Australian Court Rejects Challenge To India Travel Ban

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

 

An emergency legal challenge to Australia’s contentious ban on citizens returning from Covid-struck India failed Monday, dashing stranded travellers’ hopes of an immediate return.

Federal Justice Thomas Thawley ruled the government had not overstepped its biosecurity powers in banning Australians from returning home temporarily.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month shut the door to all travel from India, fearing a large number of Covid-positive arrivals would overwhelm Australia’s already strained quarantine facilities.

The move stranded an estimated 9,000 Australian citizens and threatened them with large fines and jail time if they tried to dodge the ban and return on non-direct flights.

Thawley ruled that Morrison acted within the law, dashing the hopes of a 73-year-old Australian man who brought the case as he tries to return from Bangalore.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Variant In India ‘Of Concern’, Says WHO

During the hearing, a government lawyer argued that biosecurity rules are a “bulldozer” that can clear away any other rights.

The judge did not rule on the more complex question of whether the decision was unconstitutional, an issue that is set to be taken up at a later date.

After widespread public outcry, Morrison indicated that the ban will not be extended beyond May 15.

But with the pandemic still raging and access to Australia set to be severely restricted until at least 2022, the case was being closely watched.

Since March 2020, Australians have been barred from travelling overseas and a hard-to-get individual exemption is needed for foreign visitors to enter the country.

Australia has no widespread community transmission of Covid-19, but has seen several outbreaks emerge from hotel quarantine facilities, causing disruptive city.

AFP

Court Removes Prosecutor Investigating FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup. RHONA WISE / AFP.
(File Photo) FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

The prosecutor who was investigating FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been removed for public statements that were ‘biased’ against the head of world football’s governing body, a Swiss court announced on Wednesday. 

Stefan Keller opened an inquiry into Infantino in July 2020 over three informal meetings with the former head of the Swiss public prosecutor’s office (MPC). In March he started investigating Infantino’s use of a private jet paid for by FIFA.

Keller had not yet started formal proceedings in either case.

The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona “admitted Gianni Infantino’s request for recusal against Stefan Keller” in a decision taken last Friday and published on its website on Wednesday.

The judgement centred on four press communications and a statement to a legal journal by Keller, which, the court said in its judgement, did not constitute “objective, neutral and correct information in the public interest”.

“It appeared obvious that there was not only the mere appearance of a possible bias, but that he was in fact biased towards the applicant,” said the decision.

In particular, Keller had noted in mid-December “indications” that the FIFA boss had been guilty of “unfair management” for using a private jet, funded by the body, to fly between Suriname and Switzerland in 2017.

FIFA was quick to welcome the ruling.

READ ALSO: Hertha Berlin Dismiss Jans Lehmann For Racist Comment

“Mr Keller had clearly violated the presumption of innocence and damaged the standing of the FIFA President, contrary to his personal rights protected under the law,” it said in a statement.

Keller rejected the accusation in the ruling that he “communicated misleading and factually incorrect information”.

Keller said in his own statement that he would discuss the further procedure with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (AB-BA) and with the Judicial Commission.

“It must be clarified what effects the decision from Bellinzona will have on the various proceedings as well as the other parties involved,” said his statement.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has not yet examined FIFA’s request for the “nullity of the procedural acts carried out so far”.

Infantino was being investigated for “incitement to abuse authority”, “violation of official secrecy” and “obstruction of criminal proceedings”.

Keller was appointed as “extraordinary prosecutor” in July last year to investigate suspicions of collusion between FIFA and the former head of the MPC, Michael Lauber.

The investigations focused on three secret meetings held in 2016 and 2017 between Lauber and Infantino.

Lauber resigned last summer while FIFA’s internal justice system cleared Infantino.

The executive Infantino just wanted to show Lauber how much FIFA had changed since the “corrupt” rule of his predecessor Sepp Blatter.

AFP

Lagos East: Appeal Court Dismisses PDP’s Suit Against APC’s Abiru

The APC candidate for the Lagos East Senatorial Election, Tokunbo Abiru has been declared the winner of the poll held on December 5, 2020. Credit: @TokunboAbiru

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East Senatorial District.

