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Police coerced me into signing incriminating statements by torturing, killing suspects in my presence – Evans

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Alleged billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, on Wednesday, told an Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos that he was coerced into signing incriminating statements by the police.

Evans, as he is popularly known, told Judge Taiwo Solebo that the police killed at least five suspects in his presence in what they called ‘the Saddam Hussein Technique’ and threatened him that a similar fate would befall him if he fails to sign the statements.

He said among the documents he signed were blank papers.

Evans and Victor Aduba are facing a four-count charge bordering on kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms before Mrs Solebo.

While being led in evidence during a trial-within-trial which the judge ordered to ascertain the admissibility of the confessional statements obtained from the defendants, Evans said he had earlier insisted he would not sign any document presented to him by the police.

“When I refused to sign the document presented to me by Abba Kyari and co at the IGP house in Lagos, I was taken to the backyard where Idowu Haruna (a police officer) demonstrated in front of me by placing handkerchief inside the mouth of a man who had bullet wounds in his leg and was chained and handcuffed like the rest I met there.

“Sellotaped him from his neck to his head, covered him with a nylon bag and sellotaped it again, the man started shaking on the floor and then stopped. Idowu marched the wound on his legs and the man did not move. They did that to like four more persons.

“I was shaking and begging them that I will do anything they want me to do, I was taken back in and then signed documents, over 20, with some of them blank, after I stopped shaking from the experience.”

Evans also alleged that according to the date written on the particular statement being contested, he could not have written it in Lagos as he was still in Abuja.

“On August 12, 2017, I was in Abuja and have not been brought back to Lagos. They took me to Abuja on July 7, 2017 and brought me back around 20 something of August.”

The defendant said he was also blocked from seeing his family and a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana. He said upon discovering his presence at the SARS office in Ikeja, he was locked in the toilet with two police officers.

“After a while, I heard them greet Falana and he was told they took me out for investigations meanwhile I was in the toilet in the office.

“I heard Falana warning them that whatever I did, they should charge me to a court. He said he does not want to hear that I had been shot dead while trying to escape and they said it would not happen.

“They refused to allow my parents see me and that is why my father sued them to the Federal High Court.”

Evans also told the court that in the videos recorded at the IGP house in Lagos, the police had a board behind the cameramen with things written for him to read in case he forgot what had earlier been rehearsed.

He added that there were police officers with guns who kept reminding him he would be killed if he did not read as instructed.

A police sergeant, Julius Ekundayo, while testifying, denied the claim that the police stopped Mr Falana from seeing the first defendant as “Falana never visited their office.”

Mr Ekundayo also said he personally recorded Evans’ confessional statement, which was obtained in an open office in Lagos.

The second defendant, Mr Aduba said he was also forced to sign confessional statements after he was shown a picture of corpses of other suspects who had refused to sign statements.

“I was taken out of my cell with one Ikenna Chukwuemeka and when we got to the counter, I saw other people including police officers like Idowu Haruna and others. I was given some documents, over 20 to sign and I asked that they let me call my lawyer but was replied with a slap from Christian Ugwu.”

Mr Aduba said he and other suspects – whom he identified as Chukwuma Nwosu, Ikenna Chukwuemeka, and Soyan Paul – were taken to “the theatre” where they were beaten with machetes by Mr Haruna.

“I was returned to my cell and in the evening we were marched into a white bus and left there. I and Ikenna were later brought out and I was told if I do not sign the statements, when their boss comes in the evening, I will be killed and this is my last chance.

“I was taken to their office, I begged them to let me inform my office. Haruna brought out his phone and asked me to identify the images on them, to my surprise it was the dead body of Chukwuma and Paul so I had no option than to sign.”

The judge adjourned till January 31, 2019, the adoption of the final written address of the trial-within-trial.

 

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Crime

Court Convicts Former NIMASA DG, Obi over N136million Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, secured the conviction of a former acting Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Callistus Obi. Also convicted was Alu Dimas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA. They were convicted by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi.



The duo were arraigned alongside two companies, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment, on April 12, 2016 on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, conversion, and money laundering to the tune of N136million (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira).

The prosecution proved that the convicts converted the sum of money, N136million, belonging to the Agency to their personal use on August 5, 2014.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Callistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon, on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eleven Million naira) property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby commited an offence.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby leading to their trial.

In the cause of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted in evidence by the court.

At the resumed hearing today, Justice Olatoregun discharged and acquitted the defendants of the charge of conspiracy preferred against them.

The Judge, however, convicted them of conversion and money laundering.

The Judge said:  “The prosecution has proved the charges preferred against you beyond reasonable doubt with evident conversion and money laundering of N136million”.

Justice Olatoregun, however, deferred sentencing to May 28, 2019 and ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison custody.

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Zenith Bank Emerges First Nigerian Bank To Repeatedly Audit Its Carbon Emissions

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Zenith Bank Plc was presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after a successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year. The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date.  He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager, Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. 

She commended the bank for proving its commitment to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.”  In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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Lagos Matters

Senate okays bill seeking to upgrade Yabatech to varsity status

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The Senate, on Thursday, passed the City University of Technology (Est, etc) Yaba Bill, 2018 for second reading.

The decision followed a motion by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) at the plenary presided over by Senate President, Bukola Saraki in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill essentially sought to transform the Yaba College Technology (YabaTech) in Lagos State, to the City University of Technology Yaba.

Leading the debate, Ashafa, who represents Lagos East Senatorial District, argued that if the bill is considered, it would enhance the capability of the institution to achieve its objectives.
”Nigeria’s steady march towards education for all in the shortest possible time has taken a giant leap with the introduction of this bill.

”I am personally excited by the prospect of transforming this polytechnic to a university of technology because it will motivate both students and academic staff.
”It will also upgrade the facilities and enhance it capability to achieve its objectives.
”Similarly, the new university of technology will encourage the advancement of learning and hold out to all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex or political conviction the opportunity of acquiring a higher and liberal education,” he said.

Citing instances, the lawmaker noted that in similar circumstances in the United Kingdom, most of the polytechnics were upgraded to universities.
”If Nigeria has plan to become one of the world’s leading economies as currently being pursued by government, we must be ready to adjust and position our educational institutions so that its products are geared for the technological challenges inherent in such projections,” he said.

According to him, the attainment of university status would definitely enhance the operations of the Yaba Polytechnic and clarify its mission and vision.
Lawmakers, who contributed to the motion, also supported it.

When the motion was put on a voice vote, it was unanimously adopted by the legislators.
Saraki, therefore, referred the bill to Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative action and report back within a week.
Similarly, the Senate also passed a Bill for the Establishment of Federal Polytechnic Iwerekun, Ibeju-Lekki Lagos, sponsored by Ashafa for second reading.

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