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FG Files Nine Fresh Grounds To Oppose Nnamdi Kanu’s Release

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The Federal Government, on Thursday, secured permission from the Supreme Court to file nine fresh grounds of appeal to oppose the release of the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, from detention.

The apex court granted FG’s request to include the fresh grounds in its amended notice of appeal dated October 28, 2022.

The ruling followed an application that was moved by a government lawyer, Mr Tijani Gadzali, SAN, who equally sought an adjournment to respond to Kanu’s request to be transferred from the detention facility of the Department of State Services, DSS, to the Kuje Correctional Center.

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Gazzali, SAN, told the court that he would need time to file a counter-affidavit to oppose Kanu’s request.

Consequently, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Inyang Okoro adjourned the case till May 11 for definite hearing.

It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in a judgement it delivered on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s release from detention.

READ ALSO: S’Court Adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s Case Till Next Month

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In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel, the appellate court equally quashed a 15-count terrorism charge that FG entered against the detained IPOB leader, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The court said it was satisfied that FG flagrantly violated all known laws, when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.

It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government, divested the trial court of the jurisdiction to continue with Kanu’s trial.

However, dissatisfied with the judgement, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court.

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It further persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgement, pending the determination of its appeal.

Meanwhile, at the resumed proceedings in the matter on Thursday, Kanu’s legal team, led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, drew the attention of the apex court to an application seeking the release of their client on bail, pending the conclusion of the hearing of the appeal.

READ ALSO: Release Kanu If Your Apology Is Genuine, IPOB Lawyer Tells Buhari

Ozekhome, SAN, said there was a need to also transfer his client from the custody of the DSS to where he could get proper medical attention in view of his deteriorating health.

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He, therefore, applied for an accelerated hearing of all the pending applications as well as the substantive appeal.

Kanu had earlier asked the apex court to strike out FG’s appeal against his release.

Specifically, he applied for an order of the apex court, “striking out and/or dismissing the Respondent’s Appeal No: SC/CR/1361/2022, for want of diligent prosecution”.

As well as an order setting down his own cross-appeal for hearing.

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The IPOB leader contended that going by Section 6 (1) of the Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals) Practice Direction 2013, FG had only 10 days within which to file and serve him with its brief of argument, upon the service of record of appeal.

READ ALSO: Nnamdi Kanu’s Health Condition Worsens, Lawyer Laments

He further argued that Order 2 Rule 29 (1) & (2) and Order 6 Rule 9 of the Supreme Court Rules, as amended in 2014, empowered him to seek the striking out of FG’s appeal for want of diligent prosecution.

According to him, “Parties were served with the record of appeal since the 2nd November 2022.

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“The ten (10) days stipulated under the Fast Track Rules of this Honourable Court for the Respondent to file its Appellant’s Brief has since elapsed.

“The Respondent is not diligent in prosecuting its appeal.

“The purpose of this Honourable Court’s Rules and Practice Directions is to provide fair, impartial and expeditious administration of criminal appeals, especially in relation to offences of terrorism, rape, kidnapping, corruption, money laundering and human trafficking.

“On the 28th day of October 2022, the lower court while relying on the Notice of Appeal filed by the Respondent, granted the Respondent’s application for stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court, and consequently stayed the execution of its judgement delivered on the 13th October, 2022, which discharged the Applicant and prohibited his further detention.

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READ ALSO: Foreign Affairs Committee Urges UK Govt To Intervene In Kanu’s Case

“The Respondent, which obtained an order of stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court, on the basis of this appeal, has not demonstrated any good faith in prosecuting the said appeal

“Owing to the pendency of the instant appeal, the Applicant who was discharged by the lower court since the 13th October, 2022, is still in the custody of the Appellant/Respondent’s State Security Service (SSS), where he has been held in solitary confinement since the 29th day of June, 2021.

“Striking out and/or dismissing the Respondent’s appeal will serve the best interest of justice and fair trial, having particular regards to the fact that the Applicant’s right to liberty was stayed by the lower court on account of the pendency of the Respondent’s abandoned appeal.

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“The Applicant has filed his Cross-Appellant’s brief and same has been duly served on the Respondent.

“It is in the interest of justice and fair trial to set the Applicant’s cross-appeal down for hearing.

