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.”
Insecurity: FG Resuscitates Special Terrorism Prosecution Courts
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that special terrorism prosecution courts will soon be resuscitated in Nigeria.
In a statement on Thursday, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the AGF, Umar Gwandu, said the decision is part of efforts to address insecurity.
“The federal government is committed to ending insecurity in the country. The courts are to bring to book all those found guilty in connection with terrorism, so as to serve as a deterrent to others,” the statement read.
“In addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the measures taken by the government will counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.”
On April 30, 2013, Ibrahim Auta, the former chief judge of the federal high court, made a practice direction that amended the order 48 rule 4 of the federal high court (civil procedure) rule 2009, which took effect on June 3, 2013.
The practice direction was intended to fast-track criminal trials relating to offences of terrorism, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, rape, corruption, and money laundering cases, and ensure that delays in criminal trials are largely eliminated.
Under this practice, the court shall ensure that criminal cases are fully ready for trial before hearing dates are agreed, in order to minimise undue adjournments and delays.
Parties involved in the trials are also expected to focus only on important matters relating to their cases.
$65m Fraud: ICPC Declares Buhari’s Son-in-Law Wanted
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared Gimba Yau Kumo, son-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted over an alleged $65 million fraud.
In a notice published on Thursday, Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson of the anti-graft commission, said Kumo is declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over alleged misappropriation and dispersion of national housing funds.
Kumo, a former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, married Fatima, the president’s daughter, in 2016 at Daura, Katsina state.
“The persons whose pictures appear above, Mr. Tarry Rufus, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, are hereby declared WANTED by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion of the sum of Sixty Five Million dollars ($65,000,000),” the ICPC said.
“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.”
In April, the senate committee on public accounts summoned Kumo to explain the alleged irregular award of N3 billion contract when he was still at the bank.
Igbo Aren’t Violent People, Ignore ‘Rumour’ of Attack on Lagos – Ohanaeze Tells Sanwo-Olu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.
On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.
The groups have, however, denied the allegations.
Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.
Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.
“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.
“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.
“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.
“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the south-west was a source of relief.
“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”