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House Capitol attack committee votes to recommend Steve Bannon prosecution

Capitol attack

House Capitol attack committee votes to recommend Steve Bannon prosecution

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack voted on Tuesday to recommend the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, after he defied a subpoena relating to their inquiry into the 6 January insurrection.

The select committee approved the contempt of Congress citation unanimously, sending the report to the Democratic-controlled House, which is expected on Thursday to authorize the panel to go to court to punish Bannon for his non-compliance.

“It is essential that we get Mr Bannon’s factual and complete testimony in order to get a full accounting of the violence of January 6th and its causes,” said Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee.

“Mr Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences,” he said. “We cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the select committee as we work to get to the facts. The stakes are too high.”

Members on the select committee took the aggressive step against Bannon to sound a warning to Trump White House officials and others connected to the Capitol attack that defying subpoenas would carry grave consequences, according to a source on the panel.

The select committee had issued a bevy of subpoenas to some of Trump’s closest advisers – White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, his deputy Dan Scavino, defense department aide Kash Patel, and Bannon – under the threat of criminal prosecution.

But under orders from the former president and his lawyers, Bannon ignored his subpoena compelling documents and testimony in its entirety. The other three Trump administration aides opened negotiations over the extent of their possible cooperation.

The ramifications for Bannon’s defiance are significant: once passed by the House, the justice department transfers the case to the office of the US attorney for the District of Columbia, which is required to take the matter before a federal grand jury.

In pushing to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress, the select committee has also set up a potentially perilous legal moment for Bannon as he resists the inquiry into what Trump knew in advance of efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

A successful contempt prosecution could result in up to a one-year sentence in federal prison, $100,000 in fines, or both – although the misdemeanor offense may not ultimately lead to his cooperation and pursuing the charge could still take years.

Bennie Thompson, committee chairman, speaks as Liz Cheney, right, and Zoe Lofgren listen ahead of the vote on criminal contempt cha
Bannon remains a key person of interest to House select committee investigators in large part because he was in constant contact with Trump and his team in the days before 6 January, as the former president strategized how to return himself to the Oval Office.

He also appeared to have advance knowledge of the Capitol attack, predicting on his War Room podcast, the day before the insurrection that left five dead and 140 injured: “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

In opening statements ahead of the vote, Republican congresswoman and committee member Liz Cheney said: “Mr Bannon’s and Mr Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: they suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And we will get to the bottom of that.”

But the former chief strategist to Trump indicated to the select committee he would not cooperate with his 23 September subpoena on grounds that communications involving Trump are protected by executive privilege and cannot be revealed to Congress.

The legal argument faces a steep uphill battle with the Biden justice department appearing inclined to adopt a narrow interpretation on executive privilege, previously allowing top Trump justice department officials to testify to Congress about 6 January.

And as the justice department examines the expected referral from the House in finer detail, prosecutors may open Trump to legal jeopardy insofar as he may have obstructed justice by ordering Bannon and other aides to defy the subpoenas.

The select committee said in the contempt report that Bannon had no basis to refuse his subpoena because Trump never actually asserted executive privilege – but also because Bannon tried to use an executive privilege claim for non-executive branch materials.

Within the scope of the subpoena demanding documents and testimony, the report said, included contacts with members of Congress and Trump campaign officials in the days before 6 January, which are ostensibly unrelated to communications between Bannon and Trump.

The contempt report added that even if the select committee accepted his executive privilege claim, the law makes clear that even senior White House officials advising sitting presidents have the kind of immunity from congressional inquiries being claimed by Bannon.

The report further noted: “If any witness so close to the events leading up to the January 6 attack could decline to provide information to the select committee, Congress would be severely hamstrung in its ability to exercise its constitutional powers.”

The prospect of prosecution appears not to have worried Bannon, who spent the day before his deposition date a hundred miles away in Virginia, where he attended a Republican rally that featured a flag purportedly carried by a rioter at the Capitol attack.

Trump lashed out at the select committee after it announced it would vote to hold Bannon in contempt. “They should hold themselves in criminal contempt for cheating in the election,” he said, repeating lies about a stolen election refuted by the justice department.

