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EFCC arraigns ex-governor’s aide, wife for money laundering



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday arraigned Mr Embelakpo Apere and his wife, Beauty, before a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa.

The couple was arraignment for money laundering allegedly carried out in 2015.

Embelakpo is a former aide on Sustainable Development Goals to the then Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa.

FELLOW PRESS reports that following the opposition by Defence Counsel, Mr Andrew Arthur, to the arraignment of Embelakpo, the latter’s plea could not taken.

However, the wife, who was arraigned alongside him pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge slammed on her.

Arthur had argued that Embelakpo had been discharged by the court and could not be tried a second time for the same offence.

The Prosecuting Counsel, Mr M.T. Iko, countered the argument, insisting that the accused was not discharged on merit.

The trial Judge, Justice I.H Ndahen, adjourned the case till Oct. 19 for ruling on the arguments of the two counsel.

According to the charges, Beauty Apere received various amounts in naira, dollars and pounds sterling between May 2015 and April 27, 2016.

The EFCC alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful acts, punishable under the Money Laundering prohibition Act.

The commission also charged her for forgery of medical and birth certificates which purported emanated from the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.

The court granted her bail to the tune of N10 million and two sureties who must have landed property in Yenagoa.

The defendant would be in the custody of the Yenagoa Correctional Service pending when she would meet her bail conditions.

The EFCC urged the court to adjourn to Oct. 19 to enable the commission to produce witnesses to establish its case.

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Sanwo-Olu flags off Ojota-Opebi link bridge, road project



Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos on Wednesday flagged off the construction of Ojota-Opebi link bridges and approach roads to ease congestion in Ikeja and environs.

Sanwo-Olu, while flagging off the construction of the bridges and roads tagged ‘legacy project,’ said the project was an innovative solution to the perennial gridlock around Opebi/Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way/Ojota/Mende corridor.

He said the project would reduce travel time for Lagos and Ikorodu bound traffic from Opebi; and ease gridlock at the Opebi-Sheraton Link Road and Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way.

He said the project was another milestone in the implementation of the Traffic Management and Transportation Pillar of his administration’s THEMES Agenda and the State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP).

He expressed his administration’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of residents and to the Greater Lagos Vision, adding that the project connecting two local council areas would enhance the livelihood of residents.

“As you are aware, there is presently no direct link between Opebi, Maryland and Ojota.

“The available road infrastructure that links the axis is also limited in its connectivity options, thus during peak periods, the high traffic volume within the axis usually congests the Ikeja Traffic Network.

“Consequently, we recognised the need to provide another Legacy Project by constructing the Ojota–Opebi Link Bridge and Approach Roads to connect Opebi Road from its tail end with Lagos-Ikorodu Road by Odo Iya-Alaro.

“This will invariably reduce travel time for Lagos and Ikorodu bound traffic from Opebi. It will also ease the traffic situation at Opebi-Sheraton Link Road and Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way.

“This Legacy Project will provide a new link to commute around Ikeja and its environs. It will also act as a relief to the saturated and over-burdened routes within Ikeja,” he said.

He expressed hope that Messrs Julius Berger Nigeria PLc, the project’s contractor would complete the construction two months ahead of the expected 20 months completion date.

He said he also hoped that the 3.89km Ojota–Opebi Link Bridge and Approach Roads consisting of 2,829m road length: with 276m Deck-on-Pile Bridge and 474m Mechanically Stabilised Earth Wall would accelerate economic growth.

He said his administration had completed, inaugurated and handed over 65 road projects and several other improved junctions with more than 50 other ongoing road projects at various stages of completion.

“This is in addition to the maintenance of over 832 roads, covering approximately 252km direct intervention in the form of routine maintenance and palliative works on strategic roads (complete and sectional overlay and potholes patching) by the Lagos State Public Works Corporation,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said his government was committed to the development of intermodal transportation network and was constructing quality roads, waterways, and rail infrastructure and had expended billions of Naira to modernise them.

He added that projects inherited from the previous administrations were being completed and the lighting systems on roads were being replaced.

The governor listed interventions in the rail sector to include construction of 37 km track rail project which is progressing, in addition to the complete overhaul of the water transportation system.

He recalled the recently acquired two sets of 10-car-Talgo 330kmph trains for the Lagos Red Line rail project.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, said the project conceived in Year 2001 was being actualised by Sanwo-Olu.

