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Ekiti APC crisis: Ojudu, Tinubu’s in-law, 10 others risk suspension

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The Ekiti State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, set up an eight-man disciplinary committee to probe the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and 11 others over alleged insubordination and anti-party activities. The committee is headed by former Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Mr. Sola Ajigbolamu, who invited Ojudu and others to answer questions on why they allegedly refused to withdraw cases they instituted in court against the party.

The party expressed worry over the alleged recalcitrant posture of the aggrieved members despite the intervention of President Buhari and the National Executive Council (NEC). Others who were invited alongside Ojudu include Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s in-law, Mr. Oyetunde Ojo, Mr. Ayo Ajibade, Hon. Femi Adeleye, Bunmi Ogunleye, Akin Akomolafe, Bamigboye Adegoroye, Wole Oluyede, Olusoga Owoeye, Dele Afolabi, Toyin Oluwasola, and Ben Oguntuase.

While addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, a member of the party’s disciplinary committee and APC’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Sam Oluwalana, said the eight-man committee was set up to invite and query them over their hardline posture.

Oluwalana said the party’s NEC on July 25, 2020 directed all members to withdraw all pending cases in courts and urged that they explore internal mechanisms to resolve their differences, which he said forced the party to invoke article 21 of APC’s constitution by way of commencement of suspension procedure against them. According to him, the disciplinary committee has been given 10 days to complete its assignments and report to the National Working Committee for proper action.

“You will recall that on 25 July 2020, the National Executive Council, headed by President Buhari, passed a resolution directing members of the party to withdraw court actions to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the party,” he said.

The caretaker committee finds it worrisome that despite the directive of NEC and the subsequent steps taken by the party to ensure compliance, there have been a number of court cases by party members seeking the dissolution of the Caretaker Committee/State Congresses in complete disregard of the directive of NEC.

“The leadership of the party has decided to invoke the provisions of Article 21 of the party constitution against members of the party, who have flouted the directive.”

Oluwalana said the composition of the disciplinary committee was in consonance with the directive given by the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee that each chapter must set up a committee to try alleged erring members.

“Let me clarify here: this is not a suspension but an invitation. We are not here to witch-hunt anybody; all those involved will be given fair hearing. But we are worried that many of our party members have not withdrawn those cases and there must be discipline among our ranks.”

Oluwalana said that APC in Ekiti State merely acted on the letter written by the caretaker committee directing the State Working committee (SWC) to set up disciplinary committee.

The letter read in part, “All state executive committees must set up a disciplinary committee to commence and complete the process of suspension of the above-mentioned members.

“You are expected to forward to the national secretariat all records of the disciplinary proceedings against them, for disobeying the directive of the NEC of July 25, 2020 for ratification”.

However, reacting to the development in a telephone chat, Ojudu described the action as laughable and against the constitution of the party.

“It is laughable and also against the constitution of the party, because the state working committee lacks the power to suspend any member. It is only the ward that can do that. They are setting out on the path of perdition and I wish them good luck.”

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NIGERIA

Edo guber: Don’t compromise standard, INEC warns staff

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has read the riot act to the Commission’s regular and Adhoc staff participating in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, warning them not to compromise standard.

In the message he sent to them ahead of the crucial poll, the INEC boss reminded them that the eyes of both Nigerians and the international community are on the Commission to conduct a free, fair, and credible poll.

He further challenged them to ensure that no party or candidate is accorded any undue advantage over the other, promising that the management will continue to improve their welfare and conditions of service within available resources.

While charging them to be neutral and stick strictly to the Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality, he said: “As we begin the final countdown to the Edo governorship election, it is clear that all eyes are on INEC to deliver a free, fair and credible process.”

According to him, “I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again. The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate.

“The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources. Let me appeal to all of you to remain steadfast and committed to the ideals of the Commission Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us.

“They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties. We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other.

“We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed. For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust.”

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NIGERIA

Nigeria records 221 new cases of COVID-19, total now 56,956

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According to a tweet from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, 48,305 patients have now been discharged, with 1,094 patients losing their lives to Coronavirus.

The tweet revealed that Lagos State had the highest number of infections on Friday night with 59 cases, with Abia State following with 46 cases. The Federal Capital Territory was next, recording 22 cases

Other states recorded as follows:

Gombe-20 Plateau-17 Rivers-11 Bauchi-7 Benue-6 Ekiti-6 Imo-6 Kaduna-4 Kwara-4 Ondo-4 Ogun-3 Osun-3 Bayelsa-1 Edo-1 Kano-1

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NIGERIA

FBI uncovers fresh evidence against Hushpuppi

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The tide seems to be rising in the United States against suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpuppi, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) unveiled how he allegedly laundered unemployment benefits of Americans.

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and immediately flown to the US to face a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

The Nigerian pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance in Chicago in July.

He has since been transferred to California with October 13 set for his trial.

The FBI, in an affidavit filed on September 14, with the United States District Court, Central District of California, alleged that Hushpuppi using his email address, registered on a website whizzlog.com (“Whizzlog”) which is a marketplace for buying US Bank Logs to perpetrate fraud.

The FBI said it found in Abbas’ email address “registration contamination from Whizz Log.”

Also found therein were “numerous confirmations and receipts of bank logs he purchased.”

One of the messages cited by the agency read “Your order was successful. You have purchased (the “Financial Institution”) bank log with a balance of $9,839.44. Purchase Price: $955. The bank log details are in your account. Login to your Whizz Log account to view.”

He allegedly bought a “bank log with a balance of over S9,000 for as low as $900.”

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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