It has been an atmosphere of tears and anger in parts of Osun State as Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in the early hours of Sunday, April 23, 2017, at a private hospital in Osogbo, was laid to rest on Monday.
Mr Adeleke was the first civilian governor of Osun state and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who later defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Angry supporters of the late Senator, trooped out to express their grief, following the sudden death of the politician by barricading the Osogbo-Gbogan expressway and making bonfires on the very busy road.
While their actions had led to a gridlock, and motorists were forced to use alternative routes, armed policemen, however, moved to the scene and cleared the barricade.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a 100 million Naira suit instituted by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, and his family against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over allegations of property seizure.
Justice AbdulAziz Anka held that the suit lacked merit.
The Senator, his wife, his two sons, Gbolahan, Babajide and his daughter-in-law, had dragged the EFCC before the judge over allegations bordering on what they considered a breach of their fundamental rights.
Specifically, the plaintiffs had asked Justice Anka to make a declaration that the forceful seizure of their personal effects by the EFCC amounted to a gross violation of their rights.
The judge was equally urged to issue an order, setting aside the forceful detention of their property during a raid on June 14, 2016.
They also made a demand for an “unreserved public apology”, as well as the sum of 100 million Naira as general damages from the anti-graft agency.
The Obanikoros also wanted the court to issue an order restraining the anti-graft agency from arresting, detaining or harassing them or entering their premises again to seize their property.
On their part, the EFCC argued that Senator Obanikoro got suspicious payments from the Office of the National Security Adviser through some companies linked to the family.
The anti-graft agency argued that $1,018,000 was transferred from the office of the NSA to Mob Integrated Services on March 18, 2015.
The family through their counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN), however told the judge that the said documents and property seized by the EFCC had nothing to do with the office of the NSA.
Justice Anka’s ruling subsequently held that the application of the Obanikoros lacked judicial procedure and was incompetent.
He also noted that the applicants’ houses were searched by the EFCC based on search warrants secured by the anti-graft agency from the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court.
The judge further said he could not declare the recovered items as null and void, so as not to foreclose the possibility of the EFCC tendering them as exhibits in imminent criminal cases against the Obanikoros.
He added that if the claimants decide to make a case of breach of their rights, they could do so during the criminal trial.
Policy analyst, Tokunbo Adedeji, has stated reasons why the investigative process of the committee set up by the Presidency, over the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Babachir and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, should be kept behind closed doors.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, he also raised concerns that it is not enough to accuse and probe but rather, claims of wrong doing must be proven.
“It’s a step in the right direction that the general public is getting to know a number of the rot that we have had in the system – It is good and it is salutary that these issues be pursued.
“However, we must all remind ourselves that it is not just a question of doing wrong or accusing someone of doing wrong, you must be able to prove that the person has done wrong. Therefore, there is the course of the law that must be followed.
“Under the present circumstance, we have seen a number of cases go to court and lost in court by the Federal Government and therefore, I would imagine that the Federal Government wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes again,” Mr Adedeji stated.
Hands Are Tied
Speaking further on the intentions of the Government, he said: “What they have done in this instance of the NIA DG, is to ensure that they follow the due process.
“I think where their hands are tied with regards to the NIA DG is simply because he came up to own that the money found in Ikoyi, belongs to his organisation and it was meant for a covert operation. Once you hear that, then you have to be a little bit careful. It may be true, it may not be true.
“That’s why there is need to find out internally – That’s why they set up that committee internally to be able to go through that process.”
He, therefore agreed that the investigative process should continue behind closed doors because of the nature of the issue of the DG.
“These are people who in other climes are faceless – You don’t even know who they are – That particular organisation, they remain faceless. Therefore, it is left for us to understand without emotion, the direction these things are going.”
According to Mr Adedeji, there are certain things that are said there that are meant for internal consumption only and eventually the outcome of the investigations would be presented to Nigerian.
“I would want to believe that the position of the Vice President is in line with the position of the President with regards to corruption and therefore, he would follow through with that determination that if it is true that this is a corrupt practice, it will be exposed and the person would be made to go through the process of investigation before they even go to court.”
The Nigerian Government has come into an agreement with the World Bank group to scale up disbursements for critical projects in the country.
Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun told journalists in Washington at the end of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings that the power sector in particular, has received the backing of the World Bank and other development partners.
“If there is one thing that would really drive growth in Nigeria, its power. If we had to choose just one thing, it would be power because of the number of jobs it would create, the number of opportunities and amount of wealth it would create. So we have said getting power right is non-negotiable.”
She further stated that all the projects are contained in the economic recovery and growth plan adding that while the foundation has been laid, implementation is what is left.
