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Our Inauguration Legal, Valid – Ogun PDP Chairman

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The new chairman of the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Honourable Samson Bamgbose, has said the inauguration of the new State Executive Committee last Friday complied with the laws of the land and therefore valid.
Bambgose, who said this on Sunday, was reacting to a statement credited to Prince Uche Secondus and Senator Umaru Tsauri, National Chairman and National Secretary of the PDP respectively, dissociating the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party from the newly inaugurated state executive committee in Ogun State.

But Bamgbose, in a statement, noted that while the position of the NWC was not unexpected, “it is disturbing that our leaders in this great party still do not understand (or just don’t care) that all politics is local and that handing over the structures of the PDP to Ladi Adebutu (whose only desire for seeking such control is to guarantee his ambition of being the candidate of the party for the Ogun State gubernatorial elections in 2023) is a recipe for depletion of the commitment of members to the party in Ogun State and defeat at the polls.”

According to the new chairman, the issue as to which organ of the party is empowered to conduct congresses for the elections of party leaders in Ogun State had been resolved in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016, which reposed the powers in the party’s state executive committee.

He said, “The courts in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012 and successive cases (particularly Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016) have sought to create a special case for the conduct of congresses and primaries in the Ogun State Chapter of the PDP.

“Therefore, in its judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 of 24th June 2016, the Federal High Court (echoing its earlier judgment in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/347/2012) ordered (inter alia) in favour of the Adebayo Dayo led PDP Ogun State Executive Committee (OGSEC) as follows:

“That an order is granted to the Plaintiff (Adebayo Dayo led PDP OGSEC) restraining the 2nd Defendant (PDP) by itself, its agents, servants, proxies and surrogates from henceforth conducting the affairs of the PDP in Ogun State, including meetings, congresses and/or primaries except through the new officers of the party that have emerged from congresses conducted by the plaintiffs as listed in the exhibits attached to the affidavit in support of this originating summons.

“That an order is granted to the plaintiff directing the 1st defendant (INEC) to deal exclusively with the new Ogun State officers of the PDP that emerged from the congresses conducted by the plaintiffs (as listed in exhibits attached to the affidavit in support of this originating summons) in the conduct of the 2nd defendant’s (PDP’s) programmes in Ogun state including congresses and primaries of the party until the four years tenure to which they have been elected is spent.”

Bamgbose said the validity of the judgment had been challenged at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where it was dismissed.

The PDP chairman stressed that the organ empowered to conduct congresses for the PDP in Ogun State is the judicially recognized state executive committee.

He added, “Currently, the unassailable position is that congresses have been validly concluded by the outgone, judicially protected PDP OGSEC and new officers (that emerged in accordance with the terms of the orders in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/636/2016 set out above) have been validly inaugurated on the last day of the judicially recognized and specified tenure of the outgone leadership.

“My colleagues and I (following that inauguration) have now legally and validly taken over the running of the affairs of the Party in Ogun State.”

The PDP state chairman described the claim that the congresses that produced the new state executive and the inauguration contravened the interim injunction order made by Justice Inyang Ekwo, in suit No FCT/AB/CS/208/2020 on March 4, 2020 directing the maintenance of status quo until the hearing of the notice, Bamgbose as untrue because there was no interim injunction against the conduct of congresses in the state.

He explained that Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/208/2020 was instituted by some national officers of the PDP to seek a review of the judgment which had ordered that only the said authentic PDP state executive could conduct congresses or primaries of the PDP in Ogun State.

According to him, the plaintiffs had applied for an order of the court to stop the PDP OGSEC from conducting congresses and the court had refused the application and directed that the defendants be put on notice.

Bamgbose said “By March 3, 2020, when this matter came up, a preliminary objection had been filed on behalf of the Adebayo Dayo led OGSEC, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the action.

“In the face of this preliminary objection, the court could not and did not entertain any application to stop the conduct of PDP congresses in Ogun State; the Supreme Court has directed that in such circumstances the court whose jurisdiction is being challenged cannot make any order against the interest of the party challenging its jurisdiction.

“It was whilst adjourning the case for hearing of the preliminary objection and other applications that the judge on his own volition made the remark that “parties should refrain from doing anything that will tamper with the res of the action.

“This was not an order restraining conduct of congresses or for maintenance of status quo as misrepresented in PDP NWC.”

Bamgbose added that to consolidate the position of the executive, “we decided to take ourselves outside possible allegations of breach of the ‘order’ or of contempt of court by appealing against the order and filing an application for its stay. It is a known dictum in law that a party cannot be in contempt of court when he disobeys an order he has appealed against and filed an application to stay.”

Bamgbose said the state executive was willing to accord the national leadership of the party its deserved respect but the leaders must learn to operate within the ambit of the law.

He added that the state executive was amenable to working with the NWC to bring feuding groups together in the state and position the party to take over the reins of government in 2023.

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PCP Congratulates Obaseki, Edo People on ‘Deserved’ Victory

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By Eric Elezuo

The People’s Coalition Party  (PCP) has congratulated the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki and the people of Edo State for the victory at polls during the just concluded governorship election.

The party’s message was contained in press statement signed by its chairman, Don Anthony Harmattan, and made available to PointBlank.ng.

The chairman noted that the victory has demonstrated the resilience of the Edo people and that votes must count in elections

“It is a demonstration of the will of the people to actualizing their dreams in the midst of oppressors, money bags and Political God fathers who take advantage of the weakness of Nigerians to rig their protegees and stooges into office. This election has proven that when people are united and resolute, no one can take their mandate away from them. Indeed it is a victory for our democracy,” the statement read.

The PCP sees Obaseki’s victory as an eye opener to what may likely happen in 2023 while asking Nigerians to tie the line of Edo People in flushing out politics based on godfatherism.

“I wish to let Nigerians know that with this defeat of oppression, extortion and God fatherism in Edo State, 2023 will be a year of victory for Nigerians. Nigerians must unite and toe the part of the Edo People to defend their votes,” the statement said.

The chairman also commended President Muhammadu Buhari ‘for being the first to congratulate Obaseki’ and encourage others to do likewise.

“Together, our democracy will be stronger and yield dividends for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion,” the statement concluded.

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Akin Fadeyi Foundation, ABUAD in New Partnership Against Rape, Cyberbully

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Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti has partnered a non-governmental organisation, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, to fight sexual-based violence and cyberbullying.

The partnership was unveiled in a statement on Friday jointly signed by ABUAD Students’ Affairs Officer, Mr Babatunde Wahab, a lecturer at the institution, Dr Olumide Olugbemi-Gabriel, and the Founder/Executive Director, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Mr Akin Fadeyi.

The statement is titled, ‘Afe Babalola partners FlagIt App to combat rape and cyberbully.’

Speaking on behalf of ABUAD President and Chancellor, Chief Afe Babalola, as well as the institution’s management, Wahab commended AFF’s FlagIt App for helping to contain the menace of sexual abuse and cyberspace criminality in general.

The FlagIt App is a mobile application developed by AFF to report corruption, particularly the activities of rapists and cyberbullies in society.

ABUAD decried that criminality among the youth was growing at an alarming rate, noting that emerging criminal tendencies and trends were being enabled by advancement in Information and Communications Technology and a corruption-ridden larger society.

“This is why we are excited to see the confidence and speed with which FlagIt rose to the occasion in support of the victims, who are now on the road to getting the needed closure and justice,” Wahab said.

“The onerous task you perform as well as the great efforts which you put into it have been experienced first-hand with your recent involvement in cases of coordinated cyberbullying attacks launched by some unscrupulous persons against some female students of our institution.”

Wahab extolled the manner the AFF and its FlagIt were handling the documentation of criminal tendencies and persons, offering at the same time ready evidence in the pursuit of justice.

“It is in view of the aforementioned that I, in my capacity as Students’ Affairs Officer together with my partner, Dr Olumide Olugbemi-Gabriel, who specialises among others in gender-based oppression and exploitation of women/girls shall be glad to partner with your foundation to stem the rising tide of criminal offences, especially domestic violence, sexual assaults and all forms of cybercrime within and outside ABUAD,” he said.

