Ajudua Trial Resumes, Faces Fresh Arraignment On February 5

Alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, is to face a fresh arraignment on February 5, 2014, more than ten years after he was first arraigned in 2003 for fraud charges totalling about $1.69m. 

He will be arraigned before Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja who has been assigned the case following the withdrawal of the former trial judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole.

Justice Oyewole’s withdrawal may not be unconnected with a petition written to the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (Rtd).

In the petition, Lt.-Gen. Bamaiyi alleged that Ajudua and some others, swindled him of $8.395m on the pretext of helping him to secure his release from the Kirikiri Maximum Prison where he was remanded between November 2004 and June 2005.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and the others, who are said to be at large, had fraudulently claimed that $1m out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Oyewole’s father.

Back in 2003, the EFCC had arraigned Ajudua and one other person before Justice Oyewole for allegedly defrauding two Dutch business men of about $1.69m between July 1999 and September 2000.

The prosecution had already called six witnesses in proof of the case against him before Ajudua absconded from trial in 2005. After a bench warrant was issued for his arrest, he voluntarily reappeared in 2013 and this time Justice Oyewole denied him bail.

He was eventually granted bail by the vacation judge, Justice Ganiyu Safari, and had not attended his trial before Justice Oyewole withdrew from the case.

The matter, which was then reassigned to Justice Jose, was fixed for re-arraignment today (January 28) but the proceedings were stalled owing to the absence of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, and the second accused person in court. Ajudua and his counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, were however present.

Channels Television’s Judiciary Correspondent, Shola Soyele, reports that another Lagos High Court judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye has also fixed February 12 for the arraignment of Ajudua based on Bamaiyi’s petition to the EFCC.

A 13 count charge of fraud and conspiracy has already been made against Ajudua.

EFCC To Arraign Ajudua For Defrauding Bamaiyi

A Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja has fixed February 12, 2014 for the arraignment of Mr. Fred Ajudua, for fresh charges of defrauding a former chief of army staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd.) of about $8.395million

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the fresh charges dated October 14, 2013, alleged that Mr. Ajudua, along with others still at large, had committed the crime between November 2004 and June 2005.

Mr. Ajudua, along with other suspects, are said to have defrauded General Bamaiyi at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, where he and the other fraud suspects were on remand for various crimes.

The EFCC claims that the suspects had fraudulently collected the money from General Bamaiyi in parts, falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by a legal practitioner, Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and others fraudulently claimed that $1m out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole’s father.

Justice Oyewole was then presiding over Bamaiyi’s case in court.

Justice Ipaye of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja has adjourned till February 12 for the arraignment, ordering that a warrant of production should be served on the prison authority to produce Ajudua at the next hearing.

Jonathan Appeals To ASUU To Call Off Strike

President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the leadership of the Academics Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to tamper anger with justice.

The president made this while speaking during the first convocation ceremony of the Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, EKiti state, south-west Nigeria.

Jonathan, who made the appeal for the sake of the Nigerian students, urged the leadership of ASUU to allow students go back to school as the federal government will continue to look into their demands.

“I once again appeal to the entire membership of ASUUto pause and ponder on the adverse effect of their action on the future of the vibrant youths of this great nation.

“The collective destiny of tens of thousands of tomorrow’s leaders should not be held hostage to vagaries of labour disputes.

“So, let me use this unique opportunity that I am interfacing with our future leaders, our students, to plead with ASUU members.

“If it is a genuine strike, keeping students out of classrooms for almost four months, by that they have demonstrated to everybody that they have a case.

“And if the strike is motivated by some other interests, they have also achieved that by keeping students out of schools for more than a semester,” he said.

President Jonathan further emphasised that the freedom of association and the right of workers to go on strike should not be abused and used to the detriment of the nation.

Mr. Afe Babalola (SAN),  said in his short address noted that the government cannot do it alone, he urged all stakeholders to contribute their own quota to the development of education in the country.

Babalola said the institution which was built some three and half years ago is worth over 60 billion private investments.

He added that the school which has over 4000 students from 36 states of the federation and FCT, is reputed to be one of the fastest growing private universities in Africa and the 14th best among all public and private universities in Nigeria.

Babalola said he decided to invest in the education sector because of his firm believe that government cannot fund the sector alone adding that the best universities in the world such as Oxford and Havard are privately owned.

ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike that has paralysed academic activities in universities across the country.