Friday, 18 January 2019

[FILE POTO] Amaju Pinnick. PHOTO: YouTube

An Abuja Chief Magistrate District Court 11 sitting at Wuse Zone 2, has put in abeyance the warrant of arrest it had issued previously to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla against the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and four others. The four others are the federation’s two vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, a board member, Ahmed Yusuf and Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, who is the board’s General Secretary.

The NFF had challenged the warrant for its officials’ arrest, saying it was obtained erroneously as it was ultra vires the enabling law establishing the SPIP.

Its counsel, Muhammed Sani Katu, who argued the application marked MN/04/2019, challenged the jurisdiction of the court, among others.
He therefore urged the court to vacate the arrest order.

Having reviewed the matter, the court held that there was no basis for a warrant of arrest to be issued against NFF officials under the law.

Reacting to the decision, Katu said: “Notwithstanding this positive and deserved outcome expected by our clients, we hold unto their firm instructions to pursue with utmost diligence and determination suit no. FC/ABJ/CS/17/2019 pending separately at the Federal High
Court, Abuja, which our clients have instituted against Chief Obono-Obla and SPIP for violating our clients’ rights under the law and, acting contrary to the enabling law setting up SPIP.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, our clients reiterate most categorically that there are no charges against them existing anywhere, as they have not committed any crime under the law, whatsoever.

“They maintain that this whole lamentable matter is nothing more than the machination of some persons who are adverse to competing fairly for the leadership of NFF, but desperately wish to be foisted on the federation by external forces, who are apparently misled. Our clients are, therefore, confident that this conspiracy will surely be defeated in time.”

He on behalf of the NFF thanked the federation’s sponsors, partners and other stakeholders for their steadfast loyalty and support, adding that they should be rest assured that NFF remains committed to the orderly, transparent and accountable management of its affairs at all times, in keeping with best global standards.

Katu regretted that some persons were determined to rubbish the reputation of some principal officers of the NFF having earlier failed to wrest the leadership of the board forcefully from them 

Source: Guardian Newspaper

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The late Gani Fawehinmi,SAN means many things to different people and his influence in the lives of the many people that have encountered him cannot be forgotten quickly.

The Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association in its consistent tradition will hold the 15th Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture Tagged: FAWEHINMISM.

This year the the NBA Ikeja will push the event further with the innovation of the NBA IKEJA GANI FAWEHINMI SCHOLARSHIP for a Law School Student who has being distinguished and selected.

Date: Tuesday, 15th of January, 2019 Venue : Airport Hotel, Ikeja
Time: 10 am prompt. 



1. Mike Iginni, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Akwa Ibom
2. Mr. Augustine Alegeh,SAN, former President of Nigerian Bar Association.

Chief Host is His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Host: Prince Dele Oloke(Chairman, NBA Ikeja Branch)

Monday Ubani,Esq.(Chairman,Planning Committee)

This event is open to everyone who believes that Nigeria deserves free, fair and credible elections in 2019 and beyond.

Charles Ajiboye,Esq.
Publicity Secretary, 
NBA Ikeja Branch

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, might likely be arraigned on Monday before the Danladi Umar-led three-man panel of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for allegedly failing to declare his assets as stipulated by law.

In view of the circumstance, the federal government has asked him to vacate office over alleged corrupt practices.

The call for CJN’s resignation followed an application filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for CJN’s arraignment and commencement of his trial on a six-count charge levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

A civil society group under the name, Anti-corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI) had purportedly petitioned the CCB over some alleged illegal transactions discovered in the bank accounts of the CJN.

The letter dated January 7, bore a CCB ‘received’ stamp allegedly from the office of the chairman of the bureau on January 9.

Some of the allegations contained in the petition read that the CJN “is the owner of sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to August 10, 2016, which was allegedly operated in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.”

The group also alleged that Justice Onnoghen made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on March 8, 2011, into Standard Chartered Bank Account No. 1062650; two separate cash deposits of $5000 each followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 7, 2011; another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 27, 2011, and four more cash deposits of $10,000 each the following day.

