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BREAKING: Federal High Court Reverses Ratification Of Joyce Oduah’s Suspension As NBA Secretary General

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The Ratification of suspension of Barrister Joyce Oduah as Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has been nullified by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The ratification effected by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NBA was on Tuesday voided and set aside by the court on grounds that the action was an affront to the rule of law and a violation of the court’s proceedings in the matter.

Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed while ruling in an application filed and argued by Mr Ayotunde Ogunleye on behalf of the plaintiff, held that the NBA’S NEC which gave legal effect to the suspension of the plaintiff acted in bad faith and in utter disregard to the proceedings of the court.

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The Judge agreed with Ogunleye that the ratification done on August 21 ought not to have been carried out by the NEC in view of the pendency of a suit challenging the suspension in the first instance.

Justice Mohammed also agreed with the plaintiff’s counsel that the purported Ratification was not only an affront to the Court but a denigration of the sanctity of the judiciary which on several occasions had been condemned by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Ogunleye had in his application drawn the attention of the Court to the effect that the out-going President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata who is the 2nd defendant in the suit against the suspension, presided over the August 21 meeting of NBA’S NEC where the purported Ratification was carried out.

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Ogunleye cited Supreme Court authorities to establish that the Olumide Akpata-led National Committee acted against the established law in taking steps in a matter pending against them adding that the purported Ratification was a deliberate and desperate ploy to foist helplessness on the court.

He urged the court to condemn the Council for resorting to self-help in a suit being adjudicated upon by a law court.

Justice Mohammed agreed that having submitted to court jurisdiction and joined issues with the plaintiff in court and with or without the express order of the court, no party ought to have taken any further steps on the subject matter of the litigation.

The Judge said the action of the NBA’S Council in relation to the unlawful ratification was irritating, annoying, condemnable and liable to be set aside since the actors in the illegal ratification cannot claim ignorance of the position of law on such a contemptuous attitude.

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The National Executive Committee (EXCO) of the NBA led by Olumide Akpata had on August 15, 2022, suspended the General Secretary pending ratification by NBA’S NEC for final removal from office.

Nine out of eleven officers who signed the resolution authorizing the suspension also referred Mrs Oduah to the NBA’S NEC for disciplinary action and for removal from office for alleged gross misconduct.

However, while the NBA’S NEC ratified the suspension, it declined to ratify the recommendation for the removal of the plaintiff from office on the ground of her subsisting legal action against the suspension.

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Goodwin Onuakwu had made spirited efforts to justify the ratification on the ground that the NBA’S NEC only acted on a completed act.

The senior lawyer urged the court not to hold that the action of the NBA’S NEC amounted to self-help or attempts to foist a situation of hopelessness on the court because the suspension can be voided and set aside if merit is found in the case of the plaintiff.

Justice Mohammed, however, disagreed with the senior lawyer on the ground that the action of the NBA’S NEC was a direct attack against the court and must not be allowed to stand.

The Judge particularly noted that the action of the NBA’S NEC members was painful because all of them are legal practitioners.

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The court thereafter fixed August 31 for hearing in a motion on notice seeking mandatory order of injunction against the defendants in the suit.

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Edo Man Petitions EFCC Over Fraudulent Withdrawal Of ₦4 Million In His Access Bank Account

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received a formal petition from Osehobo Onojie Bernard, a resident of Ebo Quarters, Benin City, alleging fraudulent activities involving his bank account No. 1838861087 with Access Bank.

In the petition dated June 24, 2024, Osehobo highlighted the careless handling and fraudulent transactions associated with his account by the bank authorities.

He told the Commission that an unauthorized withdrawal of ₦4,201,000 (four million two hundred and one thousand naira) was made from his account on May 16, 17, and 18, 2024, facilitated by officials of Access Bank.

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He explained that he opened the account in question in November 2023 when two identified Access Bank staff from their 39 Akpakpava Road, Benin City branch approached him to set up a High Interest Deposit Account (HIDA) with funds from his existing Access Bank account No. 0040251257, which he held at the Airport Road Benin City branch.

He said that subsequently, he was assigned a new HIDA account number, 1838861087.

Osehobo added that the Access Bank personnel opened the HIDA account number 1838861087 using the existing information from his other bank account, No. 0040251257, which he operated manually without an ATM card or mobile banking.

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READ ALSO: Lagos Taskforce Uuncovers 2 Illegal Petroleum Storage Facilities

He specified that withdrawals could only be made with a teller by verifying his signature, BVN, and NIN before approving transactions, especially for large sums.

In his detailed narrative, Osehobo recounted that by November 2023, the account had accumulated a significant balance, driven by interest yields.

