Siege On S/Court Judge’s Home Designed To Embarrass Odilis – Ozekhome

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome has described the siege on the home of a Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili, as a ploy to embarrass her family.

The lawyer spoke to Channels Television after security operatives supposedly attached to the Ministry of Justice tried to gain entry into the Justice’s home in Abuja on Friday.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied his involvement in the botched operation.

READ ALSO: I Was Not Involved In Raid On Justice Odili’s House, Says Malami

But Ozekhome, who faulted the details of the warrant, said the Federal Government should issue an apology for the embarrassment.

“The search warrant did not carry any name, of any person. It didn’t say Justice Mary Peter Odili. It didn’t say the husband, Dr Peter Odili. It just said, number 9, Imo Street,” Ozekhome said.

“Meanwhile, the very address of Justice Odili is not number 9, Imo street. Who were the persons, they did not put a single name. What address? You got the wrong address.

“So there is this theory that it could have been a clear case of genuine mistaken identity. I only hope so.

“But the other theory, which I seem to want to believe more, because of the activities and antecedents of this government, is that it was politically motivated.

“So I believe it was done to embarrass them. But for whatever it was done, it was a shame to this country. If they now find that it was an erroneous entry or that it was mistake, let them do Nigerians and Nigeria the minimal of saying ‘we are sorry, we made a honest mistake’. And heavens will not fall; and they will be applauded for it.

“But let them not always pretend that all is well, even after causing great embarrassment.”

I Thought It Was ‘April Fool’ Prank, Ozekhome Reacts To Odumakin’s Death

Mike Ozekhome

 

Human rights activist and popular constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome has described the death of Afenifere spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin, as devastating and untimely.

In a release on Sunday, Ozekhome, said when he read the news on social media; he thought it was an April Fool prank.

“I am devastated by Yinka’s untimely death. Yinka spoke to me only last month. About the struggle, the need not to tire or give up. The need to fight on like Trojans.

READ ALSO: Odumakin Died Of COVID-19 Complications, Afẹ́nifẹ́re Confirms

“When I saw a posting concerning Comrade Yinka Odumakin’s death, I thought the poster was still carrying out the pranks of “April Fool’s Day”. So, I told him to back off as April Fool’s day normally stops at 12 midnight on 1st April of every year,” Ozekhome said.

He further described the deceased as a fearless and courageous wordsmith adding that he was a genuine comrade and unflagging struggler, who, in his lifetime, inspired a whole new generation of rights crusaders.

Odumakin died on Saturday at the intensive care unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, where he has been on admission for a week.

His wife, fellow activist,  Joe Okei-Odumakin told journalists that he just survived from COVID-19 and had tested negative to the virus, before developing respiratory complications which eventually led to his death this morning.

She was quoted to have said, “A part of me is gone. A part of me is gone. He fought hard at the intensive care unit. Pray for me to survive this. My love is gone.”

 

See his full statement below…

 

YINKA ODUMAKIN- THE IRREPRESSIBLE WARRIOR GOES HOME

When I saw a posting concerning Comrade Yinka Odumakin’s death, I thought the poster was still carrying out the pranks of “April Fool’s Day”. So, I told him to back off as April Fool’s day normally stops at 12 midnight on 1st April of every year.

Out of sheer curiosity, and to fulfill all righteousness I, however, I called one of our soulmates in the human rights and pro-democracy world, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, who has been a life-long Yinka’s wife and heartthrob. I wanted to hear her deny the story and say it was false and fake. I yearned for her to burst out laughing with her accustomed baritone guffaw, saying Yinka was alive, hale and hearty. I just desired her to say it was a mere rumour, a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

But, alas! She confirmed Yinka’s passage, giving me eerie graphic details. I have not found my clarity of thought since then. I am devastated by Yinka’s untimely death. Yinka spoke to me only last month. Yes, you guessed right! About the struggle, of course. The need not to tire or give up. The need to fight on like Trojans. We spoke about the pending South-West, Middle Belt, and South-East case, which was instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari and his government over the nepotic, cronystic, lopsided, sectional, and prebendalistic appointments he has so far made, to the consternation and marginalization of other sections of the country.

