Court Strikes Out Case Challenging Tambuwal As Sokoto Governor

Building Collapse: Governors' Forum Visits Governor EmmanuelThe Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out an application filed by Senator Umar Dahiru seeking to amend the suit challenging the nomination and subsequent election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

Senator Dahiru based his motion on the basis that the Governor was wrongly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election which held on April 11, 2015.

However, neither the plaintiff Senator Dahiru, nor Governor Tambuwal, were in court for the ruling.

In his ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, dismissed the application for amendment because it was not the application remitted by the Supreme Court for retrial.

Justice Kolawole held that the plaintiff had claimed in his motion on notice filed on January 27, 2015 that the primary election conducted on December 4, 2014 by the APC which produced Governor Tambuwal was a sham and in gross violation of the Electoral Act 2010 and the APC Election Guidelines.

He, however, said the plaintiff had then somersaulted to file a fresh motion on notice, seeking the variation of his pleadings in his earlier suit to the effect that he should be declared governor based on the same primary election.

The judge said the plaintiff “intended to steal a match which [he] originally said was null and void”, and in essence to have a second bite of the cherry.

On this basis, the judge consequently struck out the plaintiff’s motion in its entirety.

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Justice Kolawole added that granting the application will occasion injustice on the part of the first and second defendants because the motion on notice did not intend to cure any misnomer.

He highlighted that granting the application for amendment of the reliefs would change the “nature and character” of the case file which the Supreme Court had remitted to the High Court for retrial.

The judge ruled that “in view of the fact that the application is dismissed, the case file has become empty and there is nothing to adjourn or be heard”, adding that “the suit is struck out and has been dismissed”.

While counsel to the defendants, Jubrin Okutekpa, applaud the ruling, lawyer to Senator Dahiru, Abdulhamid Mohammed, said they would study the judgement for the next step to take.

El-Zakzaky, DSS Suit: Court Asks Parties To Explore Alternative Resolution Means

Ibraheem Zakzaky, court, ShiitesA Federal High Court in Abuja has advised parties in a suit filed by the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, to explore the option of resolving the issue through alternative dispute resolution.

Mr El-Zakzaky had filed a Fundamental Human Rights suit, challenging his arrest and continued detention by the Department of State Service (DSS).

At the resumed hearing of the suit on Wednesday, lawyer to El-Zakzaky, Mr Femi Falana, told the court that his client was being held against his wish without trial since December 14, 2015.

He further claimed that El-Zakzaky was not at the scene of the clash between members of the Islamic Movement and the Nigerian Army on the December 12, 2015.

Lawyer to the DSS, Mr Tijani Ghazali, however, told the court that Mr El-Zakzaky was being held under protective custody due to intelligence report which revealed that his life was under threat.

He added that the service had been taking adequate care of him and had never denied him access to members of his family and legal team.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after listening to arguments from both counsels advised them to explore the option of resolving the issue through alternative dispute resolution.

He, thereafter, adjourned the suit to November 25 for judgment in case the parties were unable to resolve their differences.

Members of the Islamic group have continued to call for the release of their leader, holding several protests since he was taken into custody.

The Shiites had held protests in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Kaduna and kano among other states.

On september 10 in Kaduna, members of the group, comprising of women, youths and children, gathered at the popular Leventis roundabout in the state capital, demanding for the unconditional release of their leader and other members.

Chanting songs and blocking major roads, the Shiites feared that the health condition of Zakzaky is deteriorating due to gunshot wounds he sustained.

They vow never to rest until their leader and others are freed.

More Contradictory Court Orders Trail Planned PDP National Convention

Court on PDP National ConventionMore contradictory court orders are still coming on the planned national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) less than 24 hours before the convention.

While a Federal High Court in Abuja has barred the PDP from holding the national convention slated for August 17 in Port Harcourt, another High Court in Port Harcourt re-affirmed that the party’s National Convention Planning Committee was duly constituted and that ‘the planned convention stands valid’.

In its ruling, the Abuja court also barred the party from presenting, electing or recognising anybody as its national officer.

The ruling was on a motion on notice filed by factional national chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, seeking to stop the convention that is scheduled to hold in Rivers State.

Reading the court’s ruling, Justice Okon Abang restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission from supervising or monitoring the planned convention, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

‘Not Struggling With Port Harcourt Court’

The trial judge in the ruling also ordered the Inspector General of Police to enforce his order which put paid to the planned convention.

He also directed Senator Sheriff to obtain and fill form 48 so as to commit anybody or group, who may disobey the order to prison.

Aware that a Port Harcourt court order contradicts that of his court, he said: “This division is not struggling with Port Harcourt division for jurisdiction but the Port Harcourt division should not have assumed jurisdiction because the Supreme Court has made it clear, that when a situation like we have at hand arises, a judge should consult with the Chief Judge before taking any step.

“If my brother in Port Harcourt is vast with this Supreme Court decision he would not have assumed jurisdiction. Let me make it clear here that Port Harcourt division cannot over rule me”.

“Any party or person that fails to comply with my decision will have himself to blame,” he warned.

In the Port Harcourt court, however, the judge, Justice Ibrahim Walifa said that since the July 4, 2016 judgement of Justice Lima that ordered Senator Sheriff or his agents from parading themselves as the chairman and leaders of the party was not appealed, the judgement still subsists.

The ruling was in connection with originating summons of a matter between the National Convention Planning Committee of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, the police and Department of State Services.

