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Senator Ndume Tells Court He Can’ t Find, Bring Maina To Face His Fraud Trial

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images 2020 10 03T100025.278 Senator Ndume Tells Court He Can' t Find, Bring Maina To Face His Fraud Trial

Senator Ali Ndume, who is standing as bail surety for a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, said on Friday that he could no longer find the defendant whom he had made a legal commitment to always produce in court for his trial.
Ndume said this at the Federal High Court in Abuja while responding to the judge’s query about Maina’s absence for the third time in a row within one week.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Maina on 12 counts of money laundering involving about N2bn.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, had ordered Maina to provide a serving senator as a surety for the bail granted him.
The judge had, following Maina’s repeated requests, twice varied the bail conditions, reducing the bail sum from the original N1billion to N500million with only one surety as opposed two originally requested by the court.
The only surety who must be a serving senator must be ready to accompany the defendant to court and sign the court’s register of attendance for every hearing session, the judge had ordered.
Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District where Maina hails from, later agreed to serve as the defendant’s surety.
In line with terms and conditions of the bail which the judge gave in January 2020, Ndume gave legal commitment to accompany the defendant to court every trial date and provided the court with the title documents of his property worth N500m in a choice area of Abuja as a guarantee.
But both Maina and Ndume were absent for the proceedings scheduled to hold on September 29.
The senator who subsequently attended court on September 30 without Maina explained to the judge on Friday that he was absent from the September 29 proceedings due to the Boko Haram attack on the convoy of the Governor of Borno State.
He told the court that Maina’s doctor had said the defendant was admitted to the hospital.
He said he was expecting Maina to be in court on Friday following an earlier assurance by the defendant’s wife.
Asked by the judge if he knew the defendant’s whereabouts, the senator said, “My lord, I must confess, I do not know.”
The senator, who recalled that he agreed to serve as Maina’s surety following pleas by the defendant’s wife and uncle, also said, “I did not foresee these circumstances, my lord”.
He said he did not know Maina’s residence in Abuja, but he knew the one in Kaduna.
The senator pleaded for more time to enable him to find the defendant.
Defence lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, who had at the previous proceedings informed the court that Maina was on hospital admission, urged the court to further adjourn the case.
But EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Farouk Abdullah, opposed the request for an adjournment, informing the court that the anti-corruption agency’s investigation revealed that Maina was not a patient at Maitama General Hospital.
The lawyer, who said the development showed that Maina had jumped bail, urged the court to issue a warrant of arrest against Maina as the judge was empowered to do under section 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
He also urged the court to summon Ndume to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond and be remanded in prison in line with the commitment he entered into as a surety for the defendant’s bail.
But the defence lawyer appealed to the judge to further exercise patience with the defendants.
The lawyer urged the court to accept the explanation offered by Ndume and to give him time to produce Maina to stand trial.
Responding, the judge who expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the defendant, said the senator ought to have been wary of the risk involved in standing as a surety.
He maintained that the law would take its course.
He said the prosecution was right to ask for the revocation of Maina’s bail and for the surety to forfeit the bail bond.
He, however, adjourned the matter till October 5, with an order that the surety must be in court with the defendant on that day.

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N392bn projects debt: Senate asks FG to consider pension fund

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images 97 1 N392bn projects debt: Senate asks FG to consider pension fund

