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Victory for Igboho as court awards N20b damages against FG

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Bennievibez reports that an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, yesterday, granted a relief sought by the Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Sunday Igboho and commanded the Federal Government to pay him N20 billion for breaching his fundamental rights.

The court also dismissed an application filed by Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), challenging its jurisdiction to hear allegations against Federal Government agencies.

Igboho had sued the AGF, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the director of the DSS in Oyo State, demanding N500 billion in damages over the raid on his Ibadan home on July 1, this year.

He also sought an order of the court directing the respondents to return all the items seized from his house.

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He listed the items to include N2 million cash, travel documents, gold jewelry, wristwatches, two mobile phones and other items yet unknown but which were allegedly carted away by the DSS. Two persons were said to have been killed while 12 others were arrested following the raid.

Counsel to the AGF, Abubakar Abdullahi, had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of a state High Court to hear matters pertaining to the activities of the federal agencies.

However, delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Justice Ladiran Akintola, declared that the raid carried out by the Department of State Service (DSS) on Igboho’s residence in Ibadan was illegal.

Citing several judgments by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal with regard to the jurisdiction of the state High Court to hear such cases, Justice Akintola ruled that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

He declared that the invasion of the house of the applicant violated his fundamental human rights as stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

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“Unfortunately, this court is not a Father Christmas and cannot award the sum of N500 billion as requested by the applicant, but the court retrained the respondent from arresting or harassing the applicant.

“He has right to his free movement as contained in Section 35.1 (a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” he ruled.

Justice Akintola also said that if the identities of the individual operatives of the DSS were determined, they would have been liable to pay the damages and not the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) and Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum (YRLP) both commended the judgment, saying it would serve as a deterrent to power monger security officers whose trait was to abuse authority and violate the fundamental human rights of citizens.

In separate reactions to the judgment, General Secretary, YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said it was absolutely unfortunate that blood tasty security officials raided Igboho’s house in the dead of the night especially when no charges had been made against him.

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“Before then, Igboho’s protests were peaceful. There was no justification for DSS officials to have raided his house, destroyed properties and even murdered innocent lives,” Olajide said.

He stated that aside from the fine, the Federal Government should take a step further to investigate the officers that raided the house.

President of Yoruba Ronu, Akin Malaolu, said the judgment was a confirmation that the action of the DSS was not only rascally but also illegal and unlawful.

He said it would serve as a deterrent to other security agents not to trample on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. “I salute the courage of the judge and as well congratulate Igboho,” he said.

On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the verdict has “once again established the court of law as the place to run to when one’s rights are infringed upon.”

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According to him, “there are various layers of the verdict that we must pay proper attention.”

Ajayi added: “Firstly, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation needs to be reminded that we are running a federation. As such, a citizen has a right to seek redress in a State High Court when his or her rights are violated. If it is only the Federal High Court that can entertain cases involving federal agencies, at least two jeopardies would be dangling on the heads of the citizens. The first is that the spirit of our Constitution, which underlines federalism, would be under constant attacks

“The second is that impunity would be institutionalised as federal agencies would be committing atrocities with the mindset of being protected by federal courts since they are also federal agencies.”

Ajayi lauded Justice Akintola for reaffirming citizens’ right to liberty as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

He called on the Federal Government and the DSS not only to respect the judgment but to also comply with it by paying the ₦20 billion awarded as well as stopping the harassment of Sunday Adeyemo Igboho and his associates.

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He also urged governments at all levels to see the judgment as a wake up call on them to always respect the rights of Nigerians.

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Finally, Synagogue Church Announces Reopening Date

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The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) has made known its reopening to all its members after 21 months of closure.

The church founded by late Prophet TB Joshua, on Friday revealed that it will on Sunday, December 5, 2021, reopen for live service.

The church added that its gate will be open for its global members who have called for live service to commence in the church.

Read Also Court Awards N52 Million To Nnamdi Kanu’s Lawyer, See Why

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The late founder of the church had in March 2020 suspended the regular Sunday service in the church due to the Coronavirus outbreak across the world.

TB Joshua till his death on June 5, 2021, did not commence service in the church, as he said, he was yet to hear from God.

“We will only reopen when we receive an instruction to do so from God,” he had said.

SCOAN, however, in a statement on Friday said, “There has been a lot of pressure from members globally for the church to resume services after the passing of the great man of God.

“But the church’s new leadership under Prophetess Mrs Evelyn TB Joshua maintained the position of her late husband that “the reopening of the church for normal Sunday services will only commence with the intimation of the holy spirit”.

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“And that is what is now taking place. Besides, the mourning period of God’s General would have been over.

“The SCOAN has had its own fair shares of the usual leadership and succession tussles in human affairs, an avoidable situation especially in The SCOAN but for the misguided few disciples, all of whom have now retraced their wrong steps.

