DSS Did Not Disobey The Law On Judges’ Arrests – Jiti Ogunye

Jiti-Ogunye-Sunday-PoliticsLegal practitioner, Jiti Ogunye, sees nothing wrong in the manner in which the Department of State Service (DSS) executed its arrest of three Nigerian judges in the early hours of Saturday, October 8.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Mr Ogunye explained the execution of the warrant of arrest, and quoted Section 148 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which states that a search warrant can be issued and executed at any time of the day including a Sunday or a public holiday.

He was reacting to the claim by constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, who had earlier on the programme, described the arrest of the judges as “most condemnable by any right thinking member of the society”.

Ozhekhome faulted the timing and manner of the arrest, claiming that the law does not allow for homes of suspects to be searched during the night or for doors to be broken in order to gain access.

Mr Ogunye berated Ozekhome for quoting an old law which, according to him, has since seized to be relevant. “People are not familiar with the law and those who should enlighten the public manipulate the law and they don’t disclose what the law has said.”

On the “gestapo” manner in which the arrest was done, he went further to read from Section 149 of the Act, where the law permits law enforcement agents to “break open any outer or inner door or window of any house or place of the suspect to be arrested” if access to such building cannot be obtained or is denied.

He argued that it has become impossible to deny that Nigeria has serious ethical issues in the judiciary, bordering on corruption.

In justifying the need to fight corruption, Mr Ogunye noted that corruption is the bane of the Nigerian society, “it has affected our development, stunted our growth and destroyed our country”.

Constitutional Mandate

Mr Ozekhome had also earlier argued that democracy only thrives on its adherence to the rule of law and the Nigerian government, by allowing the arrests, has gone against the values of democracy and the DSS has gone beyond its constitutional mandate.Mike-Ozekhome

“The DSS by our constitutional organogram has its own functions and these are to take care of the internal security of the country.

“Its counterpart the DIA, Directorate
of Intelligence Agency, is in charge of matters concerning military, while the NIA, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, is in charge of security matters that extend beyond the boundaries of Nigeria.

“The three legal entities that are allowed by our laws to go into corruption matters are the EFCC, the ICPC and the Nigerian Police, particularly under Section 4.

“So, their action is faulted fundamentally on the ground that they were going beyond their constitutional and statutory mandate,” he said.

Again, Mr Ogunye disagreed with Mr Ozekhome’s argument.

“This law was made during the military era and it has wide implications,” he argued, adding that the law also added that the DSS can be saddled with any issue the President feels affects the internal security of the country.

“The corruption of the judiciary that wants to destroy the third arm of government can be deemed, and in fact I will deem it, as something that is affecting the security of the country,” he said.

Fayose’s Aide, Abiodun Agbele Gets Bail

Fayose's aide, EFCC, Abiodun AgbeleEkiti State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele, whom anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested has been granted bail in the sum of 50 million naira.

The court also ordered the EFCC to pay Mr Agbele a damages fee of five million naira.

The investigations by the EFCC over monies linked to Governor Fayose took a new twist on Thursday at an Abuja High Court where Justice Olukayode Adeniyi asked the anti-graft agency to pay the fine for what it described as the arbitrary abuse of power and unlawful detention of Mr Agbele without charging him to a court of competent jurisdiction in line with the constitution.

Justice Adeniyi also ordered the immediate release of his personal property which were seized by the anti-graft agency.

Mr Agbele had through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome filed a 500 million naira suit challenging his detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission without charging him to court.

Mr Agbele’s principal, the Governor of Ekiti State, has had his bank accounts frozen in a related case bothering on fraud allegations, a decision the Governor has sworn to fight hard in court.

Certificate Controversy: Buhari’s Eligibility Suit Adjourned Until March

Gen-Muhammadu-Buhari-1
Gen Muhammadu Buhari

A Federal High Court will on March 19 hear ‎all applications, challenging the eligibility of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, to contest in the forthcoming presidential election.

