by ISE-OLUWA IGE


An Abuja High Court sitting in Apo, yesterday ordered Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, to pay N5,240,516,186.21k back to one of its customers, Dr. Ted Iseghohi Edwards, of Edwards and Partners Law firm.court

The judgment sum represents the amount illegally withdrawn from Ted Iseghohi’s account without his knowledge or consent.

The trial court ordered that the sum should be paid back to the customer through his Zenith Bank Plc account. The court entered the judgment yesterday after finding GTB guilty of illegal withdrawal. Read More →

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By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Onochie Bridget Chiedu (Abuja)

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday on the floor of the Senate, gave reasons he has not assented to the Constitution Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly and forwarded to him for approval.

Essentially, the President, in his letter read to the lawmakers, pointed out what he considered as shortcomings in some sections of the bill that may not make the document enjoy his assent, unless addressed. Read More →

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By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

. N’Assembly to decide on available options next week

A constitutional lacuna has arisen over the president’s decision to return the constitution amendment proposals to the National Assembly, as the constitution made no provision on the steps available to the legislature should the president refuse to assent to the amendment.Goodluck-Jonathan

A source in the National Assembly informed THISDAY on Wednesday that the veto had created a quagmire, given the fact that the constitution does not make any provision for the next steps to take if the president refuses to assent to the constitutional amendment because the framers of the constitution did not envisage this. Read More →

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by Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja

 


The State Security Service on Wednesday told an Abuja Federal High Court that Senator Aliyu Ndume asked a self-confessed spokesman of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Ali Kodunga (a.ka Al-Zawahiri), to call and threaten the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,Mohammed  Adoke (SAN).

Senator Aliyu Ndume | credits:

Konduga has since been convicted on two counts of criminal breach of public trust and intimidation through anonymous communication. He is currently serving a three-year prison term.

The SSS said it made the discovery when Ndume’s mobile telephone  call logs were analysed during investigations. The Senator  is facing terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

On June 14, 2012, a Federal High Court in Abuja presided by Justice Gabriel Kolawole,  ruled that Ndume must face trial on four counts of terrorism .

The court also dismissed a motion filed by his counsel, Chief Rickey Tarfa (SAN), seeking the dissolution of the charges against him. Ndume is accused of having links with  Boko Haram and also being involved in its activities.

When the trial resumed on Wednesday, a chief investigative officer in the SSS, Mr. James Inneh, told the court that Ndume gave Adoke’s phone number to Konduga.

According to Inneh, the alleged threat by Konduga  was to force the AGF to influence the outcome of the election tribunal sitting in Borno State in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Inneh said , “Konduga, in his confessional statement told the SSS that Ndume gave him the phone number of the AGF to threaten him (AGF) that they would make Borno State ungovernable if he did not ensure that the Borno State Election Petition Tribunal gave judgment in favour of the PDP.”

The agent admitted that Ndume gave some materials he obtained from Boko Haram to Vice-President Namadi Sambo and the Director-General of the SSS, while he served as a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-East.

Inneh said, “We investigated his claim by using our tradecraft. We did not have any audience with the VP but we investigated. His (Ndume) phones were sent to experts for analysis and after the phones were analysed, we did not tell him about our findings.

“He was not there when the analyses were  carried out. Some of the materials we took from his house were laptops, GSM phones, an international passport and other things.”

Inneh said he could not recall if Ndume had written a letter to the Inspector-General of Police to ask for protection.

Justice Kolawole, however,  adjourned the trial to November 1- 5 and December 11, 2012.

Ndume had asked the court to acquit him of the charges, arguing that the proof of evidence filed by the prosecution did not link him with the sect.

Ndume said his alleged relationship with Konduga, which formed the basis of the charges against him, came as a result of his membership of the presidential committee set up to address the security challenges in the North-East.

Ndume told the court that before his appointment as a member of the committee, he had no contact with Konduga or any other member of the sect.

However, in a counter-affidavit, the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Olufumilayo Fatunde, had asked the court to hold that Ndume’s trial must proceed summarily in line with Section 33(2) of the Federal High Court Act.

Ruling on the matter, the court maintained that, after studying the charges brought against the Senator, it found that he had a case to answer.

Kolawole said, “There is a link between the accused person and the offences listed in counts one to four.

“The mere presence of a probable defense to a criminal charge is not enough to quash the charge. The fact that an accused person denied the charges is not enough to quash the charges. There is a link between the accused person and some members of the Boko Haram.”

 

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BY SONI DANIEL & HUGO ODIOGOR

 


ABUJA— Aggrieved natives of Bakassi Peninsula yesterday stormed Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory in a bid to convince the Federal Government to take necessary steps to review the International Court of Justice ruling that ceded the oil-rich area to Cameroun 10 years ago.

Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke

But neither President Goodluck Jonathan nor the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, was in Abuja to listen to the embattled Bakassi indigenes, who claimed to have been armed with new incontrovertible facts to aid the government in pressing for the reversal of the ICJ judgement in Nigeria’s favour.Both Jonathan and the AGF are in New York for the first-ever High-Level Plenary Session of the United Nations on the Rule of Law, which opened on Monday.

The Bakassi indigenes pointed out that the information at their disposal was enough to swing the ICJ to reverse its October 10, 2002 ruling in favour of Nigeria and pleaded with President Jonathan not to listen to the enemies of Nigeria who claim that the issue had been laid to rest.

The Coordinator of the ‘Save Bakassi Group’ in the FCT, Mr. Solomon Inameti, told Vanguard that they were ready to assist the Federal Government with fresh evidence that was not available at the time of the judgment.

