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Court,State Assemblies To Re-Open Next Week, Says FG

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The federal government has said that courts and state assemblies will re-open next week.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, stated this in Abuja on Friday shortly after a meeting between the government delegation and striking workers to smoothen the grey areas in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) reached on May 20, 2021.

The dispute between the federal government and the duo of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) were resolved at the meeting, according to Ngige.

JUSUN and PASAN have been on a nationwide industrial action for weeks.

The unions are protesting over the non-implementation of autonomy for State judiciary and legislature by the governors.

Briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting, Ngige said the 36 governors, led by the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and his Deputy, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, have put their pen on paper on behalf of their colleagues on the historic agreement which they reached on May 20th.

According to the Minister, with what they achieved at the meeting, it is expected that the courts and state assemblies would re-open next week, since all the grey areas have been smoothened.

He said: “So today we met with the unions in a small dialogue to dot the i’s and cross the t’s in the agreement which we agreed will take effect from 20th of May.

“Right now, we expect the unions to go back to their members and give them final briefing on what we have achieved today.

“And with this achievement of today, we are hopeful that by next week, the chambers of our courts and the doors of the state assemblies will be open for business activities to begin.”

Ngige said they were not oblivious that this situation had posed serious challenges to the nation, especially as the courts are closed and the law enforcement agencies have no place to take arrested criminals.

He, therefore, thanked the unions for all the efforts put in place in the final round of the dialogue in which the modalities that were not very clear the last time they met had been sorted to the satisfaction of both sides.

The Deputy President of JUSUN, Comrade Emmanuel Abisoye, thanked Ngige for his efforts in resolving the dispute, saying that he expects all the parties to fulfill their own part of the agreement.

Abisoye assured that JUSUN will play its own part and expressed hope that the governors will do the needful to ensure that industrial harmony returns to the courts.

The President of PASAN, Comrade Mohammed Usman, expressed hope that all stakeholders would do the needful within the shortest possible period to see that the workers in the state legislatures return to work.

In the same vein, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, thanked all the parties for reaching the milestone.

“It is necessary to ensure that industrial harmony strives in this sector of our economy. It is important that this issue is put behind us,” Wabba said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Secretary of the Implementation Committee for Judicial/Legislative Autonomy, Senator Ita Enang, thanked Mr President and the Labour Minister for their efforts thus far to attain autonomy for the state legislature and judiciary.

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Kenneth Kaunda, last of African patriarchs joined the ages @ 97

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The first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, has died aged 97. He was the country’s founding father and ruled for 27 years from 1964 after it gained independence from Britain.

Kaunda’s death comes days after reports that he was admitted to Maina Soko military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, where he was treated for pneumonia from Monday.

One of the first generation of post-independence African leaders, Kenneth Kaunda led his vulnerable and landlocked nation through a perilous era in southern Africa. It was his most outstanding achievement that during his 27 years in power he maintained domestic stability in a comparatively benign manner while providing bases for the movements struggling against his far more powerful white neighbours in Rhodesia and South Africa. 

Kenneth David Kaunda (28 April 1924 – 17 June 2021), also known as KK, was Zambian President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. Kaunda was the youngest of eight children born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher, an immigrant from Malawi. He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule. Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula‘s leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). He was the first President of the independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration. At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis. International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.

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Ex-MD of Bank PHB Atuche to spend 6 years behind bars for N25.7bn fraud

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Ex-MD of Bank PHB Atuche to spend 6 years behind bars for N25.7bn fraud 

An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday sentenced a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) Francis Atuche to six years imprisonment for N25.7 billion fraud.

His co-defendant, Ugo Anyanwu, was also sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The duo was convicted in 21 of 27-count charges against them.

Atuche and Anyanwu were sentenced to six and four years on each of the 21 charges. The sentences will run concurrently.

Justice Lateefat Okunnu said the convicts must make restitution as contained in Count 4, noting that the amount stolen was not up to what was alleged in the charge.

The judge discharged and acquitted Atuche’s wife of charges of conspiracy and stealing.

She held that the EFCC failed to link her to the crime, adding that suspicion no matter how strong can not take the place of fact.

