Reps’ Delegation Arrives Romania,Commences Supervision of Evacuation of Nigerians from War-torn Ukraine
The delegation of the House of Representatives, led by the House Leader, Rt. Hon. Alhassan Ado- Doguwa, Thursday, arrived Bucharest, Romania,to commence oversight and assist in the process of evacuating Nigerian nationals,who are mainly students,fleeing Ukraine as a result of the 7-day old attack on the country by Russia.
Following the resolution of the House at plenary last week, the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rep. Femi Hakeem Gbajabiamila had mandated the House Leader, Rt. Hon. Ado-Doguwa and Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Yusuf Buba Yakub, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to proceed to the war-torn region to ensure that every Nigerian that desires to return home from the epicentre of the conflicts is given the support to do so. A motion in that regard had earlier been moved by Hon. Ahmed Mannir representing Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.
The lawmakers, who departed the country yesterday after very close monitoring of the degenerating situation in the last few days through which they maintained close contacts with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Missions in Ukraine, Bucharest, Budapest, Warsaw and other regional neighbouring countries to Ukraine, as well as the fleeing Nigerian nationals, were received on arrival by officials of the Nigerian Missions in the area. The delegation was subsequently led to meet with Nigerian evacuees who were already at the airport awaiting the first flight that would leave for Nigeria.
While interacting with the Nigerian nationals, most of whom are students,the delegation conveyed to them the goodwill of the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, expressing the hope that the conflicts will soon be over and that no Nigerian national will have any cause to suffer any harm or deprivation in the end as a result of the conflicts.
It will be recalled that, both the Executive and the Legislature are united in the bid to ensure that no Nigerian life is lost in the Russia-Ukraine conflicts. The directive of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila at plenary last week had indicated that nothing would be spared on the part of the Green Chambers to evacuate Nigerian nationals from the theatre of conflicts to safety.
By the flight itinerary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was contained in a release signed by its Permanent Secretary, Amb.Gabriel Aduda, late Tuesday night, evacuation of Nigerians would be done via two Nigerian Airlines, Air Peace and Max Air. Both airlines via separate routes are expected to return to Nigeria today with the first batch, Thursday,March 3.
Over 2000 Nigerian nationals fleeing the conflicts in Ukraine as at Tuesday midnight had been received by Nigerian Missions in countries around the area, including Slovakia, Romania, Poland and Hungary. According to official figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, there are about five thousand six hundred Nigerian nationals in Ukraine, most of whom are students.
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Organ Trafficking: Ekweremadu, Wife, Doctor Sentenced To Various Prison Terms
The duo of Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta has been senenced to various jail terms for bringing a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
A judge at The Central Criminal Court, [ Old Bailey], announced the sentence friday.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The sentencing follows their conviction in March for organ trafficking, The Ekweremadus’sick daughter, Sonia was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The conviction is the first under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The sentencing comes after pleas from multiple prominent personalities and institutions, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Other petitioners included both chambers of the National Assembly, the Chairman/CEO, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Erewa Dabiri, and the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
After months of a pre-trial, the trial commenced on January 31, 2023 and lasted about six weeks, culminating in a guilty verdict against Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta.
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Reps Seek UK Government Clemency for Ekweremadu
The House of Representatives has write to the government of the United Kingdom seeking mercy in sentencing the embattled Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
This is contained in a resolution reached following a motion moved by Toby Okechukwu, a lawmaker from Enugu State.
A UK court found the duo guilty of conspiracy of organ harvesting of another Nigerian. The Ekweremadu couple will be sentenced in the coming days.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu said diplomatic intervention in this kind of case is normal.
“It is a common practice in international relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadus,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, said intervention by the House is not a justification for the charges against the Ekweremadus. He urged the UK government to consider Ekweremadu’s years of public service.
Consequently, the House resolved to urge the UK government and the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing Ekweremadu, his wife and the doctor.
Also, they urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take all diplomatic steps and other necessary interventions regarding the travails of the Ekweremadu family.
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HYPPDEC Donates Food Stuff, Clothing to Locals in Kogi to Tackle Cashless Policy Effect
By Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC), on Tuesday, donated 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women rappers to ten Local Government Areas in Kogi State under the agency to cushion the effect associated with the new cashless policy.
Making the presentation to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State at the Lugard House, Lokoja on Tuesday, a Board Member of HYPPDEC, Alhaji Isah Ozi Salami, said that the gesture is part of the agency’s intervention in times of natural disaster or any hardship situation on citizens.
Salami expressed the commitment of HYPPDEC in tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians as a result of the Cashless Policy.
“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi
“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi” Ozi Salami told Governor Bello.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for the provision of logistic supports that have facilitated smooth operation of the agency in Kogi.
He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC will soon begin the construction of 50 housing units in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.
“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. The Governor is expected to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project” Ozi Salami disclosed.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Jamiu Asuku who received the food stuff on behalf of his boss, hinted that Kogi will key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property for citizens.
Governor Yahaya Bello appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programme as a result of the bad terrain of the area.
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