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Investor threatens Makinde with court action over alleged N67b fraud, issues 7-day ultimatum

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An indigenous firm, ENL Consortium Limited, has threatened Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde with a court action over an allegation that the investor jerked up a road project cost from N14 billion to N67billion.

The Abuja based investor also issued a seven-day ultimatum to Makinde to retract the alleged malicious allegations or be prepared for a court action.

The firm said the remarks of the governor that the road concession was jerked up from N14bn to N67bn and that N11bn was earmarked for bush clearing were attempts to damage its hard-earned reputation and scare financiers away from the project.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Chairman of ENL, Prince Clement Haastrup, said the governor’s claim that bush cutting alone was done for N11bn was a total falsehood.

He said he had been under pressure from families and friends to clear his name as he did not want to be derided as one of those that messed up the country.

He said, “This clearly exhibits the malicious intent in your press release. From our Bills of Quantifies, bush cutting is N750.58m. But as if playing politics with governance, you deliberately quoted N11bn as the cost of bush clearing, whereas it was clearly stated that the N11bn covered a combination of 10 items for Bush clearing and all earthworks for the entire 32km.’

The former Osun Deputy Governor said the firm competitively bid with two other Chinese firms for the contract before it was awarded the concession.

He added, “It is also pertinent to note that while we quoted N67b, two other Chinese construction firms quoted N70bn and N82.5bn.

“By his utterances he has dented my integrity and the business name of ENL Consortium Ltd and made the project a high political risk, which would amount to a default on government side if the financiers that were ready to fund the project choose to back out.

“It is therefore in the interest of Oyo state that you let us sit down together with mutual respect to clear the air on your misconceptions and also ensure that you send the right signal to our financiers.”

The ENL threatened to drag the state government to the Court of Arbitration in London if the contract was revoked.

“Finally, if you cross-check your records, and compare them with mine then you will concede that your press release was damaging, I demand a rebuttal and an open apology within seven days from your government,” he added.

“Should you refuse to tender public apology on your damaging and malicious statement against my person and the ENL LTD within seven days, will be left with no option than to seek redress in court to clear my image and that of the ENL”, Haastrup threatened.

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EFCC docks Sokoto Councillor, Director for alleged diversion of  N980,000 workers salaries

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Sokoto Zonal Office, Thursday arraigned Tukur Lando Yabo, Director Works, a councillor of Tureta Local Government Area; Hon. Abubakar Nasarawa Maigishiri for alleged conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and diversion of N980,000 meant for payment of workers salary.

Other alleged complices are Sambo Abdullahi, Cashier, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs; Danjuma Ibrahim, Cashier, Ministry of Social Welfare and Abubakar Salihu Tureta.

The suspects were made to appear before Justice Bello Duwale of the Sokoto State High Court.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said this in a statement to TIMELY POST in Abuja.

Uwujaren further explained, “Their troubles started when the Commission received a petition from one Umar Shehu, alleging that some employees of Sokoto Marshal Corps/ Neighborhood Watch of Tureta Local Government were not paid their salaries for April, May and June, respectively.

“He further alleged that the defendants refused to pay their salaries and diverted the money for their personal use”.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you Abubakar Salihu Tureta, Tukur Lando and Abubakar Nasarawa sometime in June, 2019 at Sokoto within the Judicial Division of the High Court of Justice, Sokoto State being entrusted with property, to wit One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only (N150,000.00k) belonging to Fifteen (15) Staff of Neighbourhood Watch Operatives in Tureta L.G.A, dishonestly converted the said property to your use and thereby committed Criminal Breach of Trust, an offence punishable under Section 301 of the Sokoto State Penal Code Law, 2019.”

But the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

It was on this basis that the prosecution counsel, Buhari Muhammad Balarabe asked the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.

However, counsel to the defendant, Anayo Illo told the court that he had filed a bail application for his clients at the court registry and, urged the court to give him a short date for bail hearing.

In his ruling, Justice Duwale adjourned the case to November 18, for bail hearing and December 5, for trial.

He further ordered that the defendants are to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the determination of their bail application.

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BREAKING: Bayelsa guber: Court sacks APC gov’ship candidate, Lyon

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A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday declared that the All Progressives Congress, APC, has no governorship candidate in the November 16 election in the State.

The court presided over by Justice Jane Inyang gave the ruling in a case filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, one of the APC governorship aspirants.

A former Minister of State for Agriculture, Lokpobiri, had approached the court, seeking a declaration, that he, and not David Lyon is the authentic candidate of the APC.

