Germany To Strengthen Ties With Lagos Government

LagosThe German government has expressed determination to strengthen its relationship with the government of Lagos State in southwest Nigeria.

The President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, made the disclosure on Tuesday while he was being received by the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, his wife, the Deputy Governor as well as the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly at the Government House in Ikeja.

President Gauck, who was visiting Nigeria and West Africa for the first time, said that he recognised Lagos as the centre of business activities and critical development in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan region.

“I will like to strengthen this partnership with this State government in areas of science and technology, education and entrepreneurial development,” the German President said.

Similarly, Governor Ambode expressed the desire of his administration to partner with Germany.

According to the Governor, “We believe that we need to change the state of our transportation system in Lagos and that is why we are quietly talking to some of the German companies that we want a situation where we can actually phase out some of the buses that we are using and we should price ourselves to be able to use some of the quality buses that come out from Germany.”

Governor Ambode added that his administration would work towards creating assembling plants as well as workshop plants to grow the economy of Germany and that of Nigeria.

He also promised to encourage foreign investments by putting in place, measures that would ensure the safety of lives and property of both Nigerians and foreigners in Lagos.

EFCC Re-arraigns Lagos Assembly Speaker, Gets N1billion Bail

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his personal assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi for their alleged involvement in laundering over N273million belonging to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Both men were on Monday, re-arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The offence is said to be contrary to Sections 18(A) of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(B) of the same Act.

They both pleaded not guilty to an amended 54-count charge and have been granted bail in the sum of N1billion each.

The court also made a bail condition for two sureties each in the sum of N5million each.

The sureties are to swear to an affidavit of means, while the two accused persons must give an undertaking that they would always be present in court for their trial.

“They would not be remanded in prison custody if they are able to perfect the bail conditions within 48 hours. But if they fail, a bench warrant will be issued against them” the Judge ruled.

The duo had earlier been arraigned on March 1, 2012 on a 20-count charge.

The trial is however to commence afresh following the retirement of the previous judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke.

The fresh date for the trial is the 25th of September.

Trial Of Lagos Speaker’s Stalled As Prosecutor Withdraws

The trial of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi  Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi over allegations of money laundering has being stalled following the withdrawal of the Chief Prosecutor, Godwin Obla from the case.

The Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji

When the matter came up for continuation of trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, a senior counsel with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Alli Yussuf  announced Mr Obla’s withdrawal in court.

Mr Yussuf told the presiding Judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke that though he was yet to see the letter written to that effect, he was compelled to appear in the case following the withdrawal of Mr Obla who had been handling the case since inception.

Mr Obla was said to have attributed his withdrawal to the 13 trial days in the month of April, starting from today Tuesday, fixed by the court for the hearing of the matter.

He said these dates would considerably constrain his ability to diligently prosecute the matter, as he had other legal proceedings before various courts and arbitral tribunals within and outside the country which conflict with the dates fixed by the court.

Mr Obla was also said to have advised the EFCC to retain the services of another counsel whose calendar can accommodate the dates fixed for the matter by the court.

Mr Yussuf however urged the court to adjourn the matter for another three weeks to enable him study the case file.

Counsel for the Lagos Speaker, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) opposed the request of the EFCC for adjournment.

The defence counsel pointed out that this was a case in which the accused person was begging for prosecution so as to clear his name while the prosecutor was running away from prosecuting. He therefore urged the court to either dismiss or strike out the charges against the accused persons.

The EFCC counsel swiftly opposed this application and further urged court for more time to enable him study the case file so as to properly prosecute.

Justice Okeke has enjoined the EFCC to engage the services of another prosecuting counsel to continue the case. He then adjourned the matter till the 24th of April.

Channels TV has however gathered that the trial judge is due for retirement in May and would not be able to conclude the case, thereby further stalling the trial.