Sen. Shehu Sani has lauded the contributions of a Jamaican-Nigerian journalist, Lindsay Barrett, to the unity of Nigeria and Africa as he turns 79.
Sani, made this known in a birthday message to the septuagenarian in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said it was desire for Africa’s greatness that made Barrett, a journalist, poet, novelist and playwright with international recognition, to come to Nigeria in 1966, became a citizen in 1980s and remained in Nigeria.
Sani, a former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central, noted that besides becoming a Nigerian citizen, most of Barrett’s literary works centered on African unity, showing his belief in Africa’s greatness.
Sani, disclosed that he paid Barrett a visit recently in his Abuja home, appreciating him for dedicating his life to preaching love and unity among Nigerians and Africa at large.
“My visit to him was to appreciate his professionalism in journalism and his believe and faith in Nigeria.
“A man who came to Nigeria in 1966, naturalised and remained in Nigeria since then must be seen, considered and accepted as a true Nigerian.
“He has seen through our turbulent times. Has seen the best and the most challenging moments in our history.
“Barrett is an example of pan Africanism. He is an example of a believer in African unity and brotherliness.’’
According to Sani, he could have chosen to go to America or Europe but here was a man who came to Nigeria for a literary event just years after our independence and has remained faithful to Nigeria.
“Barrett deserves to be celebrated and appreciated by the Federal Government and he deserves all the support that he needs at this challenging moment of his life with his health,’’ he said.
The former lawmaker, wished Barrett long life and good health on his 79th birthday, while stating that, “all that needs to be done should be done to assist him and his family.’’
Meanwhile, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, Barrett thanked God for witnessing his 79th birthday.
He expressed hope in the greatness of Nigeria, saying some of the challenges bedeviling the country were stepping stones to its greatness.
The Septuagenarian, urged Nigerians to continue to keep faith, noting that once Nigeria got it right, other African countries would get it right.
He said one of the ways to achieving that was to continue to protect the sacredness of democracy.
He said, “I will like to tell Nigerians that they should be careful with this thing called democracy.
“Democracy is a very fragile gift. It is a gift because it is supposed to give people representation but the way we are treating it is very dangerous.
“If we do not take democracy seriously as a gift and we begin to treat it as something that we can play with, we might run into a very serious roadblock in future.
“We should be careful. We must take the idea of representation as sacred.’’
On the role of the media in the country’s democratic process, Barrett noted that it had contributed meaningfully to the attainment of sustainable democracy.
He, however, warned that the social media should not be allowed to denigrate the important role of the traditional media in nation building.
He warned that, while the social media was expected to play complementary role, it was gradually rendering the traditional media redundant.
“The social media has rendered the traditional media almost redundant and we should beware of what will come out of that.
“The traditional media has a role to play in democracy and that is the important thing that we should remember.
“We should always consider that the regulatory strictures the traditional media offers should be valuable and we should be careful because social media seems to be free for all,’’ he said.
Barrett urged journalists to always cater to their health in spite of the demands of the job.
He advised that, “given my experience, please take good care of your health in your youth because in your old age you may regret it.’’
NAN reports that Barrett, a Jamaican-born poet and journalist was born on Sept. 15, 1941, came to Nigeria in 1966 and became a Nigerian citizen in the mid-80s.
He was once an editor for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, a freelancer for BBC World Service and his articles feature on some Nigerian national newspapers.
Some of his works as a poet and novelist were concerned with issues of black identity, dispossession and survival of the descendants of black Africans.
Notable among his several works was his debut novel, “Song for Mumu’’ and the books, “The State of Black Desire’’ and “A Memory of Rivers’’.
Barrett also lectured in the University of Ibadan and had received several accolades and awards around the world.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Sadiya Hamza
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Kaduna State chapter, on Monday, lifted the suspension on Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi and six other top members of the party.
The announcement was contained in a statement issued in Kaduna by Felix Hyat, the party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman.
“The suspension imposed on Sen. Hunkuyi, Dr. Matoh Dogara and Hon. Ibrahim Lazuru is hereby lifted.
“Alh. Imam Lawal and Col. Dauda Albehu Torah (rtd.) are advised to go and regularise their membership of the party in their respective wards.
“And Dr. John Danfulani, Ubale Salmanduna who were expelled can register freshly in their respective wards.
