War Against Corruption Attention Seems To Be Vendetta – Olu-Adegboruwa

Ebun-Olu-AdegboruwaA lawyer, Mr Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, says the war on corruption ongoing in Nigeria seems to be more of vendetta than it is of a desire to prosecute corrupt individuals.

He listed some persons standing trial – Sambo Dasuku and olisa Metuh – who he said had issues with the ruling party or President Muhammadu Buhari in the past, to back his opinion.

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Friday, the lawyer stressed that he had no grievance against the war on corruption or the administration of President Buhari, but insisted that the rights of Nigerians must be respected as enshrined in the constitution.

“Goalpost Of Justice”

“There seem to be some vendetta. We must advise the president correctly because we must face national lives.

“I cannot accept that human rights be subsumed under a war for corruption. To say that people will no longer be granted bail in Nigeria because they are facing corruption charges.

“If you look at the country, we are blessed as we are, with the President that we have. Well trained, disciplined, a devout Muslim who fears God and with a Vice President that is a professor of law, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a pastor in the Redeem Christian Church of God who rose to the highest rank of Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and revolutionise the judicial system in Lagos during his tenure.

“We cannot because we have ad-hoc in government we should shift the goalpost of justice,” he stressed.

Mr Olu-Adegboruwa also emphasised that the anti-graft agencies should not be used as a political device to witch-hunt the opponent, saying it will be to the detriment of other existing agencies of law enforcement like the police

He was of the opinion that the Police was the most effective agency to fight corruption because they were more spread across the country.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is just in Lagos and Abuja.

“Anti-corruption fight seems to be a distraction.

“Corruption is not just on stealing money. It is in abuse of office. It happens on the table of the civil servant, National Assembly and other places.

“If you say you want to fight corruption as a major programme it will be at the detriment of development of infrastructure.

“If that is the only attention you have and that is what is going on now. We don’t hear stories about what we doing to tackle blackouts, tackle the rot in the educational system the judiciary, where we need to declare a state of emergency.

“I have no objection to talking about it or taking steps towards addressing it but if you really want to fight corruption, the gateway to that is the judiciary,” the lawyer said.

On the ability of the anti-graft agencies to prosecute the war on corruption, he said that a look at the agencies handling the fight against corruption showed that there was no serious war going on.

“EFCC operatives that I have met are using their personal computers to conduct investigation.

“Why are the high profile cases collapsing in court? There is no enough manpower to go round all the corruption cases. There is no facility or method of research or investigation to come up with hard facts that will enable you to nail a high profile case.

But when you catch a Yahoo-Yahoo man [scammer] or an ordinary person who has no money or relatives, you take him to the EFCC office and beat him up or hang him and you get a confessional statement from him and the next day he is in court, intimidated and battered, the next week you get a conviction.

“But when it is a high profile case with someone with resources. He goes to court with senior advocates who will tear the charges brought by anti-grant agencies to shreds. The EFCC will reduce the charges until the case will be struck out,” he explained, insisting that the anti-graft agencies should be empowered more.

Deliberately Silencing The Judiciary

The lawyer also stressed the need for the judiciary to be independent, saying that at the moment, the judiciary is still under the control of the executive arm of government.

“The executive is in control of the judiciary in terms of funding and when the Judiciary has no independence as to its funding there is no independence.

“We run a state where the executive is deliberately silencing the judiciary with lack of funding to ensure that all its illegal actions are not properly challenged,” he added.

Metuh Detention: Lawyer Takes FG, EFCC To Court

Olisa-MetuhA Lagos Lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has sued the Federal government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court in Lagos, over the continued detention of the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh.

Mr Adegboruwa wants the court to order the government and its agents to immediately release Mr Metuh from the custody of the EFCC.

Also joined in the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed on Monday is the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.

The EFCC had arrested the PDP spokesman last week in continuation of its investigation into the alleged diversion and sharing of over $2 billion meant for purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram.

