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El-Zakzaky, Wife Sue FG Over Passport Seizure, Demand N4bn

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El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat
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Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, have filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja, challenging the seizure of their international passports by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

In their separate suits filed by the Femi Falana Chambers on October 14, they told the court that their passports were last seen in the possession of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which has officially denied that it was in their possession.

On attempting to renew their passports through the Immigration Service, it was revealed that the passports have been flagged by the DSS. They add that all requests to remove the restriction have been ignored by the secret agency.

The duo asked the court to compel the DSS and the AGF to release their passports and lift the red flag restrictions.

They are also asking the court to declare that the seizure of their passports since May 2019, as illegal and unconstitutional because it violates their fundamental rights to freedom of movement.

They asked the court to mandate the defendants to pay the sum of N2 billion each, as general and exemplary damages, for the violation of their rights to freedom of movement.

The reliefs sought include by the plaintiffs include:

“A declaration that the seizure of the Applicants Passport No A50578740 since May 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the Red Flag Travelling Restrictions placed on the Applicants Passport and land borders by the Respondents without a court order is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates his right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“A declaration that the refusal of the Respondents to allow the Applicant to travel abroad for medical treatment constitutes a threat to his life guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to release the Applicant’s international passport number A50578740 to him in order to enable him to access prompt and adequate medical attention as recommended by his physicians.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to lift the Red Flag Restrictions (and all or every form of restriction howsoever) placed on the International Passport number A50578740 of the Applicant by agents of the Respondents forthwith.

“An order of this Honourable Court mandating the Respondents to pay over to the applicant the sum of Two Billion Naira (N2,000,000,000.00) as general and exemplary damages for the violation of the Applicant’s rights to freedom of movement, fair hearing and property.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents from further violating the Applicants fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.”

El-Zakzaky and his wife added that the seizure of their passports, and an absence of a court order, amounts to a threat to their lives since they have been denied the opportunity to seek urgent medical attention outside the country as recommended by their doctors.

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Supreme Court Orders FG To Pay allocations Directly To LGAs

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The supreme court has ruled that the federal government should henceforth pay allocations directly to local government councils from the federation account.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Thursday, a seven-member panel of justices held that state governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for LGAs.

In May, the federal government filed a suit at the supreme court against governors of the 36 states.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the federal government asked for full autonomy for the country’s 774 local governments.

In the suit filed by Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, the federal government also requested the supreme court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to local governments — in accordance with the constitution.

The suit was hinged on 27 grounds.

“That the constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution,” the originating summons had read.

“That all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse funds from the federation account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local governments is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution.”

The federal government had asked the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the constitution to declare that the governors and state houses of assembly are under obligation to ensure democratically elected systems at the third tier.

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N33bn Fraud: Ex-Minister Mamman Collapses Outside Court

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The arraignment of Saleh Mamman, the former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was on Thursday, July 11, 2024, stalled at a Federal High Court in Abuja due to ill health.

Mamman, whose plea was fixed for Thursday morning, collapsed outside the courtroom before the case was called.

The former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate (SAN), told the presiding judge Justice James Omotosho shortly when the matter was called for Mamman to take his plea.

Upon resumed hearing, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the dock with part of his clothes drenched.

Justice Omotosho then asked why Mamman was sweating or whether it was raining outside.

The former minister, who responded from the dock, said water was poured on him.

The counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), while addressing the court, said though the matter was fixed for Mamman’s arraignment, there was a development outside the courtroom.

Olumide-Fusika said he had a discussion with Ate outside the courtroom about Mamman’s ill-health.

“I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learner senior advocate to tell the honourable court himself,” he said.

Speaking, Ate said Mamman, “upon being brought into the premises of the court collapsed and had to be resuscitated and treated by the medical personnel of the Federal High Court.”

He said his client was served with the charge after he was resuscitated.

N1.6bn fraud: Please give me time to return looted funds, ex-AGF begs court

“He was served this morning,” he added.

The lawyer said he sought the understanding of Olumide-Fusika for an adjournment so that the arraignment could be done on Monday when his client would have been okay.

However, the judge said due to the workload in the court dockets, the arraignment could only be fixed for September ending.

Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.

The judge, however, asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today and he responded in the affirmative.

Mamman, however, said he was fit to continue with the arraignment.

“It can happen to anyone,” the judge said.

Justice Omotosho, thereafter, stepped down the arraignment until Thursday afternoon.

The EFCC had filed a 12-count money laundering charge against the Mamman.

He was alleged to have committed money laundering offences to the tune of N33 billion.

The former minister served under former President Buhari from 2019 to 2021.

 

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Olaide Akinremi, House Of Reps Member, Dies At 51

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Olaide Adewale Akinremi, a member of the house of representatives, is dead.

The lawmaker died on Wednesday morning aged 51.

Akinremi represented Ibadan north federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was a ranking member and house committee chairman on science and research.

In a statement, Akin Rotimi, spokesperson of the house, said the Oyo lawmaker was a “dedicated public servant known for his unwavering commitment to the development of his constituency and the country at large”.

“His passion for service, coupled with his deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of his people, earned him the endearing title of ‘Jagaban’.

“Throughout his tenure, he was a staunch advocate for policies and initiatives that promoted social welfare, economic growth, and scientific research.

“His contributions to legislative debates and his active participation in committee activities were a testament to his dedication and hard work.

“Rep. Akinremi was as much a grassroots politician as he was an astute statesman who leveraged his goodwill and network of relationships to attract positive impact to the people of his constituency.

“He built friendships by being intentional about reaching out and sending goodwill messages to all colleagues on special occasions, fostering camaraderie and unity within the House.

“As a ranking member, Rep. Akinremi had keen institutional memory and was a mentor to many first-time parliamentarians, guiding them with wisdom gained from his extensive experience in legislative affairs.”

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house, also expressed “profound sadness” over the passing of the lawmaker.

“Rep. Akinremi Olaide Adewale was a beacon of dedication and service,” Abbas said.

“His contributions to our legislative work, especially in the area of science and research, were invaluable.

“His passing is a great loss to the House, his constituency, and the nation. We will miss his leadership, wisdom, and the unique passion he brought to his work.”

Akinremi’s death comes weeks after the passing of Isa Dogonyaro, a member of the house of representatives who represented Babura/Garki federal constituency of Jigawa state.

Dogonyaro died in May after a brief illness.

 

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