Court Fixes March 2 To Hear Suit By Ozekhome

Court Fixes March 2 To Hear Suit By OzekhomeA Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has fixed March 2, for hearing in a suit filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, seeking to vacate the order freezing his firm’s account.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka, ordered that a hearing notice be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge, had on February 7, ordered a temporary forfeiture of 75 million Naira found in the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account following an application by the EFCC.

However, when the case came up on Thursday, the EFCC was not represented.

Ozekhome said his suit was filed on February 14 and that the EFCC was served on February 20, according to the proof of service.

Justice Anka said the commission was still within time to respond.

“They’re entitled to seven days. Their time has not lapsed. Let’s give them their time. So we’ll give them seven days,” he said.

Ozekhome asked for the earliest date for hearing “because of the urgency of the case.”

He then prayed for an order discharging and/or vacating forthwith, the interim ex-parte order of forfeiture to freeze or attach the money for 120 days.

Ozekhome said EFCC did not disclose to Justice Anka the fact that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti, had defrozen Fayose’s account, thereby allowing the governor to operate it, before he transferred 75 million Naira to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers’ account.

He further stated that as at the time Fayose transferred 75 million Naira to his chambers account, there was no court processes filed or served on the applicant, indicating that the EFCC was on appeal, or asking the court to stay the execution of the order defreezing Fayose’s account.

Ozekhome said the rules regulating ex-parte applications were blatantly violated by the EFCC in obtaining the order, adding that the application was brought because of his “strong and uncompromising stance against some of the obnoxious anti-masses policies of the present administration and the judicial victories he has so far secured against the EFCC in different courts in Nigeria”.

The SAN sought an order restraining the Federal Government and the EFCC, whether by themselves or their agents from dealing in anyway and manner with his operation or his proprietary rights to the account.

Ozekhome said EFCC’s application was filed in bad faith, adding that the commission did not comply with statutory and judicial authorities in obtaining an interim order vide motion ex-parte.

According to him, the action is unconstitutional as same offends sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution as there was no legal justification for EFCC’s action.

“The Applicant’s family, staff, dependants, associates, business and livelihood will greatly suffer, and are already suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable damage if this application is not granted, and the blockade or freezing of the account lifted immediately.

“The interest of justice demands that these prayers be granted as it will ensure that the applicant and his family, staff, associates, livelihood, dependants and business, do not suffer untold and irreparable damages,” Ozekhome said.

Ozekhome said the 75 million Naira was part-payment of legal fees from Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayode.

“The issue of whether or not the funds in Governor Fayose’s account from which the N75 Million was posted to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers GT Bank account is suspected proceed of crime is currently on appeal as filed and entered by the self same Counsel to the respondent herein, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa,” Ozekhome said.

Ozekhome’s Abductor Arrested By DSS, Nigeria Army

A suspected kidnap kingpin and murderer , Kelvin Prosper Oniarah, who allegedly kidnapped the Human Rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, was yesterday arrested by a joint team of the Nigerian Army and Department of State Service (DSS), along Auchi–Benin Road.

Spokesperson for DSS, Marilyn Ogar said Oniarah who was arrested on Wednesday is a notorious terrorist, kidnap kingpin and armed robber and has been on the wanted list of security agencies.

The suspect, also known as Kelvin Ibruvwe was responsible for the kidnap and killing of Dr. Chudi Nwike a former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, while in captivity.

According to the statement “on 25th September, 2013, a combined security team of the Nigerian Army and DSS operatives arrested Kelvin Prosper Oniarah, a notorious terrorist, kidnap kingpin and armed robber, who has been on the wanted list of security agencies.

“Kelvin ONIARAH who is also known as Kelvin IBRUVWE masterminded the kidnap of Mike OZEKHOME (SAN) on 24th August, 2013, along Auchi–Benin road.

“He is also responsible for the following kidnaps, Judge of the Edo State Judiciary, and a top female official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.”

The statement further said “Chudi Nwike, Dr. a former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, who was killed by Kelvin while in captivity; and several members of the NYSC and security agents.

“He also masterminded various attacks against security personnel, carried out several armed robberies and kidnap operations in Delta, Edo, Rivers and Anambra States.

“Oniarah maintained operational bases and detention camps in Warri and Kokori Community in Delta State, Ugbokolo Community in Benue State, Benin City in Edo State, and Aba in Abia State.

“It would also be recalled that on 18th September, 2013, Kelvin Oniarah issued a 60 day ultimatum from his base in Kokori, Delta State, to the Federal Government and threatened to wreak havoc on innocent Nigerian citizens.

“Kelvin Oniarah has been taken into custody and investigation of his notorious activities has commenced.”



Lack of Planning Increases Spate Of Kidnapping – Analyst

A legal practitioner, Emeka Onohwakpor has said that lack of planning contributes to the rise in cases of kidnapping, including the kidnapping of  human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome.

Mr. Onohwakpor said the Police was ill prepared for the kidnappers who took Mr Ozekhome captive, disclosing that there was an exchange of fire between the police and the kidnappers, before Mr Ozekhome was taken.

“The police didn’t have the Rapid Response Squad team on ground,” he said.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Onohwakpor advised that air support system should be put in place in the fight against crime.

He also highlighted the need to increase the use of technology in fighting crime and corruption. “There is so much corruption in the air, we don’t have good role models,” he said.

Mr. Onohwakpor further called on security personnel in the country, including immigration officers to join forces in curbing the kidnapping menace.

Human Rights Activist, Mike Ozekhome,

Ozekhome challenges Ehindero’s arraignment over corruption charges

The FCT High Court has set aside 1 August 2012 for hearing of the objection to the arraignment of the former inspector general of police, Sunday Ehindero by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over a six count of corrupt enrichment.

Counsel to Mr Ehindero, Mike Ozekhome, had challenged not only the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court but also the competence of the counsel to ICPC,  Ahmed Bassi, to appear in the matter in the first place.

Mr Ozekhome said Mr Bassi, has no authority under law to represent the commission in the matter, an exclusive reserve of the attorney general of the federation and officers in the ministry of justice.

He said that the issues raised were fundamental to the matter.

The presiding judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi thereafter gave Mr Bassi seven days to reply to the notice of objection and eight days to the defense counsels to respond so that the court can hear and rule on the objection.

Although Mr Ehindero and his co accused John Obaniyi were docked, they however did not take any pleas to the amended charges proffered against them by the ICPC.


N557Million fraud: ICPC fails to dock Ehindero, again

For the second time, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has failed to arraign former Inspector General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero over an alleged N557million fraud.

At the resumed hearing at FCT High Court on Thursday, the former police chief through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome argued that a private legal practitioner Barrister Paul Bassey was not competent by law to put him on trial on behalf of the anti-graft agency.

The former IGP was to be charged for the alleged misappropriation along with his former Police Commissioner for Budget at the force headquarters, Mr John Obaniyi.

Mr Ehindero further argued that the private lawyer has no authority of the federal government to arraign him.

He added that Mr Bassey must first obtain a fiat from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and display the fiat of the AGF before the court to authenticate his eligibility before he could qualify to try him and before the trial can commence.

The former police boss argued that the alleged offence was a federal one that required the authority of the federal government before it could be prosecuted.

Counsel to the ICPC, Mr Bassey who was not allowed to move his motion to bring an amended charge against the defendants refused to comment on the development

Presiding judge, Justice Mudasir Oniyangi adjourned the case to the 13th of July for the issue of legal representation to be first sorted out.

The ICPC had sought to put the accused persons on trial for allegedly misappropriating N557 million in November 2006 when they were in office as public officers.