EFCC Wants Court To Transfer Orji Kalu’s Trial To Lagos
In a fresh move to make former Abia State Governor Orji Kalu to account for his alleged fiscal excesses while in office, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to transfer to its Lagos division, his fresh tria.
Kalu and two others are to be tried for an alleged N7.1 billion fraud.
The motion on notice seeking the transfer was brought pursuant to sections 18, 19, 22 and 45 of the Federal High Court Act 2010 and section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
The motion prayed for an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, transferring the case with charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Orji Uzor Kalu and two others to the Lagos division of the court.
Two others on the motion paper are Jones Udeogo and Sloks Nigeria Limited, an alleged family company of Senator Kalu.
Oluwaleke Atolagbe, counsel to EFCC said the motion was predicated on five grounds among which are that the Abuja division of the Federal High Court lacked the requisite territorial jurisdiction to entertain and try the defendants in the instant charge.
Another ground for seeking transfer of the trial was that the charge was preferred against Orji Uzor Kalu, Slok Nigeria Limited and Ude Jones Udeogu at the Federal High Court Abuja sometime in number 2007 by the EFCC, following an investigation by the commission.
The motion further indicated that after taking their plea, the defendant brought an application challenging the competence of the charge and contending that there was no prima facie case against them.
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It was also contended that following the decision of the Supreme Court that many of the ingredients of the offences against them occurred in Lagos and even most of the witnesses who are bank workers reside in Lagos, the EFCC applied to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the matter to Lagos.
Satisfied that many of the ingredients of the offences occurred in Lagos the Chief Judge transferred the case to the Lagos division of the court where the defendants were prosecuted and judgment delivered in the matter.
He, therefore, asked Justice Ekwo to issue an order transferring the trial to Lagos in compliance with the Supreme Court order.
When the matter came on Thursday, Justice Inyang Ekwo said that he would not be able to take the application in view of the approaching Easter holidays.
The Judge consequently fixed May 17, 2022 for determination of the application.
At the proceedings, Prof. Awa Kalu SAN stood for former governor Kalu, Mr Solo Akuma SAN stood for Jones Udeogu while Goddy Uche SAN, stood for Slok Nigeria Limited.
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Robbers Loot N30m Goods At Ikota Shopping Complex
For about two decades, Dr. Helen O. Eto, CEO, Superior Mobile Investment Ltd and iClick Gadgets, has been doing business peacefully at Ikota Shopping Complex which borders Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lekki Peninsula, Lagos. The shopping facility is run by HFP Engineering Ltd.
However, robbers struck at the complex that has about 1,850 shops in the early hours of March 7th, 2023. Finesse Security Ltd guards claimed that they forgot to lock the gate of the facility, allowing the hoodlums to cart away about N30 million phones and other goods from Mrs. Eto’s freshly restocked shop.
Lamentingher ordeal to the police in Ajah and Panti, Yaba, Mrs. Eto said : “We took bank loans for the business plus our life savings all of which are gone. This is a wicked plan against us in our old age with children still in school, other dependants and various bills.
“We plead that the police should help us to get to the bottom of the looting to save us from early deaths as our BPs have shot up sharply because this is our main source of livelihood. A list of the goods looted from the shop was/is attached to my statements at Ajah Police Station and SIB, Yaba.”
Omokioja Julius Eto, Chairman, Editorial Board of The Daily Times and a media consultant, corroborated his wife’s account. Eto, a former Associate Editor of The Guardian and Editor-in-Chief of The Trumpet, said: “The robbery is shocking because the security gate is inaccessible even to shop owners at night, our shop is just a stone’s throw from the gate and it would have taken about at least two hours to cut through the shop’s security system.
“This makes us to strongly see the guards as the main suspects. We were not immediately notified by the security firm or the facility managers (HFP) of the robbery which we only got to be aware of at about 8.20am through one of our employees.”
A former Editor of The Daily Times, Eto who has also worked as a senior editor at the Punch and Thisday, added: “Since the break-in on March 7 till today March 30, Finesse Security Ltd has not called to sympathize with us but has been evading our calls and texts to its MD whom we learnt travelled abroad after the robbery.
“We have been doing everything to support the police investigation despite our predicament and hope they will bring the culprits to justice.”
Arrest Interim Govt Plotters Now – Governors
Governors of the 36 states have asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and prosecute those involved in a plot to put in place an interim government as part of moves to truncate the nation’s democracy.
Condemning the move, the governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum assured of their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
In a statement on Friday by NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal at the end of the 4th meeting of the Governors, he warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.
Tambuwal said, “The Forum deliberated extensively on the alleged plot by some unscrupulous elements to install an interim government, as contained in the recent statement issued by the Department for State Services (DSS). Governors condemned in the strongest terms, any unconstitutional means of regime change and pledged its commitment to continue to defend Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
“In addition, the Forum believes that issuing statements without arrests is akin to heating up the polity and causing unwarranted tension in the country. It called on the DSS to do its job by immediately arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the plot as a matter of urgency.”
Recall that the DSS had on Wednesday confirmed rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government in order to truncate the result of the recently-concluded general elections.
The Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya in a statement said that the agency had identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria but did not give the names of the masterminds.
The agency had said that the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
BREAKING:Lagos Govt Arraigns Chrisland School, Principal, Others Over Death Of Pupil Whitney Adeniran
The Lagos State government has arraigned Chrisland School, Opebi, its principal, vice principal and two other employees over the death of one of the school’s pupils, 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran.
On Wednesday, the government of Lagos State had filed charges against Chrisland School and four others over the death of the 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Adeniran.
The school and its workers were accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts.
The workers who were arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja include Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria and Chrisland School Limited.
The school principal, Mrs Belinda Amao, broke down in tears while in the dock as the court and counsel tried to agree on a date for the commencement of the trial.
Whitney died during the school’s inter-house sports competition at Agege Stadium in Lagos on February 9.
Blessing Adeniran, her mother, had accused Chrisland of negligence over her daughter’s death.
The school’s management, however, dismissed insinuations that there was foul play in the death, saying she slumped in public.
Chrisland also argued that Whitney complained about “not-too-buoyant health” a few days before she died.
However, an autopsy conducted at the Lagos State University Hospital (LASUTH) confirmed that the deceased died from “asphyxia and electrocution”.
In the charges filed on behalf of the state government by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, who disclosed that their negligence killed Whitney because they failed to ensure her safety.
The charge also disclosed that they all acted in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered human life.
The offences are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015
If found guilty, the offences carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.
On Tuesday, the state government granted access to Chrisland High School, Opebi branch, to open for physical learning ahead of the school’s forthcoming examination after parents’ appeal.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered that the school be shut down on March 3, 2023, following the investigation into Whitney’s death.
Sanwo-Olu through the state Ministry of Education said the closure of the school would pave the way for unhindered investigation and afford all stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and friends of the deceased, time to grieve.
The reopening followed an appeal by the Parents of all Chrisland School Units who visited the Ministry of Education on Monday to seek the government’s understanding for “the sake of 500 plus students some of whom also have terminal examinations.”
The management of the school had tendered an apology over Whitney’s death.
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