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Court Grants Ex-Director Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources N30 million Bail

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Court Grants Ex-Director Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources N30 million Bail

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, admitted Grace Taiga, former Director of Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, to N30 million bail in the multiple fraud cases involving Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID). 

Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling, also ordered Taiga, an alleged accomplice in the scandal, to produce two sureties in the like sum, who must be residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, on Oct. 7, re-arraigned Taiga before Egwuatu on seven counts bordering on money laundering offences.  

READ ALSO: Sanusi: How NNPC, Oil Marketers Inflated Petrol Figures

The judge also ruled that one of the sureties must have property within the FCT and deposit the titled documents with the deputy chief registrar of the court. 

Egwuatu, who held that the two sureties must have evidence of tax clearance, ordered that the defendant (Taiga) must deposit her international passport with the deputy chief registrar of the court and must get court permission before travelling outside Nigeria.  

The judge then adjourned the matter until Jan. 17 for commencement of trial. 

Though the defendant was on Oct. 7, re-arraigned before Justice Egwuatu on a nine-count charge bordering on accepting bribes and other related crimes, she pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

The prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, had prayed that the defendant is remanded in prison custody, but the defence counsel, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, informed that a bail application on behalf of his client dated March 18 had already been filed.

Olanipekun had asked the judge to admit her to bail on the grounds of ill-health.

However, the Prosecution Counsel, said the EFCC filed a counter-affidavit rejecting the bail application and a further counter-affidavit, which he said they relied on.

On Sept. 20, 2019, the EFCC, arraigned Taiga in an FCT High Court in Apo, for complicity in the controversial contract Nigeria signed with an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development Company (P&ID) in 2008.

Taiga was the third person to be charged by the anti-graft agency.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government arraigned two representatives of the P&ID before a Federal High Court in Abuja on allegations of fraud.

Justice I. E. Ekwo of Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja sentenced the company, incorporated in British Virgin Island to wind up in Nigeria and its properties, forfeited to the federal government.

Ekwo convicted two directors, Mohammed Kuchazi and Adamu Usman.

Kuchazi and Usman were arraigned on an 11-count charge, bordering on obtaining by false pretence; dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate licence; money laundering and failure to register P&ID with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as required by law, amounting to economic sabotage against the Nigerian state.

They pleaded guilty to the 11 counts of fraudulent involvement in the contract.

The court in its ruling convicted the suspects and ordered the firm to forfeit all its assets to the Nigerian government. 

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EEDC Connect: DisCo launches New App For Customers

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EEDC Connect: DisCo launches New App For Customers

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), says it has newly launched its “EEDC Connect’ app for enhanced electricity customers interface, meant to ensure timely and superior service delivery.

EEDC’s Head of Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, said in a statement on Saturday in Enugu that the multi-functional application (mobile App) is designed to allow customers to have access to the company’s services with ease.

Ezeh noted that some of the services the ‘EEDC Connect’ App would offer included: payment of bills, prompt request for support, viewing of payment history, registering complaints, and viewing your logged complaint to ascertain its current status.

READ ALSO: Shehu Shagari University of Education: New Varsity To Kick Off By 2022

According to him, the company has embraced information technology as a tool to make its operations efficient and transparent, both for the company and its customers.

He said: “To get started, customers are expected to download “EEDC Connect” on their mobile phones from “Google Play Store”, register, and obtain a One-Time Password (OTP) which should be keyed in, to complete the process.

“The launch of “EEDC Connect” is coming barely two weeks after the company introduced its “Online Bill Download Portal”, a service that allows its customers conveniently view/download their energy bills right from the EEDC website and make payment without necessarily waiting to receive the physical copy of their bills”.

Ezeh reiterated that the introduction of these initiatives is part of the company’s ongoing automation processes aimed at achieving efficiency and improving customer experience.

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Osinbajo Task Nigerians On Unity

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Osinbajo Task Nigerians On Unity

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says Nigeria needs not just achievers, but men and women who are bridge-builders and unifiers.

The vice president said the nation needs people who will see its ethnic diversity as a source of strength, and not as a point of difference.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said the vice president spoke at the turbaning ceremony of some prominent persons in Bida Emirate, Niger State.

