The Federal High Court, Abuja, says Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, cannot stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating him.
Justice Binta Nyako said this while delivering the judgment, on Friday, in a suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/60/09 filed by El-Rufai.
The governor was seeking the court’s determination whether as the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), he had complied with the guidelines approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the sale of Federal Government houses between May 2005 and May 2007.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while El-Rufai was the applicant, the defendants from 1st to 13th include: EFCC, FCT minister, FCDA, AGF, CBN, Oceanic Bank, Access Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Aso Savings and Loans Ltd, Union Homes, Akintola Williams Deloite and Aminu Ibrahim & Co.
In the originating summon brought pursuant to Section 302 of 1999 Constitution and Section 3 and 18 of the FCT Act 1990, El-Rufai also sought court’s determination: “whether the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 – May 2007 were properly accounted for or not in accordance with the FEC mandate and guidelines to the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA).
“Whether the sum of N32 billion (or any sum whatsoever) is missing from the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.”
The Kaduna State Governor also sought the court’s relief on “a declaration that the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT was conducted in accordance with the Federal Executive Council mandate to the FCTA through the Ad hoc Committee for the sale of non essential houses in Abuja.
“A declaration that the proceeds of the sale of the said Federal Government houses conducted by the Ad hoc Committee on SOGH in Abuja between 2005 and 2007 were properly accounted for in accordance with the mandate and guidelines approved by the FEC.
“A declaration that the Audit Report prepared by the 12th and 13th respondents on the sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT confirm that the Sale of Federal Government houses in FCT compiled with the approved guidelines for the sale of Federal Government properties in FCT and the proceeds were properly accounted for.
“A declaration that the proceeds of sale of Federal Government Houses in FCT between May 2005 and May 2007 were properly apportioned and accounted for in accordance with the approved guidelines as confirmed by the Audit Report of the 12th and 13th respondents, dated July 20, 2007.
“A declaration that the sum of N32 billion (or any sum whatsoever) from the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government of Nigeria Houses in FCT between May 2005 and 2007 is not missing.
“An order directing the 2nd respondent to disclose the exact amount remitted to the 5th respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.
“An order directing the 5th respondent to disclose the exact amount received from the 2nd respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.”
NAN recalls that Justice Nyako had earlier, in her judgment, granted El-Rufai’s prayers.
However, in the Friday judgment, the judge noted that the EFCC had called the court’s attention to its counter-affidavit in objection to the prayers.
The anti-graft agency, in its counter-affidavit, had submitted that the motive of the applicant was to stop the commission from investigating him in order to cover up the alleged fraud perpetrated when he was FCT minister.
Justice Nyako, who held that the earlier judgment delivered still stands, however, declared that no court would stop the EFCC from investigating anyone in line with its constitutional mandate.
“No court, including this one, will allow itself to be used to shield anybody from being investigated by the 1st respondent,” the judge held.
I’m Not Done With Politics, I Will Return In 2023 – Shehu Sani
The immediate past senator that represented Kaduna Central in the Senate, Senator Shehu Sani Wednesday boasted that he is not done with politics yet and will bounce back in 2023 “when our people want us to return”.
He spoke in his residence in Kaduna when he was conferred an award of excellence for his outstanding performance and generosity to the service of humanity by Sabon Garin Nassarawa Elders’ Forum.
Senator Shehu Sani lost his senatorial seat to Senator Uba Sani, an acolyte of the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El Rufai, in 2019 election.
Governor El Rufai then boasted that the defeat of Shehu Sani meant he was retired from politics.
But in a defiant tone Wednesday morning, Senator Shehu Sani said “We are not done yet with politics, and we shall return”.
According to him, “we have no fear for anything and nothing we scare us from contesting in 2023. When our people want us to return, we shall return”.
Shehu Sani said he was proud of stewardship in the National Assembly and the award conferred on him “was a testimony of his quality representation” as a senator in the 8th assembly.
The 8th senate was able to defend the integrity and independence of the parliament and stood firm to protect and defend democracy; checkmate the excessive power of the executive and carried out their constitutional functions and duties without fear or favour.
He reiterated his commitment to vying for a political office in 2023 election.
Why I Don’t Visit Abuja — Wike
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday offered an insight into why he rarely visits Abuja.
