FG Grants States Fiat To Prosecute Criminal Cases

Criminal CasesThe Federal Government has issued a general fiat to states to prosecute criminal cases on its behalf.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, made the disclosure on Thursday at a meeting of attorneys-general in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Malami also encouraged the states to adopt the National Policy on Prosecution and the National Guidelines on Prosecution, as a way of cushioning the many challenges bedeviling the Nigerian justice system.

He stated that the absence of smooth, speedy and effective justice administration had no jurisdictional limits or boundaries.

The Minister, therefore, noted that all hands must be on deck to improve the capacity of the judiciary to effectively and efficiently deliver justice to Nigerians.

The Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwem Nwoko and his Benue State counterpart, Micheal Gusa, described the move as a step in the right direction.

They expressed hope that it would go a long way in addressing the many challenges in the Nigerian justice system.

Appeal Court Nullifies Akwa Ibom Governorship Election

Akwa Ibom Governor Emmanuel Udom The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the governorship election held in Akwa Ibom State won by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Udom.

The judgement was delivered on Friday in Abuja by the lead judge, Justice Adedotun Adefope-Okojie.

In the judgement, the five-man panel also ordered a fresh election in Akwa Ibom, hinging their decision on what they called substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

Violation Of Electoral Act

The appellate court held that evidence from all the parties showed that there was no collation during the governorship election and as such election could not have been held under that circumstance.

The court said there was no substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 by the INEC in the conduct of the election, a situation they it said entitled the Governorship Election Tribunal to nullify the entire election in the state.

According to Justice Adefope-Okojie there was no dispute that the votes cast on the Election Day exceeded the number of accredited voters for the election.

“And in the face of the malpractices, Governor Udom could not have been said to have scored majority of the lawful votes cast,” he stressed.

According to the court, while 437,128 voters were accredited for the election, over 1,222,836 votes were said to have been cast at the polls.

From a simple arithmetic and application of some provisions of the law, no one needs a soothsayer to conclude that there was gross misconduct and violation of the Electoral Act, the court said.

To Appeal Judgement

Reacting to the ruling both the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwem Nwoko and lawyers to the Governor said the appeal would be tested at the apex court and it would provide the judiciary the opportunity to make a definite pronouncement on the issues of the card reader.

For now, the two parties have to return to their trenches for the legal battle at the highest court in the land.

The judgement came nearly two months after the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petition Tribunal nullified elections in 18 local governments and ordered a re-run.

After the judgement of the Tribunal headed by Justice Sadiq Umar, on October 21, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the April 11 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Umana Umana, filed an appeal at the appellate court in Abuja, challenging the judgment of the Tribunal.

The APC and Mr Umana faulted the Tribunal’s judgment on grounds of ‘miscarriage of justice and turning upside down, the head of the natural justice’.

The two appellants asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal in relation to the validation of election results in 13 local government areas of the state.

According to them, by nullifying elections in 18 out of 31 local government areas, Section 179(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution, which required that a candidate vying for the office of the Governor would be declared winner if he gets not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of the local government areas, has been breached.

They claimed that the Tribunal erred in not nullifying the election of Governor Udom of the PDP in its entirety since he did not meet the mandatory number needed to retain his seat.

Akwa Ibom Tribunal: Governor Udom Opens Defence

akwa ibomAkwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has opened his defence at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Tribunal reconvened on Wednesday after four days of recess.

The Governor and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, who are defendants in the petition, called four witnesses who testified that the election was peaceful throughout the state.

Witnesses called by the petitioner denied allegation of ballot box snatching and violence during the election.

However, the Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwem Nwoko, said that the petitioner had failed to establish that there was substantial malpractices that could warrant cancellation of the election.

He said the petitioner, who closed his case last week, only succeeded in showing the Tribunal that he had no case.