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The National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muiz Banire, SAN, who is also a close confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, has on Monday, November 7, stepped down from his position, over ongoing investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, into how he allegedly bribed a Judge with N500, 000.
Banire, who made his decision known in a letter dated November 7, 2016, and addressed to the APC National Executive Committee, NEC, through the party’s National Chairman, John Oyegun, and copied to President Muhammed Buhari, and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said he chose to step down, pending the outcome of the EFCC investigation.
Banire’s letter was entitled: “Offer to Step Aside As National Legal Adviser, Pending Conclusion of Investigation of My Person by the EFCC”.
It reads: “The allegation, as I have come to understand it, is that a Statement of Account of one Judge of the National Industrial Court, the Honourable Justice J. T. Agbadu-Fishim, who is the subject of an ongoing EFCC’s investigation, contained a June 2013 entry of a ‘N500,000.00’ payment, ascribed as being from one ‘Dr. Muiz B’.
“I did not hesitate in confirming that this probably referred to me, because I remember that about three years ago, I received a text message from someone I recollected at the time to be an old colleague in my days as a Lecturer, at the University of Lagos, an ‘Agbadu-Fishim’ who was then a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, informing me of the death and funeral programme of his mother.
“The last contact (of any sort) I had with this person before that text, would have been about 14 years earlier, that is, before I was appointed Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State, at the inception of civil rule in 1999, (now 17 years ago).
“Indeed, it was with considerable difficulty, that I was able to eventually recognise his face when I eventually saw him again (after 17 years of my leaving the University of Lagos), on my attendance at the EFCC, on Thursday, the 3rd day of November, 2016.
“When I received the said message, and his information to me of the death and funeral programme of his mother, in which he solicited for financial assistance, in a tone suggesting great distress, I considered it necessary to assist an old friend in dire need.
“Without any further prompting, he sent his account details to me, and I made a cash gift of N500,000 to him”, Banire said.


He added, that while he personally never appeared before the Judge, two cases worth less than N2 million in legal fees, were handled by Lawyers in his chambers.
Banire said: “As I have now come to realise after my interactions with the EFCC, that payment is being investigated from the angle of whether or not it was to influence the receiver in the performance of his judicial duties, on the Bench of the National Industrial Court.
“This is perfectly understandable to me, within the general context of the investigation, in which the allegation had arisen, and considering that I have lately come to also realise that two of my colleagues in Chambers, had been involved as Defence Counsels in two cases before the subject Judge, among 12 cases in all they have ever done at the Industrial Court since inception.
“My review of the two case files, which I came to be conscious of, after my interactions with the EFCC, shows that one of them was amicably settled between the parties for a sum less than N1.2 million, thereby technically losing the case, whilst they won the other, and that the combined professional fees (net of taxes) for the two cases, was less than N2 million.
“While protesting my innocence, I will therefore do everything within legal limits to defend myself. I have from the first instance, become aware of the allegation, offered my full cooperation to the EFCC, and will continue to cooperate with, and give it all the assistance it may require of me, in the course of its on -going investigation into the matter.”

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