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Court adjourns Fani-Kayode’s trial till Jan. 24, Naira Marley’s trial Till Feb.16

Femi Fani- Kayode
Owolola Adebola
Justice Daniel Osaigor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, adjourned till January 24, 2022 further hearing in the alleged N4.6bn fraud involving a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and others.Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Join-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd. on a 17-count charge bordering money laundering to the tune of N4.6billion.

The defendants had pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges preferred against them.

Though counsel to the first defendant, Chief Ferdinard Orbih, was absent at today’s sitting, following a letter notifying the Court in advance,  other defence counsels, including Norrison Quakers, SAN and Clement Onwuenwunor, were present.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, raised no objection to the letter sent in by the defence.

He, however, told the Court that the prosecution’s investigation of the several letters that Fani-Kayode claimed to have obtained from Kubwa General Hospital and presented to court at previous sittings as an excuse for his absence showed that they were all fake.

He further added that the EFCC was “currently working on the report and will do the needful.” The matter was, thereafter, adjourned till January 24, 2022 for continuation of trial.At the last sitting on October 13, 2021, F.B. Ajudua had told the court that his client, Fani-Kayode, was “currently on bed rest at Kubwa General Hospital, Abuja”.

Similarly, Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has adjourned the trial of Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley, till February 16, 2022.

Marley is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC)on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy and credit card fraud.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was arraigned on May 20, 2019.

At the last sitting on October 27, 2021, Augustine Anosike, a forensic analyst testifying as to the second prosecution witness, had concluded his examination-in-chief. The court subsequently adjourned till November 30, 2021, for cross-examination.

At Tuesday proceeding, however, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the witness was absent in court on “compassionate grounds”.

“I only got information as to the absence of the witness at about 9.30  while still in the parking lot of the court this morning,” he said, stressing that it was not in his character to waste the court’s time.

Defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, however, lamented the delay.

“It is rather unfortunate that the matter could not proceed today.

“ The prosecution ought to have given sufficient notice of the witness’ absence,” he said.

Subsequently, Justice Oweibo adjourned till February 16 and 17, 2022 for the continuation of trial.

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Headlines

Sambo commends Bello- Koko over NPA’s revenue increase 

 

— reiterates commitment to Lekki deep seaport project
The Eyewitness reporter
The Minister of Transportation,  Engr Muazu Sambo, has lauded the efforts of Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), which he said have made the agency as one of the highest revenue-generating organs of government in the maritime industry.
Making the commendation recently during his visit to the agency, Sambo said he was impressed by the positioning of the port industry and the turn- around strides of the NPA MD in the agency which he said has caught the attention of the federal government.

The Minister, who was accompanied by the Hon. Minister of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation Dr. Magdalene Ajani, some Directors and other top officials of the Ministry, stated that the Muhammadu Buhari -led administration was quite pleased with the reforms being implemented by the NPA Management in moving the nation forward, especially in view of the positive developments the sub-sector brought to the nation’s economy in line with international best practices.

“The Muhammadu Buhari- led administration was quite elated with Bello -Koko and his management team for their efforts at resuscitating and boosting the  economy,  especially the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) which has cushioned the  effects of the  resources of the nation that have nosedived as a result of  the fall in the prices of crude oil”

Sambo also solicited further cooperation from other relevant stakeholders, while assuring them and the maritime community of the readiness of the government to provide the enabling environment and support to make the industry thrive and attract foreign investments.

” MD,  I must state that Council is happy with you and your team. I  commend you and your management team for your efforts in moving the nation forward, especially in the area of an increase in revenue generation to government coffers.
” You have done well, but I call on you to further block all other grey areas .”

Engr. Sambo further reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensuring that the Lekki Deep Seaport project commences operations as scheduled before the end of 2022.

According to him, the Lekki Deep Seaport and the recently approved Badagry Deep Sea Port would create an avenue for jobs for Nigerians,  encourage trade and investments and further boost revenue generation for the country.

The Minister further called on his host to ensure the full implementation of barge operations at the Ports to further facilitate the movement of goods from the seaports.

