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A Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar on Wednesday sentenced a retired worker of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr . Godwin Elewana, to death by hanging. The court found Elewana guilty of the murder of a 22 year old pupil, Douglas Ojugbo, on March 10, 2015 over suspicion that the victim was having an affair with his daughter, Mercy.

Elewana, who had been in prison custody since 2016, was arraigned on one count of murder in case no. HC / 9 C / 2015. The presiding judge of the court, Justice Ukpa Ebitam, said the prosecution team, led by Mr . Eneji Amajama, a Deputy Director in the Department of Public Prosecutions in the state Ministry of Justice, proved its case that the accused committed the crime.

Ebitam listed the several confessional statements, hospital reports and other exhibits presented in the course of trial as reasons the accused was convicted. He said,“The prosecution team was able to establish ingredients of murder against the accused. On whether it was the act of the accused that caused the death of the victim, the prosecution team placed reliance mostly on the confessional statement of the accused clearly, the statement linked the murder to the accused.

The prosecution team also proved the second ingredient of murder which was the intentional act. To have fired the victim twice with his pump action gun, I agree that the killing was intentional. I hereby find the accused person guilty of murder. “Subject to Section 319 of the Criminal Code of Cross River State, any person who commits murder is sentenced to death by hanging.”

Moments before the verdict was given, the defence counsel, Mr. Clement Ukaegbu, had pleaded for leniency. Ukaegbu’s position was supported by another lawyer, Mr . Orchardson Umoh, who pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy on the grounds that the convict had a good religious standing and high integrity in the society.

Shortly after the verdict, the leader of the prosecution team, Amajama, said the law had taken its course. He said,“I thank God that we have industrious and sound judges who still uphold the rule of law. Today, the parents of the deceased would have some respite that the law of the land took its course.

‘This judgement will serve as a deterrent to others that you cannot do what is wrong and go away with it and I think that our society will be better for it. “The accused was tried under Section 319 of the Criminal Code of Cross River State. Under this section, the judge does not have the right to give him life imprisonment or any other jail term. The judge has just done what the law stipulates.”

The mother of the victim, Mrs . Maria Ojugbo, said, “I thank God for doing what should be done. It is stated in the Bible that anyone who kills by the sword, will die by the sword. Elewana had no reason whatsoever to kill my son in such a manner and conceal the act by burying him. It was Almighty God that gave approval for this judgement.

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Minimum Wage: Nationwide Protest Begins Tuesday — NLC

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There will be a nationwide protest on Tuesday by Nigerian workers to press for a higher minimum wage, the Nigeria Labour Congress said today.

However, the union’s general secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson clarified that the action is not a strike.

The umbrella labour union, along with the Trade Union Congress, wants minimum wage jacked from N18,000 to N30,000.

“It has come to our attention that some sections of the news media have largely misrepresented our action plan in reaction to the delay in transmitting the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It should be recalled that the National Executive Council of the NLC met on December 17 last year and directed that we hold nationwide mobilisation of workers and our allies if, by December 31, 2018, the bill on the national minimum wage has yet to be sent to the National Assembly to be passed as an Act of Parliament.

“We immediately announced then that on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, there will be a nationwide mass mobilisation and protests simultaneously across all states in Nigeria. This does not translate to a strike.” (NAN)

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BREAKING: Shehu Shagari Dies At 93

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Nigerian’s Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR, is dead.

Shagari reportedly died at the National Hospital Abuja on Friday after a brief illness.

He died at the age of 93.

His demise was announced on twitter by his grandson, Bello Shagari.

Bello wrote, ”I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after brief illness at the National hospital, Abuja.”

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Politicians Pressurising Us To Sell Unclaimed 914, 529 PVCs —— INEC

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday raised the alarm that some politicians in Oyo State were mounting pressure on the commission to sell unclaimed 914,529 permanent voter cards in its custody to them.

The commission said it was not giving in to such pressure aimed at rigging the forthcoming polls because “INEC is determined to ensure that people’s votes count in the free, fair and credible elections in 2019.”

Speaking on the theme, “Online journalism and Media integrity in Nigeria,” Agboke declared that some politicians, whose identities he did not disclose, approached the commission to buy PVCs to rig the elections.

He stated, “As far as we are concerned, PVCs are not for sale.”

The REC assured residents of the state of smooth elections devoid of crisis in 2019, stressing that no worker of the commission would sell PVCs to any politician ahead of the 2019 elections.

Agboke said, “They are looking for PVCs to buy. They are looking for what is not available because they know that these things are not available. This is the security report at my disposal.

“Tell those who are looking for PVCs to buy that there is none to buy in Oyo State. I can assure you that no INEC employee will sell PVCs to any politician. I can assure you that the process will be free and fair in Oyo State.

“Those who are looking for PVCs to buy, I won’t give you their names. I don’t have their names.

“But that is the security report I got and the report did not specify the party and the individuals that are involved. They want us to give them PVCs but we can’t give it to them. They want to buy PVCs but there is none to sell in Oyo State.”

Agboke urged journalists in the state to cooperate with the commission in spreading accurate information to members of the public.

He said, “All of us are stakeholders. If you are in doubt, call INEC. More so, you are online journalists, let us ensure that we have our facts correct. For me in Oyo State, I have nothing to hide. We conducted the election in Eruwa and the people that won, won.”

He urged journalists to abide by the ethics of the profession at all times.

The South-West Bureau Chief of The Nation and an Associate Editor of the Nigerian Tribune newspapers, Mr Bisi Oladele, and Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre respectively, urged journalists to always abide by the rules and regulations guiding the profession in their day-to-day reportage.

They said online journalism had come to stay in Nigeria and admonished journalists to distinguish themselves from ordinary writers considering the fact that “almost everybody is a journalist with the advent of internet and smart phones.”

They agreed that one of the ways for the journalists “ to differentiate themselves from ordinary writers was for them to cross-check their facts, investigate their stories and be conscious of the existing laws of the land.”

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