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Set Aside Bench Warrant Issued Against Me, Alison-Madueke Tells Court

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A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the bench warrant issued against her on July 24, 2020.

She accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of concealing facts to obtain the bench warrant, contending that she was not on the run but travelled to the United Kingdom in 2015 to get treatment after being diagnosed with  “the most aggressive form of breast cancer — Triple Negative Cancer.”

Alison-Madueke, in a motion on notice brought by her counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon to extend the time within which she could seek leave to apply for the order discharging the bench warrant.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Alison-Madueke served as minister between 2010 and 2015 in former President Goodluck Jonathan government.

The ex-minister urged the court to strike out her name as “a defendant in charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria V. Diezani Alison Madueke, pending before this honourable court.”

The motion, which has FRN as complainant/respondent, had Alison-Madueke as sole defendant/applicant.

NAN reports that the Federal Government, through the EFCC, had, in an ex-parte motion, sought a bench warrant against Alison-Madueke.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who granted the order on July 24, 2020, after the anti-corruption lawyer moved the motion, directed that Alison-Madueke should be arrested by local or international police anywhere she was sighted within or outside the country.

The development followed the inability of the EFCC to extradite her back to the country from the United Kingdom, where she resides, to stand trial for the money laundering charges  pressed against her by the EFCC.

The case was, however, reassigned to Justice Olajuwon following the transfer of Ojukwu to the Calabar division of the court in 2021.

The ex-minister, in the  five grounds attached to the motion, said the bench warrant was issued without jurisdiction, and ought that it be set aside ex debito justitiae.

She argued that it was issued in breach of her right to fair hearing.

She further argued that she had neither been served with the charge sheet nor the proof of evidence in charge numbered FHC/ABJ/CR/208/2018.

“The ex parte application for an order of bench warrant against the defendant/applicant was obtained upon gross misstatements, misrepresentations, non-disclosure, concealment and suppression of material facts and this honourable court has the power to set aside same ex debito justitiae, as a void order is as good as if it was never made at all,” she said.

In the affidavit she personally deposed to, Alison-Madueke averred that she had resided in the UK since May 22, 2015, when she voluntarily travelled for medical treatment.

She said that towards the end of Jonathan’s  administration, she was diagnosed with “the most aggressive form of breast cancer — Triple Negative Cancer.”

“I hurriedly flew into England on May 22, 2015, in order to undertake a critical course of treatment, which consisted of two operations, eight months of intensive chemotherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy and I have remained in England ever since then, where I have undergone intensive medical care and treatment.

“In the course of receiving my treatment and only one week after completing the eight-month course of treatment in my extremely aggressive chemotherapy (during which time I was erroneously put into a near fatal coma), on October 2, 2015, I was invited by the UK National Crime Agency, to the Charing Cross Police Station, London, where I was questioned for several hours and subsequently released on police bail.

“Prior to that time, the officers of the NCA had invaded my personal residence and conducted a search, carting away with them several documents and other valuable items.

“Since then, I have consistently and severally been invited for interviews by the NCA, many of which have been serially adjourned or postponed to future dates due to no fault of mine.”

The former minister further alleged that almost contemporaneously, with the raid on her residence by officers of the NCA, the officials of the EFCC also broke into and raided her private residence in Abuja and carted away several documents and many items of value.

“All this was done in my absence and without any prior invitation or notice to that effect,” she alleged.

She said she had either read in the media or been informed by close associates and relatives, about several forfeiture orders said to have been made in respect of certain funds and property in some charges or other civil proceedings all of which were usually ascribed and allegedly said to belong to her in the media.

“I have till date never been served with any court processes in respect of all the aforementioned charges or forfeiture proceedings in Nigeria, to enable me respond, or defend myself,” she said.

Alison-Madueke alleged that the EFCC, which had been filing the said charges or forfeiture proceedings, knew very well she resides in the UK, and had indeed on an occasion in the past, actually served a particular document on her through the NCA.

She said since residing in the UK, she had been living openly and had never made any attempt to conceal her identity, location and/or home address, from any persons, or authorities, whether abroad or in Nigeria.

“The NCA is fully aware of my location in the UK,” she added.

She, therefore, prayed the court to vacate the order of bench warrant against her and strike out her name from the charge in the interest of justice.

The Punch

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National Day Schools Competition: Aijay Media Celebrates Nigeria’s Rich Heritage

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The Aijay Media Annual National Day Schools Competition, held every October 1st, is set to hold this Tuesday.

The event, as always, is programmed to showcase the best of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, and traditions as well as celebrate the country’s national day, with varieties of competitions, which have grown in popularity over the years, attracting participation from schools all over Lagos State.

This year’s competition revolves around the “Theme: Nigeria Will be Great If …”, with different schools competing in various categories such as traditional dance, poetry, drama, and music. Students are to display their talents, creativity, and prowess in interpreting the theme.

