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Court Of Appeal Upholds Jail Terms Of Yobe Auditor General

The Gombe Division of the Court of Appeal, on Thursday, February 22, 2024 upheld the conviction of Alhaji Idris Yahaya, Auditor  General for Local Government, Yobe State.

He was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment on Monday, March 13, 2023 by Justice Muhammad Lawu Lawan of the Yobe State High Court, after being prosecuted by the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a one count of criminal misappropriation   to the tune of Nineteen Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira (N19, 900,000.00).

Yahaya received funds from the Office of the Auditor General for Local Government and Emirate Affairs, Yobe State, for the purchase of an official vehicle, a 2015 Toyota Corolla, and diverted part of the money to his personal use.

The  lone count reads: ”That you, Yahaya Lawal Idris, being the Auditor General for Local Government, Yobe State, between the 20th to 21st day of May, 2017 at Damaturu, Yobe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, received the sum of N19,900,000.00 via your personal account number 1001480930 with account name Alhaji Yahaya Idris domiciled in United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) from the Local Government Audit Account Number 5030030060 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc for the purchase of a brand new Toyota Corolla 2015 Model, did dishonestly misappropriated the gross sum of N10,100,000.00 (Ten Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira) only.”

However, dissatisfied with the judgment, Yahaya approached the appellate court, where he raised  five grounds of appeal and prayed the court to set aside the judgment of Justice Lawan.

While arguing against the appeal, counsel to the EFCC, Mukhtar Ali prayed the court to uphold the judgment of the lower court and dismiss the appeal on the grounds that “the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubts”.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, the three-man panel led by Hon. Justice A.A B Gumel, upheld the conviction of  Yahaya and unanimously dismissed the appeal and consequently affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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Oyebanji, Fayemi, NASS members, APC leaders eulogize Omotosho at commendation service

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji on Wednesday led former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, National and State Assembly members, members of the State Executive Council, Party leaders and other prominent personalities to pay glowing tributes to the late APC Chairman, Barrister Paul Omotosho at a special commendation service organized by the state government in Ado-Ekiti.

Omotosho, who died on March 5th, after a brief illness, was, until his death, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Ekiti State Chapter.

“You will not walk alone. I shall stand by you. The Government and the party will stand by you”, Governor Oyebanji assured the children and wives of the late Omotosho during his emotion – laden speech at the special tribute session held at Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado- Ekiti.

The commendation service had in attendance former Governor Kayode Fayemi (who was represented by former Attorney General in the State, Mr Wale Fapounda, SAN; the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Monisade Afuye, Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye, and three former deputy Governors- Prof Modupe Adelabu; Surv. Abiodun Aluko and Chief Wole Alabi as well as members of the Ekiti State Caucus in the National Assembly.

Oyebanji described the late Chairman as a committed, loyal, and party leader whose selflessness and sacrifices contributed immensely to the growth and development of the party and the state at large.

The Governor maintained that the late omotosho was a true friend, a burden bearer, confidant and a devoted community leader, adding that his demise has left a great vacuum within the party, the state and the nation at large.

While assuring the family that his government will continue to support them and stand in the gap of their father, the Governor said he is consoled with the fact that the deceased lived a fulfilled life and left an indelible mark in the development of the state.

“To me personally, I have lost a true friend, I’ve lost a confidant, I’ve lost a brother, a burden bearer and a soul mate. The truth of the matter is not how far but how well, Mr. Continuity left at his own time, I believe strongly that it was his own time to go. We don’t like it, and it is painful because death did not give us a chance to even try to save him.

“I know we are not happy about this and it is a trying moment for us as a party, as a state and as a government, but one thing I know is there is God in heaven who sees the affairs of men. To the children, to the family, as long as i am on this seat as the Governor of this state, you will not walk alone. That’s the assurance I am going to give you”. The Governor asserted.

In his on tribute, the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr. Fayemi, whose tribute was read by Barrister Wale Fapounda, described the late Omotosho as a dedicated leader, a unifier, and a pillar of the party in the state.

Dr Fayemi explained that the deceased was a tireless leader and a steadfast supporter of the party’s principle who ensured that under his watch the party achieved significant victories in recent elections and gained the trust of Ekiti people.

While calling on the APC members in the state to remain resolute in making the deceased proud by carrying on with his legacies of integrity, the former Governor maintained that Omotosho’s contributions and sacrifices for the party will never be forgotten.

Other speakers at the evening of tributes include Mrs. Fola Richie, who spoke on behalf of the state executive council members (2010 – 2014), where the late Omotosho served as as State Commissioner; Chief Bayo Idowu, on behalf of Afenifere; Dr Dele Ebunola, who spoke on behalf of Social Democratic Party (SDP); Prof Mobolaji Aluko, on behalf of the state executive council; Hon Sola Elesin, on behalf of APC, Ekiti State chapter; Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, on behalf the State House of Assembly, and Senator Yemi Adaramodu, who spoke on behalf of National Assembly members.

Others were Chief Jide Awe, who spoke on behalf of APC elders; Chief (Mrs) Ronke Okusanya, on behalf of Women in Politics; and Mr Ojo Oluwasegun Samuel, who spoke on behalf of local government chairmen.

They all eulogized the late Omotosho as a man of integrity and a truly honest and hard working politician and public servant, who was selfless and result- oriented.

A pall of silence descended on the Adetiloye Hall, venue of the event during the viewing of a documentary detailing the life and times of the late Omotosho was shown the audience. Many wept profusely after the documentary which preceded a short sermon and prayer of the family of the deceased.

Barrister Paul Omotosho who died on March 5th would be buried in his home town, Imesi Ekiti on Friday.

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Alleged N84bn fraud: Yahaya Bello’s absence stalls arraignment

The immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello was absent at the Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday.

The former governor was to be arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over alleged money laundering offence involving N84 billion.

Counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Phinro, earlier told the court that Bello was absent from court for his arraignment because he was being protected by someone with immunity.

Justice Emeka Nwite subsequently adjourned the suit to to April 23rd.

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Navy raises alarm over menace of stowaways in Lagos waters

US Navy tries to salvage fighter jet that fell into South China Sea

The Nigerian Navy has decried the growing menace of stowaways in Lagos waters, saying it apprehended about 75 stowaways from August 2023 to April 2024.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Navy, Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adams-Aliu said the Nigerian Navy was concerned by the upsurge in cases of stowaways in Nigerian waters.

He said that migration as a stowaway was illegal, dangerous and was considered a security threat to shipowners.

Adams-Aliu said the Navy had, in line with the strategic directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, deployed advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to vector Quick Response Teams (QRT) to all parts of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

He said the Nigerian Navy apprehended five stowaways in August 2023 on MSC Martha Vessel in Lagos Channel; eight on Charminar Panama in September 2023 in Lagos Fairway Buoy and 11 on Guangzhou Highway Panama in October 2023 in Lagos Channel.

According to him, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) defines a stowaway as someone who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo without consent of the shipowners or the master or any other responsible person

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