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BIG STORY

‘How I Got Dollars, Pounds, Others’ —- Onnoghen Opens Up On Foreign Accounts

Peter Okunoren

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Ahead of his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) slated for Monday, suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has opened up on how he got the foreign currencies he deposited in his domiciliary accounts.

In a ‘Cautionary Statement Form’ filed at the Department of Intelligence Investigation and Monitoring, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), in Abuja, he said the deposits in his dollar account were from trading in foreign exchange (forex), AGRICODE, while other investment returns were from proceeds of his investments.

Justice Onnoghen’s averments were contained in a voluntary statement he made at CCB.

In the statement, he specifically explained that “the deposits made in my US Dollar account No. 87000106250 with STD. Chartered Bank of $10,000 at different intervals of June 28, 2011 were sourced partly from my reserve and saving from my estacodes, including medical expenses.

“The same applies to my deposit of July 28, 2011, of $10,000 twice. It is important to state that prior to my opening the US dollar account, I had foreign currency, which I kept at home, due to the fact that there existed a government that proscribed the operation of foreign currency account by public officers including judicial officers.

“It was when I got to know that the policy had changed that I had to open the said account. Upon opening the account, I was made to understand that I cannot pay in more than $10,000 at a time and per payment slip. I cannot remember the total amount I had on reserve at the time, but it spread from my practice days as a private legal practitioner from 1979 to 1989.

“Some of the deposits are a result of forex trading, AGRICODE, and other investment returns were from proceeds of my investments into them. The withdrawals in the account are partly to pay children’s fees, upkeep abroad and further investments. My British pound and euro accounts with Chartered Standard Bank are savings accounts.”

“In the January 1, 2019 document, the suspended jurist, who wrote his statement on January 11, 2019, between 12:30pm to 1: 45pm added: “I, Walter S. N. Onnoghen, of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, hereby, voluntarily depose to the statement averred herein, knowing that whatever I write or state may be tendered against me as evidence in court.

“I also volunteer to state that the statement was not taken in evidence from me under duress but after the administering officer had explained and made known the details of the allegations against me.”

In response to allegations of non-declaration of his assets, justice Onnoghen added: “My asset declaration for numbers. SCN000014 and SCN.0000 5 were declared on the same day, December 14, 2016 because I forgot to make a declaration of May 2005 of my assets after the expiration of my 2005 declaration in 2009.

“Following my appointment as acting chief justice of Nigeria in November 2016, the need to declare my asset anew made me to realise the mistake and then did the declarations to cover the period in default.

“I did not include my Standard Chartered Bank Account in SCN. 000014 because I believed they were not opened during the period covered by the declaration.

“I did not make a fresh declaration of asset after my substantive appointment as CJN because I was under the impression that my SCN. 000015 was to cover the period of four years; which includes my leave as CJN.”

BIG STORY

Two ‘Trigger-Happy’ Police Officers Arrested As Nigerians Demand Justice For 16-Year-Old Girl Killed By Bullet

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Many Nigerians on Friday via social media demanded justice for a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe, allegedly killed by a trigger-happy policeman in the Iyana Oworo area of Lagos on Tuesday.

The cop was said to be from the Bariga Police Division.

Reports indicated that the policeman was trying to arrest a bus driver for violating the nationwide curfew imposed by the Federal Government to check the spread of coronavirus.

In the process, the policeman was said to have shot the bus driver and Tina standing by the roadside.

It was learnt that Tina, an Imo State indigene who resided at Bariga, was rushed to a hospital after the incident. However, she died on Thursday evening.

A video posted on Twitter by Oworo TV (@OworoTv), which went viral, showed Tina’s body being dragged amid a panicky crowd.

As of Friday, the video had gathered about 160,000 views on the social media platform.

Using the hashtag, #JusticeforTina, Nigerians demanded the prosecution of the erring police officer.

On Friday, #JusticeforTina was one of the most trended topics on Twitter. Actress Adesua Etomi-Wellington shared a picture of Tina on her handle, @AdesuaEtomiW, and captioned it “#JusticeforTina. Tina was only 16.”

Another actress, Beverly Naya with the handle @BeverlyNaya also lent her voice to demand justice for the murdered teenager. “This is all too much! Police brutality needs to stop! #JusticeForTina,” she wrote.

Another Twitter user, @aproko_doctor, asked all Nigerians to demand justice for Tina.

He wrote, “All she did was stand at a popular junction and she was shot by a Nigerian policeman. It could be any of us, and we will not stop until we have a reform of the Nigeria Police Force.

“I don’t want to mind my business and still be shot.”

Sally Suleiman, with the handle @is_salsu, also wrote, “The people who are meant to protect the citizens are killing them. Please lend your voice! #JusticeForTina.”

Also, Efam Harris (@iefamharris) said, “Tina is the young boy with an iPhone; Tina is the young woman who sells clothes; Tina is the gentleman who returns late from work; Tina is everyone who the Nigeria Police have killed for no reason; Tina is all of us. #JusticeForTina.”

Twitter user, Ugwunna Ejikem, lamented that Tina was shot dead even though she didn’t bear arms or looked suspicious for any crime.

“Her only ‘crime’ was standing at a popular junction within the reach of a trigger-happy Nigerian policeman.

“How long will this continue and how long will they keep getting away with this?

“Please lend a voice. #JusticeForTina,” she wrote.

Another user, Danny (@Danny_Walterr), described the incident as heartbreaking.




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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Former NNPC GMB Baru Dies

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced the death of its immediate pas Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr Maikanti Baru.

In a statement, the corporation said: “NNPC regrets to announce the demise of its former Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, Friday night.”

Baru, a consummate Mechanical Engineer, died after a brief illness, NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Dr. Kennie Obateru stated.

He said NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari expressed shock over the sudden death of Dr. Baru, who was the 18th Group Managing Director of the Corporation.

Mallam Kyari described him as a man ‘of exemplary character and disposition.’

Baru, 60, who was at the helm of the Corporation from July 4th 2016 to July 7th 2019, died after a brief illness in an Abuja hospital.




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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Six Nigerian Air Force Officers Jailed Over Murder Of Former CDS, Alex Badeh

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The General Court Martial (GCM) sitting in Abuja, has sentenced six Nigerian Air Force Personnel for criminal conspiracy, dereliction of duty over the gruesome murder of former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh.

The sentences are however subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.

The convicted Officers were Squadron Leader Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander.

Four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for the late CDS, while two others were detailed for guard duty at his residence.

Badeh was killed on the 18 of December 2018 by unknown gunmen along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State, while returning from his farm.

In a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, while delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges including failure to perform Military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack, as well as to conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, for giving false statements.

According to the statement, the charges against the accused also included other Civil Offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Miscellaneous Offences Relating to Property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others”.

It added that “on the count of aiding and abetting, two of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other four personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the Court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first-time offenders.

“The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority”.




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