Sunday Igboho: We Are Doing The Needful To Ensure Justice – FG

 

The Federal Government says it is making efforts to get justice in the case involving Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.

Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, stated this on Wednesday in reaction to the judgement of an Oyo State High Court that awarded damages in Igboho’s favour.

“We are doing the needful in terms of looking at the law as it exists, and then working within the context of the law in ensuring that justice is done as far as the contending issues between the parties are concerned,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States.

READ ALSO: We Have Identified Terrorism Financiers In Nigeria – Malami

A file photo of Mr Sunday Adeyemo.

 

Last Friday, Channels Television reported that the court presided by Justice Ladiran Akintola ordered the Federal Government to pay the sum of N20 billion in damages to Igboho.

This followed the suit file by Igboho’s lawyer, Yomi Alliyu, to challenge the legality of the invasion of his client’s house in Ibadan, and the damage done to his property.

He argued that the action of the security outfit was a violation of Igboho’s fundamental right to peacefully own property and wealth.

 

A Fresh Charge

The AGF and DSS were respondents to the suit in which Alliyu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, sought N500 billion in favour of his client.

A photo of security patrol vehicles at the entrance of the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan.

 

In his reaction, the minister questioned the jurisdiction of the court and hinted that the government would not rule out filing fresh charges against Igboho.

“As far as the Federal Government is concerned, it is about law. It is about jurisdiction; as far as this matter is concerned, which court is it that has the jurisdiction to determine it?” he queried.

“But then, you have to understand within the context of such obedience that there are associated rights and interests that are vested in the Federal Government – inclusive of rights of appealing against a judgement, inclusive of the right to file an application for setting aside the purported judgement and order.

“And indeed, inclusive of the possibility of filing a fresh action, if indeed the jurisdiction of the court that was alleged to have indeed handed that judgement is an issue.”

FG Considering To Resolve VAT Dispute At Supreme Court, Says AGF

 

As more reactions trail the controversy over the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), the Federal Government has moved to find a permanent resolution to the disputes.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this on Wednesday in New York, said the government was considering taking an action at the Supreme Court.

“The Federal Government had indeed taken cognisance of the fact that where there exists a dispute between a state and the Federal Government, it is the Supreme Court that should naturally have the jurisdiction to determine the dispute between the state and the federation,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in the United States.

“And we are taking steps to consider the possibility of instituting an action before the Supreme Court for the purpose of having this matter determined once and for all.”

In a ruling delivered in August, Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt granted the Rivers State government the right to collect VAT, instead of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), paving the way for Governor Nyesom Wike to assent to the VAT Law, 2021.

But the FIRS, which was displeased with the development, filed a motion on notice to apply for a stay of execution on the earlier judgement delivered by Justice Pam.

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Justice Pam, however, refused the application on the ground that the federal agency failed to file an application to set aside the tax law recently enacted by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

While he stated that the state law on VAT was valid and subsisting, Governor Wike directed the state’s revenue agency to fully implement the VAT law.

The FIRS later approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with a civil motion seeking a stay of the execution of the judgement granted by the court in Rivers, pending the determination of the case.

A three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani then directed all parties to maintain the status quo and refrain from taking action that would give effect to the judgement delivered by Justice Pam, pending the hearing and determination of the instant suit.

In its reaction, the Rivers State government filed an appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling of the appellate court.

It sought relief of the apex court to allow the appeal, set aside the decision of the appeal court, and dismiss the oral application for interim injection made by the FIRS.

AGF Tasks Appeal Court Judges On Speedy Dispensation Of Justice

 

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has asked justices of the Court of Appeal to contribute positively to the judicial system by speedily concluding cases before them at the level of the Appeal Court.

Malami made the appeal on Monday at the special session to mark the 2021 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal.

He also reminded the justices that a lot is expected of them in the delivery of credible judgement that will foster and promote public confidence in all rulings that emanate from the courts.

More to follow.

Nnamdi Kanu: FG Welcomes Ohanaeze To Monitor Trial Of IPOB’s Leader

File photo of Nnamdi Kanu in court

 

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has welcomed the formation of a legal team by Ohanaeze Ndigbo to monitor the proceedings at the trial of the self-acclaimed IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, a move which is in line with the doctrine of the right of fair hearing rooted in Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Inherent in the position of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the matter was the demonstration of their recognition of belonging to Nigeria and succumbing to the rule of law while maintaining their stance that they were not averse to the trial of Nnamdi Kanu,” a communique by the AGF’s spokesman,  Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu reads in part.

