Kogi Assembly Asks Chief Judge To Set Up Impeachment Panel For Deputy Gov

Kogi Deputy Governor Alleges Threat To His Life
The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, addresses reporters in Lokoja on August 1, 2019.

 

 

The Kogi State House of Assembly has directed the Chief Judge in the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to set up a seven-man committee to proceed with the impeachment of the deputy governor, Mr Simon Achuba.

The lawmakers gave the directive during Tuesday’s plenary in the legislative chamber of the Assembly complex in Lokoja, the state capital.

This followed a motion raised by the Majority Leader of the House, Abdullahi Bello, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta state constituency.

He cited Section 188 (4) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended to support his motion.

Bello explained that he raised the motion following the allegation of gross misconduct levelled against the deputy governor by the House.

He said the failure of Mr Achuba to respond to the allegation within the 14 days given by law warranted no further debates, but for the next step to be taken.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Muhammed, from Ankpa State Constituency I, seconded the motion.

Thereafter, the Speaker called for the voting of members in support and against the motion.

Nineteen out of the 25 members of the House voted in support of the motion.

The Speaker, thereby, directed the clerk of the House to communicate the directive of the lawmakers to the judicial arm of government in the state.

You Cannot Remove Chief Judge, Kogi Court Tells Governor, Assembly

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
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The Kogi High Court sitting in Koton-Karfe has ruled that the executive and state legislature jointly or unilaterally cannot remove the Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The court also declared that the Chief Registrar of the state high court held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the judiciary and was, therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or the legislature.

The presiding judge, Justice Alaba Omolaye- Ajileye, made the declaration in his judgment on the suit brought against the Assembly, the governor and three others by Justice Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Yahya Adamu.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said he found merit in the action and all the declarations sought are allowed.

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According to him, by item 21 of the third schedule of the 1999 constitution (as amended) the NJC is the body empowered to exercise disciplinary control over all judicial officers of Nigeria.

The judge noted that it is the NJC established under section 153(I) of the constitution (as amended) that has the power to recommend to the governor, the removal of a judicial officer where a Chief Judge of a state is to be removed, for whatever reason stressing that it is the NJC, and not the state house of assembly that is empowered to make recommendations to the governor of a state under item 21(d) of the third schedule to the constitution.

It will be recalled that the judicial officers had approached the court to challenge the powers of the defendants to remove the chief judge and punish the chief registrar over refusal to be investigated by the state house of assembly.

The suit with number HC/KK. 11CV/2018 brought by the Chief Judge and the Chief Registrar had as respondents, the Kogi State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House, Bello Abdullahi, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Governor Yahaya Bello and the state’s Attorney-General.

Sanwo-Olu Swears In Acting Chief Judge, Wants Solution To Prison Congestion

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (right), congratulates the Acting Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba

 

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has sworn in Justice Kazeem Alogba as the new acting Chief Judge of the state.

The governor urged the Executive to work with the state judiciary and the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to prison congestion.

He said that congestion has become be a major challenge to the state’s justice system.

“The current situation where over 70 percent of inmates in our prisons constitute awaiting trials is not acceptable as it is not a reflection of an efficient justice delivery system.

“We will also not hesitate to do whatever is required to sustain the ongoing reform in the judicial sector so the desired result of ensuring that the wheel of justice rolls as fast as it can, will be achieved.”

The Governor further stated that his administration will embark on the review of the State’s judiciary, noting that the three arms of government must form a synergy for the development of the State. He also promised to continue with judicial reforms in the State.

“We are all partners in progress. We must continue to work together to deliver the good for the teeming Lagos populace. This is what governance is all about.” Sanwo-Olu said.

While congratulating the new acting Chief Judge, Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed confidence in his capacity to continue on the path of progress that has been created in the State judiciary since the beginning of the fourth republic.

”I have absolute confidence in your ability and capacity to sustain and improve on the enviable reputation which the Lagos State Judiciary has built for itself over the years, particularly since 1999 under the administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“During the tenure of that administration, a solid foundation was laid through the introduction and implementation of critical reforms and initiatives that are aimed at building a judicial system that is efficient, reliable and courageous to uphold the fundamental principles and ideals of equity, fairness, natural justice and the rule of law.”

