Connect with us

News

Femi Falana replies the SSS

Published

on

Our attention has been drawn to the self contradictory press release of the SSS in which an unsuccessful attempt was made to absolve itself of responsibility for the armed invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division, in general, and the desecration of Court No 7 of Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in particular as well as the illegal rearrest of Omoyele Sowore.

First, pretending to forget that the abominable desecration of the Federal High Court was covered live by domestic and international media outfits and journlists, some of whom were also direct victims of the gangsterism, barbarism and brutalisation displayed by officers of the Service on the 6th day of December 2019, the Service has conducted “eye witness” accounts of what transpired with the aim of showing that officers of the Service were not involved in the rearrest of Sowore.

Second, the Service argues on the one hand that the arrest of Sowore was “stage managed” by his supporters in order to give the Service a bad name whilst also admitting at the same time that officers of the Service arrested Sowore outside the Court. Having declared that the Service arrested Sowore “outside the court”, despite the “stage managing” argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court.

INDUBITABLE FACTS CONFIRMING DESECRATION OF COURT AND RE-ARREST BY THE SERVICE

However, the following facts underscore our insistence that the Service was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court:

By the advantage of information technology, the whole world has placed responsibility for the gangsteric desecration of the court on the SSS. The SSS cannot extricate itself from the abominable acts of 6th December, 2019.

When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.

As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court. Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases. After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers.

When the lead prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN denied knowledge of the invasion of her court she directed him to invite the head of the sss team in the court. When challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer could not. He apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the sss. The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the sss operatives from the court room. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house.

Notwithstanding that the sss could not produce any warrant of arrest for Sowore the defence team decided that I should accompany him to the sss headquarters in view of his physical brutalisation inside the court room and the open threat to his life. I did and ensured that he was driven in my car to the sss headquarters where I handed him over to the officers on duty. Thereafter, I requested for a meeting with the head of the sss but I was informed that he was not in the office.

Though, ordinarily, officers of the Service do not wear any uniform, on the 6th day of December, some of them were in mufti, many were not only armed but also masked while others disguised in lawyer’s black and white suit. Regardless of the form of appearance, the officers of the Service inside Court No. 7 were identifiable by their roles and acts of seizing Sowore and pinning him down. It is an utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him. The argument of the Service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own house.

If Sowore’s supporters subjected him to such brutalisation in the presence of sss operatives why were they not arrested for contravening the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017? Or were the SSS operatives expecting the supporters of a defendant wanted by the State to kill him in their presence?

Before submitting himself for arrest Sowore had rightly demanded for a warrant of arrest and detention order but the sss operatives were unable to produce either.

ON RATIONALISATION OF RE-ARREST OF SOWORE BY THE SERVICE

In rationalizing the re-arrest of Sowore, which is denied in the same Press statement, the Serivce alleged that Sowore held metings with some people. Assuming without conceding that Sowore held meetings with some people in Transcorp Hotel as alleged by the sss, why did the Prosecution not inform the trial court that the defendant had breached his bail condition?

ON THE CLAIM OF THE SERVICE THAT IT IS LAW-ABIDING

The sss says it is a law abiding institution. But why did it refuse to comply with the order of Justice Taiwo to release Sowore? Why did the sss threaten to report the judge to the NJC for granting bail to Sowore?
Why did the sss subject the order of Justice Ojukwu for the release of Sowore to its own approval by asking the sureties already verified by the judge to report themselves to the sss? Why the SSS wait for the 24-hour ultimatum issued by the trial judge before releasing Sowore and Bakare,?

Incidentally, the current prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN was the counsel to the defendant in the case of FRN v Air Commodore Mohammed. In that case the order of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba for the release of the defendant on bail was flouted by the SSS. As if that was not enough, the sss invaded the home of the judge on 8th October 2016 when the houses of judges accused of corruption were raided. Even though I have never appeared before Justice Dimgba I have always known him as a judge of impecable integrity. So, I challenged the sss for painting an incorruptible judge with the brush of shame. It was after my intervention that the NJC gave the judge a clean bill of health.

Thereafter, the judge was compelled to withdraw from the case. The SSS thought that it had won but it was a phyrric victory. Thus, Justice John Tsoho (current Chief Judge of the federal high court) to whom the case was re assigned reiterated the orders of Justice Dimgba and proceeded to rule that trial would not commence in the case until the defendant was released from custody. It was at that stage that the sss complied with the order of the federal high court.

Conclusion

In the light of the foregoing we reiterate our demand for the release of not only Sowore in obedience to court orders, pending the verdict of the court in their trial. We equally call for the release of all other political detainees, and criminal sispects who have been admitted to bail pending trial by competent courts.

Finally, it is common knowledge that this country was ruled by military dictators for about three decades. On no occassion did security operatives invade court premises to arrest political activists inside a court room. Therefore, the bizzaire harassment of courts cannot be tolerated under a democratically government that claims to operated under the rule of law.

Femi Falana, SAN

Advertisement

News

Plateau Govt Confirms 22 Dead, 132 hospitalised In Jos School Building Collapse

Published

on

By

The Plateau State Government has confirmed 22 dead and 132 persons injured in the Jos collapsed school building.

Musa Ashoms, the Commissioner for Information, said six of the injured were in critical condition.

Ashoms said that those injured were receiving treatment in various tertiary health facilities in the state, while the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuaries.

NAN reports that a two-storey building of Saints Academy, a secondary and primary school located in Busa-Buji community of Jos North Local Area, had collapsed, trapping students, teachers and others.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 am on Friday when the students were writing their third term examination.

