Sowore Emerges As AAC Presidential Candidate, Vows To Defeat ‘Godfathers’

 

Human rights activist Omoyele Sowore has won the African Action Congress (AAC) presidential ticket and has vowed to defeat the godfathers in the 2023 general elections.

He emerged as the party’s flag bearer in the AAC convention held on Thursday in Abuja.

In his acceptance speech, Sowore told the delegates that the party is ready to beat the godfathers and those aiding and abating them.

READ ALSO: [2023 Presidency] Muslim-Muslim Ticket Is Dead On Arrival – Babachir Lawal

“In this election, we are going out to defeat the moneybags. We are going out to defeat the so-called godfathers,” he said during the convention.

“We are going out to defeat the security agencies who have been aiding and abating them.”

Prior to his victory, he had stepped down as the chairman of the party. Recently, the Appeal Court in Abuja affirmed him as the AAC chairman after months of a legal tussle with a faction of the party.

Appeal Court Sets Aside Judgement On Section 84(12) Of Electoral Act

A file photo of a court gavel.
A court gavel.

 

The Court of Appeal Abuja Division has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia which voided the provision of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

While delivering judgment on Wednesday, the three-member panel headed by Justice Hamma Barka held that the Federal High Court, Umuahia, had no jurisdiction to have entertained the case as the plaintiff, Nduka Edede, lacked the locus standi to have filed the suit in the first instance.

The court added that Mister Edede did not establish any cause of action to have warranted him approaching the court on the issue because he did not establish that he was directly affected by the provision.

READ ALSO: Buhari Orders FEC Members With Political Ambitions To Resign

The Court of Appeal then struck out the suit filed by Edede, but referred the appeal against the Federal High Court judgement to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

According to it, the case is a constitutional matter which only the apex court can resolve.

Determining the appeal the appellate court, however, held that the provision is unconstitutional because it violates Section 42 (1a) of the Constitution and denied a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in an election.

In March, Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation to immediately delete Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act.

She held that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void, and of no effect whatsoever and cannot stand. According to her, it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution.

In the suit marked FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, Justice Anyadike said that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f), and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that government appointees vying for elective positions were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the poll.

Justice Anyadike said that any law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal null, and void to the extent of its inconsistency with the clear provisions of the Constitution.

Following the move, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana faulted the decision. He argued that “the learned trial judge fell into a great error”.

Before the ruling, the Senate rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the amendment of the controversial section.

The Senators kicked against it and voted no when put to voice votes by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan during plenary in March.

APC Crisis: Appeal Court Upholds Ganduje’s Faction Congresses In Kano

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, presided by Justice Haruna Tsammani has set aside the judgement of the FCT High Court, filed over the 2021 ward and local government congresses, for lack of jurisdiction.

The court quashed the lower court judgment which gave Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s G-7 faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano victory over the faction led by the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari: PSC Postpones Decision, Insists On New Panel To Conduct Fresh Investigation

Upholding the appeal, filed by the Ganduje-led faction of the Kano APC, the appellate court held that the high court lacked the jurisdiction to try the case.

The Shekarau-led faction had approached the FCT High Court, shortly after the APC congresses in Kano during which the court upheld the group’s congresses, as against that of the Governor Ganduje-led side.

Dissatisfied with the high court ruling, Ganduje’s group headed to the Appeal Court to contest the ruling.

Also, in its ruling, the appellate court held that the case was not a pre-election matter but an internal matter of the ruling party, and therefore should be decided by the leadership of APC.

“The judgment of the lower court has been set aside for lack of territorial jurisdiction and also because it is an intraparty affair,” the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice for Kano State, Barrister Lawan Musa told Daily Trust.

“The third ground is that even the originating process that were used to file the case was wrongly done as such even the originating process was set aside. All the decisions are unanimous.”

Alleged N29bn Fraud: Nyako, Son Lose Bid To Stop Charges At Appeal Court

 

Former Adamawa State Governor, Vice Admiral Muritala Nyako and his son, Abdulaziz Nyako have lost their bid to stop the N29billion money laundering charges brought against them by the Federal Government.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed their appeal seeking to terminate the fraud case against them on the grounds that the exhibits and evidence provided by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not link them with the commission of the alleged offences.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal, the former Adamawa Governor and his son were ordered to go and defend themselves in the N29billion fraud against them.

Read Also: ‘Pyramids of Lies,’ PDP Reacts To Buhari’s Rice Unveiling In Abuja

Justice Olabisi Ige who read on behalf of the panel held that both oral and documentary evidence tendered against them by the EFCC effectively and sufficiently linked them with the alleged fraud.

The appellate court said the appeal of the former governor and his son were devoid of merit, liable for dismissal and were consequently dismissed.