In a judgment delivered on Thursday via zoom, a three-man panel of the court affirmed the March 1 decision of the Federal High Court in Lagos which dismissed Babatunde Gbadamosi and the PDP’s suit for lacking in merit.

Delivering the unanimous judgment of the court, Justice Daniel Kallio presiding, decided the appeal and another cross-appeal in Abiru and the APC’s favour.

The court in its judgment agreed with Abiru’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and held that the PDP’s appeal was unmeritorious.

In particular, the Court of Appeal held that the residency of a candidate to an election is not a qualifying or disqualifying factor.

READ ALSO: PDP NEC Passes Vote Of Confidence On Secondus

It further held that the Abiru did not submit false information to INEC.

The Court also dismissed the arguments of Ebunolu Adegboruwa (SAN) who submitted on behalf of the Appellants that Abiru had irreconcilable names.

In resolving the Cross-Appeal the Court held that the suit of the Appellants (Gbadamosi & the PDP) at the lower Court was speculative and premature and the lower court ought to have dismissed same at the instance of the Preliminary Objection filed by the 2nd (Abiru) and 3rd (APC) Respondents.

Gbadamosi was online when his appeal was dismissed.

On Dec 5, 2020, Abiru had won the senatorial bye-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes.

But Gbadamosi and the PDP challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election.

The challengers sought to disqualify Abiru on the ground of double voter registration, residency, indigeneship and violation of Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

But in dismissing their case, Justice Obiozor agreed with Abiru’s counsel Kemi Pinheiro SAN and APC’s counsel Abiodun Owonikoko SAN that the issue of residency and indigeneship were not disqualifying factors under the constitution.

Dissatisfied, Gbadamosi and PDP approached the appellate court.

JUSUN Strike: Lagos Court Remain Shut Despite Partial Reopening Order

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embark of the strike in Abuja on April 19, 2021.

 

Despite the partial reopening of operations by the Lagos Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), a court in the state will remain shut.

This is according to the National body of JUSUN which declared a nationwide strike on April 6 over the refusal of state governors to implement the financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government.

JUSUN’s counter directive comes hours after the Lagos State Chapter of JUSUN said it had relaxed its strike rules to allow for clearance of backlogs, reading of Judgement and decongestion of prison occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the# EndSARS protest.

READ ALSO: Lawyers March To NASS, As Judiciary Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

Chairman of JUSUN in Lagos, Shobowale Kehinde, said, “Work and official duties are constrained to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesdays of every week remain strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike.”

When Channels Television monitored the Lagos courts to see whether it had opened for partial work, we met the gate of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja firmly shut with members of the Lagos JUSUN monitoring compliance.

A few judiciary workers who had shown up for work said off-camera that they were not allowed into the court premises.

A representative of the Lagos Chapter of JUSUN said that though the chapter was sympathetic to the partial resumption of work, the National body had overruled the decision and directed the Lagos branch to resume full strike.

Courts Across The Country Have Been Locked For A Week. Here’s Why.

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has explained why courts across the country are currently shut down.

In a piece titled ‘Why the Courts are Locked’ received by our correspondent on Tuesday, Mr. Adegboruwa noted that the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on an industrial strike on April 6 over the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciary.

He said the Federal Government has largely complied with constitutional directives to grant financial autonomy to courts and the main issue is with state governments.

 

Read Mr. Adegboruwa’s full piece:

WHY THE COURTS ARE LOCKED

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

The past one week has been very challenging for judges, lawyers and litigants alike, as the court system became paralyzed all over the nation, due to the ongoing industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, over its demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary. It’s been a very delicate rope for lawyers to navigate through, being a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. If lawyers support JUSUN for the strike to continue, they lose revenue and slow down the progress of their cases and if they oppose the strike, then their ‘sufferings’ will continue and the executive arm of government will keep trampling upon the independence of the judiciary. Whichever option they choose, the courts are locked for now, until further notice. So, why are the courts locked?