Meanwhile, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has described the incident as a tragic and monumental loss to the state.

Mutfwang stated this in a statement issued by Mr Gyang Bere, his Director of Press and Public Affairs, on Friday in Jos.

The governor, who sympathised with the families of the affected victims, further described the incident as heartbreaking and unfortunate.

“This is tragic, unfortunate, heart-wrenching and a gloomy situation. We appreciate the timely intervention of the search-and-rescue team, as well as members of the public, who rushed to the school premises to assist in evacuating some of the surviving students and staff,” he said.

 

Continue Reading

News

Tinubu Renames National Theatre After Wole Soyinka

Published

on

By

President Bola Tinubu has renamed the National Theatre in Lagos after Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

JomogNews reports that President Bola Tinubu has renamed the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

This online news platform learnt that Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

“When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

 

Continue Reading

News

FG Reaches New Agreement With IOCs On Crude Supply To Dangote, Local Refineries

Published

on

By

JomogNews Nigeria reports that the Federal Government and crude oil producers in Nigeria have committed to working towards a sustainable supply of crude oil to local refineries under a market-determined pricing system.

This Nigeria news platform understands that both parties said the commitment aimed to ensure that while the operators (crude oil producers) do business optimally, the refineries are not starved of feedstock.

Accordingly, the industry regulator, the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission has directed oil refiners in the country to provide monthly price quote on crude supply.

This came as the $20bn Dangote Petroleum Refinery is reportedly ramping up the importation of crude from the United States, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, Nigeria’s upstream regulator stated that oil producers under the umbrella of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at a meeting called by NUPRC, agreed to concede to a framework that would be mutually beneficial with the aim of ensuring that local refineries are not strangulated due to off-the-curve prices.

“The focus of the meeting held at the instance of the Commission Chief Executive, Gbenga Komolafe, was on the status review of the Framework for Seamless Operationalisation of Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation Template.

“It was part of efforts to effectively implement key sections of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, especially the issue of pricing and crude supply to the domestic refineries,” the commission stated.

In the statement, Komolafe said President Bola Tinubu is fully committed to providing a level playing ground for producers and refiners to do business in the industry.

He expressed the need for a rule of engagement to ensure that the pricing model from the oil producers does not hinder the domestic refineries.

He directed producers and refiners to provide the NUPRC with cargo price quotes on crude supply and delivery for effective monitoring and regulation of transactions among parties. “We need to have the price quotes monthly,” he directed.

The NUPRC boss pointed out a convergence between the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation and the nation’s energy security, indicating that his team is re-engineering its regulatory processes to address the challenges.

“We allow all our processes to be transparent. While the Federal Government targets the implementation of the regulation, all parties must submit to the rules of engagement as a guide for operation,” Komolafe stated.

He said NUPRC is committed to driving the willing buyer/willing seller provision.

“We have to discuss pricing, especially as parties have committed to respecting their domestic crude oil obligation. As the regulator, we don’t want the upstream sector to be operated sub-optimally through cost under-recovery.

“So, the regulator is very alive to that. In crude pricing we will never allow price strangulation to disincentivise our domestic refining capacity optimisation. The regulator does not support cost under-recovery in the upstream sector, and we will continue to work to ensure that crude supply profiteering as a negative factor that can strangulate our domestic refining capacity optimisation is disallowed,” Komolafe declared.

Dangote raises alarm

Last month, the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, had accused International Oil Companies in Nigeria of plans to frustrate the survival of the new Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

Edwin had said the IOCs were deliberately and willfully frustrating the refinery’s efforts to buy local crude by hiking the cost above the market price, thereby forcing the refinery to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.

“Recall that the NUPRC recently met with crude oil producers as well as refineries’ owners in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure full adherence to Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligations as enunciated under section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act. It seems that the IOCs’ objective is to ensure that our petroleum refinery fails. It is either they are deliberately asking for a ridiculous/humongous premium or they simply state that crude is not available.

“At some point, we paid $6 over and above the market price. This has forced us to reduce our output as well as import crude from countries as far as the US, increasing our cost of production. It appears that the objective of the IOCs is to ensure that Nigeria remains a country which exports crude oil and imports refined petroleum products.

“They (IOCs) are keen on exporting the raw materials to their home countries, creating employment and wealth for their countries, adding to their Gross Domestic Product, and dumping the expensive refined products into Nigeria – thus making us to be dependent on imported products. It is the same strategy the multinationals have been adopting in every commodity, making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to be facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense,” Edwin had stated.

But on Thursday NUPRC emphasised the imperative for appropriate pricing to drive willing buyer willing seller referencing guided Fiscal Oil Price published by the commission in line with the provisions of the PIA.

“NUPRC is committed to attracting the needed investments to boost upstream development and optimisation of our hydrocarbon resources just as we want sustainability of domestic energy supply in the midstream and downstream sector.”

Crude importation

Also on Thursday Bloomberg reported that Nigeria’s Dangote mega-refinery was ramping up the importation of crude oil from the United States, stating that the Lagos-based refinery had created a new flow of long-haul crude from the US, as inflows of American feedstock could be about to rise further.

The report stated that the Dangote mega-refinery was lapping up ever more US crude, bringing the barrels thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

It stated that Dangote bought more than 16 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude oil so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In August and September, the proportion it will take from the US — as opposed to Nigerian barrels — may be set to rise, based on tenders for new supply seen by Bloomberg.

 

Continue Reading

Trending