Chief E.K Clark, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Dr Nnia Nwodo, Dr Kpogun, et al, lead the plaintiffs in this regenerative and self-defining suit. I am one of the lead Counsel. We talked. We exchanged ideas on strategy. We discussed Nigeria. Yes, Nigeria’s challenges. State of nadir. Despondency. Anger. Hunger. Melancholy. Sorrow. Tears. Blood. Pains. Pangs. Nigeria’s pain. And, of course, a possible panacea. Solutions.

And this gadfly and searing pain in successive government’s flesh has gone? Just like that? This pear? This gem of a pan-Nigerian? This Yoruba Nationality Crusader for self-identity and self-determination? This shinny and incandescent example of a genuine Comrade and unflagging struggler, who, in his lifetime, inspired a whole new generation of rights crusaders? This bold, fearless, courageous wordsmith, whose pen was mightier than the sword? Good, God! Our loss is the heavens’ profit. Our pain is paradise’s gain. Odumakin championed the people’s cause.

He fought on behalf of the voiceless and the beleaguered. He was not materially rich. But, he was a trillionaire in integrity, honour, and dignity. His legacies are trailers-load. Yinka was not just an Activist per Excellence; he was an uncommon public Affairs analyst, social critic, politician, and political strategist, who shot from all cylinders on matters of National interest. He was fecund cerebral. He walked the talk. He fought wars and battles. He won most. Odumakin, with his accustomed “Awo Cap” ever perched on his head, spoke truth to authority. He challenged power and impunity. He left no stone unturned and no turn unstoned in his desire for a better Nigeria. A Nigeria imbued with mutual respect, Ethnic Nationalities’ self-determination; inter-religious harmony, egalitarianism and social justice. This gladiator may have lost this war of mortality to Covid-19 complications, at LASUTH, Lagos. But, he won the greater war of immortality. Because Yinka has conquered death. He scorned death; laughed at it derisively in the early hours of Holy Saturday when he transited. So, death, where is thy sting? Yinka was gentle as a person. As gentle as a lamb. But, he was a lion and tiger combined together, in wars against injustice, oppression, and repression. Mark Anthony (Julius Caesar Act 5, Scene 5, by William Shakespeare), summarizes my grief when he said: “his life was so gentle, and the elements mixed so well in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, This was a man”. Yinka, rest in eternal peace in the Lord’s bossom. Don’t bother to kick and fight from the grave, as I know you would readily want to. Just rest, rest and rest in perfect peace, till we meet on resurrection day. Then, we will part no more. For those of us strugglers you left behind, including your irrepressible wife of an Activist and Comrade, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin, we would continue the battle. It is a case of no retreat, no surrender. Aluta continua, victoria acerta.  Goodbye, Yinka. Fare thee well, compatriot.

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

A photo combination showing human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome and ex-EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu.

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from inviting, harassing and threatening to arrest or detain a constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, for criticising its former Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

The court, in a judgment that was delivered on Friday by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that serial acts of intimidation and constant invitations the anti-graft agency extended to the senior lawyer, as well as threats to arrest, detain and humiliate him, over publications and speeches he made “in respect of the apparent opaqueness and lopsidedness of the corruption fight of the 1st Respondent (EFCC) under the leadership of the 2nd Respondent (Magu)”, were illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional.

Justice Ekwo held that the action of the agency constituted a blatant violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights as enshrined in Sections 35, 37, 39 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and Articles 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap. A9 LFN 2004.

The judgment followed a fundamental right enforcement suit Mister Ozekhome lodged before the court.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/324/2018, were the EFCC, Magu and one of its lead operatives, Abubakar Aliyu Madaki.

Ozekhome had in the suit, told the court that EFCC had continued to harass him for being a vocal critic of the lopsided nature of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war led by Magu.

He told the court that aside from repeatedly summoning him to appear for questioning, the agency, froze his bank account after he was paid his legal fees totalling the sum of N75million, by the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

READ ALSO: I Seriously Regret Supporting Buhari In 2015 – Dino Melaye

Ozekhome maintained that one of the reasons the EFCC made him its primary target, was due to the fact that he secured so many legal victories against it in various hierarchies of courts in the country.

He told the court that threats from the Respondents were to shut him up from further criticisms of “the despicable and unjust manner of their fight against corruption in Nigeria”.

