The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), via the Air Task Force has commenced the conduct of operation thunder strike against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) in the Northeast.
In a statement signed by the Director of Public Relation and Information of the NAF, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, he explained that the Operation is an independent Air Interdiction by the NAF to attack selected BHT locations that are currently inaccessible to troops on account of the onset of the rainy season.
He added that on the first day of the Operation, air strikes from NAF aircraft resulted in the destruction of BHT structures and the death of all the insurgents at a settlement in Gargash and at another one, East of Gargash, both in Borno State.
The statement reads in part, “a NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft had observed BHT presence over a settlement in Gargash, following which the ATF deployed NAF fighter aircraft to attack the location”.
“After the successful attacks, some of the fighter platforms proceeded to an adjoining target, East of Gargash, where BHT activities were also observed.
“As a result of the attacks, the BHT structures within the settlements were destroyed and set on fire, killing some insurgents while some fled to hide under some trees at a nearby bush”.
“Consequently, another wave of air strikes was launched to strafe the hideouts, killing many of the fleeing insurgents”.
“Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, was still in Maiduguri, where he had gone to motivate the frontline personnel while also obtaining firsthand information on the progress of the Operation”.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N10 billion for the rehabilitation ofcommunitiesaffected by violent attacks in parts of the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the disclosure Tuesday during a visit to two internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State.
Several communities in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Kaduna have suffered violent attacks as a result of conflicts between farmers and herders; as well as attacks by bandits.
Mr Osinbajo arrived Benue Tuesday afternoon where he visited the IDP camps and met with various groups in the state.
According to his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, in a series of tweets, the Vice President took with him “a message of hope and restoration.”
He said Mr Osinbajo was received by Governor Samuel Ortom, accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and the Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other federal government officials.
Mr Osinbajo’s first port of call was Abagena camp which houses more than 34,000 persons.
•Death toll of Nigerians rises to 118 in two years
THE death toll of Nigerians killed in South Africa has continued to climb with two young Nigerians being the latest victims.
The News Agency ofNigeria(NAN) reports that the latest killings bring the number of Nigerians killed in the former apartheid enclave since February, 2016 to 118.
Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mostly young people, reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates.
Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa Mr. Habib Miller told NAN in a telephone interview that two additional Nigerians were killed in South Africa in the past eight days.
Miller, who spoke from Pretoria, South Africa, identified the latest victims as Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo community in the Umnneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
He named the other victim as Chidi Ibebuike, a native of Uturu in the Isikwuato Local Government Area also in Abia State.
“Ochuba, a property owner, was shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African on May 5. They were shot dead as they visited the tenant occupying Ochuba’s house to collect rent.
“The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg and Ibebuike was shot dead at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13.
“Ibebuike’s car was subsequently, snatched by yet-to-be identified gunmen.
“Nigeria Union Chairman in Mpumalanga Province Mr. Amadi and other compatriots have reported the incident to the South African police authorities and investigation is underway.”
Miller said the latest killings came on the heels of the murder of ThankGod Okoro, a native of Ogbaku in the Agwu Local Government Area of Enugu State on April 9 and that of Clement Nwaogu, a native of Njikoka in Anambra State on April 22.
He noted that Okoro was reportedly shot dead by a member of the South African Police Flying Squad at Florida in Johannesburg. Nwaogu was burnt alive by a mob in Rustenburg in the North West Province.
The spokesman said a violent group in Rustenburg had earlier given Nigerians notice to vacate the area or get killed.
He said since the order was issued, there had been numerous cases of Nigerians being kidnapped with ransom paid to their abductors.
“The incessant looting and killings in the area, prompted 14 Nigerians to protest the injustice and the lack of police protection from the South African Police.
“The 14 Nigerians were attested and had been detained since January 21 in Rustenburg.
“The extra-judicial killing of Nigerians in South Africa is, however, a stark contrast to the general goodwill and protection South Africans and their businesses enjoy in Nigeria.
“There has been no record of looting of South African businesses in Nigeria.
“While South African companies transfer billions of dollars in profit made from doing business in Nigeria, Nigerians in South Africa are sending body bags of murdered breadwinners back home to Nigeria to dejected families,” Miller said.
The leadership of theSenateon Monday took a stand on Federal High Court judgement on the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, in which the court declared as unconstitutional, the suspension of Omo-Agege.
A statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi said that Senate had received brief from its lawyers and that it would abide by the judgement of the Court until after the determination of its appeal.
“The Senate leadership has been briefed by our lawyers on last Thursday’s judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on whether the Senate has the legal authority to suspend a member for certain misconduct or not.
“We have equally filed an appeal against the judgement of the court and a motion for stay of execution of the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
“As an institution that obeys the law and court orders, the Senate has decided that it will comply with the judgement of the Federal High Court and do nothing to stop Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from resuming in his office and at plenary from tomorrowMay 15, 2018, pending the determination of the application for stay of execution.
“The Senate has been advised that since the motion for stay of execution of the Thursday (May 10, 2018) judgement shall be heard and possibly determined on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we shall therefore respect the subsisting High Court judgement and await the appellate court’s decision on the pending motion,” the statement read.
