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Sagay: Bank chiefs aiding corruption should face trial

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The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) will push for the prosecution of bank chiefs who connive with looters to hide stolen funds, its chairman, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), said yesterday.

According to him, the “monstrous epidemic of high profile corruption” could not have afflicted Nigeria without bankers’ collusion.

They must not get away with it, Sagay said.

“In my own little way, we are going to push for the prosecution of such bank chiefs. They must be prosecuted,” he said.

Sagay said the legislature, senior lawyers, especially Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), and some “hostile and powerful judges” work against efforts to rid the country of corruption.

“There is a gang-up of the of the powerful political, business and banking elite that is determined to frustrate the anti-corruption struggle,” he said.

The PACAC chairman delivered a public lecture in Lagos on the topic: The many afflictions of anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria. It was organised by the Nigerian Society of International Law.

Sagay said the National Assembly was made up of self-serving lawmakers who allocated N125billion to themselves alone this year.

He said while the United States President earns $400,000 per annum, a Nigerian senator earns over $1.7million.

Sagay said apart from a basic salary of N2.4million per month, they earned allowances, such as hardship (50 per cent of basic salary), newspaper allowance (50 per cent), wardrobe allowance (25 per cent), entertainment (30 per cent), recess (10 per cent) and leave (10 per cent), among others.

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The total allowances, he said, amounts to N29.5million per month and N3.2billion per annum.

“Perhaps the most notorious example of the legislators’ resistance to the war against corruption is the rejection of the right of the executive to choose the persons who will spearhead that struggle.

“The clear impression is created that Nigerian legislators are in office for themselves and not for the populace.

“Not surprisingly, the National Assembly has not passed a single bill for the promotion of anti-corruption war since it commenced business in July 2015. The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, the Proceeds of Crime Bill and the Special Criminal Court Bill remain in a virtual state of stagnation.

“What evidence do we need to establish the hostility of the eighth Assembly to the anti-corruption war?” Sagay querried.

The eminent professor of law described corruption in the judiciary “a national tragedy that should be avoided at all cost”.

He said no one would have remotely imagined as recently as 1999 that judges could indulge in the crime of selling their judgments to the highest bidder for hundreds of millions of dollars.

The National Judicial Council (NJC), he said, does not have a disciplinary capacity to deal with crimes of such gravity.

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“That is why, tragically, we are now experiencing judges being tried in courts like common criminals. That is why the anti-corruption and security agencies have taken it upon themselves to continue from where the NJC stopped.

“It is a painful but necessary sacrifice we must make in order to cleanse and sanitise the system and to breathe new life into it,” he said.

Sagay said SANs deserve “harsh punishment” for shamelessly approaching judges and introducing them to a “demeaning and shameful culture” of bribery and corruption.

“These SANs deserve the harshest punishment of all. Anti-graft agencies and the police must monitor and investigate the activities of lawyers who receive a share of the proceeds of crime as their fees,” he said.

Sagay said it was largely SANs, “stuffed full of money”, who designed every scheme imaginable to frustrate the trial of 15 former governors since 2007, out of whom only two were convicted.

According to Sagay, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has recorded several successes, including massive recovery of stolen assets, elimination of high profile looting and prosecution of high profile cases, including judges, which he said were previously ignored.

“The anti-corruption struggle is like a long distance race – a marathon. It cannot be concluded overnight. The opposition is extremely powerful, using state resources to fight back.

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“What we are going to see is a progressive dismantling of the corruption infrastructure. Convictions will occur now and again, but there will be frequent forfeitures of looted funds and other types of property. Remove stolen loot from the culprit and his life becomes miserable.

“In addition to loot recovery, high profile looting at the executive level has been eliminated. Nigeria was bleeding from numerous open wounds when this administration took over about two years ago. All the bleeding has been staunched.

“What is now needed is the positive support of the citizens of this country in this titanic struggle,” Sagay said.

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Oyo: Makinde Mother’s Burial Holds December

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Body of Chief   (Mrs.) Abigail Makinde, the mother of Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde will be interred  in the first week of December.

Governor Makinde disclosed this yesterday while playing host to a delegation from the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi Ogunlade Odundun II, which was in Ibadan, the state capital to commiserate with him on the death of his mother.

The governor said he was very delighted with the visit, urging Akure people, the kingdom where his mother was born, to actively participate in her funeral.

Makinde, who  described them as one of the most upright, bold  and honest  people in Yoruba land and the nation at large, also added that his late mother was a role model whose dedication to work, uprightness, boldness and honesty were the traits of Akure people.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde,  quoted the governor as saying “when you see an average Akure man or woman, you see courage and see people who are true to their words.”

While delivering the condolence message from the Deji of Akure, the leader of the delegation, who is the Asae of Akure Kingdom, Senior High Chief Sola Adegbonmire, described the governor’s mother as a worthy daughter of Akure Kingdom.

He stressed that the Omoregie family, where Madam Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde hailed from, is a family of exceptional and wonderful people in Akureland.

Oba Aladetoyinbo further described the death of Madam Makinde as a painful loss not only to the Makinde family but also to the entire Akure Kingdom.

