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Anti Corruption Group May Sue Adoke, Asks NBA to Sanction Legal Team

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Mr. Olanrewaju Suraj Chairman, HEDA Resource Centre

Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group insisted on Sunday that former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) should retract his position on the fraud associated with OPL 245 or be sued in the law court.

In the petition titled “Defamation of Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju and HEDA Resource Centre” the group said Adoke in collaboration with some lawyers is resorting to blackmail in order to subvert the lingering investigations of graft associated with OPL 245. HEDA gave Adoke and his lawyer 2 weeks to retract the statement of be taken to court in the UK.

HEDA said Adoke and his legal team are exploiting the “fragile state and weak political environment” to launder a string of campaigns to redeem the image of key actors in the series of financial misdeeds linked to the OPL 245 deal

Signed by HEDA’s Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said Adoke’s “campaigners” wrongly accused HEDA of forging evidence (in the form of an email, a screenshot of which was reproduced in the article) that had been admitted as evidence by the Milan Court in the trial of Shell, Eni and other defendants on charges of international corruption relating to the OPL 245 transaction of 2011.

“This is a case of a legal team deliberately distorting facts already accepted globally without blemish. It is unprofessional to describe as forged a document tendered and accepted as a.legal document by international law courts just to create a safe passage for suspects.”

Adoke’ statement had alleged that HEDA and his Chairman are “leading the Nigerian axis of the failed campaign to criminalise and defame Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN” and it accused “campaigners” of forgery.

Oboro in his letter had stated “In our client’s view, the poor work of forgery exhibited in the email admitted by the court, is not the first. This is the second time the desperate campaigners are forging “evidence” against our client.”

Suraju said the role of HEDA Resource Centre as one of the parties responsible for the petition that led to the OPL 245-related investigations and prosecution in Nigeria is widely known in Nigeria and across the world.

HEDA said the accusation that it forged the email in question or any other evidence submitted to the courts in Milan or elsewhere is entirely untrue and highly defamatory.

HEDA said the email came to light after it was disclosed by JP Morgan Chase to Nigeria as a result of proceedings in the High Court in London where the FRN is currently suing the bank for damages relating to its handling of funds arising from Shell and Eni’s acquisition in 2011 of the OPL 245 oil field in Nigeria.

In its claim, Nigeria stated that an email had been sent by Adoke on 21 June 2011 to Bayo Osolake, employee at JP Morgan Chase, from the email address “agroupproperties@yahoo.com” and that copies of the Resolution Agreements for the OPL 245 deal were attached to the email.
HEDA noted that the Nigerian authorities further stated in court documents that the email address was associated with “the A Group of Nigerian companies controlled by Mr Abubakar Aliyu”, a Group Construction, which is part of the network, subsequently received some of the OPL 245 funds which were transferred by JP Morgan to a company named Malabu Oil & Gas.

“Having become aware of the email, which was believed to be relevant to the prosecution in Milan of Royal Dutch Shell, Eni Spa and others, our partners, acting in the public interest, informed the Milan Prosecutor of the FRN’s statements to the High Court in London. The Milan Prosecutor issued a European Investigation Order (Ref:54772/13) to the UK, seeking the email from JP Morgan. The UK authorities complied with the request and obtained the email, which was subsequently transmitted by the UK authorities to the Milan Prosecutor,” HEDA noted.

The anti-corruption group said on January 20 this year the Milan Prosecutor sought permission in open court from the Milan Tribunal to have the email accepted as evidence adding that the official court transcript records that the Prosecutor detailed the procedure through which the email had been obtained from JP Morgan by the UK authorities.

According to HEDA, the Milan Tribunal subsequently accepted the email as evidence in the trial and the Prosecutor presented it to the court on 3 February 2021. HEDA said the email was obtained by the Milan Prosecutor through a government-to-government request from Italy to the United Kingdom and that the documentation is now part of the public record that the email was obtained from JP Morgan by the UK Serious Fraud Office and transmitted directly to the Milan Prosecutor.

Neither the HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju nor any other “campaigners” were involved at any stage in the chain of custody, the group said warning that the accusation without evidence, is libellous.

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JUDICIARY

NBA condemns attack on Delta court by thugs

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The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA , Warri Branch has condemned the attack on the Delta State High Court 4 by thugs in Warri South Local Government Area.

