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FG prepares fresh charges against IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

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Detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, will be facing fresh charges, the Federal Government reveals.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, disclosed that the new charge will incorporate fresh allegations against the IPOB leader.

The charge currently pending against Kanu at the Federal High Court in Abuja borders on terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society.

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Malami, whose office is prosecuting the case, alleged that Kanu had since 2017, after he jumped bail, committed more offence.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions.

“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities”, Malami told newsmen in Abuja.

In a chat with Saturday Vanguard, a lead prosecutor at the Federal Ministry of Justice, revealed that FG would apply for leave of the trial court to amend the charge currently pending against Kanu

“I can confirm to you that the charge will be amended. Many things have happened since 2017 when the Defendant jumped bail.

“He has a lot of explanations to give to the court concerning the offence for which he is standing trial and offences he has committed since the time he jumped bail.

“There are fresh facts and evidence the Prosecution believe should be brought before the court.

“Don’t forget that the charge has also been amended in the past”, the Prosecutor who craved anonimity added.

The government lawyer further revealed that some arrested members of IPOB’s Eastern Security Network, ESN, may likely be transferred to detention facilities in Abuja to be used as witnesses in Kanu’s trial.

“Most of the ESN members that were arrested from various parts of the South East have already volunteered useful information that will assist the case”, the Prosecutor added.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had on Thursday, said the Federal Government would go after highly-placed Nigerians that collaborated with Kanu, irrespective of their standing in the country.

According to him, “None of Kanu’s collaborators, irrespective of their standing in society will be spared.

“They will all face the full wrath of the law for their activities that challenge our nation’s sovereignty and threaten its unity. No one, no matter how highly placed, is bigger than the country.”

The Minister however hacknowledged that FG received calls for Kanu to be accorded fair hearing.

“It is interesting that many are suddenly calling for a fair trial for Kanu as if he didn’t get one before he decided to jump bail and flee.

“However, I can assure you that the fair deal that Kanu denied many of the victims of the violence which he instigated through his broadcasts and tweets will not be denied him”, the Information Minister added.

Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a letter dated April 26, 2021, which was addressed to western diplomats, listed the alleged sins of Kanu, insisting that he orchestrated the killing of 60 persons and destruction of property in 55 violent attacks across the South-East and South-South zones within four months.

In the letter, FG listed the alleged atrocities committed by members of IPOB on the instruction of Kanu who was then in exile.

One of the attachments to the letter, cited the attacks on lives and property by IPOB and its militia arm, ESN, in some parts of the country between January and April 2021.

FG maintained that statement by a foreign agency that ESN was created to combat insecurity, amounted to attempt to justify “the establishment of a militia by a non-state actor”.

The letter read in part: “In under four months this year, IPOB has carried out over fifty-five violent acts in various parts of South-East Nigeria killing scores of people and destroying many properties.

“As recently as 22nd April, 2021, broadcasting online from his base in London, Mr Kanu issued a series of instructions to his militia and other members of the outlawed organisation, on acts of violence to be carried out within the territory of Nigeria.”

It alleged that Kanu had in one of his broadcasts stated thus: “Our madness has just begun”.

According to FG, Kanu issued instructions from abroad using Radio Biafra, while IPOB members carried them out in Nigeria.

The letter listed attacks FG insisted was coordinated by IPOB members in the S-East, S-South zones as:

Abia: Between January 26 and April 19, 2021, six policemen were killed while property worth huge sums were destroyed by IPOB members in coordinated attacks at Uratta junction, Aba North LGA; Omoba Police Station, Isiale-Ngwa South LGA; Abriba Community in Ohafia LGA, and Uzuakoli Police Station in Bende LGA.

Akwa Ibom: 25 persons, including security personnel were killed in deliberate attacks on different locations across the state, between January 27 and April 19, 2021.

Cross River: Seven police officers were killed at Calabar-Ikom highway in Obubra and Yakur LGAs on March 2, 2021, while a soldier was killed two days later on March 4 at a military checkpoint at Obubra Junction in Obubra LGA.

Delta: Between January 10 And April 14, IPOB members attacked and killed 11 persons including security personnel in Ughelli, Ndokwa East, Ezza South, Onicha, Ezza North, Ohaozara, Ohoukwu, LGAs.

Enugu: Three policemen were killed in attacks on different locations across the state between February 28 and April 18.

Imo: Between January 3 and April 24, 2021, IPOB members killed seven persons and injured many others in different attacks in Orlu, Obouo, Aboh Mbaise, Chitte Uboma, Isiala Mbano, Owerri, Njaba, Mbatoli, Oru East LGAs.

Rivers: On April 17, 2021, IPOB operatives killed an NSCDC operative on guard duty at Shell crude oil manifold in Elelewon village in Obio/Akpor LGA and injured many others.

Meanwhile, the legal team of the detained IPOB leader has requested to be allowed access to him.

Kanu, who was “intercepted” and returned back to the country last Sunday, was on Tuesday, remanded in custody of the Department of State Service.

Trial Justice Binta Nyako made the remand order after she fixed July 26 for accelerated trial.

Barely 24 hours after the remand order was issued, Kanu’s legal team led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, wrote the Director-General of the DSS, demanding to be allowed to visit their client.

In the letter dated June 30, which was signed by Habila Tushak, the defence team, said the visit would enable them to effectively prepare Kanu’s defence to the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15.

“Considering the nature of this case, we kindly suggest the 30/6/2021, 1/7/2021 and 2/7/2021 for the visit, subject to your convenience”, the letter from Kanu’s defence team further read.

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Crypto is a danger to world economy, tool for money laundry- EFCC Boss

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Advancement in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies increasingly portends huge risks to the world economy, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.

