CCB urges out-going political office holders to declare assets

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in Kano State has reminded all outgoing elected and appointed political office holders to declare their assets at the end of their tenure.

This is contained in a statement signed by the CCB state Director, Umar Saulawa in Kano on Saturday.

He said there was need for the affected political office holders to declare their assets in line with the provision of the 1999 constitution as amended.

“We want to remind all the outgoing elected and appointed political office holders in the state to come forward to the Bureau’s office to collect their assets declaration form,” he said.

He said failure to comply with the directive amounts to the breach of the law and attracts necessary sanctions against defaulting public officers.

New minimum wage: Nasarawa Governor-elect speaks on paying N30,000

Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa State mom ml Governor-elect on Friday, pledged to implement the new minimum wage, after sworn in as the governor.

He made the pledge in a statement signed by his media aide, Alhaji Sanusi Aliyu, in Lafia on Friday.

The Governor-elect applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the New Minimum National Wage Bill into Law.

Bengbenro news reports that Buhari on Thursday signed the bill into law.

Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the signing of the new national minimum wage bill into law will usher in a ‘new dawn’ for workers.

The presidential aide also said that the signing into law of the new national minimum wage bill showed that the president was willing to take every necessary step to motivate the workers toward greater productivity and improve their welfare.

Sule also said that the action of the president was a testament to the fact that, “Our patriotic and beloved President prioritises the welfare of Nigerian workers.

“That he is always ready to ensure the right conditions are in place for them.

“This step will not only go a long way in assisting workers in meeting certain needs but will also strengthen the relationship between employers and employees and motivate improved productivity.”

Sule assured the state workers that he would follow the footstep of the president by implementing the new wage structure for them.

The Governor-elect said: “This is an opportunity to reassure workers in the state that, Nasarawa state will also enjoy the new national minimum wage signed into law by the President.

“Other welfare issues, pensions, gratuities and so on will be adequately attended to.

“Workers should take advantage of this by redoubling their efforts toward achieving our collective goals and making Nigeria a better place for all.’’

Bengbenro news reports that the Senate had on March 19, approved N30, 000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on its assent and implementation.

FG targets one train per hour on Abuja-Kaduna line

The Federal Government on Thursday said it would increase the number of trains plying the Abuja-Kaduna route to run a train per hour before the end of 2019.

Mr Freeborn Okhiria, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said this as part of activities of the Belt and Road Initiative’s celebration to mark 1,000 days of smooth operations of the rail system in Nigeria in Abuja.

Okhiria said that the increase in the number of trains was in response to complaints by Nigerians.

“People are complaining that we are not providing enough service.

“We are promising them that we will increase the number of trains we run before the end of the year; we should be able to target one train per hour.

“We have already ordered the coaches and those ones are going to be different from the ones we have.”

The NRC boss also said that the Federal Government had begun creating an e-ticket system to ease the burden of passengers.

“The e-ticket is at an advanced stage. This is a government system and we have to pass through due process.

“As we speak about three companies are in the final stage with ICRC because it is going to involve a lot of money, and we do not have the money to do it.

“We need to have the hardware to make sure we protect our earnings and protect the passengers using the e-ticketing because we have to have a barrier that allows a genuine ticket holder to access the platform and exit the station.

“If we do not put the (proper) system in place electronically, a passenger can buy a ticket to Kubwa and get to Kaduna if care is not taken. So we have to consider all that, and it is being developed.”

He added that the e-ticketing system would also be developed bearing the future in mind.

“We are planning a situation where with an ATM card, you would not need a ticket. We are looking at tomorrow not just today.”

Mr Sabiu Zakari, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation confirmed that the Federal Government was in the final stages of compliance with the e-ticket system.

Zakari was represented by the Director, Rail Transport Service, Mr Mohammed Babakobi.

“For the ticketing, a number of proposals had come before now but they have to go through the due process, so you can achieve a situation whereby you can sit in your house and buy tickets.

“We are almost in the final stage of the compliances.”

Mr Pascal Nnorli, Manager, Abuja-Kaduna Train Service (AKTS) said the Abuja Station had recorded 1.5 million passengers since its inception with an average of four return trips daily.

