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February 12, 2020520

Assaulting an Amotekun officer will attract a fine of N250,000 or a prison term of one month or both.

However, an Amotekun officer cannot be sued for whatever he does in the course of duty but only what he does in his personal capacity.

This is according to the Ekiti State Security Network Agency Bill 2020 which has been submitted to the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Other South-West governors have submitted similar bills to their respective houses of assembly.

Section 36 of the bill states, “Any person who wilfully hinders, delays, obstructs or assaults a member of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps in the course of the exercise of his lawful duties under this law shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one month or to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand naira only (N250,000.00) or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

The bill further states that the security organisation must be headed by a retired law enforcement agent who is not lower than the rank of Major or its equivalent in any other security agency.

Section 14 reads in part, “There shall be appointed by the governor, a corps commander for the agency, who shall be a retired law enforcement officer or military officer not below the rank of a major or its equivalent in other security services.

“The corps commander shall be a person with at least 10 years cognate experience in security matters; (b) be responsible for the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps and implementation of the decisions of the board; (c) hold meetings with his counterparts in other states, particularly Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states on a quarterly basis or as may be collectively determined by the corps commanders in those dates.”

The bill also provides for the establishment of an Amotekun board which is expected to meet not less than four times a year.

The bill will comprise the Commissioner of Police in the state and representatives of other military representatives.

Section 6 reads in part, “There is established for the agency a governing board (referred to in this law as the board). The board shall comprise: a chairman, who shall be a person of proven integrity with experience in security matters and shall be a retired law enforcement or military officer not below the rank of a Major or its equivalent in the other security services; the commissioner of police in the state or his/her representative; one member representing the different services of the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in the state; the state commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state or his/her representative; the Executive Secretary, Ekiti State Security Trust Fund or his/her representative; one representative each of the Community Development Associations drawn from the three senatorial zones the state; the Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers or his representative; the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps Commander.”

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, on Tuesday called for comments from members of the public on the bill for the enabling law for the establishment of Amotekun corps.

Fapohunda said the state Ministry of Justice posted the bill on its website on Monday to enable Ekiti residents and other stakeholders to view it and make comments.

The AG said “Deadline for the submission of comments is Wednesday, 12 February, 2020, at midnight.

The bill, which the AG presented to the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Monday, will be discussed at the State Executive Council on Wednesday (today).

The ministry stated that Amotekun Corps would also “ensure that all persons travelling along the highways, major roads, remote areas, are free to participate in their normal social and economic life without hindrance” and as well “assist the police to carry out any other lawful activity for maintaining law and order in the state”.

However, the Osun State House of Assembly says it has not officially received the bill for Amotekun.

The Speaker, Timothy Owoeye, said this on Tuesday

Speaking through his Press Secretary, Kunle Alabi, Owoeye said the parliament was however expecting the bill “any moment from now.”

But one of our correspondents learnt Osun State Executive Council extensively discussed the bill in its weekly meeting on Monday.

(SOURCE: PUNCH)


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February 7, 2020490

Former Nigerian military ruler, General Sani Abacha, his former Chief Security Officer, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, has said the “Abacha loot” were ‘re-looted and stolen by the dictator’s successors.

Al-Mustapha queried the source of the stories, saying they were just lies against his late boss. He spoke on the Voice of America, VOA, Hausa Service, monitored by journalists in Kaduna on Thursday.

According to him, when late Abacha assumed leadership in Nigeria, there was about $200 billion in Nigeria’s foreign reserve.

“But before Abacha died, our foreign reserve rose to over $900 billion,” he said.

He said late Abacha had stepped on so many toes while he held forte, which is the reason some people were so angry and could sponsor such lies against him.

All the money been repatriated, Al-Mustapha said, were those stolen by some leaders who served after Abacha’s death.

He alleged that late Abacha’s successors in the Presidential Villa were the thieves who stole the billions and hid the money elsewhere.

He said: “I was forced to implicate the leadership of the defunct PTF under President Buhari then, during the military era.

“If there will be a genuine fight against corruption in Nigeria, many people will be arrested.”


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February 7, 2020460

The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the recruitment forms for the Operation Amotekun outfit will be ready next week.

The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Security Matter, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said the recruitment on the operation process had begun.

He said, “We are yet to issue out forms and if there is any form that is out now in Ondo State, it is illegal, we have drafted the forms but we have not issued them out.

“The forms would be out next week. What we want to do is to first recruit. after the recruitment, we will issue out the forms.

“All the traditional rulers and community leaders in the state would be made to sign as guarantors of whoever we want to recruit in their communities.”

