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A High Court in Lagos on Wednesday sentenced a man to death by hanging for armed robbery and conspiracy to commit crime. The convict, Izunna Ajaere, 25 was charged with stealing a Toshiba laptop, a Blackberry phone and two other phones from one Uchenna Uka in his compound at around 9:30 p.m. on June 22, 2012. He was said to have perpetrated the act with an accomplice who is still at large.‎ According to the prosecutor, A.B Awosika, the convict and the accomplice had accosted the complainant, threatened him with a ‘gun’ and forced him to take them to his apartment where they robbed him of the said items. “He (complainant) cooperated when he realised they were armed with something that looked like a gun and he was afterwards robbed and locked in his flat but he took the second exit out and raised an alarm that led to the pursuit of the culprits and his (convict) eventual arrest beside a swimming pool at Ajao estate and he was taken to the police station by the Oodua People Congress, OPC,” the prosecutor said. The prosecutor added that the complainant later went to the police station the next morning to write a statement adding that he recognised the convict as one of the men who robbed him. He added that the offences violate Sections 295(2) and 297 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. Our Source reports that the accused, however, denied the charges saying he was forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. The hairdresser claimed that he was standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus when he was accosted and accused by the police of being responsible for the crime. He said no weapon was found on him except his work implements. However, presiding judge, Kudirat Jose said the prosecution had proven its case beyond any doubt. “The evidence of the prosecution witness proved that the defendant was one of the armed robbers, therefore, all the ingredients of the crime of armed robbery have been shown.The prosecution has proven the charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery beyond a reasonable doubt. “The defendant is hereby sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and for armed robbery.”

– Former Governor of Abia, Dr Orji Kalu, has expressed opposition with Nigerians agitating for the division of the country. He called for restructuring as panacea to solving the problems facing the country. Kalu made the remark on Friday in a paper he presented at a Public Lecture organised by the Department of Social Sciences, University of Calabar. In his paper, entitled: “Devolution of Powers and the Future of Nigeria,’’Kalu insisted that the only acceptable solution for Nigeria’s problems remained restructuring. He said: “I believe fully in the unity of Nigeria. I am against those who call for the division of the country. There is no such provision as division in our Constitution. “ If you look at all political or constitutional conferences we have had in this country since after independence, you will find that devolution of powers featured prominently but under different guise. “Therefore, like the Igbo people will say, where a child is crying and pointing at, if his father is not there, his mother must surely be there. “So, I think there is need for us to fully review the call for devolution of powers within the context of our current realities and as permissible by our constitution. “Whether we call it resource control, Sovereign National Conference, Restructuring or by any other name, we are saying the same thing. “That we want power to devolve so that our states and local governments can have constitutional powers to do much more than they are doing today. “It is what the nation needs at the moment, to move forward. ‘’ Kalu described genuine agitations as part of viable democratic process. “The agitation for devolution of power, restructuring or referendum, are all legitimate democratic demands. “They form part of the conversation that must take place to strengthen democracy and make it a real system of government of the people, by the people and for the people, ‘’ Kalu said. The former governor maintained that the call for devolution of powers started since the time of late Isaac Boro, adding that this was the time for its realisation. He said that the call for devolution of powers to the three tiers of governments had become necessary since there was too much power concentrated at the centre. He attributed the present agitations and criminalities across the country by youths, to lack of even distribution of resources, adding that it had brought unemployment and poverty among the youths. Orji called for restructuring in the areas of Land Use Act; handing over of roads the states; licensing of minerals, among others. He described as unconstitutional the continued appointment of Caretaker Committees to run Local Government Administrations by some state governors. Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Chris Agara said that, the call for restructuring was long overdue. (NAN)

