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Drama In Court As Maina’s Sister, Testifies Against Him

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…Distances Self From Companies, Bank Accounts Linked To Her

There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday when Fatima Abdullahi, a younger sister of Abdulrasheed Maina, was giving evidence as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team.

Fatima, a civil servant and resident of Kaduna, told the court that she and Maina shares the same parents.

She gave evidence behind a screen where her face was only seen by the judge, Justice Okon Abang, while her voice could be heard through the public address system of the court.

However, while her evidence in chief was going on, Adeola Adedipe, counsel for Common Inputs & Investment Nigeria Ltd (2nd defendant), raised observation that he suspected that the witness was reading from a prepared document.

When asked by the court registrar, the witness said, “Well, I am not reading from any paper. They are free to come and check as I only have my bag with me. The reason why I am slowing down is because the judge is taking down his notes.”

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The judge ruled that the court did not see the witness reading from any document.

In her evidence in chief, the witness said she had never heard of a company called Common Input & Investment Nigeria Ltd.

She gave the narrative of how she found out about the company thus: “Sometimes in August, 2019, I went to the ATM of Diamond Access Bank to withdraw some money.

Unfortunately, I could not. So, I went inside the bank to see the manager to complain. The manager told me to hold on, that he would find out the reason..

“After waiting for an hour, the manager told me that I was under arrest and he took me to an office and asked me to wait for the EFCC official to come and take me to their office in Kaduna.

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“That was when the manager told me that my accounts were blocked. So when the EFCC official came, they took me to their office for questioning. When we got there, the officials were asking me if I know any company by the name Common Input, to which I told them I do not. In fact, that was the first time I was hearing about the name.

“They told me that there was a transaction in Common Input and I told them I am not aware of the transaction. So, they made me to write a statement.

“Afterwards, I was given an administrative bail on the same day and that I should proceed to the EFCC office in Abuja the next day.

“The next day, I went to the Abuja office together with my lawyer. The officials also asked me if I know any company by the name Common Input, to which I say I do not. So, they presented a CAC incorporation form of the company where the name Fatima Samaila Abdullahi was stated together with my date of birth but the phone number on the form is not my own.

Even the name as stated on the form is not my name as my full name is Fatima Abdullahi.”

The witness continue her evidence, stating that even her signature was not the one on the form, as well as the one on another CAC form for Kangolo Digital and Drew Investment.

The name is my name, but the signature is not mine,” she said.
“So, I was asked to write a statement, which I did.

“Also, I was shown an account opening package of Common Input and Drew Investment with UBA. I was shown a BVN, which is my BVN and I told them I don’t know anything about those accounts. I was never given any form to sign in respect of those account. And I have never made any deposit or withdrawal from Drew Investment, Common Input and Kangolo.

“I have never opened any account with UBA. The other accounts I have are in GTBank, Access, Fidelity and First Bank.

All my genuine accounts were blocked together with those fictitious accounts. Even my salary account was blocked and I can not access it,” she said.

The witness also denied knowledge of shares bought in her name in the companies, adding that the photograph attached to the documents was a younger version of her before she got married.

Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to December 16 for cross examination and hearing of the bail variation application filed by Maina.

(Daily Trust)

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INEC Releases 2023 General Elections Report

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has released the 2023 general elections report.

Its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

The report was released almost a year after the 2023 general elections.

Some Nigerians had expressed disappointment over the delayed uploads of the presidential election results to the INEC result viewing portal.

However, Olumekun said the election report was reviewed and approved for publication at the commission’s weekly meeting held on Thursday.

READ ALSO: CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday

He noted that the publication was done in keeping with the commission’s tradition over the last four electoral cycles, and its commitment to transparency.

Olumekun said the “comprehensive 526-page document, structured into 13 chapters and enhanced with 60 tables, 14 boxes, and 10 graphs, offered an in-depth analysis of the election’s key processes, achievements, and challenges, along with valuable lessons learned.”

Giving more insights, the national commissioner stated “The report showcases the election’s unparalleled diversity in party representation, demonstrating significant democratic progress.

“This election saw four political parties winning gubernatorial races, seven parties winning senatorial seats, eight in federal constituencies, and nine in state legislatures, illustrating a broad shift in political representation across Nigeria.

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“The report underscores the pivotal role of technological advancements, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, in enhancing electoral integrity and reducing fraud.

