The former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has described the move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to file another process in the Federal High Court, Lagos, in which it is seeking the interim order of the court for the forfeiture of his home in Ilorin as a clear abuse of the court process, a violation of an existing order of a court of similar jurisdiction and disrespect of the judicial institution.
Saraki said the current effort by the EFCC “amounts to forum shopping, which shows that the EFCC is only engaging in act of vendetta as opposed to fighting corruption.
He declared: “This action of the EFCC runs contrary to the statement of the nation’s highest ranking judicial officer, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed who stated that: “The rule of law must be observed in all our dealings and we must impress it on the governments at all levels to actively toe the path. The right of every citizen against any form of oppression and impunity must be jealously guarded and protected with the legal tools at our disposal. All binding court orders must be obeyed. Nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgments. As we all know, flagrant disobedience of court orders is a direct invitation to anarchy in the country. Such acts are completely antithetical to rule of law in a democratic environment and will not be tolerated under my watch as Chief Justice or Nigeria.”
Saraki, whose reactions was contained in a press statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said that he was equally surprised that EFCC, which prided itself as an institution that is built on the rule of law, would decide to ignore the existing order of the Federal High Court, Abuja that restrained the commission from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting his right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties.
Olaniyonu noted: “Again, instead of the EFCC consolidating its cases by joining the new application with the old one it earlier filed through which the commission got an interim order of forfeiture which is already being challenged by Dr. Saraki in the Federal High Court, Lagos, it decided to proliferate litigation by filing a fresh matter, all in an attempt to embarrass the former Senate President and ignore an existing order. The commission was engaging in this rigmarole in order to ensure it has different cases before different judges against the same person.
“The decision of the EFCC to file for a forfeiture order before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a property based in Ilorin also amounts to forum shopping, an act which an institution which seeks to be respected in the international community should not engage in. The new move only shows the level of desperation of the EFCC to nail Dr. Saraki at all cost and by all means possible.
“However, we will like to put it on record that the Ilorin home of Dr. Saraki was built after he left office as governor and came about through his lawful pensions and personal fund. The application for forfeiture of this property therefore amounts to witch-hunt, abuse of power and miscarriage of justice.
“While we insist that Dr. Saraki is ready to meet the anti-graft agency in court, we reiterate the firm belief of the former Senate President in the rule of law, the sanctity of the judiciary and ability of the nation’s courts to serve the cause of justice in all matters and to all persons.”
DSS Denies Arresting Sowore Within Court Premises
The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied the media reports that it arrested journalist and activist, Mr. Omoyele Sowore within the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Friday 6th December, 2019.
The DSS said in a press release signed by its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, Ph.D that ‘it is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi FALANA (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele SOWORE immediately after the court session.
“The Court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.”
Afunanya stated that when SOWORE stepped out of the court and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the courtroom.
He added that in a bid to shield him from an imaginary arrest, “his uncontrollable supporters mobbed him while chanting “you can’t arrest him” thus the pandemonium that ensued.”
The DSS emphasised in the release that was made available to the media on Saturday that eyewitness and several media accounts have disclosed that the Court had adjourned peacefully without an untoward incident “when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the Courtroom went into frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS was sighted at the court premises.
“The eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom. His lead counsel has affirmed this.”
The DSS added that as a professional, responsible and law abiding Organization, it could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who it said is not only handling its case but whose Order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24 hour ultimatum.
“The Service holds the judiciary in utmost respect and will continue to work with it for national peace and public safety in Nigeria,” the release read.
The DSS stressed in the release that a critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel during the entire period “Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama.”
“Its personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident. In actual fact, it was his people who seized him.
“And from the latest developments, it has become obvious what the intent for such mischief was meant for – simply to serve a propagandist purpose as well as bring the Service to disrepute.”
Afunanya said further in the release that it has therefore become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the Courts.
“In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of SOWORE that “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care …” On 5th December when SOWORE was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country,” Afunanya said.
He recalled that the Service had on 3rd December, 2019 raised alarm about an alleged plot to destabilize the country.
“It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out.
“To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country.
“They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.
“For emphasis, it should be noted that SOWORE is facing trial not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities.
“It is most unfortunate that SOWORE, shortly after being released from custody, based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security.
“To this effect, only SOWORE has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale BAKARE, was not picked up even when FALANA had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him,” the DSS said in the release.
Abike Dabiri appeals to Nigerians in diaspora to be of good behaviour following the attack on Rotimi Amaechi in Spain
Abike Dabiri-Erewa has appealed to Nigerians in diaspora to be of good behaviour following the attack on Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi in Madrid, Spain.
Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO, NIDCOM, made the appeal in a statement released on Friday. She said such incidents tarnish the image of the country and other Nigerians living outside the country.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “NIDCOM appeals to Nigerians in diaspora to be of good behaviour wherever they are because such incidents tarnish the image of the country in their host countries.
“Also, such attitude has multiplier negative effects on Nigerians living in that country who are law-abiding.”
Dabiri- Erewa also applauded the prompt intervention of the Nigerian Mission in Spain and the Spanish police who ensured that the attack did not escalate.
Herdsman arrested for allegedly killing farmer in Ogun
The Ogun State police command has arrested a herder Muhammad Garba, for allegedly killing a farmer identified as Segun Akinlade in Imala community of Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
The herder reportedly got into a fight with the farmer who met him grazing his cows at his newly-cleared farmland.
Police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi who confirmed the incident said the suspect attacked the farmer with a cutlass after being struck by a stone fired from a catapult the farmer used in scaring him.
“In order to chase him away, he used a catapult to scare the intruder, but the catapult stone hit the herdsman on the forehead.
“This infuriated the suspect who brought out a cutlass to fight the deceased who was also with a cutlass,” the police spokesman said.
“The two of them used cutlass on each other resulting to the death of the deceased. The corpse of deceased has been deposited in the mortuary for autopsy,” he said.
“On getting to the scene, the corpse of the deceased was met on the ground while the suspect who also sustained machete cut injuries was identified and promptly arrested,” Mr Oyeyemi added.
Garba has been transferred to homicide section of the state criminal investigation and intelligence department for further investigation and prosecution.
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