Court Adjourns Gbenga Daniel’s Trial Till March 1st

An Ogun State high court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, has adjourned  the commencement of trial in the alleged corruption suit levelled against the former governor of Ogun State; Mr Gbenga Daniel till Friday the 1st of march.

The former governor who ruled for two terms, is now standing trial over a 30-count charge.

This became imperative as his defense counsel headed by Professor Taiwo Osipitan filed a stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on the ruling of the Ogun State high court on the first to thirteen count charge which the defendant wished to be quashed.

It will be recalled that the defendant sought the leave of the court to quash the count charge saying that it amounted to double trial as the panel of inquiry set up by the state government on illegal allocation of government lands had presided over the matter.

Reacting to this development, the lead counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Jacobs, described it as a ploy to waste the time of the court.

Professor Osipitan defended his filing by saying this would allow the appellate court to address some grey areas in the case.

Court strikes out case against Salami’s reinstatement

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday struck out the suit seeking to restrain President Goodluck Jonathan from reinstating the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.

The supposed plaintiff, Wilfred Okoli, had in June told the court that he had no knowledge of the suit filed in his name.

Mr Okoli then formally applied to the court to discontinue the suit.

In the notice of discontinuance filed last Friday, Mr Okoli stated two grounds for seeking to discontinue the suit.

The defendants are the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Salami, the Attorney General of the Federation and President Jonathan.

Mr Okoli said: “I neither gave consent, nor authorised that the suit be instituted in the first instance. I did not brief anybody whatsoever to commence the suit on my behalf.

“I do not have any cause of action against any of the defendants”, he said.

An Abuja-based lawyer, Amobi Nzelu had filed the suit on behalf of Mr Okoli, asking the court to stop President Jonathan from acting on the recommendation sent to him by the NJC.

Mr Okoli, who was said to be a lawyer in Mr Amobi’s chamber in June, said he was not aware of this suit filed in his name, when the matter came up in court and parties in the matter were to enter appearances.

“My lord, I am not aware of this suit, my consent was never sought before it was brought before you. I have no knowledge of it,” he said.

Justice Abdul Kafarati however asked Misters Amobi and Okoli to go and put their houses in order before 22nd September, the next adjourned date.
The court also asked Amobi to ensure the 2nd defendant; Salami was served and renders report of service the court on the next adjourned day, September 22.

However, Okoli formally applied to court to discontinue further hearing on the suit on September 22.

In the notice of discontinuance dated June 22, Mr Okoli relied on two grounds to urge the court to hands off the matter.

According to him, “I neither gave consent nor authorised that the suit be instituted in the first instance. I did not brief anybody whatsoever to commence the suit on my behalf. I do not have any cause of action against any of the defendants.”

Justice Kafarati struck out the suit on the grounds that the supposed plaintiff had applied for discontinuance of the matter filed in his name, saying Amobi no longer can argue it before him.

Court to entertain suit seeking to sack governor Chime today

A suit seeking to sack the governor of Enugu state, Mr Sullivan Chime from office, will commence today at the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court.

The appeal which was filled by a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), in the state, Mr. Alexander Obiechina, is challenging the refusal of a Federal High Court in Abuja to void the nomination process that saw the emergence of Governor Chime on April 26, 2011.

The court presided by Justice Adamu Bello had on the 21st of May  2012, declined to sack governor Chime from office, saying it lacked the jurisdiction to nullify his candidacy in the last general elections.

Justice Bello had maintained that the issue of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for any given election was within the realm of the domestic affairs of a political party.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Mr. Obiechina took the matter before the appellate court, praying it to go ahead and determine whether there was a valid special congress or primary election held in Enugu state on January 12, 2011, in which governor Chime was nominated as the PDP’s candidate.

Insisting that Mr Chime was handpicked through a ‘kangaroo process’, the litigant, through his lawyer, Mr. Oba Maduabuchi, urged the court to nullify the said ‘illegal primary election’ and order the governor to forthwith vacate the office,

He argued that January 9, 2011, was the validly set date for the gubernatorial primaries in the state.

However, Governor Chime and the PDP have given reasons why the suit should be dismissed in its entirety.

The PDP, represented in court by its former national legal adviser, Chief Olusola Oke, and the governor, earlier filed separate preliminary objections against the suit.

The respondents challenged the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain the matter, maintaining that the plaintiff was bereft of the locus-standi to seek the sack of the governor from office.

 

Baba Suwe N25m lawsuit: NDLEA goes to appeal court

The tussle between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and popular Yoruba act Babatunde Omidina popularly called Baba suwe has resurfaced, as NDLEA is seeking an appeal for judgment over the amount ordered to be paid to Baba Suwe by Lagos State High court.

Justice Idowu on Thursday November 24, 2011 had ordered the agency to pay the comedian the sum of N25m as compensation for illegally detaining and also publish a public apology to him in two widely read newspapers.

Femi Oloruntoba Director of persecution and Legal Services (NDLEA) said ‘the agency has an appeal pending in court over the judgment of the lower Court’.

The lower court in a considered ruling on Friday, March 2, 2012 refused the application on the grounds that the applicant was granted a conditional stay off the execution pending the determination of the appeal.

Head public affair of NDLEA Ofoyeju Mitchell in a statement said ‘The NDLEA in the motion of notice wants the appeal court to determine whether the applicant was entitled to the grant of stay of execution for the payment of N25m, pending the determination of the appeal filed by the appellant’

Justice Idowu ordered the government agency to, within 21 days pay the N25m to the Chief Registrar of the court. The registrar would then pay the money into an interest-yielding account in an agreed upon bank.

Appeal Court Strikes Out Andy Uba’s Suit

The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu south-East Nigeria has struck out the petition filed by Senator Andy Uba seeking to set aside the initial judgement that nullified his election as the senator representing Anambra south senatorial district.

In the ruling, the panel of judges led by Justice Denton West ordered a repeat of the election while vacating the initial order stopping the re-run.

The appeal court further ordered the independent national electoral commission, INEC to conduct the election within ninety days.

The petition which was files last year at the National Assembly Election Tribunal in Awka, Anambra State asked the Tribunal to invalidate the election in the Anambra South Senatorial District and order a re-run as Mr. Uba was not qualified to have run for the Upper House in the first place.

The petition, filed by Mr. Ikechukwu Obiorah, who contested the election on the platform of the Accord Party, further alleges that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliances with the provisions of the Electoral Act. He asked the court to Disqualify Mr. Uba for giving false information in his election application;set aside his election into the National Assembly for the Anambra South Senatorial District and certificate of return issued to Mr. Uba by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also rder a fresh election for the Senate seat.

Those who joined in the suit are the PDP, INEC, Prof. Kelechi Greco Okoye (the INEC Returning Officer for the Senatorial District), and Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu, who, it is alleged, participated in the election as a second candidate of the PDP.