The commission said Metuh had some questions to answer regarding some funds said to have been traced to his firm.

Flagrant Violation

In the lawsuit however, Adegboruwa asked the court for an order restraining the respondents from further arresting, detaining, persecuting, trailing or in any other manner taking steps that may jeopardise the liberty, freedom and life of the applicant except and in a manner permitted and sanctioned by law.

Ebun-Olu-Adegboruwa
Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa claims Mr Metuh is being detained because of his principled opposition to the ruling government

He further urged the court to make a declaration that the Respondents are not entitled to arrest, detain or in any other manner restrict the liberty of the Applicant without charge.

“Such is a flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 35, 38, 40 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2004,” he stressed.

Adegboruwa is also asking the court to hold that the detention of the applicant by the first respondent on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at an unknown location, without access to his lawyers, family and doctors, constitutes a flagrant violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights.

The lawyer is further seeking a declaration that the Respondents are not entitled to demand for, seize, impound, detain, attach, forfeit and/or confiscate or in any other manner deal with the Applicant’s property and assets in flagrant violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights guaranteed under the law.

In a 19 paragraph affidavit, Adegboruwa averred that Metuh had been the spokesperson of the PDP, even before President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in and had functioned effectively in that position since May 29, 2016.

“Metuh has been x-raying the activities of the ruling APC government and he has been very critical of the said government, to expose its tricks and any perceived anomaly and mis-governance,” he wrote.

The lawyer also claimed that on January 5, 2016, officers of the EFCC stormed the home of the applicant at Prince and Princess Estate, Abuja and arrested him without a court order and he has been in detention ever since.

He said: “I verily believe that the applicant has not committed any offence other than his principled opposition to the ruling government and his arrest and detention are meant to silence the opposition and create a one party state, by the respondents and allow the APC to dominate Nigeria.

“Nobody knows the present whereabouts of the applicant, as to his exact place of detention, his condition in custody and how he is faring.

“Recently, detainees in the custody of the 1st respondent have been dying due to lack of proper care and adequate medical facilities, and the 1st respondent is not normally well funded to function effectively, except to be used by the ruling government to hound the opposition,” he alleged.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.

Court Strikes Out Suit On DSTV’s New Rates

DSTVA Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday struck out a suit filed by some aggrieved subscribers challenging the recent 20% increment on subscription rate of Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) being operated by Multichoice Nigeria Limited.

The aggrieved subscribers, Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, who are also lawyers, had filed the class action on behalf of themselves and all other DSTV subscribers across the country.

The plaintiffs had sought an order of the court restraining Multi-Choice from implementing the 20% increment on DSTV subscription rate which began on April 1, 2015.

Justice Chukwujeku Aneke, in a ruling, upheld the preliminary objection filed by Multichoice, and ruled that the suit amounted to an abuse of court process.

The judge rejected an argument by the plaintiffs that Multichoice deserved not to be given right of audience having failed to abide by an earlier ex-parte order of the court restraining the company from implementing the increment.

Justice Aneke said the court was bound to entertain arguments from all parties before it, irrespective of the alleged violation of the court order.

The court further ruled that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action, as the plaintiffs were not under any obligation to continue to subscribe to the services of Multichoice in the face of the increment.

Besides, Justice Aneke upheld Multichoice’s argument that the suit failed to comply with mandatory provisions of Sections 97 and 98 of the Sherrifs and Civil Processes Act.

The sections stipulate that a writ to be served outside jurisdiction must be concurrently issued.

The second defendant in the suit, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which is based in Abuja, was said to have been served without compliance with the provisions of law.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Yemi Salma, had urged the court to discountenance such argument, as Section 19 of the Federal High Court Act, had clearly defined the jurisdiction of the court to be one within Nigeria.

Salma had further urged the court not to punish any irregularity in the issuance of the writ on the plaintiffs, as such emanated from the court.