“The party calls on those concerned to embrace this goodwill offered and join hands for the unity, progress and growth of the party in our state and the country in general,” Hyat said.
According to him, the State High Court, Kaduna, had discharged an Order it had issued in favour of R-APC, restraining the PDP at National, State and Local Government levels from continuing with its remaining Congresses in the State.
He said the order had also restrained the officials of the party in the state from performing any party function.
“On the 27/07/2020, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP met with some key members of the party from the state where it was resolved among other things that:
“All court cases instituted against the party be withdrawn within 48 hours, following which disciplinary measures imposed against those concerned will be lifted.
“As of today, no single court case has been withdrawn.
“However, arising from the discharge of the restraining order today by the state High Court, Kaduna, the leadership of the party has resolved to lift the suspension.
“We urge the affected members to embrace peace and unite for the growth of the party,” Hyat said.
The PDP on May 17, suspended Sen Hunkuyi and six other members of the party for alleged anti-party activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Sen Hunkuyi and Sen Shehu Sani had left the All Progressives Congress (APC) following unresolved differences with Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
Hunkuyi joined the PDP and contested the governorship primaries and lost the party’s ticket to a former House of Representatives member, Isah Ashiru.
Sen. Shehu Sani who joined the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) contested for senate seat under the party, but lost to Uba Sani of the APC.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
The Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday adjourned the ongoing trial of Sen. Shehu Sani until Oct. 19 to allow the EFCC produce a vital exhibit in the matter.
At the resumed trial on Thursday, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Abba Mohammed told the court that his next witness, PW9, was in court but that he did not have an essential exhibit he was to tender in evidence.
“I have a witness in court and I am ready to proceed but I can only open with the witness and will not be able to conclude his evidence.
” This is because the witness told me that the monetary exhibit of 25,000 dollars has been taken from the EFCC custody to the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), for safety, which is in line with world best practices.”
Mohammed prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him retrieve the money from the CBN to tender as an exhibit in court.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo said that he would not allow a witness give piecemeal evidence.
By consent of counsel, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Oct. 19 to 22 for continuation of trial.
The EFCC dragged Sani to court over alleged bribery and advanced fee fraud.
The anti-graft agency slammed a two-count charge on Sani bordering on name-dropping, influence-peddling and obtaining the sum of 25,000 dollars from from Alhaji Sani Dauda, Chairman of ASD Motors, under false pretence.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo and Laurreta Onochie, an Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari have reacted to the death of the legendary Reggae star, Majek Fashek.
The Raggae star a.k.a rain maker, died after battling with cancer for nearly a year.
Mr Uzoma Omenka, his manager confirmed the news of his death on the singer’s Instagram page on Tuesday, adding that the Raggae Star also known as Rain Maker died at 11.45 pm on June 1, Nigerian time.
Omenka said the singer died in New York, where he was receiving treatment, adding that the doctors advised he should be moved close to his family, which informed his being moved to New York where his wife and three sons live.
He said contrary to insinuation that the Raggae legend died in London, he was moved from London to New York in September 2020 on the advice of the doctors that he should stay close to the family.
He said Majek was separated from his family for 10 years until last year when they were reunited on the advice of his doctors that he should be close to his family.
Majek was said to have died at age of 57 as he was born March 7, 1963.
However, the minister in a tweet said, ” R.I.P my big brother, Mr. Majekodunmi Fasheke (aka Majek Fashek), the ‘Rain Maker’ and extraordinarily gifted musician.
“They don’t make them like you anymore. Your remake of the song Hotel California remains one of my favorites and, of course, the ever green, Send Down the Rain!” Keyamo said.
Similar, Senator Shehu Sani inrin histhis reaction said, “some years ago I met Majek Fashek near a train station in New York before he returned to Nigeria, he was a shadow of the man many of us loved decades ago.
According to him, Majek rode through a rough and dangerous terrain in life, he tried to pick up and now is gone, he was an unforgettable legend.
Laurreta Onochie, an Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari said ” at last he rests, he escapes the life that held him captive.
According to her, h”escaped a world where talented people are milked till nothing is left; where no vice can touch him.
“But we won’t forget you as younger people, your music moved our feet and gladdened our souls, sleep well,” she said.
