Adoke Arraigned On 42 Counts Of Fraud, Money Laundering

 

The Federal Government on Thursday arraigned the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke on 42 counts of fraud and money laundering.

Adoke was arraigned at Gwagwalada Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja alongside six others.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the 42 counts of fraud and money laundering.

READ ALSO: Adoke In Court For Arraignment

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier filed 12 counts against Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, as well as Malabu Oil and Gas Limited before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

File photo of Adoke in court on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

 

Others listed on the charge sheet are Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.

The commission had also filed seven counts before a Federal High Court against Mr Adoke and Mr Abubakar.

The charges were filed against the former minister for the role he allegedly played in the controversial Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil scam.

 

Fast-Track Prosecution Of Power Sector Corruption Cases, SERAP Tells AGF, Anti-Graft Agencies

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN; the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, and Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye to: “revisit and fast-track prosecution of all cases of corruption in the electricity sector and ensure effective recovery of stolen public funds.”

This was stated today at the Policy Dialogue on Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Judiciary, Education and Electricity sectors, organized by SERAP, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, USA.

The cases listed to be revisited include “the case of the Ransome Owan-led Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the investigation of Mr. Goodknows Ighali on the alleged diversion of funds of workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.”

SERAP is also urging “the ICPC to make public the status of the investigation and recommendations for prosecution (if any) on the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Recruitment Scandal/Jumbo Pay Scandal given the fact that the Nigerian Government and public have 40% stakes in the AEDC. The EFCC should revisit the Elemelu report on the Rural Electrification scandal and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.”

According to SERAP, “The EFCC and ICPC should scrutinize, prioritize and conclude pending investigations of all power sector-related cases and make the report public (where applicable), as well as bring to justice suspected perpetrators. The EFCC and ICPC should probe Metering and billing fraud and corruption. Most consumers are unhappy with their billing methodology and feel short-changed by the operators.”

In the 15-Point Programme for Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Judiciary, Education and Electricity sectors in Nigeria launched at the Policy Dialogue, SERAP is also asking Mr. Malami to: “request the report of the House of Representative Committee that probed government spending in the power sector from 2000 to 2007, make the report public and ensure appropriate legal action against anyone suspected to be involved in corruption.”

READ ALSO: Navy Arrests Nine Suspected Kidnappers, Rescues 28 Victims In Kaduna

The Policy Dialogue, which discussed how to effectively implement SERAP’s core reports on corruption in the judiciary, education and electricity sectors was attended by the civil society, the media, ministries, departments and agencies, among others.

Among those in attendance were: Mr. Ahmed Rufai Zakari, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari; Nikki Umeh, Special Adviser to Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo; and Fasina Olakunle, representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Others included Dr. Felix.O Okpe representing Deputy Senate President; Ashley Emenike, representing the Senate Committee on Corruption; Biodun Aikomo, Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation; and Mr. Aaron Artimas Senior Special Adviser to the Minister of Power.

All the participants at the Policy Dialogue agreed to work to ensure the effective implementation of the 15-Point Programme.

SERAP’s 15-Point Programme read, in part: “For proper metering, electricity distribution companies (DISCOS) must take a proper and comprehensive collation of all power consumers in their jurisdictions before issuing new meters under direct purchases or Credited Advanced Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) systems.”

“DISCOS must urgently undertake initiatives to re-number and re-classify all electricity consumers in Nigeria for the purpose of issuing new meters. The NERC must shoulder the responsibility on this aspect.”

“The Attorney General should take measures to obtain, widely publish and act on the report of the Elumelu House Probe Committee which had accused 21 persons and 36 companies of subversion of government policy on due process which gave rise to extension of contract beyond its original size, inflation of costs, duplication of contract awards, other kinds of corruption, and general lack of performance.”

“The Nigerian government and the NERC should adopt and publish citizens’ charters in the electricity sector, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of consumers and conferring on them the right to receive good and quality service from power service providers; for independent monitoring and public participation in policy formulation and decision-making.”

