Amotekun: Falana’s U-turn vindicates FG — Malami



The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the U-turn made by legal icon, Mr Femi Falana, justified Federal Government’s stance that the establishment of the operation of “Amotekun” was illegal.

A statement issued on Thursday by Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations, reiterated that Nigeria’s constitution does not accommodate formation of regional security architecture.

Falana, human rights lawyer who earlier asked the governors to ignore Malami, had asked Southwest governors to enact laws on Amotekun.

“By asking state governments of the Southwestern Nigeria to “proceed to enact the necessary laws”, in justifying the legality of the establishment and operation of Amotekun, Falana is reaffirming federal government’s stance that the establishment of the operation currently is illegal.

“No amount of effort to hide the truth will work. People can be carried away by sentimental or emotional inclinations, but truth remains apparently palpable.

“The bottom line is that the current Nigerian constitution do not accommodate formation of regional security architecture. This is a fact which is undisputable and undeniable,’’ Gwandu said.

He further said: “Falana is prevaricating and circumlocuting using evasive techniques when he was asked by the media to justify the presence of lacuna within the law which can establish or protect the concept of regionalism in any operation in the country.

“He was unable to supply answer to the question and failed to cite relevant laws that back the argument.

“It is interesting that no matter the situation, truth prevails. This arrangement called Amotekun is not backed by any law neither at the state nor at the federal government level.

“Amotekun, therefore, remains unconstitutional and illegal as already indicated.

“The federal government appreciates that legally minded Nigerians have started to eschew emotions by offering legal comments on the matter as against being carried away by other inclinations.

“The office of the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice is committed to the rule of law and a constitutional democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he added.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi




Death sentence: Kano Judiciary submit case details to Falana



Kano State Judiciary says it has submitted certified copies of the Sharia Court judgment to the Human Right activist, Mr Femi Falana, to enable him to appeal the judgment that sentenced Yahaya Aminu to death by hanging for blasphemy.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the development came less than seven days to the expiration of the 30-day grace the court granted the convict to appeal the judgment.

Mr Babajibo Ibrahim, the Spokesman of the Judiciary, spoke with NAN on Thursday in Kano about the development.

Ibrahim said that certified copies of the judgment were presented to the Falana’s representative on Wednesday in Kano.

He explained that the Kano State Judiciary received an application by the human right activist, requesting details of the Sharia Court judgment, to enable him appeal the judgment.

“The judiciary received a request from Mr Femi Falana’s representative on Tuesday and certified copies of the judgment were made available to him on Wednesday,’’ he said.

It will be recalled that a Sharia Court in Kano on Aug. 10, sentenced the 30-year-old Yahaya Aminu to death by hanging after his conviction of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, on Aug. 27, indicated his readiness to sign the death warrant, if the convict failed to appeal the judgment at the expiration of the 30-day grace.

Also, Ahmad Magaji, Controller, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) in Kano State, confirmed that the convict was in custody. 

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Salami Panel: I didn’t procure witnesses against anybody – Malami




by Ebere Agozie

Abuja, Agu. 20, 2020 The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that he did not procure witnesses to testify against anybody before the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel.

The panel is probing the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.

Malami, in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, his media aide on Monday in Abuja, said he was not saddled with any responsibility to procure witnesses for the panel, nor did he conspire to witch-hunt anybody.

He said the attention of the office of the minister was drawn to `a flimsy allegation’ made by one Victor Giwa, Esq alleging that he connived with one Mr Donald Wokoma to witch-hunt him for refusing to testify against Magu before the Justice Salami-led panel.

He, however, dismissed the allegation as `fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief makers as Malami never discussed such an issue with the said Giwa.

“The Honourable Attorney-General never met Giwa and has never discussed any issue with the so-called Donald Wokoma nor did he ask anybody, personally or by proxy, to engage the so-called Victor to testify against Magu.

“He did not set up the investigation panel to probe Magu and is not saddled with any responsibility to procure witness(es) for the panel.”

He added that the Attorney-General was never a member of the panel, nor does not fall within the realm of the AGF’s authority to invite witness(es) for a presidential probe panel.

“The claim by Victor Giwa, Esq is therefore fictitious, unfounded and a figment of the imagination of mischief makers who want to court unnecessary attention and tarnish the good image of the Minister”

“They are also laboring ceaselessly, these days, to falsely cast aspersions on the AGF’s hard-earned reputation.

“The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation hereby calls on the so-called Victor Giwa to come and substantiate his allegations with details of the following:

“When did Victor Giwa meet the AGF on the issue? Where did he meet the AGF on the issue? How was the meeting? Was it by proxy? Or did the AGF send a representative?.

“ In what capacity was the representative, if any, sent? What were the terms of their engagement? What was the claimed `offer’? How was the so-called offer to testify against Magu made? Who were the witnesses?”, the statement read.

