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I bear no grudge against Niger Delta Region, Obasanjo replies Clark

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I bear no grudge against Niger Delta Region, Obasanjo replies Clark

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday, denied allegation by Chief Edwin Clark, that he (Obasanjo) bore resentment against the people of the Niger Delta region.

Obasanjo, in a letter, addressed to Clark, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, insisted that he had been an advocate of Nigeria’s unity and had never hated the people of the region or any part of the country.

The newsmen report that Clark had accused Obasanjo of displaying hatred against the people of Niger Delta during a peace and security meeting, convened by the Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa, held recently in Abuja.

Clark’s allegations are contained in his recent letter to Obasanjo, titled: “Outburst Against The People of Niger Delta Region”.

The former President, in his reply on Tuesday, insisted that it was wrong and unconstitutional for Clark or the people of the Niger Delta region to lay claim to crude oil or any mineral resources found in the area.

“No territory in Nigeria, including the minerals found therein, belongs to the area of location and this remains so until the federation is dissolved,” he said.

Obasanjo, in the six-page letter, expressed disappointment in Clark for using “bad, imprudent, unwise and immature” words to describe him (Obasanjo), adding that such language should not be used by a leader of Clark’s nature.

“Some of the words you have deployed to describe me in your letter are offensive, uncouth and I  totally and completely reject them. I am not inconsistent, hypocritical, unstatesman nor am I anybody’s lackey.

“You use your own yardstick to judge others.

I fear God and I respect those who respect themselves and I hope it is about time you changed from a tribesman to a statesman in character.

“That is what Nigeria and indeed the Region you profess to love demands of you at this stage.

“I believe one lesson that we all must appreciate that we have all learned in the last 61 years of our independence is that we all need to be civil to ourselves and occasionally put ourselves in the position of others.

“Bad language does not show prudence, wisdom and maturity.

I hope you will think and adjust.

“Negotiation achieves better results than dictation.

I believe that we should be reformists rather than being pedantic with leave-it or take-it attitude,” Obasanjo said.

“For me, I have never shown any anger or distraught with Niger Delta Region or with any part or region of Nigeria. Rather, I have always picked points on leadership performance or policies and I will continue to do so.

“My records before, during and after the civil war in Nigeria and Delta Region is without blemish.

“It was all goodwill to all the people of Nigeria and especially the people of the Niger Delta Region which was my theatre of operation during the Nigerian civil war.

“I have always stood for equity and justice in our federation and for me, the tribe has to be suppressed for the state to emerge.

“Until the State emerges, Nigeria will not make the desired progress as tribesmen will always sacrifice State for the tribe. This has always been my position and it will remain my position until I breathe my last,” Obasanjo said.

Reacting to Clark’s allegation of double standard over resource control in the country, Obasanjo said: “you cannot have two sovereign entities within a State, which is what your position of Niger Delta’s ownership claim of the crude oil found in that location amounts to.

 

“The territory of Nigeria is indivisible and inclusive of the resources found therein. No territory in Nigeria, including the minerals found therein, belongs to the area of location and this remains so until the federation is dissolved.

“This is the position of the Nigerian Constitution and international law.

“If there is a threat of violence to any part of Nigeria today, including the Niger Delta, it is the Nigerian Military, backed by any other machinery that can be procured or established at the federal level, that will respond to any such threat.

In principle and practice, the position I have taken on the location of mineral resources in any part of Nigeria is the legal and constitutional position.

“Since you have selected the 1963 constitution as your ideal guide, I will now quote the relevant section 140 for the Nigerian public to arrive at a more informed and balanced understanding of our discourse.

“The 1963 constitution, Section 140, titled: “Mining Royalties and Rents”, stated thus: “(1) There shall be paid by the Federation to each Region a sum equal to 50 per cent of (a) the proceeds of any ROYALTY received by the Federation in respect of any minerals extracted in that region; and (b) any mining RENTS derived by the Federation during that year from within that Region”.

“My dear Chief, wherein this constitutional provision is it said or implied that minerals located in any part of Nigeria belong to that location?

“For emphasis and to further buttress the point, the provision is even in the exclusive list – exclusively reserved to the Federal Government,” the letter reads.

The former president, however, recalled his proposed position that equity and justice demand that those domiciled in the locations are entitled to more of the material benefits accruing from the crude oil or other minerals.

“At the end of the day, it may transpire that our linguistic differences on this matter are no more than semantics.

“And we stand on the same logic with respect to the criminal mining of gold deposits in Zamfara state today or any other state in Nigeria or any other part of Nigeria,” he said.

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Jimoh Ibrahim Withdraws Suit Against APC, Aiyedatiwa, INEC

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Jimoh Ibrahim Withdraws Suit Against APC, Aiyedatiwa, INEC

 Sen. Jimoh Ibrahim has withdrawn the suit filed challenging the emergence of Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Nov. 16 governorship election in Ondo state.

Co-defendants in the suit seeking nullification of the party’s governorship primary conducted in the state on April 20 are APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It would be recalled that the senator had after the conduct of the party’s governorship primary held on April 20, alleged irregularities and no election in the 18 local government areas of the state.

At a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Ibrahim attributed the withdrawal of the suit to a series of interventions made by President Bola Tinubu on the phone and physical meeting held with him at the Villa.

He said the litigation was not about him but for the sole purpose of ensuring internal party democracy, which was lacking in the APC governorship primary election.

