Court Orders Forfeiture Of P&ID Assets To FG

A photo of lawyers at the Federal High Court in Abuja shortly before proceedings on September 19, 2019.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) to wind up operations in Nigeria and forfeit its properties to the Federal Government. 

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order following the arraignment of the companies on Thursday by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“An order is hereby made for the second convict to be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government,” Justice Ekwo said.

READ ALSO: P&ID, Another Plead Guilty To 11 Charges Of Economic Sabotage, Money Laundering

The judge gave the ruling after the representatives of the companies pleaded guilty to the 11 charges brought against them by the anti-graft agency.

Earlier, the prosecutor informed the court that it had brought 11 charges against the defendants.

The defendants, on their part, did not object to the charges to be read to them.

While reading the counts, the representatives of the companies pleaded guilty all the charges brought against them by the anti-graft agencies.

They pleaded guilty to intent to defraud by obtaining property from the Cross River State government, and a second count of obtaining land from the state government with the intent to defraud, as well as ‘count three’ for conspiring with certain individuals to commit a felony by dealing with petroleum product without the appropriate licence.

The defendants also pleaded guilty to ‘count four’ which was a similar charge to ‘count three’, as well as pleaded guilty to counts five, and count six which bordered on the charges of tax evasion.

They pleaded guilty to count seven, and count eight of concealing the origin of over N3 million operated by P&ID when they knew that the money formed part of proceeded of an unlawful act.

The companies pleaded guilty to count nine that between January and December 2009, they concealed the unlawful origin of over N2 million in a commercial bank when they reasonably ought to know that the proceeds formed part of their unlawful act of tax evasion.

They pleaded guilty to concealing the origin of over N1 million in a commercial bank operated by P&ID when they ought to reasonably know that it formed part of proceeds of tax evasion by the company.

The defendants also pleaded guilty to the last ‘count 11’ for failing to comply with the requirements of submitting a declaration of their activities to the Ministry of Trade and Investment.

 

Witness Gives Testimony

Mr Muhammad Kuchazi represented the first defendant while the second defendant was represented by Mr Adamu Usman.

After pleading guilty to the charges, the prosecution asked the court to take a review of the exhibits before it.

Justice Ekwo, thereafter, permitted the prosecution to go ahead to call its witnesses while Umar Babangida appeared first to give his testimony.

Babangida identified himself as a Chief Superintendent of Police and an investigator with the EFCC for the past 10 years.

He referred to the other witnesses who he said he met while investigating the abuse of office, economic sabotage, and money laundering after a petition was sent to the anti-graft agency.

The witness narrated that said the deal took place under two persons who are now late – Dr Rilwanu Luckman and Micheal Quinn – on behalf of P&ID and witnessed by Mr Kuchazi on behalf of the company.

He said there was an agreement for P&ID to build a processing plant in Cross River State after the company stated in the Memorandum of Understanding with the government that they had a piece of land in Cross River.

Babangida, however, stated that investigations indicated that there was intent by the company to acquire the land but it never fell through.

He added that an investigation with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) indicated that the first defendant was a director of the company with nine million shares.

The investigator said the EFCC discovered that the company paid tax and Vat of N3 million naira, instead of a little above N13 million naira VAT that should have been paid.

According to him, he also extended investigation to claims that the Special Declaration Unit of the company registered with the office but it was discovered that they were never registered.

Babangida told the court that a complementary card belonging to Mr Kuchazzi showed that he was the commercial director of P&ID British Virgin Islands.

The statements of the witness were admitted as evidence while the judge said the testimony was to review the facts of the case.

 

Court Admits Evidence

The witness also identified documents recovered during investigations but they were not admitted immediately as evidence as the judge rose to allow the prosecution to paginate them.

They include an agreement between the companies and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources dated 11/01/2009; MoU between the company and ministry dated July 2009, and a minute of attendance of ministerial meeting of accelerated gas development, among others.

The documents were admitted with no objection by the defence counsel.

Meanwhile, the representative of the second defendant, Usman is representing himself and did not also object to the admissibility of the documents.

He informed the court that he is a lawyer called to the Nigerian bar.

The prosecutor then asked the witness of the company if they had any land in Calabar and the witness said from his findings, they had no land there.

According to the witness, investigation showed that the company defaulted in the payment of tax and remittances and they also had no license to deal in petroleum resources in Nigeria.

He added that the second defendant did not comply and make a report to the Special Control Unit on money laundering.

 

Court Gives Verdict

In his ruling, Justice Ekwo noted the plea of guilty by the defendants and convicted them of the charges against them.

“I have reviewed the evidence tendered in this court. I have taken note of the plea of guilty and it is upon this premise that I find the first and second defendant guilty as charged.

“Both defend at are convicted in charge 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10,” he ruled, while only the second defendant was convicted of ‘count 11’.

Addressing the court before sentencing, counsel to the first defendant urged the presiding judge to take the cooperation of his client into consideration.

The representative of the second defendant also made a similar plea by showing a desire not to delay or waste the time of the court.

In its response, the prosecution commended them for their conduct but insisted that the law was the law and it must take its course.

It added that under Section 19 of the Money Laundering Act, where a corporate body is convicted irrespective of whether it is a local or foreign company, it should be folded and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

Justice Ekwo, on his part, asked why the prosecution did not charge the defendants under Section 54 of the Company and Allied Matters Act.

It responded that it was satisfied that the offshore company committed the offences of money laundering and advance fee fraud.

Delivering his judgement, Justice Ekwo said, “I have listened to the parties in this case. Being that the entities involved are corporate entities, the punishments to be meted to them are enshrined in the law.”

He consequently ordered that the companies be wound up and their assets be “forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

P&ID, Another Plead Guilty To 11 Charges Of Economic Sabotage, Money Laundering

Bauchi Assembly Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo

 

The Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) and P&ID Nigeria Limited (P&ID) have pleaded guilty to the 11 charges brought against them by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against the two on Thursday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The defendants pleaded guilty to the charges through their representatives when they were arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Closure Of P&ID Operations, Assets Forfeiture

They pleaded guilty to intent to defraud by obtaining property from the Cross River State government, and a second count of obtaining land from the state government with the intent to defraud, as well as ‘count three’ for conspiring with certain individuals to commit a felony by dealing with petroleum product without the appropriate licence.

The defendants also pleaded guilty to ‘count four’ which was a similar charge to ‘count three’, as well as pleaded guilty to counts five, and count six which bordered on the charges of tax evasion.

They pleaded guilty to count seven, and count eight of concealing the origin of over N3 million operated by P&ID when they knew that the money formed part of proceeded of an unlawful act.

The companies pleaded guilty to count nine that between January and December 2009, they concealed the unlawful origin of over N2 million in a commercial bank when they reasonably ought to know that the proceeds formed part of their unlawful act of tax evasion.

They pleaded guilty to concealing the origin of over N1 million in a commercial bank operated by P&ID when they ought to reasonably know that it formed part of proceeds of tax evasion by the company.

The defendants also pleaded guilty to the last ‘count 11’ for failing to comply with the requirements of submitting a declaration of their activities to the Ministry of Trade and Investment.

Court Tries Ex-Soldier Accused Of Killing 14 People After 47 Years

 

A former British soldier charged with murdering two civilians in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings faces an initial court hearing on Wednesday.

The emblematic case is being heard in Londonderry, the city where the killings took place, and is highly divisive in a province haunted by the legacy of conflict.

British troops opened fire on a civil rights demonstration in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry on January 30, 1972 killing 13 people.

A 14th victim later died of his wounds.

The day has become one of the most symbolic in the grim history of the Troubles — the sectarian unrest which gripped the British province of Northern Ireland.

In addition to two murder charges, the ex-paratrooper, identified only as “Soldier F”, faces charges of the attempted murder of four others.

But he will not be present during the first day of proceedings in Londonderry, where security is likely to be high.

“Soldier F” was one of 17 British veterans who had faced investigation, plus two alleged Irish Republican Army (IRA) paramilitaries.

But he was the only one charged by Northern Ireland’s public prosecutor in March following decades of investigation hampered

The announcement infuriated supporters of Britain’s military intervention in Northern Ireland, prompting marches in support of the soldier in Belfast and London.

 ‘Truth and justice’ 

British military and political communities remain divided over the matter.

