Lagos, Ondo Commissioners, 29 Others Bag SAN Title

Lagos, Ondo Commissioners, 29 Others Bag SAN Title
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The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee has named the Commissioners of Justice and Attorney-Generals in Lagos and Ondo states, Mosediq Kazeem and Adekola Olawoye, as Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).

The committee also announced the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Professor Olarenwaju Fagbohun, and that of the University of Ilorin, Professor Mohammed Akanbi, as well as 27 others as those who were conferred with the title.

Secretary of the committee and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs Hadizatu Mustapha, disclosed this to reporters on Thursday in Abuja.

She added that the new SANs include Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose – the only female on the list, Professor Isah Chiroma, Professor Wahab Egbewole, and Professor Oforinze Amucheazi.

Others are Oba Maduabuchi, Essien Udom, Metong Urombo, George Igbokwe, Olubowale Taiwo, Oluwole Iyamu, Stephen Adehi, and Olusegun Akinbiyi.

Also on the list are Emmanuel Achukwu, Kenneth Ahia, Louis Alozie, Adeyinla Olumide-Fusika, Johnson Ojo, Wole Agunbiade, Olayode Delano, and Tanimu Inuwa.

The rest are Sonny Wogu, Adewale Atake, Ikhide Ehighelua, Edmund Obiagwu, Cosmas Enweluzo, Ishiaka Mudi, and Olabode Olanipekun – the son of the legal luminary, Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

The LPPC secretary revealed that a total of 106 lawyers with 83 under advocacy and 23 under academic applied for the new rank.

She said at the end of the 135th plenary session of the committee, only 31 applicants were found worthy to be conferred with the privileged rank.

You Have Declared Result Of June 12 Elections, Falana Tells Buhari

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Tuesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari has announced the result of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election.

Falana, who was one of the invited guests at the Special National Honours Investiture held, on Tuesday, in Abuja said this is due to the honour which President Muhammadu Buhari has bestowed Moshood Abiola.

“Mr President, we want to thank you very tremendously for recognising June 12. Some people are saying you should declare the result, you have declared the result.

“We now know the winner of that election officially, who is now being honoured with the order of GCFR reserved for Heads of Government in Nigeria.

“Before this regime, we have had seven governments that pretended that June 12 never existed. In the words of Abiola, we were clapping with one hand, today, we are clapping with two hands,” he said.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo, IBB, Nwosu Absent As FG Confers National Honours On Abiola, Others

The Human Rights activist, however, called on President Buhari to ensure Nigerians bid farewell to poverty, a mission which late Abiola deeply desire.

“Mr President, we want you to engage Nigerians to wage a meaningful fight against poverty in this country. We have enormous resources to make every Nigerian happy,” he said.

He also urged President Buhari to direct security chiefs to restore the rights of all Nigerians calling for an end to incessant killings in some regions of the country.

Declaring Abiola President Will Do Justice To Nigeria’s History – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria has joined voices with opinion leaders calling on the Federal Government to declare Moshood Abiola as Nigeria’s former President.

Abiola is the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election

Femi Falana, who was a guest on Channels Television’s political programme on Sunday, also commended the Federal Government for conferring a posthumous national award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola. He noted that this development is a starting point for the government.

“I do hope like the Senate did resolve that the results of the June 12 election should be officially announced so that the actual winner is proclaimed.

“This business of presumed winner should no longer be part of our political lexicon. The implication is that he was the elected President of Nigeria, but not allowed to assume office,” he said, adding that declaring him President will do justice to Nigeria’s political history.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Was Appointed President, Not Elected – Abiola’s Daughter

Reacting to claims that the June 12 declaration as Democracy Day was merely a means to sway the people of the south-west region, Falana said such comments reduce the significance of the day.

The human rights activist explained that the June 12 struggle was a pan-Nigerian mandate.

“To say this is an attempt to sway the feelings of people in the south-west can sometimes be insulting.

“We need to put the record straight, some of those who led the struggle against the annulment are not from the south-west,” he added.

Falana claimed that two military officers lost their commission because of their position on the annulment of the election, a General and a Colonel.

He then asked the government to honour those who partook in the June 12 struggle, especially those who lost their lives. According to the activist, the government needs to revisit the killings that took place and identify the heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle.

Court Jails Senior Lawyer, Nwobike Over Justice Perversion

A Lagos High Court Sitting in the Ikeja area has convicted a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi, who delivered the verdict today also sentenced the Snr Advocate to a jail term of one month.

The court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission proved beyond reasonable doubts that the SAN was in constant communication with some court officials to influence the assignment of his cases to preferred judges.