A former lawmaker in the 8th Assembly, Sen. Shehu Sani on Thursday, donated food items, face masks and hand sanitizer to inmates in the Kaduna Correctional Centres.
Sani, who was the Committee Chairman, on Local and Foreign Debt at the time, said the move was part of efforts to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) into the various custodial centres and places of worship in the state.
He also donated same items to newsmen in the state, to also help prevent the spread of the pandemic in the state.
The Senator who represents Kaduna Central also made similar donations to Bishara Baptist Church and a Mosque in Rigasa Community, saying he had decided to move from talking to working the talk, in the prevention of the killer disease.
“What I did is to demonstrate that it is not only about asking people to isolate, go for test or wash your hands, but also providing them with the tools to actually do it.
“Our government has the resources to provide enough face masks to all our 200 million people and there is enough resources to provide hand sanitizers to all of this population.
“It is not just enough to ask people to close down their businesses, shops and their means of livelihoods without providing them with incentives or palliative measures.
“What I did is to also demonstrate my love for the people and desire to contribute my quota toward the prevention of the spread of the dreaded disease,” he said.
According to him, there is need for politicians to seek what they can do for the masses at this critical time, the same way they approached them during the electioneering campaigns.
“It is unfortunate that our politicians are quick to share rice, salt and fabrics during electioneering campaigns, but cannot provide hand sanitizers, face mask at a tragic period of an emergency like this,” he said.
While appealing to citizens to unite in action against the killer disease, he warned against
paying lip service to the reality of the dreaded virus.
Sani also expressed worries that some religious leaders had refused to heed to the advice given by medical experts and other constituted authorities on the importance of isolation, washing of hands social distancing.
”We have seen how some religious leaders have decided to engage in sermons and preaching that undermined efforts at containing this dreaded virus,” he said.
He however, appealled to government at all levels to provide palliatives to citizens to cushion the effect of the stay at home directives.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court on Wednesday in Abuja frowned at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly publishing false information on Sen. Shehu Sani, who is standing trial in court.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the EFCC had, on Jan. 27, arraigned the former lawmaker, who was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly “collecting 25,000 dollars″ in the name of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
Sani is facing trial on two counts of bribery and advanced fee fraud by the EFCC.
The EFCC on Feb. 25 published a news story on their official twitter handle ‘@officialEFCC’ with the headline ‘EFCC presents witnesses Against Shehu Sani Over Alleged $10m Fraud’.
Sani’s Counsel, Mr Abdul Ibrahim brought the attention of the court to a publication by the EFCC on their verified official twitter handle, @officialEFCC on Feb.25, indicating that Sani was before the court in respect to a $10 million fraud rather than and 25,000 dollars.
“The story they put out there for the public is that he was charged for $10m which is not true,” he said.
The defence counsel, tendered a print out copy of the publication before the court as evidence.
EFCC Counsel, Mr Abba Mohammed,said that he was not aware of the publication and the news came to him as a shock.
“I view this as an attempt to instigate the court against the prosecution.
“It is just a print out of a purported EFCC handle and anybody can do it,” he said.
Justice Ekwo immediately cautioned the prosecutor saying ‘Anybody can do anything when they are allowed to do so’.
The Judge further warned parties to observe and comment on happenings in court only as there should be no commentary on the substance of the court.
“Parties should trust that the will of law in this matter will be achieved.
“I don’t want to be put in a position of being distracted from doing my duty.
“The records of court are public documents that can be applied for so this should not happen again,” he said.
Earlier, the EFCC presented it’s third and fourth witnesses in the trial of former Sani.
The third Prosecution Witness (PW3), Mr Remi Jones, said he had worked with Zenith Bank as a compliance officer for over four years and was requested on Jan.13 by the prosecution to present the bank details of one Mr Ahmed Abubakar.
Jones said some of the documents requested for were Abubakar’s account opening package, statement of account opening.
“I requested for the account opening package from the domicile branch, I got a copy, I certified it, printed the statement of account, I compared the breakdown with what is stored on the system, I found it to be correct and also certified it.
“ I also attached the certificate of identification, stating the conditions and our response was sent back to the EFCC,” he said.
The anti-graft counsel, Mohammed, tendered the retrieved documents before the court as Exhibit.