In his vote of assurance, Justice Alogba, who thanked the Governor for the honour, promised to exercise the powers of his office conscientiously for the good of the common man and the furtherance of the administration of justice in Lagos State.

The new Acting Chief Judge suggested that traffic and environmental offenders should henceforth serve their sentences at the point where the offences are committed.

He said no one likes to wear a toga of an ex-convict so community service or some other forms of punishment should be handed to offenders at the point of contravention.

Justice Alogba also promised speedy and effective dispensation of justice, zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt tendencies, rigorous, adequate and continuous training of judicial staff as well as improvement on the use of ICT for the delivery of justice.

“We will pursue the use of information communication technology and dwell on staff welfare. We pledge our support for the new administration”, Alogba said.

Obiano Swears In Anambra’s First Female Chief Judge

Governor Willie Obiano after swearing in Honourable Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu as the first female Chief Judge in the state.

 

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has sworn in Honourable Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu as the first female Chief Judge in the state.

Justice Onwuamaegbu’s oath of office follows the voluntary retirement of the former Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi.

Obiano, while inaugurating the CJ at the Government House in Awka, the state capital pledged the support of his administration to enable her to effectively deliver justice.

“It is a very great day in Anambra State today. I want to assure both the acting Chief Judge of the state and members of the bench and bar in Anambra State that I will give her all the support required to be able to deliver,” he said.

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On her part, Justice Onwuamaegbu pledged to work in harmony with other arms of government to ensure effective and speedy delivery of justice.

“Your Excellency, I thank you so much for giving me that opportunity. My position today is one for a call of duty.

“I have been called to lead the very hardworking judges of Anambra State. I wrote an undertaking to properly deliver justice to all manner of people without fear or favour, particularly to work harmoniously with the other arms of government,” she stated.

Justice Onwuamaegbu’s appointment as Anambra’s first female chief judge comes 13 after Lady Virginia Etiaba governed the state, thereby becoming the first female governor in Nigeria’s history in 2006.

Sacked Philippine Chief Justice To Appeal Decision

Ousted Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (C) delivers a speech before her supporters in front of the supreme court building in Manila on May 11, 2018. TED ALJIBE / AFP

 

The ousted top judge of the Philippines will appeal against the decision to sack her, after she battled with President Rodrigo Duterte over his deadly drug war, her spokesman said Saturday.

Maria Lourdes Sereno’s colleagues voted on Friday to remove her as Supreme Court chief justice in an unprecedented decision that has sparked a legal firestorm.

“She will file MR (motion of reconsideration),” her spokesman Carlo Cruz said in a message to AFP without elaborating.

Duterte had openly called for Sereno’s removal from the court, calling her an “enemy” after they clashed over his bloody war on drugs and alleged abuse of power.

Sereno’s expulsion came due to a petition by the chief government lawyer — a Duterte appointee — who argued that she was not qualified for her position and accused her of not filing statements of assets and liabilities in previous years — accusations she categorically denied.

Legal experts, including other Supreme Court judges, have argued that Sereno’s sacking is a violation of the constitution, which says a justice can only be removed through impeachment in Congress.

In opinions released Saturday, dissenting judge Marvic Leonen called the move “a legal abomination” while fellow justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa said, “this case marks the time when the Court commits seppuku (ritual suicide) – without honour”.

Pacifico Agabin, an expert in constitutional law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, told AFP Sereno’s appeal was unlikely to succeed, saying: “I don’t think any one of the justices will have a change of mind”.

Sereno, who has urged her supporters to “fight for justice and demand accountability”, is the latest high-profile critic of Duterte to be targeted after speaking out against the president.

Other Duterte critics have also been ousted, punished or threatened, including Senator Leila de Lima who has been jailed, the Commission on Human Rights and an anti-corruption prosecutor who investigated allegations that Duterte has hidden wealth.

