Emmanuel Onwubiko: When Courts, CBN are politicised

In any nation in the twenty-first century and beyond and even long before the evolution of the current century, the institutions of the courts of law and the central bank are technically and legally immune and freed from the stranglehold of political interferences.

Beginning from the ancient scholarship of philosophy when the earliest fathers of philosophy formulated thematic issues for critical thinkers to resolve, the place of justice which is the derivative of the adjudication of court systems, is elevated to a higher pedestal same as ethical virtues.

Classical scholars say that philosophical discussion of justice begins with Plato, who treats the topic in a variety of dialogues, most substantially in Republic. There Plato offers the first sustained discussion of the nature of justice (dikaiosune) and its relation to happiness, as a departure from three alternatives receiving varying degrees of attention.

Aristotle, that wrote, does not see the virtue of justice in quite the comprehensive sense Plato does; he treats it as a virtue of character (in the entirety of one of the ten books of the Nicomachean Ethics, also common to the Eudemian Ethics), and as a virtue of constitutions and political arrangements (in Politics).

Accordingly, the scholars affirmed that the question naturally arises as to the relation between these forms of justice.

They then argued that one of the foremost fathers of ancient philosophy Aristotle seems to think they are closely related, without being synonymous applications of the same concept.

“As the latter is a conception of political justice, we will focus here on the former. Justice as a personal virtue follows Aristotle’s model for virtues of character, in which the virtue lies as an intermediate or mean between vices of excess and defect (Nicomachean Ethics V).”

While he grants that there is a “general” sense of justice in which justice is coincident with complete virtue, there is a “particular” sense in which it is concerned with not overreaching (pleonexia). It is not clear, however, exactly how Aristotle understands this arrangement, or the nature of the vices of excess and defect which this “particular” justice is to counteract. One very plausible reading has it that justice is opposed to a desire for maldistribution of “goods of fortune” such as money, fame, or honor (Williams 1980; Curzer 1995). On another it is opposed to an insufficient attention to others’ rights (Foot 1988, p. 9). On still another it focuses on the goods of others, or common goods (O’Connor 1988; Miller 1995).

Coming down to our local jurisdiction in Nigeria, the duo of professor EE. Uvieghare and justice B. A. Adejumo, the retired president of National Industrial Court, did a paper in 2007 and commentary to the paper on the theme of “the role of the judiciary in industrial harmony,” and from what I can decipher, these erudite legal minds pointed out the pivotal place of the courts in the dispensation of justice and fairness.

The Professorial presenter of the main paper aforementioned states as follows: “Is it axiomatic that the judiciary has a role to play in industrial harmony? 1f it has a role, what is the extent of such a role? What role is the judiciary playing to foster or even to ensure industrial harmony? 1 believe the answer to these question Is in emphatic yes. There can be no denying that. Therefore to give needed focus to the topic I would re-phrase the title thus- In what way or ways may the Judiciary play its role in fostering and ensuring industrial harmony?”

The Professor then states: “I will begin to answer this question by making two bold but time- honoured assertions-first, law, which the Judiciary administers has always had a vital role to place in establishing and maintaining a stable and harmonious society be it the large community or the smaller industrial community of employers and employees or indeed, any other community.”

But the laws must themselves be just. There is a clear distinction between unjust administration of law and an unjust law, he asserted.

“Hence the second assertion that even a just law can only succeed depending on how it is administered by the Judiciary. A party who goes to the court should believe that the laws are fairly administered. He must rest assured that his case will be listened to with care and not be in fear that he would be adjudged wrong because of political or other improper influence. When a judge or court has to decide between claims the only rational ground for treating the parties differently would be that their claims differ in some way that is relevant to the distinction to be made. This the court cannot know until it has considered their claims impartially. In other words evidence, including relevant law, must be evaluated and shown to justify a decision”.

The Professorial paper presenter aforementioned says too that: “A party expects to receive a fair hearing in court. It is the strict impartiality with which any matter is heard and considered that constitutes the foundation upon which the whole of any judicial system should rest. A strong and impartial Judiciary is essential in any country which desires to lay a claim to be recognized as a civilized community. But respect for any legal System can only come about when there is a reasonable certainty that it will be administered impartially and without any influence by bribery or corruption. If things are otherwise the result could be disastrous. The legal system would be held in contempt which may lead to chaos and disharmony.”

The paper presenter then lucidly affirmed that to avoid disquiet it must always be borne in mind as E. F. Carritt said- Equality of

Consideration is the only thing to the whole of which men have a right. (Ethical and political thinking (1947) at p. 156.

For purposes of thematic emphasis these are the judicial power of the federation and how they ought to exercised fairly and equitably as enshrined in all of section 6 but I will simply repeat the core segments of that section which says that the courts of competent jurisdiction should exercise the judicial powers of the Federation and that fairness, equity must be maintained as stated in section 36(5) of the Constitution on FAIR HEARING.

Then let us look at the roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria so we then establish that both the Central bank of Nigeria and the Court system in Nigeria have been substantially hijacked by the Executive arm of government which also imposed lackeys as leaders of the National Assembly meaning that Nigeria is running a full dictatorship at the moments especially if we consider the deliberate and orchestrated attacks at perceived promoters of the #ENDSARS PROTESTS in Nigeria.

And so we ask, what is the mandate of the CBN? The mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is derived from the 1958 Act of Parliament, as amended in 1991, 1993,1997,1998,1999 and 2007.

The CBN Act of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria charges the Bank with the overall control and administration of the monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government.

