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BREAKING: Court revokes Orji Kalu’s bail

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A Court has revoked the bail granted ex-Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, for failure to appear for proceedings, News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Hearing in the trial of Kalu for an alleged fraud of N7.65bn was stalled last Monday due to the absence of the ex-governor from court.

Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), told Justice Mohammed Idris at the Federal High Court in Lagos that his client was away in Germany for a surgical operation.

He added that the ex-governor had been advised by his doctors to remain in Germany for some time to recuperate.

The defence counsel said counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was aware of the development and urged Justice Idris to further adjourn the case.

But the EFCC prosecutor, Jacobs, said he was surprised at Kalu’s absence from court, adding that he did not know if or when the ex-governor obtained the court’s permission to travel out.

Jacobs noted that having submitted his passport to the court as part of his bail conditions, Kalu must always apply to the court for the passport whenever he wished to travel.

Describing the ex-governor’s absence from court as an attempt to frustrate the case, Jacobs urged Justice Idris to interpret Kalu’s absence to mean that he had jumped bail.

“I am not aware when the 1st defendant wanted to travel. We only got to know that the 1st defendant travelled abroad for medical treatment through his media aide, one Kunle Oyewunmi.

“Things must be done in accordance with the law. In my own view, what happened is that the 1st defendant has jumped bail. This is an attempt to further frustrate this trial because no application was made to the court to travel.

“I urge Your Lordship to treat the absence of the 1st defendant as that he has jumped bail,” Jacobs said.

Responding, however, the defence counsel urged Justice Idris to discountenance Jacob’s argument, saying as of when Kalu travelled out, the court had adjourned the case sine die (indefinitely).

Ruling on the lawyers’ submissions, Justice Idris noted that it was true that the matter was adjourned sine die on September 27, 2018 but Kalu was on November 2 served with a hearing notice that the case had been scheduled for Monday.

The judge also noted that the court received a mail confirming Kalu’s treatment arrangement, but he said the defence counsel failed to attach any medical report to guide the court as to Kalu’s post-surgery treatment.

Justice Idris said in the circumstance, he would, in the interest of justice, adjourn the case for the last time, stressing that Kalu must return from Germany within seven days and appear before the court.

The judge ruled, “I have always stated that every citizen of this country is entitled to and has the right to seek medical treatment abroad. This right is guaranteed by the constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an inalienable right.

“However, this right has exceptions; therefore, in exercising this right due regard must be had for the law and due process.

“Apart from the mail confirming the treatment arrangement of the 1st defendant, the defence counsel should have obtained a medical report on the condition of the 1st defendant post-surgery. This would have properly guided the court in the proceedings of today.

“However, in the light of the entirety of this case and in the interest of justice, I am prepared to grant to the 1st defendant a final adjournment in respect of this matter.

“In the light of the provisions of the ACJA, I shall not adjourn for more than seven days from today. It is, therefore, hereby directed that the 1st defendant shall return to the country within seven days from today’s date for the hearing of this matter.”

The matter was adjourned till Monday, November 12, 2018 for continuation of trial; but as Kalu failed to appear, his bail was revoked. – NAN.

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Tribunal sack: Dino Melaye reacts, says no cause for alarm

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The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, Dino Melaye, has reacted to the nullification of his victory in the March 22 election and ordering of a fresh election by the Kogi West National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Lokoja on Friday.

Melaye, in a statememt, said the judgment is a miscarriage of justice and therefore, no cause of alarm.

The PDP chieftain further said that his legal team was already studying the judgement, adding that he would appeal it.

He said he was confident that the Appeal Court would upturn the judgement of the lower tribunal.

According to him, the judgement was full of importation of information that was alien to the case.

Melaye said, “I, however, commend the courage and moral strength of the chairman of the tribunal for resisting evil and standing on the part of justice?”

“I have confidence in the Appeal Court to right the wrongs as contained in the pronouncements of the judgement.”

He added, “I also want to tell those jubilating that their jubilation will be short-lived while appealing to my teeming supporters to remain calm as their mandate is safe and secure and cannot be taken through any mischievous means.

“However, our legal team is already working on appealing the judgment and I assure all that justice will prevail.”

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BREAKING: Tribunal sacks Dino Melaye as Kogi west senator

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The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has quashed the victory of Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West Senatorial district.

Melaye (PDP) was declared winner in the February election by INEC but Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC) approached the tribunal, challenging INEC declaration on three grounds of irregularities, over voting and non compliance with the electoral acts.

The three man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke in a unanimous judgment on Friday accepted Adeyemi’s ground and order for reelection into the senatorial axis.

…More details shortly

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Sylva assumes duty as minister of state for petroleum …As NNPC, others welcome him

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The newly appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has assumed duties with a pledge to reposition and chart a way forward for the Nigerian petroleum sector.

A press release Wednesday by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said Chief Sylva pledged to work with the experts at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the other departments and agencies under the Ministry to move the sector forward.

In a welcome ceremony for Chief Sylva at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, the new Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who was accompanied by his wife, Alanyingi Sylva, stated that with the calibre of workforce in the Ministry, he was sure that the nation’s oil and gas sector would move to the next level.

Chief Sylva, who is a former Governor of Bayelsa State brings on the job several years of cognate experience in the petroleum sector.

The new Minister of State contributed profoundly to the institution of the Amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region which, over time, has led to restoration of peace in the oil producing areas of Nigeria.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, reassured Chief Sylva of the readiness of all members of staff in the Ministry to support him to succeed in the onerous task of transforming the Nigerian oil and gas sector for the good of all stakeholders.

On hand to welcome the Minister at the brief ceremony were the Group Managing director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari; Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Training Development Fund (PTDF), Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau; and the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi, amongst others.

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