For some that may be curious about those using the red mark to sign any building for whichever purpose has the right to be, this is because aside the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), there are other agencies of government that uses such signs and mark any building that may not have followed due process in obtaining building permit or building that is viewed to be weak or those that falls under the categories of indiscriminate uses which tend to be sited on drainage channelization which indeed falls under the purviews of ministries of environment or that of physical planning. in whatever way it is viewed, this particular sign marked on those said building is coming from the Economic Financial crime commission (EFCC) which accordingly was said to belong to a former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu.
The sign accordingly is part of measures used to ensure that the said properties were not dissipated, following the December 5, 2019 order of justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, which directed that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, and 'The SUN' Newspaper should be wound up and all its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Saturday that the properties marked by the commission include The SUN newspaper and Slok Nigeria Ltd.
Kalu, who is the senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, had been arraigned alongside Slok Nigeria Ltd. and Udeh Udeogu, his then Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House, over an amended 39-count bordering on conspiring and diverting the sum of N7.65bn from the coffers of the state.
The ex-governor was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Meanwhile, the management of The SUN newspapers has reacted to EFCC’s action on its premises.
A statement from the management reads in part, “Three officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with four heavily armed policemen on Saturday, December 15, 2019, at about 10am arrived at the corporate headquarters of The SUN Publishing Limited at 2, Coscharis Street, Kirikiri Industrial Layout, Apapa, Lagos and put up a notice for staff and the general public to keep off the premises. The EFCC officials, who came in a white Toyota bus with registration number, ABUJA BWR-644GA, wrote on The SUN’s fence, “EFCC, keep off.” They also advised our staff to collect their personal belongings from the office as they will come back to seal the premises completely.
“We do not understand the legal basis for this action. It is on record that there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court with Suit No: SC/546/2018 wherein The Sun Publishing Limited appealed against the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal on the interim forfeiture order made against it by a Federal High Court in 2007 based on ex parte proceeding. The Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution was duly served on EFCC by the bailiffs of the Court.
“It is also pertinent to state that EFCC vide a letter written by Counsel to The Sun Publishing Limited, dated 22nd May 2018 and duly received by one Caleb Peter on behalf of Rotimi Jacobs & Co. was further put on notice of the pending appeal at the Supreme Court and advised to stay action in the matter pending the hearing of the motion for stay of execution and the appeal.’’
“Again, it is instructive to state that The Sun Publishing Limited was not a party to the case of EFCC vs. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 Others, so we do not see why the judgment, in that case, should lead to attempt to seal The Sun Publishing Limited premises.
“Furthermore, we are aware that both Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Slok Nig Limited have since appealed the judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris and a hearing date given.
“We wish to reiterate that The Sun Publishing Limited is an ongoing corporate limited liability company and its shares are owned by various individuals distinct from Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. Therefore, the recent judgment against Senator Orji Uzor Kalu should not be used to disturb the operations of the company and the proprietary rights of its innocent shareholders until the matters are dispensed with at the Supreme Court.”