At the resumed hearing on Monday of two earlier suits filed by Chukwunweike Okafor and Donald Daunamigba, counsel to the plaintiff, Mike Ozekhome, told the court that he was willing to continue with the argument, noting that he had not been served with all processes.

After his observation, he was served with the process, but he asked the court for a short date to enable him study the process.

He further requested for accelerated hearing, pointing out that that the outcome of the case would have effect on the forthcoming elections.

But the Defence Counsel, Akin Olujimi and Lateef Fagbemi, were quick to respond that the outcome of the case could not be a condition precedent on the conduct of the election, reminding the court that there was an application requesting that the court should set aside the totality of the summon on Buhari, which had not been respond to.

The Federal High Court Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, adjourned the case till March 19 to enable the court hear all the applications including those seeking for joinder.

There are 13 suits instituted against the APC’s presidential candidate, General Buhari, challenging his eligibility to contest in the March 28 presidential election.

The plaintiffs in the suits also argued that failure of Buhari to accompany his form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with his certificates of academic qualifications, rendered him ineligible to participate in the poll.

They stressed that failure to submit the said certificate, would mean had failed to comply with the provisions of sections 131 and 318 of the Nigerian Constitution and section 31 (3) of the Electoral Act.

Desperation Of DisinformationBuhari certificate 2

Responding to the certificate controversy, the APC had dismissed claims that General Buhari was not qualified to contest in the elections.

Government College, formerly Provincial Secondary School, Katsina, which General Buhari graduated from in 1961, had released his Secondary School Certificate Examination results.

Before the certificate was released, General Buhari had described the claims as ‘desperation of disinformation’.

“I have contested elections three times and that’s the same rule by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) where there is basic education qualification that you have and I was allowed to contest all these election because my certificate was in order.

“There are even individuals that wrote to the United States War College and the College answered them and its published in some of your papers .

“Really, this desperation of disinformation that is being passed around will do nobody any good because our minds are being taken away from the serial issues of corruption and incompetence by the PDP, ” the former military president said.

Court To Return Farouk Lawan’s Case For Reassignment

Farouk LawanJustice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has struck out the case against the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Farouk Lawan, and its Secretary, Boniface Emenalo.

Justice Banjoko explained that she had no interest in continuing with the case and would return it to the Chief Judge of the FCT for reassignment to another judge.

At the last adjourned date, counsel to Lawan, Mr Mike Ozekhome, had applied that the case be returned to the Chief Judge of the FCT for hearing and determination, since his client wasn’t satisfied with the attitude of the judge to his case.

The prosecution counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, did not object to the case being struck out.

Farouk Lawan and Boniface Emenalo had been standing trial for allegedly obtaining $620,000 bribe from an oil magnet, Femi Otedola.

Ozekhome Kidnap: FG Slams 13-Count Charge On Kingpin, 2 Others

ozekhomeThe Federal Government has arraigned before a Federal High Court, alleged kidnap kingpin, Mr Kevin Eziegbe.

Mr Eziegbe, alongside two others, was slammed with a 13-count charge for allegedly masterminding kidnapping and terrorism activities in the South-South region.

Kelvin and the two other accused persons are being accused of masterminding the kidnapping of constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, in August 2013, which led to the killing of 5 policemen.

The Federal Government had in November 2013 withdrawn a suit it filed against the alleged kidnappers before Magistrate Usman Ahmed Shuaibu of Abuja Magistrate Court.

Counsel to the FG, Clifford Osagie, had told the court that further investigations conducted by the SSS revealed that the suspects were involved in acts of terrorism with elements of kidnapping and murder, hence the need to approach a Federal High Court.

The trio pleaded “not guilty” to the allegations levelled against them by the Federal Government.

However, the oral application made by their counsel, Bala Dakum, to secure bail for them was rejected by the court, which instead ruled that the suspects be remanded in the custody of the State Security Services till the next adjourned date of July 1.

Trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, however, ordered the SSS to grant the accused persons access to their counsel pending the commencement of their trial.

