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Why We Can’t Arrest, Prosecute Oshiomhole — EFCC

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Oshiomhole

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has given reasons for its inability to arrest and prosecute APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

ORIENTAL TIMES understands that the anti-graft agency is challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel it to arrest and prosecute Oshiomhole, over allegation that he diverted public funds to his personal use while in office as governor of Edo state.

EFCC admitted that it has received petitions accusing the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Chairman of complicity in acts of corruption, but added that it was not under any obligation to report or give account of its investigations to any individual or under a timeline within which to carry out its functions.

The anti-graft agency, therefore, urged the high court to dismiss the suit that is seeking to invoke an order of mandamus to compel it to initiate criminal proceedings against the embattled APC Chairman.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/628/2018, was filed before the court by Edo State based cleric and activist, Bishop Osadolor Ochei.

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The cleric wants the court to declare that EFCC has a statutory duty to investigate different petitions that contained allegations of financial recklessness against Oshiomhole.

The pastor told the court that Oshiomhole who was sued as the 2nd respondent, while in office as Edo state governor, acquired properties in United States of America, South Africa and Dubai worth billions of U.S. dollars and far in excess of his legitimate income.

He alleged before the court that Oshiomhole built a sprawling mansion worth more than N10billion in his home town known as Iyamho, while in office.

The pastor told the court that “The said building was constructed by Verissimo, a South African Architectural outfit. The said house of the 2nd respondent has swimming pools, water fountains, multiple theatres for cinema and live performances, huge event halls, bridges, manmade lake, lodges of different sizes amongst others.

“The said cost of building the mansion is well outside the 2nd Respondent’s legitimate income. The 2nd Respondent’s lifestyle and extent of the said property were not justified by his source of income.”

The pastor told the court that he sent a petition to the EFCC on November 4, 2016, where he detailed some corrupt practices he said the ex-governor was involved in.

He maintained that EFCC’s refusal to act on petitions containing “weighty allegations” against Oshiomhole, ran contrary to Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which enjoined the State to abolish corrupt practices.

But the EFCC, in a preliminary objection that was signed by its team of lawyers led by the Head of its Legal and Prosecutions Department, Mr. G.K. Latona, challenged the locus- standi of the applicant to file the action.

The anti-graft agency said it has discretion on how to use its available manpower to carry out investigations into petitions submitted to it.

“That investigation of cases is a holistic process which entails time, resources, inter-agency cooperation, interview of different persons and gathering of evidence over a long period of time depending on the nature of the case and other variables”, it told the court.

Besides, the Commission, in an 11-paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by one of its staff, Mr. Yusuf Musa, told the court that it conducts its investigations “professionally and discreetly” before the arrest and prosecution of indicted persons.

“That 1st Respondent is a statutory body charged principally with the responsibility of investigation and prosecution of economic and financial crimes.

“That the 1st Respondent since its establishment In 2003 and till date receives numerous petitions daily in its eleven offices in various parts of the country against different persons both from within and outside Nigeria.

“That investigation into these numerous petitions and criminal complaints including intelligence reports are professionally and methodically carried out by the 1st Respondent in line with its staff strength and enabling statute.

“That 1st Respondent in carrying out its statutory functions of investigation and prosecution of economic and financial crimes, attends to all complaint discreetly and dispassionately without political, ethnic, religious and other extraneous considerations.

“That the 1st Respondent had strengthened the war against corruption with various initiatives amongst which is the Women Against Corruption Coalition and the encouragement of Whistle Blower Policy leading to several recoveries of illicit cash.

“That the 1st Respondent has discretion on how to use its available manpower to carry out investigations into petitions submitted to it.“That Respondent is not under obligation to report or give account of its investigations to any individual or under a timeline within which to carry out its functions”, EFCC averred.

It said it would be in the interest of justice for the court to strike out the suit which it said lacked competency and constituted an abuse of the judicial process.

In a written address attached in support of the objection, EFCC, argued that granting an order for Oshiomhole’s arrest and prosecution as prayed for in the suit could occasion ” chaos and tumult” in the polity.

“We submit, with respect, that if this Honourable Court grants the reliefs of the Applicant, especially as it affects the 1st Respondent, that it wiIl open a deluge of applications with the over-all aim of making the Applicant a stooge of litigant who desire to dictate to the 1st Respondent how, when, where and against whom the 1st Respondent should proceed in the discharge of its functions. The chaos and tumult that this scenario may generate in the polity can only be imagined.

“It is inimical to the tenor and tenets of a democratic society for an agency such as the 1st Respondent to be directed or compelled to discharge its functions in a particular way or manner, a fortiori the 1st Respondent cannot be directed or compelled to carry out investigations or prosecution as dictated by the Applicant or anyone.

