$1.3bn Malabu oil deal: Reps may have resolved to invite Jonathan; Lagos court orders FG to name officials who returned looted funds; Presidency disowns Osinbajo over remarks on nominees’ Senate confirmation; Lagos court to hear Evans’ case against police July 13 . . .
The House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee investigating the OPL 245 Malabu oil deal may have resolved to invite ex-President Goodluck Jonathan over the alleged diversion of $1.3 billion in the infamous Malabu oil deal. The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Rasak Atunwa, disclosed news of the resolve to invite Jonathan while interacting with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
The House committee is investigating the alleged corruption, malpractices and the breach of due process in the award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL, 245). Hon. Atunwa said: Jonathan was the President at the material time . . . Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy.” “A UK court judgment . . . castigated the Jonathan administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria . . . The Attorney General of the Federation . . . Mohammed Bello Adoke . . . pleaded that all his actions were as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan . . . the committee has taken a decision that he must give evidence . . . he may desire to send us a written submission, and we consider every written submission. We take it one step at a time.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the federal government to immediately release to Nigerians information on the names of high ranking public officials from whom looted public funds have been recovered and the circumstances under which the funds were recovered, as well as the exact amount of funds recovered from each public official.
Reacting to the ruling, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the federal government would comply with the judgment of the court by publishing the names of public officials who have returned looted funds to the treasury.
The Presidency may have disowned statements reportedly made by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, that certain presidential nominees do not need to be confirmed by the Senate. The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) said at no time did the Federal Executive Council (FEC) take a position or decide on the confirmation matter with the Senate.
The Senate had on Tuesday resolved to stop all confirmation hearings for nominees forwarded by Osinbajo until the question over its power to confirm appointees is resolved. Mr. Malami addressed State House correspondents after Wednesday’s FEC meeting which was presided over by Osinbajo.
Mr. Malami said: “The fundamental consideration about the alleged statement (by Osinnajo) is the fact that at no point ever did the Federal Executive Council sit down to arrive at the decision in one way or the other as far as the issue of nomination or otherwise is concerned. So, I do not think it constitutes an issue for the Federal Executive Council to make any clarification about because it has never been considered by the FEC.” The endorsement by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo of the continuous stay of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC acting chairman was not a collective decision, Mr. Malami said on Wednesday. The implication of Mr.Malami’s statement is that the Acting President’s statement is his personal opinion.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed July 13 for hearing in a N300 million fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by suspected billionaire kidnap kingpin and ex-armed robber, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a. Evans, against the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Evans Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, filed the suit last week urging the court to order the Nigerian Police to charge him to court or release him immediately if there is any case against him in accordance with sections 35 (1) (c) (3) (4) (5) (a) (b) and 36 of the constitution.
A source at the court’s registry said, “The case was assigned to Justice Kuewumi. But due to its nature, the judge felt it would be better handled by a vacation judge. He felt it would not be ideal to adjourn it for hearing until after the long vacation in September. So, it was the judge who gave parties the July 13 date to appear before the vacation judge after studying the file.”
There had been prior media reports that Evans had dissociated himself from the fundamental rights enforcement suit, saying that at no time did he authorize any lawyer to sue on his behalf. He reportedly said that some people were out to put him in more trouble with the police than he is already in.