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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.”

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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Nigeria Yet To Receive Ventilators From US, A Month After Trump’s Promise — FG

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The federal government says it is yet to receive ventilators from the US.

On April 28, US President Donald Trump, during a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, promised to send ventilators to support Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on Thursday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said the ventilators are yet to arrive in Nigeria.

He said there is no specific date for the arrival of the medical items, and that the information will be made public once the ventilators are received.

“On when the ventilators promised by President Trump will arrive, to the best of my knowledge, they have not arrived. When they do arrive it will be made known to the public,” he said.

On the efforts made by the information ministry in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Mohammed said there has been increased community sensitization against the disease.

He said there has been a series of jingles played on radio stations to enhance rural engagements.

“In addition, we also have support from 40 community and campus radio stations across the country awaiting our jingles,” he said.

“Our aggressive and sustained campaign on the Social Media has gained traction, in the last five days alone some of the videos we posted have been viewed over one million times.”




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