Sanusi Appeals Court Judgment Declining Jurisdiction To Hear His Suit

Sanusi CBNThe suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, on Wednesday, filed an appeal challenging the decision of Honourable Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja declining jurisdiction to hear his suit essentially seeking to re-instate him as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.  

The Federal High Court had in a judgment delivered on May 20, 2014 agreed with the submissions of Counsel to the President, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, as well as that of Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) who had argued that the Sanusi’s suit which bothered on employment issues ought to have been brought before the National Industrial Court and not the Federal High Court.

In a Notice of Appeal filed on May 28, 2014, by Sanusi’s Counsel, Kola Awodein, the suspended Governor challenged the Judgment of the Federal High Court on 20 grounds. It was the contention of Sanusi that the Federal High Court ought not to have held that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Sanusi’s Counsel also contended that the transfer of the suit to the National Industrial Court by the Federal High Court was wrongful. Sanusi’s major prayer to the Court of Appeal was to set aside the judgment of the lower court as well as to allow his appeal.

However, Counsel to the President, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, as well as Counsel to the Attorney-General have also filed Notices of Appeal challenging the decision of the Federal High Court transferring the suit to the National Industrial Court.

It was there view that the Federal High ought to have struck out the matter when it held that it did not have jurisdiction. They have also filed Motion for Stay of Proceedings at the National Industrial Court.

Kola Awodein has also filed a Motion on Notice to stay proceedings at the National Industrial Court pending the determination of the Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal by parties.

As at Press time, it is not clear whether the planned hearing of Sanusi’s suit will go on as fixed for May 30, 2014 by the National Industrial Court in the light of the Motion for Stay of Proceedings filed by parties to the suit.

N10bn Private Jet: Reps Give Allison-Madueke Fresh Summons, Lawyer Protests

Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke
Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Account has issued fresh summons to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, to appear before it over the alleged expenses of 10billion Naira on private jets.

Also summoned are the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu; Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Engr. Saleh Dunoma; the Managing Director of Pipeline and Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPPMC, Mr Haruna Momoh; Vistajet International Limited and other stakeholders.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, said that all those summoned were to appear between June 15 and 17 to shed light on various aspects of the alleged N10 billion expenses.

He added that anyone who refuses to appear would face a subpoena under the law.

You Can’t Probe Deziani For Now, Lawyer tells House

Meanwhile, Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, has warned the House of Representatives against making any move to resume probe of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, on the alleged N10B aircraft charter scam.

The senior lawyer asked the House to put the probe on hold for now since the Minister has a legal action before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the legality of the House of Representatives’ decision on the over-sight function.

In a letter of protest delivered to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambawal, Mr Ozekhome faulted the announcement of the fresh move to begin the probe, warning that the move would amount to an affront to the law court where the legal action was pending.

The human rights activist, in the letter also copied to the Senate President, Senator David Mark, said that the practice in the world especially in a civilized society is for both parties in a dispute to take their hands off the disputed matter once a law court has been invited for adjudication on the issue.

He said that it was wrong and abnormal for the House to proceed to probe the Minister even when the House has already joined issued with her in a law court of record and in competent jurisdiction.

Court Upholds FG’s Objection To Sanusi’s Suit On Suspension

Picture of a Gavel.A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declined jurisdiction on a suit filed by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, essentially challenging his suspension by the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, on February 20, 2014.

In a ruling spanning over 2 hours, Justice Kolawole upheld the submissions of the Counsel to the President, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, and that of the Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mike Ozekhome.

In his preliminary objection filed in opposition to the Plaintiff’s Originating Summons, Counsel to the President, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, argued that the Federal High Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit between Lamido Sanusi and the President since it bothers on labour matters.

Accordingly, he had urged the court to decline jurisdiction on it.

