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“Justify The Freezing Of Fayose’s Accounts”— Court Orders EFCC, Zenith.

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The Federal High Court, Ado-Ekiti has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Zenith Bank Plc to show cause why an ex parte order to de-freeze Governor Ayodele Fayose’s accounts as submitted to the court by the governor’s legal team should not be upheld.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo fixed July 4 for the EFCC and Zenith Bank Plc to appear in court to justify the freezing of Fayose’s accounts.

Mike Ozekhome (SAN) had through an ex parte order deposed to on June 24, 2016 by Bimpe Olatemiju sought a mandatory order unfreezing the accounts belonging to and operated by him pending the determination of his interlocutory application.

Joined in the suit are the EFCC (1st defendant) and Zenith bank (2nd defendant).

The order was supported by an 18-paragraph affidavit, a lone exhibit, which was a letter issued to Governor Fayose by Zenith Bank confirming that the EFCC actually placed a restriction order on the accounts and a written address.

He also sought the leave of the court for the service of the originating summons on the defendants in their various addresses outside the jurisdiction of the court as contained on the order papers, supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit.

Ozekhome said the order was brought pursuant to Order 26 rule 8(1) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule 2009 and Section 44(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which gives the court the discretionary powers to adjudicate on such matter.

Citing the case of Abdulaziz Nyako Vs EFCC to buttress his position that the anti-graft agency has no power to freeze Fayose’s account without a valid court order, Ozekhome added the action was a flagrant negation of the Section 308 of the constitution, which conferred absolute immunity on the governor against civil and criminal procedures.

He said it was appalling that the EFCC could play ostrich to these valid constitutional requirements and took cognizance of the African Charters on Human and People’s Rights before taking the “punitive” stand against Fayose, adding that these infractions had rendered the action unconstitutional, wrongful, null and void.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Taiwo said he understood that the applicant (Fayose) enjoys immunity and that the court can adjudicate on this matter as canvassed by the counsel to the plaintiff, but he pointed out that the relief he basically sought was a mandatory order of the court .

He said: “I quite agree that the applicant has immunity pursuant to provisions of the constitution, but it is glaring that the application he is requesting for is a mandatory order to undo what had already been done and the court can’t abdicate its duty under this circumstance.

“I am of the opinion that this mandatory order is better granted with the interlocutory order being sought through an application pending before the court, because the applicant has filed all papers to this effect.

“I hereby order the 1st and 2nd respondents to appear before this honourable court on July 4, 2016 and show cause why the order should be refused.

“This is not a refusal of the order.

“I have not refused it, but I only put it in abeyance, which I said without prejudice to what will be the position of the respondents.

“But a leave is granted for the service of the defendants with the originating summons in their respective addresses as contained on the order papers.”

Describing the presiding judge as being at home with the law and a highly experience lawyer, Ozekhome said told newsmen: “Our motion was an exparte for the de-freezing and removal of restriction placed on citizen Ayodele Fayose’s two accounts with the Zenith Bank Plc.

“The bank claimed through a letter made available to our client that it acted on the instructions of the EFCC and we are here by way of originating summons to say that the EFCC has no powers, whether under the EFCC Act, money laundering Act, under the constitution or any other known law to freeze the accounts of a sitting governor who enjoys immunity under section 308 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered, because that section makes it clear that for the time that person is in that office, the President, Vice-President, Governor and Deputy Governor, he enjoys absolute immunity from any civil or criminal procedure and that no court process can issue against such person.

“So, EFCC could not have obtained an order ex parte to freeze his account.

“If they did that, it is illegal, null and void.

“It could also not have frozen his accounts without having an order ex parte.”

Asked what would be the the legal team’s next step should the EFCC fail to honour the court’s order on Monday, Ozekhome said the government agency cannot dare a Federal High Court’s order.

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[VIDEO] Herdsmen Kill Bus Conductor In Lagos Over Cow’s Death

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Persons identified as herdsmen have stabbed a bus conductor to death for killing a cow in Lagos.

This happened in the early hours of Monday and became public in a viral video from the scene of the accident.

According to one of the videos making rounds on social media platforms, the incident occurred at Mowo on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, close to President Muhammadu Buhari Estate.

The commentator in the video said the bus conductor, who fled after the accident that led to the death of the cow, was killed close to a police checkpoint.

The driver, who was said to be heading to Badagry from Mile 12, was said to have fled as soon as he sensed danger.

This made the herdsmen go after the conductor of the bus with registration number: FKJ 756 XH.