Though JUSUN had given notice of its proposed strike action since March 13, 2021, nothing was done by the government to address the notice, leading to the closure of the courts from Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The JUSUN Task Force was all over the courts to enforce the strike by closing all the entrance gates of the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, the High Court and indeed the Magistrate’s Courts, in Lagos State. Reports monitored from other parts of the country indicate successful implementation of the strike action by other State branches of JUSUN. What really is the grouse of JUSUN? Financial autonomy for the judiciary, total independence for the third arm of government and commitment by the executive arm to obey the tenets of the Constitution as it concerns the judiciary. This is not rocket science, is it?

Expectedly, there are divided views on the JUSUN strike. While some lawyers feel it is counter-productive, to punish litigants and lawyers for the sins of the executive arm, some others have expressed the view that strike action being a recognized tool in industrial relations, JUSUN is perfectly in order to deploy it as a veritable tool to get the attention of all concerned. It is noteworthy that virtually all segments of Nigeria are or have been on strike; from doctors to electricity workers, university and polytechnic teachers, the non-academic staff, aides of legislators and even security men. The general view in this regard is that strike is the only language that can arrest the attention of those in power, even though this is very unfortunate. As it has played out in the JUSUN and other strike actions, government officials, through their utterances and actions, all seem to confirm the potency of strike actions as the only means of bringing government to the negotiation table. What really is the case for financial autonomy for the judiciary?

Section 80 (1) of the Constitution established the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Federation, from which funds can only be withdrawn either to meet expenditure that is charged upon the fund by the Constitution, or through appropriation. Under and by virtue of section 81 (3) of the self-same Constitution, the amount standing to the credit of INEC, National Assembly and the Judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund shall be paid directly to the National Judicial Council for disbursement to the heads of Courts established for the Federation and the States. Section 84 (2) specifically states that remuneration, salaries and allowances payable to judicial officers shall be a charge upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. INEC and the National Assembly have pursuant to these foregoing provisions, freed themselves from the stranglehold of the executive, through direct control of their budget estimates, leaving the judiciary behind and under executive captivity, as it were. The struggle has then been to bring the judiciary at par with the other arms of government, resulting in several court actions and judgments, all of which have not been obeyed by the executive arm. This is what has led to the current strike action by JUSUN.

I verily believe that the JUSUN strike action is for the benefit of lawyers, judges, litigants and indeed the legal profession at large, as a way of addressing the real issues, once and for all. However, the other concern of all stakeholders is the dimension and timing of the strike action. With COVID 19 ravaging the effectiveness of justice administration, coupled with the wanton looting of and arson upon the Courts in some parts of the country during the EndSARS protests, a strike action in the midst of Easter holiday, is seen as an overkill, especially for the masses, whose hope is the court, as the last bus-stop for redress. The ready answer to this is that nothing good comes easy, if we compare the pains of childbirth and the joy of delivery, then the appeal would be for all stakeholders to endure the pains in order to enjoy the gains. The other argument is whether JUSUN should compartmentalize the strike between the federal and state judiciaries, since the federal government has substantially complied with the main constitutional requirements in respect of financial autonomy for the federal courts. This argument resonates with me, for the reasons stated hereunder.

Like a lone ranger on a mission, the President started a seemingly silent ‘revolution’ to grant autonomy to the legislature and judiciary of the States. It is a commendable development by the Muhammadu Buhari government, coming in the midst of its many challenges. It started with the 4th Alteration to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was initiated by the Saraki-led National Assembly. As a way of overcoming this monumental constitutional challenge, a Bill was passed by the National Assembly, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and the houses of assembly of the States, in 2017. In June 2018, the President assented to the said Bill and it became part of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Even after that, the state executives would not budge. The President then decided to set up a 22-man Committee known as The Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary, with the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation as the Chairman. The mandate of the Committee was to ensure the full implementation of the 4th Alteration to the Constitution and thus free these important sectors of our democratic experiment, from the stranglehold of the executive arm. As a follow up to this, the President signed an executive order, to give effect to the 4th Alteration. Many hold the view that it is ultra vires the President to seek to tinker with the revenue of the States or dictate how they are to be disbursed. In view of the clear provisions of sections 80-84 of the Constitution, I humbly beg to disagree with this view. Even though Executive Order 10 may be superfluous to the extent that the 4th Alteration is already in place, the President is nonetheless empowered to enforce the Constitution as directed under section 121 (3) thereof.