The NBA in a statement signed by its Chairman, Emmanuel .O. Uti and Mr. Joseph A Omonoseh, Secretary respectively expressed shock and sadness over the unprovoked attack and invasion by the thugs.

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The NBA noted that the act led to the disruption of court proceedings in a suit challenging the succession to the stool of the Olu of Warri Kingdom which was ongoing peacefully.

The NBA said the hoodlums who were armed with dangerous weapons, chased away judicial staff, litigants, lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN who was representing one of the parties and disrupted the proceedings.

The NBA condemned the act describing it as despicable and a desecration of the hallowed temple of Justice.

“The NBA Warri branch condemns in totality this unprovoked attack and barbaric behaviour by the hoodlums/thugs and therefore calls on the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State and the Director of State Security Services to immediately set up a team of investigators to unmask the perpetrators of this reprehensible act.

“We also call on Security Operatives to immediately set in motion measures to nip in the bud this ugly trend by providing adequate security in and around the Court premises in Delta State to prevent a reoccurrence of this ugly trend.

 

“We advise the players in the ongoing succession tussle to sheath their swords and allow peace and the law to take its full course as we cannot afford to see our peaceful and loving Warri Kingdom engulfed by the flames of crisis.”

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Police In Kaduna Warns Protesters Against Violating Due Process

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Kaduna State Commission of Police Umar Muri has warned all Interest Groups who want to protest in the state to consider following due process and avoid incessant high blockade, stressing that violators will be treated according to the extant statutory laws of the land.

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In a statement by the command’s public relations officer ASP Muhammad Jalige said the command acknowledged the flight of various communities affected by banditry and kidnapping

” The Command is using this medium to state that it is becoming very worrisome to the Command and other sister security agencies, the incessant blockade of the State’s connecting highways by various interest groups in the name of protest without vobserving due process,”NLC Sues For Security Agencies Intervention On El-Rufa’i’s Fresh Threat

” The Command is not unmindful of the security challenges faced by various communities in the State that is occasioned by risen cases of armed banditry and kidnapping which the top management and government are doing everything possible to restore normalcy to the affected areas. It is therefore necessary to be in the same page with all stakeholders and affected communities to ensure that the enemies of the State are defeated rather than working unilaterally by opposing one another, since particular challenges cannot be adequately tackled by creating additional challenge.” The statement stated,

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The statement said the Command is however, perturbed with the recent activities of some communities engaging in protest and the untoward blocking of highways with its attendant troubles for innocent commuters. emphasizing that such trend will not be tolerated and the acts will be viewed seriously according to extant laws of the land.

It added that the Command is working round the clock to ensure that normalcy is restored and would not fold it hands to be distracted in as much as protest cannot be seen as the solution to the current situation.

” The Command is therefore advising all interest groups and communities to always go through appropriate channel with their grievances as the Command’s door is always open to complaints and other security related issues from all quarters whereas insecurity is localized and the best approach to tackling it is by Police community engagement.

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Ensure Decorum, Civility in Your Engagement with Road Users, NUJ Urges Traffic Enforcement Agencies

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano State Council has urged officials of Traffic police, KAROTA, Federal Road Safety Corp to ensure decorum and civility in their engagement with road users.

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This was contained in a Communique jointly signed by Council Chairman Comrade Abbas Ibrahim and Secretary Comrade Abba Murtala respectively and issued to journalists at the end of Council’s periodic congress held at the press center kano

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In the congress the union also called on security agencies to intensify efforts in bringing to an end the lingering problems of phone snatching and other criminality.

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The congress enjoined relevant state government agencies to take necessary action against individuals and organizations involved in hiking prices of food items, calling on related authorities to redouble efforts in the fight against the sales of expired, sub-standard and poisonous food/beverages in the state.

The congress advised farmers to focus their attention on food crops production as against that of cash crops production with a view to ensuring availability of food.

The NUJ appreciates the state government for redeploying professional teachers to public schools, calling on the government to pay more attention to schools in the rural areas.

The congress called on the Kano emirate council to intervene by stopping the unnecessary horse riding (KILISA) that constitute threat to the society.

The congress also appealed to members of pen pushing profession to always work within the boundaries of the profession for better service delivery.

In the communique the congress condoles with Maryam Yakasai over the death of her mother.

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