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Cenored’s former employee appears in court on a fraud charge

A former employee of the North Central Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored), Mateus Fungo on Wednesday appeared in the Otjiwarongo Magistrate’s Court on a charge of fraud.

The 36-year-old accused appeared before Magistrate Immanuel Udjombala.

Fungo represented himself in the matter and informed the court that he would bring along his private lawyer during his second court appearance.

According to the charge sheet seen by Nampa on Thursday, it is alleged that Fungo who was employed as a system administrator, defrauded Cenored about N.dollars 12 million between September 2021 and December 2022.

In January 2023, Fungo resigned from Cenored and started running his own private companies he established in the areas of Kavango East, Zambezi and Otjozondjupa regions, stated the court document.

He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at Otjiwarongo on a warrant of arrest issued in February 2024, it said.

Public prosecutor, Joas Neemwatja who represented the State in the matter did not oppose any granting of b
ail and suggested that the court grant him N.dollars 10 000 as bail money. The court, however, decided to release him on N. dollars 5000 bail.

His next court appearance is set for 15 May 2024, pending police investigations.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

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Guzape residents seek FG’s intervention over alleged life-threatening rocks blasting


Some occupants and property owners in Guzape District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Thursday, sought the Federal Government’s intervention over what they described as ‘life-threatening blasting of rocks in the area.’

The resident of the district and former Deputy Governor of Kogi, Mr Simon Achuba, made the call while addressing newsmen in Abuja.

Achuba, who alleged that the blast was being carried out by Gilmor Construction Limited, also called on the Minister of the FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, to come to their aid.

He said Nigeria is a member of the International Treaty and Conventions on Explosive and Blast Technique.

He, therefore, submitted that the construction company, alongside its foreign nationals, ought to have been accustomed themselves to the law.

Besides, he said the construction company failed to heed caution from the police that it should observe regulatory guidelines for blasting.

‘For about three months, we noticed with tremor incessant blasting of rocks very close to our resident
ial accommodation contrary to statutory regulations governing blasting of rocks either for construction or mining exercise.

‘At any point the blasting is done, the whole residential houses within the vicinity of the blasting site shakes thereby injuring the integrity of these properties and the life of our wives and children staying within these premises,’ he said.

The former deputy governor said though they acknowledged that ‘the purpose of the blasting is for the construction of roads for the development of Guzape District,’ he said: ‘It is only the living that can enjoy amenities.’

‘In view of all these infractions and flagrant disrespect to the rule of law and statutory regulations, we are calling on NESREA, Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Federal Ministry of Environment and FCDA to forthwith stop these incessant hazardous blasting which is injurious to our lives and properties.

‘It is only the living that can enjoy amenities. Nigeria is a member of the International Treaty and Conve
ntions on explosives and blasting techniques.

‘During the last world conference on explosives and blasting in 2022 in Netherlands, emphasis was laid on international best practice, which Gilmor with her foreign nationals should be accustomed with,’ Achuba said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Gen. Laka assumes office as new counter-terrorism boss


Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka, on Thursday took over office as the new National Coordinator, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), with a pledge to sustain the commitment in the fight against terrorism in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Laka took over from the erstwhile coordinator, retired Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, who had been in the saddle at the centre since 2016.

President Bola Tinubu has on March 26 approved the appointment of Maj.-Gen. Laka as NCTC National Coordinator under the Office of the National Security Adviser.

In his remarks during the handing over, the new NCTC boss called for total support of all staff to be able to deliver in the mandate of the centre.

He said the support required from the staff comes with commitment, dedication and discipline, adding that the NCTC was a multi agency centre with staff drawn from different ministries, departments and agencies.

‘So I expect us to all drop our baggage outside, come together and work for the greater good of Nigeria.

‘Ni
geria and the world in general are facing the threats of terrorism and if we don’t come together to address it now while we have the chance to, will it be when we go back to our villages in Obomosho or somewhere else that will be calling those in the realms of power to help us do this, do that?

‘This is the time for us to come together to solve this problem so that we retire from the services and the various ministries we worked in peace.

‘So I expect nothing less than 100 per cent from my team and I don’t expect anything less,’ he said.

In his remarks, the outgone National Coordinator, retired Rear Adm. Musa, said the centre has pioneer key initiatives of providing leadership, coordination and strategic guidance to armed forces, security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies on counter terrorism matter.

Musa said the role of the NCTC became more alive as a value adding entity to other strategic and international partners on counter terrorism effort in Nigeria due to emerging threats.

He said the ce
ntre was established following the enactment for the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022 so as to meet the increasing needs with the necessary requirements for effective coordination and collaboration.

He said the centre had made progress in leading national efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism by developing coordinated strategies and integrating all counter terrorism actions.

He added that the centre has continued to provide terrorism analysis, intelligence and information sharing with national and international counterterrorism partner through various counter terrorism activities at the centre.

‘So this achievement actually amplified the vision of NCTC which is to be a center of excellence for counter terrorism activity in Nigeria and mobilise a stronger response to counter all forms of terrorism and violence extremism through a coordinated action based on knowledge derive from research and innovation,’ he said.