Nnorli also said that passengers that used the train on a daily basis were not less than 3,000.

“Today, we have had our 1.5 million passengers since inception.

“Averagely, we were doing 2,000 (passengers) daily before the crisis of Abuja/Kaduna road. Since the crisis of kidnapping and insecurity, our average passengers have increased to between 2,500 to 3,000.”

He, however, said that the station was not able to meet up with 50 per cent of demands due to the limited amount of trains available.

“Government has awarded contracts for some mini stocks to be provided for the standard gauging rail, Lagos and Ibadan inclusive to Ajaokuta, Warri, Abuja, and Kaduna. It will take a minimum of 12 months.

“If we have rolling stock, we will increase our frequency. If passengers can catch a train every 30 minutes or on an hourly basis, we would not have the need to agitate.

“Last two weeks, more than 170 passengers overpowered my men and entered the train without tickets. I feel their pulse but that does not mean they should take laws in their hands.”

The manager pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with the government and not vent their frustrations on personnel of the train service.

Also speaking, Mr Qian Hongxiang, Deputy Managing Director, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) said the AKTS was a major transportation channel that had improved Nigeria’s investment environment.

Qian said that the Abuja-Kaduna was the first phase of the Nigerian Railway Mordernisation Project.

“The second phase, Lagos-Ibadan railway, is under construction. In the near future, more modern railways will be built and more Nigerians will enjoy safe, comfortable and convenient travel by rail.”

Mr Li Xuda, Cultural Counsellor, Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by his government in 2014, offered opportunities for cooperation and development for both countries.

Li, who is also the Director, China Cultural Centre, said Nigeria, as a Belt and Road member, would benefit from the initiative.

“Accelerating the Belt and Road Initiative can help promote economic prosperity and strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between the two countries.”

The Abuja-Kaduna Railway project officially started commercial operations on July 26, 2016, becoming the first modern railway operation using the Chinese standard in Africa.

Onnoghen conviction victory for corruption fight – Presidency

The Presidency says the war against corruption is all encompassing and not designed to persecute anyone for political or other reasons.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in statement reacting to the conviction of suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the conviction of Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal was a major victory for the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.

Shehu explained that the outcome of the trial demonstrated clearly that ”the law is no respecter of persons, titles, social or political connections”.

According to him, the essence of the rule of law is to hold everyone accountable before the law, regardless of their status in the society.

“The rule of law will lose its meaning and validity if only the weak, the poor and powerless are punished for their violations of the law.

”Countries succeed because the rule of law is evenly upheld and enforced. The war against corruption would go nowhere if the high and mighty are spared because of their influence and connections.

”You can’t fight corruption by allowing impunity because the rule of law cannot function where impunity is tolerated.”

He pointed out that the conviction of Onnoghen would send a clear message that the dragnet against corruption would be ”spread widely to hold public officials accountable, whether they are politicians, judges, civil servants or holding positions of public trust.”

NAF to mark 55th anniversary April 22

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will deploy aircraft, military equipment and personnel in Abuja during rehearsals for its 55th Anniversary celebration.

NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, who announced this in a statement in Abuja said the rehearsals would hold between April 22 and April 30.

“The Nigerian Air Force will be celebrating its 55th Anniversary between April 27 and 29 in Abuja.

“As part of activities to mark the event, the NAF will be showcasing its air power capabilities in an Order of Battle (ORBAT) fly past,” he said.

Daramola urged members of the public to go about their normal activities without panic or fear during the activities. (NAN)

President Muhammadu Buhari signs the new 30,000 minimum wage bill into law

The National Assembly passed the National Minimum Wage Bill, approving N30,000 minimum monthly wage for Federal and State workers.

The proposed new National Minimum Wage was presented to the National Council of State on Jan. 22 after which it was sent to the National Assembly.

The Federal Executive Council meeting also deliberated and approved the minimum wage after which it was transmitted to the National Assembly and subsequently passed by both chambers of the legislative arm.

Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters(Senate) told State House correspondents that the Senate had on March 19, approved N30, 000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation.


“This makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay their workers the sum of N30,000 and this excludes persons who are employing less than 25 workers; persons who work in a ship which sail out of jurisdiction; persons who are in other kinds of regulated employments are excepted by the Act.


