Representatives to look into British agency and others for violating Nigerian court orders
The House of Representatives is poised to commence an inquiry into the conduct of British government officials and their investigative agencies, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and one investigator/prosecutor named Sara Melo.
This investigation follows allegations that these foreign entities have shown contempt for Nigeria’s judicial sovereignty and displayed a disregard for judgments issued by Nigerian courts. These judgments cleared African businessman and Aiteo boss Benedict Peters of any wrongdoing.
The catalyst for this investigation was a petition presented to the House by the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), a civil society group. The petition was officially adopted during plenary on Wednesday.
According to the petition, foreign agencies have allegedly disregarded rulings from Nigerian courts and have engaged in actions aimed at undermining court decisions that vindicated Benedict Peters.
Despite more than ten high court judgments in Nigeria that exonerated Peters and dismissed fabricated allegations, the British authorities have continued to involve his name in UK proceedings, effectively undermining his innocence as affirmed by the Nigerian courts.
Aliyu Mustapha, representing Kubau Ikara Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, presented the petition on behalf of the civil society organization.
The group seeks a comprehensive legislative investigation into the ongoing defamation and undermining of Nigerian businessman Benedict Peters. Their objective is to compel the British government to cease undermining Nigeria’s judicial sovereignty and the judgments rendered by competent Nigerian courts.
He stressed that the petition is a call for the Nigerian parliament to stop the unwarranted attacks and abuse of the sanctity of our judicial pronouncements and the rights of our citizens.
The petition signed by ACJHR Secretary Chisom Nduka Edede Esq. read in part: “Sometime in 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced an investigation into certain activities of Mr. Benedict Peters, CEO of AITEO Energy Resources, owners and operators of the OML 29 and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line. Obviously not finding any infractions, some persons within the EFCC allegedly hatched a plan with some of their collaborators in the National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service in the UK to harass, intimidate, and eventually steal some properties belonging to Mr. Benedict Peters and his companies.
“These properties include houses in the United Kingdom. It looks as if the Nigerian group will take some time while the British collaborators will take over OML 29, which AITEO legitimately acquired from Shell Petroleum Development Company. The EFCC started by declaring what Mr. Peters wanted. This action has been declared illegal by the Court and unlawful by the Court as it amounted to a gross violation of the rights of Mr. Peters, especially his constitutionally guaranteed right of fair hearing as espoused in the Latin maxim ‘audi alteram paterm’. which means to hear the other side. From 2016 till date
“At least 10 courts before which Mr. Peters has appeared have all vindicated him and cleared him of all charges and allegations of infractions. malfeasance, or indeed, any crime. Instructively, the FCT High Court in the case BENEDICT PETERS & 3 ORS V ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & 6 ORS – SUIT NO. FCT/HC/CV/0536/2017 found the defendants, which included EFCC, NCA, CPS, and their officials, liable in carousel fraud for suppressing and misrepresenting facts about the properties of Mr. Peters with a view to taking them over. The court thereafter awarded damages of N200.000.0OO in favor of Mr. Peters and his companies. This decision, which was given by the Court six years ago, has not been appealed against by anyone. It is quite disheartening that despite the numerous judgments of the Court, the British agencies and their officials, particularly one, Sarah Melo, have continued to disregard the judgments and treat them with disdain. The FCT High Court has also granted an order for these numerous judgments to be served, registered, and enforced in several countries, including the United Kingdom.”