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Nigeria to resume trial of suspected terrorists in two weeks— Attorney-General

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The Nigerian government says it will resume the prosecution of some alleged suspected terrorists and their financiers in the next two weeks after a painstaking investigation.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), who disclosed this at the opening of the 40th technical commission and plenary meeting of the inter-governmental action group against money laundering in West Africa in Abuja on Thursday, said the trial of the alleged suspects was very much alive as against insinuations from certain quarters that the cases had been swept under the carpet. He added that the government was finalising efforts to ensure a smooth and successful trial.

“Efforts are on to resume the trial of those categories of people. And I think, in the next two weeks, it will be a different story. We are conscious of that issue,” the AGF said.

“Facilities are being put in place. Apart from the regular physical mode of trial, we are working on ways to ensure that virtual trials can also be conducted.”

According to Fagbemi, the adoption of virtual trials is aimed at preventing delay, insisting that the government was not shying away from its responsibility of providing funds for this purpose.

“The adoption of virtual trial is aimed at preventing delay. The government is not shying away from its responsibility of providing funds for this purpose”.

The AGF also emphasized the importance of regional and international cooperation in order to effectively combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“Our ability to tackle the most complex criminal activity, money laundering, and violent terrorist attacks is predicated on the capabilities of our supervisory, law enforcement, and prosecutorial authorities, and the outcomes that we are achieving point to the need for greater investment in human and technical resources and improved training and capacity development.”

The AGF also stated that the Nigerian government was able to secure about 500 convictions which resulted in the recovery of over N45 billion in the last two years.

“In 2022, we increased the budgets for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency by almost 95%. We now have over 1,500 officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting money laundering across these three agencies alone.

“These sustained investment has seen increased numbers of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions consistently since 2021 with 5,118 investigations, 1,509 prosecutions, and almost 500 convictions secured resulting in over N45 billion of illicit proceeds seized.

“We have also made progress in tackling the financing of terrorism and in particular, I am pleased that we have identified and designated a number of individuals and entities linked to terrorist activity and seized funds linked to them”, he stated.

Metro

‘Stop complaining, you’re not the only ones facing poverty,’ Tinubu tells Nigerians

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President Bola Tinubu has told Nigerians to stop complaining as they are not the only ones facing poverty and hardship in the world.

Tinubu, who gave the charge when he received a delegation from the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, alongside the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, who came to felicitate with him on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir in Lagos, said though there was poverty and suffering in the country, the challenges would not be tackled by complaining.

According to a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale, the President said one of the ways of tackling the myriad of challenges in Nigeria is to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can return to the farm.

According to the President, it is imperative for Nigerians to have a change of value system for the nation to make progress.

“Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such, but we must face our challenges,” Tinubu said.

“We must find a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can bring out food from the farmland.

“If you do not have good roads to bring the food to the population, even if you grow the food and you are losing 60-70 per cent to damages, you will pay the price,” the President added.

He also challenged Nigerians to have a change of mindset about the country if the nation is to overcome its current challenges.

“The need for some citizens to change the rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy is a challenge. The need to stop smuggling and all economic sabotage.

“Why should we have people removing rail tracks and all that, stealing electric cables and sabotaging the economy?

“We must embrace the campaign to change our value system. We must tell our people that the challenge we face is for all of us to change our mindset about our country.

“It is daunting, but we cannot run away from the fact that this country must survive the hardship,” Tinubu stressed.

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Metro

Zambian Police bar political party leaders from attending church services

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The political crisis in Zambia took a new disturbing dimension on Sunday when heavily armed Police Officers stopped Presidents of political parties under the United Kwacha Alliance (UKA) coalition from attending various church services in the Copperbelt region.

Those affected, according to Zambian Monitor, include ex-president, Edgar Lungu, and New Heritage Party (NHP) president, Chishala Kateka, who were blocked from attending a designated church service where they had been initially invited but later managed to sneak into a Catholic Church.

Others affected by the police action were Presidents of Christian Democratic Party, Dan Pule, and National Congress Party leader, Peter Chanda, who were scheduled to worship at Christ the King Church in Kitwe but were turned away by police officers who escorted them out of Kitwe.

However, the UKA Chairperson, Sakwiba Sikota, and Zambia Republican Party leader, Wright Musoma, managed to escape the police dragnet and worshiped at Disciples Fellowship Ministries International (DFMI) in Ndola.

Citizens First President, Harry Kalaba, was in Chingola at St Peters and Paul’s Parish when alleged armed UPND cadres surrounded the parish.

Kalaba was later seen in a social media video being whisked away through the backdoor of the church, leaving behind his vehicles, and went to BIGOCA in Lulamba where the UPND cadres followed him again.

Speaking on the situation, Kalaba told journalists:

“In President Hakainde Hichilema’s regime, the Police have been summoning and arresting clergy critical of his government including disrupting meetings between priests and opposition political figures.”

UKA Chairperson for Communications, Jackson Silavwe, said it was worth noting that President Hichilema had never attended and officiated at the National Day of Prayer and Fasting with his UPND senior officials and members calling it a “useless” day when in the opposition.

“It is therefore, not surprising that the Zambia Police under President Hichilema’s government are showing the same gross contempt towards the clergy and churches who associate with critical voices,” he said.

Silavwe alleged that the heavy handedness by the Zambia Police of this magnitude towards clergy and the church had never been seen before in the history of Zambia, claiming Hichilema had once again scored another ‘first’ under his administration.

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