EFCC’s Action Is Abuse Of Court Process, Says Saraki

A photo combination of former Senate President Bukola Saraki and an EFCC official on his residence in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki says the application to the Federal High Court, Lagos, for interim forfeiture order on his Ilorin home by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that the Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Taiwo Taiwo had given an order “restraining the respondents (Commission) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the Applicant’s (Saraki) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties”.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s House Worth N1bn To FG

“The EFCC’s claim that the Ilorin property was built by any proceed of fraud is outrightly false.

“The fact is that the Ilorin property was built partly by the Kwara State Government pursuant to the Third Schedule of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 while Dr. Saraki personally funded the remaining cost of the building.

“There are existing letters from the Office of the Head of Service of Kwara State notifying the former Governor (Saraki) of the State Government’s compliance with the State Pension for Governor’s law and the one indicating his intention to bear the cost of the additional expenditure that will arise from building the property to his desired taste dated 25th January 2012 and 8th February 2012 respectively,” he said.

Saraki added that the construction of the building did not commence until the last few weeks of his tenure as Governor and the bulk of his contribution to the funding were made with cheques.

“Where cash was involved, this was mainly in 2012 and 2013, more than a year after he had left office as Governor. So, where is the claim that the money for the construction of the house fraudulent obtained from Kwara State Government coming from? It should also be noted that the land on which the house is built is not a government allocated land.”

Saraki also claimed that EFCC is playing politics and spreading falsehood in its attempt to witch-hunt and intimidate a perceived enemy.

According to him, EFCC’s penchant for abusing the nation’s judicial institution is the reason why it filed a suit in Lagos on a property situate in Ilorin.

The statement however disclosed that Saraki will contest the matter in the court.

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s House Worth N1bn To FG

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday ordered for interim forfeiture of the Ilorin residence of the immediate past Senate President Bukola Saraki.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren.

According to him, the Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC had earlier approached the court presided over by Justice Ridwan Aikawa for an order of interim forfeiture of about N1 billion worth property belonging to Saraki.

The property which is located at 1, Abdulkadir street,  G.R.A, Ilorin, Kwara State is being requested by the anti-graft commission for forfeiture on the grounds that it was acquired through the proceeds of unlawful activity.

READ ALSO: PDP Asks INEC To Push For Legalisation Of Electronic Voting

Ruling on the exparte application filed by EFCC Lawyer, Rotimi Oyedipo on Monday, Justice Aikawa ordered the interim forfeiture of the property and said the court order should be published in National Newspapers.

The Judge further said that any interested parties in the property should show cause while the property should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Commission in moving application said its reasonably suspected that the former Nigeria number three citizen built the house with Government’s money and other proceeds of crime.

Court Fixes December To Hear Suit Seeking Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Properties

BREAKING: Why I Want To Be President – Saraki (Full Text)
A file photo of former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 5 to take arguments on whether or not, two Ikoyi houses belonging to former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, should be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Justice Mohammed Liman had on October 21 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the houses, “lying and known as No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi,” to the government.

He had ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper.

The judge adjourned until November 7 for anyone interested in the houses to appear before him to show cause why they should not be permanently forfeited to the government.

READ ALSO: Senate Probes Delay In Execution Of N7.7bn Kagara Dam

At the resumed proceedings on Thursday, EFCC’s counsel, Abdullahi Idris, told the judge that the order was published in The Nation newspaper as ordered by the judge.

The judge, thereafter, fixed December 5 to hear from Dr Saraki and any other interested party on why the properties should not be permanently forfeited.

The EFCC had told the judge it reasonably suspected that the properties were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.

It alleged in a supporting affidavit that the former Senate President, who served two terms as Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011, “withdrew over N12 billion cash from the account of the Kwara State Government and paid same into his accounts domiciled in Access and Zenith Banks through one of his personal assistants, Abdul Adama, at different intervals.”

‘A Great Patriot’: Atiku, Saraki, Others Celebrate Peter Obi

Presidential election: Why Atiku Is Challenging Buhari’s Victory – Obi
File: (L-R) Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar.

 

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has congratulated his running mate in the 2019 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, on his birthday.

As the former Anambra State governor turned 58 on Friday, Atiku and former Senate President Bukola Saraki, as well as other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took to Twitter to praise him.

Others who sent their goodwill messages to the former governor include Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, and Senator Uche Ekwunife.

READ ALSO: PDP’s Star Witness, Chidoka Testifies At Presidential Election Tribunal

Responding to Atiku’s tweet, Obi thanked the PDP presidential candidate who he described as “one of the most hardworking men”.

Read the tweets below:

@atiku. You are one of the most hardworking men I know and I am proud to be your right hand man in this project to get Nigeria working again. -PO https://t.co/5VdLWo02Eo

— Peter Obi (@PeterObi) July 19, 2019

Osinbajo Thanks Saraki For ‘Not Doing Anything Funny’ Before Inauguration

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has thanked Senate President Bukola Saraki for not taking advantage of the power vacuum before the presidential inauguration.

He said this at a dinner which held on Wednesday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, following the inauguration ceremony at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

“When I arrived at Eagle Square this morning, some may have noticed that the Senate President and I were enjoying a joke”, said Osinbajo.

He added, “He (Saraki) said to me jokingly `you better be careful, you know I am the acting President now; so, we thank the Senate President for not doing anything funny.”

[READ ALSO] Inauguration: PDP Slams Buhari Over Failure To Address Nigerians

He noted that there was no President or Vice President for about 10 hours, stressing that Senator Saraki was in charge of the nation’s affairs.

Professor Osinbajo, who explained that his first tenure and that of President Muhammadu Buhari ended on the midnight of May 29, was grateful that the event went smoothly.

He said, “Something interesting happened earlier today (Wednesday); I am a lawyer and a law teacher and I like to test and interrogate legal scenarios.

“At one minute past midnight today, the four-year term of the President and I ended by effluxion of time.”

“So, from one minute past 12 of last night, May 29 to about 10:30 am, when we were sworn in for a second term, there was no President or Vice President.

“Interestingly nothing went wrong, all was okay; when such a situation arises, it is the Senate President who acts as President,” the Vice President added.

The dinner had in attendance a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), some members of the National Assembly, as well as chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also present are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, service chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, and captains of industry, among others.

Earlier, the Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Tanko, administered the oath of office on President Buhari and Professor Osinbajo for another four-year term.

‘We Stand With You’ – Saraki, Atiku And Others Celebrate Nigerian Children

 

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, have celebrated Nigerian Children on this year’s Children’s Day.

Both Atiku and Saraki took to their Twitter pages to recognise the great strides that children across the country have made.

They also assured the children that the government will make sure they are empowered to reach their full potential.

“Nigerian children have been in the international headlines recently for exceptional achievements despite all odds. These shining lights are just an example of the potential in you, our children. Happy Children’s Day,” Atiku wrote.

Saraki, on the other hand, twitted “Today, our nation celebrates it’s future — our children; our most important national treasure. As we do so, we recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Nigerian children are empowered to aspire to achieve greatness”.

The Senate President also called on Nigerians to remember Leah Sharibu and other missing children who for various reasons would not be spending the special day with their friends and loved ones.

“On #ChildrensDay2019, we remember Leah Sharibu, and all other young Nigerian children who will be commemorating this important day without their loved ones. We commit them into our prayers, and continue to call for their unequivocal release,” he wrote.

The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregebsola, also celebrated with the Children.

Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Defection Of Saraki, Dogara And Others

Defection: Saraki, Dogara, 52 Others To Know Fate On May 17
A file photo of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out the suit filed by the Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP), challenging the defection of 53 lawmakers.

Delivering the judgement in the case on Friday, Justice Okon Abang said although the plaintiff has a good case and the good intention of promoting good political behavior and rule of law, it has no locus standi to sue.

He further explained that LEDAP was not a political party that sponsored the defected lawmakers, or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was conferred with the powers to monitor political parties.

He added that the plaintiff was neither a constituent of the defectors nor a registered voter that voted for them.

Beyond, that, Justice Abang said LEDAP had not put any thing before the court to show that the voters urged them to sue on their behalf and thereafter, the case was struck out.

Earlier, the judge had, however, stated that the defection of the 53 members of the National Assembly was unlawful based on the judgement of the Supreme Court, which had laid down reasons that would allow for defection.

Read Also: Defection Of Saraki, Dogara, 51 Others Is Unlawful – Says Judge

According to him, the lawmakers did not meet that requirement.