He said he did not commit any offence to warrant the incessant invitations and threats to arrest, detain or declare him wanted by the Respondents.

Besides, he told the court that the account from which the ₦75 million was paid to him, belonged to the former governor of Ekiti State, Fayose, who he said had not been convicted by any court to warrant labelling the money as proceed of crime.

Mister Ozekhome averred that it took the intervention of the Federal High Court in Lagos to unfreeze his bank account.

Consequently, he prayed the court to among other things, declare that he was entitled to receive legal fees for professional services he rendered to clients, including to Fayose and that he is not bound or obligated to determine the source of funds used in paying for legal services he rendered.

The applicant further asked the court to compel the Respondents to publish an unreserved apology to him in three prominent dailies for the breach of his right.

As well as for an order directing the Respondents to jointly and severally pay the sum of ₦5 billion to him as exemplary damages for wanting violation of his rights.

However, the EFCC, in a counter-affidavit that was deposed to by one of its operatives, Usman Aliyu, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

The Commission told the court that Ozekhome was being investigated for a lot of cases bordering on money laundering and tax evasion, based on an intelligence report from the Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU.

It told the court that the applicant received various sums of money at different times from DAAR Investment and Holding Company Limited, Ekiti State Government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, without payment of taxes due to both the Federal and Ekiti state governments.

More so, the EFCC told the court that further investigation revealed an attempt by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, to launder money through the Applicant in the sum of ₦1 billion.

Delivering judgment in the matter on Thursday, Justice Ekwo said he was satisfied that Ozekhome established a case of intimidation and harassment by the Respondents.

He held that though the court would always restrain itself from interfering with the functions of statutory bodies like the EFCC, “but that is only in so far as such agency is demonstrably shown to be acting pursuant to the veritable spirit of the law”, Justice Ekwo added.

According to the Judge, “Where the act of such a statutory body is shown to be manifestly predicated on ill-will, malice and animosity, the law will intervene. The Court will never allow the law to be used as an instrument of vendetta or vindictiveness as established in this case.

“On the whole, I find that the Applicant has established a clear case of animus by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the manner of incessant invitation to him.

“This has established the fact that his fundamental rights as enshrined in Ss. 35, 37, 39 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and, Articles 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap. A9 LFN is likely to be contravened.

“In other words, the essence of this case in my opinion is to stop the Respondents from the likely contravening the rights of the Applicant by their actions toward him; where the case is that of likely breach, that is, threat on the part of the Respondents”.

Though the court made consequential orders restraining the Respondents from inviting, arresting or detaining the Applicant, it, however, declined to either award damages in his favour or compel EFCC to apologize to him.

It held that such reliefs would only apply, “where the case is founded on where the infringement has occurred or is occurring”.

IGP’s Tenure Extension: Mr President’s Action Is Illegal, Unconstitutional – Ozekhome

Mike Ozekhome

 

Human Rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu.

Speaking on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, Ozekhome said the President’s action is illegal, unconstitutional, and even ‘immoral.’

“Mr President cannot even single-handedly appoint an Inspector General of Police as we have been seeing it. He must do so in full consultation and at a meeting with the Nigeria Police Council.

READ ALSO: Reinstate Sacked Pregnant Policewoman, Falana Writes IGP

“What we have been seeing is actually a situation of arbitrariness when Mr. President will single-handedly appoint an IGP. He can also not remove or dismiss an IGP without going through the Nigeria Police Council.

“Mr President’s action is patently, glaringly, illegal and unconstitutional. Even to me, it is immoral. The reason why I used the word ‘immoral’ is because you are denying other members of the Nigeria Police Force who are also aspiring to go up to become Inspector General,” Ozekhome said.

Speaking further on the constitutional interpretation of the elongation of the IGP’s tenure, the human rights lawyer says as far as the constitution is concerned, Nigeria currently does not have an IGP.

“In the eye of the law, we do not have an Inspector General of Police because the last one has retired by the fruition of time, statutorily and constitutionally.

“So Mr President cannot by an administrative fiat recreate the law or remake the law. The only organ that can make the law is the National Assembly.

“The President was wrong to extend the tenure of Mr Ibrahim, who was supposed to retire as of the 1st of February 2021, after spending 35 years in service,” Ozekhome added.

