Insecurity: ‘Governors Are Not In Charge,’ Adegboruwa Backs Call For Dialogue

A file photo of Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has supported the call for a national dialogue to address the insecurity and other problems in the country.

Speaking on Friday when he featured as a guest on Sunrise Daily, he believes state governors are handicapped to address the challenges in their various domains.

“Look at what is going on in the land – insecurity. Farmers cannot go to work, you cannot even travel within your local entity, and the governors are not in charge because they don’t have control over security,” the senior lawyer said during an interview on the Channels Television breakfast programme.

He added, “The governors are not in charge because they cannot harness the resources in their states for the benefit of their people; the governors are not in charge because they go to Abuja every month to go and beg for money, in a federation.

“The governors are not in charge because even universities that they established and they call state universities, it is the Federal Government that will determine who can get admission into the university that is being funded by a state; the governors are not in charge because they cannot even generate electricity for their own people even though they have the resources.”

 

A Federation Called Nigeria

State governors in the South met on Tuesday in Asaba, the Delta State capital where they resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot and called for a national dialogue to address the agitations by various groups in the region.

They put aside their political differences to demand a restructuring of the country along with fiscal federalism, devolution of powers, and state police, among other demands.

 

Supporting the position of the governors, Adegboruwa stated that the action of the leaders was a reflection of the will and desire of Nigerians.

According to him, there seems to be so much confusion in the land and there is a need for a cohesive discussion that will provide a meaning of what the Nigerian Federation is all about.

The senior advocate noted that the All Progressives Congress hinted at the devolution of powers and amending the Constitution in its manifesto while seeking to take over power at the centre in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

He explained that it was important to ensure sub-nationals and the people have a say in how they were governed and in how their resources were being utilised.

“That has not happened since 2015 up till now,” Adegboruwa said, adding, “It is important that at the stage we are now, we should not be pretending that there is a federation called Nigeria; we should determine the terms of that federation.”

“We should dismantle the constitution and get us a new document that will define what indeed should be the terms of our togetherness, I think that’s what the governors mean by there is a need for a national conference,” he affirmed.

JUSUN Strike: Adegboruwa Faults Relaxation Of Rules In Lagos

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, has faulted the decision of the Lagos State Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to relax its strike rules to allow partial work.

Adegboruwa in a statement sent to Channels Television said the situation is ‘totally unacceptable.’

“It is either JUSUN is on strike or it is not,” the SAN said.

He lamented that the Federal Government is in compliance with financial autonomy even more than Lagos State, yet Federal workers are on solidarity strike.

READ ALSO: JUSUN Relaxes Strike Rules In Lagos, To Allow Partial Work

“I ask JUSUN, who is collecting revenue for the courts in Lagos State, is it not Alpha Beta?

“Who buys vehicles for judges and staff, is it not the executive? Why do we deceive ourselves?” he added.

Adegoruwa added that “I am personally concerned that the Lagos State Government is doing so much to abort the strike action, in the same fashion that it succeeded in dividing the NBA into executive sessions in State House Marina, instead of mass action.”

Courts Across The Country Have Been Locked For A Week. Here’s Why.

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has explained why courts across the country are currently shut down.

In a piece titled ‘Why the Courts are Locked’ received by our correspondent on Tuesday, Mr. Adegboruwa noted that the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on an industrial strike on April 6 over the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

He said the Federal Government has largely complied with constitutional directives to grant financial autonomy to courts and the main issue is with state governments.

 

Read Mr. Adegboruwa’s full piece:

WHY THE COURTS ARE LOCKED

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

The past one week has been very challenging for judges, lawyers and litigants alike, as the court system became paralyzed all over the nation, due to the ongoing industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, over its demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary. It’s been a very delicate rope for lawyers to navigate through, being a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. If lawyers support JUSUN for the strike to continue, they lose revenue and slow down the progress of their cases and if they oppose the strike, then their ‘sufferings’ will continue and the executive arm of government will keep trampling upon the independence of the judiciary. Whichever option they choose, the courts are locked for now, until further notice. So, why are the courts locked?

Though JUSUN had given notice of its proposed strike action since March 13, 2021, nothing was done by the government to address the notice, leading to the closure of the courts from Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The JUSUN Task Force was all over the courts to enforce the strike by closing all the entrance gates of the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, the High Court and indeed the Magistrate’s Courts, in Lagos State. Reports monitored from other parts of the country indicate successful implementation of the strike action by other State branches of JUSUN. What really is the grouse of JUSUN? Financial autonomy for the judiciary, total independence for the third arm of government and commitment by the executive arm to obey the tenets of the Constitution as it concerns the judiciary. This is not rocket science, is it?

Expectedly, there are divided views on the JUSUN strike. While some lawyers feel it is counter-productive, to punish litigants and lawyers for the sins of the executive arm, some others have expressed the view that strike action being a recognized tool in industrial relations, JUSUN is perfectly in order to deploy it as a veritable tool to get the attention of all concerned. It is noteworthy that virtually all segments of Nigeria are or have been on strike; from doctors to electricity workers, university and polytechnic teachers, the non-academic staff, aides of legislators and even security men. The general view in this regard is that strike is the only language that can arrest the attention of those in power, even though this is very unfortunate. As it has played out in the JUSUN and other strike actions, government officials, through their utterances and actions, all seem to confirm the potency of strike actions as the only means of bringing government to the negotiation table. What really is the case for financial autonomy for the judiciary?

Section 80 (1) of the Constitution established the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Federation, from which funds can only be withdrawn either to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by the Constitution, or through appropriation. Under and by virtue of section 81 (3) of the self-same Constitution, the amount standing to the credit of INEC, National Assembly and the Judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund shall be paid directly to the National Judicial Council for disbursement to the heads of Courts established for the Federation and the States. Section 84 (2) specifically states that remuneration, salaries and allowances payable to judicial officers shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. INEC and the National Assembly have pursuant to these foregoing provisions, freed themselves from the stranglehold of the executive, through direct control of their budget estimates, leaving the judiciary behind and under executive captivity, as it were. The struggle has then been to bring the judiciary at par with the other arms of government, resulting in several court actions and judgments, all of which have not been obeyed by the executive arm. This is what has led to the current strike action by JUSUN.

I verily believe that the JUSUN strike action is for the benefit of lawyers, judges, litigants and indeed the legal profession at large, as a way of addressing the real issues, once and for all. However, the other concern of all stakeholders is the dimension and timing of the strike action. With COVID 19 ravaging the effectiveness of justice administration, coupled with the wanton looting of and arson upon the Courts in some parts of the country during the EndSARS protests, a strike action in the midst of Easter holiday, is seen as an overkill, especially for the masses, whose hope is the court, as the last bus-stop for redress. The ready answer to this is that nothing good comes easy, if we compare the pains of childbirth and the joy of delivery, then the appeal would be for all stakeholders to endure the pains in order to enjoy the gains. The other argument is whether JUSUN should compartmentalize the strike between the federal and state judiciaries, since the federal government has substantially complied with the main constitutional requirements in respect of financial autonomy for the federal courts. This argument resonates with me, for the reasons stated hereunder.

