Court Imposes Travel Ban On Tunisian Party Leader

A file photo of a court gavel.
A court gavel.

 

A Tunisian court has imposed a travel ban on the speaker of the country’s now-dissolved parliament, a court spokeswoman said.

The interdiction against Rached Ghannouchi is part of an inquiry into alleged obstruction of justice in connection with the assassination in 2013 of two left-wing figures, the court spokesman said on Friday.

The travel ban was imposed on “34 suspects in this case, including Rached Ghannouchi,” Fatima Bouqtaya, spokeswoman for the court in the Tunis suburb of Ariana, told AFP.

Ghannouchi heads the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party that has dominated Tunisia’s post-revolution politics.

READ ALSO: Ukraine Ex-President Says He Was Blocked From Leaving The Country

Ghannouchi, 81, is a fierce critic of President Kais Saied who in July 2021 suspended the Ennahdha-dominated parliament, sacked the prime minister, and assumed executive powers.

Saied then dissolved parliament in March this year. His moves have stoked fears of a return to autocracy in a country where a revolution in 2011 triggered the pro-democracy Arab Spring movement in the wider region.

Tunisia’s judiciary in January opened an investigation against the suspects for allegedly “concealing information” linked to the killing nine years ago of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.

The Islamic State group claimed both killings but Ennahdha critics including a brother of one of the victims accused the party of having “manipulated and slowed down” the case.

AFP

Court Sentences Danish Man Peter Nielsen To Death For Killing Wife, Daughter

Alleged Murder: Danish Man To Remain In Prison As Trial Begins In October
Peter Nielsen during his arraignment on charges of allegedly killing his wife and daughter at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos on June 13, 2018.

 

A Lagos High Court Sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square of Lagos Island on Friday sentenced to death by hanging, a Danish man, Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his Nigerian wife Zainab and his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

In a judgment that lasted over five hours, Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile found Nielsen guilty of two counts of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2015.

The Lagos State Government had accused Nielsen then 53 of smothering the two to death on April 5, 2018, at about 3.45 am at their Banana Island residence in the Ikoyi area of the state.

READ ALSO: ‘Human Remains’ Discovered On Lagos Airport Runway – FAAN

At his arraignment on June 13, 2018, Nielsen pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder following which trial commenced.

In her judgment, Justice Okikiolu-Ighile said she relied on the post-mortem examination carried out by the consultant pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa on the deceased persons.

His examination had suggested that Zainab was killed when her nose and mouth were forcibly closed which deprived her of oxygen.

She had also suffered bruises on her head and neck which were consistent with blunt force trauma.

According to the pathologist, Zainab and Petra died of head injuries and asphyxia (or suffocation) which could not have been self-inflicted.

On whether the deaths were caused by the defendant (Peter Nielsen), the court recounted several testimonies given by the prosecution witnesses including a housemaid, Zainab’s sibling and two police officers who testified of incidents of domestic violence perpetrated by Mr Nielsen on his wife.

The court particularly held that Zainab’s sister, Pepe, was a witness of truth. She had testified about a fight she witnessed between the couple in 2017, adding that the defendant had threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone about what she saw.

The late Zainab, aged 37 was popularly known as Alizee and was in the course of promoting her single, “Alhaji Musa” before she was murdered.

 

 

Adamawa Governorship: Court Summons PDP, INEC Over Waziri’s Disqualification

A court gavel

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday summoned the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to appear over the purported disqualification of Abubakar Waziri from the Adamawa governorship primary.

In a ruling on an ex-parte application by Waziri, Justice Obiora Egwuatu said it was in the interest of justice for all the parties to appear and respond to the issues in the matter.

Counsel to Waziri, Louis Alozie (SAN) had earlier informed the court that the purported disqualification of Waziri was done in breach of the Electoral Act and the party guidelines after both the Yola South Local Government Area and the Steering Committee cleared him for fulfilling all the requirements to participate in the primary election billed for May 23.

READ ALSO: Court Denies Nnamdi Kanu Bail, Prosecutors Withdraw Newly Amended Charges Against Him

Waziri had sought the court to declare that he is qualified to contest the gubernatorial primary election of the PDP in Adamawa State for the selection of the party’s candidate for the Governorship election in Adamawa State.