Some believe prosecutions for historic crimes betray former troops who acted in good faith, equating them with terrorists.

Others feel the military should be held to the highest standard and any amnesty would be a tacit admission of guilt among those who served with integrity.

Families of those killed in Bloody Sunday — who have campaigned for prosecutions for nearly 50 years — broadly welcomed the trial but do not believe it alone will fully settle the matter.

“It’s still an ongoing campaign,” John Kelly — whose 17-year-old brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday — told AFP last month.

“What people want is truth and justice.”

The British Parachute Regiment opening fire on a civil rights march in the majority Catholic area of the Bogside in Derry helped galvanise support for the Provisional IRA early in the Troubles.

A photograph of a Catholic priest waving a bloodstained handkerchief as he tried to help 17-year-old victim Jackie Duddy to safety became a defining image of the incident.

A 12-year public inquiry into Bloody Sunday — the largest investigation in UK legal history — concluded in 2010 that British paratroopers lost control and none of the casualties posed a threat of causing death or serious injury.

The probe prompted then-prime minister David Cameron to issue a formal state apology for the killings, calling them “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

The Northern Ireland Veterans Association, which held a memorial event to mark the 50th anniversary of British military intervention earlier this year, said its members were “concerned” about such prosecutions.

“We need to learn to deal with our past,” said NIVA spokesman Ian Simpson.

“We need to move forward together and have an understanding of what it meant.”

AFP

You Lack Power To Take Over Edo Assembly, Court Tells NASS

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has ruled that the National Assembly lacks the power to take over the function of Edo State House of Assembly or any other House of Assembly in the country.

The Court also ruled that the National Assembly lacks the power to direct Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to issue fresh Proclamation to the Edo State House of Assembly, as such would amount to extending the tenure of members of the House of Assembly.

Deputy Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye and a member of the House, Hon. Henry Okhuarobo, had in their personal capacity, approached the Federal High Court to challenge the moves by National Assembly to take over the functions of the House of Assembly.

Joined in the suit were the Clerk of the National Assembly, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Inspector-General of Police, Director-General of th State Security Service and Edo State Governor.

Delivering his judgement yesterday, the Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Kolawole Omotosho, declared that it is only the Court of Law that can direct the National Assembly to take over or seal the Edo State House of Assembly.

Omotosho said: “There is nothing before the Court showing that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit. Some elected members have been inaugurated. The House has been carrying out its legislative duties.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to take over the Edo State House of Assembly. It amounts to taking over th functions of the Edo State House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is not an appendage of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to seal-up or direct anybody to seal-up up the Edo State House of Assembly. The Nigerian Constitution is a federal constitution and National Assembly cannot unilaterally decide that Edo State House of Assembly is in crisis and seal-up same.

“It is only a Court of law that has the power to make findings, particularly after listening to parties, to decide of the National Assembly can take over a House of Assembly.

“I hold that it is the Court that has the power to define and hold that Edo State House of Assembly cannot function and the National Assembly can take over.

“As far as the law is concerned, the Governor of Edo State has given a Proclamation. The National Assembly has no power to direct the Governor to issue a fresh Proclamation. The Governor is the Chief Executive of the state and cannot be controlled by the National Assembly.

“The Court will be extending the tenure of members of the Edo State House of Assembly of it holds that the Governor should issue fresh Proclamation. Nigeria is a federal state and state governments are autonomous. Our political actors must see it like that and treat them as such.”

Speaking to newsmen later, Counsel to the Obaseki, Santos Owootori, described the judgement as sound and victory for democracy.

Also speaking Counsel to claimants, Kingsley Idahosa, said they were glad that th judgement went in their favour.

Russian Sentenced to Five-Year Jail Term For Spying

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

 

An Estonian court has sentenced a Russian national to five years in jail for spying, a court document shows, the latest in a string of espionage cases involving Russia in the Baltic states.

The man is identified only as A. A., a Russian with a secondary education, according to a court document made public on Wednesday.

He was detained in May 2019 and subsequently charged with espionage, the document said.

A Tallinn regional court found him guilty on August 29th, sentencing him to five years behind bars and a fine of 1,300 euros ($1,430), it said.

Estonia’s ISS counterintelligence service declined to comment on the case, saying it is still following up on related leads.

Estonia has nabbed at least 15 people recruited by Russia’s GRU intelligence service and its FSB security authority in recent years, the Baltic News Agency reported.

Tallinn and Moscow have also swapped several convicted spies in recent years.

Fellow Baltic state Lithuania announced late last year that it had broken up a local spy ring working for Russia and subsequently jailed several Lithuanians found guilty of spying for Moscow.

The outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in 2014 exacerbated tensions between the Baltic states and Russia dating back to Soviet times.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania broke free from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991 and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004, drawing sharp criticism from Moscow.

In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and Kremlin-backed separatists launched a conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Court Orders AGF, EFCC To Stay Action On Yari’s Properties

Banditry: Yari Commends NAF For Air Strikes In Zamfara
Governor Abdulaziz Yari addressing State House correspondents after meeting with the President in Abuja on January 3, 2019.

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reaffirmed its order directing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not to take further steps in the move to seize the property of the immediate-past Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari.

Justice Nkeonye Maha in a short ruling on Thursday maintained that doing so would not be in the interest of justice now that the matter was pending before the court.

She also ordered that the case file be remitted to the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for re-assignment to a regular court on the ground that the tenure of the vacation court would end on September 13.

The case has now been adjourned to September 30 for the hearing of both the preliminary issues and the substantive suit.

Mr Yari, in his supporting affidavit, blamed his travails in the hands of the prosecution agencies on the activities of some purported powerful politicians who were on a vendetta mission against him over the 2019 elections in Zamfara.

Specifically, the former governor stated that the political events within the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which eventually led to the party losing out the leadership of the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the judgment of the Supreme Court, was the main reason for his prosecution.

Extra Judicial Killing: Court Adjourns Hearing On Trial Of Ex-Soldier

 

The Magistrate Court in Umuahia has adjourned the trial of a dismissed soldier, Lance Corporal Ajayi Johnson who allegedly killed a commercial rider, Chimaobi Nwaorgu.

In her ruling, the presiding judge, Linda Ugboaja, adjoined the matter till September 16 on the ground that it lacks the jurisdiction for murder case.

At the moment, the Nigeria Police says it is working assiduously to ensure that the case file gets to the Ministry of Justice and appropriate quarters for further action that would require that the case be transferred to the High Court for trial.

According to the spokesman for the Abia State Police Command, Geoffrey Ogbonna made this known to Channels Television on Wednesday.

“The case has been adjourned till September 16 to enable the police transfer the file to the appropriate quarters,” he said.

Meanwhile, the suspect has been remanded in prison custody in Afara area of the state.

Sowore Challenges Powers Of DSS To Arrest, Prosecute Him In Court

 

The convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore, has challenged the powers of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to arrest, investigate and prosecute him or any person under the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended.

In documents filed on his behalf by human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), Mr Femi Falana, Sowore contended that the DSS was not one of the law enforcement agencies recognised and listed in Section 40 of the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended.

“Although we are not unaware that the Department of State Service (DSS) is listed in Section 40 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, we submit that the DSS is not a juristic person having not been created by any Act of the National Assembly,” a suit filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja read.

READ ALSOI Spent My Money To Run Abia For Six Months, Orji Kalu Tells Court

Sowore stated that the fact that the SSS and DSS were used interchangeably in the country has not conferred legal status on the Service.

According to him, the motion ex parte for his arrest was filed by the SSS and not DSS and as far as the law is concerned, the SSS has no power to substitute itself for the DSS.

The #RevolutionNow protests convener further denied DSS reports linking him to any terrorist activity.

He said he has never been involved in any terrorist activity and there was no evidence whatsoever linking him to same.

In specific response to the mass protest tagged “Revolution Now’’ which took place in some cities across the country on August 5 in his absence, Sowore said there was no reported attempt to violently topple the government in Nigeria.

“The use of the word ‘revolution’ is not a criminal offence in Nigeria. Since a revolutionary change of government requires the complete overhaul of the legal and social order, the August 5 protest is not a revolution in the eye of the law,” the suit added.