The judiciary is empowered by the Constitution to entertain and determine disputes between persons and persons, between persons and government and between governments and governments. The conflict margin is more on the executive-judiciary angle because of the obvious and excessive impunity of the executive arm, especially the law enforcement agencies. The general thinking of most governors is to cage the courts and starve the judiciary of funds, as a means of rendering it ineffective, so that lawlessness can thrive unchallenged or where challenged, unchecked. Most governors are therefore not comfortable with a viable and independent judiciary, which they dread as a veritable tool in the hands of the people, to challenge and overturn all manner of excesses. Through the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the various States, the executive governors have perfected the style of holding the judiciary captive, starving it of needed funds and infrastructure. So, in most cases, the judiciary is forced to go begging cap in hand, for funding. And assuredly as we all know it, he who pays the piper calls the tune. This was the very ugly scenario before the ‘revolution’ of the 4th Alteration to the Constitution, seeking to free the legislature and the judiciary, from the very firm grip of the executive.

By the bold and innovative provisions of the Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures and State Judiciaries (Fourth Alteration, No.4) Act of 2018, the road was cleared for the funding of the Houses of Assembly and Judiciary of the States, directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the States. The Act then amended the existing section 121 (3) of the Constitution by stating that “any amount standing to the credit of the House of Assembly of the State and the Judiciary, in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the said bodies respectively; in the case of the judiciary, such amount shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.” In order to actualize the letters of the 4th Alteration, the President thereafter issued Executive Order 10, authorizing the Accountant General of the Federation to make direct transfers from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, to the bank account of the judiciary of the States. Some States like Bayelsa and Delta have since passed their own municipal legislations, granting financial autonomy to the judiciary.

The executive order signed by the President is critical because it goes to the very root of the many problems associated with justice administration and the seeming docility and ineffectiveness of state legislatures. No matter the quantum of the amount of money released, the judiciary should have the power to determine its budget and spending, to prioritize its commitment level, all targeted at delivering justice to the people. The appeal then is to the Governors of the States, to work together with JUSUN, NBA and the federal government to empower the judiciary financially, once and for all. This should be the focus of the various meetings being convened to resolve this imbroglio.

It is my belief however that judicial independence cannot be measured by funding alone, but also in the willingness to obey and abide by all decisions and orders of the courts. The integrity of the judiciary is better achieved through willful obedience to the orders and directives of the courts. In this regard, so long as judges are living under some mortal trepidation of persecution on account of their decisions, as long as we still require persuasion to get the executive to obey court orders, then the judiciary cannot be said to be independent, no matter the amount of billions of naira thrown at the courts. My charge to the President is to extend the executive order to include compulsory obedience to all lawful orders issued by the courts and to prohibit any form of harassment or intimidation of judicial officers, however subtly it may come. When this is achieved, then we can truly say that the judiciary is autonomous and independent.

Court Convicts 11 Internet Fraudsters In Port Harcourt

A combination of photos released by the EFCC shows the 11 fraudsters convicted by the court in Rivers State.

 

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced 11 internet fraudsters to various prison terms for fraud.

The convicts were prosecuted by the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for offences bordering on impersonation and obtaining by false pretence, a statement from the anti-graft agency said on Monday.

Those convicted were Anhwo Samson, Harry Omo-Egbekun Hamilton,  Odiase Martins, Okuson Godspower, Destiny Ighalo, Andrew Onoyoa, Omebu Happy, Enofe Michael, Adelakun Abdulkareem, Akpowowo Favour, and Imaah Joseph.

They were brought before Justice Adamu Mohammed on Friday and pleaded guilty to the count preferred against them by the EFCC.

In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Ahmed Arogha, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendants accordingly.

But counsels to the defendants, John Okhuihievbe and O.A. Egharevba, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were first time offenders who had become remorseful.

Justice Mohammed, thereafter, convicted and sentenced all the defendants to various terms of imprisonment.

Samson bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000, and was asked to forfeit N3,684,439.18 to the Federal Government.

