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Buhari Runs A Government With No Direction, Says Financial Times London |RN

Buhari-on-microphone

President Muhammadu Buhari

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Financial Times of London says President Muhammadu Buhari has been running a government that lacks a clear direction in the last four years.

The respected newspaper therefore called on the President to see his re-election as an opportunity to do the right thing.

The Financial Times said this in its editorial which has been read and shared thousands of times around the world.

It said there was no clear economic policy like that of Rwanda and Ethiopia.

It read in part, “With his renewed mandate, it is now Mr Buhari’s task to rebuild faith by running a dynamic and successful administration and by building the institutions that can lay firmer foundations than in his previous term.

“The omens from his first four years in office are not good. During that time, the former military leader ran a lacklustre administration with no obvious sense of direction. There was no coherent economic strategy of the sort being attempted by the likes of Ethiopia, Rwanda or west African neighbours Ghana and Senegal to produce the rapid growth needed to haul tens of millions of people out of poverty. It is an indictment of its leadership — both military and democratic — that the continent’s biggest oil producer should have more people living in absolute poverty than any other country in the world.”

FT advised the President to appoint more technocrats in his second term who can help turn things around.

The newspaper said the anti-corruption war must be more holistic and less selective.

FT added, “Mr Buhari’s priority this time must be to set out a coherent agenda, implemented by technocrats rather than ideologues, to turn things around. Nigeria desperately needs to create a level playing field for business in which access to foreign currency, permits, and other requirements is both predictable and rational.

“His much-vaunted crackdown on corruption must go beyond taking action against a few minor officials. Some big scalps would help. More important still is to implement systematic changes — whether by reforming institutions, using technology or by removing arbitrage opportunities — to create a more transparent environment. People should prosper in Nigeria based on what they know and how much value and employment they can create, not by their connections.”    (Punch)

 

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Supreme Court Affirms Interim Forfeiture Of Patience Jonathan’s $8.4m |RN

 

The Supreme Court, on Friday, dismissed the appeal filed by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mrs. Patience Jonathan regarding the forfeited sum of $8.4m.

The apex court upheld the decisions of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal and affirmed an order of interim forfeiture made by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court

The decision was contained in a unanimous judgment reached by the five-man bench of the apex court led by Justice Dattijo Muhammad.

Other members of the panel include Justices Muhammad, John Okoro, Eko, and Sidi Bage.

The court also rejected Jonathan’s prayer to strike down the provisions of section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud related offences Act, which was relied on by the Federal High Court to issue the order of interim forfeiture.

Ruling, Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, in the lead judgment of the apex court, read by Justice Ejembi Eko, said:

“I do not find any reason to interfere with the decision of the lower court”.

“Appellant is to go back to the trial court (the Federal High Court) to show cause why the interim order should not be made permanent,” he added.

The EFCC had last year approached the Federal High Court in Lagos with an ex parte application seeking the forfeiture of the sum of $8,435,788.84 and other various sums in various bank accounts linked to the wife of the former President.  (ElombahNews)

 

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Buhari: Fighting Corruption In Nigeria Is Difficult |The Republican News

NAN

 

President Muhammadu Buhari said in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday that in spite of the difficulty his administration was facing in the fight against corruption, it would not be discouraged.

“We are fighting corruption but it has not been easy. “But we told the security agencies to keep tab on those on our watch list and ensure that no stone is left unturned to ensuring that those who have cases to answer do not escape justice,’’ Buhari said as he campaigned for re-election.

The president who was with the Vice-President,  Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and other senior party members, told the mammoth crowd at the 15,000 capacity Ekiti Pavilion that he would not be discouraged to rid the country of graft as he promised in 2015.

He said that in addition to the fight against corruption, his administration had made efforts in the last three and a half years  to revamp the economy and rebuild social infrastructure, such as roads, rail services and power generation.

Buhari said he was conscious of the promises he made four years ago, particularly the ones that had to do
with corruption, insecurity and economic diversification.

“As part of our promises, we are building roads, rail lines ,fighting corruption . We introduced Treasury Single Account and increased  power  supply, so Nigerians can have their own businesses.

“I want to be grateful to Ekiti voters because the two times I came here, I achieved successes . I came here in 2014 and I also came here to campaign for Fayemi, he won the governorship election, so I thank you”, he said.

The president said the efforts in infrastructure repair had started yielding positive results and urged the people to vote for All Progressives Congress(APC) to fully deliver on its promises.

Other party leaders at the rally were  governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Gboyega Oyetola, (Osun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State), Rotimi Akeredolu, (Ondo State) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun).