“A strong church member, Mr Babs Olorunwa, on the reopening said the church today has been thoroughly reorganized for better performance.

“The hand of God remains very strong upon this church with the few prayer gatherings I witnessed on the church mountain.

“I tell you categorically, God would never forsake His own. Synagogue Church Of All Nations is alive. Glory be to Go.

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“The church resumption now is a response to the call of the Holy Spirit that the services begin as a manifestation of God’s anointing towards the glorification of His Mighty Name at this blessed, festive season.”

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Navy frees Comedian Cute Abiola from detentionOh

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The Nigerian Navy has released Nigerian Instagram Comedian, Abdulgafar Ahmad, professional known as Cute Abiola, from detention, The PUNCH has learnt.

Commodore Suleman Dahun, The Naval spokesperson, confirmed the development to our correspondent on Friday.

Cute Abiola was said to have been missing on Monday, November 15, 2021, when his colleague in the comedy industry, Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni, raised the alarm that he was nowhere to be found after reporting at his office in Navy Town, Lagos, that same day.

2 days after the alarm was raised, Dahun had made known that the funnyman wasn’t missing but was detained for contravening the military laws by posting a video of himself in military uniform on social media, an act which is said to be in violation of the armed forces’ social media policy.

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Dahun had also added that the comedian failed to show up when called upon to explain himself but only returned after the expiration of his leave on November 15, 2021, and was put behind bars the same day.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Friday, the naval spokesman maintained that Ahmad knowingly violated the armed forces’ social media policy but was given a punishment after he was tried for misconduct and indiscipline.

He added that the funnyman is no longer in the naval detention as he has been released to serve his punishment.

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Court adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s case for second time, see new date

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Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday recessed trial of detained leader of the outlawed Indegenious People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu till the 18th of January, 2022.

Kanu’s case was originally scheduled to be heard next year, but the court granted an abridgement of time after a motion was filed by the Nigerian separatist leader.

Justice Nyako had on November 10, 2021, adjourned the trial of Kanu till January 19 and 20, 2022, for trial.

But the court granted an abridgement of time after a motion was filed in that respect and his matter was heard today (Thursday).

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BREAKING: IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu Scheduled For Emergency Hearing On Thursday, Could Be Released On Bail

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The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu is scheduled for an emergency hearing tomorrow (Thursday) that could lead to his freedom on bail. 

BennievibezBlog exclusively gathered on Wednesday that the hearing could open the door for Kanu’s release on bail.

This was averred exclusively to SaharaReporters by the counsel for the Nigerian government in the matter. 

It was also gathered from Nigerian government lawyers that the move is in response to the fervent appeals by Igbo leaders for the release of the pro-Biafra agitator. 

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Nnamdi Kanu scheduled for an emergency hearing tomorrow that could lead to his release on bail. 

“This is in reactions to Igbo elders’ request for his release,” one of the sources said on Wednesday. 

President Muhammadu Buhari had said on Friday, November 19 that he would consider the unconditional release of the IPOB leader as sought by elder statesmen from the South-East.

Buhari had, however, added that such a request was a difficult option to weigh but assured that he would give it a thought. 

Buhari said this while receiving a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amaechi, at State House, Abuja, earlier in November. 

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Amaechi, a nonagenarian, had described the situation in the South-East as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting that businesses have collapsed, education crumbling, and fear everywhere.

He had pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, “he (Kanu) would no longer say the things he had been saying,” stressing that he could control him, “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”

A Presidential media aide, Femi Adesina, had revealed this in a statement titled, “President Buhari to Igbo Leaders: Your demand for Nnamdi Kanu’s release is heavy. I will consider it.”

However, in his response, Buhari had said, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”

Stressing his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, the President said when Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and was brought back to the country, “I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from the outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.

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The IPOB leader is currently standing trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja for terrorism-related charges. 

Kanu was illegally arrested in Kenya and renditioned to Nigeria in June. 

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BREAKING: Court upholds Soludo’s election as Anambra gov

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Respite came the way of the governor-elect of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on Wednesday, as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, declined to nullify his election.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, deported a suit that sought to invalidate Soludo’s election on the allegation that he supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The Plaintiffs, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, alleged that Soludo lied in the affidavit (Form EC9), which he submitted to INEC.

They alleged that Soludo, in the said affidavit attached to his appointment form, revealed that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat, when, in fact, he was contesting the governorship seat.

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More so, they told the court that an affidavit Soludo’s running mate and Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also submitted to INEC, contained false particulars considering that he stated that he was vying for Awka 2 Constituency seat.

Cited as Defendants in the suit were the INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Soludo and the Deputy Governor-elect, Ibezim.

