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Court Restrains EFCC, ICPC, DSS From Probing Saraki

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other agencies involved in the probe of  Senate President Bukola Saraki over corruption allegations.

Saraki on Friday filed two separate fundamental rights enforcement suits before the court to challenge the decision of the EFCC to seize his houses.

Ruling on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suit by Saraki, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on Tuesday ordered the anti-corruption body and the other five respondents to the suit to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.

The judge made the order after hearing Saraki’s lawyer Sunday Onubi, who moved the application.

The six respondents to the suit affected by the restraining order are the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN),  Department of State Services,  Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu,  EFCC,  Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and  Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In a ruling delivered by the judge on returning to the courtroom after taking about 45 minutes to prepare it in his chambers, the court likened the restraining order issued on Tuesday to an order directing the parties to the suit to maintain the status quo in respect of the probe.

Ordering them to suspend the probe, Justice Taiwo said he granted Saraki’s prayers to avert a situation where the court would be faced with a situation of fait accompli.

He added that granting the order was in line with a settled principled of law that once a suit was filed, all parties to it must refrain from taking any action capable of rendering the suit nugatory.

According to him, the order amounts to an order directing the parties to maintain the status quo.

He added that the law allows such an application to be granted in a situation where the applicant would likely face “hardship” between the time of serving processes in the suit on the respondents and hearing and determination of the suit.

He ruled, “There is no doubt that the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 is a special proceeding with its stated rules and procedure.

“By the provision of Order 4(3) of the Fundamental Rights-Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, the court may, if satisfied that the applicant  may be caused  hardship before the service of an application where liberty or life of the applicant is involved hear the application ex parte upon such interim reliefs as the justice of the application may demand.

“There is no doubt that in making the interim reliefs or orders,   the court is guided even in the exercise of its discretion judicially and judiciously applied by the law and statues.

“Here comes in the rules and of course Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He added, “I am of the view, after due consideration of the aforesaid averment, that this court ought to make the order being sought by the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice.

“To do otherwise and not to restrain the respondents by asking them not to stay action will result in the court being faced with a fait accompli.”

The judge made the same set of orders in the two separate suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2019, filed by Saraki,  which were separately argued and ruled upon on Tuesday.

Justice Taiwo then directed the applicant to serve the court processes on the six respondents who he also directed to file their response within five days of being served.

He adjourned further hearing till May 23, 2019  when the respondents will have an opportunity to challenge the ex parte order by arguing their objection to Saraki’s motion on notice.

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$2billion Arms Fraud: Group Petitions Buhari Over Probe Panelists

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A group has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to re-examine the composition of the $2 billion fund misappropriated during the last regime of President Jonathan.

The group, Egalitarian Coalition of Nigeria, in an open letter to President Buhari, alleged that senior members of his cabinet who were complicit in the transaction
cannot turned round to become a judge in case involving them.

When the president assumed office in 2015, he directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to convene an investigative committee on the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces from 2007 till now.

Accordingly, the National Security Adviser, constituted the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement, CADEP.

But the group in the petition, signed by Dr. Suleiman Attahiru, Executive Director and Sir Fabian Aigbosua (KSJ),
Secretary, told President Buhari, that domiciling the powers to constitute the committee in the Office of the National Security Adviser was albeit an error because the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mungono was a part of the rot in the system at the time as Commander, Brigade of Guards, Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency and later Commandant TRADOC in 2013 when he retired from the Nigerian Army.

”Mr. President, there is no way the NSA, Babagana Mungono could feign ignorance of all the underhand dealings in the purchase of arms and ammunition in the period under review because of the strategic positions he occupied.

”Mr. President, and as predicted, the NSA did well to cover his tracks by taking charge of the proceeding of the committee and ensuring that underhand deals linked to him while he was within the corridors of power were left untouched by the committee. All of these are in public space.

”Mr. President, as a fact, some members of CADEP are culprits in the same act in which they have crucified others just because the National Security Adviser has your ears and attention at all times.

”This was evident in the arrest of Air Commodore Usman Mohammed, a member of CADEP by the Department of State Security for fronting for members of CADEP in receiving financial gratification from those been investigated by the committee”, the group said.

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Lawan: My Support For Buhari Will Not Make Senate His Rubber Stamp

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Ahmad Lawan, majority leader of the Senate, says the national assembly will not become President Muhammadu Buhari’s “rubber stamp” if he is elected Senate president.

Lawan told journalists in Abuja on Saturday that although he is a fan of Buhari, his support for the president will not jeopardize the upper legislative chamber under his leadership.

Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had endorsed Lawan to succeed Bukola Saraki as Senate president.

The Yobe lawmaker said he will ensure that the decisions of his colleagues be carried out without any fear or favour.

“I won’t deny it; I am a president Buhari man. I believe in him and I believe in my party because of the ideals they stand for. But if you believe in someone and they have an issue that you think can be carried out in a certain way other than the way it was presented, suggesting you go the other way demonstrates that you are really for that person.” he said.

“So my support for the president, for example, must not be misconstrued as going to make the national assembly a rubber stamp if I am senate president.

“The function of the legislature is for the members of the legislature in majority to take a decision after a debate or whatever; then the minority would have had their say and the decision goes to the majority. You cannot as a presiding officer say no, I am not going to go with that position. Else you will be sacked.”

Lawan also said that the legislature and executive must ensure they work harmoniously for the common good of Nigerians.

“If you choose to fight, the two arms suffer and the country suffers even more because it is not possible for you to fight and get something done for the country. I don’t belong to the school of thought of encouraging fighting between the two arms,” he said.

“When you have to work together, you will disagree, and by the design of the constition, the legislature has been given some functions that will naturally make the executive sit up.”

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Release Our N25bn, ASUU Tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has urged the Federal Government to release the N25bn it approved for lecturers.

ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, made the demand during a valedictory lecture and book presentation by the former Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Prof Ikenna Onyido, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, on Saturday.

He said the union was getting impatient with the FG over the delay in releasing the money.

However, Ogunyemi denied reports they were planning to embark on strike over the matter.

He said, “ASUU has not said it is going on strike. What we said was the reported N25bn the Federal Government said it had approved, we’ve not seen it.

“When we signed the Memorandum of Action with government on February 7, we agreed that by February 28, the N25bn would be released, and government signed it. We have yet to see it three months after.

“That’s why we’re saying that government has defaulted and if our members come up with any decision because government has defaulted, the leadership can’t stop them. That’s the challenge we have.

“We’re only calling on Nigerians to prevail on government to make good its promises and not just to tell us about paper release. Let’s see the actual release.”

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