The Managing Consultant Of Tarib Consultant Ltd, the star witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bosun Arebuwan, in the trial of Hon Nicholas Mutu, the former Chairman Of the House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that Mutu never asked for money or gratification from him.
According to him while being cross examined by Counsel to Mutu, Patrick Ikwueto, SAN “at no time did Hon Mutu demanded or asked for any money, the money paid into Airworld Ltd was not a proceed of crime and the money was paid by Starline Consultants the NDDC appointed revenue agent.
Arebuwan further told the court the N400 million to the Redeemed Church of God for the construction of their Redeem Camp in Lagos is his money and he has the right to do with as he likes.
The prosecution witness also told the court that he has never met Hon Mutu nor know him personally adding”he never solicited, demanded or asked for the money. He said the consultants on their own decided to appreciate the committee.
Arebuwan also said that he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airworld and issued it with an appointment letter to provide IT support for the project, he said that they also signed a non disclosure agreement with Airworld and that the alleged N400 million bribe was for services rendered by Airworld for the project.
He further told the court that MoU and non disclosure agreement were all a cover up and that the demand order for payment were all part of the cover up.
The EFCC start witness having admitted to forging documents in a serious criminal matter may have unwittingly removed the foundation from the case as the only evidence before the court as regards to money being paid into the account of Airworld LTD is the demand order which Arebuwan admitted was forged or a cover up.
Also testifying the Managing Director of Starline Ltd, Ibinabo Micheal West, told the court that he does not know Hon Mutu and has never met him adding that “Hon Mutu never asked me for anything, it was Arebuwan who requested me to pay the money into the accounts Of Airworld Ltd.
Specifically Starline was contracted by the NDDC in 2014 to help in the recovery of 3% of the approved budget of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta as part of their contribution to funding of the commission especially the companies that have not been complying with the provisions of the NDDC Act.
Starline partnered with Tarib Consultants to execute the job and Tarib in turn contracted Airworld to provide the information technology components of the project.
The job was done and over N170 billion was recovered by the consultants and The EFCC without any petition alleged that they traced N400million to Hon Mutu’s account as a Director of Airworld Ltd but the law allows members of the House of Representatives to be directors in companies the star witness failed in his evidence as he said that Hon Mutu never gave him his account number neither did he ask to be appreciated he maintained that the money was given of his own volition as the N400 million he gave to the Redeemed Church.
Arebuwan maintaiyned that the money was not proceeds of crime, corruption of fraudulent activities but that the money was legitimately earned to which he reserves the rights to decide what to do with it.
Specifically the EFCC had on February 3rd 2020 docked Hon Mutu before the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo over alleged graft his companies: Airworld Technologies Ltd and Oyien Homes Ltd, for allegedly receiving more than N4.8 million gratification from oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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Insecurity: Redeemed Christian Church of God Holds Prayer Walk
The Redeemed Christian Church of God has held a prayer-walk seeking God’s intervention in the security challenges afflicting the nation as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The procession was organised for members to pray for Nigeria, revival and personal breakthroughs.
The procession was held in the church branches across the world.
The procession in Abuja took members from the Transcorp Hotel to the Federal Secretariat and back where intense prayer was held.
The prayer walk was organised by the Throne Parish of the RCCG in Abuja.
Addressing journalists during the procession, Pastor Tunde Benjamins-Laniyi, the pastor-in-charge of the parish, said the prayer intercession was a mandate from God.
He noted that the procession was also taking place in the over 40,000 parish churches of the RCCG in 198 nations across the world.
He said Nigeria was in dire need of divine intervention to overcome the present challenges.
“It’s a mandate that God almighty gave to us to pray everywhere. RCCG has a presence in over 198 nations of the earth. What we are doing here is being done everywhere. “We walk round and pray on four cardinal points, our national security, personal breakthrough, revival, and against COVID-19,” he said.