“The Nigerian Federal Government, the National Assembly, State Governments, and the judiciary must work with anti-corruption institutions like the EFCC and the ICPC, CSOs and donor agencies to improve and enhance the capacity of institutions and actors within the justice to promote justice, transparency and good governance.”

“The necessary actions required here involve amending sections 26(2) and 60(3) of the ICPC Act to confer jurisdiction on Magistrate Courts, High Courts of States and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, and the Federal High to determine corruption cases; amending the ICPC Act and EFCC Act to criminalize illicit wealth or unjust enrichment in line with contemporary international standards like the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“Money appropriated in budgets for anti-corruption agencies and initiatives should be released as and when due; the Attorney-General should work closely with the ICPC to begin the commencement of prosecution of all ex-governors whose cases have been investigated to completion; the Attorney-General should, in collaboration with the civil society, establish a system for monitoring conduct of high profile corruption cases; the inauguration of a committee to monitor corruption cases in courts.”

Amotekun: Tinubu Calls for Dialogue Between South-West Governors, AGF

File photo: APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu

 

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu has called for dialogue over the South-West Security Network codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun.’

Tinubu in a statement personally signed by him on Wednesday called for “private discussion between the Governors of the South-west and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami.”

He lamented that too much energy has been spent distorting the issue instead of seeking a resolution.

READ ALSO: AMOTEKUN: Those Who Are Afraid Are Criminals – Odumakin

He said the foundation of the country had, however, not been put at risk with the security outfit but warned that the nation’s fabric could be torn by what he described as “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.”

“Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion.

“Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.

“This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst.

“Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don’t see an avenue for personal gain from it.

“While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports the local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria’s path forward with our own rubbish,” the statement read in part.

Tinubu said further that he does not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the South-West Governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government.

“Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language. Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first. Nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them.

“Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.

“Until now, I have deliberately maintained a studied silence regarding Amotekun. Many have tried to goad my swift public reaction. Those who have taken this road did so not because they care about Amotekun or even the people it intends to help protect. They did so knowing this had become a delicate and emotional issue for many. These cynics did so with the adversarial hope that, in haste, I might misspeak or misstep in a manner they could twist to their political advantage.

“Such people are possessed of a mercenary aspect that permits them to sacrifice almost anything, even jeopardise the very foundations of our political unity, if they might exact personal gain from the upheaval. In that they know no nobler purpose than their own appetites, we should feel sorry for them. However, we must not allow our sympathies for their barren condition to persuade us that there is worth in their destructive misconduct. They must be left to the consequences of their own devices.

Tinubu added that as a political leader which he is often described, does not need the luxury of hasty, ill-conceived utterances.

“I believe in this nation and its benign prospects. I dearly love its people, all of them. Over the years of our existence, they have suffered much. Yet they still hold forth with heroic patience and an extraordinary optimism born of strong faith. To these people, I owe my best. I shall not treat them cheaply or bandy their emotions like some errant football. The welfare of these good and decent people is my overriding concern.

“Equally, I do not cow to the demands of those who press for me to make a premature statement on an important issue. Again, that is a game devised by those who care more about political cleverness than the quality of governance. I chose to talk when my position has been made ripe by a collection of the facts and a reasonable assessment of those facts.

“As I view it, this matter can be divided into three major parts: 1) Substantive merits of Amotekun, 2) Decision-making and consultative process and 3) Recommendations on the way forward.”

Adoke Returns To Nigeria, Whisked Away To INTERPOL Office

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, returns to Nigeria aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785 on Thursday. Photo: Twitter- @officialEFCC.

 

 

A former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, has returned to the country.

Mr Adoke’s aircraft touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at about 3:40pm on Thursday.

He was, thereafter, whisked away from the foot of the aircraft by security operatives and taken to the office of INTERPOL in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

Adoke is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against the former AGF and four others on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

 

Following its inability to produce the defendants in court, the anti-graft agency approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on April 17 to secure a warrant of arrest against them.

