By Mumini Abdulkareem
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Thursday, sets aside its order of interim forfeiture made on October 21, 2019 against the properties of the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, located at 17 and 17A MacDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State.
The judge, Justice Liman vacated the order in his judgment after counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr Nnaemeka Omewa, and counsel to Senator Saraki, Mr Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) adopted their respective written addresses for and against the case.
The court held that the applicant failed to prove its entitlement to the relief of final forfeiture of the Respondent’s properties, accordingly dismissed the application and vacated the interim forfeiture order it made on October 21, 2019.
The court agreed with the respondent’s counsel’s submission that the burden of proof for final forfeiture is on the preponderance of evidence and that the applicant had failed to show that the monies used to purchase the property were from the Kwara State government house account.
Reacting to this ruling, Saraki via his verified Twitter handle, said, “I thank the Almighty Allah who has given me the opportunity to serve my State and Country; and who has given me the strength to continually fight to assert my innocence. By His grace, I have always served with diligence, honour and integrity and I will continue to do so.
“I have always believed in the judiciary as the bastion that protects and upholds the rights and liberties of citizens in any democracy. And for this reason, I express my gratitude to the Court for upholding the laws of our land.
“It is my fervent hope that this judgment will put an end to the campaign of calumny waged against my person and allow me focus on my life as a law-abiding Nigerian citizen”, he added.
Saraki who visited Ilorin on Friday again arrived to a rousing welcome as party leaders, political supporters, groups and admirers including the persons living with disability came out en mass to receive him at the Ilorin International airport amidst dancing, drumming and singing.
Meanwhile, Nigerians on social media and many other online platforms have continued to hail Saraki’s vindication, lambasting the EFCC in the process describing it as triumph for justice and civil rights.
Some of their reaction reads: The truth will prevail always, you have shown that you are above all your detractors in principles, integrity, discipline and incorruptibility – Emdeey Alameen
This is insulting to say the least… He did nothing wrong, they failed to show evidence of wrong doing. He has been vindicated – Obongowoibesik
Victory come from almighty God, the almighty God has in his infinite mercy vindicate from oppressors. Thank be to God. Amen – Muyiwa Akindele.
Their appeal was totally against the laws of the land. Because the issue of allegations of corruption against your humble self was lay to rest by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Blasphemous EFCC – Modestus Ogbonna Ovia
In your case, what the EFCC has been doing is mere witch-hunt, not that it has any evidence against you. You & Dino have each won more cases against govt than any other known individual in human history – Freedom
One of the problems Nigeria is facing today is EFCC. EFCC now steals people’s wealth for any Govt in power and for themselves – David
By Mumini Abdulkareem