The court ordered them to return to the Federal High court in Abuja and prove their innocence in the 37 counts criminal charges against them.

The EFCC had instituted 37-count criminal charges against Nyako and his son at the federal high court in Abuja bothering on alleged fraud that ran into N29billion.

VAT Dispute: Appeal Court Grants Lagos’ Request To Join Case

Logo of a court gavel

 

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted a request by the Lagos State Government, seeking to join Rivers State in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The FIRS had filed an appeal at the appellate court to challenge the collection of Value Added Tax by states.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the court granted the request by Lagos and ordered all processes filed to be served on the Attorney-General of the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo.

The case was later adjourned to October 7 and would be heard at the Appellate Court in Port Harcourt.


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VAT Dispute: Appeal Court Reserves Ruling On Lagos Govt’s Application For Joinder


On September 16, the court reserved its ruling on the application after Onigbanjo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), took his application for joinder in the suit.

He had informed the panel of judges led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that Lagos was entitled to collect VAT, saying the VAT Act was approved by an order of a court, although it had been annulled.

According to the attorney-general, states that are recognised by the Constitution to collect VAT and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is aware of that fact.

He added that the principles for joinder of a party, seeking to be joined, must be a necessary party that has shown that its interest, legally and financially, would be affected.

While Onigbanjo explained that the case of joinder sought was to prevent multiplicity of action, counsel to the Rivers State government and SAN, Ifedayo Adedipe, supported the application by the Lagos State government.

But counsel to the FIRS and SAN, Mahmoud Magaji, opposed the application for joinder while relying on Section 243 of the Constitution.

He stated that the Constitution does not support applications for joinder and Lagos State was not a party to the suit at the trial court.

VAT Dispute: Appeal Court Orders All Parties To Maintain Status Quo

A screengrab of the Court of Appeal in Abuja. Inset: A cross-section of lawyers in a courtroom.

 

The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has ordered all parties to maintain the status quo and refrain from taking action that would give effect to the judgement of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt that allowed the Rivers State government to collect Value Added Tax (VAT), pending the hearing and determination of the instant suit.

A three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani gave the order on Friday while ruling on an appeal filed by the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS).

The order of the appellate court is the latest development in the series of legal tussles over whose responsibility it is to collect VAT.

Although the FIRS has taken up the responsibility over the years, the Rivers State government tested the legality recently, and it was worth the move.

READ ALSO: Lagos Applies To Be Co-Respondent In Appeal Filed By FIRS

On August 19, Governor Nyesom Wike assented to the Valued Added Tax Law, 2021 along with four others following their passage by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

His action was sequel to the judgement delivered by Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court in the state capital who held that states should collect VAT, and not the Federal Government.

Displeased with the decision of the court, the FIRS filed a motion on notice to apply for a stay of execution on the earlier judgement delivered by Justice Pam.

But the court refused the application, saying the federal agency failed to file an application to set aside the tax law recently enacted by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Justice Pam, therefore, stated that the state law on VAT was valid and subsisting.

The FIRS later approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with a civil motion seeking a stay of the execution of the judgement earlier granted by the court in Rivers pending the determination of the case.

 

Lagos Backs Rivers

As the legal battle continues, the action of the Rivers State government received the support of some states, especially Lagos where the government is close to making it a law to collect TAX, instead of the FIRS.

On Thursday, the bill seeking to empower Lagos to collect VAT was read for the third time and passed by lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly. As it awaits the governor’s assent, more states have indicated to follow in the part.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has applied to be joined as a co-respondent to the suit filed by the FIRS at the appeal court.

The Attorney General of the State and Commissioner of Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, represented the state government at Friday’s hearing.

He informed the court that the interest of the state was at stake, stressing that if they were not joined, it would amount to a breach of a fair hearing.

Onigbanjo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the court to take the application for the joinder first before the application for the stay of execution filed by the FIRS.

But counsel to the federal agency, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), urged the court to hear the main application first, as it was of utmost priority.

The appellate court, in its ruling, held that the motion of joinder by the Lagos State government be heard and gave the applicants two days to file their written addresses.

Similarly, the respondents have been given two days to file their response, while the applicants were given a day to reply on the point of law.

Appeal Court Set To Rule On Cross River North Senatorial Seat Dispute

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Court of Appeal in Abuja is set to deliver a ruling on the Cross River North senatorial district by-election dispute between Senator Stephen Odey and Jarigbe Agom.

Odey had filed the appeal after the Court of Appeal in Calabar invalidated the Certificate of Return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the December 5, 2020, election.

