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Abdulrasheed Maina Absent In Court Today, See Why

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Abdulrasheed Maina Absent In Court Today, See Why

Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has been reported absent in the courtroom because of knee problems.

An officer of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Kuje stated this at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday morning.

The officer, who did not mention his name in the open court, told Justice Okon Abang shortly after the matter was called.

Justice Abang had asked the officer why the defendant (Maina) was not produced in court.

The judge directed the court registrar to pass a paper to the prison officer to write his name. Responding, the officer said Maina was not in the courtroom because he was having a problem on his two knees.

He, however, said though he was not in the courtroom, the former pension reformed boss was in a car outside the court premises.

“My lord, the defendant is in the car outside. He has a problem with both kneels,” he said.

Abang then directed the registrar to tell him if he received the hearing notice for the sitting and that court sits at 9 am.

“Registrar, tell him the sitting is in the court not outside the court,” the judge added. Responding, the officer said: “We saw the hearing notice that we should produce him in the courtroom and not outside the court.”

Justice Abang, then, recorded that Maina was absent for the. proceeding.

Maina is handing trial on alleged money laundering to the tune of N2.1 billion

Meanwhile, recall that on June 17, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had urged the Chief Judge of the court, Justice John Tsoho, not to reassign some cases, including Maina’s suit, to another judge.

The anti-graft commission was reported to have applied to Justice Tsoho for a fiat to allow Justice Abang, the presiding judge in these cases, to conclude the matters.

The development followed the transfer of Abang to Warri division of the court in a March 16 circular signed by Tsoho.

Justice Abang was replaced by Justice D.U. Okorowo at the Abuja division.

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Release Nnamdi Kanu Or No Election Will Hold In Anambra — IPOB

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IPOB

The Indigenous People of Biafra have declared a one-week sit-at-home protest across the South-East states starting from November 5, the eve of the Anambra governorship election.

IPOB’s Media and Public Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a statement on Saturday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, said the protest was aimed at prevailing on the Federal Government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The group vowed that the protest would go on as planned if Nnamdi Kanu was not released before November 4.

Recall Nnamdi Kanu is facing trial on a seven-count amended charge bordering on treason and terrorism.

The Federal Government had blamed the IPOB leader for the murder of Dr. Chike Akunyili, the husband of a former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, late Prof. Dora Akunyili.

A Presidential committee set up by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had also accused Kanu of being responsible for the murder of a former presidential aide, Ahmad Gulak, and over 184 others in the South-East.

The 24-member committee comprised members from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Services, the National Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency.

The committee, headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said consequent upon the instigating directives of Kanu, IPOB members and the Eastern Security Network carried out massive attacks on democratic institutions, especially facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission to hamper democratic process in Nigeria.

Kano was arraigned on October 21 with journalists prevented from entering the court to cover the proceedings and the case was adjourned till November 10 for further hearing.

But IPOB in a statement on Saturday asked the Federal Government to release Kanu from custody before November 4, threatening to impose a one-week sit-at-home order across the South East, which could disrupt the November 6 governorship election in Anambra.

Release Nnamdi Kanu Or No Election Will Hold In Anambra — IPOB

The statement read in part, “Following the adjournment of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to November 10, 2021, by the Federal High Court Abuja, we, the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra,  wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafraland from November 5 to November 10 except Sunday, November 7th, a day our people worship the almighty God, if  the Nigerian Government fails to release our leader unconditionally before 4th of November 4, 2021.”

The secessionist group said though it was aware of the adverse effects of the sit-at-home order on the people, it took such a drastic measure to achieve a better purpose in the collective interest of Biafrans.

The statement added, “We have taken time to analyse what transpired on October 21 when our leader was arraigned and discovered that the Federal Government is not sincere and only wants to humiliate him and keep him perpetually in DSS custody to rot there.

“We all saw how lawyers, journalists, Igbo delegates, respected traditional rulers and other people who came from all around the world to witness his court case were restricted and denied access into the court premises by security agents who kept them outside under the scorching sun.”

However, reacting to the proposed one week sit-at-home the apex pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, warned that nothing should threaten the November 6 governorship election.

