| By Olu Ojewale |
SINATU Ojikutu, former deputy governor of Lagos State, is wanted by the police. The Special Fraud Unit, SFU, of the Nigeria Police, declared her wanted in Lagos on Wednesday, June 19, for allegedly defrauding a land buyer of N130million.
In a statement by the SFU, the former deputy governor and her son, Samson, obtained money from the victim by false representation. Tunde Ogunsakin, commissioner of police for the command, said, the victim alleged that Ojikutu conspired with Samson and sold him a piece of land for 130 million at Plot 24 Block 4, situated at Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, in September 2011. The victim claimed to have paid all the N130 million into Ojikutu’s account with the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
When the buyer asked for the title document, Ojikutu, 67, was said to have procured an affidavit, claiming that the document was lost and backed the purported loss with a newspaper publication. The victim believed her because of her personality as the former deputy governor of Lagos State. Ojikutu was a deputy governor between January 1992 and November 1993. But the lie came to light when the victim started to develop the land and was challenged at the verge of completion of the building. The bona fide owner of the land appeared and, indeed, it was discovered that the land did not belong to her.
According to the police, the land had belonged to the late Samson Ojikutu (senior), the husband of the suspect. But before he died, he had sold it to one Afolabi in 1995 in which the suspect was a witness and signatory to the sale.
Ogunsakin said Ojikutu further perpetrated the crime by claiming that the original Certificate of Occupancy of the property was missing and swore an affidavit which enabled her to obtain a police report and memorandum of loss. “She also put up an advert in newspapers that the original C of O was lost, whereas the original C of O was with the Hallmark Homes, the buyer of the property,” Ogunsakin said.
When the fraud became known, Ojikutu was said to have admitted the crime, saying it was a genuine mistake of plot identification. She refunded N50 million to the victim and promised to refund the rest between September and November 2012. “She equally made an undertaking and payment plan which was to have started from September, 2012 and terminate by November 2012, but she defaulted.”
Ogunsakin said it was obvious that the suspect was not willing to abide by the terms of payment and had jumped bail and that all attempts to contact her had proved abortive. He said her son had also left for the United States where he resides. The police appealed to the general public who may have information about her whereabouts to contact them.
No Amnesty Beyond 2015
FEDERAL government is not going to extend its amnesty for militants in the Niger Delta beyond 2015. Kingsley Kuku, special adviser to the president on Niger Delta, who disclosed this said there was no going back on the 2015 terminal date for amnesty programme in the region. He said that failure to draw the curtain on the programme could bring about instability. He also warned that the gains of the programme could be eroded if government fails to close the programme by 2015 because of fresh agitations for enlistment by youths of the region, who now see militancy as a way of accessing public funds. Besides, Kuku, who is also the chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, said the programme was currently grappling with exit strategy challenges which were not envisaged when the Presidential Amnesty Proclamation was made in 2009.
Kuku, as a guest lecturer at the 7th Business Law Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Business Law in Lagos, on Wednesday, June 19, therefore, appealed to governors in the region to initiate programmes that would create opportunities for empowerment of the former militants in their respective states. He reasoned that lack employment could force former agitators, who had been trained in many technical areas related to oil and gas, to take up arms again or engage in illegal activities.
No ACF Support for Jonathan
IF, indeed, President Goodluck Jonathan wants to contest the 2015 presidential election, he should not back on the support of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF. Speaking at the annual general meeting of the forum on Thursday, June 20, Aliko Mohammed, chairman of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ACF, said it would not back Jonathan for the 2015 presidential poll if he decides to seek re-election. Mohammed lamented that some of its members had gone ahead to encourage the president to seek re-election in 2015.
Specifically, he said it was unfortunate that the likes of Lawrence Onoja, a retired major general and one its members as well as John Washpam, a member of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, had asked Jonathan to contest in 2015. He said the action of the two northern leaders had given an impression that the north was not united.
Obstacles to States Creation
DEMANDS for creation of new states now stand at 61. Ike Ekweremadu, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, CRC, and deputy Senate president, disclosed this while receiving a Committee on the Actualisation of Adada State from Enugu State in his office on Wednesday, June 19. But Ekweremadu said that Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 constitution had made creation of new states ‘difficult’ and ‘cumbersome.’ He, however, said as difficult as the process of creation of new states might be, it was not an impossibility in a democracy.
The visiting committee led by Godwin Ugwoke, a retired general, had earlier faulted the Senate CRC, which said in its report presented on June 5, that no serving parliamentarian signed its request for creation of Adada State from the present Enugu State. Hence, it formally petitioned David Mark, Senate president, insisting that it met the criterion as spelt out in the constitution, where it noted that its own request for Adada State was updated on May 31, 2012. Among the parliamentarians who signed the petition was Ayogu Eze, chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, who was present at the parley with Ekweremadu.
The deputy Senate president, however, said while the Senate CRC did not foreclose any agitation for state creation, he, nevertheless, restated that even though the National Assembly had not given up on state creation, it was a difficult task in a democratic dispensation. “For us, it is a welcome development to engage our constituents in areas they feel concerned about and they consider it a democratic dialogue which is a better option than protests and violence. So, we like the fact that you’ve taken time to come and engage us this afternoon on this particular topic,” he said. Ekweremadu said because his position requires him to be an umpire, he would do that without any bias.
— Jul. 1, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT