Court Stops PDP From Removing Damagum As Acting National Chairman

Mohammed Shosanya

Justice Peter Lifu of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, has restrained the Peoples Democratic Party from suspending their national chairman, Ambassador Umar Illiya Damagum from office.

After hearing M. O. Onyilokwu Esq., counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicant, who moved in terms of the motion paper, Justice Lifu granted an order that the defendants/respondents are hereby restrained in the interim, from appointing, selecting, nominating any person to replace Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum as National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st defendant/respondent pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed which is herein fixed against the 14th of May, 2024.

“The defendants/respondents by themselves, agents, privies or by any proxy, are hereby in the interim, restrained from according recognition to any person other than Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum as Acting National Chairman of the 1st Defendants/Respondents or giving effect to or acting upon any document purporting to be signed by the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st defendant without the name and signature of Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed in Court in the instant suit.

“The applicants are herein ordered to enter into a fresh undertaking to pay damages to the Respondents (to be assessed by the Court) if at the end of the day it is discovered that this order ought not to have been granted or that the Honourable Court was misled into granting same”.

The court gave the order in a motion exparte filed by Sen Umar El-Gash Maina and Alh. Zanna Gaddama, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/579/2024.

Respondents in the motion dated and filed on the 2nd day of May, 2024, are the PDP, National Working Committee of PDP, National Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Earlier, the plaintiff/applicant had no prayed for
“an order of interim injunction restraining the 1st 4th Defendants/ Respondents, their agents, privies by whatsoever name called from appointing, selecting or nominating any person to replace Amb. Umar Illiya Damagum as National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st defendant/respondent pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 5th defendant/respondent, its agents, officers or privies from according recognition to any person other than Amb. Umar Illiya Damagumaas Acting National Chairman of the 1st Defendant/Respondent or giving effect to or acting upon any document purporting to be signed by the National Chairman or Acting National Chairman of the 1st defendant/respondent without the name and signature of Amb. Umar Illiyan Damagum as the Acting National Chairman pending the hearing and a determination of the motion on notice.

Libel: Edo APC Deputy Governorship Candidate Demands N2bn Damages From PDP Spokesperson

Mohammed Shosanya

A member Representing Ovia Federal Constituency and the All Progressives Congress, APC Deputy Governorship Candidate, Rt.Hon Dennis Idahosa has demanded for a total sum of N2 billion as cost of damages from the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Olu Martins over a libelous statement.

In a writ of summons dated May 3, the claimant demanded for N2 billion as general, punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages against the defendant.

Idahosa further demanded for N15 million only being the cost of the action.

In the seven point demand of the claimant against the defendant, he demanded for a perpetual retraining order against the defendant and his agents from further writing, printing publishing online or causing to be written, printed or published online the same article or similar words that tend to defame the claimant.

An order directing the defendant to cause the withdrawal and removal of the article authored by him from the various social media outlets.

In the writ from the West-Idahosa SAN & Co law firm, the claimant also demanded for the retraction of the said article and a public apology acceptable by him to be published in the same media outlets he (Defendant) used.

Martins had written an article which tend to portray the claimant as a fraudstar.

The writ of summons had given the defendant fourteen days to appear in court or as the court may decide.

Rivers:Wife To Die By Hanging For Killing Husband 

Mohammed Shosanya

A  Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced a woman identified as Telma Bestman to death by hanging for killing  her husband in Rivers State.

The court also sentenced one Wilson Okelekele for conspiring with Telma Bestman for the murder of Wagbara Bestman at his residence along Saint John axis of Rumuolumeni -Ogbogoro link Road, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Sunday, February 2020.

Delivering her judgment,t trial Judge, Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chukwu,held that the prosecuting counsel was able to prove the case of conspiracy and murder beyond reasonable doubt.

The court ruled that evidence presented to it by the prosecution proved that the accused wife, actually conspired with Wilson Okelekele to kill Bestman Wagbara.