Towing the same vein, the Counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, sued as the 2nd Defendant, Mike Ozekhome, had in the hearing of the matter urged the Judge to wash his hands off the case as the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Upholding the submission of Counsel to the Defendants, the court declined jurisdiction and accordingly referred the matter to the National Industrial Court. The Judge, in the course of delivering the ruling, faulted the submissions of Counsel to Lamido Sanusi, Mr. Kola Awodein, and Mr AB Mahmoud, who in their pleadings had said that Mr Lamido Sanusi was not an employee of the Federal Government but that of the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which he incidentally headed.

Upholding the arguments of the Counsel to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Umoh, the court also struck out the name of the IGP sued as 3rd Defendant holding that there was no cause of action against the IG.

Confab Delegation Is Skewed In Favour Certain Interest – Prof Oloyede

Ishaq-Oloyede_ProfA delegate at the ongoing National Conference in Nigeria, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, says the composition of the National Conference has been skewed in favour of certain interests, a development that has necessitated that some certain measures must be taken in the interest of Nigerians.

He said that the voting pattern contained in the draft modalities of the conference was not absolute and depended hugely on what was being discussed.

He stressed that what should be done at the moment was to put Nigeria first and consider how to liberate the nation and ensure that we move forward.

“The way to go is to consider a give and take strategy. Consensus may be the best but if you cannot have a consensus, the closer you get to it the better.

“In my own view, consensus is the best. It is critical but may not have been necessary if the membership had not been hijacked and skewed in favour of a section against the other section of the community.

“Let us put Nigeria first and I believe that the president in his template says the decision should be taking by three-quarter of the delegates.

“If we want to throw what the president had decided out, let us do so totally and throw every rule that had been set aside and make new ones.

He insisted that nothing was sacrosanct in what the president had given to the delegates as modalities.

Biased And Fixated MindMike-Ozekhome

Countering Professor Oloyede’s assertions, another delegate at the National Conference, Mr Mike Ozekhome, described, Professor Oloyede as “one of those that came to the conference with fixation with prejudices with biases and with stereotypes, with a believe that the conference itself is ‘skewed against certain sections or certain religions’”.

Mr Ozekhome said that the professor was introducing the dangerous element of religion into the conference, saying it was very unfortunate.

“From the way the professor has spoken, it is very clear to all Nigerians that he does not believe in the conference or its outcome.”

He questioned what he was doing in the conference if he had little or no confidence in the composition of the conference at all.

“He is not discussing as a Nigerian. I thought that we came to the conference as Nigerians to re-tune Nigeria to re-engineer Nigeria and re-fabricate the fabric with which the country is made up of that has made us to be a very sick country over the years,” Mr Ozekhome stressed.

He had kicked against one of the set rules in the conference centred on how decision would be taken, insisting that the Nigerian constitution stipulates that two-third majority should decide issues and that the conference should go by that set rule in the constitution.

“The issue of two-third or three-quarter voting pattern was not mentioned by the President when he was giving his speech.

“Seventy-five per cent of individuals – 369 delegates – at the conference to vote for an issue is not achievable.

“I can predict that you can never, never get to resolve issues looking at 75 per cent support for a decision,” Mr Ozekhome insisted.

He pointed out that issues bordering on fiscal federalism and resource control, state police, indigeneship, citizenship and devolution of power, were issues that were highly emotive and critical and should be decided by two-third majority which he claimed was more realistic.

 

Sanusi’s Suspension: House Of Reps Expresses Concern About Due Process

The House of Representatives on Monday stressed its stand in the on-going controversy over the suspension of the Central Bank Governor by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Through its spokesman, Zakari Mohammed, the lawmakers pointed out that they had nothing against the president for exercising his powers under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act to remove the CBN Governor.

“We are concerned that people read that CBN Act just by half and then stop. That is worrisome,” he said.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Mohammed expressed the House’s concern about the President’s disregard of the rules of removing the CBN Governor, as stated in the CBN Act.

“Section 11(2F) of the Act states categorically that the CBN Governor can be removed provided it’s supported by two-third majority of the Senate and in this case, we don’t know whether a communication has been sent to the Senate, requesting the removal of the CBN Governor. That is what we are worried about,” he said.

