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FG To Re-Arraign Sowore For Treasonable Felony, Money Laundering And Cybercrimes On Monday Under New Judge

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal Government will, on Monday, arraign Sahara Reporters publisher and convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Omoyele Sowore, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

According to Punch, he is to be arraigned on seven counts of treasonable felony, money laundering, and cybercrimes which was instituted against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Department of State Service, which has been detaining the former presidential candidate since August 3, continues to hold him in custody in violation of the court order granting him bail six days ago.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who earlier on August 8, granted the DSS permission to hold the activist for 45, had on September 24, granted him bail.

Despite meeting the bail condition on September 25, Sowore has not been released by the DSS.

Multiple sources confirmed to our correspondent on Saturday that the criminal case instituted against Sowore was not assigned to Justice Taiwo Taiwo, but to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who has subsequently fixed Monday for arraignment.

The DSS on August 3, 2019, arrested Sowore for calling for a revolution through a protest scheduled to hold on August 5.

On August 8, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court granted the DSS permission to hold the activist in custody for 45 days.

Barely 24 hours before the expiration of the 45 days period on September 21, the AGF office, on September 20, filed seven counts against the activist.

On September 24, upon a request by Sowore’s legal team led by Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted bail to him with the sole condition that he deposit his passport in the court’s registry.

He has since met the bail condition.

In the charges instituted against the defendants, the prosecution accused Sowore and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, of committing conspiracy to commit a treasonable felony in breach of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act.

The prosecution alleged that the defendants committed the offense by allegedly staging “a revolution campaign on August 5, 2019, aimed at removing the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The prosecution also accused them of committing the actual offense of treasonable felony in breach of section, 4(1)(c) of the Criminal Code Act, by using the platform of Coalition for Revolution, on August 2019 in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, to stage the #RevolutionNow protest allegedly aimed at removing the President.

It also accused Sowore of cybercrime offences in violation of section 24(1)(b) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, by “knowingly” sending “messages by means of press interview granted on Arise Television network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

It also accused Sowore of money laundering offences in breach of section 15(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 by alleged transferring by means of swift wire, various sums of money from his United Bank of Africa Plc account with number 3002246104 into Sahara Reporters Media Foundation’s account with Guaranty Trust Bank in order to conceal the origin of the funds.

Meanwhile, Lagos lawyers, Mr Monday Ubani and Mr Jiti Ogunye, on Saturday condemned an alleged plot to drag Justice Taiwo Taiwo, before the National Judicial Council for disciplinary action for granting bail to Sowore.

Although the Department of State Service has refused to obey the judge’s order, the media report said the “security intelligence community” was shocked by Justice Taiwo’s decision to grant bail to Sowore and had decided to report the judge to the NJC.

The DSS has continued to hold Sowore in custody since August 3, 2019, in violation of the order by Justice Taiwo granting the activist bail on Tuesday.

Reacting to the report, Ubani, a former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, said the attitude of law enforcement agencies could destroy the legal profession and called on lawyers to rise up against the menace.

He said, “It is high time lawyers stood up against this calamitous destruction of the legal system by the security agencies in Nigeria. We, lawyers, cannot keep quiet anymore because they are trying to destroy the only area where we are operating, which is the court.

“Judiciary is the only place where we operate, so if they succeed in destroying it, no one will have regard and respect for us and for the country.

“If lawyers allow the judiciary to be emasculated by the executive, we are finished; Nigeria is gone, the legal profession is finished. He, therefore, advised that all men and women of conscience should stand up and urge the Nigerian leaders to respect court orders. If we no longer want the judicial arm of government, the constitution should be duly amended to that effect and everyone will know that Nigeria has no judiciary anymore.”

Ubani, however, said the story about the plan to report the judge to the NJC might not be true “but a figment of the imagination of the reporter.”

He added that even if the DSS planned to appeal against the judge’s ruling, it was duty-bound first to obey the order.

On his part, Ogunye said the report “is being laundered” in order “to deliberately misinform and mislead the reading public and the Nigerian people on this issue.”

He also said the report was “calculated to justify the unwarranted and irresponsible disobedience of the court order granting Omoyele Sowore bail, pending the time he may be arraigned in court in respect of the charge/information said to have been filed against him.”

Ogunye said, “We are of the opinion that the story is meant to prejudice the enforcement of Omoyele Sowore’s right to liberty whenever he may be arraigned in court on the said charge/information, and frustrate the prospect of his being granted a post-charge and arraignment bail; the story is preemptive and published to scare the trial judge that may preside over his charge, arraignment, and trial, to refuse to exercise his discretionary power to grant him bail whenever he is eventually arraigned.”

He said contrary to “the misinformation” in the story that any person who is charged with the offense of treasonable felony in Nigeria is precluded from being granted bail, he noted that by virtue of section 161(1) and (2), of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act “all criminal offences, including capital offences, are bailable.”

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Kogi Results: Corpers, Returning Officers Forced To Sign New Election Results – Dino Melaye Cries Out

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Dino, Melaye, candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Kogi West Senatorial District election, on Sunday claimed that National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Polling Officers are being forced to sign election results.

According to Melaye, NYSC Officers at the early hours of Sunday were forced to sign new election results.

He also added that figures had been changed at local government collation centers in the state, and results were being compromised by returning officers.

Melaye disclosed this on his official Twitter page.

He wrote: “NYSC pooling officers forced to sign new results. What class of desperation. In God alone I trust

“Figures being changed across the Local Government collation centers. Absolute compromise by returning officers.”

