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Delta South Senate: I’ll sponsor bills to legalise local refineries – Uduaghan

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Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta South Senatorial District, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has promised to work towards the enactment of a law legalising local refineries, if elected.

The former governor of Delta State said this Wednesday on his verified Facebook page. In his words: “About 6,000 illegal refineries operational in the country, were reportedly destroyed by the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, in 2015.

“Some of these refineries were actually glorified rickety science projects. There is likelihood that there will be a good number of well set up refineries among them.

“The illegal refinery industry has been around for years and has grown. Can a country that is struggling to operate its four legal refineries afford to destroy illegal refineries?

“The poorly set up makeshift contraptions are dangerous and should be done away with, but the youths should be engaged in proper refineries.

“This is the origin of the call for the upgrade of the so-called illegal refineries, and if possible, they should be licensed.

“The illegal refineries that are being destroyed offer a lot of employment to the youths.

“Is the government not simply shortchanging the country with the sustained posturing and grandstanding of describing the local refineries in the Niger Delta as illegal and criminalizing their operations?’’ the former governor disclosed.

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Graduates who skip NYSC can contest for governorship- Court rules

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A High Court in Abuja has ruled that graduates who did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme are qualified to run for governorship election.

Justice M.A Mohammed gave the ruling in a pre-election suit filed by Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, challenging the elegibility of Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun, contesting the state governorship election. Abiodun in his CFOO1 form submitted to INEC last year, indicated he did not have NYSC discharge certificate. Abiodun did not participate in the compulsory NYSC program, even though he finished his first degree in 1986.

Anisulowo had asked the court to disqualify Abiodun as the APC governorship candidate since he failed to participate in the mandatory NYSC scheme. 

At the hearing of the case yesterday June 26th, Wale Ajayi, the governor’s counsel, requested that the court set aside the case, since it was never stated that the participation in the NYSC scheme was a criterion to hold public office.

Delivering judgement, Justice Mohammed held that the NYSC Act does not make provision for the disqualification of a candidate who failed to participate in its scheme. He said that a candidate can only be disqualified under Section 177 of the constitution which states that “a person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if:

(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”

He dismissed the case afterwards.

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Three Lebanese kidnapped in Rivers regain freedom

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Three Lebanese nationals abducted in Rivers State on June 8,  have regained their freedom.

The expatriates of Raffoul Nigeria Limited were kidnapped by gunmen at construction site of the Andoni-Opobo-Unity road in the Andoni Local Governmnent Area of the State.

Spokesperson for the Rivers Police Command, who confirmed the development in a statement identified the rescued kidnap victims as as Engr. Tony Stephan, Chandy Lahoud and Emile Skaff.

“The victims were rescued as a result of the intense pressure mounted on them by the Police, complemented by the strategic role played by the Chairman of Andoni LGA, Hon. Lawrence Paul,” the Police spokesperson said.

He added that the victims have been debriefed and are currently receiving medical attention in an undisclosed hospital, while efforts have been intensified to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice.

However, the police didn’t state if ransom was paid before the abducted road workers were set free.

Recall that Governor Nyesom Wike had given Andoni Council of Chiefs a 72-Hour ultimatum  to ensure the immediate release of three kidnapped expatriates. 

Wike said failure to secure the release of the three expatriates kidnapped by Andoni youths at the expiration of the ultimatum,  he will formally withdraw the recognition of all Government  Chiefs in the Local Government Area and cancel the Andoni aspect of the Unity Road project. 

Governor Wike further stated that other communities across the State must take measures to protect contractors and workers executing projects for them. 

He said the same sanctions  will be meted out to other communities where Chiefs and leaders allow project contractors to be kidnapped by community  youths.

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EFCC prosecution closes case in N702m fraud suit against Okupe

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Wednesday June 26th closed its case in a 59-count charge, bordering on money laundering, criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000 (Seven Hundred and Two Million Naira) against former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Media, Doyin Okupe.

Okupe is facing prosecution by EFCC before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

A statement from the anti-graft agency released today June 26th, says at the proceedings which continued today, prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Audu, presented his last and sixth witness, Shuaibu Salisu, former Director Administration and Finance in the Office of National Security Adviser ONSA, who presently works with the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.

Salisu told the court that “Sometime in 2012, Chief Okupe came to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and after their discussion, I was directed to make a payment of N50 million (Fifty Million Naira) to him.”

According to him, “Okupe provided his account details, where I paid the amount into the bank account of Value Trust Investment.”

He added that he was further directed by the ONSA to be paying N10 million monthly (Ten Million Naira) to Okupe for a period of over two years, which he said was reduced to a monthly N5million (Five Million Naira) towards the end of 2014 due to paucity of funds.

He said he made other payments to Okupe as directed, saying that at a point he was instructed to pay the defendant N6, 000, 000 (Six Million Naira).

Salisu further revealed that sometime in 2014, the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki directed that he paid the sum of N35million (Thirty-five Million Naira) to an account provided by Okupe and that he can also recall paying N50million (Fifty Million Naira) in cash to Okupe on Dasuki’s directive.

He told the court that he only obeyed directives in all the payments he made to Okupe and didn’t know what the monies were meant for.

When asked if there were evidences of the payments, the witness told the court that he usually provided Okupe with the payment vouchers, which he usually signed.

When also asked if all the payments were captured in payment vouchers, Salisu replied in the negative.

Speaking under cross-examination by Okupe’s counsel, Akinlabi Akinbade, the witness disclosed that Okupe was not the only person that received payments from ONSA. “Anybody that the NSA directs that payment be made to, we make payment,” he said.

Under same cross-examination, the witness said he had no reason to believe that the payments he made were from an illegal source. “Why would I assume it was illegal? I was only directed to make payments,” disclosing further that some of the payment instructions he carried out while working in the ONSA came verbally while some others came written, but that in the case of the payments to Okupe, all the instructions, he said were verbal.

The matter was adjourned to June 26, 2019 for the defence to open its case.

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