Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday condemned the continued detention of a former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association chief, Mr Monday Ubani, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, without charge.
Falana, in a statement, demanded Ubani’s immediate release from the anti-graft agency’s custody, where he had been held since March 19.
The senior lawyer maintained that the detention of the ex-NBA chief and one Christopher Enai, for standing surety for a suspect who allegedly absconded, was unwarranted because the act did not constitute a criminal offence in Nigeria.
The condemnation by Falana came as the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on Monday ordered substituted service of a contempt suit on the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, who was accused of disobeying the court’s order directing him to either release the two men or charge them to court.
The NBA had earlier condemned Ubani’s continued detention which it claimed violated a subsisting court order.
The EFCC had said it was detaining Ubani and Enai for standing as the sureties for Dr Ngozi Olojeme, said to be “a prime suspect in the N68bn NSITF fraud.”
But Falana said, “A Nigerian who stands surety for a criminal suspect commits no offence if the latter does not turn up for his or her trial.
“No doubt, Mr Ubani’s decision to stand surety for a client who has vamoosed has caused him untold embarrassment. But he has not contravened any provision of the penal statute.
“Hence, the EFCC has filed a motion pursuant to Section 180 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, praying the court to direct Mr Ubani to show cause why he should not forfeit his bond.”
Falana stated that EFCC must comply with an order of court granting bail to Ubani, whom he demanded should be released immediately.
He stated, “Having not charged Mr Ubani with any criminal offence whatsoever, the EFCC must comply with the order of the FCT High Court which has admitted him to bail without any further delay.
“Having filed a motion before the FCT High Court to show cause why he should not forfeit his bond, Mr Ubani’s detention by the EFCC cannot be justified under the ACJA or the EFCC Act.
“The EFCC should therefore release Mr Ubani without any further delay.”
Oshiomhole Rejects Supreme Court Verdict, Says No Govt in Bayelsa from Friday (Today)
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has rejected the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Bayelsa State governorship election.
He faulted the judgement while addressing a press conference in Abuja, shortly after the apex court sacked the candidate of the APC, David Lyon, as the governor-elect in Bayelsa.
The APC national chairman stressed that the implication of the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court was that nobody was qualified to be sworn in as governor of Bayelsa State.
“If as the Supreme Court has ruled, David Lyon cannot now be sworn in as governor and as the person who has the highest number of votes and the spread to be sworn in, it simply means from tomorrow (Friday) there will be no government in Bayelsa State,” he said.
Malabu Scandal: Adoke’s Trial Stalled, Resumes Today
The trial of a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, was on Wednesday stalled by the failure of the EFCC to serve the charges on some of the defendants.
Justice Idris Kutigi of the Gwagwalada Division of the FCT High Court adjourned the trial to Thursday, based on the agreement of counsel in the matter.
The anti-graft agency on Monday filed multiple charges against Mr Adoke, which include a seven-count charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja and a 12-count charge before the FCT High Court.
The charges include those related to money laundering, denying Nigeria taxes and an alleged N300 million bribe.
In the charge before the FCT High court, the EFCC accused Mr Adoke of accepting gratification to facilitate and negotiate the OPL 245 resolution agreement with Shell, Eni, and their Nigerian subsidiaries.
But at the court proceedings, a counsel to one of the defendants, Bala Sanga, informed the court that the EFCC had failed to serve four of the defendants the court charges. They are Mr Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar, Rasky Gbinigie, and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
Mr Sanga added that the commission only served the charges on some of the defendants including Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited
Justice Kutigi, therefore, adjourned the case till Thursday (today) for the continuation of the trial.
Court Threatens to Jail Emefiele over $53m Debt
Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, over a judgment debt of $53m.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Joe Agi, had initiated a garnishee proceeding against the CBN for the purpose of recovering a judgment debt of $70m from Linas International Limited and the Minister of Finance.
The SAN had last year July obtained a garnishee order absolute against the CBN in order to recover the $70m judgment debt from Linas International Limited and the Minister of Finance.
According to a court document, Form 15 (Judgment Summons), sighted by one of our correspondents on Monday, following the garnishee order absolute, the CBN had paid Agi part of the $70m, leaving a balance of $53m.
The summons said Emefiele must on January 23, 2020 appear before Justice Ekwo at Courtroom 5, Federal High Court in Abuja, to give reasons why he should not be sent to prison, following the failure of the CBN to release the balance of $53m to Agi.
According to the summons, Emefiele must appear before the judge “to be examined on oath touching the means you have or have had, since the date of the said garnishee order absolute, to pay the balance of $53m now due and payable under the said garnishee order absolute and also show cause why you should not be committed to prison for default in payment of the said sum.”
Meanwhile, following an ex parte application, Justice Ekwo ordered Agi to serve the summons on Emefiele through substituted means by “publishing the summons in any of the following newspapers, viz: The PUNCH, Daily Trust or The Nation.”
“The newspaper publication ordered shall be made within 21 days of this order.
“Case adjourned till 23rd January, 2020, for mention,” the judge said.