EFCC Arrests Lawyer Over Abuse of Garnishee Order
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is investigating cases of conspiracy and stealing involving the use of Garnishee Orders targeted at High Net worth bank accounts with low or no activities.
A statement issued yesterday explained that the investigation was sequel to series of complaints from some banks on the increase in the inflow of such court orders on a number of dormant accounts.
Three of such cases, where attempts were made to steal over N32 million, are receiving the attention of the operatives of the Commission to unravel the brains behind this new spate of crimes.
An Ibadan based legal practitioner has been arrested and is still being quizzed in connection with an attempt to procure such phony court orders.
However, investigations have revealed that one of the modes of operation is that two individuals will approach the court to decide on alleged case of breach of contract, having at their disposal insider information on the inactive bank account with high net worth.
A third party purported to be the owner of the targeted dormant account would be joined in the matter as being responsible for the failed transaction.
Having secured a judgment on the phony case of breach of contract, one of the parties would present a prayer before the court for a Garnishee action against the dormant account.
The bank is by the Order then compelled to affect a transfer of funds from the account without the knowledge of the original owner of the account.
It is imperative that bank officials become wary of how Garnishee Order on any account is processed and obtained and take necessary action to protect their customers.
Sanwo-Olu Assures Lagos Residents Dividends of Democracy
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to residents of the state after getting re-election.
On Monday morning, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship elections in Lagos after it was announced that he polled a total of 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, who scored 312,329 votes.
Professor Adenike Oladiji, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) Akure, the Returning Officer, during the announcement, said the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Abdul-Azeez Adediran garnered 62,449 votes to come a distant third in the election.
She listed votes garnered by other political parties in the contest as A (800), AA (904), AAC(627), ADC (6,078), ADP(2833), APM (884), APP (259), BP (616), NNPP (1,583), NRM (340), SDP (1,746), YPP (461) and ZLP (1,635).
She put the total number of registered voters at 7,060,195; total accredited voters at 1,182620; total votes cast at 1,173,631, total valid votes at 1,155,678 and rejected votes at 17,953.
Prof. Oladiji said: “I declare that Sanwo-Olu Babajide Olusola of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law by scoring 25 per cent in two-thirds of the local government areas in the state and also scoring the highest number of the vote cast, is hereby declared the winner and he is returned elected.”
The APC won in 19 Local Government Areas of the state; the LP won in one LGA, while the PDP did not win any.
In his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, noted that some of the allegations of manipulation levelled against him were a fallacy.
Mr Agbaje, however, said that such allegations were not strange in a clime like ours and decried the poor turnout of voters.
Assessing the process, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, Lagos state Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), decried the pockets of violence experienced in some parts of the state as well as vote buying and apathy.
He urged the candidates to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and accept the outcome of the elections in good faith.
Mr Mobolaji urged INEC to improve on the shortcomings in future elections.
Regardless of this, Business Post spoke to voters over the weekend who were disenfranchised on account of their ethnicity by elements that were believed to be working for the ruling party, with tribal slurs and stereotypes hurled at them.
On his part, the re-elected governor on Monday said his re-election for a second term has reaffirmed that Lagos has chosen competence and experience on the march to true greatness.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said this at the Lagos House Marina while giving the victory speech for his re-election, following the official announcement by INEC.
He said that elections were over now, and governance must continue, and the dividends of democracy must continue to be delivered, as there must be no break and no time off.
According to him, his government will keep all the promises made to the people of Lagos state.
“Lagosians, you did not just vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu. You voted for a greater Lagos. I promise that together we shall achieve this. This is a promise that shall not be broken. A greater Lagos shall be ours.
“Let me boldly and proudly say that we are already well on the way to that greater Lagos, and we now have four more years to join hands to advance in ways that will pleasantly surprise even the most sceptical amongst us,” he said.
“Lagos is what it is today because of each and every one of you, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender, or age.
“We are a vibrant and thriving hub of commerce, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, and culture because of the diversity that has come to define us over the decades and the centuries. Thank you,” he said.
He said that during the course of the campaign, sadly, there was a lot of divisive rhetoric used, as some tried to make the elections about ethnicity and religion when in fact, they should only have been about capacity, competence, and experience.
“We saw hateful and hurtful ethnic profiling by fellow citizens – which is totally out of place for us as Lagosians, the proud residents of West Africa’s pre-eminent melting pot.
“I want to recognise and salute all of the multitudes of residents who refused to succumb to those who sought and still seek to divide us with their unguarded and inciting comments.
“Unfortunately, there are reports of skirmishes in some local government areas wherein some citizens were reported to have been injured. We strongly condemn these reprehensible incidents – that is definitely not who we are as a people.
“The relevant law enforcement and security agencies have been directed to investigate these breaches of the law and to ensure that those found culpable face the full wrath of the law.
