Alleged Contempt: Sheriff Threatens To Jail Makarfi, Others

Ali Modu Sheriff, Ahmed Makarfi, PDP, PDP Crisis
PDP National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff

The crisis rocking the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not appear to be abating, even with the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

The National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to jail his rival Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and some of his loyalists over what he described as ‘contempt of court’.

The former Borno State Governor and the PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, accused Senator Makarfi and others of flouting the order of the court which was delivered on February 17, 2017.

The Appeal Court had in addition to pronouncing Sheriff as the PDP National Chairman, ruled that the removal of the National Working Committee was wrong while the constitution of the caretaker committee was illegal.

Apart from the former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Sheriff also listed three other prominent leaders of the party as those to be jailed by the appellate court.

Others named as alleged contemnors are the two other members of the sacked National Caretaker Committees, Senator Ben Obi (secretary) and Mr Dayo Adeyeye (publicity secretary), and a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode.

In the suit with APPEAL NO: CA/PH/349/2016, Sheriff asked the court to commit the four persons to prison for one year over the alleged contempt.

Apart from the four contemnors, he also listed a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha; a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana; Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, Senator Walid Jibrin; and an aspirant to the office of the party’s national chairman, Mr Bode George, as alleged contemnors.

Close Down Factional Secretariat

The PDP National Chairman, however, did not pray the court to commit Ihedioha, Gana, Jibrin and George to prison.

Rather, he asked the court for an order restraining them from “proclaiming or otherwise holding out to the public that the first to third alleged contemnors are national officers of the PDP for any purpose whatsoever”.

Listed as defendants in the case are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

Senator Sheriff and Professor Oladipo asked the court to stop Senator Makarfi and his group from parading themselves as national officers of the party.

PDP, Ahmed Makarfi
Senator Ahmed Makarfi

They also asked the court to direct the IGP and the DSS to close down the factional secretariat being operated by the Makarfi group.

Apart from that, the duo prayed the court not to transmit the records of the court proceedings to Markarfi and his group, saying they didn’t have the permission of the party to get it.

Defy Court Order

Oladipo, who signed an affidavit in support of the claim, stated that on February 17, “soon after the judgment was delivered, the alleged contemnors proceeded to address the media and to comment negatively, contemptuously, disparagingly and contumeliously on the findings and order of the court set out above.

“Rather than accept that the justice of the matter as determined by this honourable court was as expressed in the findings, holdings and order set out above, the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors made statements encouraging the first to third respondents to defy the order of the court and flout the purpose of the court’s judgment delivered on the 17th of February 2017,” he said.

The PDP National Secretary claimed that it was on this basis that the alleged contemnors placed notices in newspapers, where they convened a meeting of what they called “PDP stakeholders.

“The said meeting was held on Monday, February 20, and was attended by the fourth to eighth alleged contemnors, who made further statements encouraging the first to third alleged contemnors to defy the holdings and order of the court”.

Purpose Of The Judgment

The motion on notice for the committal of the alleged contemnors was filed by eight lawyers, led by a former Minister of Justice, Akin Olujimi, who was joined by two other Senior Advocates of Nigeria – Dr. Alex Izinyon and B. E. Nwofor – among others.

“The actions of the alleged contemnors, as shown in the affidavit in support of this application, have the effort of flouting the purpose of the judgment of this Honourable court, which purpose is to properly regulate the exercise of powers by the alleged contemnors against the applicants and first respondent; avoid any further anarchy, lawlessness and deepening crisis capable of heating up the Nigerian polity; and establish the requirements of the rule of law and due process in the administration of justice.

“Although the alleged contemnors were not parties to the action in court, it is our humble submission that they have a responsibility to ensure that they do not aid and abet the disobedience of the judgment order or treat the said judgment with disdain and disrespect,” the lawyers stated.

Senator Markarfi and the other faction of the party are believed to have filed an application seeking for stay of execution of the judgment and leave for appeal.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of Sheriff’s case, which was filed on February 24, 2017.‎

Seized Funds: APC Reps Stage Walk Out Over Controversial $9.3m

Seized Funds

The House of Representatives session got off to a rowdy start on Tuesday morning as opposition lawmakers stormed out of plenary.

This was after the lower chamber rejected a motion to investigate the impounding of a private jet in South Africa, laden with 9.3 million dollars purportedly to buy arms for the Nigerian Government.

Members of the All Progressives Congress at the House of Representatives staged a walkout on the House after a stalled debate on the controversial $9.3m seized by the South African government.

Opposition lawmakers believe the Federal Government has some explaining to do and are urging them not to sweep the matter under the carpet.

They questioned the decision of the speaker not to allow a debate on the matter.

But the Deputy Majority Leader, Leo Ogor, disputed the opposition lawmakers’ stands, insisting that the motion would have amounted to waste of parliamentary time.

The opposition lawmakers are also saying that the matter is far from over, as they will try to re-introduce the matter on the floor of the House of Representatives.

They urged Nigerians to demand an explanation to the matter.


Last week, South African authorities dismissed the Nigerian Government’s explanation about the purpose of the seized funds which was seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli for flawed discrepancies.

The Federal Government had submitted relevant data and transaction details to the South African authorities, insisting that the seized funds were not laundered or smuggled for any covert reasons.

Attempts to debate the motion on Tuesday failed after a voice vote called by the presiding Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, went in favour of the majority, who opposed the debate.

House Reiterates Commitment To Passing Petroleum Industry Bill

Emeka IhediohaThe House of Representatives has reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed soon.

At the 3rd Downstream Stakeholders’ Conference of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream in Abuja on Monday, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, said that the House would do its best to ensure that the Bill would be passed after serious scrutiny.

“The role of legislation in driving development in the oil and gas sector cannot be overemphasised.

“The primary legislation in the oil and gas sector, which is the Petroleum Industry Bill, is currently under consideration in the National Assembly and the House of Representatives has subjected the bill to serious scrutiny and is committed to passing it soon.

“I am certain that you will say this is a recurrent thing we always say. They say the bill is coming, the bill is coming, yes, we are taking our time to consider the bill.

“Take my words very seriously, the house shall consider the bill and shall pass it,” he said.

The Petroleum Industry Bill is seen as one legislation that will correct the anomalies in the oil and gas sector and bring about needed development in the sector, as it would remove the uncertainty in the sector that stakeholders said was hindering investments in the sector.