Meanwhile, the Convener of Re-elect Buhari Movement in the 2019 presidential election, Mr Emmanuel Umohinyang, has advised the government of the six South-West states to work closely with the police to ensure that the officials of Operation Amotekun were not used against opponents during elections.

Umohinyang, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, proposed that the operational arm of the South-West security outfit should rest with the police, while the administrative arm should be with the state government for the smooth operation of Amotekun.

He also advised operatives of Operation Amotekun not to wear uniform so that they could successfully carry out the role of information gathering.

The RBM convener said, “Let the commissioner of police take care of the operations arm in terms of deployment and supervising them. I do not also see the need to put them in uniforms if they are to be an intelligence-gathering unit.

“They are to live with the people and share information with the police. If you put them in uniforms, they will be easily identified.”


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February 7, 2020470

The Federal Government’s annual Audit Report has stated that the National Examinations Council made payments for examination materials in 2017 totalling N7.2bn billion without evidence of supply of those materials.

The FG audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, titled, ‘Auditor-General’s Report on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria 2017’and obtained by our correspondent, said the council paid the sum of “N7,249,458,443.82 between January and June 2017 without evidence of receipt of the items into the store.”

The audit report, therefore, asked the NECO Registrar, during the year under review, to justify the payment of the sum, adding that payment for supplies “which were not supplied may result in possible misapplication and loss of funds.”

The report partly reads, “Examination materials in the sum of N7,249,458,443.82 were paid for between January and June 2017 without evidence of receipt of the items into the store. There was no evidence to confirm the receipt of the materials or their usage, thereby contravening Financial Regulation 2402 which requires the storekeeper to certify that stores purchased have been received and taken on store ledger charge in the store ledger.

“An inquiry to verify the true position of the items revealed that a committee was in charge of the receipt and distribution of the examination materials. However, despite repeated requests for documentary evidence in relation to the supply, the committee failed to produce any document for verification.

“The risk is that payment for supplies which were not supplied may result in possible misapplication and loss of funds. Evaluation of the response revealed that the issue was not addressed. The recommendation is that the Registrar is required to justify the payment of the sum of N7,249,458,443.82 for examination materials.

“Also, payments in the sum of N298,350,232 were made to staff without payment analysis, job specification and schedule, and locations of the assignments. It was observed that the payments were not classified as cash advances, and all effort to establish the purpose of the payment proved abortive as the commission did not provide such information.”

When contacted to react to the FG report, the NECO Public Relations Officer, Mr Azeez Sanni, said a letter of the request should be sent to the Registrar on the issues.

He said, “I have not seen the report. It is beyond my brief. What I advise you do is to send a letter requesting any explanation you need from the registrar. The Accounts Department is in the best position to give clarifications to that, and you rout it through the registrar.”

(SOURCE:Agencies)


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February 7, 2020610

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji  Sa’ad Abubakar has kicked against the recently launched Northern Security outfit, Operation Shege Ka Fasa.

He blamed the northern elites for allowing some youths to float the outfit which he believed was not necessary.

Why urging the regional leaders to caution the youths, he tasked the governors to rise to the occasion.

The Sultan spoke at a Northern Security Meeting in Kaduna on Thursday, the same state the Coalition of Northern Groups unveiled the symbol of the security outfit.

Sultan said, “I saw it on the television, and the media gave them attention. Now, the elders allowed these youths to go forward.

“So, the elites are our problems, the elders are our problems. If the elders don’t take the lead, the youth will do whatever they like and think they are right. You have to caution these youths by giving them good leadership.

“Now, they have launched their own security outfit I don’t know what they call it, Shege Ka Fasa’, meaning what?

“So, I want to call on northern elders to caution them. Don’t allow these youths to take over leadership from you.

“You have to reach out to everybody no matter how low the person is. So, I think we need to take the bull by the horns and not allow the youths take over responsibility. I think we need to do that and much more.”

He asked the governors of the northern states to tackle the security challenges in the region.

Abubakar also expressed concern over the 50,000 orphans in the region as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Sultan, who is the Nigerian Muslims spiritual leader, said if nothing was done about the orphans, they would turn out to be worse than Boko Haram.

“Several recommendations have been made but are not implemented and as they remain unimplemented, we will continue to suffer the consequences.”

 


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February 6, 2020530

…seeks introduction of sanctions, establishment of Fiscal Responsibility Council

The Senate has initiated moves to ensure strict compliance with fiscal transparency and accountability by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government sequel to the consideration of a bill to repeal and re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central), in her lead debate, said there are “deficiencies that render implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Act too administrative, especially without clear cut punitive measures” as consequence for violations.