He further explained that there was no division of the kind recognized by the Supreme Court to allow the defendant – that is, the Senate President and 52 others retain their seat with the exception of the third defendant, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

He said this is so because in his view, at the time they claimed there was division in their parties which resulted in them decamping, those political parties were still functioning as political parties, hence, the division was not of the kind that will enable them decamp.

Defection Of Saraki, Dogara, 51 Others Is Unlawful – Says Judge

National Assembly Releases Details Of Its 2018 Budget

 

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court has said that the defection of 53 members of the National Assembly is unlawful.

He stated this while ruling on a case seeking to remove the lawmakers for defecting from one party to another when there was no division in their parties as claimed.

According to him, their defection is unlawful and in violation of Section 68(1) G, which holds that except there is a division in a political party, any member of the National Assembly who defected from the political party that sponsored such a person, that person must vacate his or her seat in the assembly.


RELATED
Akpabio Is Free To Join Any Political Party, Says Court
Defection: PDP Suspended And Expelled Me, Akpabio Tells Court
Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Defection Of Saraki, Dogara And Others


The judge said there was no division of the kind recognised by the Supreme Court to allow the defendant retain their seat.

He explained that this was so because, during the time they claimed there was division in their parties, those parties were still functioning as political parties.

Justice Abang said there was no evidence before the court to show that it is impossible and impracticable for those political parties they decamped from to function as political parties.

He insisted that the said division was not of the kind that would enable them defect to another party.

During the time they defected, according to the judge, those political parties were still functioning and attending to their programmes and activities.

He noted that he agreed with the counsel to the plaintiff that the lawmakers defected at the time their parties needed them most.

Justice Abang said there was no division, neither was there any merger of a kind envisaged in the Constitution to avail them justifications to seek the protection of the court.

He highlighted that the parties they left were not infested with the virus of division and if that was the case, why didn’t one of the factions approach a court for recognition.

The judge stressed that at the time they defected from the APC and ADC, there was no faction that stopped the parties from functioning as political parties.

He, however, said the lawmakers only made reference to a division to enable them to scale through their judicial iniquities.

An advocacy group, Legal Aides Assistant Project (LEDAP), had instituted the case against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, as well as 52 other lawmakers.

On whether the plaintiff has a locus standi, Justice Abang held that the plaintiff was not a political party that sponsored the defected lawmakers, or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conferred with the powers to monitor political parties.

He added that LEDAP was neither a constituent of the defectors nor a registered voter that voted for them.

Justice Abang said the plaintiff has not put anything before the court to show that the voters urged them to sue on their behalf.

He added that the group did not show any injury it would suffer if its prayers were not granted.

The judge noted that the plaintiff has a good case and a good intention of promoting good political behaviour and rule of law.

He also said its action was aimed at ensuring political stability in the country and stopping the selfishness exhibited by politicians.

Justice Abang, however, ruled that the plaintiff had no locus standi to sue the lawmakers.

He said, “How I wish the plaintiff has a locus standi. They have a good case but I cannot go ahead to deliver judgment when the plaintiff will not suffer any injury.

“There is nothing before the court showing where the plaintiff has suffered any loss as a result of the action of the lawmakers.”

The judge added, “This court has the capacity to determine whether the lawmakers should lose their seat but the plaintiff must have a locus standi, except there is a fiat from the Attorney-General of the Federation who has the locus to sue on behalf of the generality of Nigerian, and the plaintiff did not obtain that fiat.”

“The plaintiff not having locus standi has no right to come to court,” he held.

Justice Abang stated that the court cannot take a decision affecting the defected lawmakers without hearing from the persons that nominated them.

In respect of the main case, as it affects the Senate President, the Speaker, and 52 others, the judge struck out the plaintiff’s case.

He, however, held that the plaintiff’s case against former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill, lacked merit because the senator did not defect.

According to him, Senator Akpabio only joined the All Progressives Congress after he was expelled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

‘A Great Friend’: Saraki, PDP, Others Congratulate Ekweremadu At 57

'A Great Friend;' Saraki, PDP, Others Congratulate Ekweremadu At 57
A file photo of Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have congratulated the Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, on the occasion of his birthday.

Senator Saraki and his party took to Twitter to celebrate Senator Ekweremadu who turns 57 on Sunday.

In his goodwill message, the Senate President described his deputy as a ‘great colleague and friend’ and wished him long life.

READ ALSOGunmen Invade Katsina Village, Set Houses Ablaze

The PDP also congratulated the lawmaker for his service to humanity and his contribution to the growth of the party.

