As The Nyakos And Fintiri Appear Before Abuja Federal High Courts By Babayola Toungo

The former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, and his son, Abdul-aziz, are currently facing trial at a Federal High Court in Abuja for different cases of alleged corruption.

The Nyakos and others are standing trial in a 37-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29 billion preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as they are alleged to have at various times between 2011 and 2013, used five companies – Blue Opal Nigeria limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Towers Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited to commit the alleged fraud.

As their trial continued, former acting governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was also arraigned before an Abuja High Court on similar but different charges.

Mr. Fintiri was last month arraigned by the EFCC on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering.

He was said to have defrauded the Adamawa government to the tune of N970 million and 4.8 million dollars when he was the governor of the state for three months.

As is to be expected, each of the cases has been unique in hearing and other processes that will lead to the determination of the case.

In the case involving Abdulaziz Nyako, the court last month, ordered the EFCC to pay the sum of N12.5 million being exemplary damages in favour of the senator for unlawful freezing of his account and illegal detention.

This is because the judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held while delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, that Senator Nyako, was detained in the custody of the commission in excess of the period prescribed by law.

The court in the same judgment also held that declaring the younger Nyako ‘wanted’ without evidence of crime is tantamount to a breach of his fundamental human rights by the EFCC.

Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court Abuja in a similar vein blamed the EFCC for delaying judgment on former governor Nyako’s case.

This was after the counsel to Nyako, Yakubu Maikyau said they needed to study a document tendered by the EFCC counsel because it was voluminous before going on with the cross-examination which justice Chukwu sustained explaining that the document should have been served to Nyako’s counsel, Maikyau long before now, adding that the fresh document amounts to delay of judgment.

But before the conclusion of the case, Justice Chukwu who was handling the trial of the former Adamawa State governor and his two children as well as other major cases like the trial of former officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu, Taiwo Ogunjobi and others died.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, then re-assigned the case to Justice Okon Abang following the death of Chukwu in June.

The case was initially scheduled to commence afresh by way of re-arraignment on July 7. However, the court could not sit due to the extension of the Eid-el-Fitri holiday announced by the Federal Government on July 5, further delaying the case as the EFCC will now have to re-arraign the former governor and his son before Justice Okon Abang on September 12, 2016.

Even as the matter has dragged due to no fault of the accused persons, it is pertinent to point out that the delay in dispensing with the case, which the late judge complained about is set to further aggravate with the processes, as the new judge handling the case needs time to appraise himself with the facts of the matter.

But of serious concern is another coincidence, having to do with the fact that the wife of the former governor, who is a step mother to the other accused person, who are both being arraigned, is also a judge in a federal High Court in Abuja.

Previous cases that are similar in nature have raised concerns in the past and it will not be out of place to ask certain questions if only to ensure a fulfillment of a vital requirement in the dispensation of justice, which is seeing that justice is not only done but seemed to be done.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, not long ago raised an issue out of a similar coincidence when the wife of a former governor of the state, Justice Mary Odili, who is believed to be close to Governor Nyesom Wike, a party in a matter that went to the Supreme Court, was serving as a judge when the apex court delivered its judgment.

Peterside said “credible information” confirmed that Wike had met with the Supreme Court justices that sat on the matter at different places before the judgment was delivered stressing that Wike himself confirmed during his thanksgiving service that former governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili, and his wife, Mary (a justice of the Supreme Court), were his advisers.

He said, “Despite my acceptance and temperate public comments on the verdict of the Supreme Court on January 27, 2016, Wike, by his unguarded utterance last Sunday, seems to give credence to the pervading doubt being expressed on the judgment in public space especially in the media”.

“For the record, in his speech at the church service, Wike probably forgot that he was on live telecast when he stated: ‘Let me thank our former governor, Dr. Peter Odili (husband of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili). He will call me midnight to tell me what to do….he will say go so so place.” I took all his advice, and here we are today.”

Though Wike reacted by saying Peterside was crying wolf and trying to incite President Muhammadu Buhari and the military against the governor and the people of the state, the point made by Peterside cannot be waved aside.

Parties usually feel uncomfortable if they notice any development that would erode their confidence in the impartiality of the courts and the court, when such issues are raised usually obliges in order to give a sense of justice to all.

It is to avoid such accusations and doubts in the judicial system that it becomes imperative to point out that having both Nyako and his son, tried before an Abuja Federal High Court when a member of their family is a judge within the same precinct should call for concern.

Not only that, but there is also the need to draw attention to the case of the former acting governor, Fintiri, coming in an Abuja Federal High Court for the same reason.

Fintiri it was who played a major role as speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly that led to the impeachment of Nyako in 2014.

If the coincidence in the case of Nyako and his son can be ignored on the basis that the facts of the case would speak for itself, that of Fintiri should bother any unbiased mind due to the no love lost relationship between him and members of the Nyako family.

It would therefore not be out of place to allay the fears of those who for good reasons harbor such concerns in order to deepen the faith of the citizenry in the judiciary.
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Nigerians Deserve PDP By Babayola M. Toungo

The 2015 electoral campaign exposed the Peoples Democratic Party for what it is – a party peopled by bigots, thieves, irredentists and people without honour or decency.  It also exposed the chieftains of the party as liars and shameless.  The campaigns further exposed the rest of Nigerians as cowards who deserve the PDP.  Since the beginning of the campaign, Nigerians have been inundated with uncouth speeches, outright lies, blackmail and harassment of opposition politicians and hallucinatory fable tales by certified schizophrenics.  We have been bombarded with hate-filled documentaries on respected individuals by a party in the throes of death.  A section of the country was ridiculed and insulted by a woman who cannot even spell the word ‘refinement’ and may not even recognise it where it is written for her.  In all this, we kept quiet.

