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APC claims no internal leadership crisis within party

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Despite the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), its interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said the party’s leadership is “intact and functional as originally constituted.”

He also said the party had set in motion a plan to vacate the court injunction restraining it from going ahead from March 26 National Convention.

Akpanudoedehe spoke at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday.

The embattled secretary, who had stayed away from his office after denying his resignation, said the interim National Chairman, Mala Buni, was on his way from the United Kingdom to resume duties.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had reportedly appointed Governor Abubakar Bello to take over the leadership of the party from Mr Buni following the latter’s alleged reluctance to organise the national convention.

Mr Bello is also a member of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) appointed by Mr Buhari in June 2020 after the exit of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

Mr Akpanudoedehe said: “The CECPC therefore informs the Press and the General Public as follows:

-That the CECPC was appointed, and has always done her best, to steer the affairs of the APC in line with the mandate invested in her at inauguration by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress.

-That on the 28th day of February, 2022 the CECPC Chairman took a long-delayed trip abroad on health grounds, leaving behind written authorisation for other members of the CECPC to continue work in his absence, particularly the day to day management of the APC.

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-That in his absence, sundry activities earlier scheduled for action appeared to develop fresh urgency in order to satisfy the Timetable for the 2023 General Elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thus galvanizing some within the CECPC to act in their best understanding of both the situation and the leadership dynamics in the Committee/Party.

-That all such actions were clearly identified at all times as happening in an acting or proxy capacity, and under the auspices of the substantive Chairman, His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, contrary to widespread speculations that the Chairman, Secretary or some other officials of the CECPC have been removed from Office or otherwise replaced;

-That the CECPC is intact and functional as originally constituted; and

-That delivering a seamlessly successful National Convention for the APC on March 26, 2022 is top on priority for the CECPC and we shall continue to execute such assignments as are legal pending the return of the Chairman who is on his way back to the country and shall resume Office on arrival with the full support of all members and other stakeholders.”
Vacating court order

Mr Akpanudoedehe also spoke on the injunction by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) against March 26 national convention of the party following a suit instituted by one Salisu Umoru.

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The hearing of the suit, which has the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the CECPC chairman, Governor Mala Buni, as respondents, was recently adjourned to March 30 for hearing, four days after the fixed date for the national convention.

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Mr Akpanudoedehe said the party has engaged lawyers to vacate the court order.

“Meanwhile, the party has engaged a team of senior lawyers to address a purported court order halting the planned APC National Convention.

“We hereby call on the Judiciary to give the matter the needed and expedient attention in our bid to vacate the purported Court order and allow for the conduct of a transparent and rancour-free National Convention deserving of our great party, APC,” he said.

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Crime

Union Bank keeps mum as EFCC arraigns employee over fraud (Photos)

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former employee of Union Bank, Abdulmalik Salau, and two others for cybercrime and money laundering involving about N1.403 billion.

The other accused persons are Ismaila Atumeyi and Ngene Dominic. EFCC announced the arrest of the defendants in November.

The anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the trio were arraigned before the trial judge, Tjinani Ringim, of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

They face 18 charges to which they all pleaded “not guilty” on Monday.

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Following their “not guilty” plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, called for the commencement of their trial, a request he anchored on the provision of section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

“Therefore, we will, with all humility, ask your Lordship for the acceleration of this trial.

My Lord, Section 300 of the ACJA also expects the prosecution to give a very brief summary of the case it has against the defendants,” the lawyer said.

How defendants allegedly diverted bank’s N1.4billion’

Mr Oyedepo also informed the judge that the prosecution had lined up six witnesses to testify against the defendants.

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He said the prosecution would, through the witnesses, show to the court “how the defendants agreed among themselves to hack into the database of Union Bank Plc, transferred funds belonging to the bank and its customers and used the proceeds of this unlawful activity to acquire properties for themselves.”

He added that the prosecution would show how the third defendant, a former member of staff of Union Bank Plc, allegedly worked with the others and “succeeded in hacking into the database of the bank”

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He alleged that the defendants, in different instalments, moved over N1.4 billion into the accounts of FAV Oil and Gas Limited and Atus Homes Limited.

The prosecuting lawyer added: “The exhibits that the prosecution will tender include the documentary exhibit that shows that the sum of $480,000 was found in the possession of the third defendant and that the sum of N326, 400 million cash was found in a black Escalade car in the possession of first and second defendants.

“My lord, the case is such that, in its nature, requires the cooperation of both the prosecution and the defence team to see its expeditious determination.

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“I, therefore, urge your lordship, pending the determination of the case, to remand the defendants in a correctional facility, where adequately trained personnel will see to their welfare and wellbeing.”

EFCC alleged that part of the offences allegedly committed by the defendant was contrary to and punishable under section 16(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

Another of the offences was also said to violate section 18( a), 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Defence lawyers deny allegations, apply for bail

Responding to the prosecuting counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, the lawyer representing the first and second defendants, Messrs Atumeyi and Dominic, said: “No iota of evidence has been admitted against the first and second defendants.

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The defendants having pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, Mr Ayorinde said “they are constitutionally and legally under the presumption of innocence until otherwise determined by the court.”

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The defence lawyer added:* “In order to further the presumption of innocence of the first and second defendants, we filed on November 30, 2022, an application for bail seeking your lordship’s admission to bail of the first and second defendants pending the hearing and determination of the charge against them.

“The prosecution has responded to the application by serving on the first and second defendants a counter filed on 5 December 2022.”
He said in ensuring an expeditious and speedy dispensation of the case, he was prepared to move the application for bail immediately.

The application for bail for the first and second defendants is ready for hearing. The summons for bail is dated November 30, 2022. Since it seeks admission of the defendants to bail in very liberal terms, the grounds of the application are well stated in the summons,” he said.

Mr Ayorinde, who described the offence as bailable, stated that the defendants, “who were arrested and detained as far back as November 1, 2022,” would not jump bail.

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He maintained that the “incarceration of the first and second defendants ought not to continue, even if on some terms. Their rights to bail have not been taken away; the charges preferred against them are bailable.”

The third defendant’s lawyer, Babatunde Ogunwo, also denied the allegations levelled against his client and “adopted “wholeheartedly” the argument of Mr Ayorinde.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Oyedepo, opposed the defendants’ bail applications.

“In the very unlikely event that the court disagrees with our submissions, we pray your lordship to impose such conditions that will secure the attendance of the defendants, particularly the first and second defendants whose applications are being argued.”

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The judge adjourned until Tuesday for ruling on the bail application of the first and second defendants.

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One year old boy drowns after falling into bucket of water in Anambra

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A boy, 1, has d!ed after falling into a bucket of water in Nnewi, Anambra state.

The child’s parents reportedly left him in the care of his siblings when the tragedy occurred on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The siblings were busy playing when the child made his way to buckets of water arranged outside and fell into one.

He was found too late.

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Videos shared online show loved ones praying for the boy to come back to life. No one is seen performing CPR in the video.

Sadly, the boy gave up the ghost.

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Men who refuse polygamy contributing to prostitution – Ned Nwoko

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A Nigerian lawyer and politician, Prince Chinedu Munir Nwoko, popularly known as Ned Nwoko, has accused men who do not marry more than one wife of contributing to immorality in society.

The former lawmaker, who stated this in his recent interview with the Guardian, urged Nigerian men to emulate the northern men by marrying more than one wife.

He said: “Many women are out there without a husband, especially in the southern part of the country, and there is a high level of prostitution. If the southern men emulate their northern counterparts by marrying more than one wife, that could probably change the situation.

“An average southerner may have one wife with girlfriends, and he is spending money on the girlfriends, sometimes even more than his wife.

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“For instance, the man, who has three wives, concentrate on them, every money he makes is spent on his family, and he is more likely not to have a girlfriend or concubines. The money those with several girlfriends spend on them is a gift, not an investment in the family.”

Nwoko, who has multiple wives, noted that he and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, are serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.

Ned, who further claimed to have the same background as Ooni, explained that their grandfathers were kings and had served Nigeria in that capacity. “And we are now also serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.”

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