Ile-Arugbo: Court Fixes March 25 For Hearing After Parties Fail To Settle

 

A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin has fixed March 25, 2020, for definite hearing on the case between the Saraki family and the state government.

Both parties have been in dispute over the demolition of the Saraki family home known as Ile Arugbo, which was demolished by the state government.

According to the state government, the property which was used as a venue for political meetings was destroyed over alleged illegality in its acquisition.

Counsels to both parties had told the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Adewara, that the matter will be settled out of court.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Ize-Iyamu’s Alleged Money Laundering Case To March 26

However, Channels Television gathered that several meeting held at the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, ended in a brick wall as both parties failed to reach amicable terms of a settlement.

In the terms of the settlement, the Kwara government wants the land to be left for the public interest; but the claimant proposed that the government should vacate the revocation order on three plots on Illofa road, GRA, which Ile Arugbo sits on.

The claimants added that the government should rebuild all the demolished structures on the land, and issue a public apology to the aged who were traumatised by the demolition.

On Mondays sitting, Justice Adewara commended both parties for trying to find an amicable resolution to the crisis as advised by the court, and fixed March 25 for the hearing of the case.

EFCC Vs Saraki: Court Fixes April 27 For Judgment

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 27 for its judgment in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seeking the final forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State, belonging to a former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa fixed the date after listening to arguments for and against the final forfeiture of the houses to the Federal Government.

In its submission before the court, counsel to the Commission, Rotimi Oyedepo said the Former Senate President spent N1.09bn on the two houses, funds which he alleged were stolen from the coffers of Kwara State.

READ ALSO: Court Declares Impeachment Of Kogi Ex-Deputy Governor Achuba Illegal

The anti-graft agency claimed that it had evidence that Saraki, who was Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, diverted not less than N1bn belonging to the state.

On Dec 2, 2019, the agency obtained an interim order temporarily forfeiting the houses – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – to the Federal Government.

It is now urging the court to make the interim forfeiture order permanent, a move that Saraki, through his lawyer, Mr Kehinde Ogunwunmiju (SAN), vehemently opposed.

In an affidavit filed before the court, an officer of the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari, said the anti-graft agency found that while he was Kwara State governor, Saraki allegedly diverted N100m on a monthly basis from the federal allocation to the state.
She said the N100m was usually diverted from the Kwara State Government account to the account of the Kwara State Government House.

She said following the transfer, one Mr Afeez Yusuf, acting on Saraki’s instructions, usually went to withdraw the money from the Kwara State Government House account and took the case to the Government House.

She said, “After the funds were stacked in the Kwara State Government House, it was then fraudulently dissipated and taken away in cash by Messrs Abdul Adama, Ubi Ofem and Ubi Austin, acting on the instructions and direction of Dr Bukola Saraki in violent breach of public trust.

“That in this scheme of fraud alone, about N10bn was fraudulently diverted from the treasury of the Kwara State Government.

“That part of the proceeds of the aforementioned fraud were reasonably suspected to have been comingled with other funds used for the development of the property sought to be forfeited.”

Buhari said Adama, Ofem, and Austin, using a fictitious name, usually paid the diverted N100m into the bank accounts of contractors who built the houses.

But opposing the application for the final forfeiture of his client’s houses, Saraki’s lawyer, Ogunwunmiju, said they were built from his legitimate earnings.

The SAN said N252.2m out of the N1.09bn used for developing the property represented what Saraki was paid for the development of a five-bedroom apartment, which he was entitled to as a two-term governor of Kwara State.

Ogunwunmiju also pointed the attention of Justice Aikawa to the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 of Kwara State, which stipulated that an elected two-term governor of the state was entitled to a five- and four-bedroomed duplex, respectively, at any location of their choice within Kwara State.

He said rather than allow the state to build the house for him, Saraki chose to collect N252.2m so he could add money to it to build a house to his taste.

Ogunwunmiju argued that if it was true, as alleged by the EFCC, that the document leading to the release of the N252.2m was forged by an official of the Kwara State Government, the payment to Saraki was still not illegitimate because it was provided for under the law.

He, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the EFCC’s application for being an abuse of court processes, saying the same issues had been taken before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where Saraki was vindicated.

But counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, countered by insisting that as long as Saraki failed to explain how he came about the over N700m, which he added to the N252.2m to develop the houses, they were liable to be forfeited to the Federal Government.

After arguments that lasted for over five hours, Justice Aikwa fixed April 27 for judgment.