Similarly, Ighalo got two years imprisonment or a fine N500,000, and was asked to forfeit a Luxus SUV 330 model, laptops, and phones to the Federal Government.

Onoyoa was also sentenced to three years imprisonment or a fine of N1 million, and asked to forfeit a Luxus 230 SUV and a Toyota Camry car to the federal government.

The other defendants Godspower, Happy, Enofe, Joseph, Favour, Abdulkareem, and Martin were sentenced to two years imprisonment each with an option of a fine of N200,000 each.

While Hamilton bagged two years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000, all the convicts were asked to undertake in writing to be of good behaviour forthwith.

The charge against them read, “That you Anhwo Samson (aka Anhwo Samcity), Adelakun Abdulkareem (aka Terry Walker), Omebu Happy  (aka Christ David), Imaah Joseph (aka Pietro Jones) Enofe Michael (aka Charlotte Crypto B.T.C Dan Trader) and  Akpowowo Favour Omanufogho (aka Prof. Melisa Dan) on or about the 10th day of July 2020 at Efemena Close, Ozoro within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire to defraud by sending electronic messages materially misrepresenting facts to white women with intent to defraud them and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition,  Prevention,  Etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 14(2) the same Act”.

Court Gives Belgium 30 Days To Fix Lockdown Law

Logo of a court gavel

 

 

A Belgian court on Wednesday ordered the government to draw up a pandemic law within 30 days or face the annulment of some of its anti-Covid restrictions.

The Brussels court of the first instance made the order after a complaint by the Belgian League of Human Rights.

The Belgian government appealed the decision and insisted that several other jurisdictions had greenlit the measures, a statement said.

The legal tussle matches similar battles in the Netherlands and Germany, where anger against anti-virus restrictions has also landed in courtrooms.

“The aim of our action is to put the parliamentary debate back at the centre,” Audrey Lackner, the lawyer for the League, told AFP.

“The court has confirmed the illegality of the measures and asked the Belgian state to do what is necessary to make them legal,” she added.

In Belgium, the lockdowns and restrictions to fight the spread of the coronavirus have all been ordered by ministerial decree, bypassing parliament.

The government has also been criticised by the European Commission for border controls that limit free movement between Belgium and fellow EU member states.

This state of affairs has annoyed civil libertarians and ministers have begun efforts to draw up an appropriate law for future pandemics that would involve lawmakers more closely in the process.

This, however, was expected to take much longer than the 30 days ordered by the court, putting the government of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in difficulty.

Contacted by AFP, De Croo’s office said the court ruling was being analysed.

Lackner said that besides the new law, the court found the government could scrap the measures or draw up a new ministerial decree that is more legally sound.

Belgium is in the midst of a fight against the third wave of the pandemic, with schools shut, borders closed and appointments required to access non-essential shops

Court Fixes April 16 For Judgment On Extension Of IGP’s Tenure

A file photo of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, at a meeting in Abuja.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed April 16 to deliver judgement in the suit challenging the legality of the three-month tenure extension President Muhammadu Buhari granted to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter for judgement after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument on Tuesday.

Listed as defendants in the suit which was brought before the court by a constitutional lawyer, Mr Maxwell Opara, were President Buhari, the police chief, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Nigeria Police Council.

The plaintiff, through his lawyer, Ezekiel Ugochukwu, urged the court to declare the continued stay of Adamu as IGP as illegal and unconstitutional, but the defendants prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

Lawyer to the police chief, Alex Izinyon, who maintained his position on the matter argued that the decision to retain Adamu as the police chief was not in breach of either the 1999 Constitution, as amended, or the Police Act.

The counsel to the President, I. Elodimuo, also urged the court to uphold the preliminary objection of the first, third, and fourth defendants, raised against the suit on the ground that President Buhari – the first defendant – retained Adamu in office as the IGP in exercise of the executive power conferred on him by the Constitution.

According to him, the Constitution empowers President Buhari to appoint a serving police officer as the IGP, in consultation with the police council.

The legal practitioner stressed that neither the council nor the Police Service Commission disclosed that Adamu was no longer a serving police officer.