READ ALSO: Federal High Court Embarks On Annual Vacation

It further noted that the group showed a mature departure from the mindset of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and quoted the Ohanaeze as saying they “do not support the use of any form of violence” while channeling concerns and presenting demands.

According to Malami, by urging the youths to be law-abiding and sheath their sword as well as asking them to try to obtain voter’s card to enable them to contribute to national development, the position of Ohanaeze becomes glaringly constitutional and commendable.

“Let it be made abundantly clear that President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government respects the rule of law and does not advocate for the breach of law. Hence, with or without the so-called monitoring group, justice will be adequately served to Nnamdi Kanu in compliance with the enshrined provisions of the law,” the minister’s communique further reads.

The AGF said he hoped that the unnecessary legal monitoring group will come with an open mind and be guided by nothing but the rule of law in the process so as to convey the judgment of the Court as may eventually be delivered to their people in various languages and dialects of the members of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo communities and the entire Nigerians.

Nigeria-UK Discuss Electoral Act Amendment, PIB And Twitter Ban

 

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has hosted the High Commissioner of Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing on Thursday.

The meeting which lasted for almost an hour served as a platform for discussing bilateral issues relating to Asset Recovery, Anti-corruption crusade, amendment of the Electoral Act, the Audit Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Twitter ban, and counter-terrorism approaches.

Malami said the fundamental interest and objective of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was to leverage the bill to enhance value in terms of creating an amiable environment for investment, protecting the public interest for the maximum benefit of the country.

On Petroleum Industry Bill, the Minister said necessary steps have been taken to ensure the pending bills are transmitted to the President for assent.

READ ALSO: Nnamdi Kanu Lived A Life Of Luxury Abroad – Lai Mohammed

Malami said the essence of the amendment of the Electoral Act was to enhance the democratic system thereby aiming at addressing delays in judicial determination of pre-election matters, as well as ensuring justice and fairness in the conduct of election processes including party primaries.

He said to strengthen the fight against corruption the government came up with the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Audit Bill among others.

Malami said public interest has been the uppermost consideration within which the context of freedom of expression should be regulated noting that reasonable restrictions to freedom of expression are locally and internationally recognized.

“Our government is not averse to freedom. Freedom is not borderless. Freedom of expression must not be used in such a manner that incites citizens to violence or calls for an overthrow of a democratically elected government. There are bounds to freedom within the laws,” he said.

On Twitter ban in the country, Malami said the government has established a committee on the matter and that the company has approached the government over the issue. He maintained that the interest of Nigerian interest matters most for any company that wants to do business in the country.

“If you want to operate as a business entity in Nigeria, you must do so within the context of Nigerian laws. Nothing offensive and nothing that breaches the Nigerian laws should be entertained”.

In her remarks, the High Commissioner of Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing, thanked the Minister for the “clarification” of the issues maintaining that the steps taken in the fight against corruption and electoral reforms are “really encouraging”.

Malami Denies Receiving N2bn From Recovered Loots

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.
Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.

 

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has denied allegations suggesting that N2 billion was paid to his office from the recovered funds.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice.

According to the communique, prior to the repatriation of all the recovered assets, Nigeria and relevant nations signed a memorandum of understanding as to what the monies will be put to “and the government has been working in compliance with all the provisions of multi-national agreements reached”.

The Minister further noted that it was on the basis of the application of the said funds in line with the agreements that Nigeria earns a reputation among the international committee of nations which translated into further recoveries.

He said the Federal Government has a designated account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for all recovered assets, adding that neither he as a person nor as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has in any way received any funds from the recovered assets.

Malami, therefore, challenged any person who has any evidence of such payments to either him or his office, to come out publicly with proofs.

N2bn Illegally Paid

Earlier in the week, a House of Representatives panel said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) illegally paid N2 billion to Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), from recovered loot.

At its sitting on Tuesday, the house ad hoc committee probing the status of recovered loot queried Malami on the funds which they said they never approved as a budgetary allocation.

The lawmakers cited a letter from the CBN which indicated that the apex bank directed the release of the funds following a request made for the money to be used to prosecute terror suspects.