He further quoted the Nigerian constitution which states the standard tenure of the IGP is expected to last for four years.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi had earlier on Thursday announced that the Inspector-General of Police will continue his duty as the nation’s police chief despite the completion of his tenure.

According to him, this is the position of the Federal Government after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of the tenure of the police boss by three months.

He explained that the decision to extend the tenure of the police chief was to give the Federal Government ample time to select the appropriate person to succeed him.

EFCC Is ‘Persecuting’ Adoke, Keeping Him In ‘Horrific Detention’ – Ozekhome

A file photo former AGF, Mr Mohammed Adoke. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, has condemned the continued detention of a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

He also took a swipe at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for failing to release his client – Adoke – after the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court granted him bail.

“It is disheartening that despite meeting the bail conditions imposed by the court, since the 30th of January 2020, the EFCC is still holding our client in permanent custody, till date,” the SAN said in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Thursday.

He added, “This has further jeopardised his very poor and fragile health. The court had actually taken Adoke’s ill health into consideration in making the order for his release, with certain bail conditions.”

“From the foregoing, it is crystal clear to any discerning observer that our client is no more being prosecuted, but is being persecuted, by the EFCC, which has, by this singular act, now constituted itself into an institution that acts above courts of law.

“It now deploys unbridled powers to choose and/or decide (as in this particular case), whether or not to obey valid and extant orders made by courts of competent jurisdiction,” Ozekhome alleged.

According to him, such a situation is unhealthy for the nation’s democracy and constitutes an unnecessary invitation to chaos and anarchy.

 

Horrific Detention?

Adoke’s lawyer insisted that his client has fulfilled the conditions for his bail and upon presenting the release order, he claimed that the EFCC came up with another round of stories.

“It was either that one official or the other, was not available to authorise the release and, so Adoke continues to languish in illegal detention. As of today, 6th February 2020 (and still counting), over seven clear days after the court granted Adoke bail, the EFCC continues to detain him.

“Notwithstanding our client’s fulfilment of his bail conditions, he has been kept by the Respondent in horrific detention, in blatant defiance of the court’s clear and mandatory order for his release on bail,” Ozekhome decried.

He stressed that Adoke’s health condition was fast deteriorating on a daily basis, adding that the former AGF now has typhoid and malaria among other illnesses while his sight was gradually failing him.

The SAN alleged that this has forced the EFCC to hurriedly transfer Adoke to the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja.

He, however, urged the anti-graft agency to respect a valid court order by releasing his client and asked the Federal Government to build strong and enduring institutions.

Adoke’s Detention: Ozekhome Faults EFCC’s Action, Demands Bail For Ex-AGF

Mr Mike Ozekhome

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, faulted the latest action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the prosecution of a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke.

In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Ozekhome described the obtaining of a court order by the anti-graft agency to detain his client – Adoke – for two weeks as unnecessary.

He noted that the former AGF had already been charged to court even in absentia, while he was in the Netherlands for a masters’ degree programme.

Ozekhome stressed that his client returned to the country voluntarily, adding that he was surprised that Adoke was arrested by INTERPOL upon his arrival.

“Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him, punish him, wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?” he questioned.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Remand Of Former AGF Adoke For 14 Days

The senior advocate, therefore, called on the EFCC to grant the former AGF administrative bail to treat himself, saying that was why he went to Dubai.

He warned that failure to do so would force them to take legal steps to vacate the ex parte order.

Read Ozekhome’s full statement below:

It is quite surprising, if not distressing, to behold EFCC obtaining a two-week detention order to keep Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) in its custody.

This is a man they had already charged to court since 2017, even in absentia, whilst he was in the Netherlands pursuing his masters’ degree in International law.

This is a man they forwarded his charges to the UAE and Interpol authorities, with a view to preventing them from releasing him, based on the said existing charges.

This step led to a legal stalemate, since the UAE and Interpol authorities would not, and could never have extradited Adoke based on a non-existent warrant of arrest.

This is because the earlier warrant of arrest issued against him in April 2019, had since been vacated by the same Justice D.Z. Senchi that earlier issued it on 25th October,2019 after heated court argument between government lawyers and my humble self.