Read the suit filed by Sowore below:

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA

IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/915/2019

BETWEEN

 

STATE SECURITY SERVICE                               )…….. APPLICANT/RESPONDENT

 

AND

 

OMOYELE SOWORE                               )………..        RESPONDENT /APPLICANT

 

RESPONDENT/APPLICANT’S REPLY ON POINT OF LAW

 

I, ABUBAKAR MARSHAL, male, adult, Nigerian citizen of 22 Mediterranean Street, Imani Estate, Off Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama District, Abuja do solemnly make oath and state as follows;

  1. That I am a Legal Practitioner in the Law Firm of Falana and Falana’s Chambers, Solicitors to the Respondent / Applicant herein.
  1. That by virtue of the above, I am familiar with the facts of this case
  1. That the Respondent / Applicant is currently yin the detention of the Applicant / Respondent and as such he is unable to depose to this affidavit.
  1. That I have the consent and authority of the Respondent / Applicant as well as that of my employer to depose to this affidavit.
  1. That on the 20th and 21st August, 2019 at the hour of 13:00 hours O’clock at the Department of State Security Services Headquarters, Aso Drive, Abuja the Respondent / Applicant informed me of the following facts which I verily believe as follows:
  1. That he has read the Counter Affidavit of Godwin Agbadua, Esq of the Legal Services Department, National Headquarters of the Applicant / Respondent.
  1. That Paragraphs 4 (ii- xxiii) of the said Counter Affidavit are untrue.
  • That in specific response to Paragraph 4 (IV) he has never been involved in any terrorist activity and there is no evidence whatsoever linking him to any terrorist activity.
  1. That in specific response to paragraph 4 (v-vi) the mass protest tagged “Revolution Now’’ took place in many cities across the Country on the 5th August, 2019 in his absence but there was no reported attempt to violently topple the government in Nigeria.
  1. That the armed operatives of the Applicant/Respondent who arrested him on August 2, 2019 searched his house, seized his telephones and detain him and subjected him to investigation without any court order.
  1. That on Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019 he met with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, a British national in New York City, United States of America and at the end of the said meeting, they both issued a joint press statement. A copy of the said statement is hereto attached and marked EXHIBIT A. The Applicant/ Respondent did not know about the meeting until it was reported in Sahara Reporters, an online medium published by him.
  • That contrary to the deposition in Paragraph (vii-xi) of the counter-affidavit, there was nowhere in EXHIBIT SSS1 where he expressed a desire to launch any violent attack or topple any government in Nigeria.
  • That in further response to paragraphs 4 (vii-xii) he did not plan a coup with anyone but he mobilized the Nigerian people including students and youths, workers, market women and other oppressed people to influence the federal government, the 36 state governments and 774 local governments to address the crises of corruption, maladministration, mismanagement of the economy and insecurity.
  1. On August 5, 2019 the Applicant / Respondent claimed that it had the Respondent/Applicant in custody and boasted that it had foiled the Revolution. In the evening of the same date, the federal government issued a statement wherein it thanked the Nigerian people for not joining the Revolution Now protests.
  1. The present administration had promised to create one million jobs per annum, build one million houses per annum, end epileptic supply of electricity, end corruption and impunity and restructure the country, end insecurity and manage the economy in the interest of the Nigerian people.  Apart from failing to address these problems, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has compounded them in a manner that majority of Nigerians are frustrated.
  1. That aside the myriads of challenges noted above, insecurity has increased to the extent that thousands of people have been killed by terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers, armed herders, armed soldiers and armed policemen without any hope in sight.
  • That contrary to the deposition in Paragraph 4 (xiv) of the counter-affidavit, the Respondent / Applicant has never visited Dubai or any of the UAE Cities in his life and he has never received any money from any individual, group or organization for the purpose of removing the President or freeing any person through any unlawful means or for any other unlawful purpose whatsoever.
  • That he has willingly availed the Applicant/Respondent of his local and foreign banks’ account details. In the course of the said investigative interviews of the 7th and 8th August, 2019, officials of the Applicant/Respondent told him that they could not believe that he does not have million of Naira in his accounts.
  • That due to the refusal of the Applicant/Respondent to obey the court orders for the release Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife from unlawful custody his supporters have been protesting against the refusal of the Federal Government to abide by the said orders.
  1. That like million other persons worldwide the Respondent / Applicant has called on the federal Government of Nigeria to obey the court order and release the said Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky and his wife from custody.
  • That contrary to the assertion in paragraph 4 (xvi) he has never held any meeting or consultations with members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
  • That on the contrary, the leading members of the ruling party met with the said leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria several times before this arrest in December 2015. The members of the ruling party or operatives of the Applicant / Respondent have also been meeting him regularly in custody.
  • That the Applicant/Respondent completed his interrogation based on the information which he made available as the investigators have no information whatsoever. Since the completion of the investigation on August 8, 2019, he has been idle.
  • That the Respondent / Applicant needs treatment on his ankle which was seriously strained during the midnight invasion of his abode on the said Friday 2nd August, 2019 by the armed agents of the Applicant/Respondent.
  1. That his pedigree as a pro-democracy activist, social crusader and front line opinion molder is unblemished and he is one of the activists who played vital role in restoring democracy in Nigeriia in May 1999.
  • That on August 4, 2019, he and other organizers of the peaceful protest released “the rules of engagement” where they said that, “We eschew all forms of violence. No protester should throw any object as little as stones or attack any security officials. We are aware of their intent to provoke the mass unduly by using undue tactics and sponsored agents, so as to give the protest a bad name. We encourage all Nigerians to remain calm as we are ready to fight these injustices to a logical conclusion”. Attached hereto and marked EXHIBIT H is a copy of the said news press release of the rules of engagement.
  • That contrary to the averments in paragraph 4(xvii-xxii) of the counter-affidavit, the protests actually held on the 5th August, 2019 and none of the persons who took part in the said protests engaged in any form of violence or attack.
  • The Respondent/Applicant further avers that the agents of the State unleashed violence and mayhem on peaceful protesters. Attached hereto and Marked EXHIBIT H1 and H2 are documents confirming the assertion.
  • That the persons who were arrested and charged for participating in the peaceful protest of 5th August, 2019 have since been released on bail.
  • That even President Muhammadu Buhari was once tear-gassed by the Applicant/Respondent and the Nigeria police force for protesting against electoral malfeasance. Attached herewith and marked EXHIBIT I. A copy of a newspaper Report on how the Applicant/Respondent and the police tear-gassed General Muhammadu Buhari and other political leaders in the country.
  • That President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the ruling party had led street protests in the past which the Applicant/Respondent claimed were planned to overthrow the federal government. Attached hereto and marked EXHIBIT J and J1 are documents confirming the assertion.
  • That President Muhammadu Buhari led protest marches after each consecutive loss of the presidential elections won by Messrs Olusegun Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in 2003, 2004 and 2014 but was neither arrested nor charged for planning to overthrow the government.
  • That he is not a coup plotter like the military officers who toppled elected governments in Nigeria in January 1966 and December 1983 but who were never arrested and prosecuted by the Federal government.
  • That based on the misleading advice of the Applicant/Respondent, any political leader who criticized the federal government has always been accused of engaging in sabotage, treason, treasonable felony or terrorism. Individuals and bodies that have been so accused include:
  1. The Nigeria Labour Congress under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomole , the current Chairman of the APC had been accused of sabotaging the economy for protesting against the incessant increase in the prices of fuel under the former Olusegun administration.
  1. In 2010, the Jonathan administration accused former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of treason for saying that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.
  1. In 2010, the Jonathan administration accused ex-military president Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other PDP leaders of sponsoring the  bomb blast which occurred at Abuja and killed 16 people and injured several others. The Applicant/Respondent even arrested and detained Chief Raymond Dokpesi. But the alleged sponsors of the bomb blast were not prosecuted due to lack of evidence to substantiate the monstrous allegation emanating from the Applicant/Respondent. In 20111, General Buhari was accused of sponsoring the political violence.
  1. In 2014, the Jonathan administration accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of sabotage for going on strike to demand for adequate funding for public universities.
  1. In May 2015, the federal government warned those who were planning a coup de tat to desist from the plot.Even though the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai denied the involvement of the Nigerian Army in the planned coup but the alleged coup plotters have not been arrested and prosecuted.
  1. In 2015, operatives of the Applicant / Respondent and armed soldiers invaded the Lagos State Secretariat of the APC and carted away computers. At the end of the invasion the Applicant / Respondent claimed that it had found evidence of the planned rigging of the 2015 general election but the leaders of the APC were not charged with any offence.
  1. In 2014, the Jonathan administration filed terrorism charge against the 12 leaders of the APC in Ekiti State for frustrating the alleged plan of the PDP-led government to rig the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State but the charge was withdrawn due to lack of evidence.
  1. In 2018, the federal government claimed that it had credible evidence of plans to sabotage Buhari’s administration but it has not charged the so called saboteurs with treason or treasonable felony.
  1. In 2019, the Buhari administration has accused Ahaji Atiku Abubakar of treason Alhaji Abubakar has reacted by dismissing the reckless allegation.
  1. The federal government has either blamed disgruntled Nigerian politicians or the former regime of the late President Mummar Gaddafi for killings by armed herders but the Buhari administration has not charged any of the disgruntled politicians with any offence. Even the 3,000 herders arrested and detained for murder and sundry offences have not been arraigned in any court in Nigeria.
  1. After the 2019 general election the federal government also alleged that defeated candidates were sponsoring bandits and herdsmen to prevent the inauguration of the President but the so called sponsors of violence have hot been arrested and prosecuted by the Applicant / Respondent.
  1. That I, ABUBAKAR MARSHAL do solemnly and sincerely declare that I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the content to be true and correct by virtue of the provision of the Oaths Act, Cap 01, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