Demolition: Your Action Shows What ‘Ile Arugbo’ Represents, Saraki Tells Supporters

 

Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has commended supporters of his family for showing support and displayed affection during the demolition of his family home popularly called ‘Ile Arugbo’ by the Kwara State government.

The building was demolished in the early hours of Thursday morning after police dispersed protesters, including old women.

Dr Saraki, while reacting said the actions of the protesters showed that they were not intimidated by the presence of security and government officials who perfected the orders of the state government.

“Following development this morning in Ile Arugbo, I want to commend the women, men, old and young, who displayed their affection, love and staunch support for my late father and the family.

“I appreciate the genuine support of the women and youths who stood firmly in the face of aggression and naked show of force.”

RELATED: Kwara Government Demolishes Saraki’s Family Property In Ilorin

Kwara Govt Explains Why Saraki’s Property Was Demolished

The former senate president said that the actions by the protesters have shown a gesture of goodwill and passionate love, hoping that justice shall prevail soon.

“Your action throughout the night gave full expression to my belief that what Ile Arugbo represents to all of us is etched in our hearts. It goes beyond the physical structure. I am happy that you were not intimidated as you stood your ground.

“This day will go down as the day you reciprocated the love and affection my father and family have for you. You have displayed a gesture of goodwill and passionate love. We assure you that justice shall prevail in a not too distant future. May God bless us all.”

Demolition Of Saraki’s Family House Is Wicked, Says PDP

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the demolition of a property belonging to the family of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the Kwara state government.

The PDP described the invasion and demolition as wicked, cowardly and a direct recipe for a huge crisis in the state.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the action of the state government is borne out of hatred and political intolerance.

“The party holds that it is clear that the action of the state government is borne out of hatred and political intolerance, in furtherance of the larger plot by the APC and its administration to intimidate, suppress, hound, crush and silence opposition and dissenting voices in our country, in the bid to foist a siege mentality on the citizenry.

“The PDP dismisses the reasons being spewed by the APC administration for this New Year dastardly act as baseless, false and incongruous, as they fail to add up, to justify the ferocious invasion, harassment of citizens and demolition of the said property.”

READ ALSO: Kwara Govt Explains Why Saraki’s Property Was Demolished

It added that the early morning demolition exercise shows that the state government carried out an unwholesome operation.

“The timing of the invasion and demolition, in the wee hours and under the cover of darkness, is a direct indication that the state government was carrying out an unwholesome and condemnable operation during which defenseless women were fired with gunshots.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that demolition of property, genuinely belonging to opposition leaders and other Nigerians perceived to be opposed to APC’s oppressive administration, has become a policy of the APC and its government in their bid to subjugate Nigerians and exclusively appropriate our common patrimony for their selfish purposes.

“Our party, therefore, stands with Senator Saraki and cautions the Kwara state government to henceforth steer clear of the property.”

VIDEO: Woman Angrily Reacts To Demolition Of Saraki’s Family Home

 

Reactions are trailing the demolition of  Bukola Saraki’s family property popularly known as Ile Arugbo (old people’s home) in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.

In the video below, Omotayo Ibrahim, a lady who witnessed the process, reacts furiously at the way the demolition took place.

READ ALSO: Kwara Govt Explains Why Saraki’s Property Was Demolished

Earlier on Thursday, the Kwara State government demolished Bukola Saraki’s family property popularly known as Ile Arugbo (old people’s home) in Ilorin, the state capital.

The property was demolished after police dispersed protesters, including old women.

Policemen, numbering about 50 were said to have gone to enforce the action at about 3:00 am but were initially resisted by some the old women.

The security agents later returned at 4:00 am when the structure was eventually pulled down.

The structure was used as a venue for political meetings when the Saraki family held sway over Kwara Government.

Seizure of Assets: Court Misled Into Granting Temporary Forfeiture Order – Saraki

 

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has stated that his attention has been drawn to an order said to have been granted by a Federal High Court in Lagos for a temporary forfeiture of his property on 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the Federal High Court in Lagos must have been misled into granting that order as neither him nor his lawyers were aware of any application by the EFCC for any forfeiture order.

