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Ignore EFCC’s Petition Against Judge, Okorocha Tells NJC, Abuja CJ

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Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha has urged chairman of the National Judicial Council and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, to discountenance the petition written by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Honourable Justice Taiwo Taiwo for lack of merit.

In the said petition, EFCC had alleged professional misconduct and abuse of judicial powers against the judge for granting an order enforcing Okorocha’s fundamental human rights.

Okorocha, in the letter to the NJC Chairman and FHC Chief Judge titled Re: EFCC Reports Justice Taiwo to NJC over Restraining Order on Okorocha, Saraki, stated that “Contrary to the impression being created by the EFCC through its Chairman, the order granted by the Honourable Justice Taiwo was made pursuant to two fundamental human rights suits that I filed before the Court.”

He added that the move against him by the EFCC “smacks of political vendetta and persecution.”

The governor stated that EFCC operatives ransacked his house in Jos, Plateau State, in May 2017 with the hope of finding something incriminating against him but they found nothing.

He added that EFCC had also arrested almost all his principal staff “and in every case insisting that they must make statements to indict me. When they refused, they were kept in custody for two days.”

According to Okorocha, the EFCC is persecuting him “to distract, decimate and prevent me from being sworn-in as a Senator representing the good people of Imo West Senatorial District on the 9th of June, 2019 when the 9th National Assembly will be inaugurated.”

He added, “My political opponents accused me of nursing an ambition to contest for the position of the Deputy Senate President. In their reasoning, they said the position will give me an edge to contest as President in 2023; so, everything must be done to get me out of the way.”

Okorocha stated that in order to shield himself from the unwarranted attacks by EFCC, he approached the Federal High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

He noted, “Instead of Magu-led EFCC to prove its case before the Court, having submitted to its jurisdiction, it has resorted to cheap blackmail, needless name-calling and unwarranted arm-twisting, all in a bid to achieve their sinister motive of decimating me by all means.”

Buttressing his point, Okorocha stated that “The position of the law that has been well-espoused in the case of Governor of Lagos State Vs. Ojukwu (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt.18) PG 621 S.C., is that it is an affront to the Rule of Law to disobey or render nugatory an order of court whether real or anticipatory, and in particular, the case equally states that parties who are before the Court must act within the dictates of equity or directions of the law and Court until the matter is finally disposed.”

The governor added that the order granted by Justice Taiwo in the fundamental human rights suit he initiated against the EFCC and others was appropriately given in view of the facts placed before the court.

According to him, “It is trite that Chapter IV, Section 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution states that, ‘Any person who alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in any state in relation to him may apply to a High Court for redress.’

“It is totally mischievous and misleading for the EFCC or its Acting Chairman to claim that the Honourable Justice Taiwo made orders that restrained it from performing its statutory duties. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What the court gave was an interim order meant to prevent any of the parties from foisting a fait accompli on it.”

Okorocha then called on the NJC Chairman and the FHC Chief Judge to counsel EFCC to demonstrate confidence in the ability of its lawyers to defend it and that of the judiciary to dispense justice instead of making “hollow attempt at forum-shopping and name-calling.”

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Travel Agent Scams Cristiano Ronaldo of £250,000, Jailed

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A travel agent, named Maria Silvia scammed Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, out of £250,000 (about N140 million) after the football star entrusted her with his credit cards and pin.

The 53-year-old travel agent also scammed Ronaldo’s super-agent Jorge Mendes of £14,000 and Manchester United winger, Nani, of over £1,500.

Due to her wrongdoing, Silvia got a four-year suspended prison sentence on Sunday after being earlier convicted by a Porto criminal court in 2017.

It was also revealed that Ronaldo was targeted for three years between February 2007 and July 2010.

The paper read, “Afterwards the travel agent had to plug the hole in the firm’s accounts. She, therefore, began to bill those trips to Cristiano Ronaldo, who had an account at Geostar and for practical reasons, handed the agent a virtual credit card and pin code. It was a green route to taking money out.”

Quoting a renowned Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias, Sun Sports reported that the 36-year-old Ronaldo submitted a statement to the police after flying to the court to meet up with his lawyer.

The travel agent, who currently works as a cleaner, was first interrogated in 2011 before her eventual sentence on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

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I am Getting Better, Says Hospitalised Pele

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Brazilian football legend Pele said Sunday he is “punching the air” to celebrate “every better day” after the 80-year-old suffered his latest health scare.

“As you can see, I’m punching the air in celebration of every better day,” Pele wrote on Instagram beside a photograph of him sitting in a hospital chair, watched over by two medical staff.

The three-time World Cup winner was Friday briefly transferred back to an intensive care unit at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he underwent surgery earlier this month, after suffering breathing difficulties.

“A good mood is the best medicine and I have plenty of that. It couldn’t be different,” he added Sunday.

“I have received so much affection that my heart is full of gratitude. Thanks to all the amazing staff at Albert Einstein Hospital!”

His condition had been described as stable.

Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento also posted a photo of herself next to her father in the hospital on Friday, seeking to cheer up his fans.

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We Won’t Accept Second Position in 2023 – NEF

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The Northern Elders Forum has said the north was in the process of rebuilding itself and was not prepared to play second fiddle in a nation where it clearly enjoys numerical strength.

Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organized by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday.

He said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.

“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.

“The North has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.

“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.

“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.

The NEF’s spokesman added, “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”

The Punch

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