The Senate President, Bukola Saraki
Eniola Akinkoutu, Abuja
Two lawmakers, Senator Rafiu Adebayo and Senator Isa Misau, have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, the police, the Department of State Services, the Senate and seven others in order to stop the attempts to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senators Adebayo and Misau, who are supporters of Saraki, instituted the fresh court action marked FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018 before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday.
Other defendants in the suit are the majority and deputy majority leaders of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Minority Leader.
In the originating summons filed on their behalf by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the plaintiffs want the Federal High Court to determine whether in view of the provisions of Section 50(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki, who defected to another political party as a result of the division in his former party, can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with Section 50 of the constitution.
Adebayo and Misau, who represent Kwara-South and Bauchi-Central senatorial districts respectively, also want the court to determine whether Saraki can be compelled to vacate his office on the grounds that he is not a member of the political party with a majority of senators in the Senate in view of the combined reading of Section 50 of the constitution and Order 3 Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders.
The court was also urged to determine whether the Senate President could be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2) of the constitution when he had not ceased to be a member of the Senate or the Senate dissolved.
In a motion on notice filed along with the originating summons, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining all the defendants (except the Senate, Senate President and Deputy Senate President) jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from unlawfully removing the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They also prayed the court for another order of interlocutory injunction restraining the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of their originating summons.
Besides, the plaintiffs asked for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the IG and the DSS from harassing, intimidating, arresting or detaining the President of the Senate in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to Section 50(1) of the constitution and another order directing parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The motion was predicated on seven grounds amongst which were that the agents of the IG and DSS had taken steps to flagrantly breach the provisions of Section 50 by employing their agents to disrupt the plenary of the Senate without recourse to the said provisions.
Other grounds were that the constitutional provision of removal of the Senate President does not empower the AGF, police and DSS to unlawfully interfere with the legislative duties of the Senate by causing a blockade at the premises of the National Assembly complex or using their agents to disrupt the lawful duties of the Senate.
In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice and deposed to by Senator Isah Misau, he averred that the Senate was a body recognised and established by the 1999 Constitution vested with powers of making laws for the good governance and well-being of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the Senate held a plenary sitting between July 24 and 27 and that it was presided over by its President and that at the end of the sitting members adjourned till September 25.
Misau claimed that the All Progressives Congress as a platform for the Senate President had been bedevilled by crises resulting in divisions and factionalisation at the federal, state and local government levels. (Punch)
From: Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned courts in the country not to allow themselves to be used to undermine the democratic process by granting frivolous orders against the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Ohanaeze, in a statement signed by its President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, on Monday evening, said it gathered from a credible intelligence report that Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, had secretly approached courts to obtain an order to designate IPOB a terrorist group.
Nwodo said that such move was not only illegal but also aimed at pushing further the harassment and intimidation of Igbo youths who have been pursuing their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights in the land.
He also disclosed that Ohanaeze had despatched letters to the courts to be wary of such spurious moves as they were capable of aggravating the already frayed nerves, as well as capable of disrupting the genuine moves made by Ohanaeze and critical Igbo leaders in bringing peace and tranquillity to the country. (The Sun)
The legal counsel of IPOB via the instruction by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has written to Attorney General of Federation with regards to a purported declaration by the Nigerian Armed Forces, which declared its organisation as a terrorist group in Nigeria.
In the letter, IPOB’s legal counsel drew the attention of the AGF on the criteria that qualifies a group as a terrorist organisation as stipulated by the constitution of the federation.
Here is the letter:
Abubakar Malami, SAN
Attorney-General of the Federation
RE: Purported Declaration Of IPOB As A Terrorist Organization By The Nigerian Armed Forces
We write on the instructions of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (hereafter: our Client). Our Client is the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and we have his instruction to petition your office with respect to the above-referenced matter. It is also his instruction that this Petition be published widely.
Having fully studied the referenced ‘Declaration’ and the pertinent Laws of Federation of Nigeria, it is our considered position that the action of the Nigerian Armed forces is ultra vires, unconstitutional, illegal and negatory. Our position is predicated on the following Points and Authorities:
- Terrorism (Prevention) Act:
The entire body of Nigerian law on terrorism is codified and known as Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2013). The provisions that dealt specifically with the procedure for declaring an entity a terrorist and proscribed organization are found at Section 2 of the Act, which states that:
“(1). Where two or more persons associate for the purpose of or where an organization engages in— (a) Participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism;
(b) promoting, encouraging or exhorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or
(c) setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the judge in Chambers may on an application made by the Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of Police on the approval of the President; declare any entity to be a proscribed organization and the notice should be published in official gazette.