The court granted the request by the EFCC, leading to Adoke’s arrest by the police in Dubai in November.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, confirmed Adoke’s arrest about a week later during a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters.

 

Is He Innocent?

Earlier, lawyer to Mr Adoke and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, announced that his client had been released and was already on his way to Nigeria.

Ozekhome, in the statement forwarded to Channels Television, insisted that the former AGF was not extradited but was set free by the police in Dubai.

According to him, Adoke gave assurance to the police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city that he wants to go home and “solve his problems back at home”.

“I can confirm to you authoritatively that Adoke has been released from the custody of the INTERPOL and will arrive in Nigeria at any moment.

“He was let off the hook because nothing incriminating was found on him and he has on his own volition opted to come back to Nigeria,” the senior advocate said.

Ozekhome added, “Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that. He is coming back to Nigeria to clear his name from the alleged Malabu oil scandal.

“He is innocent of the allegations against him, Adoke has not done anything wrong. He is already airborne and will land in Nigeria this afternoon today Thursday.”

The EFCC also confirmed Adoke’s return to the country on its verified Twitter handle.

It said the former AGF was accompanied by INTERPOL officers on Emirates Airlines Flight 785 while operatives of the anti-graft agency were on the ground at the airport.

The aircraft, according to the EFCC, departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 8am Nigerian time.

We Cannot Confirm Adoke’s Return To Nigeria Or Otherwise, Says AGF

 

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, says he cannot make a comment to confirm or otherwise, the arrival of the former AGF, Mr Mohammed Adoke, into the country.

Malami stated this during a session with reporters on Thursday in Abuja on behalf of the Federal Government in reaction to a statement by the lawyer to Mr Adoke, Mike Ozekhome.

Adoke is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had said that the former AGF who is also a SAN was not extradited but was set free by the police in Dubai.

According to him, Adoke gave assurance to the police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city that he wants to go home and “solve his problems back at home”.

Ozekhome also disclosed in the statement forwarded to Channels Television on Thursday that his client was already on his way back into the country of his own free will.

He said, “I can confirm to you authoritatively that Adoke has been released from the custody of the Interpol and will arrive in Nigeria at any moment.

“He was let off the hook because nothing incriminating was found on him and he has on his own volition opted to come back to Nigeria.”

“Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that. He is coming back to Nigeria to clear his name from the alleged Malabu oil scandal.

“He is innocent of the allegations against him, Adoke has not done anything wrong. He is already airborne and will land in Nigeria this afternoon today Thursday,” he added.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against the former AGF and four others on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

Following its inability to produce the defendants in court, the anti-graft agency approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on April 17 to secure a warrant of arrest against them.

The court granted the request by the EFCC, leading to Adoke’s arrest by the police in Dubai in November.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, confirmed Adoke’s arrest about a week later during a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters.

MTN Files 9,100-Page Document To Prove N3bn Suit Against AGF

Alleged $1.3bn Tax Assessment: Court To Rule On AGF, MTN’s Case In May

 

MTN Nigeria Communication Limited has filed a 9,100-page document in court to prove its N3bn claim against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Copies of the bulky document were brought in a coaster bus and delivered to the registry of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.

The telecommunications firm had last year sued Malami over a letter in which he demanded that they pay N242bn and $1.3bn as import duties, withholding and value-added taxes – a move which the firm’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described as ‘malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis’.

According to Olanipekun, Malami acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017.

Read Also: FG To Sanitise Social Media, Combat Fake News

He, therefore, urged the court to award N3bn against Malami as general and exemplary damages.

The trial judge, Justice C.J. Aneke, had in May dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Malami, challenging the competence of the suit.

“From the endorsement on the writ, this suit was commenced on September 10, 2018 and a simple calculation shows that from August 23, 2018 when the cause of action arose to September 10, 2018, when the suit was instituted, a period of three months had not expired, as envisaged, for the suit to be statute barred,” Aneke ruled.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the case, however, stalled with Justice Aneke adjourning till January 30, 2020.