This, according to Bawa, is partly because, many criminals now play significant roles in crypto-currency markets. He said the virtual currencies had become their preferred mediums of exchange.

Bawa spoke while delivering his keynote address Monday at the 38th Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, themed, ‘Economic Crime-Who pays and who should pay?’

The event was organised by the Centre for International Documentation on Organised and Economic Crime (CIDOEC), Jesus College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who captured some highlights of the event in a statement, quoting Bawa as saying, “The developments in new technologies and the growth of cryptocurrencies portrays a far greater danger to the world economy than ever before with many criminals playing significant roles in crypto-currency markets.

“Criminals now elect to transact or receive illegal monies (such as ransom money) for

cyber-attacks in cryptocurrencies with Bitcoins and Ethereum as the most commonly used mediums for these exchanges.”

He lamented that “the sophistication and complexity that defines the dynamics of economic crime in the 21st Century continues to evolve, spurred by technological advancement in the global economy that has become borderless and transnational.”

This he said had “inevitably led to the prioritisation of law enforcement action on crimes that drive Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) across the globe”.

‘No nation is immune’

According to the EFCC Boss, “economic crimes which are largely illegal acts committed for private gain affect the vital structures of global economies, causing significant damage to the Global Financial System and depriving developing nations of the needed resources for sustainable development”.

He noted that developed countries are not immune to the scourge, which, according to him, has “magnified with the proliferation of cyber-crimes which threatens the stability of Global Financial Institutions.”

Bawa said the platform of the event provided an opportunity to interrogate the challenges of economic crimes.

“As the victims of crime continue to suffer globally from the effects of financial crimes, either directly or indirectly as part of a social system, the determination of who pays or who should pay becomes a critical measure of the criminal justice system in place.”

He underlined the imperatives of an impartial judiciary in ensuring that “the perpetrators of acts and not the victims pay for their crimes.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had barred commercial banks and other financial institutions from transacting with cryptocurrency in fear of the risks it poses to investments and the economy at large.

Despite these actions, there have been reports over the use of these digital or virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and others, with criminals turning it to a haven to launder proceeds of corruption, fraud, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes.

PRecall that last month that the United States Department of Justice training over 50 Nigerian investigators and prosecutors to tackle cryptocurrency-enabled organised crimes.

Efforts to fight crypto-related crimes

While highlighting some of the transparency and accountability achievements of the current administration by President Muhammadu Buhari, Bawa pointed out that the EFCC, as the rallying point in the fight against economic crimes in Nigeria, has recorded important milestones in investigations, prosecutions and assets recovery.

“Since its establishment in 2003, the Commission has recorded no less than 3,500 convictions and recovered assets of significant value including properties in Nigeria, the UK, USA, and the UAE. All these have measurably contributed to the national efforts against economic crimes in Nigeria,” he said.

The EFCC charged participants to come up with practical solutions to curb the international threat of economic crimes.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the symposium, Saul Froomkin, thanked the EFCC boss for his insightful presentation, and the support received from Nigeria in organising the event.

Participants at the symposium were drawn from law enforcement and security agencies, accountability institutions and partners across the world.

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SuperTV CEO: Lagos DPP to charge Chidinma Ojukwu, two others

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A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State has adjourned to sept 29, further hearing in the murder of Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.

A 21-year-old student, Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri were again presented. before the Chief Magistrate, Adeola Adedayo on Monday after they were ordered to be remanded for thirty days at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre last month.

Police Prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, informed the court that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution had issued a legal advice on the case, recommending their trial for murder which implies that the case will now be heard at the high court of Lagos state which has jurisdiction to hear matters of this nature

She, however, adjourned the case to await further Information from the DPP as to the status of the case at the high court that will now hear the matter.

The News Beat also gathered that the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, recommended the release of four persons who are also standing trial at the Magistrate court for obstruction of justice and dishonestly receiving stolen belongings of the deceased .

The four persons are Babalola Disu, Olowu Ifeoluwa, Olutayo Abayomi, Nkechi Mogbo, Ojukwu Onoh, who is said to be Chidinma’s adopted father.

One Egbuchu Chioma who was allegedly found in possession of the deceased’s iPhone 7, and who had initially refused to release the phone on demand, is however to continue her trial.

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Omoyele Sowore’s younger brother shot dead

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A file combo photo of Omoyele and Olajide Sowore

Sahara Reporters Publisher and ex-presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, has narrated how kidnappers shot dead his brother in the Okada area of Edo State on Saturday.

According to him, Olajide was killed in the early hours of Saturday on his way from the Igbinedion University where he was studying Pharmacy.

Sowore, in a tribute on his Facebook page, described his deceased brother who almost clocked 50 as an “out-of-the-box thinker”

He wrote, “My immediate younger brother, Olajide Sowore was today shot and killed near Okada in Edo state by reportedly herdsmen /kidnappers on his way from Igbinedion University in Edo sate where he is studying Pharmacy.

“They snuffed out the life yet another real human being!

“Rest In Power, “Dr. Mamiye!”

“This act in itself will not delay their day of justice.

“I travelled widely with you and our father as a little kid. You were the most loved robust kid I ever first knew. You, Mr. magnet had no enemy!

“You, Mr. Sunshine Foundation who made everyone happy.

“You, the boy who snuck out his older ones to parties, taking all the blames when our disciplinarian father found out.

“You, the guy who was an out-of-the-box thinker who decided school wasn’t for you and created you own genre of music and then turned around to go to school after you almost turned 50!

“You lived your life so that everyone could be alright but now assassinated by everything that’s not alright!

“Saddest day yet!”

Details later…

 

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