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FG arraigns S’Court justice for selling rice, palm oil

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Justice Ngwuta faces fresh trial at CCT
Osinbajo’s panel meet on suspended SGF, NIA DG
PDP demands independent commission of inquiry

The Federal Government yesterday arraigned Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, on an eight-count charge bothering on non-declaration of assets.

In one of the counts against Justice Ngwuta, the Federal Government alleged that the judge engaged in purchase and sale of rice, palm oil and other related products, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Code Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.

In the charge, Ngwuta was accused of engaging in private business as a public officer, contrary to Section 6(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

He was also accused of not declaring his assets as a public officer contrary to Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act. Specifically, he was accused of not declaring his ownership of 28 plots of land to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in the assets declaration form he filled between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016.

He was also accused of shielding his ownership of five exotic cars. Part of the charges against him includes “that between 2nd June 2011 and 19th July 2016, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and within the jurisdiction of this honourable tribunal, did make a false declaration of assets” to the CCB when he failed to declare three duplexes at Chinedu Ogah Avenue, Ntezi, Aba in Abakaliki, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court.

He was alleged to have, between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria made a false declaration to the CCB when he failed to declare 22 plots of land at Chief Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliki, as well as failed to declare six plots of land at Frank Okoroafor Avenue, Abakaliki.

Other allegations was that Ngwuta failed to declare a Peugeot saloon car with Vehicle No: VRG55513890295200 and Chassis No: VF34B- 5FV9BS069213, Registration No: ABC566RL and count five revealed that he failed to declare a Wrangler Jeep with Vehicle No: VRG55535620346898 and Chassis No: IJ- 4GA591581626734, Registration No: RSH526AJ.

The judge, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

Counsel to the defendant, Kanu Agabi (SAN) made oral application, praying the tribunal to grant bail to the judge on self-recognisance. Prosecution counsel, Umar Mohammed, did not oppose the application, but rather prayed the tribunal to allow him to produce his witnesses on July 12.

Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, later admitted the defendant to bail on self-recognisance and consequently adjourned trial till July 12.

Justice Ngwuta was among the seven judges that were arrested after a sting operation by the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted between October 7 and 8, 2016. He is currently facing an 18-count corruption charge before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

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Catholic Church rejoins CAN

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Barely five years after the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria pulled out of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the church has announced its return to the umbrella organisation of Christians in the country. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) had, in a letter dated September 24, 2012, announced its withdrawal from the organisation. Although the letter was not explicit on the reasons for the action, many believed it was due to some disagreements.

The re-union which reportedly took place at the weekend, saw a delegation of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, led by Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Omonokhua, attending an expanded two-day National Executive Committee meeting of CAN for the amendment of its constitution. President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, expressed delight at the new development, describing it as one of the best things that has happened to CAN in recent times.

In a statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Ayokunle said bringing the Catholic brethren back to the fold was part of his vision for CAN. “I must acknowledge the support and understanding of my brother in Christ, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and his team.”

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Ogboni fraternity renews commitment to protect African culture

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The All African Students’ Union (AASU) has decorated the Olori Oluwo (Supreme Leader) of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF), Otunba Francis Meshioye, with the prestigious African Leadership Award. Performing the investiture into the students’ body Hall of Fame yesterday in Lagos, AASU Country Representative, Comrade Lawal La’pounds said the continental student body arrived at the choice of Meshioye for the prestigious award after a meticulous observation of his impactful and dutiful commitment to the betterment of the society.

The AASU team, which comprised representatives and executives from Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Guinea, Central Africa Republic, among others, said the union was convinced that the ROF leader deserved the recognition for his meticulous impacts in the development of African culture and beliefs. Responding, Meshioye, who is a seasoned administrator and chartered accountant, expressed delight at the recognition, saying he is poised to do more with the investiture. He said: “We are Africans and we should be proud of our culture. Our organization is committed to fostering good leadership in Africa.

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If Buhari re-contests, Nigeria will sink –Primate Ayodele

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Founder and spiritual leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has warned that the much anticipated second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s general election will not be favourable to the country, especially should he win.

Primate Elijah Ayodele subsequently appealed to him to do away with such an ambition and rather urged Buhari to step down for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to contest the presidential election under All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to the Primate: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s time is over in 2019. If Buhari re-contests, Nigeria will sink and there will be problems which may even result in bloodshed. In order to avoid such, we have three options: we either operate a regional system of government; we separate, or Buhari steps down for Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for peace and security in the country.

 

“A lot of things have gone wrong under Buhari in the present administration. If the All Progressives Congress (APC) presents Buhari as its presidential candidate, he will fail. He is no longer Nigeria’s ‘Messiah.’ There is trouble ahead of 2019 if clerics and Nigerians do not seek divine intervention. We need prayers to sustain Nigeria beyond 2019.”

 

Primate Ayodele made these prophecies during the church’s Annual Yearly Appreciation Week which ended with a big celebration on Valentine’s Day where gift items of various kinds, ranging from food items to cash gifts to start businesses, were shared out to the less privileged in the society – both Christians and Muslims.

 

He also spoke on the expectations of the recently launched Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), as well as issues affecting the polity, economy, forthcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun States and state police among others.

“Yes, it is true that Nigeria needs state police but the country is not matured yet for such else there will be serious cracks in the system of our government.

“I also believe Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s coalition force is just going to be an ordinary discussion of the day. This is because Obasanjo is playing his last politics and he has to be very careful with the kind of politics he is trying to play or else people will no longer take him serious. For the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), it will be tough. I see a kind of amalgamation of some parties coming together.

 

“There will be trouble in Buhari’s cabinet. Unemployment will be a tough issue for the present administration, despite attempts to improve the situation. The government should also guard against the outbreak of cholera in some states, I see that coming soon. Only if the APC picks the right person, can they win in Ekiti State. APC in Osun State must embrace unity,” he prophesised.

 

While stating that he had nothing personal against President Buhari, he noted that: “Buhari will take various steps to balance all the accusations against him, but the point is that his government is weak and a ‘cabal’ has held his government to ransom.”

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