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Electoral bill: Buhari’s courage should be commended, says Fayemi m

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Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for the decision he took on the electoral act amendment bill.

The electoral bill was transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on November 19.

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The legislation provides for the electronic transmission of election results and the compulsory use of direct primary to pick candidates by all political parties.

However, President Buhari rejected the bill, saying the amendment may open up the electoral system to litigations.

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He added that adopting direct primary “violates the spirit of democracy”.

Fayemi while fielding questions from state house correspondents on Tuesday after a meeting with Buhari at the presidential villa dismissed speculations that the president succumbed to pressure mounted on him by governors to reject the bill.

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He said, on the contrary, n) either the president nor state governors is scared of direct primaries as the mode of selecting candidates for elections.

Fayemi said the governors do not care whether the mode of primaries is direct or indirect, adding that by declining assent, Buhari is standing on the side of the people.

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“I don’t know what you mean by governors being happy. At least as the governor who has gone through a series of elections, my election to the office during my first term was via a direct primary that took place in all the 177 wards in my state. And my election to my second term in office was via an indirect primary,” Fayemi said.

“So, I’ve tasted both. And I can tell you that it really doesn’t matter to any governor whether you have primaries via direct mode or indirect mode. Governors’ concern is that opportunities are given for an inclusive process. And I think that is what Mr. President’s letter has brought out.

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“Mr. President has not objected to direct primaries, neither has he endorsed indirect primaries. He has only said ‘be fair to all; let all options apply and what you decide should be determined by your own local and peculiar circumstances’. Being mindful of questions of security, finances, and internal democracy.

“So, I think we all should commend the courage of Mr. President to stand with the people. And the president, you know, just like me, is not afraid of whatever mode you decide to use.

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“When I chaired the primaries — the historic primaries that brought him in as a presidential candidate — I was the chair of that primaries in 2014. It was an indirect primary.

“But in 2019, when he was coming back, he came back via direct primary. So, Mr. President has also tasted both. And I don’t think he’s somebody to be lectured about the pros and cons of either process.”

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The governor said what is important is to ensure that whatever mode of primary chosen “provides a process that is as free a manner as possible”.

“Direct primaries have their own challenges; indirect primaries have their own challenges. A consensus approach is also not without challenges, but options should be provided,” he added.

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Soldiers detain Burkina Faso president amid coup plot

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Mutinying soldiers have reportedly detained President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso.

WITHIN NIGERIA learnt that the mutinying soldiers have reportedly surrounded the state television headquarters

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According to the BBC, the soldiers were said to have demanded the sacking of the country’s military chiefs and asked for more resources to fight Islamist insurgents.

Heavy gunfire was reportedly heard on Sunday night near the presidential palace and at several barracks in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital.

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But the government denied the rumour that a coup was underway and that the president had been arrested.

Bathelemy Simpore, the country’s defence minister, denied the rumour that Kabore had been detained.

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“The head of state has not been detained; no institution of the country has been threatened,” Simpore was quoted to have said on national television.

“For now, we don’t know their motives or what they are demanding. We are trying to get in contact with them,” he said, adding that calm had returned to some of the barracks.”

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The Burkina Faso authorities later declared a curfew from 8pm to 5:30am until further notice.

Schools across the country were also directed to be closed for two days (Monday and Tuesday).

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The incident comes a day after protesters took to the street to demonstrate against the government’s inability to stop attacks and killings of civilians by militants.

The protesters also asked Kabore to resign.

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Money laundering: Court issues warrant for Diezani’s arrest

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, issued an arrest warrant against the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, believed to be residing in the UK.

Justice Bolaji Olajuwon granted the request, after counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farouk Abdullah, made an oral application.

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The court had fixed November 3, 2021 for the EFCC to give a report on its effort at extraditing Alison-Madueke to the country to stand her trial, and for possible mention of the case.

But on the adjourned date, the case was stalled as neither Abdullah nor Alison-Madueke was in sight.