Adoke, therefore, elected to return to Nigeria voluntarily, purchasing his own ticket by himself and signing as such, accordingly.

I had issued a statement to the effect that Adoke was on his way back to Nigeria and would report to the EFCC with lawyers from my office upon his arrival.

It was, therefore, a matter of great surprise that the Interpol still arrested him upon arrival and handed him over to the EFCC.

Rather than the EFCC immediately arraigning him before a court based on charges already preferred against him even in absentia, it has resorted to obtaining an ex parte order from the FCT High Court to detain him for two weeks.

We don’t want to believe that Adoke will be persecuted rather than prosecuted. The last time I checked, cases are first thoroughly investigated before a suspect is charged to court as has been done in the Adoke matter.

Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him? Punish him? Wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?

Deny him justice? Subject him to public ridicule, derision, odium, and obloquy? Is it meant to negatively put him in the public domain, try him, convict him and sentence him through media trial?

All these will neither help the course of justice, nor promote constitutional democracy with its corollary in-built safety valves of advancing inalienable human rights and liberties as recognised by extant national, sub-regional, regional, and international civil rights instruments.

We humbly appeal to the EFCC to accord Adoke administrative bail to take care of his poor health, the very reason he had gone to Dubai.

In the event that this fails, we shall immediately take legal steps to vacate this ex parte order, with a view to protecting our client’s rights and securing his liberty.

Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

Counsel to Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.

Ozekhome, EFCC Disagree Over Access To Adoke

Mr Mike Ozekhome

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have disagreed over the claims that nobody was allowed access to a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke.

This comes shortly after Mr Adoke returned to Nigeria from Dubai in company with INTERPOL officers aboard Emirates Airlines Flight 785.

The aircraft is said to have departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 8am Nigerian time and touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja after about eight hours later.

Ozekhome, who is Adoke’s lawyer, alleged that neither he nor any other person was allowed to talk to the former AGF.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

According to the senior advocate, his client was picked up at the foot of the aircraft by INTERPOL officers and taken to the international organisation’s office in Abuja.

Reacting to the allegation, the anti-graft agency told Channels Television that the claim of denying access to Adoke was not correct.

Mr Tony Amokeodo who the spokesman for the acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, confirmed during an interview on Politics Today that the former AGF was already in the custody of the anti-graft agency.

He said, “That’s not correct; he (Ozekhome) is his (Adoke) lawyer. So, he has the right to say anything he wants to say.

“But the fact still remains that any detainee or suspect will be allowed to have access to his legal team.”

“We have him (Adoke) with us here and we are going to do some kind of question and answer session where he will be quizzed.

“He will have access to his lawyer. We have nothing to hide about the former AGF and what we are going to do will be within the ambit of the law,” Amokeodo assured.

The former AGF is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI filed against him and four others by the EFCC on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

We Cannot Confirm Adoke’s Return To Nigeria Or Otherwise, Says AGF

 

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, says he cannot make a comment to confirm or otherwise, the arrival of the former AGF, Mr Mohammed Adoke, into the country.

Malami stated this during a session with reporters on Thursday in Abuja on behalf of the Federal Government in reaction to a statement by the lawyer to Mr Adoke, Mike Ozekhome.

Adoke is facing charges bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering with respect to the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had said that the former AGF who is also a SAN was not extradited but was set free by the police in Dubai.

According to him, Adoke gave assurance to the police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city that he wants to go home and “solve his problems back at home”.

Ozekhome also disclosed in the statement forwarded to Channels Television on Thursday that his client was already on his way back into the country of his own free will.

He said, “I can confirm to you authoritatively that Adoke has been released from the custody of the Interpol and will arrive in Nigeria at any moment.

“He was let off the hook because nothing incriminating was found on him and he has on his own volition opted to come back to Nigeria.”

“Adoke is not extradited by the Nigerian government because there is no reason for that. He is coming back to Nigeria to clear his name from the alleged Malabu oil scandal.

“He is innocent of the allegations against him, Adoke has not done anything wrong. He is already airborne and will land in Nigeria this afternoon today Thursday,” he added.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the charges against the former AGF and four others on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

Following its inability to produce the defendants in court, the anti-graft agency approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on April 17 to secure a warrant of arrest against them.