The court on Thursday pronounced that “the governorship primary conducted by the APC in Bayelsa state was not done in compliance with the guidelines and the constitution of the party, and, therefore, the party has no candidate.”

This was disclosed to journalists by Lokpobiri’s lawyer, Fitzgerald Olorogun, immediately after the court ruling.

The lawyer, who expressed shock at the court ruling, said the court declaration was not part of their prayers, adding that “It’s strange.”

Asked what was the next option for his client, Olorogun said “We’ll do the needful. But for now, the pronouncement of the court is that APC has no candidate.”

There was heavy police presence within and outside the court premises. The main highway way leading to the court was barricaded by the police. Visitors, including journalists, were frisked before they were allowed to enter the court building.

Lokpobiri, before now, has been urging the people of Bayelsa to vote for the APC in the November 16 election, despite his court case against Lyon and the party.

“I’m a very strong member of APC and I came today to formally tell our chairman and speak to Nigerians, in particular, the electorate in Bayelsa that all of them should vote for APC regardless of what happens in the court case in which judgment is slated for Nov. 14, 2019,” the former minister said in Abuja after a courtesy visit on the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

“I told my supporters even before I came here that no matter what happened, I will remain in APC having served as a minister under this administration.

“There is no way the outcome of the governorship primaries will make me leave APC. We are working and campaigning at different levels.

“I always advise that anybody that is grieved, the only place to go is the court.

“So, whatever happens in the matter that is pending in court will not be an infraction on any part of our party’s constitution,” he said.

TIMELY POST had earlier reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday disqualified Lyon’s running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from participating in the Saturday’s election on the grounds that he provided conflicting information on the documents he presented to INEC.

The case against Degi-Eremienyo was filed by the PDP.

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National dailies: 10 things to know this Friday morning

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Good Morning! Here is today’s TIMELY POST bulletin from Nigerian Newspapers

  1. Several persons were reported dead and many others injured in a clash that ensued between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogbolomabiri community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State during a governorship rally organised by the ruling party.

The attackers, it was also learnt, opened fire on the protocol bus of the Bayelsa State Government House along the junction between Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri communities.

2. The Executive Council of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has ratified the suspension of the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, from the party in the state.

The decision was reached at an enlarged meeting of the council and other party chieftains with the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, in Benin City, on Wednesday. At the meeting, the leaders said the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole became necessary because the national chairman has been deploying divisive tactics to cause disharmony in the party in collaboration with the proscribed group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM).

3. The Department of State Services (DSS) has explained why it is yet to release Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement.

The Service in a statement by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, reiterated its avowed readiness to release Sowore once the processes are concluded, adding that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of Sowore.

4. The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday affirmed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State. The Appeal was filed against the judgement of the tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019 at Uyo, which dismissed Mr Ekere’s petition for wanting in merit. Delivering judgement in the Appeal filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the re-election of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in the March 9, 2019 Gubernatorial Elections, the five-man panel gave her judgement on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.

5. The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9th 2019 gubernatorial election in Oyo State, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, has declared that he is approaching the Supreme Court in order to validate his victory at the poll.

Adelabu in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, alleged that some agents of darkness perfected the plan to steal his mandate, this according to him, necessitated his resolve to approach the judiciary to reclaim his mandate.

6. The Senate on Wednesday approved the refund of N10.069 billion to Kogi State government ahead of governorship election slated for Saturday.

The approval followed a report by the Senate Committee Chairman on Local debts and Foreign Loans, Senator Clifford Akhimienmona Ordia.

7. The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi on Wednesday affirmed the election of the Speaker of Benue State Assembly, Titus Uba, representing Kyan state constituency.

Justice E. J. Ekanem, in his lead panel judgment held that the appeal brought against the speaker by the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Gwaza Ujamatyu, lacked merit.

8. The House of Representatives has urged the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to extend the use of compulsory National Identification Number (NIN) in the conduct of examinations till 2021.

This followed a motion moved by Rep. Zainab Gimba (APC-Borno) under Matters of Urgent Public Importance at plenary presided over by the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday. The House said the extension would allow more time to better sensitise prospective candidates to the NIN.

9. An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced to death, three men who kidnapped a Lagos monarch and killed his palace guard.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced Duba Fureso, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh, who kidnapped the Oniba of Iba, Oba Oseni Goriola, murdered his 72-year-old palace guard, Mr Sunday Okanlawon, and attempted to murder the monarch’s wife, Bosede.

10. Nigeria began their quest to be at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with a narrow 2-1 win over Benin Republic on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles had to fight from a goal down, as the Squirrels opened scoring at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

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