- Court Unfreezes Patience Jonathan’s $5.9m Account
The Federal High Court in Lagos, on Thursday, vacated its order which late last year froze the Skye Bank account of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jzonathan.
The account had a balance of $5.9m at the period.
In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, set aside the ‘No-Debit Order’, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had earlier placed on the account on allegations that the $5.9m found in it was proceeds of crime.
The judge upheld the contention of Patience’s lawyer, Mr. Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), that his client’s account was unlawfully frozen by the EFCC.
Adedipe had urged the court to unfreeze Patience account on the grounds that she was not a party to the suit leading to the freezing order.
Citing judicial authorities, Adedipe contended that the suit was an abuse of court processes, contending that the court had no jurisdiction to make an order against someone who was not a party in a suit filed before the court.
The judge upheld the submission and therefore unfroze Patience’s account.
Justice Olatoregun said she had no option but to discharge the freezing order as the EFCC, despite being served with Patience application, did not file a counter-affidavit to oppose her prayers and all the averments contained in her affidavit.
She stated, “It is trite in law that an order cannot be made against any person who is not a party before the court.
“It was not controverted that Dame Patience Jonathan is not a party in the order obtained in this court.
“I hereby make an order unfreezing the Sky Bank account belonging to Dame Patience Jonathan forthwith,” the judge held.
Meanwhile, Adedipe also went before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court, on Thursday, praying the judge to order the EFCC to release to Patience the sum of $15.591m, which was seized from four companies by the anti-graft agency.
Justice Idris adjourned to May 8, 2017 to decide whether or not to grant the prayer.
At the instance of the EFCC last year, Justice Olatoregun had made an interim order freezing multiple accounts linked to the former President’s wife.
The order was pursuant to an ex parte application by the anti-graft agency, wherein one of its operatives, Abdulahi Tukur, had told the judge that the funds retained in the said accounts were suspected proceeds of crime.
Tukur had told the judge that intelligence report by the anti-graft agency necessitated that the accounts be investigated, adding that it would be in the interest of justice that the accounts be frozen.
The accounts, opened in the names of companies and an individual, had a cumulative balance of N7,418,829,290.94 (N7.4bn) and $429,381.87.
Apart from Patience’s personal account, also affected are five companies, namely – Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited and Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.
Finchley Top Homes Limited’s account, number 1102001996 in Ecobank, with a balance of N226,376,700.23 and a fixed deposit of N1,099,511,484.88 was frozen.
Similarly affected were the company’s Skye Bank account number 1771731336, with a balance of N14,173,848.85; Fidelity Bank account number, 4011019539 with a balance of N1,800,494,000; Stanbic Bank account number, 0016901361, with a balance of N40,594,12.88; and Diamond Bank’s account 0019213687 with a balance of N39,418,712.12.
Aribawa Aruera Reachout Foundation opened account number 1222014221 with Ecobank and had a closing balance of N479,893,431.01, while Magel Resort Limited accounts (4011019546/5250059782) with Fidelity Bank had a subsisting balance of N1,000,494,000.
The company also operates a Zenith Bank account, number 1011744356, with a balance of N858,923,982, and a Diamond Bank account number 0024351590 with a balance of N174,166,207.00.
AM-PM Global Network Limited opened account number 0026718889 at Diamond Bank with a balance of N7,213,303.50.
The account number 4011019577, opened by Pansy Oil and Gas Limited at Fidelity Bank, had a balance of N1,809,666,494.68, while the company’s account in Diamond Bank had a balance of N55,930,024.50.
Also affected is one Esther Oba, with a balance of $429,381.87 in her account.
2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.
But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.
Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”
Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.
The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.
INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.
INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.
Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.
“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.
“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”
No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari
The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.
The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.
Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.
Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.
Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.
“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.
According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.
In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.
This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.
King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.
She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.
“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”
It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador
Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.
He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.
China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week
China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.
“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”
China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”
“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.
Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.
Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.
“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.
Smart City Startups to Generate $110.7B in Revenue by 2025, a Trifold Increase in Five Years
Playfre Wins “Best Music Streaming Platform – West Africa” at the Fourth Annual African Excellence Awards
Global Sell-off Should be a Reality Check for Investors: deVere CEO
News4 weeks ago
COVID-19: Nirsal Microfinance Bank (NMFB) Loan – Covid19.nmfb.com.ng
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Cryptocurrency Traders Can Now Trade Stocks on Binance
Social Media4 weeks ago
Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana
Bitcoin4 weeks ago
Bitcoin Sets a New Record High at $63,000 on Tuesday
Billionaire Watch1 week ago
Ethereum Co-Founder Becomes The Youngest Crypto Billionaire As ETH Hits $3K
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Rap Icon Nas Could Net $100M When Coinbase Lists on Nasdaq
News4 weeks ago
Covid19.nmfb.com.ng: How to Check Nirsal COVID-19 Loan Status
Government4 weeks ago
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances