Musdapher calls for reforms as he bids farewell to Judiciary

Justice Dahiru Musdapher on Friday bowed out as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) having attained the retirement age of 70 years.

At a valedictory service held in his honor, Justice Musdapher advocated the creation of an Independent body other than the National Judicial Council, for the discipline and removal of Judges.

Justice Musdapher noted that investigation of allegation of impropriety against judicial officers is too cumbersome for the NJC which is saddled with other responsibilities.

He said the system which has been adopted by most Commonwealth countries, is in a better position to deal with issues of discipline and removal as opposed to an institution that is largely managed by those it is supposed to regulate.

Present at the occasion were governors of Kogi, Bauchi, Ekiti and Jigawa also present were retired justices of the Supreme court and the Appellate court ,members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the body of senior Advocates, federal lawmakers, traditional rulers, the mother of the retiring chief justice and other well wishers.

Soon after Justice Musdapher filed into the court to perform his last duty as the head of the nations judiciary, he swore-in two newly appointed justices of the supreme court, Justice Musa Dantijo Muhammed and Justice Clara Ogunbiyi.

Justice Musdapher outlined some of his achievements as the chief justice, one of which is the 47 amendments sought as part of the reform of the judiciary, he urged the National Assembly to be pro-active in passing the laws.

The outgoing chief justice also gave a score card of the Supreme Court at the end of the 2012 legal year.

He also made a case for another body to be responsible for judicial discipline and removal as the role has become too cumbersome for the National Judicial Commission.

His Lordship then bowed out of the court as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, having served thirty-three of his forty-four years career on the bench.

Delays in handling corruption cases

The outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria explained the reasons why his directive to all courts in the country to dispose of all corruption cases within the last six months were not achieved.

According to him, the major reason is the cumbersome nature of the various charge sheets which contains so many counts charges making it difficult to prosecute.

Justice Musdapher blames the anti-graft agencies who arrest and charge suspected offenders before concluding investigations making them largely unprepared for trial.

He also blames defence lawyers whom he says have perfected strategies for stalling the trial processes via the filing of pointless interlocutory appeals.

This he said has necessitated the need for a speedy amendment of the  relevant  sections of the constitutions to block all loop holes  for unjustified invocation of the right of appeal.

 

Supreme Court upholds election of Isa Yuguda

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of the governor of Bauchi state, Isa Yuguda, dismissing the appeal of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The Chief Justice of Nigeria who delivered the lead judgment said the Apex Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the appeal afresh since it emanated from a tribunal and not a trial court.

He added that “the court cannot allow the judgment of the Appellate court as it lacks competence since it gave reasons for its judgment outside the 60 days stipulated by the law.” “It has become a nullity and therefore does not exist.

The Court there after held that the tribunal judgment which upheld the victory of the governor as subsisting.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, however urged the National Assembly to amend Section 285 of the Electoral Act to ensure that litigants do not continue to suffer as a result of the law.

Counsel to CPC’s candidate in the April 2011 governorship election, Mr Olawale Akoni had told the court to evoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to hear the suit afresh as it is not satisfied.

With the handling of the suit by the Appellate court, counsel to the governor, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi and that of (INEC) Mr Hassan Liman both opposed the application on the grounds that several judgment of the Supreme Court.

Have indicated that if the appeal court delivers judgment outside the 60 days stipulated by the law it is null and void and since the same scenario is applicable to this suit same should apply.

The Supreme Court also set aside the judgment of the Appellate Court in the appeal brought before it by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) challenging the victory of governor Dambaba Suntai of Taraba state in the April 2011 governorship election on the grounds that the Appeal Court lacks the competence to deliver judgment and give reasons outside the 60 days stipulated in the electoral act 2010 as amended.

Gunmen kill police officer, injure another in Bauchi attacks

A police officer was killed this morning in Bauchi when unknown gunmen hurled explosives and opened fire at a police station and bank located in the Jama’are local government area of the northern state.

Reports say another policeman sustained serious injuries in the attack and is now receiving treatment at the Jama’are General hospital.

Eye witnesses put the time of the attack at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, adding that residents ran to safety when they heard the explosions.

Chairman of the local government area, Alhaji Adamu Suleiman, confirmed the incident in an interview with pressmen, adding that more explosives were discovered at the affected bank and safely defused.

“Twelve bombs were detonated in my presence this morning at the bank when I went to ascertain the situation. We are ready to support the security agency to fish out the culprit and prosecute them,” Suleiman said.

Bauchi State: Police arrest 8 suspects over church bombing plot

Eight persons, suspected of allegedly attempting a bomb attack on a rival faction of their own church, have been arrested the Bauchi state police confirmed.

According to the Reuters report, the attempted attack had taken place only hours after the suicide bombing of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in Jos, Plateau state.

Police in Bauchi say the suspects, who are reportedly not members of the radical sect, were caught with explosives in their possession, as well as other weapons, at the Evangelical Church of West Africa.

“Some people attempted to attack the ECWA Church. It was a rival group within the church … this morning,” police Commissioner Ikechukwu Ayo Aduba told Reuters in a phone interview.

“When we got the report we sent our men who arrested about eight of them and seized the explosives.”

Earlier today, a lone suicide bomber driving a black car packed with explosives had rammed the gates of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, only 30 minutes into the morning service.

Nigeria emergency services say three people were killed and at least 38 injured. Witnesses say the gates had been closed for the worship session when suicide bomber had attempted to force his way in.

He detonated the device and brought the service to a premature dreadful end.

Radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which they say were without reason.

They also promised more attacks on the way, which many fear will lead to a wider rift between both religions.

32 die in Bauchi auto crash

At least 32 people twenty three males and nine females were confirmed dead in an automobile accident on Thursday morning at Bulkuri village in Azare local government area of Bauchi state north east Nigeria.

32 Die in Bauchi Auto Crash

The Spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) in Bauchi, Ibrahim Geidam, confirmed the fatal incident saying the accident, involved two Yobe Line buses about 11.45 a.m.

He said that all occupants, including the two drivers, died when the buses coming from opposite directions collided and caught fire.

Mr Geidam said one of the buses was coming from Kano and heading to Potiskum while the other was coming from Damaturu and heading to Kaduna.

“The accident occurred about 10km away from Azare town, near a village, called Kuskure, and it involved two commercial buses owned by Yobe Line Transport Company.

“We learnt that one of the buses was travelling to Potiskum from Azare while the other one was heading for Kaduna from Damaturu in Yobe State,” he said.

He said that from all indications, the vehicles were over-speeding and trying to change their lanes.

He stated that the 32 bodies had been deposited at a mortuary in a hospital in Azare town.