Police secure interim forfeiture of hotel, bus for ‘fraud’

A High Court in Lagos has granted the police an order for interim forfeiture of a hotel, a bus, and home appliances, suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

Vacation judge Justice Nicholas Oweibo made the order following an ex parte motion filed and argued by Mr. Joseph Ebosereme, counsel to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), Yaba, Lagos.

Ebosereme told the judge in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/809/2020, the unnamed hotel at Awori Town, Lagos, a Suzuki bus marked EPE 717 X2, two Plasma TVs and two generating sets belonged to Monday Uvi and Friday Joseph Eze, who were listed as in the suit.

He sought an interim order prohibiting any “disposal, tampering, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienating or otherwise of the asset/properties, reasonably believed and suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

He also sought an interim order authorizing the Inspector-General of Police to appoint a competent person(s) or firm to manage the assets and properties named and described in the schedule to the application.

“The police further prayed for an order compelling the two respondents named in the suit or any other person who has an interest in the properties sought to be forfeited, to appear before it within 14 days and give reasons why the properties should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria

In a bench ruling, Justice Oweibo held: “The application is considered and granted as prayed”.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.