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N80.2bn fraud: Yahaya Bello’s lawyer applies to withdraw from case

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Adeola Adedipe, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has applied to withdraw his representation for Yahaya Bello, former Kogi governor.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking to arraign Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

However, the former governor has failed to appear in court on every adjourned date.

At the court session on Thursday, Adedipe told the court that a letter has been sent to the chief judge of the federal high court seeking to transfer the case to Kogi state.

Kemi Pinhero, EFCC counsel, urged the court to compel the defence lawyer to explain why the defendant was not in court despite an undertaking he made on June 13 to that effect.

He prayed the court to dismiss “the story of the defence lawyer as dilatory and a further attempt to treat this court with scorn”.

Pinhero also prayed the court to punish the two senior lawyers representing the former governor, insisting that they have breached the rules of professional conduct.

“My lord, our application is that since one of the lawyers is present in court, he should be moved to the dock and dealt with summarily. That is what the law says,” the EFCC lawyer said.

“We urge the court to exercise disciplinary jurisdiction over the lawyers so as to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.

“If a chief justice of Nigeria can be docked before an inferior tribunal, who then is a SAN or a former governor in terms of status?

“Even a former president of the United States of America was docked. These senior lawyers have been helping the defendant to treat this court with scorn.

“For five consecutive sittings, the defendant refused to make himself available for his trial and his lawyers have continued to use all forms of chicanery to frustrate his arraignment.

“If this sort of conduct is not punished, then we will be sliding to a situation that will be worse than Animal Farm.

“The world is watching. Punishing these senior lawyers will send a very clear message.”

‘ONLY AN AFTERTHOUGHT’

Responding, Adedipe told the court that he was not Bello’s lead counsel, adding that he also did not sign any undertaking to guarantee the presence of his client in court.

“My lord, the narration by the prosecution counsel is very untrue and it is accentuated by malice. I am not the lead counsel in this matter,” Adedipe said.

“What the learned prosecution counsel has tried to do was to pitch my person against this court.”

He submitted that the EFCC has failed to execute the warrant it obtained for the arrest of the defendant.

Adedipe said his team had earlier notified the court that it was not aware of the whereabouts of the former governor.

He noted that given the direction the case had taken, he would like to withdraw his appearance for the defendant pursuant to Section 349(8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

The EFCC lawyer submitted that it was too late for the defence lawyer to withdraw his appearance.

“My lord, he should be used to set an example that this is not a lottery game. His request to withdraw is only an afterthought and it should not be countenanced by this court,” he said.

“I urge your lordship to invite him to the dock immediately.”

Emeka Nwite, trial judge, is yet to rule on the matter.

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Abuja man protesting hardship on mast released on bail

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The Federal Capital Territory Police Command said a man identified as Shuaibu Yushau, who was arrested on July 8 for attempted suicide, had been released on bail to his lawyer, Deji Adeyanju.

The FCT Police Command’s spokesperson, Josephine Adeh, in a statement on X.com on Friday, said Yushau’s release followed a mental assessment conducted by the FCTA SDS.

She said, although the assessment report indicated that he is mentally stable, symptoms of anxiety, persistent worry, and fears were observed in the course of profiling him.

Adeh added that the FCTA SDS recommended that the suspect be allowed to report weekly to their office for further psycho-social care and support, hence the reason for admitting him to bail.

She wrote, “On Thursday, July 18, 2024, the FCT police command released Alhaji Yushau Shuaibu on bail to his lawyer, Deji Adeyanju. Shuaibu who was arrested for climbing the Aso Radio mast. He was referred to the FCTA SDS for a mental assessment, which found him mentally stable.

“However symptoms of anxiety, persistent worry, and fears were noted during his profiling. The SDS recommended that he receive further psycho-social care and support, which contributed to the decision to release him on bail.”

Shuaibu was arrested for climbing the Aso Radio mast in protest against insecurity and hardship in the country. He said he had been observing the mast for about a week before deciding to climb it.

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Doyin Okupe praises Ooni for reportedly bringing down foodstuffs prices in Ife

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Doyin Okupe, the former Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign, has heaped praises on the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, for “bringing down the escalating prices of foodstuffs in his domain.”

According to Okupe, the monarch went out of his way to negotiate with market leaders in Ife.

