Court Of Appeal In Lagos Has Over 4630 Appeals, 6207 Motions Pending – Justice Dongban-Mensem

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A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

There are over 4,630 appeals pending at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.

The court also has 6,207 Motions pending as of December 1, 2020.

The President of the Court, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem gave these statistics in her remarks, during the opening day of the Court of Appeal’s first Working Retreat and Annual Conference of the Justices of the Court of Appeal, holding between December 7-10, with the Theme: Court of Appeal: Challenges &The Way Forward.

The retreat will feature special court sittings by all 70 Justices of the Court of Appeal, drawn from all the Divisions of the Court.

“The purpose is to send out a public message that this Court will no longer be a dumping ground for those who seek to hamper justice delivery in Nigeria. This week, it is also hoped that these special sittings will promote the collegiate spirit, which the Court is renowned for. Thirdly, our actions this week will afford us all a chance to discuss various aspects of our work, health, and wellbeing”, the President said.

Justice Dongban-Mensem also said that “On assumption of office, I discovered that majority of these Appeals, had either been abandoned or purposely left to linger endlessly by mischievous and flippant actors in the litigation process. It is also regrettable to note that a good number of these appeals were filed with the aim of stalling the judicial process. ‘This situation must certainly not be allowed to continue. We have come out to demonstrate our abhorrence by taking the bull by the horn”

“The Working Retreat consists of special court sessions involving 23 Special Appellate Panels. Due to time and space constraints, the Panels will sit in batches of six Special Panels on the designated days between the 7″ and 10″ of December 2020, from the hours of 9am to 12pm daily”.

“Each Panel will hear about 15 ripe appeals with Five Panels sitting at five designated Courtrooms of the National Industrial Court, Ikoyi and one panel at Court 1 of the Court of Appeal here in Lagos Division”.

“A total of 345 appeals, comprising of 289 Commercial Appeals; 10 Human Right Appeals; and 46 Criminal Appeals are scheduled for hearing. The 345 scheduled Appeals for hearing represents only 8% of the total number of Appeals in the Lagos Division.

She stressed that it is their aspiration that the exercise should be a continuous one in their various Divisions until the backlog is greatly reduced.

“Undoubtedly, the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, is a critical Division within the Court. It sits at the commercial nerve centre of our great Nation, Nigeria. Despite this, the Division has continued to experience a timeless delay in the hearing of appeals before it, largely due to the volume of appeals in its docket and the limited number of Justices available to hear them,” Dongban- Mensem said.

“It is my desire and expectation that under my stewardship, delays in the hearing of Appeals will become a thing of the past, not just in Lagos Division but also in other divisions of the Court of Appeal,” she said.

“Also incorporated in these special sessions are enlightening and educative presentations from erudite and educative personalities and professionals such as Mrs. Folake Solanke, SAN, who is the First Woman to attain the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria as well as being among the first indigenous publishers of a Law Report in Nigeria. We specially thank the Learned Silk, who at 88 years of age is present to make a presentation to us, despite the risks to her health arising from the COVID 19 Pandemic.

These sessions begin at 5pm every evening and will not only refresh our minds but also positively impact us. The paper presentations cover an array of topics such as Health, Information, and Communications Technology (ICT) and reminders about the revered traditions of the Legal Profession.”

The Appeal Court president expressed her appreciation to the various heads of Courts.

A Professor of Law, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan SAN, who represented the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria at the event called for the review of the qualifications of senior advocates, stating that most of the frivolous applications at the Appeal Court were being filed by lawyers in order to meet with the prerequisite to becoming a member of the inner bar.

Below is the full text of Justice Dongbam-Mensem’s speech.

PROTOCOL

It gives me great pleasure and privilege to address us all here as we begin the Court of Appeal’s first Working Retreat which will end with the 2020 Annual Conference. The Working Retreat features special court sittings by all Justices of the Court of Appeal, drawn from all the Divisions of the Court. We are presently seventy in number, twenty less than the statutory requirement of 90 Justices of the Court of Appeal.

The purpose of this retreat is to send out a public message that this Court will no longer be a dumping ground for those who seek to hamper justice delivery in Nigeria. This week, it 1s also hoped that these special sittings will promote the collegiate spirit, which the Court is renowned for. Thirdly, our actions this week will afford us all a chance to discuss about various aspects of our work, health and wellbeing.

