AGF Challenges Lawmakers On Anti-corruption Fight

AGF Challenges Lawmakers On Anti-corruption FightThe Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, says things will continue to go wrong in Nigeria, until the three arms of government agree to fight corruption together.

The Minister said this while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee probing allegations that $17 billion of undeclared crude oil and liquefied natural gas was stolen between 2011 and 2014.

Mr Malami who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja, also took a swipe at the legislature for not passing relevant bills before it.

“It is really sad and unfortunate that while we are contesting about uniform, we have not taken our time to address the passage of the relevant bills that have a greater impact on the fight against corruption.

“The executive on its own part, has presented the bill for the consideration of the National Assembly and it has remain there for long; no decision has been taken. Multiple issues come into play as far as answering the question of what went wrong is concerned.

“Until we get to a stage whereby we all cue into the idea of fighting corruption as a unit; the executive, legislature and the judiciary coming together and working together for the purpose of fighting corruption, things will continue to remain wrong and then we’ll definitely find it very difficult to make progress,” Mr Malami said.

Apo Killings: Families Protest Court Verdict, Urge AGF’s Intervention

Students Protest, Kwara StudentsThe family members of the six Igbo traders who were murdered in Abuja in June 2005 have staged a protest at the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.

They registered their displeasure over the judgment of an Abuja High Court which sentenced to death, two out of the six police officers who were initially charged for their alleged complicity in the killings.

Leader of the aggrieved family members and Chairman of Apo Traders Association, Mr Chimezie Ifeh, stated their objection to the court’s decision on the matter.

He queried the propriety of the court judgment, saying “the real culprits of the gruesome murder of the Apo six traders have been left off the hook”.

Mr Ifeh urged the Minister of Justice to appeal the judgment and ensure that the perpetrators be brought to book.

The protesters were addressed on Friday on behalf of the Minister by the Director of Legal Drafting at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Tahir Hamzam.

Mr Hamzam assured them that the AGF would to look into the matter as he urged them to remain law abiding.

He also promised the protesters that the judgment would be studied while appropriate steps will be taken to address the issue.

EFCC Files Charges Against Shell, Eni, Nine Others

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a three-count charge of conspiracy and corruption against two multinational oil firms, Shell and Eni, for their roles in the alleged Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.

Nine others were also charged along with the two multinational companies before an FCT High Court in Abuja on Thursday.

Those charged alongside Shell and Eni are a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete, as well as a businessman Aliyu Abubakar.

In the first count of the charge, Shell Nigeria, Nigeria AGIP Exploration Ltd., Eni S.p.A, a former Director of SNEPCO, Ralph Wetzels, two Italians who are former directors in AGIP, Casula Roberto and Burrafato Sebastiano, Douzia Louya Etete popularly known as Dan Etete, Mohammed Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd. allegedly conspired sometime in 2011 to commit an offence of official corruption.

In the charge sheet signed by Jonson Ojogbane for the EFCC, the offence was said to be contrary to Section 26 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same act.

In the second charge, Dan Etete, Mohammed Adoke, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas were alleged to have corruptly received the sum of eight hundred and one (801) million dollars in respect of OPL 245 from Shell Nigeria, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd. and Eni S.p.A.

The new charges were said to be part of an international collaboration to ensure that all those who partook in the alleged $1.1 billion OPL 245 scandal were brought to justice.

The OPL 245 oil block is currently owned by the Nigerian Government after a temporary court order granted on the basis of an EFCC application.

Shell and Eni have since appealed the order asking that the block be returned to them.

Free Basic Education An Enforceable Right; Court Declares

Court Declares Free Basic Education An Enforceable RightA Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that every Nigerian child has the constitutional right to free and compulsory primary education, and free junior secondary education.

In a suit filed by a non-governmental organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), against the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation, Justice John Tsoho also declared that the Federal and State governments have constitutional duties to provide adequate funds for it.

