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Murder of Oruku Monarch: Lawyer writes Gov Mbah, NJC over plot to release key suspects

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•Assassinated Igwe Emmanuel Chidiebere Mba

The attention of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has been drawn to an intelligence report that the State High Court Two in the coal city, with Justice Romanus O. Odugu presiding, is contemplating the release of the two key suspects in a high-profile murder case.

A dismissed police inspector, Daniel Dennis, 47, and an Enugu-based land commission agent, Chief Moses Nnamani, 57, have been charged before Justice Odugu with the gruesome murder of the traditional ruler of Oruku in Nkanu East Local Government Area, Igwe Emmanuel Chidiebere Mba, on December 26, 2020.

Their application for bail is coming up on Tuesday, and there are fears that it may be granted, despite the gravity of the charges against them.

A bail request granted to two other suspects in the murder, Onyema Ede and Chikadibia Okenwa, last year was followed by arson attacks on the houses of two brothers from the community, Ejike and Agozie Ani, who are opposed to the murder suspects.

The houses were burnt to the ground on December 26, exactly two years after Igwe Mba was murdered.

The arsonists also burnt down the palace of the late Igwe and 10 other houses the same day.

“The possible release of the murder suspects will lead to serious consequences for the people of the Oruku community”, warned Collin Ohiaeri, a well-known human rights activist in the state who is also of the law firm of JHC Okolo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), in a save our soul (SOS) letter addressed to Governor Peter Mba of Enugu State, the Chairman of the National Judicial Commission, the Enugu State Attorney General and Mr. Justice Odugu himself.

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“The houses were not just burnt, but the thugs who carried out the arson had the temerity to make a video broadcast of the arson and released it on different social media platforms, complete with triumphal commentaries of revenge and heroism”.

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Igwe Mba was attending the Oruku annual general meeting at its town hall when a team of police officers from the Special Tactical Squad of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Investigation Bureau, stormed the venue, brought him out, and shot him before the people attending the AGM.

The killing drew national outrage, making the Enugu State government set up on January 8 2021 a seven-person judicial commission headed by Mr Justice Harold Eya to inquire into the circumstances of the murder.

In its nine-page report submitted in April 2021, the Justice Eya Commission stated categorically that Inspector Daniel killed Igwe Mba, with the connivance of Chief Nnamani due to differences between Nnamani and Mba in Oruku affairs.

The police team that killed the traditional ruler was brought to the town in a blue colour Honda Element sport utility vehicle ( SUV) belonging to Nnamani, according to the commission.

The commission members’ position is consistent with the investigative report of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Intelligence Bureau, which noted on May 22 2021 that Nnamani had on June 1 2020 written a false and malicious petition against the traditional ruler alleging armed robbery, illegal possession of sophisticated arms and murder.

The DIG consequently set up a team of STS men to investigate the allegation which entailed, among other things, visiting the Oruku community.

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“Throughout the journey up to the point of killing the Igwe”, wrote then-DIG Joseph Egbunike, “Inspector Dennis had been in communication with Chief Nnamani, and also received the sum of fifty thousand naira (N50,000) from the Chief. The other operatives on the trip also confirmed the communication between them”.

The police immediately dismissed Dennis from service.

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Nnamani, meanwhile, had fled to Ghana, and police intelligence officers were able to arrest him last August after he was lured to Nigeria with the bait of a lucrative land deal in Abuja.

“It will be perilous to release any of these grave security risks”, observed a senior officer in the Enugu Police Command who does not want his name in the media because he is not authorised to speak to the press on the issue.

“The courts need to work with security agencies to reduce violent crimes in the state,” he said.

Thirteen other persons have been killed in the small Oruku community since Igwe Mba’s gruesome murder.

There are hardly houses standing in the community as fighters and arsonists have overrun the place, says another senior police officer.

“That’s why it will be exceedingly reckless to allow these fellows to walk out of the correctional centre”, declared Dr. Tony Eze, a law lecturer who is familiar with the murder and the volatile situation in Oruku.

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Alleged N80bn Fraud: Yahaya Bello to appear in court for trial today

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Ex-Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

After several months of hide-and-seek between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the ex-governor is expected to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 13 for arraignment on the corruption charge against him.

