Lagos Chief Judge Seeks Reconstruction Of Burnt Igbosere Court

The Igbosere High Court was burnt during the #EndSARS protest in 2020.

The Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba has appealed to the state government to prioritize the reconstruction of the burnt  Igbosere High Court.

Justice Alogba made the appeal at the Lagos Central Mosque while speaking at the thanksgiving service organized by the state judiciary to mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 New Legal Year.

The Igbosere court was burnt down in Oct 2020 following the hijack of the #EndSARS protests by hoodlums.

Justice Alogba lamented the destruction of the  Court, noting that it was a monumental edifice that must be revived.

READ ALSO: Bandits Kill Police Inspector, Abduct Several Passengers In Katsina

The CJ also noted that the best way for the judiciary to continue to effectively discharge its duty is when it is devoid of state and public interference in adjudicating justice delivery.

He restated the judiciary’s commitment to continue to deliver justice without fear or favour.

The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat who celebrated with the judiciary at the thanksgiving service explained that a Trust Fund had been set up to rebuild public structures destroyed during the violent protest.

He promised that the reconstruction of the Igbosere High Court Complex will be the first to be rebuilt with the Fund.

Also speaking at the event, the Bashorun Musulumi of Lagos, Alhaji Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy asked the State Chief Judge to revive Prison visits to address overpopulation as the number of awaiting trial inmates far outnumbered convicted inmates.

He urged the Chief Judge to ensure that matters enjoyed accelerated hearing as justice delayed is justice denied.

An Islamic scholar, Dr Ishaq Sanusi who delivered a lecture at the thanksgiving service advised judges and magistrates to bring back justice to the country so as to help achieve political and economic stability.

He explained that if justice is restored in the country, inequality and insecurity would be dealt with and the economy would improve for the better.

A simultaneous thanksgiving service was also held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina for judges, magistrates and lawyers of the Christian faith

The Bishop of the Diocese of the Lagos West, Anglican Communion, the Reverend Olusola Odedeji in his sermon encouraged the Lagos State Judiciary to uphold truth and Justice at all times.

Rev. Odedeji also urged all the judges and magistrates to use their positions and tenure in service to God and to humanity.

After the thanksgiving services, proceedings moved to the Main Arena of the Tafawa Balewa Square where the Chief Judge inspected the ceremonial guard of honour as part of activities to mark the commencement of the new legal year.

Olisa Metuh’s Money Laundering Case Not Struck Out – EFCC

In this file photo, a former PDP spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh, at the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 25, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied a report that a Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit of money laundering filed against Olisa Metuh, the ex-National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Channels Television had reported on Monday that an Abuja Federal High Court struck out a suit filed by the EFCC against the former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP for retrial.

The trial judge at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Justice Emeka Nwite, described the seven-count in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2022 filed by the EFCC as an abuse of court process. He said it was a gross abuse of the court for the commission to have filed the same matter for retrial before him while the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

READ ALSO: Alleged N400m Fraud: Court Strikes Out Charge Against Olisa Metuh

But the EFCC in a press statement signed by its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday, said the report was “a gross misrepresentation of the status of the case.”

The anti-graft agency said Metuh’s case was before the Supreme Court and not the Federal High Court.

“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to some reports in the media, alleging that the Federal High Court, FHC, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, September 26, 2022, struck out a suit filed by the Commission against former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, for retrial. We wish to state unequivocally that there is no modicum of truth in those reports,” the statement read.

 

“Metuh’s case is presently pending before the Supreme Court, arising from the appeal by the Commission, as well as his own cross-appeal, upon the judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified the judgment of the trial court on alleged grounds of bias.

“There is, therefore, no pending case before the Federal High Court to warrant striking out of the same.

“It bears reiterating that the EFCC has no fresh application for retrial of Metuh before the court. There can be no striking out of a suit that was not initiated or filed before the court. Any report of striking out of a suit filed by the EFCC on Metuh is a gross misrepresentation of the status of the case and the public is enjoined to ignore such reports.

“The EFCC is awaiting the judgment of the apex court, against the discharge of Metuh, by the Court of Appeal in the N400 million money laundering charges instituted against him. The Commission will do nothing to abuse processes of the court as it remains committed to total respect for the rule of law.”

FG To ASUU: Obey Court Ruling First, Negotiations Will Continue

A photo combination of ASUU president and Ngige.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has advised the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to obey the National Industrial Court (NIC) ruling and call off its ongoing nationwide strike, while negotiations are ongoing.

Ngige stated this while responding to the industrial court ruling which restrained ASUU from continuing with the strike when fielding questions from journalists in New York on Friday.

