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Abia: Incomplete Court Processes Stalls Nollywood Actress’ Trial

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The incomplete transmission of court processes by the State Prosecution Counsel to the judge’s case file stalled Wednesday’s scheduled hearing of Nollywood actress, Chioma Toplis’ case at an Umuahia High Court.

The trial Judge, Justice Uchechi Enwereji, said that she could not hear the matter because the judicial documents of the case file transferred to her were incomplete.

Justice Ogechi Okeahialam had recused herself from presiding over the case, following weighty allegations and other sordid revelations made in court.

The development led to the case being reassigned to another court for continuation of hearing.

The actress is standing trial for alleged criminal defamation in a case with Suit NO: HU/181/2022, following some Facebook posts she allegedly made in May 2021.

In a one-count charge by the Inspector General of Police, she was accused of calling Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu, a rapist and ritualist.

Akwukwuegbu, popularly called Bawas, is the Chief Executive Officer of Bawas Oil, a prominent chief in Amuzukwu Umuahia Community and a brother-in-law to Toplis.

Upon arraignment, the actress was remanded and later granted administrative bail.

But when the matter came up for hearing, the state prosecution counsel filed a fresh petition, accusing the defendant of continuous publication of alleged defamation and intimidating the prosecution witness.

However, Counsel for the defendant, Mr Kelechi Eze, said that the prosecution counsel lied against his client and asked for an evidence of the said publication.

Eze also told the court that the Zone 9 Police Command, Umuahia had yet to release to his client the landed and house documents used to meet her bail condition.

The judge, however, asked for the evidence of the publication, which  the prosecution counsel could not tender.

The matter was adjourned to March 19 and Mach 20. (NAN)

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Insecurity: We’ll Win the Battle Against Criminals – Ododo

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Gov. Usman Ododo of Kogi on Wednesday vowed to lead and win the war against criminal elements in the state.

Ododo stated this during the inauguration of the Nigeria Police, Metropolitan Quick Response Unit office complex in Lokoja.

The Ododo administration initiated and executed the project within 90 days, as part of measures to enhance security network in the state.

The governor said his administration would not condone security breach, warning that: “I’m decisive in taking the fight to criminal elements’ hideout to wipe them out completely in the state.

“This is because my administration is not one that will be preoccupied by trying to deal with security challenges without an end.

“I am not here to do my best. I am here to defeat criminals.

“In fact, we are winning the war against insecurity and we are very intentional about our work to strengthen the state’s security architecture.”

The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to combat crimes and ensure the safety, security of lives and property of the people.

According to Ododo, the Metropolitan Quick Response operation is a proactive step to enhance security and build upon the solid foundation of the state’s security architecture, which started under the administration of Yahaya Bello.

“Nothing would be spared to guarantee safety and security in every inch of the state.

“The Metropolitan Quick Response Squad aims to ensure a safe environment for all residents and visitors in Kogi, with a focus on 24-hour response capability, enhanced intelligence gathering, and community-based approach to policing,” he said.

While commending the security agencies for their dedication and sacrifices, Ododo pledged to prioritise technological enablers to enhance intelligence gathering capabilities in combating emerging security threats.

He acknowledged President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to reverse security challenges nationwide, and pledged continued support to the Federal Government’s war against terrorism.

The governor enjoined residents of the state to be vigilant and to provide credible information to the security agencies to eliminate criminal elements.

The Commissioner of Police, Bethrand Onuoha, commended the governor for his resilience in tackling crimes in the state.

Onuoha said the edifice would give the response squad ample space to operate and help the police and other agencies in dealing with criminal elements.

The quick response squad is a security initiative in partnership with the Rapid Response Squad of the Nigeria Police and the state’s Joint Task Force to tackle criminal activities. (NAN)

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Cleric Urges FG  to Avert Planned Youth Protest

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  The Chief Imam of Lagos State University, Prof. Amidu Sanni,  has advised the Federal Government to do its possible best to avert the planned nationwide youth protest.

Sanni said that the government could  initiate urgent  actions that would reduce the cost of living as a strategy to stop the protest.

The cleric spoke in an interview on Wednesday in Lagos.

Some groups  had  threatened to stage the protest over hardship in the nation.

The protest is proposed to start from Aug. 1 and end on Aug. 10.

Sanni said that the  protest should be avoided because it could be hijacked by hoodlums to cause violence.

“Some political players  may also cash in on the situation for personal reasons.

“Such politicians should be disappointed  by the government through making things easy for the citizens and averting the protest.

“What the national government needs to do is to set in motion, a feasible, visible and sustainable means of addressing food insecurity.

“It should make foods  affordable and available,” the cleric said.

He said that immediate, medium and long-term measures with scalable and verifiable outcomes were urgently indeed. (NAN)

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Tinubu Signs Development Commission Establishment Bills

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President Bola Tinubu has signed into law bills to accelerate development across geo-political zones in the country.

This is contained in a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The statement said the President assented to the North-West Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2024, and the South-East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2023.

According to the statement, the North-West Development Commission is set up to facilitate the reconstruction of roads, houses, and business premises destroyed by multidimensional crisis.

It is also expected to tackle poverty, literacy level, ecological problems, and any other related environmental or development challenges in North-West states.

It added that the South-East Development Commission was established to ensure the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, houses and other infrastructural damages suffered by the zone.

It is also expected to tackle ecological problems and other related environmental or developmental challenges in South-East states.

“President Tinubu believes in building the nation on the fulcrum of fairness, equity, and unity.

“Hence, he is committed to ensuring equitable development, inclusive governance, and the provision of qualitative services to all Nigerians — no matter where they reside — while knitting even more tightly together the national fabric,” it said. (NAN)

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