Like a lone ranger on a mission, the President started a seemingly silent ‘revolution’ to grant autonomy to the legislature and judiciary of the States. It is a commendable development by the Muhammadu Buhari government, coming in the midst of its many challenges. It started with the 4th Alteration to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was initiated by the Saraki-led National Assembly. As a way of overcoming this monumental constitutional challenge, a Bill was passed by the National Assembly, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and the houses of assembly of the States, in 2017. In June 2018, the President assented to the said Bill and it became part of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Even after that, the state executives would not budge. The President then decided to set up a 22-man Committee known as The Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary, with the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation as the Chairman. The mandate of the Committee was to ensure the full implementation of the 4th Alteration to the Constitution and thus free these important sectors of our democratic experiment, from the stranglehold of the executive arm. As a follow up to this, the President signed an executive order, to give effect to the 4th Alteration. Many hold the view that it is ultra vires the President to seek to tinker with the revenue of the States or dictate how they are to be disbursed. In view of the clear provisions of sections 80-84 of the Constitution, I humbly beg to disagree with this view. Even though Executive Order 10 may be superfluous to the extent that the 4th Alteration is already in place, the President is nonetheless empowered to enforce the Constitution as directed under section 121 (3) thereof.

The judiciary is empowered by the Constitution to entertain and determine disputes between persons and persons, between persons and government and between governments and governments. The conflict margin is more on the executive-judiciary angle because of the obvious and excessive impunity of the executive arm, especially the law enforcement agencies. The general thinking of most governors is to cage the courts and starve the judiciary of funds, as a means of rendering it ineffective, so that lawlessness can thrive unchallenged or where challenged, unchecked. Most governors are therefore not comfortable with a viable and independent judiciary, which they dread as a veritable tool in the hands of the people, to challenge and overturn all manner of excesses. Through the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the various States, the executive governors have perfected the style of holding the judiciary captive, starving it of needed funds and infrastructure. So, in most cases, the judiciary is forced to go begging cap in hand, for funding. And assuredly as we all know it, he who pays the piper calls the tune. This was the very ugly scenario before the ‘revolution’ of the 4th Alteration to the Constitution, seeking to free the legislature and the judiciary, from the very firm grip of the executive.

By the bold and innovative provisions of the Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures and State Judiciaries (Fourth Alteration, No.4) Act of 2018, the road was cleared for the funding of the Houses of Assembly and Judiciary of the States, directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the States. The Act then amended the existing section 121 (3) of the Constitution by stating that “any amount standing to the credit of the House of Assembly of the State and the Judiciary, in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the said bodies respectively; in the case of the judiciary, such amount shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.” In order to actualize the letters of the 4th Alteration, the President thereafter issued Executive Order 10, authorizing the Accountant General of the Federation to make direct transfers from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, to the bank account of the judiciary of the States. Some States like Bayelsa and Delta have since passed their own municipal legislations, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary.

The executive order signed by the President is critical because it goes to the very root of the many problems associated with justice administration and the seeming docility and ineffectiveness of state legislatures. No matter the quantum of the amount of money released, the judiciary should have the power to determine its budget and spending, to prioritize its commitment level, all targeted at delivering justice to the people. The appeal then is to the Governors of the States, to work together with JUSUN, NBA and the federal government to empower the judiciary financially, once and for all. This should be the focus of the various meetings being convened to resolve this imbroglio.

It is my belief however that judicial independence cannot be measured by funding alone, but also in the willingness to obey and abide by all decisions and orders of the courts. The integrity of the judiciary is better achieved through willful obedience to the orders and directives of the courts. In this regard, so long as judges are living under some mortal trepidation of persecution on account of their decisions, as long as we still require persuasion to get the executive to obey court orders, then the judiciary cannot be said to be independent, no matter the amount of billions of naira thrown at the courts. My charge to the President is to extend the executive order to include compulsory obedience to all lawful orders issued by the courts and to prohibit any form of harassment or intimidation of judicial officers, however subtly it may come. When this is achieved, then we can truly say that the judiciary is autonomous and independent.

Adegboruwa Asks Lagos Police Boss To Order Release Of Detained American Lady

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A legal practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) has asked the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, to order the immediate release of a detained American lady, Kari Ann R’ouke.

She was said to have been arrested on February 9 and detained indefinitely over the death of her partner.

R’ouke, an American nurse approached the Federal High Court, Lagos, over her ‘unlawful and indefinite detention by the Nigerian Police Force.

