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How Buhari Govt Filed Criminal Charges Against Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen Within Four Days [See Petition Details]

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The process that led to planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen was concluded within four days, DailyPost reports.

At the weekend, information emerged that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has ordered the CJN to immediately vacate his office.

The government is said to, on Monday January 14, 2019, arraign him before the Justice Danladi Yakubu led-Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja, on charges of failure to declare his assets as required by law and for operating Bank Domiciliary Foreign Currency Accounts.

On Saturday, our correspondent exclusively learnt of the timelines of the legal action against Onnoghen.

On Monday January 7, a petition was written by the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI);

On Tuesday January 8, the petition was submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB);

On Wednesday January 9, the petition was stamped “received” by the office of the CCB chairman;

On Thursday January 10, charges against CJN Onnoghen were filed by the CCB;

On Friday January 11, the CJN was served at his official residence in Abuja.

Details of the petition, ARDI petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), listed a number of allegations, false declaration of assets, against Onnoghen.

The group said its petition, dated January 7, 2019, became necessary “bearing in mind the imminence of the 2019 General Elections and the overwhelming roles of the Judicial Arm both before and after”.

ARDI said Onnoghen “is the owner of sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials”.

In the petition seen by TheCable, the group said Onnoghen made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on March 8, 2011, into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650; two separate cash deposits of $5000 each followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 7, 2011; another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 27, 2011, and four more cash deposits of $10,000 each the following day.

They said Onnoghen did not declare his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act; and that he did not comply with the constitutional requirement for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

Also alleged against him is that his Code of Conduct Bureau Forms (Form CCB 1) for 2014 and 2016 were dated and filed on the same day and the acknowledgement slips were issued for both on December 14, 2016 — at which point, they said, Onnoghen had become the CJN. Onnoghen assumed office as CJN on March 6, 2017.

ARDI alleged that prior to 2016, Onnoghen appeared “to have suppressed or otherwise concealed the existence of these multiple domiciliary accounts owned by him, as well as the substantial cash balances in them”.

Account balances were listed as follows: The Standard Chartered Bank dollar account 1062650 with a balance of $391,401.28 on January 31, 2011;

The Standard Chartered Bank Euro account 5001062686 with a balance of EURO 49,971 .71 on January 31, 2011;

The Standard Chartered Bank pound sterling account 5001062679 with a balance of GBP23,409.66 on February 28, 2011;

“It is curious that these domiciliary accounts were not declared in one of the two CCB Forms filed by Justice Onnoghen on the same day, 14th December 2016,” the group said.

The Federal Government among others is accusing Nigeria’s Head of the Judiciary of refusal to declare his assets in breach of the provision of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.

He is also being accused of maintaining Domiciliary foreign currencies account which comprised Dollars Account, Pound Sterling Account and Euro Account which are alleged to be contrary to relevant laws, especially for public office holders.

Justice Onnoghen, whose appointment suffered delay by President Muhammadu Buhari over undisclosed issues, may be the first CJN in Nigeria to be arraigned for criminal charges by the Federal Government.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has been engaged by the Federal Government to prosecute Justice Onnoghen.

However, eminent lawyers have already volunteered to put their services at the disposal of the CJN.

BIG STORY

Implement N30,000 New Minimum Wage Before May Day, Labour Tells FG

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wants the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage for workers in the country before the May Day Celebration.

Mr Najeem Yasin, Acting President of NLC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

He commended the Senate for approving the minimum wage bill of N30,000 on Tuesday and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly sign the bill into law.

NAN recalls that the House of Representatives had earlier approved N30,000 as new national minimum wage before embarking on break for the 2019 general election.

The Nigeria Governors Forum had proposed N24,000 while the Federal Government forwarded N27,000 to the National Assembly.

“We commend the Senate for passing the minimum wage bill of N30,000 but the battle for the minimum wage was not yet over; workers will not rest until the bill is signed and implemented.

“But it is not yet over because we want them to make sure that the process gets to the logical conclusion and for the quick implementation of that N30,000. Nigerian workers are happy and commend them.

“We want the federal government to ensure its implementation before the May Day celebration, which is the Workers Day celebration. Government should greet workers with the commencement of the implementation,” the labour leader said.

Yasin, who is also the National President of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), called on the federal government to ensure effective sanctions for employers who refused to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.

“We have been fighting for this N30,000 for a long time and the governors have been opposed to it. But now, it has been passed. Nigerian workers are now looking forward to the signing the bill into law,” Yasin said.

