A Federal High Court in Lagos last Monday suspended proceedings until February 6, 2020, in the Money Laundering trial of a former Judge of the Federal High Court, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa said that proceedings would be suspended to await the outcome of a letter to the chief judge of the court, seeking re-assignment of the case.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, on 18 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful enrichment, retention of crime proceeds and money laundering.
The defendants were re-arraigned on May 15, but pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
The court granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each, with two sureties in like sum.
Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) appeared for the former judge at all times, while Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) appeared for the second defendant – Obla.
When the case was called on Monday, Mr U.U. Buhari appeared for the prosecution while Messrs Mobolaji Kuti and Ferdinard Orbih (SAN) appeared for the first and second defendants, respectively.
Buhari informed the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with trial, but Orbih said that defence wrote a letter to the chief judge of the court on Nov 14, seeking re-assignment of the case.
He added that defence notified the trial court of the development, on Nov. 26, through a letter.
Orbih then urged the court to grant a time frame to enable the chief judge to respond.
In response, Buhari told the court that he had not seen the letter and was also not aware if the EFCC was served.
He urged that such a such letter should not operate as a stay of proceedings in the case.
Aikawa consequently adjourned the case.
“I hereby stay proceedings till Feb. 6, pending the decision of the CJ – chief judge – on the issue,” he said.
The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiracy on May 21, 2014, to indirectly conceal different sums of money in a bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd., a company alleged to be operated by Ajumogobia.
The commission also alleged that they conspired to retain in the account, the sum of N500 million, which formed part of proceeds of unlawful acts.
It said that Ajumogobia, on different dates in 2014, retained sums such as N5 million, 150,000 dollars, 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, 50,000 dollars and 55,000 dollars in the account.
The EFCC also accused Ajumogobia of indirectly concealing N12 million in the same account, and making false statement to the EFCC that the money was from sale of a landed property.
The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15 (2) (a) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.(NAN)
Court Remands Two In SCIID Custody Over Murder Of Policeman
An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ibadan yesterday ordered that two men be remanded in the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) custody over alleged murder of a policeman.
The police charged Rasheed Salaudeen, 35, and Yusuf Alimi, 37, with five counts bordering on conspiracy, murder and assault.
Chief Magistrate, Olaide Hamzat, did not take their plea, over want in jurisdiction.
Hamzat ordered the police to return the case file to the Oyo State Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice.
He adjourned the matter until October 10, for mention.
Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Insp. Opeyemi Olagunju told the court that Salaudeen and Alimi, with others at large, on August 26, caused the death of Sgt. Bukoye Oyewole with staff number: No 429733 in the cause of discharging his lawful duty
He alleged that Salaudeen and Alimi, attacked the victim at a checkpoint with sticks and machete.
Olagunju also alleged that Salaudeen and Alimi assaulted Insp. Imeh Samson, causing him bodily harm
He alleged that they also assaulted Sgt. Morufu Asimiyu, who was on duty with others at the check point.
Olagunju said the incident took place when the policemen were on duty at a stop-and-search checkpoint at Orita Ohori/ Budo Musa via Itasa, Iwere – Ile, Oyo State.
The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of sections 252 and 316 and punishable under sections 319, 324, 356 and 516 of the Criminal Code of Oyo State 2000.
Navy Deploys Six Warships In Four States
The Nigerian Navy yesterday deployed troops on board six warships, including 60 gunboats, in a special military exercise to tackle pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalities in the nation’s waters.
Rear Adm. David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, announced the deployment at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State.
It was gathered that the operation was code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ meaning ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.
Adeniran said that the two-day exercise, aimed at consolidating on similar Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II, would hold on the territorial waters of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers States, under the ENC.
“Exercise Sanga Sung is one of the numerous operational engagements that the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) is currently undertaking to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment.
“The purpose of the exercise is to check the state of preparedness of our fleets and training of our personnel,” said the naval chief.
He said that personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would also participate in the exercise.
Others are the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Customs Service.
“The other security agencies are participating in the exercise knowing that safety and security of our maritime environment cannot be provided by a single security agency.
“Also, there are so many personnel involved in this exercise from our naval headquarters, Defence headquarters, Western Naval Command and Central Naval Command, among others.
Gunmen Kill One, Kidnap Pregnant Woman, Nine Others In Nasarawa
Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have killed one person, abducted a heavily pregnant woman, and nine other persons, even as they injured several others in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa state.
It was gathered that the armed men came from the Kana hill in Kana community, at midnight of Monday, killed, kidnapped and injured persons, and retreated.
The Kana hill expands to Maraba Udege, Onda, Agwada, Nasarawa Eggon, and to Wamba towns of the LGA.
Kana community is where personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were recently killed and kidnapped while on their way for training in Enugu State.
The Chairman of Nasarawa LGA, Mohammed Sani Ottos, who narrated the incident to newsmen, yesterday, said the assailants numbering more than 20, stormed the place when residents were deeply asleep.
He further disclosed that the gunmen shot sporadically to scare the Kana inhabitants before they started invading homes forcefully.
According to him, properties worth millions of Naira were damaged.
Ottos, who said he had visited the attacked place to sympathise with the people, revealed that men of the Guards Brigade, 177 Battalion, Keffi, were already on ground to avert further attacks.
“It is confirmed that some gunmen have stormed the town of kana town on Monday night, they were well armed, scared the people after they fired several gun shots.
“At the end of their operation, we discovered that one person was killed, 10 were kidnapped while several people sustained various degrees of injuries.
“I was there myself to ascertain the level of damage cause by the gunmen and I condemned the act, I visited the town to sympathise with the families of the slain, abducted and injured victims.
“I commend the Guards Brigade, 177 Battalion, Keffi, who accompanied me to further build the villager’s confidence, and pledged to do all within their reach for safe return of the captives,” Ottos stated.
The relevant security agencies in the state were yet to officially confirm the number of persons killed, abducted and injured, as at the time of this report.
When contacted, the Nasarawa State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Ramham Nansel, said that the command was on top of the matter to verify the attack.
“I can’t confirm the story now because I am yet to be briefed on the incident, I will get back to you,” he stated.
Similarly, a traditional ruler in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, Bulus Chuwang Jang, has been killed by gunmen.
The Chairman of Berom Youth Moulders in the neighbouring Heipang district in the LGA, Rwang Tengwong, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Jos, yesterday.
Tengwong said that the diseased paramount ruler, who is the district head of Foron, was killed by some gunmen, who attacked the community on Monday evening.
Tengwong said, “We just lost one of our paramount rulers in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area through an attack by gunmen. He is the Acting district head of Foron, Da Bulus Chuwang Jang. He was shot dead in the evening yesterday (Monday) by some gunmen around Shen community.”
The Deputy Leader of Barkin Ladi Legislative Council, Hon Pam Chollom, who also confirmed the killing of the traditional ruler, said that the council had summoned an emergency meeting over the incident.
He said, “Yes, it is true that one of our traditional rulers has been killed in an attack by gunmen. It is very unfortunate and we condemn the incident. Right now, we are currently meeting over the incident as legislators. I will let you know our stand after the meeting.”
The Spokesman for the State Police Command, Ubah Ogaba, said that the incident had been reported to the command.
According to him, the state commissioner of police had deployed detectives in the council area to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killing of the monarch and apprehend those behind the act.
Ogaba said, “We are aware of the killing of the traditional ruler by unknown gunmen, and investigation into the incident has commenced.
“Already, the CP has deployed some officers in the area to investigate the matter and we are hopeful that those who perpetrated the acts would be fished out and punished accordingly”, he added.
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