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Court sentences Adamawa ex-NBA Chairman, Magistrate to 3 years each, over fraud

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Court okays ex-Unity Bank Manager’s dismissal over N72m fraud

…Summons Dokubo, others over alleged diversion of slots, stipends***

A Federal High Court in Yola on Thursday sentenced a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chairman, Binanu Esthon and Magistrate Shehu Mustapha, to three years in prison each for fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Esthon and Mustapha with seven counts bordering on fraud in 2015.

Delivering judgment, Justice Bilkisu  Aliyu, held that the convicts were sentenced for stealing and defrauding 502 retired staff of the Stirling Civil Engineering Nigeria limited in Adamawa  in 2007 of N67 million.

She held that Mustapha stole money belonging to 502 retired workers of the debtor company.

“The convicts stole from workers who retired and were not paid any benefit over years.

“The second convict as a judicial officer who was in the position of authority to give the retired workers justice and reprieve, failed to do so. Rather, caused untold hardship on them.

“Mustaoha has done a great disservice to the administration of justice in general and his conduct is highly condemned,” she held.

On Esthon, she said, as counsel for the complainants, he failed in his scared duty to uphold the rule of law and ensure justice was upheld always as a lawyer.

Aliyu held that Esthon participated in causing more harm to his clients whose interest he ought to protect.

She held that the three years sentence was the maximum punishment provided for the offence of criminal conversion by Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C38 LFN 2004 and demand for the amendment.

She ordered the EFCC to take urgent steps to recover the money for on ward payment to the retired workers.

Reacting to the judgment, EFCC counsel, Mr. Ahmad Muntaka, said justice has taken it course in the trial.

In the meantime, a Federal High Court in Yenagoa on Thursday summoned Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty over alleged diversion of stipends meant for 75 former militants.

Also summoned to appear before Justice Awogboro Abimbola on October 4, are Mr. Isaac Ityohuma and Mr. Aroloye Brown, Director of Finance and Accounts and Head of Reintegration in the Presidential Amnesty office.

Also read:  Alleged N20.1m fraud: Ex-NBA, Ikeja chairman carried money in polythene bags

Abimbola adjourned the case until Oct. 4 for continuation of hearing after taking evidence from the ex-militants’ leader, Mr Clinton Oroupade, who was also a prosecution witness.

The defendants were dragged to court by some 75 ex-militants under the Benuwolo Camp in the 2nd phase of the scheme, who accepted the Presidential Amnesty in 2010.

The militants are demanding payment of outstanding N492 million for the 75 members of the camp from January 2011 to May 2019.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, Oroupade told the court that his group was documented and allocated 75 slots but received no stipends afterward.

He tendered several documents, agreements and affidavits from prior efforts by the Amnesty office to resolve the issue by reverting 10 out of the 75 slots before the court.

However, the defence led counsel, Mr. Tamaratarei Ali-Bozi, did not object to the documents tendered.

The group urged the court to declare that the alleged fraudulent manipulation of the 75 slots allotted to Benuwolo Camp by officials of the Amnesty Office in connivance with some ex-militants as unlawful.

The militants had in their statement of claims filed by their Counsel, Mr. Richard Turner urged the court to order the Amnesty Office to revert the 75 slots of the Camp and halt further diversion of slots by the office.

 

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Onslaught: Troops Eliminate 105 Terrorists, Arrest 140 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Exercise Enduring Peace recording successes in FCT – Army

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in different theatres of operation eliminated 105 terrorists and apprehended 140 others in the last one week.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also arrested 26 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 86 kidnapped hostages in the South-South region.

He added that the troops recovered 208 assorted weapons and 5,332 assorted ammunition comprising 95 AK47 rifles, one assault rifle, 39 locally fabricated guns, 34 Dane guns, 14 pump action guns, among others.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised seven terrorists and arrested four terrorists as well as recovered 20 AK47 rifles, two fabricated guns and 12 dane guns.

He added that 353 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 209 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 34 live cartridges, 62 mobile phones and the sum of N100,000, among others, were also recovered.

According to him, 224 ISWAP/JAS terrorists fighters and their families comprising 23 adult males, 126 adult females and 87 children surrendered to troops in the Bama and Konduga areas of Borno within the week.

Army raid kidnappers, rescue C/River commissioner; Police neutralise 3 suspected gunmen, recover 50 arms

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 35 insurgents, arrested 65 violent extremists and 15 rescued kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops also recovered various caches of arms and ammunition within different theatres of operation.

In the North Central, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operations Hadarin Daji and Whirl Punch, neutralised 57 insurgents, arrested five and rescued 66 kidnapped hostages during the week.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe destroyed 18 illegal refining sites and recovered 657,300 litres of stolen crude oil, 23,750 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,050 litres of DPK.

He added that the troops discovered and destroyed nine dugout pits, 19 boats and 21 storage tanks, 35 cooking ovens, nine vehicles, nine mobile phones, and three pump machines.

According to him, troops rescued three kidnapped hostages and apprehended 50 people suspected of oil theft and other violent extremists/insurgents as well as recovered 20 weapons and 243 ammunition, amongst other items.

In the South East, Buba said the troops of Operation UDO KA neutralised six insurgents, arrested five and recovered various types of arms and ammunition.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action,” he said.

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Food Prices: Tinubu Directs Immediate Release Of Grains, To Foreclose Crisis

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A little respite in the nation’s food crisis is expected as President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain including maize, millet, and garri. The gesture is to douse hunger and prevent looming protests.

Some Nigerians however told the Maritime First that the directive was a lot coming late; and the metric tonnes being expected, too little, for over a hundred million people. Some cynics bluntly blame the President for his inability to tame insurgency and terrorism, which apriori, prevented the farmers from going to work.

ALSO READ:… Nigerians Now Eat Junks as High Food Prices Put Balanced Diet Out Of Reach- Survey

Some states have begun dress rehearsal for the real crisis protests, over galloping food prices. A bag of rice which sold for N62,000 Tuesday, last week in Bodija Market in Ibadan, emerged N69,000 Wednesday morning. less than 24 hours later, throwing calculation to the winds.

The Maritime First can freely indicate that widows, single mothers, and those from polygamous-induced large families are presently, not finding it too easy to cope.

In the meantime,, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to immediately release over 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the public. The body however failed to indicate why they waited till the Presidential directive, before making their commitment.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister also failed to indicate measures to be adopted, to ensure that middlemen do not hijack and mess up Tinubu’s honest effort.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high prices of food in the market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crush the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security would further invest massively in the farming process to boost production and ensure the country’s food potential is fully exploited.

He said that government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products in order to maximise profit at the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government of course is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.

“There is no point when the whole country is looking for this food you are locking up these products where you make more money and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, the government will not fold its arms.

“If they don’t respond by bringing these commodities to the market, the government will take appropriate measures to ensure that these products are made available to Nigerians.”

The Minister said that the government would also take measures to ensure that food continues to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic; be our brother’s keepers. Sell this thing, of course at a margin but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face these challenges.

“The President has directed that whatever it will take, food will be available to Nigerians at a cost that is also very reasonable,” he said.

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President Tinubu Returns After Private Visit To France

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President Bola Tinubu has returned to the country after a two-week private visit to France.

The President arrived in Abuja aboard the presidential flight at about 9:0 pm on Tuesday.

He was received by top government officials led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume.

The president left Abuja on Jan. 24 for his first break since assumption of office on May 29, 2023

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