Tinubu had written to the Tribunal that his Heroine business crimes in United Stated is over thirty years old and should not be used to sack him as a president.
According to President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, in their final response to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), stated why their electoral victory should not be voided on the basis of a 1993 United States District Court judgment that ordered Tinubu to forfeit $460,000 suspected to be proceeds of drug trafficking.
Their legal team led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, contended that the said drug forfeiture order was issued 30 years ago (1993) and that Section 137 (1) (e) of the 1999 Constitution states that a conviction has expired after 10 years.
The submissions were contained in the final written address of Tinubu and Shettima legal teams.
The address was in reaction to part of the petition of the presidential candidate of the Labour party, Mr Peter Obi, who told the PEPC to declare that Tinubu was at the time of the presidential election on February 25, not qualified to contest the polls or any other election in Nigeria as of result of the forfeiture order.
Obi’s legal team led by Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, had maintained that Tinubu was fined in the United States over alleged narcotics trafficking which amounts to a criminal offence in Nigeria.
They also brought a witness to testify in that regard while submitting the said judgment as exhibits before the court.
“The Petitioners further plead that the Tinubu was also at the time of the election not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000.00 (Four-Hundred and Sixty Thousand United States Dollars) for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United.
States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483 between:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. Plaintiff FUNDS IN ACCOUNT 263226700 HELD BY
FIRST HERITAGE BANK, IN THE NAME OF
BOLA TINUBU,” Obi’s lawyers stated in their petition.
The petition is slated for adoption of written address at a later date before the court fixes the date for judgment.
TINUBU/SHETTIMA’S FINAL ADDRESS ON US COURT JUDGEMENT
Meanwhile, Tinubu’s lawyers raised objection to the judgment cited by Obi, adding that even if it was a criminal conviction, the laws of Nigeria have rendered it ineffective because the development took place in 1993, 30 years ago.
“In addition to the foregoing, and assuming without ever conceding that Exhibit PBF1 (US Court Judgment) is remotely connected with criminal forfeiture, section 137 (1) (e) of the Constitution gives an
expiration period of a maximum of 10 years for the subsistence of that conviction and sentence,after which the convict could contest an election to the office of President of Nigeria, ” Olanipekun stated.
Olanipekun added that even though the said section of the 1999 constitution talks of conviction and sentence, a situation which is graver and more potent than a purported civil forfeiture in a foreign land, “has become effluxed by virtue of the constitutional provision”.
Continuing, Olanipekun stated that Obi’s witnesses was unable to point to a single mention of the word “fine” in any of the documents forming part of the US.
proceedings tendered as Exhibit.
Tinubu’s team argued that the said judgment had not been registered in Nigeria in line with the clear provisions of Section 3 of the Reciprocal Enforcement of
Foreign Judgments Ordinance and Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act.
“Upon registration, it becomes a Nigerian judgment by virtue of the order for registration, and can then be enforced, relied upon, or put in use,” Olanipekun contended.
Olanipekun further argued that the judgment should not be relied upon in Nigeria because Obi’s witnesses could not provide any “certificate purporting to be given under the hand of a police officer” from the US “containing a copy of the sentence or order and the finger prints of the [Tinubu] or photographs of the finger prints of the [said 2nd respondent], together with evidence that the finger prints of the person so convicted are those of the [2nd respondent].”
He added, “These are the strict prescriptions under section 249 of the Evidence Act, for the proof of previous conviction of a person outside the Nigerian jurisdiction”.
Olanipekun further told the court that since there was no arraignment, charge or sentencing of Tinubu, the US judgment resulted from civil proceedings.
The learned silk maintained that without prejudice to the submissions of Obi and his witnesses, the court should classify the 30-year-old US Judgment as
Non-Conviction Based Forfeiture (NCBF), “that is, a forfeiture not associated with criminal conviction or sentencing.”
“Article 54(1) (C) of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption states: “Each State Party, in order to provide mutual legal assistance.
pursuant to article 55 of this Convention with respect to property acquired through or involved in the commission of an offence established in accordance with this Convention, shall, in accordance with its domestic law…(c) Consider taking such measures as may be necessary to allow confiscation of such property without a criminal conviction in cases in which the offender cannot be prosecuted,” he stated.
Olanipekun submitted that the said judgment not being criminal in nature, should not amount to a conviction under section 137 of the 199 Constitution.
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”