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SERAP Calls on ICPC, EFCC to Probe, Akpabio, Misau Over Constituency Projects

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Nigeria President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan
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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to open probe procedures against  Senators Godswill Akpabio and Isa Misau for alleged diversion of constituency funds.

In a petition addressed to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC and Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, Acting Chairman EFCC, DERAP urged the two bodies to “jointly and urgently invite Senators Godswill Akpabio and Isa Misau for interrogation and further questioning over alleged diversion of constituency projects.

The organization said: “If the ICPC and EFCC consider the recovered hospital equipment and six tractors allegedly diverted for the personal use of the senators as relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, we urge you to promptly begin prosecution of the former senators.”

The ICPC had last week stated that it recovered from the premises and farmland allegedly belonging to the senators equipment meant for constituency projects in some local government areas of Akwa-Ibom and Bauchi states.

In the petition dated August 2,  2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Inviting those suspected to be involved for interrogation and further questioning, and for them to promptly face prosecution as appropriate, would show that no one is above the law. It would be entirely consistent with the exercise of your mandates to combat corruption, and with both the spirit and the letter of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

SERAP expressed: “concern that these cases illustrate the growing allegations of massive corruption in constituency projects and the importance of not only monitoring the projects but thoroughly and effectively investigating reported cases of corruption and promptly bringing suspected perpetrators to justice.

 “When members of the National Assembly divert constituency projects for personal use, the essence of such projects is defeated, and the integrity of the mechanism compromised.”

The group also copied  Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

 “Corruption in the provision of public services such as healthcare affects and distorts the delivery of services and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

“As the recoveries by the ICPC have shown, cases of corruption in constituency projects cause under-provision, divert public resources, or simply limit access to public services or make them unavailable.

“SERAP notes Section 15(5) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to the effect that ‘The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.’ Similarly, the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party requires the authorities to ensure effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and penalties for corruption¸the petition read in part.

CRIME

Three Dead  in Kubwa Violent Clash

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

Three persons, including two women and a young boy, have reportedly been killed in a clash between local scavengers, otherwise referred to as Baban Bola, and residents of the Byazhin community, in Kubwa, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

An eyewitness, who identified herself as Jessica Adam, said a Baban Bola element attempted to steal a woman’s pot of soup, but was overpowered and beaten up after the woman alerted neighbours and passers-by.

The embittered baban bola then went away and mobilised hoodlums who returned at about 8:00 pm wielding weapons including machetes, clubs, and stones and began attacking residents at random, eventually killing the woman whose pot of soup was earlier stolen.

In the continuing attack, two others, a woman and a young boy, reported to be passers-by who unfortunately ran into the middle of the crisis, were also killed, they however, have yet yet to be identified.

“They killed two people yesterday. The Community has been in chaos since yesterday. The crisis continued till this morning when they killed somebody again. So far, three persons have been killed and many injured. The Police intervened and restored normalcy, but no arrest was made. The Police have intensified their patrol in the Byazhin area of Kubwa to prevent them from regrouping”, Ms Adams narrated.

A resident in the community, who spoke with Daily Asset, on the condition of anonymity, also confirmed the death of the three persons but said he had no clue as to what may have started the clash.

“Yes, the riot started yesterday. And by this morning, we learnt that three persons have been killed. It happened in Byazhin around that Millionaire’s Quarters, behind that Living Faith Church. That place is usually dangerous, because it is quite lonely, and you cannot pass through there alone, especially in the evening”, he said.

As of the time of filing this report, PUNCH Metro gathered that schools and shops in the area have been closed down, as parents scampered to pick up kids from their classrooms, and shops refused to open as of Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer of the FCT Police Command, SP Josephine Adeh, proved abortive, as her number was repeatedly unreachable.

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CRIME

Okuama Crisis: Reps Assures Justice as Committee Commences Probe

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

The House of Representatives has said it will ensure the crisis in Okuama Community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State is brought to a logical conclusion.

Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Rep. Babajimi Benson, gave the assurance while addressing newsmen on Thursday, at the Governor’s Office Annexe in Warri.

Benson led other members of the committee to a public hearing on the carnage that occurred in Okuama Community in Delta resulting to the death of 17 soldiers and consequent destruction of properties.

The committee convened on Thursday at the Governor’s Office Annexe in Warri without the presence of the locals in attendance.

It would be recalled that the investigative hearing was in line with the 10th Assembly House of Representatives’ resolution of March 19, 2024.

The resolution was prompted by the March 14 massacre of 17 soldiers in the Okuama Community.

The lawmaker said that the committee had so far received about 23 memorandum from stakeholders.

“We came to see members of the community in camera and by way of memorandum. We have received a lot of memorandum from them but they have not turn up physically.

“We have gotten enough memorandum and we intend to work with the memorandum. Though, the window is opened till Friday next week, so we are still expecting more from them.

“We have assured everyone including the Delta State that the House of Representatives will ensure the matter is looked into from both sides and come to a logical conclusion.

“That is why we are asking them to send memoranda and they are complying. We gave them a week and the period will elapse on Friday.

“If you do not want to show up, please send us your documents so that we will be able to act on them, and get to a logical conclusion,” Benson appealed.

The legislator said that the committee was fully ready to ensure that justice was done on the matter.

On why the committee could not visit the troubled Okuama Community, the lawmaker said that the activities of the committee regarding the crisis had not ended.

According to him, the committee will visit the locals and also invite the military to give account of what happened at the community.

“We are definitely going to meet the locals but we are going to arm ourselves with information,” he said.

Among the 10-man committee was Rep. Francis Waive, member representing Ughelli North/Ughelli South and Udu Federal Constituency.

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CRIME

Gunmen Attack Ortom’s Ex-Chief-of-Staff, Abduct Wife

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Suspected armed Fulani herdsmen on Friday, attacked former Chief of Staff to Benue State Governor, Honorable Terwase Orbunde, and abducted his wife and house help.

Orbunde, a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) in Benue state served under the administration of the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr Samuel Ortom.

The attack, it was learnt took place close to the “Genocide Cemetery” along Mobile Barracks-Welfare Quarters Road in Makurdi, the state capital at about 6.

00 PM.

The former Chief of Staff escaped with a gunshot on his right arm, while the attackers whisked away his wife, Mrs Abigail Kashimana Orbunde and her house help, Patience Ogute.

Eyewitnesses told DAILY ASSET that Orbunde, his wife and the house help, had gone to inspect the their farm when the incident happened.

The eyewitnesses said after the inspection of the work and payment of the workers five gunmen suddenly attacked their victims as they walked back to their car.

The attackers were said to have opened fire and Orbunde received a bullet on the right arm, while they ordered him and the women to follow them to an unknown destination.

The shooting was said to have caused villagers and passersby to scamper for safety in different directions.

As they marched along, the former Chief of Staff was said to be bleeding profusely, witnesses further said.

The witnesses who watched from a distance said the leader of the group ordered him to walk away while the gunmen took the women to an unknown destination.

An unidentified ‘good Samaritan’ was said to have conveyed the former Chief of Staff to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.

The State Police Commnad could not be reached for comments at the time of this report.

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