In a five-paragraphed counter-affidavit jointly filed with the AGF, President Buhari described the case of the plaintiff as “frivolous, unmeritorious and undeserving of the court’s attention”.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit “with heavy cost”.

Iziyon, who also urged the court to dismiss the suit, argued that going by Section 136 of the Nigeria Police Act, his client, could remain in office as the IGP until 2024.

Adamu, who attained the maximum 35 years in service on February 1 but got a three-month extension of his tenure by President Buhari two days later, argued that his tenure had not elapsed.

He said the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure which would only expire in either 2023 or 2024.

According to the police chief, his tenure will lapse in 2023 if counted from 2019 when he was appointed as the IGP, or 2024 if counted from 2020 when the new Nigeria Police Act came into force.

He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the suit.

Opara had in his suit contended that by virtue of Section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu could not validly continue to function as the IGP having retired as a member of the Nigeria Police Force from midnight of February 1, 2021.

The plaintiff, among other things, prayed the court to restrain Adamu from exercising any form of command or control over the Nigeria Police Force.

He equally sought an order of court mandating President Buhari and the Police Council to immediately appoint a new IGP, in line with the provisions of Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act.

Similarly, the plaintiff asked for a declaration that by the combined effect of the provisions of Sections 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the second defendant (Adamu) cannot lawfully continue to function as the Inspector-General of Police, not being a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force as from midnight of February 1, 2021, and therefore all actions taking thereafter were illegal, null and void and constituted a breach of the Constitution and the Police Act.

He also sought a declaration that the failure of the first (Buhari) and fourth (Police Council) defendants to appoint an IGP as of February 1, 2021, constituted an abdication of their duties under Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 7 of the Police Act.

Court Jails Internet Fraudster One Year In Lagos

The internet fraudster convicted by the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos. Credit: EFCC

 

The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has convicted one Olaofe Olamide to one-year imprisonment for engaging in internet fraud.

This followed the prosecution of the convict by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to a statement issued on Monday, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said Olamide was arraigned on March 29 on a one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents contrary to Section 320 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Following his arraignment, Olamide pleaded guilty to the charge.

READ ALSO: Edo Governorship Tribunal To Deliver Judgement In Four Petitions

Consequently, the prosecuting counsel, A.O. Mohammed, informed the Court of a plea bargain agreement between the prosecution and the defence.

Mohammed was said to have reviewed the facts of the case and tendered in evidence the statements of the defendant and documents implicating him, which were printed out from his device.

He, therefore, urged the court to convict him accordingly.

He also prayed that the items recovered from the defendant, which were proceeds of the crime, be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Defence counsel, Rafiat Shittu, however, pleaded with the Court to temper justice with mercy on the grounds that “the defendant is a first-time offender and has shown remorse.”

Justice Dada convicted him as charged and sentenced him to one year in prison with an option of a fine of ₦2million.

The Judge also ordered forfeited to the Federal Government an iPhone 7, an Apple MacBook laptop, a Samsung S5 and a Hyundai Sonata vehicle, which were recovered from him by the prosecution.

“On release from custody or satisfaction of the fine, he must sign a bond with the EFCC to be of good behaviour within and outside of the country,” Justice Dada added.

Court Awards N210m Damages To Victims Of Police Brutality

A file photo of the front view of the Federal High Court in Bauchi State.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Bauchi has delivered a landmark judgement in favour of three victims of police brutality and extrajudicial killing in the state.

The court was convinced that two of the victims – Ibrahim Babangida and Ibrahim Sama’Ila – were tortured to death by the police after being accused of stealing 24 chickens belonging to a retired police officer.

In his ruling on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Hassan Dikko, awarded the sum of N100 million each to the families of the deceased as compensation.

The only surviving victim, 30-year-old Abdulwahab Bello, was also awarded N10 million compensation for the brutality, senseless arrest, and torture he suffered.

The events that led to the judgement began with an allegation of chicken theft against the victims on July 21, 2020.

Bello and his late friends were indicted in the crime, after which they were arrested and detained at the Township Division “A” Police Station in Bauchi.

He recalled how one Superintendent Baba Ali, who was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at the time, used a pestle to torture him and his two friends who died as a result of the brutality.

