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QuickRead: Stella Oduah’s arraignment. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week arraigned the former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, for alleged corruption after years of postponement.

This and four other stories we tracked were among the major news high points for last week.

1.Stella Oduah’s arraignment
Nigerian govt drags Senators Oduah, Uzodinma to court over failure to declare assets

On July 21, the commission arraigned the ex-minister and eight others at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 25-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N7.9 billion.
Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Limited, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, Crystal Television Ltd, and Sobora International Limited.

One of the charges read: “The defendants – Stella Oduah and Gloria Odita, who was her aide and the Company Secretary to Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Ltd (SPGC), had in February 2014, used their positions to transfer the sum of N1,629,250,000.00 from I-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Bank Plc, to Global Offshore and Marine Ltd account No. 2022977296 also domiciled with First Bank Plc, which money they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.”

Why it matters

The ex-minister’s arraignment speaks to the power of law in establishing standards and maintaining order, especially in a society like ours where values have been eroded and stealing fully enshrined as statecraft.

After several attempts to bring Oduah to court, her eventual arraignment is a sad reminder that there will always be a day of reckoning and bad behavior will be duly rewarded with the deserving punishment.

This, however, depends on the anti-graft agency being able to discharge the burden of proof on the charges and purge itself of the tendency to play to the gallery.

2. Adamu, Omisore’s resignation as APC chiefs

The former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, resigned as the All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman on July 17.

The party’s national secretary, Iyiola Omisore, also announced his resignation from the position shortly thereafter.

A source in the presidency who first confirmed the news to journalists said the former chairman forwarded his letter to President Bola Tinubu through his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila.

He said: “The resignation letter signed by him has been sent to the villa. The letter was addressed to President Tinubu. But since the president is away in Kenya for the AU meeting, the letter was sent to his chief of staff.
“The National Chairman resigned following a gang up by people around the president to embarrass him during the meetings of the party slated for the week.”

Why it matters

The exit of the two men confirms the rumours of unrest in APC despite its success in the last general election.
The name-calling and in-fighting as a whole are indicative of a deeper problem that may not bode well for a party that has secured Nigerians’ mandate for another four years.

The internal wrangling is also a reminder that politics is an interest-driven game in which contending forces are constantly in a struggle to seize the reins of authority in a bid to decide who gets what.

3.British court orders seizure of Ibori’s £101.5m

Ibori loses UK appeal, heads for European court

Judge David Tomlinson of the Southwark Crown Court, London, on July 22 ordered the confiscation of £101.5 million traced to the former Delta State governor, James Ibori.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: EU’s damning report on 2023 elections. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

The judge, who gave the ruling in a case filed by British prosecutors, ordered Ibori to pay the sum immediately or face an eight-year jail sentence.

But the former governor in a statement issued 24 hours later vowed to appeal the judgement. Ibori claimed he was being persecuted by the British judge.

He said: “Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
“If that is true then I must be going mad because in over a decade since the British Courts have been persecuting myself and those close to me, I kept believing that justice and fairness would eventually triumph.”

Why it matters

As absurd and unacceptable the judgement may look, it speaks to the interest of the British government in transparency and accountability in Nigeria, a country crippled by decades of bad leadership at all levels.

The latest ruling by the British jury on the funds suspected to be proceeds of corruption provides the opportunity for us to once again look at our institutions, especially the judiciary which appears occasionally compromised.

4. Emefiele’s planned arraignment for alleged firearms possession

The Federal Government will arraign the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, for alleged illegal possession of firearms at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday.

He will be arraigned on a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition before a vacation judge, Justice Nicholas. One of Emefiele’s lawyers, Victor Opara (SAN), confirmed the development to journalists on July 21.

He said: “A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu, will personally lead the defence team.
“The court had sent out the hearing notices to counsels involved in the matter in readiness for the proceeding.”

Why it matters

Emefiele’s recent travails suggest he is paying the price for the chaotic handling of the policy on naira redesign which caused untold hardship in the country earlier in the year.

Although many Nigerians are yet to forgive Emefiele for his role in the crisis that trailed the naira policy, the government’s body language has clearly indicated that the Delta State–born administrator has been identified as the fall guy that must be punished at all costs for the failed naira experiment.

5. Tinubu’s promise on insecurity

President Bola Tinubu said on Friday his administration would deploy the entire machinery of state to protect lives and property in the country.

Tinubu, who stated this at the graduation ceremony of the Senior Course 45 of the Command and Staff College in Jaji, added that the country’s armed forces are well-equipped to discharge their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.

He said: “Contemporary and emerging security threats in West Africa demand that governments and other stakeholders must work together to bring peace to the Lake Chad region.
“The threats posed by Boko Haram and other terror groups required new strategies and equipment to tackle.”

Why it matters

Security of lives and property is the primary responsibility of governments across the world. Therefore, the onus is on the president to perform better than his predecessor whose tenure was marred largely by insecurity.

The killings, kidnappings, and attacks on critical national infrastructure, including correctional facilities by non-state agents vividly illustrate the abysmal failure of the country’s security architecture in the last dispensation.

Given the effortless ease with which the terrorists carried out their crimes, it is important for the government to come up with an effective approach to check their threats, and fast too in order to halt the country’s descent into a failed state.

By Hamed Shobiye

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