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.

Lawyers To Metuh Seek Transfer Of Case To Another Judge

MetuhLawyers to the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Olisa Metuh, have asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to transfer his case from Justice Okon Abang to another judge.

According to Justice Okon Abang, the Chief Judge informed him that a petition had been written against him on the ground that he had amongst other things, refused to avail Metuh’s lawyers the records of the court, thereby denying them the inalienable right of appeal.

The petition, according to Justice Abang, also accused him of bias in some of the rulings delivered during the trial and that he is also a classmate of the accused person, Mr Metuh.

Justice Abang, however, said that he would continue to preside over the case in line with the circular by the National Judicial Council, which directed any trial judge to continue to preside over a case, where a petition has been filed, until such a time when the chief judge of the court will make a decision.

But at the instance of Mr. Metuh’s lawyer, he again adjourned to March 23, 2016 for continuation of trial following an application that the lead counsel to Mr Metuh, Mr. Oyeachi Ikpeazu was ill and unable to attend the proceeding.

Mr. Metuh was to open his defence, following the rejection of his no case submission by the court.

Olisa Metuh Arraigned Again

Olisa-metuhThe National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Olisa Metuh, has been arraigned again on a two-count charge for criminal destruction of evidence and property of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Metuh was brought in handcuffs from the Kuje prison where he is being remanded, pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges which attracts a maximum of two years jail term.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, who is presiding over the case has adjourned till January 25 for hearing of Mr Metuh’s bail application.

The PDP Spokesman was on Tuesday granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja, ordering him to pay the sum of 400 million Naira.

He is also to tender two sureties that must provide 200 million Naira bail bond each. The court said both sureties must be resident in Abuja and should swear an affidavit of means with two passport photographs.

The EFCC had filed a seven count charge of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering against Mr Olisa Metuh.

Mr Metuh, according to the charges, transferred the sum of $1 million dollars through his agent, Nneka Nicole Ararume, to one Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investment committing an offense contrary to Section One of the Money Laundering Act.

He is also accused of receiving the sum of N400 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, without a contract, contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Metuh, is also accused of converting the said money to funds for political activities of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Mr Metuh was arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at his home on January 5.

Gov. Wike Confirms Daisy Okocha Rivers CJ

RiversThe Rivers Sate Governor, Nyesom Wike, has confirmed the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Daisy Okocha, as the substantive Chief Judge.

The ceremony took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The Governor told the gathering of members of his executive council, some senior officials of the state judiciary and other guests that his action was in line with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and an Appeal Court judgement of December 23, 2015 in Port Harcourt.

The court judgement sustained the prayers of Justice Daisy Okocha to be appointed as CJ in line with the recommendation of the NJC.

The appointment of Justice Daisy Okocha as Acting CJ was billed to expire on January 15, 2016 and her new appointment by Governor Wike as the substantive Chief Judge of the state is expected to leave her in office until her retirement.

Panel To Investigate Ondo Deputy Governor Begins Sitting

deputy governor

The seven-man panel of investigation set up by the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi, to look into the seven allegations leveled against the State Deputy Governor, Mr Ali Olanusi, has started sitting.

The ‎Ondo State House of Assembly had earlier directed the State Chief Judge to set up the panel. This is following the impeachment notice served on the Deputy Governor by the House.

While the Counsel of the defendant, the Deputy Governor insisted that his client was not served the notice and could not go on with the proceedings, the Counsel of the House of Assembly, Dayo Akinlaja, claimed that the Deputy Governor was only trying to shy away from the allegations leveled against him.

The Chairman of the panel, in his inauguration speech, Magistrate Olatunji Adeniyan (Rtd) promised that the panel would do its assignment with all fairness to the best of its ability.

The Counsel of the Deputy Governor, Benson Enikuomeh, told reporters that he was appearing at the panel in protest, as his client had not been served any notice to appear before the panel.

He, therefore, backs out of the proceedings, insisting that the panel cannot continue sitting, as he has not been briefed by his counsel on the issues leveled against him by the State Legislature.

On his part, the Counsel to the ‎House of Assembly, Dayo Akinlaja, insisted that the Deputy Governor could not claim not to have been served the notice as he is within the country.

Governor Ahmed Swears In New Kwara Chief Judge

KwaraThe Kwara State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, has sworn in the sixth Chief Judge of the state, Justice Sulyman Kawu, with a charge on him to build on his past records of hard work to ensure rule of law and quick dispensation of justice.

Administering the oath of office on the new Chief Judge at the Government House, the State Governor, congratulated him for the well deserved appointment and urged him to chart a new course for the rapid dispensation of justice in the state.

