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Okupe Escapes Two-Year Jail, Pays N13m Fine

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Dr Doyin Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was on Monday found guilty of receiving over N200m cash from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

He was therefore sentenced to two years imprisonment by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court in Abuja with an option of N500, 000 fine on each of the 26 count charges for which he was found guilty.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Ojukwu held that Okupe, who is the first defendant in the suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission violated the Money Laundering Act.

She said he had up to 4.30 pm to pay the fine option totalling N13m on all the charges he was found guilty of or be sent to the Kuje Correctional Centre.

Justice Ojukwu, in sentencing Okupe, considered the pleadings for leniency from the convict’s wife, Omolola, and his son, Adesunkanmi.

While stating that the Money Laundering Act provided that no individual or organisation shall receive any sum above N5m and N10m respectively without passing through a financial institution, the judge held that, “there is no evidence that the money passed through a financial institution” and that Okupe was not a financial institution, and that, even if the president was said to have authorised the funds, he did not say that the money must be paid in cash.

Consequently, the court found Okupe guilty in counts 34, 35, 36 to 59 and sets him free from counts 1 to 33 because the prosecution failed to establish the charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust and corruption against the NSA.

In counts 34 to 59 upon which Okupe was convicted, he was accused of receiving various sums of money ranging from N10m on different occasions from 2012 to 2015 when he was Jonathan’s aide.

The said sum, he said, was spent on running his office, payment of staff members and image laundering of the former President and his administration. But, the court, however, held that receiving such amounts in cash violated the Money Laundering Act.

Shortly after his conviction, Okupe’s counsel, Francis Oronsaye, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy because the defendant was a first-time offender, a family man who is also advanced in age and having health challenges that he is currently treating in Nigeria and outside the country.

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Sanusi Remains Emir, Says Kano Govt, Orders Removal of Bayero from Nasarawa Palace

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The Kano State Government has directed the state’s Commissioner of Police to remove the 15th Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, from the Nasarawa mini palace.

The state government claimed that Thursday’s judgement by a Federal High Court was in its favour, affirming the state government’s decision to reinstate Emir Lamido Sanusi.

The court nullified the Kano Emirate Council (Amendment No. 2) Law, 2024, that scrapped four of the five emirate councils of the state last month and removed all the five emirs, including Aminu Ado-Bayero of Kano.

The judge, Abdullahi Liman, ruled that the appointment of Mr Sanusi as Kano emir was null and void because the government failed to obey the court order restraining it from taking further action on the new emirate council law.

The judge described Governor Yusuf’s speech during the presentation of the reappointment letter to Mr Sanusi as a road to anarchy, saying that if a court order cannot be respected despite evidence of service, then the government was heading to chaos.

He voided all the actions taken by the governor after the court order, including the signing of the new emirate law and subsequent appointment of Mr Sanusi as emir, and ordered all parties in the case to maintain the status quo.

But in a swift response, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Haruna Dederi, in a press conference, said the court ruling was in their favour and Mr Sanusi remains the emir.

He said the government has already concluded arrangements for the general reconstruction and renovation of the property, including the demolition and reconstruction of the dilapidated wall fence of the Nasarawa palace with immediate effect.

“Following this court’s ruling, Kano State Government has directed the State Commissioner of Police to remove the deposed emir of the 8 metropolitan local governments from the government property where he is trespassing as the government has already concluded arrangements for the general reconstruction and renovation of the property including the demolishing and reconstruction of the dilapidated wall fence with immediate effect.

“By the ruling of the court, it has unequivocally reaffirmed the validity of the law passed by Kano State House of Assembly and assented to by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Kano State on Thursday, 23rd May 2024 by 5:10 p.m.

“This part of the judgement is very fundamental to the entire matter. Further implication of the ruling is that all actions done by the government before the emergence of the interim order of the honourable court, are equally validated.

“This means that the abolishing of the five emirates created in 2019 is validated, and the deposition of the five emirs is also sustained by the Federal High Court. By implication, this means that Muhammadu Sanusi II remains the emir of Kano.

“The judge also granted our application for the stay of proceedings until the Court of Appeal deals with the appeal before it on jurisdiction. Happily, the signing of the law and the reinstatement of His Highness, Emir Muhammad Sunusi II were done on 23rd May, 2024 before the emergence of the Interim Order which was served on us on Monday 27th May, 2024,” the state government claimed.

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Kano Emirate Tussle: Court Orders Reversal to Statusquo, Sets Aside Law That Dethroned Bayero

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A Federal High Court in Kano has set aside the procedures taken by the Kano State government to repeal the Kano Emirate Council Repeal Law 2024.

The law, recently passed by the Kano State House of Assembly on May 23, was immediately signed into law by Governor Abba Yusuf and was used to dethrone Emir Aminu Ado Bayero and reappoint Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of Kano.

Also, it was used to reverse the creation of four emirates—Bichi, Rano, Karaye, and Gaya, established by the former governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in 2020.

However, the Sarkin Dawaki Babba, Aminu Danagundi, who was represented by Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), challenged the legality of the new law and asked the court to declare the law null and void.

After hearing the motion last Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Abdullahi Liman, adjourned the ruling till this Thursday.

Counsel to the State House of Assembly and its Speaker, Eyitayo Fatogun (SAN), informed the court of a notice of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal, seeking a stay proceedings.

However, Justice Liman noted that there was no evidence that the appeal had been entered nor any formal application for a stay filed.

In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Liman set aside the action of the Kano government, ordering parties to maintain the status quo.

The judge held that the defendants were aware of the interim order granted by the court but chose to ignore it and went ahead with the implementation of the law.

Justice Liman, therefore, ruled that he would assume his coercive powers to enforce compliance with his order.

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Cholera Outbreak: Ogun Govt Puts Schools on Red Alert

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The Ogun State Government has directed school heads to ensure good health and safety of all learners and staff members to prevent the spread of Cholera within the communities.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, said preventive measures have been put in place to control the spread of the disease in schools.

According to him, the measures take effect from Wednesday, June 19, 2024 as schools resumed from the mid-term break and the Eid-el-Kabir holiday.

Some of the measures include comprehensive health talks on Cholera prevention among learners and staff, including information on symptoms, transmission routes, proper hand hygiene, and safe drinking water practices;

“Ensure availability of clean water and soap for hand washing ni school premises;

“Encourage regular hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom.

“Promote the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content as a support to hand washing;

“Regularly inspect and maintain water sources within school premises to ensure that they are safe for drinking;

“Instruct learners and staff to consume only boiled or chlorinated water and avoid consuming raw or unwashed fruits and vegetables;

“Maintain clean and hygienic school environments, including proper disposal of waste and regular cleaning of toilets and common areas;

“Collaborate closely with local health authorities and follow their guidelines for cholera prevention and control measures;

“Ensure safe food preparation by making sure that they are properly cooked and covered when not consumed immediately;

“Monitor closely the food vendors and ensure that they collect letters from health facilities certifying their fitness for the job;

“Designate Health Officers within the school to monitor learners and staff for any symptoms of cholera (like frequent watery stooling, etc) and report any suspected cases immediately to the nearest Health Care Centre and ot the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

“By adhering strictly to these preventive measures and maintaining a high level of vigilance, we can collectively safeguard our health and well-being during this critical period,” he added.

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