Arms Scandal Report: He Who Calls For Justice Must Also Call For Equity, By Ade Ilemobade

There must be no hiding places or hidden pathways for corrupt officials as we move forward marshalling the anti corruption template for change throughout the geopolitical sphere called Nigeria. I have no doubt whatsoever that the President will do justice to the anti corruption war and with him in the driver’s seat there will be No Discrimination, No Sacred Cows.

It is instructive to note here that a Man of equity will not engage in machinations to free corrupt individuals from his/her self inflicted albatross or self-created hardship. However, we must avoid sensationalism in handling this delicate nuclear material so that the rule of law and opportunity for fair hearing will not be jeopardized.

I know so many people in the country will disagree with my opinion on this subject matter but that is to be expected because the more we flesh out controversial burning national issue by agreeing to disagree the better for our socio-polity.

I have not read the report myself so I will not be grandstanding or pontificating about the content of the report that is generating nationwide disagreement, dissatisfaction as to whether the government is straightforwardly in its handling of the report recommendations or lying about the terms of reference of the probe panel constituted to look into arms procurement by successive governments since 2007.

The bone of contention as I understand it is predicated on the feeling or facts that the generality of the people of Nigeria who are politically and intellectually savvy or the intelligentsia are of the opinion that the government is covering up for some individuals who were mentioned as being culpable in the interim report on the ongoing probe into arms procurement by successive governments since 2007.

It is important to note that this is a report that covers a wide latitude of dispensation between 2007 – 2015 defence equipment procurement which by implication meant that all those who had served within that period and had something to do with defence equipment procurement and contracts must fall within the purview of the investigation/investigators given their term of reference. It is therefore absurd for the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to make such pronoucement to the effect that the documents regarding procurement from 2007 to 2010 are not yet scrutinised when the report for 2011 – 2015 is already in the public domain.

What are the reasons for skipping 2007 – 2010 one would have expected the committee to adopt a systematic methodology by doing their job chronologically. The methodology or approach adopted by the investigative team given the statement of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed leaves room for speculation and doubt about the sincerity of government to get to the bottom of corruption and fraud in the Nigerian Armed Forces.

(HE WHO CALLS FOR JUSTICE MUST ALSO CALL FOR EQUITY) This is a categorical imperative that must guide our conduct moving forward since the war against corruption in the Nigerian Armed Forces is about fairness and justice for the common good.

 

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE is a philosopher

Twitter: pearl2prince

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Nyako, Fintiri And Retributive Justice – Another View By Abdullahi Bayero Hammawa

The political history and development of Adamawa State will not be completed without names of Murtala A. H. Nyako and Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri – and most often than not, they must be mentioned in the same breath.  While Nyako held forte for seven years as the governor of the state, Fintiri was both speaker and acting governor.  What started out as a political romance between the duo quickly turned out into a war of attrition.  Nyako was impeached by a House of Assembly led by Fintiri and since then, Nyako loyalists and hangars-on finds it difficult to stomach the just desserts handed to their principal.  This has led some of them to lose any sense of decorum or professionalism.  This is clearly demonstrated by Ismai’l Mohammed, Leadership correspondent in Adamawa State, in a feature article he wrote for the paper on Friday 8th July 2016.  The feature sounded more like a PR job for Admiral Nyako rather than an objective analysis by a disinterested journalist covering his beat.

It was very clear right from the onset that the writer was out to lampoon and belittle Fintitri rather than doing a surgical expose on the rot and the depth of it that Adamawa state was sunk to in the past eight years.  Tying Fintiri’s political fortunes to Nyako’s ouster is a great disservice to the young man if the writer can claim that Fintitri went into political hibernation since when he was removed by Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.  He did not tell us how visible Nyako has been on the political landscape since 2014 when he was removed by a legislature vested with the power to remove a governor by a constitution that is still subsisting.  By the way, has it ever occurred to our commercial journalist that the hibernation might have been for tactical reasons?

The oft-repeated story of how Nyako ensured that Fintiri was nominated as the PDP candidate for Madagali State Constituency is becoming boring and predictable.  The point being repeatedly made by these neo-Nyakoist is that Fintiri bit the hand that fed him.  This is fine by me.  But has it ever occurred to those storytellers to interrogate why Nyako gave his unqualified support to Fintiri over and above others? What was it that Fintiri had to offer that the others couldn’t?  Or was it because he liked his face?  We shouldn’t be regurgitating such balderdash, particularly our journalists, without asking critical questions.  Mohammed should have done well to inform us what was Fintitri’s role in Nyako’s re-election success in 2012.