 

                                                                                                                                  _______________

                                                                                                                                                      DEPONENT

SWORN TO AT THE REGISTRY OF THE

FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA, ABUJA,

THIS________DAY OF AUGUST, 2019

 

BEFORE ME

 

 

       COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS

 

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA

IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/915/2019

BETWEEN

 

STATE SECURITY SERVICE                               )…….. APPLICANT/RESPONDENT

 

AND

 

OMOYELE SOWORE                               )………..        RESPONDENT /APPLICANT

 

RESPONDENT/APPLICANT’S WRITTEN SUBMISSION ON POINT OF LAW

1.00    INTRODUCTION

 

1.01   In the address of the Applicant / Respondent 3 issues have been formulated. On behalf of the Respondent / Applicant we hereby react to them seriatim. 

  1. WHETHER having regards to the circumstances of this case vis-a-vis the facts deposed to in the counter affidavit as well as the relevant statutes, the Applicant / Respondent was right to approach this Honourable Court under the Terrorism Amendment Prevention Act, 2013.
  1. WHETHER the Applicant / Respondent was right to approach the Court through an ex parte application for the detention of the Respondent / Applicant.
  1. WHETHER or not the grant of the Order for the detention of the Applicant is an infringement upon the fundamental human rights.

2.00 ISSUE ONE: WHETHER having regards to the circumstances of this case vis-a-vis the facts deposed to in the counter affidavit as well as the relevant statutes, the Applicant / Respondent was right to approach this Honourable Court under the Terrorism Amendment Prevention Act, 2013.

2.01   It is the case of the Applicant / Respondent that there is reasonable suspicion that the Respondent / Applicant has committed treason, treasonable felony and terrorism. With respect, the offences of treason and treasonable felony are provided for under Sections 37 and 41 of the Criminal Code Act while terrorism is covered by the Terrorism (Prevention) Act. But in the affidavits and written addresses it has not been proved that the Respondent / Applicant committed any terrorism offence or contravened any provision of the Criminal Code Act.

2.02  It is our submission that the Applicant / Respondent lacks the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute the Respondent / Applicant or any person whatsoever under the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended. The Applicant / Respondent is not one of the law enforcement agencies recognized and listed in Section 40 of the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended. Although we are not unaware that the Department of State Service (DSS) is listed in Section 40 of the Terrorism Prevention Act we submit that the DSS is not a juristic person having not been created by any Act of the National Assembly.

2.03  The fact that the SSS and DSS are used interchangeably in Nigeria has not conferred a legal status on the DSS. In any case the motion ex parte herein was filed by the SSS and not DSS. As far as the law is concerned, the Applicant / Respondent has no power to substitute itself for the DSS. In Anya v. Iyayi (1993) 7 NCLR 290 at 314-315 the Supreme Court held:

I agree with Mr. Femi Falana learned counsel to the respondents that even if the Head of State acting also as the Visitor of the 4th Appellant, was acting under and by virtue of the University of Benin law he can only exercise powers under Section 14 of that law. He cannot also as submitted by Dr. Odje S.A.N. be acting as Head of State. The two powers and circumstances which are mutually exclusive are not interchangeable. There is no doubt that the powers of Head of State are distinct and separate from those of a Visitor. The powers were intended to be separate from those of a Visitor. The powers were intended to be separate and separable and to be exercised under separate circumstances and conditions. The powers  of the Visitor are expressly conferred by law.” 

2.04  Furthermore, the State Security Service established pursuant to Section 2 of the National Security Agencies Act has not been empowered to arrest, investigate and prosecute the Respondent / Applicant or any person whatsoever. Unlike the Nigeria Police Force, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission etc which are clothed with powers to arrest, detain and prosecute suspects the Applicant / Respondent has not been so empowered to arrest, investigate and prosecute any person. In Gbenga Komolafe v Attorney-General of the Federation NIPLR 258 it was held that the SSS Cell is unknown to law.

2.05  Assuming without conceding that the Applicant /Respondent has the power to  operate as a law enforcement agency under the law we submit that section 27 (3) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013 clearly provides that  the ex parte order by a Judge under subsection 1 thereof shall authorize an officer to arrest a suspect. In other words, the ex parte order is like a warrant of arrest. But in this case, the Applicant/Respondent arrested the Respondent/Applicant without a warrant of arrest, detain him for 6 days before obtaining an order ex parte on August 8, 2019.

 

2.06  In the reply to counter-affidavit the Respondent/applicant has said that the officers of the Applicant/Respondent did not obtain any order of this Honourable Court before searching his abode and before subjecting him to investigation and seizing his telephones. We submit that the said search and investigation are illegal as they violate Section 24 of the Act which provides as follows:

(1) An officer of any duly authorized enforcement law or security agency may apply exparte to the court for the issuance of a warrant for the purposes of a terrorist investigation.

(2) The court may issue a warrant authorizing an officer of any law enforcement and security agency to- (a) enter the premises or conveyance specified or described in the warrant for terrorist investigation (b) search the premises or conveyance and any person found therein; and (c) seize and detain any relevant material found therein.

(3) The court shall not issue a warrant under subsection (2) of this section unless the court is satisfied that  (a) the warrant is sought to prevent the commission of an offence under this Act or to prevent the interference in an investigation under this Act; (b) the warrant is used for the purpose of a terrorist investigation; (c) there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is a person or material on the premises or conveyance which may be relevant to the terrorist investigation; or (d) the person being sought is preparing or about to commit an offence under this Act.(Emphasis ours).

