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EFCC: How we recovered $9.3m from ex-NNPC MD

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Prosecution Witness Two, Waziri Adamu Nitte, in the ongoing trial of a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, yesterday gave the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja a vivid account of how the sum of $9.7 million and £74,000 was recovered in a hidden a fireproof safe allegedly belonging to the defendant.

The witness, a Deputy Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told the court at the resumed trial that the commission had, on February 7, 2017 received an intelligence report that there was a house located at Sabon Tasha in Kaduna State where some foreign currencies were stocked in.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Prince Ben Ikani, the witness told the court that the operatives of the anti-graft agency, while acting on the intelligence report, swiftly obtained a valid search warrant and proceeded to Kaduna State whereby they were able to locate the said house situated at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State. Nitte also told the court that on locating the house, they requested to meet with the caretaker of the house who turned out to be one Bitrus Yakubu, a relative of the defendant.

“We introduced ourselves to him and told him what brought us. We also showed him the search warrant we came along with. We thereafter brought an expert and instructed that the door be broken and we were able to have access to the house where a search was conducted.

“We conducted the search and we were able to recover an ash coloured (Gubabi Brown) four doors drawer safe. Because of the sensitivity of the items we recovered in the house, we took it along with Bitrus who was the caretaker of the house down to our office.

We then engaged the services of a lock key expert to unlock the safe. All these were done on camera. “Upon unlocking the safe, we saw foreign currencies mostly packed in different polythene bags stocked in all the four drawers.”

The witness also told the court that in the course of his investigation, he witnessed the statement of Bitrus Yakubu and additional statement of the defendant, Andrew Yakubu. Statement of Bitrus and Yakubu were tendered in evidence.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, thereafter, admitted the evidence and marked as exhibits A, B1 and B2 respectively. Meanwhile, during cross examination by the defence counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), the witness, who was asked to specify the court that signed the search warrant, said: “My superior obtained the search warrant. I know there was a search warrant, but I don’t know where it was obtained.” The matter was subsequently adjourned to January 16, 2018 for continuation of trial.

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Buhari fight against corruption is bias, targets opposition – Group

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The President of Church of Christ in Nations COCIN Rev. Dr. Dachollom Datiri has disclosed that the church has distanced itself from President Muhammadu Buhari Fight against corruption which he said, is bias and gives a semblance of targeting the Opposition in the Country.

The clergy stated this on Tuesday in Jos during the 94th General Church Council of COCIN which is the highest decision making body of the Church.

He urged President Buhari to regain the Confidence of Nigerians by being fair and just in his fight against corruption.

“We heralded the fight on the corruption of the Buhari Government when he started, but now we are being forced to distance ourselves from it”.

“As a church, we cannot associate ourselves with any fight against corruption that is biased and gives a semblance of targeting the Opposition”.

The COCIN President while speaking on insurgency said the APC administration promised Nigerians to stamp out insurgency within few months, but three years into this administration it appears to be no end in sight.

“Government has failed woefully in guaranteeing the security of lives and property of her citizenry which is a primary constitutional responsibility of government and government must rise up to her responsibility, it was the late Gen. Sani Abacha who said, ” If insurgency lasts for 24 hours, the Government has a hand in it”.

Datiri condemns in strong terms a situation where Leah Sharibu is about two months in captivity because of her faith, saying Buhari Government is playing games with her life.

“We condemn this in the strongest terms and make bold to say that no responsible government will allow this event for one day”, he said.

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Activities grounded as Catholics defy downpour to protest wanton killings in Edo

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Activities including vehicular movements were brought to a halt for several hours along major routes and streets of Benin, the capital town of Benin, Edo State as Catholic faithful of Benin Archdiocese in their large numbers protested against the killings of their priests and members as well as others across the nation.

This came as the chairman, sub-Committee of the Centenary Torch Movement of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, (BCS), Christ Ambassador Emmanuel Inor, also yesterday appealed to Christians to embrace peace and emulate the canon manifestations of Christ Jesus to avoid conflicts as the country goes through her most critical times.

The protesters from across the 18 local government councils and three senatorial districts of the state with placards of various inscriptions and attires included the clergies and laity, had defied an early morning rain within the metropolis.

The protest began as early as 8:am when they converged on the St. Paul Catholic Church on the busy Airport Road, Benin from where they took off and marched towards the Kings Square and other major streets with strong condemnation and rejection of what they described as federal government’s poor handling of the security issues as they regard the wanton killings and onslaught that led to destruction of properties that made most victims homeless while many also are now orphans and widows.

