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20, 000 candidates, Nigeria’s highest ever, participating in 2019 elections — INEC

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The Independent and National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said there are over 20,000 candidates jostling for positions in the 2019 general elections.

The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, made this known on Tuesday during a consultative meeting with the media at its headquarters.

He said the figure is the highest ever recorded in the country’s election history.

He said the commission is yet to calculate the number of those vying in the 68 area councils in the FCT. He promised that this will be ready within the next week.

Mr Yakubu also said there would be 1,800 senatorial candidates and 2,600 house of representatives candidates vying to represent the 109 senatorial districts and 360 federal constituencies respectively.

He added that 14,000 candidates will be vying for 991 state constituency seats.

He said the elections will take place in 120,000 locations.

“Election will take place in 120,000 locations so please bear with us. In the next one week or so, we will have the statistics and it will be clearer for us when we can expect to make a declaration but it’s not going to be a long wait,” he said.

The commission had earlier revealed that 84 million voters will be participating in the elections.

The presidential and national assembly elections are scheduled to hold on February 16 while the governorship and state houses of assembly polls will take place on March 2.

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Crime

Ghana deports 17 Nigerian Yahoo boys

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The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has deported 17 out of 29 persons arrested in Ho, the Volta Regional capital for their alleged involvement in cyber crimes, known in Nigeria as ‘yahoo, yahoo’.

According to The Ghanaian Times, the Nigerians were handed over to the GIS for screening, following their arrest to determine their immigration status.

The Ho Municipal Police Commander, DSP Anthony Danso, who briefed the Times on Tuesday, said it emerged that the deported persons did not have good immigration standing.

Those who were found to be legal residents of Ho, were released and reunited with their various communities.

Danso noted that some landlords leased houses to some Nigerians, who in turn used them for various nefarious activities, including cyber fraud.

During the raid, the police retrieved 33 laptop computers, two television sets, one wireless router and 20 cell phones as well some electronic gadgets.

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Crime

Alleged N650m fraud: EFCC rearaigned Ex-minister, Jumoke Akinjide, two other PDP chieftains.

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A former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, and two other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State have been re-arraigned before justice Chukwujeku Aneke by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday 26th of June. 

The trio of Akinjide, a daughter to a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation during the second republic, Chief Richard Akinjide and Senator Ayo Adeseun who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015 and Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti a chieftain of the people democratic party in Oyo state were charged with N650 million alleged fraud.

At the resume of proceedings today before justice Aneke, counsel to EFCC Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of the 24 amended counts charge preferred against the defendants and urged the court to cause a fresh plea of the defendants to be taken. 

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Subsequently, chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN )who is representing oloye jumoke Akinjide made an oral application that the court should allow his client to continue on the existing bail granted to her by the previous court.

Michael Lana and Oladiji Akinola who appeared for senator Adeseun and Mr Olarewaju Otiti respectively made the same prayer to the court and urge the court allow them continue on the existing bail conditions. 

But Rotimi applied that the court should impose fresh bail conditions that will ensure the presence of defendants to stand their trial.

My Lord the prosecution is worried about how this case has travelled from Ibadan to Lagos and my Lord will be the fourth judge that will handle this case at the instant of the defence. 

Our fear is that these defendants are interfering with the quick dispensation of justice in this case and the interest of justice will be better served if defendants file motion for bail, so that we can respond to it by placing the reasons why this defendants should not be granted bail and we can only place that fact before my Lord by way of affidavit. 

Justice Aneke in his short ruling granted the oral application of the defendants to continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by the former trial judge. 

” I have perused the submissions of the respective counsels, I am of the view that bail should not be used to serve as punishment on the defendants whom the constitution presume innocent until otherwise is proven”. 

“Consequently I ordered that the defendants should continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by justice Muslim Sule Hassan”.

The defendants also informed the court of their motion challenging the constitutionality of the charge. 

Justice Aneke adjourned trial in the case to 30th of September and 11th October respectively 

Akinjide was first arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Justice Sule Hassan alongside Adeseun and Otiti, on an amended 24-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.

They, however, pleaded not guilty, and were granted bail.

Trial began before justice Hassan, with witnesses testifying, but midway, the case was transferred to justice Aneke.

One of the charges read, “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of a N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of  proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”

The EFCC claimed that the defendants received money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was part of the funds allegedly shared by the PDP stalwarts during the 2015 campaigns.

The money, according to the anti-graft agency, was said to form part of a total sum of 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election. 

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Governor Okorocha, wife carted away 67 vehicles – Imo task force alleges

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Chairman of the Imo State Task Force on Recovery of Government Assets, Jasper Ndubuaku, has alleged that the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha and members of his family carted away 67 vehicles belonging to the state.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday June 26th, Ndubuaku said that Okorocha’s ADC took away five vehicles while his driver went home with one Prado Jeep.  He lamented that other goods carted away from government house, ministries and parastatals included generating sets, chairs, television sets, kitchen utensils, buddings and cutleries all valued at over N50 billion

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Giving a breakdown of what was allegedly taken by the outgone administration, Ndubuaku said that the 27 local government chairmen, all the 30 commissioners and special advisers went away with government property. 

He alleged that the former governor went home with all functional vehicles in Government House including bullet proof cars, back-up cars and outriders motorcycles, while his wife went home with one bullet proof vehicle. Ndubuaku said that all the 27 payloaders for construction and 27 graders bought by the Ikedi Ohakim administration were carted away by the Okorocha administration. The chairman expressed shock and alleged that it was one of Okorocha’s sisters, who got the contract to equip each of the offices at N5 million each, all the offices were stripped bare.

Ndubuaku said

“The looting spree was unprecedented. It was as if government never existed as all paraphernalia of government were carted away. Even the 150 transformers bought by Okorocha for electioneering stunt all disappeared to thin air.” “Some of them told us that the cars were accidented somewhere in Abuja and Jos and we have told them to take us there.”

He said that all the alleged looted property and their custodians have been identified, stressing that the essence of the briefing was to warn them to bring the property back before members of the task force swoop on them. He said that if the advice were not heeded, government would have no option but go to their houses and take anything insight, including criminalising their action and prosecuting them accordingly.

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