Duterte has faced global criticism for human rights abuses particularly related to his bloody campaign against illegal drugs which police say has claimed the lives of around 4,200 suspects in nearly two years. Rights groups allege the actual number is three times higher.

AFP

Lagos Chief Judge Inaugurates Special Courts For Corruption Cases

Lagos Chief Judge Inaugurates Special Courts For Corruption Cases
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The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, has inaugurated four special courts solely to try corruption cases.

The courts, tagged “Special Offences Courts”, were inaugurated at a well-attended ceremony on Thursday in Ikeja, the state capital.

Sometime in 2017, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, had instructed all heads of courts across the country to create special courts for the speedy trial of corruption cases.

On her part, Justice Oke explained that the launch of the courts was in obedience to a directive given by the CJN, even as there are more than 500 financial crimes cases pending before various High Courts in the state.

She was, however, hopeful that the cases would enjoy expeditious hearing with the launch of the special courts.

The Chief Judge added that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant bodies would be encouraged to expedite the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.

Apart from corruption and financial crimes cases, the Special Offences Courts will exclusively handle cybercrimes and other related offences.

They are also meant to attend to sexual and domestic violence cases, which Justice Oke said had grown to alarming height in the country.

A representative of the Lagos State government said adequate support would be given to the judiciary in the expeditious prosecution of corruption cases.

Also speaking at the event, the EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, urged the Chief Judges in other states to emulate Lagos by ensuring the establishment of similar courts.

Ambode To Swear-In New Acting Chief Judge On Monday

Ambode Promises Even Distribution Of Democracy Dividends
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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode will next week Monday, September 25, 2017 swear-in Justice Opeyemi Oke as the Acting Chief Judge of the State.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Habib Aruna said Justice Oke, who is the most senior judge of the State Judiciary, is to be sworn-in as acting Chief Justice following the retirement of the outgoing Chief Judge of the State.

The outgoing Chief Justice of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade will attain the statutory retirement age on September 24, 2017.

Justice Atilade had on Monday paid a visit to the Governor at Lagos House to officially announce her retirement from the State’s judiciary.

Speaking while receiving the outgoing Chief Judge, Governor Ambode pledged his administration’s determination to prioritise the welfare of serving and retired judges in the State so as to enable them to continue to give their very best to the economic prosperity of the State.

He said since May 2015, concerted efforts have been put in place geared towards reforms in the judiciary to improve on their service delivery, noting that the Lagos State Judiciary had become a reference point of how the judiciary should run.

Lagos State Appoints Three New Judges

Lagos State Appoints Three New JudgesThree new judges are to be sworn-in to the Lagos State Judiciary on Wednesday, March 8.

They would be inducted at a ceremony to be presided over by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

The newly appointed judges are: the Chief Registrar of the State Judiciary, Emmanuel Ogundare, the Deputy Chief Registrar, Special Duties, Magistrate Serifat Solebo and the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Idowu Alakija.

The appointments of the new judges followed the approval of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the recommendation of the State Judicial Service Commission chaired by the Chief Judge, Oluwafunmilayo Atilade.

The new appointments has brought the total number of judges in the Lagos State Judiciary to 57 with 98 magistrates.

FCT Chief Judge Pardons 10 Inmates

FCT, Nsukka, Prison, Inmates, Two prisoners at the Kuje medium prison have been released unconditionally, while another eight will go home, should their fines be settled by well-meaning Nigerians.

This is according to the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Usman Bello.

He also said that a panel has been set-up to fast-track cases awaiting trial between now and the first quarter of 2017.

Justice Bello said that the exercise is part of efforts by the judiciary to decongest the nation’s prisons which are being stretched beyond capacity.

 

 

Gov. Ikpeazu To Appeal His Removal By Court

okezie ikpeazuThe government of Abia State has said that it will appeal the judgement of the Abuja High Court asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cede the certificate of return issued to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to his opponent.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Eyinnaya Appolos, told Channels Television on Monday afternoon in Umuahia, the state capital that the Governor has always been a government official and his tax has always been deducted from the source.

The CPS said that there is no need for Abians to panic and that Ikpeazu remains the Governor of the state.

