Paying Ransom To Bandits Is Ineffective – Senator Nnamani

A file photo of guns displayed on a table.

 

The lawmaker representing Enugu East senatorial district, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, has faulted the payment of ransom to bandits before releasing their victims in captivity.

Although he is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the senator aligned himself with the position of some prominent members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who have condemned the idea of paying money to bandits.

“Talking about ransom, paying ransom is ineffective because clearly, these different groups do not have the same goals.

“In addition, the leadership is different. So, ransom would not work; rather, it could incentivise internal terrorism also called bandits,” he said when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

He added, “I believe there is a competition to win the souls of the young Nigerian who elects to be a bandit or a terrorist. The government has to compete.

“There is competition between government and the terrorists’/bandits’ leaders. I believe the government has to do something to keep them within their system.”

According to Nnamani who is also a former governor of Enugu State, the government should try to win the youths through adult literary education, improve their welfare, or engage them in skill acquisition programmes.

 

He also recommended aggressive tackling of unemployment and poverty in the country as means to discourage the young generation from engaging in criminal and violent activities.

On the call for the creation of state police to address the issue of insecurity, the lawmaker believes that is not an option.

He opined that adopting state police as a solution to the security challenges would be a wrong move because the factors (imbalance and injustice) that led to the abolition of regional police were still very much available.

The former governor, however, suggested a conference of ethnic nationalities to help address the imbalance said to have been created by the Constitution.

Insecurity: Why State Police Will Not Work In Nigeria – Ex-Enugu Governor

 

As leaders and experts continue to propose how Nigeria can overcome the problem of insecurity, a former governor of Enugu State believes state police is not an option.

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani was of the opinion that adopting state police as a solution to the security challenges would be a wrong move because the factors that led to the abolition of regional police were still very much available.

“That is not the solution. State police will not work in Nigeria,” he said when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

He added, “Remember that we had some form of state police – regional police, we had an ordinance of 1916 that formerly established regional police. There were factors that led to the abolition of state police.

“All those factors that led to the abolition of the regional police and formal entry into the central police have not changed. Nigeria is organic, it is one unit and what that means is that if the eye is having a problem, the brain could have a problem.”

 

An Unjust System?

The former governor, however, stated that having state police would only function effectively if it was made to be uniform in all 36 states of the federation.

He warned that should state police not be in uniform and standardised in all the state, it would amount to what he described as an inherent inequality.

According to the lawmaker, it is an imbalance to have state police in a state like Lagos where the poverty rate is very low compared to other states with a higher rate of poverty.

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

On the way forward, he suggested a conference of ethnic nationalities to help address the imbalance said to have been created by the constitution.

“Nigeria is a country of multi-ethnic African nationalities – those ethnic nationalities are in Nigeria on basis of inequality.

“The constitutions that have been derived from all these fora are inefficient, unequal, and unjust because those constitutions are results of political machinations of people who got the people to make the constitutions together,” said Nnamani.

He added, “What we need is a conference of ethnic nationalities on equal basis. Multi-ethnic nationalities have to conference and produce a system that is equitable, fair, and just.

“The system, as it is – the National Assembly, State assemblies…, are inherently unjust because of the way they were derived.”

Court Dismisses Corruption Charges Against Ex-Governor Nnamani

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has held that there is no valid charge before it in relation to the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against a former governor of Enugu State, Mr Chimaroke Nnamani.

The former governor was to be re-arraigned before the court on allegations of laundering N4.5 billion, an offence said to have been committed during his tenure as Governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007.

The move to re-arraign the former Governor is coming 10 years after he was first arraigned alongside one of his aides, Sunday Anyaogu and 6 companies.

But the former governor had challenged the re-arraignment on the ground that the court lacked the competence to try him and determine the offences against him, especially as a plea bargain agreement had been reached between him, the other defendants and the EFCC.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, February 20, the counsel to the former governor, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa informed the court of an application he had filed disclosing the result of the plea agreement, which according to him, led to the institution and determination of the charges against the defendants before Justice Mohammed Yinusa of the same court back in July 2015

The lawyer said that in view of the plea bargain agreement entered into by parties, there is no longer any valid charge pending before the court as Presiding Justice Chuka Obiozor cannot seat on an appeal of his learned brother, Justice Yunusa.

The EFCC prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie in his response said that after looking at the affidavits filed by the defendant, he is of the view that the entire proceedings should be expunged to enable the prosecution file fresh charges against the defendant.

In a short ruling, Justice Chuka Obiozor held that in view of the plea bargain judgement of this court delivered on the 7th of July, 2015, there is no valid charge before his court. He therefore expunged the entire proceedings.

N4.5billion Fraud: Court Orders Arrest Of Former Enugu Governor, Aide

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu State.

The court also ordered the arrest of the aide, Mr Anyaogu.

Presiding Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order of arrests following the failure of the former governor’s lawyer, Shamsudeen Abubakar, to give any reasonable evidence as to why his client was absent in court.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Orders Arrest Of Former Enugu Gov

Nnamani’s lawyer had told the court that the former governor had undergone a heart surgery in the United States and this was responsible for his absence but the prosecution said the photographs brought by the lawyer as proof had been taken in 2014.

The former governor was to be re-arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N4.5 billion an offense said to have been committed during his tenure as Governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007.

This move to re-arraign the former Governor is coming ten years after he was first arraigned alongside his aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six firms.

Justice Obiozor has therefore adjourned the case till December 14th for the re-arraignment of the two defendants.

Both defendants were first arraigned in 2007 alongside their companies: Rainbownet Nigeria Limited; Hillgate Nigeria Limited; Cosmo FM; Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

In 2015, all the companies pleaded guilty to the charges but the trial of Nnamani and Anyaogu continued to stall due to the former’s frequent travels abroad to treat a heart ailment.

Justice Obiozor who is the fourth judge to handle the matter has made it clear to the parties in the case that he would not tolerate any attempt to further delay the trial.

Court Orders Arrest Of Former Enugu Governor

A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani.

Presiding Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order of arrest following the failure of the former governor’s lawyer, to give any reasonable evidence as to why his client was absent in court.

Nnamani is currently charged with an alleged fraud of N4.5billion.

Nnamani’s lawyer had told the court that the former governor had undergone a heart surgery in the United States and this was responsible for his absence but the prosecution said the photographs brought by the lawyer as proof had been taken in 2014.

READ ALSO: Alleged N4.5bn Fraud: Ex-Enugu Governor To Be Re-arraigned Dec 4

The former governor was to be re-arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N4.5 billion an offense said to have been committed during his tenure as Governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007.

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State had earlier on December 30 adjourned the money laundering trial of the former Enugu State Governor to today, Monday, December 4.

This move to re-arraign the former Governor is coming 10 years after he was first arraigned alongside his aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms.

Nnamani had been arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar and re-arraigned before Justice Charles Archibong when Tijani Abubakar was elevated to the Court of Appeal. He was later re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Yinusa when Justice Archibong retired.

He was re-arraigned on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crimes to the tune of N4.5 billion.

The case was finally re-assigned to Justice Chuka Obiozor.

Nnamani To Forfeit Properties To Federal Government

nnamaniThe former Enugu State Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani is to forfeit his multibillion Naira properties to the Federal Government.

The four companies – Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital were convicted by a judge of the Lagos High Court, Mohammed Yinusa, after pleading guilty to a 10-count amended charge against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the ruling, Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Kelvin Uzozie, prayed the court to make an order of final forfeiture of the companies based on their plea.

Mr. Yinusa, on reviewing the facts before him, convicted the companies and made an order of final forfeiture of their assets to the Federal Government, citing provision of the EFCC Establishment Act on final forfeiture.

All the properties are located across five states in the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria.

Mbaka’s Condemnation of Jonathan Is His Opinion Not Christians’ – Bishop Benjamin

MbakaUnited Nations Peace Ambassador, Bishop Samson Benjamin, is bothered by the recent negative comments made by Enugu-based Reverend-Father Mbaka against the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan.

During a conversation on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Bishop Benjamin said that he was bothered because of the effect this would have on the entire society and the clergies.

Dissociating the Christian community from Mbaka’s verbal condemnation of President Jonathan’s capacity to lead the country, he said, “I don’t know him very much, we are not that close but that was his opinion and as a Nigerian you are entitled to your opinion. Its not the opinion of the entire catholic church or Christians.

“What bothers some of us is that a month ago, he was singing the praises of this same family and a month after, you’re singing another song.

“This bothers us as clergies. As clerics, all that is expected of us is to help tell our followers the right thing to do,” the Bishop said.

While admitting that clergies have become influential and are able to affect public decisions, he called for caution as this power of influence should be applied positively.

He recalled that Reverend Father Mbaka had made similar statements about former Enugu State Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, with his prediction that the Governor would not win elections failing to come to pass.

“Chimaroke did not only win the election, but also the person he anointed won the election. So, what we are supposed to do as clerics is to be very careful on our utterances.”Mbaka

On the possibility of Rev Mbaka’s statement being a product of revelation from God, Bishop Benjamin explained that Christendom has five manifold ministries namely “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor and the teacher” with all having “their paraphernalia of office”.

“It is good to know exactly what office a particular clergy in the Christian fold actually occupies. It is when you have this fundamental basics that you’ll be able to say ‘OK this man heard from God or he did not hear from God’.

“All of us do hear from God, that’s the truth but among these manifold ministries, the prophet is closer to God,” he said, quoting from the Bible to validate his claim.

“That is why some of us are very concerned. Our colleagues should be extremely careful when they come up to tell people that ‘God said to me’. God doesn’t lie.

“If you say God speaks to you that means it has to come to pass. If it does not come to pass it means it is not God who spoke to you.”

Speaking further, he said, “Whether we like it or not, the truth is (that) in every society or nation, there is a constitution and this constitution is the highest law in the land.

“We don’t forget the fact that as clerics we have followers who believe in the tenets of our faith and in our holy books. So clerics are supposed to be very careful about the kinds of statement they make especially when it concerns the entire society and politics, especially in Nigeria this year.”

Religion Will Determine 2015 Election

Bishop Benjamin noted that the reason politicians have continued to attend church programmes publicly is because of the numbers of potential voters available in such large gatherings.

He warned that the 2015 would be different from any other election held in the country as “religion is going to play about 60% role in what is going to happen.”

Although he said that this was not an ideal scenario, he explained that the “politicians have been able to drag religion into their politics and by this they’ve heated up the politics of the country and made people to be absolutely confused.”

He emphasised the need for caution, maintaining an earlier stance that clergies and all Nigerians must be careful.

He also emphasised the importance of security to the success of the 2015 elections, as politicians use the factors of intimidation, terror and violence to win at all cost.

According to the Bishop, religious organisations must also be responsible for reducing this violent tendencies as he tasked his fellow clergies to step in and educate their followers to remain law abiding irrespective of what anybody tells them.

EFCC Asks Court To Treat Nnamani Case Specially

Chimaroke NnamaniWorried by the incessant delay in the trial of former Enugu State Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sought the leave of a Federal High Court in Lagos to separate his trial from that of his co-accused persons.

The EFCC made the application through its counsel, Kevin Uzozie after the court once again granted the former governor leave to travel abroad for medical check up. This is the third time the former governor would be granted permission to travel for treatment.

The commission is prosecuting Nnamani and seven others on a 105 count-charge of allegedly laundering various sums of money to the tune of five billion Naira belonging to the state through secret accounts.

Nnamani and others are also being accused of conspiring to launder various statutory allocations of five Local Government Areas of Enugu State, namely, Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor.

The other accused persons are: Sunday Anyaogu, Rainbownet (Nig) Ltd, Hillgate (Nig) Ltd, Cosmos Fm, Capital City Automobile (Nig) Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

The accused persons were arraigned in 2007, but the case has not gone to trial because of various interlocutory applications they filed over the years.

On November 18, the court will hear arguments on the application seeking to separate the trial.

History Of Interlocutory Applications

On April 17, 2013, the trial judge, Justice Yunusa granted an application by the former governor for leave to travel overseas for medical attention.

On May 28, 2013, the judge also granted a further application seeking for extension of time to conclude his medical treatment abroad.

The court then adjourned till September 25, 2013.

On September 25, 2013, the former governor was absent in court, and the judge further adjourned the suit to December 12, 2013.

On December 12, 2013, the trial judge was said to be attending a conference, and the matter was further adjourned to March 5, 2014.

Again on March 5, the trial suffered another setback, as the Counsel to the former governor sought for another adjournment, arguing that the case was slated for mention and not trial.

The judge had accordingly, adjourned the suit to June 17, 2014.

At the last adjourned date on June 17, the trial of the accused was again stalled, due to an application for adjournment by counsel to the former governor.

He had argued that his client was medically unfit to go through the rigours of trial, on the ground that he had just undergone a open heart surgery.

He said the surgery had caused the accused person chronic chest pain, due to his body’s inability to tolerate the pacemaker installed in his heart.

This development again forced the judge to grant another adjournment in favour of the accused person to today, November 3.

Proper Medical Condition

At the resumed hearing of the matter on November 3, 2014, the counsel to the former governor, Ricky Tarfa, once again sought the leave of the court, for his client to be allowed to travel to the United States for medical check up.

According to the lawyer, the position of the law is that an accused person must be in proper medical condition to be able to stand trial. He stated that the condition of the accused person had remained unchanged till date, since he had been in the country, without any medical check abroad.

In his response, the prosecuting counsel, Kelvin Uzozie, pointed out to the court that the criminal matter had lingered on since 2007 without any progress.

Uzozie therefore, informed the court that he had filed an application for the trial of the first accused, to be separated from other accused, so that his health would not always stand as a clog in the criminal trial.

He submitted further that whenever the accused was certified fit to stand trial, he would then be prosecuted.

This application was strongly opposed by the defence counsel who told the court that he had filed a counter affidavit, on the grounds that the trial cannot be separated.

He added that trial could only commence where there are no further applications before the court.

After listening to arguments from both sides, Justice Yunusa granted permission to the former governor again to travel abroad for medical check up.

But the judge fixed November 18 to hear arguments from the two counsel on whether the trial should be separated.

Money Laundering Trial: Nnamani Seeks Adjournment on Health Grounds

Chimaroke-Nnamani 400x300The Former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to put his trial on hold, to enable him recover from an open heart surgery.

Mr Nnamani, who is standing trial for allegedly laundering about N5billion belonging to the state, told the court that he was unfit to go through the rigours of trial, because he had just undergone a Quadruple by-pass (open heart surgery), which had recently caused him chronic chest pains.

The former Governor was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside seven others, on a 105 count charge of Conspiracy, Forgery and Money laundering.

The other accused persons are: Sunday Anyaogu, Rainbownet (Nig) Ltd, Hillgate (Nig) Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile (Nig) Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the resumed hearing of the protracted case on Tuesday, Counsel to Mr Nnamani, Oluyele Delano, asked the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, for another adjournment, on the basis of the ill health of his client.

He argued that although the surgery was a relative success, his client has had to embark on a slow and tedious recovery process.

Mr Delano also informed the court that a recent medical analysis suggested that the accused’s chronic chest pain, might be as a result of his body’s non tolerance to the “pace maker” which had been installed in his heart.

The lawyer further submitted that it was important for his client to be in good health, so as to be able to vigorously defend the criminal allegations levelled against him by the EFCC. He insisted that a corpse cannot stand trial.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Kelvin Uzozie, has, however, asked the court to refuse the request for an adjournment. He argued that the only condition that could necessitate the adjournment was, if the accused person was not capable of understanding court proceedings because of his illness.

Mrs Uzozie urged Justice Yunusa to exercise his discretion judiciously in determining whether or not to grant the adjournment, as he reminded the court that the case had lingered since 2007.

In a short ruling, the judge held that ill health was an important issue in any criminal trial; especially where the organ affected was the heart.

The judge also noted that a physical assessment of the accused person showed that he was unfit to stand trial. He concluded that the law was not intended to cause more harm to an accused person.

Justice Yunusa has therefore adjourned the case to November 3 for trial, to afford the former governor ample time to fully recover from his surgery.

N4.5 Bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Former Enugu State Governor’s Trial Till June 17

nnamaniiAfter a long lull, the trial of the former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, for alleged money laundering charges involving about N4.5bn, has been adjourned till June 17, 2014.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Kelvin Uzozie was ready to commence trial as he had one of his witnesses in court today but the defence counsel, Mr. Abubakar Shamshudeen objected, insisting that the case had been adjourned for mention and not trial.

At the last sitting of the court, presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Yinusa was absent. The defence counsel told the court that both lawyers had then agreed that the case would come up for mention today. He requested for an adjournment on this basis.

Though the prosecuting counsel objected to the adjournment, insisting that criminal cases are never adjourned for mention, Justice Yinusa, adjourned the matter at the instance of the defence counsel.

Former Governor Nnamani is being prosecuted before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside seven others on a 105 count charge of money laundering.

The offences were allegedly committed while he was the governor of the state between 1999 and 2007. The former governor eventually went on to become a Senator between 2007-2011.

Part of the offence states that he allegedly drew part of the money from the funds meant for some local government areas of the state. The funds were said to have been kept in his account in the United States.

The other accused persons are: Sunday Anyaogu, Rainbownet (Nig) Ltd, Hillgate (Nig) Ltd, Cosmos Fm, Capital City Automobile (Nig) Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

EFCC Re-arraigns Chimaroke Nnamani For Embezzling N4.5 billion

For the third time in six years the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned the former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani before a Federal High Court in Lagos over money laundering charges.

Mr. Nnamani, who was first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar, was re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Yinusa on a 105-count charge of money laundering and economic crime to the tune of about N4.5 billion.

The case which highlights some of the challenges faced by the anti-graft agency in the prosecution of its cases was first re-assigned to Justice Charles Archibong following the transfer of Justice Abubakar (now of the Appeal Court) out of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court.

But the case was again re-assigned to the current judge (Justice Yinusa) after Justice Archibong (now retired) was also transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

Others docked alongside the ex-governor are his ex-aide, Sunday Anyaogu and six firms linked to them. The firms are: Rainbownet Nigeria Ltd, Hillgate Nigeria Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

After the charges were read to them, the accused persons pleaded not guilty, while their lawyer, Ricky Tarfa (SAN) applied that his clients should be allowed to continue to enjoy the previous bail already granted them by the former trial judge.

The request was not opposed by EFCC’s lawyer, Kelvin Uzozie, who instead asked for a trial date.

Justice Yinusa, in a short ruling, ordered that the accused persons should continue with the former bail. He then fixed the 28th of May for trial.

Stealing from excess crude

According to the charge, Mr. Nnamani was said to have conspired with other accused persons to launder various statutory allocations of some local government areas of Enugu State. The local governments are: Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor

For instance, in count nine, Mr. Nnamani allegedly stole N1.4 billion from the Excess Crude Oil Funds allocated to local governments in the state.

Besides, the former governor, through the help of one Chinero Nwigwe, who is now at large, fraudulently transferred millions of dollars of Enugu State funds to his personal accounts in the United States of America.

The offences were allegedly committed while Mr. Nnamani held sway as governor of the Coal City state between 1999 and 2007.

He later represented his Senatorial District at the Senate after serving as governor, but lost when he re-contested for the legislative seat in 2011.

Court clears former governor to travel abroad

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted leave to the former governor of Enugu state, Chimaroke Nnamani to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Senator Nnamani, who looked pale at the hearing of the application filed by his counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN) had asked the court for permission to travel overseas for what his doctor described as a long overdue medical treatment.

The accused, who is also a former senator  was last year  re-arraigned by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his former commissioners and some of his companies on a 124-count charge of alleged money laundering and economic crime to the tune of about N5 billion.

He has been facing charges for about 5years now, since his tenure as governor ended in 2007.

In an application dated March 28, 2012 and brought pursuant to Order 24, Rules 1,2,& 3 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedures Rules 2004 and Sections 6 subsection 6E, section36(5),& 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Sen Nnamani  prayed the court for an order to travel abroad on the grounds of ill health.

A medical report by one Dr Segun Dawudo, his physician was attached to his application.

Counsel to the EFCC, Richard Mogaji, had vehemently opposed the application on the grounds that it was not supported with sufficient material deposition to warrant the court to grant it.

According to the EFCC, the medical doctor in the exhibits before the court never disclosed the nature of the ailment nor did he make claims to be an expert on the ailment in his letter to the court.

In his ruling on the application, the trial judge, Justice Charles Archibong overruled the objection of the prosecution and granted the former governor leave to travel abroad & come back on the next adjourned date.

The judge subsequently adjourned till the 24th of July to allow the former governor complete his therapy.