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CSO tasks Mining Companies, Operators of respect for agreements reached with

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Mining Companies and Mining Operators must keep to the agreements signed with communities where mining activities are being carried out, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has indicated

The group’s Programme Manager, Mr McDonald Ekemezie made the call during a Town Hall Meeting held in Mpape, Bwari Area Council.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was on “Community Step-Down Training on Negotiation and Understanding of Community Development Agreements (CDAs)”.

According to Ekemezie, CDA is a major element in natural resource governance especially when it has to do with communities.

He said that the aim of the meeting was to step down what CDAs were to the mining communities.

“It is stepping down of knowledge of CTAs to the communities for them to build their capacities to be able to negotiate beneficial community agreements.

“This is the second year of the implementation of the project.

“Essentially it is promoting the rights of the Original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which was Funded by McArthur Foundation through Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED).”

The programme manager said that the group had discovered that agreements were often signed by a few people where the communities don’t even have knowledge of the signatories and don’t even have access to the agreements.

“Even when agreements are signed, the mining companies do not actually implement what is agreed.”

He further said that most mining companies and mining operators carried out operations and sign agreements that were not most times understood by the community members which left the communities devastated.

“The essence now is to make communities involved in signing CDAs that are beneficial to the communities.

“For instance, they need to know the process, they need to own the process, they need to be part of it, they need to be representative enough.

“Then the needs of the community needs to be accommodated in whatever is been signed and there has to be timeframe and they have to monitor the implementation.”

Ekemezie, however, said that the project was implemented in Mpape, Kubwa (Bwari Area Council) and Karshi(Abuja Municipal Area Council)and parts of Garki.

He said that the communities were selected through a baseline study which showed that a lot of mining activities were carried out in those areas.

A Youth Leader in Mpape, Mr Joshua Kato appreciated CTA for the training and promised to step down knowledge gained to other members of his community.

He, however, decried the challenges faced by residents of the community which included lack of water supply and standard schools.

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EFCC declares ex-governor Bello wanted, may use military to effect arrest

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Apparently piqued by their inability to arrest the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared him wanted.

The Antigraft agency in a Statement said, “Former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, is wanted by the EFCC for offences relating to economic and financial crimes to the tune of N80.2 Billion.

“Anybody with information as to his whereabout should report immediately to the Commission or the nearest Police station.”

The commission indicated it may be forced to use the military option to effect the arrest Mr. Yahaya Bello,  after it failed to effect the arrest on Wednesday when the antigraft agency barricaded his Abuja home even as a Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered that a warrant be issued to it for his immediate arrest.

A Federal High Court was Thursday forced to adjourn to April 23 over the absence of Bello in court. At the resumed sitting, Counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Pinhero, told the court he was absent for his arraignment because he was being protected by someone with immunity.

He said the former governor was whisked out of his Abuja residence by the same person with immunity, adding that EFCC might seek the help of the military to fish him out.

It is alleged that the sitting governor, Ibrahim Usman Ododo, used his security cover to ferret Bello out of his (Bello’s) residence when the commission’s operatives cordoned off and trapped him in his Abuja residence on Wednesday.

Operatives of the anti-graft agency had laid siege to the Wuse Zone 4 residence of the former Kogi governor for most part of Wednesday.

The EFCC had cordoned off the road and entrance to Bello’s residence in an attempt to have him arrested and arraigned for corruption charges on Thursday.

As the EFCC operatives surrounded the ex-governor’s residence, his successor Ododo arrived amid cheers from the supporters of Bello who had gathered to support their embattled principal.

The Kogi State governor after a while left the premises of his predecessor, with the anti-graft agency confirming that he took Bello along with him.

There was conflicting court orders over the arrest of Bello on Wednesday.

One of the rulings, which came from a Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining or prosecuting Bello.

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour ruling on Wednesday, said that infringing on the fundamental human rights of the former Kogi Governor is null and void except as authorised by the Court.

“By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant except as authorised by the Court.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given,” he said.