“This phase we are now, is about implementation. We’ve put the foundations in place, now it’s about really accelerating the implementation in certain key areas and we are quite confident that we are going to get back to growth and hopefully, would be sustainable growth that would be less volatile so that even if the oil price falls in future, Nigeria would not be as vulnerable as we have found ourselves in the last few years.”
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday, ruled that there was insufficient evidence to order the removal of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office over corruption allegations leveled by the opposition.
A verdict to dismiss Sharif would have left his party in power but would have brought turmoil at a time when Pakistan is experiencing modest growth and improved security, and the civilian government and powerful military have appeared to come to uneasy terms.
According to Reuters, two of five judges on the court bench recommended Sharif should step down, saying he was dishonest “to the nation as well as to the parliament”, but they were out voted.
Presenting its 549-page judgment amid tight security in the capital Islamabad, the court however, ordered a joint investigation team be formed to look into allegations around three of Sharif’s four children using offshore companies to buy properties in London.
The team has two months to complete its inquiry, after which a special bench will decide what action to take. The court said this in a ruling that opened with the epigraph from Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”.
The Prime Minister and his children had denied any wrongdoing and have expressed openness towards the court’s latest ruling.
“We are ready for all kinds of investigation,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the court.
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta has pleaded not guilty to eight charges bordering on false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government before the tribunal.
According to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Justice Ngwuta contravened section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, laws of the federation of Nigeria, which is punishable under section 23 (2) of the Act.
The Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter for hearing to July 12, 2017 after the judge pleaded not guilty.
Justice Ngwuta is one of the judges whose residence was raided in October 2016 by the Department of Security Service, which uncovered huge sums of money in in the process.
He is also standing trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16 counts bordering on money laundering.
A legal practitioner, John Oloyede, has faulted the Federal Government’s idea of setting up a committee to investigate issues surrounding the suspension of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.
He said in Nigeria, committees are set up to cover up lies. “There is a lie and you need a bigger lie to cover it up”.
“Why should the Vice President be heading a committee to investigate an allegation of crime against two individuals.
Dead On Arrival
“Secondly, the Attorney General and even the Presidency authored a response to the allegations by the Senate, giving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation a clean bill of health previously.
“The clean bill of health was on the basis of a report that was submitted by the Attorney General of the Federation. You now set up a committee; that committee is dead on arrival.
“If you suspect that there is some proof that something untoward has been done and is an infraction of the law, the proper procedure is not to set up a committee that is dead on arrival.”
The lawyer therefore stated that the President should have taken a different step, rather than setting up a committee headed by the Vice President.
Let EFCC Investigate
“In Nigeria, you set up institutions and decapitate the institutions,” he said, while also noting that “what Professor Sani said, is playing out. You do not move two different sets of rules to fight corruption.
“If there is an allegation of crime against somebody, first and foremost, where did the first report come from? Now that it has become apparent to you (Mr President), that there is a problem with this particular person or persons, aren’t there institutions that are presently fighting the war on corruption? The EFCC, DSS, Police? He questioned.
“That administrative step should not be in public domain, it is not our business,” Oloyede added.
According to him, “the important thing now is that once a person is suspended, the EFCC should do their work.
“Let them investigate this person, just like they are investigating and charging other people to court. Why have two sets of rules for the same kind of crimes.”
He holds the belief that since the AGF had absolved the SGF before, he could easily do same this time around as he would not want to double speak. However, if he does otherwise, then his previous report would be questioned.
“If he says this man is guilty as charged, then we’ll say where did you get your false report before, why didn’t you do a thorough investigation? The chief law officer, involved in double speak, that is untoward,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, other reactions have continued to trail the suspension. The Chairman of the Senate’s Ad-hoc Committee on Humanitarian crises in the North East, Shehu Sani, however, stated that the suspension of Mr Babachir Lawal will not interrupt its ongoing investigation of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of 449,750,000 Naira to the Federal Government, found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed, of the LEGICO Shopping Plaza in Victoria Island.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who was sitting as the vacation judge, for the Easter holidays, ordered the forfeiture of the money after listening to an Ex-parte application filed and argued before his court by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.
The EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one of its operatives, Moses Awolusi, submitted that the commission received an intelligence report on April 7, 2017, that money in several Ghana must go bags were warehoused in one of the shops located at the LEGICO shopping Plaza.
The intelligence report according to the EFCC, was analysed and found worthy of investigation.
Upon inquires into the ownership of the shop (number LS64) where the exhibit was recovered, the EFCC said their investigations indicated that the shop had not been opened for close to two years.
Also, according to the commission, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the plaza, Mr Sulaiman Mukthar Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, could also not trace the identity of the owner of the shop, but came to EFCC’s office with one Mohammed Tauheed, who claimed ownership of the money.
