EU To Sanction Salisbury Chemical Attack Suspects

    The suspected Russian agents. Credit: @heartwiltsnews

The EU is to slap sanctions on two suspected Russian agents accused of carrying out a deadly nerve agent attack in the British city of Salisbury, officials told AFP Thursday.

Foreign ministers from the bloc will formally sign off on restrictive measures against nine individuals and one entity at a meeting on Monday, as part of the EU’s new sanctions regime aimed at punishing those who use chemical weapons in breach of international treaties.

Several diplomatic sources confirmed to AFP that the nine will include the two men blamed for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city in March last year using the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.

The two men, who claimed to be tourists but have been identified by the Bellingcat investigative group as decorated agents for Russia’s GRU military intelligence called Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, were hit with sanctions by the US in December.

The EU is to sanction two more Russians as well, along with five Syrians, in the first listings made under the new mechanism, which was introduced in October following the Skripal attack.

“It will be the first time there is a listing related to violations of international obligations under the OPCW and that will involve listing nine persons and one entity,” a senior EU official said, adding “they are obviously very naughty people”.

The Salisbury attack, the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, caused an international outcry and prompted a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western nations.

The Skripals survived the attack but a woman died in June after her partner picked up a discarded perfume bottle that British investigators believe was used to carry the Novichok.

Moscow denies involvement in the poisoning and has offered numerous and varied alternative explanations and counter-accusations.

AFP

Arik Air Takeover: Court Fixes May 15 For Ruling

Arik Air Takeover: Court Fixes May 15 For RulingThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed for May 15, its ruling on two preliminary objections arising from the takeover of Arik Air Limited by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The Corporation had on February 8, 2017 announced that it had taken over Arik Air Limited.

AMCON said the step was taken to save the airline from collapse and in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other interest groups in the aviation sector.

A legal practitioner, Mr Oluseye Opasanya, was then appointed as the Receiver Manager of Arik Air Limited, following its takeover by AMCON.

By an ex parte application on February 8, AMCON secured an injunction restraining the airline’s “shareholders, directors, creditors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, agents, representatives (and) privies” from interfering with Mr Opasanya’s power to manage Arik Air.

However, four persons who were aggrieved by the court order – Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Chris Ndule, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Sangowawa Olubiyi – filed a preliminary objection through their lawyer, Mr Babajide Koku.

They accused Mr Opasanya and the lawyer representing AMCON, Professor Koyinsola Ajayi, of engaging in professional misconduct and urged the court to void all the processes so far filed by Professor Ajayi on behalf of the Corporation and Mr Opasanya.

The grounds of their objection was that Ajayi and Opasanya are both lawyers practising in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP.

Mr Koku argued that by virtue of Rule 17 of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007, neither Ajayi nor any other lawyer from the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP could appear in a case where Opasanya was a plaintiff.

Opposing the preliminary objection, Ajayi stated that there was a distinction between Opasanya and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP where Opasanya works, and that there was no law stopping anyone from the law firm from representing Opasanya.

He also filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of Koku’s clients to file the preliminary objection.

Professor Ajayi argued that they were not parties in the suit in question which AMCON and Opasanya filed against Arik Air and the Inspector General of Police.

He described them as interlopers who should not be heard and urged Justice Mohammed Idris who is hearing the case to dismiss the preliminary objection by Koku’s clients.

After hearing both preliminary objections on Friday, Justice Idris adjourned till May 15, 2017 for his ruling.