How Falana, others, developed cold feet, bungled stolen N70trillion public funds case – judge
A palpably disillusioned Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High High Court sitting in Lagos, has recounted how the Federal Government through its lawyers, practically abandoned midway, a suit seeking to recover and forfeit the sum of N70trillion public money it alleged was stashed in 29 bank accounts by looters.
The judge narrated how the pursuit for the recovery of the money, warehoused in banks by looters in the Nigerian civil service and said to be so huge that it could fund Nigeria’s budget for three years, and the looters, was hit by the lukewarm attitudes of the lawyers that filed it.
Lifu, who made the revelation before striking out the case, blamed the private lawyers hired by the FG to prosecute the matter, saying after obtaining the fiat, for that purpose they failed to diligently prosecute the case for several months, by springing one excuse or the other.
He particularly named the Mohammed Ndarani (SAN), to Femi Falana (SAN), the Plaintiffs/Applicants’ Counsel, as the culprits, saying they “suddenly developed cold feet over this alleged public interest case.”
The case which had the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation/ Minister of Justice are the Plaintiffs/Applicants in suit FHC/L/CS/968/2021 involved 19 Defendants/Respondents, including 17 banks, named as Zenith Bank Plc, Polaris Bank Plc, Citi Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc.
Other defendants were named as Keystone Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, United Bank For Africa Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Eco Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The government filed the suit through an ex-parte motion of August 5, 2021 before Justice Tijani Ringim during the court’s annual vacation.
Justice Tijani Garba Ringim, who originally handled the matter as a vacation judged, and upheld the applicants’ motion while also making an interim order freezing the accounts on August 6, 2021, had handed it over to Lifu on September 22, 2021.
Lifu, who began hearing the matter on November 24, 2021, and on May 27, 2022, while vacating Ringim’s ex-parte order following the Plaintiffs/Applicants’ failure to comply with the it after over nine months, while delivering judgment on the substantive suit, criticised the Federal Government for not diligently prosecuting the suit.
Regretting that since the vacation of the interim order: “It has been back and forth, with various excuses, applications for adjournment at the instance of the Plaintiffs/Applicants counsel, Mohammed Ndarani Esq. (SAN).
“From all indications, the instant case has clearly lost its stance as the Plaintiffs/Applicants seem not to be interested in the matter any longer having failed consistently to be present in court since 9th December 2021.
“The Chambers of Femi Falana SAN that just filed Notice of Change of Counsel on the last adjourned date has suddenly withdrawn appearance today. Going through the Originating Process filed by Mohammed Ndarani Esq. SAN, which is no longer extant as the Ex-parte Order was set aside on 27th May 2022, there is nothing left again for this Court to adjudicate upon.
“It is amazing that the Plaintiffs/Applicants Counsel from Ndarani SAN to Falana SAN have suddenly developed cold feet over this alleged public interest case which has generated so much public interest on the issue of an alleged N70trillion hidden in some accounts, allegedly belonging to some public officers.
“In the circumstances of this case therefore the application of the Learned Counsel for NNPC, M. T. Danzaki Esq.,and Access Bank Plc, I. S. Etefia Esq., succeeds. This case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution and I make no order as to cost.”
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”