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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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Prepare for Increase in Electricity Tariff, Nigerians Told

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Nigerians should be prepared to pay cost-reflective electricity tariffs in order to enjoy the benefits of the liberalisation of the power sector, the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria has said.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, who said this on Thursday, noted that the government had continued to pump money into the power sector despite privatising it more than six years ago.

Mohammed spoke in Lagos during the groundbreaking for the replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota transmission lines.

He said when completed, the project would allow Ikeja Electric to take the full capacity of all the transformers along the substations to be supplied by the lines.

He said, “We are working to transform the TCN to be one of the best transmission companies in the world. But I want to tell the Nigerian public that we cannot move forward if we don’t pay for electricity.

“I want to tell Nigerians that there is no relationship between poverty and payment for electricity.”

According to the TCN boss, Nigeria has the cheapest electricity tariff in West Africa.

He said the government had sunk N1.5tn into the power sector in terms of payment assurance guarantee for power generation.

Mohammed said, “We have to stop this government intervention and we can only stop it when contracts become effective. Contracts can only be effective when you have cost-reflective tariffs.”

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 for the 11 Discos, had said on January 4 that consumers would start to pay more for electricity from April 1, 2020.

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See Reasons Senate’s Establishing Agency for Repentant Boko Haram Members

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The Senate on Thursday started work on a bill for a law seeking the establishment of a national agency for education and rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram insurgents.

When it eventually becomes a law, it will ensure de-radicalisation of repentant Boko Haram militants and other insurgents.

The bill, which was sponsored by the All Progressives Congress member representing Yobe East Senatorial District, and former governor of Yobe State, Senator  Ibrahim Gaidam, passed the first reading on Thursday.

It was supported by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.

Reading the bill, Geidam, who is from the same state with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the document titled, “National agency for the education, rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria,” would ensure that repentant insurgents were fully integrated into society.

The proposed agency, according to the legislation, would provide educational opportunities for the insurgents.

It will also rehabilitate,  de-radicalise and integrate the repentant insurgents in the country.  The proposed agency, according to the bill, will provide recreational sports and fine arts programmes for the repentant insurgents.

The bill also states that the agency will be able to gain a greater understanding of both the immediate needs for combating Boko Haram, as well as tool for counter-radicalisation in the future, by maintaining open lines of communication.

The proposed agency will also provide vocational rehabilitation facilities for the repentant terrorists to learn carpentry, clay shaping, pottery and the like.

The bill adds that repentant insurgents will make use of art through drawings, guided by professional art therapists in their art. rehabilitation.

The main aims of the bill are to “provide avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalising, educating and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and detained members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make them useful members of the society.

“Provide avenue for reconciliation and promote national security. Provide an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group, especially in the face of the military pressure.

“Give the government an opportunity to derive insider-information about the insurgent group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.

“Gain greater understanding of the insurgents will enable government to address the immediate concerns of violence and study the needs of de-radicalization effort to improve the process of de-radicalization.

“Help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the programme will enable some convicted or suspected terrorists to express remorse over their actions.

“Make them repent and recant their violent ideology and re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.”

Recall that the military established a rehabilitating centre in Gombe State for repentant Boko Haram terrorists.

The centre, it was reported,  had trained and rehabilitated over 1,000 insurgents since its inception over three years ago.

The Borno State Government had also revealed that about 1,400 repentant Boko Haram suspects had been released by the military and rehabilitated into society.

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Just In: Police Nab Suspected Killer of Aso Rock Director

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Preliminary investigation into the suspected murder of Laetitia Naankang Dagan ‘f’, an Assistant Director with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, by the Criminal Investigation Department of the FCT Police Command led to the arrest of one Edirin Ohonre ‘m’ who is suspected to have conspired with others now at large to perpetrate the crime.

This was a revelation in a press statement signed and released on Wednesday by the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Anjuguri Manzah of the FCT Police Command.

The statement said the suspect, who is currently under interrogation, is assisting the team of police detectives with information that will lead to the arrest of the other suspects connected to the crime, that are now at large.

While commiserating with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased on the unfortunate incident, the FCT Police Command is assuring members of the public that it has deployed relevant investigative tools to unravel the circumstances surrounding the victim’s unfortunate death and ensure the arrest and prosecution of suspects behind the heinous act.

The Command is urging members of the public to disregard insinuations making the rounds in some social media platforms, and also wish to appeal to the members of the public to desist from preempting the ongoing police investigation.

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