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More trouble for Abba Kyari, as NDLEA applies to seize assets, property, bank accounts, others

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A combined N4.2 billion has been traced to the separate accounts of suspended ‘super cop’ and disgraced former Commander of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari; and his deputy, ACP Sunday Ubua.

The details are part of a report sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to the agency, not less than N1.4 billion passed through Kyari’s account while he was commander of the IRT, The PUNCH reports.

However, Kyari’s deputy, Ubua, may have received far more than him as not less than N2.8 billion was traced to his eight bank accounts.

The details are part of a report sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, by the NDLEA.

According to investigations, Ubua allegedly received a lump sum of N2.664 billion on August 15, 2019. The NDLEA is now working on the assumption that the sums traced to Kyari and his deputy may be connected to the sale of some illicit substances including Tramadol worth N3 billion.

A source said, “You will recall that the NDLEA is investigating an allegation that Kyari and his team seized a large consignment of tramadol in a warehouse at Amuwo Odofin in Lagos. The consignment was worth about N3 billion.

“The IRT under Kyari’s command seized these drugs and they are believed to have sold the consignment to a cartel afterwards. It was around the time of this seizure that Kyari’s deputy received a deposit of N2.664 billion in his personal bank account. Out of this money, he purchased FBN Insurance shares worth about N100 million.”

Meanwhile, the NDLEA has written a letter to the AGF seeking his approval for the confiscation of properties and assets belonging to the disgraced cop.

It was gathered that the NDLEA’s request was dispatched to the justice minister last week following the March 7 arraignment of Kyari and his men for dealing in cocaine.

Kyari is facing eight counts of conspiracy, obstruction, and dealing in cocaine, and other related offences at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The other defendants are four members of the IRT, Ubua, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu.

Two civilian suspects arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu— Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne—are also defendants.

Kyari was earlier indicted in the United States for alleged involvement in a $1.1m scam carried out by an international Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi.

He was suspended by the police last July to allow for investigation into the extent of his relationship with Hushpuppi.

The drug agency’s request according to sources is receiving the AGF’s attention, noting that Malami was in the process of approving the seizure of the embattled DCP’s assets and property to ensure he did not benefit from the proceeds of crime.

Our correspondent gathered that the ex-IRT commander’s assets that will be confiscated include cash and money in bank accounts, vehicles, real estate, notably hotels, residential and commercial buildings; personal effects such as wristwatches, jewellery and other valuable possessions.

It was learnt that the AGF’s approval was required by the NDLEA to seize a suspect’s property pending conviction by the court.

A senior officer stated, “Under the NDLEA Act, the NDLEA cannot forfeit his assets unless based on the consent of the Attorney-General. The NDLEA wrote last week and the AGF is considering the request.”

The NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, confirmed the development, saying, “It’s a normal procedure to seek approval for a no debit order on suspects’ bank accounts when suspicious transactions are noticed in such accounts.”

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Organ harvesting: Dino Melaye reacts to arrest of Ekweremadu, wife

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Dino Melaye

Former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye has expressed his support for ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.

Melaye said he stands with Ekweremadu because there was no wrongdoing by the Senator.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.

The UK metropolitan police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court, but the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.

“These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge,” Magistrate Lois Sheard said.

Ms Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.

Sharing Ekweremadu’s letter via his Twitter handle, Melaye wrote: “Sen. Ike Ekweremadu notified the British authorities on his trip with the said boy. I stand with Ike.”

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Supreme Court set to rule on controversial Electoral Act on Friday

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria will on Friday deliver judgment on the legality or otherwise of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 .

The apex Court is set for its verdict in the suit instituted against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice.

A notice for the judgment delivery has just been sighted, indicating that the apex Court will make its position known this morning.

The notice was served on Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for their judgment.

Our correspondent further observed that the suit is the only one for determination today.

Buhari and Abubakar Malami had filed the suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.

Section 84 (12) has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February this year.

Shortly after signing it into law, Buhari had asked the parliament to delete the controversial clause in the Electoral Act, but the National Assembly declined the president’s request.

According to Section 84 (12) of the legislation, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot. These are the biggest decliners

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World’s most livable cities: Vienna climbs back to its No. 1 spot
The Stephansplatz is a square at the geographical centre of Vienna. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world.

After two years, Vienna has overtaken Auckland as the world’s most livable city, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Vienna ranked first in 2018 and 2019, but was overtaken by Auckland, New Zealand, during the pandemic and slipped to 12th place in 2021, according to the Global Liveability Index 2022.

The EIU said that Auckland’s position on the index dipped to the 34th place this year because of higher Covid-19 infection rates and strict border controls in 2021. Although lockdowns ended in New Zealand in December, well-vaccinated cities in Europe and Canada had begun easing restrictions earlier.

However, it’s unlikely that Auckland would’ve clinched the top position in this year’s ranking even without a pandemic, according to the EIU.

“Other cities falling was why Auckland was top last time. Without Covid, it would likely be top 10, but not number one,” said Simon Baptist, global chief economist at the research and advisory firm.

Five other European cities — Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt and Amsterdam — also made the top ten. Canada’s Calgary and Vancouver took the third and fifth spots respectively. Japan’s Osaka and Australia’s Melbourne shared 10th place — the only two “Asian” cities that made it to the top 10.

The 172 cities that were included in the rating were assessed on these categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Biggest decliners
Cities in New Zealand and Australia were the biggest fallers in the EIU’s livability ranking.

New Zealand’s capital Wellington dived by 46 places, while Australia’s Adelaide and Perth lost their 2021 positions in the top 10. They are now in the 30th and 32nd place respectively.

Australian and New Zealand cities snagged six of the top 10 spots last year, but were “much, much lower down” on this year’s list as their partial reopening coincided with the spread of the more contagious omicron variant, Baptist told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

But the EIU is optimistic that these cities would bounce back.

“We can expect to see Australian and New Zealand cities moving up the rankings next year, when we do the next round of the survey. And this will be because they will have relaxed more of their Covid restrictions,” said Baptist.

Other cities in the region saw their rankings slip as well.

Singapore fell three spots to 37th place this year, while Hong Kong dropped to 62nd place from 49th last year.

“This is a long term change, it’s not just about Covid. That is part of it. But Hong Kong’s loss of connectivity is likely to be permanent,” said Baptist, citing the decline of cultural and political freedom in the city.

Russian cities plunged
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Moscow’s livability ranking fall by 15 places, while St. Petersburg dipped by 13 spots, the EIU reported.

“Both cities record a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of Western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country,” the report said.

The war on Ukraine also affected the rankings of other Eastern European cities that have been facing political standoffs security threats, food and energy insecurities, and rising inflation, EIU said.

For example, Poland’s Warsaw and Hungary’s Budapest saw their stability scores slip as a result of rising diplomatic tensions, the EIU added.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was also excluded from this year’s report, and 33 new cities — 11 of them in China — were added.

The top 10
These are the world’s most livable cities and their scores, according to The Global Liveability Index 2022:

  1. Vienna, Austria (99.1)
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0)
  3. TIE — Zurich, Switzerland (96.3)
  4. TIE — Calgary, Canada (96.3)
  5. Vancouver, Canada (96.1)
  6. Geneva, Switzerland (95.9)
  7. Frankfurt, Germany (95.7)
  8. Toronto, Canada (95.4)
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)
  10. TIE — Osaka, Japan (95.1)
  11. TIE — Melbourne, Australia (95.1)

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