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ICPC desperate to nail me, says alleged randy UNICAL professor

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Cyril Ndifon, the suspended dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar, says ICPC is desperate to create or search for any conceivable crime to nail him.

Mr Ndifon told Justice James Omotosho of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in a no-case submission filed by his lawyer, Joe Agi, against the ICPC’s amended four-count charge preferred against him and his lawyer, Sunny Anyanwu.

The suspended dean told the court that contrary to the anti-corruption commission’s allegations, the evidence before the court showed that WhatsApp messages between the ICPC’s witness, a female diploma student identified as TKJ, and him were that of “emotional feelings between two lovers and did not in any way put either of the party under fear.”

He argued that there was incontrovertible evidence that he was arrested and investigated on an alleged offence, currently being prosecuted by ICPC, in 2015 when he later proved to the ICPC that he had been cleared of the allegations by the police.

Mr Ndifon was, on January 25, re-arraigned alongside Mr Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Mr Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on January 22 by the ICPC on the allegation that he called TKJ, the star witness, on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Mr Ndifon to threatened her.

On February 14, ICPC closed its case after calling four witnesses.

ICPC’s counsel, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, had earlier informed the court that the anti-corruption agency had about seven witnesses, with plans to amend the charge to increase the witness number in proving their case against the defendants.

But on the last adjourned date, the commission announced the closure of its case, and the defendants told the court of their plan to opt for a no-case submission.

The duo, through their lawyer, said there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution on which the court could convict them.

Meanwhile, in the no-case submission dated and filed February 19 on behalf of Messrs Ndifon and Anyanwu, Mr Agi argued that the “unwholesome and illegal intrusion” into the professor’s phone by the ICPC had put before the whole world what TKJ and Mr Ndifon intended to make a personal and private communication.

He said the act had injured and negatively impacted their (TKJ and Mr Ndifon’s) characters and persons.

“The commission, who at this time was desperate to create, search for any conceivable crime, seized the telephone of the first defendant (Mr Ndifon), who was under their custody and without obtaining an order of the court as required by Section 45 of the Cybercrime Act,” he said.

The lawyer further argued that the ICPC action also breached Mr Ndifon’s fundamental right as guaranteed by section 37 of the 1999 Constitution by breaking into his phone and going through his phone in search of an offence and without respect to his right to privacy.

“Then, on seeing nude and pornographic pictures in the first defendant’s phone, jumped at the Cybercrime Act to investigate the so-called offence of cyberstalking. This is not only exposing them as an ungovernable monster but like a knight-errant that goes about looking for skirmishes and battles all over the mace.

“My Lord, if this is allowed to stand, then we are all in trouble, and this cannot be the intention of the lawmakers or the law,” he said.

Mr Agi equally argued that during cross examination of the first prosecution witness (PW1), Ogechi Chima, an ICPC investigator, she admitted that though they received several oral and written complaints against Mr Ndifon, TKJ was never mentioned as one of those complainants.

The lawyer, who described the commission’s act as an afterthought, added that TKJ was not even listed as a witness in the original charge but “surfaced after the amended charge was filed.”

He also wondered why the registrar of UNICAL, who was listed as a witness in the original charge, was dropped in their amended charge.

He said in the light of the above, count four, which alleged that the defendants threatened TKJ not to honour ICPC’s invitation, in the amended charge was not commenced by due process of law, thereby robbing the court of jurisdiction.

Besides, Mr Agi contended that in the instant case, counts one and two, which deal with sending and receiving nude videos and count three of the charges, were not within the jurisdiction of the court.

“This honourable court must and should keep the ICPC within the scope and their legally demarcated boundaries as clearly provided in the statute that created them,” he said.

He, therefore, prayed the court to decline jurisdiction.

The defendants’ no-case submission will be heard on February 27.

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Damagum returns as National Chairman, urges members to work for party’s success

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Ambassador Umar Damagum has retained his position as the acting National Charman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

On Thursday, the PDP conducted its 98th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

In a communique after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Barrister Debo Ologunagba said the NEC urged all members to continue to work together for the success of the party for the benefit of Nigerians.

