‘Seeking Help Is Not A Sign Of Weakness,’ Saraki Advises Buhari, APC On Insecurity

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

“It is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government need help,” said a former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Saraki decried the disturbing rate of insecurity in various parts of the country, especially in Anambra, Kaduna, Yobe, Niger, and Lagos States where acts of violence were reported in one day.

He noted that the present security situation in the country was proof that the Federal Government has been overwhelmed and needed assistance from all.

The former senate president, therefore, urged the government to seek help wherever it could be found, saying the issue has gone beyond what it could handle alone.

He told President Buhari that calling for help at a time like this does not imply weakness, stressing the need to bring together all former Presidents and Heads of State, as well as serving and former chief justices, presiding officers of the National Assembly, and heads of the security agencies.

Saraki also advised the President to call upon leaders of the private sector, development partners, and friends of the nation in the international community, among others to find solutions to the problem.

According to him, the meeting should hold expeditiously and be followed by immediate actions, while the government should recognise that it is not the time to play politics with the lives of Nigerians.

The former senate president, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stated that his suggestions were made out of genuine concern, adding that members of the opposition were ready to support the government to find solutions to the security challenges in the country.

Read his full advice to the APC government below:

Yesterday, Nigeria experienced one of the saddest days in recent memory. All in one day, from Anambra State to Kaduna, Yobe, Niger, and Lagos States, critical insecurity issues were recorded and reported.

Hour after hour; breaking news after breaking news, we saw numerous unacceptable reports of violence, kidnapping, terrorism, and the systematic breakdown of law and order in many parts of the nation. This should not be so.

We also read the statement of the Niger State governor, where he expressed how helpless the government has become, and how thousands of people have been displaced in his state. He also lamented how the efforts of the Federal Government have not yielded concrete results.

We also received sad and disturbing reports that Mainok, a town on the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway was invaded on Sunday by the insurgents who unabashedly went on a killing spree — targeting our brave soldiers and innocent civilians alike.

In Kaduna State, two more innocent students that were kidnapped from Greenfield University were killed by their abductors. While, an unspecified number of students have now been abducted from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, in Benue State. All in one day.

As we reel from the multiple tragedies, my family and I will continue to pray for all the affected families and communities. We will lend them our full support as we all bind together to get past this difficult time. May God grant them the fortitude and strength.

However, it is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government need help. They have been overwhelmed by the situation and they sure need assistance from all.

In this regard, I urge Mr. President to seek help wherever it can be found. This matter has gone beyond what the government can handle alone. The President should know that calling for help in our present situation is not a sign of weakness.

I want to reiterate that Mr. President needs to bring together all former Presidents and Heads of state; serving and former: Chief Justices, Presiding Officers of the National Assembly and Heads of Security Agencies.

Mr. President should also call upon leaders of the private sector, our development partners, friends of Nigeria in the international community and all others who can help in finding solutions to the problem at hand.

The meeting must hold expeditiously and must be followed by immediate actions.

I know that there will be people that believe that the fact that this suggestion is coming from a source outside government is a good reason for the President to ignore it. The attitude this time must be different. This is not a time to play politics with Nigerian lives.

The security of lives and properties is the primary duty of government; therefore, it must be taken seriously. My suggestion here is an appeal made out of genuine concern with what is going on in our dear country.

In the democracy that we practice, the institution charged with holding the executive accountable is the legislature. In this regard, I strongly call on my colleagues in the National Assembly to be more assertive in finding solutions to this issue of insecurity.

l need to make it clear that they will not be helping the administration if they do not become more insistent and decisive in their approach to getting this security crisis tackled immediately. Doing this cannot be logically interpreted as antagonising the executive.

Just as treating the issue in a mild manner does not amount to co-operation. The National Assembly must stand up and put Nigeria first before any other considerations. It is by doing this that they can genuinely help both the government and their constituents.

The leaders of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) also have a vital role to play. They must do all that is necessary to help the administration to get solutions to this national crisis. This is a time for them to be part of the search for the solutions.