Musa thanked President Tinubu and the NSA, for supporting the cen
ter and creating the conducive environment for him to operate as the national coordinator.

He also thanked members of staff for their support and urged them to extend same to his successor.

He urged his successor to be committed to the mission and vision of the center in line with national security objectives.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Arraignment of Binance executives by FIRS suffers setback over non-service of charge


The arraignment of Binance Holdings Limited and two of its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, could not proceed on Thursday due to inability of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to effect service of the charge on the defendants’.

When the matter was called for the defendants to take their plea before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court, Abuja, only Gambaryan was represented by a lawyer.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observes that neither the company nor Anjarwalla, who recently escaped from lawful custody, was represented by counsel.

However, Gambaryan’s lawyer, Chukwuka Ikwuazo, SAN, told the court that his client had not been served with the charge, hence, his arraignment cannot proceed.

FIRS lawyer, Moses Ideho, though acknowledged that the agency had not served Gambaryan’s with the charge, he said all efforts to do so proved abortive because the defendant could not be reached at the EFCC’s detention.

Ideho then prayed the court to serve Gambaryan in the open court
and the judge directed that the charge be served on him in the dock.

The lawyer, therefore, sought a stand-down of the matter or an adjournment to enable Gambaryan consult with his lawyer.

Ikwuazo did not object to an oral application for adjournment and the matter was adjourned until April 19 for him to take his plea.

NAN had on March 28, reported that the FIRS will on April 4 arraign Binance Holdings Limited executives, Gambaryan and fleeing Anjarwalla, on allegations bordering on tax evasion.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, the three defendants will equally be arraigned before Justice Nwite on four counts.

NAN reports that the defendants are being charge on a four-count charge bordering on alleged tax evasion.

In the charge dated filed on March 22 by the FIRS, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about Feb. 1.

Count one alleged that while involved in carrying and offering services to subscribers on their platform, known as Binance, failed to register with the FIR
S, for the purpose of paying all relevant taxes administered by the service.

The offences are said to be punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended) and under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended) respectively.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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Wike optimistic Nigeria ‘ll come out of current turmoil


Mr Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has expressed optimism that Nigeria would come out of its current turmoil even stronger.

Wike gave the assurance when the Methodist Prelate, Most Rev. Oliver Aba, visited him in Abuja on Thursday.

He said: ‘I believe by the special grace of God, Nigeria will come out from the turmoil that we are in.

‘The signs are clear; we have no regret; and we have no doubt that victory shall be ours.’

The minister thanked the Church for the prayers for Nigerians and for the government of President Bola Tinubu to actualise his vision and dreams encapsulated in the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.

He said that nobody could govern without the backing of God, stressing that it was important for every leader to know this.

‘That is why Tinubu has never failed to ask religious leaders to continue to pray for his administration and for the growth of Nigeria.

‘Prayer is key. We can do all we think, but without God, nothing can be achieved, so Tinubu’s victory; his hope
is anchored on God,’ the minister said.

He assured the Methodist Church that the FCT Administration would consider their request for land to build offices and a media centre.

Earlier, Aba explained that the land, if allocated, would be used for the development of a liaison office and a benefiting media centre to enhance evangelism and other social amenities.

He said that a similar request was submitted in 2023 but was not granted.

He pledged the Church’s commitment for continued prayers to support the Tinubu-led government to succeed.

‘This is because his success is our success, and his success is the joy of all Nigerians.

‘In actualising his ‘renewed hope’ agenda, I pray for economic renaissance for our dear country and taming the evil of insecurity in the land.

‘I affirm that there is hope for Nigeria and Nigerians,’ the Methodist Prelate said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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FG fully opens Third Mainland Bridge with speed cameras


The Federal Government has installed speed limit cameras on the Third Mainland Bridge, to encourage responsible driving, preserve the bridge and improve safety.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mrs Olukorede Keisha, announced the unofficial re-opening of the bridge on Thursday, in Lagos.

She said that the speed limit was being done in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government had on Jan. 9 begun comprehensive rehabilitation on the bridge due to several failed portions on it.

She disclosed that the speed cameras would be displayed conspicuously at the median to capture motorists who would exceed the limit.

She explained that anyone caught speeding, would not face immediate penalties on the spot.

Keisha said, ‘Today we are fixing the speed limits. It is in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps and they are on the bridge now doing that.

‘The speed limit has been designed to be 80km/per hour. So, if you speed past 80
km in the next few weeks, your honourable Commissioner will have you to contend with.

‘And at the renewal of your vehicle license, you will be surcharged. So, it’s no longer going to be business as usual.”

Keisha, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Works, Sen. Dave Umahi, noted that the bridge, which was fully opened to the public, still had some additional work ongoing on it.

This remaining work, Keisha said, includes installing solar lights and CCTV cameras.

According to her, they are doing this while the bridge is open so as not to disrupt traffic flow in the future.

She said that the main deck repairs would be finished by May, adding that there would be an official commissioning to mark the completion by President Bola Tinubu.

Additionally, Keisha said that work would be done underneath the bridge and underwater.