READ ALSO: Court Convicts Senior Advocate, Nwobike, Of Justice Perversion

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Patience Jonathan’s Properties In Abuja

The EFCC had alleged that Nwobike offered N750,000 and N300,000 gratifications to Justices Mohammed Yunusa and Hyeladzira Nganjiwa. Both are Federal High Court judges.

The EFCC claimed that Nwobike offered them the money to pervert the course of justice. The SAN denied these charges.

The court also did not find him guilty on any offence of offering gratification to a judicial officer.

The EFCC had also detailed in court an exchange of text messages between a deputy registrar of the Federal High Court and Mr Nwobike. The commission alleges that the SAN used the msgs to influence the assignment of his cases before certain judges of the court.

In its amended charges, the Commission specifically listed Mrs Helen Ogunleye, a former registrar to Justice Musa Kurya and another Mr Jide, an assistant Chief Registar as persons whom the Snr Advocate regularly communicated with.

At his trial, Mr Nwobike admitted sending the messages but denied that the intention was to influence the outcome of his cases.

How Justice Ajumogobia Tried To Evade Investigation – EFCC

Ajumogobia

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Lagos High Court Sitting in Ikeja how a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia tried to cover her tracks with 11 mobile phones while she was being investigated.

An operative of the Commission, Abdullahi Lawal, who testified before the court on Friday, November 10, narrated how Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia hid the phones under her clothes.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is standing trial alongside a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Godwin Obla, who was accused of bribing her with N5million. They were both arraigned on November 28, 2016, on 30 counts charge.

Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said that the judge used the phones to try and desperately contact most of the people she knew the anti-graft agency would invite for questioning, in connection to an investigation on how she came about monies in naira, dollars, and pounds in her bank accounts which EFCC alleged was above her lawful emolument.

The witness also testified that the Commission wrote a letter to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) requesting a detailed breakdown of Justice Ajumogobia’s salary and allowances.

After the NJC replied, the EFCC says it discovered that her annual salary as at the time of the investigation was N5.3million while her allowances were N7.5million.

When asked about certain transactions of $50,000, $70,000, $20000, $30000, and $55,000 traced to her bank accounts, Justice Ajumogobia reportedly told the anti-graft agency that the monies were proceeds from lands she sold in Benin and Asaba.

She also informed the EFCC that her lawyer, one Grant Ezenwa, helped her to sell the lands. But when contacted, Mr Ezenwa claimed to have sold just a piece of land for the judge in Benin at the cost of N9.7million.

The witness says that men of the EFCC then set out with Justice Ajumogobia to Benin to confirm the authenticity of her claims. On the way, it was discovered that the judge was making desperate phone calls to some people.

When the operatives determined that this would interfere with their investigations, her mobile phone was seized.

The calls did not however stop and the Commission says its female operatives subsequently discovered two more phones hidden under the Ajumogobia’s clothes.

When they arrived Benin, Justice Ajumogobia was said to have denied knowing the location of her land and properties. In frustration, the witness says the team decided to lodge in a hotel for the night. One of the operatives was said to have later found the judge making more calls in the bathroom and an additional three phones were recovered from her.

The next day, the witness says the Commission recovered a total of five more phones from the judge.

Justice Ajumogobia further told the operatives that it was only her brother, Donald Ofili who knew where her properties were located. When he was contacted, Donald however denied knowing where his sister’s properties were located.

The witness yesterday, November 10, is the 12th prosecution witness called in proof of the EFCC’s case against Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.

The court has therefore adjourned till January 26, 2018 for continuation of trial.

Wike Inspects Road Projects In Rivers State

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has expressed satisfaction with the pace and quality of the ongoing construction of Ogbunabali Internal Roads in the state.

The Governor, accompanied by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Joe Agi and a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Tony Okeah, inspected the roads being reconstructed in the area.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (m), Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi (l) and Former Member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr Tony Okeah during the inspection of Ogbunabali Internal Roads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While majority of the roads in Ogbunabali have been completed and expanded with modern walkways, others are still under construction.

Governor Wike meandering through construction equipment during his inspection of Ogbunabali Internal

While on the inspection tour, residents trooped out to show their appreciation and praise the governor for fulfilling his pledge to the community.

In response, Wike assured them that his administration would drive the project to its logical conclusion, saying that the people of the area deserve the best for the contribution they have made to the state.

The governor also inspected ongoing work at the Landscaping Architecture at Airforce overhead bridge, as well as the Port-Harcourt Pleasure Park.

Orieku Street in Ogbunabali under Construction

This is the first time the Ogbunabali Internal Roads are being rehabilitated, despite being neighbours of the Government Reserved Area.

Senate Has The Right To Summon Anyone – Mike Ozekhome

ozhekomeA Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, has stated that the Senate has the right to summon it’s members to order at anytime. 

“The Committee of the House or the House, can summon any person. it says any person, and it didn’t say some people.