Also at the rally were a former Interim National  Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu, Afenifere Leader, Ayo Fasanmi and Chief Olusola Oke, a party chieftain.

At the rally, a former deputy governor of Ekiti, Chief Abiodun Aluko, formally defected to APC and so did some members of Ekiti State House of Assembly, who moved from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The lawmakers  who were led by the Speaker, Mr Ebenezer Alagbada, are Mrs Cecelia Dada representing Ilejemeje Constituency and Mr Olanrewaju Olayanju from Emure Constituency.

In his address, Osinbajo said it was sad that Nigeria earned 383 billion dollars  from crude oil sales between 2010 and 2014 under the leadership of Dr Goodluck Jonathan but failed to use it wisely.

“That was when we had the highest (earning) but nothing was done with it.

“If that money had been utilised judiciously, all the roads, rail lines and employment we are creating would have long been in place for Nigerians.

” Buhari built three refineries as Minister of Petroleum under military era. No government has ever added one, not even during the 16 years of PDP.

“Don’t let them deceive you, vote for a president you can trust, that is President Buhari,” Osinbajo advised.

He said that youth employment was paramount to Buhari’s government and that was the reason the administration brought about N-power scheme to empower young graduates.

The National Chairman of APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, said it would be a big mistake if Nigerians elected the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the Feb. 16 poll.

Oshiomhole said Atiku owed Nigerians explanation over the alleged stealing of millions of dollars belonging to
Petroleum Trust  Development Fund which he supervised during the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Fasanmi and Akande described the Reuben Fasoranti-led faction of Afenifere  which  endorsed Atiku, as political jobbers, who should not be taken serious.

Fayemi promised the president that he would win in Ekiti and other South-West states in the coming election and urged residents to vote massively for him.
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“The Buhari-led government  is planning to expand Ado-Akure road, complete the federal housing units, the federal secretariat and also extend  the Lagos-Kano rail line to our dear state

” We therefore have no option than to return President Buhari, because Ekiti people are progressives,” he said.  (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Onnoghen: Senate Discontinues Supreme Court Case, Lauds NJC Intervention

walter-onnoghen-1

Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen

The Senate has ordered the discontinuation of the case it filed at the Supreme Court on the suspension of Hon. Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen.

This followed the intervention of the National Judicial Council on the issue.

In a statement signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Special Adviser to the Senate President, the Senate announced that it has decided to give the NJC intervention a chance.

“The Senate has therefore decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow. This decision also affirm the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues”, the statement stated.   (Punch)

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Onnoghen: US, UK, EU Supporting Corruption – FG |The Republican News

 

Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

 

The Federal Government has said that the statements by the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, portends tolerance for corrupt acts and the downplaying of the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.

The government also said the statements signified alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections.

This is the third time the government is reacting to statements by the US, the UK and the EU, having earlier said that the presidency will not bend rules or allow interference, and that the US, UK and the EU were not properly informed over concerns raised by the suspension of Onnoghen.

In a statement by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Ehidiamen Edokpa, the government stated that the statements were inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria notes with deep concern, statements made by representatives of foreign governments and international organizations resident in Nigeria, notably the Embassy of the United States of America, the High Commission of the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union Election Observer Mission, regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), which demonstrate serious and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.

“The various statements, especially of those referred to above, appear prejudicial and signify alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anticorruption crusade of the Buhari administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny.

“It is pertinent to underscore the unfortunate fact that statements, as referred above, are inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression. Now, more than any other time, Nigerians and true friends of Nigeria should be working towards repositioning Nigeria to realize her potential and sustainably provide the leadership expected of her.

“His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari had consistently demonstrated respect for the rule of law as a presidential candidate and as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would engage in nothing to the contrary. He also remains a man of integrity who has severally pledged free and fair elections. It is therefore absurd to presume that the suspension of the CJN is geared towards rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, be it known that on three occasions that Mr. President went to court as a presidential candidate and lost his case, in 2013, 2011 and 2007, the presiding judges at the Supreme Court were all northerners and Muslims: Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Idris Lebo Kutigi and Dahiru Mustapha respectively. In fact, in one instance, the presiding judge at the Appeal Court was from Katsina State and the President’s former classmate, yet, he lost the case. The minority judgements in his favour were given by two judges, both of them southerners and Christians: Justices George Adesola Oguntade and Sylvanus Nsofor.