He then informed the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a serving Government official whose name he would not disclose for security reasons.
The EFCC further stated that thereafter, Mohammed Tauheed in the presence of his lawyer agreed to return the money back to Federal Government of Nigeria who is the rightful owner of the money.
The anti-graft agency then concluded that Mohammed Tauheed who has been arrested in connection with the money, criminally conspired with the owner of the shop (now at large) to launder the said funds.
After laying all its facts before the court, the EFCC told Justice Aikawa that it would be in the interest of Justice if the court could, in the interim, make an order of forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The EFCC also requested that the court allows Tauheed or any other person to be put on notice and appear before the court within 14 days to state reasons why the money found in their possession should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Justice Aikawa granted the request and also ordered the EFCC to advertise the order of the court within 14 days for any interested party to come forward and convince the court as to why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The matter was subsequently adjourned till May 19.
Officers and men of the Ondo State Police Command have been deployed to the Akure-Ilesa and the Owo- Ikare-Akoko Highways as well as some other roads across the state in order to combat criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnapping.
Speaking to journalists during one of her visits to supervise operations on the highway, the State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro- Harrison disclosed that the essence of the deployment is to ensure that the lives and property of people travelling on the road are safe and well secured.
The CP expressed sadness on the incident of armed robbery that took place on the highway in March, in which a former Managing Director of Daily Times, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, lost his life.
She however thanked all stakeholders in the state including the government, traditional rulers, hunters, vigilanté groups and all security agencies for their support for the police in ensuring security.
Harrison also noted that the deployment of police on the Owo-Ikare roads in stop and search duties has actually helped in putting pressure on the abductors of a traditional ruler in the state, Oba Joel Sunday Daodu, the Oniyani of Iyani- Akoko, leading to his release by his captors.
The Ogun state government has confirmed the availability of 20,000 tonnes of fertilizer at 5,500 Naira per bag, to farmers across the state to ensure a hitch free 2017 planting season.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo, mentioned this at a meeting with officials of the World Bank and members of the private sector in Abeokuta the state capital.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, also assured business owners in the state of right policies and programmes to support their investments.
“There is need to close the gap between the government and the private sector, which is very key and that is wha we are working on. You would see that you are our greatest asset.
“The Ogun state government wants to engage you, we want to know what your problems are. We will look at the issue of policy, where we have the wrong policies, you can come back to us and say this your policy is not moving business forward.”
While advising entrepreneurs not to leave everything to the government alone, he also noted that both the entrepreneurs and the government are partners in progress.
As reactions have continued to trail the ownership of funds recovered in an apartment in Ikoyi by the EFCC, Legal Practitioner, Femi Falana (SAN), believes that Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations.
“For me, Nigeria is being exposed to unprecedented ridicule before the committee of nations, if criminal elements, former public officers and departments of government are competing to hide American Dollars, millions of dollars, in private apartments or dump sites, we are in trouble.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the fact that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had laid claims to the cash, Mr Falana urged the government to act transparently and consciously on such matters because according to him, any other agency can equally come up and lay claims to discovered funds, saying that they were from covert operations.
“I think the National Intelligence Agency, should not be allowed by the Buhari administration to play on the intelligence of Nigerians – We’ve gone beyond all this petty level of an agency of the government trying to frustrate a serious policy of the government.
“If care is not taken and if this explanation is accepted by the government, you could just forget about the whistle-blowing policy.”
“What stops another agency tomorrow if you call on the EFCC or the ICPC, or even the office of the Attorney General, saying we have stumbled on money somewhere, can you go there? – What stops them from coming on to say, sorry, that is our money from covert operations?”.
He, however, predicted that the Attorney General would likely advise the agency, saying: “If you are sure that you can substantiate your claim to the ownership of the money, go to the Federal High Court and file a counter affidavit”.
Meanwhile, in response to whether or not he feels the EFCC knows the owner of the money, he said: “It goes beyond going to explain to the President, which in fact is an embarrassment – If after two years, the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the country, was not made aware of this covert operation, I think we are in trouble”.
Furthermore, in response to speculations as to whether or not the discovery of funds was a cover up, Mr Falana stated: “There is a procedure to know whether it is a cover up or not and that position must be followed by the government.
“I read yesterday that the President has referred the matter to the office of the honorable Attorney General for investigation, I think the matter has left that stage.
“Under the Money Laundering Act, once a suspected proceed of crime has been taken to court as in this case, the Federal High Court on the basis of the application of the EFCC, has made an order of interim forfeiture of that money, it is no longer a matter for the presidency”.
He, however, noted that what is important is the fact that the Presidency is just being briefed now, a situation which he feels is more than meets the eye – “It’s embarrassing,” the lawyer asserted.