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N5.2bn Case: JAMB Ex-registrar Operated Eight Phony Firms, Says Aide

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Prof ‘Dibu Ojerinde, the former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, allegedly founded eight companies, purchased three buildings, and bank shares through his cronies while holding public office, according to a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

When Ojerinde was the chief executive of JAMB, he allegedly bought the companies, two duplexes, a bungalow, and bank shares.

Peter Oyewole, a witness for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, made the revelations while testifying in the N5.2 billion corruption case against Ojerinde.

The witness, who was a legal adviser to the ex-JAMB Registrar, admitted that he incorporated the eight companies and purchased the three houses for Ojerinde as his client on oral and written instructions.

The companies are Oke-Afin Boys and Girls Hostel Limited, Sapati International School, Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Limited, Cheng Marbles Limited, Standout Institute Limited, Trillion Learning Centre Limited, Grace Petroleum Limited, and Ifelodun Communications Limited.

The certificates of incorporation of the companies and the title documents of the three buildings allegedly purchased for the defendant in Abuja were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.

Oyewole, who was led in evidence by the ICPC counsel, Ebenezer Sogunle, claimed to have been called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999.

He told Justice Obiora Egwuatu that the companies were floated in the names supplied to him by the defendant.

Oyewole testified that Ojerinde was registered as a director in two of the companies, while his cronies were used as directors in the rest, adding that he never met any of the cronies at the time he was using their names at the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The cronies used to register the companies, according to him, are Ojerinde Dayo, Ojerinde Olumide, Awodayo Habib, Adeyanju Gbenga, Ojerinde Olutoyin, Ojerinde Akanbi, Ojerinde Adedayo, Olayiwola Ayanwale, Ibrahim Danmusa, and Sanusi Alade Najeem, among others.

Oyewole said the receipts obtained in the course of transactions for the defendant were received and acknowledged in writing on behalf of the ex-registrar by his son and a serving member of the House of Representatives, Olumide Ojerinde.

The witness, who claimed to be an indigene of the same town, Igboho, with Ojerinde, denied registering companies for the defendant to blackmail him, adding that everything he did was on the instructions of the defendant.

To buttress his point, the witness tendered 12 letters exchanged between him and the defendant as well as 17 photocopies of bank drafts issued for his payment for the registration of the companies and the purchase of the three buildings.

The 17 photocopies of the bank drafts allegedly delivered to him by one Dr. Jimoh Olabisi, a former Director of Finance in JAMB, were admitted as exhibits.

The witness further told the court that Ojerinde acquired millions of shares in Osanta Microfinance Limited in addition to being a director in the firm at the time he was JAMB registrar.

However, Ojerinde’s counsel, Ibrahim Ishyaku (SAN), could not cross-examine the witness on the grounds that several documents tendered and admitted as exhibits were not part of the proof of evidence supplied to him.

The lawyer applied for an adjournment to enable him to obtain the documents and carefully study them.

Due to no objection by the ICPC counsel, Justice Egwuatu fixed April 4 and 5 for the continuation of trial.

The anti-graft agency had last year slammed 18 charges against Ojerinde bordering on alleged diversion of public funds to the tune of N5.2bn.

BIG STORY

[VIDEO] Herdsmen Kill Bus Conductor In Lagos Over Cow’s Death

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Persons identified as herdsmen have stabbed a bus conductor to death for killing a cow in Lagos.

This happened in the early hours of Monday and became public in a viral video from the scene of the accident.

According to one of the videos making rounds on social media platforms, the incident occurred at Mowo on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, close to President Muhammadu Buhari Estate.

The commentator in the video said the bus conductor, who fled after the accident that led to the death of the cow, was killed close to a police checkpoint.

The driver, who was said to be heading to Badagry from Mile 12, was said to have fled as soon as he sensed danger.

This made the herdsmen go after the conductor of the bus with registration number: FKJ 756 XH.

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JUST IN: Olukayode Ariwoola To Be To Sworn In As Acting CJN

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Report has it that plans are underway to swear in Olukayode Ariwoola as a tentative replacement for the former CJN, Tanko Muhammad so as to leave no vacuum.

Ariwoola is the next highest-ranking justice of the supreme court and he is expected to take over in an acting capacity from Monday.