Alleged Non-Remittance: Environmental Activist Wants EFCC, AGF To Probe Shell

An environmental activist and legal practitioner Anderson Achilike has in a suit called on the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, and the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited.

Achilike in the suit filed on Wednesday at the Federal High Court, Abuja sued Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria limited over alleged non-remittance and under declaration of crude oil exportation and shipment; instigation of acts of pipeline vandalism; oil theft; third party interference in trunk line operations; incessant cases of fire outbreak.

Achilike said he filed the action “as a matter of urgent national importance to save the dwindling economic fortunes of the country from acts capable of undermining the future of Nigeria.”

READ ALSO: 9,000 Megawatts Energy Required To Transform Lagos, Says Sanwo-Olu

Therefore, he is praying for “an order directing and compelling the EFCC as a designated financial intelligence unit in Nigeria, acting with or through the attorney-general of the federation, to carry out an investigation of shell  over cases of non-remittance and under-declaration of crude oil exportation and shipment, third party interference in its trunk line operations, monumental shortfall in crude oil production, poor economic revenue, pipeline vandalism, disruption of oil production, destruction of oil installation and  economic sabotage  in Nigeria.”

He is also seeking “an order directing and compelling the EFCC to carry out a quantitative investigation of the amount or quantity of crude oil coming into or supplied to and exported from the Shell‘s Forcados and bonny oil terminals and Bonga FSPO vessel as well as the amount of crude oil, claimed to have been or supposed to have been, exported from the said terminals from 1st January, 2001 to 31st August 2019.

The plaintiff is also praying for “a declaration that the EFCC being a designated financial intelligence unit in Nigeria, acting with or through the AGF and/or other security agencies, has the bounden statutory duty to investigate various acts and/or allegations of commission of economic crimes by shell against the federal government of Nigeria through its non-remittance and under-declaration of crude oil exportation and shipment, various acts of self-induced oil theft. pipeline vandalism, disruption of oil production, destruction of oil installation, economic sabotage etc.

The matter is yet to be assigned to a date or a judge.

 

Court Orders AGF, EFCC To Stay Action On Yari’s Properties

Banditry: Yari Commends NAF For Air Strikes In Zamfara
Governor Abdulaziz Yari addressing State House correspondents after meeting with the President in Abuja on January 3, 2019.

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reaffirmed its order directing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to take further steps in the move to seize the property of the immediate-past Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari.

Justice Nkeonye Maha in a short ruling on Thursday maintained that doing so would not be in the interest of justice now that the matter was pending before the court.

She also ordered that the case file be remitted to the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for re-assignment to a regular court on the ground that the tenure of the vacation court would end on September 13.

The case has now been adjourned to September 30 for the hearing of both the preliminary issues and the substantive suit.

Mr Yari, in his supporting affidavit, blamed his travails in the hands of the prosecution agencies on the activities of some purported powerful politicians who were on a vendetta mission against him over the 2019 elections in Zamfara.

Specifically, the former governor stated that the political events within the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which eventually led to the party losing out the leadership of the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the judgment of the Supreme Court, was the main reason for his prosecution.

SERAP Asks AGF To Adopt Public Registers For Corrupt Officials

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abukabar Malami (SAN), to adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Sunday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

The agency urged the AGF to use his good offices and leadership to “move swiftly to develop and adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption since the return of democracy in 1999”.

It also urged Mr Malami to ensure that the public registers contain accurate data and are fully accessible and open to public scrutiny.

Read the full statement below.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to Mr Abukabar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, urging him to use his good offices and leadership to: “move swiftly to develop and adopt public registers for corrupt state governors and other high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption since the return of democracy in 1999.

SERAP said: “We urge you to ensure that the public registers contain accurate data and are fully accessible and open to public scrutiny. Aspects such as the scope of the registers, who to include in the registers, and eligibility for removal from the registers, can be discussed in a consultative session with the civil society and other stakeholders.”