The writer also accused Fintiri of being “ambitious”.  Please my people show me a politician who is not ambitious and I will show you a virgin in a maternity ward.  If Fintiri betrayed Nyako, have we forgotten so soon how Professor Jibrin Aminu, emasculated ten other aspirants in order for Nyako to emerge as gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in 2007? How was Professor Aminu treated by Nyako thereafter?  He was almost made a persona non grata in Adamawa.  What is the difference between the two scenarios if I may ask?  Why is it that Nyako’s supporters feel pained by Fintiri’s ouster of Nyako but forgot so easily how Professor Aminu was treated by them?  A case of what is sauce for the goose…..

In the writer’s haste to crucify Fintiri for ‘derobing’ his hero he failed to cross check his facts.  He wrote that Fintiri accused Nyako of stealing N10billion.  I can’t remember coming across such jejune accusation during Fintiri’s tenure.  What I remember Fintiri telling the people of Adamawa State was that Nyako left an overdraft of N12.8billion and stole hundreds of millions of dollars.  This was confirmed by the late Justice Bobbo Umar Judicial Panel of Inquiry and the two have been vindicated by the EFCC’s prosecution of Nyako for stealing N29billion.

Yeah, Nyako “caused” Goodluck Jonathan “international embarrassment” by his letter to the nineteen northern governors on the security situation in the northeast.  So has the likes of Kwankwaso and Ameachi.  They were constant pains in the neck of Jonathan.  Why was it not possible for Jonathan to ‘suborn’ the Kano or Rivers States legislatures to impeach the two seeing how they have serially “embarrassed” the then president without let for well over a year?  Any leader who can be in the saddle of leadership for a period of seven years and couldn’t muster the support of at least eight people in a legislature of twenty-four, is not worth sitting on the exalted seat of a governor.  For whatever it is worth, we should remember that, it was Nyako who sold Jonathan to the people of Adamawa as ‘Mainasara’.  Many people are yet to forgive him for that.  It was also the same Jonathan who saved Nyako’s neck from the impeachment guillotine in 2008, when the then House of Assembly wanted to impeach him.  Jonathan was then Vice President to the late ‘Yar Adu’a.

Mohammed was also trying to be clever by half by condemning the late Justice Bobbo Umar for accepting to serve as Chairman of a Judicial Panel to inquire on how the state’s lean resources were been squandered while giving kudos to two other brother Judges.  Was it because the judgments given by the duo were favorable to his hero.  Whey was Bobbo excoriated while the two are singled-out for praise? Assuming that Abdulazeez Nyako was acquitted on the charges leveled against him is tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.  We should not forget in a haste that there are still about nine charges on him before another court and about thirty eight charges against his father.  Both were detained before Fintiri on allegations of corrupt enrichment.  I cannot for the life of me understand why Mohammed dismissed the charges against the father and son as allegations and those preferred against Fintiri are celebrated.  What is journalism coming to?

The article by Isma’il Mohammed appears to me like an image laundry paid for by some people for another person.  Instead of making the villains account for their crimes, they are painted as heroes and victims.  This is a very dangerous signal to our youth and current crop of politicians who may think thieving is good going by what Mohammed wrote.  Retributive justice?  How about mafia-type justice where armed robbers are the heroes while pickpockets are villains.

 

Abdullahi Bayero Hammawa

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Abia: The Wait Continues As Justice Abang Refuses To Hear Ikpeazu’s Application

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday refused to hear Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu’s application for stay of execution of the June 27 judgment of the court removing him (Ikpeazu) as governor.

The judge instead directed Ikpeazu and Uche Ogah, who are both claiming to be the legitimate Governor of Abia State to go before the Court of Appeal for the resolution of the stalemate in the state.

He directed that Ikpeazu and Ogah, who was ordered to be issued fresh Certificate of Return in the June 27 judgment , should go to the Court of Appeal to argue the motion for stay of execution.

This he said was because the lawyers to the two of them (Ikpeazu and Ogah) had argued that he (the judge) no longer had jurisdiction to hear the motion.

Credit: Punch

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Ikpeazu Is No More Abia Governor, Court Insist

The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed as lacking in merit an application seeking to set aside the enrolled order of the judgment that sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State from office.

The court, in a ruling by Justice Okon Abang, maintained that all the orders contained in the judgment it delivered against Ikpeazu on June 27 subsist until they were set aside by the appellate court.

Justice Abang gave the ruling on a day the embattled governor, through his team of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, applied for an order restraining the beneficiary of the verdict, Mr. Uche Ogah, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from executing the judgment.

The judge had, in his judgment, ordered Ikpeazu to vacate his office, even as he directed INEC to immediately issue a fresh certificate of return to Ogah, who came second in the governorship primary election of the PDP.

Although INEC had since issued certificate of return to Ogah, another court in Abia State had restrained the Chief Judge from swearing him in.

