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FG suit against 36 govs over LG funds begins

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The Federal Government has approached the Supreme Court with a suit seeking to compel governors of the 36 states of the federation to grant full autonomy to the local governments in their domains.

The suit, marked SC/CV/343/2024, was filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), on behalf of the Federal Government.

The Federal Government is urging the apex court to issue “an order prohibiting state governors from unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government leaders for local governments.”

In the suit predicted on 27 grounds, the Federal Government accused the state governors of gross misconduct and abuse of power.

The FG, in the originating summons, prayed the Supreme Court to make an order expressly stating that funds standing to the credit of local governments from the Federation Account should be paid directly to the local governments rather than through the state governments.

The justice minister also prayed for “an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the Federation Account for the benefits of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states.”

The Federal Government further sought “an order stopping governors from constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the Constitutionally recognised and guaranteed democratically system.”

The originating summons was backed by a 13-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Kelechi Ohaeri of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Ohaeri, in the affidavit, averred that the AGF instituted the suit against the governors under the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on behalf of the Federal Government.

He said,“The Constitution of Nigeria recognises federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and the three recognised tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the Federation Account created by the Constitution.

“By the provisions of the Constitution, there must be a democratically elected local government system and the Constitution has not made provisions for any other systems of governance at the local government level other than a democratically elected local government system.

“In the face of the clear provisions of the Constitution, the governors have failed and refused to put in place a democratically elected local government system even where no state of emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of democratic institutions in the state.

“The failure of the governors to put democratically elected local government system in place is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

“All efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system has not yielded any result and to continue to disburse funds from the Federation Account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local government is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 Constitution.

“In the face of the violations of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal Government is not obligated under Section 162 of the Constitution to pay any state, funds standing to the credit of local governments where no democratically elected local government is in place.”

The AGF, therefore, urged the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that the state governors and state Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure a democratic system at the third tier of government in Nigeria and to also invoke the same sections to hold that the governors cannot lawfully dissolve democratically elected local government councils.

Furthermore, he urged to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the Constitution to declare that “the dissolution of democratically elected local government councils by the governors or anyone using the state powers derivable from laws enacted by the state Houses of Assembly or any Executive Order is unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.”

The apex court has fixed Thursday, May 30 for hearing.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees hailed the move by the Federal Government, saying it would join the lawsuit as a concerned party.

 

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Lagos Lawyer Gboyega Adetunji Delves Into Agriculture, Floats Abundish; A Revolutionary Farm-To-Table Outfit

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Barrister Gboyega Adetunji, a Lagos-based renowned legal practitioner, has ventured into agriculture with the launch of Abundish, a revolutionary farm-to-table service aimed at transforming how Nigerians access fresh, high-quality, and healthy farm produce.

 

Abundish is committed to offtake directly from farmers and supply to consumers promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and ensuring fair market value for produce.

 

The innovative platform offers a subscription-based model, allowing customers to customize their experience and receive curated selections of fresh, seasonal produce delivered conveniently to their homes.

 

“I’m thrilled to embark on this new journey, combining my passion for sustainable living and community development,” said Barrister Adetunji, Founder and CEO of Abundish.

 

“Our goal is to empower farmers, support local economies, and provide healthy, fresh produce to consumers while reducing food wastage and promoting sustainable practices.”

 

“Abundish is more than just a bridge,” says Barr. Gboyega Adetunji.

 

“We are a movement bringing fresh, high-quality produce whether cash or food crops directly from the farm to the end consumer, cutting out unhygienic produce, reducing landing costs of produce, and the convenience of doorstep delivery it affords our customers. This does not only benefits our customers, but also supports sustainable agricultural practices, grows the naira and local economies, and also empowers the farmers who nourish our communities.

 

Reacting to what inspires his diversification, Barr. Gboyega said “I’d always wanted to have my little farm that can cater for at least 80% of my consumption, but then I realized how impactful it would be if this practice could be extended to others, hence the creation of the Abundish brand”

 

When asked what sets Abundish apart from its counterparts, Barr. Gboyega said, “Abundish offers a unique subscription model, allowing customers to customize their experience and receive a curated selection of the freshest seasonal produce delivered conveniently to their homes. By bypassing traditional distribution channels, Abundish reduces food waste, ensures peak freshness for consumers and the amount of time doing tedious work of purchase and clean up”.