“It also gives the workers the right if you are compelled by any circumstance to accept salary that is less than 30,000 for you to sue your employers to recover the balance.


“It authorises the minister of labour and any person nominated by the minister of labour or any person designated by the minister of labour in any ministry, department or agency to on your behalf take action in your name against such employer to recover the balance of wages.


“It also ensures and mandates the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the minister of labour to be the chief and principal enforcers of the provisions of this law; and this law applies to all agencies and persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


“The effective date is April 18, 2019 as Mr President has assented to; it has been assented to and it takes effect today except such other provision as are contained in the Act.”


Enang said that the enforcement and the right to start the implementation of the provisions commenced immediately including such steps that would to be taken gradually under the provisions of the Act.


He urged Nigerian workers to celebrate President Buhari and support his administration and policies.


The senior special assistant said that the administration would come out and march together with Nigerian workers and Workers Day.

CCT: Onnoghen to forfeit money in his account

The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Thursday ordered the forfeiture of all money in the account of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, which he did not declare.

Delivering ruling , Justice Danladi Umar, also banned Onnoghen from holding any public office for ten years.

The CCT has ordered the removal of Onnoghen as CJN and as chairman National Judicial Council.

Tribunal convicts, bars Onnoghen from holding public office

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has convicted the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, for false declaration of assets and barred from holding public office for 10 years.

The Tribunal presided over by Justice Danladi Umar and two others, declared that that Onnoghen breached the provision of CCT Act. section 36.

The Tribunal ruled that Onnoghen “is removed as CJN, chairman of NJC’’.

The Tribunal rule that the defendant falsely declared his asset by hiding five accounts listed listed the charge.

Aside his removal as CJN and Chairman of NJC, he is to forfeit the money in the said accounts, and barred from holding public office for a period of 10 years.

Onnoghen, had earlier on Thursday lost his bid to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from trying him.

The tribunal ruled that the prosecution of former Onnoghen was in order and that it was competent to hear the case.

With the ruling, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, at noon started delivering the judgement of the tribunal.

Tribunal on Monday fixed April 18 to deliver judgment on the charge of false and non-assets declaration allegations brought against Justice Walter Onnoghen, suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Umar, leading two other members of the panel gave the date after parties adopted their written addresses.

Mr Okon Efut (SAN), Counsel for Onnoghen maintained that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations brought against his client beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

Efut urged the tribunal to discountenance the prosecution’s argument that statement Onnoghen made to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) amounted to admission of an offence.

“It is erroneous to hold that the statement made by Onnoghen to the Code of Conduct Bureau was a confessional as alleged by the prosecution’’, he said.

Efut further urged the tribunal to hold that the charges against the defendant were incompetent and unconstitutional as they were not based on the provisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act.

The defence team had earlier submitted that the petition against Onnoghen was political.

They had also averred that the testimony of the defence witness was valid enough to deflate all the argument advanced by the prosecution.

According to Efut, the suspended CJN has not committed any infraction on Code of Conduct/Code of Tribunal Act to warrant his trial.

On his part, Mr Aliyu Umar (SAN), Counsel for the Federal Government while adopting his address, said the defence team was only attempting to re-define what constituted “proof beyond reasonable doubt’’.

He urged the tribunal to hold that the prosecution indeed proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the panel should pronounce a guilty verdict on Onnoghen.

Umar further submitted that the defendant committed an unforgivable infraction on the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Tribunal Act by allegedly failing to declare his assets as at when due.

“I pray the tribunal to pronounce Onnoghen guilty of the six-count charge and go ahead to assign the required penalties associated with such offences’’, he said.

The prosecution also said Onnoghen failed to clearly provide likeable evidence that absolved him of the offences.

Umar further submitted that Onnoghen’s attempt to correct the anomaly after years of laying back was antithesis to the provisions of the law.

The judgment would be delivered along with two pending applications challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal and another asking the chairman of the tribunal to disqualify himself from presiding over the matter.

The prosecution also accused Onnoghen of operating hidden domiciliary accounts containing some huge amount of foreign currencies.

