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Chukwumezie: Businessman drags EFCC, NCAC, others to Court for freezing 13 bank accounts

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Oyo ALGON rejects Appeal Court verdict, heads to Supreme Court

An Anambra businessman, 54-year-old Mr. Nze Chukwumezie on Monday, sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) over an alleged unlawful freezing of his thirteen bank accounts, emphasizing infringement on his rights.

Mr Chukwumezie, Managing Director, Soka Comfortainment Limited, also sued the United Bank for Africa (UBA), First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), ECOBANK, Diamond Bank, Union Bank, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respondents, positing the EFCC as 1st respondent and NCAC as 9th respondent.

Twelve of the bank accounts have his name as account name while the Sterling Bank account 0003242109 has the name of his company as the account name.

The case was first instituted in June before Justice I. L. Ojukwu of Court 8.

Chukwumezie, through his Counsel, Jideofor Ukachukwu, in a motion with file number: FHC/ABJ/CS/499/2019, sought a declaration that his detention by the 1st respondent on Jan. 30, 2018 was unlawful and a breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom of movement “as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

“A declaration that the detention of the applicant by the 6th respondent on Sept. 17, 2018 is unlawful/wrongful, same being a breach/violation of his Fundamental Right to Personal Liberty and Freedom of Movement as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“A declaration that freezing and/or placing any form of restriction on the various bank accounts of the applicant by the 2nd to 8th respondents on the instructions of the 1st respondent without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction is unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, unlawful and a violation of the applicant’s Fundamental Right to own immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),” he said.

The lawyer also urged Justice Maha to give an order, directing the 1st respondent to pay the sum of N10 million to “the applicant as damages/compensation against his illegal detention on Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 2018.

“An Order of court directing the 6th respondent, to pay the sum of N5 million to the applicant, as damages/compensation against his illegal detention on Sept. 17, 2018;

“An Order of Court mandating the 1st respondent to pay the sum of N20 million to the applicant for issuing an illegal directive to the 2nd to 8th respondents to freeze and/or place restriction on the applicant’s bank accounts.

“An Order of court mandating the 2nd respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N30 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 3 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“An Order of court mandating the 3rd respondent to pay to the Applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

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“An order of count mandating the 4th Respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N40 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 4 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 5th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 6th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 7th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N10 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his bank account domiciled in its bank.

“An order of court mandating the 8th respondent to pay to the applicant the sum of N20 million for the unlawful freezing and/or placing of restriction on his 2 bank accounts domiciled in its bank.

“The sum of N50 million against all the respondents jointly and severally as aggravated and exemplary damages.

“The sum of N1 billion as cost of this suit.

“And for such further Order(s) that this court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

Counsel to the applicant argued that the reliefs were sought based on the fact that “the 1st and 6th respondents illegally and unlawfully detained the applicant and thereby violated his rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The 1st respondent without a valid order of court directed/caused the 2nd to 8th respondents to freeze and/or place restrictions on the various bank accounts of the applicant and thereby breached/violated the Fundamental Right of the Applicant to ownership of immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The 2nd to 8th respondents without a valid order of court froze and/or placed restrictions on the bank accounts of the Applicant in violation of the Applicant’s ownership of immovable property as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

According to him, the actions of the respondents amount to self-help and abuse of power which is unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal and unlawful.

The lawyer said that the respondents had acted without regard to the extant laws of the land and fundamental rights of the applicant.

However, all the counsel to the respondents were in the court on Monday, except the 1st respondent (EFCC)’s counsel.

Justice Maha, who expressed concern that counsel to the EFCC was not in court despite service of hearing, observed that the case ruling might not be ready within the vacation period.

The judge, therefore, sent the matter back to Court 8 and adjourned the matter until Oct. 17 for further hearing.

 

Health and Safety

Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters says troops have in the last one week neutralised 192 terrorists, apprehended 341 others and rescued 62 kidnapped hostages.