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Ogun Govt Signs MoU On Urban Renewal, Public Transportation With Britain

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The Ogun State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Britain as parts of efforts to bring urban renewal and public transportation up to speed The MoU will cover modern strategies to be put in place to accommodate the expected population explosion in the state and to address its effect on public infrastructure, especially, transportation.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who signed on behalf of the State Government and a Counsellor and head of Future Cities Programme of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Guy Harrison, agreed that it has become expedient to be futuristic.

The partnership drive between the Ogun State and the British government is captured under a programme called “Future Cities Nigeria”, a UKAID-funded urban renewal programme. It has a timeline of three years.

According to the programme outline, UK will provide support for the Ogun State transport sector.

The British Government will also fast track housing and urban development in Ogun, which is currently facing the challenge of absorbing spillover of the population explosion in Lagos State.

Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony held at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, Mr. Talabi commended the initiative, saying it would complement the various efforts of the state government in its desire to plan for a common prosperous future for the people of the state and for physical infrastructure.

Talabi noted that the present administration was duly committed to providing the enabling environment for such partnerships to thrive seamlessly.

“We thank the British Government and the Future Cities Nigeria for these laudable initiatives targeted at planning towards the future in Ogun State. This level of support cannot be diminished because the Prince Dapo Abiodun led-administration is determined to change the narrative on how things are being done,” he said.

These, he said, can be seen in the various interventions of the state government in road rehabilitation efforts, the security of lives and property, as well as the ease of doing business strategies amongst many others.

“Our desire is to make Ogun State, a place where you could live peacefully, and work prosperously for the future” he noted.

Mr. Talabi reassured the partners that the present government would not just pay lip service to governance issues, but would continue to accelerate even development and stimulate rapid investments within the state through workable collaborations with Lagos State.

“Part of our effort in this direction is beginning to bear fruits with the setting up of the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission. It is meant to accelerate inter-state collaboration. We are already intensifying effort on road rehabilitation, provision of potable water supply, amongst many other initiatives still in the offing,” he added.

The State chief scribe thereafter reassured the partners of government’s commitment towards the realisation of the project in the state for the well-being of the entire populace.

On his part, Mr. Harrison, who is the leader of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, said that the team was in the State to support the policies of the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration in order to fully maximise all the benefits of urban renewal and transportation available.

He promised that the support of the British Government for urban renewal and public transportation in the State would be total. The primary focus, he noted, would be to develop the capacity of the people and the state at large.

“The British High Commission is extremely delighted with the State government on the various policies on sustainable development, job creation, poverty reduction and many others targeted at giving the people a new lease of livelihood,” he added.

Also, the Team Lead for the Future Cities programme, Mr. Simon Gusah, underscored the importance of planning as a prerequisite to nation building.

He said there was an urgent need for government at all levels to start planning for future challenges ahead, noting that the initiative was predicated on inclusive prosperity for all.

Mr. Gusah contended that the programme represents a catalytic intervention aimed at leveraging international and British expertise towards improving trade and investments between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

He asserted that the programme has the potential to facilitate additional finance and improved opportunities for international and UK businesses in Ogun State.

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REVEALED: How Policeman Raped Colleague’s 9-year-old Daughter In Lagos Barracks

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A 45-year-old policewoman (name withheld) on Thursday narrated to an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court how a fellow police personnel, Mohammed Alidu, allegedly defiled her nine-year-old daughter in a police barracks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the policewoman was the second Prosecution Witness (PW2) in the trial of Alidu, a police sergeant, for defilement.

The PW2 was led in evidence by Mr Akin George, Deputy-Director, Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

She said that the defendant accosted her daughter (name withheld) on her way home from school, dragged her into his house and defiled her.

“We live at Makinde Barracks, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos.

“On June 29, 2018, I was at work when my husband, who was out of Lagos, called me to inform me that Sgt. Mohammed defiled our daughter.

“I went to the police station which is within the same compound of the barracks, and my daughter was in the police station.

“My daughter told me that when she was coming back from school, Mohammed called her, but she did not respond.

“She said he forcefully took her to his apartment, put her on a bed, tore her underwear and defiled her,” she said.

According to her, Mohammed was also at the police station, begging and telling the divisional police officer that it was the work of the devil.

The policewoman said that her daughter was taken to the Mirabel Center (a sexual assault referral center) for medical examination, and doctors confirmed that she was defiled.

During cross-examination by defense counsel, Mr Sunday Odise, the policewoman told the court that the defendant lived near her residence.

“He did not have a house within the barracks. He was sleeping in a shop opposite our home,” she said.

Earlier, the PW1 and the investigative police officer of the case, Sgt. Juweratu Ashiru told the court that shortly after the alleged defilement, the victim reported the incident at the police station.

“She told me that when Mohammed dragged her into the wooden house he lived, to defile her, she screamed during her ordeal and that no one rescued her.

“Mohammed was arrested at the wooden house where the crime occurred, and when we took his confessional statement, he said that it was the devil’s work.

“He said we should forgive him and drop the case, but we refused and said that he must face the full wrath of the law.

“The victim’s underwear was torn. I recovered the underwear and it was kept as an exhibit in the Gender Unit of the Police Force,” Ashiru said.

NAN reports that Justice Abiola Soladoye ordered members of the public to leave the courtroom when the alleged victim, now 10-year-old, was to give evidence.

After she testified, the judge adjourned the case until Jan. 15, 2020, for the continuation of trial.

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