“Resident embassies and international organizations invited to observe the forthcoming elections must therefore be wary of being drawn into the camp of the opposition, otherwise their neutrality, which is the hallmark of election observers becomes questionable. It is indeed unfortunate that foreign missions would align with the opposition and seek to negatively interpret actions by the Federal Government, no matter their positive basis and intention. Had the Federal Government been high-handed, would the opposition have been able to express its views even to the point of pouring invectives on Mr. President? How best can the corruption in the judiciary, which has enormously undermined the rights of the common man and made justice available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled than by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled? Where is the rule of law, if justice is applied selectively?” the government queried.

The government further raised pertinent questions which it said, the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon.

“Pertinent questions that the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon are: How has the action of Mr. President undermined the resolve for free and fair election? In what ways does it undermine the independence of the Judiciary, except in the minds of the opposition and its cohorts? What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her government has invested heavily in the elections? It is insulting for any foreign representative to claim the right to interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs, based on the premise that its government has invested heavily in the election,” the government added.

The government further said Nigeria had invested enormously over the years in election processes of many African countries and will continue to do so without interfering in their internal affairs.

The government also said interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs under any guise will therefore not be accepted.

“Representatives of foreign governments and organizations are therefore advised to tread with caution and desist from using the utterances and actions of opposition organizations and individuals as a vehicle to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs. Embassies and organizations accredited to Nigeria should desist from actions and utterances that can only create political, sectional and religious crises and divides,” the government warned.  (The Sun)

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Asset Declaration: Onnoghen Splits The Tribunal |The Republican News

 

 

Walter-Onnoghen

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja.

In a split decision of two to one, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has refused an application by the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen for an indefinite adjournment of his trial.

Justice Onnoghen who was absent in court had through his legal team anchored by Chief Wole Olanikpekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), asked the tribunal to adjourned indefinitely, proceedings in the six-count criminal charge filed against him by the Federal government.

While the tribunal Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar and Justice Julie Annabor refused to grant the application for an indefinite adjournment of the proceedings as requested by the defence counsel, Justice William Agwadza on the other hand dissented and granted the application for stay of proceedings.

Olanikpekun who moved the application argued that in view of the various court orders by the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court restraining the tribunal from taking further steps in the case, it was proper and appropriate for the tribunal to comply with such orders which he said were subsisting.

In addition, he informed the tribunal of the pendency of an appeal by the CJN before the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal in urging the court to adjourn proceedings and await the outcome of the appeal.

He argued that it would breach the legal principle of starie decisis (matters pending before court) and amount to an act of rascality for the tribunal to proceed having been aware of the appeal before the appellate court.

Olanikpekun who was in the company of over 40 Senior Advocates of Nigeria cited some case laws in urging the tribunal to adjourn the trial sine dine (indefinitely).

Olanikpekun submitted: “I owe a duty to inform the tribunal about the subsisting orders of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court restraining the tribunal to maintain status quo ante.

“I also owe a duty to inform the tribunal the defendant is now before the Court of Appeal which sat on the matter on Monday. The Attorney General of the Federation was represented by a counsel who asked for an adjournment and the matter was adjourned to Thursday this week.

“The counsel to the AGF told the Court of Appeal that there was no need for another order of injunction.”

“The tribunal is therefore enjoined and mandated to honour and obey all the orders that have been made and serve on the tribunal, until they are set aside,” as doing otherwise would amount to judicial rascality, ” Olanikpekun submitted.

But in opposition to the application, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Umar (SAN), urged the tribunal to refuse the application and order the Chief Justice of Nigeria to step down from his position.

He argued that as a court of coordinate jurisdiction, the decisions of the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court are not binding on the tribunal.

Describing the CCT as a unique and creation of the 1999 Constitution, he contended that the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court have no supervisory powers over it.

“This tribunal is under the supervision of the Court of Appeal and is not bound by the decisions of the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court.

“The Code of Conduct Tribunal is unique and independent and cannot enforce or comply with the decision of the Federal High Court,” Umar submitted.

In his ruling on the issue, the Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, held that the tribunal is not bound by the orders of the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court.

“The orders issued by the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court are not binding on the tribunal which is established by the 1999 Constitution under the third schedule to adjudicate on matters relating to matters of assets declaration by public officers.

“Therefore, any order from Federal High Court and National Industrial Court cannot stop the tribunal. This would be a crystal violation of the constitution and therefore null and void.

“The 1999 Constitution is a ground norm. Where the tribunal gives a decision, the appeal by whichever party lies as a right to the Court of Appeal.

“The Code of Conduct Bureau was established to receive complaints about non-declaration, investigate and refers matters to the tribunal.

