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Orji Kalu Will Receive Full Salaries, Allowances In Prison — Senate

Peter Okunoren

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The convicted Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while in prison, the Senate has said.

This is despite that he will not be performing any legislative function from prison.

The spokesperson of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, disclosed this to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday.

He said despite the conviction, Mr Kalu remains a sitting senator and will be paid all of his entitlements in full.

He said until the case gets to Supreme Court and a final judgement is given, Mr Kalu remains a serving lawmaker.

“He is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level.

“Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for an appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you.

“All his entitlements will be paid. There is no cause for alarm. In fact, even if the Court of Appeal says they have upheld the judgement of the lower court, he still has the right to go to Supreme Court. So once the Supreme Court says, yes, the judgement is okay, then that’s the final,” he explained.

Earlier, Mr Akwashiki said Mr Kalu’s seat will not be declared vacant.

He explained that no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.

Mr Kalu’s seat will not be declared vacant except he (Mr Kalu) has explored all the legal options available to him without success, he said.

“Even the tenure of a former governor Joshua Dariye, who has been in prison for some time now, ran its course until the end of the 8th National Assembly. Nobody declared his seat vacant.”

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced Mr Kalu to 12 years in prison after convicting him of N7.65 billion fraud.

Mr Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, was pronounced guilty of the charge in a trial that lasted for 12 years.

The conviction comes 12 years after the ex-governor was first arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2007 and was tried alongside his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Mr Kalu’s tenure as governor.

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Fayose Canvasses ‘Stomach Infrastructure’ To Save Lives Amidst Lockdown, Says Hunger Kills Faster Than COVID-19

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The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayo Fayose, on Monday called on governments at all levels, religious bodies, corporate organizations and well-meaning individuals to focus on strategic implementation of “stomach infrastructure.”

Fayose, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti through his Media Aide, Mr Lere Olayinka, said that his advice should be taken seriously.

According to him, hunger can kill faster than Coronavirus.

The former governor, who added that the human and economic losses, occasioned by the pandemic, would be mind-boggling, stressing “in the face of all these, leaders should remain as leaders and stand up for their people.”

He hailed the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his pro-activeness and unrelenting efforts in the management of these challenges as well as his transparency and interface with the people.

Fayose particularly called on the Federal Government to emulate the Lagos State government and do more in the area of prompt information dissemination to stem the tide of misinformation in the country.

The statement read in part; “Regrettably, we all did not plan or ever imagined this level of attack, occasioned by COVID-19.

“Same has humbled the World Powers, not to talk of Third World countries like our country, Nigeria.

“The human and economic losses seem endless and in the face of all these, leaders must remain leader and stand up for their people.

“We all know the sit-at-home is inevitable; governors and council chairmen, as well as churches and mosques that have received allocations and offerings, must forget projects and embark on full-scale strategic implementation of ‘stomach infrastructure’.

“It is time to give back to the people, as nothing else will matter now. Yam, cassava, garri, and others can be bought locally and distributed, while bakers will be glad to be patronized to bake for people for free daily, while it lasts.

“This will help to enforce the government’s stay-at-home order effortlessly. The Federal Government will be making billionaires if the so-called palliatives and physical cash is managed by the wrong hands.

“I appeal to the general public to show understanding, knowing that our challenges outweigh our income as at today.

“Today, I am sure what is on the minds of ordinary Nigerians is: ‘on stomach infrastructure we stand’. This, if well implemented, will no doubt help to enforce the stay-at-home order effortlessly.”

NAN recalls that Fayose was an apostle of stomach infrastructure while in office as governor for the second term and made it the hallmark of his administration, despite the huge criticism that greeted the idea.

 

(NAN)

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COVID-19: I Never Said There’s No Hunger In Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has debunked some reports recently attributed to the federal government, describing them as fake news.

The Minister, while speaking on Monday at the daily press briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lamented some elements were bent on distracting the federal government’s efforts at fighting the pandemic.

It the same vein, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, also described the belief within a section of the population that COVID-19 is an elite disease as grossly erroneous.

Mohammed decried the fact that those behind fake news were bent on distracting the work of the committee

The Minister denied ever saying there was no hunger in the country in response to complaints by a large section of the population in reaction to the restriction order and other stringent measures put in place to fight to the pandemic.

“Those who are bent on distracting the Federal Government through fake news from its focused fight against COVID-19 have not relented.

“The latest in this is the claim that I said there is no hunger in the land and that the federal government has made available N100 billion to Nigerians. It is fake. There was no time I said it nor anybody in the Taskforce said so.

“Two, they are also carrying fake news that members of the Taskforce have agreed on the sharing formula of the money that is coming into the Taskforce. Once again, it is false.

“These people are bent on distracting the government from its focus fight against COVID-19. One of the reasons we have this daily press conference is to give you updates on COVID-19.

“Any other news not emanating from either the ministers or this press conference related to COVID-19 cannot be attributed to us.

“The NCDC has a website and you can get an update on COVID-19. Some websites are notorious for this fake news and one of them is reporterspressng.com. I will advise Nigerians not to go there,” he said.

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JUST IN: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Moved To Intensive Care After Condition Worsens

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in hospital after his coronavirus symptoms “worsened”, Downing Street has said.

Mr Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize “where necessary”, a spokesman added.

The prime minister, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London with “persistent symptoms” on Sunday.

The spokesman said he was moved on the advice of his medical team and is receiving “excellent care”.

A statement read: “Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”

It continued: “The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks to all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

Mr Johnson was initially taken to hospital for routine tests after testing positive for coronavirus 10 days ago.

His symptoms included a high temperature and a cough.

Earlier on Monday, he tweeted that he was in “good spirits”.

Last month, the prime minister’s spokesman said if Mr Johnson was unwell and unable to work, Mr Raab, as the first secretary of state, would stand-in.

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