“It didn’t say whether those elected or not elected. Any person; to bring papers, memos, come with evidence, and that if such a person is summoned to come and testify or to come and answer questions and he refuses to come, under Section 5, the Branch of the National Assembly can order the Police to arrest and bring such a person.”

He added that “the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives if satisfied that the person has entered into recognizance, they can release the person but if not satisfied, they can tell them to keep the person there.”

He made his position known while speaking on Channels Television’s Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

Mr Ozekhome’s view was however in contrast to that of his colleague, Mr Femi Falana, who believes that the Senate has no power to suspend a member even for a single day.

The lawyers made the comments while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. No legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” Mr Falana stressed.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, Obla’s Trial Stalled

Justice Rite Ofili-Ajumogobia, Obla's Trial StalledThe absence of the EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, on Thursday stalled the trial of a suspended Federal High Court Judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, had to adjourn until April 10 for hearing of the pending applications.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr Obla on a 30-count charge of conspiracy to pervert justice by allegedly giving and receiving a bribe of five million Naira.

The anti-graft agency had also alleged that about $793,800 passed through the judge’s domiciliary accounts between 2012 and 2015, and that she allegedly used the money to buy a house in London.

Five of the charges were centred on an alleged five million Naira bribe given to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia by the senior advocate, while the remaining 26 charges were on the huge amounts that passed through her accounts and her alleged inability to explain her source of wealth.

The other charges filed against the judge border on forgery, lying, unlawful enrichment and other related offences.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

I Won’t Appear Before Senate Until Court Ruling – Customs CG

customsReprieve may have come for the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), who was ordered to appear in complete uniform before the Senate on March 22.

The development, follows a suit filed by an Abuja based lawyer, Mohammed Ibrahim, seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the National Assembly from compelling the CG to wear uniform in performance of his duties.

Mr Ali, who acknowledged receipt of the court summons, told a news conference that the Attorney General who is a co-defendant in the suit, has written to the National Assembly advising lawmakers to maintain the status quo, pending the outcome of the suit.

“Based on the summons before the court, all matters relating to the issue are now subjudice so status quo is “anti” which means I will not appear until the court makes a pronouncement therefore the situation remains as it is”.

The CG had been summoned to defend the payment of retroactive duties by motorists whose vehicles have no genuine import duties.

Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on March 16, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.

The House, however, refused to engage him and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.

Meanwhile, more reactions have continued to trail the issue.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, in a statement condemned the summoning of Mr Ali.

He said that although the Senate should not be treated with disdain, the Upper Chamber should have appreciated the limit of its powers under the constitution.

According to Mr Falana, instead of playing into the hands of the Customs boss by invoking the provision of Section 88 of the Constitution, the Senate could have summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to justify the policy of the Nigeria Customs Service, a parastatal under her supervision.

“No power exists under the section for general investigation, not for personal aggrandizement of the House. So the appellants were not entitled to have invited the respondent in the first instance,” Mr Falana said.

Falana Berates Senate For Customs Boss’ Summon

Falana Berates Senate For Customs Boss' SummonMore reactions continue to trail the summoning of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hammed Ali (rtd), who was asked to reappear before the Senate in appropriate uniform on Wednesday, March 22.

This time, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, in a statement condemned the summoning of Mr Ali by the Senate.

He said although the Senate should not be treated with disdain, but the Upper Chamber should have appreciated the limit of its powers under the constitution.

According to the senior lawyer, instead of playing into the hands of the Customs boss by invoking the provision of Section 88 of the Constitution, the Senate could have summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to justify the policy of the Nigeria Customs Service, a parastatal under her supervision.

“No power exists under the section for general investigation, not for personal aggrandizement of the House. So the appellants were not entitled to have invited the respondent in the first instance,” Mr Falana said.

He noted that the Senate was not conducting an investigation but challenging the policy of the Service on payment of duties.

“With respect, the summons served on the CGC (Mr Ali) is illegal and unconstitutional as it cannot be justified under Section 88(2) of the Constitution”, he stated.

The lawyer stressed that the Senate engaged in another illegality when it exceeded its powers by asking the CGC to appear before it in customs uniform.

He added that neither the constitution nor the rules of procedure of the Senate has conferred on the Upper Chamber, the power to compel Mr Ali to wear Customs uniform when he is not a serving customs office.

Mr Falana said the directive was a reckless usurpation of the powers of the board which was the only competent body to decide on the wearing of uniform by Customs officer.

He noted that the Nigeria Customs Service should be directed by the Minister of Finance to cancel the illegal policy on payment of appropriate excise duties.

The senior lawyer stated that if the Federal Government fails to do so, he will challenge the policy at the Federal High Court.

This followed the uproar that trailed the Customs’ directive that duties be paid on imported vehicles.

