37 days after Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, to release the seized international passport of former Rivers State governor, Peter Odili to him, the federal government agency is yet to comply with the court order.
The release order was issued on October 18 following the findings by the court that Odili’s passport was unlawfully seized from Odili in July this year.
37 days after refusal to obey the court order, the Immigration on Tuesday, November 23 returned to the same court seeking an order to stay execution of the judgment earlier delivered in favour of the former Rivers State governor.
Represented by a counsel, Ibrahim Etsu, Immigration Service informed the court of its intention to challenge the judgment of the high court at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
However infuriated by the contemptuous action of the Immigration, Justice Ekwo issued a fresh order directing the agency to bring the contentious passport before the court and deposit it with the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation of the court.
The Judge held that the application for stay of the October 18 judgment would not be entertained by his court since the Immigration Service was already in contempt of the court with the refusal to release the passport as directed.
Justice Ekwo then gave the Immigration up til December 12 to purge itself of the contempt by depositing the passport with the court registrar to qualify to be heard on the motion for stay.
The judge had in his judgment of October 18 held that the action of Immigration in seizing the passport was not only unlawful but illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires.
Justice Ekwo in the judgment in a suit filed by Odili to challenge the seizure of the passport had upheld the submission of his counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, that the Immigration and its Comptroller General lacked the constitutional powers to do what they did.
The reason adduced by Immigration that Odili’s passport was impounded because he was on the watch list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to justify the passport seizure was rejected by the court on the ground that such use of power is not known to any law in the country.
While ordering that the passport with numbers B5003305 be immediately returned to the former governor, Justice Ekwo had ordered Immigration to tender apology to Odili in writing for the embarrassment caused him with the seizure of his passport.
Justice Ekwo had thereafter granted order of perpetual injunction against Immigration restraining it and its agents from harassing, intimidating or infringing on the fundamental rights of Odili to freedom of movement inside or outside Nigeria.
CAN reacts to attack on Jos custodial centre
The Plateau chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned the recent attack on Jos custodial centre by gunmen yet to be identified.
Chairman of the association in the state, Rev. Fr Polycarp Lubo, made the condemnation on Thursday in Jos in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
DAILY POST had reported that gunmen invaded the custodial centre on Sunday evening, killing a personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) and nine inmates. They also set about 252 inmates free.
Deputy Controller General of NCoS, in charge of Operations, Mr Mohammed Tukur had blamed the incident on paucity of modern equipment and other gadgets.
The CAN Chairman described the attack as “sad, unfortunate and frightening”, adding that the attack was a bad omen for Nigerians.
According to him, with the huge number of inmates that have fled, the security situation of the country is under threat.
“The attack on the Jos custodial centre is a sad one; CAN on the Plateau condemns it in totality.
“With the huge number of inmates that have escaped, it is clear that our security situation is still under threat.
“This is because there are hardened criminals among inmates that fled; they will go back into the society and continue to unleash evil.
“So, I wish to strongly call on the government to provide modern and adequate equipment to the Service in order to avert a similar situation in the future,” he said.
Lubo called on residents of the state to be security conscious, particularly as yuletide approaches and report any suspicious activity within their vicinity to security agencies.
The Chairman appealed to residents of the community to eschew violence and embrace peace for the overall development of the state.
He also advised them against reprisals and urged them to live in peace at all times.
Alleged N4.5b loot: EFCC, others get 14-day ultimatum to prosecute Buhari’s Minister, Akume
Youths in Benue State, under the umbrella of Benue Youths Forum, BYF, have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and other anti graft agencies in the country to begin the prosecution of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume over alleged N4.5 billion loot.
DAILY POST recalls that the state government petitioned anti-graft agencies in the country to investigate the former lawmaker over alleged financial impropriety amounting to about N4,556,899,632.9 billion naira when he served as Governor of the state.
According to the petition, the alleged financial fraud which ranges from misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, approvals above limit also include sale of 33,440,818 units of shares at the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, also valued at billions of naira without recourse to due process.