In his ruling, Justice Abang refused to set aside the order containing the judgment against Ikpeazu, even as he adjourned hearing on the motion for stay of execution till Thursday.

The judge said he would on that day also decide on an application by Ogah seeking to set aside the restraining order of the High Court in Abia State, as well as an application asking him to set aside the certificate of return INEC issued to Ogah.

Justice Abang held that the enrolment order against Ikpeazu was properly signed and issued. The judge said though section 294 of the constitution allowed the court to get the judgment ready within seven days, he said the registry ensured it was available in four days, owing to pressure from Ikpeazu.

He said: “I had jurisdiction to sign the enrolment order as at the time I did so.  The court cannot order a sitting governor to vacate his office just for fun. We are here to settle dispute and I am not afraid to take decision.

“Therefore, those going to the media to misinterpret the decision of the court when they have not even taken out time to study the 131-page judgment should take caution.”

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Obanikoro Could Face Extradition, US Justice Department Says

By SaharaReporters

A United States legal scholar and an official of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have provided answers suggesting that Nigeria could successfully request the extradition of Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro, who is currently a resident in the US.

The responses from Rutgers law professor, Roger Clark, and DOJ spokesman, Peter Carr, came in response to inquiries by SaharaReporters into Mr. Obanikoro’s legal status with regard to US extradition laws. Both experts’ responses revealed that Mr. Obanikoro is susceptible to extradition should the Nigerian government follow appropriate legal procedures to request for it.

Mr. Obanikoro was again propelled into public attention on Tuesday when agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) searched several properties belonging to him and his family. SaharaReporters confirmed that EFCC agents went into Mr. Obanikoro’s posh Ikoyi estate in Lagos State andseized expensive wristwatches, vehicles, and other valuable items.

SaharaReporters first broke the news of Mr. Obanikoro’s involvement in the infamous Ekitigate scandal—detailing how the former minister anchored the rigging the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State in favor of Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Mr. Obanikoro, who was as one of the masterminds of the plot, was caught on a leaked audio recording inducing Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh with the promise of promotion and cash once the officer helped deliver the state for the PDP candidate.

It was later learned that the cash Mr. Obanikoro used to bankroll Ekitigate, which included bribing polling officers, the military, and other political leaders, came from then National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki. Mr. Dasuki, it is now known, illegally diverted security funds to the tune of at least $2.1 billion during his tenure at the Office of the National Security Adviser. Some of the stolen funds went to Mr. Obanikoro and other PDP henchmen for the purpose of rigging elections for the party.

Mr. Obanikoro fled Nigeria in 2015 shortly after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Since leaving Nigeria, Mr. Obanikoro has been spotted in several places in the United States. Recently, SaharaReporters obtained graduation photos of Mr. Obanikoro, who had completed a graduate degree in history at Oglethorpe University in Georgia.

Musliu Obanikoro receiving a degree from Oglethorpe University, Georgia in 2016

Questions have been raised as to whether Mr. Obanikoro is eligible for extradition from the United States owing to speculation that he holds American citizenship. A SaharaReporters investigation, published in 2007, included the data page of Mr. Obanikoro’s US passport issued on June 16th, 1995.

US passport of Musiliu Obanikoro with slight variation in his names

The name on the passport carries obvious similarities to the name Mr. Obanikoro uses today. At that time, the former minister was going by the name Muhammed Musiliu Olatunde Onikoro. The 2007 SaharaReporters investigation noted that Mr. Obanikoro’s election forms for Lagos State governor used the name Mohammed Musiliu Olatunde Onikoro.

Further, a SaharaReporters inquiry confirmed that Mr. Obanikoro worked at the Little Flower Children Service in Brooklyn, New York under his passport name, Olatunde Onikoro, in the 1980s. According to Mr. Obanikoro’s biography on his former campaign website, he also worked in Houston, Texas in the Adult Probation Department following his studies at Texas Southern University.

SaharaReporters contacted an international legal expert, Roger Clark, to seek legal clarification on United States laws as they pertain to the extradition of people who, like Mr. Obanikoro, hold American citizenship. Mr. Clark is an expert on international criminal law and a professor at Rutgers University School of Law in the United States.

Asked whether the United States government would extradite an American citizen to a foreign country where they had allegedly committed a crime, Mr. Clark stated that “the United States has no problem extraditing its nationals provided there is a treaty.”

Mr. Clark added that some countries in Western Europe are reluctant to extradite their own citizens, but added that “common law countries” do not usually have a problem assuming legal processes are followed.

According to Mr. Clark, common law countries including Nigeria will often fall under the same treaty that outlines reciprocal and mutually agreed on rules for extraditing their nationals. The legal expert pointed out that the treaty was signed into force in 1935 when Nigeria was still under colonial control by Great Britain and that it remains in effect today.