The court had ruled that Mr Ikpeazu never qualified to run for the party primaries as a governorship candidate in the Peoples Democratic Party.

The judge ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Uche Ogah, his opponent in the December 2014 governorship election in state as the substantive governor of Abia State.

Justice Abang ruled that on the account of fake tax returns during the primaries, Dr. Ikpeazu was never qualified to run in the primaries.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had in April 2015 declared Mr Ikpeazu, the winner of the Abia State governorship election.

Gov. Bello Promises Full Independence For Judiciary

Yahaya-BelloThe Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has assured the state judiciary of full independence and that he would allow the principle of separation of power to reign without interference.

The Governor gave this assurance when he paid a visit to the State High Court in Lokoja the state capital, where he also promised that his administration would be guided by the constitution in dealing with other arms of government.

A visit to the judges in the state, the Governor said, would go a long way to foster peace and unity between the two arms of government, noting that this was significant in the history of the state judiciary as it was the first time a sitting governor would pay them am an official visit.

The Governor commended the judges in the state for being fair, honest and faithful.

In his address, the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, assured the Governor that the independence of the judiciary would in no way constitute any threat to his government.

He also highlighted some of their needs which he said has been militating against the smooth running of administration of justice.

The Governor promised to tackle all the issues raised by the Chief Judge and also assured them of equity in the allocation of resources and promised never to trespass in there official duty.

Court Stops Arrest Of Kuku Pending Appeal Hearing

Kingsley KukuThe Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies from arresting, probing or prosecuting Mr Kingsley Kuku.

He was a Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs.

Justice Okon Abang had on February 17, in a ruling on a fundamental right suit, instituted by Mr Kuku against the EFCC and others, held that the respondents could arrest, probe and prosecute Mr Kuku over alleged financial impropriety during his tenure.

Dissatisfied with the court’s ruling, Mr Kuku appealed against the verdict and filed a motion for a stay of execution, dated February 23, and supported with an 11 paragraph affidavit, deposed to by one Chinedu Obata before the court.

Justice Abang, who is currently sitting in Abuja Division of the Court, was in Lagos on Tuesday with the permission of the Chief Judge, to deliver his ruling on the application.

Nothing To Lose

The court in its ruling held that the application before the court had nothing to do with the statutory right of the respondents.

Justice Abang ordered the parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of an appeal filed by Mr Kuku on the matter.

“Time cannot run against the State in arresting or prosecuting the applicant if truly, he is culpable of the alleged offence.

“The respondents have nothing to lose if status quo is maintained. So, all action concerning arrest, detention and prosecution of the applicant should hold on for now, till final determination of the appeal on the matter,” the court ruled.

Justice Abang in the earlier judgment, which declared that the anti-graft agency had a right to arrest Mr Kuku, warned the commission not to coerce or threaten anybody to give false statement against the applicant.

Besides, the court also held that if Kuku was arrested, he should not be detained beyond 48 hours because that would contravene Section 35(4) & (5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Mr Kuku had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Immigration Service, alleging that they had “plots to concoct, fabricate or falsify evidence in order to provide a basis for his arrest, detention, persecution and/or prosecution for political reasons”.

According to him, this was “in furtherance of the unconscionable use of the otherwise laudable war against corruption to repress the political opposition constituted by the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the applicant”.

He sought a declaration that any such invitation, arrest, harassment or prosecution on the basis of allegations of corruption in respect to his tenure as Chairman of the Amnesty Programme between 2011 and 2015 was a breach of his right to fair hearing and freedom of movement.

Mr Kuku also sought an order prohibiting the respondents from arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of the allegations.

The Auditor-General of the Federation had raised questions over the alleged mismanagement of funds in reports of audit monitoring and evaluation of the amnesty programme.

Mr Kuku’s lawyer, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, said the respondents were about to abuse the criminal process by seeking to arrest his client.

“There is an illegal and unjustifiable instigation of the criminal process against the applicant in a manner that infringes upon his fundamental rights, as enshrined in Chapter four of the 1999 Constitution,” he said.