Undoubtedly, the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, 1s a critical Division within the Court. It sits at the commercial nerve centre of our great Nation, Nigeria. Despite this, the Division has continued to experience timeless delay in the hearing of appeals before it, largely due to the volume of appeals in its docket and the limited number of Justices available to hear them.

The statistics of Appeals currently lodged at the Court reveal that as at the 1″ of December 2020, there are presently over 4,630 Appeals and 6,207 Motions pending in the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal. On assumption of office, I discovered that majority of these Appeals, had either been abandoned or purposely left to lnger endlessly by mischievous and flippant actors in the litigation process. It is also regrettable to note that a good number of these appeals were filed with the aim of stalling the judicial process. ‘This situation must certainly not be allowed to continue. We have come out to demonstrate our abhorrence by taking the bull by the horn.

This Working Retreat consists of special court sessions involving 23 Special Appellate Panels. Due to time and space constraints, the Panels will sit in batches of six Special Panels on the designated days between the 7″ and 10″ of December 2020, from the hours of 9am to 12pm daily. Each Panel will hear about 15 ripe appeals with Five Panels sitting at five designated Court rooms of the National Industrial Court, Ikoyi and one panel at Court 1 of the Court of Appeal here in Lagos Division.

A total of 345 appeals, comprising of 289 Commercial Appeals; 10 Human Right Appeals; and 46 Criminal Appeals are scheduled for hearing. The 345 scheduled Appeals for hearing represents only 8% of the total number of Appeals in Lagos Division. The task ahead may appear daunting, but we are resolute in our determination to decongest the Court. It 1s therefore our aspiration that the exercise should be a continuous one in our various Divisions until the backlog is greatly reduced.

Also incorporated in these special sessions are enlightening and educative presentations from erudite and educative personalities and professionals such as Mrs. Folake Solanke, SAN, who is the First Woman to attain the Rank of Semor Advocate of Nigeria as well as being among the first indigenous publishers of a Law Report in Nigeria. We specially thank the Learned Silk, who at 88 years of age is present to make a presentation to us, despite the risks to her health arising from the COVID 19 Pandemic. We pray that the Almighty God continues to strengthen and uphold her.

These sessions begin at 5pm every evening and will not only refresh our minds but also positively impact us. The paper presentations cover an array of topics such as Health, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and reminders about the revered traditions of the Legal Profession.

We express profound appreciations to the various heads of Courts who have actively demonstrated the harmony in the Third Arm of Government. We sincerely appreciate my Lord, the Hon. Justice John Tsoho, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, who offered us the use of the Court’s premises as well as offices and the Federal High Court’s vehicles for the Justices of our

Court. I must also extend our profound gratitude to my Lord, the Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, the President of the National

Industrial Court, who literally shut down the Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court in order to accommodate us following the vandalisation of our own Court.

We also appreciate our Chief Host, the Hon. Chief Judge of Lagos State, the Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba, who had already permitted us to use 24 Court halls, some of which were unfortunately burnt down following the violence that trailed the END SARS protest. The support and courtesies they have extended to us is indeed memorable and they must be specially recognised. My Lords we are most grateful.

I also thank the Nigerian Bar Association and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria for their cooperation in ensuring the success of this exercise. The Courts would be hollow without the Lawyers; we therefore appreciate the unflinching support of the Princes to the Court, the Learned Silks and other learned counsel who have come out in their numbers to support the special session. We look forward to a harmonious working experience

with all of you.

May I also specially thank all my Brother Justices and the Support Staff of the Court of Appeal for their unquantifiable support; without the support of you all, it would have been difficult to conceive of this event; you have all been wonderful and I thank you all.

It is my desire and expectation that under my stewardship, delays in the hearing of Appeals will become a thing of the past, not just in Lagos Division but also in other divisions of the Court of Appeal. I look forward to walking hand in hand with each and

every one of you towards the bold new direction of our hallowed Court.

I thank you for your kind audience and wish us all the best of the week ahead.

May God bless us all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Appeal Court Sets Up Panels To Decongest Backlog Of Appeals

A file photo of security operatives at the court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja.

 

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has set up seven special panels saddled with the responsibility of decongesting the backlog of appeals.