The EFCC, however,  obtained permission from the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to arrest the ex-Kogi State governor in preparation to his arraignment on Thursday.

Justice Emeka Nwite granted the warrant at the instance of the EFCC.

Bello served as the governor of the North Central state from January 27, 2016 to January 27, 2024, when he handed over to his fellow party man in the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

Justice Nwite also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

Following the conflicting orders, the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

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Bello sounds the alarm over ‘Illegal’ invasion of his Abuja residence by EFCC Operatives

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***Tells President Tinubu to caution the anti-graft agency

Immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has sounded the alarm over what he described as the illegal invasion of his Anuja residence by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Bello raised the the concern in a statement from his media office on the action of the anti-graft

He said Nigeria is not a lawless country, pointing out that there is a subsisting order of a state high court in Lokoja, restraining the EFCC from arresting him pending the final determination of a suite he filed against the commission.
However, the EFCC, in breach of the court order sent its operatives to Bello’ private house in Abuja with intention to arrest him.
The statement reads in part,   “About 9:30 am today, the 17th day of April 2024, persons who described themselves as officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrived the Wuse Zone 4 Residence of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to effect his arrest.

”This is despite a subsisting Order of injunction granted on 9th February 2024 by the High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division in Suit No. HCL/68M/2024 between Alhaji Yahaya Bello v. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, restraining the Commission either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining or prosecuting Alhaji Yahaya Bello, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

“The EFCC was duly served with that Order on 12th February 2024 and on 26th February 2024; the EFCC filed an Appeal (Appeal No.: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello) against the said Order to the Court of Appeal Abuja division.

“The Appeal was accompanied by a Motion for Stay of Execution of the Order of the High Court which the Court of Appeal adjourned for hearing till the 22nd day of April 2024.

“Furthermore, Judgment in the substantive case between Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the EFCC is to be delivered at 12 Noon today in Lokoja.

“Contrary to all of the above, the EFCC has now laid siege to the home of H.E Yahaya Bello , seeking to arrest him in contravention of the extant orders!

” It is a surprise that an agency led by a lawyer could flagrantly disobey a subsisting court order by taking actions contrary to the reliefs granted.

“We are aware of the total commitment of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the rule of law and can say categorically that the leadership of the EFCC might have offered the agency on a platter of gold to desperate politicians to convert to their score settling tool without minding the effect on its integrity and the image of Nigeria as regards the rule of law.
“A situation where law enforcers disregard the rule of law is a definite recipe for anarchy, which will adversely affect every aspect of the nation’s economy.

“Nigerians have perceived the desperation of the anti-graft agency to embarrass and harass the former Governor by all means through spurious allegations, especially the latest one dating back to September 2015, way before he assumed office.

“We are aware that there are clandestine moves to correct the error, but with even more questionable allegations, which would embarrass the Commission and Nigeria more than the initial one.

” It is unfortunate that an agency that is supposed to enforce the law is now the first culprit with respect to disobedience of court orders.

”This is a big dent on the fight against corruption. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

“We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to call the EFCC to order in the interest of legal

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EFCC tightens the noose around Yahaya Bello, lays siege on his Abuja home

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has barricaded the residence of the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, in Abuja.

It was gathered that the operatives of the agency have taken positions around his Abuja home located at Benghazi Street, in the Wuse Zone 4 area of the city.

The EFCC operatives reportedly blocked the roads leading in and out of the street, causing vehicular traffic around the area.

The EFCC recently named the former Kogi governor in an amended charge filed against Alli Bello.

Alli, chief of staff to Usman Ododo, the incumbent governor of the state, and one Daudu Suleiman are the two defendants in the 17-count amended charge the Antigraft agency had claimed

The agency alleged that the suspects diverted about N84, 062,406,089.88. belonging to the state in September 2015 — about four months before Bello assumed office as governor of Kogi.
The state government however faulted the charge describing it as “ridiculous” and “laughable”. According to the Government, it was impossible, as the former governor was not yet in a position to access or misappropriate state funds at the said time.

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