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Assets declaration: Charges against me laughable, malicious – Ekweremadu

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday said his attention has been drawn to an attempt by the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Ofem Obono-Obla, to smear his name in midst of the current political activities.
Ekweremadu described the suit filed against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on behalf of the SPIP over his refusal to declare his assets to the panel, contrary to the Constitution, as laughable and malicious.
He said: “Let me re-affirm to Nigerians and my supporters that I have no assets declaration case to answer. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires public office holders to declare their assets every four years, a requirement which I fulfilled. The Panel requested and obtained copies of my Assets Declaration Form from the Code of Conduct Bureau where everything is stated in black and white.
“For emphasis, all my assets were fully and comprehensively declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“What is at issue here is that the SPIP had forwarded fresh assets declaration forms to me to fill contrary to the position of the 1999 Constitution, a demand I refused to oblige because it is clearly unconstitutional. It is this refusal to disobey the Constitution that I am now being charged for.
“I am aware that the Chairman of that Panel wrote the same letter to some serving Honourable Judges of the Federal High Court, who also declined to fill them.
“I am also aware that the affected Judges petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami, who immediately withdrew the provocative letters and fresh asset declaration forms with apologies.
“I am further aware that the Office of the AGF had also intervened in a similar case involving the Obla Panel at the Federal High Court, Lagos and I believe all these culminated in Obono-Obla’s suspension in November 2017 before his recall.
“It is, therefore, left to Nigerians to see the politics of the so-called charges in my case. The Office of the AGF should not allow itself to be used in filing malevolent and unconstitutional charges that destroy our democracy and make mockery of our judicial system.
“I expect the Attorney-General to channel his energy to prosecuting Obono-Obla Panel over his established case of forgery of his Senior School Certificate result instead of this politically-motivated prosecution and smear campaign.
“My position is that the Public Property Special Provisions Act, CAP R4 LFN, 2004, otherwise known as Decree No 3, 1984, which Obono-Obla has relied on to charge public officials to court had become obsolete and power to investigated non-asset declaration vested in the Code of Conduct Bureau by the 1999 Constitution. Only the Code of Conduct Bureau can receive asset declaration forms from public officers.
“It is obvious that this is part of the desperate and panic measures to cripple the opposition ahead of the 2019 general elections. Every opposition candidate and leader should, therefore, be ready for such smear campaigns and onslaughts, but rest assured, however, that they would ultimately triumph where their hands are clean.
“I insist that my hands are clean. Anybody, who knows any undeclared assets of mine, should feel free to avail the public of such information.
“Nigerians and the international community should, therefore, disregard this latest campaign of calumny and witch-hunt.”
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Buhari appoints new FIRS chairman

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Muhammad Nami to replace Babatunde Fowler as chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Fowler, whose tenure ended on Monday, was confirmed for a four-year tenure by the senate on December 9, 2015.

He is expected to hand over to the most senior director on the board until the senate confirms Nami as FIRS chairman and the new board.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Nami is a tax, accounting and management professional with three decades of practical working experience in auditing, tax management and advisory and management services.

“He is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new business start-ups and management of existing businesses. He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy,” the statement read.

Muhammad Nami attended Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology (1991) and a masters of business degree (2004) respectively.

He is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.

He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of a senior consultant in charge of tax management and advisory services.

He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (chartered tax practitioners and business advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger state.

Muhammad was appointed as a member of the presidential committee on audit of recovered stolen assets in November 2017.

The FIRS board is composed of a member representing each of the six geographical zones and statutory representatives from a select number of ministries and government agencies.

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Heads of Akiogun ruling house, community leaders, others pick Aremo Adesegun Oniru as next Oniru of Iruland

