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Assets Forfeiture: Court Strikes Out EFCC’s Suit Against Gov Bello

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, struck out an interim order of forfeiture obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seeking to seize 14 properties linked to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo struck out the suit on the ground that Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution prevents the institution of any criminal or civil case against a sitting governor or the President.

The judge had, on February 22, granted the temporary forfeiture order, following an ex parte motion filed by the anti-graft agency seeking to seize 14 properties located in Lagos, Abuja and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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The court also directed EFCC to make publication in two national dailies for any interested parties to show cause why the order should not be made absolute.

READ ALSO: EFCC Arraigns Ondo Speaker, Two Others Over Alleged Fraud

However, consequent upon the publication of the preservative order, Governor Bello had filed Notice of Intention to oppose, and an application seeking the vacation of the interim forfeiture order.

The governor premised his application on the ground that the property listed were not proceeds of unlawful act, as they were acquired long before he was elected as Kogi State Governor and could not have been acquired from Kogi State funds.

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He further stated that by Section 308 of the Constitution, the EFCC is prevented from instituting any civil or criminal suit against him.

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He also protested the illegality in the filing of the suit by the EFCC on the ground that the case was in flagrant disobedience to a state high court order, which restrained the EFCC from investigating any account of the Kogi State government pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

He stated that the interim forfeiture order was obtained by either suppression or misrepresentation of facts by the Commission.

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Bello also said that the Proceeds of Crime Act could not take effect in retrospect as the properties in dispute were acquired before he became Kogi State governor.

He said the validity of the Proceeds of Crime Act, 2022 was being challenged at the Supreme Court.

READ ALSO: brKogi Dep Gov, 6 Others Withdraw From Guber Race, Qs Bello Anoints Auditor-Gen

Regarding jurisdiction, the governor stated that the properties listed were in Abuja, Kogi and UAE, and the personality involved is based in Lokoja, adding that the suit ought to have been instituted either in Abuja or in Kogi State.

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He, therefore, asked the court to vacate the case for lack of jurisdiction.

In his response, EFCCs lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) said that the applicant had brought nothing before the court to convince the court to vacate the order.

He said contrary to the submissions of the applicant, Kogi State High Court or any other court in Nigeria had not stopped the EFCC from carrying out its constitutional duties.

In his ruling, Justice Nicholas Oweibo held that given Section 308 of the Constitution, which provides immunity to a sitting governor from any civil/criminal prosecution, the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

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Consequently, the court struck out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

 

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Police Officer Caught Collecting Bribe On Camera Demoted

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The Imo State Police Command says its officer, identified as Inspector Isong Osudueh, who was caught on camera collecting bribes from motorists along the Owerri-Onitsha express road, has been demoted.

This was disclosed in a statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, shared on X on Monday.

The video which went viral on Monday, showed the officer collecting money from drivers plying the road. He could also be seen handing them change whenever the need arises.

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According to the statement, Osudueh, who was attached to the Counter Terrorism Unit, Owerri, has been reduced in rank after facing disciplinary action. At the same time, the supervising officer has been issued an official query for lack of supervision.

READ ALSO: NSCDC Busts Major Bunkering Operation In Rivers, Arrests Three

The statement said, “The Imo State Police Command is issuing this statement in response to a viral video making the rounds on social media where a Police officer was seen extorting money from motorists along Owerri-Onitsha express road.

“The erring officer, identified as Inspector Isong Osudueh, attached to the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Owerri, has been recommended for a reduction in rank after the necessary orderly room proceedings, for exhibiting such a shameful and unprofessional act, while the supervisory officer has been issued an official query for lack of supervision.”

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The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had earlier condemned the officer’s actions as “bad and shameful” and confirmed his arrest and disciplinary action.

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‘This Is Bad And Shameful,’ Force PRO Condemns Viral Extortion Video

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The Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has reacted to a viral video of a police officer caught on camera accepting bribe from commercial bus drivers.

He described the officer’s action as bad and shameful adding that the officer has been arrested and subjected to disciplinary actions.

An X user, SKYPOND who tweets anonymously as Skypond_, shared the video with the caption, “This is why those gunmen waste them easily, they are never cautious of their environment. They throw every single caution into the wind. #Princemoye1, Ire o.”

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READ  ALSO: JUST IN: FG Suspends Air Nigeria Project Indefinitely

Reacting to the video Olumuyiwa wrote, “This is bad and shameful. I hate seeing videos and pictures like this. I have been informed that the policeman has been identified and arrested since a week ago. He has been subjected to disciplinary procedures. The PPRO Imo has been asked to react to this and make the command’s actions known. Thanks.”

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US-based Nigerian Set To Contest US Congress Seat

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A Nigerian-American man, Yomi Faparusi, has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Congress to represent Tennessee’s 5th District in the upcoming elections.

The election is scheduled for November 5, 2024.

Faparusi shared his aspirations during a virtual meeting with reporters over the weekend.

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He said his election victory will inspire future generations and serve as a unifying force for the country.

As a researcher, Faparusi stated that he is running for Congress because America is currently divided and weakened.

He emphasised that his victory would help unite Americans across various divides.

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Highlighting the issue of hyperinflation, he noted the increasing difficulty for people to survive and the disappearing middle class, which threatens the American dream.

He stated, “America is so divided and weakened because politicians now run on divisive and wedge issues. Hence, I decided to run as a unifier, so that things could get done. I also hope my victory in November will inspire the next generation.”

“There is inflation, making it hard to make ends meet; the middle class is disappearing, and the American dream is threatened. I want to tackle inflation. I want to create an environment that is conducive to small businesses, the most important unit of job creation.

“Congress is in stalemate, and nothing is getting done. I will work across the aisle for the common good. Americans are tired of cyclical threats of government shutdowns. Immigration is in total disarray. Open borders are not a policy; it only makes it hard to have a comprehensive plan. Immigration is not only a social issue; it is a financial/economic issue: you don’t have papers; you can’t get a job.

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He continued, “The reality is that most legislators would not entertain any immigration relief package unless the border is secure. Hence, we need to secure the border and get back with a bipartisan comprehensive immigration plan.

“I still have a political ideology. There is something called the advantage of incumbency, but incumbents lose, as I hope in November. The TN 5th district is ideologically diverse and it needs to be represented by someone who understands and appreciates this diversity. I will represent ALL the people, not just a partisan segment.”

He highlighted his experience as a business owner and negotiator, “I am a business owner and I know about job creation. Also, I have had to work with diverse stakeholders, hence I learned how to listen and be humble. These have allowed me to be a good negotiator in any forum. As an immigrant and now an immigration attorney, I know the practicalities of immigration,” he said.

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READ ALSO: Early Voting Underway In South Africa

Speaking on his agenda, he said, “My agenda is ‘I care’. I care about your concerns and I want to go to Washington to serve you. I hope that you will give me a chance to represent you, and I will always be answerable to you, my constituents. I will advocate for your concerns and needs without fear of retribution because I have placed the people above the party. In the end, everything will be okay.”

Born in the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Faparusi’s ancestral hometown is Ode-Ekiti, Gbonyin LGA, in Ekiti State.

He graduated as a medical doctor from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, where he was active in students’ union politics, serving as the Hall Chairman of Alexander Brown Hall.

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Faparusi is a licensed physician and attorney based in Tennessee, focusing mostly on immigration law. He fled Nigeria during the Abacha regime to escape persecution for his involvement in agitating against military rule.

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