She said the project design concept adopted a holistic approach in collaboration between the ministries of Works and Infrastructure and Transport to provide both infrastructure and transportation solutions for easy movement.

She said the road would provide direct link between the Opebi-Maryland–Ogudu-Third Mainland Bridge as conceived in the Lagos State Transportation Master Plan (STMP).

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Buhari pledges equity, fairness to Itsekiris



President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged a fair deal to the Itsekiri people of Delta, while also extolling the patriotism of the Olu of Warri Kingdom, Tsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse III.

The president spoke at State House in Abuja on Wednesday, when he received the traditional ruler and some of his chiefs.

He said: “I’m grateful for your visit, and impressed by your patriotism. I’ve taken note of your requests, and will work on them as soon as politically possible.’’

The Olu of Warri said the visit was to primarily thank the president for sending a high-powered delegation to his coronation as the 21st monarch of the Kingdom, “and for your kind felicitation, goodwill and solidarity.”

He pledged the loyalty of Itsekiri people to “one united Nigeria, as we support your government’s aspiration to provide security and economic prosperity to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, creed or religion.”

While describing the president as “a dogged patriot and fervent believer in Project Nigeria,” the Olu drew attention to what he called “some burning issues that are dear to our hearts”.

The issues included the under-utilisation of the four ports in Warri, Koko, Sapele, and Burutu, all in Delta, reconstitution of the NDDC Board, immortalising the first Finance Minister of the country, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, and resuscitation of the Ogidigben EPZ Project, which has reportedly been abandoned.

On the NDDC Board, he said he believed the president would soon reconstitute it, “as an interested party, we genuinely want a better deal for us in the Niger Delta, as we believe charity begins at home.

“By this, we mean that we Niger Deltans must be ready to put the betterment of our people first in all we do. Putting our people first is the only way to make our lives better.”

On the entourage of the Olu of Warri were Chiefs Brown Mene, Oma Eyewuoma, Thomas Ereyitomi, Daniel Reyeju, Dere Awosika and Mr Julius Rone.

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NUT strike: Parents worry over incessant closure of FCT schools



Parents have condemned the incessant strike by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) primary school teachers, calling on the Federal Government to wage into the situation.

The primary school teachers in the FCT on Wednesday, again embarked on an indefinite strike over failure of the area council chairmen to reach agreements with them.

The teachers had in December embarked on an indefinite strike, which was suspended after a week, following an emergency meeting of the State Wing Executive Council.

The teachers were aggrieved over the area councils’ chairmen failure to abide by the agreement for the payment of the backlogs of the Local Education Authority (LEA) teachers outstanding entitlement in their various councils.

The State Chairman of the FCT Wing of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr Stephen Knabayi, claimed that they were being owed about N14.3 billion arrears from 2015 till date.

A teacher in one of the schools who pleaded anonymity expressed disappointed that such was happening but urged the government to intervene so they could go back to work.

She said that failure to honour the agreement with the teachers by the council chairmen necessitated unanimous resolution the teachers should with effect from Jan. 26, resume the suspended strike till further notice.

Mrs Olusola Omoniyi, a mother of three, expressed worry over the manner the pupils were seen loitering the streets of Abuja because they were asked to go home owing to the non-payment of the teachers’ salary.

Another parent, Mr Godswill Nwosu, said that leaving the children to be at home when their colleagues in other schools were receiving lessons was not a good idea.

He called on the government to help resolve the conflicts between the union and area council chairmen.

Nwosu, however, urged parents to engage their children and wards at home so as to make good use of this period by learning a skill.

Another parent, Mrs J. Nwachukwu, urged the Federal Government reviewed its decision on allowing the management of primary schools’ education to be controlled by the local council areas.

“Experience has shown that the local governments do not have financial capacity or the political will to fund and manage primary schools, hence the situation we are having now.

“And I fear that this could amount to total collapse of the system,” she said.

According to her, Primary education is the foundation of all learning and should not be managed by the Local Education Authorities (LEA) in the area councils.

“Come to think of it, how much does the local government area get as its allocation to take care of all the teachers’ demands and settle the outstanding entitlements of the teachers?

“It is very unfortunate that those who are beneficiaries of teachers’ sacrifices are the one making things very difficult teachers.

“In fact the way teachers are being treated, especially the public primary school teachers is very bad. I wonder how many children of all the decision makers are in public schools,” she said.

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