When Will FG Name Prominent Nigerians Linked To Oil Theft, Insurgency? Peter Obi Asks

 

The flagbearer for Labour Party in the coming presidential election, Mr Peter Obi is curious as to when the present government will name and shame the eminent Nigerians who are involved in oil theft and sponsorship of insurgency. 

Mr Obi in a series of posts via his official Facebook account, said he is struck and intrigued by the news report linking “highly placed” Nigerians to oil theft in the country.

“The same has been the case with financing insurgency and Boko Haram. When will FGN summon the political will to publicly name such persons?” Mr Obi questioned.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently said security would be increased across the country to try to stamp out widespread oil theft, adding that the government will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply.

The Buhari-led presidency has severally said that it knows some prominent Nigerians behind oil theft in the country, as well as those who have been sponsoring terrorism, noting that their identities will be disclosed in no time.

However, this promise tends to have lingered too long, with many believing that there is a plot to shield this individuals.

Reacting to this claim, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, in a statement said the government cannot name and shame suspected financiers of terrorism before they are tried and convicted.

While urging the government to take quick action regarding this issue, Mr Peter Obi was of the opinion that in the National Interest, there should be no sacred cows.

Addressing the issue of money politics, the former governor said he shares fully in the sentiments and views attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to resist ‘money bag’ politicians who plan to rig 2023 elections.

He said Nigeria’s democracy has come of age; and the people’s right to elect leaders of their choice should not be infringed upon.

As regards the protracted strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the LP Presidential Candidate said it is gratifying that governors have undertaken to mediate, adding that this is propitious and a remarkable show of leadership.

He said it is his hope that such direct constructive engagement will bring the strike to an end soonest.

Alleged N109.5bn Theft: Ex-Accountant-General Idris Returns To Court For Bail

A screengrab taken on July 27, 2022, shows the former AGF, Ahmed Idris (wearing white), at the FCT High Court in Abuja.

 

A former Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and his co-defendants have arrived at the Federal Capital Territory High Court for the hearing of their bail application.

The defendants were brought to the court on Wednesday by officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) from Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje – where they were remanded.

Idris and others had pleaded not guilty to a 14-count charge bordering on stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.5 billion, preferred against them by the Nigerian government during their last arraignment in court.

Other defendants in the case include Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman, and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

They were arraigned on Friday last week before Justice Adeyemi Ajayi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the charges.

But Idris and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when they took their stand in the dock.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chris Uche, who represented the defendants urged the court to maintain the administrative bail granted to them by the EFCC.

He based his plea on the fact that his clients never breached any of the conditions by the anti-graft agency which he said has their international passports in its custody.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, objected to the submissions of the defendants’ counsel, stating that the decision would send a wrong signal to the general public.

He added that the defendants only enjoyed administrative bail when the matter had not been brought to the court but now, granting them bail was at the discretion of the court.

After listening to both parties, the trial judge ordered that the defendants be remanded at the correctional facility in Kuje, pending the hearing of the bail application.

The matter was later adjourned to July 27 for the hearing of the defendants’ bail applications.

Alleged N109bn Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Ex-Accountant General Idris

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday arraigned a former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and three others on charges of stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.4 billion.

They were arraigned before Justice Adeyemi Ajayi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

Mr Idris was brought before the court alongside Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited on a 14 count charge of stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109, 485,572,691.9

In an earlier statement announcing the scheduled arraignment, EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren disclosed two counts (one and eight) of the 14 counts the quartet will face.


READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General Over N80bn Fraud


Count one of the charges reads, “That you, Ahmed Idris between February and December 2021 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, being a public servant by virtue of your position as the Accountant General of the Federation accepted from Olusegun Akindele, a gratification in the aggregate sum of N15,136,221,921.46 which sum was converted to the United States Dollars by the said Olusegun Akindele and which sum did not form part of your lawful remuneration but as a motive for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine (9) oil producing States in the Federation,  through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and punishable under the same section”.

