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Court awards N.2m fine against Femi Fani-Kayode over absence at N4.6bn fraud trial

Femi Fani-Kayode
—-threatens to revoke his bail

Owolola Adebola

Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday awarded a N200, 000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) fine against a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, for his absence in court to take his plea in an alleged N4.6 billion fraud.

Fani-Kayode, also the Chairman of the 2015 Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation , is standing trial alongside Nenadi Usman, a former Minister of Finance, a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, Danjuma Yusuf, and a limited liability company, Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Limited.

The trial of the defendants had first commenced in 2016 before Justice Muslim S.Hassan.

However, midway into the trial before Justice Hassan, who has since been elevated to the Court of Appeal, the case file was transferred to Justice Rilwan Aikawa.

While the matter was pending before Justice Aikawa, the defendants’ pleas were taken.

Also, midway to the defendants’ trial, Justice Aikawa was transferred to another jurisdiction of the court.

As a result, the case file was transferred to the new Judge, Justice Osiagor for the matter to start afresh.

At the resumed sitting Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, told the court that the matter was to start afresh.
However, Fani-Kayode, who is the second defendant, was not in court to take his plea.

Buhari, therefore, urged the court to revoke his bail.

In his response, Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, F. B. Ajudua, pleaded with the court not to revoke his client’s bail.

According to him, “ A letter has been written on his behalf. He is currently on bed rest at Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja.”

He further told the court that “He has been attending his trial since the matter commenced in 2016.

“ Today, my Lord, is the only day that he is not in court.”

He, therefore, prayed the court not to revoke Fani-Kayode’s bail, while also asking for a short adjournment.

The Judge, after going through the Court’s records, discovered that Fani-Kayode had been absent from court five times.

His absence, according to the Judge, had “stalled the smooth hearing of the charge.”

Justice Osiagor, therefore, held that he would either revoke Fani-Kayode’s bail or fine him N200, 000.00.

Ajudua opted for the option of a N200,000 fine.

Consequently, Justice Osiagor ordered Fani-Kayode to a fine of N200, 000, 00, which must be paid before the next adjourned date.

The matter was adjourned till November 30, 2021, for the re-arraignment of the defendants.

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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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