Ibrahim said: ” The suit is now withdrawn due to the intervention of President  Tinubu.

“The President called me, had a meeting with me, and assured me that he will, as the party leader,  improve on internal democracy within our party.

“And I will need to withdraw the case to enable him to chart a way forward.

“Earlier, the governor visited my Asokoro residence for several hours after an unsuccessful visit to my hotel room in Akure.

” I cannot disobey the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the issue I’m fighting for is not personal.

“It is simply to improve internal democracy to which the President has promised improvement. My respect for the President is absolute!.”

He thanked Tinubu for his words of wisdom and encouragement during their meeting and for emphasising his commitment to internal democracy again.

“The withdrawal of this legendary suit coincides with the first anniversary of the  President’s incredible performance in office, and this is my gift of the “cake” of the first anniversary,” Ibrahim said. 

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

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Edo Assembly Impeaches Deputy Governor, Shauibu

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on the ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

The Edo House of Assembly on Monday impeached the Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu.

The impeachment followed the adoption of the recommendation of a seven-man judicial panel led by retired Justice Stephen Omonua.

At plenary in Benin, the Majority leader of the house, Charity Aiguobarueghian said the report of the 7-man panel presented to the house found Shauibu culpable of disclosure of government secrets.

Aiguobarueghian further disclosed that though the panel was unable to establish the case of perjury against the deputy governor, it made two findings and one recommendation upon which the decision to impeach the deputy governor was anchored.

According to him, “the seven-man judicial panel of inquiry recommended that the deputy governor be impeached on ground of disclosure of government secrets.’’

During voting on the motion, 18 out of 19 members present at plenary voted for the impeachment of the deputy governor while one abstained from the headcount and voting process.

The Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai conducted a head count of the lawmakers who voted for and against the impeachment of Shaibu.

The clerk said with the figure, the house stated that it met 2/3 (16 members of the House was needed to carry out the impeachment).

The assembly thereafter upheld and approved the recommendation of the seven-man panel and thereafter impeached the deputy governor.

The speaker, Blessing Agbebaku directed the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Omogbai to forward copies of the impeachment to Gov. Godwin Obaseki for assent.

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Court Remands Emefiele In EFCC Custody As Trial Begins April 11

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Emefiele: CBN disbursed N12.65bn as agriculture intervention since January; N1.09 trillion since 2015

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday remanded the embattled former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for alleged abuse of office and fraud to the tune of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion.
It was reported that Justice Rahman Oshodi remanded Emefiele in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) custody while his co-defendant, Henry  Isioma-Omoile, was remanded in the Ikoyi custodial centre.
Oshodi remanded the defendants pending the determination of their bail applications on April 11.
The judge adjourned the case until April 11 for the determination of bail application and commencement of trial.
Earlier, EFCC arraigned Emefiele on a 23-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage, while his co-defendant was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) had asked the court for a trial date following the defendants’ not guilty pleas.
Oyedepo also informed the court that the prosecution would be asking for a closed section for some of its witnesses who were willing to come to court to testify but scared for their lives.

Counsel to the two defendants, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, had in their bail applications, urged the court to grant them bail on self-recognizance and liberal terms pending the determination of the case.
Labi-Lawal, in a 35-paragraph affidavit, said that the first defendant (Emefiele) complied with the bail application given to him by Justice Hamza Muazu in his ongoing fraud trial in Abuja.
He added that the charges against the first defendant were bailable.
“Though the first defendant was granted administrative bail by the prosecuting authority, he is seeking bail based on self-recognizance, and he is ready to attend trial.
“The court should also take into consideration the status of the first defendant as he was the former CBN governor of the country,” the counsel said.
The defence counsel further said that Emefiele religiously presented himself before Justice Hamza Muazu in Abuja to answer allegations before him.
According to the counsel, the first defendant was not at flight risk as he was the first person to arrive in court.
He also prayed the court to grant bail to  Emefiele on liberal terms
Labi-Lawal also moved a bail application for the second defendant and urged the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
Prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, did not oppose the bail applications.
Oyedepo, however, urged the court to exercise its discretion judiciously in granting bail to the defendants.
In one of the charges, EFCC  alleged that Emefiele abused the authority of his office as CBN  governor by allocating foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $2.2 billion without bids, the act which was prejudiced to the rights of Nigerians.
It also alleged that the ex-CBN governor corruptly accepted an aggregate sum of  $26.5 million from NIPCO Plc through Donatone Ltd.
The commission also accused Emefiele of receiving the sum of $400,000 from Source Computer Ltd. on account of the approval of a “contract” in favour of the said company by CBN.
The anti-graft also alleged that Emefiele used his position as the governor of CBN  to confer corrupt advance on his associate, Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd. by approving payment of an aggregate sum of N900 million to the company.
Emefiele was also alleged to have used his position as the CBN governor to confer a corrupt advantage on Comec Support Services  Ltd. by approving the sum of N149 million to the company.
EFCC also alleged that the former CBN governor used his position to confer a corrupt advantage on  Andswin Resources and Solutions Ltd. by approving payment of the sum of N398 million to the company.
EFCC also accused Emefiele’s co-defendant (Isioma-Omoile) of giving the sum of $100,000 to the governor as a gift reward for allocation of foreign exchange.
According to the prosecution, the alleged offences violate Sections 8, 10, and 19 of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act of 2000, Sections 65, 73, and 328 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

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