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Presidential panel dragged to court over illegal take over of property



The Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), has been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over an alleged take over of property belonging to a private investor.

The panel was sued by D. B. Mangal Ltd., praying for an order of the court to stop the panel from sealing off its property and forcefully ejecting, harassing and intimidating the occupants of the building.

The Okoi Obono-Oblah led panel is empowered to investigate issues bothering on ownership title and which had been adjudicated upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Also joined in the suit as defendants are the Petroleum Financial Corporate Ltd. the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

News Agency of Nigeria , reports that both Federal High Court and Court of Appeal had in their judgments held that the panel lacked the power to prosecute crimes bordering on non-declaration of assets.

Specifically, the Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Hussein Muhktar, also held that the panel lacked the constitutional power to seize property of alleged offenders without valid court order.

The decision of the appellate court was in respect of an appeal filed by

Tijani Tumsah, to challenge an order of interim forfeiture made by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.

This, was in respect of some 86 cars linked to Tijani and his brother, Ibrahim Tumsah.

The five-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal held that no provision of the Recovery of Public Property Act Cap R 4, LFN 2004 empowers the panel to initiate court proceedings.

Pursuant to its investigative powers for the purpose of obtaining an interim order for forfeiture of property.

It added that “the panel cannot clothe itself with the clothes not donated to it by the Act that established it.”

In the instant suit filed by Shehu Wada, the plaintiff prayed the court for an order directing the panel to immediately vacate and cause to be removed the inscription “SPIP”

Under Investigation” pasted and inscribed on various places on its property described as Plot 1405, Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja.

Attached to the suit as exhibits include: title documents, a Certificate of Occupancy (Cof O) no: 1951W-14fz-64cbr-10220-20 registered as No. 18125 in volume 90 of the Certificate of Occupancy Register in the Lands Registry Office, at Abuja,.

Which is dated Oct. 31, 2006 and undersigned by the then FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai.

Which held that the title to Plot 1405 Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja validly belong to the plaintiff.

The Obla panel had on Wednesday, June 19, handed over the said property to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), in a controversial circumstances in spite the pendency of the suit.

Before the hand over, the panel had last month placed the property housing the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), under investigation.

The property, Murjanatu House, which is being managed by Zamani Estate Agency and Property Ltd. also housed branches of First Bank Nigeria Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank, among others.

Making the presentation to the Executive Secretary of National Board for Techn8cal Education (NBTE), Dr Masaudu Kazaure, chairman of the Panel, Obono-Obla explained that the property, was originally allocated to NBTE.

This, was before a spurious claim of a revocation of the title of NBTE, by D.B. Mangal Ltd. which was obviously in total disregard of the extant laws of the country in that respect.

Obla said the property became a subject of investigation following a petition to the panel on Dec. 12, 2018, by one Ambassador Abdullah Alifa, the chairman of Petroleum Financial Corporate (PFC), Ltd.

The petitioner said the encroachment happened after his company had paid N24million to the Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS), in 2005 for the recertification of the certificate of occupancy of the NBTE property.

This, he said, was handed over to PFC on behalf of the NBTE.

This, it claimed, that the property did not belong to it and prayed the court for “an order striking out its name as a party to the suit.”

In his ruling on the said motion, Justice Ogakwu accordingly struck out the name of NBTE from the suit as a plaintiff on record.

However, no date has been fixed  for hearing in the suit.

edited by Sadiya Hamza


43-year-old unemployed docked over violence, threat to life



A 43-year-old unemployed, Adekunle Shoetan, on Tuesday, appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, for allegedly threatening the life of an aged man and his wife.

Shoetan, who resides in Alagbado area of Lagos, is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, threat to life and attempt to commit a misdemeanour.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecutor, ASP. Peter Nwaongwu, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Oct. 24, at Alagbado area of Lagos.

Nwaongwu said that the defendant called one Alhaji Tajudeen Oladele with a hidden phone number and threatened him.

“The defendant told him not to go out of his residence for 21 days or else, he would die.

“He also told the complainant that he was paid by someone to assassinate him and his wife, Alhaja Tawakalitu Oladele.

“The defendant was, however, arrested after thorough investigation,” Nwaongwu said.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene Sections 5, 56 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.‎

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 5 stipulates a six-month jail term for attempting to commit a misdemeanour, while Section 56 stipulates a one-year jail term for threatening violence.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Yetunde Aje-Afunwa granted the defendant N500, 000 bail, with two responsible sureties each in like sum.

She adjourned the case till Dec. 19 for mention.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Police arraign 2 minors, 1 man for allegedly stealing soft drinks worth N48,000



The police on Tuesday arraigned two minors and a 22-year-old man, Muhammad Mustapha in a Karu Grade I Area Court, Abuja for allegedly stealing soft drinks worth N48,000.

The police charged the defendants with three counts of joint acts, criminal trespass and theft.

They however denied committing the offence.

The Prosecution Counsel, Vincent Osuji, told the court that the complainant, Mrs Mary Ogobuegu, reported the matter at the Karu police Station on Nov. 9.

“Ogobuegwu alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves, trespassed into her business premises and stole some soft drinks.

“The drinks include, 16 packs of pet gold drink, five packets of mama Big Coke, Energy drinks and two packs of 5alive, all valued at N48,000.

“During police investigation, some of the stolen drinks were recovered,” Osuji said.

He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79, 348 and 287 of the Penal Code.

