Hundreds of youths in Ilorin, Kwara state, are protesting at the Government House, over an alleged plot to frame Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in a criminal case.
The protest, organised by a group, Kwara Agenda, was to raise the alarm over an alleged plot to link Saraki with a murder case involving one Lanre Mohammed Soliu, the son of a former Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), who was recently paraded by the police in the state over his alleged involvement in cult-related murders.
The protestors carried several placards with various inscriptions such as “Fresh plot to frame Saraki uncovered”, “stop intimidating Saraki”, “we stand with Saraki” among others were received at the forecourt of the Government House by governor AbdulFattah Ahmed.
The leader of the group, Taofiq Olateju told Ahmed that the suspect was being transported to Abuja while his crime was allegedly committed in Ilorin and appealed to men of conscience across the country to prevail on the federal government to stop intimidating and humiliating the Senate President.
The police in Kwara state paraded had last week paraded Lanre, the son of a former spokesman of the command, Alhaji Woru Mohammed, for alleged murder and membership of Aiye confraternity cult group.
Commissioner of police, Aminu Pai Saleh, also paraded an alleged notorious cultist, Abolaji Safti Ojulari, , saying that the suspect alongside 13 of his accomplices had killed 11 people, including a notorious hoodlum, Bayo Ajia, between 2016 and 2018.
The Kwara Agenda leader expressed concerned over the sudden twist introduced to the investigation of Lanre, arguing that having allegedly committed the offence in Ilorin, his trial should also be within the jurisdiction.
His words : “Our attention has been drawn to a fresh plot by the federal government to implicate the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki in a murder case involving one Lanre Mohammed Soliu.
“It is on record that Lanre Mohammed Soliu was recently paraded alongside five others by the Kwara state police commissioner, Aminu Pai Saleh, as members of Aiye confraternity cult group. Soliu was specifically accused of killing one Yemi Bayero of Ago market, Ilorin. The offences which the suspect allegedly committed were carried out in Ilorin, Kwara state, and expectedly he’s supposed to be tried in a competent court of jurisdiction in the state.
“We are, however, alarmed by a new twist to the whole issue. As we are speaking with you, Soliu is being transported to Abuja by men of Kwara state police command.
“This is not our concern, but our concern is about the plot by the powers that be to torture and force the suspect to implicate Dr Bukola Saraki. We have it on good authority that the main purpose of transferring the self- confessed cultist to Abuja is to implicate the Senate President in the whole saga.
“As concerned youths of Kwara state, we want to appeal to men of conscience across the country to prevail on the federal government to stop intimidating and humiliating our God – sent leader, the President of the Senate. No Senate President in the history of this country has been so humiliated and vilified as Senator Bukola Saraki, for no just cause.
“Saraki is our leader and a law abiding citizen whose passion is to improve the lots of the common man. He should be left alone to continue the good job he and his colleagues are doing at the National Assembly.
“We are using this forum to warn those behind this fresh plot to frame and tarnish the image of our leader to retrace their steps. We have no doubt in our mind that this fresh plot like the ones before it shall fail woefully.
“Saraki remains committed to the cause of the Nigerian masses, and their prayers and support shall always keep him going and ensure his victory over his adversaries.”
In his response, Governor Ahmed commended their maturity in carrying out the protest and promised to deliver the message from the youths to the appropriate authorities.
In a related development, the state government also issued a statement expressing concern over the transfer of the suspect. In the statement, Senior Special Assistant (Media), Dr. Muideen Akorede quoted the state’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Jimoh Mumini, as expressing worry over the development after an emergency Security Council meeting chaired by Ahmed.
Jimoh noted that the offence for which the suspects were arrested are state offences which are triable under the state laws. He said that though the representative of the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Command, Aminu Pai Saleh at the meeting said that the four suspects were transferred to Abuja for further investigation, the state Ministry of Justice has successfully prosecuted suspected cultists and killers at the State High Court under the penal code.
The DPP therefore urged the police to speed up their investigation and return the suspects to Kwara State so as to commence trial as done by the Ministry of Justice in respect to similar offences and offenders in the past.
The statement also quoted the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Daniel Ogungbe as noting that the concern of the state government was based on the urgency with which the suspects were transferred to Abuja.
According to Ogungbe the suspects should have been tried in the State rather than being transferred to the federal capital and expressed hope that the investigation and trial will not be hijacked for political purposes.
Navy seizes N66m illegally refined diesel, arrests 23 suspects
Nigerian Navy (NN) on Friday says it impounded a vessel, barge and wooden boat illegally conveying about 300,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel worth N66 million.
Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, presented 11 suspected crewmen to newsmen in Onne, Rivers.
He said that the vessel, MV Nazarene, barge and wooden boat were intercepted in the late hours of April 20 by troops on routine patrol of waterways.
He added that “the vessel, MV Nazarene, was caught in the act by our patrol elements transhipping suspected illegally refined diesel from a barge, DP 28, and a wooden boat at about 2300 hours.
“MV Nazarene was seized with 300,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.
“The 11 all-male crew members of the vessel were subsequently arrested and they have been in our custody as preliminary investigation had commenced.”
Choji said that troops also on routine patrol intercepted another suspected illegal vessel, MV Asha, escorted by six undisclosed security personnel.
