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EFCC seeks court order for final forfeiture of $899, 600 linked to  EX-Bauchi SSG




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has prayed a Federal High Court in Abuja to order final forfeiture of 899, 600 dollars linked to former Bauchi State Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ibrahim Ahmed Dandija.

Counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho urged Justice Zainab Abubakar to make the order, following his application for final forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the EFCC is the applicant, Abdallah Suleiman, Ahmed Ibrahim Dandija and Sigma Apartments Ltd. are 1st to 3rd respondents respectively in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1986/19.

Although the matter was formerly before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, the case was reassigned to Justice Abubakar following Giwa-Ogunbanjo’s transfer to another division.

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo had, on Oct. 31, 2019, granted an interim forfeiture application in respect of the funds brought by the EFCC’s lawyer, Iheanacho, through an ex-parte motion.

The money, the lawyer averred, was established to be proceeds of fraudulent activities.

He said that the commission received intelligence bordering on money laundering  regarding illicit funds  stashed at Sigma Apartment Ltd. located at Wuse, Abuja.

Iheanacho said that based on the intelligence, the house was searched and a safe was found that contained the money.

He told the court that investigations revealed that the apartment was secured by a former SSG to the Bauchi State Government, Dandija, to store his valuables but that all efforts to get him were unsuccessful as he had refused to honour the invitation to explain his connection to the money.

The lawyer further revealed that one Abdallah Suleiman later came forth to claim the money, stating that “he engages in chartering of aircrafts through his company Montes Auri Ltd and that the money was received on behalf of a company.”

The EFCC counsel, however, said that investigations at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) by the anti-graft agency failed to establish Suleiman’s claim.

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo, then, granted the prayer sought by the EFCC and directed that the order be published in a national newspaper for persons with interest in the funds sought to be forfeited to appear before the court to show cause why the final order of the forfeiture of the funds should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, when the matter was called before the current presiding judge, Justice Abubakar, Iheanacho told the court that he had an application for “final forfeiture to the Federal Government of $899, 600 found by the anti-corruption commission and which funds are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.”

He said he was ready to proceed with the application subject to court’s convenience.

The judge then inquired from lawyers to the respondents if they had been served with the motion on notice and they confirmed, adding that they had also responded too.

Counsel to the 1st respondent (Abdallah Suleiman), Blessing Anazodo, said a preliminary objection and also application seeking leave to regularise the said preliminary objection had been filed.

Justice Abubakar then granted leave to Iheanacho to move the motion.

Moving the motion, the the lawyer informed the court that he filed motion on notice dated and filed on Dec. 2, 2019, seeking for final forfeiture of the money.

He said the motion was supported by 37-paragraph affidavit.

He urged the court to grant the commission’s plea for a final forfeiture order of the funds to the Federal Government.

But Anazodo, after moving the application to regularise the processes, asked the court to set aside aside the earlier interim order granted for the forfriture of the funds.

The lawyer also prayed the court to compel the EFCC to return the money to the respondent.

Responding, the EFCC lawyer argued that a counter affidavit had been filed to oppose the 1st respondent’s preliminary objection.

He urged the court to dismiss the application.

However, counsel to 2nd respondent, A. O Usman, and lawyer to the 3rd respondent, Ademola Adeleye, informed the court that though they filed counter affidavits, they were not opposing to the reliefs being sought by the EFCC.

Justice Abubakar adjourned the matter until Jan. 31 for judgment.(NAN)

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27 Rivers Assembly Lawmakers Dump PDP For APC



Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike
Rivers State Assembly Complex. Insets: Governor Siminalayi Fubara (L) with FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike


The Current political drama in Rivers State has taken a new turn as 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A member of the Assembly, Enemi George, confirmed to Channels Television that the 27 lawmakers were under the leadership of Martin Amaewhule.

He said the decision was taken during their sitting on Monday morning.

For weeks, Amaewhule and another member, Edison Ehie, have been embroiled in a Speakership tussle. Amaewhule is believed to be loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike while Ehie is known to be in the camp of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The Assembly under Amaewhule had in October served an impeachment notice on the governor and removed Ehie as the House leader. However, some members of the Assembly loyal to Fubara immediately impeached Amaewhule and made Ehie the new Speaker.

The crisis in the 32-member Assembly had begun as a result of a rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Though the two politicians have both attended same public events in the last few weeks and all seemed to have been settled but with Monday’s defection of 27 lawmakers from the PDP to the APC, more drama might unfold in the state’s political arena.

Meanwhile, some political players from other parties over the weekend announced their defection to the PDP.

Leading the defectors from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the APC were the deputy governorship candidate of the SDP in the 2023 election, Patricia Ogbonnaya; and former Ahoada-West Chairman, Karibo Wilson.

They decamped alongside their supporters and other party excos.

The politicians dumped their former parties to pitch tent with the PDP group loyal to Fubara.

Also in attendance were some of the Ehie-led group of lawmakers, with the member representing Ahoada West, Goodboy Sokari representing the governor alongside Oko Jumbo from Bonny Constituency.

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NJC Recommends Appointment Of 11 Supreme Court Justices



Entry Point to Supreme Court Complex Abuja

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the appointment of 11 justices to the Supreme Court.

A statement by the apex court’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, said the recommendation was made at the 104th meeting of the council in Abuja on Wednesday.

The recommended candidates would be sworn-in after the approval of their recommendation by President Bola Tinubu and the subsequent confirmation of their appointment by the Senate.

With this appointment, the apex court will have the full complement of 21 justices, as envisaged by the Constitution.

Those recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court are:

Hon. Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey, OFR
Hon. Justice Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa
Hon. Justice Chioma Egondu Nwosu-Iheme
Hon. Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani
Hon. Justice Moore Aseimo A. Adumein
Hon. Justice Obande Festus Ogbuinya
Hon. Justice Stephen Jonah Adah
Hon. Justice Habeeb Adewale O. Abiru
Hon. Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur
Hon. Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar
Hon. Justice Mohammed Baba Idris

The NJC at its last meeting for the year also recommended the appointment of Justice Mohammed Ramat to the Court of Appeal, as well as six heads of courts and 26 other judicial officers.

The various Heads of Court recommended would also be sworn-in upon the approval of their appointment by their various State Governors and subsequent confirmation of same by their respective State Houses of Assembly.

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CJN Urges Judges To Remain Fair In Judgements



Justice Olukayode Ariwoola

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has asked Judges to maintain the integrity that the Judiciary is known for and remain fair and firm in their Judgements.

The CJN was speaking at the opening of the special session of the 2023/2024 Legal year and Swearing-in of 58 newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria In Abuja.

Ariwoola added that he expects every judicial officer to work very hard and also be very honest and courteous to the litigants, witnesses and members of the bar, and discharge all their judicial functions with all the humility at your command.

While pledging to safeguard the rule of law, the holistic independence of the judiciary and the trust and confidence of the public, the CJN further reiterated the determination of the Judiciary, not to be overwhelmed by the sentiments of the public in their decisions.

He stated that the law remained the law, no matter whose interest was involved.

He charged them that In all they do, as interpreters of the law, they should endeavour to severe the strings of emotion from logic and assumption from fact.

The CJN further reminded the judges that it is necessary to have at the back of their minds that public opinions, sentiments or emotions can never take the place of the law in deciding the cases that come before them.

He stated that the Judiciary, as it is today, is more deserving of public trust and confidence than ever before; and they are poised to reposition it for effective justice delivery to make the country a destination of note in the observance of the rule of law and tenets of Constitutionalism.

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