Even those of us in the opposition party recognise the fact we can only exist if we continue to have a country. Thus, we are willing to cooperate with the government in finding solutions to this problem.

Additionally, our former leaders, I am sure, are ready, willing, and able to assist the government with their wealth of experience.

With their active role in combating the COVID-19 crisis, even the private sector has shown that if called upon, at any time and on any issue, it is ready to help solve this crisis.

Our friends in the international community, have also demonstrated their willingness to help us out.

However, all these actors will not jump into the arena without the government facilitating their intervention. The government needs to call on them before this problem consumes all of us.

At this point, words and press statements are not enough. We need to see action.

Therefore, I appeal to Mr. President to take the bull by the horn. He must act to stem the tide of this violence that is threatening to tear our country apart.

Saraki Leads PDP Chieftains To Meet With Obasanjo In Abeokuta

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki exchanging pleasantries with Former President Goodluck Jonathan

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday led a group of  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains to a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Saraki arrived at the former president’s house in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital with an entourage that included former Governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shema; former governor of Gombe State, Hassan Dankwanbo; Former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, and Former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

READ ALSO: Wike Charges APC, Other Parties To Emulate PDP’s Commitment To Project Delivery

The meeting may not be unconnected with burning national issues and matters related to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2023 election.

This meeting in Abeokuta comes weeks after members of the PDP Reconciliation Committee led by Saraki met with former President Goodluck Jonathan at his residence in Maitama, Abuja.

Former governor of Gombe State; Ibrahim Dankwambo, former Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Ayim; former governor of Cross River, Senator Liyel Imoke; former House leader Mulukat Adeola-Akande and former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema were all in attendance.

Forfeiture Suit: Court To Rule On Saraki’s Lagos Houses On February 19

Logo of a court gavel

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed February 19 for judgment in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the final forfeiture of two properties belonging to former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Justice Mohammed Liman fixed the date on Tuesday after parties adopted and argued their final written addresses.

In October 21, 2019, while granting an exparte application brought before it by the EFCC and argued by its counsel, Mr Nnaemeka Omenwa, the court had ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties located on 17 and 17b, McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The EFCC has said the properties were reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.

After being served with the interim forfeiture order, the former Senate President, through his counsel, Mr. Kehinde Ogunwunmiju (SAN), approached the court for a discharge of the interim order prompting Justice Liman to order parties to show cause why the two properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

At the proceedings on Tuesday, the EFCC called three witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence that were admitted by the court.

The Commission had applied to the court to forfeit the properties to the government on the grounds that the buildings were obtained with loans from GTBank and repaid back with Kwara State funds.

Citing a plethora of legal authorities, the EFCC Counsel urged the court to go ahead with the final forfeiture order.

He said his agency had successful established that the money used by the former Senate President in acquiring the two properties sought to be forfeited were illicit funds.

An affidavit attached with the motion for final forfeiture read: “trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further disguise the source and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making payments into accounts using fictitious names”.

The EFCC further alleged that Saraki, while serving as the Executive Governor of Kwara State, withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the State Government and paid same directly into his account domiciled in Zenith Bank and others through one of his Personal Assistant, Abdul Adama at different times.

But through his counsel, Dr Saraki urged the court to dismiss the EFCC’s motion on the ground that the agency had woefully failed to prove its case against him.

In documents put before the court, the former Senate President maintained that he was already a successful businessman with properties worldwide before he came into politics.

He asked the court to also discharge the interim forfeiture order it earlier placed on the two properties.

8th Assembly’s Decisions Taken In Public Interest, Says Saraki

Minimum Wage Assent ‘Good Step In The Right Direction’ – Saraki
A file photo of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said that the decisions taken during the 8th Assembly were out of national interest.

Saraki, who was the Chairman of the Eighth National Assembly, disclosed this via his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

He explained that the actions the parliament took regarding recommendations from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration were due to what he described as due diligence.

“While I was President of the 8th @NGRSenate: the decisions that we took, the positions we adopted, and the interventions that we embarked on were in the interest of the nation,” he said.