(2) An order made under sub-section (1) of this section shall be published in the official gazette, in two National newspapers and at such other places as the judge in Chambers may determine”.
As is clear from above, the statutory provisions are unambiguous and explicit. Let it also be clear that the foregoing provisions constitute the sole and entire statutory path through which an entity, such as IPOB, can legally be declared a terrorist or proscribed organization under the extant statute.
And to be sure, the procedure for making such ‘Declaration’ strictly and exclusively requires judicial intervention, not the martial orders of the Nigerian Armed Forces, that also does not possess such powers under the Armed Forces Act. Consequently, it is our position that this ‘Declaration’ cannot stand in law.
- Judicial Pronouncements:
On March 1, 2017 a Federal High Court in Abuja, per Justice Binta Nyako, struck out the charges of “terrorism, management of unlawful organization and intention to manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices planned to be used against Nigerian security agents”, which were instituted by your office against our Client in his extant capacity as the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra.
The judge ruled that ‘the proof of evidence failed to show that IPOB was indeed an unlawful organization’; and that ‘the prosecution failed to show that IPOB is a proscribed organization or that it was not registered either in Nigeria or United Kingdom’.
To be sure, and as regards ‘terrorism’ which is at issue here, the court had struck out the charge that our Client or any of the co-accused (all members of IPOB) committed – as framed by your office – “terrorism contrary to Section 2(1)(a) of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 as amended in 2013.”
A plain reading of the foregoing ruling will show that not only did the court find that IPOB is not a terrorist/proscribed organization, it also disposed of any allegation that our Client or any of the alleged ‘confederates’ committed acts amounting to terrorism. It is noteworthy, therefore, that the acts alleged as grounds for making the said ‘Declaration’ are virtually the same with, or similar to the acts previously held by the court as NOT constituting terrorism, as defined in Section 1 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act.
On the basis of the Points and Authorities enunciated above, we most respectfully request:
- That, pursuant to the powers and procedures of your office, you take prompt measures to issue an Advisory Opinion invalidating the said Declaration.
That, upon the issuance of the said Advisory Opinion, you take prompt measures to cause publication of same in the official Gazette of the Government of the Federation and in at least 2 Nigerian newspapers of national circulation.
While we anticipate an expeditious disposition of this Petition by your office, please be assured of our highest esteem for your person and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Respectfully submitted by:
ADULBERT LEGAL SERVICES
Solicitors to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
1. The Presidency
2. Chief of Defence Staff
3. Chief of Army Staff
4. Chief of Air Staff
5. Directorate of State Services
6. Inspector-General of Police
Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Department of State Services has submitted a report to the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), containing evidence implicating the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The report, which was signed by one Folasade Bello on behalf of the Director-General of the DSS, was in response to a letter sent to the DSS by the AGF dated December 19, 2016 with reference number, HAGF/DSS/2016/Vol 1/7.
The DSS also attached 12 documents as evidence against Magu who was rejected by the Senate last week based on the damning security report.
According to the DSS, Magu while serving on the presidential arms procurement probe panel befriended a fellow member of the panel, Air Commodore Mohammed Umar (retd.).
Umar was later arrested and charged by the DSS sometimes last year for alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
According to the DSS, Umar said in his confessional statement that his company furnished Magu’s official residence in upscale Maitama.
It reads in part, “This is a copy of the confessional statement of the confessional statement of Air Commodore Mohammed Umar (retd.), a suspect hitherto detained and currently being prosecuted by the service.
“The statement confirms his ownership of Valcour SA Nigeria Limited, a company awarded the contract of securing and furnishing an official residence for Ibrahim Magu by the FCTA. Investigations revealed that this was facilitated after Magu was earlier shown the residence by one Uche Aleka, a close business associate of Umar who was introduced to Magu by the former.”
The security service said when Umar’s house was searched by operatives, several top secret documents, which emanated from the EFCC were found at his residence, evidence that Magu was providing him with sensitive information.
It added, “This is a copy of progress report with reference number SH/COS/24/A/7277 dated 25th May, 2016 on NNPC/NLG Brass Investments Accounts in Nigeria commercial banks from Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, to the acting Chairman of the EFCC chairman. The letter is an official/classified document of the EFCC, which was duly received by the commission as indicated by the stamp on the document. However, it was recovered at Umar’s residence.”
The DSS alleged that Magu allegedly used his position to settle personal scores with his perceived opponents.
It concludes, “It has exposed Magu as a fraudulent officer and betrays the high confidence reposed in him by the President.”
All attempts to speak with the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.