He said that the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions, noting that the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

The minister also advised that after obedience, ASUU can then apply for an appeal if they so desire or apply for a stay of execution.

READ ALSOIndustrial Court’s Ruling Ordering ASUU To Call Off Strike (Full Details)

On Friday, ASUU filed an appeal over the ruling.  The counsel to ASUU, Mister Femi Falana, based their appeal on 14 grounds. The motion is seeking two reliefs which are:

A) The leave to file the appeal pursuant to Section 243 of the Constitution that requires the party to seek a leave of court to appeal the judgement or ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC).

B) Seeking for a stay of execution of the orders of the court, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

Paris Club Refund: Court Sets Aside Consent Judgement On Payment Of $47m

File photo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice John Tsoho,  has set aside a consent judgement in favour of Panic Alert Security Systems Limited against the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Delivering the ruling on Wednesday, Justice Tsoho, held that the said consent judgement was entered without jurisdiction in its entirety.

The company is one of the beneficiaries of the payment of $418 million to consultants and is said to be for payment for professional services in the Paris Club refund to State Governments. It had relied on the consent judgement to lay claim to professional fees of over $40 million.

READ ALSO: ASUU To Appeal Court Order Directing Lecturers To Call Off Strike

Earlier, the court had restricted the Federal Government from deducting $418 million from the bank accounts of the 36 states.

The state governors had accused the Attorney-general of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, of alleged involvement in the controversial payment.

The Governors’ Forum later instructed its counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Paul Ogbole,  to challenge the consent judgment the AGF relied upon in court.

Justice Tsoho agreed with counsel to the NGF that the reliefs claimed by the company were premised on a simple contract which by section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) strips the court ab initio the required jurisdiction to entertain such matters.

Accordingly, the court set aside the consent judgement.

By the ruling, all approvals by the AGF, the president, the minister of finance, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Debt Management Office (DMO) arising from, related to, or concerning Panic Alert’s claims have been voided.

ASUU Strike: FG Lauds Court Order, Says No Victor, No Vanquished

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

 

The Federal Government has declared that nobody won or lost in the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), ordering members of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to work.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the declaration on Wednesday while receiving members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) at his office in Abuja.

Ngige also gave an assurance that the court ruling does not preclude further negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU.

“The ruling is in the best interest of the nation,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by a spokesperson for the ministry, Olajide Oshundun. “It is a win-win situation for all of us – government, students, lecturers – all Nigerians indeed.

“I have just gotten the order of court asking ASUU to go back to work. It is a sound judgment. It is no victor, no vanquished. You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but, you are here, even though you have dissociated yourself and you are working. We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.

“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations. The pro-chancellors met Mr President and made some demands, such as topping up government offers and seeing whether there could be some bailout. Mr President said in considering it, he will consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”

Ngige welcomed the intervention of the House of Representatives in the crisis, saying he was happy that Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said the lawmakers would meet with the President.

He said the intervention was timely considering that the President must have also consulted some stakeholders, adding that whatever money to be put in would go into the 2023 appropriation where the National Assembly comes in.

“If they have shown interest now, it is good and wonderful. When they bring that proposal, the Executive will not have any problem. ASUU should also know that this is a step in the right direction.

“And all these things have been promised them by the Minister of Education at their last meeting with him. For me, they should do the needful and get back to the classroom,” the minister stated.

He said the government would order the vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court.

Sexual Assault: Court Refuses To Grant Baba Ijesha Bail Pending Appeal

A file photo of Baba Ijesha.

 

The Lagos State Special Offences Court has refused to grant bail to convicted Nollywood actor, James Olanrewaju, popularly known as Baba Ijesha.

On July 14, the court convicted and sentenced Baba Ijesha to five years imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

A month after that sentence, Baba Ijesha, through his counsel approached the court for post-conviction bail, pending the determination of his appeal at the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal.

But the trial judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, on Wednesday rejected the bail application on the ground that he did not meet the exceptional circumstances and criteria necessary to warrant the bail.

She noted that the applicant must show special and exceptional circumstances because the jail term given to him was five years which would run concurrently.

“There is no evidence that the appeal has been entered and there is no indication that the court will not treat the case expeditiously,” the judge held.

“It is the view of this court that the applicant has failed to show special circumstances to warrant bail because he is facing a serious crime. In view of this, I am inclined to refuse the bail application of the applicant pending appeal.”

In making his bail application, Baba Ijesha’s counsel, Gabriel Olabiran, had informed the court that the notice for bail pending appeal was made pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 51 of the High Court Law of Lagos State, Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

Olabiran said the application was brought before the court owing to the difficulty in getting a hearing date at the Court of Appeal.