“He hit Ibrahim continuously until his last breath,” the visibly moody survivour, who now limps, said.

The action of the police was condemned by Bello and the families of his late friends who filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Bauchi.

Joined as respondents were Ali, one Sergeant Jibrin Mohammed, the Commissioner of Police in Bauchi, the Inspector General of Police, and the Police Service Commission.

Five months after the suit was filed, Justice Dikko delivered the final judgement and ruled that there was a clear case of extrajudicial killing.

According to the judge, the action of the police amounts to the infringement of the victims’ fundamental human right to dignity.

“Justice has been served and I am happy but for the children who lost their lives, I pray for the repose of their souls,” said Babangida Ibrahim, the father of one of the late victims.

The mother of the other victim, Hajara Ismai’l, also said she had lost hope of getting justice and thanked the court for the judgement.

Lagos Court Jails Man 15 Years For N16m Oil Fraud

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

A Special Offences Court sitting at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Friday convicted and sentenced a businessman, Charles Ihenetu, to 15 years imprisonment.

This follows the arraignment of Ihenetu before Justice Mojisola Dada by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The convict was arraigned on May 16, 2018, along with his company, V-Choice International Company Nigeria Limited, on three amended charges bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence.

According to the anti-graft agency, the offences are contrary to Section 8 (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No 14, 2006.

When the counts were read to him during one of his appearances in court, Ihenetu pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting a full trial which commenced on July 1, 2018.

The prosecution, led by A. Ozioko, told the court that the convict was a member of a syndicate that connived to defraud his victim, Emmanuel Amechi, having deceived him to invest in a purported petroleum business involving bonny light crude, onboard a vessel, Kaveri Spirit, bound for Ghana from Nigeria.

He noted that Amechi, who paid money in three tranches to the defendants, had in October 2015 petitioned the EFCC after he realised that he had been duped.

The petition was subsequently investigated, leading to the charges filed against the defendants.

To prove the case, Ozioko called four witnesses and tendered several documentary evidence against the defendants.

After the prosecution had closed its case, the defence filed a “no-case” submission, which was later dismissed by the court.

He was, therefore, ordered to open his defence during which he called only one witness – Ihenetu.

Delivering her judgment on Friday, Justice Dada held that Ihenetu, based on the evidence before the court, was “a pathological liar”, whose testimony in the dock and documents tendered by the defence showed that “everything was calculated to swindle the victim in a non-existent transaction.”

She added that the court was satisfied that the prosecution had proven the charges beyond reasonable doubts and sentenced him to 15 years from the date of his remand, May 16, 2018.

The judge, who ordered that the company be wound up and that no property should be left, also directed that the sum of N16 million be restituted to the victim.

Court Fines Ethiopian Airlines N7m For Cancelling Flights Without Notice

In this file photo, an Ethiopian Airline Boeing 737-700 aircraft takes off from an airport. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded a fine of N6 million as general damages against Ethiopian Airlines Ltd. for cancelling three Nigerians’ flights without due notice to the plaintiffs.

In his ruling on Friday, Justice Adekunle Faji also awarded another sum of N1 million as the cost of the action.

The sums were awarded in favour of the plaintiffs, the Madakin Zazzau, Munir Jaafaru; his wife Hadizat Jaafaru, and their daughter, Hafsat Jaafaru, for the hardships, stress, and inconvenience caused them by the airline’s cancellation of their flights without notice.

In the suit filed on April 27, 2018, the plaintiffs sought among other things, a declaration that the airline contravened the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Regulations, 2015 by cancelling the flights without due notice and for the consequent hardships, stress, and inconvenience.

Justice Faji, in his judgment, also held that the defendant was bound to give notice of the flight cancellation to the plaintiffs and having not shown proof of such notice, its action was in breach of the contract of carriage.

He also found that the defendant breached the contract of carriage with the plaintiffs by its failure to give notice of its flight cancellation, as required by the NCAA Regulations.

The judge noted that this caused the plaintiffs who were on a family trip in a foreign land hardship, stress, and inconvenience in rescheduling their flights.

With this decision, the court has established the principle that the cancellation of flights by airlines without due notice to the passenger may render the airline liable.