READ ALSO: I Have Lost Faith In Buhari’s Govt, Says Arewa Consultative Forum Spokesman

“When we didn’t confirm certain appointees, it was because we did our due diligence. When we invited the IG & the security chiefs, it was because we wanted to find solutions to the issues of insecurity at the time. It was never about a personal agenda. It was always about Nigeria!”

 

Saraki lost his bid for re-election into the Senate from Kwara Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

In the February 23, 2019, Senatorial election, Dr. Oloriegbe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Saraki after polling a total of 123,808 votes.

The ex-Senate President however scored 68,994 votes in the four local governments of Kwara Central Senatorial District.

Saraki Bought Lagos Properties With Kwara Funds, EFCC Tells Court

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that former Senate President, Bukola Saraki used Kwara State Government funds to pay off loans he obtained from Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, for the purchase of two properties in Lagos.

The allegation was made by an Investigating officer with the EFCC, Olamide Sadik who testified on Wednesday in a suit filed by the commission, seeking to seize and forfeit to the Government, two properties situated at 17 & ‪17A, McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Saraki.

Sadik also told Justice Mohammed Liman, that that sometime in 2009 his boss, who was the Zonal Head for the EFCC, Ilorin Zone asked him to join an ongoing investigation of some properties linked to the former Senate President, who was also a former Governor of Kwara State.

The EFCC investigator claimed that he commenced the investigation by inviting an employee of GTB, Bayo Abdulrahaman Daudu to produce Saraki’s statement of account.

The witness testified that in the course of his interaction with Dauda, he recovered an offer letter for loans obtained by Saraki for the purchase of the two properties from the Presidential Committee for the sales of Government Properties.

Sadik said that there was evidence that the loans were disbursed by the bank on behalf of Saraki to the Presidential Committee for Sales of Government Properties through bank drafts.

He also claimed that he interrogated a Cashier with the Government House, Hafeez Yusuf, “who was persistently withdrawing money from the Kwara State government house account with Access Bank PLC.”

The EFCC operative added that from his investigation and interaction with Yusuf, he discovered that one Abdul Adama, a domestic servant to Saraki “usually and constantly withdraws cash from the government and pays same to Saraki’s account with GTBank and the same government funds was then used to repay the loan obtained from GTBank.

“EFCC investigation also revealed that Adama was collecting an average of N100 million monthly and depositing same into Saraki’s personal account which was eventually used to repay the loans obtained from GTB to purchase the properties in Lagos,” the witness said.

READ ALSO: Senate To Invite Communications Minister Over Nigeria’s Security Challenges

The witness also alleged that to beat the Anti- Money Laundering Act, the money was deliberately being structured and this led the bank to write the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) to complain about the way the money was being paid into the account.

“The summary of our investigation is that Dr Bukola Saraki obtained loans from GTB to buy the properties, but repaid the loans from money being collected by Abdul Adama, his domestic aide and other unidentified people,” he maintained.

Before Sadik’s testimony, the Chief Accountant at the Kwara State Government House, Hafis Yusuf had told the court that he gave monies to Abdul Adama on the instruction of his boss, Isiaka Kareem, a former Controller of Account and Finance.

But during cross-examination by Saraki’s counsel, Kehinde Ogunwomiju (SAN), the two witnesses told the court that they did not have any interface with the former Senate President.

Sadik specifically said that he did not investigate the Kwara State budget, neither did he know what the money was used for.

After the EFCC concluded its oral evidence as ordered by the court, counsel to Saraki, told the court that he relied on the evidence of the anti-graft agency as their defence in the suit.

Justice Liman has refused an application by the EFCC seeking to subpoena one of Saraki’s allies, Kennedy Izuagbe, to give evidence as to the affidavit he deposed to in response to the suit.

The judge has also adjourned till December 16, for the adoption of parties’ final written addresses in the suit.

Jubilation As Saraki Arrives Ilorin Since 2019 General Elections

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, waves to supporters during his arrival to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on November 14, 2020.