“It further contravened the provisions of the constitution that the orders of the Federal High Court were obtained by some busybodies who do not have locus standi and therefore lacked merit.”

As regards the appeal by the CJN at the Court of Appeal, Justice Danladi held that going by the provisions of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, proceedings in criminal matters cannot stay.

“The defendant counsel is therefore ordered to move his motion of preliminary objection. Let me say that courts and tribunals are enjoined to guide their jurisdictions jealously.”

In his minority ruling, another member of the tribunal, Justice William Agwadza held that it would result to judicial anarchy for the tribunal to proceed with the trial in view of the four subsisting court orders and the pending appeal at the Court of Appeal.

According to him, orders are binding on the tribunal until they are set aside in view of Section 287(3) of the 1999 Constitution which allows court orders to be enforced in all parts of the county, stressing that the CCT cannot operate in isolation.

“Having summarised argument from both parties, it is my submission that CCT as a creation of law bound by the existing court orders to avoid judicial anarchy,” he held.

He further held that the issue of jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the charge against CJN must first be resolved, adding that status the quo must be maintained by adjoining proceedings sine die until all contending issues were resolved.

Although the chairman ordered that the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to be moved immediately, counsel to the defendant, Chief Olanipekun however, informed the tribunal that the response of the complainant, Federal government, was served on him late Monday and as such needed time to study the response and then filed a reply on point of law.

Counsel to the Federal government, Umar, agreed that the government’s response was served late on the defendant, prompting the chairman to adjourned further proceedings till Monday,  January 28.

Meanwhile, some groups under the platform of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy and National Interest Defenders staged a protest outside the courtroom against the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Speaking at the rally, National Coordinator of National Interest Defenders, Ikenga Ugochinyere, described the charges against the CJN as an attempt by President Muhammadu Buhari to remove Justice Onnoghen and replaced him with Justice Tanko Ibrahim for the purpose of rigging the 2019 elections.

He said: “All members of the presidency cabal would be personally held responsible if for any reason there is a breach of peace and the country descends into anarchy.”

(The Sun)

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Court Strikes Out FG’s Appeal Against Retired Justice Ademola, Others |RN

Justice Ademola
                                                  Justice Adeniyi Ademola (retd)

The Court of Appeal on Monday in Abuja struck out an appeal filed by the Federal Government challenging the discharge of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, his wife Olubowale, and Joe Agi (SAN), from answering fraud charges.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that an FCT High Court had, on April 5, dismissed all 18 counts, including gratification charges, preferred against them following ruling on a no-case-submission application.

Delivering judgment, Justice Olabisi Ige held that all the objections raised in the Notice of Appeal filed by the appellant were un-meritorious.

The judge said it was not in the place of law and practice direction of the court to interfere with a decision of the trial court without substantial reasons.

According to him, the grounds upon which the appellant is seeking the setting aside of the ruling of the trial court are not properly laid.

He said the appellant had not been able to discountenance the reasons that warranted the discharge of the three respondents.

Justice Ige held that some of the prosecution witnesses in the matter at the trial court had completely acted in ignorance of the situation they investigated.

On the voiding of Sections 53 and 60 of the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission Act, which the trial held was in conflict with Section 36 (5) of the Constitution, the judge said the decision subsisted.

NAN reports that sections 53 and 60 hinge on the burden of proof of allegations of gratification.

Justice Ige however said that sections of an Act could only be voided to the extent of their inconsistency with the Constitution.

“From the notice of appeal, no mention was made on this aspect which means that the appellant is satisfied with the striking down of sections 53 and 60 of the ICPC Act.

“Having not appealed against the striking down of sections 53 and 60 of the ICPC Act, the decision of the trial court subsists.

“All the three issues brought for the court to decide are hereby ruled against the appellant and the appeal is struck out for lacking in merit.

“The ruling of justice Jude Okeke of the FCT High Court delivered on April 5 is hereby affirmed’’, the judge held.

The charges were filed by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation following the raid by Department of State Service’s operatives on the judge’s house on October 7, 2016.

The trial court had ruled that the prosecution was unable to make out a prima facie case with respect to any of the 18 counts on concluding its case with 19 witnesses

The court held that it would amount to asking the defendants to prove their innocence contrary to the provision of ‎the Constitution which required the prosecution to prove their guilt.

Ademola, a retired justice of the Federal High Court, Abuja, his wife and Agi had stood the trial on allegations of gratification to influence the decisions of cases before the former.

(NAN)

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