- Justice Ademola Denied me Bail for Not Paying N25m Bribe
A prosecution witness, Dr. Sani Teidi, testifying on Tuesday in the ongoing trial of a serving judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, and two others, before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, accused the judge of demanding N25m bribe from him while standing trial before him (the judge) between 2013 and 2014.
Teidi, a former Director, Pension Accounts Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, who was testifying as the sixth prosecution witness, said he was made to remain on prison remand for one year and two months because of his refusal to meet the judge’s alleged demand for bribe.
But under cross-examination, the defence team confronted the witness with documents, including a report by the National Judicial Council exonerating Justice Ademola, a serving judge of the Federal High Court, of the bribery allegation and other acts of misconduct.
Teidi, who was in the witness box for over seven hours taking turns to respond to questions from the prosecuting and defence lawyers, said although his wife wrote the petition which informed the report issued by the NJC, he was not aware of the document until about two weeks ago when it was shown to him by the prosecuting counsel.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Justice Ademola, his wife, Olabowale; and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Joe Agi, on charges bordering mainly on giving and receiving of gratification and alleged illegal possession of firearms found with the judge.
In one of the 16 counts preferred against the three defendants, Justice Ademola was specifically accused of attempting to receive N25m as gratification from Teidi, who was then standing trial before the judge on charges bordering on diversion of N4.6bn pension funds.
Led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Segun Jegede, the 57-year-old witness, now the Director, Finance and Account in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, said Justice Ademola refused to sign his release warrant despite meeting the bail conditions.
He said the judge imposed on him “onerous” bail conditions of two sureties in the sum of N500m each, with the total bail sum amounting to N1bn, in April 2013, whereas the earlier judge, Justice Adamu Bello, who was hearing the case before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission initially withdrew it and later re-filed it, had granted him bail in the sum of N10m.
The witness, who obtained a Master’s degree in Accountancy in 1999 and a doctoral degree in Financial Management in 2002, said after struggling to meet the N1bn bail condition imposed on him by Justice Ademola, the judge refused to sign the necessary papers for his release.
He said having been on remand by the order of Justice Ademola since April 2013, it took the Court of Appeal to order his release in May 2014 by granting him bail in the sum of N100m with one surety.
The witness testified that the judge demanded the N25m bribe through an agent named Kingsley. O.
According to him, the said agent met him and left an account number into which the bribe was expected to be paid into.
Teidi said, “My sureties were one Chief Okey and the second one Igbelimeta Farm Project Limited. They now perfected the bail. After it was perfected, my lawyer, S.I. Ameh (SAN), reminded Justice Ademola that our bail conditions had been perfected and the judge said he was aware.
“But the judge said my case was like Boko Haram, kidnapping and terrorism and so he would take his time to study it before he would append his signature. Then the case was adjourned.
“The next time we met in court, Justice Ademola said rain fell on my file so there was no way he could look at it until the file was dry.
“I appeared before him not less than seven times. I was arraigned around April 2013.
“I know why my bail was not approved. I got to know around November/December (2013).
“I got to know that I would not be allowed to go out because the account sent by the agent, Kingsley. O., was not credited.”
Teidi claimed that though he was granted bail, the judge frustrated his efforts to meet the bail conditions by allegedly rejecting the documents submitted by one of his sureties.
Jegede tendered a certified true copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment granting bail to Teidi, and the document was admitted by the court as an exhibit.
But the defence attacked the evidence of the witness by confronting him with a report by the NJC, exonerating the judge of wrongdoing.
The trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke, earlier admitted as exhibits, the NJC report along with the petition sent to the NJC by Teidi’s wife complaining about Justice Ademola’s handling of her husband’s bail and the record of proceedings of the council on the said petition.
The NJC report containing the findings of the council’s panel which investigated the petition was read to the witness by Justice Ademola’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN).
The report indicated that the findings of the panel showed that the judge only issued a bench warrant against the witness after failing to appear in court on two different occasions despite being duly notified.
The report also stated that although the prosecution did not ask for the bench warrant, the judge, as a master of his court, made the order for Teidi’s arrest in accordance with his power.
The report also quoted the NJC’s findings as indicating that the alleged “onerous” bail conditions imposed on the witness fell within the discretion of the judge and there was no evidence that the judge acted in “reproach.”
The report stated that the NJC’s investigative panel accepted Justice Ademola’s explanation to the effect that the bail sum was commensurate to the N4.6bn Teidi allegedly stole.
The NJC stated in the report that granting bail was a matter of a judge’s discretion and the judge was not bound by the decision of another judge.
It added that Teidi’s wife was unable to provide the identities of numerous “anonymous calls” from persons asking her to pay N25m bribe for her husband’s release, and so linking the callers to the judge was “a mere suspicion” that could not be legally relied on “no matter how strong the suspicion is.”
The defence also confronted Teidi with an investigative report by the police indicating that one of the witness’ sureties had presented to Justice Ademola in fulfillment of the N1bn bail condition a “forged Certificate of Occupancy.”
Querying how Teidi suddenly became a “friend” of the Department of State Services, the body which arrested Justice Ademola, a defence lawyer, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), accused the witness of serving “as a tool in the hand of DSS to do what they wanted you to do”.
The trial continues on Wednesday (today).
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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