He also stated that such irregularity could be corrected by the court in doing substantial justice.

However, the judge rejected the plantiffs’ argument, and upheld the objection.

Justice Aneke was also silent on an argument by the plaintiffs that the objection should be treated as a demurrer, which has been abolished from the rules of court.

Demurrer is an attempt by a defendant to get dismissal of a suit without filing any process to the substantive issues.

In the instant suit, Multichoice only filed preliminary objection, and did not file any process against the substantive suit.

Besides, Justice Aneke, earlier in the proceedings, rejected an attempt by human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa to opt out of the suit.

Adegboruwa had filed an application to be joined as a co-plaintiff, but later filed an application to opt out.

Justice Aneke simply said he was persuaded by a Supreme Court decision which stated that once an objection is raised challenging jurisdiction, the court was duty bound to first determine the objection before entertaining any other application.

According to the suit, the plaintiffs had sought an order of the court compelling the NBC to regulate the activities of Multichoice so as to prevent what they described as arbitrary increment in subscription rates.

They specifically urged the court to impress it on NBC to be alive to its statutory responsibility by ensuring that Multichoice is compelled to implement the pay-per-view scheme in Nigeria, whereby subscribers would only pay for programmes they watched, as was being done in other parts of the world where Multichoice operated.

But Multichoice, through its lawyer, Moyosore Onigbanjo argued that the plaintiffs had no cause of action, adding that a court did not have the power to regulate the price of services that a business was offering to its customers.

The company further contended that neither the government nor the court could regulate prices in Nigeria, being a country that operates a free market economy.

The company pointed out that under its conditions or terms of agreement, especially clauses 40 and 41, it was at liberty to, from time to time, change the fees payable by subscribers for the services being offered by the company.

Lagos Court Sets Aside Lekki-Ikoyi Toll Appeal

Lekki-Ikoyi Toll GateAttempts by the Lagos State Attorney General, and Commissioner of Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye to persuade the Federal High Court Lagos to hear an application seeking a stay of execution of the judgment which declared tolling on the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge as unconstitutional has suffered a setback.

Presiding Justice Saliu Saidu refused to hear the application insisting that it was not yet ripe for hearing.

The judge noted that from the file before him, there was no evidence that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA) were served with the application.

The Lagos State Attorney General had, however, urged the court to proceed with the application on the ground that the main party affected by the application, Mr  Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa was in court.

In his response, Mr Adegboruwa said the Lagos State Government ought to have taken steps to ensure service of the application on the other parties.

Justice Saidu has, however, fixed April 14, 2014 for hearing of the application.

No Law Backing Tolling

On the 27th of March, Justice Saidu, had held that from the totality of the evidence before him, it was clear that there was no law backing tolling on the bridge, and that the government was wrong to have turned the bridge into a business venture.

The judge had given this judgment in a suit filed by Mr Adegboruwa, who challenged the power of the Lagos State government to collect tolls on the bridge.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the Lagos State government, through its attorney general filed a motion urging the court to stay execution of the judgment which declared tolling on the bridge illegal, pending the determination of an appeal filed at the court of appeal in Lagos.      

But Mr Adegboruwa, in his counter-affidavit, is insisting that the state government lacked the right to apply for a stay of execution of the judgment having failed to comply with it for just one second.

In the counter-affidavit, Mr Adegboruwa recalled that the state government was represented in court on the day of the verdict by the Attorney General.

Mr Adegboruwa, who is also a Lagos based lawyer, had noted that after the verdict, he proceeded to use the bridge, but was not allowed to pass through the barrier placed on the bridge by officers of the state government without paying the toll.

He added that the officers of State government together with armed policemen were on hand to compel motorists to pay the toll fee before they could be allowed access through the toll plaza.

He has therefore, urged the court to refuse the motion for a stay of execution of the judgment.