A day earlier, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party passed a vote of confidence on Damagum.

Ologunagba said: “NEC charges all organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP to close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

“Consequently, NEC received and approved the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

“NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the party.

“Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

“NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

“NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country.”

Before the NEC meeting, PDP members loyal to the party’s presidential candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had moved against Damagum, over allegations that he was working for former governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike.

Wike led a group of five PDP governors that rebelled against Atiku while contesting the presidential election last year.

Atiku lost the election to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who appointed Wike as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

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Reps Urge Ports Operators To Cooperate For Economic Diversification

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By Gloria Ikibah

The House of Representatives has appealed to ports operators in Nigeria to cooperate and align with Nigeria’s economic diversification move.

The Chairman House Committee on Ports And Harbours, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, made the call at an interactive Session of the Committee with all Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority Licensed Agents, on Thursday in Abuja.

He explained that the Committee’s interactive session was very crucial because of the invaluable roles the sector plays in the nation’s economy and national life.

He saud: “It therefore presents us with urgent need to effect changes that will restructure this unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices.

“I wish to reiterate the Committee’s commitment to ensure that the sector remains one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight in order to bequeath to Nigerians, a Ports and Harbours that is properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency”.

The Committee Chairman also said that it was important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalizing the modus operandi of the sector to improve Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant Stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for its economic development and then make it a hub for better non-oil revenue generation. It is imperative to note that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our Ports and Harbours and allied services. We shall ever be ready to provide the necessary legislation and needed oversight to achieve this purpose”, he added.

Rep. Nnaji disclosed that the purpose of the meeting was to provide the interface for members of the Committee to interact with Stakeholders in the industry, most especially Terminal Operators and NPA Licensed Agents regarding their operations and various activities in the Ports and also create the enabling environment and synergy towards achieving the goals of the Federal Government in the Maritime sector, as well as aligning the sector with its contemporary demands, developmental goals, international standards and best practices.

“It is pertinent to note that the Committee’s role is not only to oversight the NPA, but also to partner with stakeholders in the sector to achieve maximum success taking cognizance of government’s quest on increasing revenue generation, port decongestion and boosting infrastructural development for effective service delivery. Thus, we must be committed to transparency, collaboration and open dialogue with all stakeholders to enhance ease of doing business”, the chairman said.

The lawmaker enjoined the stakeholders to bring their exclusive viewpoints and experiences on board as they will be invaluable in shaping policies and recommendations of the committee.

While briefing the committee, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, Mrs Urunta Chinyere, told the committee that there was the news for the digitization of the operations of the agents.

According to her, if operators can adopt the model, it would enhance revenue generation.

“We observed that most of the terminal operators are doing partial implementation of what we ask for. They are not fully complying to what they are supposed to do”, Chinyere said.

In his response, the Managing Director of Five Star Logistics, Mr. Rigor Nazzari, said that his agency has fully complied with all the models.

According to him, there are operators specific issues at the terminals that need to be addressed by the council.

The committee chairman thereforw called on the terminal operators to comply with the council and upgrade their systems.

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Aisha Yesufu queries Gov. Ododo for trying to prevent EFCC from arresting Yahaya Bello

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Nigerian female social activist, Aisha Yesufu,  has expressed displeasure with the role played by Kogi Stars Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo in stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting his predecessor, Yahaya Bello.

It was gathered that the Kogi Governor on Wednesday, obstructed the arrest of Bello by operatives of the EFCC.

Recall that the EFCC operatives had stormed Bello’s residence in Abuja in an attempt to arrest him over an ongoing fraud investigation.

But Bello was reportedly smuggled out of his residence by Ododo to evade arrest by the anti-graft agency.

“I cannot imagine I, Aisha Yesufu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Governor will come to Abuja where I am, to prevent @officialEFCC from arresting someone.

“As in, prevent it from carrying out its constitutional sanctioned duty. Nahhhhh!
Kai! Poor Nigeria!”

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