During the launch of “The Big Interviews: How to get the news subjects and angles that make the headlines” written by Managing Director of The Sun Newspaper, Mr. Eric Osagie, Wike stated: “I have refused to visit Abuja as other politicians in the country do because those who voted for me as governor are not in Abuja.”
On the current political climate in the country, the governor urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the political leadership to practice what they preach.
Wike, however, described the author as “a principled and reliable man who stands for whatever he believes in.”
To the immediate past National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, Osagie is “someone whose legacies in the field of journalism would never be forgotten.”
His successor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole lauded the author for the “wonderful achievement and the efforts he put in documenting his experience.”
He urged Nigerian journalists to be fearless, and courageous like their international counterparts by asking public office holders relevant questions that affect the lives of the people.
In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, said the book came at the “right time when the media was being oppressed by the government in power.”
The Publisher of the Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu lauded the auspiciousness of the literature given the “digital era where contents that give credibility to the field of journalism are needed.”
He said fake news had done more harm to the nation, adding that there was need for a book that would teach journalists how to behave.
Also speaking, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, while extolling Osagie’s virtues, stressed that the media has a strategic role to play in the development of the nation.
Besides, the Executive Chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions (OMS), Capt Idahosa Okunbo, hailed the author for “making a difference in his profession.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers Government is launching a Security Trust Fund next month to strengthen security and attract more investments to the state.
Governor Wike dropped the hint when the president of the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Iya Aliyu, visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
He said the major companies operating in the state must contribute to the security fund “because they benefit from the resources and infrastructure of Rivers State.”
“By January 2020, we will hold a security summit and also launch a security trust fund. All the major companies operating in the state are under obligation to contribute.
“We are committed to improving security in order to attract more investments to the state. We are developing the right infrastructure for economic development,” Wike added.
He said his administration would write Dangote Plc to contribute, as it does in other states, pointing out that the company uses the state’s infrastructure for its businesses.
The governor went on: “Dangote has not contributed anything to this state. I will write him to support the security trust fund. I cannot do roads and your trailers will take over our roads. If you go to G.U Ake Road, you will see Dangote trailers all over the state.
“Zenith Bank, Access Bank, and other major companies must contribute to Rivers State Security Trust Fund as they contribute to Lagos State. This is (a) sufficient notice. As they contribute there, they must contribute here. If they don’t support Rivers State, we will not agree.”
He boasted that Rivers was the best place anyone could invest, adding: “ And because of this, the state would continue to improve security and infrastructure.”
According to him, no society could develop without the contributions of the private sector.
“We need the private sector to drive the economy. Look at what is happening in the United States of America. Over 200,000 jobs were created in one month through the private sector,” he noted.
To encourage the private sector, the governor disclosed that his government had harmonised taxes.
And to create a conducive business climate, he said the administration was working with the private sector to resolve the “few challenges associated with taxes in the state.”
He, however, faulted the closure of the nation’s land borders, stating that Nigerians were suffering untold hardship on account of the policy, just as those that had been allocated land in the state were advised to develop them within six months or risk loss of their certificates of occupancy (C of Os).
In her remarks, Hajiya Aliyu declared that the state was safe for investments, recognising the improved infrastructure and security that are aiding businesses.
I’ll Leave Good Legacies To Protect My Name ― Okowa Promises Deltans
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has said he has a covenant with the people of the State and would work to protect his name by leaving good legacies behind at of his tenure in 2023.
Okowa, who stated this, when he played host to the Young Nigerian Rights Organization, YNRO, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, said his administration would continue to follow due process and imbibe transparency in the conduct of government business.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, Chief Edwin Uzor, the Governor said the 2020 budget was packaged to deliver on the promises made to Deltans.
While restating his unalloyed commitment to the development of the state, Okowa said the state government was giving every Deltan equal opportunity to benefit from governance.
Pledging to investigate the allegations of official intimidation and names dropping the group levelled against some persons and agencies, the Governor his administration does not believe in undoing anybody. He held that the government was built on good planning.
Some of the issues highlighted by the Director-General of YNRO, Mr Victor Ojei, bothered on poor representation and abuse of office by some political appointees.
While commending the Governor and his wife, Dame Edith Okowa for their efforts in ensuring a Stronger Delta, Ojei expressed readiness of the group to partner the state government on digital information management.