 

“Abundish offer fresh farm produce at fair market value, championing food security with sustainable practices” he added.

 

At Abundish, we are not just passionate about delivering farm-fresh produce, we are committed to creating a positive impact on our world. That is why we operate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, striving for a more sustainable, equitable, and food-secure future.

 

Join The Abundish Movement, visit www.abundish.info to learn more about Abundish, and subscribe to receive the freshest produce delivered at your convenience.

 

Follow Abundish on social media platforms for behind-the-scene farm footage, exclusive offers, recipes, and our social impact initiatives.

 

X (Twitter) – @abundish

 

Instagram – _@abundish

 

Facebook – Abundish

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US-based Nigerian Jailed 41 Months For Operating Illegal Money Transmitting Business; Funds Wired To Lagos Bank

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A Nigerian man based in the United States Oluwafemi Osinowo has been sentenced to 41 months in a federal prison after he was convicted of operating an illegal money transmitting business.

 

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. in a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Louisiana on Monday, announced that Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick also sentenced Osinowo, 35, of Miami, Florida, to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.

 

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, from December 2016 to January 2019, Osinowo operated an unlicensed money transmitting business.

 

He confessed that he conducted foreign currency exchange business without complying with required federal registration requirements.

During the course of operating the business, money was transmitted from third parties from the Middle District of Louisiana and elsewhere to bank accounts located in Miami, Florida.

 

Once the money was in the bank accounts in Miami, Florida, an individual acting as an agent of Osinowo’s business wired the money to a bank in Lagos, Nigeria. Those wire transfers included approximately 51 separate transmissions in the aggregate total of approximately $722,177.

 

 

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‘Stolen’ $6.2m: What Emefiele Told Us In Kuje Prison – Investigators

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One of the investigators handling the case of $6,230,000 allegedly stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 8, 2023, has revealed what Godwin Emefiele, immediate past governor of the apex bank, told them at Kuje prison.

The former CBN governor, who is standing trial on an alleged 20-count amended charge, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was once remanded at Kuje prison.

He was alleged to have engaged in criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence when he served as central bank chief.

In an affidavit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja, one of the investigators, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, gave details of investigators’ findings and progress made so far.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police was quoted to have said: “We visited Kuje Correctional Centre, where we interviewed Godwin Emefiele, who purportedly approved the memos authorising the payment, as then CBN gov and he denied seeing, talk less of approving such memos.

“We also arrested some concerned staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who denied any involvement in the crime, before we finally arrested Bashirudeen Maishanu, who corroborated the account of Abdulmajeed Muhammad and further confessed to have been involved in the crime which, according to him was perpetrated by himself and the first to third defendants/respondents – Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme.

“Bashiru Maishanu further confessed that himself, the first and second defendants/respondents (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) shared the sum of $2,500,000.00 from the stolen money, while the third defendant/respondent (Odoh Eric Ocheme), being a fellow staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, kept the balance of $3,730,000.00 claiming that he had other interests to settle in the CBN.

“Bashirudeen Maishanu further confessed that both himself, and the first and second defendants/respondents jointly invested the United States dollars equivalent of the sum of N1, 440,000,000.00 into real estate business of Afrolyk Global Ltd.

“The Managing Director of the said Afrolyk Ltd, Aminu Lawal has been arrested and he confirmed the investment by Bashirudeen Maishanu, Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar, and already refunded the sum of $200 000 00 to the Special Investigator’s team as part of the money he (Aminu Lawal) received as part of the purported investment.

“Cash of about $400,000 00 has also been voluntarily returned by Bashiru Maishanu from part of his remaining share of the money in question. The money (the $6,230,000) was received in cash from the Central Bank at Nigeria and also shared in the same cash by the defendants/respondents and others, making it difficult to trace the monies without arresting the defendants/respondents.

“It was later revealed that the third defendant – Odoh Eric Ocheme – was the Personal Assistant to Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor while the first and second defendants (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) are businessmen and associates of Bashirudeen Maishanu.”

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