A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday ordered for interim forfeiture of the Ilorin residence of the immediate past Senate President Bukola Saraki.
This was revealed in a statement signed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.
According to him, the Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC had earlier approached the court presided over by Justice Ridwan Aikawa for an order of interim forfeiture of about N1 billion worth property belonging to Saraki.
The property which is located at 1, Abdulkadir street, G.R.A, Ilorin, Kwara State is being requested by the anti-graft commission for forfeiture on the grounds that it was acquired through the proceeds of unlawful activity.
Ruling on the exparte application filed by EFCC Lawyer, Rotimi Oyedipo on Monday, Justice Aikawa ordered the interim forfeiture of the property and said the court order should be published in National Newspapers.
The Judge further said that any interested parties in the property should show cause while the property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The Commission in moving application said its reasonably suspected that the former Nigeria number three citizen built the house with Government’s money and other proceeds of crime.
US To Provide Life-Saving HIV Treatment To 43,000 In Imo
The United States Government through its Embassy in Nigeria, has assured Imo State of its support for identification and provision of treatment to approximately 43,000 people living with HIV in the state.
This was made known in a statement by the Public Affairs Unit of the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 in Abuja.
According to the statement, the support would be extended to over 14,000 people already receiving such treatment through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), programme.
It stated that the assurance was given when the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon, led a delegation on a courtesy call to Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
The delegation included a team from PEPFAR, and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The statement quoted FlitzGibbon as describing HIV epidemic in Imo as “critical and requiring rapid and sustained efforts to identify the victims and put them on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment.”
Such a move, she said, would not only ensure that the PLHIVs live a long, normal, productive, and healthy life, but will also help in breaking the transmission of the virus to sexual partners.
She said that the treatment programme would thereby improve the state’s health indices and enhance efforts to control the HIV epidemic.
FitzGibbon acknowledged the work that had been accomplished by the Government and other stakeholders, who partnered with PEPFAR and CDC over the years, to ensure that over 14,000 people living with HIV in the State were receiving life-saving treatment.
“Considering the over 43,000 others that need to be identified, all stakeholders must increase their efforts as part of the CDC-led PEPFAR ART surge in the State,” the diplomat said.
The Deputy Chief of Mission also emphasised the significance of Imo in the trajectory of HIV/AIDS epidemic control in Nigeria.
“Imo’s population, geographic location, diversify and status as a tourism and hospitality centre in the south-east make it an important area of focus for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in the country,” she said.
FlitzGibbon highlighted to Ihedioha the negative effect of the payment of some user-fees, which serves as a major barrier to people living with HIV, from accessing treatment.
She called for the immediate elimination of such fees, particularly fees charged by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already provided by PEPFAR.
She said that the U.S. government had increased its budget for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with increased focus on identifying and putting more people on treatment through the ART.
FlitzGibbon explained that this would enable more people with HIV to live healthy, productive lives, especially now that adherence to treatment leads to the virus becoming undetectable and therefore not transmittable to sexual partner.
She requested Ihedioha to prioritise the procurement of additional HIV test kits to support the current PEPFAR initiated surge efforts.
She said that the additional test kits were necessary for identifying people living with HIV in rural communities of the state.
She emphasised that such urgent intervention would help in moving Imo towards HIV epidemic control by September 2020.
According to the statement, the highlight of the visit was the formal launch of the Imo ART Surge Programme by Gov Ihedioha, who pledged to work with the U.S. Government and other stakeholders.
Ihedioha declared the immediate elimination of the payment of “user-fee” charges points of seeking care in Imo State hospitals and other health facilities, to serve as a major incentive to people living with HIV accessing treatment.
He said that the state and local governments would come up with a mechanism of reimbursing the facilities since the fees had now been waived.
Ihedioha said that the state government had made provision in its 2020 budget for the purchase of additional HIV test kits to complement the commodities already being provided by PEPFAR.
According to the statement, the recently released data from the U.S.-supported Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey revealed that there were approximately 1.9 million people still living with the virus in Nigeria.
It quoted the survey as revealing that approximately 58,000 of the population reside in Imo, adding that they required appropriate medical treatment to live a normal, productive and healthy life.
The U.S. Government recently announced support to Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Enugu, Lagos, and Nasarawa States for the launch of an ART Surge, a programmme designed to put an additional 500,000 people living with HIV on treatment.
The 500,000 people will be in addition to the more than 800,000 people already on treatment as part of the overall PEPFAR intervention.
Unknown Gunmen Kill OAU Professor
A senior lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Prof. Jerome Elusiyan, was on Friday shot dead by unknown gunmen.
The deceased, who was the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, (OAUTH), Ile-Ife, was killed in Edo State.
According to a family source, the deceased was travelling between Ekpoma and Benin alongside his driver when he was attacked by the gunmen.
The varsity don was shot dead during the attack while his driver sustained gunshot injuries.
The Public Relations Officer of OAUTHC, Mrs. Kemi Fasoto, confirmed the incident to journalists on Saturday.
Ex-Governor Mimiko Loses Mother
Former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko on Saturday lost his mother, Mrs Muniat Mimiko (nee Ogunsulie).
Mrs Mimiko died in her home in Ondo, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the state.
The former Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Ex-Governor, Eni Akinsola confirmed the death of Mrs Mimiko.
Akinsola said the octogenarian woman died in her sleep at the residence of her son where she lived till her death.
The former Governor was on Friday honoured by the Ondo State University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.
The deceased was a community leader and successful trader who bagged different chieftaincy and religious titles.
The family is yet to release details of her burial ceremony but it was learnt that sympathisers from both within and outside the state have been visiting the Ondo country home of former Governor. Mimiko.
The deceased is survived by other children including Prof. Mimiko, a former Vice chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko