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EFCC Chair: Court Flooded With 17 Suits Over Magu

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  • EFCC Chair: Court Flooded With 17 Suits Over Magu

No fewer than 17 suits on the propriety or otherwise of Mr. Ibrahim Magu remaining as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have been filed before various divisions of the Federal High Court.

Lawyers, who appeared before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja when one of the cases came up on Tuesday, said a related case was filed in the Yola Division of the court in Adamawa State, while another case on the same subject is before the Kano Division of the FHC.

Thr Majority of the cases were said to be pending before various judges of the Abuja Division of the court.

It was learnt that some of the 17 cases were in support of Magu, while the rest sought Magu’s removal from office on the grounds that he had been rejected by the Senate.

Meanwhile, when one of the pro-Magu suits came up before Justice Kolawole on Tuesday, two lawyers, representing two different law firms, presented separate letters of engagement to them to represent the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Senate.

While Mr. S. O. Alhassan presented a letter, which engaged his law firm in June, Mr. Peter Abang presented a letter briefing his law firm in August.

The judge directed the two lawyers to sort out the conflicting briefs they got from the Senate before the next hearing date for the particular suit.

The particular suit was instituted by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Jibrin Okutepa, who was represented on Tuesday by Mr. Ocholi Okutepa.

President Muhammadu Buhari, the AGF, the National Assembly, the Senate and Saraki are the respondents to the suit.

But before the case was adjourned on Tuesday, Mr. Musa Abdul, who represented the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), sued as the second defendant, told the judge that the AGF had written to the former Chief Judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, seeking the consolidation of the cases.

He explained that the AGF’s office was aware of 10 cases in respect of Magu’s chairmanship of the EFCC and was therefore necessary to have the cases heard by one judge in order to avoid a situation where judges of the FHC would give conflicting decisions on the same subject matter.

Abdul stated that the former Chief Judge had also replied the AGF’s letter.

But one of the two lawyers, seeking to represent the Senate and Saraki in the case, Abang, said he was aware of 17 cases.

“There are, in fact, 17 cases on this subject matter. In fact, I will be appearing before Justice A. R. Mohammed in another case concerning the subject matter immediately I leave this court.

“We also have a similar suit in the Kano Division of the court,” he added.

He said his law firm had also formally requested the Chief Judge to consolidate the cases.

The other counsel, Alhassan, also intimated the judge about the case pending before the Yola Division.

After listening to the parties, Justice Kolawole directed them to bring to the attention of the Acting Chief Judge of the FHC, Justice Abdu Kafarati, efforts that had been made to get the cases heard by one judge.

He agreed that there was the need for the cases, including those filed in Kano and Yola, to be consolidated to avert “conflicting decisions” by the Federal High Court on the same subject matter.

He adjourned for about four weeks to await the directive of the Acting Chief Judge.

Justice Kolawole also noted that Alhassan and Abang, who were both seeking to represent the Senate and Saraki, “cannot be heard as currently constituted.”

The judge urged the two lawyers to “put heads together” and sort out their representation for the Senate and Saraki before the next hearing date.

The judge adjourned until November 1.

A lawyer, Mr. Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had earlier filed a suit seeking a declaratory order deeming that the Senate had confirmed Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.

In his originating summons, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/59/17, the plaintiff asked Justice John Tsoho to hold that the Senate lacked the statutory powers to reject the appointment of Magu having been validly nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari in consonance with the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

The suit joined Saraki and the AGF.

In the 17-paragraph affidavit of urgency deposed to by the plaintiff, he wanted the court to hold that Magu’s appointment by Buhari was based on his sterling performance at the EFCC.

He added that Magu had courageously fought corruption in Nigeria according to his mandates and had successfully “recovered humongous sums of money” from the looters of the Nigerian treasury.

The plaintiff noted that Saraki and his wife were part of the persons currently being investigated by Magu.

He stated that the development implied that Magu would never get fair hearing before a Senate presided over by Saraki.

Also, two groups, Save Nigeria Group and Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, on July 7, withdrew their suit filed in December 2016, seeking orders compelling Buhari to declare the chairmanship position of the EFCC vacant.

The plaintiffs had, also in the same suit, urged the court to compel Buhari to sack the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal.