Pastor Laniyi commended the clergy, parishioners and journalists, who participated in the prayer walk in Abuja and charged Nigerians to continue praying for the nation and the leaders.
He maintained that only God that had the solution to the problems confronting mankind. He called on Nigerians to adhere to all government-approved protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 stating that it was imperative that Christians in Nigeria respect the authorities.
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Biden Pushes for Legalisation of Homosexual, Lesbian Rights in Nigeria, Others
United States President Joe Biden has directed American Embassy in Nigeria and other countries to push for the legalisation of homosexuality in their respective countries of residence.
Biden gave the directive in a White House statement on Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World.
The United States president said the memorandum reaffirms and supplements the principles established in the Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 (International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons).
“It shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world,” Biden said in the memorandum.
“Through this memorandum, I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons”
Biden said the memorandum calls for “Swift and Meaningful United States Responses to Human Rights Abuses of LGBTQI+ Persons Abroad.
“The Department of State shall lead a standing group, with appropriate interagency representation, to help ensure the Federal Government’s swift and meaningful response to serious incidents that threaten the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons abroad.”
Biden noted that “When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.”
One of the countries with a restriction against the legalisation Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons globally is Nigeria – with a law prohibiting their acts.
The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA), signed into law in 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, was enacted on the premise that the Nigerian culture is antithetical to homosexuality.
With the population of the country largely divided between Christians and Muslims, there was also a religious urgency to the prohibition. Persons of the LGBTQ+ community risk up to 20 years jail term in Nigeria.
However, Amnesty International said the prohibition by the government exposes persons of the LGBTQ+ in the country to harm and called for a reversal of the law. US President Biden shared the same sentiment in the memorandum.
“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden said.
He said the United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle — speaking out and standing strong for members of the LGBTQ+ and holds the values of treating people with dignity regardless of race, colour or sexuality.
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Newly Confirmed US Secretary of State Vows to Promote Gay, Lesbian Agenda
*To fly gay pride flags at embassies around the world
The newly confirmed U.S. secretary of state has vowed to support the LGBT agenda by flying pride flags at United States embassies and resurrecting the “special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons.”
Antony Blinken, who was confirmed 78-22 by the United States Senate Tuesday, shared his thoughts about LGBT issues during his Senate confirmation hearing last week, which took place before President Joe Biden took office.
As he questioned Blinken, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “You and President-elect Biden have indicated that you’re going to support, appoint a new special envoy for human rights on LGBTI people, a position that I’ve been pushing to make permanent through the International Human Rights Defense Act.” As a presidential candidate, Biden vowed to make LGBT activism a centerpiece of his foreign policy.
“After four years of Trump administration efforts to specifically marginalize, minimize, do damage to the rights of the LGBTI people, I think it’s going to be vital to appoint a seasoned expert on this issues. Are you going to move forward towards a speedy appointment towards an LGBTI envoy and would you consider raising it to an ambassadorial level?” Markey asked.
Blinken answered in the affirmative: “This is a matter, I think, of some real urgency, we’ve seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase. We’ve seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of color, that we’ve seen ever and so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something the Department is going to take on and take on immediately.”
Markey also asked Blinken if he would “repudiate the findings of the report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights and reaffirm the United States’ acceptance and adherence to the human rights laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and whether he would “ensure that ambassadors are able to fly the pride … flag at our embassies around the world.”
“Yes to both,” Blinken replied.
The Commission on Unalienable Rights was created by the State Department under then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July 2019. In a press conference announcing the State Department Commission, the secretary of state argued that “international institutions designed and built to protect human rights have drifted from their original mission.” According to Pompeo, “As human rights claims have proliferated, some claims have come into tension with one another, provoking questions about which rights are entitled to gain respect.”
Democrats and progressive advocacy groups quickly criticized the move to create the commission, warning that it constituted an attempt to remove LGBT rights and abortion from the consensus definition of human rights. During the Trump administration, the United States signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which declared that “there is no international right to abortion.”
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