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Members of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja on Tuesday staged a protest over the continued detention of their colleague, Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna, by the Department of State Services.
The protesters marched to the National Human Rights Commission to condemn the continued incarceration of the lawyer despite a valid and subsisting order of the court releasing him on bail.
Chairman of the association, Bulus Atsen, said the continued detention of the lawyer was an affront to the rule of law and democratic principles.
The protesters thereafter submitted a formal petition to the commission and office of Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice.
Responding on behalf of the commission, the Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, said the organisation would write the DSS to furnish them with details of the case.
He said the commission does not support impunity and urged all government institutions to respect the rule of law and court order.
The lawyer is being held on the orders of Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor, over a Facebook post that he visited a shrine outside the country where he swore an oath of allegiance and secrecy to a former governor of the state.
A Federal High Court in Umuahia ordered for the lawyer’s release or be charged to a court of competent jurisdiction.
Two weeks after the order was made, the DSS have neither released him nor charged him to court in violation of the order of the court.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19).
However, a repeat test of the virus on his samples carried out by the officials of the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Friday night has returned negative.
A tacit statement by the State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, on Saturday morning stated that by the new development, the governor is now free of the virus.
The statement read thus: “To God the glory of God, repeat COVID-19 test conducted by Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) on samples submitted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Thursday, 2nd July, 2020, returned negative result on Friday, 3rd July, 2020.
“Governor Ikpeazu is therefore deemed free of the virus according to the extant guidelines of NCDC and the World Health Organization (WHO). Thank you.”
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has recovered from COVID-19 after receiving treatment for three weeks.
The governor had announced that he tested positive for the disease on June 8.
SaharaReporters gathered that Ikpeazu made attempts to be flown abroad but the restriction on international flights ban in many countries around the world and his positive status of the virus put paid to that move.
But in a statement on Saturday, John Kalu, the state’s Commissioner for Information, said the governor’s samples submitted on Thursday returned negative on Friday.
The statement reads, “To the glory of God, repeat COVID-19 test conducted by Nigeria Center for Disease Control on samples submitted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Thursday, 2nd July, 2020, returned negative result on Friday, 3rd July, 2020.
“Governor Ikpeazu is therefore deemed free of the virus according to the extant guidelines of NCDC and the World Health Organisation.”
The Management of Trademore International Holding Limited has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 48 hours ultimatum to unseal its ‘wrongly’ sealed estates.
A statement issued Thursday and signed by the company’s legal representative, Nwoke Kalu, said that EFCC had, without due diligence, sealed the following estates: Luxury Apartments, Millennium Apartments, and Ogwumabiri Event center located along Bank Road and Finbars Road, Umuahia, Abia state.
According to the statement, the Trademore estates are owned by a private businessman and have been wrongly marked as properties of a PDP chieftain under the agency’s investigation.
The company lamented that the decision of the anti-graft agency to seal its estates could affect the trust its subscribers reposed in the company which it had built steadfastly over the years.
It stated: “As a company, we are deeply startled by this development as the owner of these properties is a successful business man with no involvement in politics whatsoever.
“We expected a thorough due diligence from an organisation like EFCC before going ahead to mark our housing estates,” it said.
“This shouldn’t be happening because it sends a bad signal to those planning to invest in Nigeria. There should be an enabling environment for businesses like ours to operate without being caught in political games or be victims of inaccuracies.”
The company stated categorically that it estates in Abuja currently accommodate over 30 staff of the EFCC.
It therefore urged the EFCC to unseal its estates to enable it return to normal business and also tender an apology forthwith, as its integrity and the interest of its clients remain paramount.
The management of Trademore International Holding Limited has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 48 hours ultimatum to unseal its wrongly sealed estates.
According to a statement by the company's legal representative, Nwoke John Kalu Esq., the anti-graft agency has without due diligence, sealed the following estates: Luxury Apartments, Millennium Apartments, and Ogwumabiri Event Centre located along Bank Road and Finbars Road, Umuahia, Abia State.
The company therefore calls for an immediate removal of the notice of seizure placed on the respective estates.
According to the statement, the Trademore estates are owned by a private businessman and have been wrongly marked as properties of a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain under the agency's investigation.
The company therefore states emphatically that those properties do not belong to any politician, or a PDP chieftain for that matter.
The statement reads, "As a company, we are deeply startled by this development as the owner of these properties is a successful business man with no involvement in politics whatsoever.
"We expected a thorough due diligence from an organization like EFCC before going ahead to mark our housing estates."
The company detailed that they are a reputable establishment with many years of experience in the real estate sector and equally lamented that this can now affect the trust of subscribers that they have built steadfastly over the years.