…saysFGfailed to secure NJC’s approval
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—-The Code of Conduct Tribunal,CCT, sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out 10-count charge the Federal Government preferred against Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court who was accused of concealing some of his private assets.
FG had in the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/17, alleged that Justice Ngwuta had between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016, refused to declare his ownership of 28 plots of land to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
It accused the apex court jurist of engaging in private business as a public officer, contrary to Section 6(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
FG alleged that Ngwuta’s refusal to declare his assets as a public officer, was contrary to section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.
However, before full-blown hearing could commence on the matter, the defendant, via a motion dated January 9, queried the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him overchargeshe said was grossly incompetent.
He argued that by virtue of sections 318, 158(1) and Paragraph 21 (B) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the CCT, lacked the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the case against him.
The embattled jurist, through his team of lawyers led by a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, contended that allegations against him were never referred to the National Judicial Council, NJC, before the criminal charge was entered against him.
He claimed that as a serving judicial officer by virtue of his appointment into the Supreme Court bench, FG, ought to have inline with section 158 of the constitution, allowed the NJC to firstly exercise its disciplinary powers regarding all the allegations in the charge.
Ngwuta further drew the attention of the tribunal to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case FG instituted against Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, wherein the appellate court held that serving judicial officers could not be prosecuted for judicial misconduct or breach of trust, without prior investigation by the NJC.
He insisted that allegations that culminated to the charge against him, were never referred to or determined by the NJC.
However, FG, in a written address it filed in opposition to Ngwuta’s motion, maintained that the tribunal had powers and jurisdiction to try the case before it.
FG stressed that powers the constitution conferred on the CCT, made the Court of Appeal judgement in Nganjiwa’s case, inapplicable to the charge against Ngwuta
It told the tribunal that some “sorrounding circumstances” made Ngwuta’s case peculiar, even as it argued that under section 158(1) of the 1999 constitution, the powers vested on CCT were similarly vested on the NJC, making such powers mutually exclusive.
“The applicant is being tried as a public officer and not as a judicial officer. He is not charged for violating his oath of office as a judicial officer, but for violatiing the code of conduct for public officers.
“More over, the defendant is before this tribunal, not as a Justice of the Supreme Court, but as a public officer who we have said had in the discharge of his functions, breached the code of conduct for public officers”, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Abey Mohammed, SAN, argued.
Meanwhile, ruling on the matter on Tuesday, the Mr. Danladi Umar-led two man panel tribunal, upheld Justice Ngwuta’s argument and struck out charges against him.
While discharging the defendant, a member of the panel, Mr. William A. Atedze who read the ruling of the tribunal, held that Ngwuta being a serving judicial officer, was under the management, control and discipline of the NJC.
He maintained that NJC is a body whose independence from external control or interference is constitutionally provided for by section 158 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“What this means is that any allegation of official misconduct will first have to be referred to the National Judicial Council to the exclusion of any other body, court or Tribunal’’, the CCT held.
The tribunal dismissed FG’s position that the Supreme Court had yet to uphold the appellate court decision in Justice Nganjiwa’s case which Ngwuta relied upon.
The CCT held that the Court of Appeal verdict in the case against Justice Nganjiwa would remain extant till it is vacated.
“Judicial precedent is bidding for as long as it is subsisting and until such precedent is overturned by a higher court”, the tribunal ruled.
It will be recalled that the Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier dismissed a separate 18-count money laundering charge that FG also slammed against Justice Ngwuta.
Ngwuta was among seven superior court Judges that were arrested after a “sting operation” the Department of State Service, DSS, conducted between October 7 and 8, 2016.
Part of charges FG filed against him before the CCT included that he had “between 2nd June 2011 and 19th July 2016, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal, did make a false declaration of assets” to the CCB when he failed to declare three duplexes at Chinedu Ogah Avenue, Ntezi, Aba in Abakaliki, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court.
He was alleged to have between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria made a false declaration to the CCB when he failed to declare twenty-two plots of land at Chief Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliki, as well as failed to declare six plots of land at Frank Okoroafor Avenue, Abakaliki.
Other allegations was that he failed to declare Peugeot Saloon with Vehicle No: VRG55513890295200 and Chassis No: VF34B5FV9BS069213, Registration No: ABC566RL and count five revealed that he failed to declare a Wrangler Jeep with Vehicle No: VRG55535620346898 and Chassis No: IJ4GA591581626734, Registration No: RSH526AJ.
As well as allegedly engaging in purchase and sale of rice, palm oil and other related products, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Code Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.
The Nigerian Air Force,NAF, headquarters has said that its helicopter landing site, Helipad, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital was attacked by unknown gunmen on Sunday.
NAF, however, disclosed that its personnel on guard duty at the facility were able to repel the attackers in a shootout.
A statement by the NAF’s Director of Public Relations, Olatokunbo Adesanya, said, “In the early hours of Sunday, 13 May 2018, a group of unknown gunmen attacked the guard post at Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helipad at Igbodene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“Although the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, anairmanpaid the supreme sacrifice in the process.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has immediately ordered an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident,” Mr Adesanya, an air-vice-marshal, said.