She disclosed this on Monday in Abuja, on the occasion of the maiden edition of the meeting with presiding justices of the 20 Divisions of the Court of Appeal tagged: Working Conference of the Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Dongban-Mensem explained that setting up the special panels became necessary in view of the lingering appeals clustering the court.

She blamed the development on what she described as the unwillingness of some litigants who have failed to file complete processes.

READ ALSO: Lagos To Auction 44 Cars Seized From Traffic Violators

“The Court of Appeal cannot be used as a tool in the hands of these litigants who go into a deep slumber.

“All notices of appeal filed without being followed with other processes to ensure quick prosecution and disposal of the appeal should be shown the way out,” the justice said.

She added, “We have sufficient provisions in our rules, which are backed by constitutional provision for the disposal of matters in court.”

The Appeal Court president noted that since presiding justices were heads of the divisions, they can go ahead and take charge and keep up with the tempo in their various jurisdictions.

“In a nation with teeming unemployed graduates and restive youths, we must do our part to create jobs by ensuring that all appeals are heard expeditiously, especially those which involve corporate bodies and businesses which can provide jobs for our youths,” she said.

The working conference, the first of its kind, was specially chosen to promote a sense of togetherness by enabling the most experienced minds to be deployed on special decongestion panels that would tackle the most congested divisions.

The special panels are expected to sit in two sessions daily and will work for three days to depose of over 100 motions filed at various divisions of the court.

Edo 2020: Court Of Appeal Sets Up Panel For Election Petition Tribunal

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A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

The Court of Appeal of Nigeria has established the Election Petition Tribunal and also constituted a panel in respect of the Governorship Election conducted in Edo State.

The panel was set up by the President, Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Monica Dongban – Mensem.

This was announced in a statement signed on Tuesday by Secretary of the Court, Sunday Martins.

READ ALSO: Buhari Congratulates Obaseki, Reiterates Commitment To Free, Fair Elections

“The general public is hereby put on notice that the Honourable President of Court of Appeal of Nigeria – Hon. Justice Monica Dongban – Mensem has established the Election Petition Tribunal Secretariat and accordingly constituted a panel in respect of the Governorship Election conducted in Edo State.

“The Honourable Chief Judge of the State – Hon. Justice E.A Edigin has graciously approved the use of High Court Complex (Election Petition Court Hall), Sapele Road, Benin City for the Tribunal Exercise. The Secretariat is now open,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has earlier congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki on his re-election.

Chairman of the APC national caretaker committee, Mai Mala Buni said in a statement that the peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represents a victory for Nigeria’s democracy.

It is important to note that tribunals are set up constitutionally whether a party is heading to court or not.

Aggrieved candidates are expected to file their petitions within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results in line with section 134 subsection one of the electoral act.

CJN Swears In Dongban-Mensem As Court Of Appeal President

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, speaks during the inauguration of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the President of the Court of Appeal in Abuja on June 19, 2020.

 

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has sworn in Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the President of the Court of Appeal.

The swearing-in ceremony held on Friday at the conference room of the CJN’s office in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He asked the newly sworn-in appellate court president to discharge her duties to the court without fear or favour.

Justice Muhammad also advised her to work closely with presiding justices of the Court of Appeal to achieve great strides in the nation’s judicial system.

He said, “Certainly, you will see that there is no court in this country that has the number of justices that the Court of Appeal has.

“Therefore, that shows you that the Court of Appeal is home of work, the Court of Appeal is home of cooperation; you have to cooperate together, all of you from top to bottom so that the work will continue to progress.”

After taking the oath of office, Justice Dongban-Mensem promised the CJN that she would contribute her quota to the growth of the nation’s judiciary.

On their part, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, and Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke, outlined their expectations from the Court of Appeal going forward.

The event had in attendance families, friends, colleagues of Justice Dongban-Mensem, as well as top government officials who stormed the venue to celebrate with her.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of Justice Dongban-Mensem to act as the President of the Court of Appeal from March 6, for an initial period of three months.

This followed the retirement of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, as well as the recommendation of Justice Muhammad in line with the provisions of Section 238(4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Following the completion of the initial period, the President announced on June 8 that he had forwarded the name of Justice Dongban-Mensem to the Senate for confirmation, in line with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

After receiving the President’s request, the lawmakers in the Senate confirmed Justice Dongban-Mensem as the President of the Court of Appeal, paving the way for her inauguration.