  • In a similar vein, Section (1) provides: “Where a person is arrested under reasonable suspicion of having committed any offence under this Act, the relevant law enforcement or security officer may direct that the person arrested be detained in custody for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours from his arrest, without having access to – (a) any person other than a medical officer of the relevant law enforcement or security agency or his counsel; or (b) any phone or communication gadget.”
  • There is no evidence that the statutory provisions were complied with by the Applicant/Respondent in this case. Clearly, the provision of Section 28 (1) above is in conformity with Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Aside the fact that the depositions contained in the various affidavits and Counter affidavits filed by the Applicant/Respondent cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to disclose a fact upon which “reasonable suspicion of having committed any offence under this Act” Instead of providing evidence to prove that that the Applicant/Respondent complied with the above provisions of the law the facts contained in paragraphs 4 (iii), (iv),(xiii), (xviii) of the Counter affidavit of the Applicant/Respondent are assumptions and conjectures which are not based on facts.
  • Graciously, the Applicant/Respondent had at paragraph 3.20- 3.21 referred to the case of OTERI V OKORODUDU AND ANOR. (1970) LPELR-2474 (SC) on the definition of reasonable suspicion. The term “reasonable suspicion” does not exist in vacuo. It has to be based on facts. No doubt, the Applicant/Respondent has used the term loosely without making available the facts on which this Honourable Court can come to a definite conclusion. By arresting the Respondent/Applicant on Friday 2nd August, 2019 and keeping him far beyond the 48 hours permissible, the Applicant/Respondent has breached Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and section 28 (1) of the Terrorism Amendment, Act, 2013 .
  • In defending the illegality the Applicant/Respondent has said that the Respondent/Applicant has committed a capital offence and that therefore section 35(4) is not applicable. But in the written addresses of the Applicant/Respondent the attention of this Honorable Court has not been drawn to any section of the Terrorism Act breached by the Respondent/Applicant. But since the allegation against the Respondent/Applicant is that he formed an intention to remove the President that is treasonable felony covered by section 41 of the Criminal Code Act. With respect, that is not a capital offence. The Applicant/Respondent wants this Honourable Court to believe that the Respondent/Applicant has engaged in terrorist activities by planning to demonstrate against the federal government. With respect, section 3 of the Terrorism Prevention Act has excluded protests and strikes from terrorist activities.
  • In JONES ABIRI V SSS SUIT NO FHC/ABJ/CS/698/2018, the Respondent had arrested the Applicant at his residence in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state for publishing news report the respondent found offensive. He was detained and kept incommunicado for a period of about two years. In trying to justify the unlawful incarceration the Respondent had argued that the Applicant was arrested on reasonable suspicion of having committed a terrorist offence contrary to the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013 and that releasing him would jeopardize national security. This Honourable Justice Dimgba discountenanced the submission and held that the arrest and incarceration of the Applicant without due process of law violates salient provisions of the 1999 Constitution and awarded damages of ten million naira.
  • In the press statement which was publicized by the Respondent/Applicant herein there is nowhere where the Respondent/Applicant “stated that they have both agreed on the strategy to achieve their goal of changing the government through violence” as the Applicant/Respondent has falsely misrepresented. For the avoidance of doubt, the Respondent/Applicant had spoken the following words; “, “We met to talk about things we’ve both been passionate about but on a different plane and we respect those boundaries but we’ve had very useful conversations today so that everybody that is aspiring for a fair and just society can come together and rise up now and bring an end to the sorrow and suffering and the domination and the oppression that has become almost synonymous with our generation and our genes in Nigeria. Those of you out there who think we have big differences and that we can’t talk, know that when people have revolutionary minds, these minds meet and bodies eventually meet.” 
  • At paragraph 3.0 of its written address in support of the Counter Affidavit, the Applicant/Respondent had continued the deliberate falsehood, outright lies and distortions upon which the ex parte order detaining the Respondent/Applicant was sought and obtained. The principle of law is well settled my lord that the contents of a document speaks for itself. To that extent the press statements issued by the Respondent/Applicant and his colleagues cannot be ignored by this Honourable Court. The Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of OGUNDELE V. AGIRI (2010) 9 WRN 1 AT 7 held thus;

Documents when tendered and admitted in court are like words uttered and do speak for themselves. They are more reliable and authentic than words from the vocal cord of man as they are neither transient nor subject to distortion and misinterpretation but remain permanent and indelible through the ages….”

Since the Applicant / Respondent has acted ultra vires and mala fide we urge this Honourable Court to set aside the order ex parte made on August 8, 2019 as same was anchored on the erroneous impression that the Applicant / Respondent is authorized by the Terrorism (Prevention) Act to arrest and investigate the Respondent / Applicant.

2.14    It is well established law that the courts will construe a legislation affecting the personal liberty of a citizen strictly and scrupulously. In Dr. Bello Ransome-Kuti v. Attorney-General of the Federation NPILR 154, the Applicant was arrested on May 19, 1992 at his house in Lagos. When the applicant challenged his detention the Respondent produced a detention order dated May 20, 1992. Notwithstanding the ouster of court’s jurisdiction, the Lagos State High Court entertained the matter on the ground that the detention of the Applicant was faulty. According to Owobiyi J. (as he then was)

“Having regard to what I have stated in the foregoing, I hold therefore that the arrest of the Applicant – Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti on the 19th day of May, 1992 at 4:15am at his house at 8, Imaria Street, Anthony Village, Lagos in the circumstances described in his affidavit in support of this application is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and a violation of his fundamental rights. Anything that derives its existence or emanates from the illegal or unlawful arrest or predicated thereon is in itself illegal and unlawful and therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever. So that the detention order issued on the 20th day of May, 1992 under the hand of the Vice President of Nigeria consequent upon the illegal arrest of the Applicant is unlawful and I so hold. There can be no question of illegal arrest and lawful detention. Both crumble together. I am supported in this view by the dictum of Lord Denning in the famous case of Macfoy v. U.A.C. Ltd. (1962) A.C. 152 where with clarity of thought the learned Lord of Appeal pronounced thus at page 209- 

‘If an act is void then it is in law a nullity. It is not    only bad, but incurably bad. There is no need for an      order of the court to set it aside. It is automatically   null and void without more ado. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”

2.15     The issue bordering on the detention of a citizen is fundamental since it involves the restriction of the citizens’ right to personal liberty.  The importance of this right makes it incumbent on security agencies to follow any laid down procedure for with respect to the execution of detention orders. Since the SSS that applied for the order ex parte has done so on behalf of the DSS we submit that the order  is liable to be quashed by this Honourable Court. In Kareem V. IGP (Nigeria Law of Heabes Corpus) [email protected] PARA A-H the Lagos State High Court (coram Odesanya J.) struck out the detention order signed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Chief T. A. Fagbola  on the ground that that only the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of staff of the Armed Forces can make an order pursuant to the Armed forces and Police (Special Powers) Decree No.24 of 1967; and it is not a power that can be delegated or exercised by their deputies.

2.16     In addressing issue two the Applicant / Respondent has submitted that “it is crystal clear that an application under the TPAA for a detention is by way of ex parte.” With profound respect, the Applicant / Respondent has not responded to our submissions that the ex parte order ought to have been sought and obtained before arresting and detaining the Respondent. Hence Section 27 of the TPPA provides that the detention Order shall be used to execute the arrest of a suspect. But we have shown that the Respondent was arrested on August 2, 2019 without a court order and that his house was searched without a search warrant.

2.17   We have also shown that there was no detention order to justify his detention from August 2-8, 2019. More importantly, we have show that the Applicant/Respondent is not one of the law enforcement agencies authorised by law ro enforce the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act and that the  DSS is not a legal entity. Since the order ex parte obtained from this Honourable Court is based on the illegal arrest, illegal search and illegal detention of the Respondent/Applicant we urge this Honourable Court to resolve issue one against the Applicant  / Respondent.

3.00   ISSUE TWO: WHETHER the Applicant / Respondent was right to approach the Court through an ex parte application for the detention of the Respondent / Applicant.

 

3.01   In their affidavits and written addresses the Applicant / Respondent has urged this Honourable Court to believe that the Respondent / Applicant committed terrorism on two grounds:

  1. That the Respondent / Applicant and IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu met and claimed that they “have got a strategy to change the Government”. He was by this act assisting and facilitating the activities of persons engaged in terrorism contrary to the Terrorism (Preventions) Act as amended.
  1. That the Respondent / Applicant’s statement that members of the proscribed Islamic movement in Nigeria would join him in bringing down the Government “shows that he is an accessory to act of terrorism under the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act”.

3.02   With respect, the contents of the video cassettes dumped on this Honourable Court by the Applicant /Respondent do not support the baseless and misleading conclusions of the Applicant / Respondent. Indeed, the Applicant / Respondent did not reproduce any aspect of the statements of the Respondent / Applicant wherein he announced his plans to topple any government. Apart from not specifying the particular government which the Respondent / Applicant had planned to topple the Applicant/ Respondent has not disclosed to this Honourable Court the names of the member or members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria who met with the Respondent  / Applicant.