The Judge, Abdullahi Jibrin, ordered the defendants to produce one surety each who must be a civil servant and adjourned the case until Nov. 27 for hearing.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Woman drags step son to court over alleged criminal trespass, intimidation



A Shari’a Court in Magajin Gari, Kaduna, on Tuesday remanded in custody one Muhammad Sani, 26, facing charges of trespass, intimidation and insulting his step father’s sister.

The judge, Malam Murtala Nasir, gave the order following an application by the complainant, Ms Aina’u Muhammad, for a restraining order to be issued against the defendant.

Nasir said that the defendant should he kept in custody pending when a reliable surety comes for his bail.

The judge also directed that elders in the family should appear before the court at the next hearing of the case and adjourned the matter until Nov. 26.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Aina’u, 40, had approached the court seeking an injunction to restraint the defendant from coming to her house to visit his siblings.

The complainant, a resident of Zaria Road in Kaduna, alleged that whenever the defendant visits her home to see her late brother’s other children, he always harassed and rained insults on her.

” I want the court to intervene in the matter and restrain him from coming to my house; whenever he wants to see his siblings, he should wait outside and meet them there,” she prayed.

However, the defendant, who also resides at Zaria Road, denied the allegations.

According to him, he visits the complainant’s house only to check on his younger ones who are under her care.

He prayed the court to give him time to try to talk to older relatives of the complainant on the matter.

Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Maharazu Ahmed

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Alleged falsehood : Court slams N100, 000 against prosecution for stalling Melaye ‘s trial



An FCT High Court Maitama on Tusday ordered the prosecution to pay N100, 000 for stalling trial of the Sen. Dino Malaye in alleged falsehood filed against him.

Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, is charged with two counts bordering on giving false information to the police.

The Federal Government arraigned Melaye, alleging that he, sometime in April, 2017 deliberately gave false information to the police.

The judge, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck gave the order after the prosecution informed the court that their witnesses were not in court.

Goodluck held that by the provisions of Section 396 (4)(6) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act,  2015, parties are entitled to five adjournments and nothing more.

The judge said she was not pleased with the  attitude of the prosecution in the matter, especially when the matter was placed on fast track,  day to day hearing and the defendant’s counsel comes from outside jurisdiction.

” A cost of N100, 000 is therefore awarded against the prosecution instead of N250, 000 prayed by the defendant’s counsel ” she ordered.

The judge said the trial was slated for Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 and both dates of trial are stalled for failure of the prosecution to bring their witnesses to court.

Goodluck then adjourned the matter until Dec. 5, for continuation of trial

Earlier, the prosecution counsel,  Mrs N.O.Ezra informed the court that her witnesses were not in court.

Ezra then prayed the court for an adjournment to enable them bring their witnesses.

Responding,  defence counsel Olusegun Odubela, SAN, told the court that this was unfair to the defendant because the witness could not be more involved in Kogi election than the defendant who was a candidate in the election.

Odubela added that the prosecution did not the the court the where about of their fourth witness.

” The court should be guided by the provisions of sections 396 (4)(6) of ACJA and 36 (4) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

” The prosecution have not adduced any cogent reasons why their witnesses are not available in court,  in case the court grants them an adjournment,  we will be asking for a cost of N250, 000, he said.

Odubela further told the court that since last sitting on July 4, the prosecution could have known and inform the court and the defendant’s counsel who comes from another jurisdiction. (NAN )

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Police arraign applicant for being in possession of alleged stolen phones



The police on Tuesday arraigned an applicant, Livingstone Okpezi, who was caught with seven cell phones respected to be stolen, in a Karshi Grade I Area Court, Abuja.

Okpezi, who resides in Angwan Sarki,  Orozo, Abuja, is charged with two counts of unlawful possession of stole phones and refusing to make a statement.

The prosecutor, Mohammed Lawal, told the court that the defendant on Oct.23  went to the Divisional Police Headquarters Karshi, Abuja with seven different types of phones.

Lawal alleged  that when the police asked the defendant where he got the phones from, he refused to answer.

He further alleged that the defendant refused to fill a statement form.

The prosecution counsel said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 143 and 286 of the Penal Code.

The Judge, Isa Mohammed Anas, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N500,000  with a surety in like sum.

Anas ordered that the surety must present a valid means of identification and adjourned the case until Dec. 16, for hearing.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Sadiya Hamza

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Lagos business man in court for alleged N33m theft



A 27-year-old businessman, Ebuka Okejeme, was on Tuesday appeared in an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court over alleged N33 million theft.

Okejeme, whose address was not given in the court, is standing trial on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.

The Prosecutor, ASP. Peter Nwangwu, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Oct. 21 at Aspanda Trade- fair Market, Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos.

Nwangwu said that the defendant and some others still at large defrauded one John Iloka of N33 million cash from a business transaction.

“The defendant obtained the money from the complainant, but failed to keep to his own end of the business deal.

“Okejeme converted the money to his personal use and absconded.

“All efforts made by the complainant to get the defendant to refund the money proved abortive,” Nwangwu said.

The prosecutor alleged that the defendant also stole auto bulbs, fan blades, wheel covers and vehicle accessories, valued at N20 million from the complainant.

According to him, the offences contravene Sections 287 (5) and Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Section 287 provides a three-year jail term for convicted offenders.

The Chief Magistrate, Yewande Aje- Afunwa, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N5 million with two responsible sureties in like sum.

Aje- Afunwa said that one of the sureties must be property owner and must live within the jurisdiction of the court.

The Chief Magistrate adjourned the case until Jan.16, 2020 for mention.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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