 

 

Law Weekly: Nigerians Should Challenge Charges Imposed By Government – Lawyer

law weeklyOn this edition of Law Weekly, Senior Legal Practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa sheds more light on the need to challenge illegal taxes and charges imposed on citizens.

Mr Adegboruwa is very well known for his activism against what he calls executive lawlessness and the general disregard for the rule of law.

In the past, he led a series of protests against the tolling of the Lekki-Epe expressway and he recently got judgment in court in his suit challenging the tolling of the Ikoyi/Lekki link bridge.  

He also discussed some issues from the National Conference.

Federal Court Declares Toll Collection On Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge Illegal

lekki bridgeThe Federal High Court in Lagos has declared  the collection of toll, on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, illegal.

Justice Saliu Saidu, who delivered the judgment on Thursday, held that there was no law in Lagos State authorising the collection of toll on the bridge.

A human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed a suit challenging the power of Lagos State to collect toll on the bridge.

In his judgment, Justice Saidu said that the power to control the Lekki Lagoon and other Federal Navigable Waterway lies with the Federal Government, adding that, although the Federal Government had given some authority to the state to construct the bridge, there was no law authorising or permitting the collection of toll on it.

He also insisted that the bridge is not a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for which the collection of toll can be allowed.

Addressing journalists after the judgment was delivered, Adegboruwa said that he would challenge any law the state may make to validate toll collection on the bridge.

“For now, everybody in Lagos State should be free to pass through that bridge without paying any money,” he said, maintaining that the bridge was built with tax payers’ money hence “we cannot pay tax to build a bridge and pay another money to use it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lekki-Ikoyi Toll Gate: Court Adjourns Suit To Feb. 7

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed February 7 for hearing in a suit against the Lagos State Government, over collection of tolls on the newly constructed Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.

The suit which was slated for parties to file written addresses was adjourned, as the Presiding Judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, was said to on be on official assignment.

Lagos based lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed the suit, challenging the collection of tolls on the bridge, arguing that the bridge was erected on a federal navigable waterway.

Adegboruwa had filed the suit on November 26, 2012, seeking an order of injunction, restraining the Lagos Government from collecting any toll or tax in any form whatsoever, from motorists on the bridge.

While seeking the court’s resolve as to whether there exists any law in Nigeria, that authorises the collection of such tolls, tax or fee, from citizens, he also wants  the court to declare that the imposition of such a tariff on road users, is an illegal form of taxation and is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, and the National Inland Waterways Authority, also joined as first and second respondents in the suit.

The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Adeola Ipaye, and the Lagos State Government, are third and fourth respondents.

National Assembly Is Accessible To Nigerians Who Go Through Protocol – Analyst

A legal practitioner Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa has said that the National Assembly premises being a public domain should be accessible to any Nigerian once the person goes through the normal protocol by informing the leadership of the National Assembly

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Olu-Adegboruwa stated that “Baraje and others must have received the consent of the leadership of the National Assembly before embarking on such visit”. Stating that there is nothing wrong in any Nigerian of any political party deciding to visit the National Assembly.

He explained that the status of the visit, stating that the case is still in court and the court is yet to determine if the new faction is legitimate or the old one will still continue in office, and that until the decision is taken it will be improper for the National Assembly to encourage the visitation in that status as a  factional leader.

 

Goodluck Jonathan’s government has no focus- Olu-Adegboruwa

A legal practitioner and social commentator, Mr Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa has labelled the Goodluck Jonathan administration as a government that lacks policies, initiatives and ideas.

The lawyer, who was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s weekend breakfast show, pointed to the administration of the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, where the present president was the vice president, where its seven point agenda was in place to guide the activities of the government.

Ebun-Adegboruwa lamented the porous security apparatus of the country which he says has made the environment habitable for Boko Haram in the North, kidnapping in the East, militancy in the South South and armed robbery all over the nation. he also added that”life itself is not guaranteed”.

He said the government cannot achieve anything without ensuring that all the aforementioned groups are not brought to book.