Sen. Ajimobi To Serve As Acting APC National Chairman After Oshiomhole Suspension Verdict

A file photo of former Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday elevated Sen. Abiola Ajimobi to serve as its acting National Chairman after the Court of Appeal upheld the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole.

Sen. Ajimobi was the party’s Deputy National Chairman for the southern region and is a former Governor of Oyo state.

In a statement signed by party spokesman Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu late Tuesday, the APC said its National Working Committee (NWC) had been guided by the party’s legal department in line with the provisions its constitution.

“According to Section 14.2. (iii),of the APC constitution, the Deputy National Chairman, North/South ‘Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone’,” the statement said.

The Court of Appeal, earlier on Tuesday, had upheld the suspension of erstwhile National Chairman, Oshiomhole, by an Abuja High Court.

Ruling on the interlocutory appeal filed by Comrade Oshiomhole, the appellate court upheld the decision of the Federal Capital Territory High Court delivered by Justice Danlami Senchi which in March ordered the suspension of Oshiomhole as well as restraining him from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

 

Read the full statement:

Sen. Abiola Ajimobi to Serve As APC Acting National Chairman

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has received the news indicating the Appeal Court has upheld the suspension of the Party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole by an FCT High Court pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Guided by advice from the Party’s legal department in line with the provisions of Section 14.2. (iii) of the Party’s constitution, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Sen. Abiola Ajimobi will serve as the Party’s Acting National Chairman.

According to Section 14.2. (iii),of the APC constitution, the Deputy National Chairman, North/South “Shall act as the National Chairman in the absence of the National Chairman from his zone”.

SIGNED
Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)

Court Of Appeal President Calls For Regular Training For Judges

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem in a meeting with others.

 

The Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem has called on the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to work out modalities for early and pragmatic training of Justices and Judges on the usage of the Manual for Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) as a way of broadening their scope of understanding its application.

She said: “I would like IFES to consider having more regular workshops for Justices and not just when elections are around the corner. This will also allow for proper feedback on how well people appreciate this effort and how your organisation intends to implement the issues raised to ensure that the process is better executed for positive result”.

Justice Dongban-Mensem made the plea when the Country Director of IFES, Mr Hermann Thiel, led the Deputy Country Director, Seray Jah and the Project Manager, Mr Simon Fanto to brief her on plans being made to convene a debriefing conference of the Justices and Judges who participated in the 2019 Election Petition Tribunal Processes as well as review the Manual for Election Petition Tribunal (EPT).

The IFES Country Director, Mr Hermann Thiel disclosed that their visit was of dual-purpose, first to familiarise himself with the new Acting President of the Court of Appeal and intimate her on the organisation’s activities.

The second purpose was to chart a new beginning on the way forward on how to overcome the challenges the COVID-19 poses in bringing back the 250 Judges drawn from the 36 states of the Federation, who participated in EPT for a debriefing conference especially, with the Federal Government’s guidelines on social distancing, which bans movement and official gatherings in the country.

In their contributions, the IFES Project Manager, Mr Simon Fanto and the Deputy Country Director, Mr. Seray Jah informed Justice Dongbam-Mensah that apart from training judges, IFES also collates feedback from the judges which helps in the review of the manual for election petition tribunals.

“As a tradition, at the end of the tribunal sittings, the post-election conference takes place where all the Judges come together to share experiences on what had happened while in the field, with a view to understanding the best processes that assisted them and those that posed challenges” Mr Fanto reiterated.

Specifically, the Project Manager informed the Acting President that the fall-out from such interface formed the bases for future reforms.

“Now that there are a lot of reforms that are ongoing, especially at the National Assembly as well as the legal components, we are primarily here to discuss and seek your Lordship’s guidance on how to reconvene the Post-Election Petition Tribunal Conference, review the recommendations from the discussions; this will trickle down to the production of the 2023 fourth edition of the Manual.”

“We also would like to brainstorm on what strategies to evolve, considering the realities on ground, because IFES brings all the Judges together-about 250 in number for the debriefing Workshop/Review, but the realities on ground may not permit that to happen. So, we are suggesting the use of ICT tools as the key strategy on the way forward the Deputy Country Director added.”