Were General Muhammadu Buhari not to emerge as the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Congress (APC), I don’t know how PDP’s campaign was going to be because their whole campaign is centred on the APC candidate.  The whole machinery of the party and Jonathan’s campaign organisation are deployed towards destroying the hard-earned reputation of the ascetic General.  Nigerians were treated to what can only be politely described as a pack of lies by a group whose stock-in-trade is becoming clear to all of us to be no more than irredentism.  The fulcrum of their campaign has been Buhari from the get-go and it remained so throughout the campaign period.  Telling lies comes naturally to these people and impugning the character or reputation is no big deal to them because they neither know the meanings of the words nor do they possess the qualities.  Their god is lucre and they believe the same for all of us.

The latest attempt to malign Buhari and may be turn him into a hate-figure to his millions of supporters is the ridiculous charge that he promised four western countries to scrap the Anti-Gay law passed by the National Assembly.  The irony is lost on those making this patently false accusation that they were the ones who accused Buhari of being an Islamic fundamentalist and that both the dominant religions practised in Nigeria clearly prohibits same-sex marriage and the punishment for doing so explicitly spelt out in the holy books.  It is the likes of Funny Kayode, who made the accusation that opposed the Act in the first place, while wearing the borrowed robes of human rights activism.  So if Buhari is an Islamic fundamentalist, how could he have promised to scrap a law that to all intents and purposes conformed to the dictates of the Shari’ah Law they accused him of intending to implement on the country once he is elected.  How low can these people go in their desperation to cling to power?  Actually, do they have a ‘low’?

As if attacking Buhari and the opposition is not enough, the president and the PDP have now resorted to attacking national institutions.  Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of Independent (?) National Electoral Commission (INEC) is pilloried on a daily basis for insisting to not only go ahead with the rescheduled elections, but to also use Card Readers in the authentication of voters.  In their desperation to scuttle the elections, Jonathan and his party are not loath to attacking the very fabric of our unity.  Not being satisfied with the verbal assaults targeted on hapless Nigerians, they released the uncouth wife of the president on us, who in her verbal diarrhoea cannot differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly.  In an unusual clarity, she unwittingly let out the nation how northerners are perceived in the Aso Villa, yet some unscrupulous politicians are asking us to support the PDP.  Patience and her husband take pleasure in denigrating our cultures, customs and institutions and they do this in a period when they need us most – at least our votes to help legitimise their misrule and kleptocracy.  The tell whoever care to listen that our Emirs and Chiefs, the very custodians of these cultures and customs, are there to be bought and sold by the highest bidders and to prove this insult, Jonathan has been going round the country and allegedly dropping huge amounts of money in the various palaces where he is received.

The clearest indication that Jonathan and his PDP doesn’t care if Nigeria will break up today is their resort to ethnic champions (militias, for lack of a better word).  These are men and women who took up arms against their fatherland for personal gains and not for any altruistic cause as they are now exposed for what they are.  We have seen the likes of the Niger Delta militants forgo any pretence to environmental protection once the amnesty allowance began trickling into their bank accounts. “Pipeline protection contracts” and other juicy add-ons were given to sweeten the ‘sweetheart’ deals between these blue collar criminals and their white collar colleagues in government.

Thank God for the Moroccans, the Gooddluck Jonathan gang have been exposed for what they are – a bunch of thieving liars.  Knowing fully well that Jonathan did not speak on phone to the Moroccan monarch, they went to town with a story that a phone conversation took place between Jonathan and King Mohammed VI.  The no nonsense King ordered the immediate recall of his country’s Ambassador to Nigeria and issued a press statement, which in essence, called the Nigerian ruler a liar.  Shame of a nation!  We may soon see a press statement from Funny Kayode accusing the opposition APC of orchestrating this national embarrassment.  Since they are used to lying to Nigerians without being forcefully challenged to substantiate the wild allegations they constantly make, they believe they will get away with their lies on the international forum because of diplomatic ‘correctness’.  All discerning Nigerians should “shine their eyes” and know them for what they are.

To further compound their stupidity, General Martin Luther Agwai was fired from his position as SURE-P Chairman for daring to tell the president that change is inevitable.  This is the president who recently bemoaned that “80%” of his advisers give him bad advice.  Do you wonder why they give him bad advice?  With the help of treasonable felons like Uwazuruike, Gani Adams, Edwin Clark and co. Jonathan is lining up Jega for the Agwai treatment and all you hear from Nigerians is a deafening silence.  Jonathan and gang got away with suspending Ayo Salami; they practically bundled Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from office for calling them thieves and they fired Agwai via a press statement for failing to harken to Patience’s admonishing of not uttering the word change at the pain of being stoned – so he got stoned by her husband.  Still we kept quiet.

Now they are organising protests in collaboration with their ‘contractors’ against Jega conducting the 2015 general elections – which they have morbid fear for.  The chick of it.  We are behaving like mumus in the face of this assault against common sense and decency.  May be we all deserve the PDP.


Opinion expressed on this page is solely that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of and/or its associates.

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