Mr Amechi Asugwuni, NLC Deputy President, also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to follow the path of honour and immediately sign into law the new pay rise document once he received it.

He, however, disagreed on call by the Senate for a review of the Revenue Sharing formulae which gave federal government 56 percent, states 24 and local government 20 percent.

He argued that the minimum wage bill was an independent bill which should not be subjected to adjustments in sharing formulae by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission.

According to him, such calls could further slow down the already overdue implementation of the new minimum wage.

Also, Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), commended the Senate for the passage of the N30,000 minimum wage.

Ajaero called on the federal government to ensure that the process of the national minimum wage implementation should not be beyond March and April.

“Government should ensure that this year May Day should be a day to celebrate the implementation of the national minimum wage. I want to say that by May 1, all employers of Labour should have implemented it,” he added. (NAN)

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Buhari’s Prayer Warrior Kidnapped, Abductors Demand N300m Ransom

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The kidnappers of a famous Islamic scholar and prominent reciter of the Holy Quran, Sheikh Ahmad Sulaiman, have demanded a ransom of N300 million before his release.

PRNigeria gathered that the abducted Sheikh Suleiman, a prayer warrior and fanatical supporter of President Muhammdu Buhari, had offered prayers for the re-election bid of Mr. President at some political rallies organised by All Progressives Congress (APC), in the build to the 2019 general elections.

The Islamic Scholar was returning to his base in Kano, after attending a religious function in Kebbi State when they were abducted.

However, in an audio clip obtained by PRNigeria, the kidnappers are demanding a colossal sum of N300 million as ransom, before releasing the revered cleric from their hideout.

The supposed ringleader of the abduction gang, spoke in Hausa, with a close associate of the kidnapped Quranic reciter, saying they were mandated by an influential politician to abduct and kill Sheikh Sulaiman, who their sponsor allegedly claimed is a terrorist.

“However, after taking a close observation, we noticed that our victim has no semblance to a terrorist. We discovered that he is rather a God-fearing Muslim and very knowledgeable preacher. We also interrogated him, and he told us everything about himself,” the kidnapper told the reciter’s sympathiser, in the nine-minute telephone chat.

When asked by his caller what they should offer for the speedy release of the notable Islamic teacher, the Hausa-speaking gang leader with Fulani’s accent, said they were never interested in carrying out the murderous assignment, in the first place.

“But it will be unfair that we fritter the three hundred million naira the politician gave us without executing his work,” he said, adding that, “So, we are intending to give him back his money since we may not be able to do his bidding. And again, we will also express our displeasure to him for wrongly accusing the Sheikh to be an insurgent, when in reality, he wasn’t.

“But in the meantime, you (his people) should first raise the three hundred million we will return back to the politician. And then, you will also give us money for fueling the vehicle we used to convey him to Kebbi.

“But if you people cannot raise the money we demanded, we will not hesitate to eliminate Mallam, and collect the additional sum the politician promised us if we should kill him.”

Katsina is becoming a den for kidnappers as there is hardly a day without a reported case(s) of kidnapping in the state.

PRNigeria gathered that kidnapping cases have been reported in most local government areas of Katsina State especially in Jibia, Dandume, Faskari, Sabuwa, Danmusa, Safana, Kankara, Batsari, Dutsinma, Kurfi, Funtua and Katsina metropolis.

While many of the abductions were not reported for undisclosed reasons, the recent reported kidnapping cases included that of a group of Islamic caregivers of about 20 members of First Aid Group who were abducted in Jibia and that of an 80-year-old Mother-in-Law to Governor Aminu Masari who was abducted at her Dandume Crescent, Sabon Gari area of Katsina metropolis.

Early in the year, Governor Aminu Bello Masari has blamed the continued kidnapping and other heinous crime on informants who support the bandits saying Katsina State is under kidnappers’ siege.

He said the daily security reports reaching him indicate that no day passes without a reported case of kidnappings, armed robbery and cattle rustling.

According to him, “Kidnappings, cattle rustling and armed robbery are now the order of the day in Katsina. Informants have made it difficult for security agencies in the state to operate effectively.” (PRNigeria)

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BREAKING: Senate Approves N30,000 Minimum Wage

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The Senate on Tuesday approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

This decision was reached after the upper chamber’s ad-hoc committee on new minimum wage headed by Senator Francis Alimikhena submitted its report.

The Senate then went on to request the Federal Government to submit a supplementary budget to cover the new wage structure for consideration and approval.

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