“The Respondent which is not desirous of prosecuting its appeal, will not be prejudiced by the grant of the instant application”, Kanu added.

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Court Orders Seizure Of $4.7m, N830bn, Mansions, Others Linked To Ex-CBN Gov, Emefiele

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A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the interim forfeiture of $4,719,054, N830,875,611, and several property linked to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

The order was issued on Friday, by Justice Yellim Bogoro after an ex-parte motion by EFCC counsel Bilkisu Buhari and C.C. Chineye.

The forfeited funds, held in various banks, were linked to Omoile Anita Joy, Deep Blue Energy Service Limited, Exactquote Bureau De Change Ltd, Lipam Investment Services Limited, Tatler Services Limited, Rosajul Global Resources Ltd, and TIL Communication Nigeria Ltd.

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READ ALSO: Ex-CBN Gov, Emefiele Faces Fresh Charge Over Printing Of Naira Emefiele

Emefiele’s properties forfeited to the federal government include; 94 Units of 11 Storey building under Construction at 2, Otunba Elegushi 2nd Avenue (Formerly Club) Road, iKoyi, Lagos; AM Plaza, 11 Story Office Space, Situate on 1E, Otunba Adedoyin Crescent, Lekki Peninsula Scheme 1, Lagos; Imore Industrial Park 1, Esa Street, Imoore Land purchased with (Deep Bive Industrial Town, Oriade LCDA, Amuwo Odofin LGA, Lagos; Mitrewood and Tatler Warehouse (Furniture Plant at Bogije) near Elemoro Lagos, Owolomi Village, Ibeju-Lekki LGA, Lagos and 2 properties purchased from Chevron Nigeria, Closed PFA Fund, Block B.Lot.Twin Completed Property Lakes Estate. Lekki, Lagos.

Others include; One plot measuring 1,038.069 sqm, at Lekki Foreshore Estate Scheme, Block A, Plot 4, Foreshore Estate, Eti-Osa, LGA; Estate located at 100, Cottonwood Coppel Texas Drive, Coppel, Texas, Owned by Lipam investment Services; a Land at 1, Bunmi Owulude Street, (Maruwa), Lekki Phase 1, Lagos and a Property Situate on 8, Bayo Kuku Road, lkoyi Lagos.

The EFCC had sought an interim forfeiture of the monies and properties under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, Section 44(2)(b) of the Constitution, and the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

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READ ALSO: Alleged Fraud: Court Admits Bundles Of Documents As Evidence Against Emefiele

Specifically, the anti-graft agency requested “an interim order forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the funds held in the accounts listed in Schedule ‘A,’ which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.”

“An Interim order forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria Properties provided in 2nd Schedule ‘B’ which are proceeds of unlawful activities.

“An Order directing the publication In any National Newspaper, the interim order under reliefs 1-2 above, for anyone who Is interested in the properties and funds sought to be forfeited to appear before this Honourable Court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture of the said properties and funds should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

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READ ALSO: Naira Printing: ‘I’m Not Guilty Of EFCC’s Fresh Charge,’ Emefiele Pleads

In granting the ex-parte motion, Justice Bogoro after he had taken submission of the EFCC’s counsel held; “I have listened to the submission of the applicant’s counsel and also perused the motion just moved, together with the affidavit in support.”

The case was, however, adjourned to July 2, 2024, for the motion for final forfeiture.

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BREAKING: Tribunal Upholds Uzodinma’s Election As Imo Governor

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The Imo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Friday upheld the election of Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as Imo State governor.

The tribunal, which gave its ruling in Abuja, also dismissed the petition of the Labour Party, LP, and its governorship candidate, Athan Achonu.

In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, the three-man panel of the tribunal held that Uzodimma’s election as Imo State governor complied substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

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READ ALSO: Hardship: Bauchi Senator Flags Off Skill Acquisition Training For 100 Youth

The tribunal further held that the Labour Party in its petition failed to prove the allegation of over-voting and non-compliance to the Electoral Act.

Details later.

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Court Declines MultiChoice’s Plea To Stop NBC From Auditing Company’s Account

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, refused to grant an application filed by MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd, seeking an interim order restraining the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from requesting any financial, accounting, or tax documents from them.

Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the applicant’s counsel, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, rather directed all parties, in the interest of justice, not to take any step that could make the outcome of the suit nugatory.