  • In his Reply to the Counter Affidavit the Respondent /Applicant has reproduced the statement made by him with respect to the participation of the Shiites and not Islamic Movement in Nigeria. After all, after the proscription of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria the Federal government issued a statement to the effect that the Shiites have not been banned. To that extent, the statement that the Shiites would join the Revolution Now protests on August 5, 2019 cannot by any stretch of imagination be said to constitute an act of terrorism.
  • Contrary to the submissions in paragraphs 3.02- 3.04 of the Applicant/ Respondent’s written address there was no place in EXHIBIT SS1 where the Respondent/Applicant mentioned IMN as the Applicant/Respondent had wrong claimed In the exhibit the Respondent/Applicant had said:

“People are waiting for us on Monday to change this country forever, infact, I just got words from Shiites who they said called off their protest, that it was some kind of arrangement but since we are going out to also include the release of their leader in pur in our protest, they would also join us on Monday. We are hearing from students, we are hearing from market women, we are hearing from lawyers, doctors everybody. All of them are tired of the leadership we have in Nigeria. I was just looking at twitter, Buhari twitted that some traditional leaders are here in Abuja to discuss security, can traditional rulers secure anybody? They can’t even secure themselves. But this is part of the packaging of lies so that we become comfortable and complacent until they come and stab you in your house.” 

3.05  Sadly, the Applicant/Respondent has fraudulently distorted these factual statements that reflect the situation in the country today for very obvious reasons. At any rate, there is no law against organizing street protests. There is also no law or order banning Shiites from either protesting or practicing their religion and of exercising their constitutional rights. In fact, President Buhari has rightly advised the Shiites to protest peacefully and not violently. One is therefore amused at the proclivity of the Applicant/Respondent to criminalize protests in Nigeria. 

3.06  At any rate, the Respondent/Applicant had deposed that he has never held any meeting with representatives of the IMN with a view to advancing their intention/purpose. And without prejudice to the foregoing, the Respondent/Applicant had also shown that there are indeed two judgments of this Honourable Court mandating the Applicant/Respondent herein to release Sheikh Ibrahim Elzakzaky, and that compliance with same has been the sole demand of the Shiites and millions of prodemocracy advocates and lovers of rule of law including the Respondent/Applicant. Since the Applicant/Respondent has not shown that the Shiites have been banned the submissions of the Counsel to the Applicant/Respondent are at variance with section 16 (4)of the Terrorism Amendment Act, 2013 which clearly provides:

(4) It is a defence for a person charged under subsection (3) of this section to prove that the organization had not been declared a proscribed organization at the time the person charged became or began to profess to be a member of the organization and that he has not taken part in the activities of the organization at any time after it has been declared to be a proscribed organization.

  • Contrary to the misleading impression created by the Applicant/Respondent the protest in question was meant to be peaceful. Specifically the Respondent/Applicant and his comrades had issued a statement on 27 July, 2019 (EXHIBIT A) titled “rules of engagement” to the effect “We eschew all forms of violence. No protester should throw any object as little as stones or attack any security officials. We are aware of their intent to provoke the mass unduly by using undue tactics and sponsored agents, so as to give the protest a bad name. We encourage all Nigerians to remain calm as we are ready to fight these injustices to a logical conclusion.”
  • Since the conclusions drawn by the Applicant / Respondent from the exhibits attached to the motion ex parte are faulty, misleading and erroneous we urge this Honourable Court to discountenance them in toto. In the circumstance this Honourable Court ought to resolve issue two against the Applicant/Respondent.

 

 

4.00 ISSUE THREE: WHETHER or not the grant of the Order for the detention of the Applicant is an infringement upon the fundamental human rights.

 

 

4.01 The Applicant / Respondent has submitted that Section 35(4) of the Constitution provides that a person accused of a capital offence can be detained beyond 48 hours without being arraigned in a court. This is not in dispute. But in this case, the Applicant / Respondent has not shown the section of the TPPA that shown that the Applicant / Respondent is being investigated for a capital offence. Not sure of the nature of the offence the Applicant / Respondent has not referred this Honourable Court to the particular section of the TPPA. Therefore, the case of Dokubo Asari v. FRN and Nonuju v. IGP cited by the Applicant / Respondent are totally irrelevant to the facts of this case.

  • In the same vein the case of Lufadeju v. Johnson is not applicable to this case as the Police which arraigned the Respondents in the Chief Magistrate Court in Ikeja is a law enforcement agency recognized by the Police Act and the Lagos State Criminal Law. But in this case, the SSS has not been authorized the TPPA to arrest and prosecute the Respondent / Applicant. We therefore submit that the fundamental right of the Applicant / Respondent to personal liberty has been violated by the Applicant / Respondent. To that extent the order ex parte sought and obtained by the Applicant / Respondent ought to be set aside.
  • No doubt, the Applicant/Respondent has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalize the protests but revolution could be violent or non- violent, indeed revolution is a word with broad loose meaning in modern usage. Lord Denning MR it was that who said “English language is not an instrument of mathematical precision, if it were so; our literature would be poorer for it.” We wish to submit, without any fear of contradiction, that neither the Criminal Code Act nor the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act has classified the demand for a revolution in Nigeria as a treasonable offence or terrorist activity. In very clear terms, the Respondent/Applicant had stated the venue of the planned protest, as the national stadium Lagos, the demands of the protesters were also listed (Exhibit H refers please). In fact, on the said 5th August, 2019, the protesters converged at the venue designated for the said protest, carrying placards and chanting demands in line with the demands above referenced. How on earth can this exercise of salient constitutional and fundamental right amount to treason or treasonable felony and or terrorism?
  • In E.O. LAKANMI & ORS V. THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (WEST) & ORS (1970) LPELR-SC.58/69 the Supreme Court categorically stated that the acts of January 1966 did not amount to a revolution but a rebellion. Speaking for the apex court Ademola J.S.C. said:

  “We disagree with the Attorney-General that these events in January 1966 are tantamount to a revolution. As Chief Williams for the appellants puts it, quoting from the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, a revolution occurs when ”there is an overthrow of an established government by those who were previously subject to it” or ”where there is a forcible substitution of a new ruler or form of Government”. These, from the facts, did not take place in Nigeria in 1966 as the situation to which we have previously referred – a rebellion by some members of the Armed Forces – caused the Acting President, with the advice of the Council of Ministers in the absence of the Prime Minister, to hand over power to the Armed Forces. ..

The rebellion had been quelled; the insurgents did not seize power nor was it handed over to them. But the state of affairs in Pakistan to which The State v. Dosso (supra) refers is different. In Pakistan the President had issued a proclamation annulling the existing Constitution. There was a disruption of the Constitution and the national legal order by an abrupt political change not contemplated by the Constitution. Such a change is a revolution.” 

4.05   In  LAKANMI AND ANOR V. ATTORNEY-GENERAL, WESTERN STATE (1971:201) the court held that the republican constitution remained the supreme law of the federation and all laws were subjects to it except so far as by necessity, the constitution ceases to have effect. The Supreme Court upheld the submission of learned counsel for the appellants that the events of 4th January 1966 were not a revolution and consequently that the federal Military government was not a revolutionary government. If the violent  change of government of 1966  was not a revolution but a rebellion it is submitted that the planned protests of August 5, 2019 is neither  a revolution nor a rebellion but an exercise of the freedom of expression of the Respondent/ Applicant.

4.06    A week earlier, in an interview with the Arise News channel, the Respondent/Applicant had stated that “Nigeria needs revolution, not war”. This clearly distinguishes his call for substantial change from a call to violence. The Respondent//Applicant has used the word “revolution” contextually to mean “change for the better”. In 2006, when he founded Sahara Reporters. Respondent/Applicant stated that he would “revolutionise” the way news was being reported in Nigeria –– something he actually did.  In the second republic the Shehu Shagari regime launched the “Green Revolution” to revolutionize the entire agricultural system of Nigeria. As far as the Applicant/Respondent is concerned, the Green Revolution was not introduced to overthrow the federal government Nigeria.  Indeed, the Key Demands of the protesters were that; (1.) All governments must pay the N30, 000 minimum. (2) Abolition of tuition fees in universities and secondary schools. (3) Stop the killings in the country and sack all the incompetent service chiefs. (4) Stop all estimated billing by the power companies, provide pre-paid meters for free, and communities must have the right to audit the electricity bills they get, and review the licenses of all discos. (5) Free all political prisoners now, including El Zakzaky and his wife. (6) Employment for the youths.

  • Section 1 of the Act clearly defines what amount to Terrorism. From the said definitions of terrorism it is crystal clear that the Respondent/Applicant and other organizers of the peaceful rallies cannot be said to have planned to engage in acts of terrorism or formed an intention to remove President Muhammadu Buhari from office.In 2011, General Buhari had urged Nigerians to be prepared for a revolution that was similar to the Egyptian one. In R v Agwuna (1949) 12 WACA 456, the members of the Zikist Movement had called for revolution in Nigeria under the colonial regime. In the course of the public lecture held at the Glover Hall in Lagos the defendant had asked Nigerians to stop paying taxes and that he was not bound by colonial laws. The defendant was not charged with treason or treasonable felony but with sedition under the Criminal Ordinance. The defendant was convicted because he had incited colonial subjects against the government. But in the case of ARTHUR NWANKWO V THE STATE (1985) N.C.L.R. 228 the provisions of the Criminal Code which provided for sedition and seditious publications were declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal on the ground that they constituted a violation of the fundamental right of Nigerian to freedom of expression.
  • In the case of ANPP V IGP (2006) CHR 181, the plaintiff questioned the constitutional validity of police permit as a conditionality for rallies, marches and other public meetings in Nigeria. In her judgment delivered on June 25, 2005, the presiding judge, Chikere J. held that police permit was illegal and unconstitutional as it was inconsistent with sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. According to the learned trial judge, “I am therefore persuaded by the argument of Mr. Falana that by the combined effect of sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the right to assemble freely cannot be violated without violating the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and association.” Consequently, the court granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police “whether by himself, his agents, privies and servants from further preventing the Plaintiffs and other aggrieved citizens of Nigeria from organizing or convening peaceful assemblies, meetings and rallies against unpopular government measures and policies.”
  • The epochal decision of the federal high court was upheld by the Court of Appeal in the case of IGP V ANPP (2008) 12 WRN 65. The Presiding Justice, Adekeye JCA (as she then was) asked “…how long shall we continue with the present attitude of allowing our society to be haunted by the memories of oppression and gagging meted out to us by our colonial masters through the enforcement of issuance of permit to enforce our rights under the Constitution?” On the fear that a rally might lead to a breach of the peace, her ladyship said that “our Criminal Code has made adequate provisions for sanctions against the breakdown of law and order so that the requirement of permit as conditionality to holding meetings and rallies can no longer be justified in a democratic society.”
  • Having regards to the fact that Nigerians have the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression Adekeye JCA (as then was) had cautioned thus: 

“A rally or placard carrying demonstration has become a form of expression of views on current issues affecting government and the governed in a sovereign state. It is a trend recognized and deeply entrenched in the system of governance in civilized countries- it will not only be primitive but also retrogressive if Nigeria continues to require a pass to hold a rally. We must borrow a leaf from those who have trekked the rugged path of democracy and are now reaping the dividend of their experience.”

  • In the affidavit in support of the motion on notice, it was deposed that the Applicant/Respondent had since concluded investigation and that persons who participated in the said protest of 5th August have been charged for unlawful assembly. The averment that the Respondent/Applicant has since volunteered statement to the Applicant/Respondent since the 7th and 8th August, 2019 were also not denied. It was also submitted in the written address accompanying the said motion on notice that since the planned protest actually took place on the 5th August, 2019 and that the respondent/Applicant did not partake in the said protests while those who partook of the protests were charged with the offence of unlawful assembly, there is no reason to detain the Respondent/Applicant on the bogus and excessively outrageous allegation of committing a terrorist act. We respectfully call on this honourable court to look through the smokescreen and see the claims of the Applicant/Respondent for what it is as enjoined by the Apex Court in a plethora of authorities. AHMED V COP, BAUCHI STATE (2012) 9 NWLR 104,SULEMAN V. C.O.P. PLATEAU STATE(2008) 8 NWLR (Pt.1089)298, ANAEKWE V COP (1996) 3 NWLR (PT. 436) 320, ENWERE V COP (1993) 6 NWLR (PT. 299)333.
  • The Applicant/Respondent had dedicated so much time in addressing the court on the alarming danger the protest of 5th August 2019 portends. In its words, “my lord, in the instant case, the issues involved are just not terrorism but one that will shake the very foundation of the Nigerian state, one that is capable of eroding the right to life of millions of innocent Nigerians. This underscores the need to be more circumspect in addressing the issue.” (Please see generally issue three as formulated and argued by the Applicant/Respondent. ) This was an address filed on the 16th August, 2019, over a protest that already took place on the 5th August, 2019. It is therefore clear that the Applicant/Respondent has its own agenda in insisting that the Respondent/Applicant had planned to topple the government.
  • The Supreme Court, per Niki Tobi, JSC (as he then was), has had course to admonish trial courts in the case of SULEMAN V. C.O.P. PLATEAU STATE(2008) 8 NWLR (Pt.1089)298 as follows: 

‘‘The six letter word of murder comes with it so much fear as the law prescribes the death penalty. But like every other offence in our criminal law system, there is nothing magical in the word per se. but there is so much to fear in the offence because of death penalty. Therefore, where the prosecution merely parades to the court the word ‘murder’ without tying it with the offence, a court of law is bound to grant bail…The determination of the criteria is quite important because the liberty of the individual stands or falls by the decision of the court. In performing the judicial function, the court wields a very extensive discretionary power, which must be exercised judicially and judiciously. In exercising its discretion, the court is bound to examine the evidence before it without considering any extraneous matter. The court cannot exercise its whims indiscriminately. Similarly, there is no room for the court to express its sentiments. It is a hard matter of law, facts and circumstances which the court considers without being emotional, sensitive or sentimental.”

4.14     Quite embarrassingly, the Applicant/Respondent had maintained at paragraph 4 (xxvi) “that the facts deposed to in the affidavit in support of the Ex parte motion disclosed that the Respondent/Applicant was arrested on reasonable suspicion of having committed a terrorists’ offence.”  Is the Applicant/Respondent informing this hallow chamber of justice that it has indeed conducted its investigation and found out that the Respondent/Applicant is indeed a terrorist?  On what basis is it now coming to this Honourable Court seeking for an order to detain the Respondent/Applicant under Section 27 (1) of the Act? Indeed in INAKOJU V ADELEKE, supra, the Apex Court had counseled the ‘authorities’ thus; “The specific act of misconduct. I have outlined in this judgment cannot be and should not be taken as exhaustive but should be taken as some acts of misconduct This is not however a license for the Legislature to open a Pandora box of vendetta and rake up misconducts that are not gross. 

4.15     Indeed the Apex Court had held in a long line of authorities that a court of law can competently set aside its own order in certain circumstances. In Onagoruwa v. Inspector-General of Police (1991) 5 NWLR (PT 193) 593 the Lagos High Court presided over by Agoro J. (as he then was) refused to set aside the order of Olugbani J. But the Court of Appeal held that Agoro J was wrong not to have set aside the order. Niki Tobi JCA (as he then was) of blessed memory said:

…if a judge of the same High Court gives an order without jurisdiction, another judge of the same High Court should be given an opportunity to have a look at the order with a view to quashing it. That will keep the matter within the same ‘house’. One can even say on the lighter side that after all they are brothers and it will be much more tolerable on the part of the brothers who gave the null order to have it nullified by his brother than an appellate court for that matter. On a more serious breath, an order which is a nullity is something which the person affected by it is entitled to have set aside ex debito justitiae. See Adegoke Motors Ltd. V. Dr. Adesanya and Another (1989) 3 NWLR (PT 109) 250”.

4.17     In the instant case, the arrest of the Respondent / Applicant on August 2, 2019 and his detention from August 2 – 8, 2019 were carried out without any warrant of arrest and a detention order. It is therefore submitted that the ex parte order issued by this Honourable Court on August 8, cannot stand as it was based on an illegal arrest and illegal detention for 6 days. To that extent this Honourable Court ought to resolve issue three in favour of the Respondent/Applicant.

5.00    CONCLUSION

 

5.01     In the Reply to counter –affidavit the Respondent/Applicant has shown that  based on the misleading advice of the Applicant/Respondent, any political leader who criticized the federal government has always been accused of engaging in sabotage, treason, treasonable felony or terrorism. Even President Buhari had been accused of sponsoring the dreaded Boko Haram sect. Other political leaders have been accused of sabotage or treason under the Buhari administration. Even some leaders have been linked to terrorism while APC leaders in Ekiti State were charged with terrorism on the advice of the Applicant/Respondent.

