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Ogun PDP Guber Candidate in Court over Money Laundering

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From Kunle Idowu, Abeokuta

Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the last gubernatorial election, Mr. Oladipupo Adebutu on Tuesday, appeared before an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, on charges bordering on money laundering and other offences.

Adebutu in a case with number: AB/10c/2023(FRN VS Adebutu&Ors was accused by the Federal government, of criminal inducement during the March 18 2023 governorship poll.

He was alleged to have ordered through his bank the issuance of 200,000 preloaded ATM verve cards with N10,000 and distributed same on the day of election across the State with criminal intention of inducing voters in the State.

Adebutu and six other people were later charged to court by the police, during which he sneaked out of the country for months and returned December 2023.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, earlier in his submission orally withdrew the prior  information supplied, and substituted same with amended information, without any objection from the lead counsel to the defendants, Chief Gordy Uche.

While all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the seven count charges preferred against them, their lead counsel, Chief Gordy Uche pleaded with the court to allow the 2nd to 5th and 10th defendants to continue to enjoy bail on earlier terms.

He then prayed the Court to grant the first defendant, Oladipupo Adebutu, bail on self-recognizance, saying he came to the court on his volition.

However, his prayer that Adebutu should be granted bail on self-recognizance was opposed by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, noting that while he has no objection to the prayer for bail, he disagreed with the self-recognizance clause.

The presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, therefore, granted the 1st defendant bail in the sum of N1million with a surety in the like sum who may be a family member or bondsman, as the case was adjourned till 7th February 2024 for hearing.

POLITICS

APC is the Answer to Nigeria’s Problems, Says Ganduje

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Dr Umar Ganduje, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that the party would provide solutions to the challenges bedevilling the country.

Ganduje stated this during the APC grand finale campaign and presentation of party flags to the 11 local councils chairmanship candidates, on Wednesday in Gombe.

The Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission (GOSIEC) had fixed April 27, for LG polls in the state.

Ganduje, who presented APC flags to the candidates, said the party under President Bola Tinubu was doing a lot to tackle the challenges of the country and get Nigeria transformed for the better.

He said the Tinubu administration was creating the right environment for the country’s development and economic prosperity.

“With the manifesto and the constitution of the APC, the party has achieved a lot at the national level under President Tinubu.

“And you have seen what APC has achieved in Gombe State under Gov. Inuwa Yahaya.

“It is now clear that APC is the answer to Nigeria’s problems,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to support and pray for the administration of President Tinubu to sustain the transformation of the country.

Ganduje commended the governor for keying into the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu and working hard towards transforming the state.

According to him, Gombe is now a reference point for peace and development.

He said the APC remained proud of what have been achieved in Gombe State, describing it, “as one of the best progressive states in the country”.

While receiving decampees from opposition parties, Ganduje urged residents of the state to vote for APC candidates.

“As long as APC remains in power, the people of the state will never lack good governance,” he said.

Also, Yahaya thanked the members of the APC National Working Committee for coming to galvanise support for the party candidates ahead of Saturday’s council elections in the state.

The governor assured that the party would sweep polls in the election.

NAN reports that Ganduje earlier inaugurated the newly constructed Nayi Nawa- Bypass road named him. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Enugu Lawmakers Differ over Bill to Criminalise Payment of Ransom to Kidnappers

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Some lawmakers at the Enugu State House of Assembly have opposed the bill for a law to criminalise the payment of ransom to kidnappers in the state.

The bill to amend the 2004 Criminal Code Law, when enacted,  would ensure that anybody who pays ransom for the release of a kidnapped victim is jailed for 15 years.

Leading a debate during the plenary on Tuesday in Enugu, the Leader of the House, Mr.

Iloabuchi Aniagu, said that criminalising payment of ransom had become important, as criminals had turned it to a lucrative business.

Aniagu argued that stopping people from paying the ransom would make kidnapping to die a natural death, stressing that ransom is the lifewire of the kidnapping.

Also contributing, Mr  Chima Obieze, representing Ezeagu Constituency, said that kidnappers would stop kidnapping business once the people stop or no longer willing to the pay the outrageous ransom.

Obieze alleged that some security personnel, including police and military officers were involved in the kidnappings going on in the state.

Subsequently, Mr Malachi Onyechi representing Nsukka West Constituency, disagreed with the bill, noting that the people paid ransom because of the ineffectiveness of the security personnel to rescue kidnapped victims.

According to him, the security in the country have not lived up to the constitutional responsibilities, so this is not the best time to amend the Criminal Code Law.

In his submission, Mr Harrison Ogara representing Igbo-Eze South Constituency, said while he supported that government should not negotiate with kidnappers, extending such to individual was not a welcomed development.

According to Ogara, the amendment is not timely considering that there is no adequate police officers to police the country let alone the State.

“In Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area, there are only 32 police officers,”

Also, Mr Osita Okoh representing Enugu East Urban constituency warned that amending the Criminal Code Law would promote and worsen the case of kidnapping in the state.

Okoh revealed that families of those kidnapped from Nike were usually directed to pay ransom at Ọkpatu in Udi LGA, noting that people paid ransom to kidnappers to avoid them from dying at the kidnapper’s den.

He called for the stepping down of the bill to enable its drafter to expunge sections that would cause problem for the citizens of the state who wanted to save the lives of their loved ones.

In the same vein, the Speaker of the assembly, Chief Uche Ugwu, overruled the motion to step down the bill, but directed the House Committees on Economic Development, Youths and Security as well as Judiciary to critically look into the bill.

Ugwu asked the Committees to submit their report to the House in the next one week. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Ex-Imo Governor, Ihedioha Dumps PDP After 26 Years

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A formal governor of Imo State Emeka Ihedioha has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 26 years after joining one of Nigeria’s leading political parties.

Having been one of the party’s founding members, Ihedioha cited a variance of “personal beliefs” as part of his reason for quitting the PDP.

“Regrettably, in recent times, the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs.

Despite my attempt to offer counsel, the party is, sadly no longer able to carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules, or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress,” he said in a letter addressed to the party’s chairman in the Mbutu Ward of Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

“It is in the light of the foregoing, that I am compelled to offer my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party effective immediately.”

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