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EFCC Arraigns Ondo Speaker, Two Others Over Alleged Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, Bamidele Oloyelogun, and two others before the state High Court in Akure, over alleged N2.4 million fraud belonging to the Assembly.

Their arraignment followed the ruling by an Akure High Court that it has jurisdiction over the trial.

Consequently, the three lawmakers and one civil servant were arraigned before Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye for the alleged fraud sequel to the dismissal of the preliminary objection filed against their trial by the EFCC.

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The fund (N2.4 million) was meant for a seminar, which the lawmakers and the civil servant were meant to attend, but didn’t.

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The two others arraigned on a two-count charge of fraud, alongside the Speaker, were Felemu Bankole (Akoko South-West Constituency 2), and a civil servant, Segun Oyadeyi Bankole.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations levelled against them.

At the commencement of the trial, the counsel to EFCC, Kingsley Kudus, asked the court to remand the defendants at the Olokuta Correctional Facility.

But reacting, counsel to the defendants, Femi Emodamore, asked the court to strike out EFCC’s prayer for remand, arguing that the administrative bail application on the defendants was still active.

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Emodamore said that the second defendant (Oleyelogun) was having a health challenge that needed urgent medical attention.

He equally asked the court to caution the nominal complainant (former Deputy Speaker, Iroju Ogundeji) in the case for allegedly sending messages to the Speaker in an attempt to annoy him.

According to him, “If Ogundeji did not desist from such action, he would be prosecuted as his actions towards the Speaker is against the law.”

In his ruling, Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye asked the defendants to enjoy their administrative bail till the next hearing date.

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Justice Adebusoye, therefore, adjourned the case till May 18 for a proper hearing of the trial.

Recall that when the case came up for hearing in February, the lawmakers argued that EFCC lacked the power to prosecute offences affecting the finances and assets of the state as there exists a law enacted by the Assembly to tackle corruption allegations in the state.

The defendants in the preliminary objection filed to the EFCC charges by their counsel, Mr Femi Emodamori, asked the court to decline jurisdiction and strike out the charges against them because the EFCC has no right to prosecute them as the assets they were facing trial for belonged to the state.

Emodamore said the EFCC has no right to prosecute the defendants for alleged corruption in view of the State Public Complaint Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption Commission Law passed into law and signed by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in January 2022.

But the counsel to the EFCC then, Mr Fredrick Dibang, said that the court has jurisdiction, because the state law enacted by the state assembly is contrary to the acts of the National Assembly that establish EFCC and once there is a conflict between the law of a state and that of the National Assembly, the law of the state is suspended.

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Dibang said the Assembly passed the law with the intention of frustrating the trial of the lawmakers and the civil servant for the alleged abuse of office and corruption.

However, in his ruling, Justice Adebusoye put the state law in abeyance and held that the EFCC has the power to investigate and prosecute the lawmakers for the alleged fraud, which they were charged with.

Adebusoye said: “The offences against the defendants are not state offences promulgated by the state legislation but a federal offence, having being promulgated by the National Assembly, though relates to finances of Ondo State.

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“Without wasting the time of this court, it settles that the complainant is empowered to investigate and prosecute the three defendants on the two counts charge as stated in the information file, being federal offences and even though the alleged ones involved belong to the Ondo state government.”

The judge, therefore, dismissed the preliminary objection as filed by the defendants and assumed jurisdiction to adjudicate on this matter.

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Edo Police Parade 21 Suspects Over Alleged Murder, Cultism, Pipeline Vandalism

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No fewer than 21 suspects were on Tuesday paraded by the Nigeria police, Edo State Command, for alleged robbery, unlawful possession of fire arms, murder, cultism, illicit drugs, economic sabotage and pipeline vandalism.

Parading the suspects at the Command headquarters, Benin City, the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, Mr. Funsho Adegboye, said the suspects were arrested at different parts of the state for various crimes.

Among the suspects were Ovie Samuel (46), Stanley Itota (45), Felix Oputi (46), Kadiri Hassan (45) and Alex Akaeze, who were arrested for being in possession of 1,080 kilograms of ICE (hard drug), worth ₦20, million street value.

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Adegboye described successes recorded by operatives of the different units of the Command in the last two weeks as “a season of harvest of criminals.”

“This has been a season of harvest of criminals. the suspects were arrested within a period of two weeks and all this is done to make Edo safe for the citizens to carry out businesses in the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, CP Funsho Adegboye has advised parents to warn their children, especially university students, to avoid being used by unscrupulous politicians.

He gave the warning ahead of the commencement of governorship electioneering.

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“We want to implore members of the public to please warn their wards, especially young people, especially university students.

“Our youths should be discouraged, they should not be used as tools in the hands of some unscrupulous politicians.

“Like I advised the executive members of the Students’ Union of the University of Benin, the people that are making use of them, their own children are not around, so why would they want to get involved,” he said.

Adegboye, who commended the people of the state for supporting the police, appealed to all stakeholders to continue to give useful information to enable the police to fight crimes and criminality in the state.

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JUST IN: Aircraft Belonging To Dana Air Skids Off Lagos Airport Runway

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An aircraft belonging to Dana Air has skidded off the runway in Lagos State.

Details about the incident are still unclear as of the time of filing this report.; however, a source confirmed to our correspondent that no casualties were recorded.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Court Orders EFCC To Serve Yahaya Bello N80bn Fraud Charges Through His Lawyer

Details soon…

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Cable Theft Soldiers Dismissed

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The Nigerian Army has dismissed two soldiers accused of stealing armoured cables at the Dangote Refinery in Lagos State.

The soldiers, Corporal Innocent Joseph and Lance Corporal Jacob Gani, were arrested while moving out of the facility with 897 armoured cables cut to size.

Director Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, who earlier described the action of the soldiers as “totally unacceptable and highly regrettable” confirmed their dismissal in a statement on Monday, April 22.

“In line with Nigerian Army’s (NA) commitment to upholding high standard of professionalism, integrity and discipline, the NA wishes to update the general public on the outcome of the investigation into the alleged theft of armoured cables at the Dangote Refinery premises on 14th April 2024, involving Corporal Innocent Joseph and Lance Corporal Jacob Gani,” the statement read.

READ ALSO: Two Soldiers Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Armoured Cables At Dangote Refinery In Lagos

Sequel to a thorough investigation conducted in collaboration with the management of the company, the two soldiers were found to have abandoned their duty post and to be in unauthorized possession of the materials.

“Subsequently, they were both charged for Failure to Perform Military Duties punishable under section 57, sub section (1) and Other Civil Offences punishable under section 114, sub section (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20, the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. They were summarily tried.

“During the trial, the evidence against them was presented and they were given the opportunity to present their cases and defend themselves, but were however found guilty of the charges levelled against them in accordance with military laws.

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“As a demonstration of NA’s zero-tolerance for misconduct and criminality within its ranks, the two soldiers have been dismissed from the NA with immediate effect and handed over to relevant authorities for further prosecution.

“This decisive action underscores the NA’s resoluteness in maintaining its institutional integrity and reputation.

“The NA reassures the general public of its dedication to upholding integrity, discipline and accountability at all levels. We remain resolute in our duty to protect and serve the nation with honor and dignity.

“We urge the public to continue to support our efforts in safeguarding national security and promoting peace and stability across the nation.”

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