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Convicted ex-gov granted bail on health grounds



  • Ngilari: I’ve diabetes, hypertension, insomnia


Justice Nathan Musa of Yola High Court yesterday granted bail to Mr. Bala Ngilari, former Adamawa Governor, on health grounds, after he appealed against his recent conviction. Ngilari was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties, who must deposit Certificates of Occupancy of landed property owned in Yola.

Musa said that the former governor would enjoy his bail pending the determination of his appeal. Justice Musa, on March 6, sentenced Ngilari to five years in prison, without an option of fine, for violating the Public Procurement Act in the award of contract for the procurement of 25 vehicles.

The vehicles, which were for commissioners, were purchased at the cost of N167 million. Musa, in his judgement, had declared that due process was not followed in the transaction.

Ngilari, having appealed the sentence, went back to the same court that convicted him, and asked for bail, pending the determination of his appeal. Justice Musa, after listening to arguments of counsel to Ngilari, Mr. Sam Olugunorisa (SAN) and that of EFCC, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, in the motion for bail pending appeal, granted Ngilari’s request.

The bail plea was supported by a medical report on Ngilari, from Yola Prison, which indicated that the former governor had been under intensive medical management.

The report, signed by Mr. John Bukar, a Deputy Comptroller in charge of Health, stated that Ngilari had diabetes, hypertension and insomnia.

It said that Ngilari, who had been referred to Canada Specialist Hospital in Dubai, for evaluation and management, had blood pressure that was rising between 180/110 MMHG to 190/120 MMHG. Meanwhile, Mr. Peter Tenkwa, the Controller of Adamawa Command of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), has rejected the medical letter used by the court in granting bail to Ngilari on health ground.

Tenkwa told newsmen yesterday in Yola that he was not aware of the letter and had communicated to the prison headquarters. He said the headquarters directed him to issue a query to officials involved in the matter, including the Deputy Controller of Yola Prison, Mr. Abubakar Abaka and a Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. John Bukar, in charge of health.

“Nigeria Prison Service, as I stated, knows nothing about this letter; whoever wrote that letter is on his own. I have been directed to query the officers involved.”

Tenkwa said that all he knew was that he got a letter dated March 23 from Adamawa Ministry of Justice on health facilities in Yola Prison where Ngilari was remanded and that after accessing the facilities, he replied to the letter, informing the ministry that the facilities were okay. “We have enough medical facilities to handle high profile inmates like Ngilari; we even received some supply of drugs on Friday,” Tenkwa said.

Tenkwa, however, said that he had yet to get a release order from the court regarding Ngilari’s bail, adding that whenever he received it, he would contact the service legal department before acting on it. Also commenting on the issue, the Attorney- General of Adamawa and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Bala Sanga, said the bail granted Ngilari was a disturbing development.

“The chamber of attorney general is very worried and disturbed about this granting of bail pending appeal to our former governor; this is a legal remedy that is very rarely granted,” Sanga said.

Sanga said that he was more disturbed that the letter acted on in granting the bail was neither exhibited with the appellant application nor attached to the documents.

“Technically what this means is that the letter was not even before the court. So the court, in my opinion, has no business relying on a document that was not before it to arrive at a decision,” he said.

Sanga said that the purported letter claiming that Ngilari was facing serious health problem was dated March 23, while the letter to the ministry from the prison service, which confirmed that the authorities had the necessary facilities to handle Ngilari, was dated March 24.

“This is very scandalous, if indeed the prison says it did not issue the letter. We intend not to file a complaint against whoever wrote that letter but to refer the matter to the police for prosecution because the court relied significantly on that letter to grant the bail,” Sanga said. The Attorney-General said that the disease was not contagious hence the bail was unnecessary.

Justice Musa, on March 6, sentenced Ngilari to five years in prison, without an option of fine, for violating the Public Procurement Act in the award of contract for the procurement of 25 vehicles. Ngilari was given an option to select a prison of his choice to serve the term.

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Group upbraids Imo lawmakers for rejecting LG autonomy



A group, APGA Mass Mobilization Movement (APGA3M) has condemned rejection of the local government autonomy by the Imo state House of Assembly. Speaking with newsmen in Owerri, Coordinator of the group, Comrade Ikedi Nwanwa described the lawmakers’ decision as shocking and unbelievable, wondering why a group of people who claimed to represent the people would take a decision which was completely at variance with the wishes and aspirations of the people.

A visibly angry Nwanwa, who called for protest and shut down of the House, lampooned the House members for turning themselves into choristers who gather to sing Okorocha’s praises with Speaker Acho Ihim leading the pack as choir master. According to him, “the decision of the Imo Assembly is shameful treacherous.

This is the height of sycophancy. We are compiling the names of the House members who voted against the people which we will make public for their constituencies to understand the kind of people they sent to the House.”

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INEC ad-hoc staff to take oath in Cross River



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Cross River State yesterday said all ad-hoc staff to be used for the conduct of the 2019 general election will have to swear to an oath of neutrality. This was disclosed by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai, during the monthly meeting of federal establishments in the state. He said it was necessary to remind them that they would be used by the commission as Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) during the elections and appealed to them to ensure neutrality during the election.

“All ad-hoc staff will swear to an oath of office and this is because we want to ensure that the coming elections are different in every respect. INEC uses staff of federal establishments because they are believed to be more neutral and have broader horizon, having come from other states of the federation,” he said. “I am appealing to all election officials, including the federal government staff not to compromise in carrying out their election duties.

They should respect all the ground rules so that there can be outcomes that represent the will of the people. This is INEC’s main objective for using unbiased officials like you to conduct elections,” the REC said. Briyai, who used the forum to give a rundown of activities of the commission in the state, said about 78,539 voters had so far been registered, while 16, 6944 PVCs had been distributed and 5,344 PVCs were yet to be collected since 2015. Earlier, Chairman of federal establishments in the state, Dr. Fred Chucks Okoli of the Federal Character Commission, said the purpose of the meeting was to unite members and to work for the progress of the country and the state in particular.

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Rivers: Why Wike embarked on healthcare reforms



Rivers State government yesterday said that reforms being embarked upon by Governor Nyesom Wike in the health sector was aimed at providing qualitative healthcare for the people of the state, stressing that they deserved more than that. Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who stated this during a visit by the state Ministry of Health, USAID-HFG and the state agency for the Control of HIV/AIDs at the Government House, Port Harcourt, said that the governor was committed to affordable healthcare for the people.

She said quality and affordable healthcare for Rivers people, featured prominently in the New Rivers Vision of the governor, “aimed at arresting the decay and the decline the Wike administration met in 2015.” Banigo said: “Governor Wike is a health-friendly governor, who wants to see that quality healthcare is affordable to all. That is why adequate health financing provisions were made in the 2008 budget.

“Primary healthcare workers were on strike for more than one year; health centres were shut down, routine immunisation coverage was at its lowest ebb. It was a total disaster. “But today the story is different. All the primary healthcare centres are functional, and the general hospitals are undergoing total renovation.” Also speaking during the visit, Health Commissioner, Prof. Princewill Chike, said health insurance had proven to be a more sustainable form of healthcare financing. He added that the state had developed a draft bill that is presently before the State Executive Council (SEC), awaiting approval to be sent to the state House of Assembly.

In his remarks at the occasion, Leader of the USAID/ HFG Project, Nigeria, Dr. Gafar Alawode, said two effective approaches to sustain health programmes and prevent gaps in health services include the implementation of the state health insurance scheme and insuring the availability of funds for HIV/AIDs control in the state through the relevant ministries, department and angencies (MDAs).

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