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.‎

Presidency Has No Hand In EFCC Affairs – Information Minister

EFCCThe Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has no hands in the way the EFCC carries out its functions.

Mr Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday to State House correspondents in Abuja while responding to reactions trialling Mr Olisa Metuh’s arrest by the EFCC.

The Minister challenged the media to carry out investigations on such reports to authenticate whether such allegations are true or false.

“I think the first point to make is that this government is not micro-managing any of the anti-graft agencies. I know for a fact that they don’t contact the President or anybody before they do their job.

“I think the media also has to do more than they are doing right now, they should investigate these allegations and also make their independent judgment about it.

“Honestly, if the EFCC or ICPC says that they are able to trace certain amount of money to my account, I don’t want you to believe it, I want you to also ask for proof; do your investigation.

“I can assure you that this government, no functionary in government micromanages or directs the EFCC or ICPC on who to arrest and who not to arrest”, he said.

This is coming after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday morning.

According to a statement, officials of the anti-graft agency told the opposition party spokesman that he was being invited on a friendly note to answer questions at the EFCC Headquarters in Abuja.

The PDP subsequently released a statement, signed by its National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, that the arrest of Mr Metuh was part of a larger script by the government to ensure that the party’s wings were finally clipped.

The party said that it was not surprised by the arrest because according to them, it came after series of threats on the PDP spokesperson.

“The excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution,” the statement read.

 

PDP Reacts To Metuh’s Arrest

PDP
PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo,

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised an alarm over the arrest of its spokesperson, Mr Olisa Metuh.

The party, in a statement by its National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, said that the arrest of Mr Metuh, based on an intelligence the party claims it got, is part of a larger script by the government to ensure that PDP’s wings are finally clipped.

Professor Oladipo added that the effort was part of a mission of the APC-led government to install a dictatorial one-party state in the country.

The party, however, said that it is not surprised by Mr Metuh’s arrest because according to them, it came after series of threats on their party’s spokesperson.

The PDP then said that “the excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution.”

The party went further to say that it was “aware of top directives to break Chief Metuh and if possible poison him during his detention by the EFCC”.

The PDP alleged that Mr Metuh has, since his arrest at about 10AM on Tuesday morning, been kept incommunicado, with his lawyers denied access to him.

The opposition party alleged that the arrest of its spokesperson is the last straw that may break Nigeria’s democracy.

The party then forewarned the Federal Government and its agencies to save the nation’s democracy and release its National Publicity Secretary.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arrested the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, but is yet to disclose the reasons behind the arrest.

Mr Metuh, had several days ago, released statements on alleged threat on him because of his “efforts at criticising the ruling party and the actions of the government”.

He said that on account of information available to him, he had cause to believe that the Federal Government was desperate and might have finalised plans to silence him.

PDP Cautions APC Not To Interfere In National Assembly Crisis

PDPThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allow the legislative arm of Government to be independent.

Speaking to newsmen in Ile-Ife town, Osun State‎, the Acting National Chairman of the PDP and the National Secretary, Uche Sekondus and Professor Wale Oladipo, described the ongoing crisis in the National Assembly as unfortunate and undemocratic.

According to the PDP leadership, democratic institutions should be allowed to conduct their affairs independently without interference from any party.

They added that the will of the people should be respected, stressing that the PDP will support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as long as he is in line with the wish of the Nigerian populace.