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has arrived Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The arrival to his GRA to his hometown is the first since the 2019 general elections where he lost his bid to return to the Senate.

Bukola’s visit to the town is for the eight-year Fidau prayer for his late dad, Olushola Saraki and the silver jubilee anniversary of the coronation of the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.

The ex-Senate President was welcomed by a huge crowd of supporters at the Ilorin International Airport.

Supporters lined up the route leading to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin.

Thereafter, Saraki arrived his family’s GRA residence where the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Muhammad Bashir led the prayers.

Also present is his younger sister who is also the Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki.

Saraki lost the February 23 National Assembly election to represent Kwara Central Senatorial District.

Although he contested under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he polled 68,994 votes to trail behind Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who garnered 123,808.

See Photos Below:

Atiku, Saraki Congratulate Biden On Election Victory

A photo combination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

More congratulatory messages have continued to pour in for former Vice-President Joe Biden following his projected victory in the United States presidential election.

As Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and France among other countries and prominent leaders congratulate Biden for the feat recorded, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki have also made their voices heard.

In a statement on Saturday, Atiku described Biden’s victory as well-deserved and anticipated the age-long collaboration between Nigerian and the U.S. in the course of the advancement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the people.

“Nigeria and the United States are two nations, united by a common language.

“Indeed, the first major trip by the leader of an Independent Nigeria was July 25, 1961, White House visit of the golden voice of Africa, the late Sir Tafawa Balewa, under President John F. Kennedy,” he said.

The former vice president believes Nigeria and the world have much to learn from Biden’s victory, especially from his statement that he would not be a president for only those who voted for him.

He urged the U.S. president-elect to build on the relations between the two counties, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

According to Akitu, it is only by fair trade that Africa will fulfil its potential and a prosperous Africa is good for the United States and the world.

“In electing a man rich in experience, the great people of the United States of America have done the world a great service and I also look forward to your global leadership in the war on terror, and partnership with Nigeria to end the terror and poverty-related insecurities that we face,” he said.

Saraki also congratulated Biden and his running mate in the election, Kamala Harris, who is on course to be the first African-American Vice President and the first female to hold the position.

Read his tweet below:

Court Dismisses EFCC’s Move Seeking Final Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Properties

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the final forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State, belonging to a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

In his ruling delivered on Thursday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa held that the contention of the EFCC that the property was acquired with illegal funds was based on mere suspicion.

He stated that the evidence placed before the court was to the effect that the property was substantially financed with money paid to Saraki as a former governor, in line with the Kwara State Governor and Deputy Governor Payment of Pension Law.

The Pension Law provides that a two-term governor is entitled to a house within the state upon completion of his second tenure.

Justice Aikawa, therefore, discharged the interim order for forfeiture it had earlier granted in favour of the EFCC on December 2, 2019, and subsequently dismissed the EFCC’s application for final forfeiture of the property.

In its submission before the court, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the former Senate President spent N1.09 billion on the two houses, funds which he alleged were stolen from the coffers of Kwara State.

The anti-graft agency claimed that it had evidence that Saraki, who was Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, diverted not less than N1 billion belonging to the state.

On December 2, 2019, the agency obtained an interim order temporarily forfeiting the houses – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – to the Federal Government.

An EFCC operative, Bilikisu Buhari, in an affidavit filed before the court said the anti-graft agency found that while he was governor, Saraki allegedly diverted N100 million on a monthly basis from the Federal Allocation to the state.

She said the N100 million was usually diverted from the Kwara State government account to the account of the Kwara State Government House.

Buhari explained that following the transfer, one Mr Afeez Yusuf said to be acting on Saraki’s instructions, went to withdraw the money from the Kwara State Government House account and took the case to the Government House.

“After the funds were stacked in the Kwara State Government House, it was then fraudulently dissipated and taken away in cash by Messrs Abdul Adama, Ubi Ofem and Ubi Austin, acting on the instructions and direction of Dr Bukola Saraki in violent breach of public trust.

“That in this scheme of fraud alone, about N10 billion was fraudulently diverted from the treasury of the Kwara State Government.