In his response to the AGF last year, however, the EFCC boss denied all the allegations levelled against him by the DSS.
Magu his relationship with Umar was one of “professional acquaintance devoid of issues of conflict of interest” since their paths crossed when they became members of the arms procurement probe panel.
He said, “The claim that EFCC documents, including EFCC letters addressed to the Vice President and being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu, were found in his home during a search by the DSS came to me as a surprise.
“If that is correct, he should be made to disclose how he came by such documents. I never discussed my official duties with him let alone give him documents pertaining to investigations being conducted by the commission.”
Magu further denied allegations that Umar rented the Maitama apartment for him. (Punchng.com)
OLUSOLA FABIYI and ADE ADESOMOJU
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has replied a query issued to him on Monday by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
THE PUNCH had reported exclusively on Wednesday that the AGF issued a query to Magu based on the allegations levelled against him in the security report prepared and sent to the Senate by the Department of State Services.
The Senate had on the basis of the DSS’ report rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Magu as substantive EFCC chairman.
Malami, whose office has a measure of supervisory role on EFCC, queried Magu on Monday following an order by President Buhari on Sunday directing the AGF to investigate some top Federal Government officials accused of corruption.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, is also believed to be part of the target of the probe ordered by the President.
But it could not be confirmed if the AGF had taken any action with respect to the allegations against Lawal.
Sources close to Magu and the AGF confirmed to our correspondents on Saturday that the acting EFCC boss was given 48 hours to reply to the query dated December 19.
One of the sources said, “The query was dated December 19 and delivered to Magu on the same date.
“It was stated in the query that he must respond within 48 hours.” (Punchng.com)
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has disclosed how over $1.30million cash was recovered from the Abuja home of a member of the committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces, Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (retd).
A lawyer representing the office, Shuaibu Labaran, said upon receiving intelligence, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) stormed Umar’s home, conducted a search and recovered $1,030,000 cash and other currencies.
Labaran said some sensitive official documents (which he refused to name) and two pump action guns (marked: SBSG Magnum 397 and SBGS Interpress 09-1573) were also recovered at No: 4 Lungi Close, Mississippi, Maitama, Abuja.
Labaran was making his opening remark, as the lead prosecution lawyer in the trial of Mohammed and his firm, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited, before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, a prosecutor is required, before the commencement of trial, to render an opening statement, containing a summary of his/her case against the defendant.
Earlier, Labaran told the court that the prosecution had complied with its order for Umar’s release from DSS’ custody, having fulfilled his bail condition, following which he applied to make the opening statement.
Lead defence lawyer Hassan Liman (SAN) confirmed Umar’s release.
He said his client was released on December 2. Liman did not object to Labaran’s request to make an opening statement.
Labaran said: “Following intelligence over a case of money laundering and unlawful possession of official documents and firearms, operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), armed with valid and subsisting search warrant, conducted a search in the premises of the 1st defendant (Mohammed).
“During the search, large sums of money in different currencies and denominations, including $1,030,000 cash were recovered.
“Investigation revealed that the said money was part of a transaction between the 1st defendant and the 2nd defendant (Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited), which offends relevant provisions of the Money Laundering Act, having failed to pass through any financial institution.
“The prosecution, in the course of trial, will lead evidence to show the official documents found in the possession of the 1st defendant and the purpose for which those documents were kept in his possession, as well as the firearms that were also recovered.”
“In the course of trial, the prosecution will lead evidence to prove these facts and tender exhibits recovered, and other evidence in proof of the charge pending before the court,” Labaran said.
At the completion of Labaran’s statement, Justice Tsoho directed parties to agree on a convenient date for trial to open.
Liman and Labaran agreed to return on February 14, next year. The judge adjourned till that date for the prosecution to open its case.
Umar, 54, and his company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited, are being tried on a four-count amended charge of money laundering and unlawful possession of firearms and official documents.
They are accused of conspiracy and accepting $1,030,000 in cash from a firm, Worldwide Consortium PTY Ltd, as payment for flight services without going through a financial institution as required by law.
They have, by so doing, committed money laundering, contrary to sections 18 (a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering Act 2011 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Act.
Umar was accused of being in possession of two pump action guns (marked: SBSG Magnum 397 and SBGS Interpress 09-1573) between June 1, 2011 and June 19, 2016 without valid licences and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4 of the Firearms Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27(1)(b)(i) of the act.
He was also accused of having at his 4, Lungi Close, Mississippi, Maitama, Abuja home “classified/official documents without lawful authority and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secret Act and punishable under Section 7(1)(a) of the same Act”. (The Nation)