

He said further that consumers of water and wastewater would pay a 5% surcharge. “A surcharge of 5% is payable by consumers of water and wastewater. For Sugary drinks, the surcharge is 10% – 20% as applicable. The surcharge is not taxation on water. It is payment for the water itself as it is being consumed, Adejare said.

Adejare hinted that government made efforts to monitor different industries and carried out assessment of chemicals and their inventory to ensure compliance to approved standard.

“We have made significant efforts to engage in monitoring of industries including Domestic/Industrial Plastics and Rubber, Foam Industries, Paper and Pulps, Printing and Publishing, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Soap and Detergent Manufacturing/Cosmetics industry, Iron and Steel, Chemical and Pharmaceutical etc.”

The Commissioner maintained that the government of Akinwunmi Ambode was committed to environmental standards and zero tolerance for environmental abuses and nuisances. He therefore enjoined Lagosians to continue to do more to ensure that Lagos environment is safe, healthy, livable and conducive for business.