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EFCC Arrests Two Lagos Based Activists For Demanding N50m Bribe From Company To Withdraw Petition

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Two human rights activists have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly demanding a bribe from Wahum Nigeria Limited, The PUNCH is reporting.

According to the newspaper, the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, Dandy Eze, and one Solomon Johnson are the accused in the case.

Eze and Johnson was said to have sometime in 2018 approached Wahum Nigeria Limited to ask for N50 million to help facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against the company, which they claimed was being investigated by the EFCC.

The PUNCH gathered that when the letter allegedly written by the activists was investigated by the EFCC, it was discovered that the suspects had solicited a bribe from Wahum Nigeria Limited.

The newspaper learnt that N1 million had already been collected by the duo as part payment through a First Bank account number 3081329952 operated by Johnson.

They were arraigned before a Lagos State Special Offences Court on four counts bordering on conspiracy to commit felony and acceptance of bribe to the tune of N50 million.

The charges read in part: “That you, Dandy Eze, being the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, and Solomon Johnson, on or about November 23, 2018, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, solicited the sum of N50m only as bribe in order to facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against Wahum Nigeria Limited from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“That you, Dandy Eze, being the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, and Solomon Johnson, on or about November 26, 2018, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did accept the sum of N1m as bribe through the First Bank account number 3081329952 operated by Solomon Johnson from Wahum Nigeria Limited in order to facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against Wahum Nigeria Limited from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

They defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In view of their plea, the prosecuting counsel, George Chia-Yakua, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

However, the counsel for the defendants, Terry Adeniji, told the court that he had just been briefed about the case.

Adeniji, therefore, asked the court for a short date to enable him to file a proper bail application.

He also prayed the court to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.

In his response, Chia-Yakua urged the court to refuse the prayer of the defence counsel to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.

The presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, adjourned the matter till February 14 and 15, 2019 for the hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.

Dada, thereafter, remanded the suspects in prison custody.

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BIG STORY

My Asset Declaration Forms Were Tampered With —- Onnoghen Declares

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Walter Onnoghen, suspended chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), says his two asset declarations forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) were tampered with.

Speaking through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, at his resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on Monday, the suspended CJN said the forms he submitted in 2014 and 2016 were mutilated and in loose form.

Onnoghen is currently being tried by the CCT on a six-count charge of non-declaration of some of his assets, although he said it was an oversight.

James Akpala, a senior investigation officer with the CCB, had requested to tender the asset forms investigated by the agency.

When Awomolo asked Onnoghen to confirm the document before it is admitted, the former CJN said it had been doctored.

Akpala, however, narrated how the bureau responded to a petition from the Centre for Anti-Corruption Initiative, signed by one Denis Aghanya, on January 10.

He said his team got a statement from Onnoghen and applied for his account details with his bank, while the team concluded the investigation within 24 hours.

While being cross-examined, Akpala declined comment on if he was aware that the charges, evidence and witnesses against Onnoghen were prepared and signed on January 10, the same day the petition was signed, which was even before the conclusion of the investigation on January 11.

He also said that he was not aware if the bureau had a central registry and register where all returned forms were stored.

Also, Akpala refused to comment when he was shown that the financial statement he said he got from Onnoghen’s bank was addressed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), having denied earlier that the anti-graft agency was involved in the investigation.

The CCT later adjourned till Thursday to allow Onnoghen appear before the National Judicial Council (NJC).

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BREAKING: Many Trapped As Another Building Collapses In Oke-Arin, Lagos Island [VIDEO]

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Occupants of a building in the Oke Arin part of Lagos Island are currently trapped following the collapse of a house at Egerton Square.

The incident,we gathered, happened around 3:45pm on Monday.

Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA) were demolishing a house beside the building when it caved in.

Kehinde Adebayo, spokesman of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), told TheCable that a rescue team was on its way to the scene.

“We are currently on our way to the place. As soon as I get more update, I’ll get across to you,” he told TheCable.

The development is coming five days after 20 persons, including school children were killed in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island.

The state government had embarked on demolition of defective structures in the local government two days after the Ita–Faaji incident.

On Friday, a three-storey building under construction in Ibadan, Oyo state collapsed but all the 23 workers were rescued.

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BIG STORY

Give Us Power, Prioritize The Electricity Sector; Elumelu Begs President Buhari

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Chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to give priority attention to the electricity sector of the economy.

Speaking at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the group, in Abuja, weekend, Elumelu said: “Let him help us with power,” arguing that constant power supply would drastically reduce the cost of doing business in the country and make economy more competitive.

With poor electricity supply across the nation, corporate organisations and individuals have had to spent huge sums of money on diesel and petrol to fuel their generators.
Transcorp spent a whopping N1.292 billion as energy cost in the year under review, according to the company’s Annual Report and Financial Statements.

Elumelu noted that the N701 billion Power Payment Assurance Plan, PAP, initiative of the Federal Government under the management of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, Plc greatly improved liquidity in the sector but noted that the problem of huge unpaid invoices of Power Generating Companies, GENCOs, persisted in the fiscal year.

This challenge, he said, must be addressed by the Federal Government to significantly impact the receivables of the GENCOS, gas suppliers and transporters in the sector.
The Trasncorp boss also urged President Buhari to make it possible for Nigerian investors to benefit from the nation’s assets.

“Let him encourage domestic investors to benefit from the assets of this nation,’’ Elumelu said. The Federal Government had announced plans to sell some of the national assets, although details of that programme have not been made known.

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