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EFCC removes Benedict Peters’ name from wanted persons list

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has conformed with the order of Nigeria’s High Court, directing the removal of the name of the Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters, from its list of wanted persons.

Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters This action confirms EFCC’s compliance with the judgment handed down in March 2018, by Justice O.A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. Justice Musa had ordered that Peters’ name be taken down from the anti-graft agency’s website, describing the process leading to his declaration as ‘wanted’ by EFCC as unconstitutional, since it was not initiated or validated by any known law or court order.

Reacting to this development, renowned Constitutional and Human Rights Lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said: “We wish to commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under the leadership of Ibrahim Magu, for living up to its commitment to uphold the rule of law and obey the order of a competent court to remove the name of the Mr. Benedict Peters, from its list of wanted individuals.

The EFCC has shown a deep regard for the sanctity of the nation’s legal system, and we can confirm that Peters’ name has been cleared. In view of this and based on the fact that the decision by EFCC is premised on a court order, Peters has been legally excluded from the list of wanted persons in Nigeria. He can therefore continue his lawful business and enjoy his constitutionally guaranteed rights.”

The EFCC in March 2017 declared Peters wanted on its website. However, in response to suit, FCT/HC/CV/23/2017, the court reached the incontrovertible conclusion that Peters has never been charged with, nor tried for any criminal offence in any court of law, nor has he ever jumped bail for any offence howsoever in Nigeria and cannot be declared wanted by administrative fiat without any prior order or leave of court.

In the proceedings challenging EFCC’s actions, Justice Musa declared that “…the very act of declaring the Applicant (Benedict Peters) a WANTED PERSON on the official website of the 1st Respondent (EFCC) without any prior order or leave of a Court of competent jurisdiction to that effect is unlawful, illegal, wrongful, ultra vires, unconstitutional and constitutes a flagrant violation of the Fundamental rights of the Applicant to personal liberty, private and family life, freedom of movement and Right to not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and degrading treatment as guaranteed under Section 34, 37, 41 and 46 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) and Articles 2, 3(1) & (2), 4, 5, 6, 7, and 12(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004”.

Benedict Peters has recorded successful outcomes in three other cases, including one overturning the forfeiture of his properties which were wrongfully included in a list of properties belonging allegedly belonging to a former minister forfeited by court orders.

-VANGUARD

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Nigerian government slashes foreign travels, estacodes for officials

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reduction of overseas tours by ministers, permanent secretaries and chief executives of government agencies to eight per year, and must be strictly for official purposes.

In a new guideline on fiscal prudence issued today by the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, President Buhari also ruled that estacodes, the dollar denominated allowances that officials draw, shall only be for the days of the event and not for the entire travel days. Hitherto, officials collected estacodes for the entire travel time, even when the real event may be for a day or two days.

The new presidential order also ordered government officials to submit their yearly travel plans within the first quarter of every year for approval.

Please read the full statement:

In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of Govt resources, President
Buhari has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.

Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings & engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation
for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation. They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.

On Nature & Frequency of Travels, all public funded travels (local & foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence. In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to Nigeria’s interest.

Except with the express approval of Mr. President; Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.

Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed 4 including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and 1 Aide of the Minister. Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of 3.

For Class of Air Travels, the President has approved that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments and Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals who are entitled, continue to fly Business Class while other categories of Public Officers are to travel on Economy Class.

Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.

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PSC asks Nigerians to disregard candidates’ list for police recruitment

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has advised the public to disregard a list of candidates scheduled for training and allegedly released by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for recruitment into the Constable cadre.

A statement in Abuja by the commission’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, said the release of the list by the police was an act of illegality and a breach of the Federal Character requirements.

The statement reads: “The Police Service Commission dissociates itself from a purported list of candidates scheduled for training and allegedly released by the NPF in respect of the recruitment exercise into the Constable cadre of the Force. The commission notes that the list released by the police is an act of illegality, and from close observation, was in serious breach of the Federal Character requirements.

“The commission urges the public to be wary of the list as it will soon resume the remaining stages of the recruitment process and release the authentic list of successful candidates, local government by local government.

“The commission is presently in court against the NPF over the hijack of its constitutional powers to recruit and had filed an originating summons and interlocutory injunction restraining the NPF from going ahead with the exercise.

“The processes filed since September 27, 2019, by Kanu G. Agabi, CON, SAN, were brought to the knowledge of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) the same day…”

“In the letter notifying the IGP of the pendency of the suit, Kanu Agabi had said: “We write to inform you of the pendency of the above mentioned suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja. By this notice, you are to stay further action in the subject matter of this suit, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

“It is unfortunate that despite the pendency of the court processes, the NPF went ahead to release a purported list of candidates it has invited for training.

“The commission wishes to state that the list is unknown to it as it believes it is a product of illegality. The hearing for the commission’s suit has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 23 at the Federal High Court 5, Abuja.”

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Cracks in Labour unions over minimum wage strike

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Joe Ajaero, ULC President: planned strike on minimum wage dead on arrival

There is a crack in the ranks of labour union leaders as the date for their planned strike over the Federal Government implementation of the minimum wage looms.

The president of United Labour Congress, ULC, Mr Joe Ajaero, said the group will not be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests are being championed.

It is the hardest knock, so far for the leaders of TUC and NLC who have been threatening a national strike over the minimum wage.

Ajaero made his view known in an interview with newsmen during the ongoing negotiations on minimum wage with the Federal Government representatives and organised labour on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the proposed strike by labour is dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests of those pushing the agenda.

“Unfortunately, this strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as it is seemingly; dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests of those pushing the agenda.

“ULC will not, therefore, be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests were being championed while the contrary may be the case.

“We will neither be part of this ruse nor partake in a complete jamboree that makes a mockery of the genuine struggle by Nigerian workers to begin to enjoy the new national minimum wage.

“Once again, we want to state that we will not be part of this attempt to whittle down the capacity of Nigerian workers and masses to earn the new minimum wage.

“It is a planned sabotage of our collective will and desire to see a new minimum wage and we shall not be part of it,” Ajaero said.

Meanwhile, the meeting between the organised labour and representatives of the Federal Government has been moved till Wednesday, Oct. 16, to allow for sorting out of all grey areas of contention, with both groups shifting grounds.

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