PW3 further said that based on the account statement of Abubakar,on Nov.20,2019 there was an inflow of N5 million from ASD Motors Nigeria Limited account domicile to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
During cross examination, Defence Counsel, Abdul Ibrahim asked PW3 if the defendant was the beneficiary.
Jones responded that he wasn’t aware of who the beneficiary was but it wasn’t Shehu Sani according to the account statement placed before him.
The fourth Prosecution witness (PW4), Mr Abubakar Ahmed, a Bureau de Change operator, said that on Nov.19, 2019, Mohammed Sani, Son of Dauda Sani informed him that his dad needed him to do a transaction with him.
“On Nov.20,2019, Dauda Sani called me that he wanted to change dollar equivalent to N5 million.
“Dauda Sani brought a GTB cheque to me in his worth 13,930 dollars.
“I gave my staff the cheque to go to the bank to do a transfer from GTB to my personal zenith bank account because the cheque was of GTB and I received the alert,” he said.
PW4 said he didn’t see the defendant at Sani’s house and had never met him in person but had seen him only in news.
Prosecution counsel said he had listed 14 (fourteen) witnesses in the case and had presented 4 (four) before the court.
Justice Ekwo adjourned until May 4, May 5 and May 6 for continuation of trial.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Two staff of the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), on Tuesday, gave their evidence in the ongoing trial of Sen. Shehu Sani, former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Beckley Ojo and Elizabeth Nwoka, who were compliace officers with the bank, testified before Justice Inyang Ekwo in
a two-count charge of bribery and advance fee fraud levied against Sani by the EFCC.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the EFCC had, on Jan. 27, arraigned the former lawmaker,who
was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly “collecting 25,000 dollars″ in the name of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magic.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Federal Government to pay a N200, 000 fine to Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
Justice Ojukwu, who gave the order after Aminu Alilu, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), sought for an adjournment to enable him serve the defendants the amended charges.
Justice Alilu held that the action was an attempt to delay the case.
She described the application for an adjournment as “frivolous.”
Nigeria News Agency reports that Sowore, alongside Bakare, was initially standing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking, among others.
He was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Aug. 3, 2019, ahead of a nationwide protest.
They were, however, released, on Dec. 24, 2019.
At the resumed trial, Alilu had informed the court that the AGF had taken over the matter.
According to him, to that effect, we have filed an amended two-count charge.
He, however, said he was yet to effect service of same to the defendants, while asking for an adjournment.
“With kind permission of the court, we plan to do this after today’s proceeding. That is my application My Lord,” he said.
Justice Ojukwu then asked him what he meant by his remark.
“I don’t understand? When did you take over the matter,” she asked.
Alilu, who told the court that the office of the AGF took over the case late December, attributed the delay in service to a total review of the case file.
“How long does it take to review facts of the matter? Or this is how you are going to prosecute this case?” the judge, who was visibly angry, asked.
When the AGF lawyer apologised for the delay, Ojukwu said: “I do not like apology. You better drop your apology and do the right.”
In his argument, Counsel to the defendants, Adeyinka-Olumide Fusika, disagreed with Alilu on hid application.
Fusika, who told the court that the AGF was not prepare for the trial, asked the judge to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution.
He said he was surprised that Alilu, who signed and filed the initial 7-count charge on Sept. 21, 2019, could be telling the court that he was just taken over the case.
“I am not sure my learned friend is not the same A.K. ALILU that signed the first charge served on us.
“They filed this and they are now coming to court to say they are taken over the case. Taken over from who? From itself?” he asked.
Fusika also told the judge that early in the morning, the defence team met the AGF lawyer to ask if he had any fresh application but told none.
He said such action was to unjustly punish the defendants.
The lawyer argued that the prosecution had, not less than three times, disobeyed the court order, even when the judge ordered for the defendants to be released.
He said even when the judge ordered the prosecution to serve on the defence all the necessary processes in the trial, the AGF still came to the court with excuses.
“We apply that the case be struck out for want of diligent prosecution. It seems they are only interested in the drama.
“We started this since August 2019. Sowore is a family man, his business is almost grounded.
“He is marooned here in Abuja because of the court order but for the effort of well wishers, he would have been sleeping under the bridge.
“For Mr Bakare, he cannot leave Oshogbo and Abuja. This is a way of punishing my clients before they are tried,” he remarked.