On the way forward, while commending IFES for a job well done in partnering with the Court of Appeal, the Acting President, observed that although it is a difficult period now necessitating thinking out of the box, on how things can be done differently, to achieve same results irrespective of the pandemic while leveraging on ICT tools to reach out to these Justices and Judges, suggested a decentralisation of the project to the six geopolitical zones of the country.

For emphasis, Justice Dongban-Mensem noted that enormous documents are presented before these Judges during the tribunal sittings, saddling them with a lot of paperwork which according to her is not a good time for the manual to be given to them.”

She suggested that if these manuals are made available ahead of time for the Judges to study and, follow-up workshops are organised specifically to address issues to be raised by the 250 Judges who participated in the Election Petition Tribunal, it will ease the tension being faced due to insufficient time for the study and assimilation of the guidelines, as contained in the Manual.

Justice Dongban-Mensem remarked that the idea whereby a lot of documents were dumped on Judges, who were expected to go through such materials without proper guidance, did not augur well for smooth justice delivery and urged IFES to take a closer look and find ways to address the issue.
“In our rules, we say that briefs should not be more than a certain number of pages; yet they will reduce the font size of such briefs, compressing 60 pages to 30 pages, thereby putting excess pressure on our eyes.

“In planning the next edition of the manual, I think the Senior Advocates of Nigeria and lawyers should be involved because their roles are crucial in such decision-making process,” the Acting President suggested.

Highlighting the point raised by the Acting President, the Chief Registrar, Mr Ibrahim Aliyu recalled that in 2015, IFES had seminars and interactions with the tribunal Judges where they shared their experiences in the field.

He said through the feedback, updating the manual will give first-hand information to the tribunal Judges for improved adjudication on electoral matters.

Senate Removal: Ifeanyi Ubah To Know Fate As Appeal Court Reserves Judgment

A file photo of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

Senator Ubah is challenging the judgement that sacked him as the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the National Assembly.

A three-man panel of justices of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, on Thursday reserved the judgment to a date to be communicated to all the parties.

READ ALSO: Lagos Assembly Removes, Suspends Two Principal Officers

This was after the lawyer representing Senator Ubah adopted his written address urging the court to sustain their appeal.

Lawyers to two of the respondents, while adopting their written addresses urged the court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the appeal and that it is status barred.

Justice Bello Kawu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting at Kubwa, had in a judgment delivered on April 11, 2019, sacked Senator Ubah from the senate on the premise that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council (NECO) certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.

Justice Kawu directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return which it issued to Senator Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second at the election.

Buhari Appoints Justice Dongban-Mensem As Acting Appeal Court President

A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the acting President of the Court of Appeal.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, announced this in a statement on Thursday.

He explains that the appointment, which takes effect from Friday, is for an initial period of three months.

Shehu added that Justice Dongban-Mensem would act in an acting capacity until when the incumbent president of the court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, would statutorily retire from service.

“Justice Dongban-Mensem, who is the next most senior judge of the Court of Appeal, will be acting pending when a substantive appointment to the position of the President of the Court of Appeal may be made by President Buhari subject to the confirmation of the Senate,” the statement said.

The presidential aide said the approval of Justice Dongban-Mensem appointment followed the recommendation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The recommendation, Shehu said, was made in line with the provisions of Section 238(4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Appeal Court Fixes April 1 To Hear Suit On Oyo LG Leadership Tussle

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan has fixed April 1 for the hearing of the appeal filed by the Oyo State government challenging a court order not to dissolve the 33 local government chairmen and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the state.

The adjournment followed withdrawal and striking out of three different applications which the lead counsel to the applicants, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) filed earlier.

The justices believed the suits would stand as obstacles to the main substantive matter.

The appeal marked CA/IB/300/2018 was instituted by the governor of Oyo State, the Attorney General of Oyo State, and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.

Others are the Accountant-General of the state, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, the Oyo State House of Assembly, and the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).

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Its respondents are Mr Mojeed Bosun Ajuwon and 10 others.

The legal battle was renewed after May 6, 2019, when Justice Aderonke Aderemi ruled that the Oyo State government should not sack the chairmen as planned, but the judgement was appealed by the state government.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to the respondents, Niyi Akintola (SAN), told the court that he filed his brief of argument out of time and prayed the court to grant an extension of time.