The CEO of Aijay Media, Mrs. Ijeoma Oka, said that the competition is an opportunity for students to showcase their talents, celebrate their cultural identity and proffer their own solutions to the anomalies in our country.

The Competition is also an opportunity for schools to win prizes, including educational materials. This Last year’s competition saw many schools taking home prizes, with Tenderhands Montessori School, Lagos emerging as the overall winner.

Mrs. Abiola-Seriki Ayeni was the Special guest of honour at the previous year’s competition. Speaking at the event, she commended Aijay Media for organizing the competition and called on well-meaning Nigerians, government, and companies to support this vision. She also urged Nigerian youths to embrace their cultural heritage, promote national unity, and work harder.

Given the success this competition is expected to attract, it is expected that more schools and organizations will participate in the future.

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NLC, TUC Declare Indefinite Strike

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The organised labour unions, comprising the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), have declared an indefinite strike effective from October 3, 2023.

TUC President, Festus Osifo declared the strike at a joint press conference also attended by the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ajaero, who spoke first, carpeted the Federal Government over what he described as lackadaisical stance to address demands raised by the unions since the subsidy removal policy took effect.

He accused the government of deliberate refusal to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue within the ambits of good faith during the 21 days ultimatum and the subsequent successful 2-day nationwide warning strike on the 5th and 6th of September 2023.

According to the NLC President, the National Executive Councils (NEC) of the NLC and TUC in their various meetings deeply analyzed the current situation in the country, taking into cognisance the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting the citizens across all states of the federation.

He said both NECs unanimously condemned the government’s apparent conscious lethargy and tardiness in handling the consequences of its petrol price hike on Nigerians.

Ajaero also noted that the NLC and the TUC NEC-in-session observed that there is no disagreement between Labour and Government on the existence of massive suffering, impoverishment and hunger in the country as a result of the hike in the price of Petrol which demands an urgent need for remedial action.

He said the government totally abdicated its responsibility and had shown gross unwillingness to act, thereby abandoning Nigerian people and workers to excruciating poverty and affliction.

He went on to accuse the federal government of continuous grandstanding and forestalling all avenues to peaceful dialogue with organized labour on ways to save Nigerians from the huge hunger and suffering experienced across the nation.

“As a result of the unconscionable hike in the price of Petrol (PMS) by the Government, the Government has continued to demonstrate not just an unwillingness to mitigate the massive hardship in the country but also a complete lack of intention to take positive steps and empathy for the multi-dimensionally impoverished citizens of Nigeria.

“The federal Government has therefore not met in any substantial way, the demands of Nigerian workers and peoples as previously canvassed in our mutually agreed roadmap to salvaging the economy and protecting workers and Nigerians from the monumental hardship.

“The grace period given by the two labour centres has expired but trade unions continue to face severe threat from the State via the brutal and suppressive power of the Police and Government.

“The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) continues to be illegally occupied by the Government via the instrumentality of the police who have cloned the leadership of NURTW.

“The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) continues to be illegally occupied by the Lagos State government in total disregard to the Courts and the statutes.

“That the State has continued to blackmail and sponsor serious campaigns of calumny against trade union leaders in the social media using its buying and coercive powers instead of making efforts to lift the burden on the masses,” the NLC President stated.

When Osifo got hold of the microphone, he said, consequently, the NLC and TUC NEC-in-Session resolved as follows: “to, in the spirit of the Independence Day celebration and to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation

“To embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, the 3rd day of October, 2023. To direct all workers in Nigeria to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.

“To direct all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing accordingly for action to organize street protests and rallies until Government responds positively to our demands.

“We enjoin all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation to assist this government put the people back at the centre of its policies and programmes.”

Daily Post

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Nigerians Will Be Shocked If Chicago Varsity Releases Tinubu’s Academic Records – Obaseki

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and member of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) in the last election, Dr Don Pedro Obaseki, has said Nigerians will be shocked if the Chicago State University (CSU) releases the academic records of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

Obaseki who was the Director of Research and Documentation of PDP – PCC in the 2023 election explained that Atiku is seeking an open disclosure of Tinubu’s CSU documents because it is believed that the Supreme Court of Nigeria may be compelled to listen to fresh evidence in the petitions already submitted to it.

Speaking during a zoom conference hosted by Prof. Gold Emmanuel, a psychologist based in London, on Monday, Obaseki said it was because of the nature of the issue and the need for Nigerians to know that the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is insisting on the full disclosure of President Tinubu’s academic records by the Chicago State University.

He said even though President Tinubu has said the public disclosure of his CSU documents would cause irreparable damage to him, “Nigerians would even be more shocked to know more about the certificate in question.”

He said, “Even when the court of first instance and the appellate court have convicted someone to death minutes before the Supreme Court gives its final judgement and there arose fresh and compelling facts and evidence, the apex court is bound to listen to the fresh facts before making its final judgement.

Daily Trust

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