However, discrepancies emerged in May 2024 when he did not receive a routine birthday wish from the bank. Instead, he received a message that included an OTP (One-Time Password), which raised his suspicions.

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Osehobo argued that, “My subsequent investigations revealed that the OTP was part of a scheme allegedly orchestrated by the bank officials to access my funds fraudulently.”

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He said that the unauthorized withdrawal occurred over multiple transactions on May 16, 17, and 18, 2024, without his knowledge or consent, facilitated by the misuse of the OTP system.

He expressed his conviction that Access Bank officials were complicit in the fraudulent withdrawals, leveraging internal banking processes to circumvent security protocols.

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He conveyed his frustration and the significant impact of the lost funds, which he described as a considerable portion of his financial assets.

Osehobo called on the EFCC to investigate the matter thoroughly, hold the responsible parties accountable, and recover the misappropriated funds

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Lagos Taskforce Uuncovers 2 Illegal Petroleum Storage Facilities

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The Lagos State Taskforce has uncovered two illegal petroleum storage facilities where over 2,000 litres of diesel were recovered during multiple sting operations of blackspots in Ikoyi and environs.

Also, a total of 114 suspects were arrested and five were released unconditionally after properly identifying themselves.

The operation was led by the State Taskforce Chairman, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Adetayo Akerele, in a late night operation on Tuesday night.

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Akele explained that the operation was based on the feedback mantra of “see something, say something” put in place by the agency and the directive and support of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, major blackspots at Mosley Street, Glover Road and Lateef Jakande Avenue in Ikoyi were raided by the agency after concerned residents highlighted the clustering numbers of unidentifiable individuals at those selected locations and the conversions of residential areas to safe havens for suspected criminals and miscreants.

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He said, “After having carefully analyzing the complaints received, a discreet investigation was carried out in the vicinity which confirmed the intelligence to be credible, and resulting in a late night raid.

“We have come out here to address issues of environmental and safety concerns in Ikoyi where residents have complained about the increasing numbers of miscreants who have converted these inner streets to restaurants, drinking spots, gambling spots, and boutiques to mention but a few.

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“It is an eyesore what we encountered here during our investigations and we will ensure that we restore sanity to these streets immediately.”

The Chairman further disclosed that an illegal petroleum storage facility was discovered during the operation where over 2000 litres of diesel was discovered in an unsafe location, posing a risk to both occupants of the uncompleted building and neighbours on the same street.

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He stated that the occupants of the building risked safety concerns regarding storage of petroleum products which if not properly managed could result in a fire disaster.

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“We have discovered over 2000 liters of diesel stylishly hidden in this abandoned building in an unsafe manner which could lead to a fire disaster.

“Diesel is highly flammable and also combustible if not properly stored. Therefore this miscreants are not just risking their lives through their ignorant actions but also the lives of their neighbors and passerby in the event of an explosion.”

Akerele also warned street traders who are still in the practice defacing the environment and disposing their waste into the gutters and drainage channels in any part of the state to move their trade to approved markets or risk being arrested.

He also warned miscreants who lay about and convert streets to religious grounds, social event centers and sports ground to desist forthwith or be prosecuted.

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Akerele stated that such selfish actions hinder on the right of residents to live in peace and serenity as prescribed in the THEMES PLUS agenda of the State Government.

“I urge every well meaning Lagosian to notify us of any environmental infraction by any individual or groups of individuals in any part of the Metropolis to prevent an environmental mishap.

“Its our duty and responsibility to ensure that such infractions are nipped in the bud to maintain sanity and habitability across board.

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“A total of 114 suspects were arrested and five were released unconditionally after properly identifying themselves and stating their business.

“The remaining suspects will be charged to court and all items confiscated will be forfeited to the state government through the court,” Akele affirmed.

 

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Abia Commissioner For Health Resigns

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The suspended Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, has tendered her resignation from office, to Governor Alex Otti.

Otti, had on June 11, 2024, suspended the Commissioner for Health over alleged financial misconduct. The Governor also set up a committee to probe the allegations against her.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ukoha Njoku, in a statement, disclosed that the Governor had accepted the resignation and thanked Okoronkwo for her services and modest achievement in repositioning the health sector of the state.

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“The suspended Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo has tendered her resignation letter to the Executive Governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, OFR.

“The Governor while accepting her resignation, thanked Dr. Okoronkwo for her services to our dear State and her modest achievements in repositioning the Health Sector for better service delivery in the last one year. He wished her well in her future endeavours.

“The Governor reiterated his commitment to the transformation of Abia State and reminded Abians that they gave him the mandate to assemble his team, and this includes hiring, suspending or sacking his appointees or rejigging and reshuffling his cabinet whenever the need arises for the sole purpose of delivering all his promises to the people,” the statement read.

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