In the suit, LEDAP asked the court to determine whether by the combined effect of Section 18 (3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 2 (1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, (UBE) 2004, the right to free and compulsory primary education and free junior secondary education for all qualified Nigerian citizens are enforceable rights in Nigeria.

Justice Tsoho, who relied on a 2002 decision of the Supreme Court, held that by enacting the UBE Act, the National Assembly has made the right to free and compulsory primary and free junior secondary education contained in Chapter 2 an enforceable or justiciable right.

Reacting to the judgment, the lead counsel to LEDAP, Mr Chino Obiagwu, said that the court on Wednesday gave life and hope to over 28 million Nigerian children who are currently out of primary and junior secondary school, or who are at risk of being withdrawn from school because of the inability of their parents or guardians to pay the tuition fees and school expenses, or who are withdrawn from school so that they can be given out in early marriage or be sent to the streets to hawk or beg for alms.

By this judgment, any child not enrolled in school or who is withdrawn from school can exercise his or her constitutional rights against the parent, guardian or government.

And failure by any government to fund free primary and junior secondary education will constitute a breach of the constitution.

Senate Wants More Police, Judiciary Action Against Jungle Justice

senate-nigeriaThe Senate has condemned the rising cases of jungle justice and lynching in Nigeria and asked the police and judiciary to bring an end to the trend.

In a motion sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, the upper legislative house expressed concern about the rising cases of jungle justice by mobs which have arrogated to themselves the power to condemn others to death and execute judgement in different parts of Nigeria without recourse to law courts.

Drawing the attention of his colleagues to the worrisome trend, he said: “We are still awaiting the confirmation of the Nigerian police as regards the incidence of that mob action in Lagos about that seven year old boy who was allegedly accused of stealing Garri (a popular food made from cassava tubers).

“We should have that at the back of our minds but we should look at the content of this motion. Horrified that these rising barbaric acts are perpetuated by a crowd of people watching unperturbed, this is most disheartening and quite frankly, each act dehumanises us as a race”.

Nigerians woke up last week to disturbing pictures and videos on the internet showing the lynching of a young man purportedly in Badagry Lagos State.

There have been different reports on the identity of the victim which some say was a seven-year-old boy and also the location where the killing took place.

Although the veracity of the incident has not entirely been proven, what is the fact is that jungle justice occurs regularly in Nigeria.

In Niger State on Monday, there was a reported case of lynching of a young man that allegedly stole a mobile phone.

The suspect, after he stole the phone was chased after by another individual whom reports said was stabbed by the suspect.

After onlookers noticed that that pursuer had been stabbed, they surrounded the suspect and beat him until he was lifeless.

Police said both persons later died at a hospital in the city.

Also, the killing of four University of Port Harcourt students is still fresh in the minds of many Nigerians. they had been accused of stealing.

Lawmakers unanimously threw their weight behind the motion, with some of them condemning the barbaric act.

Senator Mao Ohuanbunwa said: “It is very clear and evident and it shows a loss of confidence by the people in the security agencies to defend them so they resort to self-defence which I think is a bad omen for this government and this country.

Another lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, pointed out that many of the cases arose as a result of the abandonment, neglect and rejection of Nigerians after election.

After deliberations on the issue, the Senate asked the Attorney General of the Federation, the States Attorney Generals as well as the police to show greater sense of duty in apprehending and prosecuting people who engage in lynching and mob action.

LEDAP Sues DSS, AGF Over Arrest Of Judges

judgesThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project says it has filed a suit against the Department of State Services and the Attorney General of the Federation over the arrest and arraignment of some judges.

LEDAP is asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to declare as unlawful the raid and arrest of judges by the State Security Services, and to grant an order to stop the planned charge and arraignment in court of some of the arrested judges over allegations of corruption.

The group claims in the suit that the judges cannot be charged and arraigned in court without the authorization of the National Judicial Council.

