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Ex-Pension boss, Maina, released from prison

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The former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who is being prosecuted on money laundering charges, has been released from the Kuje prison in Abuja.

Maina, who was arraigned before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Oct. 25, 2019, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his son, Faisal, and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd., had been in detention since the period.

However, Maina’s Lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, in a telephone interview on Tuesday, said the ex-PRTT boss was finally released on Monday evening after completing the necessary documents for his freedom.

Adedipe, who is from the chamber of Lawyer Ahmed Raji, SAN, said though Maina should have been released July 24, it was delayed till this week due to administrative procedures.

“It was already late last week Friday so they now have a new timeline shifted at 6 O’Clock.
“We went there and everything was done,” he said.

On why Maina had been kept in detention after Justice Abang further varied his bail conditions on June 29, the lawyer said: “It was also administrative. There were lapses here and there; the transmission of processes from one department of government to another.”

He, however, said the development had nothing to do with an act of vindictiveness on the part of the government officials.

Adedipe, who expressed happiness over the release, said the action would not only afford his client to have adequate medical attention but would also afford him the

“We can only thank God and this is good for us because we will now have time to prepare for his defense; we will now have goof conferencing on the matter.

“We will have a better perspective of what the case is all about. And this will also allow him to treat himself you know he has been very ill in order to stand the trial,” he said.

Another counsel to Maina, Afam Osigwe, also confirmed that his client had been released from the correctional center.

“Yes, Maina came out yesterday (Monday). We have met all the bail conditions but they did not release him until yesterday,” he said.

Osigwe said he was happy Maina had been released on bail and that the development would allow him to attend to his health challenge and continue his trial.

NAN reports that the ex-Pension Reform boss, through his lawyer, Joe Gadzama, SAN, had, on June 23, informed the court that Sen. Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, had decided to stand as surety for him.

Ndume, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, had, in a statement on June 24, had also admitted standing as surety for Maina.

He revealed that it took him six months of painful consideration to agree to be a surety for the ex-Pension boss and that it was part of the cross he had to carry as Maina’s elected senator.

According to the lawmaker, it was a hard decision I had to make because I have a duty to represent the good, the bad, and the ugly of Borno South.

Justice Abang had, on Jan. 28, varied Miana’s bail conditions, following his inability to meet the bail terms granted him on Nov. 26, 2019.

Abang reduced Maina’s bail condition from N1 billion to N500 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a serving senator as opposed to the earlier order of producing two serving senators.

The judge ruled that the surety, who should not have a criminal case pending in any court, must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse II, Katampe, or Central Business Districts of Abuja, with Certificate of Occupancy attached as evidence.

Abang also ruled that the senator thought would always come to the court at every adjourned date, the lawmaker only needed to come and sign a court register that would be opened at the registry, among other terms.

However, Maina had been unable to get a senator as surety for his release until Ndume decided to do so.

Justice Abang, who had, on June 29, considered the arguments of parties, said it was within the court’s jurisdiction to either grant bail by vacating the existing conditions or grant new conditions.

Although Maina is charged with 12-counts bordering on money laundering, he had, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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NIGERIA

Ijaw nation vows to resist national water resources bill

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Following its earlier condemnation by different groups and individuals, the Ijaw Nations Development Group (INDG) has condemned the reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill in the National Assembly, vowing to resist it vehemently.

The INDG described the bill as not only provocative but also a complete distortion of Nigeria’s federalism, insisting that reintroduction of the bill was the height of insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

Ijaw stakeholders, who stated this yesterday during a virtual meeting attended by over 100 participants, lamented that the Federal Government sent the bill to the National Assembly without engaging the states and peoples that are the direct stakeholders but only acknowledged them as footnotes.

The Keynote Speaker at the meeting, Anthony George-Ikoli (SAN), described the bill as a deleterious agenda.

“Taking a critical look at the National Water Resources Bill 2020, currently in the legislature and our national consciousness, I am compelled to align myself with more speakers, who in recent times, have come to the conclusion that such a bill can only be the product of an undisclosed, deleterious agenda,” he said.

He explained that true federalism usually serves to recognize the rights of the constituent units to ownership and protection of the same, noting that by its vesting sections, the bill represented an egregious distortion of federalism.

“The Federal Government has not only deprived the states of the minerals and mineral oil in the land within their territories, but it is also now plotting to take the only resource left for the states to administer for the benefit of their people through the National Water Resources Bill,” he added.

He said the time was past when the Ijaw nation would sit aloof and watch, but it was time to set an agenda for its legislators at all levels.

Another speaker and Niger Delta activist, Ann Kio-Briggs, said it was disheartening that the Federal Government was tampering with the rights of Ijaw people and the Niger Delta region.

“Water represents life and belongs to my people, we live on and by the water. For the first time, the Ijaw have to wake up because they have taken our land, oil, and air through pollution and now, they want to take our water. It is our responsibility to protect our rights,” she stated.

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NIGERIA

Finally, APC concedes defeat, admits Edo poll free, fair

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The governing All Progressives Congress on Monday conceded defeat 24 hours after Governor Godwin Obaseki, of the Peoples Democratic Party, was declared the winner of the Edo Governorship Election.

Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Mai Mala Buni, in a statement titled, “Edo State Governorship Election: Victory for Democracy,” which he signed, congratulated Obaseki over his victory.

Buni said,  “Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party.

“We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians. The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent a victory for Nigeria’s democracy

“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority.

“ We commend INEC, our security agencies, and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election. As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved. “

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NIGERIA

Government has no business running refineries — Osinbajo

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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the problems associated with Nigeria’s refineries will persist if the Federal Government continues to own and run them.

He noted that experience has shown that refineries were better managed by the private sector hence the need for the government to restrict itself to providing the regulatory framework for such businesses to thrive.

Osinbajo said this at a virtual meeting organized for the All Progressives Congress bloggers and social media influencers at the APC National Secretariat, in Abuja, Monday.

According to him, it was time for the nation to do more to develop its gas and renewable energy resources which are cheaper and cleaner.

He said, “If the refinery is left in the hands of the government, it will continue to experience the same problem it is experiencing now. I do not think that it is the business of the government to run the refinery. It should be the business of the private sector, which is why we are trying to focus on assisting the private sector to develop modular refineries.”

Speaking further Osinbajo said, “There is a 100,000-barrel capacity refinery about to come on stream and we hope it will by the next year. It is completely private and closely located near the Port Harcourt refinery so that it can share the facilities of the Port Harcourt refinery. We are hopeful it will come on stream in the first quarter of next year.

“There are also six modular refineries that are almost ready. There is a Niger Delta Petroleum refinery in Delta state, there is another one in Imo, there is also another modular refinery in Edo State.

“We engaged the oil-producing communities to find a new vision for the Niger Delta and we tried to encourage modular refinery that will give the people in the oil-producing states a stake so that the modular refinery is not just private but the people there have some stake and equity.

“The whole idea is to support as many private refineries as possible. We are also waiting for the Dangote Refinery with 250,000 barrels capacity which is bigger than all of the government refineries put together.

“In the next two or three months, we will see the private sector playing a bigger role and things will quickly improve. We hope that this particular effort will complete the refurbishment of the refineries which will be completed soon but I am more hopeful of the private effort been the key to the future.”

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