The state government claimed that the alleged financial crime was generated from an audit report spanning 1999 – 2007 during the tenure of Akume as the state governor.
Following the allegation, Benue Youths, during a press conference on Wednesday, lauded Governor Samuel Ortom on his courageous move to unearth the alleged financial crime.
President of the group, Terrence Kuanum, who addressed the press, urged the state governor not to rely on anti graft agencies alone but involve legal actions by seeking redress in court.
He said, “We received with relief, the news that the Benue State Government, after a thorough audit, has taken steps to seek justice by inviting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the looted funds of the State Government during Senator George Akume’a tenure as Governor.
“We salute the courage of Governor Samuel Ortom for standing with the people of Benue once again to recover what rightfully belongs to them, especially at this time of dwindling funds from the federation account.
“In 1999 when Akume became Governor, the Naira was exchanging with the Dollar at N21.89 only. Imagine the value of N4.5 billion at that time and what impact such a large amount of money would have had on the Benue economy now, if it had not been diverted by the Akume administration.
“State funds are public funds that belong to all of us and any one who presides over our public funds should be willing to be accountable for his actions.
“We are all aware of the damage corruption has done to the economy of Nigeria. When criminal acts such as the one the Akume administration is being accused of are allowed to go unpunished, the society suffers the dire consequences.
“When Akume was willfully accusing Governor Ortom the other day, he thought that we had forgotten all about the financial atrocities he committed during his time. Now is that time of reckoning we warned him about. He who comes to the table of equity must come with clean hands.
“We advise the Benue State Government to take the matter further to the courts and not limit it to EFCC investigation. This is a very serious corporate malfeasance against Benue State which must be redressed.
“We also want to warn that we not going to accept anything short of justice on this matter. We won’t also accept plea bargain or a political solution of any kind.
“Akume has insulted Benue people for too long. Let him have his day in court to prove his innocence.
“We urge the EFCC to immediately swing into action and get to the root of the matter so that justice will be done to the people of Benue State, bearing in mind that no one is above the law.
“Benue Youth Forum assures the people of the State that it will stop at nothing to ensure that we get justice in this case on behalf of our people so that the looted funds will be brought back into our treasury to enhance the development of the state.
“Consequently, we hereby give EFCC a 14-day ultimatum with effect from Tuesday November 30, 2021, to invite Senator George Akume for questioning and thereafter commence his prosecution;
otherwise, we youths of Benue State will occupy the Commission’s premises and demand for justice.
“We support Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration and will support any just cause his administration initiates to enhance the development of our state.
“Benue is the only state we have as our heritage. We will therefore not allow saboteurs to get away with their acts of treachery, corruption and impunity”.
Idoma billionaire businessman, Ochacho, Sen Abah Moro meet Ortom on Benue development
A billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Mohammed Adah, popularly known as Ochacho, on Wednesday, met with the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to discuss ways of developing the state.
Ochacho and his entourage were led to the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi, the state capital, by the Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Comrade Patrick Abba Moro.
Governor Ortom, while addressing the press after meeting with Ochacho, acknowledged the infrastructural developmental strides of the Ochacho Foundation particularly in the construction of roads in Benue South.
He said although Ochacho is not into politics, he is a Benue son who is adding value to the development of the state and needs collaboration.
Ochacho’s younger brother, Alex Enokela Ogbe, who is the CEO of the foundation, in a remark, expressed gratitude to God for making the Ochacho Foundation representative of good works.
He urged his supporters to remain calm as they will soon hear from him on the way forward.
Other members of the delegation included the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sir John Ngbede, members of the Benue State House of Assembly from Zone C, and Chairman of Ado local government council, Hon. James Oche.
Others are Prof. Agbo Madaki, Hon. Chris Aba, Hon Mrs. Abeje Egwa, PDP state Woman leader, Hon Egli Johnson Ahubi, former Deputy Speaker BNSHA, Hon Mike Audu, House of Assembly Member, Adoka/Ugboju among many others.
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