The former governor, through his lawyer, finally agreed to submit himself to the court at the last adjourned date.

Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, gave the undertaking to Justice Emeka Nwite on May 10, shortly after the court rejected the defendant’s request for suspension of trial.

According to him, the former governor was not afraid of arraignment but of the safety of his life in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

He said the life of his client has been under consistent threats in Abuja, hence his decision to go underground for safety.

The agreement to submit to court trial was informed by Justice Nwite’s remarks that the EFCC, as a law-abiding body, would not do anything contrary to the provisions of the law.

The judge said Bello was not the first former governor to be merely invited by the anti-graft agency and would not be the last.

The judge also said that the charges are based on allegations that have not been proved, adding that the law presumes any accused person innocent until proven otherwise.

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He advised the senior lawyer to prevail on his client to respect the law and order of the court as a law-abiding person.

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Bello’s lawyer, responding to the admonition, thanked the Judge for the hint, adding that, with the assurance that the EFCC would not do anything untoward, the former governor would be brought to court.

“All my client needs is just an assurance for the safety of his life, which has been under threat for some time in Abuja.”

The lawyer requested for four weeks to bring his client before the court.

He said Bello would, however, come to the court instead of the EFCC to take his plea in the charges.

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‘I did my Dobale’, Tinubu breaks silence on Democracy Day fall at Eagle Square

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Minimum Wage: FG denies offering N105,000
President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu late yesterday, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, broke his silence on a viral video on social media where he missed his steps and tripped earlier in the day during the proceedings at the Democracy Day Parade at Eagle Square, Abuja.

Speaking at the Democracy Day Dinner, Tinubu, a Yoruba from South West Nigeria, said tongue-in-cheek that he was only performing a traditional Yoruba gesture of respect.

“Early this morning, I had a swagger and it is on social media. They are confused on whether I was doing Buga or doing Babariga but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘dobale’ for the day. I am a traditional Yoruba boy and I did my Dobale,”

The president also underscored the importance of national orientation and collective effort in fostering a prosperous future for the country.

“Nigeria is blessed, our complexity, our diversity is there, but is the best road to success. Whatever we have to invest in our national orientation, we have to do it,” Tinubu declared, stressing the need for a concerted effort to instill a sense of service and patriotism among Nigerians.

He also noted that the nation’s national anthem encapsulated the essence of service, a value he observed being practiced by many governors across the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the governors, acknowledging their dedication to serving their people irrespective of their political affiliations.

“We include in our national anthem, the essence of service. I have seen many governors, both live and on tv, serving their people. They belong to other parties and many of them are here tonight. Thank you, Governor Eno, of Akwa Ibom, thank you Governor Okpara, my comrade from Kaduna, thank you, Sheriff and Abia, thank you. If I miss you, forgive me. Everybody has forgotten the partisanship column and embraced that green, white, green that depicts Nigeria.”

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Acknowledging criticisms of the national anthem, he called on governors to redouble their efforts in fostering a sense of duty and national character among citizens.

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“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it, it is the actual character. Let us teach this to our children, so that Nigeria collectively, we will do the job that we are called upon to do as both family or nation under God almighty,” Tinubu urged.

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NLC counters Tinubu, says no agreement reached with FG on minimum wage

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Minimum wage: Govs who can't pay should resign - Labour
NLC President, Joe Ajaero and other union leaders

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) says it has not reached an agreement with the federal government on the minimum wage.

In his Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu said the federal government has negotiated with organized organised labour “in good faith and with open arms” on a new national minimum wage.

The president added that an executive bill on the minimum wage would be sent to the national assembly “to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less”.

In a statement on Wednesday night, NLC said the president may have been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

“We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups,” the statement reads.

“However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who was in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

“The NIC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.”

The NLC said its demand still remains N250,000, adding that it has not been given any compelling reasons to change this position.

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“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC,” the labour body added.

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“There was none, and it is important that we let the president, Nigerians, and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage.

“We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

“However, we want to reaffirm our belief that the President, on whose table the Tripartite Committee’s report presently resides, will prepare an executive bill which content will reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and the masses by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria.”

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