The petition further stated that Justice Onnoghen did not declare his assets immediately after taking office. This, it held, was contrary to section 15 (1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

The CJN was also accused of violating the constitutional requirements for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

Others include that the CJN’s Code of Conduct Bureau Forms (Form CCB 1) for 2014 and 2016 were dated and filed on the same day and that acknowledgement slips were issued for both of them on December 14, 2016, “at which point Justice Onnoghen has become the Chief Justice of Nigeria.”

Recall that Justice Onnoghen assumed office as CJN on March 6, 2017, and not in 2016 as quoted in the petition. Although he was serving on acting capacity at the time.

The group equally alleged that prior to 2016, Onnoghen appeared “to have suppressed or otherwise concealed the existence of these multiple domiciliary accounts owned by him as well as the substantial cash balances in them.”

ARDI, in the petition, listed that Justice Onnoghen is the owner of Standard Chartered Bank dollar account No.1062650 with a balance of $391,401.28 as at January 31, 2011; Standard Chartered Bank Euro account 5001062686 with the balance of EURO 49,971 .71 as at January 31, 2011 as well as a Standard Chartered Bank pound sterling account No. 5001062679 with the balance sum of GBP23,409.66 as at February 28, 2011.

The petitioner described as “curious”, the fact that such domiciliary accounts were not declared in one of the two CCB Forms filed by Justice Onnoghen on the same December 14, 2016.

The group held that the petition has succeeded in establishing suspicious financial and other transactions against the CJN, stressing that the collusion between him and various banks related to “Suspicious Transactions Reporting (STR) and financial transactions not justifiable by his lawful remuneration at all material times.

Meanwhile, the Head, Press and Public Relations, CCT, Abuja, Ibrahim Al-Hassan, in a statement issued Saturday, informed that the tribunal has scheduled Monday, January 14, for the commencement of trial against the CJN “for alleged non-declaration of asset.”

“This was consequent to an application filed by CCB to the CCT Chairman last Friday for the trial to commence against the CJN on six-count charge,” Al-Hassan said.

“However, service of the summons has been effected to the defendant. The three-man panel led by Justice Danladi Y. Umar will commence the trial on Monday, January 14, at its courtroom at about 10 am.”

The statement further read that the letter to the CCT contained the six-count charge bordering on non-declaration of assets,was filed on Friday, January 11 by the operatives of the CCB, and signed by one Musa Ibrahm Usman and Fatima Danjuuma.

Meanwhile, lawyers have been reacting to the development. In his opinion, a Warri-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Albert Akpomudje, described the situation as very sad.

According to him, charging the CJN, who is the highest judicial officer in the country to court, is an embarrassment to the administration of justice.

He opined that the action is suggestive of political undertone, especially, considering the delay the CJN had in getting confirmed for the office.

His words: “It is sad. While I believe that nobody, no matter how highly placed is above the law, charging the CJN to court is an embarrassment to the administration of justice.

“People may read political undertone to it particularly when it took an unwarranted delay to confirm his appointment.”

Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN) held that, in spite of the threat of arraigning the CJN, he cannot be constitutionally removed without the endorsement of the National Judicial Commission (NJC) and the National Assembly.

He explained that his removal outside the constitutionally prescribed process can only happen if he resigns.

He said: “You cannot constitutionally remove the CJN without NJC and the National Assembly. It is a lie. Unless he resigns, which I have not heard.”

Justice Onnoghen’s battle for survival as the CJN began as soon as his predecessor, the former CJN, JusticeMahmud Mohammed retired from office in November 2016.

Justice Onnoghen, who was expected to assume office immediately to avoid any vacuum in the judiciary, was however abandoned on acting capacity until March 2017, following the delay in transmitting his nomination to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, for screening and confirmation

Source: Guardian Newspaper

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A 47-year-old businessman, Oluwafemi Adeleye, was yesterday arraigned before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing petroleum products worth N4.6million.

The prosecution told Chief Magistrate Yewande Aje-Afunwa that the defendant committed the offence last April 4 at Uptime Energy Ltd, 9, Salvation Road, Opebi Ikeja, Lagos.

