A High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of contempt of court.
The conviction was in relation to the failure of the anti-graft agency to comply with a November 21, 2018 court order directing it to return a Range Rover and the sum of N40 million to the applicant in a suit.
In his ruling, Justice Chizoba Oji held that, “The Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in contempt of the orders of this honourable court made on November 21st 2018 directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abuja to return to the applicant his Range Rover (Supercharged) and the sum of N40, 000,000.00 (Forty Million Naira).
“Having continued wilfully in disobedience to the order of this court, he should be committed to prison at Kuje Correctional Centre for his disobedience, and continued disobedience of the said order of court made on November 21st, 2018, until he purges himself of the contempt.
“The Inspector-General of Police shall ensure that the order of this honourable court is executed forthwith.”
The ruling, which was delivered on October 28, 2022, was on a motion on notice marked: FCT/HC/M/52/2021 filed by a one-time Director of Operations at the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Rufus Ojuawo.
Ojuawo had filed a motion through his lawyer, R.N. Ojabo, in a suit marked: FCT/HC/CR/184/2016 that the EFCC had refused to comply with the court order directing it to release his seized property.
The EFCC had arraigned Ojuawo on two counts before Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the FCT in Nyanya in 2016.
Ojuawo was accused of corruptly receiving gratification to the tune of N40 million and a Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) from one Hima Aboubakar of Societe D’Equipment Internationaux Nigeria Limited.
In a November 21, 2018 ruling, however, Justice Idris discharged and acquitted Ojuawo on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case.
Idris had held that for the charge to succeed, the prosecution must prove that the defendant corruptly accepted the gift; that he accepted or obtained the gift for himself or for any other person.
He held that the burden was on the prosecution to prove all ingredients of the charge preferred against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt as required under Section 131(1) of the Evidence Act, 2011.
Justice Idris said, “In conclusion, I hold that the prosecution has failed to prove the two counts charge of corrupt gratification under S17 (1)(a) and (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
“The defendant is discharged and acquitted on counts one and two of the charge.“
Consequently, the complainant (EFCC) is ordered to refund the defendant his N40,000,000 wrongly paid into ONSA recovery account and to return to the defendant his Range Rover Sport (Supercharged) forthwith.”
When contacted concerning the contempt of court ruling, the EFCC PRO, Wilson Uwujaren told our correspondent that the agency would appeal the ruling.
“The Commission is appealing the ruling,” Uwujaren said.
NAUTH Resident Doctors Suspend Strike
Resident doctors under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, have suspended its five-day warning strike.
The group said it considered the plight of stranded patients who are in need of critical and emergency care before arriving at the decision to suspend the strike after an emergency meeting on Friday.
The doctors had embarked on a five-day warning strike on Wednesday to express displeasure over the assault meted out on one of its members by relatives of a deceased patient, whom the doctor was helping to resuscitate.
According to a statement signed by its President, Dr Ndukwe Chinwe, and General Secretary, Dr Egbue Obiora, on Saturday, the body said it unanimously resolved to suspend the strike, resume emergency services by 8 am on Saturday and routine clinic services/activities by Monday.
The doctors said it observed that the hospital’s management has shown commitment by ensuring the arrest of the culprits and has promised to follow the matter to a logical conclusion.
They also noted the commitment of the hospital towards fulfilling all the other demands outlined by the doctors.
The statement read, “Recall that on January 25, doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi embarked on a five-day warning strike to express displeasure over the assault meted out on one of our members by relatives of a deceased patient, whom the doctor was helping to resuscitate.
“In an emergency general meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2023, the members observed that the hospital management has shown commitment by ensuring the arrest of the culprits and have promised to follow the matter to a logical conclusion.
“The management has begun the enforcement of compliance to visiting hours in the wards and has put measures to ensure that patient relatives are not found inside the wards at odd hours. A memo has been issued to that effect.
“The Hospital Management has also reiterated their commitment to fulfil all the other demands outlined by ARD.
“Congress observed the lamentations of patients who could not assess healthcare during the period of the industrial action since resident doctors make up the bulk of the doctors in the teaching hospital.
“The body unanimously agreed that the hospital management has shown a quick response to their demands which led to a total shutdown of services offered by Resident Doctors in NAUTH.
“The congress unanimously resolved to suspend the strike, resume emergency services by 8 am on Saturday and routine clinic services/activities by Monday 8 am.
