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Council Of State Endorses Pardon For Ambrose Alli, 44 Others

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National Council of State Thursday ratified the pardon granted to a former governor of the defunct Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli, and three other citizens convicted for attempted coups.

The council also approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s prerogative of mercy to pardon 39 prison inmates.

Ali, who governed the old Bendel State, now split into Edo and Delta states, from 1979-1983 in the Second Republic, was convicted during the military rule of Buhari in 1984 for alleged misapplication of over N983,000 in funds for a road project.

Although the late professor returned the money, the military tribunal, which tried him for the offence, nonetheless sentenced him to 100 years in prison. He later became blind before his eventual death.

Aside Alli, the council also approved presidential pardon for 44 others, including two military officers said to have been convicted for attempted coup during the military regime of former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), and a civilian.

The three men are: Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju, and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Briefing reporters after the virtual meeting, presided over by the president, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the ratification of the presidential pardon followed the presentation of a memorandum from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to the council.

According to him, in accordance with the constitutional requirement, which empowers the president to exercise prerogative of mercy to pardon prisoners, the council ratified presidential pardon for two inmates and clemency for 39 others, bringing the total beneficiaries of the president’s prerogative of mercy to 45, including Alli and the three alleged coup plotters.

He said the prerogative of mercy granted inmates was part of the efforts to decongest correctional centres to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convict for presidential pardon.

“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr. President, with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the decongestion of our correctional centres across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on decongestion of our correctional centres and at the end of the day we have succeeded in taking out over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centers across the country.

“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centres.

“As you are aware, more than 70 per cent inmates in our correctional centres were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centres are decongested, the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President.”

Malami added that the council approved the appointments of two lawyers as members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission in line with the power conferred on the president to appoint members of the commission, subject to consultation with the Council of State.

“The exercise this morning relating to the presentation of the council memo was for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional righteousness relating to the appointment of the two new legal practitioners, in essence it is to consult with the Council of State out of desire for compliance with constitutional requirements.

“The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the Federal Judicial Service Commission are: Namoso Ekanem (SAN), from Akwa Ibom State, representing the South-south geo-political zone; and Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (SAN) from Niger State to represent the North-central geo-political zone,” he added.

In his own briefing, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who also participated in the meeting, said apart from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, all former Nigerian leaders participated in the meeting.

Mustapha said the council commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for its job in combating the pandemic and noted the impact of the pandemic on the economy and how it has exposed the weaknesses of the health system.

He said the council appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols until vaccines would be available to treat the disease.
According to him, the meeting also approved the nominations of members of the National Population Commission (NPC).

He listed members of the commission whose nominations were approved as Muhammed Chuso A. Dottijo (Sokoto); Alhaji Razaq Gidado (Kwara); Ibrahim Mohammed (Bauchi); Joseph Kwai Shazin (FCT); Mr. Bala Almu Banya (Katsina); and Mrs. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin (Lagos).

On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Mungonu (rtd.), said he briefed the council on the security challenges facing the country, adding that the council approved the establishment of National Centre for Control of Small and Light Weapons to be domiciled in NSA’s office.

However, while Obasanjo was absent from the meeting, only former President Goodluck Jonathan, among the former leaders, was physically present with the president in the State House.

Other former leaders who attended the meeting virtually were: General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

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Agric Minister Shield’s Factional AFAN Leader From Police Invitation

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The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Friday, 17th June, 2021 at the ICC (International Conference Centre), in Abuja prevented policemen on duty from taking factional leader of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Farouk Rabiu for questioning on fraud related matters.


According to reliable sources and eye witnesses at the scene which was the venue of the 2021, Council on Agriculture, the police were there to invite Farouk to Force headquarters following a petition against him for acts that bordered on criminality.


Recently a federal high court sitting in Abuja had cautioned the renegade group led by Farouk through their lawyer, on Wednesday,15/2/2021, against parading themselves as leaders of AFAN until the matter is determined in court.


Farouk had been accused of defrauding investors using the name of AFAN Kano branch which he illegally registered, a matter which had been brought before the Corporate Affairs Commission, who revoked the registration.


However, Farouk has been continuously recognised as the leader of AFAN, by the Minister who hails from the same state with him despite several petitions from the Arc Kabir Ibrahim led executive.


The minister’s actions in siding with Farouk despite a case in court to resolve the leadership tussle of AFAN, has been allegedly linked to the minister’s shameful removal as chairman of AFAN Kano, long before he became appointed minister.


Witnesses at the scene stated that the minister after frantic efforts to get the Inspector General on phone to call off his men failed, resorted to giving an unhindered exit to Farouk in his official car, tantamount to obstruction of justice, much to the chagrin of the police officers.


A reliable source further disclosed that the policemen declined to follow the minister to his office.

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Three Soldiers Injured as Troops Kill ISWAP Terrorists in Borno

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Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.

The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.

They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.

“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.

“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.

Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.

Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.

To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.

He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.

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Onion Marketers Threaten to Stop Supply to Southern Nigeria

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The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria has threatened to stop the supply of onions down to the South from June 7, 2021.

The group said it would carry out the threat if the government fails to compensate its members who have suffered losses in recent times following attacks in some parts of the country.

President of the association, Aliyu Umar, made this known to journalists at a press briefing on Sunday in Sokoto State.

He explained that the government under a committee led by the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had promised to compensate their members, many of whom suffered huge losses in Abia, Imo and Oyo States during the #EndSARS and Shasha market crisis.

However, according to him, the promise has not been kept and the members have reportedly lost over 4 billion naira.

“We are calling on the state and Federal Government to restore law and order in the state, and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar said.

“We also call on state governments to collaborate with fed govt to set up a committee to investigate the incident that led to the loss of lives and property of the Onion Association members.

“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onion to the entire south by Monday the 7th of June 2021”.

In recent times, the price of Onions skyrocketed from just about ₦20,000 to nearly a hundred thousand, in less than a year – a situation which quickly gave it the reputation of ‘new gold’.

While the price hike could not be understood by many, some traders have attributed the increment to seasonal fluctuations, a general increase in prices of fertilizers among other items, strike actions as well as insecurity arising from the #EndSARS protests.

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