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Four stockbrokers are currently facing trial before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, for their involvement in an alleged N13 billion fraud. The defendants, Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah , are being prosecuted by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for stealing the sum of N13 billion naira, property of First Marina Trust Limited. The defendants, who were arraigned on November 16, 2017, on seven count amended charges pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were alleged to have committed the offence while they were in the employment of the organization. Part of the amended charges before the court stated that ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume , Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah on or about 17th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court stole the sum of (N237,250, 000) two hundred and thirty seven thousand, two hundred and fifty thousand naira only, property of First Marina Trust Limited. ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah, on or about 27th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court stole the sum of N500,200,000, property of First Marina Trust Limited.” They were also accused of ‘stealing the sum of N183, 500,000, N180, 000,000, N186, 000,000 and N14, 749,000 respectively,’ all property of First Marina Trust Limited. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Anselm Ozioko, had held that the offense is contrary to Section 285(1) and (8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. During examination by the prosecution counsel on January 17, 2018, the prosecution witness who is the Chief Risk Officer of the company, Anthony Onyeoghane, told the court that the report of an internal investigation conducted by the company indicted the defendants of the offence. “I was a member of the investigation committee set up by the company. A report was delivered to the management after investigation. I signed the report and every member of the committee signed the report. It was during investigation that this fraud was discovered,” he told the court. The matter was adjourned till April 16 for continuation of trial.

Innoson motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has been arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for jumping bail. It took a reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of Chief Chukwuma who mobilised thugs to prevent his arrest. Confirming the arrest of the industrialist, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said Chukwuma was arrested at about 11am at his Savage Crescent, GRA Enugu residence today. “Chukwuma, rather than honoring invitation by the EFCC, mobilized six truck loads of thugs pretending to be staff of his company to his residence, where they manhandled EFCC operatives. “It took reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of the industrialist who is currently being grilled by a team of investigators,” Uwujaren said. The EFFC added that Chukwuma’s arrest followed his refusal to honour invitation by the Commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s office in Lagos. Chief Chukwuma is a Nigerian business magnate and investor. He is the founder and CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturing company. He is also the Head of Ford Foundation in West Africa.

A report released by the Nigeria Watch Project says Lagos recorded 837 violent death in 2016. The report is the 6th Annual Report on lethal violence in Nigeria covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2016. It has been written at the University of Ibadan, with the support of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria). “In Lagos in 2016, it recorded 837 violent deaths, including 460 resulting from various criminal incidents. In contrast, the police recorded 246 murders, or a low rate of 2.7 homicides for 100,000 people as per the 2006 census, against a national average of 20 according to UNODC. Anyone walking in the streets of Lagos would thus be quite surprised to learn that the city is almost as safe as Stockholm in Sweden or Geneva in Switzerland, two countries that record homicide rates equivalent to 2 homicides for 100,000 people,” the report said. The report added that although the statistics for fatalities in Lagos and Rivers were quite similar, the former is far more prone to criminal activities than the latter, disclosing that Lagos recorded 235 events, while Rivers listed just 108 incidents in 2016. “Also, Lagos State recorded the highest number of fatalities, 194 in road mishaps. The result is rather intriguing because there is no evidence to show that Rivers State has a better road infrastructure than Abuja and Lagos. Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that vehicle pressures on Lagos and Abuja seem to be more intense. “In the case of Lagos, the ongoing road construction on the Lagos–Ibadan expressway may be a factor. A major aspect of crime in Rivers was cult violence, which killed 254 people, as against 93 in Lagos and 2 in Abuja. Most of the cult killings were perpetrated by gangs such as the Icelanders, Greenlanders, and Deygbam. The killings occurred in 11 LGAs, especially in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (80 deaths), Ahoada East (59), Emuoha (51), and Ikwerre (26). “The problem hinges on the fact that politicians reportedly use cultist groups to harass opposition parties. The overall assessment of security as a combination of both crime incidents and road accidents shows that Rivers is more unsafe than Lagos and Abuja. However, the situation in these states is not comparable with Borno State, which records 56.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants,” the report revealed. The report further revealed that in 2016, the main causes of violence in Nigeria in order of number of fatalities were crime (4,127), political conflict (3,502), religious violence (3,361), and accidents including road crashes (2,618).