The court stated  that the exhibits revealed that the accused woman opened the back door of the house leading to the main entrance of her husband’s room where her accomplice a security guard committed the act

Justice Kingsley-Chukwu,after considering all exhibits and arguments from both parties, sentenced the defendants to death, declaring that the duo should be hanged at their necks until they are confirmed dead.

The Chief State Counsel, Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Precious Ordu welcomed the judgment, describing it as well served deserved.

Ordu said: “We are happy, they can’t eat their cake and have it, they can’t just kill an innocent man, a full fledged man and expect to go scott free, the law doesn’t allow that.

“We are happy that the judgment went this way, we expected it and by God’s grace we have also gotten it today.”

Prince Ibojiekere Amadi, counsel for Wilson Okelekele, expressed his dissatisfaction over the judgment, adding that he would appeal the judgment.

He said:”Naturally,I will appeal the judgment because we are not satisfied with the judgment of the court.

“We will study the judgment of the court, then we will do the needful, we are not satisfied with the judgment.”

Enugu Deputy Director, Four Others Docked For Alleged Fraud

Mohammed Shosanya

A serving Deputy Director in the Enugu State Water Cooperation, Emeka Edoh, has been arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Enugu North Magisterial District over alleged false pretence with intent to defraud some residents of Enugu the sum of N150,000.

He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Joseph Agu, Tuesday.

The charge sheet marked MEN/240/C/2024 was read out to the 56-year old defendant and level 15 civil servant, who, however, pleaded not guilty.

The Water Corporation’s Deputy Director one-count charge read: “That you Edoh Emeka ‘M’ on the 23rd day of April, 2024, at No 144 Banks Avenue, in Enugu North Magisterial District, did by false pretence and with intent to defraud, obtain the total sum of one hundred and fifty ( N150, 000) thousand naira from Chinyere Ogbonna, Onyinye Ugwu and other members of the neighborhood with the pretence to rrectify their Enugu State Water Corporation bill, which you know to be false, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 386 of the Criminal Code, Cap 30 Vol 11, reversed Laws of Enugu State of Nigeria”

A bail application for the Defendant made by his counsel, Barr. E.E. Ezekwe, who argued that it was a bailable offence was opposed by a Senior Legal Officer from the Office of the Attorney-General of Enugu State, Barr. Onyinye Ugwu.

Ugwu argued that the offence for which Mr. Emeka Edoh was charged was a serious one.

After hearing the arguments of both parties, Magistrate Agu granted Mr. Edoh bail in the sum of N500,000. He is also to provide a surety, who must be a Staff of the Enugu Sate Water Corporation of Grade Level 14 or above.

Sack: Onifiditi Appeals Court Verdict

Mohammed Shosanya

The Onifiditi of Fiditi, Oba Sakirudeen Oyelere has appealed the ruling of an Oyo State High Court that nullified his appointment as the Onifiditi of Fiditi.

Justice K. B. Olawoyin had set aside the appointment while ruling over a suit, marked IHOY/59/2013, filed by two applicants, Prince Samuel Ogunkunle and Bayo Oyewale against the traditional ruler and seven others.

The others respondents in the suit are :Prince Ademola Akande, Prince Depo Oguntoyin, Prince Kunle Oniyitan, the Oyo State governor, Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters and Chief Adebola.

Justice Olawoyin granted an order of mandatory injunction setting aside the selection, appointment and presentation of staff of office to Oba Sakirudeen as the Onifiditi by the Oyo State Governor on Oct.18,2021.

The judge also granted an order restraining the defendants and their agents from taking any further actions, steps or proceedings towards or in pursuance of filling of the vacant stool of Onifiditi of Fiditi pending the determination of this suit.

Justice Olawoyin also awarded a cost of N200,000 in favour of the applicants against the defendants and adjourned the suit to May 22.

But,in the notice of appeal filed at the Court of Appeal Ibadan Division by Onifiditi’s, Counsel, Mr Femi Alamu and obtained by newsmen, said the lower court erred by setting aside the selection and appointment of Oba Sakirudeen as Onifiditi of Fiditi.

The counsel said that the judge failed to consider that the governor has powers to upgrade and jettison the baaleship which had been in contention among the people of the town and create new kingship title which has now put an end to the problem in Fiditi town.