In his remarks, Fadeyi described the partnership with ABUAD as “a very exciting development.”

He said, “Since we launched the FlagIt App as a mobile application to report corruption, we’ve been uncovering the nefarious activities of rapists and cyberbullies in our society. This has been accompanied by such audacious impudence of trading with or threatening to expose explicit pictures of victims who attempt to resist the pressure of blackmail. This is another troubling element of our systemic decay as a nation that we have confronted swiftly.

“This partnership with Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti bears testimony to the traction our activities have gained and we indeed commend the Chancellor, Aare Afe Babalola; the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Smaranda Olarinde, the Students’ Affairs Officer, Mr Babatunde Wahab, and Dr Olumide Olugbemi-Gabriel for their unwavering commitment to working with us to stamp out gender-based violence and exploitation of women/girls in ABUAD and the nation as a whole.”

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How Hushpuppi laundered U.S. Unemployment Benefits – FBI

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Fresh evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has revealed how Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpuppi, a Nigerian Instagram sensation, was involved in laundering unemployment benefits meant for citizens of the United States.

The scheme is one of the insurance programmes provided for workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet certain other eligibility requirements. The joint state-federal programme provides cash benefits to these workers.

Hushpuppi, who was arrested in UAE over money laundering and cyber fraud allegations, is currently facing charges in the U.S.

He is accused of facilitating computer intrusion, Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud and money laundering and has been arraigned in an American court in California. His trial begins on October 13.

He pleaded not guilty to the four counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

Nevertheless, in the affidavit filed on September 14, with the United States District Court, Central District of California, Andrew John Innocenti, an FBI agent trained on foiling cybercrime indicted Mr Abbas in the outcome of his investigation.

Mr Innocenti said he discovered that Hushpuppi, using his email address, registered on a website whizzlog.com (“Whizzlog”) which is a marketplace for buying US Bank Logs and money laundering.

He said although, based on his training, sophisticated cybercriminals do not use their personal email address in registering on such websites but Hushpuppi did.

“ABBAS email address contained registration contamination from Whizz Log. It also contained numerous confirmations and receipts of bank logs he purchased. One of such messages read “Your order was successful. You have purchased (the “Financial Institution”) bank log with a balance of $9,839.44. Purchase Price: $955. The bank log details are in your account. Login to your Whizz Log account to view.”

“From the example above. I observed ABBAS buys a bank log with a balance of over S9,000 for as low as $900. This prompted me to visit the website whizzlog.com for more findings.”

After creating an account, the FBI agent discovered that Whizz Log sells only accounts which have been used to claim unemployment benefits. “Hackers who have claimed unemployment benefits of victims in the United States sell them off in bulk on Whizz Log.”

The prices of bank logs on Whizz Log range from $600 to S1,000 and balance in accounts sold ranges from $4,000 to as high as $12,000, he noted.

For easier payment, the bank logs are available for purchase instantly and payment is made using Bitcoin.

“Cyber criminals who purchase the bank logs can launder the money off through various means. The favorite means on Whizz Log is to buy Bitcoins with the balance in the bank log Whizz Log specifies if a bank log is “BTC Compatible” or not.

“Based on my training and experience, a bank account is “BTC Compatible” if you can buy Bitcoins from within the bank log. Some banks allow clients to directly purchase Bitcoins from their online bank account. Such banks are “BTC Compatible”. A buyer of a “BTC Compatible” bank log would login to the account, navigate to services provided by the bank and select to buy Bitcoins. He can use the whole balance in the account to buy Bitcoins. The Bitcoins will be sent to the criminal within minutes.”

While going through one of the bank accounts bought on the website, Mr Innocenti found that the account was recently opened.

“All the credits into the account were from the Department of Unemployment Assistance totaling $7,302.15,” he stated.

Since Mr Abbas had pleaded that he should be prosecuted with complaints rather than a grand jury indictment, this new evidence will be added to the previous ones.

If found guilty and convicted, the popular Instagram sensation could spend the next 20 years in prison.

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