While Nigerians expressed concerns on the issue, their representatives in the Senate were livid over the insistence of the Nigerian Customs Service to go ahead with the policy.

Although Mr Ali honoured an invitation by the lawmakers, the Senate refused to engage with him for his failure to wear the Service’s uniform as earlier directed.

The lawmakers consequently asked Mr Ali to reappear before them on Wednesday in appropriate uniform.

Court Fixes March 2 To Hear Suit By Ozekhome

Court Fixes March 2 To Hear Suit By OzekhomeA Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has fixed March 2, for hearing in a suit filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, seeking to vacate the order freezing his firm’s account.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka, ordered that a hearing notice be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The judge, had on February 7, ordered a temporary forfeiture of 75 million Naira found in the Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account following an application by the EFCC.

However, when the case came up on Thursday, the EFCC was not represented.

Ozekhome said his suit was filed on February 14 and that the EFCC was served on February 20, according to the proof of service.

Justice Anka said the commission was still within time to respond.

“They’re entitled to seven days. Their time has not lapsed. Let’s give them their time. So we’ll give them seven days,” he said.

Ozekhome asked for the earliest date for hearing “because of the urgency of the case.”

He then prayed for an order discharging and/or vacating forthwith, the interim ex-parte order of forfeiture to freeze or attach the money for 120 days.

Ozekhome said EFCC did not disclose to Justice Anka the fact that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti, had defrozen Fayose’s account, thereby allowing the governor to operate it, before he transferred 75 million Naira to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers’ account.

He further stated that as at the time Fayose transferred 75 million Naira to his chambers account, there was no court processes filed or served on the applicant, indicating that the EFCC was on appeal, or asking the court to stay the execution of the order defreezing Fayose’s account.

Ozekhome said the rules regulating ex-parte applications were blatantly violated by the EFCC in obtaining the order, adding that the application was brought because of his “strong and uncompromising stance against some of the obnoxious anti-masses policies of the present administration and the judicial victories he has so far secured against the EFCC in different courts in Nigeria”.

The SAN sought an order restraining the Federal Government and the EFCC, whether by themselves or their agents from dealing in anyway and manner with his operation or his proprietary rights to the account.

Ozekhome said EFCC’s application was filed in bad faith, adding that the commission did not comply with statutory and judicial authorities in obtaining an interim order vide motion ex-parte.

According to him, the action is unconstitutional as same offends sections 36, 37 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution as there was no legal justification for EFCC’s action.

“The Applicant’s family, staff, dependants, associates, business and livelihood will greatly suffer, and are already suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable damage if this application is not granted, and the blockade or freezing of the account lifted immediately.

“The interest of justice demands that these prayers be granted as it will ensure that the applicant and his family, staff, associates, livelihood, dependants and business, do not suffer untold and irreparable damages,” Ozekhome said.

Ozekhome said the 75 million Naira was part-payment of legal fees from Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayode.

“The issue of whether or not the funds in Governor Fayose’s account from which the N75 Million was posted to Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers GT Bank account is suspected proceed of crime is currently on appeal as filed and entered by the self same Counsel to the respondent herein, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa,” Ozekhome said.

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Stalls Belgore’s Trial

Court To Rule Over EFCC, Obanikoro's Right Violation CaseThe absence of the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo at the Federal High Court today stalled the trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore, on charges of money laundering.

Mr Belgore, a former PDP governorship candidate in Kwara State was arraigned on February 8, 2017 on a 5 count charge alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof of Political Science and International Relations, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman.

Today, one Nkereuwen Anana, a lawyer from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) office told presiding Justice Rilwan Aikawa that the Prosecutor in the case, Mr Oyedepo was experiencing some difficulty getting to the court as his vehicle broke down on his way.

Anana also told the court that the first prosecution witness coming in from Ekiti was still on his way.

He then asked Justice Aikawa to stand down the case for a few hours to enable the counsel and his witness to arrive.

Counsel to the first defendant, Mr. Ebun Sofunde (SAN) however opposed the application for a short stand down.

He said he had another matter for the day besides, he submitted that the court could not wait for a witness who was still on his way. He then urged the court to instead adjourn the case.

The other defence counsel aligned with his submission.

After listening to the parties, Justice Aikawa urged the EFCC to show more seriousness so that this case could be disposed of as quickly as possible.

He then ruled in favour of an adjournment which was fixed for March 13 and 14 for commencement of the trial.

Alleged Money Laundering 

Belgore and Sulaiman were accused of making two separate cash payments of 450million Naira and 50million Naira on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants paid the 50million to one Sheriff Shagaya.

EFCC said the cash sums were above the lawful threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The commission also claimed that the defendants “ought to have reasonably known that the 450million Naira and 50million Naira formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and were subsequently admitted to bail on self-recognisance.‎