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1. Boko Haram Suspect Regains Freedom After Four Years In Custody. The Federal High Court in Abuja, has discharged a Boko Haram suspect, Usman Abubakar, who was arraigned alongside six others on terrorism charges.
Abubakar, the 6th defendant, was allegedly involved in the abduction of seven foreigners from a construction site in Bauchi, who were taken to Sambisa Forest, in Borno, where they were murdered in February 2013.
He was charged alongside Mohammed Usman (a.k.a Khalid Al-Barnawi), Mohammed Bashir Saleh, Umar Mohammed Bello (a.k.a Abu Azzan), Mohammed Salisu (a.k.a Datti), Yakubu Nuhu (a.k.a Bello Maishayi) and a lady, Halima Haliru. They were arraigned on an 11-count bordering on abduction and murder of their victims.
At the resumed trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, informed the court of the development, which was filed on June 5, saying that the prosecution has nothing against the 6th defendant.
Labaran said that among other features in the amended information is the “striking out’’ of Usman Abubakar as a defendant, in line with the information filed on Feb. 23, 2017.
The prosecution added two other defendants- Mohammed Sani and Abubakar Habib.
They are to be arraigned, bringing the number of defendants to eight.
Labaran prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him to produce the two new defendants for arraignment.
The discharged defendant’s counsel, Mr K. Abdulkarim urged the court to speed up his discharge processes.
The judge, Justice John Tsoho, in a short ruling, struck out the name of the 6th defendant, who has spent four years in custody.
Tsoho adjourned the matter until June 19 for the two defendants to take their plea
2. Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Ikoyi’s $43.4m, £27,800, N23.2m To FG
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the permanent forfeiture to the Federal Government of the sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 recovered from No. 16, Osborne Road, Flat 7B Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The funds had been stashed in iron cabinets and “Ghana-must-go” bags in the apartment before they were discovered and recovered on April 11, 2017 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following intelligence information.
The anti-graft agency had earlier on April 13, 2017 obtained an interim court order temporarily forfeiting the funds to the Federal Government.
Justice Muslim Hassan, who granted the interim order, had given 14 days for anyone interested in the funds to appear before him to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
But on May 5, 2017 when the matter came up, no one came before the judge to claim the money.
However, a private legal practitioner, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, appeared before the judge, with an application, urging the judge to suspend the final forfeiture proceedings pending when a three-man panel constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in relation to the funds would submit its report.
3. INEC Fixes Date For Adeleke’s Replacement
The Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) has fixed July 8 for Osun-West Senatorial District by-election to elect a new senator for the constituency after the sudden death of Sen. Isiaka Adeleke.
In a notice by Administrative Secretary, INEC, Osun, Mr E.A Ademusire, in Osogbo on Monday, conduct of parties’ primaries would commence on Tuesday through June 14 while the election would hold on July 8.
The notice stated that bye-election was scheduled “consequent upon the position of the enabling status that bye-elections to fill the declared vacant seat by the National Assembly be conducted within 30 days upon the declaration.
“Take note that by the directives of the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission’s by-election for Osun West Senatorial seat will hold on Saturday, July 8, 2017
4. Femi Fani-Kayode’s Money Laundering Trial Stalled
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday adjourned the trial of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, until July 7, due to his counsel’s ill health.
The court on April 25 adjourned the matter for cross examination after the testimony of the first prosecution witness, Victor Ehiabhi.
At the resumed hearing, the defence counsel, Abubakar Yusuf, who stood in for Ahmed Raji, informed the court that the defence would not be able to cross examine the witness due to Mr. Raji’s absence.
Mr. Yusuf said that Mr. Raji was currently receiving treatment abroad and the prosecution had been informed of the development.
The prosecuting counsel, Johnson Ojogbane, who did not oppose the application for an adjournment, urged the court to make sure the defence cross examined the witness on the next adjourned date.
After listening to both counsel, Justice John Tsoho adjourned the matter until July 7 for the cross examination of the first prosecution witness and continuation of trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Fani-Kayode was arraigned by EFCC before Justice Tsoho, on a fresh five-count charge bordering on money laundering.
The ex-aviation minister was accused of allegedly collecting N26 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, and using same for media campaign.
Mr. Fani-Kayode is also facing another 17-count charge of money laundering before the Lagos division of the court.