“Furthermore, it addresses public concerns about the INEC Result Viewing portal, explaining the technical issues encountered during the upload of polling unit results for the presidential election.”

He added that other aspects covered in the report include logistics, security arrangements, staff recruitment and training, inclusivity measures, and the electoral framework,” he said.

Olumekun further stated that the commission would welcome feedback to inform future electoral reforms and improvements.

 

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CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday

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The newly-appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in on Monday, according to The PUNCH.

The justices are Jummai Sankey, Chidiebere Uwa, Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Haruna Tsammani, Moore Adumein, Obande Ogbuinya, and Stephen Adah.

Others are Habeeb Abiru, Jamilu Yammama Tukur, Abubakar Sadiq Umar, and Mohammed Baba Idris

The National Assembly had on December 21, 2023, confirmed the elevation of the justices following President Bola Tinubu’s recommendation.

READ ALSO: Nursing Student Killed Self Over Unwanted Pregnancy

According to an invite sent to our correspondent on Friday, the Supreme Court’s Director of Information, Festus Akande, disclosed that the oath of office will be administered on the justices by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola.

He said, “The newly appointed 11 Justices of the Supreme Court will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola on Monday at 10.00 a.m. at the Main Courtroom of the Supreme Court.”

When the swearing-in of the elevated justices is done, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as stipulated by the Constitution

 

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Akeredolu’s Widow Slams Critics As Ex-governor Is Buried In Ondo

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The ancient town of Owo, Ondo State on Friday, played host to people from all walks of life who stormed the town to grace the final burial of the late former governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Akeredolu, who passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, during a protracted illness in a German hospital, at the age of 67, was laid to rest at the burial site in the community.

In line with the burial programme, the body of the former governor arrived in the state on Wednesday where a special court session was held in his honour after which the remains were taken to the Akure Township Stadium for a lying-in-state and commendation service.

On Friday, a funeral service was held at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Anglican Church, Imola, Owo. The Vice President, Mallan Kashim Shettima and many dignitaries were in attendance.

READ ALSO: Aiyedatiwa Declares Public Holidays In Ondo To Honour Late Akeredolu

The wife of the late Akeredolu, Betty, in her tribute, hit hard on the critics of her relationship with her late husband.

The former first lady said “It’s me, your adorable Betty. You just left me. Just like that! It hurts. Badly it hurts. Now alone to face all manners of mockery from the so-called friends and adversaries alike. Now alone. A beg o! Can an Amotekun generalissimo be a weakling? Mbanuu! It doesn’t add up nau. Haba!”

“Not a few lashed out that you (Akeredolu) were a weakling because you loved me. I don’t think so in their homes while growing up they saw their mothers trampled upon as doormats. By the way, do they know what love is?

“They copied the template and treated their wives as pieces of furniture that can be easily discarded as trash. In many instances, the subjugation was garnished with beatings while the community looked the other way and remained unperturbed by gender-based violence. Beaten up like punch bags.”

READ ALSO: Ekiti Declares Three Days Of Mourning For Akeredolu

Speaking at the service, President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by the Vice President, described the deceased former governor as a fearless man who always stood by the truth.

“We are gathered here today to bid farewell to a remarkable soul, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, CON,” the President began, reflecting on the transience of life and the enduring impact of our choices. He is a fearless soldier for his people.”

“There was no point in life where his voice shook in telling his truth. He was a vastly intelligent man whose passion has created quite a wide vacuum beyond this community,” the President eulogised.

READ ALSO: Aiyedatiwa Replaces Five Akeredolu’s Aides

Similarly, the state Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa said his former boss always stood for good governance and the rule of law.

He stated, “You are all here because he stood for something: good governance and the rule of law. He means a lot to different people, and that is why he has been described in different words. He was a courageous leader, a fighter, and a warrior. How can we forget him so soon? It is not possible because he lives on.

“He used the instrument of governance to intervene in different sectors of the state, including education, health services, and infrastructural development and security, among others.”

Dignitaries at the burial ceremony include the Ondo State Governor Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Governors of Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Anambra and Benue States, Engnr Seyi Makinde, Dapo Abiodun, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Oyebanji, Godwin Obaseki, Sheriff Oborevwori, Charles Soludo and Hyacinth Alia respectively and the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje and host of others.

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