THE Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has denied that its members were planning to destroy some police stations in Aba, Abia State, saying the allegation was part of a plan hatched to arrest and detain more members of the group. This came as scores of youths yesterday stormed Lagos, to kick against the country’s dismemberment; urging the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and other ethnic groups behind the moves to limit their demands within the confines of the law, even as they argued that demands could be achieved through dialogue, rather than through violence which often leads to loss of lives and property in the country. Emma Powerful, IPOB media and publicity secretary, in a statement, accused Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor, of being part of the plan, adding that the plan was a cover to kidnap and abduct innocent Biafrans under the pretext that they were the perpetrators of some heinous crimes in the city. He said: “IPOB has never engaged in any crime of any sort from its inception to date. There is no police station that can claim to have received any complaint of lawlessness or crime allegedly committed by IPOB. “Our rallies and evangelism are all done in full view of the public and well attended within communities with no single recorded of adverse incident till date. IPOB has never been involved in any retaliatory attacks or killing of any human being because we believe, along with our ancient values, that life is a rare gift from God, which is not in the place of man to take.” The statement alleged that Igbo governors, who are essentially Hausa Fulani stooges in government houses across the South East are doing their damned best to turn global opinion against IPOB. However, civilized nations and countries around the world know that IPOB under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu, is not and can never be a terrorist organisation. “The APC government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, in collaboration with Governors Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and others, is making every effort to tarnish the impeccable global standing of IPOB. “This latest evil plot, already perfected, is designed to legitimize even more brutal deaths, arrests, torture and detention without trial at the hands of Nigerian soldiers and police. Okezie Ikpeazu, in his jealousy fuelled vendetta against IPOB, has unwittingly turned hitherto peaceful Abia State to a killing field for blood thirsty Islamic Jihadists from Arewa North, who are hell bent on spreading Islam to every nook and cranny of Biafraland. “IPOB is therefore calling on all conscientious and civilized men and women, lovers of freedom, the international community especially USA, EU, Britain, Russia and France, to intervene to stop this horrendous ethnic cleansing going on in Abia State, for the sake of humanity. “The scale of killings going on is a tragedy of immense proportions and until the world brings this to a halt, injustice will continue to reign supreme in Nigeria.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over decreasing rate of voter turnout in recent elections in the country. Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, raised the alarm on Tuesday in Abuja at the commission’s consultative meeting with the media. He said that since 2015 general elections, the country had been recording consistent rate of low turnout of voters in elections, adding that something had to be done to address it. “In December last year when we conducted the Ifako-Ijaiye Federal Constituency bye-election in Lagos, the turnout was approximately three per cent, precisely 2.9 per cent, of registered voters in the area. “On Saturday, we conducted another bye-election, very free and fair election in Eti-Osa State Constituency in Lagos. “We have I83, 000 registered voters; total number of accredited voters was just above 6,000. “The percentage turnout was 3.42 per cent, which is an improvement on the 2.9 per cent on Ifako-Ijaye, but the turnout was very low. “Though it rained on the day of election, that cannot be the only explanation as the constituency also includes two highbrow areas of Lekki and Victoria Island,’’ Yakubu said. He urged stakeholders to sensitise voters on the need to come out and cast their votes on election days. He said although the commission had the responsibility of voter education, political parties, their candidates, media and civil society organisations had major roles to play in voter mobilisation. Yakubu added that in spite of effort of the commission to ensure that citizens who turned 18 years were immediately registered, it still faced some challenges in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR). According to him, the challenges include inadequate funds, insecurity, inadequate publicity and voter education as well as availability of power. He said that the commission was aware that some of the designated centres for registration were still far from the people, but stated that it was deploying additional Data Capturing Machines to address the problem. Yakubu said that the commission was doing its best to address some of the challenges to improve on the electoral process, adding that it would adopt some experience it learnt from processes in other countries to improve on Nigeria’s. The commission, however, released the summary of ongoing nationwide CVR from April 27 to Sept. 22, 2017. According to the record, 2,786, 405 voters were registered during the period, with 108,752 PVCs distributed and 106, 936 transfers and 212,117 replacements of defaced PVCs requests received. The top three states for CVR were Rivers with 151, 398 voters, Lagos, 144, 076 and Delta, 136, 693 voters. Gombe with 32,684 registered voters, Federal Capital Territory, 31, 811 voters and Ondo with 29, 766 voters were states with lowest registration during the period. Similarly, Gombe and Taraba recorded the least number of distributed PVCs of 26 and 139, respectively during the period, while Kogi and Lagos had highest distribution of the cards 13, 344 and 13, 068, respectively.

