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Appeal Court Orders FCMB To Deposit N540M Awarded To Prophet Omale Accused Of Laundering Money For Magu, In Chief Registrar’s Account Within 48 Hours



The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to pay N540 million in damages over the defamation of Prophet Emmanuel Omale and his wife, Deborah, into an interest-yielding bank account of the Chief Registrar of the court.

The three-man panel of the appellate court in its unanimous ruling read by a Justice of the Court of Appeal (JCA), Justice Muhammed Shuaibu, further directed FCMB to deposit the said N540 million in the Court Registrar’s account within 48 hours.

The Court of Appeal gave the order on Thursday, February 1, 2024, while the Certified True Copy of its Enrolled Order dated February 2, 2024, was obtained on Sunday, February 4, 2024.

The appellate court gave the directive while granting a conditional stay of execution on the payment of the said N540 million in damages, pending the determination of the FCMB’s appeal in the matter.

The FCMB had appealed against the judgement of Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja, asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the verdict of the lower court on the payment of N540 million in damages.

The FCMB is further asking the appellate court to stay the execution of the lower court’s judgment and restrain the Omales from taking steps to enforce the judgment in their favour.

Having listened to the arguments of the parties, the Court of Appeal directed in its enrolled order as follows:

“The application is granted as prayed in terms of the 1st prayer in the Appellant’s motion filed on 3/11/2022.

“Consequently, conditional stay of execution of the judgment is hereby granted to the Appellant. The condition being that the judgment sum shall be deposited into an interest yielding bank account of the Court to be opened by the Chief Registrar of this Court within 48 hours of the grant of this Order.

“Appeal is adjourned to a date to be communicated to Counsel by the Registry.”

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the FCT High Court, the FCMB through his lead lawyer, Dr Wale Olawoyin (SAN), filed a Notice of Appeal dated October 5, 2022 against the final judgment.

In the Notice of Appeal, the FCMB raised constitutional and other weighty legal issues, saying that it would be highly prejudiced by any step(s) to execute or enforce the final judgment as the action would render nugatory its appeal before the appellate court.

According to the FCMB, “there is a real and high risk that it would suffer irreparable damage in the event that its application is refused and the appeal is successful”.

Opposing the FCMB’s motion for a stay of execution of the lower court’s judgment, the Omales, through their lawyers, Chief Goddy Uche (SAN) and Kanayo Okafor, argued that the bank’s application was brought in utmost bad faith to merely frustrate and delay without any justification, the enjoyment of the fruits of the judgment in their favours.

The Omales argued: “That the judgment Appellant/Applicant’s appeal has little or no chance of success in the light of the admissions and apologies and tacit acceptance of its negligence in this matter.

“That in the alternative, we concede to a conditional stay of execution, for the Appellant/Applicant to deposit the judgment sum within 48 hours into an interest-yielding bank account to be opened by the Chief Registrar of this Honourable Court, in any other commercial bank, except the judgment/debtor.”


Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court on October 4, 2022, ordered the FCMB to pay N540.5 million in damages to Prophet Omale of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry and his wife, Deborah, over false claim that they laundered N573 million for the former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), AIG Ibrahim Magu (rtd).

In his judgment over the suit by Omale and other claimants against the FCMB, Justice Halilu held that the bank breached its “duty of care to the claimants,” the Omales and their church.

The judgment was on the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV2541/2020 filed by Omale, his wife and the church.

The judge held that the evidence before the court showed that the bank admitted error in its report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of entries in the account of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry which was accused of laundering money on Magu’s behalf.

Justice Halilu further held that the bank claimed that the purported N573 million was wrongly reflected as a credit entry in the church’s account by its reporting system, which it recently upgraded.

The judge also held that FCMB admitted the error, which brought incalculable damage to the reputation of the claimants both within and outside Nigeria – depleting their church’s membership.

Justice Halilu said the claimants provided sufficient evidence to establish a case of negligence against FCMB.

Consequently, the judge awarded N200 million as aggravated damages; N140.5 million as specific damages and N200 million as general damages.

During the investigation of Magu by a Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020, it was alleged that an investigation by the NFIU revealed that Magu, who is now retired from the police, paid N573 million into Omale’s church’s account.

It further alleged that the funds were used to purchase property for him in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Magu was also facing a barrage of similar allegations from a presidential investigative panel led by a former President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Ayo Salami.

It is instructive to note that former President Muhammadu Buhari refused to release the report of any of the panels to enable the public to have first-hand information about Magu’s alleged culpability or otherwise in the charge and many others levelled against him.