The Minister of Works and Housing , Babatunde Fashola , on Wednesday , told the Senate that the Federal Government owe construction firms handling 711 road projects across the country N 392 bn .
The debt , according to the minister , was higher than the N 276 bn , proposed as budgetary allocation for road projects in 2021 .
Fashola who stated this on Wednesday in Abuja while defending the 2021 budget of his ministry before the Senate Committee on Works .
He said, “ With the situation on ground , a stop has come for new projects and the country needs to prioritise the existing ones in order to complete some of them .”
He said N 6 . 62 tn was needed by the Federal Government to fund the 711 road projects across the country .
The minister , however , said the resources to achieve that were not available now , hence the need to prioritise the very important ones .
He said, “ We do not have the resources that we need to fix our road infrastructure at once ; the very reason we need to prioritise what want to do .
“ The situation on ground requires us to cut our coat according to our cloth and not according to our size because no good will come out of more new road projects now .”
He however explained to the committee that in order to remedy the situation , the 711 projects had been categorised into four different areas of funding and execution.
The first category , he said, was the highway projects financed with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
The projects, he said , covered projects such as Lagos – Shagamu – Ibadan dual carriage way , the 2 nd Niger Bridge and the rehabilitation of Abuja – Kaduna-Kano dual carriage way.
The second category , according to the minister , are highways projects financed with the Sovereign Sukuk Fund totalling 44 roads across the six geopolitical zones .
Fashola said the third category included the highways project financed under the tax credit like the Lokoja-Obajana -Kabba – Ilorin road , Apapa -Wharf Road in Lagos and the Apapa -Oworonsoki – Ojota Expressway , among others .
Those in the fourth category he stated are highways projects funded from multilateral loans .
The Chairman of the Committee , Senator Adamu Aliero, suggested to the minister to look into pension funds for some of the road projects.
He said, “ In view of the scarce resources and poor revenue generation which the country is currently facing , I think the ministry could consider applying for funds from the PenCom funds. ”
Fashola , however, said he said he was not in a position to do that .
He said, “ The Central Bank of Nigeria seems to be in the best position to work out such arrangement.
“ It will be helpful if that type of funding can be put together , ” he said.
Aliero , however, said the fact was that the budgetary allocation to the ministry and its agencies remained one of the highest , but was like a drop of water in the ocean .
“ This is because of the humongous work to be done on Nigerian roads and the current debt profile of the ministry which is about N 392 bn ,” he said.

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ALTON apologises for network disruption

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images 95 1 ALTON apologises for network disruption

The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria has apologised to subscribers for network outages in some part of the country .
The Association in a statement on Wednesday attributed the network disruption that still subsists as of the time of filing this report to power cuts and operations -related issues .
According to ALTON, network disruption is not intentional .
The statement said, “ The outages have been compounded by power and other operations -related issues that have occurred across some major routes in Lagos metropolis and other states resulting in congestion of networks and impact on quality of services .”
The association said movement restrictions and the volatility on the streets had compounded the restoration of outages because engineers had not been able to move about to fix the problems .
It added , “ At the moment, affected member operators are exploiting all avenues to remedy the situation . Engineers are making relentless effort round the clock to resolve issues , while in the interim, efforts are being made to optimise coverage utilising alternative solutions as a stop -gap solution to the most impacted locations.
“ We appeal to subscribers to please bear with us and be patient . Let us remember that we need both voice and data communication especially at this critical time . ”
The association appealed to people at the barricades to grant access to telecoms engineers to be able to access the affected locations to restore telecom services .
It expressed regret over recent incidents of violence across the country as well as destruction of lives and properties.

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I Didn’ t Reject Your Offer Of Renovating My Palace, Soun Tells Makinde

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Pic 30 condolence visit I Didn’ t Reject Your Offer Of Renovating My Palace, Soun Tells Makinde

The Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, has denied the content of a letter purportedly authorised by him, which rejected the financial contribution of the Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in the planned renovation of the monarch’s palace vandalised by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest on October 10.
The Soun, who spoke with the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, said that he did not authorise the said letter in circulation.
Adisa disclosed to Governor’s Office correspondents, quoting the monarch: “If your boss sees any such letter, he should ignore it, because I didn’t ask anyone to write such a letter.”
“The Soun said that he never authorised anyone to issue a letter on his behalf and that if any such letter surfaces, some persons must have forged his signature.”
“The Soun said he wholeheartedly welcomes the intervention of Governor Seyi Makinde in the plan to fix the palace and all the damaged items.”
The purported letter claimed the monarch said the damages incurred during the unfortunate incident would be taken care of by a coordinated community effort of Ogbomoso sons and daughters.
The letter further added that a N10m released by the governor would be added to the contributions of his subjects, while it allegedly quoted the monarch saying there was no need to disburse the balance of the sum of N90m.

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