The management of Sterling Bank Plc, Lagos has dragged its staff and a teller attached to its Wilmer Branch, Olodi-Apapa area of Lagos, Chidebe Henry Ikenna, 41, before a Lagos Magistrate Court for allegedly stealing the sum of N2 million entrusted in his care by the customers of the Bank to lodge in their accounts. The accused, from Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria was ordered arrested by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Lion Building Division, CSP Folashade Tanaruno following a complaint by the management of Sterling Bank Plc through Mr Okonugha Sunday Evaristus in charge of security department. Ikenna was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate Court on a one count charge of felony to wit, stealing. Police Prosecutor, Inspector Abass Abayomi informed the Court in charge No. C/61/2017 that the accused committed the alleged offence in November, 2016 at the Sterling Bank Plc, Lagos. Abayomi told the Court that the accused betrayed the trust reposed on him by his employer as a teller and stole the sum of N2 million entrusted in his care by the customers of the bank. Abayomi added that the management of the bank got to know about the alleged fraudulent act when some of the customers of the bank lodged a complaint against the accused that anytime they give him money to lodge in their account, they would receive an alert that the money had entered into their accounts but that when they checked the balance, they would not find the money in their accounts. According to him, following the complaints, the management of the bank swung into action and launched investigation into the complaints during which they discovered that the accused had been sending false alerts to the complainants and converting the money they entrusted in his care as a teller to lodge in their accounts to his personal use. Abayomi added that the offence the accused committed was punishable under section 287 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime and Chief Magistrate, A.O. Komolafe granted the accused bail in the sum of N1 million with two sureties in like sum. Komolafe adjourned the case till 14 November, 2017 for mention and ordered that the defendant be remanded at the Ikoyi Prison, pending when he is able to fulfill the bail conditions.

Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State has sentenced the former Director-General of the Institute of Agricultural, Research and Training (IAR&T), Professor Benjamen Ogunmodede to 40 years in prison without an option of fine for mismanaging funds meant for the payment of salaries and execution of projects in the institution. Two other staff of the institution Zacheus Tejumola and Adenekan Clement were also jailed. They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2011 on 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion, stealing of school subvention, among others. They were accused of diverting and spending without due process, the sum of N177 million out of a subvention of N600m released by the Federal Government for the school. Justice Emmanuel ruled that each of the convicted persons would spend four years for each of the charges they were found guilty, adding however that they would spend the jail term concurrently. In their response, the convicted persons claimed that a huge part of the amount was used to bribe members of the House of Representatives and some staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance who facilitated the release of the fund for the research institute. But Justice Emmanuel ruled that Ogunmodede and others were clearly guilty of the charges preferred against them. He said that bribery and money laundering were illegal activities that had been prohibited in the country and that they were punishable under the law. The judge said that the sentence would serve as deterrent to people in public positions. EFCC lead counsel, Nkereuwem Anana, said the judgement was an indication that the war against corruption was being won in the country, saying that the judgement would send a strong message to others who are mismanaging or embezzling public funds. Counsel to Ogunmodede, Tunde Olupona, said that the legal team would review the ruling and Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State has sentenced the former Director-General of the Institute of Agricultural, Research and Training (IAR&T), Professor Benjamen Ogunmodede to 40 years in prison without an option of fine for mismanaging funds meant for the payment of salaries and execution of projects in the institution. Two other staff of the institution Zacheus Tejumola and Adenekan Clement were also jailed. They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2011 on 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion, stealing of school subvention, among others. They were accused of diverting and spending without due process, the sum of N177 million out of a subvention of N600m released by the Federal Government for the school. Justice Emmanuel ruled that each of the convicted persons would spend four years for each of the charges they were found guilty, adding however that they would spend the jail term concurrently. In their response, the convicted persons claimed that a huge part of the amount was used to bribe members of the House of Representatives and some staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance who facilitated the release of the fund for the research institute. But Justice Emmanuel ruled that Ogunmodede and others were clearly guilty of the charges preferred against them. He said that bribery and money laundering were illegal activities that had been prohibited in the country and that they were punishable under the law. The judge said that the sentence would serve as deterrent to people in public positions. EFCC lead counsel, Nkereuwem Anana, said the judgement was an indication that the war against corruption was being won in the country, saying that the judgement would send a strong message to others who are mismanaging or embezzling public funds. Counsel to Ogunmodede, Tunde Olupona, said that the legal team would review the ruling and

Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from a “witch-hunt”. A statement issued by her media aide, Mr Belema Meshack-Hart, on Monday in Abuja, quoted Mrs. Jonathan as saying that the EFCC was prosecuting a plot to destroy her family. Meshack-Hart said that the vindictive disposition of EFCC was portraying the organisation as an agency for revenge. Mrs. Jonathan, according to Meshack-Hart, specifically accused Ibrahim Magu, EFCC’s boss, of bias and intimidation. He said that the EFCC boss was “spreading barefaced falsehood and propaganda against Mrs Jonathan in the name of investigations”. Meshack-Hart accused the EFCC of “unjustified witch-hunt”, saying that no other former first lady had faced “such brazen intimidation in the history of this country”. Quoting Mrs Jonathan, Meshack-Hart said: “For almost three years, the EFCC has beamed its searchlight on me and my family members, including my siblings and parents, as well as my Foundation and Non-Governmental Organisation. “As a tradition, every First Lady in this country has had one pet project or the other, with which they sought to intervene in the lives of the less privileged.’’ Mrs. Jonathan explained that she started her NGO in Bayelsa State 11 years ago, when her husband was the Governor of that State. She said that she has over the years, touched the lives of many Nigerians in different ways. According to her media aide, “it is surprising that while other First ladies and their pet projects were left alone, it is only her activities and that of her NGOs that are being subjected to indefinite probe and microscopic scrutiny. EFCC has maliciously linked Mrs. Jonathan to all kinds of fake possessions and properties around the country, he said. “It has come to a point where all the magnificent edifices in Abuja, Yenagoa or Port Harcourt are presented to the media as belonging to Mrs. Patience Jonathan. She has been accused of owning several plots of land in many cities across the country, including places she has never visited. “The most astonishing of all is that her close relatives are being victimized and their personal properties are being investigated,” the statement stated. It urged Buhari to intervene on the matter to ensure justice for the former first family and also ensure that the EFCC’s actions were not interpreted as part of a larger plot to disgrace his (Buhari)’s predecessor. Efforts to speak with EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, were not successful, but a senior official of the commission, rejected suggestions that the outfit was out on a witch hunt. “We are not out on a witch hunt; we are not targeting anyone or family for a witch hunt; it is not only Mrs. Jonathan that is being investigated. Many people are answering questions in various places. “Those found guilty will be charged before a competent court of law; those who have nothing to hide should have no fear because we shall not victimise anyone that is innocent,” the source told NAN, craving anonymity. (NAN)

People who skip breakfast or eat poorly to start the day are twice as likely to develop hardened arteries, which can lead to deadly heart disease, researchers said Monday. The study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology uncovered signs of damage to the arteries long before symptoms or disease developed. Researchers said their findings could offer an important tool in the fight against cardiovascular disease, the world’s top killer, which took 17.7 million lives in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. “People who regularly skip breakfast likely have an overall unhealthy lifestyle,” said study author Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “This study provides evidence that this is one bad habit people can proactively change to reduce their risk for heart disease.” The report was based on 4,000 middle-aged office workers in Spain. Participants were followed for six years. About one in four ate a high-energy breakfast, which included 20 percent or more of the day’s calories. Most people in the study — 70 percent — ate a low-energy breakfast that gave them five to 20 percent of their daily calorie intake. Three percent said they skipped breakfast altogether or ate very little. This group “tended to have more generally unhealthy eating habits and a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors,” said the report. People who skipped breakfast also “had the greatest waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure, blood lipids and fasting glucose levels,” it said. Researchers used ultrasound technology to scan participants for signs of fatty deposits in the arteries, or early evidence of disease. They found that people who ate less than five percent of their recommended daily calories at breakfast had, on average, double the amount of fatty buildup in the arteries as people who ate a high-energy breakfast. This heightened risk of hardened arteries among people who skipped breakfast or ate little to start the day appeared independently of other factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol and physical inactivity. Previous studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast is linked to good health, including a lower body weight, healthy diet, and lower risk of problems with cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Skipping breakfast has also previously been shown to raise the risk of coronary artery disease. According to Prakash Deedwania, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and author of an accompanying editorial in the journal, the study offers more evidence that skipping breakfast can be harmful to one’s health. “Although breakfast skippers are generally attempting to lose weight, they often end up eating more and unhealthy foods later in the day. Skipping breakfast can cause hormonal imbalances and alter circadian rhythms,” said Deedwania. “That breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been proven right in light of this evidence.”