READ ALSO: Sanusi’s Banishment From Kano Declared Illegal

In Bida, the Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji  Yahaya Abubakar, in a show of goodwill and appreciation, conferred on the vice president the

“Garkuwan Yamma Nupe”, which means – the Defender of Nupe Kingdom.“I am short of words to express our gratitude to the vice president.

It shows the concern you have for all Nigerians irrespective of who they are and where they come from,” Abubakar said.

The traditional ruler turbaned four prominent public officials including  Musa Abdullahi, a member of the House of Representatives, who was made the Gwarzon Nupe, and another member of the lower chamber, Bako  Kasimu, who became the Zarman Nupe.

Others were Engr. Muhammed Haruna, who was turbaned as the Dan Turakin Nupe – he is a member of the Niger State House of Assembly, and Dr Suleiman Sheshi, the Chairman of the Bida Local Government Council, who was given the title, Maina Nupe.

Osinbajo expressed his appreciation of the traditional ruler’s goodwill and congratulated all who were honoured at the event.

The Etsu Nupe has wisely chosen today to celebrate excellence and selfless service.

“They have all brought competence, commitment and character to the positions of responsibility entrusted to them.

And this is evident from all we know and what has been said about them.”

In his remarks afterwards, Osinbajo said that the conferment of the titles was a fresh call to service to the Bida community and the nation.

He restated the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing security nationwide.“Our country needs men and women who understand that all men and women, regardless of race and faith, deserve to be treated equally, fairly and justly.

“We will continue to work with key stakeholders and the people to effectively tackle the current insecurity challenges in order to achieve a peaceful and prosperous society.

“This we promise to do to the glory of the Almighty and for the benefit of the people who elected us into office.

“Many sons and daughters of Nupe land have risen to prominence in Nigeria in both the pre-and post-independence era, making significant contributions to national development.”

The vice president said that that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recognised the strategic importance of Nupe-land in national development.

According to him, a few weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved the reconstruction of key roads in Niger State.

He said the administration understood that in order to sustainably improve the standard of living of the people, it must address the persistent socio-economic inequalities by ensuring that people are gainfully engaged in legitimate economic activity.

The vice president celebrated the culture of the Nupe people and their contributions to national development over the course of the nation’s history.

“That is why we have and will continue to prioritise agricultural growth and development. Between July and September 2021, agriculture contributed almost 30 per cent of Nigeria’s total GDP. 

Nupe-land, with its vast farmlands and extensive farming activities, is key in delivering this figure.

Nupe kingdom is a land that is steeped in the splendour of tradition.

“Indeed, this occasion provides us with a platform to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the Nupe people, a proud and distinguished people with a unique history and looking around Wadata Palace here, we can see some of the vestiges of the battles, symbols of Nupe bravery and heroism.

“We are very fortunate to have one of its great sons, who had an illustrious career in the Nigerian military and rose to the rank of a General before he answered the call of service to his people, to take the seat of his forefathers as the 13th Etsu Nupe.

“His Royal Highness, Abubakar, our host today; is easily one of the most respected traditional leaders in Nigeria today,” he said.

Osinbajo was welcomed to Bida by  Gov. Abubakar Bello and was also accompanied on the trip by Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger East).

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PDP National Secretary Visits Orji Kalu, Begs Him To Return To Party

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PDP National Secretary Visits Orji Kalu, Begs Him To Return To Party

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday, appealed to the Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu to return to the party.

The National Secretary of the Party, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu, made the appeal when he led a delegation of members of the PDP to visit Kalu in his Abuja residence.

The appeal is coming barely two weeks that the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu visited the former governor of Abia in Abuja. Anyanwu, shortly after a one-hour closed-door meeting with Kalu, said that their meeting centred on what would be profitable to the country.

READ ALSO: PDP Leaders Hold Closed-door Meeting With Orji Kalu

According to him, we came to visit a friend, a leader in the South-East and one of our own and to acquaint him with the developments in our party.

“And to let him know the reason why he should move over to our party. We had a good discussion and this is just the beginning,’’ he said.

Anyanwu noted that the visit was part of efforts by the PDP to bring their members back and reposition the party.

“We are talking about bringing people back to the party because the more the merrier.

“This is a place he started, so you have to leave where you are and go back to where you started,’’ Anyanwu stressed. Kalu, an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and a reliable member of the APC left the PDP in November 2016.

Though he has not openly declared interest in the 2023 presidential election, his presidential posters flooded major cities in the country recently. 

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