She assured the users that the work would not cause any traffic issues, noting that it was important to strengthen the overall bridge structure.

She also said that if drivers follow
the speed limit and there was no misuse of the road (like overloading or accidents), the Third Mainland Bridge would not require major maintenance for the next two years.

Keisha appealed to motorists to report breakdowns, saying, ‘If you see something, say something, and if you see a car being repaired on the bridge, you should report it by calling me or the police.

‘ We are going to talk with the governor. If your vehicle breaks down, it is not to your own joy or delight. So, you should be assisted instead of being penalised.

‘So, if people know that they will be assisted, I’m sure they will be encouraged to drive to a safe place or to park and quickly fix one or two things, but not do major repairs on the bridge.”

In his remark, the Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, Mr Oluwaseun Osiyemi, corroborated Keisha’s statements, urging people to comply.

‘You will see speed limit signs as from today and the speed cameras will come on; the speed limit for Third Mainland Bridge is 80km per hour, so t
he speed cameras are there.

‘So, if you go beyond the speed limits, what it does is that it takes a picture of your car and your number plate; we have a data base, and we have our ways of sending your bills to you.

‘So I will advise that people comply,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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President Tinubu tasks ECOWAS Parliament on direct election of members


President Bola Tinubu has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to consider electing its members directly through universal suffrage, instead of doing so through national parliaments.

The President made this known at the inauguration of the 6th Legislature of the ECOWAS parliament on Thursday in Abuja.

He explained that doing so would give citizens of member states a say in who represented them.

He said: ‘The practice of directly electing public officers aligns with democratic principles that Nigeria upholds. This principle is also in line with the spirit of the ECOWAS Protocol on democracy and good governance.

‘We believe this will ensure that citizens will have a direct say in their representation and the legitimacy and credibility it will provide.

‘As a one-time legislator myself, I look forward to reviewing the proposal regarding this matter. We stand to support the direct elections into ECOWAS Parliament.’

The President assured members of the Sixth ECOWAS Parliament that
Nigeria, as host of the community, would continue to support the Parliament to achieve its objectives.

Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a goodwill message, called for collaboration among ECOWAS executive, judicial and legislative arms, stressing that it was critical for effective, responsive, and transparent governance.

He urged the new members of Parliament to ensure that their positions on key issues were harmonised with the decisions of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

Tuggar said Parliament was crucial in the face of various challenges confronting ECOWAS; hence, the balance between executive, judicial and legislative arms was critical to address sub-regional peace, stability, security, and unity.

He said: ‘It is, therefore, imperative that the Parliament continues to work in synergy with the ECOWAS Commission and other Institutions that serve as the executive and judicial arms of our organisation.

‘Collaboration between the Commission, Court and Parli
ament is essential to ensure the smooth implementation of policies and programmes that benefit our citizens.

‘I encourage you to maintain constructive dialogue with other bodies and to align your efforts with the broader objectives of ECOWAS.’

He explained that consistency in ECOWAS collective stance would strengthen its voice on the international stage and prevent any perception of disunity within the organisation.

Tuggar said the Council of Ministers looked forward to more robust engagement and collaboration with the Parliament to amplify ECOWAS values and increase its visibility through people-oriented programmes and projects.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Toure, in his speech, warned that ECOWAS was currently facing the threat of disintegration, stressing that the subregion’s challenges were numerous and diverse.

He emphasised that disintegration would aggravate the subregion’s security challenges, culminate in political isolation, job cuts, as well as affect the movement of ECOWAS citi
zens under its protocols.

‘ECOWAS is faced with the risk of integration following the threats by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger on January 29, 2024, of their intentions to quit the bloc.

‘Considering the perceived consequences of their decisions, ECOWAS opened a dialogue and initiated other immediate measures, which included representatives from these three countries to join the dialogue to resolve the issues.

‘The Commission, therefore, stands to work with the Parliament and all other stakeholders towards achieving success in line with the objectives of ECOWAS,’ Toure said.

President of the Nigerian Senate, Godswill Akpabio, in his remark, described the inauguration of the 6th ECOWAS Legislature as the dawn of a new era in West Africa.

He said that the event was an opportunity for ECOWAS ‘to build bridges of unity instead of building Berlin Walls of isolation.’

‘We should ensure free movement of goods and services within the Community and remove obstacles facing us,’ the Senate President said.

Also spe
aking, former Speaker of the 5th Parliament, Sidie Tunis, called for the election of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament by direct universal suffrage, saying that the Parliament under him had already initiated the move.

While noting that it was customary for each legislature to set its own agenda, he passionately appealed that, henceforth, election of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament by direct universal suffrage be made top priority by the 6th Legislature.

‘The 5th Legislature raised a lot of awareness about the matter, and I can only hope that the 6th Legislature will strengthen the fight for direct election, as it is a requirement for representative governance.

‘I am confident that with the quality of membership you have, faithfully serving the interest of the peoples of the Community, success will be achieved in these regards,’ Tunis said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, officially inaugurated
97 members into the 6th ECOWAS parliament.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria