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CISLAC Commends the Judiciary on Decisive Judgement on Anti-Corruption Cases

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)has commended the judiciary for the judgement against the ex-governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye, who was handed down a 14-year sentence on Tuesday June 12, for misappropriation of funds during his tenure as governor after a trial which lasted 11 years.In a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) on Thursday in Abuja, stated that the judgment will not only strengthening the judicial system, but also give independent to our legal system.

This judgement, coming shortly after the 14-year sentence of ex-governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, on corruption charges in May this year without an option of fine, is a step towards restoring the confidence of the citizens in the fight against corruption, although long overdue.

CISLAC noted that, until recently, despite numerous allegations and court proceedings levelled against Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), it is worrisome that many of them move in and out of the country without consequences regarding the allegations of embezzlement and misuse of funds levelled against them. It is embarrassing to Nigerians and the nation as a whole that many of these PEPs, who still contest elections in some states, have not been handed down a decisive sentence.

CISLAC therefore called on the judiciary and appellate courts to be consistent and firm and consolidate the implementation of the new administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, by shunning every form of inducements and manipulations to delay the process to delay and deliver a decisive and fair judgement on all corruption cases.

According to the civil group , these decisive judgements are necessary to boost the morale of anti-corruption agencies and anti-corruption activists and also restore citizens’ confidence in the judiciary, and to serve as deterrent to other public office holders who have plans to dip their hands into public treasury. It will also help boost the image of the country which has suffered in the recent past due to corruption.

CISLAC also called on the relevant anti-corruption agencies to carry out their primary functions without fear or favour in the fight against corruption.

The Group called on the civil society, the media and all well-meaning Nigerians to maintain close vigilance on elected political leaders, especially as elections begin and strive to resist political coercion that will further divide the nation along tribal and religious lines. We must remain steadfast in advocacy for the establishment of frameworks that will strengthen the institutional and governance frameworks and ensure strict compliance with extant laws and regulations. and finally called on the National Assembly to support the government by ensuring the passage of all pending Anti-Corruption Bills.

CISLAC remained committed to monitoring the government to ensure that she fulfils her promises to the citizens of our great country.

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Watch out Trump, China is taking Africa from under your nose

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By David A. Andelman

Look out Donald Trump, while you’re not watching, China is quietly stealing a continent from you. And India may not be far behind.

Currently, the battle for supremacy on the African continent is being fought out between the leaders of Asia’s two superpowers — China and India — and, for the most part, the United States is nowhere to be seen.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi all but tripped over each other last month crisscrossing the continent on personal goodwill visits.

Meanwhile, the President of the African Development Bank had to come hat in hand to Washington, where, a source with knowledge of the situation told me, all he got to see were some officials in the Treasury Department.

President Trump has still not visited the continent and has not announced plans to do so.

Why should we care? China and India care deeply. After all, Africa is home to Nigeria — poised to become the world’s third most populous country and all the challenges that poses in terms of more jobs for an increasingly youthful population, not to mention food and infrastructure.

But it’s also where critical, strategically essential minerals including lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, essential for the electric cars of the future, are located.

And as Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, told me this week, “there are 400 million hectares of arable land in the savannas of Africa” that will “determine the future of food in the world.”

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Arrest Warrant: Apeal Court Orders Stay of Excution on INEC Chair

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

In relating to the arrest warrant ordered by the high court weeks ago, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered a stay of execution of the arrest warrant issued against the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.

Justice Abdul Aboki who gave the stay of execution order on Monday also adjourned the hearing of the suit filed by the INEC Chairman to September 17, 2018.

Justice Stephen Pam of a Federal High Court in Abuja had issued the arrest warrant on August 8 after the INEC chairman failed to appear before him on three occasions.

The judge had on July 5 ordered Yakubu to appear before him to show cause why he should not be sent to prison for contempt of court.

He made the order for Mahmood to appear before him while ruling on a preliminary objection by INEC and its Chairman in a contempt proceeding filed by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, respectively.

Five days later, on July 10 when the court sat again, the INEC boss was absent in court. His counsel, Mr Adeboyega Awomolo, informed the court that his client had filed an appeal challenging that order at the appeal court and another appeal before the Federal High Court asking for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

During the continuation of the trial on Wednesday, August 8, Justice Pam demanded to know from the counsel to the INEC Chairman, Adegboyega Awomolo, why he was not in court.

Replying, Awomolo said he does not know where the INEC chairman is and that it is beyond his brief to produce his client. He added that if the court wants the INEC chairman to appear in court, the IGP should produce him.

Justice Pam, therefore, ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to arrest and bring Yakubu to court.

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Ortom Threatens Oshiomhole With Legal Action Over Allegation Claims

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

In a reaction to false allegation, the governor of Benue state Ortom has asked Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to retract allegations made against him or face legal action. Mr Ortom in a letter to Oshiomhole said the APC national chairman damaged his reputation at a press conference in Abuja on July 27, 2018.

Mr Ortom also asked for a public apology in the media within 7 days and N10bn as damages.

During the press conference, Oshiomhole had accused the governor of deepening the circle of poverty in his state.

The APC chairman alleged that Ortom mismanaged bailout funds and Paris Club refund and also refused to pay salaries.

According to the letter written by Samuel Irabor, the governor’s counsel, he said the allegations made by the APC chairman against his client were very astonishing, unsubstantiated, wild.

The letter read in part, “A letter of retraction/apology addressed to our client in respect of the false, defamatory and libellous statement made against him in the sponsored press conference herein complained of.

“That the said retraction/apology be simultaneously published in the Sunday edition of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as a paid advertorial to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels TV, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM, Makurdi.

“An undertaking not to indulge in any such false publication against our client in future. Payment of #10,000,000,000.00 (Ten Billion Naira) only to our client as punitive, general, exemplary and aggravated damages.”

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