The counsel in the notice of appeal urged the court to set aside the ruling of the lower court which nullified the selection and appointment of Oba Sakirudeen as the Onifiditi of Fiditi.

Alleged N42bn Debt:AMCON Sues Milan Industries’ Chair, Ramesh Valecha

Mohammed Shosanya

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has filed a suit against the Chairman of Milan Industries Limited, Milan Nigeria Ltd and Milan Beverages Ltd, Ramesh Valecha and four other directors of the companies over their alleged inability to repay a N42billion debt.

The other four directors, against whom AMCON initiated bankruptcy proceedings, are: Rajesh Valechha, Vikram Valechha, Odunlami Bayo and Akin Femiwa Akinsola.

In five separate petitions which have been assigned to two judges of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court, AMCON stated that the debt, which now stands at N41,511,758,031.14 arose from several loan facilities obtained from Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) between 2010 and 2012 by Milan Industries Ltd and Milan Nigeria Ltd, for which the directors are now liable.

According to the petitions filed by its lawyer, Kunle Ogunba (SAN), AMCON stated that it acquired the debt from the bank in line with the provision of Section 3 of the Asset Management Corporation (Amendment) Act 2019 as an Eligible Banking Asset (EBA).

It claimed that the debtor companies deployed most of the loan facilities to the construction of a 361-room hotel facility at 52 Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, formally known as Intercontinental Hotel (now Lagos Continental Hotel).

It added that “the debtors are, as at the instant of this petition remain indebted to the creditor (AMCON) to the tune of N41,511,758,031.14 which said sum remains unpaid.

“The creditor, by the provisions of Section 48 of the Asset Management Corporation (Amendment No.2) Act, 2019 is also imbued with the requisite vires to proceed against and recover the indebtedness of the debtor companies by the enforcement of the individual liability(ies) of each shareholder and/or director of the said debtor companies – in the instant case, being Milan Industries Limited, Milan Nigeria Limited, Milan Beverages Limited.”

AMCON is praying the court for among others, an order appointing a trustee against the estate, funds, investment, shares or other interest of the directors, “principally as they may be vested, constituted or evinced in Milan Industries Limited, Milan Nigeria Limited, and Milan Beverages Limited which interest is held either directly or through the said Milan Industries Limited and/or in any other company within and outside Nigeria.

It also wants an order commanding each of the affected directors to immediately avail it with a “statement of affairs, statement of net worth and other credible financial details requisite and in furtherance of the Bankruptcy Act.

It is further seeking consequential order empowering it to sell the directors’ properties (be it landed or chattels) where – ever situate and/or found including but not limited to his shares principaily in Milan Industries Limited, Milan Nigeria Limited, and Milan Beverages Limited which interest is held directly or through the said Milan Industries Limited either by private treaty or by public auction which occasion shall be published in two widely read and circulated
national daily newspapers in Nigeria.

Besides,AMCON wants an order granting it leave to appropriate or otherwise utilize the investments, shares or other interests of the directors in the companies and in any other company/corporate entity in Nigeria or outside Nigeria in partial or full satisfaction of the debt due, as the case may be.

It seeks an order permitting/allowing it to apply the proceeds from the sale of the directors’ properties, chattels, chooses in action and/or interest towards liquidating thier indebtedness.

On March 21 Justice Daniel Osiagor granted AMCON leave to effect substituted service of relevant court documents, including the petitions on Ramesh Valechha and Vikram Valechha by either pasting them at their last known address at LSDPC Flats, Ground floor, Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos State or publish them as advertorial in national dailies circulating within the court’s jurisdiction or serve them on companies’ lawyers at the law firm of A. B. Kasunmu Chambers LP at 284 Murtala Mohammed Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos State.

Similar orders for substituted service were earlier made in the petitions against the other three directors.

While Justice Osiagor is hearing three of the petitions (filed against Ramesh Valechha, Vikram Valechha and Akin Femiwa Akinsola), Justice Yelim Bogoro is handling two (filed against Rajesh Valecha and Odunlami Bayo).