He alleged that Adeleye conspired with others at large and took delivery of 33,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) worth N4.6 million from Mr. Shitta Olukunle, the complainant, on the pretext of paying him.

Nwangwu alleged that Adeleye issued a Diamond Bank cheque No. 57537476 dated April 23, 2018 for N2.7million in favour of Uptime Energy for the product he fraudulently obtained on credit despite knowing that he had no money in his account.

He said the cheque was dishonoured when it was presented at the bank, adding that efforts by the complainant to get the defendant to pay him  were unsuccessful. The defendant was said to have absconded and switched off his phone.

Nwangwu said the defendant was later arrested by the police.

Adeleye pleaded not guilty.

Chief Magistrate Aje-Afunwa granted him N850,000 bail with two sureties in the like sum.

Chief Magistrate Aje-Afunwa said one of the sureties must be a relation and be employed.

She said the sureties must show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government. The case continues on February 7.

The Nation

A member of the Lagos State Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Chief Lanre Razak, has dismissed as diversionary and cheap blackmail a recent claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Jimmy Agbaje, that the state is under the firm grip of a political godfather from whom Lagosians must be liberated.

Rather than resort to name-calling and primordial sentiments, Razak challenged Agbaje to focus on issues-based campaign.

He said doing otherwise would not give him victory at the poll.

The former Commissioner for Public Transportation noted that other political parties jostling to upstage the All Progressives Congress (APC) were only envious of the state’s strong economic and financial base and not genuinely committed to providing good governance to the people.

Razak, a chieftain of the ruling partty, said Lagosians and Nigerians would fare better if they elect Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the party’s governorship candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming polls.

He hailed President Buhari for appointing former governor of Lagos State and APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as co-chairman of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, adding that the body has the capacity to ensure total victory for APC candidates in this year’s general elections.

Razak had made a strong case for Asiwaju Tinubu’s appointment to chair the council.

Addressing reporters at a party he hosted in Epe for members of the APC from Lagos East Senatorial District, the APC chieftain noted that Asiwaju Tinubu is eminently qualified for the position because he has built a “successful political structure that is second to none, not only in Lagos State but in the entire country, since the return to civilian rule in 1999”.

Source: The Nation

[File] Mr Babatunde Fowler, FTAX Chairman. PHOTO/TWITTER/FIRS

• Stamp duty collections accumulate billions under locks
The Federal Inland Revenue Service has recorded an all-time high tax revenue collection of N5.23 trillion in 2018, with Value Added Tax (VAT) at N1.11 trillion for the first time.

Prior to 2018, the highest revenue figure ever attained by FIRS was N5.07 trillion, in 2012, when oil price hovered around $100-$120 per barrel, but now remarkable, given that it was achieved at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel.

Besides, the Service will be expanding its dragnet and tightening noose against tax evaders, as there are indications that it would be given an N8trillion target this year.

The Chairman of FIRS, Dr. Babatunde Fowler, who made the disclosure during the 2019 Management and Stakeholders Retreat, in Lagos, yesterday, said the N8 trillion target is being finalised, but assured of the readiness of the agency to take it as a challenge.

Fowler, who reiterated the need for increased compliance to tax laws, said there would not be any serious discussion on diversification of the economy without reviewing the country’s tax regime for optimal performance.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Babangida Ibrahim, while commending the Service on the feat achieved, pledged the lawmakers’ support for every initiative that would lead to efficient tax system in the country.

“The taxation of any economy and growth of policies of government depends largely on the revenue generated by the tax authorities. We agree that to achieve effective taxation, the support of the parliament cannot be over-emphasised,” he said.

Meanwhile, he affirmed that the Stamp Duty Account domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria is still accumulating revenue, but said he is not sure whether the accumulation is in trillions as claimed by people.

The taxation strategist noted that the revenue had remained untouched because of the legal dispute over who is the rightful owner, between the Federal Government and other stakeholders involved.

He said that FIRS worked hard in ensuring that taxes are collected and remitted for the benefits of the nation by targeting non oil revenue, despite the dwindling oil prices and economic restrain in 2018.