“That part of the proceeds of the aforementioned fraud were reasonably suspected to have been comingled with other funds used for the development of the property sought to be forfeited,” the EFCC operative told the court.

She added that Adama, Ofem, and Austin, using fictitious names, usually pay the diverted N100 million into the bank accounts of contractors who built the houses.

A file photo of the EFCC logo.

 

Opposing the application for the final forfeiture of his client’s houses, Saraki’s lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, said they were built from his legitimate earnings.

Ogunwumiju said N252.2 million out of the N1.09 billion used for developing the property represented what Saraki was paid for the development of a five-bedroom apartment, which he was entitled to as a two-term governor of Kwara State.

He also drew the attention of Justice Aikawa to the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 of Kwara State, which stipulated that an elected two-term governor of the state was entitled to five and four-bed roomed duplexes respectively, at any location of their choice within Kwara State.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said rather than allow the state to build the house for him, Saraki chose to collect N252.2 million so he could add money to it to build a house to his taste.

He argued that if it was true, as alleged by the EFCC, that the document leading to the release of the N252.2 million was forged by an official of the Kwara State Government, the payment to Saraki was still not illegitimate because it was provided for under the law.

Ogunwumiju, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the EFCC’s application for being an abuse of court processes, saying the same issues had been taken before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where Saraki was vindicated.

Oyedepo, however, countered by insisting that as long as Saraki failed to explain how he came about the over N700 million, which he added to the N252.2 million to develop the houses, they were liable to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Court Declines Move Seeking Final Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Properties

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has declined a move seeking the final forfeiture of two properties belonging to a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Justice Mohammed Liman turned down the move in a ruling on Monday over insufficient and conflicting affidavit evidence filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He held that the documents put before the court by the EFCC in support of the final forfeiture order were insufficient.

The judge also held that the EFCC’s documents did not establish any link showing that Kwara State government funds were used to repay Saraki’s loan.

He concluded by asking the anti-graft agency to call its witnesses at the next adjourned date, to give oral evidence to resolve the inconsistencies and contradictions in its documents.

Lawyers to the former Senate President would also get an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses.

The judge, who also dismissed a preliminary objection filed by the former Senate President, assumed jurisdiction to hear the suit and subsequently fixed September 29 for the next hearing.

In the suit, the EFCC had asked the court to order the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Saraki’s properties situated at 17 & ‪17A, McDonald Road in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.

At the last sitting of the court on March 5, the EFCC counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, who moved the application for the final forfeiture, told Justice Liman that the properties were acquired with a loan obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank and paid back by money suspected to have been diverted from the coffers of the Kwara State government.

The counsel said, “There are written statements from some officials of the Kwara State government on how the money was taken from the coffers of the state government and used to pay back the loan.”

The EFCC, therefore, asked the court to look at the merit of its case, all the exhibits attached, and make an order permanently forfeiting the properties to the Federal Government.

However, counsel to the former Senate President, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, had asked the court to reject the application by the EFCC.

He argued that the anti-graft agency was unable to prove that the money used to pay back the loan was acquired by any illegal activity.

Ogunwumiju also told the court that the EFCC had litigated on the same properties before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, all the way to the Supreme Court and had lost.

He then asked the court to dismiss the EFFC’s suit seeking the final forfeiture of the properties and rule in favour of the former Senate President.

Court Slams N5m Judgement Against Atiku, Saraki, Others

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded the sum of N5 million against the 2019 Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his campaign director, Dr Bukola Saraki, over unauthorized use of the photograph of a Lagos-based trader, Mrs Amuda Adeleke, on their campaign billboard.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, who made the monetary award in a judgment delivered on Monday, said the N5m would be jointly and severally paid by Atiku, Saraki, the PDP and Peter Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate during the election.

In a fundamental rights enforcement suit brought before the court, Adeleke through her lawyer, Kingsley Iheakaram, said the defendants used her photograph on their campaign billboard without seeking her consent.

