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UK court to hear final Assange appeal against extradition to US

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By Francesca Hangeior

The High Court in London Tuesday will begin hearing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s final UK appeal against extradition to the United States to face trial over publishing secret military and diplomatic files.

Washington wants the 52-year-old Australian citizen extradited after he was charged there multiple times between 2018 and 2020 in connection with WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of files relating to the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The long-running legal saga in Britain’s courts is now nearing a conclusion, after Assange lost successive rulings in recent years.

If this week’s two-day bid to appeal set to begin at 10:30 am (1030 GMT) Tuesday is successful, he will have another chance to argue his case in a London court, with a date set for a full hearing.

If he loses, Assange will have exhausted all UK appeals and will enter the extradition process, although his team have indicated they will appeal to European courts.

His wife Stella Assange has said he will ask the European Court of Human Rights to temporarily halt the extradition if needed, warning he would die if sent to the United States.

“Tomorrow and the day after will determine whether he lives or dies essentially, and he’s physically and mentally obviously in a very difficult place,” she told BBC radio on Monday.

US President Joe Biden has faced sustained pressure, both domestically and internationally, to drop the 18-count indictment Assange faces in federal court in Virginia, which was filed under his predecessor Donald Trump.

Major media organisations, press freedom advocates and the Australian parliament are among those decrying the prosecution under the 1917 Espionage Act, which has never been used before over publishing classified information.

But Washington has maintained the case, which alleges Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to conduct “one of the largest compromises of classified information” in US history.

Assange, detained in the high-security Belmarsh Prison in southeast London since April 2019, was arrested after spending seven years holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy.

He fled there to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced accusations of sexual assault which were later dropped.

The High Court had blocked his extradition, but then reversed the decision on appeal in 2021 after the United States vowed to not imprison him in its most extreme prison, “ADX Florence”.

It also pledged not to subject him to the harsh regime known as “Special Administrative Measures”.

In March 2022, the UK’s Supreme Court refused permission to appeal, arguing Assange failed to “raise an arguable point of law”.

Months later, ex-interior minister Priti Patel formally signed off on his extradition, but Assange is now seeking permission to review that decision and the 2021 appeal ruling.

If convicted in the United States, he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in jail.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, told reporters last week that caveats included within the US promises meant they were “not worth the paper they are written on”.

On the same day, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese denounced the years-long legal pursuit of Assange, saying “enough is enough”.

It followed the country’s parliament passing a motion calling for an end to his prosecution.

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Power Sector: FG To Establish 3 Gigawatts Of Solar Energy in 25 States – Minister

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Power Sector: FG To Establish 3 Gigawatts Of Solar Energy in 25 States – Minister
…say poor funding, insufficient gas supply responsible for power deficit
By Gloria Ikibah
Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, had said that the federal government is working towards the establishment of three gigawatts of solar energy sources across the 25 states in Northern and South Western parts of the country.
According to him, this is a novel approach that will go a long way to solve the power problems, even as he called on state governments to invest in power generation in their states.
The minister stated this at a two-day Power Sector Stakeholders Interactive Dialogue/Workshop organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Power with the theme “Confronting Nigeria’s Power Challenge as the Nation Migrates to a Multi-tier Electricity Market: A Legislative Intervention” on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adelabu who said that hydro energy would be deployed for the coastal cities, also lamented that the country has witnessed incessant collapse of transmission which is caused by lack of adequate infrastructure.
He admitted that most of the infrastructure in the power dates back to the 1960s, with no single backup for the national grid, and called for alternative sources in the situation where there is a collapse of the grid.
The Minister also disclosed that the major factors responsible for the power deficit currently faced by the country is as a result of inadequate financing and insufficient gas supply.
Adelabu who lamented the current state of power supply across the country, however, assured Nigerians of the determination of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to address the challenges and make Nigeria a suitable place for business.
He said “No sector can function optimally without the power sector. Over the years, poor financing, and inadequate gas supply have been responsible for the energy deficit we have in the country. But a lot of work is going on to address these challenges.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the
Chairman, House Committee on Power, Rep. Victor Nwokolo explained that the purpose of the interactive dialogue/workshop was to provide a dynamic platform for stakeholders to evaluate the progress so far in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) development.
He revealed that discussions will centre around the seamless transition to a Multi-Tier Electricity Market, as outlined in the Electricity Act of 2023.
According to him, “his transition, holds immense potential to enhance competition, efficiency, and reliability within the electricity market, ultimately benefitting consumers and driving economic growth”.
He said: “Through collaborative brainstorming and analysis, we aim to chart a clear roadmap for this transition, ensuring that it is smooth, inclusive, and conducive to sustainable development.
“Furthermore, this workshop will serve as a platform for stakeholders to explore innovative solutions to the persistent challenges plaguing the power sector. From infrastructure development and financing to regulatory frameworks and consumer engagement, we will examine a wide array of issues and propose actionable strategies for improvement.
“In addition to these objectives, we aspire for this workshop to foster enhanced collaboration and partnership among stakeholders. By bringing together legislators, representatives from government agencies, regulatory bodies, industry players, academia, and civil society, we aim to cultivate a culture of cooperation and collective action towards our shared goal of a vibrant and resilient power sector”.
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How Yahaya Bello withdrew $720,000 from Kogi account to pay child’s school fees -EFCC Chairman

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By Francesca Hangeior

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, transferred $720,000 from the government’s coffers to a bureau de change before leaving office to pay in advance for his child’s school fee.

Olukoyede revealed this during an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?”

Olukoyede further stated that he personally reached out to Bello, offering him a chance to clarify the situation in a respectful setting within the EFCC office but the ex-governor reportedly declined to cooperate, citing fears of harassment from an unnamed woman.

The EFCC boss added, “I didn’t initiate the case; I inherited the case file. I called for the file, and I said there are issues here.

“On my own, I called him, which I am not supposed to do, just to honour him as an immediate past governor. ‘Sir, there are issues. I’ve seen this case file. Can you just come let us clarify these issues?’

“He said, ‘Ha! Thank you, my brother. I know, but I can’t come. There’s one lady that has surrounded EFCC with over 100 people to come and embarrass me and intimitade me.’

Bello was said to have suggested that the EFCC come to his village rather than conduct an investigation at the agency’s quarters.

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Yahaya Bello Withdrew $720,000 From Kogi Account To Pay Child’s School Fees -EFCC Chairman

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, has revealed that a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, transferred $720,000 from the government’s coffers to a bureau de change before leaving office to pay in advance for his child’s school fee.

Olukoyede revealed this during an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said, “A sitting governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from government to bureau de change, used it to pay the child’s school fee in advance, $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the Government House.

“In a poor state like Kogi, and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise of ‘I’m being used.’ Being used by who at this stage of my life?”

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