The State Prosecutor, Yusuf Sule, in his counter-affidavits argued that the defence failed in its application to establish the special circumstances which might grant the convict bail.

“My lord, the defence has failed woefully in addressing the special circumstances which can be used to grant the convict bail,” he said.

Justice Taiwo considered these submissions and ruled in favour of the prosecution.

Alleged N6bn Fraud: Mompha’s Trial To Continue In His Absence, Court Rules

A combination of file photos of Mompha and the EFCC logo.

 

The Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area has ordered the continuation of the trial of internet celebrity and alleged fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, despite his continued absence in court.

Justice Mojisola Dada who made the order on Wednesday at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also adjourned the case until November 16 for the continuation of the trial.

She further ordered the anti-graft agency to make sure to bring its witnesses on the next adjourned date.

The court made the order following a submission by the EFCC counsel, Abbas Mohammed, that the commission had made frantic efforts to arrest Mompha without success.

He urged the court to grant the adjournment to enable the trial to continue in absentia.

“My lord, we shall be asking for another date to enable prosecution of the defendant on trial in absentia,” Mohammed said.

The defence counsel, Mr Kolawale Salami, had no objections to the EFCC’s application. He aligned with the prosecution and confirmed the position of the commission.

Mompha was arrested by the EFCC on January 10 and arraigned on January 12 alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on eight counts of alleged money laundering of over N6 billion.

In the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, retention of such funds, transfer of funds for a suspect Olayinka Jimoh popularly known as Nappy Boy, and unlawful transfer of funds for a record label, among others.

The EFCC also alleged that Mompha concealed his interest in expensive wristwatches and other movable assets valued at over N70 million.

The offence is contrary to relevant sections of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 2006 and the EFCC Act of 2004.

But Mompha pleaded not guilty to the eight counts. He also pleaded not guilty to the first six counts on behalf of his company, Islamob Limited.

On January 18, he was admitted to bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties in like sum while the judge ordered that one of the sureties must own property valued at N100 million within the jurisdiction of the court.

The court also ordered the defendant to return his international passport to the custody of the court while ordering his remand in any correctional centre of his choice in Lagos, pending the perfection of the bail conditions.

On March 28, he was released to his lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Gboyega Oyewole, shortly after the court varied his bail conditions.

Since then, he has failed to appear in court on at least three scheduled dates for his trial.

On June 10, the EFCC accused him of flouting the court’s order by travelling to Dubai with a new international passport. On June 22, the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest following his continued failure to present himself for his trial.

The court also revoked the bail it granted the defendant. This is the second case in which the EFCC is charging Mompha.

He is also standing trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos on amended 22 counts bordering on cyber-fraud and money laundering to the tune of N32.9 billion.

ASUU To Appeal Court Order Directing Lecturers To Call Off Strike

A file photo of the National Industrial Court in Abuja.

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will appeal the ruling of the National Industrial Court which ordered the lecturers to call off their ongoing strike.

Mr Femi Falana, who is the counsel to the union, confirmed this to Channels Television on Wednesday hours after the ruling of the court, saying he was preparing the grounds of appeal at the time of this report.

The industrial action by ASUU has continued to take a toll on the nation’s education, especially the tertiary sector as academic activities in most government-owned universities have been halted for over seven months.

The lecturers downed tools on February 14 over the controversy on the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the government as the payment system in the university sector, among other issues.

They had also condemned the poor funding of universities, non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, as well as the inability of the government to pay earned academic allowance to lecturers.

But efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.

A file photo of ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

 

Amid outcry over the effect of the industrial action and after seemingly exploring all available options, the government decided to take legal action against the union.

The government, through its lead counsel, Mr James Igwe, had filed an application for an interlocutory injunction, seeking an order of the court restraining ASUU from further continuing with the strike.

Delivering a ruling on the government’s application, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action, pending the determination of the suit.

He ordered that the case file should be returned to the president of the Industrial Court for reassignment to another judge, as he is a vacation judge.

According to the judge, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

He added that the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

Justice Hamman upheld the application of the government, saying it was meritorious and granted, but refused to fine the government as demanded by ASUU.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Court Sets Dec 5 To Rule On Victim’s Biodata Release

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

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 5 to deliver a ruling in an application filed by an alleged organ harvest victim, David Ukpo, seeking to stop the release of his biodata to a court in London, United Kingdom.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Tuesday after taking arguments from counsels to Ukpo and a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

He, however, said both parties in the suit may be recalled for an early date should the ruling be ready before the December 5 date.

Ukpo had through his counsel, Bamidele Igbinedion, prayed the court to set aside the July 1 order of the court which permitted the release of his personal information and biodata to the Uxbridge Magistrate Court and the Central Criminal Court of the United Kingdom, without giving him fair hearing by the court.