He said that troops on boarding the vessel found out that the security personnel did not have permission to escort the vessel at the time of seizure.
He, however, declined to reveal the identity of the security agency that provided the illegal escort to the vessel.
He said “MV Asha was seized on March 29 at Onne waterways with 11 crewmen on board. The vessel and crewmen have been in our custody because their motive is still not clear.
“The vessel was arrested with six security personnel that were not under any authority to escort the vessel, thereby, contradicting the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP).
“The HSOP clearly spelt out roles of security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector. I advise that security agencies abide by the HSOP.”
The officer added that any individual or group that wished to lift and load petroleum products legitimately at sea must first seek clearance from navy before carrying out such business.
He said the navy was resolute to ensuring that crimes and criminality within the state maritime environment were frustrated to allow legitimate social and commercial activities to thrive.
The naval officer handed over the vessels, barge, wooden boat and 23 suspects to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
Imo APC: Hold Okorocha responsible for breakdown of law and order
The Imo State All Progressives Congress stakeholders Forum has charged the security agencies to hold the State governor, Rochas Okorocha responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The Forum also condemned the spate of protests, allegedly sponsored by the Imo State governor.
According to the statement signed and issued in Abuja by Dr TOE Ekechi and Hon. Kingsley Ononuju, the Imo State governor should pride his office and stop engaging in activities demeaning the office of the governor.
In the statement, the Forum said, “We wish to draw the attention of security agencies and the general public to the spate of senseless protests which we believe are being sponsored by the governor of Imo State in his desperate bid to blackmail the Imo State stakeholders particularly Distinguished Senator Osita Izunaso, the National Organizing Secretary of our great party.
“We particularly draw attention to the sponsored protests of 17th and 23rd instant at APC party headquarters and SGF office respectively by hired miscreants against our coalition and Senator Osita Izunaso in particular.
“It is shameful that the governor of Imo State can tow this path of dishonour by procuring the services of helpless and hapless youths from Nasarawa State to foment trouble and embarrass the party. From the conduct of the so called “protesters” it was self evident that they did not even know why their services were procured.
“The governor must therefore be called to order by well Nigerians. We wish to warn that the continued sustenance of such senseless protests with Imo taxpayers’ money portends very grave danger. The governor must be held fully responsible for any break of law and order or loss of life if not now, by May 29, 2019, when his tenure surely would have expired.”
Recalled that the Imo State governor is contesting the outcome of the APC Ward, Local Government and State Congresses in the state.
Africans richest woman, Alakija narrates how 3 siblings defrauded her
A business tycoon and one of the richest women in Africa, Mrs Folorunso Alakija has narrated to an Ikeja High Court how Vincent Ayewah, a staff of her Rose of Sharon Foundation and his two siblings defrauded her of N3million.
Vincent, who works as a clerk and admin officer for the foundation was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his siblings Florence Ayewah and Emmanuel Ayewah and four others; Onuwa David, Okoronkwo Chikadibia, Ehizibolo George and Chinyere Awanah.
The EFCC alleged that Vincent conned Alakija’s foundation of the funds by forging cheques while conniving with his siblings and cohorts to pose to banks as beneficiaries of the foundation.
While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr M.D Aliyu, Alakija said, “On November 13, 2012, my treasurer Gladys Efiozor called me to say that she received a call from Stanbic IBTC concerning a forgery of a cheque.
“I told her to send me an email of the forged cheque and when I saw it I told her that the signature was not mine, there are three signatories to that account and the forged signature did not match those of the other signatories.
“Florence (Vincent’s sister) was the one caught with the cheque, tge bank called EFCC to investigate and Florence was handed over to the EFCC.
“It was discovered that the bag she was carrying had 12 different Identity cards of beneficiaries of the foundation with her pictures on the identity cards.
“The bag also contained cash collected from other banks from the foundation’s account.”
Alakija further said that she confronted Vincent and seized his mobile phone after he had received a suspicious call and that he had also deleted an incriminating text message from his phone.
“He admitted to the fraud and begged for mercy, he had done other infractions in the past and had begged for mercy anytime he was caught.
“Vincent enjoyed a new lifestyle with proceeds from the scam, buying a new car which he parked far away from the premises of the office to avoid detection.
“A blank cheque and a survey plan of a property was in his car.
“He had committed infractions before, begged for mercy and I forgave him, I thought that with warnings, he will change,” the billionaire said.
During cross-examination by the Defence Counsel, Mr Obiora Umeh, she said: “There are widows and orphans that need to be empowered, I have one project manager at a time that Vincent Ayewah was reporting to.
“When he needs to write the cheques he had to handle the cheque book, I knew he was issuing the cheques because it was part of his duty.
“The auditors must have gone through the list of beneficiaries and approve it, I can’t remember now if they were going through the cheque books because our systems have since changed.
“The issue at hand is that the first defendant (Vincent) had taken blank cheques and written the names of the beneficiaries on them.
“Vincent’s siblings had gone to pose in banks to pretend that they were the original beneficiaries.
“Even if it wasn’t a blank cheque he had torn out and he had followed the normal sequence of things, they will still go and pose as beneficiaries,” she said.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until October 25 for a continuation of trial.
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