As its central message on this year's World Human Rights Day, a frontline civil Rights and Non-Governmental organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the Federal government of Nigeria and the National Assembly to transparently carry out an investigation into allegations of high handedness and extralegal killings of unarmed members of the pro-self determination group-Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) shortly before it was hurriedly proscribed during the controversial operation python dance two by soldiers drafted to the South East of Nigeria. In a statement against the backdrop of the commemoration of the year 2017 World Human Rights Day and the Tenth anniversary of the founding of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), the Rights group condemned the widespread conspiratorial silence by the officials of the current administration to the massive and large scale atrocities and massive human rights violations committed by the operatives and officers of the Nigeria Army during the month-long operation python dance two in the South East of Nigeria during which scores of civilians were killed through coordinated extralegal executions carried out by the armed security forces and the public torture of dozens of civilians suspected to be members of the now proscribed Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB). In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the Federal government of Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigerian National Assembly for apparently failing to carry out proper; thorough and forensic human rights investigation with the objectives of naming, shaming, prosecuting and legally sanctioning the culprits who inflicted pains and carried out illegal executions of civilians who were completely unarmed and whose only crime was that they belonged to the Indigenous peoples of Biafra IPOB which as at the time of these widespread atrocities wasn't proscribed. HURIWA affirmed that the nation can't make any claim of subscribing to the tenets and provisions of the Universal Declarations of HUMAN RIGHTS when the supposed law enforcement agencies like the security forces including the Police are neck deep in carrying out large scale atrocities of gross human rights abuses including committing crimes against humanity such as massive extralegal executions of unarmed protesters and civilians whose only crime was that they were canvassing for self determination through constitutional means. The Rights group tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to provide clear and unambiguous information on the physical whereabouts of the Director of Indigenous peoples of Biafra IPOB Mr Nnamdi Kanu whose home was attacked and ransacked by armed security forces during the controversial military deployment that undertook the operation python dance two in the South East of Nigeria. HURIWA said the conspiratorial silence of government over these allegations of gross violations of human rights in the South East of Nigeria amounted to the institutionalisation of impunity. HURIWA carpeted the United Nations Human Rights Council; the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for failing to speak out against the widespread abuses of the human rights of South Eastern Nigerians. HURIWA condemns the total disobedience of binding Court orders which ordered the release of erstwhile National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim ElZaczacky who have spent two years in illegal detention. "Mr President must tell Nigerians where the leader of IPOB is since his home was bombarded by the armed security forces on his instructions. The Nigerian State must provide accountability for the activities of the armed security forces in the South East of Nigeria during the controversial military deployment." Conversely, the Rights group said the Federal government must also carry out comprehensive reforms of the Nigeria Police force which the group argued has become a criminal syndicate used by the hierarchy to perpetrate all sorts of organised and sophisticated crimes including armed robberies, grandscale extortion racketeering, commercialisation of weapons to hoodlums,bribery and massive corruption. HURIWA stated that: "The nation-wide advocacy for the abolition of SARS by the police is in order. SARS is the police unit that has over the years committed gross human rights violations including the extralegal killings of hundreds of detainees in the various police detention facilities in the Country. This same so called special anti-robbery squad of the Nigeria police was responsible for the killing of over three dozen youths whose fresh corpes were discovered in Awka Anambra state in a River. SARS have carried out atrocities in Lagos and Rivers States including organised crime and the harassment of youngsters." "We use this auspicious occasion of the World's Human Rights Day to call on the Federal government to dismantle the notorious police roadblocks in the South East of Nigeria which are used to extort money from commercial drivers and in a lot of cases these triggar happy rogue police operatives have been found committing extralegal executions of commercial drivers and innocent road users. We condemn this military and police occupation of the South East of Nigeria and to stop forthwith the Widespread human rights violations". HURIWA stated thus: " As a civil society group we subscribe to the opinions of experts that the responsibility of national governments to uphold and implement international human rights standards is not in doubt. International human rights law is a subset of public international law, and as such, it engages the commitment of nation states. The applicability of international human rights treaties to ratifying states is not controversial and there is no ambiguity about the general principle that governments are accountable for human rights standards". HURIWA reminds the Nigerian state of what human rights scholars have determined to be the obligations of government to enforce human rights provisions thus:"This question has been considered in different contexts, including the International Law Commission’s (ILC) work on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts and in conjunction with implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights." "We are aware that over the past two decades a consensus has emerged that with respect to international human rights states have a threefold responsibility: to respect, to protect, and to fulfill their obligations. As expounded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights.The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses.The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights."