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There appears to have been a breakthrough in the search for the next Oniru of Iruland in Lagos State as the heads of Akiogun Ruling House, community leaders, elders and youths of Iruland have picked a former commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development in the state, Prince Aremo Adesegun Abiodun Oniru as the next Oniru of Iruland.
Heads of Akiogun Ruling House, community leaders (baales) of some settlements in Iruland including Baale of Ilabare, Chief Ahmed Basorun, Baales of Oko Kuku, Ipewun, Osolu, Alakoto, Mosafejo, Falomo, Abule Ode amongst others unanimously agreed that Prince Adesegun Oniru should be installed as the next Oniru of Iruland.
Others including women, youths and several residents of the area, who were present at the venue of the declaration lent their voices to the choice of Prince Adesegun Oniru, son of the late Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Oniru, who died in September, 2019, as the next Oba of Iruland.
This declaration was however, preceded by a traditional rite, where kolanuts were thrown on the floor for a sign of approval or rejection.
The traditional rite was declared positive in favour of Prince Adesegun Oniru as the kolanuts turned to the positive side, an indication that his tenure as Oba would be peaceful and favourable to the town.
Prince Adesegun Oniru, an engineer, and administrator was born on March 11, 1965.
He attended Kafy Cross School, Lagos, St. Berriaden Private School, Ibara, Abeokuta, Hall School, Sussex, England, and Stafford House Tutorial College, England.
Adesegun Oniru also attended Waltham Forest College, U.K in 1989 and University of Westminster, U.K in 1991.
Prince Oniru was the Managing Director of Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation between 2003 and 2005, and Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure to Lagos State Governor in 2005.
He served as the Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State and later Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development in the state between 2007 and 2011.
It will be recalled that there had been wars amongst the various ruling houses in Iruland shortly after the demise of Oba Abiodun Oniru.
Just last week, a ruling house in the area, Abisogun Family described a report in a section of the media that the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to ex-governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Mr. Hakeem Ajasa has been picked as the next Oniru of Iruland in Lagos State as fake news.
According to the family, the selection of Ajasa, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) as the next Oniru of Iruland, is kangaroo and it was not known to the entire family.
The family said in a public notice titled; “Fake News By A Section of Abisogun Ruling House” that the “public and all interested parties are put on notice of the kangaroo selection of a person unknown to the entire Oniru Family to rule over their land and fill the currently vacant Oniru Chieftaincy stool.”
The family, who described themselves as Cheated Members of Abisogun Ruling House, alleged in the notice that was released to the media on Friday that being a policeman, they had information from reliable sources that Akeem Ajasa had harassed, intimidated and threatened other members of his ruling house.
The family insisted that from time immemorial, no member of any royal family could impose himself on the community.
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Why Sowore was re-arrested – DSS

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has explained why it re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.

The secret police in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya and made available to The Witness on Saturday said Sowore was re-arrested because he “resorted to acts inimical to security”.

The statement further disclosed that its officers did not arrest the activist in court, claiming that the journalist’s supporters were only acting an “orchestrated drama”. The security agency said there were none of its officers involved in the incidents recorded in the courtroom.

 

Read the full statement below:

It has become important that the Department of State Services responds to the serial misinformation being circulated in the media about its involvement in the incident that occurred on 6th December, 2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja. It is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi FALANA (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele SOWORE immediately after the court session. The Court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.

However, when SOWORE stepped out of the court and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the courtroom. In a bid to shield him from an imaginary arrest, his uncontrollable supporters mobbed him while chanting “you can’t arrest him” thus the pandemonium that ensued.

A critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel during the entire period the Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama. Its personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident. In actual fact, it was his people who seized him. And from the latest developments, it has become obvious what the intent for such mischief was meant for – simply to serve a propagandist purpose as well as bring the Service to disrepute.

Eye witness and several media accounts have disclosed that the Court had adjourned peacefully without an untoward incident when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the Courtroom went into frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS was sighted at the court premises. The eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom. His lead counsel has affirmed this.

The DSS, as a professional, responsible and law abiding Organization, could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who is not only handling its case but whose Order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24 hour ultimatum. The Service holds the judiciary in utmost respect and will continue to work with it for national peace and public safety in Nigeria.

It has therefore become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the Courts. In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of SOWORE that “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care …” On 5th December when SOWORE was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.

It may be recalled that the Service had on 3rd December, 2019 raised alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out. To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.

For emphasis, it should be noted that SOWORE is facing trial not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities. It is most unfortunate that SOWORE, shortly after being released from custody, based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only SOWORE has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale BAKARE, was not picked up even when FALANA had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.

Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the International Community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them.

The Service is committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria. It supports democracy in the country and will do all that is legal to protect it. It will also ensure that efforts of anti-democratic forces are frustrated.

 

Peter Afunanya, Ph.D
Public Relations Officer,
Department of State Services,
National Headquarters,
Abuja
7th December, 2019

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