According to the procedure for the appointment of the CJN, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) shortlists two or three most senior judges among the supreme court justices and sends their names to the National Judicial Council (NJC) which then selects one candidate and forwards it to the president before it goes to the Senate confirmation.

But to leave no vacuum, an acting CJN must be appointed.

ABOUT OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA

Ariwoola was born in Iseyin, Oyo State, on August 22, 1958. He had his primary education at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown between 1959 and 1967. He then moved to Muslim Modern School in the same town from 1968 to 1969 before graduating to Ansar-Ud-Deen high school, Saki area of Oyo, for secondary education.

He earned his law degree at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980 and a year later he was called to the Nigeria bar and got enrolled as a solicitor and advocate of the supreme court.

He kicked off his career as a legal officer in the Oyo state ministry of justice and stayed in the role until he moved into private practice in 1988.

Ariwoola spent less than four years in private practice before he was whisked back into public service.

Between 1988 and July 1989, he was a counsel in-chambers of Ladosu Ladapo before moving to establish his own legal firm named “Olukayode Ariwoola & Co”. Three years later, he was called to the bench.

Ariwoola was back in public service by 1992 when he was appointed a judge of the superior court of record in Oyo.

He was named the chairman of the Oyo state armed robbery tribunal between May 1993 and September 1996.

In 2005, he then rose to the position of a justice of the court of appeal and he held the position before he was appointed a justice of the supreme court of Nigeria in 2011.

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Ekweremadu: Immigration Dismisses Organ Donor’s Underage Claim

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The Nigeria Immigration Service has stated that it followed due process in issuing a Nigerian passport to Mr. David Nwamini, who was allegedly trafficked to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting by former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

David had allegedly claimed to be a minor after he arrived in the UK where he was to donate his kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter.

However, photos of his Nigerian passport, making rounds on social media, showed his date of birth to be October 12, 2000, placing him at 21 years old.

Making comment on the controversy surrounding David’s age, Mr. Idris Jere, the Comptroller General of the NIS, at a press conference on Sunday, said Nwamini is indeed 21 according to his record in the possession of the NIS, discarding claims that the Service didn’t thoroughly vet the documents provided by the applicant.

Jere said, “The fact of the matter concerning the case above, therefore, is that Mr. David Ukpo Nwamini applied and paid for the e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the passport office in Gwagwalada, FCT Abuja, on November 2, 2021, for his interview.

“To support his application, Mr. Nwamini presented all necessary documents required including his birth certificate issued by the National Population Commission, showing October 12, 2000, as his date of birth; his National Identification Number, issued by NIMC corroborating the date of birth; a Certificate of Origin issued by Ebonyi State Government Liaison office in Abuja, and a guarantor’s form duly signed.

“NIS relies on documentation supplied by other agencies and we are not under any obligation to go to those agencies to verify those documents. What we do is that we look at the documents and applicants physically. Once that is done, we go ahead to process.”

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Bayelsa West, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has told Nigerians not to hastily pass judgment against Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.

Dickson said this in a statement he issued on Sunday titled, ‘The Ekweremadu I know will not traffic an underage boy for organ harvesting.’

Dickson said, “I am sure from the beginning when this story broke that the Ekweremadu I know could not have taken an underage and underprivileged young man, smuggle him out to harvest organs for whatever purpose.

“The circumstances surrounding this will fully come to light in the cause of investigation.

Also reacting, the Ebonyi State Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, in Abakaliki, on Sunday urged the UK authorities to exercise caution in the investigation of circumstances leading to the arrest and eventual trial of the senator and his wife.

The statement read, “Ebonyi State Government is following up the turn of events and twists that followed the medical intention of the former Deputy Senate President’s family.

“While we urge the UK Government to act progressively and meticulously and critically look at the intention (Mens rea) and the minds of the detained family and please give them the benefit of the doubt, we enjoin the public, especially those with shades of opinions and surge of anxieties to remain calm as we hope to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“The state government is reaching out to the family of David Okemini Ukpo from Ebonyi State, whose information to the Metropolitan Authority of UK orchestrated the criminal charge against the senator and his wife. The state government stands with Senator Ike Ekweremadu at this trial moment and hopes that the truth and nothing but the truth shall guide the outcome of the matter.”

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