Still, the select committee’s net appears to be closing in on the former president. Thompson, the chair of the select committee, said on CNN on Thursday that he would not rule out eventually issuing a subpoena for Trump himself.

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Military destroys illegal refining sites in Rivers

The air component of Nigeria’s military special taskforce, “Operation Delta Safe’’ bombarded several illegal oil refining sites and other bases of economic saboteurs in Rivers on Friday and Saturday.

Director, Public Relations and Information at the Nigerian Air Force, AVM Edward Gabkwet, stated on Sunday in Abuja that the air strikes diminished the capabilities of oil thieves significantly.

He assured that the strikes ensured that economic saboteurs would no longer be able to burst pipelines to steal crude oil.

Gabkwet stated that an illegal refining site was destroyed at Idama community and four boats which reconnaissance found to have been loaded with illegally-refined products were equally destroyed.

“Similar reconnaissance missions were conducted over Ogbomkiri community where an active illegal refining site was identified and destroyed.

“Reconnaissance over the Arugbana community showed that oil thieves were trying to set up an illegal refining site and, on sighting the approaching aircraft, they scampered to safety.

Several illegal sites were also observed at Samkiri community and were engaged and destroyed.

“In all, about seven illegal refining sites and four boats were discovered and destroyed in the two-day operation,’’ Gabkwet added.

 

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Aiyedatiwa stops pastors from wearing cassock, appoints self general overseer

Nebuchadnezzar, infamous figure immortalized in the Bible, commands recognition as the Babylonian monarch whose relentless conquests laid waste to the temple of Jerusalem, seizing its sacred relics as spoils of war.

Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a great tree that shelters the whole world. But an angelic “watcher” appears and decrees that the tree must be cut down and that for seven years, he will have his human mind taken away and will eat grass like an ox.

The holy Bible generously describes and expounds a Chapel or Temple as the hallowed sanctuary of the Almighty. It is reserved for the reverential observance of sacred rites and solemn covenants deemed too divine for mundane settings. In all Chapels or Temples all over the world, these consecrated edifices are sanctuaries apart, shielded from the profane clamor of the secular world.

But an archetype of Nebuchadnezzar may have surreptitiously crept into Ondo without anyone noticing. While asking questions on what motivated the biblical Nebuchadnezzar to desecrate the holy Chapel or Temple of God, we are compelled to confront the actions of His Excellency (Hon.) Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa vis-à-vis the recent happenings inside the Government House Chapel.

In a bold and audacious move that is only comparable to that of Nebuchadnezzar, Governor Aiyedatiwa decreed that ordained priests, including Rev. Babalola of the Anglican Communion and Canon Enoch Adeleke of the Methodist Church, discard their traditional vestments, known as Casoc, in favor of resplendent native attire—Agbada & Sokoto—during sacred ceremonies.

This sweeping directive challenges the entrenched doctrines upheld by Orthodox Churches, igniting a maelstrom of doubt and apprehension. Many ponder whether this decree signals a bid to sideline and subjugate Christians within the precincts of the Ondo State Government House, potentially paving the way for the infiltration of unfamiliar beliefs.

It is important to note that the Government House Chapel predates Governor Aiyedatiwa’s tenure. It is equally worthy of note to state that none of his predecessor, be it an Executive Governor or Military Administrator, had dared to enact such a seismic shift from the norm.

The questions presently agitating the minds of Christians within and outside Ondo state is if the Governor would have dared to wield such authority within a Mosque?

In response to this seismic upheaval, Christians across Ondo State and beyond are implored to maintain vigilance. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) must rise up against what is perceived as a grievous affront to the tenets of Christianity.

Adding to the intrigue, Aiyedatiwa proclaimed one fateful morning that he had been anointed by God to assume the mantle of General Overseer (GO) of the chapel. His subsequent participation in conducting last week’s Sunday service casts doubt upon his jurisdiction in matters of faith, casting a pall of uncertainty over Orthodox Churches.