SERAP Takes Buhari, NBC to Court over Threats
By Adedapo Adesanya
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The organisation explained that the suit was for “the arbitrary use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code to sanction and threaten to revoke the licences of broadcast stations in the country and shut them down over their legitimate coverage of the 2023 general elections.”
Joined in the suit as the defendant is the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
The NBC had last week reportedly sanctioned 25 broadcast stations and issued ‘final warnings’ to 16 others for allegedly violating provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly elections.
But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/469/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether the broadcasting code used by the NBC to sanction some broadcast stations and threaten to shut down others was not in inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that the sanctioning of some broadcast stations and threat by the NBC to revoke the licences and shut down other stations for their lawful coverage of the general elections is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining President Buhari, NBC and Mr Mohammed from threatening and sanctioning broadcast stations in the country simply for carrying out their constitutional duties, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.
In the suit, SERAP argued that: “It is a travesty of justice to punish and threaten broadcast stations seeking to promote election integrity and citizens’ engagement and participation while allowing perpetrators of electoral violence and grave human rights violations escape accountability for their alleged crimes.”
According to SERAP, “Rather than promptly investigating allegations of election-related violence and other infractions of the Electoral Act and the Nigerian Constitution, and going after suspected perpetrators, the Nigerian government is scapegoating the media by targeting and punishing broadcast stations.”
SERAP noted that “the use of NBC Act and Code in this case would open the door to arbitrariness and fundamentally restrict freedom of expression that is an integral part of the public order protected by the Nigerian Constitution and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, pointed out that, “The sanction, ‘last warning’ and threat by the NBC would seem not to meet the strict requirements of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations. In particular, it is unclear the scope or object of what these wordings seek to prohibit.”
“Under the constitutional and international requirement of legality, it is not enough that restrictions on freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom are formally stated in press releases and regulations.
“The requirement of legality also serves to define the scope of legal discretion conferred on implementing authorities in order to provide adequate protection against arbitrary implementation,” it added.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
NDLEA Seizes 1.2m Opioid Pills, Arrests Afro-Europe Cartel Suspects
By Adedapo Adesanya
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have seized no fewer than 1,205,260 pills of opioids in two interdiction operations in Kogi and Gombe states.
This is just as anti-narcotic officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operates between Nigeria, East Africa, and Europe, with the arrest of two members of the cartel.
Operatives at the Lagos airport had on Monday, March 13, intercepted a suspected member of the drug syndicate, Mr Ejezie Vitus Ifeanyi, during the screening of inward passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.
When a search was conducted on him, it was discovered that one of his two bags had a false bottom concealment. During the preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him up. An immediate follow-up operation led to the arrest of Mr Chukwu Franco Bright, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ, to receive the drug consignment.
After his arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted before the two suspects leading to the recovery of 3.00 kilograms of heroin. Findings reveal that the drug syndicate networks between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe. While Chukwu who lives in Lagos, is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA on Wednesday, March 15, intercepted a jerrycan of palm oil going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At the point of examination, it was discovered that 600 grams of cannabis sativa were concealed inside the jerrycan of palm oil. A suspect, Mr Tunde Ogunbowale, who presented the consignment for export to Dubai, was immediately arrested.
This is even as an attempt to export 2.7kg cannabis packaged as part of dried onions to Dubai through a postal service firm was frustrated by NDLEA officers attached to the courier company, who seized a carton filled with colourful sachets of dried onions used to conceal the illicit consignment.
In Kogi state, a total of 530,160 pills of tramadol and 99,000 tabs of diazepam were seized along the Okene-Abuja highway from a bus driver, Mr Suleiman Oyedokun, 41, coming from Onitsha, Anambra state and going to Kontagora in Niger State on Monday, March 13.
On the same day, 576, 100 pills of tramadol concealed in bags of rubber slippers were intercepted by NDLEA officers at a trailer garage, old mile 3 road area of Gombe metropolis, Akko LGA, Gombe State. Four suspects, Mr Usman Suleiman; Mr Ya’u Yusuf; Mr Saidu Suleiman, and Mr Abubakar Umar, have so far been arrested in connection with the seizure.
In Kaduna, 367 kilograms of cannabis Sativa was recovered from a vehicle with registration number FKJ141DX. Two suspects: Mr Monday Suleiman, 62, and Mr Sama’ila Mohammed, 30, were arrested while a bribe of N1.2 million offered to NDLEA officers was documented as part of exhibits to prosecute the suspects.
Operatives in Delta state also, on Wednesday, March 15, arrested a local female distiller of Cannabis Sativa and dry gin, Ebi Akpotudua, 52, for producing a cocktail drink popularly known as monkey tail. She was arrested at Ugboroke by river road, Warri, with 19.5 litres of monkey tail and 22.2kg of cannabis.
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