He added that his brief of argument was supported with an 18-paragraph affidavit and the same served on the respondents.

In his submission, counsel to the claimant, Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN), expressed displeasure at Akintola’s move but noted that he would not oppose the application.

The three-man panel headed by Justice Jimi Bada, thereafter, granted the application for extension of time until April 1, 2020.

Court Of Appeal In Delta To Be Inaugurated In February

A file photo of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Court of Appeal complex of the Asaba division in Delta State will be completed and inaugurated on February 3, 2020.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa disclosed this on Tuesday after inspecting the ongoing work at the complex located at Mariam Babangida Way in Asaba.

He also expressed satisfaction with the level of work done so far on the project, noting that the court would bring relief to Deltans who previously had to travel long distances to other states to seek justice.

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Delta State is one of the four states which have been approved to have Courts of Appeal – a development that the governor says would help ensure speedy delivery of justice for the people.

Okowa also inspected the Traditional Rulers Council Secretariat project where he acknowledged the contributions of traditional rulers to the development of the state, particularly in ensuring peaceful co-existence in their domains.

Dasuki: Appeal Court Varies Bail Condition, Faults Choice Of Civil Servants As Sureties

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A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has acceded, to the request of the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki for the variation of the terms attached to the bail earlier granted him.

In a unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of the court expunged the requirement that Dasuki produced a Level 16 civil servant, who must own a property worth N100million within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as surety.

Justice Stephen Adah, in the lead judgment, said the inclusion of civil servants as surety was an oversight on the part of the court.

He ordered that Colonel Dasuki should instead; produce two sureties, with property worth N100 million within the FCT.

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Colonel Dasuki, who is currently being held in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) despite being granted bail, challenged his continued detention (since December 2015) before the Federal High Court in Abuja via a fundamental rights enforcement suit.

In a judgment on July 2, 2018, the Federal High Court granted Dasuki bail but attached conditions, which the ex-NSA found too stringent to meet.

He asked to the appeal court on that issue and sought a review of the bail conditions, a request the appellate court acceded to in its decision of June 13, 2019.

Part of the new conditions set by the Court of Appeal was that Dasuki produces a surety, who must be a Level 16 official in the Civil Service of either the Federal or state government, who must own a property worth N100m within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Dasuki found this part of the latest conditions difficult to meet and returned to the court, via an application, and prayed for a further review.

He stated, in the application that it was difficult to find a Level 16 Civil Servant who could own N100m worth of property in Abuja through his legitimate earnings.

Justice Adah, in the Appeal Court judgment, said the court’s decision to request that Dasuki produce a civil servant as surety was an oversight.

He said: “Of concern to us is that we as a court must be ready and sensitive enough not to do anything that will run against the laws of the land.

“The issue of involving civil servants or public officers in the service of the federation or the state in bail of people accused of offences has never been the practice anywhere that is civilised, and we should stop it at this level.

“It was an error that we allowed that to stay. So, it is in this respect that we will act ex debito justitiae (as a matter of right) ensuring that aspect of the condition is removed from the conditions of bail that were granted.

“It is in this respect that we grant this application, thereby inaugurating a new regime of bail. Bail is now granted to the appellant/applicant in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.

“The sureties shall be resident within the jurisdiction of the trial court and each of which shall furnish evidence of ownership of the property in Abuja. This shall be the order of the court,” Justice Adah said.

Justices Abubakar Yahaya and Emmanuel Agim, who were also on the panel, agreed with the lead judgment.

Appeal Court Affirms Darius Ishaku As Taraba Governor

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has upheld the judgment of the Taraba state governorship election petition Tribunal, which affirmed Mr Darius Ishaku of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the duly elected Governor of the state.

A five-man panel of the court led by Justice Chidi Uwa held that the All Progressive Congress (APC) had no candidate in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Taraba state, by virtue of the disqualification of Mr Abubakar Danladi, by a Federal High Court in Jalingo on the 6th of March 2019.

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The Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had on the 20th of September 2019, delivered a judgment that Mr Danladi was not qualified to contest the 2019 election and that the appellants failed to prove their claims that the election was marred by irregularities and failure to comply with the electoral act. It dismissed the appeal for lacking merit.