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Again, London Court Denies Ekweremadu Bail

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The Central Criminal Court, London, also known as Old Bailey, has again denied bail to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

In the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, the court gave its verdict denying the bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk.

It was learned that the court cited the letter and assets forfeiture proceedings against the senator by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In the bail application, Ekweremadu’s lawyer had argued that the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Attorney-General of the Federal had written to the court that Ekweremadu was not a flight risk.

His defense also argued that a guarantee to produce him should he pose a flight risk was given and that the Nigeria High Commission in the UK had equally given the option of tagging Ekweremadu electronically to monitor his movement.

Referring to attestation of Ekweremadu’s character by respected Nigerians and organisations, his lawyer also argued that the lawmaker had proven to be a caring and responsible father and could not escape from London, abandoning his wife and sick daughter.

The defense further told the court that they had sureties and securities of nearly half a million pounds sterling from 11 people to secure Ekweremadu’s release on bail.

Stating that Ekweremadu was a highly regarded, well-known public figure, his defense also referred to Ekweremadu’s involvement in some global humanitarian courses.

However, the prosecution insisted that Ekweremadu was a flight risk contending that as a holder of international passports from two other countries, the lawmaker could escape to any of the other countries asides from Nigeria.

The prosecution also cited the 18th July 2022 letter by the EFCC signed on behalf of the Executive Chairman, Abdulraheed Bawa, by the Assistant Director Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkoi, and referred to the assets forfeiture proceedings against Ekweremadu in the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Refusing the bail application, the Judge said, “I am entirely satisfied there remains a flight risk,” noting that bail would not make much difference “as the trial is just over a month away.”

Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), claimed that the EFCC truncated Ekweremadu’s bail application in July.

Amongst other things, Awomolu also accused the EFCC of dishonestly obtaining an interim assets forfeiture order against the lawmaker by withholding vital information from Justice Inyang Ekpo.

However, the EFCC dismissed the allegations through its lawyer, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir (SAN), saying it was a mere coincidence.

The trial of the Ekweremadus will now begin on 31st January 2023.

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Naja’atu Mohammed Accuses Aisha Buhari of Being Part of Aso Rock Cabal

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A former Director in the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Naja’atu Mohammed, has said that the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, is part of the cabals in Aso Rock.

This follows the statement made by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, that some Aso Rock cabals were working to frustrate the victory of APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, in the forthcoming elections.

She said this Monday morning while featuring on Arise TV Morning Show.

Mohammed said unlike El-Rufai, she was not afraid to mention names.

“Let me tell you one of the cabals is Aisha Buhari. Aisha that is talking is part of the cabals. We knew the cabals of the late Abba Kyari. When she started talking of the cabals, she didn’t have the guts to come and name names. For the first time in Nigeria, I started to mention names.

“She (Aisha) reinforced what El-Rufai said. El-Rufai said ‘the cabals in the villa’, she confirmed it. She is also part of the cabals. I am trained not to say the details. We are trained to leave names. You have to have the guts to give names,” she said.

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Supreme Court Affirms Lawan As Authentic APC Candidate for Yobe North

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The Supreme Court has affirmed the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Yobe North in the forthcoming 2023 general election.

In a majority judgment delivered on Monday, the apex court allowed the appeal filed by the APC against Bashir Machina’s candidature.

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Atiku Support Group Accuses Wike of Arresting Members in Rivers

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The Atiku Support Organisation has alleged that about 30 of its members were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in GRA, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Sunday afternoon.

The National Publicity Secretary of ASO, Victor Moses, disclosed this in a statement he personally signed and issued on Sunday.

In the statement titled ‘Release our members wow, Atiku Support Organisation tells Gov Wike’, Moses said the meeting was part of preparations for the the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally slated to hold on February 11.

He said some of those arrested were state and local government leaders of the organisation, alleging that the officers may have acted on the instructions of the state governor, Nyesom Wike.

The statement partly read, “Earlier today, Sunday, at about 2 pm, armed police officers in about six Toyota Hilux marked Intelligence Unit and acting on the instruction of the Rivers State Governor surrounded plot No 3 popularly called White House in Omerelu Street, by Salvation Ministries Headquarters, G.R.A., Port Harcourt, where state and local government leaders of the Atiku Support Organisation were holding meetings as part of the preparations for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally slated to be held on 11th February 2023.

“Realising the armed men were sent to stop the meeting, some members escaped through the fence, sustaining wounds caused by barbed wires.

“Over 30 of our members, state and LGA leaders, most of whom are women, were arrested and taken away in two white Hilux of the intelligence unit, while about four Hilux heavily armed with police have sealed up the meeting venue. The said No 3 Omerelu Street, GRA, is directly behind the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt.”

The statement added that none of the phone numbers of those allegedly arrested was connecting.

The group called on Governor Wike to release its members with immediate effect, adding that Wike must end “his do-or-die politics of bitterness and stop instigating violence in Rivers State against Atiku Abubakar’s supporters.”

The group also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to order the release of its members and put a end to what it called “political rascality” in Rivers State, and “to avert Governor Wike’s instigated bloodbath in the state during the election,” adding that “Rivers people should and must be allowed to make their political choices freely.”

When contacted, the spokesman for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said she had not received such report.

Efforts to reach the state Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, proved abortive as he did not pick several calls
put across to his mobile telephone.

He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

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