They warned against turning the Nigerian Nation into an animal kingdom even as they insisted that cattle grazing is a private business.

Some of the placards carried by the faithful read; “the Catholic Church in Nigeria rejects Federal Government of Nigeria’s poor handling of security in the country”, “Stop rendering people homeless”; “Cattle grazing is a private business,” “Please, do not turn Nigeria into an animal kingdom”.

The protesters had proceeded from the Kings Square popularly known as Ring Road and ended at the Holy Cross Cathedral on the Mission road in the town.

The Arch-Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Akubeze told journalists that the wanton killings across the country have become worrisome and unbearable, particularly, the gruesome murder of two priests and 17 worshippers in Markurdi which necessitated the peaceful protest.

Bishop Akubuexe said “There are many gruesome killings in the country and the hallmark of it is the killing of the Catholic priests along with the 17 parishioners in Makurdi. So this very date today, the Bishops are gathered in Makurdi to celebrate the mass of the death for those two priests and the other parishioners. It is the height of the insecurity in the country. So that is what prompted this action,” (protest).

Represented by Very Reverend Father Augustine Ehigie, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Benin, Bishop Akubueze noted that those who involved in the killings should not be allowed to go scot-free rather their actions must be criminalized.

They also called for adequate security beef up across the country to checkmate the excesses of hoodlums and masterminds of the acts.

He stated that “First and foremost, those who are involved should be criminalized. We do not want an ambiguous statement about it. They should call a spade a spade. Secondly, they have to beef up the security across the country. More so, let people love themselves. Now, people are disenchanted.”

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Inor, who spoke with newsmen in Benin ahead of the preparations to mark Hundred years of the founder and Leader, Olumba Olumba Obu on earth with the grand finale holding in Cross River State in the coming months, said the centenary torch movement to Edo state is part of the drive to create more awareness across the states of the nation to save mankind from the impending destruction and channel their efforts towards the doctrines as propagated by Jesus Christ.

Christ ambassador Inor expressed disappointment over growing rate of discrimination among Christians.

He said as a body, there is an urgent need to preach peace and unity by all.

According to him, it was the collective responsibilities of all as exemplified by the founder and leader of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Olumba Olumba Obu.

The cleric said, “We are celebrating the hundred years of the physical manifestation of Olumba Olumba Obu on Earth. We are telling all to be part of this celebration that will climax in December. A lot of people have said that if brotherhood of the Cross and Star is operating like other churches many people would have been members of the church. They have issues with us wearing the long robe with bare feet and calling man God. That’s the problem.”

Inor, therefore, called on all Christians and stakeholders to put into practice the messages of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“If we practice as it is written, there would be no war. If Israel loves Palestine there would be no war. If Nigeria loves Ghana there would be no war; Brethrens don’t hate me and I won’t hate you. Don’t hate pastors from other churches but love ye one another”.

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Catholics protest killings of priests, appeal for calm

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Catholic faithful on Tuesday in Uyo protested the killing of two Catholic priests and 17 worshipers recently in Benue.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the placards carried by the protesters read: “No weapon fashioned against Christians shall prosper”; “Say no to terrorism in places of worship”; “Christians lives matter”; “live and lets live”; “human lives are sacred”, among others.

Bishop of Uyo Diocese, Rev. Dr John Ayah, said that Catholics would not take up arms against Fulani herdsmen in the face of recent attacks against worshipers and priests.

Ayah said that they would continue to depend on security agencies of government for the protection of their members, especially during church programmes.

“The killings have become too many. The church is `arm less’ so, we will continue to depend on security provided by government.

“If the government provides sufficient security, then there will be no point carrying guns around to protect Christians. We are do not have arms, our arms are our prayers and our rosaries.

“So we are telling governments to wake up to their responsibilities of providing adequate security to the citizens.’’

The bishop said that the killings by herdsmen had become unbearable and had continued to portray lack of adequate security by the Federal Government.

In his remark, the Vicar General in charge of administration for the Diocese, Rev. Fr Donatus Udoette said that government’s responsibility was to provide adequate security for its citizens.

Udoette said that as Christians, Catholics would not take up arms but would depend on prayers.

He, however, called on the Federal Government to rise up to the challenge of protecting citizens from the menace of herdsmen. (NAN)

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