According to the lawmaker, in order to make the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) more effective, “there is need to make public consultation mandatory and not discretionary by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.”

She added, “There should be corporate debt limits clearly defined for the three tiers of Government in the MTEF and the strategies for its reduction and sustainability.”

The lawmaker stated further that the bill under amendment, which is intended to improve compliance to fiscal transparency and accountability, makes it mandatory for all corporations and agencies to prepare and submit detailed revenue and expenditure estimates to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

The bill also reinforces the remittance of operational surpluses of eighty percent by Government corporations and agencies to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) as contained in Section 22 of the existing Act.

The piece of legislation also provides for sanctions to all categories of infringements of the Fiscal Responsibility Act such as payment of Fines, prison sentence or both and other punitive measures as may be ordered by the court.

She added that the bill, which seeks to establish the Fiscal Responsibility Council, will guarantee improvement in implementation and compliance with of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure transparency and accountability in the nation’s resources.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) said that for Nigeria to make progress as a country, the Bill to repeal and re-enact the Fiscal Responsibility Act, if passed by the National Assembly, “will deepen accountability and reduce corruption.”

The bill, which scaled second reading during plenary, was referred to the Committee on Finance by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over Thursday’s plenary session.

The Finance Committee which is expected to carry out further legislative work on the bill is Chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC – Lagos West) and expected to report back to the Senate in four weeks.

Meanwhile, four separate bills seeking to establish the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State; the Federal University, Birnin-Kebbi; the College of Education, Mutum Biyu, Taraba State; and Federal University of Technology, Manchok, Kaduna State, all passed second reading on the floor.

The bills were referred by Senator Omo-Agege to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.


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February 6, 2020520

….calls on Health Ministry to investigate disease, as death toll hits 15, infected persons 104

The Senate has raised alarm over the outbreak of a strange epidemic on January 29, 2020, in Oye-Obi Local Government Area of Benue State.

The upper chamber, accordingly, urged the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately mobilize focal persons to the area to investigate and ascertain the nature of the disease which has so far claimed fifteen lives.

The Senate also urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to promptly put up surveillance to contain the disease, see to the treatment of victims and protect others from contacting it.

These were resolutions reached sequel to the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Abba Moro (PDP – Benue South) during plenary on Thursday.

According to him, the first victims of the epidemic outbreak are: Happiness Ogbo, Onajobi Ogbedu, Wisdom Agwo, Andy Edu, all of whom died 48 hours after contacting the undiagnosed disease.

He added that the disease, which is yet to be diagnosed by health authorities and medical experts in Benue State, has symptoms such as headache, internal heat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, weakness of the body and swollen stomach.

“As at Monday, February 3, 2020, the number of persons affected with the strange epidemic has risen to one hundred and four,” Senator Moro lamented.


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February 6, 2020440

the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has called on students in tertiary institutions to change their attitudes and shun all forms of corruption. Magu made the appeal on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 through Head, Cyber Crime Section, EFCC Port Harcourt Zonal Office, Helen Nagberi, who delivered a lecture on his behalf at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, titled:  “Nationwide Attitudinal Re-orientation for Students in Tertiary Institutions.”

While calling on the students to focus on their studies and desist from all forms of cyber crime, Magu noted that, “Our attitude is the sum of who we are. The youth of today are exposed to a number of vices that are capable of ruining their lives permanently”.

Highlighting the negative effects of cyber crime, Magu noted that “It leads to prosecution and prison term for fraudsters, emotional trauma on the victim and his family and tarnishes the country’s image.”

He called on the students to join the EFCC in the fight against corruption, stating that “It is important we unite against corruption not just leaving it in the hands of the EFCC.”

The vice chancellor of the university, Prof Ndowa Lale, who was represented by the Dean of Student Affairs, Otu Ekpeyong, additionally urged the students to embrace attitudinal change as a means to secure a better Nigeria.

“This is important and timely on campus. On a daily basis, we are fighting all manners of vices on campus and we want a secured environment for all of us. Therefore, it is the work for all of us to orientate and change our attitudes to make Nigeria great,” Lale stated.

The programme which was organized by the National Orientation Agency, NOA to sensitize and encourage students in tertiary institutions to shun social vices and inculcate in them desirable behaviors necessary for national development, was attended by representatives of Nigeria Police, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, the EFCC among others.


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February 6, 2020410

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has slammed a16-count charge bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and gun-running against Taraba kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, also known as Wadume, Captain Tijjani Balarabe and 18 others.