[READ ALSO] 2023 Presidency: Why Buhari Cannot Support Anybody Now – Adesina

Through his counsel, Senator Odey has asked the Appeal Court in Abuja to review and set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Calabar, Cross River State made in favour of Jarigbe.

His counsel, Mubarak Adekilekun, argued that Jarigbe did not participate in all the processes that led to the by-election as required by the law.

But Jarigbe’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, who cited Order 20 Rule 4 of the Procedural Rules of the appeal court argued that the court cannot sit over an appeal in its own judgment.

In the judgment delivered on July 30, the Calabar Division of the appeal court declared Jarigbe as the duly elected Senator for Cross River North Senatorial District.

A three-man panel of justices, led by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, declared Jarigbe as the lawful candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the poll after hearing the briefs of arguments filed and exchanged by parties in the appeals, as well as the submissions of the counsels representing the appellants and the defendants in the suits.

It set aside the ruling of the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal delivered on June 18 which ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Jarigbe and issue the same to Odey.

The court had invalidated the Certificate of Return issued to Senator Odey by INEC and directed the electoral empire to withdraw it.

Appeal Court Acquits Woman Sentenced To Death For Killing Husband

Lawyers having a chat at the Makurdi Division of the Court of Appeal in Benue State on March 12, 2021.

 

The Makurdi Division of the Court of Appeal has acquitted Amina Zubairu, the wife of a traditional ruler sentenced to death by a lower court.

This comes two years after the appellant was sentenced to death by a High Court sitting in Lafia, the Nasarawa State.

The lower court had convicted Amina and sentenced her to death in 2018 for killing her husband, Adamu Zubairu, who was at the time the traditional ruler of Gom Mama in Wamba Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

She was said to have committed the crime in 2014 by injecting her late husband with some substance that led to his death.

Displeased with the decision of the high court, the defendant filed an application at the appeal court, seeking to upturn the judgement of the lower court.

In its ruling on the appeal on March 12, 2021, the appellate court held that the case lacked evidence of truth.

It added that the decision of the lower court was a miscarriage of justice and cannot be entertained in the appellate court.

A photo taken on March 12, 2021, shows a signpost of the Makurdi Division of the Court of Appeal in Benue State.

 

The court, thereafter, set aside the judgment delivered on December 11, 2018, by the lower court sentencing the appellant to death.

It held that the judgement was biased against the defendant and acquitted her of the death by hanging sentence.

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the appellant, Shikammah Sheltu, commended the decision of the appellate court.

He also thanked the court for the speedy dispensation of justice in the case, saying his client would be relieved from the conviction.

On his part, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Nasarawa State, Abdulkarim Kana, said the government would study the judgement to decide whether to appeal it or not.

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment On Certificate Forgery Suit Against Obaseki

A file photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its chieftain, Williams Edobor, challenging the certificate presented by Governor Godwin Obaseki to contest the 2020 governorship election in Edo State.

A three-man panel of justices of the appellate court made the reservation after listening to arguments from both parties on Monday in the nation’s capital.

This comes two months after a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the certificate forgery suit against Governor Obaseki.

In their brief of argument, the APC and its chieftain argued that at the trial court, issues of forgery and falsification were raised but the court only determined the issue of forgery and left out that of falsification.

Counsel to the APC, Akin Olujimi, insisted that the purported degree certificate submitted by Governor Obaseki to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was false.

But in his response, counsel to the governor argued that based on the pleadings of the appellant, the false information allegedly submitted by the respondent was on the fact that he did not graduate from the University of Ibadan in 1979, neither did he resign from Afri Investment Limited.

On January 9, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja had dismissed the alleged certificate forgery suit against Governor Obaseki, saying the plaintiffs relied on the photocopied document presented by the governor without getting in touch with the university to verify the authenticity of the said certificate.

He added that no iota of truth was brought before the court by the plaintiffs who alleged forgery, saying it was a criminal matter, but the claimants were unable to prove their case.

The judge had also held that the Deputy Registrar (Legal) of the University of Ibadan had given evidence in the suit that the university duly issued the certificate to Governor Obaseki.

According to him, the governor was duly and properly admitted to study Classics, which was later renamed Classical Studies in 1976 and graduated in 1979.

Justice Mohammed concluded that the plaintiffs failed to prove their allegations of forgery against Governor Obaseki and, thereby, dismissed the case.

Maryam Sanda Heads To Supreme Court After Appeal Court Upholds Death Sentence

(FILE) Maryam Sanda weeps at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on January 27, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Maryam Sanda, the woman sentenced to death for killing her husband, plans to file an appeal at the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn the judgements of the lower courts.

Her counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Joe Gadzama, disclosed this to reporters on Friday in Abuja.

This followed the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which upheld the verdict of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sentencing Sanda to death by hanging for killing Bilyaminu Bello.