Both judges had, in earlier rulings, issued ex-parte injunctions restraining the directors from tampering with their assets and ordering banks to provide information about their financial standing.

In one of the rulings, the court said: “It is hereby ordered as follows:

*That an order is granted restraining the debtor his agents, servants and/or privies or any other person or group of persons whatsoever under the debtor’s authority or any other authority (however derived or sourced) from operating, withdrawing from or otherwise tampering and/or dealing with the debtor’s funds in any bank or financial institution within Nigeria pending the hearing and final determination of petition herein.

*That a consequential order is granted directing and/or compelling all banks or financial institutions in Nigeria harbouring the debtor’s account(s) to furnish the creditor (AMCON) or its firm of solicitors, the details of the credit outstanding in the debtor’s account(s) within seven days of receipt of the enabling order of this
Honourable court as certified and enrolled.

*That an order is granted restraining the debtor, his agents, servants and/or privies from interfering with, tampering, removing from jurisdiction of this honourable court his investments, shareholders, pecuniary and other beneficial interests in any company or corporate establishment in Nigeria, pending the hearing and final determination of the petition herein.

*That an interim order is granted restraining the debtor, his agents, servants and/or privies from interfering with, tampering, removing from the jurisdiction of this honourable court his investments, shareholders, pecuniary and other beneficial interests in any company or corporate establishment in Nigeria, pending the hearing and final determination of the petition.

Alleged 4bn Fraud:Court Orders Trial Of Ex-Anambra Gov, Obiano

Mohammed Shosanya

A Federal High Court in Abuja,Thursday, ordered that a former Governor of Anambra state, Willie Obiano, must face trial in the alleged N4billion criminal charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The order was sequel to the dismissal of an application by Obiano, seeking to quash the money laundering charge filed against him by the EFCC.

Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo in a ruling, discountenanced all the grounds of the application filed by Obiano.

The court maintained that all the reliefs sought by Obiano are not grantable because they are “premature and lacking in merit”.

Justice Ekwo stated said that there is no way the court would know whether the former governor is linked with the alleged offences or not unless trial is conducted in line with the provisions of the law.

Obiano had amongst others, asked the court to dismiss the 9-count charges filed against him by the EFCC, claiming there was no connection between the proof of evidence supplied to court by EFCC and the accusations levelled against him.

He insisted that there was no testimony from any witness indicating that he issued directives for the disbursement of security votes and other funds belonging to the Anambra State government, to the tune of above N4bn.

The court has fixed June 24, 25, 26 and 27 for commencement of Obiano’s trial.

Justice Ekwo also granted Obiano’s plea to of 60 days to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The Judge ordered that Obiano be made to sign undertaking to return to the country after the treatment and to deposit his travelling passport within three days of his return to Nigeria.

Murder: Edo Court Sentences Three Kidnappers To Death

Mohammed Shosanya

An Edo High Court in Benin,has sentenced three persons to death by hanging for armed robbery, kidnapping and Murder of one Ephraim Akhere.

The convicts- Solomon Abuede, James Monday and Kelvin Edward were sentenced to death for armed robbery, kidnapping and the murder of Ephraim Akhere in Ihumudumun quarters in Ekpoma, the headquarters of Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State.

Justice Irele Ifijeh, also sentenced one Oviasogie Sunday, alias Alhaji of Kano to life imprisonment for receiving an Infinity Jeep with registration number EFR 218 FB, property of the late Ephraim which was stolen after the murder.

The convicts were among the six persons arraigned before Justice Irele-Ifijeh in suit number: HEK/25c/24 on a six-count charge of armed robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy and receipt of stolen property.

The court, however, discharged two others accused, David Williams and Monday Ozomo for lack of evidence linking them to the armed robbery and kidnapping.

Justice Ifijeh said that the kidnappers rode on a motorcycle, armed with dangerous weapons, kidnapped their victims and asked Ephraim, the driver and Sandra to move to the back seat and lower their heads while Solomon took over the driver’s seat.

The Judge averred that the convicts thereafter drove to the bank while two of them stayed with their victims inside the car.

