Patience Jonathan Gives EFCC 14 Days To Defreeze Her Accounts
Solicitor to former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Ibifaka Goodluck Jonathan, First Law Associates, has given the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, 14 days with effect from September 18 to defreeze her accounts and tender a public apology to her.
Senior Partner, First Law Associates, Timipa Okponipere Esq. in an open letter to EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, urging the Commission to leave Mrs. Jonathan alone, warned that it refused to conform: “We shall file an action at the African Commission on Human Rights at the Gambia demanding N5 billion in exemplary and punitive damages.”
The solicitor observed: “There is no established legal or political precedent for what the EFCC is currently doing to our client. How many former First Ladies in Nigeria have received the Patience Goodluck Jonathan Treatment (PGJT) to have warranted the EFCC to engage in the effrontery to freeze our client’s accounts and subject her to public opprobrium, ridicule and disgrace? This nonsense must stop forthwith.”
He said: “Our client is a respected senior citizen of international repute, a retired Permanent Secretary and the immediate past First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Our Client is a law-abiding citizen who has never or at all been the subject of any criminal and/or financial investigation, whether at home or abroad. Accordingly, she has not been found guilty of any criminal conduct throughout a sparkling public service career spanning over 35 years.”
“During the 5 years our client served as First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between May, 2010 and May, 2015; she was the Initiator/Founder of the A. ARUERA WOMEN FOUNDATION as well as the WOMEN FOR CHANGE INITIATIVE; both of which Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) substantially contributed to the 35 per cent affirmative action for women in the country. Our Client is the recipient of numerous local and international awards in recognition of her untiring commitment towards uplifting the living standard of women, children and the aged in Nigeria.
“Sir, it is against this sterling and meritorious background of our client that we most respectfully, write to draw your attention to the numerous breaches of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004 committed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in cause of the Commission’s illegal and unlawful investigation of our client for alleged money laundering. These investigations have reportedly led to the freeze of our client’s accounts and led to untold consequences to our client’s health and wellbeing,” the solicitor asserted.
He added: “The EFCC must realize that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 is inferior in content and quality to both the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, 2004.”
NIMC: Presidential Council Faults N1000 NIN Fee, Demands Review
The recently announced N1000 National Identification Number (NIN) verification fee for the application, issuance and renewal of international passports by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been criticised.
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC faulted the mandated charge and called for a review.
Investors King had earlier reported that NIMC declared that Nigerians living in the country will pay N1000, while Nigerians residing in other African countries will pay $3 or its equivalent in other currencies and those in other continents across the world will pay $10 or its equivalent in other countries as NIN verification fee for application, issuance and renewal of their international passports.
Reacting to the development, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business/PEBEC Secretary, Jumoke Oduwole, in a statement, emphasised the need for a review to make citizens enjoy quicker and less expensive government services.
Oduwole, who commended the collaboration between NIMC and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), said such a partnership will enhance passport services.
She noted that stakeholders are not impressed with the extra charge to be paid for the NIN verification before they can process their passports.
According to her, the outline of the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari on February 8, 2023 states that where an applicant requires the service of a ministry, department or agency, the MDA involved is mandated to conduct the necessary verification or certification from relevant MDAs, in respect of the applicant.
Investors King understands that PUBEC was set up in 2016 by President Buhari with the aim of curbing hectic bottlenecks and bureaucratic limitations accompanied with owning and managing business enterprises in Nigeria.
The chairman of the council is the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. PUBEC has since its existence periodically issued EO1 Compliance Reports containing monthly reports of Ministries, Departments and Agencies submitted to the council.
INEC Considers Postponement of Governorship and State Assembly Elections Amidst Legal Battles
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is currently considering the possibility of postponing the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections, following the legal battles that have arisen from the recent presidential and national assembly polls.
INEC is expected to make a decision on the issue during a meeting of its national commissioners, scheduled for Wednesday night.
Investors King understands that the legal battles revolve around the extraction of data embedded in the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and the inspection of other election materials.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, and the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, have filed similar applications seeking to obtain the certified true copy (CTC) of all the data in the BVAS.
INEC has opposed the applications, arguing that granting them would affect its preparations for the forthcoming elections.
Tanimu Inuwa, counsel to INEC, has asked the court to vary the orders granting permission to Obi and Atiku to inspect all the sensitive materials used in the conduct of the presidential election.
However, the court has refused to grant INEC’s request, stating that the commission failed to specify which of the orders it wished to vary.
The court has clarified that it granted Obi and LP permission to do electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of voter registration and ballot papers used in the conduct of the election, and not permission to access the database of INEC, as misconceived by the electoral body.
Given the legal battles and the possible impact on preparations for the forthcoming elections, INEC is now considering postponing the governorship and state assembly elections.
This decision, if taken, would have significant implications for the electoral process and could further heighten tensions in the country.
The ongoing legal battles highlight the need for all stakeholders to work together to ensure a free, fair and credible electoral process. It is essential that INEC and other stakeholders prioritize the integrity of the electoral process over political expediency and work towards resolving these legal disputes in a timely and transparent manner.
FG Estimates N869bn For 2023 Census, Seeks Financial Aid
The Federal Government has totalled the fund needed for the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census as N869bn.
Investors King reports that Nigerians and organisations have been called upon to donate N327.2bn out of the estimated cost as the government already made provision for N291.5bn.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, during a dialogue with partners for the census in Abuja on Monday, stated that the FG plans to set up a basket fund to collect donations.
Agba noted that the basket fund will be coordinated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) who will provide technical and financial support to the National Population Commission (NPC).
He appealed to well-meaning citizens and private sectors to either donate cash or essential materials needed for the national census.
The minister gave the breakdown of the estimated cost; “The total requirement for the census (including post census activities) is N869bn ($1.88bn): census requirement – N626bn ($1.36bn) which is about $6 per capita (just slightly above the threshold of up to $5 per capita); Post-Census (up to 2025) is N243bn ($527m).
“So far, the government has committed N291.5bn ($632m) to the census, making it 46 per cent of total funding for the census. An additional (immediate) sum of N327.2bn ($709.9m) is required to complete the census.”
Agba stated that the national headcount was scheduled to hold in 2022 but was shifted to March, 2023, adding that there is a recommendation for it to be moved to May 2023.
He recalled that the last census was done in 2006 and the next ought to be held in 2016 as recommended by the United Nations for Decennial census.
In her remarks, the Resident Representative, UNFPA, Ms Ulla Mueller, harped on the need to take the census seriously to stop guessing the present population of the country.
She stated that UNFPA will support the census exercise financially and technically to the tune of $10m.
Also, the Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu, on behalf of the Organised Private Sector and African Philanthropic Organisations spoke on the urgent need for the census to accurately plan based on the needs of the citizens to boost the nation’s development.
“For me, this task is critical to our country’s future – if we do not know our population, we cannot properly plot our developmental path, our economic growth, our society’s goals. Credible demographic data is of profound importance for the public and private sectors alike. We all know we live in a data-driven world.
“The upcoming census is a significant milestone in Nigeria’s development, as it provides an opportunity to collect accurate and reliable data on the country’s population and housing, which will serve as a vital tool for policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society organisations,” he said.
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