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Saraki reacts as court orders forfeiture of his houses

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Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has insisted that the order given for the forfeiture of his property in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, is an abuse of court process and violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

On Monday, a Federal High Court in Lagos, ordered the forfeiture of two houses belonging to Saraki, based on an application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However in a statement, Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, alleged that the claim that the property were built with the proceeds of fraud was false.

He said the court had given an order “restraining the respondents (Commission) by themselves, their subordinates, agents, servants, or privies howsoever, from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the Applicant’s (Saraki) right to own and peacefully enjoy any of his assets and properties”.

“The EFCC’s claim that the Ilorin property was built by any proceed of fraud is outrightly false. The fact is that the Ilorin property was built partly by the Kwara State Government pursuant to the Third Schedule of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 while Dr. Saraki personally funded the remaining cost of the building.

“There are existing letters from the Office of the Head of Service of Kwara State notifying the former Governor (Saraki) of the State Government’s compliance with the State Pension for Governor’s law and the one indicating his intention to bear the cost of the additional expenditure that will arise from building the property to his desired taste dated 25th January 2012 and 8th February 2012 respectively.

“The construction of the building did not commence until the last few weeks of Dr. Saraki’s tenure as Governor and the bulk of his contribution to the funding were made with cheques. Where cash was involved, this was mainly in 2012 and 2013, more than a year after he had left office as Governor.

“It should also be noted that the land on which the house is built is not a government allocated land.

“One can only see that EFCC is playing politics and spreading falsehood in its cheap attempt to witch-hunt and intimidate a perceived enemy.”

He expressed surprise that the EFCC “could not even hide its penchant for abusing the nation’s judicial institution as it engaged in forum shopping when it filed a suit in Lagos on a property situated in Ilorin.

“We will like to restate our earlier position that Dr. Saraki will contest this matter in court at least to further attest to his belief in the rule of law, the sanctity of the courts and their enduring readiness to do justice in all matters and to all persons.

“Let it be known that the usual claim by the EFCC that its actions were directed against corrupt elements does not apply to Dr. Saraki because he is a man who at every point in his public service has sought to institute transparency and accountability in governance.”

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A’Court Rulling: Pro-Fubara Assembly Heads For Supreme Court

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The lingering supremacy battle between the Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and lawmakers loyal to his estranged godfather and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, has shifted to the Supreme Court.

The Speaker of the lawmakers loyal to Fubara in the state House of Assembly, Victor Oko Jumbo, said the factional assembly had filed an appeal at the apex court to challenge the judgement by the Appeal Court delivered in Abuja on Wednesday.

Recall that the Appeal Court had nullified the order of a Rivers State High Court which restrained Amaewhule and other pro Wike lawmakers from parading themselves as lawmakers.

The Court also said only the Federal High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the matter of the lawmakers.

Reacting, Governor Fubara said his administration remains undeterred by the appeal court ruling and will not waver in its commitment to providing critical infrastructure for the state.

According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nelson Chukwudi, the governor gave the assurance on Friday after inspecting the extent of reconstruction work done at the Zonal Hospital project at Bori Town, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area in the state.

He said: “I know that a lot of you will be wondering what is going on and all that. Government has its own challenges. If you go to the book of Psalm 23 verse 5, in the Bible, it says that God prepares a table before you; it can be before anybody.

“But there is an underlined word that should be noted there: it said ‘in the presence of your enemies’. So, it means that nothing comes easy.

“I want to assure every one of you and the good people of Rivers State, that we are not deterred. We have made our promises; we will continue to give you good governance, no matter how difficult it is.

“But, like I said before, the worst is over. We are moving on to ensure that we continue to provide what is needed for the development of our State.”

Similarly, in a statement issued by a factional Clerk of the House, Dr G. M. Gillis-West in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Friday, Oko-Jumbo said the Appeal Court acted in error and his faction had filed an appeal at the apex court to correct the error.

“There cannot be two Houses of Assembly in Rivers State or indeed any State in Nigeria. This House of Assembly, with me as the Speaker, is the only House of Assembly in Rivers State.

“The Court of Appeal also did not make any declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 24 ORS are still members of the RSHA.

“We strongly believe that the Court of Appeal was in error when it held that the Rivers State High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine SUIT NO PHC/1512/CS/2024.

“Accordingly, we have instructed our lawyers and they have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on the 4th Day of July, 2024.

“Martin Amaewhule & 24 others, in spite of all their pretences, are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, and they remain so until a court of competent jurisdiction says otherwise,” Oko-Jumbo stated.

 

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Photos As GAC Members Meet Obasa Over Proposed Lagos Electricity Law

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A delegation of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) has visited the Lagos State House of Assembly and held a meeting with the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

The meeting which held behind closed doors on Thursday afforded a fruitful discussion concerning the proposed Lagos Electrification Agency Law which recently scaled second reading during plenary.

The GAC delegation at the meeting included Cardinal James Odumbaku, Sen. Anthony Adefuye, Otunba Henry Ajomale, Dr. Yomi Finnih, and Otunba Femi Pedro.

 

From left … Cardinal James Odumbaku, Sen. Anthony Adefuye, Otunba Henry Ajomale, Rt. Hon. Dr. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, Dr. Yomi Finnih, Otunba Femi Pedro

On Tuesday June 25, Dr. Obasa committed the bill to the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources with a two-week mandate for the latter to report back to the House.

This was after lawmakers at the day’s sitting debated the pros and cons of the bill which targets to repeal the Lagos Electric Power Reform Law, 2018 to provide for the creation and administration of the Lagos Electricity Market.

The bill further seeks to establish a commercial and technical regulatory framework for the electricity market with the purpose of ensuring reliable and universal access to electricity for all residents of the State.

Also, the bill seeks to establish the Lagos State Electrification Fund for the delivery of reliable electricity supply to the underserved areas of the State.

Speaking about the bill, the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Hon. Sobur Oluwa, had said it was “very essential as it gives room for Lagos State to regulate its power supply and transmit electricity at its own pace.”

 

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LP Crisis: Let’s Put Our Differences Aside – Peter Obi To Party Members

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Mr Peter Obi, former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in the 2023 general election has urged members of the party to put away differences and work together for harmony to thrive in the party.

Obi, who made this call on Friday via his X handle, said they would emerge stronger and more united than ever.

He stressed the need for moving forward with a shared sense of purpose and vision.

He expressed confidence that the party would overcome the current crisis through open communication, empathy, and willingness to listen.

“We will successfully resolve our differences and emerge stronger and more united than ever. Our strength lies in greater unity for our common national good.

“I reiterate my earlier appeal for us to put aside our differences and work together in a spirit of harmony and mutual understanding,” he said.

 

 

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