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False Accusation: Activist Bags Seven Years Jail Term

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A Nigerian activist has been jailed for seven years for falsely accusing a public official of corruption.

Ibrahim Wala, popularly called I G Wala, was jailed on Wednesday by Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He was found guilty of falsely accusing the head of a pilgrim commission of corruption and leading a protest against the official.

Justice Halilu found Mr Wala guilty on three of the four charges filed against him by the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The three charges for which he was found guilty include unlawful assembly, public incitement and criminal defamation of character.

The judge, however, dismissed the charge of criminal intimidation for lack of merit.

The trial

The activist was arraigned following a petition filed by the chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mukhtar.

In the petition, Mr Mukhtar alleged that Mr Wala used his Facebook page to incite the public against him and defame his integrity and that of the commission he heads.

On the charge of unlawful assembly, Mr Wala was found guilty of using his organisation, the Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), to form an unlawful assembly. The judge ruled that the organisation was unregistered.

The judge said the prosecution “has been able to establish the offence of making an unlawful assembly.”

He, therefore, sentenced him to seven years in Prison for the offence.

The judge also found Mr Wala guilty of public incitement, an offence contrary to section 114 of the penal code which deals with the breach of public peace.

He sentenced him to three years in prison for the offence.

Mr Yusuf also agreed with the prosecution that Mr Wala criminally defamed Mr Mukhtar after he alleged that the NAHCON boss “made N3 billion for himself” from the 2017 Hajj operations.

The judge said Mr Wala wrote on his Facebook page that he has documents to prove the allegation.

He, however, said the activist failed to provide the document to prove his claims in court.

“Where is the document proving N3 billion made by chairman hajj commission?

“Why has the accused person failed to tender such document now that he has been dragged before a court of law?” the judge said.

He said by his inability to provide relevant documents to prove his ‘huge allegations’, Mr Wala “has made the case of the prosecution less cumbersome”.

The judge sentenced him to two years in prison for criminal defamation.

The judge also said all the sentences would be served concurrently; meaning the convict would serve seven years in jail unless the ruling is upturned by an appeal court.

Mr Wala is to serve the sentence in Suleja prison.

Mr Wala has led protests against issues like corruption and human rights violations in several parts of the country.

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Just In: Man City Free to Participate in Champions League, Says CAS

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Manchester City will be free to play Champions League football next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport lifted a two-season ban from European competitions imposed by UEFA on Monday

An initial fine of 30 million euros ($34 million, £27 million) was also reduced to 10 million euros on appeal.

City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of financial fair play regulations between 2012 and 2016.

The case against City was reopened when German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of leaked emails in 2018.

However, CAS found that “most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred”.

City welcomed the decision that will have huge ramifications on the club’s finances and potentially the future of manager Pep Guardiola and star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.

“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover 12 years ago, City’s fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.

On Saturday, they secured qualification for the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season with a 5-0 win at Brighton.

More silverware could come before the end of the season as Guardiola’s side face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday before restarting their Champions League campaign in August, holding a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg of their last 16 tie.

City’s victory in court will raise fresh questions over how effectively UEFA can police FFP.

But European football’s governing body said it remained committed to the system which limits clubs to not losing more than 30 million euros, with exceptions for some costs such as youth development and women’s teams, over a three-year period.

“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.

“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.”

(AFP)

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Buhari Approves Suspension of Ex-EFCC Acting Chairman, Magu

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the boss of the country’s anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu days after he appeared at an investigative panel.

The Nigerian Government said Magu’s suspension is to “allow for unhindered inquiry” by the panel investigating allegations of corruption against the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards,” Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said in a statement on Friday.

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COVID-19: Fresh Lockdown Likely After Two Weeks – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.

The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.

Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians.  Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi  Akeredolu, contracted the virus.

Warning people in authority, the SGF said,  “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”

When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.

He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.

“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”

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