But beyond this, the governor is said to have imported some strange-looking creatures to form part of the clergy. An inside source disclosed that the men were indeed imported from India as part of a larger team of prayer warriors ahead of the governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress.

An elder in the chapel, who pleaded not to be named, said the governor has become paranoid about how church matters are run in the chapel.

“It is surprising what is driving the governor recently. He is carrying out changes that are aliens to the order of service in the chapel.

Recently, some strange people were brought into the chapel. Some people said they were part of of his prayer warriors. It was later that we gathered that they were from India. We have never seen anything like this before,” the elder said.

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Pregnant woman, widow arrested over N3.2m counterfeit cash, lethal illicit substance

… As NDLEA recovers 900,000 opioid pills, 1,347.4kg cannabis in Kano, Kogi, Imo, Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti raids

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have intercepted a commercial bus conveying N3.2million counterfeit cash owned by three suspects: eight-month pregnant Favour Peter, 24; Esther Adukwu, 27, and Ochigbo Michael, 39, who were arrested at Jabi park in Abuja in a follow up operation on Tuesday 9th April following the seizure of the fake naira notes in Lokoja, Kogi state.

This is even as NDLEA officers in collaboration with men of the Nigerian Navy Ship Lugard base, Lokoja intercepted 37-year-old Aliyu Lawal along Lokoja-Abuja road on Monday 8th April and recovered 620 blocks of cannabis weighing 310kg from him, while 10 sacks of the same psychoactive substance weighing 98kg were seized along Okene-Lokoja-Abuja express way by NDLEA operatives from Jama Obodo, 44, in a commercial bus coming from Ilesha, Osun state enroute Taraba state on Wednesday 10th April.

In Cross River state, a 40-year-old widow and mother of two, Mrs. Theodora Ita was on Monday 8th April arrested at Bassey Edom, Calabar, by NDLEA operatives for producing and selling a lethal new psychoactive substance, NPS, locally called ‘Combine’, which is a mixture of different strains of cannabis and opioids soaked in raw gin. As at the time of her arrest, 18 litres of the dangerous substance in used paint drums were recovered from her.

In her statement, she claimed she started the illicit drug production and distribution in October 2023. Another suspect, Godwin Okon Samuel, 48, was apprehended at Essit Ebum area of Calabar with 39.4kg of cannabis sativa on Tuesday 9th April.

While two suspects: Sani Mohammed, 43, and Christopher Eze, 64, were arrested in Sabon Gari area of Kano on Tuesday 9th April with 900,000 pills of opioid recovered from them, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri-Onitsha road, Imo state on Friday 12th April intercepted a logistics truck with registration number JGB 403XB and recovered 230 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 119kg hidden under household items after a thorough search.

At least 252 kilograms of cannabis were seized during a raid at Ijesa Isu forest, Ekiti state on Saturday 13th April while four suspects: Adamu Umar, 39; Abdullahi A Gimba, 27; Julius Uduakhomu, 28; and Micheal Sunday, 24, were nabbed loading 40kg of same substance to the engine compartment of a gas truck at Agho village, Owan East, Edo state.

Two motorcycles used in conveying the consignment to where the gas truck heading to the North was parked, were also recovered.

In Ogun state, a suspect, Ismaila Ogun was arrested on Friday 12th April with 79kg cannabis at Imeko, while 18-year-old Friday Abah was nabbed with 410kg of the same substance when NDLEA operatives raided Obatedo camp, Itaogbolu forest, Akure North LGA, Ondo state.

With the same zeal, the various commands of the Agency across the country
continued with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign in the past week. Some of them include: WADA sensitisation lecture for students and staff of Gboko Polytechnic, Gboko, Benue state; officers and men of 15 Engineering Field Regiment Nigerian Army, Topo, Badagry Lagos; meat butchers at Odo Eran abattoir, Osogbo, Osun state and WADA advocacy visit to Kogi state Governor, Ahmed Usman Ododo, among others.

While commending the officers and men of the Kogi, Cross River, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo, Kano, and Edo Commands of the Agency for their outstanding feats in drug supply reduction, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) equally applauded them and their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures, aimed at drug demand reduction.

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