Although the ruling was delivered on Wednesday, its certified true copy was sighted on Friday.

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The ex-parte order for Interim Injunction dated 8th day of May 2024 and filed 16th day of May, 2024 is hereby refused,” he declared.

Justice Omotosho then adjourned the matter until May 30 for a hearing of the motion on notice.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MultiChoice Nigeria Limited and Details Nigeria Limited, a provider of the subscription-based digital terrestrial television service, known as GOtv, are 1st and 2nd applicants.

READ ALSO: DSTV Hike: Lawyer To Paste Restraining Order At MultiChoice Office

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In the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/652/2024 dated May 8 and filed May 16 by their lawyer, they sued NBC as sole respondent.

The applicants sought three reliefs, including an order of interim injunction, restraining NBC from carrying out any investigations of the companies for the purposes of determining their annual income or NBC levy for the years between 2014 and 2024 pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

They sought an order of interim injunction restraining the NBC from requesting, demanding and or receiving any financial, accounting or tax documents from the companies other than the annual audited accounts of the companies already submitted to the commission.

They said this was in pursuant to Section 2 (10) (b) of the NBC Code 6th Edition for the purposes of determining her remittance of NBC levy for the 2014 to 2024 years of account pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

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They equally prayed an order of interim injunction restraining the commission from sanctioning, fining or suspending the companies’ license pursuant to the threats contained in its letter dated April 29 to them, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

In the affidavit deposed to by the companies’ Head of Compliance, Gozie Onumonu, he averred that the firms were mandated under the various NBC Codes to pay a certain percentage of their income as annual NBC levy to the respondent.

READ ALSO: Google To Link Africa, Australia With Landmark Umoja Cable

He said that the current code; NBC Code 6th Edition, provides for 2.5% of the income of a broadcaster to be paid to the respondent yearly as annual NBC levy while the erstwhile code which was amended in 2019 provides for 1.5% of the income of a broadcaster to be paid to the defendant yearly as annual levy.

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He claimed that the companies had never defaulted in paying their annual levy to the commission.

“Income as provided by the NBC Code 6th Edition is not defined neither is it defined in any other previous editions nor in the NBC Act 2004.

“As a result of the lack of definition of what an income is, there was a dispute between the applicants and the respondent in the year 2014 whether income should be turnover or revenue minus cost of production.

“After due negotiations, meetings, etc., between the applicants and the respondent, it was agreed by the applicants and respondent that income should be revenue minus cost of production.

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“In the year 2014, when the applicants subtracted the cost of production from their revenue in order to arrive at the then 1.5 per cent required of the applicants under the NBC Code 5th Edition, what was left for the applicants to pay to the defendant in compliance with the 1.5% requirement of the NBC Code 5th Edition was negligible.

READ ALSO: DSTV Hike: Lawyer To Paste Restraining Order At MultiChoice Office

“The amount the respondent would have been entitled to, from the applicants as annual NBC levy between 2014 to 2019 if the applicants were to strictly pay the 1.5% annual NBC levy provided by the 5th Edition of the Code was small and the respondent might not be able to carry out its administrative functions in view of its financial needs.

“Specifically, in the year 2014 and 2015, the amount that would have been due to the defendant as 1.5% of the annual income of the 1st applicant was N2.1 million (N2,167,254)

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“As a result, the respondent beseeched the applicants to consent to the payment of a fixed sum of N500 million (N500,000,000) as annual levy for the applicants’ licence period of 2014 to 2019 the sum of which was far more than what the plaintiffs were supposed to be paying to the respondent if the applicants were to pay only the 1.5 per cent of their annual income as provided by the NBC Code.

“For the years 2014 to 2019 that the respondent wants to carry out the investigation to verify whether the applicants paid up to 2.5% of their annual incomes as annual NBC levy, the operational NBC Code then was the NBC Code, 5th Edition and it requires broadcaster to pay 1.5% of their annual incomes as annual levy,” he said.

Onumonu, who said the companies had already submitted a certified true copy of their audited account for the previous year(s) to NBC, said the commission was paid over N12 billion (N12, 490, 000, 0000) as annual levy from 2014 to date.

The officer described NBC’s action as an abuse of power, urging the court to grant their plea in the interest of justice.
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