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Court Orders Arrest of Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly

Source: huhuonline.com
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A Lagos High Court this morning ordered the arrest of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and one of his aides, Oyebode Atoyebi, for failing to appear to defend charges against him by the Economic and Financial

 Crimes  Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency, through its counsel, Chief Godwin Obla, had filed a 39-count charge against him, which was later reduced to 20.

He was supposed to appear in court this morning to answer to the allegation of financial recklessness and misappropriation levelled against him by the agency, which investigated him weeks ago.

Huhuonline.com http://Huhuonline.com/ learnt that after he was contacted yesterday to appear in court, he summoned his confidants among the lawmakers and informed them of his predicaments. It was also decided at the meeting that all efforts should be made to enable him appear on Monday rather than today so that he would not be made to remain in detention for long.

But the case was different when it came up at the court this morning and neither he nor his lawyer was represented. The EFCC counsel then urged the court to order a bench warrant against him and his aide.

He argued that the Speaker was contacted before today, but that he refused to come saying he would prefer to appear in court today.

The trial judge, Justice J. Tosho, while adjourning the case till January 17, 2012, ordered a bench warrant to be issued against Ikuforiji and his aide.

The news of the court decision against him has thrown the Assembly into confusion with the lawmakers not knowing what next to do. Ikuforiji was not also seen at the Assembly complex when Huhuonline.com visited the place.

Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the EFCC of acting unprofessionally and sensationalizing the anti-corruption fight by seeking to ambush and embarrass the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, over the fraud allegation against him.

   In a statement issued in Osogbo, Osun State, on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the EFCC had already invited the media to cover a planned arraignment of the Speaker on Friday, even when he and his lawyers have not been informed of the arraignment.

   It said if the EFCC had followed the normal procedure, it would have either served the Speaker summon or informed his lawyers of the plan.

'Instead, they phoned the Speaker late on Thursday that they wanted him to report to their office to shed more light on their investigations, to which he responded that he was sitting till late and would honour the invitation on Friday.

'Unknown to the Speaker, the EFCC had perfected the plan to arrest and detain him if he had reported to their office on Thursday, and then transport him in a Black Maria to court Friday morning for arraignment.

Even though the Speaker and his lawyers were kept in the dark, the EFCC had gone ahead to invite the media to cover the arraignment.

'This is not how to fight corruption. It is mere sensationalism, the type that has opened the EFCC to charges of playing to the gallery and of portraying suspects as guilty even when they have not been tried and convicted,' ACN said.

The party said the Speaker, being a law abiding citizen from a party that strongly believes in the rule of law, will definitely be available at the next adjourned date.

It warned the EFCC to adhere strictly to the laid-down procedures and respect the rights of citizens in carrying out its anti-corruption battle, especially because no one can be adjudged guilty until he has been so pronounced by a court of law.

A Lagos High Court this morning ordered the arrest of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and one of his aides, Oyebode Atoyebi, for failing to appear to defend charges against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency, through its counsel, Chief Godwin Obla, had filed a 39-count charge against him, which as later reduced to 20, according to EFCC sources.

He was supposed to appear in court this morning to answer to the allegation of financial recklessness and misappropriation levelled against him by the agency, which investigated him weeks ago.

Huhuonline.com learnt that after he was contacted yesterday to appear in court, he summoned his confidants among the lawmakers and informed them of his predicaments. It was also decided at the meeting that all efforts should be made to enable him appear on Monday rather than today so that he would not be made to remain in detention for long.

But the case was different when it came up at the court this morning and neither he nor his lawyer was represented. The EFCC counsel then urged the court to order a bench warrant against him and his aide.

He argued that the Speaker was contacted before today, but that he refused to come saying he would prefer to appear in court today.

The trial judge, Justice J. Tosho, while adjourning the case till January 17, 2012, ordered a bench warrant to be issued against Ikuforiji and his aide.

The news of the court decision against him has thrown the Assembly into confusion with the lawmakers not knowing what next to do. Ikuforiji was not also seen at the Assembly complex when Huhuonline.com visited the place.

Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the EFCC of acting unprofessionally and sensationalizing the anti-corruption fight by seeking to ambush and embarrass the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, over the fraud allegation against him.

In a statement issued in Osogbo, Osun State, on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the EFCC had already invited the media to cover a planned arraignment of the Speaker on Friday, even when he and his lawyers have not been informed of the arraignment.

It said if the EFCC had followed the normal procedure, it would have either served the Speaker summon or informed his lawyers of the plan.

'Instead, they phoned the Speaker late on Thursday that they wanted him to report to their office to shed more light on their investigations, to which he responded that he was sitting till late and would honour the invitation on Friday.

'Unknown to the Speaker, the EFCC had perfected the plan to arrest and detain him if he had reported to their office on Thursday, and then transport him in a Black Maria to court Friday morning for arraignment.

Even though the Speaker and his lawyers were kept in the dark, the EFCC had gone ahead to invite the media to cover the arraignment.

'This is not how to fight corruption. It is mere sensationalism, the type that has opened the EFCC to charges of playing to the gallery and of portraying suspects as guilty even when they have not been tried and convicted,' ACN said.

The party said the Speaker, being a law abiding citizen from a party that strongly believes in the rule of law, will definitely be available at the next adjourned date.

It warned the EFCC to adhere strictly to the laid-down procedures and respect the rights of citizens in carrying out its anti-corruption battle, especially because no one can be adjudged guilty until he has been so pronounced by a court of law.