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JUST IN: Olukayode Ariwoola To Be To Sworn In As Acting CJN

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Report has it that plans are underway to swear in Olukayode Ariwoola as a tentative replacement for the former CJN, Tanko Muhammad so as to leave no vacuum.

Ariwoola is the next highest-ranking justice of the supreme court and he is expected to take over in an acting capacity from Monday.

According to the procedure for the appointment of the CJN, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) shortlists two or three most senior judges among the supreme court justices and sends their names to the National Judicial Council (NJC) which then selects one candidate and forwards it to the president before it goes to the Senate confirmation.

But to leave no vacuum, an acting CJN must be appointed.

ABOUT OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA

Ariwoola was born in Iseyin, Oyo State, on August 22, 1958. He had his primary education at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown between 1959 and 1967. He then moved to Muslim Modern School in the same town from 1968 to 1969 before graduating to Ansar-Ud-Deen high school, Saki area of Oyo, for secondary education.

He earned his law degree at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980 and a year later he was called to the Nigeria bar and got enrolled as a solicitor and advocate of the supreme court.

He kicked off his career as a legal officer in the Oyo state ministry of justice and stayed in the role until he moved into private practice in 1988.

Ariwoola spent less than four years in private practice before he was whisked back into public service.

Between 1988 and July 1989, he was a counsel in-chambers of Ladosu Ladapo before moving to establish his own legal firm named “Olukayode Ariwoola & Co”. Three years later, he was called to the bench.

Ariwoola was back in public service by 1992 when he was appointed a judge of the superior court of record in Oyo.

He was named the chairman of the Oyo state armed robbery tribunal between May 1993 and September 1996.

In 2005, he then rose to the position of a justice of the court of appeal and he held the position before he was appointed a justice of the supreme court of Nigeria in 2011.

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Ekweremadu: Immigration Dismisses Organ Donor’s Underage Claim

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The Nigeria Immigration Service has stated that it followed due process in issuing a Nigerian passport to Mr. David Nwamini, who was allegedly trafficked to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting by former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

David had allegedly claimed to be a minor after he arrived in the UK where he was to donate his kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter.

However, photos of his Nigerian passport, making rounds on social media, showed his date of birth to be October 12, 2000, placing him at 21 years old.

Making comment on the controversy surrounding David’s age, Mr. Idris Jere, the Comptroller General of the NIS, at a press conference on Sunday, said Nwamini is indeed 21 according to his record in the possession of the NIS, discarding claims that the Service didn’t thoroughly vet the documents provided by the applicant.

Jere said, “The fact of the matter concerning the case above, therefore, is that Mr. David Ukpo Nwamini applied and paid for the e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the passport office in Gwagwalada, FCT Abuja, on November 2, 2021, for his interview.

“To support his application, Mr. Nwamini presented all necessary documents required including his birth certificate issued by the National Population Commission, showing October 12, 2000, as his date of birth; his National Identification Number, issued by NIMC corroborating the date of birth; a Certificate of Origin issued by Ebonyi State Government Liaison office in Abuja, and a guarantor’s form duly signed.

“NIS relies on documentation supplied by other agencies and we are not under any obligation to go to those agencies to verify those documents. What we do is that we look at the documents and applicants physically. Once that is done, we go ahead to process.”

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Bayelsa West, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has told Nigerians not to hastily pass judgment against Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.

Dickson said this in a statement he issued on Sunday titled, ‘The Ekweremadu I know will not traffic an underage boy for organ harvesting.’

Dickson said, “I am sure from the beginning when this story broke that the Ekweremadu I know could not have taken an underage and underprivileged young man, smuggle him out to harvest organs for whatever purpose.

“The circumstances surrounding this will fully come to light in the cause of investigation.

Also reacting, the Ebonyi State Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, in Abakaliki, on Sunday urged the UK authorities to exercise caution in the investigation of circumstances leading to the arrest and eventual trial of the senator and his wife.

The statement read, “Ebonyi State Government is following up the turn of events and twists that followed the medical intention of the former Deputy Senate President’s family.

“While we urge the UK Government to act progressively and meticulously and critically look at the intention (Mens rea) and the minds of the detained family and please give them the benefit of the doubt, we enjoin the public, especially those with shades of opinions and surge of anxieties to remain calm as we hope to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“The state government is reaching out to the family of David Okemini Ukpo from Ebonyi State, whose information to the Metropolitan Authority of UK orchestrated the criminal charge against the senator and his wife. The state government stands with Senator Ike Ekweremadu at this trial moment and hopes that the truth and nothing but the truth shall guide the outcome of the matter.”

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