“Congress also resolved that the exco should continue to engage the hospital management until other demands are met. That any other form of assault on any doctor will be met with stringent measures.
“That a rapid response team be instituted to quickly tackle this menace on the spot in the event of any re-occurrence.”
The group, therefore, commended the management of NAUTH for its swift response towards putting measures to forestall a future repeat of this condemnable act and ensuring that the majority of our demands received the needed attention.
NIPOST Workers To Begin Strike On Monday
Workers of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) staff are threatening to embark on industrial action from Monday, January 30th over alleged abandonment by the Federal Government.
The protesting staff urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene before the industrial action commences.
The General Secretary of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies, Ayo Olorunfemi, led the protest on Friday.
According to Olorunfemi, several staff members of the service have not been receiving any form of capital funding from Federal Government in the last 15 years.
He also asked the government to beam its searchlight on the finances of the agency.
“All we are saying is this: Reform must be open; [it] must be clear. Our fear must be addressed and the reform must be in the overall interest of Nigeria. Any reform that is targeting some individuals will not be accepted.
“Therefore, this is another process. We have been going on strike and they have been talking to us to suspend them,” he said.
But this time around, according to Olorunfemi, the industrial action is targeted solely at actualising a much-needed reform process.
“We expect a suspension of the process. Let the next government come and follow due process in ensuring that we have a sustainable reform procedure.
“We’re expecting that a percentage, even if it is not more than two percent of that fund, be released to NIPOST for infrastructure and the welfare of staff.
“Immediately the so-called Finance Bill was passed into law, the money was packed away. One naira has not been given to NIPOST and NIPOST is not on any capital budget of the Federal Government,” he said.
Lagos Estate Residents Lament Ordeal With Popular Gospel Singer, Testimony Jaga
Residents of Alagbado Estate Road in Lagos state have raised alarm over threats to their lives by a popular Nigerian gospel singer, Mr. Salau Olayiwola, known by the stage name, Testimony Jaga alleging that he has been unleashing terror on them.
One of the victims identified as Mrs. Agbede Abimbola alleged that the singer poured urine and water on her after she accused him of obstructing vehicular movement in the estate.
The victim, Mrs. Abimbola, told Vanguard that her trouble with him started after she invited her friend to deliver frozen foods to her in preparation for her son’s 15th birthday, last week.
According to her, when I confronted him over the way the whole streets are blocked during his church sessions, he unleashed his church boys on me and I was beaten and bathed in urine.
Speaking further, Mrs. Abimbola said she was still on the ground after being beaten when water was poured on her and also urine which splashed on some of the neighbors who tried to help her get up. “Jaga walked up to me and said it was women like me that would molest me. Immediately he said that with little strength left in me, I was about holding his clothes when he moved back and my hand grabbed his necklace. He stepped back further while my hand was at the chain and the chain cut. Immediately, his members took the chain from me.
“Jaga told his members not to let me go until I provide the chain. They also descended on my friend Agnes and held her on the ground. After the confrontation, we reported he case to the police.
Recounting the incident, Mrs. Abimbola’s friend, who gave her name as Agnes John narrated that when she entered the street, the road was blocked. “I was honking so that I could drive in; no one was ready to move. So, someone walked up to me and said that they were holding a programme and I should park my car.
“I parked, locked my car and walked to my friend’s house to inform her that I could not drive in because a programme was being held on the road and she would need to go and get the frozen foods from the car herself. She told me it must be Jaga because he holds his street gospel movement every Tuesday. So, I went along with her to the car to pack the frozen foods. It was while we were going that we met Jaga on the road and because I don’t know him, my friend pointed at him, showing me that it was him.
“Immediately, I called his attention. I thought he would walk out of the crowd to answer me but he said I should come, which I did. I told him whenever he is holding his programme he should create a space for others because we all are road users and it won’t be nice for him to disturb others with his programme. While I was leaving, I heard noise and when I turned back, I saw my friend on the ground with a crowd descending on her. I had to call people nearby to join them in the commotion and in the process of explaining to them what happened, the police arrived with their patrol vehicle and took me and my friend away for interrogation, leaving Jaga behind.
When contacted, the singer denied the story stating that he had nothing more to say as the case is with the police.
Lagos State police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin told Vanguard when called on phone: : “I am not aware of the incident but I will contact Alagbado DPO and get back to you.”