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The Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday heard that an accountant in the Abia Government House, Mr. Akpan Udoh, who was summoned to testify in the trial of former Governor Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has allegedly relocated to Cameroon.

An EFCC operative, Ovie Tobore Akpoyibo, of the commission’s Port Harcourt Office, while testifying as the 13th prosecution witness, had said on Monday that effort to serve the summons on Udoh, a former cashier at the Abia State Government House, was unsuccessful.

Yesterday, the witness said EFCC operatives were able to reach Udoh’s  brother who claimed that he had relocated to Cameroon.

“Further efforts to get his call logs from his service provider showed that he has been hovering between Cameroon, Republic of Benin and Katsina State,” Akpoyibo said.

Under cross examination by defence counsel Mr Awa Kalu (SAN), the witness said he did not know if Udoh was still alive, and had never met him.

During re-examination by prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said Udoh had deliberately evaded the summons and that he had earlier cooperated with the commission before they lost contact with him.

He said: “Prior to the time we went to his house to serve court summons on him, there was a phone conversation with him in which he was duly informed of the court’s summons, but shortly after the conversation he switched off the phone.

“However, when I visited his house, he had evacuated all his family. This made the commission to contact the service provider in order to monitor his movement.

“We discovered he was in Cameroon and thereafter went to Benin Republic. The action impliedly can be termed as running away from been served with court’s summons.”

EFCC also called its 14th witness, Emojevwe Eboh, a compliance officer at the First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

Eboh told the court that sometimes in February 2008, the EFCC requested for the account opening package of a firm known as General Ventures International Limited.

He said the documents were later forwarded to the anti-graft agency. They were admitted as exhibits by the judge.

The witness said Kalu and Mr Godwin Akubuike were the shareholders and directors of General Ventures Nigeria. He listed 40 local cheques credited into the company’s account.

The commission re-arraigned Kalu, Udeh Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited on 34 counts of laundering N3.2billion, to which they pleaded not guilty.

EFCC said the defendants allegedly diverted about N3.2billion from the Abia’s treasury while Kalu was the governor.

The prosecution said Slok “knew or at least suspected the said Orji Uzor Kalu to have engaged in a criminal conduct.”

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned until March 28 and March 29.
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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said Tuesday that it was practically impossible to completely wipe out corruption from any society, but said the Buhari government will ensure that corruption is degraded to the extent where it will no longer have impact on the nation’s economy.

Chief Oyegun who spoke when he received the management of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida who came to inform him of the decision to confer on him the Polytechnic Fellow also said that uncharitable Nigerians will not give the government credit for degrading the Boko Haram insurgency which no longer has the capacity to hoist its flag anywhere in the country.

Oyegun will be honoured alongside Governors Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state and the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar at the institution’s combined convocation ceremony scheduled for March 28, 2018.

Oyegun said even though there still challenges facing the nation, the Buhari government has taken drastic measure to address some of the ills facing the country, pointing out that while corruption is fighting back, it is no longer business as usual in the country.

He said the country was in such a situation that it needed a man of courage to establish stability in the country and create an enabling environment for the economy to thrive, stressing that inspire of the challenges, the APC government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has delivered in its promises.

Chief Oyegun said the current government has been able to tame the Boko Haram insurgency to the extent that they no longer has the capacity to occupy any part of the country, but only attack soft targets.

Oyegun said: “It is the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, a leadership that has been impossible for the opponents to distract or to derail that has made some of the things done so far possible. Yes, there are still challenges. As you rightly said, we took over in very difficult circumstances and one fundamental problem was the collapse of the price of oil in the international oil market.

“The condition was such that we needed an extra ordinary man of courage to be able to lead the country out of the crisis that we inherited, to the increasing stability of economy and the progress that this nation is clearly beginning to attain. So, I consider that I am receiving this award on behalf of the President and government of this nation who has performed such tremendous miracle in reviving the Nigerian economy in a situation of declining resources.

“We know how the fight against corruption is going on and that corruption is fighting back. It is not a problem you solve with the flip of a switch because corruption is very rich, it is very wealth and elitist and it is fighting back. But the President has a single mind about taming that scourge and tame it we will.

“We know now that corruption today is not as it was before. You can no longer take money from the government coffer and distribute to politicians and the rest of them. That alone is already a benefit and all the leakages have all been blocked.

“Nobody is saying that corruption has been wiped out because there is no country in the world where corruption has been wiped out, but it is being tackled in Nigeria and will degraded to the extent that it will no longer be a threat to the national economy or become an acceptable way of lodging business.

“Boko Haram is tamed, but uncharitable people will go and say there are still explosions and killings. As at yesterday, there was still explosion in tenUnited States of America.

“Those crazy isolated incidents are aimed at soft targets. When a person is crazy and aiming at soft target, it is only God and inspiration that can stop such people. But what is clear is that Boko Haram has been totally degraded to the extent that it does not occupy any inch of Nigerian territory where it can raise its flag.

“A lot of facilities are being out on ground especially the modern railway system that is going to be the bedrock of development in this country. You cannot carry meaningful development on trucks on the High way.

“It has to be carried on a modern railway system and the President has made that a priority and today we can say that on the implementation plan it now, is 5000 kilometer of modern standard gauge of railway line cutting across the entire length and breadth of this country.”

Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Dr. Abubakar Dzukogi said the Polytechnic decided to honour the APC National Chairman because of his achievement in leading the party to a major victory in the 2015 election, and putting in place a government that achieved a lot in repositioning the country.

Describing Oyegun as a master strategist and a silent achiever, the Rector said the achievement of the Buhari government in repositioning the country, especially in the area of security and agriculture among others was worth commending.
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The Senate Tuesday warned critics of Bills passed by the National Assembly to desist from misinterpreting such Bills.

The warning may not be unconnected with the ruling of a Federal High Court which restrained it from taking further action on the controversial Electoral Act amendment Bill, 2018.

The upper chamber noted that such alleged misinterpretations of passed Bills, “breeds roadside Appeal and Supreme Courts entities who always see Bills passed by the National Assembly as either self-serving or infractions on extant laws of the land.”

It said that the critics, most often than not fail to participate in the process of passing the Bills even when opportunities are created for participation.

Making the warning in his remarks at the one day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on three separate bills,   the

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki made the remarks at a public hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for then consideration of three Bills.

Saraki noted that it was unfortunate that critics of Bills passed by the National Assembly were never present at legislative forums for the necessary cross fertilisation of ideas.

Represented at the event by Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Saraki said that the Senate does not take preconceived position on the Bills before they are passed.

He listed the Bills as Legal Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill 2018; Data Protection Bill and Facial Mutilation Prohibition Bill.

He said, “No particular position has been taken in respect of these bills. Relevant stakeholders were invited to make input to the Bills but unfortunately ardent critics of laws made by us are not here to make their inputs.

“These critics are no doubt, roadside appeal misinterpreting our laws and by extension turning the decision of the National Assembly upside down as being experienced with one of the bills recently passed and being litigated against.

“Our appeal to these critics is to stop misinterpreting our laws and make themselves available at the public hearing stage of passing such laws.”

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami was absent at the public hearing.

Malami was represented by Barrister Yusuf Abdullahi from the Office of the AGF.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator David Umoru asked Abdullahi why the AGF was absent from the event

Abdullahi told the committee that the AGF went to court in respect of the litigation against the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018.

He said the AGF Office has a contrary view on the intendment of the Legal Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill.

He noted that it is the view of the AGF Office that certain clauses in the Bill would affect the operation of state counsels.

President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), however said that proposed amendments to the Act were necessary to address the archaic nature of the Act having been enacted in 1962.

He said, “The move by the Senate to amend the Legal Practitioners Act through an amendment Bill is a welcome development because to us, that would help in bringing the needed reforms  for the review of regulation of the legal profession.”
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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it will work closely with security agencies in its bid to resume oil exploration in the Chad Basin.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru disclosed this on Tuesday in Kano at the 54th annual international Conference and exhibition of Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS).

Baru said the resumption of oil exploration activities was imminent and the corporation would work with security agencies to remobilise to Chad Basin and continue their work.

“We are going to work with military authorities to remobilise our workers to Chad basin.

‎“In terms of the Gongola basin, we have been acquiring data and we intend to start drilling exploration wells in the Gongola basin, particularly around the Golmani river.

“We are going to ‎go back to that area in shortest possible time , may be before the end of the year,” he said.

He said that the corporation planned ‎to drill four wells and would continue with the exploration of regional acquisition across the lower Benue.

According to him, activities have started in Nasarawa and they will be going to Benue state before the end of year.

Baru said that communal clashes in the area had seriously affected ‎their operations.

He said that the Nasarawa state governor had promised to provide enough security for them to continue.

‎The GMD commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts at restoring peace in the Northeast.

In his remarks, Kano state governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, said that the state government had trained 44 youths on gemstone cutting and polishing.

The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the state Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji said the government would harness the mining sector to boost revenue of the state.