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1. FG Will Publish Looters Names, Says Malami
The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Wednesday said the Federal Government would publish the names of treasury looters intermittently after it must have met some conditions.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had earlier on Wednesday gave a ruling compelling the Federal Government to “immediately release to Nigerians information about the names of high-ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered and the circumstances under which funds were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.”
Justice Hadiza Shagari gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed against the Federal Government by a human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project.
The Federal Government had last year, through the Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed that it had recovered cash sums of N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11,250, among others, between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.
The names of persons from whom the funds were recovered were, however, not made public.
SERAP had last year filed the suit, seeking a court order to compel the Federal Government to make the names public.
In a judgment on Wednesday, Justice Shagari, upheld the group’s argument that “by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the plaintiff with up-to-date information” as regards the names of the high-ranking public officials from whom the funds were recovered as well as “the circumstances under which the stolen public funds were returned.”
SERAP had, in its suit marked FHC/CS/964/2016, contended that by releasing the names of the looters, the Federal Government had nothing to lose.
While answering reporters’ questions at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Malami said the list would be published intermittently.
He said, “Let me place it on the record that we have Freedom of Information Act in place. And the government is fully aware of its responsibility.
“But we have to take into account and consideration, the fact that there are some factors that have to be considered as far as making these disclosures are concerned.
“There are matters that are sub judice in court. There are matters of reconciliation, compilations and other associated things.
“On the need and compliant basis, the Federal Government has been making public necessary statements.
“The disclosure will definitely be made, but it is contingent on reconciliation of associated considerations as they relate to sub judice principles; as they relate to concluding, reconciliation and confirmation of figures.
“So that has been done and the government will at the appropriate time make necessary disclosures perhaps intermittently against the background of the prevailing conditions relating to the pendency of certain things and associated things.”
2. Zambian President Declares State Of Emergency
Zambian President Edgar Lungu has invoked a state of emergency in the country after a series of apparent arson attacks, in a move likely to trigger fresh accusations of government authoritarianism.
Several fires, including one that burnt down the main market in the capital Lusaka on Tuesday, were described by Lungu as "premeditated acts which if left unchecked could have serious... consequences".
"My government has decided to invoke Article 31 (leading) to a state of public emergency," Lungu said in a nationally-televised address.
The state of emergency will be officially imposed after approval by parliament.
Zambia has enjoyed relative stability in recent years, but political tensions have been high this year after the arrest and continued detention of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Hichilema narrowly lost elections last year to Lungu, and has alleged that the result was rigged.
Hichilema was arrested in April on treason charges after his convoy allegedly refused to give way to the presidential motorcade.
He has since been moved to a maximum security prison and it is unclear when he will return to court.
Amnesty International has said Hichilema and five others arrested from his United Party for National
Development (UPND) are victims of a "cynical ploy to silence all political opposition in Zambia".
The fire in Lusaka on Tuesday immediately led to accusations of blame traded between Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) party and the UPND.
3. Police Service Commission Approves Redeployment Of Four Commissioners
The Police Service Commission (PSC) has approved the redeployment of four Commissioners of Police for effective and efficient policing.
The affected officers are: Johnson Kokumo, the Commissioner of Police, Armament, is now in charge of the Edo Command; David Akinremi, the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Force Secretary, is now in charge of the Taraba Command.
Others are: Garba Umar, redeployed from Bayelsa Command to Anambra Command and Lawan Ado, Commissioner of Police, General Investigation, FCIID, is now to head the Kwara Command.
The Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission, Mr Ikechukwu Ani, made this disclosure in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja
4. Magu Will Be EFCC Chairman As Long As Buhari And I Remain In Office – Osinbajo
The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has said that as long as he remains the Acting President and President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate as president subsists, Ibrahim Magu will continue in office as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He made the declaration in Kaduna at the commissioning of the Zonal office of the EFCC. According to Professor Osinbajo, “he will remain the EFCC chairman as long as I remain the Acting President and as well as Muhammadu Buhari remains the President”.
5. Some highly-placed personalities are behind Badoo cult
National Leader of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, Gani Adams, has alleged that some highly placed personalities are involved in the notorious cult group, Badoo, that have carried out series of attacks in the Ikorodu town. He made the allegation in a recent interview.
"For about two and half years, our coordinators in Ijede have been giving us a lot of information about Badoo. We realized that some highly-placed personalities were involved.
They use vacancy adverts, among others, to lure would-be Badoo members and they put up some telephone numbers. When you call the numbers, they will call you to come to their office and they will give you money for empowerment, like N250,000.
From what we have gathered, they normally buy the (bloodstained) handkerchiefs for N500,000, N1m or N1.5m.
A common man cannot afford that money. It is being organised by some prominent people. The Lagos State Government plays partisan politics with the lives and property of people whereas the first duty of government, whether federal, state or local, is to make sure the lives of the citizenry are protected”he said
In an interview with TVC yesterday, Adams refuted claims that some monarchs were behind the secret cult group. According to him, he can agree with allegations that some chiefs and groups are members of the cult but he would never agree that a monarch is involved in the cults activities.