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the legal practitioner raised the alarm concerning the worsening health of an American national in police custody.

Adegboruwa said expectations were high that the US citizen would be released from custody on Friday, having fulfilled all her bail conditions and the acceptance of her surety.

“Kari Ann has been in police custody since March 9, 2021, at SCID, Panti, Yaba, where she has lost about 23 pounds and suffered bouts of malaria and dysentery. She has a delicate health condition of severe anaemia, for which she is due for comprehensive medical treatment in America,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: Alleged Harassment: Court Stops EFCC From Arresting Ozekhome Over Magu Criticism

“On March 19, 2021, responsible sureties visited the SCID in Yaba, to sign all documents for the expected release of Kari Ann, with her lawyers, who all spent hours at the police department till late in the night, when they were later informed to go. Upon the execution and perfection of the bail papers, Kari Ann was told to pack her belongings which she did, only to be told later on to go back into custody.

“It is on this basis that the eminent lawyer has appealed to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, to use his good offices to direct the immediate release of Kari Ann, so that she can attend to her health urgently.

“Autopsy report into the death has consistently shown that he died of cardiac trauma and heart related conditions and that Kari Ann is not in any way connected with the death or suspected of any foul play in any manner whatsoever.”

The senior lawyer expressed concern that the police authorities were keeping Kari Ann in perpetual custody for well over one month without any charge before any court of law.

He noted this period of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is not safe for any one of Kari Ann’s age with her underlying condition to be kept in police custody for an indefinite period of time.

Adegboruw also urged the police to respect the rule of law and the liberty and freedom of Kari Ann, as she is presumed innocent under the law.

Lekki Protest: Adegboruwa Considers Quitting Lagos Judicial Panel

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, on Saturday said he was considering revoking his membership of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry after protesters were arrested at the Lekki toll gate.

The protesters were railing against the decision of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry to reopen the toll gate.

Adegboruwa, who had opposed the reopening of the toll gate, said the clampdown was “totally unacceptable”.

In a statement titled ‘The Arrest, Detention and Dehumanization of Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate Are Unacceptable’, Adegboruwa said he was consulting with his constituency to finalise his decision.

“I cannot in good conscience continue to sit at any Panel of Inquiry to heal wounds and end police brutality, when fresh assaults are being perpetrated with impunity,” he said. “Consequently, I am presently consulting with my constituency within the civil society, as to my continued participation in the EndSARS Judicial Panel.”

The toll gate was symbolic of last October’s #EndSARS protests.

On October 20, military officials opened fire at peaceful protesters gathered at the toll.

Although the Nigerian government and military have denied any wrongdoing, critics say it is premature to reopen the toll gate until all investigations are concluded.

Adegboruwa also called for the immediate release of protesters arrested at the Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday

“My heart is very heavy,” he said. “I’m saddened and devastated. My soul is sorely troubled at this time.

“For decades before the advent of this administration, Nigerians have risked their lives, liberties, their times and their energies, their resources, to win back this country on the side of democracy and good government, from military dictatorship. Some have paid the supreme price with their lives.

“I have been monitoring events at the Lekki Toll Gate since morning, and I am totally overwhelmed with the images, videos and sundry evidence of police brutality of armless civilians, who ventured to protest at the Toll Gate. In one particular video, I saw citizens of Nigeria being dehumanized, striped half naked and cramped together in a rickety bus. This is totally unacceptable.

“While we are yet to come to terms with the events of October 20, 2020, it becomes worrisome that the security agencies have not learnt any positive lesson from those occurrences. I commend the protesters for their peaceful conduct.

“I hereby demand the immediate release of all those arrested in connection with the peaceful protest at the Lekki Toll Gate today. On no account should anything happen to any of them while in the custody of the police.

“I appeal for calm on all sides, in order not to escalate the worsening security situation across the land. I cannot fail to point out the fact that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is a product of protest and civil disobedience. Let history vindicate the just.”

