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Niger judicial Panel of inquiry seeks cooperation of witnesses, general public

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From Naseer Minjiyawa, Minna

A judicial Panel of inquiry constituted by the Niger State Government to investigate killings in some communities of Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State has urged witnesses and the general public to cooperate with the commission for Justice to be achieved.

The Chairman of the Judicial Commission of inquiry, Justice Danladi Ahmed Baddegi made the call at the inaugural sitting of the Commission in Minna on Monday.

He explained that the Commission was constituted by the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello to look into the killings in Mazakuka, Adogomallam, Kuluho and other surrounding communities in Mashegu Local Government area by unknown gunmen.

He stated that the Commission being a fact finding panel was constituted to ensure justice is given to all parties, stressing that the findings of the Commission would be transmitted to the governor for the necessary action by the Government

He cautioned all stakeholders and witnesses that would appear before the Commission to adhere strictlly to the laid down procedure to avoid any act of distraction during the proceedings of the Commission.

The Chairman of the Commission equally urged the counsels that would appear before the Commission to assist in making available the required envidences that would enable the commission do justice to all parties.

He admonished parties to guide against any act that will truncate the procedures and standing rules of the Commission, warning that any body that tries the patience of the Commission would face the full wrath of the Commission.

“Any body that tries our patience, I as a judge can arrest or order for his arrest. And I don’t pray for that. But I’m seeking for the support of all stakeholders in the commission with all the necessary evidence that will assist the commission in arriving at Justice.” he stated.

Speaking on behalf of the Counsels of the Commission, a senior legal practitioner in Minna, Barrister Musa Suleiman assured the Commission of the support and cooperation of all the Counsels that would appear before it in ensuring smooth procedures of the hearing.

He noted that the Constitution of the Commission of inquiry by the State government would assist in curtailing the increasing proportion of banditry activities in some communities in Niger State.

He commended the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello for deeming it necessary to constitute the Commission of inquiry, stating that with the calibre of personalities in the commission, the aim and objective of the Commission would be achieved.

Also, speaking the chair of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in Minna, Barrister Mohammed Abubakar El-Surur commended the State Government for appointing Justice Danladi Ahmed Baddegi as the Chairman of the Commission.

He described the Chairman of the Commission as a man of integrity that would not compromise in arriving at justice in the discharge of this onerous responsibility given to him.

“The Chairman of the Commission, His lordship Justice Danladi Ahmed is a person I knew right from our University days in Sokoto. I know him to be a man of integrity and a man of honesty and Justice. I don’t have doubt in my mind that Justice would be done with the person at helm of the Commission as chairman” he asserted.

He then assured the Commission of the NBA’s support and cooperation at ensuring the successful completion of its proceedings.

The Judicial Commission of inquiry was constituted as a result of the invasion of some communities in Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State where some gunmen suspected to be armed bandits killed some worshipers in the mosque, while observing their Subhi prayers on the 25 of October 2021.

The Judicial Commission was constituted by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to investigate the remote causes of the killings.
It is also to fish out those behind the killings and recommend the appropriate action to be taken against any body found wanting..

The commission has one month to submit its report to the government.

Members of the Commission include Justice Danladi Ahmed Baddegi as the Chairman, Hon Kasimu Danjuma, CP Wakili Mate Rtd, and CP Mohammed Danjuma Rtd. Others are Barrister Moses Chiroma Gamzhi the State Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Col. Abdullahi S. Judy Rtd and Mallam Yakubu D. Musa.

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EFCC to arraign Bello on Thursday over alleged N80.2b money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has indicated it will on Thursday, April 18, 2024 arraign a former governor of Kogi State,  Yahaya Adoza Bello before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The antigraft agency said Bello will be arraigned before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects,  Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19- count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N80, 246,470, 088.88
The arraignment is being perfected following a warrant of arrest and enrolment order granted the EFCC by the court on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. 

Count one of the charges reads: That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, Ali Bello, Dauda Suliman, and Abdulsalam Hudu( Still at large), sometime, in February, 2016, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80, 246,470, 088.88 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity  to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended”.

Count 17 of the charges read: “That you Yahaya Bello between 26th July 2021 to 6th April 2022 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable  Court aided E-Traders International Limited to conceal the aggregate sum of  N3081,804,654.00( Three Billion, Eighty One Million Eight Hundred and Four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira) in account number 1451458080 domiciled in Access BankPlc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.

Count 18  of the charges reads: “That you Yahaya Adoza Bello  sometime in November 2021 in Abuja within the jurisdiction  of this Honourable Court  indirectly procured E-Traders international Limited to transfer  the aggregate sum of $570,330.00( Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand , Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars) to account number 4266644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act”.

“The Commission’s attempt to execute the Warrant of Arrest lawfully obtained against Bello met stiff resistance  on Wednesday,  April 17,  2024.  The security cordon around the former governor’s residence in Abuja was breached by the current Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo who  ensured that the suspect was spirited away in his official vehicle.  
“As a responsible law enforcement agency,  the EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation, waiting for his arraignment on Thursday, April 18,  2024.

“It is needful to state that Bello is not above the law and would be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

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Court bars Ganduje from parading himself as member of APC

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Yhe Kano State High Court has granted an ex parte order restraining the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, from parading himself as a member of the party.

The court ordered that Ganduje must refrain from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee of the APC.

The application waa said to have been granted by Justice Usman Na’abba on Tuesday, following an ex parte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’s ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area, the Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani and Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs), who were part of the nine ward executives who suspended Ganduje on Monday.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC, NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee, and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15th,2024 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30th 2024

Justice Na’abba, also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

The ex parte order read,, “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (first), APC National Working Committee (second), Kano State Working Committee APC (third), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (fourth), to maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024.
“The order thereby restraining the first respondent (APC) from recognising the fourth respondent (Ganduje) as a member of APC and prohibiting the fourth respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the fourth respondent (Ganduje}is prohibited from parading himself as a . member of APC or doing any act that may _ portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the
substantive suit.”

Nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of the APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of the AP from the National chairman’s polling unit.

in the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption charges against the
former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed en April 8, 2024, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted upon the petition, a decision that led to Ganduje’s suspension.

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Law

Mambilla Update: Agunloye heads to Appel Court over ruling fundamental rights

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu at the Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a Suit filed by Agunloye in June 2023 to restrain EFCC from harassing him and breaching his fundamental rights because of the ongoing International Arbitration on Mambilla Power Project

The points made by Agunloye in the Civil Suit which had dragged for over nine months had become irrelevant or expired in reality because the EFCC, the Respondent, had, while the case was in progress, declared Agunloye wanted, detained him, maltreated him in detention.
The antigraft agency also arraigned him before another court and remanded him in prison until the court granted him bail.

The court under Justice Egwuatu, however, did not consider the merits of the case largely on the ground that EFCC has the power to carry out its statutory duties and can not be stopped by the Court. On this basis, Justice Egwuatu dismissed the suit and awarded costs.

Agunloye’s lawyers have expressed preparedness in respect of the appeal considering that the court admitted basing its ruling on the suit being “an attempt to use the instrumentality of the Court to shield the Applicant from criminal investigation and to interfere with the statutory authority of the Respondent to investigate crimes or allegations of same in line with the EFCC Act.”

It is believed that the duties of EFCC must be performed in accordance with the law, and the court has the powers to stop any infraction by the EFCC in the course of performance of its duties. Such does not amount to interference with the statutory duties of EFCC but a legal checkmate of its powers to deter likely abuse.

With the Agunloye heading to
appeal against the Judgement, the case is far from being over, and the Court of Appeal will take the opportunity to look at the case extensively.

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