“We urge this Honourable Court to dismiss the Applicant’s application, same being unmeritorious and lacking in merit”, EFCC added.

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Buhari Is Nigeria’s Most Democratic President – Gov. Bello

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Buhari - Yahaya Bello

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Thursday described President Muhammadu Buhari as the most democratic leader the country has ever produced.

Bello also faulted the position of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major- Gen. Babagana Monguno retd), who reportedly scored low the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.

Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the governor said President Buhari had “democratized governance.”

Bello was reacting to the Wednesday editorial of the Punch Newspapers which described the President as a dictator without respect for human rights and rule of law.

The governor said: “Mr. President is the most democratic President I have ever seen. This is the first time we are seeing a former military head of state that is so democratic to the extent of allowing things happening in his home front to be democratized not to talk of things happening in the country.

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“Whoever is tagging him to be a dictator; I think that person wished to be a dictator himself, not Mr. President.”

On the political crisis that has brought division among different ethnic groups in the state, he said that he was making frantic efforts to reconcile everyone.

“Kogi State as you know was slightly divided before now but upon assumption of office and until the last general elections, I have been making every effort to ensure that there is reconciliation and bringing everybody on board.

“That was what resulted in our massive victory in the last general election. Leaders and stakeholders of the state have been called upon to join in the new direction administration, so we are moving on perfectly.”

On the statement credited to the NSA on the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa, he said Monguno was quoted out of context.

Bello said: “I think Mr. NSA, Gen. Monguno must have been quoted out of context. I can say that because the last general elections reflected the wishes of the people.”

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Fani-Kayode Reacts To Buhari’s ‘No Visa Policy’

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Femi Fani-Kayode

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on Thursday, reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of visa on arrival for citizens of African countries.

Buhari spoke on Wednesday at the opening session of the ongoing Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa in Egypt.

He said: “We in Nigeria have already taken the strategic decision to bring down barriers that have hindered the free movement of our people within the continent by introducing the issuance of a visa at the point of entry into Nigeria to all persons holding passports of African countries with effect from January 2020.”

But Fani-Kayode in a statement said the Fulanis of North and West Africa have finally been given what they wanted all along.

“They will flood Nigeria in their millions and within 5 years our demographics will change forever”, the former presidential aide noted. Simply put, visa-free policy for Africans to come into Nigeria is a shameless and subtle attempt to alter the racial and religious demographics of our country and open our front door for mass Fulani, Berber, Taureg and Arab migration into our shores.

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“By the time they come here from all over north and west Africa and settle down, we the indigenous people of Nigeria will be a tiny minority. The next thing they will do is to implement RUGA to the letter and take our land and insist on sharia law being implemented all over the country. It is a dangerous, self-serving and self-seeking policy that will ultimately result in great conflict, carnage, racial and religious strife, and total catastrophe.

“In an attempt to implement an ancient agenda of Fulani hegemony and turn us into a conquered and enslaved people Buhari, his born to rule co-travellers and their vast legion of slavish sympathisers and supporters are likely to set Nigeria on fire.

“You will not believe me now just as you did not believe me when I warned about the true nature of Buhari in 2015 and the grave consequences of electing him as President. Yet my words have proved to be prophetic and just as I have been vindicated on Buhari I shall be vindicated on this matter of the grave and dangerous consequences of visa-free mass migration by vagrant, stateless and nomadic Africans into our shores.

“With this irresponsible, unpatriotic, dangerous and self-serving policy, I repeat, we are playing with fire and sitting on a keg of gunpowder which will eventually explode. It will be the final nail in the coffin of a united Nigeria. May God deliver us from the coming evil.”

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Fani-Kayode Cautions Buhari Over Alleged Plot To Remove Oyo Governor, Makinde

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Femi Fani-Kayode, has told President Muhammadu Buhari not to meddle with the affairs of Oyo State.

According to the former minister of aviation, the biggest mistake President Buhari will make is to either bribe or coerce the Supreme Court into nullifying the election that brought Governor Seyi Makinde to power.

This statement came after the PDP in South West raised allegations that the president was planning to upturn the victory of Governor Makinde at the Supreme Court.

This was said in a meeting, which was attended by top PDP members like the Deputy National Chairman, Yemi Akinwonmi; the Vice Chairman, North West, Senator Ibrahim Kazaure; National Vice Chairman, South West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso; and Dr. Doyin Okupe.In a tweet yesterday, the former minister advised the president not to tread that dangerous path, as it would result in nothing but calamity, chaos and disaster.

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