An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday dismissed a N254 million bribery suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Albert Bassey, the senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in a ruling, dismissed the suit due to lack of jurisdiction and advised the anti-graft commission to file the suit in Akwa-Ibom State where the alleged bribe took place.
“The issue of jurisdiction is a fundamental one. In the instant case, the prosecution had failed to give reasons why the suit should be heard within this jurisdiction.
“This court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on this matter. I hereby strike out this suit for lack of jurisdiction.
“The prosecution should file the charges in Akwa-Ibom where the alleged fraud took place,” Justice Taiwo said.
Mr Bassey, 46, is faced with corruption charges proffered against him by the EFCC for receiving alleged bribes of 12 cars worth N254m from an oil marketer, Olajide Omokore, during his tenure (2010-2014) as the Akwa-Ibom Commissioner for Finance.
The anti-graft commission claimed that the car gifts were given to Mr Bassey by Mr Omokore in exchange for contracts from the Akwa-Ibom State Government.
The senator was to face a 14-count corruption charge alongside Mr Omokore at an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
Mr Bassey was to specifically face seven-counts of corruption by a public officer and a public officer inviting bribes as a result of his own action.
Mr Omokore was to face a seven-count charge of offering gratification to a public officer and giving bribe on account of the action of a public officer.
Counsels to the defendant, Solomon Umoh (SAN) and Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN), had respectively filed applications contending that the court had no power to hear the substantive case.
Mr Bassey’s counsel, Umoh, had argued that there was nothing before the court to prove that the alleged crime against Bassey was committed outside Akwa-Ibom or in Lagos State.
“There is nothing in the proof of evidence that suggested that any aspect of the alleged crime against the first defendant was committed outside Akwa-Ibom State and in Lagos State.
“Happily, the prosecution has narrowed everything down that it was cars that was delivered to the first defendant by the second defendant.
“So we want to ask where the cars were delivered to so we can know what Lagos has to do with Akwa-Ibom State but we have provided the answers in our argument, the cars were delivered in Akwa-Ibom State.
“If he (Bassey) received in Akwa-Ibom State, how come they are coming to try him in Lagos State.
“The prosecution have not shown how the first defendant came to Lagos to receive vehicles. They have not shown it anywhere in the proof of evidence.”
Mr Umoh, who further argued that Bassey’s name was not mentioned in the petition written to the EFCC, urged the court to grant his application.
Similarly, Omokore’s counsel, Mr Adejuyigbe, SAN had argued that the contending issue was not insufficiency of evidence but whether they were in the right court.
He further argued that in determining the issue of jurisdiction, the court was not bound by the place stated in the charge.
He said, “The count against the second defendant relates to receiving gratification or giving bribe.
“The section under which those counts were charged did not state time of purchase, place of purchase, mode of payment so we cannot be asking the court to rewrite the law,” he said.
However, the prosecution counsel, Sadisu Abubakar, had argued that the EFCC has the right to try the case before the court.
He said the applicants tied the issue of jurisdiction to the issue of insufficiency of evidence which he noted was an abuse of court processes.
The offences, according to the EFCC, contravene sections 63 (1) (a), 64 (1) (a) and 98(1), (a), (i) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
Second Term: My Bid to Return Out of Commitment to Democratic Ideals – Demola Doherty
Hon. Demola Doherty is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a House of Representatives aspirant in Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos State. Addressing newsmen recently, Doherty highlighted his achievements as an Executive Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government and his desire for a second term.
“The administration in which I was the Executive Chairman remains a reference and legacy administration in Ifako-Ijaiye till date, the more reason the people yearn for my return as Chairman for 2nd term in office.
“The template for the infrastructural developments witnessed during our first term is still with us upon which successive governments have built their projects but we still have a lot to do to remove Ifako-Ijaiye from the sub-urban status.
“Classical examples of infrastructures visible on ground are drainages & road construction viz: Mojisola Str, Adekoya Str, Gospel Crusader, Abu Alfred, Aina Ajobo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Rd. (Old Akute Road) et al.
“The health of the people was of utmost importance to us hence the concept of Ashabi Taiwo Maternity.
“My next term plan is to address strategic roads yet to be done, such as Oshola Str., Powerline, Ibari Str. and link Ogundimu to Olowo surbub. I also intend to team up with our Assembly member to accelerate construction of Abiola Onijemo bridge.
The health of the people was paramount to our being in govt hence the concept of New Ashabi Taiwo Maternity, upgrade of Ajilete PHC for 24hrs service.
Construction of New Ogundimu PHC; donation of 30 KVA Diesel Generator; Out Patient benches for Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital and financial support.
Three new buildings, consisting 36 classrooms were constructed in Ajuwon (Ward F), Ogundimu (Ward F) Fagba (Ward D) and Rmrehabilitation of Bishop Oluwole Primary School (Ward C1).
Desks, chairs & tables were provided for pupils and teachers, respectively.
Yearly bursary to tertiary institutions students were increased by 50% and paid regularly. Indigent students were annually assisted with free WAEC/GCE forms and extra-mural classes.
Bags, English Language workbooks, exercise books and writing materials were provided free to 8000 pupils & students of Ifako-Ijaiye as dividend of democracy.