The lawmaker representing Kogi West district, Senator Dino Melaye, and other well-wishers also celebrated Senator Ekweremadu in various tweets.

Senator Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West district in the National Assembly, tweeted about his birthday earlier.

He has represented his district since 2003 and served as the Deputy Senate President for the third consecutive time.

Read the tweets below:

Nine Years Gone: Nigerians Eulogise Late President Yar’Adua

File photo: Late President Musa Yar’Adua

 

Many Nigerians have taken to social media to pay tribute to President Musa Yar’Adua who died nine years ago.

Senate President Bukola Saraki in his tribute referred to him as a selfless statesman with a legacy of integrity.

The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the recently concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar said Yar’Adua was a patriot whose death was a loss to Nigeria.

The vocal lawmaker representing Kaduna Central District at the National Assembly said Yar’Adua was a true democrat and humble visionary.

 

Many other Nigerians are yet to get over the demise of Yar’Adua, they believe he will always be remembered for his good works. Some are of the view that he was the best President Nigeria ever had.

 

Yar’Adua was born on August 16, 1951, and died May 5, 2010. He was the 13th leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He won the 2007 presidential election and was sworn in on May 29, 2007.

As president, Yar’Adua inaugurated a presidential electoral reform committee to look into the legal factors, social and political institutions and security issues that affect the quality and credibility of elections in the country and to also make recommendations on improving the credibility of elections.

On June 28, 2007, he publicly declared his assets to become the first Nigerian president to do so.

 

We Cannot Deliver Good Governance Without A Free Press – Saraki

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

 

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, says there is no way good governance can be delivered to the people without a free media environment that guarantees access to information.

He stated this at an event to commemorate the 2019 World Press Freedom Day which held on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, highlighted the contribution of the press to the growth of the nation’s democracy.

READ ALSOGroups, Foreign Interests Plotting To Disrupt May 29, Army Claims

“We do appreciate that we cannot deliver good governance without a free press, and we are always available to work in tandem with the media to ensure a democratic society that serves us all,” he said.

The Senate President added, “Let me, therefore, assure you that the 8th Senate values the media as crucial partners in the quest to build a stronger and more vibrant democracy.”

He noted that the legislature has gone a long way towards opening up the National Assembly as an institution that belongs to the people.

The lawmaker listed some of the steps they have taken to include the use of social media to give live updates on plenary and committee meetings, as well as live-streams of proceedings in the Senate.

He stressed that the pen has proven to be as effective, if not mightier than the sword, attributing it to the power of words to plant, grow, shape and motivate ideas into action.

The Senate President believes in a country with a chequered post-independent democratic experience such as Nigeria, the notion of ‘press freedom’ must drastically evolve from something its people pay lip service to  into what must be practised, championed and protected at all costs.

According to him, the urgency of this is reflected in the nation’s ranking on the Global Press Freedom Index of 2019, where it is ranked 120 out of 180 countries.

Saraki said, “Clearly if we truly wish to grow and preserve our democracy, we must understand that a free and pluralistic media environment that guarantees access to information, is non-negotiable.

“When citizens have information, they are able to make informed choices due to the diversity of their viewpoints.”

“When we have such a society when citizens are not only well-informed but are free to express their valid opinions — without fear or prejudice — it is only then that we can truly say are practising true democracy,” he added.

Democracy, according to the Senate President, has its foundation in the freedom of the press, which in turn promotes good governance, accountability and respect for human rights.

He, however, said while the objectives may not be easy to achieve, the nation can agree that it can be done if it was determined to see it through.

May Day: Saraki, Ekweremadu Hail Nigerian Workers’ Sacrifice To Nation Building

 

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu have hailed Nigerian workers for playing integral parts to the socio-economic development of the country.

In separate tweets by the lawmakers to commemorate the 2019 May Day celebration, they identified the roles of the workers to nation-building.

Saraki in his tweet said; “Today, I salute Nigerian workers, who are an integral part of the fabric that makes up our society, for their tireless contributions to the socio-economic development of our nation.”

READ ALSO: May Day: PDP Salutes Nigerian Workers, Warns Against Unproductiveness

Also, Ekweremadu expressed his respect for Nigerian workers; “I duff the hat to Nigerian workers. I salute your industry, sacrifice, resilience, and patriotism. You’re the pivots and pillars of nation building, happy May Day.”