"This shouldn't be happening because it sends a bad signal to those planning to invest in Nigeria. There should be an enabling environment for businesses like ours to operate without being caught in political games or be victims of inaccuracies," the statement added.
Trademore International Holding Limited is according to the statement owned by a successful developer whom has been able to make significant contributions to affordable housing in Nigeria with its estates in numerous states including Enugu, Benue, Imo, Nasarawa, Lagos as well as in Abuja.
As a matter of fact, the company's estates in Abuja, they say, currently accommodate over 30 members of staff of the EFCC.
"Our company has no involvement in politics. We are mainly focused on helping the country address its housing needs. Our decision to invest in Abia state is only in a bid to not only contribute to the state's economy and provide decent affordable housing for the people, but to also provide opportunities for employment," the statement further revealed.
The company therefore urges the EFCC to act as soon as stated to enable it return to normal business and should endeavour to also tender an apology forthwith, as their integrity and the interest of their clients remain paramount to them.
DSS Still Detaining Nigerian Lawyer, Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna, Without Charges Despite Fulfilling Bail Conditions
The Department of State Services is still holding Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna, a lawyer arrested on the orders of Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor, over a Facebook post.
He was alleged to have posted that Ikpeazu visited a shrine outside the country where he swore to an oath of allegiance and secrecy to former governor of the state.
Ogbonna has denied being the originator of the post but that he only reshared it.
The lawyer was granted bail by a Federal High Court sitting at Umuahia, the state capital, on April 29 but rearrested hours later by the DSS.
On the day he was granted bail, government officials led by Chief of Staff to the governor, Dr. A.C Agbazuere, who incidentally is also a lawyer, accompanied by officials of the DSS forcefully attempted to rearrest Ogbonna within the premises of the Federal High Court but was resisted by prison officials and lawyers present because the bail term was yet to be perfected.
Upon obtaining the necessary documentation in the presence of prison warders, they drove to the Correctional Center at Afara Umuahia, rearrested Ogbonna and whisked him away to an unknown destination.
“He was released to the DSS officials and officials of Abia State Government on orders from above, they really wanted to deal with him,” a prison source told SaharaReporters at the time.
He is also yet to be charged to court 45 days after he was rearrested and detained.
After Five Months In Prison For Alleged Fraud, Ex-Abia Governor, Kalu, Resumes Senate Plenary On Tuesday
Aformer governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Tuesday resumed for plenary at the upper wing of the National Assembly after he was released from Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja.
SaharaReporters recall that Kalu was jailed in December 2019 over allegation of misappropriation of Abia State's funds to the tune of N7.6bn during his tenure from 1999 to 2007.
Speaking with journalists, Kalu said he was back to work and ready to serve his people.
Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State, has tested positive for COVID-19.
He has directed Ude Chukwu, his Deputy, to act in his capacity until he recovers.
John Kalu, Commissioner for Information in the state, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday.
The statement reads, “Recall that on Saturday, 30th May, 2020, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu volunteered his sample for COVID-19 test and subsequently directed members of the state Executive Council and those of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to submit themselves for the same test.
“On Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020, the result of Governor Ikpeazu’s test returned negative.
“On Thursday, 4th June, 2020, the governor submitted another sample at the Nigeria Center for Disease Control laboratory for confirmation and the result returned positive.
“As a result, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has gone into isolation, as required by relevant NCDC protocols, and he is being managed by a competent team of medical practitioners with a view to nursing him back to good health.”
Two aides of Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has tested negative for COVID-19.
In a statement on Tuesday, the governor encouraged residents of the state to get involved in the fight against the virus.
He said, “Leading the battle from the front, as your governor, I and all members of the first family subjected ourselves to COVID-19 tests on Saturday, 30th May, 2020 and the results came out negative today.
“Unfortunately, results of two of my aides who also subjected themselves to COVID-19 tests were positive while others turned in negative results.”
The state government had on Sunday directed members of the executive council and Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19 to undergo Coronavirus tests.
The directive came following the outcome of tests conducted on close family members of a commissioner in the state, Dr Solomon Ogunji, who died last week.
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Moziano Movenchy: Life of a dedicated philanthropist
I was moved by the thoughts of those who don’t have any other means of survival. Nigerians are hustling to feed themselves and families. Only few people would remember the motherless homes. That’s why I took out to reach to orphanages including Satya Sai International Organization’s National Headquarters. I donated food items and cash to them. They really need it this period,” he stated.
Hinting on his philanthropic Foundation, he added, “The major focus of Fast Life Foundation is to help as much orphans as possible. Feed, cloth, school, skill acquisition, health care and more.”