The spokesperson for the group, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, warned all parties to tread with caution, saying it would be unwise to stop the polls.

Ogbonnia, who said this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday, called for calm while efforts to ensure Kanu’s release were being made by Igbo leaders.

He said, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo urges everybody to show maturity and wisdom especially in issues concerning the Indigenous People of Biafra, especially now that leaders in Igboland from all walks of life have united in the struggle to ensure that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is freed.

“The November 6 Anambra governorship election is very important to all Ndigbos, because the state is the economic live wire of the Igbo. It is in the best interest that Anambra maintains its economic growth. Therefore, we appeal to our youths to show maturity. Anything that disrupts this election is not in the interest of the Igbo. We wish that the election should be held.”

Meanwhile, counsel for Kanu and IPOB, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said that it will not be bothered by what it described as “trending falsehood” and “media propaganda” from the Federal Government linking Kanu with recent high profile killings in the South-East.

Ejiofor, in a text message to one of our correspondents on Saturday, urged IPOB supporters to remain calm, peaceful and be focused.

He vowed that no hearing would be conducted on Kanu’s case without media presence, on November 10.

He said, “There is no cause for alarm Umuchukwu Okike Abiama (children of God Almighty); do not panic at all. I may not wish to dignify their trending falsehood by directly responding to it but it is a bad strategy, already dead on arrival. We saw it coming.

“After a robust outing of October 21 and strong objection raised to the empty charge, the narratives changed. Note that the media has been awash with this false narrative from the first day our client was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria, even before the amended seven-count was filed twice.”Release Nnamdi Kanu Or No Election Will Hold In Anambra — IPOB

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Missing Journalist: IG Assures NUJ Of Resolving Case

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Missing Journalist: IG Assures NUJ Of Resolving Case

The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Usman Alkali has assured the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) of the police force’s readiness to unravel the disappearance of Mr. Tordue Henry Salem, a reporter with the Vanguard Newspapers.

The I-G gave the assurance when members of NUJ, FCT Council, carried out a peaceful march to his office on Monday in Abuja to express displeasure with the silence of the police on the matter.

Alkali, represented by Mr Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, disclosed that Salem’s case was with them, explaining that it was officially reported to the National Assembly Police Station on Oct. 15.

He said from their investigation, Salem slept in the house of his sister some where around Life Camp on Oct. 12, woke up on Oct. 13, took a Bolt Taxi to National Assembly, where he worked for Vanguard.

“After close of work, he was last seen at the National Assembly between 4pm and 5pm on Oct. 13, and thereafter his colleagues never saw him again.

“On Oct. 15, the matter was formally reported at the National Assembly’s Police Station.

“The attention of the FCT Commissioner of Police and IG were drawn to the case. The IGP gave a firm instruction that all materials and human resources should be deployed at locating and understanding the rationale behind Salem’s disappearance.

“As I speak to you, we have made significant process in the investigation.

“However,  I am glad that the Chairman of NUJ, FCT Council, understood the significance of confidential briefing and because of that request, I would rather do more of confidential briefing.

“But, we were able to trace when he left the National Assembly. We were able to interact with a young lady who spent time with him that night.

“We have the recordings of the last call he made. Also,  we were able to speak with six different persons he spoke to that night.

“So, there are a lot of efforts behind the scene taking place. The Police intentionally kept quite on the case.

“We call it ‘Technical Silence’, because, we want to get to a comfortable altitude before we talk to the public,” Alkali said.

He said that the suspects or whoever had a hand was still out there, adding that the police would not want to provide too much for the suspects to know how much or how far the police had  gone.

“So, I just want to give a strong assurance that everything, humanly and operationally possible, would be done to solve this case.

“We see the media as integral part of what we do. We appreciate Journalists’ collaboration and support.”

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of NUJ, FCT Council, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, submitted a petition to Alkali signed by himself and Secretary of Council, Mr Ochiaka Ugwu.

The petition is titled “Demand to expedite action for the locating of Mr Tordue Henry Salem, Journalist and Correspondent with the Vanguard Newspaper who has been missing for 12 Days”.