Late Bilyaminu, who was stabbed to death, was the son of former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Haliru Bello.

While Sanda argued that she was denied a fair hearing by the trial court and insisted that she was innocent, the appellate court held that the appeal lacked merit.

In a two-hour judgement read by Justice Steven Adah, the court held that it was duty-bound to do justice according to law and not sentiments, stressing that the law does not leave room for irregularities and parties must conduct criminal trials according to the law.

READ ALSO: Maryam Sanda Sentenced To Death By Hanging For Killing Husband

It said the trial court was right in its verdict under Section 221 of the Penal Code, noting that the crime committed was punishable by death.

The appellate court held that it was not in doubt that Sanda killed her husband and it has no reason to set aside the judgment of the lower court.

It added that there was evidence that she murdered her husband during a fight after she saw a nude picture on his phone, and she had threatened him.

Displeased with the judgment of the appellate court, Sanda’s counsel said they would approach the Supreme Court to overturn the verdict.

On the other hand, the police through their counsel, James Idachaba, commended the appeal court judgement, saying they were ready to meet the other party at the apex court.

Sanda’s protracted trial centred on a judicial drama that lasted almost three years as a result of delays, multiple adjournments, and failure of witnesses to appear in court, among others.

She was arraigned in court by the police in November 2017 on two counts of culpable homicide.

The police informed the court that killing Bilyaminu was premeditated and sought a death penalty against Sanda.

In his judgement on January 27, 2020, Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court convicted and sentenced Sanda to death by hanging.

Appeal Court Sets Up Panels To Decongest Backlog Of Appeals

A file photo of security operatives at the court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja.

 

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has set up seven special panels saddled with the responsibility of decongesting the backlog of appeals.

She disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, on the occasion of the maiden edition of the meeting with presiding justices of the 20 Divisions of the Court of Appeal tagged: Working Conference of the Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Dongban-Mensem explained that setting up the special panels became necessary in view of the lingering appeals clustering the court.

She blamed the development on what she described as the unwillingness of some litigants who have failed to file complete processes.

READ ALSO: Lagos To Auction 44 Cars Seized From Traffic Violators

“The Court of Appeal cannot be used as a tool in the hands of these litigants who go into a deep slumber.

“All notices of appeal filed without being followed with other processes to ensure quick prosecution and disposal of the appeal should be shown the way out,” the justice said.

She added, “We have sufficient provisions in our rules, which are backed by constitutional provision for the disposal of matters in court.”

The Appeal Court president noted that since presiding justices were heads of the divisions, they can go ahead and take charge and keep up with the tempo in their various jurisdictions.

“In a nation with teeming unemployed graduates and restive youths, we must do our part to create jobs by ensuring that all appeals are heard expeditiously, especially those which involve corporate bodies and businesses which can provide jobs for our youths,” she said.

The working conference, the first of its kind, was specially chosen to promote a sense of togetherness by enabling the most experienced minds to be deployed on special decongestion panels that would tackle the most congested divisions.

The special panels are expected to sit in two sessions daily and will work for three days to depose of over 100 motions filed at various divisions of the court.

Appeal Court Reinstates 22 Political Parties, Says INEC’s Action Illegal

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reinstated 22 political parties de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Some of the parties reinstated by the court are Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).

Their de-registration was reversed on Monday in a judgment prepared and signed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem.

In a unanimous decision, the court declared as illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, the judgement of the Federal High Court upholding INEC’s action de-registering the political parties.

A four-man panel of judges led by Justice Sodipe Lokulo held that the de-registration was illegal because the due process was not followed.

The court also held that INEC’s action was not in compliance with Section 225(a)of the 1999 Constitution as amended, as the electoral umpire did not indicate reasons for the de-registration of the political parties.

INEC To Conduct Supplementary Elections In Kano, Sokoto, Four Others March 23
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at a press conference in Abuja on March 7, 2019. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

On February 6, INEC announced that it had deregistered 74 out of the 91 political parties in the country.

It said it took the decision following a review of the performance of political parties after the 2019 general elections to see which parties qualify to exists.

Although a total of 75 parties were listed for deregistration, one of them – Action People’s Party (APP) – had obtained a court order restraining the electoral umpire from deregistering it.

The electoral umpire stated that the 1999 Constitution vested in it the power to register and regulate the activities of political parties.

It added that the Constitution was amended in 2018 and in addition to the extant provision for the registration of political parties, the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution (Section 225A) empowered the commission to deregister political parties.

Dissatisfied with the development, some of the political parties tested the legality of INEC’s action at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

But in a judgement delivered in June, Justice Taiwo Taiwo reaffirmed the powers of the electoral umpire to deregister political parties in the country.