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N43.5m Embezzlement: Absence of Lawyer to NOGASA Boss Frustrates Trial

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The absence of Olanrewaju Ajanaku, counsel to the Chairman of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), Fatuyi Yemi Philips, today, frustrated the NOGASA Chairman’s trial before Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

Philips is answering questions to a two-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N43,502,000.00 as slammed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency had, after presenting its fifth and last witness on March 30, 2023, closed its case and the same was adjourned until today for defence.

The NOGASA helmsman, who was first arraigned on April 7, 2022, is standing trial alongside Oceanview Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

Count one reads: “Fatuyi Yemi Philips and Oceanview Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, on or about the 28th day of September 2016 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the aggregate sum of N43, 502,000.00 from Elochukwu Okoye and Elebana Unique Ventures Nigeria Limited on behalf of WAPCIL Nigeria Limited under the false representation that you would sell to WAPCIL Nigeria Limited $98,870.00, a representation you knew to be false”.

Count two reads: “Fatuyi Yemi Philips and Oceanview Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, on or about the 28th day of September 2016 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, stole the sum of N43, 502,000.00, property of WAPCIL Nigeria Limited”.

But he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

While being led in evidence by counsel for the EFCC, M.S. Owede, the prosecution’s last witness, who is a Bureau De Change operator, Musa Mohammed, narrated how he got to know the defendant and the business transaction that they engaged in.

The witness had particularly informed the court as to how sometime in September 2016, the defendant met him and gave him $40,000 cash to help him change.

However, during the day’s proceeding on the matter, there was no representation for the defendant, as the counsel for the prosecution informed the court that his attention was called to a letter sent by the defence counsel, O. Ajanaku as to the prior notification that he would not be present in court.

According to Owede, “This morning, my attention was drawn to a letter from the defence counsel that he would not be in court, today”.

The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, however, observed that he saw the defence counsel fully robed in the court on Monday, “yet he claimed that he has not been to the office this week”.

Owede added, “My lord, to further amplify his mischief, he refused to suggest a date and the reason is not far-fetched, it is so that when we take a date, he’ll say oh it’s not convenient, but we’ll reluctantly oblige him”.

Justice Dada has adjourned the case until June 16, 2023, for defence.

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15 persons injured as BRT bus, truck collide in Lagos

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Fifteen people were injured in a road accident that involved three vehicles, including a BRT bus, at the Ojota bridge in Lagos.

Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the permanent secretary at the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LESEMA), said in a statement on Friday that there were no casualties in the accident.

Oke-Osanyintolu noted that the accident involved a BRT bus, an articulated truck laden with a 40ft container, and an 18-seater commercial bus.

“The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, today received distress calls via the state’s toll-free emergency numbers 767/112 regarding a multiple road traffic accident at the abovementioned address,” the statement reads.

“Upon arrival at the scene, it was discovered that a BRT bus, registration number EXY-167XY, an articulated truck, registration number unknown, laden with a 40ft container, and an 18-seater commercial bus, registration number JJJ-439YG, were involved in an accident at the aforementioned location.

“Investigations by the agency’s LRT revealed that the articulated truck, while heading inward Ketu, suddenly lost control on motion, skidded off its lane, and collided with a BRT bus headed inward Ojota from the opposite direction.

The BRT subsequently skidded off its lane into the service lane and collided with the yellow commercial bus.”

“The BRT bus suffered significant damage to the front and rear ends. The tractor head of the truck was also damaged.

Fifteen people were injured. No critical injuries were sustained. No fatalities were recorded.

“The injured victims were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment, while four of the victims were attended to by the Agency’s Pre-Hospital Care Team alongside LASAMBUS at the incident scene. The road has been set free for vehicular activities.”

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Katsina Hisbah shuts New Palace Hotel for lodging underage girls

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The Katsina State Hisbah Board has ordered the immediate closure of New Palace Hotel, for allegedly lodging underaged girls.

Speaking with NAN, on Friday, Aminu Usman, the Hisbah commander general in the state, said the hotel has, by its action, violated an agreement earlier reached with hoteliers across the state.

He said during a collaborative meeting with hotel managers across the state, there was an agreement that no hotel would accommodate underage children.

“The hotel violated the board’s regulations by allowing underage girls to stay at the premises,” the Hisbah commander said.

“The board discovered that two underage girls were lodged in the same room during a recent inspection, which contravenes the hisbah laws.

“This is the second time such an offence was committed at the New Palace Hotel, inspite of previous warnings by the board and a promise by the hotel’s management to stop such incidents.

“Due to the hotel’s failure to comply with the board’s regulations and meet the stipulated conditions, we have decided to shut it down with immediate effect.

“We remain committed to enforcing reforms and instilling discipline that aligns with the religious and cultural values of the state under the rule of law to ensure lasting peace.”

On June 9, the ministry of women affairs issued a directive prohibiting underage girls from lodging in hotels.

Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, minister of women affairs, said the move is part of the precautionary measures to halt human trafficking, especially of Nigerian girls.

The ban followed the rescue of over 10 teenage girls trafficked to Ghana.

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Security officers foil bank robbery attempt in Abuja

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The police and military have reportedly foiled an attempt to rob a bank in Abaji area council in the federal capital territory.

In a statement on Friday, Josephine Adeh, spokesperson of the FCT police command, said a group of about 15 men attempted to rob a First Bank branch in Abaji on Thursday.

Abaji is on the outskirts of the nation’s capital and shares a boundary with Lokoja, capital city of Kogi state.

Adeh said Benneth Igweh, FCT commissioner of police, was personally on ground to oversee the operation.

“In swift response to an armed robbery incident at First Bank PLC in Abaji on June 13, 2024, at about 5:00 PM, the FCT police, led by the commissioner of police, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, himself, in a combined operation with the military, mobilized to scene and repelled the attack simultaneously carried out on both Abaji Divisional Police headquarters and first bank PLC in Abaji by a group of fifteen armed men who attacked with dynamites in attempt to rob the bank,” she said.

“One police operative and the gang leader were hit by a bullet during the gun duel, were rushed to the hospital, and the doctor on duty confirmed them dead, while others are still receiving treatment.

“While search operation is ongoing to apprehend fleeing suspects with bullet injuries, the commissioner of police FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, lauds the effectiveness of the combined operation and reaffirms the command’s unflinching commitment to ensuring that FCT remains inhabitable for criminals, noting that the safety of the residents of FCT is non-negotiable.”

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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