Alleged money laundering: EFCC re-arraigns Ofili-Ajumogobia

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday could not produce a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Godwin Obla, for arraignment in Lagos over alleged money laundering.

The commission charged Obla along with former Justice, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court but Obla was absent before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court.

NAN reports that EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that efforts to reach the SAN proved abortive, claiming that his phones were switched off.

He said that Obla’s counsel could not also confirm his whereabouts.

Oyedepo urged the court to allow Ofili-Ajumogobia to be arraigned alone pending production in court of Obla.

The court granted the prayer.

Ofili-Ajumogobia pleaded not guilty to an 18-count charge.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her re-arraignment followed her re-arrest after an Ikeja High Court struck out a previous charge against her on Tuesday.

The money laundering charge preferred by the EFCC was struck out for lack of jurisdiction.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday could not produce a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Godwin Obla, for arraignment in Lagos over alleged money laundering.

The commission charged Obla along with former Justice, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court but Obla was absent before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court.

NAN reports that EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that efforts to reach the SAN proved abortive, claiming that his phones were switched off.

He said that Obla’s counsel could not also confirm his whereabouts.

Oyedepo urged the court to allow Ofili-Ajumogobia to be arraigned alone pending production in court of Obla.

The court granted the prayer.

Ofili-Ajumogobia pleaded not guilty to an 18-count charge.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her re-arraignment followed her re-arrest after an Ikeja High Court struck out a previous charge against her on Tuesday.

The money laundering charge preferred by the EFCC was struck out for lack of jurisdiction.

Obla, a former EFCC prosecution counsel, is the second defendant in the charge numbered FHC/139C/19.

EFCC alleged that the duo conspired on May 21, 2014, to indirectly conceal N5 million in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd., which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act”.

The alleged offences contravened Sections 15 (2) (a) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

The EFCC also accused Ajumogobia of indirectly concealing N12 million in the same account, adding that she falsely claimed that the money was payment for a sold property.

Aikawa will later give a ruling on a bail application by the former judge.

Bill to protect Nigerian workers, employers scales second reading in Senate

The Bill for an act to provide for documentation and protection of domestic workers and employers scaled second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.

This followed the presentation of the lead debate by sponsor of the bill, Sen. Magnus Abe at plenary,Bengbenro news reports.

Presenting the bill, Abe said it sought to protect domestic workers from abuse by providing minimum conditions of service such as number of hours to work, break and rest times as well as off days.

He added that the bill sought to protect them from sexual abuse, physical abuse, slave labour and ensure injury compensation and mode of payment.

Abe stressed that the bill sought to reduce and deter the propensity of domestic workers’ connivance with criminals against employers.

He added that this could be achieved by maintaining full biometric data and other relevant background information of domestic workers nationwide.

“This bill further seeks to keep track of migration of domestic workers from other countries and among states within the country for security purposes.

“It will also provide specific and adequate sanctions for offenders within the framework of the law.

“Also, it seeks to formalise the services of all categories of domestic workers, capture their contributions to the GDP of the nation to enhance national planning,” he said.

The lawmaker noted that Nigeria had witnessed an increase in incidents of assaults and abuse if domestic workers by their employers or hosts.

He said the abuses border on slave labour, physical abuse and sexual abuse, among others.

According to him, the stories are gory, traumatic and mind bugling.

He added that domestic workers, particularly in Nigeria, remained vulnerable and helpless, in view of the fact that they exist in the informal sector, not unionised and did not have collective platform to speak for them.

Abe further noted that on the other hand, there was rise in the spate of complicity of crimes committed by domestic workers, mostly in connivance with other criminal elements against their employers and hosts.

He said there was a rise in cases of burglary, kidnapping, stealing of children and outright murder.

“Due to urbanisation, fast-growing cities have put significant pressure on working-class parents compelling many to spend more time at work and far less at home.

“The concomitant effect is that many families from the low, middle to the high-income class have come to the inevitable reality of employing domestic workers to attend to their needs at home.

“A lot of the workers are unregistered and not supported by most national labour laws,” he said.

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, put the bill to a voice vote and it was adopted.

The bill was then referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back in four weeks.