COVID-19: Governors Should Make Sacrifices, Cut Security Votes – Adegboruwa

A legal practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

 

A legal practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called on the governors of the 36 states to make sacrifices.

Adegboruwa made this call during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

While calling on the governors to cut the security votes allocated to their respective states, he believes that doing so will help the Federal Government curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“My suggestion, therefore, is that the President should consult with the governors for them to make a sacrifice to cut off their security votes,” he said.

Reacting to the advice of President Muhammadu Buhari for all Nigerians to wear their face masks in view of the deadly virus, the learned lawyer described it as commendable.

He, however, lamented that the prices of the face masks have increased in the country, wondering how the government expects the masses to afford them.

“As you can see the President has advised all of us to embrace the use of facemasks which is really ideal and commendable. But where do we get them? The prices have gone up.

“The states will have the discretion to modify the regulations of President Muhammadu Buhari. But the point I am emphasising is the need for consultations especially with the governors of the states before a major broadcast like that will come up,” he said.

Akpata, Adegboruwa, 36 Others Appointed As SANS [FULL LIST]

Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata, and Human Right Activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa have made the list of newly appointed Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANS).

The 38 lawyers were elevated by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee during its 138th session held during the new plenary session held on July 4.

Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court Hadizatu Mustapha made the announcement on Friday.

Mustapha said, out of the 117 lawyers that applied for the rank this year, 80 were shortlisted, out of which the final 38 emerged.

She said the 38 new SANs include two females, three from the academics and 35 advocates.

Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour who is the wife of Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court is one of the new female SANs.

The new Senior Advocates will be conferred with the honours at the resumption of the next legal year.

 

See full list of the new Senior Advocates below…

 

 

  • Adedoyin Oyinkan Rhodes-Vivour

  • Abdullahi Haruna

  • Manga Mohammed Nurudeen

  • Adedayo Toba Apata

  • John Onuegbulam Asoluka

  • Adedokun Matthew Makinde

  • Daniel Chwukwudi Enwelum

  • Emmanuel Adeyeye Oyebanji

  • Tuduru Uchendu Ede

  • Abdul Olajide Ajana

  • Ama Vemaark Etuwewe

  • Oladipo Adekorede Olasope

  • Leslie Arthur Olutayo Nylander

  • Olusegun Oyediran Fowowe

  • Andrew Essien Hutton

  • Olukayode Abayomi Enitan

  • Paul Harris Adkole Ogbole

  • Olaniyi Maruph Olopade

  • Samuel Ngozi Agweh

  • Olusegun Omoniyi Jolaawo

  • Professor Alphonsus Okoh Alubo

  • Ayo Asala

  • Abiodun Adediran Olatunji

  • Olumide Andrew Aju

  • Chimezie Victor Chikwem Ihekweazu

  • Professor Mamman Lawan

  • Professor Uchefula Ugonna Chuwumaeze

  • Usman Ogwu Sule

  • Safiya Umar Babamasi

  • Echezona Chukwudi Etiaba

  • Godwin Osemeahon Omoaka

  • Emeka Onyemaechi Ozoani

  • Alexander Chukwudi Ejesieme

  • Jephthah Chikodi Njikonye

  • Aikhunigbe Anthony Malik

  • Alhassan Akeje Umar

  • Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi

 

EFCC Arraigns Adegboruwa Over Illegal Property Dealing

Ebun-Olu-AdegboruwaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned a prominent Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, before a Federal High Court in Lagos for illegally dealing in a landed property.

The property is said to be under an interim forfeiture order by Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.

Mr Adegboruwa pleaded not guilty to the one count charge and his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), asked the court to grant him bail on self recognizance.

The lawyer assured presiding justice, Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, that his client would neither jump bail nor interfere with the prosecution’s witnesses.

In proof of the application, Mr Etiaba also told the court that Mr Adegboruwa is a parish pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church, Lekki branch who also fights for the downtrodden.