Count eight reads, “That you, Ahmed Idris while being the Accountant General of the Federation and Godfrey Olusegun Akindele while being  the Technical Assistant to the Accountant General of the Federation between February and November 2021, at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in such capacity, entrusted with a certain property, to wit: N84,390,000,000 committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property when you dishonestly  received the said sum from the Federal Government of Nigeria through Godfrey Olusegun Akindele trading under the name and style of Olusegun Akindele & Co., and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.”

The EFCC had on May 16 announced the arrest of Idris who was the Accountant General at the time, a move that sent shockwaves across the nation in the current administration’s efforts in fighting corruption.

In a statement, the anti-graft agency had explained that Idris was for an alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

The development forced the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab, to suspend him pending the conclusion of the corruption investigations.

About two weeks later, the EFCC uncovered another N90 billion alleged fraud involving the suspended Accountant-General.

Despite the arrest, the agency had yet to arraign him in court. It however indicated that the former Accountant-General will appear in Abuja court on Friday.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Court Orders NIMC To Give AGF Biodata Of Ekweremadu’s Kidney Donor

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

The Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the United Kingdom where Senator Ike Ekweremadu is facing alleged organ harvesting charges.

Following the Senators arrest by the London Metropolitan police, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, had on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

The prayers were granted by the Justice Inyang Ekwo.


UK Police Arrest Ike Ekweremadu, Wife For Organ Harvesting

Alleged Organ Trafficking: Trial Of Ekweremadu, Wife Adjourned Till July 7

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Immigration Confirms Age Of ‘Victim’ In Ekweremadu’s Case

Organ Harvesting: Six Questions Regarding Ekweremadu And Transplant In UK


At the today’s proceedings however, counsel to NIMC, Muazu Mohammed told the court that the Commission’s rules of engagement do not allow it to give BioData of an individual, to a private citizen.

He added that based on the NIMC law, such information should be first handed over to the AGF.

Awomolo did not oppose the submission by Mohammed, adding that the AGF has diplomatic line of communication with the UK authorities.

Justice Ekwo subsequently ordered NIMC to supply the information or BioData of the victim which is in possession of the Commission, to the AGF for onward transmission to the relevant courts in the United Kingdom.

Electoral Act: Supreme Court Strikes Out Buhari’s Suit Challenging Section 84(12)

 

 

The Supreme Court on Friday struck out President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation’s suit challenging Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.

The case was expunged on the grounds that it lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit and is an abuse of court process.

Earlier, a notice for the judgment delivery was served on President Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for the judgment.

The President and his Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.


Senate, Reps To Appeal Court Order Removing Section 84 (12) From Electoral Act

Appeal Court Sets Aside Judgement On Section 84(12) Of Electoral Act


There have been several debates regarding Section 84(12) of the amended Electoral Act 2022 which was assented to in February.

Upon assenting to the act, President Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete the contended clause, however, the parliament declined the president’s request.

Section 84 (12) of the legislation holds that, “no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”

In their suit marked SC/CV/504/2022 and filed on April 29, 2022, President Buhari and Malami sought an order of the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, which they argue was inconsistent with the nation’s constitution.

According to the court document, the plaintiffs contend that the Section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.

The plaintiffs further contended that the constitution already makes provisions for qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners and Special Advisers.

They urged the Supreme Court to make: “A declaration that the joint and or combined reading of the section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void”.

However, in its decision on Friday, the Supreme Court held that President Buhari having assented to the bill on February 25 2022, can not turn around to challenge same act .

In a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim the court said allowing the suit to have it’s way will amount to approbating and reprobating at the same time and no court of law shall allow that.

The Apex Court unanimously agreed that President Buhari lacked the jurisdiction to bring the suit before it because of the nature of the reliefs sought.

Malami Has Not Resigned As Minister, Says Spokesman

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

 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has not resigned.

Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Rather, he stated that the minister remained committed to discharging statutory obligations and constitutionally delineated responsibilities in accordance with the provisions of extant laws.

According to Gwandu, Malami is grateful to Nigerians for the demonstration of love and the interest shown in him.

He issued the statement in reaction to the claim that the minister had resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to pursue his political ambition.

READ ALSO: I Am Yet To Declare Interest In Kebbi Governorship Seat, Says Malami

Besides the statement by Gwandu, an aide to the President on social media, Lauretta Onochie, also denied the claim, saying it was fake news.

 

Ahead of the general elections, reports had emerged that Malami has publicly declared his interest to become the next governor of Kebbi State.

But Gwandu, in a swift reaction, stated that the minister had yet to declare interest to contest for any elective position in the 2023 general elections.

He stressed that the declaration to contest for a political position was never a hidden affair or clandestine operation that could be reported as a scoop by a section of the media.

“A video being circulated as the purported declaration was mischievously translated with fabricated insertions and interpolations that cannot in spirit and context establish the misinformation circulated,” the minister’s spokesman had said in a statement on Tuesday.

At the appropriate time, according to him, the people will “hear from the horse’s mouth” in the full glare of the media, stakeholders, like-minds, party faithful, and supporters.

Court Orders AGF To Remove NDDC From Ministry, Publish Forensic Audit Report

A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A file photo of the Niger Delta Development Commission headquarters building in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to remove the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from any ministry, including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Justice Isa Dashen, who gave the order and a couple of others, asked the AGF to dissolve the sole leadership structure of the agency and make the result of its forensic audit.

He made the orders following a motion ex parte filed on December 10, 2021, by one Odighonin Adienbo on behalf of the Wailing Women of Niger Delta (WWND), as well as the Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative (IFTPI), and others.

[READ ALSO] NDDC Forensic Audit: Every Kobo Will Be Recovered, Says Buhari

The AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was listed as the sole respondent to the suit.

“That leave is hereby granted to the applicant to seek an order of this honourable court directing the respondent to dissolve the current sole administratorship structure used to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),” the court said in its orders dated February 4, 2022.

“That the applicant is granted leave to seek an order of mandamus directing or compelling the respondent to immediately publish the outcome of the report of the forensic audit of NDDC.

“That an order is hereby granted directing the respondent not to place Niger Delta Development Commission under any ministry.”

Justice Dashen also granted the request for an order of mandamus directing and compelling the AGF to account for all monies that have accrued to the NDDC from the inception of its interim management till date, beginning from Professor Nelson Brambaifa.

He also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further consulting an interim or sole administratorship board to run the affairs of the agency, as well as directed the parties to report back to court next month.

“That this Honourable Court hereby directed the enrolled order of the court together with all process filed be served on the respondent to afford the respondent an opportunity as to why this application should not be granted.

“That the return date shall be the 5th day of April 2022 for report of service cum compliance and hearing,” the court held.

Attorneys General Form Committee, Elect Lagos AG Onigbanjo As Interim Chairman

 

The Attorneys General and Commissioners of Justice of all 36 states have formed an executive committee to take positions on legal issues, advise the Attorney General of the Federation and take legal action or review legal actions taken on behalf of all states.

They elected the Attorney General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) as the interim Chairman of its executive committee while the Attorney General of Nassarawa State, Dr Karim Kana was elected Interim secretary.

Read Also: Another Blackout Hits Lagos, Enugu, Others As National Grid Collapses Again

Other elected members of the executive committee are the Rivers State AG, Prof. Zac Adangor (SAN), Abia State AG, Uche Ihediwa (SAN), Taraba State AG, Sam Adda and the Benue State AG, Micheal Gusa who were all chosen to represent their different zones.

Amongst other things, the executive committee will run the affairs of the Forum, lead the body of AG’s, arrange meetings, and issue statements on behalf of all 36 AGs.

Part of its mandate also includes the pursuit of true federalism, adherence to the constitution, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, as well as liaison with the AGF on behalf of the states on legal issues.

The next meeting of the Attorney’s General of the 36 States of the Federation will hold in Q2 of 2022.

Court Threatens To Strike Out Kenneth Minimah’s Suit Against AGF, EFCC

Army

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja has threatened to strike out a suit filed by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, and two others, challenging the propriety of a criminal charge instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The warning came shortly after counsel to Minimah, Efut Okoi, asked the Judge for more time to complete his amended processes.