She added that the other went to the bank with Ephraim’s ATM card to withdraw money from his account.

According to her,after the withdrawal, the convicts were said to have driven to an uncompleted building where one of them named Solomon Abuede threw Ephraim into a well after giving him rat poison to swallow, while the girl was given the option of jumping into the well or eating the rat poison.

The judge further said that Solomon who provided the rat poison later spared the girl’s life but rather raped her.

The judge added that James Monday who was said to have provided the gun used for the operation and Monday Ozomo took the Infinity Jeep and two other stolen vehicles to Kano where Oviasogie paid N420,000 for the Infinity Jeep out of the agreed N500,000.

In a 91-page judgement, Justice Irele-Ifijeh held that the confessional statements of Solomon Abuede, James Monday and Kelvin Edward that they participated in the armed robbery were corroborated by the evidence of one Sandra, a prosecution witness who was in the same vehicle and kidnapped along with the late Ephraim.

The judge, who said the offences were committed on June 13, 2014, averred that the conviction of the three persons was in line with Section 3 of the Kidnapping Prohibition Amendment Law of Edo State 2013 and the Armed Robbery and Firearms Act.

Money Laundering:Court Affirms Ganduje’s Suspension

Mohammed Shosanya

A Kano State High Court has granted an exparte order restraining the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje from parading himself as member of the party.

The court ordered, that henceforth, Ganduje should desist from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC.

The application granted by Justice Usman Malam Na’abba on Tuesday follows an exparte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad Esq on behalf of two executive members APC Ganduje ward, Dawakin-Tofa local government area, the assistant secretary, Laminu Sani and legal adviser Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs) who were part of the nine ward executive who suspended Abdullahi Ganduje two days ago.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, include All Progressives Congress (APC), APC National Working Committee (NWC), APC Kano State Working Committee (KSWC), and Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as from 15th April, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on 30th April, 2024.

Justice Na’abba also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano, from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by two third majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

“An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (1st), APC National Working Committee (2nd), Kano State Working Committee APC (3rd), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (4th), to maintain status quo ante belum as of 15th April, 2024.

” The order thereby restraining the 1st respondent (APC) from recognizing the 4th respondent (Ganduje) as member of APC and prohibiting the 4th respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the 4th respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.

Nine members of the Ganduje’s ward,had proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by Kano state government.

They were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of APC from the National Chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegation of corruption charges against the former Governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although, the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed since 8th April, 2024, nine members of the executives led by the legal adviser had acted upon the petition, a decision that led to the suspension Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Alleged $6bn Mambilla Fraud:Agunloye Loses Bid To Seek AGF, NBA Intervention

Mohammed Shosanya

Justice Jude Onwueguzie of the Federal High Court Abuja,Monday, dismissed a motion raised by former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye challenging the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to prosecute him.

A statement signed by EFCC’s spokesman, Dele Oyewale,quoted that Agunloye is facing trial for an alleged fraudulent award of contract of the Mambilla project to the tune of $6billion (Six Billion United States Dollars).

He said, “At the last adjournment, the former minister, through his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe SAN filed a motion arguing that the EFCC lacked both investigative and prosecutorial powers to prosecute him on the charges preferred against him.

“He also made a solemn application to the court to allow the participation of Amicus Curiae, also known as friends of the court during the hearing of the preliminary motion, suggesting notably, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA”.

At Monday’s sitting, Justice Onwueguzie ruled that the basis for the application was not necessary as the court was not a novice and the friends of the court were not parties in the matter.

According to him,the law was clear on matters to be prosecuted by the EFCC, citing Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“I have studied the issues to be considered in this matter by the defendant whether the motion ought to be charged by the EFCC. It is eminent to note that the learned counsels in this case before the court are seasoned counsels, issues of such should not arise.

“The court is not a novice, neither is it confused or in doubt on matters like this, so the intervention of friends of the court is not needed. Therefore the motion is hereby dismissed”, he said.

Justice Onwueguzie adjourned the matter to April 22, 2024 for hearing of preliminary motion.