Also on the list of defendants are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu; Private Ebele Emmanuel; ASP Aondona Iorbee and Inspector  Aliyu Dadje and Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor.

Others in the charge sheet are Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Ahmad Suleiman (aka Dan Ball); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); Hafizu Bala (aka Maiwelder); and Rayyanu Abdul.

They were charged for the killing of three policemen and two civilians attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, who had gone to Ibi, Taraba State, to arrest the kidnap kingpin.

Five other police officers were injured in the attack by soldiers attacked to Battalion 93, Takum, led by Capt Balarabe, on August 6, 2019.

The attack led to the escape of the kidnap kingpin who was later re-arrested at a village in Kano.

It was gathered that the criminal charge dated February 3, 2020, which is coming six months after the incident, was filed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough; Anthony Egwu, and Peter Amadi, all of the Legal/Prosecution Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja.

It was learned that the charges against the suspects would be filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, this week.

Count one of the charge sheet read:  “That you, Alhaji Hamisu Bala, 33, aka Wadume; Capt. Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe; ASP Aondona Iorbee; Insp. Aliyu Dadje; Auwalu Bala; Uba Bala; Ahmad Suleiman; Bashir Waziri; Zubairu Abdullahi; Rayyanu Abdul and others now at large, between February and April 2019 at Takum and Ibi, Taraba State, within the jurisdiction of this court, while acting in concert, conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

The defendants were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The police stated that the prosecution would rely on the testimonies of 29 eyewitnesses, some of whom would testify on how one Usman Garba was kidnapped on February 16, 2019, at Takum by Wadume and his gang.

They allegedly demanded a N200 million ransom and killed the victim, despite receiving N106.3 million.

“DCP Abba Kyari, CSP Baba Khali, ASP Abdulrahman Mohammed, ASP Bawa James, Insps Habila Samuel and Ilarju Joseph are the investigating police officers in this case; they will testify about their findings in the course of the investigation and will tender exhibits and documents,” the police stated.

Listed as exhibits in the case were the written statements of the defendants, photographs of the victims, autopsy reports, six AK-47 rifles recovered from the gang, three empty shells, one live ammunition and six Volkswagen Sharon buses, and one (police) Toyota Hiace bus, among others.

Among exhibits attached to the charge were the call logs showing the phone communication between Wadume, Balarabe and the police officers at Ibi Police Station in Taraba State.

In one instance, the logs showed that Wadume and the army captain exchanged 166 phone calls. Documents also showed that Wadume also made several calls to the Ibi Divisional Police Officer.

Balarabe, 46, in his statement, admitted that Wadume once gave him fish worth N50,000, adding that he also gave him N200,000 to repair a patrol van which was having mechanical problems.

Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, had on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari, constituted a panel to investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of the  three Police operatives of the IGP Intelligence Response Team, IRT.

The panel’s report culminated in the charges filed against the suspects by the Police.

 


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February 6, 2020530

Shege ka Fasa, a security outfit created by the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, was launched yesterday to operate as the northern regional security outfit similar to Amotekun.

The CNG said the reason for setting up the outfit was to complement the police and military in efforts to deal with the security problem in the region.

The outfit would also  carry out  specific and general task that would realign attitude and thinking of the public with the ideals and objectives of the founding fathers of the region.

Presenting what was described as the northern regional security initiative at Arewa House, Kaduna, spokesman of the group, Abdulazeez Suleiman, said the security initiative was subject to ratification by the northern governors.

He said:   “For the past 12 years, the North has struggled with disabling challenges that include dwindling economy, rising poverty and more worrying, a crippling security situation that has taken a huge toll on lives, property and the overall cohesion of the region.

“The situation manifested in 2008 in the form of a deadly insurgency from the Northeast and within a short time, spread to other parts of the region and virtually turned the entire region into a battlefield.

“While the insurgency raged, other disturbances were created in the region in the form of cattle rustling that pitched northern communities against each other.

‘’A new dimension was introduced to the farmers/herders conflict which gradually deteriorated into an uncontrollable proportion and deepened the artificial rift between communities in the region.”

Suleiman said the trend suddenly metamorphosed into deadly armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom which is recycled for arms and drugs.

“This is in addition to another frustrating trend of the theft and forced trafficking of northern children to other parts of the country for reasons that are largely dubious.

“The culmination of these security challenges has for the past decade turned the entire region into a house of horror with violent killings reported on a daily basis, communities displaced with formal and informal IDP camps spreading across the region.

“The situation today, on most northern highways, innocent travelers are waylaid, robbed and abducted, towns and villages attacked and sacked by bandits who have created an atmosphere of palpable fear across the region,” he stated.