The Appeal Court in Abuja has rejected Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s request to relocate the sitting of the tribunal to Abuja.
The Chief Registrar Court of Appeal, Bangari Umar, in a letter titled: RE: PETITION NO, EPT/OS/GOV/01/2022, ADEGBOYEGA ISIAKA OYETOLA & ANOR V. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 ORS, on Friday rejected the proposal of Oyetola, the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidate in the July 16 governorship election.
According to the note, Oyetola on August 23, wrote to the President of the Court, Justice M.B Dongban Mensem, on the subject matter.
The Court of Appeal noted that after due consultation on, and consideration of Oyetola’s request, the President of the Court was unable to accede to the proposal as the security agencies in the state have assured the Court of their cooperation and support in enhancing the security of the Tribunal and its sittings.
The letter read: “Kindly refer to your letter to the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal, dated 23rd August 2022 on the above subject matter.
“I am directed by the Honourable President, Hon. Justice M.B Dongban Mensem to inform you that after due consultation on, and consideration of your request to move the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal currently sitting in Osogbo to Abuja, the Hon. President is unable to accede to your request as the security agencies in the State have assured the Court of their co-operation and support in enhancing the security of the Tribunal and its sittings.”
Hope appears bleak for Yoruba self-determination activist, Sunday Adeyemo as the Appeal Court on Tuesday set aside N20 billion damages awarded to him last year after the violent invasion of his residence in Ibadan.
Adeyemo had gone to court challenging the action which led to the death of some of his aides.
In its sitting, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan nullified the judgement of an Oyo State High Court which awarded N20 billion damages to the Yoruba self-determination activist, popularly known as Igboho.
Delivering the judgement in an appeal filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, State Security Service and Director, State Security Service in Oyo State, Justice Muslim Hassan held that Justice Ladiran Akintola, who delivered the judgement on September 17, 2021, acted on the wrong principles of law in awarding the cost to Igboho.
He said that Justice Akintola can’t assess damages claimed by Igboho using his own conceived parameters.
Justice Hassan thereby set aside the earlier judgment which declared the attack on the house of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo illegal.
The court also nullified the N20 billion exemplary and aggravated damages awarded against the Department of State Security (DSS) for the attack, describing it as outrageous.
Justice Hassan held that the Oyo High Court ignored the merit of the case while assuming jurisdiction, adding that the judge should not have awarded damages based on his personal parameters.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja recently dismissed the appeal filed by Sunshine Chemical Development Company Limited against the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) claiming that SON had acted in bad faith in rejecting the company’s application to import sugar unfortified with Vitamin A.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of Justice B. F. M. Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja that SON had merely acted pursuant to the lawful directives of its supervising Ministry and in accordance with the Vitamin-A Food Fortification Regulations of 2005, in denying the application of the said to import sugar unfortified with Vitamin A into the country. Sunshine Chemical Development Company Limited had gone to the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn the judgment.
The appellate court, in a decision by a 3-man panel of justices led by Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewil, held that SON acted neither in bad faith nor outside the scope and limits of its powers under the enabling statute, regulations and directives from its supervisory Ministry.
The Court of Appeal also held that the company’s cause of action was undoubtedly and irredeemably statute barred by the virtue and operations of the provisions of Section 2(a) of the Public Officers Protection Act, LFN 2004. The case was dismissed for being statute barred.
The spokesperson of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mrs. Foluso Bolaji, explained that ”by virtue of the provisions of the Vitamin A Food Fortification Regulations of 2005, importation of sugar not fortified with Vitamin A without the leave of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment is prohibited”, she affirmed.
According to Mrs. Bolaji, in 2005, Sunshine Chemical Development Company Limited applied for an approval from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria for the importation of 7,500 metric tonnes of sugar unfortified with Vitamin A.
The company was duly informed of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s policy on sugar importation and advised that by the intervention of the Presidential Technical Committee on Sugar Importation, three companies were permitted to coordinate the importation of sugar unfortified with Vitamin A for manufacturing purposes with the condition that the final products will be fortified with Vitamin A.
She also explained that the request from the company was forwarded to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, who confirmed the position of government and advised the company to re-route its request through any of the three companies approved by the Federal Government to coordinate such importation. Dissatisfied with the position, Sunshine Chemical Development Company Limited instituted a case against SON.
The SON spokesperson noted that the judgment of the Appeal Court has cemented the fact that SON as an organization is living up to its mandate of promoting standardization and quality assurance with the aim of protecting Nigeria and Nigerians from the adverse effect of substandard goods. She stressed that the organization works tirelessly to assist business owners improve their businesses through standardization within the ambit of the law.
Mrs. Bolaji went on to explain that SON has graduated from just being standards providers and regulator to being business facilitators in line with the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business initiative. She reiterated the commitment of the Director-General /Chief Executive of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim to supporting and encouraging local industries in an effort to revitalizing the nation’s economy.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja which discharged and acquitted a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar, of a money laundering charge to the tune of N66 million.
In a unanimous judgment, the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Elfrieda Williams–Dawodu, upturned the judgment of the Federal High Court and ordered that the defendant continue with his defence on counts 1,2,3,5 and 6
The former Air Chief was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on one count bordering on money laundering allegedly stolen from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during his tenure between 2010 and 2012, to the tune of sixty- six million Naira.
In his Judgement, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court ruled that the prosecution failed to provide any evidence that Umar gave the instruction for the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.
He had dismissed six out of the seven charges filed against Umar by the EFCC following a no-case submission.
In his view, it would be dangerous to speculate that Umar must be aware of every financial transaction from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.
Dissatisfied with Umar’s acquittal, the EFCC appealed the judgment, asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.
The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday convicted and sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, to seven years imprisonment along with his two companies: Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd.
This was contained in a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which prosecuted the case.
In addition, the Court of Appeal ordered that the companies who were the second and third respondents in appeal be wound up in line with Section 22 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and their properties forfeited to the Federal Government.
The panel, comprising Justices Abdullahi Bayero, Obande Ogbuniya and Peter Affen in their judgment held that the trial court erred because the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the respondents and thus reversed the earlier judgement discharging and acquitting the respondents.
The EFCC had challenged the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021 discharged and acquitted the defendants of a two count charge of fraud and money laundering.
EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million. Part of the money paid to the vendor, precisely a sum of N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd , was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.
But in his judgment, Justice Aneke held that the prosecution failed to call vital witnesses and tender concrete evidence to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the defendants.
Justice Aneke said the evidence of PW2 “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank for purchase of additional equipment and as provision of working capital.
“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third. Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the judge said.
He claimed a fatal blow was dealt the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10”.
Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants.
However ruling on the EFCC’s appeal on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents. It said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.