In a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed at the Federal High Court Abuja ion Tuesday, LEDAP is asking the court for “an order restraining the DSS and AGF from filing any charge in court or arraigning before any court or arresting and/or detaining, inviting for questioning or searching the office or residence of any of the judicial officers or any other judicial officer in Nigeria unless with the authorization and referral of the National Judicial Council…”

In the originating summons filed along with the motion for injunction, the non-governmental organization asked the court to declare that the statutory functions of the DSS is the prevention and detection of crime against the internal security of Nigeria.

The organization argues that the DSS is not authorized to effect the arrest of the judges under the law setting it up – the National Security Agencies Act.

It added that the arrest and arraignment of the judges by DSS is “ultra vires and unlawful.”

In a press release signed by the National Coordinator and Lead Counsel of LEDAP, Chino Obiagwu, the organization also wants the court to order the DSS to “forthwith cease, terminate, and withdraw any charge, information, arrest or invitation of any of the judicial officers.”

The court is yet to fix a date to hear the suit.

FCT Chief Judge Advises Judges To Stay Above Board

ishaq bello, FCT Chief JudgeThe Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello has called on judges and other judicial officers in the nation’s capital to live above board in the discharge of their duties.

He made the call at the beginning of the proceedings to usher in the 2016/2017 legal year of the Federal Capital Territory.

The ceremony saw him inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the Police before recognizing court officials who have distinguished themselves in the last judicial year

With the ceremony over, he headed to the ceremonial court for the first sitting of the year and the Chief Judge used the opportunity to speak on the events surrounding the judiciary in the last three weeks.

The Chief Judge commended the judicial officers in Abuja for their hard work, honesty and dedication to duty.

He stated that the judiciary is determined and capable of sanitizing itself with support of the relevant agencies but added that the support should be given within the ambit of the law.

Even when the FCT judiciary in the last one year had completed over 17,000 cases, the Chief Judge lamented the continued congestion of prisons especially by awaiting trial suspects.

He announced that measures are being put in place to reduce the number of inmates without a definite decision on their cases as a means of decongesting the prisons.

On the issue of corruption in the judiciary, the representative of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Adegboyega Awomolo, urged the judiciary as a whole to see the focus on it as an opportunity to introspect and cleanse itself of any dent.

He also called on those who claim to know the corrupt officers in the judiciary to name names.

On his part, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said that the federal government is committed to making Nigeria a country free of corruption and impunity.

He added, however, that this can only happen with a judiciary that is committed to speedy and quality dispensing of justice.

Majority of those present at the event agreed that the judiciary needs reform if it is to regain its pride of place in the hearts of Nigerians.

DSS Cannot Enforce The Law By Being Unlawful – Muyiwa Subo

DSS Raid, Law, Muyiwa SuboFollowing the reactions that trailed the recent raid on judges by the Department of State Services, legal practitioner, Muyiwa Subo says “one cannot enforce the law by being unlawful”.

He made the comments on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, while addressing the issue of the raid on homes of some judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts, by the DSS.

Mr Sobo said the case was largely an abuse of the judges’ rights to privacy.

Bringing in an international perspective, he said “the right to privacy is such a huge aspect of civil liberty in any democracy.”

He also condemned the comments purportedly made by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, that they should go to court if thing such rights were violated.

The DSS argued that “the way one acquires evidence may be questionable, however it doesn’t mean the evidence would not be valid in court”.

The DSS claims to have received a search warrant which is admissible according to the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act of 2015.

Meanwhile, Mr Sobo on the other hand argued that the admissibility of evidence regardless of how it is acquired, is against civil liberties in a democracy.

“This is because the people must have the confidence that they are safe in their homes, against the power of the government. Besides you cannot gather evidence of corruption simply based on a person’s lifestyle” he added.

He therefore maintained that evidence should not be valid if illegally obtained.

Speaking further on the idea behind the sting operation, the legal practitioner asserted that a search warrant is only needed when attempting to prevent destruction of evidence or in a case where public safety is involved.