The treaty provides a litany of crimes that qualify for extradition, including fraud, fraudulent conversion, obtaining money or goods by false pretenses, forgery, offenses against bankruptcy law, and bribery.

Numerous investigative reports by SaharaReporters and other media indicate that Mr. Obanikoro may have violated several of these laws, including evidence connected to his role in the Ekitigate plot. Sources speaking to SaharaReporters in December 2015 revealed that money stolen by the former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki has been traced to several companies under the control of Mr. Obanikoro. The sources disclosed that the ill-gotten money was either used for Ekitigate bribes or laundered by Mr. Obanikoro for personal use.

SaharaReporters also discussed the issue of extradition with Peter Carr, an official at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ is the primary federal criminal investigation and enforcement arm of the US government and wouldplay a significant role in any extradition process.

In an email to SaharaReporters, Mr. Carr explained that “within [existing] statutory and treaty framework, US practice is, generally, to extradite its citizens, assuming that the requirements of the treaty are met.” He added, “The fact of dual nationality with Nigeria would be irrelevant in this context.”

Article 8 of the extradition treaty “specifies that extraditions will comply with the laws of the requested country, i.e., the place where the fugitive is found,” Mr. Carr further stated in his email to SaharaReporters.

An interview with Mr. Obanikoro was published today on news website Premium Times where he dared the Nigerian government to extradite him from the US. In the interview he said “they [Nigerian authorities] will never attempt any extradition. I, Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro, am inviting EFCC to petition America to extradite me to Nigeria. The whole world would now see their charade for what it is.”

Mr. Obanikoro then complimented the US judicial system saying “in Nigeria, you’re either on this side or the other side. But this American system is unbiased. They’re neither for me nor for them. So, let them bring the tissue of lies that they have put together and submit everything to serious judicial scrutiny and let us see whether it will fly. I am inviting them to do that.”

Mr. Obanikoro’s latest comments follows a barrage of Tweets following the EFCC raid of his posh Ikoyi residence. In his Twitter rage Mr. Obanikoro again stated his confidence in the US justice system and accused the EFCC of spreading rumor and that President Buhari was a despot.

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How Adoke, Okonjo-Iweala, Justice Ademola Made Nigeria To Lose $1.6 billion

The allegation of the coalition of anti-corruption civil society bodies is that the 774 local governments on whose behalf Mr. Joe Agi SAN obtained the judgment sum o of $3.2 billion. And that none of the local governments benefited from the $1.6 billion said to have been paid to the plaintiffs. Is Adoke saying that the money awarded to the local governments should not be remitted to them?

Since Adoke authorized the release of the sum of $1.6 billion which has since been criminally diverted is he seriously saying that the petition of the concerned civil society organizations  should not be investigated by the EFCC?

The Debt Management Office (DMO)  set up by law to advise the federal government on all matters pertaining to local and foreign debts had rightly kicked against the payment of the $3.2 billion judgment debt.

Why did Adoke ignore the advice of DMO and proceed0to authorize the payment of the questionable judgment debt?

The DMO raised a serious legal issue on the legality of the judgment debt by saying that the local governments as a separate tier of government were not owed any money since Nigeria was run as a unitary government under the military regime. Adoke never countered the serious argument. Yet he did not challenge the case either at the trial court or at the Court of Appeal on the incontestable legal point raised by the DMO!!!

If Adoke had not authorized the payment of the $3.2 billion judgment debt the ex-minister of finance. Dr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala would not have made the part payment of $1.6 billion? In her own case, she colluded with the plaintiffs because she too ignored the advice of the DMO. As the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy at the time, she ought to have protected Nigeria by defending the position of the DMO instead of following Adoke’s dubious directive to pay the sum of a judgment debt of $3.6 billion.

In any case,  Adoke has asked Nigerians to blame Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for the payment of the fraudulent judgment debt. It does not work that way. Since $1.6 billion has been illegally paid to the account of Joe Agi SAN on behalf of the cash trapped 774 local governments in Nigeria and the money has been criminally diverted the judge who gave the fraudulent judgment, the lawyer who collected the money and diverted it, the Justice minister who illegally advised that the money be paid, and the finance minister who paid the money in spite of the objection of the DMO  should be investigated by the EFCC? The $1.6 billion should be fully recovered by the EFCC and paid into the federation account.

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“Bridget Agbaheme’s Killers Must Be Brought To Justice” – @SpeakerDogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has condemned the brutal murder of Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme in Kano State, saying all Nigerians must rise against this grievous act of lawlessness and impunity. He asserted that the perpetrators of the heinous crime must be fished out to face the full wrath of the law.

