We are indeed saddened by the recent arrest, humiliation and the trumped-up criminal charges brought against fiery Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He is a known critics of successive governments in Nigeria and has never faltered in fighting the cause of the oppressed and the common man. He speaks truth to power.
This latest devilish onslaught on the human rights community is an attempt to gag our hard earned democracy, frustrate the cause of justice and firmly entrench dictatorship in our land. We are not unaware that aside Adegboruwa's legal representation to defend some Nigerians being victimized by this oppressive government, his arrest was a tactical demonic game to prevent him from leading a mass action against the latest insensitive fuel price increase.
It has not come to us as a surprise that an intolerable government will be on the prowl of those who will necessarily stand up against this arbitrary increase in the pump prices of petroleum, thereby inflicting more pain and hardships on Nigerians. The arrest of Adegboruwa is a calculated attempt to silent critics and create fear in the minds of Nigerians, that an intolerable sheriff is in town.
As democracy sinks deeper in just one year of this administration, we wish to remind Nigerians that the way of a dictator is like a wildfire in harmattan that will spare no one in the end. As this government and it oppressive agents bare their fangs, suppressing rule of law and undermining democracy, we will not hesitate to tell them that their antics will fail and tyranny will not last. We have been on this rough path before and we triumphed as a people. We will also prevail this time around.
We stand by the statement of Adegboruwa and company that: "There is no way a criminal case can be maintained against Mr. Adegboruwa as the criminal case upon which the case (by the EFCC) is based has been dismissed (in a competent court). Mr. Adegboruwa did not collect money for any property but acted as a mediator for settlement and he acted upon the lawful instructions of his client."
We also wish to alert the international community of this wicked assault on Adegboruwa. They plan to break his spirit and cow him, but they will never succeed. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa is gradually becoming the conscience of our nation fighting the unjust manipulation of the system against the people and the downtrodden. For us, an injury to Adegboruwa is an injury to democracy and the human rights community. It will not last.
To those keeping quiet in the face of oppression and injustice, we wish to remind you that it is not about those who started the race, but those who finish it, and in the eternal words of Frantz Fanon: "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." We warn that in a fascist regime, everyone will at a point becomes a victim of state manipulations and terror. Time will tell.
Ariyo-Dare Atoye is a Co-Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) firstname.lastname@example.org
Attached is a statement from Adegboruwa & company copied from his Facebook wall.
ADEGBORUWA HAS NO FRAUD CASE
In or around May 2013, our law firm was approached by one Mrs. Sylvia Udeagbala, to represent her husband in a criminal case. In our first appearance in court, it transpired that the complainant in the case, Chief Leonard Okafor and the Defendant, Mr. Jonathan Udeagbala, were from the same town. It was thus decided to settle the case amicably out of court, and the court and the prosecutor were so informed.
THE TRUE FACTS
Mr. Jonathan Udeagbala owns a 5 bedroom duplex in Nicon Town Estate in the Lekki area of Lagos. He had a business agreement with Chief Leonard Okafor, for telecommunications. The business didn’t go as planned, so Chief Okafor demanded a refund of his investments, which caused Mr. Udeagbala to issue several cheques, which were alleged to have bounced, hence a criminal charge was filed against him in court, in Charge No. LCD/129/2012.
Upon the intervention of our law firm, several peace meetings were held with the complainant in the case, Chief Okafor, and it was agreed that Mr. Udeagbala’s house in Nicon Town should be sold or leased to offset the money outstanding in favour of Chief Okafor. Mrs. Udeagbala then secured a tenant, Shelf Drilling Co Ltd, for a five year long lease of about Eleven Million Naira per annum. This was disclosed to Chief Okafor and it was agreed by the parties that the proceed of the lease be used to offset part of the money being claimed by Chief Okafor, as follows:
1. Chief Okafor – N35million
2. Mr. Udeagbala – N12million
3. Renovation of the house by the contractor chosen by the tenant – N8million
4. Fee paid to the agent – N2.5million
5. Legal fee paid to our office – N2.5million
The above sums were by agreement of all the parties duly disbursed, with documentary evidence of collection. When EFCC got to know that the said property had been let out to Shelf Drilling for five years at the rate of N10million per annum, they told Shelf Drilling that the earlier money paid had been forfeited. EFCC then asked Shelf Drilling to pay N12million per annum. A sum of N24million has so far been collected by EFCC. In fact, we are informed that as at yesterday, 10th May, 2016, EFCC served the tenant another invoice for rent for 2016.
Part of the terms of settlement was that Chief Okafor will withdraw his petition and criminal complaint to the EFCC which he did through a letter of withdrawal written by his lawyers Atuegwu Egwuatu & Associates dated 19th August, 2013, and which was received by the EFCC on 17th September, 2013.
Consequent upon the withdrawal, the criminal charge was dismissed by the High Court on 17th December, 2015, in a well considered ruling delivered by Hon. Justice D.O. Oluwayemi and the EFCC is aware of this.
At all material times, our law firm was not aware of any interim order of attachment obtained by the EFCC on the property. With the ruling of Hon. Justice D.O. Oluwayemi which has dismissed the main criminal charge, there can be no subsisting order of attachment as something cannot be placed on nothing and be expected to stand.
The above transaction took place ever before the Gen. Buhari administration. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa Esq., has been receiving unofficial complaints from the EFCC, about his opposition to the Buhari administration and has ever been threatened with the above dead case. But the threats became more rampant upon his brief in the case of Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) and especially Mr. Azibaola Robert, cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan. On May 4, 2016, our firm appeared in Tompolo’s case at the Federal High Court, Lagos and May 4, 2016, our firm filed a suit in court, for the release of Jonathan’s cousin. On May 5, 2016, EFCC filed a case against Mr. Adegboruwa. So, there is no fraud case against Mr. Adegboruwa. He is being persecuted for speaking against the Buhari regime. There is no way a criminal case can be maintained against Mr. Adegboruwa as the criminal case upon which the case is based has been dismissed. Mr. Adegboruwa did not collect money for any property but acted as a mediator for settlement and he acted upon the lawful instructions of his client.
ADEGBORUWA & COMPANY
‘KOGUN CHAMBERS, JESUS ARENA,
ITEDO ROAD, OFF ADMIRALTY WAY,
LEKKI PENINSULA SCHMEME