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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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APC, PDP Go Spiritual As Supreme Court Decides Sokoto, Benue, Kano, Bauchi Polls Today

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There is anxiety in Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto and Kano states following the tension created in view of the Supreme Court’s judgment on the governorship elections in the two states billed to be delivered today (Monday).

Some elders in the Bauchi under the aegis of the Coalition of Elders for Peace and Good Governance in Bauchi State appealed to the people to remain calm.

They made the appeal in a statement on Sunday signed by Sarkin Arewan Bauchi, Alhaji Hassan Sharif, and 19 others.

They said, “As elders, we foresee the danger in crises, and we won’t like a situation where the generation of our unborn children suffer because of the inactions of some unscrupulous elements within our midst.

“It is on this basis that we call on the good citizens of Bauchi State to maintain the tempo they are known for by accepting whatever decision the Supreme Court may make as Bauchi should be our first priority.”

The Bauchi State Government had expressed confidence that Governor Bala Mohammed would emerge victorious.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr Ladan Salihu, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday

He said the apex court’s judgment sacking Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State, would not have any negative effect on Bala’s election.

Salihu also said Bala, who returned to the country from a “routine medical trip” to the United Kingdom on Saturday, was not bed-ridden as being insinuated.

He said the governor would attend the Supreme Court’s hearing on Monday.

Delivering judgment on the appeal arising from the last gubernatorial election in Imo State, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, had sacked Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party and replaced him with Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress.

But Salihu said the situation that led to the Supreme Court’s verdict would not be applicable in the case of Bauchi State, and would, therefore, have no effect on Bala’s victory.

The commissioner said, “The case that played out in Imo State and the one that will play out in Bauchi State is as different as chalk is from cheese.

“In our own case, all the elections in all the polling units were conducted and votes were counted. All the issues that were in contention were sorted at the ballot box and at the end of the day, Governor Bala Mohammed emerged a comprehensive winner.”

Meanwhile, a civil society organization, Arewa Youth Mobilisation and Mass Mobilisation for Voting Wisely, has urged politicians and supporters of political parties in the state to avoid overheating the polity ahead of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

A spokesman for the group, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, stated this while addressing a press conference in Bauchi.

He also urged security agents to be on the alert with a view to forestalling any potential break down of law and order after the judgment.

In Kano, members of Kwankwasiyya group of the Peoples Democratic Party have embarked on fasting and prayers for the judgment to be in their favour.

Also, the All Progressives Congress members have embarked on fasting and prayers, according to sources who spoke with one of our correspondents.

The spokesman for Abba Yusuf, the PDP governorship candidate, Sanusi Tofa, said, “The party loyalists, including the entire members of the Kwankwasiya group, voluntarily declared today (Sunday) for fasting ahead of tomorrow’s (Monday) ruling.

When one of our correspondents visited the Government House on Sunday, it was observed that both Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, his deputy, Dr Nasiru Gawuana, top government functionaries and some party chieftains had gone to Abuja.

It was also learnt that loyalists of the ruling APC had embarked on fasting and prayers for the judgment to be in their favour.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State on Sunday expressed fears over Monday’s Supreme Court judgment on the governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Sokoto and Plateau states.

The party said the states could go the way of Imo State.

The PDP chairman in the state, Mr Felix Hyet, made the position of the party known at a press conference.

Hyet said the PDP felt shortchanged by the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo State.

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BIG STORY

26-Year-Old Mother Of One Fakes Own Kidnap, Demands N10m Ransom From Employer

Peter Okunoren

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Operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a 26-year-old mother of one, Ataghar Namdoo, for allegedly faking her own kidnap.

DSP Bala Elkana, the Command’s spokesman, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Elkana said the suspect conspired with her boyfriend, Emmanuel Idu, and one Okpe David, to produce two short videos of herself being kidnapped.

He said: “In the videos, the lady was blindfolded and driven to a bush in a truck at Sangotedo area, Ajah, where she was threatened by a man wearing a mask and holding a Jackknife.

“Police, upon investigation, later identified the masked man as Idu, who is the boyfriend of the lady.

“The abductors were demanding for N10 million as ransom from her employer with a threat to kill her and also go after the family of the employer if the ransom is not paid.”

Elkana said the frightened employer, who was into fleet business, reported the case to the Police.

He added: “On the receipt of the case, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, ordered the anti-kidnapping unit to carry out an in-depth investigation into the case.

“The videos were thoroughly analyzed alongside other vital leads and a well-coordinated operation was put in place which led to the successful rescue of the victim and the arrest of the two suspects.”

Elkana said that Okpe David was in police custody, while Idu was on the run.

He said: “The three suspects all come from Benue State. They have known each other for so many years. Both the lady and the man arrested confessed to the commission of the crime.

“It is worthy to note that it is a criminal offense for anyone to fake his or her kidnapping.

“Under the Lagos State laws, the offender upon conviction is liable to 14 years imprisonment.
“The suspects will be charged to court.”

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BIG STORY

Many Die, Over 200 Houses Burnt As Fresh Pipeline Fire Rocks Lagos [ Graphic Videos]

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The National Emergency Management Agency on Sunday said two bodies had been recovered from the explosion site of a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline at Ile Epo axis of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Ibrahim Farinloye, Acting Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, NEMA, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

However, from gory videos and pictures released by The Eagle Online, several persons died in the inferno that followed the fire outbreak.

Over 200 houses and vehicles were reportedly burnt as at press time.

Several persons also suffered varying degrees of injury from the fire.

NAN reports that the raging fire caused panic among the residents of Abule Egba, Ile Epo and Ekoro Road due to the thick smoke, which oozed out from the explosion scene.

Farinloye said several buildings and articulated vehicles were engulfed in the inferno which happened on Sunday night.

He noted that the cause of the incident had yet to be ascertained, saying emergency responders immediately swung into action after receiving distress calls from some residents of the area.

He said: “NEMA and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency officials are here.

“The Lagos State Fire Service officials are here trying to put off the fire.

“We have contacted NNPC to shut down the pipelines and so far, we have been able to recover two bodies.”

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Director General, LASEMA, also confirmed the incident in a statement.

Oke-Osanyintolu said: “A raging fire from the explosion of a vandalized NNPC pipeline has caused panic among residents within Awori, U-turn and Pipeline communities in Abule Egba.

“LASEMA, Lagos Fire Service are responding and are on top of the situation.”

It will be recalled that a similar incident had occurred on December 5, 2019, after some suspected pipeline vandals disrupted the Atlas Cove-Mosinmi Pipeline, part of the System 2B Pipeline at Peace Estate, Varies in Idimu axis of the state.

 

 

 

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