He said there is a subsisting court order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, in which the same property was a subject matter and where the EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Justice were parties. The court in that case gave an order restraining the EFCC from taking any further action until the matter is determined.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Property

“We are sure the FHC judge in Lagos was not aware of all these facts and has therefore been misled into giving the temporary forfeiture order. The affected property, House Number 17 A and 17B, was specifically listed in the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in which the EFCC was part of the prosecution and the case went up to the Supreme Court where the apex court in its July 6, 2018 judgement ruled in his favour.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that the source of funds for the purchase of the property was not illicit as claimed by the prosecution. On pages 12, 13 and 26 of the judgement of the highest court, this particular property on 17A McDonald Street, Ikoyi, was specifically referred to and the court upheld the no case submission of Dr. Saraki and therefore ruled in his favour.

“We know that any action which tends to mislead the court amounts to misrepresentation and it is a good ground for us to get the Court to throw away the order it issued today. We are sure the order will be reversed.

“We therefore call on all the friends, associates and supporters of Dr. Saraki to remain calm because we know this action will not stand when the court gets to hear the side of the former Senate President”, Saraki stated

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Saraki’s Property

BREAKING! Asset Declaration: Supreme Court Discharges Saraki Of All Charges
Bukola Saraki

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday 21st of October 2019, ordered the interim forfeiture of two properties located at Ikoyi area of Lagos state belonging to the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Ilorin zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an exparte application filed by the commission’s lawyer Nnaemeka Omewa approached the court seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties, alleging that they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.

Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed Liman who ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties said the EFCC should publish the order in a national daily within fourteen days and further the matter for report of compliance with the order of court.

The commission had sought for four orders before Justice Liman, in respect of the controversial property.

READ ALSO: #RevolutionNow: Court Varies Sowore’s Bail Condition

Part of the relief sought by the EFCC include “an order of this honourable court forfeiting to the federal government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as no. 17a Mcdonald road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”

“an interim order of this honourable court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the landed property with its appurtenances situate, lying and known as no 17 Mcdonald road, Ikoyi in Eti Osa local government area , Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”

Justice Liman relying on the documents attached to the matter resolved all the issues raised in favour of the EFCC.

The commission in an affidavit alleged that the former president of the Nigerian Senate acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity.

Part of the affidavit reads, “trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further disguise the source and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making payments into exhibit EFCC 3 using fictitious names ”

The EFCC further alleged that the former Nigeria number three citizen while serving as the executive Governor of Kwara State withdrew over twelve billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid directly into his account domiciled in Access and Zenith banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama at different intervals.

Saraki, Fayose Celebrate World Teachers’ Day

 

Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose have joined Nigerians to celebrate the World Teachers’ Day.

They both took to their Twitter page to show their appreciation to teachers.

Saraki said, “Today is #WorldTeachersDay and my thoughts go to all teachers, at every level, who I refer to as great builders and real mentors. After our creator and parents, the teachers are the next most important influence in life. They mould great leaders and guide the top professionals.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila Calls For Improved Welfare Package For All Teachers

“I remember a particular one among my many teachers, our French teacher in Kings College. She was more than somebody just out to impart knowledge. She truly cared about us and was so passionate about our success in life.

While Mr. Fayose said, “Today, I celebrate all my teachers and other teachers, serving retired or dead. May God bless them all.

“I congratulate teachers in Nigeria, particularly in Ekiti as they celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2019.I appreciate the young teachers, who are future of the profession & pray that they’II will be rewarded for educating our next generation of leaders in their lifetime. Happy Teachers’ Day”

I Rate The Eight National Assembly Low On Patriotism – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that he rates the Eight National Assembly very low on patriotism.

According to President Buhari, this is because the National Assembly stayed seven months without passing the budget his government presented.

In an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), The President said a wrong culture was developed in the National Assembly, suggesting that they (the Legislators) dictate the terms.

Buhari said the Legislators were acting like they were the government of the day, adding that by so doing they were holding the nation to ransom.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs 2019 Budget

He said, “I think a culture was developed in the National Assembly, that they should dictate the terms, I think it was wrong.

“It is the Executive that dictates the terms and take it before the Legislature that will examine it and agree or disagree with it.

“But when they go around posing that they are the government and not the Executive then that is a problem”.

President Buhari went on to reveal that he had to speak with the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure that they put aside their own interests for the good of the nation.

“I personally spoke to the Senate President, Saraki and the Leader of the House, Dogara, they could not deny it, I asked them how do they feel to hold the country to ransom for seven months without passing a budget?

“I told them that personally they are not hurting me, they are hurting the country.

“So really, in terms of patriotism, I think I rated them very, very low indeed”.

President Buhari said that holding the budget to ransom for seven months cannot be justified.

He said that he is frustrated because his government cannot move faster with all the projects that they have set out to achieve.

The President however said that some success have been achieved in his first term including bringing a relieve to the people in Nigeria’s Northeastern region.

Magu Speaks About EFCC Probe Of Saraki, Okorocha, Naira Marley

 

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has been speaking about the latest efforts by the agency to fight corruption in the country.

He says the commission is more determined to unravel more cases of money laundering and financial crimes allegedly committed by some prominent Nigerians.

In this interview with Channels Television’s London correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, Mr Magu confirmed that an investigation is underway involving the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

Asked if an investigation is ongoing regarding the governor, he responded, “definitely”.

“Of course, we are doing a couple of checks and investigations here and there. We are investigating almost everybody,” the EFCC boss added.

He also explained that there is nothing personal in the EFCC’s probe of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The EFCC boss described the case involving rising star Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, as most unfortunate.

 

 

Fresh Probe: You Are Not Above The Law, EFCC Tells Saraki

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said Senate President Bukola Saraki is not above the law.

EFCC’s statement comes on the heels of statements that a fresh probe against the Senate President is a “witch-hunt”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the EFCC said it has taken note of the reactions of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to the Commission’s inquiries regarding his earnings as Kwara State governor as well as on the quality of his financial stewardship in the Senate.

The anti-graft agency noted that while it is Saraki’s prerogative to ventilate his views on the matter as he deems fit, the Commission takes great exception at the desperate attempt to cast a slur on its investigative activities by portraying Saraki as a victim of persecution.

Furthermore, the agency said it finds the attempt by the Senate President to tie its inquest to his International Human Rights Commission, IHRC appointment and his approaching life out of power as misleading, because the background to its current inquiries spans several years back.

READ ALSO: PDP Condemns Arrest Of Senator Adeleke, Demands Immediate Release

According to the EFCC’s statement, the anti-graft body said it is the agency’s mandate to probe and ensure accountability continues to exist in the governance space.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC is obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space and has supremely pursued this duty without ill-will or malice against anyone.

The statement partly reads,”It is in the interest of the public, and for Saraki’s personal good, that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.

“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC have had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law.

“Against the background of the posse of indicting petitions and other evidence available to the EFCC, even Saraki will agree with the Commission that putting him through a legitimate forensic inquiry is the legitimate route to establish his integrity as a public servant.

“The distinguished Senate President has no need to fret so long as he has no skeletons in his cupboard.

“The Commission has a sacred mandate to rid the country of corruption and corrupt elements and restates its unflinching resolve to achieve these, no matter whose ox is gored”.

PDP Condemns EFCC’s Fresh Probe Against Saraki

 

 

The PDP has condemned the renewed probe of Senate President and Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign, Senator Bukola Saraki, by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). 

The PDP in a statement on Wednesday, expressed concern that the EFCC is now being used as a tool in the hand of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), thus terming the new probe a “Witch-hunt”.

In the communique signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said Saraki’s probe is part of the larger plot for a renewed clamp-down on key opposition figures and perceived political opponents of the APC administration, particularly, to frustrate the determination for the party to win at the presidential election tribunal.

The PDP said the new probe is a desperate attempt to nail Saraki, adding that this is done at the expense of other investigations involving members of the APC, some with highly incriminating evidence.

READ ALSO: Fresh Probe: You Are Not Above The Law, EFCC Tells Saraki

“The party says nothing else can explain the Federal Government’s obnoxious and distasteful resort to intimidation and evidence-fishing, just to nail Senator Saraki at all costs, even when nothing incriminating has been found in his stewardship as Governor of Kwara state, after several investigations.

“The Federal Government is hounding Senator Saraki even after he has been prosecuted but discharged and acquitted by the Supreme Court, after the government failed to substantiate claims of false asset declaration against him.

“The PDP holds that this renewed witch-hunt tailored against Senator Saraki and perceived opposition leaders further confirms that the Buhari Presidency and the APC have become frenetic over the overwhelming evidence that our party will present at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

“Moreover, our party already has information on how certain elements in the APC have plotted to cash in on the new siege to harm key leaders of our party, under certain guise.

“The APC is called upon to note that Nigerians are already aware of the truth in all issues leading to this renewed harassment of the Senate President. We insist that no harm must come to Senator Saraki or any member of his family” the statement read in parts.