Adeleke also explained that in December 2018, during the build-up to the 2019 general elections, agents of the Atiku Abubakar Organisation, led by Saraki, came to Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos to campaign and mobilize support for Atiku and his running mate, Obi.

She said Saraki and his team engaged people on the street, including herself.
Adeleke said she saw members of the campaign train taking photographs during the engagement with the crowd and she thought it was merely to preserve the memory of the event.

She was, however, shocked when she began to receive phone calls from those who knew her, calling her attention to her photograph on the PDP campaign billboards in Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere.

“All my friends who saw the campaign billboard said it portrayed me as a woman stricken with poverty who had lost all hope and was prepared to commit suicide,” she said.

The trader said the unauthorised use of her photograph for the PDP presidential campaign caused her embarrassment.

She, therefore, asked the court to award N45m against the defendants for infringing on her fundamental right to privacy as enshrined, in the 1999 Constitution.

Justice Faji gave judgment in her favour and subsequently awarded N5 million only against the defendants.

Court Fixes April 24 To Rule On Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Lagos Properties

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 24, for its ruling on the final forfeiture of two properties belonging to a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is seeking the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of Dr. Saraki’s properties situated at 17 & 17A, McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Moving the application for the final forfeiture of the properties on Thursday (March 5th), counsel to the applicant, Nnaemeka Omewa, told Justice Mohammed Liman, that the properties were acquired with a loan obtained from Guaranty Trust Bank and paid back by money suspected to have been diverted from the coffers of the Kwara State government.

The counsel specifically said that “There are written statements from some officials of the Kwara State government on how the money was taken from the coffers of the state government and used to pay back the loan,”.

The EFCC, therefore, asked the court to look at the merit of its case, all the exhibits attached and make an order permanently forfeiting the properties to the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, the former Senate President through his counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), has asked the court to reject the application by the EFCC.

The counsel argued that the EFCC has not been able to prove that the money used to pay back the loan was acquired by any illegal activity.

He also told the court that the EFCC had litigated on the same properties before the Code of Conduct Tribunal all the way to the Supreme Court and had lost.

The counsel then asked the court to dismiss the EFFC’s suit seeking the final forfeiture of the properties and to instead, rule in favour of the former Senate President.

After listening to both parties, Justice Liman adjourned the case till April 24 for judgment.

Coronavirus: Implement A Policy Of Stronger Screening For People, Saraki Tells FG

A file photo of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki has called on the Federal Government to install and operate top-notch screening equipment’s at all entry points, in a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Nigeria confirmed its first case on Friday morning after an Italian citizen who returned from Milan, Italy on the 25th of February 2020 was quarantined and tested positive to the novel COVID-19 virus.

Dr Saraki in a statement on Friday stated that the first confirmed case must be seen as an opportunity for Nigerians to unite behind a common objective of overcoming the threat to the wellbeing of all.

READ ALSO: 28 Persons Identified, Quarantined After Contact With Coronavirus Patient In Ogun

He added that the relevant government agencies should step up their awareness campaign by issuing relevant and timely information about the disease and steps that can be taken to prevent further spread.

“The occurrence of Nigeria’s first case of COVID-19 must be seen for what it is – an opportunity to unite behind a common objective to overcome a threat to the health and wellbeing of our beloved country and her people.

“I appeal to the Federal Government to install and operate top of the line screening equipment at our airports, seaports and land borders while implementing a policy of stronger screening for people arriving our shores from countries with a high prevalence of the virus.

“I appeal to Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to step up their awareness campaign by transmitting information about the disease and the steps that can be taken to prevent it in as many Nigerian languages as possible,” he said.

The former Senate President appealed to Nigerian not to panic and avoid the spread of fake information about the virus.

“It is also necessary to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Health to update Nigerians daily on events to help curb the spread of fake news and misinformation about the virus. I appeal to media houses to support this awareness campaign as much as possible.

“Finally, I appeal to Nigerians not to panic and to avoid spreading sensational or false information about the virus.

“I have always believed that Nigeria and Nigerians can overcome any challenge before us when we unite behind a common purpose. I believe we can do so now,” he asked.