Ogbeche said the FCT Council was optimistic that with adequate funding, up-to-date deployment of technology, well-motivated personnel and proper synergy, the Nigeria Police Force would be positioned to rise up to the task of securing our country alongside other security agencies.

“The IG, Sir, as you are aware, a colleague of ours and a journalist of note, Mr Tordue Henry Salem of the Vanguard Newspapers, went missing on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, right in front of the Total Filing Station less than a 100 meters from the Force Headquarters.

“Some 48 hours after, fellow colleagues who cover the House of Representatives realised he had disappeared, a report was immediately incidented at the National Assembly Police Division.

“This was followed by a petition to both your office and that of the Director-General of the Department of State Service by his employers, Vanguard Media Ltd.

“This was outside calls by the leadership of the NUJ to senior officers of the Police.

“It is regrettable to note that 12 days after Salem disappeared, nothing much has happened to indicate whether he is alive or dead, whether he is captive of the State, a non-state or an alien.

“it is relevant that we remind you that the State owes every Nigerian, particularly a journalist, protection and assurance of safety,” Ogbeche said.

The FCT NUJ Chairman explained that Nigeria had continued to fare badly on the Press Freedom Index for six successive years and it would be most unfortunate if the disappearance of Salem added to the poor rating.

Ogbeche noted that in 2020, a report of Reporters Without Borders showed that Nigeria went five spots down the Press Freedom Index from 115 to 120 out of 180 countries, with the telling remark that Nigeria remained “one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists.”

He further stated that a June 2021 report of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and Media Foundation for West Africa revealed that the media industry recorded seven unresolved killings and 300 violations, affecting about 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses in Nigeria.

“What all these underscores is that the prevailing environment is unsafe, suffocating and dangerous not just for journalists and other media workers but for the sustenance of democracy itself.

“It is in this wise that we are here to demand that Mr Tordue Henry Salem not only be found but that adequate protection be offered to journalists going forward. That the culture of harassment, intimidation, brutalization, and disappearances ends.

“Our demand is reinforced by the fact that as we approach 2023, a General Elections year in Nigeria, the political and economic elites become more desperate to hang on to power and because they will not want to be held accountable to the Nigerian people, the media become their major targets.

“This culture of impunity should and must be arrested by the Nigeria Police as the primary security agency as well as other sister agencies,” Ogbeche stressed.

Journalists during the March

Meanwhile, some journalists who participated in the peaceful March spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Mr Olakunle Awoniyi of WE FM, Abuja said he was happy with what the IG said, adding that he was convinced that the Police would do the needful to find Salem.

Miss Tina Olaitan of the ministry of Information said the disappearance of Salem was not the first of it kind in the country.

“But it has to stop. It is not a crime to be a Journalist. Please the Police should look for Salem.

“If he is dead, let us see his body. If he is alive, let is know what he did. We are worried,” she added

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NYSC Coordinator Charges Corps Members On Skills Acquisition

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NYSC Begins Training 200 Corps Members As Enumerators In Bauchi-Crystal News

Mr. Chris Jimba, the Imo coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps, has urged Batch C Stream I corps members in the state to acquire skills to increase their capacity.

Jimba made the call while inaugurating the Scheme’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme at its permanent orientation camp in Eziama Obaire, Nkwerre Local Government Area of the state on Monday.

He said that painstaking efforts to learn viable skills were required of the corps members as an opportunity for self-development, job creation and improvement of their individual and family lives.

He added that the skills training would avail participating corps members the opportunity of exposure to demand-driven ventures and enhancement of technical capacity.

According to him, such skills will be useful during job search as well as afford beneficiaries a birds eye view of start-up funding options available for corps members.

” The SAED programme affords you an opportunity to acquire useful skills with which you can make a living.

“It also exposes you to funding options for business start-up after national service.

“Take advantage of this opportunity provided by management to stay a step ahead in job and wealth creation and improve your lives,” he said.

In response, one of the corps members, Olaniyan Abimbola, thanked the organisers of the training for the opportunity and pledged to put the skills to good use.

The event featured exhibitions by the respective skills classes coordinated by the director of SAED department, Mr Hilary Nasamu.

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