In his ruling on the application, Justice Oguntoyinbo admitted that he was reluctant to grant Mr Adegboruwa bail on self-recognizance.

Instead, the judge granted him bail in the sum of N10m with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said the sureties must have landed properties in Lagos with bank accounts, office and residential addresses which must be verified by the court’s registrar.

Before the bail conditions are perfected, Justice Oguntoyinbo ordered that Mr Adegboruwa be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

She then adjourned till the 13th of June for commencement of trial.

Adegboruwa was arraigned on a one count charge alongside one Jonathan Udeagbala.

In the charge marked, FHC/L/181c/2016, presented before the court by its prosecutor, Idris Abdullahi, the EFCC claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala dealt in a property “lying, being and situate at House 105, Nicon Estate, Lekki, Lagos,” without the authorisation of the EFCC.

According to the anti-graft agency, the said property was a subject of litigation before Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.

The EFCC claimed that on August 13, 2013, Adegboruwa and Udeagbala dealt with the property, in defiance of the order.

The defendants were accused of leasing the property to one Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited in the sum of N61.6 million, which the EFCC claimed was credited into Adegboruwa’s account with Zenith Bank.

The prosecutor claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala committed an offence punishable under Section 32(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.

EFCC Arrests, Charges Lagos Lawyer, Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa

Ebun Olu-AdegboruwaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has charged a Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, with obtaining money under false pretence to the tune of 61.631 million Naira.

Court records show that the lawyer is to be arraigned on a one-count charge before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Thursday May 12.

In the charge sheet, the EFCC said Olu-Adegboruwa and one Jonathan Udeagbala in August 2013 allegedly conspired to lease a property situated at House 105, Nicon Town Estate, Lekki, Lagos to a company named Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited for that amount.

The property is under an interim forfeiture order by Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.

The money was credited to Mr Olu-Adegboruwa’s Zenith Bank account and the EFCC said it was an offense punishable under Section 32(1) of the EFCC Act 2004.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who spoke to some officials of the EFCC on Tuesday evening, reported that Mr Olu-Adegboruwa was in the custody of the Commission.

Court To Hear Badagry Residents’ Case Against Demolition

Demolished-buildingThe High Court of Lagos State, sitting in Badagry, will on May 18 hear the case filed by Badagry residents, seeking court’s intervention for restoration of their land.

They claim the land was forcefully taken over by the police to build residences for police cooperative.

The police stormed the communities of Atiporome and Agelade, with caterpillars, bulldozers and armed policemen, demolishing over 100 completed houses.

The landlords, led by Mr Charles Adu, then filed a case in the Badagry High Court to challenge the forceful takeover of their land.

The respondents in the case are the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Task Force, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, The Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In the High Court, the Lagos State Government filed a preliminary objection against the case, contending that the reliefs being sought by the landlords do not fall within the purview of fundamental rights.

On July 10, 2014, the High Court, Coram O.A. Adesanya, upheld the preliminary objection of Lagos State and struck out the case of the landlords.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, the landlords appealed against it to the Court of Appeal.

On February 23, 2016, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the landlords and set aside the ruling of the High Court.

The Court of Appeal then directed the Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State, to assign the case to another judge for hearing.

The case was subsequently assigned to Justice O. Okikiolu-Ighile, of the Badagry Division.

The case was thereafter fixed for May 5.

On the said day, the landlords were all in court, represented by their counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

Lagos State was represented by the Senior State Counsel from the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs Olufunke Olugbeminiyi.

The other respondents were not represented.

Mr Adegboruwa traced the history of the case and informed the judge that all the respondents were notified of the hearing for May 6, 2016, but the police did not endorse acknowledgement for the said hearing notice, served by the Court bailiff.

Adegboruwa said the police, however, received the hearing notice served on it by his law firm and he prayed the court to accept the acknowledgement of service.