In the letter dated 23 August 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The proposed registers are far from severe, and would be a proportionate response to the grave crime of grand corruption and impunity of perpetrators and have a deterrent effect. There can be no reasonable expectation of privacy in matters already exposed to public viewing such as prior arrest, charges and conviction records.”

The organization said: “Public registers for high-ranking officials facing corruption charges and those convicted of corruption would be a pivotal moment in the fight against corruption by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the damage caused by graft to citizens’ human rights and Nigeria’s democratic process.”

SERAP also said: “The proposed registers for corrupt officials would serve a public interest purpose similar in some respects to the recently disclosed names and details by the United States Department of Justice of 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerians, that have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and other charges.”

The letter read in part: “SERAP is concerned that corruption is so pervasive across many states and at several levels of governance and has remained a constant feature of Nigeria’s political scene since 1999, turning public service for many into a kind of criminal enterprise. Grand corruption has continued to fuel political violence, deny millions of Nigerians access to clean water, and even the most basic health and education services, and reinforcing police abuses and other widespread patterns of human rights violations.”

“The lack of public registers containing detailed information about high-ranking public officials charged with and convicted of corruption since 1999 has allowed many politicians—often with impunity–to use apparently illicitly acquired wealth to fund political parties, build corrupt patronage networks, thereby preventing fair access to economic and political power, serving to further the wealth and power of ruling elites, and exacerbating inequality.”

“Registers would help protect the public from corrupt officials and their collaborators and improve the ideal of representative government, as it would assist the citizens to properly exercise their right to participate in their own government.”

“Public registers would improve transparency by making it easier for the public to track the government’s fight against corruption and make the government as open as possible in its anti-corruption efforts. SERAP urges you to push for legislation that will require public officials charged with and convicted of grand corruption at the federal, state and local government levels to put their names in the public registers.”

“Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state or by any other person, which is reasonably required for the exercise or protection of any rights, including those of citizens’ right to human dignity and freedom from corruption.”

“Registers for corrupt officials would also address the paucity of information about politicians and others complicit in the mismanagement of the country’s natural wealth and resources, with devastating consequences for citizens’ enjoyment of their human rights.”

“Many citizens lack knowledge and awareness of those charged with and convicted of grand corruption, and those that are complicit in the mismanagement of the country’s wealth and resources.”

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in developing and adopting public registers for corrupt officials and proposing legislation on the matter, as appropriate. We would be happy to provide further information or to discuss any of these issues in more detail with you.”

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
25/08/2019

Why Some Individuals Remain In Custody Despite Bail – Malami

 

The immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has explained why some individuals remain in custody despite being granted bail by competent courts of jurisdiction.

During his ministerial screening at the floor of the Senate on Friday, Malami said the office of the AGF has the responsibility to always protect the interest of the public over that of individuals.

“The office of the Attorney General is meant to protect the public interest and where the individual interest conflicts with the public interest, the interest of 180 million Nigerians that are interested in having the country integrated must naturally prevail.

“I think that position has been very well stated by the apex court in the case of Asari Dokubo VS the Federal Republic of Nigeria that when an individual’s interest conflicts with public interest, the public interest will naturally prevail,” he said while responding to the question asked by Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, of why some persons remain in custody despite being granted bail.

Read Also: Senate Screening Of Ministerial Nominees Continues (DAY 3)

A section of the Senate, however, did not agree with his response, but Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, in his defence said the former AGF had answered the questions “satisfactorily”.

He also stated that contrary to the Senate’s agreement to screen each individual for about an hour, Malami had been screened for over an hour and should, therefore, be allowed to “take a bow”.

Meanwhile, Mr Malami also outlined some of the successes recorded during his time in office.

Some of them included a 159 per cent increase in recoveries, discovery of 230,000 ghost workers, enforcement of the BVN, Nigeria’s joining of the International Open Government Initiative and the establishment of the Whistle Blower Policy.