A statement issued by the spokesman to the Speaker, Turaki Hassan, quoted him as saying that there must be justice for the victim who was allegedly killed by a mob in a market in Kano State over allegations of  blasphemy.

“We live in a society governed by clearly stated rules and laws. When such crimes of high magnitude, or any at all, are allowed to go unpunished for any reason, we risk descending into a state of lawlessness and anarchy where anyone can assume the role of judge, jury and executioner.

The rule of law must prevail. I urge all security agencies to ensure that they carry out a thorough investigation into the events that led to her untimely death and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to face the full wrath of the law”, he stated.

Calling for tolerance among Nigerians, irrespective of religious or ethnic differences, the Speaker noted that the peace and sanctity of Nigeria is not negotiable and as such, everything must be done to protect them insisting that the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in the constitution must be respected by one all.

Dogara condoled with the family of the deceased and prayed that God comfort them noting that it was not only their grief but that of all Nigerians of goodwill and, indeed, lovers of humanit

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Blasphemy Killing: No Jungle Justice In Islam – Muslim Group

Mrs. Brigdet Agbawe, a Christian woman, was attacked by a mob and decapitated in Wambai market, Kano, over a religious argument.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this gruesome murder. It is preposterous, barbaric and unIslamic.

Islam frowns upon mob action and there are laid down procedures for apprehending anyone who breaks the law of the land. Even where blasphemy is committed, the woman should have been taken to the police station instead of being brutally attacked. There is no jungle justice in Islam.

We charge the Nigerian Police to get to the root of the matter and deal with the culprits according to the law. Nobody has the right to take to take the law into his hands. We will not stand akimbo while some misled Muslims smear the name of Islam.

Qur’an chapter 4 verse 59 commands Muslims to obey those in position of authority and, by inference, the laws of the land. There must be decorum in social interface. Anybody can fall victim of mob action if we continue like this. Any false claim can be made against a perceived enemy and a wild mob will descend on an innocent person or persons before you can say Jack Robinson.

MURIC is deeply saddened by this ugly incident. The fact that the victim is a woman makes it more Bohemian, more anti-social and most unacceptable by Islamic standards. Islam teaches respect for the women folk. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said the noblest of men are those who honour women.

In addition, the fact that the Glorious Qur’an prohibits the killing of an innocent soul (Qur’an 6:151 and this poor woman must be deemed innocent until proved otherwise by a competent court of law) is enough to denounce the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

We appeal to the Federal Government, religious leaders and traditional rulers all over the country to intensify enlightenment among the citizens particularly in the area of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Nigerians should eschew intense religious arguments except in scholarly and friendly environments.

As we sum up, we recall that there are reports that the police have arrested two suspects. We dare say this is not good enough. Two people cannot publicly hold a woman down and cut off her head. Available evidence point at the participation of a large number of people. The presidency has also shown interest. Heads must roll on this if we must make it a deterrent. We therefore urge the police to dig deeper in order to prevent future carnage. Enough is enough.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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Saraki’s Trial: Justice Umar Warns Against Use Of Electronic Device To Record Proceedings

The trial Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Danladi Umar on Wednesday warned against the use of electronic devices to take record of proceedings.
Umar on commencement of today’s trial announced that some people recorded and published his proceedings with the aim of creating bias in the minds of the general public.

He said, “It has come to the notice of this tribunal that some people used their devices to record proceedings and distributed to members of the public with the aim of disabusing their minds.

” It is established that it is unlawful for anyone to come here and take clips of proceedings and publish to the general public with the aim of creating bias.

“Anyone doing so should desist or the consequences of such action will take its effect.

“I will meet with the lead counsels to decide if the proceedings should be televised live for the public to see.

“We do not belong to anyone, as we are here to do what is right.”

An unknown person had last week recorded the drama that ensued between Umar and the counsel of Saraki, Rapheal Oluyede who brought to the notice of the tribunal, an application seeking that the Chairman of the tribunal disqualifies himself because of likelihood of bias as he is under investigation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for an alleged corruption.

Umar had refused to entertain the application, saying that Oluyede was not a counsel on record when he filed the motion. This led to an exchange of words which was recorded and posted on the social media.

However, the chairman has began entertaining the hearing of the motion to recuse himself at the resumed hearing of the tribunal on Wednesday.