But upon an oral application by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mr. Kindgdom Okere, on Friday, seeking the withdrawal of the suit, Justice Tsoho struck out the case.

Speaking with our correspondent after the July 7 proceedings, Okere had told our correspondent that the boards of the plaintiffs had reviewed the activities of Magu as acting Chairman of the EFCC and had decided to support him.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Ekiti Governor Unveils Multi-Billion Naira Relief Programmes Amid Economic Crisis

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Biodun Oyebanji

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, has announced a comprehensive relief package aimed at alleviating the hardship faced by the people of the state.

The relief programs encompass various sectors to cushion the impact of the economic downturn.

One of the key initiatives entails clearing salary arrears amounting to over N2.7 billion owed to both State and Local Government workers.

This move signifies the government’s commitment to addressing the financial burdens faced by its workforce.

Furthermore, Governor Oyebanji has approved a substantial increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions, including the Judiciary and tertiary institutions.

This augmentation is intended to enable these institutions to implement wage awards in alignment with State and Local Government workers’ salaries.

In addition to addressing salary arrears, the relief programs extend to pensioners, with the approval of payments totaling N1.5 billion for two months’ pension arrears.

Moreover, an increase in the monthly gratuity payment to state pensioners and local government pensioners will provide additional financial support, totaling N200 million monthly.

The relief initiatives also encompass agricultural and small-scale business sectors.

The allocation of funds for food production and livestock transformation projects underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing food security and economic sustainability at the grassroots level.

Governor Oyebanji emphasized that these relief programs are part of the state’s concerted efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of the economic downturn and foster shared prosperity.

The comprehensive nature of the initiatives reflects a proactive approach towards addressing the challenges faced by Ekiti State residents.

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President Tinubu Orders Immediate Settlement of N342m Electricity Bill for Presidential Villa

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President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt settlement of a N342 million outstanding electricity bill owed by the Presidential Villa to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

This move comes in response to the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and the AEDC.

The AEDC had earlier threatened to disconnect electricity services to the Presidential Villa and 86 Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) over a total outstanding debt of N47.20 billion as of December 2023.

Contrary to the initial claim by the AEDC that the State House owed N923 million in electricity bills, the Presidency clarified that the actual outstanding amount is N342.35 million.

This discrepancy underscores the importance of accurate accounting and reconciliation between entities.

In a statement signed by President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency affirmed the commitment to settle the debt promptly.

Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila assured that the debt would be paid to the AEDC before the end of the week.

The directive from the Presidency extends beyond the State House, as Gbajabiamila urged other MDAs to reconcile their accounts with the AEDC and settle their outstanding electricity bills.

The AEDC, on its part, issued a 10-day notice to the affected government agencies to settle their debts or face disconnection.

This development highlights the importance of financial accountability and responsible management of public utilities.

It also underscores the necessity for government entities to fulfill their financial obligations to service providers promptly, ensuring uninterrupted services and avoiding potential disruptions.

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Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Issues Ultimatum to 86 Government Agencies Over N47bn Debt

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Power - Investors King

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has issued an ultimatum to 86 government agencies, including the Presidential Villa, owing a collective debt of N47 billion.

The notice comes as a response to the prolonged failure of these agencies to settle their outstanding electricity bills.

According to the public notice released by the AEDC management, some of the highest debts are attributed to prominent entities such as the National Security Adviser (owing N95.9 billion), the Chief of Defence staff barracks, and military formations (indebted to the tune of N12 billion).

Also, several ministries, including the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power, have sizable outstanding bills.

The AEDC has expressed its frustration over the inability of these government bodies to honor their financial obligations despite previous attempts to facilitate payment.

In response, the company has warned of imminent disconnection of services if the outstanding debts are not settled within 10 days of the notice.

The outstanding debts are attributed to various factors including the devaluation of the naira, cash scarcity resulting from demonetization programs, high inflation rates, removal of fuel subsidies, and foreign exchange challenges.

These financial burdens have adversely impacted the operations of the AEDC, contributing to a loss of N99 million in foreign exchange alone.

As the deadline for payment approaches, government agencies are under pressure to address their outstanding debts to avoid service disruptions.

The AEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all entities fulfill their financial obligations, underscoring the importance of prompt payment for uninterrupted electricity services.

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