In convicting the duo of Atuche and Anyanwu, the judge upheld the arguments of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Kemi Pinheiro, who prosecuted the case with the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Pinheiro had opposed Atuche’s contention that the stolen funds in dispute were loaned, not stolen.

The judge agreed with the prosecution and held that the money belonged to the bank and that it was capable of being stolen.

Justice Okunnu convicted Atuche and Anyanwu on counts 1 to 11, 14-20, 23, 24 and 27.

“The first and third defendants did not debunk the evidence of the prosecution that the loans were used to purchase shares.

“They rather contended that the monies granted as loan could be used for whatever purposes,” she said.

In a judgement that lasted over 11 hours, Justice Okunnu held that the EFCC successful proved its case against the convicts beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge also held that the offences for which the convicts were charged can not be said to be mere professional negligence but criminal.

The court held that Atuche and Anyanwu abused their powers and ignored established rules and regulations, thereby putting the bank and depositors’ funds in danger.

The court held that the convicts corruptly took advantage of their positions to confer on themselves undue financial benefits without regard to the health of the bank.

The EFCC alleged that between November 2007 and April 2008, the convicts stole about N25.7bn belonging to the bank.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty.

Source: The Nation 

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State of the nation: Group insists on creation of Aba State

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. As Governor Uzodimma backs additional State for SE

Aba State Movement on Wednesday told the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution which was held at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, that the request for the creation of Aba State was a quest for equity based on history stretching more than 40 years.

This is even as the Governor of Imo State, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, called on the National Assembly to consider additional state for the Southeast.

Chief Theo Nkire, who presented the case for the proposed Aba State recalled that the House of Representatives passed a motion for a referendum on the creation of Aba, Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu States from the then Anambra and Imo States in January 1982. In June 1983, the Senate passed the same motion on the creation of Aba, Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu States from the then Anambra and Imo States. On the same day the National Assembly confirmed the four States and others for referendum.

“Of the four States the National Assembly confirmed for referendum by 1983 Aba State is the only one that has not been created from the South East,” he said, waving copies of the 39-year-old Hansard that reported the National Assembly’s decision.

Chief Nkire, first Attorney General of Abia State, said that most recently Aba State’s case was made by a Committee that Chief John Nnia Nwodo, immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, inaugurated on 11 September 2018, in his capacity as the President General of Ohanaeze. The Committee’s mandate was to evaluate requests for more States in the South East.

He noted that the conclusion of the Committee’s report to Governor Dave Umahi, Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum stated, “The Committee considered the merit for the creation of Aba and Adada State respectively, resolved and recommended for the creation of Aba State with 12 members supporting and 5 abstaining. The Committee also recommended that any other State Creation exercise in the South-East should give Adada State priority.” The report was dated 10 October 2018.

Aba State Movement, he said, stood by the report of the Ohanaeze Committee on State Creation. Chief Nwodo, who was Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide President General until January 2021, set up the Committee. “The Ohanaeze Committee, under Chief Nwodo’s presidency recommended the creation of Aba State,”

President Muhammadu Buhari had promised an Ohanaeze delegation Chief Nwodo led to Abuja in November 2017 an extra in the South East. Chief Nwodo inaugurated the 2018 Ohanaeze Committee. It was the process in realisation of an extra State in the South East as the President promised.

On his part, Governor Hope Uzodimma also called on the National Assembly to consider additional state for the Southeast, saying that Ndigbo want a constitutional that works for all Nigerians on the basis of equity, Justice and fairness.

He said: “As Nigerians we all want a country that will accommodate our legitimate desires. We don’t want secession. We want a country that will be driven by the spirit of equity, fairness and justice. We are in a democracy where questions of doubt are resolved through dialogue and not through violence or insurrection.

“The demand of our people is simple: we want a constitution that works for all of us. Our people want a constitution that devolves more powers to the federation unit. A constitution that gives vent to restructuring. The National Assembly should consider a sixth state for the Southeast. The sixth state will go a long way in this regard”.

On his part, the Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, said the review of the constitution is in fulfilment of the provision of the constitution and answer to the calls of Nigerians, to promote peace and unity. He assured: “From the National Assembly, we shall do all that you have asked us to do undiluted”.

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