He said the entire proceedings that led to the order of the court were made in his absence, adding that the documents released to the London court were false.

The applicant stated that the order made by the court was prejudicial to him, even as he said the Attorney-General of the Federation had no power under the law to transmit personal and private data of a person to a foreign land.

In his objection, counsel to Senator Ekweremadu asked the court to dismiss Ukpo’s suit seeking to stop the release of his biodata to the London court.

He informed the court that Ukpo had no basis to entertain any fear in the release of the information he provided for his visa application and his bank account opening package, except if he had lied about his real age.

Senator Ekweremadu was detained alongside his wife over allegations of a plot to traffic a man into the UK to harvest a kidney for their daughter.

The couple who have since denied any wrongdoing were taken to detention after they were arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 21 after arriving on a flight from Turkey.

Following their arrest by the London Metropolitan Police, the duo appeared before a UK court which ordered that they should be remanded in custody.

While the Met police said the donor was 15, he was reported to have refused to consent to the procedure after undergoing tests at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north-west London.

But the Westminster Magistrates’ Court later ruled that the kidney donor was not a minor after confirming his age as 21, while Mrs Ekweremadu was released on bail.

Court Orders Sule Lamido To Open Defence In Alleged N712m Fraud

A file photo of former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido.
A file photo of former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido.

 

The Federal High Court Abuja has said ex-Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, and his co-defendants, have a case to answer in the N712 million naira money-laundering charges filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

EFCC is prosecuting Lamido on 37 amended charges,  alongside two of his sons, Aminu and Mustapha  Lamido.

Other defendants include Aminu Abubakar, a business associate to the Lamidos and four companies.

The former governor had filed a no-case submission, after the EFCC closed its case, stating that the evidence provided by the prosecution did not disclose any case against him.

READ ALSO: Court Sacks Taraba APC Gov Candidate Bwacha, Orders Fresh Primary

However, ruling on the no-case submission, Justice Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed his claim, ordering him to open his defence on November 8.

Part of the charges includes “That you Alhaji Sule Lamido (while being the Governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria), on or about 15th of December,2008  within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court in your account in the name of Bamaina Holdings (also referred to as  Bamaina Holding Limited) domiciled at Unity Bank Plc. Kano, converted the sum of N14,850,000.00 (Fourteen Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) being the value of Intercontinental Bank Plc. (now Access Bank Plc) cheque no. 00000025 paid by Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria  Limited which represented the  proceeds of your illegal act to wit: using your position as a public officer for gratification  by  purportedly obtaining contracts for companies in which you have interest from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited which was awarded contracts by Jigawa State Government with the aim of concealing its illicit origin and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act.”

Court Fixes Wednesday To Rule On FG’s Suit Against ASUU

ASUU is accusing the government of not listening to their demands.

 

The National Industrial Court has fixed Wednesday, September 21 to rule on the application for an interlocutory injunction filed by the Federal Government against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Justice Peter Hamman fixed the date on Monday after the lead counsel to the Federal Government, Mr James Igwe, argued his application seeking an order of the court restraining ASUU from further continuing with the ongoing nationwide strike.

The government had approached the court to challenge the ongoing industrial action by the university lecturers.

But the court, at the previous sitting last Friday, adjourned the suit until Monday (September 19) to hear the interlocutory injunction of the government.

Igwe had asked the court to give the suit an accelerated hearing due to the urgency of the matter to enable students to return to school.

He stated that since the matter was already in court, it would be proper for the strike to be called off, pending the determination of the suit.

But counsel to ASUU and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, said the union was currently meeting with stakeholders to ensure that the matter was resolved and appealed to the government to cooperate with the union to resolve the issue.

FG Vs ASUU: Court Adjourns Case To September 19

File photo of the National Industrial Court.

 

The National Industrial Court has adjourned the suit filed by the Federal Government challenging the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to Monday, September 19 for a hearing of the interlocutory application of the Federal Government.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, counsel to the Federal Government, James Igwe, asked the court to give the suit an accelerated hearing due to the urgency of the matter to enable the students to return to school.


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A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

Igwe told the court that since the matter was already in court, it would be proper for the strike to be called off pending the determination of the suit.

Counsel to ASUU, Femi Falana, argued that the matter was adjourned to Friday for further mention and not for hearing. He said he has been served with the Federal Government’s Interlocutory injunction.

Falana added that ASUU is currently meeting with stakeholders to ensure that this lingering crisis is resolved. He appealed to the Federal Government to cooperate with them to resolve the issue.

Justice Polycarp Hamman, subsequently adjourned the suit to Monday 19, 2022