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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the final forfeiture of the sum of N34 billion (153 million dollars) linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

Justice Muslim Hassan issued the order while delivering judgment in a suit by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the forfeiture of the money as proceeds of crime.

Justice Hassan had on Jan. 6 issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum of N34 billion to the Federal Government following an ex parte application by EFCC seeking a similar relief.

EFCC had initiated an ex parte application, seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of the sum to FG which it claimed was linked to the ex-Minister.

Also joined in the suit is Mr Dauda Lawal as respondent.

The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the money failing which the money would be permanently forfeited to the government.

At the last sitting of the court on Jan. 24, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo and Mr Charles Adeogun, Counsel representing the EFCC and the respondent (Lawal), had argued their originating processes before the court.

Oyedepo urged the court to make the interim order absolute and order a final forfeiture of the sum to the federal government.

He also urged the court to order the forfeiture of other sums to which no claim had been laid.

In his argument, Adeogun (respondent’s counsel), urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the sum of N9.08 billion to the second respondent on the grounds that it was obtained by coercion.

He argued that before such forfeiture orders can be made, two essential elements must be satisfied; namely — “that the property in question is unclaimed, and that such property or funds formed proceeds of an unlawful act.

Delivering his judgment on Thursday, Justice Hassan ordered a final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23. 43 billion and 5 million U.S. dollars to the Federal Government.

“I hereby make an order pursuant to Section 17 of the Advanced fee Fraud and other related Offences Act 2016, for final forfeiture of the unclaimed sum of N23, 426, 300, 000.00 billion and 5 million dollars to the Federal Government finally.

“In respect of the second respondent, learned Counsel, Mr Charles Adeogun, informed the court that the second respondent filed a counter-affidavit on why the sum of N9.08 billion should not be forfeited.

“I have carefully examined the affidavit evidence before the court and I find that the second respondent was duly cautioned in English language before his statement was taken and so, I hold that same was taken without any evidence of inducement.

“On the whole, I am satisfied that all the conditions stated in Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, was duly fulfilled by the applicant.

“I accordingly make the following orders — An order for the final forfeiture of the sum of N23, 426, 300, 000.00 billion being unclaimed property to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“An order of final forfeiture is also made for the sum of N9.08 billion recovered from the second respondent to the Federal Government of Nigeria, this is my judgment", he said.

Before the judgment, Adeogun had informed the court of two of his pending motions filed on Feb. 3 — the first seeking an abridgement of time and the second, for leave of the court to file further affidavits to his counter- affidavit.

He told the court that parties were exploring means of reaching amicable settlement in the matter.

He described it as a common sense approach to resolving the matter, adding that the sum recovered from the second respondent and sort to be finally forfeited, were “gathered from friends and relatives.”

Adeogun added that the facts were not made available to the court at the last adjournment because the instruments with which the funds were paid were still with th

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who led a team of National Assembly leaders to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in London, said at the end of the visit: “there is no cause for alarm”

 

His statement was meant to douse apprehensions and speculations in Nigeria about President Buhari’s health. 

 

And after meeting the President today, Saraki declared:

 

“The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself…he is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits”.

 

With Saraki on the trip were Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and majority leader in the Senate, Ahmed Lawan.

 

Here is Saraki’s statement:

 

“Myself, Rt Honorable Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan paid a visit to President Buhari in Abuja House in London.

 

We were delighted to see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits.

 

The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself.

 

The president’s absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate.

 

And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!.

 

 

NAN 

 

Speaker Yakubu Dogara on Wednesday mourned the passing of a lawmaker from Katsina State, Bello Sani.

 

Mr. Sani, who until his death represented Mashi/Dvisi Federal Constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, died Wednesday morning.

 

He was 51.

 

“Our late colleague was humane, principled and a cosmopolitan who interacted freely with all members,” the Speaker said in a statement while condoling with his family.

 

Mr. Sani is the second lawmaker to die in office within the last one year, coming months after Adewale Oluwatayo from Lagos State died in Abuja.

 

Abubakar Adamu, an aide to the late lawmaker, said his principal had suffered protracted illness for several months leading to his death.

 

Mr. Adamu said Bello’s illness became worse two weeks ago and he was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Kaduna.

 

After spending days there without much improvement, he was moved to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital on Saturday evening where he remained until his death around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. His remains were on the way to his hometown in Katsina State for burial, his aide said.

 

“He died this morning few minutes after 11:00 and we’re now taking his body to Katsina", Adamu said Wednesday afternoon.

 

Bello’s death came six months after he was kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Highway.

 

Adamu said the deceased had barely returned to the country after spending weeks abroad for medical care when he was abducted.

 

“He was kidnapped in August 2016 which was just a few days after he returned from foreign trip to get medical attention", Adamu said. “He had not been able to recover since then.”

 

Bello was first elected to the House in 2011 on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change. He switched to the All Progressives Congress in the run up to the 2015 elections and was re-elected for a second term in office.

 

Bello, whom Dogara described as a “hardworking, committed and patriotic legislator,” was survived by his wife and children.

 

 

 

PT 

 

An ex-convict, Ibrahim Akinola has been arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly involving himself in a fresh armed robbery operation.

 

The Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, who disclosed this, said the suspect was arrested on Tuesday morning.

 

According him, Akinola was said to have broke into the house of one Ojupeju Joseph at  Orimerunmu area of Mowe with one other criminal, who is now at large. 

 

The suspected criminal and his partner were alleged to have inflicted matchet cuts on the head of their victim after which they  dispossessed him of the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand naira (N150,000) and his Plasma Television. 

 

The Police Spokesperson explained that "the operation was going on, when a distress call was made to Mowe Divisional Headquarters and the DPO in Charge, CSP Charles Ebhuoma led his anti-robbery men to the scene where the suspect was arrested while his accomplice escaped". 

 

ASP Oyeyemi said "the Plasma Television was recovered from him while investigations revealed that the suspect had served a jail term before and he is still having a pending court case on robbery allegation against him".  

 

The State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu has ordered that the suspect be transferred to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS for discreet investigation. 

 

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Police Command says it has arrested a forty year old woman, Foluke Owolewa, for allegedly killing her one day old baby. 

 

The incident which happened at Ipamesan area of Sango Ota was reported at Sango Divisional Headquarters by one of the officials of the Community Development Association, CDA in the area. 

 

The suspect was said to have delivered the baby but before anybody could realised what happened, she allegedly killed the baby girl.   

 

The Divisional Police Officer, Sango Ota Division, SP Akinsola Ogunwale reportedly led detective to the scene at Number 17 Ilupeju Street, Anishere Unity Estate, Sango Ota where the woman was promptly arrested. 

 

On interrogation, the suspect claimed that her two other children were not adequately taken care by her husband hence her reason for killing the baby which she believed would be additional burden on her. 

 

According to the Police, further investigations revealed that was not the first time the woman would attempt to kill her child, as it was gathered that she once threw one of her daughters into the pit latrine on delivery but the baby girl was rescued.

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