Inameti said, “we have 100 new information and we are ready to give to the Nigerian Government to use and approach the ICJ and conveniently pursue this case to a logical conclusion.

“To the best of our knowledge, the evidence is concrete enough to secure us victory at the ICJ and the Federal Government can take us for our words.

“We went out of our way to secure this vital information that was not there before to assist the Federal Government because we believe that it is in our own interest to continue to remain in Nigeria.

“Let us make it categorically clear that no matter what happens we will not accept Cameroun as our own country. Subjugating us to Cameroun would not only be humiliating but dehumanizing to us and our generations yet unborn.

“Anyone who thinks that we the people of Bakassi can come under Cameroun is wasting time because that will not work. We are ready to go to the United Nations and seek a referendum on where we want to be and how we should be administered.

“If the Federal Government of Nigeria does not want us we will approach the UN at the end of October 10, 2012 to seek the way forward for ourselves and our respective communities in Bakassi,” Inameti said.

FG should reclaim Bakassi

A historian, who is very familiar with the Bakassi history, Mr. Emmanuel Doh, said the AGF had no reason to hesitate in approaching the ICJ for the immediate review of the 2002 judgement given the weight of evidence now at his disposal.

Doh pointed out that Cameroun even committed a serious blunder by the way and manner it adjusted the boundary between it and Southern Cameroon encompassing Bakassi, after the African Union had asked all countries to respect their boundaries with other nations.

Doh said Cameroun’s  fraudulent boundary adjustment coupled with numerous actions, which the UN and the ICJ were not aware of at the time of the ruling in 2002, were enough to swing judgment in Nigeria’s favour, if a review was sought.

A member of the House of Representatives from Cross River State, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, warned yesterday that it was in the interest of the government of Nigeria to take urgent legal steps to reclaim Bakassi, as the people of the area would never surrender their fate to another country.

Toyo, who is a former Nigeria’s envoy to Ethiopia, said the Bakassi people would continue to fight for the territory until their rights were restored.

The lawmaker maintained that the people were hit below the belt when the AGF declared recently that Nigeria was not going to ask for a review of the ICJ judgment, a development, she claimed smacks of insensitivity on the part of the government.

She noted, “The people of Bakassi have always been demanding a review of the judgment. But unfortunately, former President Olusegun Obasanjo adopted a unilateral approach towards it.

“You will recall that Obasanjo did not bring up the matter to the National Assembly, the National Boundary Commission has not adjusted the boundary despite the ruling, the Bakassi Local Government is still in Cross River State and it is still being paid monthly subvention by the Federal Government.

“So there are many illegal things still going on as far as the issue of Bakassi is concerned. But the Bakassi people have never had a chance to decide for themselves where they want to go and how they want to be administered,” the lawmaker said.

It could not be established last night whether the government would accept the new evidence being claimed by the Bakassi natives and use it to press for a review of the judgment before the expiration of the deadline on October 10.

 

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Adebiyi Adedapo

 


Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammad Bello Adoke (SAN), has indicated interest to settle a legal battle between First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, and her predecessor, Turai Yar’Adua, over an Abuja land out of court.

Minister of Justice, Mohammad Bello Adoke (SAN)

Counsel from the AGF’s office, Baba Sa’idu, informed Justice Peter Affen of an Abuja High Court sitting in Bwari yesterday that the government was willing to settle the matter amicably.

The said plots of land (plot 1347 Cadastral Zone, Central Business District, Abuja, measuring 1.84 hectares) according to documents before the court, was duly allocated to Turai’s non-governmental organisation – Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation (WAYEF) by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory with the Right of Occupancy duly issued to it.

The FCT authorities on November 2, 2011 via  a letter dated  October 27, 2011 issued a notice of revocation of the said property and was  re-allocated to another organisation, African First Ladies Peace Centre believed to be sponsored by Patience Jonathan.

WAYEF however got a court order restraining the defendants from affecting the title.

Minister of the FCT, Senator Balla Muhammed, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and the AGF were listed as defendants in the matter.

Respective counsel to FCT Administration and Abuja Geographic information System (AGIS), and WAYEF, Felix Ibanga and Innocent Lagi, consented to the development.

Lagi noted that it was not the first time the defendants had approached his client for settlement.

He stated that WAYEF had already begun the process of notice of committal to prison on the defendants by filing Forms 48 and 49, adding that it was unfortunate that people could no longer trust the government in the country.

The case has been adjourned to September 24, 2012 for report of settlement.

 

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By Emmanuel Ugwu

 


As states continue to groan over the non-release of October allocations, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) are pushing the buck to each other.

Governor Theodore Orji

THISDAY had reported on Friday that there was a looming confrontation over the delayed release of the allocations which had been worked out two weeks ago by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). CBN spokesman, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, had, last Friday, refuted the allegation that the apex bank was responsible for the delay, declaring that if the AGF had sent the mandates to CBN, the accounts of the states would have been credited since.

Abdullahi said: “The allegation is off-point. We are bankers to the government. Once we have the appropriate mandate to release money to the states, we shall not hesitate to do that.”

However, the office of the AGF has reacted, disclosing that the mandates for the release of the funds had been sent to the CBN since December 1.
Assistant Director of Press to the AGF, Mallam Hassan Dodo, told THISDAY that the office raised mandates, which the AGF, of government on November 29.This was a day after FAAC met and worked out the allocations.

The mandates, Dodo added, were countersigned by the relevant authorities on November 30 and transmitted to the CBN on December 1.

Several governors confirmed their accounts, fuelling speculations that there was cash squeeze in the system following mounting fuel subsidy bills and domestic debts.

 

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