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EFCC Seals Off Saraki’s Houses In Ikoyi, Lagos

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Multiple residential houses located in highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos, allegedly owned by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki have been sealed off by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

In his reaction, Saraki insisted that the action of the EFCC was a witch-hunt.

According to him, the property in question have been investigated by the commission several times in the past.

A statement by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu said: “Our attention has been drawn to the fact that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has marked certain property belonging to Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, obviously under the claim that they are subject of investigation.

“The action of the EFCC only reinforced our earlier stated position that their current investigation is mischievous, contrary to the tenets of the rule of law and only aimed at settling scores. This position is founded on the fact that these same buildings were the subject of earlier investigations by the EFCC as well as the case initiated by the Federal Government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Also, the case went all the way to the highest court in our country, the Supreme Court of Nigeria. In that case, Saraki was discharged and acquitted because the courts believe the government has no case.”

Saraki defected to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party few weeks to the general elections.

Before his defection, his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari had gone sour.

Saraki was charged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged infraction of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

The tribunal did not find him guilty of any offence.

Last week, EFCC confirmed reports that it had opened a fresh investigation into Saraki’s stewardship as Senate President as well as a probe of his earnings as governor from 2003 – 2011.

Replying to Saraki’s allegations that the ongoing probe was a witch hunt, the acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday said the politician was not above the law, noting that the commission was obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space, a duty it claimed to have pursued without ill-will or malice against anyone.

The EFCC asked Saraki not to worry over the investigation into his earnings as Kwara State Governor and his stewardship in the Senate, “so long as he has no skeletons in his cupboard.”

The commission also said it possessed indicting petitions and other evidence against the Senate President, noting that putting him through a legitimate forensic inquiry was the legitimate route to establish his integrity as a public servant.

The EFCC refuted Saraki’s claims that the probe had to do with his appointment as the International Human Rights Commission ambassador.

It stated, “It is in the interest of the public, and for Saraki’s personal good, that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.

“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC has had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by over-arching public interest and due process of the law.

“Against the background of the possession of indicting petitions and other evidence available to the EFCC, even Saraki will agree with the commission that putting him through a legitimate forensic inquiry is the legitimate route to establish his integrity as a public servant.”

As part of the fresh probe of Saraki, the commission had written to the Kwara State Government to furnish it what the Senate President earned while he was governor of Kwara State.

Saraki was the state governor from 2003 to 2011, before his election into the National Assembly.

The anti-graft agency stated that it was investigating Saraki for an alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds, theft, and money laundering.

In a letter to the Kwara State government, the EFCC demanded to be furnished with a breakdown of Saraki’s income, as well as his entitlements as governor of the state.

The letter signed by the EFCC Zonal Head, Isyaku Sharu, read: “In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish us with the full details of all his entitlements to include but not limited to emoluments, allowances, estacodes, other fringe benefits and severance package while he held sway as the Executive Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.

“This request is made pursuant to Section 38 (1) & (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.”

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BREAKING: First Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Lagos

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The Ministry of Health in Lagos State has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 and reported it to the Federal Ministry of Health.

The case, which was confirmed on Thursday, is the first to be reported in Nigeria since the outbreak in China in January 2020.

The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on February 25 from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

He fell ill on February 26 and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.

COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects APC’s Request To Review Bayelsa Judgment, Upholds Judgment Sacking David Lyon

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The supreme court has struck out the application of the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking a reversal of the judgment which sacked David Lyon as the winner of the Bayelsa governorship election.

The apex court held that the application constitutes a gross abuse of the judicial process.

On February 13, the supreme court affirmed the verdict of a federal high court which disqualified Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s running mate, for allegedly submitting forged credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

As a result, the court also voided the victory of Lyon on the grounds that both men contested the election on a joint ticket.

A seven-member panel of the court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the two applications filed and argued for the applicants by Afe Babalola (SAN) and Wole Onanipekun (SAN), and held that the applications were without merit and amounted to an abuse of court process.

Justice Amina Augie, who read the lead ruling, said the application was an attempt to make the court violate its rules and the. provision of the Constitution which makes it the final court of the land.

Justice Augie said the applications if granted has the capacity of belittling the dignity and status of the court and open a floodgate for such requests in the future.

She expressed regret that senior lawyers in the country could be involved in the filing of such applications.

Justice Augie awarded N10milion cost for each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents (the PDP, its governorship and deputy governorship in the last election) – Sen. Duoye Diri and. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo – to be paid personally by the applicant’s lawyers.

Afe Babalola (SAN) represented the 1st and 2nd applicants (Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo), while Wole Olanipekun (SAN) represented the APC.

More to follow…

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Lagos Government To Remove Bus Garage, Mechanic Workshops, Kiosks, Others Around Public Schools

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The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it would begin pulling down shanties, kiosks, and removal of bus garages, as well as other illegal market structures erected near the state public schools, a move said to take effect after seven days ultimatum issued to owners of those structures, by the government.

As said, the clearing, according to the ultimatum sighted by PorscheClassy News, would affect owners and occupants of illegal structures, shanties, mechanic workshops, kiosks and commercial bus garages surrounding public schools in Mile 2, along Badagry expressway.

The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce), in a statement issued on Wednesday through its Public Affairs Unit Head, Adebayo Taofiq, confirmed that a seven-day ‘Removal Notice’ had been issued to owners of illegal structures and workshops located around public schools, and that, it was a decision which was made by the state government to ensure safety of students.

Taofiq explained that the task force chairman, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, had discussed ultimatum issuance with a gathering of illegal owners and occupants, as well as traders, mechanics and sectional heads of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and warned them to immediately vacate stipulated areas within vicinity of the schools within time allocated.

He affirmed that the removal order became imperative following an outcry by residents, particularly managements of Imoye High School and Amuwo Odofin Junior Secondary School, that criminal elements had turned the region into hideouts for carrying out their nefarious activities thereby making the environment unconducive for learning.

“These children are the future of our nation, it is thus, left to us, what we make of them,”

“In light of this, it has become necessary to facilitate conducive learning environments around our schools. It is disheartening to allow illegal business operators to turn schools surroundings to a market place while the vicinity becomes a dumpsite of refuse”.

Furthermore, Taofiq added that investigation conducted had revealed that the illegal structures and shanties served as home to criminal elements who rob unsuspecting members of public, making off with valuables along highways on Lagos- Badagry expressway, and added that the occupants had received no government permit or operating license from the state government.

He reiterated that, immediately after the expiration of the evacuation order notice on Monday, 3rd of March, 2020, Task Force operatives would embark on a clean-up exercise in the area, as well as a clampdown on all criminal elements.

The Task Force, however, cautioned traders and occupants not to make a financial contribution or bribe anyone in order to prevent or stop the removal order, stressing that the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had approved monetary compensation for those who deserved it.

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