Okoi told the court that in the process of filing the statement of claims, one of the deponents was indisposed and that caused delay.

Registering his displeasure, the trial judge stated that the application was brought since 2020.

READ ALSO: Buhari Chairs FEC Meeting, Swears In New INEC National Commissioners

Justice Ekwo adjourned the case to March 23 for hearing. He, however, warned that he will strike out the suit if he wasn’t ready by that date.

General Minimah and a one-time Chief of Accounts and Budget, Major General A. O. Adetayo, as well as the former Director, Finance and Accounts Brigadier General R. I. Odi, had instituted a case in 2020, praying for an order restraining the Attorney General of the Federation and the EFCC, from trying them at an FCT High Court on an alleged diversion of N13billion meant for procurement of arms.

Part of their arguments is that they can only be tried by a court-martial within the Nigerian Army.

El-Zakzaky, Wife Sue FG Over Passport Seizure, Demand N4bn

A file photo of El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat

 

Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja, challenging the seizure of their international passports by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

In their separate suits filed by the Femi Falana Chambers on October 14, they told the court that their passports were last seen in the possession of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which has officially denied that it was in their possession.

On attempting to renew their passports through the Immigration Service, it was revealed that the passports have been flagged by the DSS. They add that all requests to remove the restriction have been ignored by the secret agency.

The duo asked the court to compel the DSS and the AGF to release their passports and lift the red flag restrictions.

They are also asking the court to declare that the seizure of their passports since May 2019, as illegal and unconstitutional because it violates their fundamental rights to freedom of movement.

READ ALSO: Viral Video: IGP Orders Investigation Of Officers Seen Extorting, Assaulting Travellers

They asked the court to mandate the defendants to pay the sum of N2 billion each, as general and exemplary damages, for the violation of their rights to freedom of movement.

The reliefs sought include by the plaintiffs include:

“A declaration that the seizure of the Applicants Passport No A50578740 since May 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the Red Flag Travelling Restrictions placed on the Applicants Passport and land borders by the Respondents without a court order is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the refusal of the Respondents to allow the Applicant to travel abroad for medical treatment constitutes a threat to his life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to release the Applicant’s international passport number A50578740 to him in order to enable him to access prompt and adequate medical attention as recommended by his physicians.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to lift the Red Flag Restrictions (and all or every form of restriction howsoever) placed on the International Passport number A50578740 of the Applicant by agents of the Respondents forthwith.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to pay over to the applicant the sum of Two Billion Naira (N2,000,000,000.00) as general and exemplary damages for the violation of the Applicant’s rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents from further violating the Applicants fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”

El-Zakzaky and his wife added that the seizure of their passports, and an absence of a court order, amounts to a threat to their lives since they have been denied the opportunity to seek urgent medical attention outside the country as recommended by their doctors.

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.

FG Seeks Special Courts For Rape, Gender-Based Violence Offences

A file photo of a court.

 

The Federal Government is engaging respective Heads of Courts to establish specialised courts for speedy and seamless trial of rape and gender-based violence offences, Mr Abubakar Malami has said.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice disclosed this at the inauguration of the Justice for Children Coordination Forum on Thursday during the launch of the EU-UNICEF access to justice programme for children in Abuja.

Malami, who was represented by Professor Muhammad Ahmadu, lamented the pathetic situation of some children in parts of the country.

Professor Ahmadu is the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Duties, Office of the AGF.

“This administration will continue to do its best in the protection of the rights of children and vulnerable persons,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by a spokesperson for the office, Modupe Ogundoro.

As reports of rape and gender-based violence offences surface, the minister is hopeful that the specialised courts will fast track the cases and ensure justice for child victims of sexual violence.

According to him, the Federal Government remains unwaveringly dedicated to improving children’s access to a child-friendly justice system.

Malami gave an assurance that through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children, the Nigerian child would benefit from the child-friendly justice sector.

Thereafter, he inaugurated Justice for Children Forum chaired by the Solicitor General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice.

The forum comprises representatives from the ministry, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, and the Nigeria Police Force.

Other members were drawn from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, National Human Right Commission (NHRC), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), to mention a few.