He added that the AGF had no hope in the trial.
“Do you have any hope?” he asked Alilu.
According to Fusika, I will bring my clients any time they are ready with the charges.
“I will undertake for them. The prosecution are a law to themselves because they have disobeyed you many times even though they are law officers,” he said.
However, Alilu told the court that nobody approached him for fresh application.
Justice Ojukwu then asked who was lying between the defence and prosecution counsel.
“You see why people don’t trust lawyers? How can you do something like that and now denying it?” the judge asked.
Ojukwu then asked if the court registrar was aware of the discourse between the counsel.
In his explanation, the registrar told the court that the defence team met him prior to the commencement of the case if the prosecution had filed any fresh application but that he told them to meet the AGF lawyer.
Alilu, however, argued that the prosecution was entitled to five adjournments before a case could be struck out, citing relevant section of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
“We have also informed the court that we are ready to proceed in this matter considering the fact that the prosecution has not been granted adjournment up to that time.
The AGF lawyer, who said the request was not really an adjournment since the matter was already slated for the next day, said all their witnesses were ready to testify in the trial.
“We make this application in the interest of justice,” he said.
Alilu then served Fusika with the amended charge in the open court.
In her ruling, Justice Ojukwu, who described the application by the prosecution as frivolous, said the action was an attempt to delay the case.
She, however. awarded a fine of N200, 000 against the AGF which must be paid before the commencement of the trial in the next adjourned date.
“It is eiither you tell the court that you have paid tomorrow (Thursday) or you brandish the N200, 000 in the open court and give the defendants,” she held.
Ojukwu then adjourned the hearing till Feb. 13 for continuation.
NAN reports that the two-count charge by the AGF include: Conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and t
reasonable felony, contrary to Section 41 (a) of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
NAN also reports that the court witnessed the attendance of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu and Sen. Shehu Sani, among others.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, stood down hearing in a bail application filed by Sen. Shehu Sani’s, untill noon.
Justice Ekwo stood the matter down, after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned the former lawmaker, who represents Kaduna Central.
Sani, who was dressed in a white caftan and red cap, pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge in the dock.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the former lawmaker is being charged for allegedly collecting $15,000 from one Sani Dauda on Nov. 20, 2019, under false pretence of promising to give Ibrahim Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in other to influence some pending cases in court.
He was also alleged to have collected $10,000 from Dauda to bribe Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the EFCC.
After the charges were read to the defendant, A.A Ibrahim, who represented Sani prayed the court to grant him leave to move his client’s bail application.
However, Abba Mohammed, counsel to the EFCC, disagreed with the request.
He prayed the court for a remand order against the senator, arguing that he was just being served with the bail application today.
He also asked the court to fix a date for trial to commence.
Justice Ekwo, after listening to the arguments of the counsel to the prosecution and defendant, stood down the case until 12 noon to give the prosecution time to study the defendant’s bail application.
He said the plea for bail would be decided when the court reconvenes.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says Sen. Shehu Sani, who is being detained by the commission for alleged extortion, has a case to answer.
The commission made this known on Friday in a statement by its acting spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade, which debunked insinuations that that the anti-craft agency was persecuting the former lawmaker.
It stated that Sani had case to answer and that those defending him were driven by ignorance of the alleged offence.
The EFCC’s statement came after a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), reportedly demanded immediate release of Sani from the commission’s custody.
Reports quoted the Executive Director of SERAP, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, of accusing the EFCC of violating both national and international laws with the ex-lawmaker’s detention.
“The EFCC has taken note of insinuations and phantom claims that it is `persecuting’ Senator Sani, because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The commission wishes to state that Senator Sani is currently facing criminal investigation, and being detained by the EFCC in very conducive environment, based on a valid court order.
“Invariably, claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights, are merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims.
“Let it be stated clearly that Senator Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping.
“Particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC,” it stated.
Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the Senate on the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) platform between 2015 and 2019, is a strong critic of the Buhari administration.
The former lawmaker had also reportedly alleged that the Federal Government was trying to silence him using the EFCC.
“For certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect, who is being probed for a serious offence as the one committed by Sani shows that they are not really conversant with his offence.
“It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains. This is quite unfortunate,” the EFCC said.
Edited by: Dianabasi Effiong/Muhammad Suleiman Tola