Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, has said that he will not hesitate to drag the Federal Government to court if it goes ahead to enforce the directive on compulsory COVID vaccination for civil servants in the country.
Recall that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chairman Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, had last week announced that all civil servants in Nigeria shall with effect from December 1, 2021 show proof of vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours to gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad.
Describing the directive as insensitive, Ubani stated that compulsory vaccination violates the existing labour terms and the fundamental rights of the civil servants to their privacy, life, movement, religious belief and faith, and liberty.
According to Ubani, “Any directive on compulsory vaccination is immature, needless, unacceptable and should be totally rejected.
“The punishment of denial of access to office by the directive is a clear violation of the contractual terms of employment, and secondly a restriction to freedom of liberty and movement guaranteed under chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended, Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
“When these civil servants were employed, compulsory vaccinations and its attendant punishment for non compliance were not part of their terms of contract.
“This new policy is a rude interruption to cordial labour relationship and is against international best labour practices.
“The Federal Government is hereby put on notice that any intention to pursue this illegal policy will be met with stiff legal challenge.”
Ubani further noted that in the absence of any substantive legislation that makes Covid-19 vaccination compulsory, such policy directive which would invariably take away guaranteed rights, is illogical, unlawful, null and void.
Ubani also insisted that the best policy for the country remains that the citizens be not allowed to lower the guard in preventive measures in dealing with the pandemic.
He said: “As the government have failed to concretely convince the citizens on the issue of health, safety and bodily harm of this vaccination, they are advised to desist from pursuing their present policy that is in collision course with the bodily integrity of the citizens.
“They should rather utilise persuasive methodology to get citizens convinced of the benefits of the said vaccinations but most importantly, they are advised to pursue free education, free health policies and other social welfare policies and make them compulsory for the citizens which will in turn attract accolades for the government.”
Court Convicts Three Brothers For Internet Fraud
Three siblings, Emmanuel Udofa, ThankGod Udofa and Jonathan Udofa were on Thursday, convicted and sentenced to prison by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
The trio were arraigned by the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a one-count charge of false representation.
The Udofas had sometime in January 2021 with intent to defraud falsely represented one James Changhan, a Chinese, contrary to section 484 of the Criminal Code Cap 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.
The charge against Emmanuel read: “Emmanuel Udofa (Alias James Changhan.) sometime in January, 2019 at Benin City, Edo State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did falsely represented yourself to be James Changhan (a Chinese man) and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 484 of the Criminal Code Cap 48 Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria (as applicable in Edo State) 1976.”
The defendants pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Mohammed, who stood in for Francis Jirbo and I K Agwai, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.
Justice Ikponmwonba convicted and sentenced Emmanuel and Thank God to three years imprisonment with an option of N200,000, while Jonathan bagged three years imprisonment with the option of N100,000 fine.
The judge also ruled that a Lexus ES330 2004 car, the sum of N3, 545,704.24 million iPhone 12 Pro max; iPhone X Pro max; iPhone 11 and one Samsung galaxy, being proceeds of crime recovered from the defendants be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
EFCC Docks Man For Alleged $111.5m Fraud In Lagos
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday arraigned one Stanley Okoye and Larbrador Shipping Services Limited before Justice O.A. Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $111,500,000 fraud.
The defendants were arraigned on a 12-count charge bordering on possession of false documents, forgery, attempt to obtain by false pretence and using as genuine a false document contrary to Section 364 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
One of the counts reads: “OKAFOR STANLEY and LARBRADOR SHIPPING SERVICES LTD, sometime between November 2019 and January 2020 in Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, did attempt to obtain the cumulative sum of $111,500,000 (One Hundred and Eleven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) from Zenith Bank Plc by falsely representing that CitiBank was already in receipt of the said sum on your behalf.”
Another count reads: “OKAFOR STANLEY and LARBRADOR SHIPPING SERVICES LTD., on or about the 21st day of November 2019 in Lagos, within the Lagos Judicial Division, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate your obtaining by money by false pretence from Zenith Bank Plc forged a document to wit: Bank of America confirmation message with SWIFT TRANSACTION CODE BOA-20192111700088368, purporting it to represent the sum of $22,000,000 (Twenty-two Million Dollars) in favour of Labrador Shipping Services Ltd, which document you knew to be false.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to him.
Prosecuting counsel, I.A. Mohammed, thereafter, prayed the court for a trial date to enable the prosecution to prove its case.
“We also urge the Court to order that the defendant be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre,” he said.
Defence counsel, Onyeisi Ofulue, however, sought to make an oral application for the bail of his client, adding that the defence was already making a formal application to bring before the Court.
“We also urge the Court to remand the defendant in EFCC custody,” Ofulue added.
In his response, Mohammed argued that a proper bail application ought to be brought before the Court, which the prosecution will also respond to.
“With the arraignment of the defendant, the proper custody is the prison,” he added.
While overruling the application to make an oral application for the bail of the defendant, Justice Taiwo adjourned till December 2, 2021, for the hearing of a formal bail application and also ordered that the defendant remains in the EFCC custody till then.
Keyamo replies Reps committee on Public Works Scheme’s probe
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, has refuted a report that said the House of Representatives Committee on Youths, Labour, Finance and Appropriations was mandated to carry out a probe into the non-implementation of the Public Works Scheme.
Keyamo noted that the report was a misrepresentation of facts, as the scheme being probed by the House of Representatives is not under his supervision but a totally different Scheme called the P-Yes under the supervision of a different Ministry/Minister.
This was revealed in a statement by Tunde Moshood, Special Assistant Media and Communications to the Minister of State.
The statement reads:
“The attention of the office of the Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, has been drawn to the news making rounds in some section of the media titled; 774 Jobs: Reps Probe FG’s Public Works Scheme’s Failure.
“In the said report, the House of Representatives Committee on Youths, Labour, Finance and Appropriations was said to have been mandated to “carry out a probe into the non-implementation of the scheme”, after a motion moved by Honourable Gudaji Kazaure on the ‘Call to investigate the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme’.
“However, the Scheme referred to by Hon. Kazaure is not the Special Public Works Scheme under the supervision of Festus Keyamo, SAN, but a totally different Scheme called the P-Yes under the supervision of a different Ministry/Minister. Hence, the story is a misrepresentation of facts.
The Minister also said that, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Extended Special Public Works programme has been successfully implemented by the National Directorate of Employment under the supervision of the Honourable Minister of State, Labour and Employment. The Honourable Minister is not directly or remotely in charge of the P-YES programme.
“The report of the alleged investigation into the Special Public Works Programme is therefore not just misleading but loaded with misinformation at the same time.
“The article which ties the Extended Special Public Works Programme with the Presidential Youths Empowerment Scheme, P-Yes is purely a figment of the imagination of its purveyors.
“The Extended Special Public Works Programme under the supervision of the Honourable Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN has been implemented successfully with about 90% of the 774,000 ESPW participants engaged by the scheme across the nation successfully paid with over N40 billion so far.” He Said.
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