He also sought the court to declare that his purported disqualification from contesting the PDP Gubernatorial Primary Election in Adamawa State is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

Waziri sought an order restraining INEC from accepting the result of any primary election of the PDP in which he was not allowed to contest.

Justice Egwuatu, therefore, adjourned to May 31 for a hearing.

Sexual Assault: Court Sentences School Bus Driver To Life Imprisonment

A court gavel

 

 

A Lagos State Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court has sentenced a school bus driver, Tony Akpan, to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting a five-year-old pupil.

Justice Abiola Soladoye in her judgement, held that the prosecution had presented overwhelming evidence against Akpan and his accomplice, Itoro Wilson, the school bus assistant.

The Judge also sentenced Wilson to two years imprisonment for assisting the convict to evade justice.

”There is overwhelming evidence before the court. The testimony of the survivor is truthful and boldly narrated by her.

”The medical doctor’s testimony also corroborated what she said.

“The first defendant is hereby found guilty as charged contrary to the provisions of Section 261 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State and is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment.

“The first defendant should have his name entered in the Sex Offenders Register of the Lagos State Government”, she held.

The Judge also held that the second defendant ought to have spoken up and not concealed the truth.

”The punishment meted out to this defendant will serve as a deterrent to others out there.

“The second defendant is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment for a felony,”

The Judge tasked Roy Mind Favour Filled School, Unilag Estate, Magodo Isheri where the survivor attended to recruit responsible staff going forward.

“The school in question should recruit responsible staff.

“The parents must get value for the money they pay. Miscreants should not be on the payroll of any responsible school.

“Children are meant to be protected and not be subjected to any assault whatsoever,” the judge held.

Before this judgment, five witnesses testified against the defendants at the trial.

The prosecution team, comprising Mr Olusola Shoneye, Mrs Olufunke Adegoke, and Ms. Abimbola Abolade, said the convicts committed the offence on Oct. 20, 2017, on Magodo Road, Isheri, Lagos.

The prosecution also said the offence contravenes the provisions of sections 137 and 415 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

Electoral Act: Court Shifts Hearing In PDP’s Suit Against Buhari Till May 24

A file photo of the PDP emblem.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 24 for the definite hearing in a suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Monday to enable the President and PDP to address the court on the effect of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which declared the contentious Section 84 (12) as unconstitutional, null and void.

On his own, he raised the issue on the ground that the PDP’s suit bothered on the same section of the law in which a higher court had made a pronouncement that would bind on the lower court.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Malami Ask Supreme Court To Interpret Section 84(12) Of Electoral Act

In his response, counsel to PDP, Joseph Daudu, attempted to draw a distinction between the two matters and why the judge should proceed to hear the suit filed by the main opposition party.

But Oladipupo Okpeseyi, who is the counsel to President Buhari and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disagreed with the PDP’s lawyer.

He insisted that there was no difference between the suit filed at the court in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, and that of the PDP, saying both cases were on the same section.

Justice Ekwo subsequently held that all parties in the matter should address him on the next adjourned date on whether to abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal or proceed with the one before him.

The PDP had filed a suit against President Buhari at the court, praying for an order of interim injunction restraining him and other defendants from refusing to implement the duly signed Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.

Their grouse was that having assented to the bill on February 25, the President cannot give any directive to the National Assembly to take immediate steps to remove the said section or any other one from the Electoral Act.

Rivers Court Remands Lawmaker Granted Bail By Federal Court

A file photo of Mr Farah Dagogo.

 

The prosecution of Mr Farah Dagogo for allegedly sponsoring cultism in Rivers State has taken a new twist, as a State High Court on Friday remanded him in a correctional centre.

He was remanded by the court on Friday, a day after a Federal High Court on Thursday ordered that he should be released on bail.

Dagogo is the lawmaker representing Degema-Bonny Federal Constituency of Rivers in the House of Representatives, and a governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He was reported to have been hand-lifted into the courtroom from a police vehicle during his arraignment before Justice Chiwendu Nwogu.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Rivers Governorship Aspirant Declared Wanted By Wike

Justice Nwogu ordered that the governorship aspirant be remanded in a correctional centre because he appeared too weak to take his plea.