My next term plan is to wholly support Hon. Tope Adewale our Assembly member, to increase the number of free JAMB forms beneficiaries to 100% and to provide additional support to tertiary students in our local govt area.
Ishaga market was expanded and rebuilt to accommodate more market women and men. My next term plan is to rebuild NRC Area Office as well as Obawole/Ndike/Powerline Market.
The political class witnessed remarkable cohesion with local govt support during our last outing but there is a great deal of room for improvement.
My next term plan is to restructure wealth creation and poverty alleviation in a way that items relevant to the specific needs of the people shall be given out to reduce poverty in the land and make them self-sustainable.
Cleric Offers Scholarship to Underaged Victims of Sexual Abuse
A popular Islamic cleric, philanthropist, business and Estate mogul, and founder, Sebilu Nnajat TV, Sheikh Hammed Olanrewaju Alfulaany, has offered scholarships to two sexually abused underaged girls, aged 14 and 16, who were sexually molested by their parents.
The victims, Ayomide Rachael Johnson, and Motunrayo Ogunsanwo, were allegedly sexually assaulted by their fathers in Meiran, and Epe respectively before they were rescued by Lady of Africa Foundation.
The organization reported the matter to the police and the fathers were arrested. The case is presently in court.
The Cleric was approached by the Founder and National Coordinator of the Foundation, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, to assist the victims in furthering their education. Since their case became public knowledge, the victims had been under the care of the Foundation.
Upon hearing the plights of the victims, the business mogul offered to sponsor their education to University level and promised to take care of their feeding and daily expenses.
The elated Princess Bukola Fasuyi expressed gratitude to the cleric for coming to the aid of the victims, and urged other philanthropists to follow suit by coming to the assistance of the Foundation in providing succour to the needy.
Apart from the victims, the business mogul also offered scholarships to a 22year old Barakat Hassan and her 24-year old sister, Azeezat, who were abandoned by their mother for 22 years after she packed out of her matrimonial home.
Their situation became worst after the death of their father, as they had no one to take care of them.
Barakat lost her sight in the process, placing a heavy burden on her sister to fend for both of them.
Their plight was brought to the attention of the philanthropist who offered to foot the medical bill of Barakat running into millions of naira. She is presently receiving medical attention in one of the top hospitals in Lagos.
The two sisters have also been given accomodation by the philanthropist and are on the verge of enrolling in school.
While eulogising the philanthropic gesture of Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi said the philanthropist has demonstrated there should be no religious or ethnic biases towards helping the needy, adding such gestures should be emulated by every Nigerian.
She called on International community, government and well-to-do Nigerians to support Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany in his philanthropic gesture as well as come to the aid of Lady of Africa Foundation in it’s quest to give back to the society.
Domestic Violence: Foundation Calls for Protection of the Girl-Child
A women advocacy group, Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, LAEAF has called on government to ensure the right of girl child is protected amidst rampant cases of domestic sexual abuses of young girls.
While reacting to increase in cases of sexual abuses of teenagers, the founder of the group, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, said it’s disheartening to hear cases of fathers sexually molesting their daughters.
According to her, children who are victims of such abuses ends up becoming wayward and live with the psychological effects of the abuse for the rest of their lives.
Citing the case of a 14year old girl at Meiran, Lagos State, who was sexually molested severally by her father before she was rescued by the organization, Princess Fasuyi said the victim is currently battling with the trauma, having been introduced to a wayward as a result of her father’s action.
She added the organization is making every efforts to assist the victim recover from the abuse and has enrolled her in one of the government’s school in the state.
“It’s high time government ensured the right of girl child are protected. It’s disturbing when.you hear stories of fathers sleeping with their daughters. We have a case of a 14 year old girl who was sexually abused by her father. At times the girl would ran out of the house in the middle of the night whenever the father wanted to.sleep with her. This happened on several occasions. W
When we got wind of it, we had to rescue the girl and report the matter to the police. The father was arrested, charger to court, and is currently in prison custody while the case is going on in court.
The action has made the girl wayward but the organization is trying to re-orientate her and give her a new life,” she said.
She also cited the case of a 17year old girl who was rescued in Epe after being severally sexually molested by her father. The girl was later rescued by the organization.
According to her, the organization reported the matter to the police and the father was arrested. The case is presently in court.
” We are urging the government to pay more attention to women by empowering them. It’s said when you build a woman, you build a nation. Many young girls who grow up to be wayward are victims of domestic abuses from childhood. Government must ensure violators are brought to book.
Law enforcement agencies must ensure violators are prosecuted and justice is served to victims. Girl child should be educated while parents, especially mothers should pay adequate attention to their daughters to protect them from randy father’s,” she urged.
Lady of Africa Empowerment and Foundation is a non governmental organization committed to the empowement and rapid development of women.
Over the years, the Foundation has been involved in several cases involving the welfare of women.
In 2009, the Foundation rescued one Dupe Olowoyo, a widowed and single mother of two who was down with cancer of the vagina. Several millions of Naira were spent on her treatment by the Foundation before she was cured of the disease, and was later empowered by the Foundation.
Likewise, one Yinka Popoola, a single mother of four, was treated of cancer of the mouth by the Foundation.