He said if returned as a minister he will ensure better collaboration between the arms of government and a commitment to public interest.

Hadi Sirika was the next ministerial nominee to be screened.

Others also expected to be screened today include Festus Keyamo, Geoffrey Onyeama, Lai Mohammed, Raji Fashola and Paullen Tallen.

Falana Writes AGF, Requests Release Of 10 People From ‘Navy Detention’

Falana Writes AGF, Requests Release Of 10 People From ‘Navy Detention’

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has called for the release of 10 civilians detained by the Nigerian Navy.

He made the call in a letter addressed to the Attorney-General of the Federation () and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

In a copy of the letter sent to Channels Television on Sunday, Falana said the detainees were intercepted by naval personnel aboard a vessel hijacked by a gang of pirates in October 2018.

READ ALSOFalana Condemns 7-Month Detention Of Civilians, Military Personnel Without Trial By Navy

He added that while the detainees were rescued and the pirates arrested, the crew members who were not indicted in the investigation conducted by the navy into the hijacking of the vessel have since been detained aboard the ship.

The lawyer stressed that the action of the security operatives was a breach of the detainees’ fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing as provided for in the Constitution.

He also decried that apart from detaining the crew members in “a dehumanising military facility,” they have been compelled to wear the same dress for seven months.

According to the senior advocate, since the detainees are civilians who are not subject to service law, the navy ought to have reported them to the police if there was reasonable suspicion that they committed any criminal offence whatsoever.

He, therefore, urged the AGF to direct the naval authorities to release the detainees from custody without any further delay.

Read Falana’s letter below:

May 10, 2019

The Attorney-General of the Federation

& Minister of Justice,

Federal Ministry of Justice,

Maitama District,

Abuja, FCT.

Request for the release of 10 civilians detained by the Nigerian Navy since October 27, 2018

We have confirmed the illegal detention of another group of 10 Nigerian citizens aboard a ship in Marina, Lagos since October 27, 2018, on the orders of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas. The names of the detainees are:

Oloyede Ademola Yisau;

Omogoye Wasiu Bolaji;

Edu Fidelis;

Richard David;

Mike Simeon;

Umoren Daniel;

Okoghene Asaiki

Udom Victor;

James Archibong;

Umon Godswill Emmanuel

At the time of the arrest of the detainees seven months ago, they were crew members aboard a vessel known as “NESO II” which was hijacked by a gang of pirates. However, the detainees were rescued while the pirates were arrested by the Beecroft Naval Base. Curiously, the crew members who were not indicted in the investigation conducted by the Nigerian Navy into the hijacking of the vessel have since been detained aboard the ship in Marina, Lagos in breach of their fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing guaranteed by Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).

Apart from detaining the crew members in a dehumanising military facility the Nigerian Navy has compelled each of them to wear the same dress for seven months. Thus, the fundamental rights of the detainees to dignity and freedom of movement have also been violated. Since the detainees are civilians who are not subject to service law the Nigerian Navy ought to have reported them to the Nigeria Police Force if there was reasonable suspicion that they committed any criminal offence whatsoever.

However, in view of the fact that the detainees have not been charged with any criminal offence before any competent court we are compelled to request you to direct the Chief of Naval Staff to release them from unlawful custody without any further delay. We also request you to use your good offices to prosecute the Chief of Naval Staff for subjecting the detainees to physical and mental torture contrary to the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.  

Take notice that if you fail to accede to our request within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to file an application at the Federal High Court to secure the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the detainees to personal liberty, dignity, fair hearing and movement and seek an order of mandamus to compel you to prosecute of the Chief of Naval Staff.

Finally, since the country is under a democratic dispensation we urge the Federal Government to sanction members of the Nigeria Police Force, Armed Forces and other security agencies who engage in the incessant arrest and detention of innocent citizens without any legal basis.

Yours sincerely,

FEMI FALANA, SAN, FCI Arb.