Requesting to know what formed the basis of the investigation, he insisted that the DSS must defend its actions otherwise, “it means everything seized during that process will not be admissible”.

A wrong move

Another legal practitioner, Shina Fagbenro-Byron also deplored the

Shina Fagbenro-Byron

manner of approach of the DSS.

He said “if they had a reason to believe that there was an on-going crime as at the time they broke in, then their actions can be justified.

Before resorting to breaking down doors, he asks, “did they knock and the judge did not open”

Mr Byron however stated that the judiciary needs to take a deep look at itself to determine if they are instruments of justice or of law.

He admitted that the justice system has had some challenges and “there is corruption there just as there is everywhere else in the world”.

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.

Family Alleges Foul Play In EFCC Suspect’s Death

EFCC, Desmond Nunugwo, JusticeFamily members of former Chief Protocol Officer to the Minister of State for Defence, Mr Desmond Nunugwo, have visited the Ministry of Justice to demand for justice over his death.

According to the deceased’s family, he died on June 9, 2016, after he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for his alleged role in a 91 million Naira fraud.

Mr Malami had called for an independent inquiry into how he allegedly died in the EFCC custody.

Lawyer to the late Nunugwo, Paul Edeh, who led the wife of the deceased, Mrs Susan Nunugwo and other family members to the Ministry of Justice for an update in the matter, alleged foul play in his death.

They expressed confidence in the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, in ensuring they get justice.

However, they frowned at the attitude of the anti-graft commission and security agencies towards the matter.

Late Nunugwo, according to EFCC, was arrested for fraudulently obtaining 91 million Naira from an acquaintance after he allegedly tricked her into believing that he had high net worth business associates in Dubai, who were to buy NICON Insurance and convinced her of their disposition to help her stock fish business.

Shiites Reiterate Call For Zakzaky’s Release

Ibraheem Zakzaky, court, Shiites
Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have reiterated the call for the release of their leader, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky.

The Shiites pushed for the release of their leader during a protest on Wednesday held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Some members of the group’s Academic Forum, Muhktar Awwal and Firdausi Yusuf, read out a statement which contained the demand.

The Shiites say the group and its leaders are being subjected to what they called “unwarranted and vicious attack” by the Kaduna State government and security agencies.

They held a peaceful protest through the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, which terminated at the Federal Secretariat.

The protest follows the refusal of a Federal High Court to hear the bail application filed by Mr Zakzaky.

Ruling on the application on Monday, Justice Okon Abang, said since the main suit was already ongoing before another judge of the Federal High Court, the applicant ought to obtain a ‘leave of court’ to hear the matter.

Zakzaky and his wife, Mrs Zeenah Ibrahim, were arrested after a confrontation between the Islamic group and soldiers which resulted in several deaths and destruction of property on December 12, 2015.

The leader of the Shiites, through his lawyers, Femi Falana and Festus Okoye, is demanding an order of court directing his immediate release from custody.

Court Declines Hearing Zakzaky’s Bail Application

Ibraheem Zakzaky, court, ShiitesA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused to hear the bail application filed by the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibraheem Zakzaky.

Ruling on the application on Monday, Justice Okon Abang said since the main suit was already ongoing before another judge of the Federal High Court, the applicant ought to obtain a ‘leave of court’ to hear the matter.

Justice Abang noted that the applicant failed to serve the Department of State Services (DSS), the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, who were the respondents in the matter.

Mr Zakzaky and his wife, Mrs Zeenah Ibrahim, were arrested after a confrontation between the Islamic group and soldiers which resulted in several deaths and destruction of property on December 12, 2015.

The leader of the Shiites, through his lawyers, Femi Falana and Festus Okoye, is demanding an order of court directing his immediate release from custody.

He also wants the court to award the sum of two billion Naira against the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; the DSS, Mr Idris and Mr Malami.

The case which had been before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, has been adjourned till September 20.