The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is ready to collaborate with sister universities in areas of mutual interest, a statement has said. The statement said that the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, hosted officials of the Open University of UK who visited him on Tuesday in Abuja. The statement was signed by Ibrahim Sheme, NOUN’s Director, Media and Publicity. Sheme said that UK team was led by Craig Walker, an Associate Professor in Development Policy and Practice Research, UK Open University. He said that the team was at the NOUN headquarters to explore areas of mutual interest with regards to research in religious tolerance and understanding, which would be funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). “The Open University of UK is very keen on forging a partnership with NOUN and we will welcome it if such opportunity is open to us,” the statement quoted Craig as saying. Sheme said that NOUN’s vice-chancellor assured the visitors of the institution’s acceptance of the collaboration, subject to the availability of a clear blueprint. “NOUN provides a role model to other Open Universities in Africa. “Aside South Africa, others in the East, Central and West Africa look up to NOUN to provide them with a model in terms of study materials, study centres, examination administration and students enrolment. “We just returned from Niger Republic where government officials indicated interest for us to come and establish a study centre. “ We are trying to expand our study centres to Niger Republic, Benin Republic, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire (and) Burkina Faso until we establish study centres everywhere along that region of West Africa.” Sheme said that the vice-chancellor disclosed that NOUN, as an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, was modelled after the Open University of the UK, operating with best practices of the ODL system. The director said that Adamu expressed NOUN’s excitement at the offer and its readiness to grab it. “We have been receiving this kind of collaboration from other reputable universities abroad. “In the last one month, we received Morgan State University in the United States and the University of Sussex, UK. “In this way we can always build linkages for improved academic activities. We will be glad to provide whatever infrastructural facilities needed for this programme to survive so that Nigeria becomes a better place for us all,” the statement quoted Adamu as saying.

Investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tosin Owobo, on Tuesday narrated before Justice Mohammed Idris presiding over a Federal High Court in Lagos how the sum of N22.1 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) was moved to private companies. He made the revelation while being led in evidence by the EFCC prosecuting counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo in the on-going trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu (Rtd.) and 10 others over an alleged N22.8 billion fraud. Amosu was on June 29, 2016, arraigned by the anti-graft agency alongside Air Vice Marshal Jacob Bola Adigun, Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni Olugbenga and eight other companies. The companies are: Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Mcallan Oil And Gas Ltd, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Ltd, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Ltd, Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd, Timsegg Investment Ltd and Solomon Health Care. In his testimony before the court, the witness disclosed that investigations by his team revealed that a staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Mrs. Funke Osisanmi, carried out every debit transactions done on the NAF’s account after receiving instructions to that effect from Air Commodore Gbadebo. “If debit were to be made from NAF account, she receive instructions from Air Commodore Gbadebo and debit the account following which she liaised with various Bureau De Change (BDC) operators for the conversion of the money to foreign currencies”, he said. According to him, the BDC’s involved in the transactions includes; Lebol Oil and Gas, Judah Oil and Gas and Right Option Oil and Gas. The witness said upon interrogation, Mrs. Osisanmi revealed that after conversion, she usually hands over the foreign currencies to either Air Commodore Gbadebo or other officers of NAF. Giving a breakdown of the monies moved to some of the private companies from NAF account, Owobo said: “The sum of N5.9 billion was moved to Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, N6.1 billion was moved to Mcallan Oil And Gas Ltd, Trapezites BDC got N3.6 billion, N800 million was moved to Deegee Oil and Gas Ltd while N700 million was moved to Timsegg Investment Ltd. In all, about N21 billion was moved from NAF account to these companies and there were no contractual agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these companies and NAF before these funds were transferred”. The witness added that the funds moved to these companies were eventually used to purchase property in Nigeria and abroad for the service chiefs. On efforts to recover the fund, Owobo said: “We were able to recover some of the accounts that received funds from NAF. The 1st defendant (Amosu) also raised draft and refunded over N2 billion to government coffers. The property were traced and marked. We visited the properties in Nigeria and most of them have been handed over to the Asset Management Division of the EFCC after obtaining orders of interim forfeiture from court”. Further hearing in the matter continues tomorrow

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