He said this would also be beneficial to the nation in the area of more jobs for those in the business of fabrication as well as reduce the cost of doing business by investors.

” We are ready to assist you in ensuring that the use of barges is fully implemented in your operations.
” We need to work the talk whilst we wait for the conclusion of other means of evacuation of boxes from the ports to cushion the effect of logistics through land transportation”

Earlier,  Bello Koko informed his guests of his management’s resolve to further position the nation’s sea ports in line with International best practices.

He appreciated the efforts of the Ministry in providing support to the Authority at all times, whilst soliciting assistance in other areas of operations.

The NPA MD assured the Minister and his team that the present management under his watch would ensure that operations of its services are further improved upon in view of the constant global competitiveness towards attaining a hub status within the sub-Sahara Africa.

Koko stated that NPA has begun the process of acquiring additional tug boats and pilot cutters for its officials to facilitate the operations.

This, he said, would further reduce vessel waiting time and attract investments to the ports.

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Headlines

Transport Minister collaborates with army, others to secure release of 23 remaining Abuja-Kaduna train attack victims

Abuja- Kaduna train attack victims

 

The Eyewitness reporter
The Minister of Transportation, Engr Muazu Sambo, has given vent to his vow to facilitate the release of the Abuja- Kaduna train attack victims when, in collaboration with other members of the seven-man Presidential  Action Committee assembled by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General L E O Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram Terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on 28-3-2022.
As a result of the deft negotiating skills of the members of the committee, the terrorists on Wednesday freed 23 remaining captives of the Abuja- Kaduna train attack.
This was disclosed by the Secretary of the Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee,  Professor Usman Yusuf.

Yusuf said that the hostages were released at about 4 pm on Wednesday.

He said that the committee took custody of the victims who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a moving passenger train in Kaduna on March 28, 2022.

The terrorists, who attacked the AK9 Train in Kaduna, had before now released hostages piecemeal with the last release being on August 19, 2022.

“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Nigerian Military under the leadership of the CDS who conceived and guided the operation from start to finish.
“All sister security agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation contributed immensely to this Operation.
“The unwavering support of the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari GCEFR is what made it all possible.
” Members of this Committee are grateful for the rare honour and privilege to be part of this Humanitarian Operation” declared Prof. Yusuf.
The insurgents had blown up the rail track and bombed the moving train, killing some and abducting more than 60 passengers.
The unprecedented attack had attracted international and national outrage.

Distraught family members had protested several times to demand the release of their loved ones.

Worried about the situation, the Nigeria Railway Corporation temporarily suspended activities, with President Muhammadu Buhari directing security agencies to rescue the victims after he met their families.

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, had said the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will not resume until all those kidnapped by bandits in March are rescued and reunited with their families.

A terrorist negotiator, Tukur Mamu, was on September 6, 2022, arrested in Cairo, Egypt while on his way to Saudi Arabia and returned to Nigeria the next day.

The Department of State Services had alleged that Mamu, who negotiated between terrorists and families of kidnap victims, was part of an international terrorist network and used the cover of journalism to perpetrate his deeds.

Popular Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, to whom Mamu is an aide, had faulted the arrest of Mamu.

Gumi had asked the security agency to charge Mamu to court if it had any evidence against him, rather than keeping him in custody.

But the DSS, in its reaction, said it would not be distracted by some skewed narratives in the media and requested to be left alone to concentrate on the ongoing investigations, the outcomes of which it said have remained ‘mind boggling’.

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EyeWitness Lens

Eyewitness Lens! NPA celebrates global Customer service week(Photo)

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko
(6 th left)), Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Adenrele S. Adesina
(5 th left)), the General Manager, SERVICOM, Shehu Musa Yaro (4 th left) and
other senior officers of the NPA during the celebration of 2022 global
Customer Service Week at the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko
(5 th left)), Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Adenrele S. Adesina
(6 th left)), the General Manager, SERVICOM, Shehu Musa Yaro (4th left) and
officers of the SERVICOM department during the celebration of 2022
global Customer Service Week at the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
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