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AGF Malami Breaks Silence; Says FG Is Right To Detain Sowore, Dasuki Despite Court Orders

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has on Thursday backed the Federal government for detaining the convener of #RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore and former National Security Adviser to the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki despite various court orders to release them.

Malami made this known at a programme titled ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ aired by national television, (NTA), which Vanguard monitor.

Speaking at the programme, Malami said that the Federal government did not default, noting that FG still has the right to detain Sowore and Dasuki until an appeal against the orders is determined by the Supreme Court.

His words, “Perhaps I need to clear the air on how the rule of law operates within the context of the Nigerian constitution. We have multiple and a plethora of judicial decisions that establish a fact that when you are challenging a court order through a judicial process, the idea of disobedience to that court order does not arise.

“The misapprehension that set into the system and deliberately put in the public space is the fact that once there is a court order, you must unconditionally comply. You can only be adjudged being in disobedience of a court order when you don’t take advantage of the constitutional powers, rights accorded to you by appealing against the order and perhaps seeking for a stay of execution of the order or perhaps you don’t take any steps seeking variation of the court order.

“So, in respect of those orders we are not comfortable with as a government, we go back to the court and have them challenged. Until that matter that your right of challenge, is determined up to the supreme court level, the idea of you being charged with disobedience of court order does not arise.”

Recall that a Federal High court in Abuja had severally asked the Department of the State Service, DSS, to release the publisher of SaharaReporters, but the service refused.

The service noted the following as its reason:

“It has, therefore, become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the courts. In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of Sowore that: “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care.

“On December 5 when Sowore was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.

“It may be recalled that the Service had on 3rd December 2019 raised the alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out. To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.

“For emphasis, it should be noted that Sowore is facing trial, not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to calling for violence, a forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities. It is most unfortunate that Sowore, shortly after being released from custody, based on a court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only Sowore has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, was not picked up even when Falana had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.

“Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the international community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them.

“The Service is committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria. It supports democracy in the country and will do all that is legal to protect it. It will also ensure that the efforts of anti-democratic forces are frustrated.”

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Court Orders Seizure Of 46 Houses, Land Linked With Ex-NSITF Boss Olejeme

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an order of interim forfeiture in relation to 46 property including houses and parcels of land suspected to be owned by former Chairperson of the Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Mrs. Ngozi Juliet Olejeme.

Justice Taiwo granted the order in a ruling on a motion ex-parte, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2020, argued on Tuesday by Ekele Iheanacho, a lawyer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Taiwo ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national daily to enable anyone who is interested in the affected property to show cause within 14 days why the assets should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge fixed July 27 this ‎year as the return date.

The 46 property, listed in documents filed in court, is said to be located in Abuja, Bayelsa and Delta states.
The EFCC claimed, in a supporting affidavit, that Olejeme acquired the said property with public funds she allegedly diverted while serving in the NSITF between 2009and 2015.

One of the properties is identified as N0: 2 Kainji Crescent, Off Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja (also known as Plot 738 Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja, the which the EFCC claimed she acquired in 2012 at N1.3billion.

The EFCC alleged that Olejeme acquired the property using funds received as kickbacks from contractors, through third parties.

It stated that “During Mrs. Olejeme’s tenure as aforestated, she collected a cumulative sum of USD $48, 485,127.00 from Chuka Eze (her Account Officer in First Bank Plc), Henry Sambo Ekhasomi (the Director of Finance of NSITF), Aliyu Zubairu (Director of Corporate Affairs -NSITF), Adebayo Aderibigbe and Abubakar Umar.

“The said sum of USD $48, 485,127.00 represents the dollar equivalent of kickbacks paid to BDC (bureau de change) by contractors/consultants of NSITF on Mrs. Olejeme’s instructions as well as payments to the BDC operators directly from NSITF account.

“The personal account of Mrs. Olejeme in First Bank Plc also received a total in-flow of N22, 200,000.00 from Hybrid Investment Advisors Ltd, a contractor to NSITF.

“Excellent Solicitors & Consultants is one of the firms engaged by the NSITF as a consultant.

“In the course of time, the firm received over N1,000, 000, 000.00 from the NSITF under the guise of rendering consultancy services, its proprietor Max Ozoaka withdrew the monies and either gave same in cash to Mrs. Olejeme or did transfer to her proxies under her instructions.

“Within the same period, the sum of N5, 984,059,110 was paid by NSITF under the guise of consultancy services to Fountain Legal Services and Fountain Media Consults being the firms owned by Adebayo Adebowale Aderibigbe (a staff of NSITF).
“As the said payments were made by the NSITF to his firms’ accounts, Mr. Adebayo Adebowale Aderibigbe gave Mrs. Olejeme a total cash sum of N505,000,000.00 and US$11,488,550.00 in dollars.

“Mrs. Olejeme procured the services of bureau de change operators through Mr. Chuka, who provided the bank accounts of the BDC operators to her.

“Several consultants/contractors to NSITF transferred money to the bank accounts of these BDC operators in naira for Mrs. Olejeme while the dollar equivalent of each naira lodgment would be collected by Mr. Chuka and handed over to Mrs. Olejeme in her house or through bank transfers.

“Mr; Chuka was interviewed on various dates including 23rd August 2016, 19th December 2016, 4th April 2017, 2nd May 2017, 17th July 2017 19th December 2017, 27th December 2017 and 17th May 2018 and he consistently narrated the details of the numerous United States dollars he couriered to Mrs. Olejeme as well as other financial dealings he carried out for her.

“The BDC Operators which provided the currency exchange services for Mrs. Olejeme through Mr. Chuka include Majia BDC, Alim BDC, and Ashanbrak.BDC.

“In addition to giving the currencies to Mr. Chuka for Mrs. Olejeme, there were occasions where the BDC Operators transferred some of the funds directly to Mrs. Olejeme’s controlled bank accounts.

“For instance, Mrs. Olejeme received the sum of N350,000,000.00 from the BDCs into her private company Able Jes Nigeria Ltd’s account in GTBank Plc in two days i.e (29th and 30th April 2013).

“In fact on 29th April 2013, only Adamu Musa of Majia BDC made cash deposits into the same account totaling N236,350, 000.00. She (Mrs. Olejeme) is the sole signatory to the said account.

“Mrs. Olejeme used the huge funds referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, which funds did not form part of her lawful income, to acquire property referred to.

“She used third parties in making payments for all the property so as to conceal and or avoid the properties/funds from being easily traced directly to her.

“Mrs. Olejeme hired the services of one Mr. Ifeanyi Njokanma, who is a property manager to purchase and acquire, on her behalf, most of the property,” the EFCC said.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Lagos, Abuja Airports To Resume Operations July 8

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The Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, are to resume domestic operations on Wednesday, July 8.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced this on his twitter handle on Wednesday night.

He said the date for commencement of international flights would be announced in due course.

The minister said Lagos and Abuja airports would resume operations on July 8, while Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Maiduguri airports are to resume operations on July 11 and other airports would start operations on July 15.

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BREAKING: FG Increases Petrol Pump Price To N143.8/litre

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The Federal Government through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has announced a new retail price band for oil marketers across the country.

In a circular dated July 1st, the downstream regulator said oil marketers are now expected to sell petrol within the price range of N140.80 and N143.80.

The circular reads in part;

“Please recall the provision for the establishment of a monthly price band within which Petroleum Marketers are expected to sell PMS at the retail stations, based on the existing price regime.”

“After a review of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering Marketers’ realistic operating costs, as much as practicable, we wish to advise a new PMS pump price of N140.80 to 143.80/Litre for the month of July 2020.”

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