He said after much deliberations and negotiations, the market leaders agreed to bring down the prices of common foodstuffs in their markets.

Commending the monarch’s initiative, the ex-presidential spokesperson, described the move as ‘exponentially ingenious’, adding that the effort curtailed excessive profiteering by greedy traders.

He tweeted, “The Oonirisa , Oba Enitan Adeyemi Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has done something exponentially ingenious and commendable. He boldly and responsively intervened in bringing down the seemingly uncontrolled escalating prices of foodstuffs in his domain.

“He went out of his way to summon market leaders to meetings in his palace where after much deliberations and negotiations, traders agreed to bring down the prices of common foodstuffs in their markets.

“This way the excessive profiteering by greedy traders who wantingly exploited the masses was curtailed. In a chat with the Ooni this morning, he informed me that he is making serious efforts that this highly commendable initiative is replicated all over the southwest.”

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Lagos state government announces 90-day traffic diversion on Odo Iya Alaro Bridge

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The Lagos State Government has announced a 90-day traffic diversion for motorists on the Odo Iya Alaro Bridge, which will commence on Monday, July 22, 2024.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, July 18, 2024, the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi stated that the diversion is due to the deplorable state of the asphalt pavement and expansion joints on the Odo Iya Alaro Bridge.

Osiyemi noted that the diversion would be done in two phases — the Ojota bound lane and the Yaba/Ojuelegba/Maryland bound lane, respectively. At the same time, alternative routes had been mapped out for each phase of the repairs.

The statement read, “For the first phase of the repairs, motorists heading to Ojota from Maryland/Yaba will be diverted into a counter flow on the lane inbound Maryland while motorists heading to Yaba from Ojota will continue their journeys on the same lane.

“Alternately, motorists from Berger, Magodo and Tollgate along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway are advised to go through the Alapere/Ogudu axis inward Gbagada/Anthony Oke Bridge to descend the ramp and access Ikorodu Road to continue their journeys.

“Motorists coming from Ikeja, Oregun and Kudirat Abiola Way are advised to use the Opebi Link Bridge to connect Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way inwards Sheraton through Maryland to access Ikorodu Road and navigate their ways.”

The statement also added that “motorists from Jibowu are advised to use the Ikorodu Road Service lane by Mobil Fuel Station/Bertola Engineering Equipment Company to access the Gbagada/Ogudu axis to continue their journeys.”

However, if the motorists “miss the turning by the Mobil Fuel Station and Bertola Engineering Equipment Company, they can also use Theodolite to link Anthony Oke Ramp and join Ikorodu Road again to access the Town Planning Way inward Gbagada/Ogudu/Alapere axis to proceed with their journeys.”

“Motorists from Jibowu heading to Ikeja, Magodo, Berger and Lagos Ibadan Expressway can use Maryland inwards Mobolaji Bank Anthony to link Sheraton/Opebi to Allen Avenue/Obafemi Awolowo Way and access Nurudeen Olowopopo Road to continue their journeys.

Alternatively, after going through the Opebi Link Bridge, they can also make use of Kudirat Abiola Way to access Ikosi Road inwards Mobolaji Johnson Avenue/7up to connect Nurudeen Olowopopo Road and access their desired destinations,” the statement read.

While explaining the second phase of the repair works, the commissioner noted that “motorists inward Maryland/Yaba from Ojota will be diverted into a counter flow on the lane inbound Ojota while motorists from Maryland will continue their journey on the same lane.”

For the alternative routes, motorists “from Berger, Magodo and Toll Gate can use Alapere inwards Gbagada to link the Anthony Oke Ramp to connect Ikorodu Road and access their desired destinations. Similarly, motorists coming from Ikorodu/ Ketu can utilise the Ojota Ramp Bridge to link Alapere and continue their journeys as explained above.

“Motorists from Ikeja, Oregun and Kudirat Abiola Way are advised to use the Opebi Link Bridge inwards Mobolaji Bank Anthony/Sheraton and come out at Maryland to enter Ikorodu Road and continue their journeys.”

“The aforementioned alternative routes for motorists heading to Ikeja, Magodo, Berger and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from Jibowu during the first phase are also available during the second phase of the repairs,” the statement explained.

The Commissioner appealed to the public ” to cooperate with the interventions put in place during the repairs” as he assured that traffic management personnel would be on the ground to ensure a steady traffic flow.

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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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