An Abuja federal high court has started in absentia, the trial of former chairman of the defunct pension reformed task team, Abdulrasheed Maina. He is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on two billion naira money laundering charges.
Justice Okon Abang has now declared him as having jumped bail because the former pension boss has failed to appear at subsequent proceedings since September.
The judge had earlier revoked Maina’s bail and has ordered his arrest.
In an earlier ruling on Monday, the judge also ordered the remand of Maina’s bail surety, senator Ali Ndume, until he is able to produce the fleeing defendant in court or pay his n500m bail bond to the federal government.
Maina was again absent at the resumed hearing in the case on Tuesday.
No attorney showed up in court to represent him or his company which is charged as the second defendant.
Nigerian Govt Releases N10bn For Local Vaccine Production
The federal government is putting funds behind its call for local production of covid-19 vaccines. The ministry of finance has released ten billion naira to support the effort and is exploring options to kick-start the vaccine production in Nigeria.
The government has also instructed each local government area in the country to conduct at least four hundred fifty covid-19 tests in line with its testing plans.
During the Monday briefing by the presidential task force on covid-19 in Abuja, health minister, Osagie Ehanire said the government was considering collaborative efforts with recognized institutions for vaccine production in the country.
He said the government is looking at ways to augment the one hundred thousand vaccine doses it would receive by the end of this month, the ten million doses it had requested from the African union, and the more than forty million doses from COVAX. He says those would only cover one fifth of the population, but the government plans to cover an additional fifty percent of citizens.
The health minister says the ministry will hold a national vaccine conference in preparation for mobilizing experts, role players, development partners and stakeholders to deliberate on the nation’s COVID-19 response strategy, especially now that there is a spike in cases.
Presidency Warns Akeredolu Over Herdsmen Quit Notice
The presidency has warned Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, not to unilaterally order herdsmen out of Ondo forests. The governor had issued an ultimatum this week to herdsmen to vacate state forest reserves.
Presidential special assistant, Garba Shehu said the governor should not oust the herders whom he said have lived their entire lives in the state on the guise of clearing the forest reserves of criminals. He said terrorism and crimes should be separated from ethnicity, geographical origins and religion.
In response, governor Akeredolu says only unregistered Fulani herdsmen are being asked to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
State commissioner for information and orientation, Donald Ojogo, characterized Garba Shehu’s statement as “a brazen display of emotional attachment,” which he says is inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
FG Extends NIN Registration Deadline
Nigerians can breathe easy for now as the federal government extends the registration deadline for National Identification Number, NIN.
Those who have not obtained the NIN would now have until February the ninth to tidy that up and link their numbers with their sims.
The National Identification Management Commission, NIMC, had initially given yesterday, January the nineteenth, as the deadline.
The commission warns the NIN enrolment is free.