The Plaintiffs, through their lawyers, , A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong seat on the form, Soludo, violated extant legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting.

“The cause of action in a pre-election matter, by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution, is determined by the date of the occurrence of the event, a decision or action complained about in the suit by the Plaintiff.

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“And in the instant suit, the cause of action of the Plaintiffs arose on July 6, 2021, when the 3rd Defendant’s (Soludo’s) Form EC9 was submitted by the political party (the 2nd Defendant)”, they argued.

However, counsel for APGA and Soludo, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, queried jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter which he maintained was statue barred.

Aside from contending that the suit was filed outside the 14 days period stipulated by the Constitution, Ikpeazu, argued that error in an affidavit could not be a basis to disqualify a candidate from an election.

He argued that the false information claimed by the Plaintiffs was not among the grounds stated in the 1999 Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.

“False information, as envisage in Section 31 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature. Section 31 does not deal with error, but a deliberate effort to steal a match and to misrepresent”, he added.

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On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Bashir Abubakar, said it would leave the issue to the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, in his judgement on Wednesday, though Justice Taiwo dismissed the preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and jurisdiction of the court to hear it, he however held that the Plaintiffs, failed to establish that they had a reasonable cause of action.

Justice Taiwo held that the Plaintiffs failed to convince the court on how the alleged false information both Soludo and Ibezim supplied to INEC, misled them.

The court held that since the allegation by the Plaintiffs were also criminal in nature, it ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

It held that the suit was filed in bad faith and a good example of cases that are not geared towards strengthening of the tenets of democracy in the country.

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“I am yet to come to terms on the purpose for which this suit was filed. I am saying this because I am not convinced that this action is reasonable”, Justice Taiwo added.

Consequently, the court awarded N2million cost against the Plaintiffs, in favour of the APGA, Soludo and Ibezim.

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BREAKING: Fani-Kayode Rearrested By EFCC

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An ex- Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has been re-invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,(EFCC) following investigations into alleged document falsification.

Fani-Kayode alongside an ex- Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, is standing trial on alleged N4.6billion money laundering, before Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

Other defendants are Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

They are facing a 17 count charge of money laundering preferred against them by the Anti-graft Agency.

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They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.

The trial had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were still being led in evidence until Aikawa was transferred out of the Lagos division.
The charge was consequently, re-assigned to a new judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants were scheduled for re-arraignment on October, 27.

Meanwhile, at the last adjourned date, Fani Kayode was absent from court and the defence counsel who appeared on his behalf, Mr Fred Ajudua informed the court that he was on admission at Kubwa General hospital in Abuja.

He had prayed for an adjournment on that grounds on behalf of the second defendant
But, the EFCC prosecutor, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, informed the court that the same tactics had always been adopted by the defendant whenever he does not want to attend court.

After going through the court’s records, Justice Osiagor noted that it was clear that the defendant had issued a similar letter of excuse five times.
The court had consequently ordered the defendant to be present in court on the next date without fail.
The court also ordered him to pay a fine of N200,000 in addition.

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When the matter came up yesterday, all the defendants were present.
Counsel to second, third and fourth defendants, Morrison Quakers (SAN), and Clement Onwuenwunor, also announced their appearance.
The first defendant’s counsel Chief Ferdinard Orbih, was absent, following a letter to that effect.

The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo did not oppose the letter of the first defendant counsel.
Oyedepo however, informed the court that the prosecution was glad that the court had figured out from its record that the second defendant (Fani Kayode) had sought repeated excuses from the court.

He told the court that the prosecution had recently discovered that all letters sent by Fani-Kayode were fake.
At this point, the court stopped the prosecutor on the grounds that it was a matter the agency ought to thrash out before the court acted on the letters to grant an adjournment.

Osiagor said that having granted an adjournement on the letters, the court had become functus officio.
In response, Oyedepo told the court that the agency was currently working on the report and will do the needful.

A drama however unfolded after the case was adjourned until January, 24.
While Fani-Kayode was still at the corridor of the court an EFCC investigator, Mr Shuaibu walked up to him alongside the prosecutor and after some tete-a-tete, the defendant entered his vehicle and followed the Efcc operatives to their office.

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The operative who confirmed the arrest to journalists, said that at the time of filing this report, Fani-Kayode was in their custody on quiz over the false documents.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.

In counts eight to 14, the defendants were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.

Meanwhile in counts 15 to17 Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.

All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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Meanwhile, in counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and a reportedly fugitive Olubode Oke allegedly made cash payments of around 30 million naira, exceeding the amount allowed by law, without go through a financial institution.
In addition, Fani-Kayode allegedly made payments to a Paste Poster Co (PPC) at No.125 Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of the amounts permitted by law.

All of the offenses allegedly contravened the provisions of Articles 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b) and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012.

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