The objects of the CBN are as follows:

1. ensure monetary and price stability;

2. issue legal tender currency in Nigeria;

3. maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency;

4. promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and

5. act as Banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

Consequently, the Bank is charged with the responsibility of administering the Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Act (1991) as amended, with the sole aim of ensuring high standards of banking practice and financial stability through its surveillance activities, as well as the promotion of an efficient payment system.

In addition to its core functions, CBN has over the years performed some major developmental functions, focussed on all the key sectors of the Nigerian economy (financial, agricultural and industrial sectors). Overall, these mandates are carried out by the Bank through its various departments.

Of late, the central Bank of Nigeria have left the arena of Professionalism to dabble into the arena of the absurd and the political by using the worst side of Nigerian Justice system to secure the confiscation of the finances of Nigerian Citizens only because they exercised their constitutional guaranteed human rights enshrined in chapter four of the constitution by taking part in civil and peaceful protests against police brutality.

The courts in Nigeria have also deviated from the path of justice, equity and equality of rights by permitting the CBN to become an agent of human rights violations.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had gone through the backdoors through ex parte motion to obtain a court order freezing the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters till January 2021.

The irregular order was pursuant to a motion ex parte filed by the CBN before a Federal High Court.

The certified true copy of the order obtained by an online medium, Peoples Gazette, showed that the CBN had applied for the restriction of the 20 accounts on October 20, which was several days after it had already ordered commercial banks to freeze the accounts.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020 listed the defendants as Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye and Adegoke Emmanuel.

Others are Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon and Idunu Williams.

The banks where the accounts are domiciled include Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

The lawyers representing the CBN were led by a former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

Justice A.R. Mohammed ordered that the accounts should be frozen for the next 90 days subject to renewal. This is the height of injustice and show of shame on the part of the CBN and the Court remote-controlled by President Muhammadu Buhari in a shameful Trinity of TYRANNY.

It was, however, observed that the judge did not order that the defendants be served with any court process, thereby leaving them unaware of the restriction on their accounts.

The Nigeria Immigration Service had, on Sunday, prevented one of such persons, Modupe Odele aka Mochievous, from leaving the country and seized her passport.

The Rivers State medical coordinator of the #EndSARS protest, Bassey Israel, had also told a newspaper read by this writer before putting these thoughts down that his account was frozen and threatened to sue the bank.

Media report say that five #EndSARS protesters were, on Friday, arraigned before the Chief Magistrates’ Court, Wuse, Abuja, by the police for unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy, inciting public disturbance and public nuisance.

The youths were apprehended at the National Assembly gate where they staged a peaceful protest for the reform of the police.

They also scrawled ‘ENDSARS’ in bright red on the road during their rally.

The group had also staged a protest at the police headquarters and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, last Sunday, where they were dispersed by aviation security operatives.

A senior officer at the Federal Capital Territory Police Command confirmed that five protesters arrested during the demonstration were immediately arraigned and remanded.

The FCT police spokesperson, ASP Mariam Yusuf, was not available for comment.

Earlier, men of the Nigeria Police Force had on Friday, attacked #EndSARS protesters led by the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, at the National Assembly gate.

Sowore took to his Facebook page to express disapproval of the “illegal arrest” of the protesters.

He stated, “After our #EndSARS Graffiti action at the National Assembly today, we headed to the Magistrates’ Court in the Wuse area of Abuja where some of our colleagues were arraigned after unlawful arrests were carried out by the Nigeria Police.

“The court activities were scripted; it was unbelievable! The magistrate denied our comrades bail using the case of Asari Dokubo as a justification. We were all shocked but not surprised. They were eventually led away to prison! Just another sad day and the reason we must keep fighting to liberate ourselves. #RevolutionNow.”

Meanwhile, a group called the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has condemned the alleged use of live ammunition on protesting youths and the arrest of five demonstrators in Abuja.

The group, in a statement by its Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, titled ‘RULAAC condemns the use of live bullets on peaceful protesters in Abuja,’ said the actions of the security agents showed that no lessons had been learnt. As can be deciphered from all the dramatic scenarios above, Nigeria is effectively in a totalitarian regime.

This same central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian courts has for ten years failed to trace the funders of the Boko haram terrorism in Nigeria which only took the court in the united Arab Emirates few hours to so discover.

An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has convicted six Nigerians over alleged funding of Boko Haram.

The conviction was upheld by the appellate court after they lost an earlier appeal at a lower court.

Media reported on Monday that Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The rest, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, got ten-year imprisonment each.

Court documents show that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were allegedly involved in cash transfers totalling $782,000.00 to Boko Haram.

The act was contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.

National Security Bureau said investigation of the Nigerians “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram”.

They were arrested between April 16 and 17, 2017, and their homes searched according to the search warrant issued by the National Security Prosecution office dated April 16, 2017.

Abubakar and Adamu were charged for joining Boko Haram knowingly.

This negates Article 22/2 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017 punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Alhassan, Musa, Yusuf and Isa were charged with assisting the sect knowingly.

The crime, under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, is punishable by life imprisonment or at least five years in jail.

Most of the transactions were facilitated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria. One of them is “Alhaji Sa’idu”.

The other “Alhaji Ashiru” was described as “a Nigerian government official”.

He also reportedly funnelled misappropriated public funds to terrorists.

Sa’idu’s modus operandi is using unidentified Arab persons on a visit to Dubai from Turkey to hand over US Dollars to one of the convicts, who then remit Naira equivalent to the agent.

Families of the convicts say they were “framed up”, insisting their bureau de change business in the UAE was legitimate

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.


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