He further stated: “We, in the House of Representatives, want institutions to be built and not individuals. We are not bothered by all the misconducts put together. We are worried about the process of removal because if we as the parliament brought out an Act in 2007 and the Act is being abused, we should stand by it and insist that the right thing should be done.”

Mohammed, who stressed that the President had the right to remove Sanusi, insisted that such an act must be approved by the Senate before it was carried out, contrary to assertions of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, who had aired his views earlier on the programme.

He further accused the President of being selective in the laws he chose to follow as he had sent the names of his nominees to the National Assembly following the suspension which he went ahead to execute without due process.

“The House of Representatives is not saying that a public officer should not be sanctioned but we are saying that the right procedure should be followed,” he said.

Jonathan Should Have Sacked Sanusi Long Ago – Mike Ozekhome

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on Monday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s action against the suspended CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, was long overdue and should have been an outright sack.

Several arguments trailed the President’s decision to suspend the Governor without the required two-third vote from the Senate.

However, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ozekhome argued that Jonathan followed due process under the law.

According to him, the power of the President to remove Sanusi is inherent in the power of an employer to suspend an employee and so it doesn’t even have to be written.

“The CBN Act simply talks about removal from office in Section 11(2F) but it did not dwell on the issue of suspension,” he said and stressed that suspension was a step towards removal or dismissal.

He commended counter arguments by some lawyers that “one of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.”

He, however, gave a counter argument saying “such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.”

The lawyer went further to say that the suspended CBN governor, who was employed directly by the President under Section 8 of the CBN Act, failed in regards to the ethical and behavioural tendencies expected of him and that the autonomy of the institution was subject to the President’s leadership.

“Section 8 says it is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that employed the CBN governor and the deputy governors” adding that “the CBN is autonomous to the extent that it reports to the President” he said.

Ozekhome further argued that the President had followed due procedure in removing Sanusi, as approval by the Senate should come after the deed had been done. “One comes before the other,” he said and maintained that; “dismissal takes place then you go to the Senate for confirmation.”

Ozekhome, who compared Sanusi to unpopular Governors in other countries of the world, said the position of the CBN governor was conservative and that he should not have criticised a government he worked for publicly. “A CBN Governor is supposed to be seen and rarely heard, if at all he should be heard.”

“If you must be a sentinel at the apex bank of Nigeria, like Caesars’ wife, you must be above board,” he said, insisting that “the right thing to do out of self-respect, character and dignity is to put in your letter of resignation” if he had differences with the system.

According to the senior lawyer, Sanusi’s criticism of the Federal Government led to disinvestment and the instability of the Naira. “That is why the Naira has been dancing a ‘yoyo dance’.”

He faulted Sanusi’s inconsistency in reeling out figures, insisting that it undermines the confidence in the economy and currency of the country. “As a CBN Governor he should be master of figures, he shouldn’t stumble because you are playing with figures in the realm of international politics.

“A CBN governor does not have to raise an alarm to the country. There are in-built mechanisms in any government.

“I don’t agree with you that when you work in a system, that the way to work in that system is to flip-flop with figures to the whole world which undermines the economy of that country,” he added.

Security Breakdown Is A Result Of Nigeria’s Sociological Problem – Oyetibo (SAN)

On this edition of the programme, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Tayo Oyetibo examined the issues of security in the country, following the release of his colleague, Mike Ozekhome.

“I think it’s a sociological problem. Even though the security of the nation is being threatened, we must look beyond the immediate incident,” he said.

He admonished the government to provide education and employment to get the masses engaged and occupied as anybody could be a victim.

Mr Oyetibo gave his perspective on the security challenge as well as his take on the crisis in political parties and how best the courts can entertain the numerous applications before them.

Mr Oyetibo is also a prominent member of the Gani Fawehinmi Chambers Alumni Association who rose to become the Deputy Head of the Chambers before leaving to establish his chambers in 1991.