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US says it will no longer issue visas for ‘birth tourism’



The United States says it will no longer issue visas to foreigners who want to give birth in the country.

According to a statement released by the office of the press secretary, the rule will be effective from Friday, January 24.



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Alleged pension fraud: EFCC files fresh charge against Maina’s son, Faisal



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Friday, filed an amended three-count charge against Faisal Maina, son of Abdulrasheed, former Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team.
The charges which were read to Faisal before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, bordered on money laundering and false declaration of assets.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the amended three-count charge.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Faisal, alongside his father, was arraigned, on Oct. 25, 2019, by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Mohammed Abubakar, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that though the matter was slated for continuation of cross examination of second prosecution witness, the commission had an amended charge dated Jan. 22 and filed the same day.

Adeola Adedipe, counsel to Faisal, however, objected to the application.

READ MORE: Getting a senator as surety is difficult for me – Maina begs court

Adedipe noted that though the prosecution deserved the right to amend the charge, such amendment must be prescribed by the leave of court as provided by Section 218(2 ) of ACJA.

“The order of court is not approppriately endorsed on the purported amended charge. So it may not be useful for today’s hearing,” he argued.

Abubakar, however, countered Adedipe’s argument.

According to him, I submit that counsel misconceived the intent and purpose of Section 218(2) of ACJA because it does not make it mandatory for prosecution to first obtain leave of court before filing an amended charge.

“The counsel has jumped the gun because the issue of endorsement can only come after the amendment,” he remarked.

Justice Abang, who noted that the drafter of Section 218(2) of ACJA might have created the controversy, granted the anti-graft agency’s prayer.

“Section 281(2) is not clear on whether it is the judge or registrar that will endorse the note of order of amendment.

“However, there is no dispute to right of prosecution to file an amended charge at anytime.
“In the light of this, the leave is hereby granted to the prosecution to file an amended charge.
“And the amended charged filed on Jan. 22 is deemed to be properly filed,” he held.
Abang said since the problem on who signs the amended charge was caused by drafter of ACJA, he ordered the prosecution to endorse it in the open court.
According to the judge, the defendant will not be prejudiced if the court asks the prosecution to endorse the note of order of amendment in the open court.

The EFCC lawyer then sought that the amended charge be read to defendant.
Afer Faisal pleaded not guilty to the charges, his lawyer, Adedipe, pleaded with the court to allow him continue to enjoy the bail terms graciously granted to him by the court on Nov. 26, 2019.
He argued that the defendant had complied with the bail conditions initially granted him.
“The defendant came from his house today and was equally accompanied by the surety in compliance with court order,” he said.

Abubakar did not raised objection to the request.
Justice Abang, therefore, granted Adedipe’s prayer, “the defendant shall remain on the subsisting bail order granted on Nov 26, 2019 by this honourable court.”
Abang adjourned the continuation of trial and cross examination of PW2 untill Feb. 27; March 18, March 19, March 20 and March 30.

NAN reports that Faisal was, on Nov. 26, admitted to a bail in the sum of N60 million, with a surety in the like sum, who must be a member of House of Representatives.
he three-count charge reads: “That you, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina (alias Alhaji Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) between Oct. 2013 and June 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court did operate an anonymous account No: 1017558607 (Alh Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) in a commercial bank by concealing your true identity and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 11(4) of the same Act.

“That you Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina (alias Alh Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) between Oct. 2013 and June 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court, indirectly controlled an aggregate sum of N58,111,585.00 (Fifty Eight. Million, One Hundred and Eleven Thousand, five Hundred and Eighty Five Naira only) paid through a commercial bank account of Alh. Faisal Abdullahi Farms II, when you reasonably ought to have known fhat the said funds formed part of the proceed of unlawfui activity (to wit: corruption of one Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina who is facing a separate charge) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act.

“That you Faisal Addulrasheed Maina on or about Oct 3, 2019, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Hon Court knowingly failed to make full disclosure of your assets and liabilities in the Declaration of Assets Form dated Oct. 3, 2019 which you filled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) office at No. 5, Fomella Street, Wise II , Abuja, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(3)(a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act., 2004 and punishable under Section 27(3)(c) of the same Act.” (NAN)

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FG files fresh charge against Sowore, Bakare




Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare were, on Thursday, arraigned by the Federal Government before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on fresh charges.
Sowore and Bakare, however, pleaded not guilty to the amended two-count charge brought against them by the office of the Attorney General for the Federation (AGF).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the charges include: conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and treasonable felony, contrary to Section 41(a) of the Criminal Code Act, Cap. C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which are punishable under the same section of the Act.

At the resumed hearing, Justice Ojukwu struck out the 7-count charge earlier filed against the defendants, following an application by the AGF counsel, Aminu Aliyu, asking for the substitution of the previous charges with the new ones.
Alilu also brought forward the evidence of payment of the N200, 000 fine imposed on the prosecution by the court.

However, when the AGF lawyer told the court that he was in the court with the witnesses to give evidence in the trial, the defence counsel, Abdul Mahmud, raised an objection on the ground that the full statement of the witnesses was yet to be served on them.

Mahmud argued that what prosecution served on them was the summary statement of the four witnesses.

Mahmud stated that the video clips of the witnesses’ statement would be needed to prepare for defence.

He submitted that fundamental rights of the accused must be respected and must be given opportunity to see those evidence.
The lawyer insisted that since the prosecution had the witnesses’ evidence in tape, he demanded that the tape be played in the open court.
The judge, then, asked for a copy of the witness’ statement.

After perusing the summary statement, she directed the prosecution to avail the defence the video clips and electronic materials as requested.
Aliyu in his submission said he would comply with the court’s directive and make them available to the defence team within two weeks.
The AGF lawyer also hinted that the witnesses would be called within five days.

Justice Ojukwu, after taking the arguments, adjourned the matter untill March 11, March 12 and March 13 for definite trial. (NAN)

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Kobe Bryant’s Daughter Gianna, 13, Dead Alongside Father in Calabasas Helicopter Crash



Kobe Bryant and Daughter

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna also died in the Calabasas helicopter crash that killed their father.

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, nicknamed Gigi, was also on board the private helicopter when it went down on Sunday, reps for the former basketball player told TMZ Sports.

Emergency personnel responded but no one on board survived. Five people are confirmed dead, TMZ reported. The outlet said that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant — with whom he shares all four children — was not onboard.

Sources told ESPN that the helicopter was headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna and that the other passengers were another player and their parent.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Spokespersons for LA county sheriff’s office and LAPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi | Paul Bereswill/Getty

Earlier this month, the former NBA star — who retired in 2016 — revealed that he had recently started watching basketball all the time because of his 13-year-old daughter.

“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke.

Kobe and his daughter also attended several Lakers games before the start of the new year, marking the first time he had been to a game since his jersey was retired in 2017.

“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” the five-time NBA champion said of sharing the experience with his daughter.

“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”


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