5.02     In this case, the Respondent has proved beyond any shadow of doubt that President Buahri and other leaders of the APC have taken part in demonstrations and street protests without being prosecuted for treason. Indeed, the APC leaders who were charged with terrorism for taking part in a protest were discharged as the charge was withdawn by the Police, even before arraignment. We therefore urge this Honourable Court to take judicial notice of the fact that the Applicant/Respondent has a penchant for accusing opponents of the federal government of terrorism, sabotage, treasonable felony and treason. This is the sole reason why the Respondent/Applicant was braded a terrorist and a coup plotter by the Applicant/Respondent.

5.03     In view of all that have been said above, we respectfully urge your lordship to in the interest of justice grant the relief sought herein in the interest of justice.

DATED THIS ______ DAY OF AUGUST, 2019

                                                                                                                                      ___________________

                                                                                                                        FEMI FALANA, SAN

OLUMIDE FUSIKA, SAN

JITI OGUNYE, ESQ

  • FUNMI FALANA, (MRS)

MALACHY UGWUMMADU, ESQ

FEMI ABORISHADE, ESQ

SAMUEL OGALA, ESQ

STANLEY IMHANRUOR, ESQ

DEJI MORAKINYO, ESQ

INIBEHE EFFIONG, ESQ

AUGUSTINE ASUQUO, ESQ

FEMI ADEDEJI, ESQ

IBOROABASI NTONG, ESQ

ERNEST OLAWANLE, ESQ,

MARSHAL ABUBAKAR ESQ

ETINYENE EKOP, ESQ,

DAVID UBONG, ESQ

Falana & Falana’s Chambers

NO 22 MEDITERRANEAN STREET,

IMANI ESTATE,

MAITAMA

ABUJA

08136570994

FOR SERVICE ON:

 

The Applicant/ respondent’s Counsel

GOA AGBADUA, ESQ

Counsel for the Applicant.

SSS Headquarters,

Maitama Avenue,

Maitama,

Abuja.

08063494859

Court Backs Tax Evasion Case Against German FA Ex-bosses

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

 

Four former top football officials face trial in Germany after a Frankfurt court ruled Monday they must answer tax evasion charges linked to the 2006 World Cup vote-buying scandal.

The court ruled that ex-German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfsgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger, as well as former general secretary Horst R. Schmidt, are accused of tax evasion, or aiding and abetting it, over a 6.7 million euros ($7.5 million) slush fund.

The Swiss Urs Linsi, former general-secretary of world football’s governing body FIFA, will also stand trial alongside the Germans with all four under “sufficient suspicion” of tax fraud, according to a court statement.

A shadow has been thrown over Germany’s successful hosting of the 2006 World Cup, often refered to as “Das Sommermaerchen” or Summer Fairytale, which became a nightmare for organisers after accusations emerged in 2015 of a vote-buying fund to secure the finals.

On Monday, the court validated an indictment against the quartet, who deny the charges. This paves the way for a trial, overturning a regional court’s decision last October to reject a tax evasion case.

Three weeks ago, Swiss prosecutors also brought tax fraud charges over the sum — a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs, 6.7 million euros at the time — and the quartet face a separate trial in Switzerland.

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, 73, who chaired the 2006 World Cup organising committee, could also face charges in Switzerland, but his case has been separated because of his poor health.

Monday’s twist is the latest in a scandal which came to light in October 2015, when news magazine Der Spiegel broke the scandal.

The money was allegedly provided by the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, head of German sportswear giant Adidas, at the request of football legend Beckenbauer, who headed the committee promoting Germany’s candidacy.

According to Der Spiegel, the DFB had borrowed the cash to buy some of the votes for the German bid.

The funds were originally reported to have been transferred for a World Cup opening gala, an event which never took place.

After the scandal erupted, Frankfurt’s tax office found that the DFB did not appropriately account for the 6.7 million euros, and fined it 19.2 million euros.

The DFB has disputed the finding.

Kogi Election: Court Affirms APC’s Decision To Hold Indirect Primary

Bauchi Assembly Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to conduct indirect primary for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo approved the party’s choice on Monday and dismissed two suits filed by some APC members in Kogi, challenging the party’s choice of mode of primary to be adopted for selecting a candidate for November 16 poll.

The first suit prayed the court to determine the true leaders of the party from the two sets of members of the party in the state, claiming entitlement to its leadership.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest 25 Suspected Cultists In Lagos

In the second suit, some party members challenged the decision of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) to adopt an indirect primary in choosing its candidate for the election.

The plaintiffs were of the view that the choice of the mode to be adopted for primary election cannot be determined while the leadership in the state chapter of the party was under question, with the pendency of the suit.

In his ruling, Justice Taiwo dismissed the first suit for being statute barred on the grounds that it was not heard within the 180 days stipulated under Section285(10) of the Constitution.

He added that since the second suit was predicated on the first suit which had been dismissed, it was unnecessary determining issues raised in the suit on the grounds that they have become academic.‎

Alleged N7.6bn Fraud: Absence Of Kalu’s Lawyer Stalls Trial

A file photo of Senator Orji Kalu.

 

 

The trial of the former Governor of Abia State, and the lawmaker representing Abia North Senatorial District, Orji Uzor Kalu, has been stalled at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Senator Kalu’s trial could not continue on Monday as a result of the absence of his counsel who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Professor Awa Kalu.

Although the former governor was present in court, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, was informed that Professor Kalu was ill.

READ ALSO: Court Affirms APC’s Decision To Hold Indirect Primary In Kogi

The message came through the second defendants’ counsel, Mr Kelvin Nwofo (SAN), who told the court that he came into Lagos on Sunday with Professor Kalu who suddenly took ill.

Mr Nwofo then asked the court to grant an adjournment to enable the professor to recover.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Adebisi Adeniyi, had no objections to the request for an adjournment and Justice Idris subsequently adjourned proceedings until Tuesday, August 27.

The former governor is standing trial before Justice Idris on an alleged N7.6bn fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC arraigned him in November 2016 alongside the second defendant, his former Commissioner for Finance, Jones Udeogu, and his company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, which is the third defendant, on an amended 39-count of fraud-related offences.

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At the last sitting of the court on July 22, Senator Kalu finally opened his defence on the allegations against him.

He took the witness box in his own defence and was only able to testify for about seven minutes before the proceedings were adjourned until August 26.

In giving his testimony, the former governor was only able to state his name, address, occupation and the number of counts for which he was standing trial before the proceedings was truncated by Professor Kalu who asked for an adjournment to enable him adequately prepare for the trial.

At the last adjourned date, Justice Idris had also told the parties that by a fiat dated July 8, the President of the Court of Appeal had directed that “I conclude this part-heard matter.”

“Trial will now run from day-to-day until we finish,” he said.

Court Convicts, Fines Two Oil Thieves In Port Harcourt

Bauchi Assembly Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo

 

Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced two persons, Nura Hassan and Uchenna Iwuoha to a fine of N100,000 each.

The convicts were arraigned on Friday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Port Harcourt’s Zonal Office, on one- count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licenses.

A statement from the EFCC said the offence was contrary to Section 4 (1) of the Petroleum Act, Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2007 and punishable under Section 4 (6) of the same Act.

READ ALSO: Truck Crushes Soldier To Death In Ogun

The charge read, “That you Nura Hassan, being the driver on board a DAF Truck with registration number ZUR 219 YL on or about the 22nd day of November, 2017 at Abonema within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did deal in petroleum products to wit: loading illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), and thereby committed an offence contrary to  Section 4 (1) of the Petroleum Act, CAP P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2007, and punishable under Section 4(6) of the same Act”.

The convicts pleaded “guilty” to the charge when read to them.

In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsels, F.O. Amama and S. Chime prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

The defense counsels, O.N. Ofordile and P.C. Dike did not oppose the prosecution counsel’s prayers.

Justice Mohammed, thereafter, convicted and sentenced Hassan and Iwuoha to a fine of 100,000 each and ordered that that the content of the trucks they were arrested with should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The convicts were intercepted by troops of the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt in 2018 and 2019 at different locations.

They were said to be loading and distributing AGO using different trucks without appropriate licences.

The duo were later handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.