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THE NATION

Court discharges, acquits 100 Shi’ite members

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A Kaduna High Court has discharged and acquitted about 100 members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise called Shiites, according to a statement signed by the President of the movement’s media forum, Ibrahim Musa, and distributed to newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday.

While discharging and acquitting the IMN members, the court was quoted as saying, “This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.”

The Islamic movement recalled that “the Kaduna state government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 which led to the killing of over a thousand souls, including three sons of the Sheikh Zakzaky, his elder sister and a nephew.

“The attack was sequel to the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their residence and eventual destruction of the house completely. This has been aptly described by several human rights bodies as a massacre.

“To worsen these flagrant crimes against humanity, bodies of all the hundreds killed were hurriedly and secretly buried in mass graves about 100km away from the scene, apparently in a shoddy attempt at hiding the crime and its magnitude.”

The Shiites reiterated their call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, adding that, “We are all aware of the crude tactics of the Kaduna state government led by El-Rufai all in his devilish plots at perpetuating the persecution against the Islamic Movement and the continued detention incommunicado of Sheikh Zakzaky and his ailing wife.

“In spite of previous court judgements ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting his fundamental rights and rights to liberty. With this victory in the court today, the false charges filed against them of aiding and abetting the culpable homicide has been punctured for good.

“We await the response of the Kaduna state government as Sheikh Zakzaky’s case comes up in the next two days. We expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to withdraw the fake charges against him and release him with immediate effect.

“As a peaceful Movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government.

“Today, Kaduna state government has again failed in court after a fair trial. We therefore give praises to the Almighty for yet another successful outing, which further proves to the world that the Movement and its leader are only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the El-Rufai-led government,” read part of the statement.

The IMN however expressed gratitude to those who stood by it throughout the trial, saying, “We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.”

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THE NATION

Age Falsification: ICPC arraigns ex-border agency boss

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A former Acting Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mrs. Victoria Olutayo Odumosu, has been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for age falsification.

ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa in a statement on Thursday said Odumosu was arraigned before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama on a five-count charge bordering on conferring corrupt advantage upon herself as a public officer in order to keep herself in public service beyond the statutory retirement age.

Okoduwa said Odumosu was alleged to have changed her date of birth on the agency’s nominal roll from 6th July, 1956 to 6th July, 1960, when she was made the head of Human Resources Department of the agency, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

She added that this fact was unearthed by ICPC after it launched an investigation into allegations contained in a petition it had received against the accused person.

She added that Odumosu pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against her when they were read out to her, Counsel to the accused person, Sayo Odumosu, through a written application, sought the relief of the court to grant his client bail.

Justice Goodluck then adjourned the case to Friday 19th October, 2018 for bail hearing, while the suspect has been remanded in ICPC custody, the ICPC statement.

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THE NATION

Guild of Corporate Online Publishers holds second annual conference in Lagos

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The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has concluded arrangements for its second annual conference holding on Friday, October 19, 2019 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State.

A statement released in Lagos on Wednesday by GOCOP Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, confirmed that the theme of the conference is “Online Publishers’ Role Towards a Sustainable Economy, Credible Election and Security in Nigeria.”

Former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba (CON), has confirmed his presence as chairman of the event.

“Aremo Osoba’s choice as chairman is informed by his enviable profile as a journalist, elder statesman and peace advocate.

“He brings in a wealth of experience as former Managing Director of Daily Times Nigeria Limited, Governor of Ogun State and member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly, among others,” the statement said.

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Senior Team Manager for the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has also confirmed his presence as the guest speaker.

“Recognised globally as an authority in international law, international economic and human rights law, public policy and political economy, Prof Odinkalu’s presentation will provide a clear roadmap for the media and other critical stakeholders in the Nigerian projects,” the statement added.

Chairman, Centre of Excellence in Multimedia Technology, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye; and former Director, ICT Centre, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Leonard Shilgba, will be the discussants.

The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other stakeholder groups in the media will be represented at the conference.

GOCOP represents media organisations registered in Nigeria with promoters drawn from practitioners who have served at senior levels in the profession.

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THE NATION

Shekarau back in Court over N900m money laundering charges

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Thursday adjourned the case of alleged money laundering against former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Shekarau was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside former external affairs minister Aminu Wali and one Mansur Ahmad on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

When the case came up for hearing, the Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, who has just assumed duty at the Court, adjourned the trial till Nov. 19, 20, and 21, 2018.

The judge replaced Justice Zainab Bage who was transferred.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, had earlier told the court that the defendants, between March 26 and 27, 2015, conspired among themselves and received the said amount without going through financial institutions.

He said that the money was issued to the defendants by the Peoples Democratic Party and former petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Before the adjournment, the defense counsel, Mr Jibrin Okutekpa (SAN) prayed that the court to extend the bail granted to his clients by the former judge in line with Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The judge acceded to the request to extend the bail before adjourning to Nov. 19, 201 and 21 for continuation of the trial.

NAN recalls that Bage had granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum.

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