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Yahaya Bello absent in court as EFCC threatens military option to fish him out

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is mulling the “military option” against Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi state.

On Thursday, the federal high court in Abuja adjourned the case against Bello, Alli Bello, chief of staff to Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi; and one Daudu Suleiman, to April 23.

The EFCC alleged that the suspects diverted about N100 billion belonging to the Kogi government.

Responding to the EFCC allegations, the Kogi government said funds belonging to the state were not missing during the administration of the former governor.

The former Kogi governor was not present in the courtroom on Thursday.

Kemi Pinhero, EFCC counsel, said Bello’s absence from the court was a strategy.

Responding, Abdulwahab Muhammed, Bello’s lawyer, said on February 9, a court issued a restraining order on the arrest and prosecution of the former governor.

He said the restraining order was appealed by the EFCC, adding that the case is still pending and therefore the arrest warrant granted against Bello on Wednesday does not stand.

Muhammed accused the EFCC of trying to bring the judge on a collision course with the court of appeal.

He said the court has no jurisdiction on the matter as the case is pending at the court of appeal.

Muhammed asked the court to vacate the arrest warrant granted against Bello because the court was “misled”.

He said it may lead to anarchy if a court of competent jurisdiction and another court of competent jurisdiction issue opposing orders.

Responding, Pinhero said if the former Kogi governor believes he is innocent, he should appear in court to defend himself.

He said if Bello is unwilling to appear before the court, measures will be taken against him.

He said section 287 of the constitution allows security agencies, including the military, to produce a person before a court, adding that nobody is above the court or the rule of law.

After hearing arguments from the counsel, Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, adjourned further hearing to April 23.

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Lagos speaker, Obasa, loses father

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The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, has lost his father, Alhaji Sulaiman Obasa.

It was learnt that Obasa died on Tuesday morning.

Confirming his demise, the Secretary of the Orile Agege Local Council Development Area chapter of the All Progressives Congress, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Political and Legislative Affairs, Fatai Olagoke Ajibola, in a statement on Tuesday, said the late Obasa would be buried today according to Islamic rites.

“Late Alhaji Obasa will be buried this evening (Tuesday) in accordance with Islamic injunctions.

“The venue of the Janazah prayer will be communicated in due course,” Ajibola added.

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Police begin 24-hour motorbike patrol of Third Mainland Bridge

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The police Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in Lagos has commenced a 24-hour patrol of the Third Mainland Bridge as a way of protecting the infrastructure.

On Monday, Olayinka Egbeyemi, commander of the RRS, directed the squad’s bike riders to commence a daily patrol of the bridge to prevent harassment of road users and vandalism.

“This is in line with the directives of the commissioner of police, CP Adegoke Fayoade, to the squad for the protection of lives, property and public infrastructure on the newly renovated bridge,” Egbeyemi said.

The RRS commander said motorists and road users should cooperate with motorcycle cops so that they can serve them better.

The 11.8km Third Mainland Bridge was recently given a facelift.

Theft of electrical installations and other fittings on the bridge are rife and have persisted for decades.

Earlier this month, the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) arrested one Friday Nwafor for vandalising and stealing road light indicators on the newly renovated bridge.

The Lagos police command had also arrested four suspects for stealing armoured cables on the bridge.

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Labour gives FG May 31 ultimatum to reverse electricity tariff hike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the federal government until May 31 to reverse the electricity tariff.

The labour bodies gave the ultimatum in a communiqué issued in Abuja on Monday at the end of a joint emergency national executive council (NEC) meeting of the NLC and TUC.

On April 3, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in the electricity tariff for customers in the Band A classification—from N66 to N225 per kwh.

The tariff hike attracted public outcry and calls for its reversal.

On May 13, members of organised labour picketed the headquarters of the NERC, the federal ministry of power, and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) in Abuja, demanding a reversal of the tariff.

The protest was replicated across Nigeria.

In the communiqué, the unions said the action taken by the government without consideration for the hardship of the masses was “unjust and burdensome”.

“The NEC once again vehemently condemns the unilateral increase in electricity tariffs by the authorities,” the communiqué reads.

“This action, taken without due consideration for the economic hardships faced by the masses and the provisions of the law, is deemed unjust and burdensome.

“The NEC reaffirms its demands for an immediate reversal of the tariff hike and the vexatious apartheid categorization into bands to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers and citizens and gives the National Electricity Regulatory Commission and the federal government until the last day of May 2024 to meet these demands.”

The organised labour said appropriate actions would be taken if the government failed to meet its demands.

“This includes, but is not limited to, the mobilisation of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions to press home these demands for social justice and workers’ rights,” the unions said.

The labour unions also reiterated the May 31 ultimatum for the federal government to finalise the new national minimum wage fixing process for workers.

“We need an agreement that will genuinely reflect the true value of Nigerian workers’ contributions to the nation’s development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of government’s policies,” the labour movement added.

“The NEC affirms its commitment to ensuring that the interests and welfare of workers are adequately protected in the negotiation process.

“The NEC-in-session therefore reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the federal government, which expires on the last day of this month.”

The organised labour directed all councils whose state governments are yet to fully implement the N30,000 national minimum wage and its consequential adjustments to “immediately issue a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable state governments to avert industrial action”.

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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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