Governor Ahmed also tasked the Nigerian judiciary to rectify the impunity and disregard for the rule of law as well as numerous challenges confronting the nation’s democracy to earn the confidence of the people.

He congratulated the state judiciary for the rancour free change of baton and promised the government’s continuous support to the judiciary in meeting its obligations.

Governor Ahmed disclosed that his government had approved the payment of pecuniary allowance for judicial workers, starting from February 2015 in the state.

Responding, the new Chief Judge, Justice Sulyman Kawu, thanked the Governor for the opportunity and promised to redouble his efforts in bringing the state judiciary to the forefront of Nigeria’s judiciary.

Justice Kawu also seized the occasion to call for the autonomy of the judiciary as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.

Nasarawa Impeachment: Lawmakers Petition NJC Over Chief Judge’s Conduct

NasarawaState House of AssemblyThe Nasarawa State House of Assembly has moved a resolution to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the role of the Chief Judge of the state during the crisis that engulfed the state as a result of the plot to remove Governor Al-makura.

The PDP dominated House of Assembly, which resumed plenary on Monday after weeks of the impeachment saga, accused the Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko, of partisanship in the discharge of his duty, citing the breach of section 188 sub-sections 5 and 7 of the 1999 constitution.

The House majority leader, Mr Godiya Akwashiki, who moved the motion under matters of public interest, also accused Justice Dikko for breaching the constitution in the formation of the probe panel which acquitted Governor Al-makura.

The House then directed the clerk to write to the NJC on the Chief Judge after the motion was passed.

Also, the lawmakers moved to suspend one of their colleagues, Tanko Tunga, from the All Progressives Congress for six months with a 50% pay cut for act of misconduct.

This is the first sitting of the State Assembly with the full complement of lawmakers from both the PDP and the minority APC, since the impeachment plot against Mr Al-makura was hatched.

It is believed in many quarters that loyalists of the Governor now face the heat and threat to their political careers.

Ogun Govt. Moves to Decongest Prisons

amosun_waveThe Ogun State Government has put in place modalities that will ensure speedy dispensation of justice towards decongesting prisons in the state.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, who stated this to newsmen yesterday said the government also aims at reducing the large number of inmates awaiting trial.

She said Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who granted amnesty to 15 inmates and commuted death sentences passed on nine convicts to life imprisonment in commemoration of his third year in office, was moved by the deplorable condition of prison formations and has met with stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including the Chief Judge, Controller of Prisons, Commissioner of Police and herself.

“Our people should expect that justice will begin to be dispensed more speedily. Case files will be brought to court faster, so that the number of those awaiting trial will be significantly reduced in the very near future,” Akeredolu said.

She also said that the Governor, during his visit to prison formations in Oba, Ilaro and Abeokuta had deployed health officials to attend to inmates with bad health conditions.

The Ogun State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Joseph Olanrele, also revealed that 450 inmates were awaiting trial, stating however, that the State Governor has mandated stakeholders to ensure that those who were not supposed to be behind bars are not kept there unnecessarily.

Olanrele called on the populace to join the Nigeria Prison Service in its efforts at providing vocational skills to inmates, noting that the provision of adequate training facilities would help empower the inmates.

Kogi Police Parade 80 Year Old Armed Robber And 5 Others

The Police have arrested an 80 year old man, Momoh Rapheal and five others, for allegedly stealing money from a traditional ruler in Okedayo community located in Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi state.

While parading the suspects at the state Police headquarters in Lokoja, the State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Katsina, said the suspects attacked the traditional ruler; Chief Akin Obamero and Ayo Olukayode and dispossessed them of their belongings.

Items found on the robbery suspects include an AK 47 riffle, double and single barrel gun, five pistols, two cars, a motor cycle, 10 cartridges and 6 handsets among many other ammunition.

The gang leaders, Oluwaseun Ikupele and Saliyu Mumuni were arrested and convicted by a law court for robbery, but were later granted amnesty by the Chief Judge.

The 80 year old man is the gang armorer and supplier of arms and ammunition

They have now been arrested for another robbery alongside their gang members.

While briefing journalists on the arrest in his office Mr. Mohammed Katsina disclosed that in December 2012, Oluwaseun Ikupele and his gang members attacked the traditional ruler of Okedayo community and Ayo Olukayode and dispossessed them of their belongings.

He said when the police was informed by the victims, the special ambush squad investigated the matter and the suspects were arrested.

Also paraded was Ikechukwu Godfrey who was arrested with a stolen vehicle.

The State Police Commissioner also disclosed that three robbery suspects Illiyasu Danjuma, Idris Salisu and Momoh Sani Isadanga declared wanted by the police over a robbery case have been arrested.