It also said a total of 122 ISWAP/JAS terrorists surrendered with their families.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a news briefing on operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also recovered 211 assorted weapons and 6,288 assorted ammunition within the week.

He said the recovered items comprised 128 AK.47 rifles, 26 Dane guns, 1,301 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3,260 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 1,325 live cartridges, and 140 rounds of 9mm ammunition among other items.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised 71 terrorists, arrested 143 suspects and rescued 58  kidnapped hostages during the week.

He added that the air component conducted air strikes on ISWAP/JAS terrorists’ hideouts and logistics hub, including their food processing unit in Kolleram village, along Lake Chad.

According to him, the Battle Damage Assessment revealed that over 30 terrorists, including senior commanders; Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari, were neutralised as well as their logistics were destroyed as a result of the strike.

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 29 insurgents, arrested 53 violent extremists and rescued eight kidnapped hostages.

In the North West, he said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralised 62 terrorists, arrested 49 terrorists and rescued 36 kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops of Operation Whirl Punch arrested 14 criminals and recovered cache of arms and ammunition as well as military accoutrements.

According to him, other items recovered are 620 parcels of substances suspected to be marijuana, 10 Yoruba Nation flags, eight mobile phones, and four handheld radios, among other items.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe had maintained momentum against activities of crude oil theft and recovered 792,660 litres of stolen crude oil and 117,070 litres of illegally refined AGO.

He added that troops discovered and destroyed 31 illegal refining sites with 99 dugout pits, 11 boats, 29 storage tanks, 192 cooking ovens and nine vehicles.

According to him, troops apprehended 27 suspected oil thieves and other violent extremists, recovering five weapons and 162 assorted ammunition.

In the South-East, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operation UDOKA neutralised nine terrorists, arrested 11 violent extremists, rescued 17 kidnapped hostages and recovered weapons. 

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Health and Safety

Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

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Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

A joint security team deployed to Suru and Maiyama local government areas of Kebbi on Tuesday rescued two persons abducted by suspected bandits in the areas.

The operation was conducted by operatives of the Nigerian Army, NSCDC, DSS and vigilante groups.

Confirming the story to newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the Director in charge of the Security Service, Cabinet Office, AbdulRahman Zagga, attributed the success to the support of Gov. Nasir Idris in providing all the necessary tools to the agencies.

“Following the consistent efforts of the Kebbi Governor, Dr Nasir Idris in supporting the security agencies operating in the state, a joint team of security operatives on Tuesday successfully rescued two kidnapped victims.

“The operation was successful; we were able to follow the bandits from Giro forest to Boma and down to Zugu Liba forest where the victims were rescued,” he said.

The director said that the kidnappers could no longer withstand the security pressure, thereby, abandoning the kidnapped victims.

He explained that the rescued victims were handed over to the village head and the vigilante chairman of Zugu Liba village for them to be reunited with their families.

He called on the people to support the security operatives with useful information that would assist in effectively discharging their duty of curtailing the challenges of insecurity in the state. 

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Health and Safety

NDLEA Destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Drugs in Lagos, Ogun

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 litres of drugs in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Tuesday in Ibereko Badagry, Lagos, destroyed 304,436 kg and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun States.

The Chairman of the Agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in adherence with court orders.

Marwa called for more public support for the ongoing efforts by the NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court, “ the NDLEA boss said.

The chairman noted that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types.

According to him, they include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states, as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states, from January 2022 till date, especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs.

“The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld,” he noted.

Marwa appreciated the traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs, as well as other stakeholders, who witnessed the ceremony.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr Olusegun Onilude, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the NDLEA in tackling the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos State Government appreciates the NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried,” he stated.

Sanwo-Olu also commended the agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across the state.

“No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the agency and its leadership,” he assured.

It was reported that Marwa on Monday in Lagos, announced that 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, have been arrested in the last three years.

He also said that within the period, the agency successfully prosecuted and convicted 9,034 of them, as well as seized over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances.

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