The Salami-led panel, which conducted its months-long hearing in secrecy, was suspected to have been influenced by the former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to get Magu out of office over a crisis of confidence and wide differences they shared on diverse issues.

Magu, who was suspended as Acting Chairman of the EFCC in the wake of the probe by Salami’s panel, was never recalled or held accountable for any infraction after the panel submitted its report to Buhari.

A report by another panel is titled, ‘Final Report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020.’ The panel was said to be headed by Abdullahi Ibrahim, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

It claimed that Magu, through a pastor named Omale, had been laundering public funds to foreign countries.

“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573, 228,040.41,” the report claimed.

The report further delved into other allegations against Magu including- failing to cooperate with foreign authorities over probe on former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, and circulation of disproportionate figures on recovered loot.

The report also accused Magu of allegedly failing to properly account for a recovered N551 billion by the EFCC while he was its acting chairman.

The report featured prominently in the course of the defamation hearing filed by the Omales to clear their names.

News and Report

NASRE Advises FG On Food Crisis, Forex Shortage Amid Calls To Suspend Import Ban





As Nigeria finds itself at a critical crossroads, grappling with simultaneous challenges of a food crisis and a foreign exchange (forex) shortage.


This is even as the nation seeks solutions to mitigate these pressing issues, the debate over whether to open its borders for importation has intensified.


The food crisis gripping Nigeria has raised concerns about food security and access to essential nutrition for millions of citizens.


Adverse weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, and other factors have contributed to dwindling food supplies and soaring prices, placing a significant strain on households and exacerbating the vulnerability of already marginalized communities.


Meanwhile, the forex shortage has hampered Nigeria’s ability to import essential goods and raw materials, further exacerbating supply chain disruptions and exacerbating inflationary pressures.


Industries reliant on imported inputs, including agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, have been particularly hard hit, impeding economic growth and development.


In response to these challenges, some stakeholders advocate for opening Nigeria’s borders to facilitate the importation of food and other essential commodities.


Proponents argue that increased importation could help alleviate immediate food shortages, stabilize prices, and provide relief to vulnerable populations facing hunger and malnutrition.


However, others caution against the potential risks of opening borders amid a forex shortage. Critics raise concerns about the impact on domestic production and self-sufficiency, as well as the long-term consequences of relying heavily on imported goods. They emphasize the need to prioritize investments in domestic agriculture and infrastructure to build resilience against future crises.


As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the government faces the daunting task of balancing short-term relief efforts with long-term strategies for sustainable development and economic resilience.


Proffering suggestion on how the government can address the unending inflationary pressures, Forex shortages, food prices hike and revitalise the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors (NASRE), has advised the Nigerian government to adopt collaborative efforts involving policymakers, industry stakeholders, civil society organizations, and international partners to identify holistic solutions that address both immediate needs and underlying structural challenges.


On the debate over whether Nigeria should open its borders for importation amid the food crisis and forex shortage, the President of the advocacy group, Mr Femi Oyewale, underscores the urgency of coordinated action and innovative thinking.


According to him, now more than ever, solidarity, cooperation, and forward-thinking policies are needed to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all Nigerians.


“The question of whether Nigerian borders should be opened for food importation in the face of a food crisis is complex and multifaceted. However, there are factors to consider, which basically, Domestic Agricultural Capacity. Because opening borders for food importation could undermine domestic agricultural production by flooding the market with cheaper imported goods.


“However, if domestic production is insufficient to meet demand, importing food may be necessary to avoid shortages,” he said.


On the economic implications of borders opening, the President of NASRE, Oyewale, said: “Importing food can have economic ramifications, both positive and negative. On one hand, it can provide access to a wider variety of foods and potentially lower prices for consumers. On the other hand, it may negatively impact local farmers and exacerbate trade imbalances.”


The resourceful editors, while commenting on Food Security, pointed out that relying heavily on imported food leaves a country vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations in the global market. Therefore, it urged the federal government to develop a robust domestic agricultural sector, which is crucial for long-term food security.


According to Oyewale, the Nigerian government must consider its broader economic and agricultural policies when making decisions about food importation. This includes evaluating subsidies, tariffs, and investment in agricultural infrastructure.


“Importing food often involves long-distance transportation, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Promoting local production can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with food consumption.


“Food is not just a commodity; it is essential for human well-being. Government policies should prioritize ensuring access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all citizens, particularly those most vulnerable to food insecurity,” he added.


The Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors, NASRE, therefore, noted that the decision to open Nigerian borders for food importation during a food crisis should be approached cautiously, taking into account the country’s domestic agricultural capacity, economic implications, food security goals, environmental concerns, and social welfare considerations.


“A balanced approach that supports both domestic production and responsible trade practices may be necessary to address immediate food shortages while also promoting long-term food security and sustainability,” the Association stated.

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News and Report

Lagos State Government to prosecute 11 suspects for extortion




The Lagos State Government said 11 suspects arrested at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state will be prosecuted to serve as deterrents to others extorting residents and motorists in the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Olawale Musa, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the suspects parade themselves as enforcement officers to extort unsuspecting motorists and residents in the state.

Musa said, “Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for extortion of unsuspecting residents, especially motorists, by miscreants parading themselves as enforcement officers at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state.

“We have announced severally that nobody is allowed to collect money for the local government on the street of Lagos, and the government has set up a team to ensure that anybody that does that is picked up and from that Lekki axis.

“They will be charged to court to explain themselves, and I want to sound a note of warning to others that do the same thing that we will not relent; the government is all out for them.”

He noted that it is unlawful for any local government area within the state to place personnel to conduct such operations on the highways.

“If you have any issues, you call us, and we will come and address them, but when you have people coming on the road on the guise that you want to have revenue at this hard time, collecting money from motorists on the road is not fair, and it is illegal in Lagos State to resist it.

“It is illegal for any local government area in the state to deploy people on the roads as it negates the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, Section 18, 2018, which empowers only the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to carry out such operations on the roads,” he added.

In March 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Lagos State Government arrested four suspected hoodlums in some parts of the state over extortion.

The suspects were arrested in the Amuwo-Odofin area of the state while attempting to extort motorists.


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News and Report

N10bn fraud: EFCC to arraign Abdulfattah Ahmed, ex-Kwara Governor Friday




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will arraign the immediate-past governor of Kwara State, Abdulfattah Ahmed, for alleged N10bn fraud on Friday, The PUNCH has learnt.

Credible sources in the anti-graft agency said the ex-governor would be dragged before the Federal High Court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

“He is going to be arraigned on Friday at the Federal High Court in Ilorin for diversion of funds, amounting to N10bn,” the source told our correspondent.

The ex-governor has been detained by the EFCC since Monday when he honoured an invitation for interrogation.

His Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji AbdulWahab Oba, confirmed his principal’s visit to the EFCC office on Monday, stating that it was only “procedural and routine”.

“Dr Ahmed’s visit to the EFCC is procedural and routine. He was invited and he honoured them as he’s always done. He’s always ready to respond to any query or question regarding his tenure as a governor of the state.”

On Tuesday night, Oba lamented that the EFCC was still holding on to Ahmed, saying he was given stringent bail conditions.

“Yes, he is still with the EFCC and we are now in a dilemma over the issue because they keep changing the goalpost during the match. The case is taking a new dimension, which we don’t really understand for now.

“Initially they said they wanted him to produce two sureties who are federal directors. The sureties came and were asked to provide landed properties in Abuja. We see this as a contradiction. The case was initially handled by the EFCC office in Abuja before it was transferred to Ilorin over the issue of jurisdiction. Additionally, he has been denied access to his doctors, medication and direct access to his cook,” Oba said.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest to the EFCC zonal office in Ilorin, where Ahmed was being detained.

The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions, expressed displeasure over Ahmed’s detention.

Led by the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olusegun Adewara, the party members alleged that the All Progressives Congress in the state was behind Ahmed’s troubles.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: “EFCC should stop being a tool in the hands of Abdulrazaq led-APC”, “Governor Ahmed was very transparent”, “EFCC is not a department in the APC, EFCC, stop the harassment”, “The opposition cannot be silenced”, “Maigida will not join the APC no matter the persecution”, “EFCC, don’t instigate political crisis in Kwara State”, “No to illegal detention. Respect the rule of law”, among others.

But addressing the protesters, the zonal commander of the EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, said Ahmed had been given an administration bail but he could not meet the conditions.

“We’re wrapping up. Once we wrap up, the law will take its course. The anti-graft agency, being a creation of law, would not go contrary to law.

“Everything we’ve done is within the ambit of the law. The former governor is cooperating with us and we’re making good progress following rules of law. As I speak, he’s with his lawyer, a SAN; he attends to everyone who comes to see him, and he has a doctor who has attended to him. He eats what he wants to eat. I urge us to allow the law take its course. We’re not partisan nor prompted by anybody. This body is solely sponsored by the Federal Government,” Nzekwe said.


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