The court granted the request by the EFCC, leading to Adoke’s arrest by the police in Dubai in November.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, confirmed Adoke’s arrest about a week later during a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters.

Drama As Ozekhome Disowns Colleague During Trial Of Ex-Plateau Gov, Jang

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

There was mild drama at the continuation of the trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, on Friday as his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, disowned another defence counsel, over the line of questioning.

Ex-governor Jang is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), alongside Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, for alleged N6.2billion fraud.

According to a statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, Ozekhome disowned S.A Oguntiyi, Pam’s lawyer and expressed dismay at his line of questioning.

Oguntiyi while cross-examining the 11th prosecution witness, Musa Sunday, an operative of the EFCC, queried the testimony of the witness, with regards to monies paid to Jang.

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

Replying, Sunday, however, revealed more of the findings while investigating the alleged fraud.

He said: “Although there was no withdrawal from the OSSG account, a cash deposit of N500,000 by the second defendant was seen on that particular day.

“In the course of investigations, during one of the interrogations with the team of EFCC detectives, the second defendant said the sum of N500,000 was a thank you gift and could not be accountable for.

“In the statement, dated January 16, 2017, made by Pam, he had however denied any receipt of any financial benefits from the Plateau State Government except salaries as a civil servant which was less than N80,000 monthly; so where then did he get cash of N500,000?

“The charges against Pam were not exclusive, but based on what the Legal team of the EFCC considered appropriate and as a civil servant there was no other source of income accrued to the second defendant, who is unable to prove the source of N71million in less than four years.

“Sometimes allowances are paid in cash by the second defendant to officials of the Plateau State House of Assembly and such allowances can be over N1million cash and in no particular order for sitting allowance, furniture allowance, domestic staff allowance, security allowance, and so on as sighted in the statement from Francis Bot, former Chief of Staff to the first defendant.”

At this point, however, Ozekhome, rose up and expressed dismay at the line of questioning of Oguntiyi, and promptly disowned him.

“I urge the judge to dismiss this line of questioning as it only further supports the investigation made by the EFCC and we are washing our hands off this mediocrity.

“If the documents are there why are you simply beating about the bush for hours on end?

“For lack of a better word, the judge must conclude the judgement on this case before his retirement by ending 2019. We do not want to embark on a de novo.

“At this point, we (the counsel for the first defendant) disassociate ourselves from this line of questioning during cross-examination by the second defendant,” Ozekhome said.

Afterwards, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that he had wanted to present the 12th prosecution witness, “but due to the listlessness and lack of valid substance that the defence counsel took so much time, it is unfortunate that the witness may have to appear at another trial date”.

However, Oguntiyi pressed on with his cross-examination, asking the witness if there were Closed Circuit Television, CCTV Cameras, at the Government House, and whether there was an investigation report on the case, wherein findings and recommendations were contained.

Responding, Sunday simply said: “The question about CCTV cameras cannot be answered by me, but the officials of the Plateau State Government House”, adding that, “there was a comprehensive investigation report, however, this is highly confidential and restricted for the EFCC perusal.”

Justice Longji, thereafter, cautioned the counsel, noting that the questions being asked, were mostly repetitions, and not necessary, wondering what Oguntiyi was trying to establish.

Continuing with the cross-examination, Oguntiyi thereafter inquired from the witness, if he was aware that the N10million found in the account of Pam, was a pay-off for his late wife.

Expressing dismay, Sunday noted that he was hearing that for the first time.

Judge Longji subsequently adjourned to September 30, 2019, for the defence team to close the cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.

Falana, Ozehkome, Exchange Words Over Ex-CJN Onnoghen’s Case

Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome on Tuesday disagreed over lawyers’ reaction to the removal of immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen.

They both exchanged words during the Rule of Law Session of the 59th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference (AGC) in Lagos.

Ozekhome berated lawyers for not pouring out on the streets and shutting down the government to protest Onnoghen’s prosecution and conviction by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

READ ALSO: Court Declines To Hear Sowore’s Application Challenging Detention By DSS

He made reference to the case of President Pervez Mushraf who on March 9, 2007, according to him, unjustly and unconstitutionally removed Muhammed Mushraf as the Chief Justice.

“Can’t we do more than we have done”? Ozekhome questioned. He also faulted the NBA for not coming out to protest during Onnoghen’s removal.