Oluyede, discussing the motion in court, cited reasons why Justice Umar should recuse himself, citing that Dan Ladi Umar’s relationship with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as a suspect in a N10million bribery investigation, made him morally unjustified to sit on the case – because the EFCC was one of the investigating authorities in the case.
Oluyede, also brought up Dan Ladi’s application for bail from the EFCC, where he stated that he would make himself available at anytime that the EFCC required him.
Many will also recall that the charges against the Senate President were filed in the days following the Senate’s investigation of the EFCC for diverting recovered public funds.
Oluyede also cited paragraph 4 of the report, that stated that “Available circumstantial evidence suggest that the Tribunal Chairman might have indeed demanded and collected money from the complainant through his Personal Assistant.”
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Prove Your Innocence, EFCC Tells Metuh… Says Allegation Against Justice Abang Baseless

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, to disprove the allegation of fraud and money laundering against him rather than seeking to malign the judge with the aim of scuttling his trial.

The EFCC argued that Metuh’s unsubstantiated allegation of bias against Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and his claim that they (Metuh and Justice Abang) were mates at the Law School do not constitute a sufficient ground to ask the judge to quit the trial .

EFCC is prosecuting Metuh and Destra Investment Limited on a seven-count charge of fraud and money laundering in relation to the N400 million he allegedly received unlawfully from ex-National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki and the $2 million he allegedly got as gift at the last PDP national convention where ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was adopted as the party’s sole candidate for the last election.

They have been on trial in Justice Abang’s court since January 15 till the prosecution closed its case after calling eight witnesses, who were cross-examined by defence lawyers.

When they were to begin their defence, Metuh and his company, represented by a team led by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), made a no-case submission, which the judge, on March 9, dismissed on the grounds that the prosecution made a case against them, which required them to enter a defence.

The EFCC, in its counter affidavit against their motion for the judge to quit and another for indefinite adjournment until the determination of their application at the Court of Appeal for a stay of proceedings at the Federal High Court, argued that Metuh and his company were trying to scuttle the trial.

Lead prosecution lawyer Sylvanus Tahir noted, in his written submission to the counter affidavit, that the allegations of bias and other claims by Metuh and Detra were intended to frustrate the trial as they had submitted to the court’s jurisdiction even when Metuh knew he was the judge’s schoolmate.

“All manner of allegations, as stated by the defendants, were cooked up by them just to justify frustrating the stalling of proceedings. We submit that the antics and gimmicks deployed by the defendants are nothing but mere afterthought and pure blackmail aimed at intimidating the court to drop the case in the guise or pretext of bias by the judge.

“The allegations of bias levelled by the defendants against the court relate merely to the exercise of judicial powers by the court, without any evidence of facts or circumstances that suggest that the court did, in fact, favour one side unfairly,” Tahiir said.

On Metuh’s claim that he was the judge’s school mate, Tahir argued that by virtue of the oath of office subscribed to by a judicial officer, a judge handling a case was only required to administer justice without fear or favour, irrespective of parties involved.

“In the circumstances of this case, even if the judge and the 1st defendant (Metuh) were classmates, one would have thought that relationship would have given more concern to the prosecution than the defence for obvious reasons. The prosecution would have been the one to entertain fear that the court may favour its classmate,” he said.

In response to Metuh’s allegation that there had been a “frosty relationship” between him and the judge , Tahir argued that Metuh’s refusal to duel on what constituted the supposed “frosty relationship” amounted to mere allegation without substance.

“The 1st defendant suddenly woke up when it is time to open his defence to remember an alleged ‘frosty relationship’ that had existed over the years. This is blackmail of unprecedented proportion, which cannot be a ground to disqualify his lordship (the judge),” he said.

Tahir also faulted Metuh’s claim that the judge frustrated his appeal by allegedly refusing to release records of proceedings, noting that the only decision of the judge, which Metuh appealed against was that given on March 9 and for which the judge released to him, a type-written copy of the proceedings on March 17.

“Other tendentious and mundane allegations of bias remain unsubstantiated and unproven. Even the normal practice of a litigant (either in civil or criminal cases) standing either in the dock or witness box until his counsel draws the attention of the judex, with an oral request for the litigant to sit down, which is acceded to by the court, has become an issue of bias.

“Another germane issue on the allegation of bias is that the test of real likelihood of bias is that of a reasonable man, not that of a man, who has made up his mind to pull down the institution of justice in a desperate bid to undermine the judicial process and get off the hook by all means,” Tahir said.

The prosecution lawyer urged the court to refuse Metuh’s application for indefinite adjournment pending the Court of Appeal’s determination of his (Metuh’s) motion for a stay of proceedings in relation to the trial.

Tahir faulted the application, citing sections 396(3) & (5) and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, and Section 19 (2) and 40 of EFCC Act. He argued that the defendants, knowing that their application for indefinite adjournment was unknown to law, failed to “state the particular rules of court under which the application for adjournment was brought.

“The point needs to be stressed that this is a criminal proceeding. The applicants did not bring their application for adjournment under any relevant section of the ACJA, 2015 to enable the court grant the application.

“The motion, brought pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the Constitution, is hopelessly incompetent and should be dismissed without much ado,” Tahir said.

