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BREAKING: ICC moves to arrest Putin for war crimes in Ukraine

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One year after the invasion of Ukraine the International Criminal Court (ICC), on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia upping the ante in the high-level global engagement.

The ICC, which conveyed its decision in a statement, on Friday, said the warrant became necessary following the applications submitted by the prosecution on February 22, 2023, adding that Putin bore individual criminal responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukrainian territory from February 24, 2022.

Stating that the Russian President’s failure to exercise control over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts under his authority, made him responsible for these crimes, the court also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in the office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.

“Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova,” the statement reads.

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“Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born on 7 October 1952, President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute).

“The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian-occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others, and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute),

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“And (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).

“Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, born on 25 October 1984, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute).

“The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian-occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Ms Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).”

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BREAKING: Umar-Farouq beats ultimatum, finally at EFCC *To undergo grilling over N37billion ‘fraud’

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After days of dilly-dallying, back and forth, and finally an ultimatum, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, former Minister of Social Development, Disaster Management, and Humanitarian Affairs, on Monday, finally took the hot seat at the Jabi headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Abuja to tell operatives how some whopping amounts public money under her care suddenly developed wings.

The former Minister, whose name featured prominently in the later years of former President Muhammadu Buhari, for many wrong reasons, is being investigated over one of the many allegations levied against her, this time the handsome figure of N37,170,855,753.44, which was purportedly laundered when she was in charge through a contractor named James Okwete.

“I have, at my behest, arrived at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to honour the invitation by the anti-graft agency to offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating,” she wrote on her X handle.

After she failed to appear at the same office on Wednesday, on the ground of what her lawyers indicated was due to ill-health, she was eventually issued with a 72-hour ultimatum by the anti-graft agency to appear or be declared wanted, a deadline she had now beaten by showing up.

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Go girl! Tinubu gushes, as Akindele’s blockbuster move grosses record N1billion

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“The creative industry is one of the high-employment sectors, providing jobs for our able and talented youths. It is an industry that is crucial to my administration. I salute Nigerians for their enduring support and patronage of home-grown creative efforts. We will provide the conducive environment for the industry to thrive further,” were the words with which President Bola Tinubu on Friday, gushed at the news of the huge success just recorded by ace Nigerian artist, Funke Akindele, with her movie: A Tribe Called Judah.

Two weeks after its debut, the movie, said to have been produced and co-directed by Akindele, herself an A-list Nollywood actress with many awards to her name, reportedly grossed over N1 billion, after it was released to Nigerian cinemas, mid-December, becoming the highest-earning Nigerian movie ever.

Tinubu, who conveyed his excitement through Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman, celebrating  the ingenuity, creativity, and immense artistic talents of Nigeria’s thriving entertainment industry, congratulated not only for the record-setting film, but commended her contributions to the growth of the industry, as a whole.

He extolled the excellence of the Nigerian creative industry, acknowledging its pivotal place as a medium, not only for artistic expression but also a source of enormous soft power and viable export.

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The Nollywood diva, had broken the news herself through her Instagram page, on Friday, enthusing on the movie, which hit cinemas on December 15, 2023, first breaking the record of grossing over N133m in its opening weekend, stating: “Thank You LORD!!!, Thank NIGERIA!!, Thank you GHANA!!”

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The movie, which became the highest-grossing Nollywood film for the year 2023 after grossing over N613m within the first 14 days of its release, had also made history on January 2, as it emerged as the highest-grossing Nollywood film ever with a reported N854million at the box office within 18 days in cinemas, surpassing previous attempts, such as Battle on Buka Street (N668.4million), and Omo Ghetto (N636.1m) which currently sit as the second and third highest-grossing films at the Nigerian box office respectively.

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Stormy Rivers! Fubara moves quickly, summons council meeting

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In an apparent riposte to the defection of 27 pro-Nyesom Wike state lawmakers intent on removing him from office, Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara is said to be currently meeting with the members of the state executive council, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

This was after the 27 members of the 32-member House of Assembly, who had started their onslaught last month with a move to impeach him, dug in, in a fresh move by announcing their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), during the sitting of the House.

Though the lawmakers, who were seen brandishing the flags of the APC in a group photograph after the sitting, said in their individual letters addressed to Martin Chike Amaewhule, their factional Speaker that their decision to defect was due to the ongoing tussle for the position of the National Secretary of the PDP, political watchers believe the move is part of the grand finale to their plans to oust the governor.

Outside the meeting, which is still going on as at the time of filing this report, the governor is said to have also activated other structures in the state, including the political machinery that has sustained the PDP, which has been in power in the state since 1999, in addition to seeking the support of the elders and leaders of thoughts in the state, to stem the tide against him.

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