They also challenged the Minister of Justice for allegedly requesting payment of approved solicitors’ fees from the recovered assets, a claim which Malami utterly denied.

Case Against Atiku’s Citizenship Started In 2019, Says Malami

File photo of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

 

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has said that the case challenging the citizenship of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar started in 2019.

Malami in a statement issued on Wednesday by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said he did not institute the case, noting it was filed by a civil society organisation – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa.

According to Malami, the matter was part of an election case that started in 2019.

“Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has not instituted legal action on the citizenship or otherwise of the former Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,” the statement partly read.

“Malami has never filled any case before any court in the country challenging the citizenship of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

“The matter in contention was part of the 2019 pre-election matters instituted by a civil society organisation – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 in respect of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party Independent National Electoral Commission and the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was made a co-defendant.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

*I didn’t file suit against Atiku’s Citizenship – Malami*

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has not instituted legal action on the citizenship or otherwise of the former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice which was made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday the 7th day of April 2021.

The Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has never filled any case before any court in the country challenging the citizenship of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

According to the statement, the matter in contention was part of the 2019 pre-election matters instituted by a Civil Society Organization – the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 in respect of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was made a co-defendant.

The issue had already been widely reported by the media since April 2019. It is unfortunate that stale news stories capable of causing confusion are repackaged and presented to the general public as current news.

*Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu*

(Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations

Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice)

7th April 2021

 

Maina’s Trial: Court Fixes March 17 For Falana, Malami, Others To Testify

A photo combination of Mr Femi Falana and Mr Abubakar Malami.

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 17 and 18 for a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana; the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and nine others to appear before the court.

The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, fixed the dates on Thursday for the persons to testify in the trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).

Justice Abang had issued a subpoena on Maina’s request, compelling the AGF, Falana, and the former acting chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and the eight others to come before the court on March 9, 10, and 11 to give their testimonies.

At the resumed trial, Falana informed the court that although he has not been served with the subpoena, he heard about it and decided to come before the court out of respect.

He said the subpoena would provide an opportunity for him to put an end to the needless controversy surrounding a property he never bought.

During the proceedings, the defendant called his second witness, Charles Emoakemeh, who is a retired prison officer.

Emoakemeh told the court that Maina was appointed as the Director of the Pension Office and recovered about N10 billion for the Federal Government after removing ghost pensioners.

He also noted that as the Head of the PRTT, Maina did not have control over the disbursement of monies unless approval was sought from the then Head of Service.

On March 4, Maina’s first witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, had told the court about monies and properties recovered by the former PRTT boss and how Magu to whom the properties were remitted, had allegedly sold some of the properties to friends and associate, including Falana.

Why Ibori Loot Is Not Returning To Delta State – Malami

 

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, explained on Tuesday why the loot recovered from former Delta State Governor, James Ibori will be used for federal projects.

Malami had, earlier on Tuesday with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, announced the return of £4.2 million recovered from Mr. Ibori and his friends.

The funds, set to arrive in the country within two weeks, are expected to be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road and not returned to the Delta State Government where it was pilfered from.

“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Mr. Malami said during his Tuesday appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He argued that the law that was alleged to have been breached by Ibori was a federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.

“All the processes associated with the recovery were consummated by the federal government and the federal government is, indeed, the victim of crime and not sub-national,” he said.

When pressed on whether the British government had insisted that the money be spent on certain projects, Mr. Malami said it was not “a matter of insistence but a matter of negotiation between two sovereign states.”

‘Judicial Processes’

Mr Ibori was convicted by a UK court in 2012 after pleading guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money laundering.

But the negotiations for the repatriation of his looted assets lasted for over seven years, due to what Mr. Malami described as “judicial processes” which requires all appeals to be exhausted before final forfeiture is granted.

“This hampered the speedy recovery of the looted assets,” he said.

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.
FILE: Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.

 

Mr. Malami, who also doubles as the Minister of Justice, said the government is pursuing the recovery of other looted assets, including more Ibori assets amounting to over £100 million.

Another component of the assets looted by a former military dictator, Sani Abacha, is also being pursued. The Abacha component is worth over $100 million.

What else did Malami say?

Mr Malami said the P&ID case which almost cost Nigeria a fine of $10 billion has been “a success story.”

“Our position as a government is being strengthened day-in-day-out,” he said. “We are optimistic.”

He said he had not been served a subpoena to appear before a High Court over the prosecution of former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina.

His appearance in the Maina case, he added, would be subject to legal considerations and the public interest.

Mr. Malami also denied that his office was involved in the re-opening of a case against the former Governor of Lagos State and APC chieftain, Bola Tinubu.

President Buhari Tolerated Excesses Of #EndSARS Protesters – Malami

 

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says President Muhammadu Buhari tolerated the ‘excesses’ of #EndSARS protesters in the country, back in October 2020.

According to the AGF, that, among other actions of the president is proof of his leniency, despite what he termed as “human rights violations” in the country.

Mr Malami said this on Wednesday while addressing a number of issues from the government’s reaction to the #EndSARS protests, to the appointment of new service chiefs, the extension of the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, among others.

“As far as Human Rights records of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned, the fact speaks for itself, the commendation by the international body which is the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, local compliance with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, which has been unprecedented, tolerance and indeed, accommodation for the excesses of the #EndSARS protesters were all facts that go to establish a point that the government of President Buhari has shown greater accommodation of the human rights violation and the tolerance to the human rights record as far as the Nigerian State is concerned,” the AGF said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

According to him, “no nation in the world could have tolerated the idea of destruction to its security institutions”.

“I think over 20 police stations or more — I’m not certain about the number, they can be more — were destroyed during #EndSARS protests and government has a responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and freedom of movement.

“We are confronted with a situation whereby #EndSARS protesters blocked roads, caused mayhem, caused deaths, caused destruction, and they were significantly tolerated to a certain extent,” he added.

Meanwhile, the AGF also reacted to the court order on the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters.

He explained that the law provides the Federal Government with other options which include the right to challenge or exercise further considerations on the matter if the need arises.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier today, ordered the CBN to unfreeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the ruling following the agreement reached by parties in the suit to amicably resolve the matter.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: LCC Repossesses Lekki Toll Gate

He then, set aside the November 4, 2020 order and ruled that all the accounts of the affected persons “be immediately defreezed.”

The CBN, in an exparte motion, had prayed the court to freeze the bank accounts of Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others who participated in last year’s protest to end police brutality in the country.

The apex bank said it took the action to investigate the promoters of the protest on allegations bordering on terrorism financing, among others.

Fresh EndSARS Protests?

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of police brutality and other related matters has returned control of the Lekki toll gate plaza to its owners, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

The toll gate had been one of the major converging points for the protesters in Lagos last year and was also the location for the infamous #LekkiShootings, masterminded by security operatives particularly men of the Nigerian Army.

During the proceedings on Saturday, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, gave a ruling allowing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Ltd to repossess the toll gate – a decision that has been met with diverse views from Nigerians, many of whom are of the opinion that the toll gate should remain closed in honour of those lost their lives o the incident.

Fresh protests are believed to be looming, even as the toll gate is expected to undergo reconstruction and subsequently, resume full operations.

Malami Denies NDDC Bribe Allegation, Says Culprits Should Be Exposed

A file photo of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has denied allegations that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio offered him bribes in respect of the appointment of a Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

A statement signed on Friday by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, described the claims as fictitious.

“The report, as any fake news, was marred by evincing contradictions, figment of imagination, sheer fabrications and filthy assumptions of mischief makers and detractors,” the statement read in part.

“Any discerning mind who read the story will not fail to note the desperate attempt to cast aspersions on the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and dent his hard-earned reputation with unsubstantiated allegations spread by perfidious elements.

“The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) hereby makes an outright denial of the report in its entirety”.

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The statement further stressed that the Minister has not collected and does not intend at any time to receive any gratification from any dealing and discharging any function he is constitutionally empowered to perform.

While calling on Nigerians to disregard the information Malami asked individuals who have any information, if any, regarding those who facilitated, accepted, delivered or took part in one way or the other in the alleged offer and purported acceptance of gratification for him or his office to come out publicly with the information with a view to exposing them and taking further necessary action.

The AGF condemned the act, describing it as a criminal offense.

He, therefore, encouraged the purveyors of the fictitious publication to approach relevant security and law enforcement agencies and proffer information that could lead to the criminal investigation and investigation against him if they feel strongly about their purported claim.