Justice Abang is expected to entertain parties’ arguments on all applications by Metuh and his company on April 8, following which it would be determined whether the defence would be accorded the last opportunity to open its case or the judge to quit, for proceedings to commence afresh before a new judge.

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Amnesty International Accuses FG Of Obstructing Justice For 640 Boko Haram Detainees Murdered By Soldiers

Global rights group, Amnesty International (AI) has accused the Federal Government of withholding justice for the 640 detainees slaughtered by soldiers in Maiduguri barracks two years ago.

AI stated that Nigerian authorities have failed to conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings after they were slaughtered by Nigerian soldiers.

Amnesty International in a statement stated that it has repeatedly called on the government to initiate an independent and effective investigation into the crimes under international law but despite repeated promises by the government that AI’s report will be looked into, no concrete step have been taken to begin an independent investigation.

It stated, “?Two years after at least 640 recaptured detainees were slaughtered by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, the authorities have failed to conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings, said Amnesty International.

“The detainees – men and boys, many arbitrarily arrested in mass screening operations – were killed after they fled the barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state on 14 March 2014 following a Boko Haram attack. The majority were shot. The others had their throats cut. To mark the anniversary of this massacre, Amnesty International campaigners will be gathering outside Nigerian embassies around the world to call for independent investigations and prosecutions.

“It is shocking that two years after these horrific killings there has been no justice for the victims and their relatives,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

“The lack of an independent investigation has meant that no one has been held to account for the killings, strengthening an already pervasive culture of impunity within the military.”

“Amnesty International has extensively documented the events of 14 March 2014, interviewing dozens of witnesses, verifying video evidence of the killings and their aftermath and confirming the locations of mass graves through satellite imagery.

“In June 2015 Amnesty International published extensive evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Nigerian military. The report found that the military extrajudicially executed at least 1,200 men and boys, and almost certainly many more, between 2012 and 2014. A further 7,000 detainees died in military detention as a result of starvation thirst, disease, torture and a lack of medical attention. Torture is routinely and systematically used by security forces in Nigeria, both during arrest and in detention. Soldiers arbitrarily arrested more than 20,000 suspects since 2011 and detained the overwhelming majority of them without access to their families or lawyers, without formal charges and without ever bringing them to court.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Government of Nigeria to initiate independent and effective investigations into its evidence of crimes under international law and to implement critical safeguards against human rights violations.

“Yet, despite repeated promises by President Buhari and his government that Amnesty International’s report would be looked into, no concrete steps have been taken to begin independent investigations. Many safeguards remain absent, for example suspects continue to be held in military detention without access to their lawyers or families, without charge and without being brought before a judge.

“After more than nine months in office, President Buhari must take urgent action to provide justice for the conflict’s thousands of victims and prevent such violations occurring again.

“In the two years since the Giwa killings, the pattern of unjustified use of lethal force by the military has continued with no one held accountable,” said Netsanet Belay.

“From Giwa to Zaria, from the north east to the south east, the time has come to break the cycle of impunity that has gripped Nigeria. This should start with justice for the Giwa 640.”

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Re: Justice Mohd Lawal Garba Judicial Commission Of Inquiry By Muhsin Ibrahim

This is a short response to the letter written by Professor Dahiru Yahya, dated 22 February 2016, to the abovementioned commission of inquiry. A number of concerned Nigerians have reacted to the latter, mostly on the social media. However, not everything is said. There is always something more to say on everything. Thus, below is my succinct (or so I hope it is) commentary. I suppose you have read the Prof.’s letter, for this piece is a rebuttal to the major and more fallacious points he postulated. I welcome your own reaction to this rejoinder.

 

  • First of all, Prof. needs to realise the fact that WE ALL are concerned with the wellbeing and the future of this country. We do not have any other country to call ours except Nigeria. Thus, it is not only about one’s kith and kin, it is about all and sundry. Thus, we hope and pray to see peace reigning in all its nooks and crannies.

 

  • Nothing is hidden under the sun. Records do not lie; it is in fact a ubiquitous knowledge to everyone that Prof. is, definitely, either a full-fledged Shi’ah member or a staunch Shi’ah sympathizer. Since the release of the letter in question, several pictures of him flanking Malam Ibrahim Zakzaky, the late Turi, and other top Shi’ite officials in different locations in Nigeria and abroad have emerged and gone viral on the Internet. There are much more corroborative proofs.

 

  • alleged that Izala is a foreign import, so also is Shi’ah. The latter is even a more recent import than any other sect in Nigeria. I am sure Prof. picked up, or became fascinated by, the ideology much later in his life, most likely in the post-1979 Iranian Revolution.