He then urged the court to give a specific hearing date that would accord with accelerated hearing, being a matter bordering on allegation of infringement of fundamental rights.

On her part, Mrs Olugbeminiyi said the Ministry of Justice was not aware that the Court of Appeal had delivered judgment in the case on appeal.

She then sought for time to file their counter-affidavit.

Mr Adegboruwa promptly countered this submission, maintaining that under Order 8 of the Fundamental Rights Rules, Lagos State should have filed its counter-affidavit along with its preliminary objection, which it deployed to delay the case for almost three years.

The Judge thereafter adjourned the case, by consent of counsel present, til May 18.

$40m Fraud: Fmr President Jonathan’s Cousin Asks Court To Compel EFCC To Release Him

ObazeeThe detained cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to either charge him to court or release him from detention.

Azibaola, in a new case filed on his behalf by his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, claimed that his detention, which has lasted for 46 days by the EFCC, was as a result of his refusal to indict the former President.

He is specifically urging the court to order the EFCC to release him immediately from unlawful custody or institute a criminal charge and arraign him before any court of competent jurisdiction.

Azibaola was arrested by the EFCC on March 23 over an alleged diversion of $40 million dollars through a company, One-Plus Holdings, and a sister company, Kakatar Construction Limited.

The payment was said to have been made by the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

The EFCC on April 22, 2016 transferred him from Abuja to Lagos where it obtained a warrant from a Lagos State Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja to remand him pending the conclusion of investigation into his alleged crime.

However, in the suit, which is yet to be assigned to any judge, Adegboruwa claimed that the EFCC could not rely on sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA to continue to detain his client.

He argued that those sections of the law were designed for criminal offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and treasonable felony, which attracts capital punishment, for which the police would need time to await a legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General.

Azibaola, who claimed that he is being persecuted based on his blood relationship with former President Jonathan, also accused the EFCC of having perfected the plan to keep transferring him from state to state in order to keep renewing the remand warrant to ensure that he was perpetually kept in detention.

He also claimed that any attempt to make him indict former President Jonathan was a violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offence of another citizen.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the fundamental rights enforcement suit.

EFCC Separates Tompolo From Charges

EFCC Separates Tompolo From ChargesThe EFCC has separated former Niger Delta Militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo from a 40-count charge of alleged fraud and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency was forced to separate Tompolo from the charges it filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos after it declared that the former Niger Delta Militant was still on the run.

Tompolo was listed as the first accused person in the said charge which the EFCC filed in January before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi and four other persons were also listed in the charge as co-accused persons.

The five were charged alongside four companies – Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, Odimiri Electrical Limited, Boloboere Property and Estate Limited and Destre Consult Limited.

However, efforts to arraign them had failed since January owing to the refusal of Tompolo to honour the court summons issued on him to appear in court.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Tompolo was again absent in court as his lawyers, Mr Tayo Oyetibo and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa were also absent.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Festus Keyamo, told the presiding judge that the charge against the accused persons had been amended with Tompolo’s name removed.

He said Tompolo would be arraigned and tried separately from the others as soon as he was apprehended by the security agencies.

With the permission of the court, the other accused persons took their plea on the 40 counts levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The charges bordered on conspiracy, fraudulent conversion and laundering of various sums of money belonging to NIMASA.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Justice Buba later admitted them to bail before adjourning the commencement of their trial till May 23.

Meanwhile, the judge also adjourned till April 18, for the EFCC to arraign Mr Akpobolokemi and others on another 22-count charge.

Tompolo had also been listed as the first accused person in the charge, but his name was removed following his failure to show up to answer to the charges.

The EFCC said he would also be arranged separately on the 22 counts whenever he is produced before the court.

Earlier, Justice Buba had on January 14, issued a warrant for his arrest and the said warrant was renewed on February 8.

The EFCC had also declared Tompolo wanted through a newspaper advertorial and it had also obtained a court order to seize Tompolo’s assets pending when he would submit himself for trial.