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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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Politics

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, Wins Primary for Second term

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The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has  emerged winner of the state governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress.

In the primary election conducted at the MKO International Stadium, Abeokuta, five other aspirants contested against the governor.

The aspirants include Olubiyi Otegbeye, Mrs Modele Sarafa- Yussuf, Mr Owodunni Opayemi, Remilekun Bakare and Abdukadir Akinlade.

Of the six aspirants, only Abiodun, attended the primary, while agents of all other aspirants, announced their presence and did what was expected of them.

Giving the details of the  election, that was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere,  the Chairman of the Ogun State  APC Primary Election  Committee, Chief Wale Ohu, disclosed that 1,180 delegates, from the 20 local governments, were accredited for the exercise.

Announcing the results, Ohu, said Abiodun scored 1,168 votes, while other aapirants, did not secure any vote, saying that two votes were voided.

Prior to the commencement of the process, Ohu, announced to the delegates and all the leaders of the party that attended the event, that all required agents, were present.

Ohu took time to read out names of the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other officials of the APC officials that were sent from the National Secretariat.

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Lagos Security: Ifalade Host Corp Superintendents, Harps on Preparedness

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Ifalade Ajasa with His Men

The General Manager of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Agency LNSA; Prince Dr. Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan has advised Corp Officers to remain focused as politics goes full swing in preparation for the 2023 general elections across the country.

Ifalade said this while speaking to Corp Superintendent from the 57 LGAs and LCDAs at a special briefing held at the Corp headquarters, Oshodi.

At the meeting, He advised Corp Superintendents to raise their level of preparedness through regular drills and security advocacy with officers of the agency.

Dr Rasak Balogun, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund paid a surprise visit to the Agency and also enjoined officers to imbibe the culture of Multitasking in the face of the expected challenges officers will confront in view of the forthcoming Elections amid other security issues.

Prince Oyekan on behalf of the Agency, thanked Dr. Rasak Balogun for his usual support while assuring the general public of the Agency’s readiness to meet the challenges expected from the high octane politics, and sundry safety and security issues.

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Business

Zenith Bank: Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe Releases Certified True Copy (CTC) of her Judgment, Call Out Fake and Junk Journalist

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Contrary to the widely reported fake news by some faceless online news platform that Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in his recent judgement allegedly accused foremost financial management in Nigeria, Zenith Bank of fraud and bribery, the astute judge who is bitter with such report have released the original certified True Copy. 

 

In the original certified True Copy, it was confirmed that the respectable Justice never said something of such while delivering her judgement.

 

According to Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe, all what the online media platforms said she delivered, were all fake and wondered how and where they got their own reports.

 

The certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment is now in the open for anyone to see.

 

These online platforms had reported that the Justice accused Zenith Bank Plc of bribing both the judges and lawyers for 11 years to pervert justice, with several online media outlets alleging that Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe made the claim on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 while delivering judgment in a suit marked LD/ADR/186/2014 between Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited as claimant and Zenith Bank Plc and State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) as first and second defendants respectively.

 

One such publication quotes the judge as saying “My recommendation is that Zenith Bank is a fraud and people must be very careful in their dealings with the bank.”

 

Some of the other quotes read: “Zenith Bank bribed the lawyers in the matter.

 

“This they have done for 11 years. So many lawyers and judges have been bribed in this matter just perverting justice. What is more embarrassing, the current governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele was the one who came to navigate and begged for the deposit. He has not been able to do anything to Zenith Bank because he was the managing director of the bank at the time of this transaction.”

 

However, nowhere in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment that was made available to credible news platforms showed that the Judge did not make such statements.

 

While the Judge did make a scathing criticism of the bank, Justice Fadipe did not accuse Zenith bank of bribing judges and lawyers for 11 years to fraudulently alter the course of justice, as claimed by the online mediums.

 

There was also no mention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele in the CTC of the judgment.

 

The judge’s comments, as contained in the judgement, include: “The 1st defendant has been the beneficiary of the malevolent game of chess it plunged both claimant and the 2nd defendant into, holding the sum of N872,780,552.84 in its custody without paying interest thereon from 17th February 2011 until 2nd February 2016 when the Court ordered that the money be paid into an interest yielding account in the names of the claimant and the 2nd defendant pending determination of the suit, which order was curiously varied by the consent of all the parties on 20th September 2016 so that the money remained in the 1st defendant’s custody without interest.

 

“The act of the 1st defendant was unconscionable and detrimental to the goodwill of the claimant and its trade credit with its customers. It was a deliberate and malicious act against the interest of the claimant and the 1st defendant continues to enjoy the largesse in bad faith. Exhibits C4 and C5 clearly state that the funds to be transferred were to offset part of the claimant’s indebtedness for the importation of dictionaries, but the 1st defendant was impervious to this need. I therefore find and hold that the claimant is entitled to substantial damages against the 1st defendant for the injury caused to it.”

 

The judge made the comments while granting the claimants four reliefs.

 

The reliefs are that the 1st defendant (Zenith) was in breach of contract when on 7th October, 2011 it refused the claimant to draw from its account No. 1012465427 “despite the fact that the said account was in enough credit to cover the withdrawals sought to be made on the said date.”

 

The judge further restrained the bank “from disturbing or refusing the claimant from operating its account No. 1012465427 in the 1st defendant’s bank or from honouring the claimant’s transfer or payment obligations to third parties from the said account as long as same is in credit.”

 

It granted an “interest of 15% per annum on the sum of N872,780,552.84 from 7th October 2011 when the 1st defendant denied the claimant access to the funds in its account which was in credit at that date till judgment.

 

“Interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% per annum from judgment date till final liquidation thereof.

 

“Costs of this action in the sum of N2.5million.”

 

Of a truth, Zenith Bank has had a record of open and transparent operations, this earned the organization four SERAS CSR Africa Awards that include “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.

 

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.

 

Zenith Bank has continued to distinguish itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service offerings, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

 

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