 

  • might be right that Governor El-Rufa’i’s speech is tendentious, but his letter is absolutely nothing different. Whosoever reads it will testify to the fact that he favours a particular sect and undeservedly disparages another, which has nothing or very little to do with the predicament of the people whose right he defends.

 

  • Describing what happened as a premeditated incident is being economical with truth. Nigeria Army could have annihilated the entire Shi’ah members there present and destroyed every single structure they own had they wished, or planned, for the confrontation. It is however the Shiites’ who had prepared for it for obvious reasons some of which are:

 

  1. Their leader, Malam Ibrahim Zakzaky had earlier suspected the army, though he did not openly say that, for attacking his followers in Kura, Kano in spite of all evidences that Boko Haram were behind the attack.
  2. Shiites had a prior knowledge that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was passing by the area, hence took up arms –machetes, sticks, stones, projectiles, etc. Thus, they waylaid the army, falsely thinking that the army was ill-prepared.

 

  • Shi’ah blocks roads once a year? Prof. has to be kidding. They do it several times such as while trekking to Zaria from different locations and this alone takes days. They do it during Ashura. They do it during the commemoration of 1979 Iranian Revolution. Etc. Etc. Etc.

 

  • Even in Islam one is given right to defend oneself. Shiites fault is not only blocking the roads but attacking the COAS convoy with sticks, machetes, stones and projectiles. Nobody would expect the army to continue begging the already agitated, armed, though gullible Shiite members for a way while they could clear it and pass, as they eventually did.

 

  • I am actually ashamed to read this from a professor of history: “The SUNNI are always associated with POLITICAL POWER and SHIAH demonstrate a SPIRITUALLY AND MORALLY A HIGHER FORM of Islam.” What are the causes of The Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Lebanese Hizbullah’s creation/formation, the Yemeni Houthis emergence and campaign, etc? All these have nothing to do with spirituality or morality.

 

  • The division did not start with the death of the Fourth Caliph, Ali Bn Abi Talib. There were pockets of Shi’ah since after the Prophet’s death who, wrongly however, thought that Ali Bn Abi Talib, being his cousin and son-in-law, should be the first to lead the Muslims, and not Caliph Abubakar.

 

  • All the hues and cries made by the so-called military experts of other countries are immaterial, and Iran’s, in particular, is meddling into our affairs. Nigeria is a sovereign country with its unique challenges and problems. If those countries truly cared for our security, tell us what they have done to combat the menacing threat of Boko Haram, for instance?

 

  • Shi’ah is of course “a state within a state” as the President rightly said. Zakzaky and co, with overt moral and monetary assistance from Iran, dream to do as the Houthis did, and continue to do, in Yemen; or Hizbullah in Lebanon, etc; or for him to be another Muqtada Al Sadar of Nigeria. There are several precedents to cite and to be concerned about.

 

  • If I agree that Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Boko Haram and so on are Sunnis, why do they fight their “mothers”? Let us stay in Nigeria: we all know who claimed the responsibility of the murder of Sheikh Auwal Albani of Zaria, a renowned Sunni scholar. We know who, allegedly, murdered Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, among other Sunni scholars. I would like Prof. to answer these few questions for us:
    1. Who are Houthis in Yemen and what, who, and why are they fighting?
    2. What are the numerous Shi’ah militias in Iraq and Syria such as Mahadi Army, Muqtada Al Sadar Brigade, etc. doing?
  • In Nigeria, is there any Shi’ah cleric murdered by Boko Haram? Zakzaky has in fact once exonerated them from attacking the Kano Shiiah trekkers in Kura, though a would-be bomber was arrested and confessed his connection to BH. Why did Zakzaky absolve BH and, incredibly enough, accused some unidentified others?

 

  • If any DIYYAH needs to be paid then Zakzaky should be the one to pay that, for he is largely responsible for the death of his susceptible followers by using them as a human shield. There are enough evidence and testimonies to support this assertion. The NA first of all defended themselves – and only a few people were killed or injured in the first altercation – and then tried to arrest Zakzaky as would any instituted authority. Had he surrendered as demanded, what followed up could have been avoided.

 

  • I honestly sympathize with Prof. for thinking that Islam is one of the greatest dangers of this country. I wonder why he still calls himself a Muslim if he truly thinks the religion he professes and practices is dangerous. Everyone runs away from danger.

 

  • Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i is very right by dissociating himself from Shiite’s faith. It is a huge wonder that Prof. considers this wrong while he, despite all the irrefutable evidences that he is one of them, still denies being a member. This tells his followers/readers/students/etc a lot. It also says a lot on why so many others distance themselves from this creed.

 

May Allah guide us to the straight path, amin. God bless Nigeria, amin.

Muhsin Ibrahim

muhsin2008@gmail.com

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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