Giwa had in a statement on Sunday, alleged that it was Malami who instigated his arrest and that of one Fatima Hassan, after they refused to implicate Magu in evidence they gave before the Justice Salami-led panel last week.



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Oil & Gas

AKK gas: Stakeholders want early delivery



Stakeholders in the Nigerian economy have asked the Federal Government to ensure early delivery of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK), gas pipeline project for its economic importance.

They made the call at a Webinar on Economic and Investment opportunities of the AKK gas pipeline project, organised by Valuechain Magazine.

The stakeholders were mainly drawn from the petroleum industry, academia, organised private sector and regulatory agencies.

They urged the government to expedite the realisation of the full AKK project scope in order to provide the critical infrastructure for industrialisation.

They agreed that the project was a potent strategy for rapid industrial development and economic diversification agenda.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 2.8 billion dollars gas pipeline project is a 40-inch x 614km pipeline that would originate from Ajaokuta, in Kogi and traverse Abuja (FCT), Niger, Kaduna and terminate in Kano.

The project, projected to be completed in 24 months, is expected to inject 2.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day to the domestic market.

The Rector of the Kaduna Polytechnic, Prof. Idris Bugaje, said “AKK should be completed in 18 months in order to pave way for activation of the second phase of the Trans-Nigeria gas pipeline

“The pipeline (Trans Nigeria) would run from Eastern Niger Delta through South-East and Middle Belt to North-East.”

He added that speedy delivery of the project would compensate for its late conceptualisation.

He said that the AKK pipeline was coming 25 years late after numerous textile, manufacturing, and agricultural enterprises in the Northern parts of the country collapsed under costly, unstable and inefficient industrial fuel.

He also traced the collapse and relocation of industries from Northern Nigeria to Lagos to the rising rate of banditry and insurgency in the region.

Baguje also added that the social crisis in the Northern part of the country was as result of worsening business environment and consequent surge in the number of unemployed youth.

He noted that withering of industries, Boko Haram insurgency and growing banditry could be efficiently addressed by restoring industrial vibrancy in the region.

He also noted that the military campaigns against insurgency had remained costly and ineffective because of the failure to adopt economic measures in the prevailing counter-insurgency efforts.

He listed investment opportunities surrounding the AKK pipeline to include businesses in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), petrochemicals, fertiliser plants, as well as captive and embedded power production.

He, however, warned against regulations that would limit power producers to the national power transmission grid currently managed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which, according to him, has proved inefficient and commercially unviable.

In his remarks, Mr Seyi Omotowa, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a unit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), gave the assurance that the project would be realised in good time.

He added that a presidential inter-agency project management team was working with other stakeholders to overcome all failure factors.

He said that the AKK pipeline was an NNPC project while the project loan was hedged against the corporation’s revenue, with government providing the required sovereign guarantee.

He said the funding model, quality and pedigree of contractors, structures for transparence and accountability, as well as improved security would enable the AKK project management team to overcome foreseeable challenges and deliver the project promptly.

Omotowa noted that the economic values of the pipeline was huge adding that it was part of the national gas infrastructure blueprint designed to deepen the domestic, regional and continental market for Nigerian gas.

Also, Mr Umar Gwandu, the Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Regulation, said that challenges of cost and security which could encumber early delivery of the project would be addressed by the commercial nature of the pipeline operations upon completion.

He noted that the target was to ensure that domestic utilisation of gas could ride on the overall infrastructure blueprint that involved the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS), West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), the AKK pipeline and eventual Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline.

He reiterated the role AKK pipeline could play in rehabilitating moribund industries in Northern Nigeria.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Stamp Duty: FG to support states to recover backlog



The Federal Government is ready to support to the 36 states to recover the backlog of stamp duties and generate more revenue for the country.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN assured of the support in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in Abuja on Tuesday.

Malami during the virtual meeting with the States Attorney-Generals and the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue and the Members of the Joint Task Board called for the support and cooperation of the Attorney-Generals of the 36 states and the Joint Tax Board on the proposed audit and recovery of backlog of stamp duties from Jan. 15, 2016 to June 30, 2020.

The Minister cited Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act which states that `all duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summarily manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State”.

He noted that by Paragraph 7, Item B of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution and Section 4(2) of Stamp Duty Act, the State Governments are empowered to collect stamp duties in respect of transactions between individuals residing in their respective States.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the federal government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Audit and Recovery of backlogs of stamp duties.

The Committee, Chaired by the Malami, was inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha on June 30.

Membership of the Committee are drawn from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Inland Revenue Serves.

The Stamp Duties were originally captured in the Stamp Duties Act 1939 (Ordinance 41 of the 1939) and amended by numerous Acts and various resolutions and contained in the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Recently, the Finance Act 2019 amendment to the Stamp Duties Act, particularly Section 52 to 56 clearly defined the responsibilities for the administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria and jurisdiction of participating taxing authorizes, as well as explained that the Federal Inland Revenue is the competent tax authority to administer, assess, collect, and account for stamp duty in the country.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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