In his reaction, Dagogo’s media aide, Ibrahim Lawal, described the lawmaker’s remand as a pre-determine action by the Rivers State government and the police to disobey the order of the Federal High Court which initially granted him bail.

Dagogo was arrested on April 28 in Port Harcourt at the venue of the PDP governorship screening for the South-South states.

His arrest came after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers declared him wanted for reportedly recruiting cultists to attack the state party secretariat during the screening of National and State Assembly aspirants.

The lawmaker was first arraigned before Justice A. I Amadi-Nna of a Magistrate Court on April 29, but the case was adjourned till May 9 for the charge to be amended following arguments that a Magistrate Court cannot hear matters relating to cultism.

On the adjourned date, the case was moved to the State High Court, but Dagogo could not be produced in court on the ground that he was being managed for some health challenges.

While the case was later adjourned till Monday next week for mention at the Rivers State High Court, the matter was brought forward for Friday.

Bamise Ayanwola’s Murder: First Prosecution Witness Testifies, Says BRT Driver Raped Her

A photo collage of the victim Bamise and the BRT Bus

 

The trial of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver, Andrew Nice Ominnikoron, has begun at a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, with the testimony of the first prosecution witness, Nneka Maryjane Odezulu.

Ominnikoron was arraigned on March 22 before Justice Serifat Sonaike on four-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy and murder of his passenger, Bamise Ayanwola.

At the proceedings on Monday, the Lagos State, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, who led the prosecution, informed the court that his office had amended the charge against the defendant and added additional proof of evidence against the defendant.

READ ALSO: Usifo Ataga: Policeman Testifies As 9th Witness, Tells Court How Chidinma Was Tracked

Pursuant to Section 155 and 251 (3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, he urged the court to let the defendant retake his plea.

The five-count amended charge was then read to the defendant and he pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The prosecution swiftly called its first witness, Odezulu who proceeded to narrate to the court how the defendant raped her after tearing her clothes.

While answering questions from the AG, the witness told Justice Sherifat Sonaike that before the defendant raped her, he slapped her and held her neck such that she couldn’t breath again, she also said he tried to strangle her after which he tore her clothes.

Odezulu, aged 29, described herself as a sales representative and a mother.

She said that on November, 25, 2021, after closing from work, around 8pm, which is the time she normally closes, she stood at Alesh Hotel Bus Stop, Ajah, where she saw the BRT bus parked.

She said that she approached the driver (the defendant) and asked him if he was going to get to her bus stop in the Jakande area of Lekki. After he answered yes, she asked how much the fare was and he said N100, so she boarded the bus and sat at the back.

The witness stated that shortly after, a man approached the defendant and asked him if he was going to Oshodi and he said yes then they started arguing about the price but later the man didn’t enter the bus.

Odezulu said, “When I entered the BRT, the lights were on, but on getting to Lekki Conservation, Lekki-Ajah express way, he stopped the motor and brought out one medicine. He took the medicine with one bottle water, so I did not bother myself because I thought it was a medication.

“After that, he asked me to come to the front seat that why am I sitting at the back seat. Then I stood up and went to sit at the front. Then he started asking me questions what is my name, how old I am, who do I live with. In the process of asking me questions, he brought out his phone, and discussed with the person on the other end, about two transactions.

“When he concluded, he turned to me and said let’s go and park somewhere and discuss. I said sir, I am coming back from work and I am tired and I need to go and pick my daughter from after school care, that was when I noticed that his manhood was up,” the witness testified.

“Then I brought out my big phone, I wanted to call somebody and record what was happening, he was like what I’m I doing, who do I want to call with my phone? He got up from the driver’s seat and collected my phone from me.

“He held on to a small knife and dragged me to the back and said I should pull off my clothes, I was like why will I pull off my clothes, do I know you before?

“We started dragging and he said I should remove everything because I was not a baby. He slapped me and held my neck and wanted to strangle me. I couldn’t breathe again, then his face changed and he said that if he kills me now, nothing will happen and nobody will know where I am that I should respect myself.

“He pushed me down at the back seat, I held the seats and was begging him. He held the knife, tore my clothes and raped me from the back.

“After that, I told him to stop me that I want to come down. He said I told him that I was going to Jakande that he will drop me at my bus stop. On getting to my bus stop, I asked him to please give me my phone and open the door for me, and then he started apologising that he was sorry for everything that happened.

“He said I should give him my account number. I told him, I don’t need his money, and then he said that I am being stubborn that I don’t want to give him my account number. So I gave him my account number and he sent N3000 and said I should use it to buy pain killers.”

The witness further said, “He asked me to give him my phone number, I gave him before he gave me back my phone and then opened the BRT door. Then I used my big phone to record the plate number from the back.

“Few hours later, he called me and said he was sorry, and asked me if I had gotten home, have I picked my daughter from after school. I did not answer any of his questions then I ended the call. He called me back the next day and subsequently but I did not pick his calls.”

She also said, “After the incident, whenever I’m coming back from work and see any BRT Bus, I use to look inside to see if it was him. I have seen him like four times at that Chevron Tollgate when he passed.”

When asked if she reported the rape case at the police station, she said no that she has had a bad experience with the police, at Jakande and that if she had reported they would have insulted her.

The witness showed the court the stripped dress she wore on the day she was raped, by the defendant, after which the prosecution sought to tender it in evidence as an exhibit.

The defendant’s counsel, Mr Abayomi Omotubora, raised objections to some of the question answered by the witness.

He also raised objections to the admissibility of the dress sought to be tendered as an  exhibit on the grounds that it was not stated in the proof of evidence. Citing Section 221 (1) (3) 2011 and 36 (6), 1999, of the Evidence Act to buttress his argument, he urged the court not to admit the exhibit in evidence.

In a short ruling, Justice Serifat Sonaike, overruled the objections of the defence counsel and admitted the exhibit in evidence.

She subsequently adjourned the case till Tuesday, May 10 for continuation of trial.

Andrew Nice Ominnikoron is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos state government.

The prosecution said that the defendant on November 25, 2021, allegedly raped a 29 year -old lady Nneka Maryjane Odezulu, without her consent.

It said that the incident took place at about 7pm, at the Lekki- Ajah Conservation centre off the Lekki Ajah expressway in Lagos.

The DPP also told the court that Andrew Nice conspired with others now at large and forcefully had sexual intercourse with his 22-year-old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, a fashion designer without her consent after which he murdered her.

Dr Martins said the rape incident happened on February 25, 2022, at about 8 pm, on the Lekki-Ajah Conservation expressway.

He said that the defendant and others still at large on February 26, 2022, unlawfully killed Oluwabamise Ayanwole by throwing her out of a moving bus at Cater bridge after having sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed is contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 223, 260 and 165 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

When all the counts were read to the defendant, he pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

Usifo Ataga: Policeman Testifies As 9th Witness, Tells Court How Chidinma Was Tracked

This combination photo shows Chidinma, court gavel, and Usifo Ataga

 

A police officer serving with the homicide department of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Yaba, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, on Monday testified as the ninth prosecution witness, in the alleged murder case of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga.

Bamidele who testified before the Lagos High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square narrated how a university undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu, charged with the murder of Ataga, was tracked through her phone.

While answering questions from the Lagos State’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Adenike Oluwafemi, the police officer said that the Intelligence and Tactical Unit of the SCID tracked Ojukwu down at No. 57, Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji, Yaba.

READ ALSO: Northern Coalition Purchases APC Presidential Forms For Jonathan

The police officer first narrated how the case was transferred from Maroko police station to his own department at SCID Yaba.

He said the case was transferred and assigned to his team on June 17, 2021, with a suspect, one Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment where the incident occurred.

The witness said that the investigating police officer (IPO) from the Maroko police station explained to him, how a complaint about a body with a mark of violence was brought to their station.

Bamidele said that the IPO from Maroko also informed him that he took pictures and made video recordings which were transferred into his Infinix Hot 4, smartphone.

The witness narrated that after receiving the complaint from the Maroko IPO, he visited the scene of the crime alongside the IPO and Mogbo, the owner of the place.

“We met the security guard who took us into the apartment and I observed that there were bloodstains on the floor, the bed was ruffled with bloodstains on the pillow and the duvet,” he said.

“The IPO also took me to Yaba general hospital mortuary, to see the body and I observed that there were stab wounds on the deceased body, including injury on his head and knees. I also saw that the two wrists had marks indicating that they were tied.”

The witness said that when he interacted with Mogbo, she informed him that on June 13, a phone call came from one Jewel, who requested for a room at her short service apartment.

He also said that the security guard at the apartment also told him how the body of the deceased was discovered at the apartment where the said Jewel lodged with the deceased.

Bamidele also said that the security guard at the apartment gave him a phone number which the said Jewel had used in calling him while at the apartment.

He added, “After getting the information from the security guard, we engaged a tracking team. The trackers with the intelligent and tactical unit, tracked one Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu, down, at No. 57, Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji Yaba.”

The witness also told the court that the statements of the owner of the apartment and the security guard were all taken and he identified the statements which were already in court as exhibits.

He also said that the pictures and videos in his phone were downloaded into a disc by an information technology expert in his office.

At this point, the prosecutor asked for an adjournment to enable the prosecution team to bring the videos for viewing and to tender it as evidence before the court.

Before the testimony of the police officer, an Access Bank account officer, Mr Toafeek Lawal, gave evidence as the eighth witness.

He gave evidence on the Naira account statements of the deceased starting from April 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.

He said that there were, however, no transactions on the account from June 19 to August 31.

He also said that immediately after the bank learned of the death of Usifo Ataga, it placed a Post No Debit (POD) on the account to stop any debit from being effected on the account.

He also mentioned that the deceased operated two accounts with the bank which were a Naira account and a Domiciliary account.

The witness was cross-examined by the first defendant’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu.

Egwu asked the witness to confirm that in a USSD mode of transfer, “the password is exclusive to the owner of the account”

The witness answered that the password was meant to be exclusive unless the owner decided otherwise.

Egwu also asked the witness to confirm how many payments were made to the first defendant, Chidinma during the period the statement covered.

The witness answered that it was only once.

Justice Yetunde Adesanya has adjourned the case until May 10 for the continuation of trial.

Background

The 300-level Mass communication student of the University of Lagos, Chidinma Ojukwu and one Adedapo Quadri, both key suspects in the alleged murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, were arraigned before the court on Oct 12, last year.

The murder was said to have been committed in a service apartment in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

The duo were arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a 9 count charge alongside a third defendant, Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu on a 9 count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, forgery, stealing and being in possession of the stolen property.

They all pleaded not guilty.

In count one, Chidinma and Adedapo are charged with conspiring to murder Usifo Ataga contrary to Section 233 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos 2015.

In count two, Chidinma and Adedapo are charged with the murder of Usifo Ataga, an offence said to have been committed by stabbing him several times on the neck and chest with a knife.

In counts 3,4, 5,6 & 7, Chidinma and Adedapo are charged with conspiracy to commit forgery, forgery and making documents without authority. They were specifically alleged to have procured false Access & UBA bank account statements of Usifo Ataga. They also allegedly forged an international passport and a drivers license In Chidinma’s name.

In count 8, Chidinma is charged alone with stealing 2 iPhones-an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 11, one Apple MacBook Laptop and an ATM card of Access and GT Banks belonging to the late Usifo Ataga form which the sum of N380,000 was subsequently withdrawn.

In count 9, Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu was charged with being in possession of the stolen property, the iPhone 7 belonging to the late Usifo Ataga.

Usifo was found dead with multiple stabs on June 16 at a short let apartment on Adebowale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase I where he had checked in with his lover, Ojukwu.

Miss. Ojukwu was consequently arrested on June 23 in her father’s house in Yaba and paraded at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters in Ikeja.

The 50-year-old deceased was buried on July 30 in a low-key ceremony attended by his family members, including his wife, and friends.

Alleged N761.6m Fraud: Bawa Concludes Testimony As Court Adjourns Nadabo Energy Boss’ Trial

A file photo of EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

 

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Monday concluded his testimony in the trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited.

Peters and his company are facing a 21-count charge bordering on forgery and subsidy fraud to the tune of N761.6 million. He is being prosecuted by the EFCC before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

“Nadabo Energy Limited and Abubakar Ali Peters, on or about the 26th day of September 2011 in Lagos, within the Ikeja judicial division, fraudulently obtained the sum of N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented the subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which Nadabo Energy Limited purported to have purchased from Delano Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island, and transported the 16,808,064 litres through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Sonia (daughter vessel) to Nigeria, whereas Nadabo Energy Limiter only imported 7,953,962 litres of PMS from Delany Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island and transported 7,953,962 litres of PMS through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Songa (daughter vessel) to Nigeria,” one of the counts read.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when he was arraigned on October 7, 2015, thereby prompting the commencement of his trial.

READ ALSO: Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Again, Defendant Stalls Proceedings, Court Warns Nadabo Energy Boss’ Counsel

But Bawa, who testified as the second witness, concluded his cross-examination by the defence.

Under cross-examination by Isiramen, Bawa said, “Our findings and evidence are still that you cannot discharge what you didn’t import.

“And our investigation, including documents from the banks, Staco Insurance Plc, PPPRA and others, indicated that the defendant supplied about 6,000 MT of PMS and not 12,000 MT as claimed by the defendant.”

Bawa further attested that investigation by the EFCC revealed that those who signed the respective documents resulting in the eventual payment to the defendants “did not do the right thing from our findings.”

“However, we were looking at the bigger picture in the interest of justice and concluded that the defendant was the beneficiary of the alleged compromise,” he added.

He further told the Court that “We have started making recoveries from the defendant and we have a statement in which he put in writing that he is willing to pay back the excess money he received from the government.”

Bawa also reinstated that other directors of the company told the EFCC, during investigations, that they didn’t know anything about the transaction.

He said, “He never denied that he was in charge of everything that has to do with the transaction. We were only doing our job and we found out that the entire fund was utilised by him.”

The case has been adjourned till May 10 for the continuation of trial.

Court Refuses Emefiele’s Request To Restrain INEC, AGF Over Presidential Ambition

A photo combination of a court gavel and the CBN governor

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele’s request to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami preventing him from his Presidential Ambition.

The CBN Governor on Monday told the Court in Abuja that he can run for the post of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without vacating his position as the CBN Governor.

READ ALSO: Emefiele Seeks Court Ruling To Run For President As CBN Governor

The CBN Governor through his Counsel, Mike Ozekhome, told the court that Section 84 ((12) of the Electoral Act as amended, 2022 does not affect him, being a public servant and not a political appointee.

The court in its ruling, however, refused the request and the Judge ordered him (CBN Governor) to put the defendants- INEC and AGF- on notice and also serve court processes on them.

The Judge also ordered the defendants to appear before him on May 12 to show cause why the CBN Governor’s request should not be granted.

Emefiele had asked the court to declare him qualified to contest for the presidential post.

The prayer was part of the seven reliefs the CBN boss sought in the suit.

The reliefs include: “A DECLARATION that the Plaintiff can only be governed by or subject to the provisions of section 137(1) (g) and 318 of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), which require a public officer seeking election into a political office to resign, withdraw or retire from his appointment at least 30 days to the presidential election, rather than by the provisions of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 or the guidelines, rules, criteria, measures or conditions made by the plaintiffs political party or any political party,” read the court filing.

“A DECLARATION that the Plaintiff can validly participate in the primary election of a political party and is entitled to vote and be voted for as candidate of any political party of his choice for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for the election to the office of President or any other office under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“AN ORDER that the Plaintiff cannot be hindered, stopped or precluded from participating, voting or being voted for at the congress or convention of any political party of his choice for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for the election to the office of President or any other office under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their agents, servants or privies or any legal representative from hindering, stopping or precluding the Plaintiff from participating, voting or being voted for at the congress or convention of any political party of his choice for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for the election to the office of the president or any other office under the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

He also requested the court to determine: “Whether the provisions of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which are consistent with the provisions of section 137(1)(G) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which have been declared so by a competent court of jurisdiction can be relied upon by the defendants to disqualify the plaintiff from contesting election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or from contesting or participating in the parties’ primaries or convention or congress for the purpose of election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria scheduled for 25th February 2023”.

SERAP Asks Court To Declare Ex-Govs Dariye, Nyame’s Pardon Illegal

A photo combination of SERAP’s logo and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari for granting pardon to former governors of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye, and Taraba State, Rev Jolly Nyame.

Dariye and Nyame were investigated, prosecuted, and convicted for stealing N1.16 billion and N1.6 billion respectively from their state treasuries, while they were in office between 1999 and 2007.

After leaving office in 2007, they were recently pardoned alongside 157 others convicted for various offences.

SERAP in the suit number fled last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, asked the court to “declare illegal, and incompatible with the oath of office, and public interest the recent pardon granted to former governors of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye, and Taraba State, Rev Jolly Nyame who are serving jail terms for corruption.”

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the group’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, (SERAP) is asking the court for “a declaration that the exercise of the power of prerogative of mercy to grant pardon to Mr Dariye and Mr Nyame is compatible with the public interest, the oath of office, and constitutional duty to combat corruption.”

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In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “If the presidential pardon is not set aside, impunity for corruption will increase, and many influential politicians will continue to escape justice for their alleged crimes.

“It is in the interest of justice to set aside the pardon for Mr. Dariye and Mr Nyame. A presidential pardon for grand corruption cases is incompatible with the rule of law, as it undermines equality before the law.

“The pardon power ought not to be exercised to shield influential politicians and politically exposed persons from justice and accountability.”

SERAP is also asking the court for “an order directing and mandating President Buhari and future presidents to consider the public interest, the requirements of oath of office, and constitutional duty to combat corruption in any future exercise of the pardon power.”

SERAP is further arguing that “the presidential pardon power must be exercised in good faith, and in line with the provisions of Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution on fundamental rights.”

Joined in the suit as Defendant is Mr Abubakar Malami, (SAN), Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi read in part: “The pardon power, if properly exercised, can help to protect citizens against a possible miscarriage of justice.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Alleged Kidnapping: Court Dismisses Move By Evans’s Co-Defendant To Stop Trial

A file photo of a court gavel.
A court gavel.

 

A Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area has dismissed a no-case submission by one Victor Aduba, arraigned alongside kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, for Kidnapping.

In her ruling delivered on Friday, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo held that the state government had established a prima facie case linking the defendant to the crime, which makes it necessary for him to open his defense.

Aduba, a dismissed soldier of the Nigerian Army and Evans, were arraigned by the Lagos State Government on allegations of kidnapping a businessman, Sylvanus Ahamonu and collecting a $420,000 ransom from his family.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In his no-case submission application, counsel to Aduba, Emmanuel Ochai, had argued that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant. He asked the court to dismiss the charge against his client.

The prosecutor, Yusuf Sule, on his part asked the court to determine whether the evidence adduced by him had sufficiently linked the defendant to the alleged offences.

In her ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Taiwo held, “I have carefully considered the submissions of the prosecution and the defence.

“The court, at this stage, is not to review evidence of the prosecution but to see whether the prosecution has enough evidence before the court to warrant the defendant to defend himself.

“Evidence of the prosecution shows that it has sufficiently proven a prima facie case against the defendant and the defendant has a case to answer.

“I hereby dismiss the application of the defence, and order that the defendant should open his defence,” the judge held.

Background

In Dec 2021, Sylvanus and his wife, Chimebere Ahamonu, had testified virtually about how Evans and his gang kidnapped him on June 23, 2014, on Kara Road off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.

The couple narrated how they sold properties, borrowed money, and raised funds from family and well wishers to attempt to raise the initial $2 million ransom that was demanded by Evans.

Sylvanus, who said his hands and legs were chained throughout his two months in captivity, said he was only released when the family paid Evans the $420,000 ransom. He said by this time, he was at the point of death.

On Feb 4, 2022, Evans, who is the first defendant in the case, opened his defence and denied kidnapping Ahamonu and collecting $420,000 as ransom from the businessman’s family.

On Feb 25, 2022, Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Evans and two others to life imprisonment for the kidnap of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceuticals Limited, Donatus Dunu.

The court held that there was insufficient evidence to link the only woman in the group, Ogechi Uchechukwu, with the office and she and two other former soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Aduba, were acquitted and discharged on the offence.

Evans is, however, still facing four other kidnapping charges before other judges of the Lagos High Court