At the retreat with the theme: “Parliamentary Support for Effective Taxation of the Digital Economy,” Fowler said FIRS has adopted initiatives that ensure a robust tax administration that is agile and beneficial to all stakeholders.

According to him, with the deployment of various digital innovations, cost of collections in non-oil sector has improved from four per cent per N85.99 billion and N100.3 billion in 2016 and 2017 respectively, to N114.1 billion in 2018.

“While we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016, we collected N3, 307 trillion; in 2017, we collected N4, 027 trillion and in 2018, we collected N5, 320 trillion. Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing. In 2016, it was 2.6 per cent. In 2017, it was 2.49 per cent, while in 2018 it was 2.14 per cent,” he said.

Of the total tax collected, oil-related taxes amounted to N2.47 trillion, while the non-oil-related taxes totaled N2.85 trillion, against N1.52 trillion and N2.51 trillion respectively in 2017.

In the period under review, the automation of VAT collection in key sectors facilitates reduction in compliance cost in the long term; created system to system integration between banks and FIRS; and resulted to 31 per cent increase year on year in VAT collection in the banks, as well as N25 billion so far in 2019.

The FIRS also collected N212,792 billion exclusively from audit, a figure that arose from 2,278 cases, and with a huge reduction in audit circle.

Source: Guardian Newspaper

Nullifies direct, indirect primaries, party to challenge ruling
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has delivered judgments in two separate suits, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to acknowledge Rivers State’s All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates at the general elections.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho gave the injunction yesterday sequel to a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which prayed it to compel INEC to obey the judgment of a high court nullifying all Rivers State APC primaries and congresses.

The judge maintained that Rivers APC would not participate in the gubernatorial, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections.

Omotosho, therefore, directed INEC to remove all APC candidates from ballot papers and other electoral materials.

Relying on the ruling and orders of Justice Chinwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court, Omotosho insisted that APC acted in disobedience to court orders, and so it could not benefit from the same.

He declared: “An order is made stopping Rivers APC nominees from parading themselves as candidates for the 2019 general elections.”

He explained that all the primaries conducted by the Rivers State APC, having been nullified by the state high court, remain invalid because the judgment has not been set aside. Omotosho further argued that the APC in Rivers State has no right to nominate any candidate for all the elections.

Reacting, counsel for candidates of the APC, Mr. Emenike Ebete, said his clients would challenge the ruling and file a stay of execution. He said INEC could not execute the judgment of the Federal High Court as the ruling would not be the final declaration on the matter.

Counsel to PDP, Dike Udena, lauded the judgment, saying since the APC failed to comply with the Electoral Act, it could not participate in the general elections.

Senator Magnus Abe’s lawyer, Henry Bello, also said his client and others would appeal the judgment.

The court also refused to grant the application of Abe and other candidates of the Peter Odike faction, asking to be declared authentic candidates of the party in the state.

Omotosho held that the plaintiffs do not have legal standing given the fact that they hinged their request on the ruling of the state high court, which nullified primaries conducted by the APC. He held that the plaintiffs could not be nominated by the APC for the general elections, since a state high court had earlier set aside all primaries.

He, therefore, issued a restraining order, asking INEC not to recognise the candidates of the APC until a higher court of competent jurisdiction sets aside the ruling.

The APC in Rivers said it totally agreed with the court that Abe and other members of the party, who claimed they emerged through alleged direct primary polls, were not and could not be declared candidates of the party in the general elections.

In a statement issued by its state publicity secretary, Chris Finebone, the APC said its acceptance of the ruling on Abe was because the national body neither authorised or conducted the alleged direct primary as required by its constitution and guidelines and nor did INEC monitor the same.

The party, however, stated that it did not agree with the court that the Davies Ibiamu Ikanya and Peter Odike-led executive committee was still subsisting.

He stated: “The APC has the powers to dissolve its executive committee and that power was exercised on May 21, 2018. The APC, having dissolved that executive, it ceased to exist and could not be resurrected, even if the court finds, albeit wrongly, that there was no valid congress to replace the dissolved executive.

Source: Guardian Newspaper

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