In a swift reaction, Falana said the Chief Justice of Pakistan was not removed for corruption as in the case of Onnoghen.

He questioned the former president of the NBA Olisa Agbakoba saying, “Olisa, can the NBA morally go to the street to fight for judges who have millions that they cannot account for in their account?”

Minority Leader of the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe had earlier decried President Muhammadu Buhari’s removal of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen from the Supreme Court.

Abaribe blamed the Nigerian Bar Association and fellow judges for not taking action and remaining silent knowing fully well that a Chief Justice cannot be removed without coming to the Senate.

“In the matter of Onnoghen, what happened? We waited for the NBA, nothing happened? We waited for the fellow judges nothing happened. Because the law is very clear, you cannot remove a Chief Justice without coming to the senate yet, it happened, and nothing happened.”

The former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba also at the event said Onnoghen’s removal would serve as a reference point in the future. He also appreciated Senator Abaribe for “telling us the truth.”

Sowore’s Arrest: This Government Is Allergic To Plurality Of Voices, Criticism – Ozekhome

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome.

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Mike Ozekhome, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of not being tolerant to criticism. 

Ozekhome, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the current government is “allergic to plurality of voices and criticism”.

He said: “Dancing on the street saying we don’t want bad governance how does that amount to treason, unreasonable felony?

“This government is allergic to plurality of voices, this government is allergic to criticism, this government is allergic to opinions. This government should know that Nigeria is a country with many colours.

“You cannot sample opinions. We cannot all sleep on the same bed. This government should learn to be tolerant,” he said.

His comment comes in the wake of the arrest of  former Presidential Aspirant of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general elections, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Service, an act condemned by notable Nigerians including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

READ ALSO: DSS Arrests Omoyele Sowore

Following Sowore’s arrest, the Nigeria Police described the planned protests by some individuals as ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism’, vowing resist any act that can lead to a breach of law and order in the country.

But reacting to the allegation, Ozekhome disagreed with the government and security agencies, describing the allegations as “most illogical and damning.”

“That allegation is most plural, most damning and most illogical from the government or security spokespersons.

“What is treason? For the definition of treason, you have to look at Sections 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the Criminal Code which applies in the Southern part of Nigeria.

“Then you must look at Section 410 of the Penal Code that applies in the Northern part of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.  Treason is the act of overthrowing the sovereign government of a state,” he stated.

Earlier, a foremost Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, condemned the arrest, calling on the Federal Government to call the security agencies to order.

Onnoghen: Only NJC Has Powers To Suspend CJN, Says Ozekhome

 

Lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the Federal Government’s decision to suspend the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen.

According to him the only body that has the powers to suspend a top judge is the National Judicial Council.

He said this on Monday when he made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“The Only body that has the power to suspend is the NJC and since the Chief Justice is involved, all they need to do is to convene and the Chief Justice will not seat to chair it.

“The CJN occupies a special place like the Chief Judges that I’ve referred to and the grand cadre it’s not just like any judicial officer. For you to remove him or even any other judicial officer, the NJC must meet,” Ozekhome said.

Onnoghen’s Suspension: Senate Approaches Supreme Court, Cancels Tuesday’s Plenary

CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Alleged False Asset Declaration Case Indefinitely

 

His comments come days after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the CJN, who is being tried over allegations of failing to declare his assets.

According to the president, the development was based on the request of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, pending the completion of the trial.

Following the suspension, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed was appointed as the acting CJN.

Ozekhome, however, stressed that with or without an exparte order, the President has no right to suspend the CJN.

He said, “No, no, no. He does not have the power. Whether on an exparte order or on a motion on notice or even on a court judgement because the powers of appointment and suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria are matters that are governed by the clear provisions of the Constitution.

“Sections 153, sections 158, Section 291, Section 292 (2) and the third schedule Section 21 part 1 and 2 of the 1999 Constitution.

“They say it is the NJC that nominates a person for appointment to the CJN. Then the CJN by 2/3rd majority vote confirms that appointment.

“The President merely plays a nominal role of now swearing in that person.

“It is the same route you follow when you are dismissing. The NJC recommends, the Senate by 2/3rd majority approves, then the president can remove”.