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Justice Olajuwon then fixed today, Jan. 24, for the matter and adjourned for report or or for possible mention of the matter.

NAN reports that though Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu was initially the presiding judge in the matter, the case was reassigned to Justice Olajuwon, following the transfer of Ojukwu to the Calabar division of the court.

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Ojukwu had, on October 28, 2020, rejected the EFCC’s prayer to issue a warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke, citing the commission’s failure to enforce the earlier criminal summons, which the court issued on the former minister since July 24, 2020, saying court orders are not made in vain.

The commission had, in requesting for the criminal summons in July 2020, claimed that it was required to facilitate the ex-minister’s extradition to Nigeria.

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Faced with the failure of the ex-minister to honour the summons, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Abdullah, urged Justice Ojukwu to issue a warrant of arrest against her, saying that the extradition process failed as a result of the absence of the warrant of arrest.

The judge, who turned down the request, directed the lawyer to file an affidavit to that effect supported by evidence from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, and adjourned for report and possible arraignment of the defendant (Alison-Madueke).

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However, when the matter was called on Monday, Abdullah was in court.

He told the court that all efforts by the agency to get the ex-minister extradited when the matter was before Ojukwu were unsuccessful.

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Abdullah, who made an oral application for an arrest warrant, said the application was part of the requirements by the office of the AGF for the extradition.

He said that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the International Police (INTERPOL) the impetus to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.

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Justice Olajuwon then granted the application and adjourned the matter sine die pending when the defendant (Alison-Madueke) is arrested and produced in court.

NAN reports that Abdullah had, in an application, urged the court “to issue an arrest warrant against Alison-Madueke, who is believed to be in the UK to enable all law enforcement agencies and the INTERPOL to arrest her anywhere she is sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation made against her before the court.”

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He said since the summon had not been able to achieve the desired result, the need for a warrant of arrest cannot be over-emphasised.

NAN reports that the court had, on July 24, 2020, ordered the former minister to appear before it and answer to the money laundering charge filed against her by the EFCC.

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The court gave the ruling in an ex-parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 brought by Abdullah.

The EFCC had accused the former minister of fleeing the country for the UK in order to escape justice, among others.
The lawyer, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said it sought to question Alison-Madueke, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including “her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited by NNPC.

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He said it also wanted Alison-Madueke to respond to questions about “her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.”

Abdallah said the agency was investigating Alison-Madueke‘s business relationships with Mr Donald Amamgbo, Mr Afam Nwokedi, Chief lkpea Leemon, Miss Olatimbo Bukola Ayinde, Mr Benedict Peters, Christopher Aire, Harcourt Adukeh, Julian Osula, Dauda Lawal, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Mr Leno Laithan, Sahara Energy Group and Midwestern Oil Limited, among others.

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He added that Alison-Madueke was also required to clear air on “her role in financing the 2015 general elections, particularly the money that were warehoused at Fidelity Bank Plc in 2015 prior to the elections.”

He said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and Jeweleries recovered from her house at No: 10, Chiluba Close, off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified property that were linked to her In Nigeria, UK, U.S., United Arab Emirate and South Africa.

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It would be recalled that the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa in the April 2021 edition of the agency’s in-house magazine, disclosed that the anti-corruption commission recovered 153 million dollars from Alison-Madueke.

Bawa said the agency also recovered the final forfeiture of over 80 property in Nigeria valued at about $80 million from the former minister, who has been living in the UK since leaving office some years ago.

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The EFCC boss said he would want the former minister to face trial in Nigeria.

Besides, as part of the ongoing investigations of the former Petroleum Minister, the EFCC. on Dec. 15, 2021, said it arrested a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, allegedly over an additional $72.87 million still in the coffers of the bank.

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Okonkwo and Charles Onyedibe were quizzed by operatives over the latest discovery.

Okonkwo, who is the chairman of First Bank Holding, alongside others, had earlier been grilled over $153 million and another $115 million by the commission.

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