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Senate moves to re-amend Proceeds of Crime Bill 2022

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Nigerian Senate
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The Senate, on Tuesday, moved to re-amend the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, passed by the chamber on March 9, 2022, last week.

The decision to re-amend the bill followed the consideration of a motion for re-commital sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

In his presentation, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, relied on Orders 1(b) and 52(6) of the Senate Standing Orders 2022 (as amended) to move for the amendment of the bill.

He explained that the re-amendment of the bill became imperative in view of the amendment that was made to Clause 74 which placed the Burden of proof on the investigating Agencies but not on the Defendant as recommended by the Joint Committee in its report.

According to him, the amendment runs contrary to the provision of Article 12(7) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).

Article 12(7) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime provides that, “States Parties may consider the possibility of requiring that an offender demonstrate the lawful origin of alleged proceeds of crime or other property liable to confiscation.”

On the need to amend the Clause 74 of the bill, Abdullahi said, “the implication of the amendment is that civil forfeitures would be a thing of the past in Nigeria as there would not be final forfeitures without a conviction.

“Implying that all property seized are included in the clause, even those that may be incidental to an arrest and may contain evidence needed for investigation of the crime.”

“For example, phones, computers, documents, photographs etc recovered from suspected kidnappers, drug barons, human and child traffickers, cyber criminals, terrorists and the like would also wait for convictions before they can be seized, even in situations where the suspects are at large and the properties can be recovered for the benefit of the victim and Nigerians where applicable.

“Another example of a conundrum, is the “Ikoyi Loot” case, where no one has yet come to claim ownership of the funds and since there are no suspects to convict, the status of the funds would by virtue of this amendment remain in perpetual limbo, pending trial and conviction when the owner can be found if ever.

“The amendment also runs contrary to our International commitments, obligations and best practices as contained in those Conventions, Treaties and Protocols to which we are signatories and have as well domesticated”, the Senate Leader added.

Accordingly, the chamber in a resolution rescinded its decision on Clause 74 of the bill as passed.

The Senate, thereafter, recommitted the bill to the committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to engage the relevant agencies with a view to exploring safeguard against abuse.

The Proceeds of Crime Bill seeks to provide for the restraint, seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of properties derived from unlawful activities.

The bill, when signed into law, would expand the mandates of existing statutory institutions to manage proceeds of crime, and facilitate the establishment of departments in relevant organisations to manage forfeited assets as well as provide for effective legal framework for the recovery of proceeds of crime.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on a Tuesday also referred President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to confirm the appointment and renewal of Members of the the Monetary Policy Committee in the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.

The nominees who are to appear before the Committee for screening include: Professor Mohammed Adaya Salisu and Dr. Mo’ Omamegbe (new appointment).

Others who are for renewal are Prof. Michael Obadan, Prof. Festus Adeola Adenikinju, Prof. Aliyu Sanusi Rafindadi, Dr. Robert Asogwa and Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed.
 

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Buhari Pledge to Rescue Kaduna Train Attack Hostages

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday assured to rescue 31 hostages taken in a train attack and return them “safe and unhurt”, his office said, five months after their abduction.

Gangs of bandits with no ideological or religious motives are known to kidnap for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria.

On March 28, armed men blew up a train travelling between Abuja and Kaduna and opened fire, killing eight people, wounding 26, and taking an unspecified number of passengers hostage.

A week later, they freed one hostage — a top bank executive — as a goodwill gesture for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, because of his “advanced age”.

Dozens of hostages have already been freed following negotiations, but 31 remain in the kidnappers den.

“I have been informed that at last count, there remain about 31 people in the hands of the kidnappers,” Buhari told representatives of the families of the hostages in Abuja on Thursday.

He said his government would ensure the safe return of the remaining hostages to their families.

“My primary concern is to get everyone released safe and unhurt,” he assured.
The president commended the security forces on recent successes against kidnappers and “terrorists”.

“In the past couple of days, you must have heard about the number of terrorists neutralised by the military, and a number of hostages freed. These efforts will not stop, or reduce,” he said.

“We must take the fight to the terrorists and demonstrate that there is no hiding place for them within the borders of our country,” he said.

“Each one of them will be hunted, and pursued and spoken to in the language that they understand,” he added.

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja

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Five Guards Brigade Killed By Bandits Buried In Abuja
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The Nigerian Army on Thursday buried five members of the Guards Brigade killed by bandits during a clearance operation in the Federal Capital Territory recently.

The soldiers were laid to rest at the Guards Brigade Cemetery, Maitama , Abuja, according to a statement by Guards Brigade spokesperson, Captain Godfrey Anebi Abakpa

Among the deceased was Captain Attah Samuel.

“Until their demise, the gallant soldiers were serving with 7 Guards Battalion, Lungi Barracks Maitama and 176 Guards Battalion Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja respectively,” the statement said.

“While reading the funeral oration of the deceased officer and soldiers, the Commanding Officers of 7 Guards Battalion Lt Col Salim Yusuf Hassan and Commanding Officer 176 Guards Battalion, Lt Col Joshuah Kolowale Adisa described the late Captain and Soldiers as thoroughly bred Infantrymen who were genuinely committed to their duties in defence of Nigeria and whose contribution and services would be greatly missed.

“They asked God to console the families left behind stressing that while the Brigade and the Nigerian Army mourns, the families should take solace in the fact that they have fought a just fight and their souls shall continue to rest with the lord till the resurrection morning.

“Highpoint of the event was the presentation of accoutrements by the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen James Alilu Ataguba to the next of kins of the deceased personnel and lowering of the remains of the fallen heroes.

There was also the blowing of the last post and gun salute to bid the departed heroes fair well

“The burial process started with Christian wake keep and funeral service held in honour of the fallen heroes at St John’s Military Church (Protestant) before the final Internment at the Guards Brigade Cemetery Maitama Abuja.

“The solemn ceremony was witnessed by senior officers of the Nigerian Army, Commanding Officers, Staff Officers of the Brigade, Bwari Area Council Chairman, Hon John Gabaya as well as family members and the barracks community.”

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Two More ISWAP Terrorists Linked To Owo Church Attack Arrested – DHQ

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor
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Two more Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, have been arrested.

Gunmen had on June 5 stormed the Catholic church, killing over 40 worshippers and injuring others.

The incident drew widespread condemnation, with President Muhammadu Buhari ordering security agencies to arrest the attackers.

On June 9, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, blamed the attack on ISWAP, but the claim was countered by Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Just yesterday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.

But in a statement on Wednesday, the Director of Defence Information, Jimmy Akpor, said the two suspected ISWAP fighters were arrested through the collaborative effort of the military and the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022,” Akpor said.

“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.

“Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.

“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.

“It is instructive to note that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.”

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