He then prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

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‘My mother was an epitome of love, humility’ – Gov. Makinde mourns

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The Oyo  state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has described his late mother, Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde, as an epitome of love and humility, despite being a disciplinarian.

The governor stated this on Friday while receiving the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Sencondus, on a condolence visit to his house at Ikolaba GRA, Ibadan.

According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the governor expressed gratitude to the PDP NWC, noting that the fact that the leadership of the party made it to Ibadan barely 24 hours after Mama’s demise showed the love they have for him.

The statement also noted that apart from the PDP NWC entourage, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo, and Delta States, Alhaji Daud Akinola, Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh AbdulGaniyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, the Grand Mufti of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul Fatai Alaga, and other Muslim leaders also paid condolence visits to the governor.

Similarly, the Oyo State Judiciary led by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Muntar Abimbola, and the General Officer Commanding, 2 Div, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major General Anthony Omozoje, were also at the Makinde residence to condole with the governor.

Speaking while receiving the PDP entourage, which included the National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd); Deputy National Secretary; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi MaiBasira; National Woman Leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri; National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, as well a leader of the PDP from Osun State, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, Governor Makinde said the family remains grateful to God for the life Mama lived.

He said: “I want to thank you most sincerely for this condolence visit. I want to say, on behalf of myself, my wife, immediate family, and extended family, we are very grateful and appreciative of this visit. This happened yesterday morning and you are here this morning. It shows that you truly love me. So, I want to say thank you.

“Actually, we were preparing for my mummy’s 81st birthday, which would have been on the November 7, exactly three weeks from yesterday. But who are we to question God?

“We are grateful to God for the life she lived. To us, she was an epitome of love, humility. She was tough. If you see that trait in some of us, it came from her. And we also thank God that it was not like we were carrying her from one hospital to the other. She died peacefully in her sleep. So, we thank God for what He has done.”

Governor Makinde, who also took the opportunity to appreciate the PDP NWC for the confidence it had in him to lead the Ondo State governorship campaign, said what the outcome of the election meant was that the party would have to go back to the drawing board, adding that the campaign council will submit a report as soon as practicable.

“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the National Working Committee of our great party for the opportunity you gave to us to lead the campaign in Ondo State. We can’t question God for the outcome of that election. What it means is that we have to go back to the drawing board. We will be submitting a report of those areas where we fell short, to the NWC as soon as practicable.

“I really want to use this opportunity to thank all of you who were there in Akure for the love of our party and for the support that you gave to our candidate in Ondo State.

“Once again, my Chairman, I am appreciative of this visit and I thank you and all the members of the NWC of our party.”

Earlier, the PDP national chairman said that the visit was to condole with the governor and the family for the loss of their mother.

He said: “A time like this is the time you know those who care and those who are with you. Unfortunately, we have two situations on our hands. We lost the chairman of the party in Zamfara. Obviously, we divided ourselves; the Deputy National Chairman of the party left for Zamfara yesterday morning for the burial of our late chairman of the party. And I and the rest of us in the National Working Committee leadership decided yesterday to come to Ibadan today.

“We are here by the grace of God to console you and the rest of the members of your family. We have no other way to do it than to join you in prayers.

“It is a very painful experience that you have to go through, sometimes alone. I know what it is because I have experienced it. It is only God that can fill the vacuum in your heart because the care of a mother is quite different from that of a father.

“So, on behalf of the leadership of our party, we are here to console you on this condolence visit. The Lord will strengthen you. And because you are one of our best and doing good works for the people of Oyo State and at this time that you are giving out your best, suddenly, God who gives has taken your beloved mother.

“We are here to share the pain and sorrow with you and to let you know we will continue in prayers during this period, even as we prepare for the funeral. After the funeral, we will continue to pray for you, your immediate and larger family. It is important for us to do so, having worked with you and having seen you as a man who is compassionate and cares for others.

“Today, we are here with you and we pray that God will energise you at this period and stretch His right hand of righteousness to touch every one of the members of the family to bear this great loss.

“Therefore, as members of the National Working Committee, we pray that God will keep you now and thereafter to make you continue to do the good work for the people of Oyo State

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Nigeria: Group drums support for #ENDSARS

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Benchmark Group of Nigeria on Friday declared its support for the ongoing peaceful #EndSARS protests, as Nigerians  speak up against police brutality.

Akanbi Bukola, founder of the group in a chat with Mega Icon Magazine said it is imperative to identify with Nigerians as protests continue around the country to end police brutality and the abuse of power by the institution established to protect its citizenry.

She noted that aside corruption and oppression from the hands of some elements of the Nigeria Police Force, “this time around, Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic or political biases,  must come together to eradicate police brutality once and for all in the society”.

According to her, for many Nigerians, the police has failed to fulfill its mandate of providing public security as enshrined in the constitution, adding that officers are now viewed more as predators than protectors.

Akanbi lamented further that Nigerians struggling to make ends meet are accosted on a daily basis by these officers who demand bribes and commit abuses against them as a means of extorting money.

“Those who fail to pay are usually threatened with arrest and physical harm, by those expected to protect them”, she said.

Akanbi, however called for the overall reform of the country’s police force.

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