At last, the trial of the trio of Mahmud Tukur, Abdullahi Alao and Ochonoghor Alex and their companies Eternal Plc and Axenergy has commenced, with a prosecution witness, Abdul-rasheed Bawa, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, telling Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos how the defendants defrauded the Federal Government of the sum of N3,121,393,098 ( Three Billion, One Hundred and Twenty- one Million, Three Hundred and Ninety- three Thousand, Ninety- eight Naira). The defendants had previously been arraigned before Justice Lawal Akapo on December 10, 2015 for allegedly diverting the money obtained from the Federal Government for the purpose of importing Premium Motor Spirit, PMS. Counsels to the accused had subsequently filed a joint application seeking to quash the charge preferred against their clients by the Commission. The defence counsel had argued that the State High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter on the grounds that the allegations against them were oil and gas related, which could only be heard by a Federal High Court. The accused, through their counsel, had also argued that the prosecution could not establish a prima facie case against them. In his ruling, Justice Oshodi had dismissed the application and upheld the argument of the prosecution. Justice Oshodi also held that the prosecution had successfully established a prima facie case against the accused persons and described the application as “premature”. At the resumed hearing before Justice Oshodi on Friday, November 24, 2017, the defence, again, argued that the prosecution did not have the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to prosecute the case. In his response, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, however, submitted that he did not have to show the defence if he had the fiat of the AGF to prosecute them. Jacobs further submitted that he could only show his client, the EFCC and the court the fiat rather than the defence counsel. Justice Oshodi upheld the argument of the prosecution counsel, thereby setting the stage for the prosecution witness, Bawa, to give his evidence against the accused. The accused, among others, claimed that they had imported and discharged PMS sometime in September, 2011 at a tank farm in Lagos, First Deep Water Discovery Limited, for which they were paid the sum of N626m subsidy. Also, the accused was said to have received the sum of N595m from the government after claiming to have imported and discharged PMS at the same tank farm in Lagos sometime in October, 2011. However, the witness, in his testimony, told court how the accused had forged over 30 documents and submitted same to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, to fraudulently obtain the subsidy for importation of PMS in 2011. Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, the witness said: “The owner of the vessel, MT Deepwater EX MT Valle Di Castiglia, and the claimed tank farm of discharge, First Deep Water Discovery Limited, denied the usage of their vessel for the transaction and, also confirmed forgery of documents submitted by Eternal to PPPRA. “The EFCC had access to Lloyds List Intelligence and search conducted for the movement of MT Valle Di Castiglia revealed that the vessel was at the Republic of Turkey all through the period that Eternal claimed to have taken PMS from it with MT Deepwater. So, how can a vessel that was in Turkey give products to another vessel in offshore Cotonou?” Giving further evidence on MT Fulmar, Ex MT Emirates Star and MT Panther EX MT Emirates Star, the witness said the modus operandiemployed by the defendants to defraud the government was alteration of bills of lading dates resulting in higher costs of importation. He said: “The claimed MT Emirates has a bill of lading dated 28 April, 2011 which gave Eternal a loading cost of about N151. “However, investigation revealed that the actual mother vessel for the transaction is MT GonHild Kirk, which had a bill of lading date of April 3, 2011, with landing cost of about N141. “The government, acting on forged importation documents indicating MT Emirates Star, paid Eternal about N3.3bn instead of N2.9bn. Thus Eternal was overpaid about N300, 000,000.” He added that search on LLyods Intelligence on Emirates Star indicated that the vessel sailed out of Doven Strait, United Kingdom and arrived New York, USA within the period that the Eternal documents claimed that the vessel was discharging its products into MT Fuliman and MT Panthern. The case was adjourned to February 26, 2018 for continuation of trial.

The Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) has sacked eight junior officers for various acts of indiscipline including smuggling of prohibited items into prison yards for inmates. Spokesman of the NPS, Mr Francis Enobore, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja. Enobore said the smuggled items included cell phones, marijuana and other intoxicating substances. He said two of the culprits, identified as Thomas Jatau and Mottallem Yari, were dismissed for “trafficking in mobile phones”. The rest, Mohammed Jibril, Saleh Dan’Azare, Umar Gusau, Mohammed Ja’Oji, Saidu Gusau and Maji Maiku, were involved in smuggling of marijuana and other prohibited items into the prison yards, he said. Enoboro stated that their dismissal followed the approval of the recommendation of the NPS Zonal Disciplinary Committee by the Comptroller-General, Mr Jaáfaru Ahmed. He said, “Illegal access to mobile phones and other communication gadgets by prisoners has been of great concern to the management of the Prisons Service. “This is because various criminal activities have been perpetrated with them by inmates including facilitating jailbreaks and escapes. “Similarly, apart from the far-reaching health implications of exposing inmates to the use of Indian hemp and other intoxicating substances, the act also compromises discipline and negates inmate reformation thrust of the NPS,” he said. The spokesman conveyed the appreciation of the Controller-General to men and officers of the service as well as the general public for assisting the service with information on bad eggs in the system.

Death toll in Egypt’s bomb and gun attack in a mosque in North Sinai Province has risen to 235. Witnesses say the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, near al-Arish, was targeted during Friday prayers. It is the deadliest attack of its kind since an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula was stepped up in 2013, BBC reports. Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has held emergency talks with security officials to decide how to respond. Local police said gunmen arrived in four off-road vehicles before opening fire on worshippers, AP reported. Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. At least 130 people were wounded, reports say. Locals are also quoted as saying that followers of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, regularly gathered at the mosque. Some jihadist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS), see Sufis as heretics.

Operatives of the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad,FSARS at Adeniji Adele Road, Lagos Island have arrested nine suspected robbers that have been terrorizing and robbing residents of Bodija Estate, Egbeda and Monatan area of Ibadan, Oyo State. Police identified the suspects as Ganiyu Kamorudeen Saidi, aka Moscow, 36; the alleged ring leader of the gang, Toheeb Isah, 26, Adeyemi Muritala, 36, Olusegun Olatunde, aka Tunde Dressing, 26, and Waidi Fatunmi, 31. Others included Oladapo Bayo, 20; Muniru Olododo, 46 and Theophilus Adeyemi Aremu. Police alleged that nemesis caught up with the suspects when the Deputy Commissioner of police, DCP in charge of FSARS, Ibrahim Kaoje received a tip off from a concerned resident of Ibadan that a suspected notorious robber called Saidi aka Moscow was on his way to Ajah area of Lagos from Ibadan with his gang to rob. Following the report, Kaoje deployed a team led by DSP Olaniyi Festus in charge of Strike Unit one at the FSARS Lagos to the Lagos- Ibadan highway to trail the suspects and arrest them. The Police team swooped on the suspects at a filling station near Ibadan where they were buying fuel for their vehicle and arrested eight of them while their alleged amourer managed to escaped into the bush with their guns. But the Police recovered a locally made cut to size pistol from the gang leader,Moscow on the spot. During investigation, according to the Police, all the suspects allegedly confessed to the alleged crime that they had been robbing residents of Ibadan and and its environs and snatching vehicles from their owners in the area for long. In his alleged confession to the Police, Moscow allegedly stated: “I am the leader of the gang in Ibadan for the past five years and had been jailed for armed robbery and I had wanted to stop robbery when I was released from prison in May this year, but because robbery is already in my blood, I continued to rob before I was arrested again, I promised to stop robbery if I am set free from this case.” All the suspects were arraigned before an Oyo Magistrate Court sitting at Iyaganku on a six count charge of armed robbery. Police Counsel, A.O Fadipe informed the Court in charge No MC/1860/2017 that the accused persons while armed with locally made pistols attacked and robbed Comrade Falade Shade of her Toyota picnic bus with No EST 614 ES and Jewelries valued at N12.5m; Jide Olusola of his Toyota Corolla with No.AAA 731BE; Taiwo Abdul Bukola of her N48,000, unidentified person of his Toyota Avensis Car and Ademola Adedeji of his Bajaj motorcycle at Bodija Estate and Egbeda area of Ibadan. Fadipe said that the offences the accused committed were punishable under sections 6(b), 2(2)(a)(b) and 2(1) of the Armed Robbery and fire arms Act,Cap R11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,2004. The plea of the accused persons was not taken and Chief Magistrate O.O Adisa ordered that the alleged gang leader, Moscow be remanded at the FSARS office, Lagos to assist the Police conclude their investigation. Adisa ordered that the other seven accused be remanded in prison custody pending DPP’s advice and ajourned the case till 12 January, 2018 for mention.

The Managing Director of Palilar International Limited, Olawale Ibikunle Talabi, 59, has been arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate Court for allegedly obtaining the sum of USD94,000 from the management of Lead Ore and Copper International Trading Company Limited and allegedly converted the money to his use. Also charged with him for the same alleged offence was Palilar International Limited. The accused was arrested by the Operatives of the Police Special Fraud Unit, PSFU, at Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and after investigation by Inspector Afisat Abdulmalik and his team, Talabi was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate Court, Lagos on a two-count charge of felony to wit. conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence. Prosecuting Counsel, DSP Agwu Chukwu informed the Court in charge No C/81A/2017 that the accused and others still at large committed the offence in 2013 in Lagos. Chukwu told the Court that the accused, as the Managing Director of his Firm connived with others still at large and used his company name to collect the sum of USD94,000 from the complainant with the agreement to use the money to supply them some metric tonnes of Lead Ore, but that instead, the accused converted the money to his use and failed to supply the materials to the complainant till date. Chukwu said that the offences the accused committed were punishable under sections 409 and 312 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime in the open Court and his Counsel, Ikechukwu Anima prayed the Court to admit the defendant to bail on the most liberal terms promising that he would not jump bail. Chief Magistrate, A.O Komolafe granted the accused bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum who must show proof of three years tax payment to the Lagos State Government. Komolafe adjourned the case till 28 November, 2017 for mention and ordered that the defendant be remanded at the Ikoyi Prison,Lagos till he fulfilled the bail conditions.

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja over fraud he allegedly committed involving Centenary City in Abuja. Our source learned that Mr. Anyim is in detention and is being interrogated by EFCC officials.

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