Justice Walifa said that it was an abuse of court processes for the defendants to carry on as if nothing has changed and sought to originate a similar matter in a sister court.

The judge therefore granted the prayers of the plaintiffs and re-affirmed that the party’s National Convention Planning Committee was duly constituted and that the convention was valid.

The contradictory court orders are coming less than 24 hours to the planned national convention, which the party said on Monday it was going ahead with.

Controversy Over Anambra Federal Seats Continues

High court on Anambra federal seatsThe controversy over the federal seats in Anambra State continues, as the contest on who the rightful occupants are intensifies.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday issued a court order asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to obey the directions contained in an earlier judgement.

The judgement was given on issues relating to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State in respect of some legislative seats for the 2015 general election.

The order is putting the commission and the chairman on notice for it to obey or be seen to be in contempt of court.

“Take further notice that if the Independent National Electoral Commission continues to disobey this order, you, Professor Mahommd Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, will be held in contempt of court and liable to imprisonment.

The commission has, however, told Channels Television, that it was studying the order of court and would take necessary legal action, as it was a law abiding institution in Nigeria.

Court Orders A Neutral Place For Dasuki To Brief Lawyers

DasukiAn Abuja high court has overruled the federal government in its decision to confine the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki to the premises of the Department of the State Security Service to access and brief his lawyer on the charges of corruption brought against him.

The court ordered that former NSA must be allowed to access and brief his lawyers at a neutral place instead of the premises of the DSS headquarters in Abuja so as to enable him prepare adequately for his defense in the trial.

Justice Husain Baba Yusuf, who issued the order directed that henceforth the detained former NSA should be allowed by the DSS operatives to access his lawyers within the premises of the Federal Capital Territory judiciary headquarters in Maitama, Abuja between Monday to Friday during the week.

The pronouncement of Justice Baba Yusuf followed a complaint by Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr Adeola Adedipe, that the legal team for Dasuki had not been allowed to have direct access to him in spite of a court order made on April 6.

At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to the federal government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had told the judge that the case was slated for commencement of trial and that he was fully ready with his witnesses that will testify in the case.

However, Adedipe rose and informed the court that he was not ready for any trial because the ruling of April 6 which ordered DSS to allow them access their client for briefing so as to prepare his defence has not been complied with by the security agency.

The counsel claimed that a letter by Dasuki’s team of lawyers to the DSS asking for the order to be enforced was replied by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, who said that access to Dasuki would be granted at a convenient room at the DSS headquarters.

Court Refuses Application For Stay Of Proceedings Filed By Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi KanuA Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has refused application for stay of proceedings filed by the self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr Kanu had asked the court to stay proceedings pending the determination of his appeal before the appellate court.

The trial judge, Justice James Tsoho, ruled that the application did not follow due process and was not based on the facts of the case.

He said he would continue to hear the case on a day-to-day basis until a higher court orders a stay.

The trial has been adjourned to June 20.

Mr Nnamdi Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to an unlawful society.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On February 19, a Federal High Court in Abuja turned down the request by the Federal Government, to allow its witnesses wear masks during the trial of the self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr Kanu.

Justice Tsoho said the prosecution did not furnish the court with enough evidence to show that, it’s witnesses were in danger, other than a mere mention by the prosecutor that his witnesses are scared for their lives.

Court Adjourns Dasuki’s Appeal Hearing

Sambo-Dasuki-trialThe hearing of an appeal filed by Nigeria’s former National Security adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has been adjourned to a date that would be communicated to parties in the suit.

The Appeal Court could not hear the appeal following the inability of the Federal Government to file its brief of argument.

The counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, had told the justices of the court that the former NSA’s brief of argument was served on him last week and that by the practice of the court, he had 10 days to file his response.

He then applied for a short adjournment to enable him file his response which was obliged.

However, the Justice Abdul Aboki-led panel said that the date for hearing would be reserved until all processes had been filed.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki, had on March 3, also asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop his trial. He also asked the court to set aside the criminal charges of unlawful possession of fire arms brought against him by the Federal Government.

Dasuki told the court that the Federal Government no longer had moral and legal rights to continue his trial, having disobeyed the order of bail granted him since Nov 3, 2015.

The Court refused his application as the trail judge, Justice Peter Affem, held that contrary to the application by Colonel Dasuki, it was the Department of State Services (DSS), which was not a party in the suit that arrested Colonel Dasuki and not the EFCC.

He agreed with the anti-graft agency that it had not flouted any part of the orders releasing the former National Security Adviser (NSA) on bail.

Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court on April 6, fixed May 3 for Colonel Dasuki’s trial on charges bordering on alleged diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms for soldiers fighting insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

He has denied the charges.

 

Kanu’s Bail Application: Court Sets December 17 For Ruling

KanuThe Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed Thursday, December 17, to rule on whether to admit on bail, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra and operator of Radio Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola gave the date on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital after taking arguments from both parties involved in the bail application.

Mr Kanu had been in detention of the Department of State Services (DSS) since October, when he was apprehended by operatives of the agency.

Reacting to the bail application, counsel to the DSS, Moses Idakwo, asked the court not to admit the suspect on bail because he was allegedly involved in terrorism acts.

Mr Idakwo told Justice Ademola that the Federal Government was in possession of details of the accused person’s bank accounts in U.S. dollars and pound sterling from where he had been financing terrorism acts against the country.

The counsel also submitted that Kanu has dual citizenship of Britain and Nigeria and that he could flee and escape justice if allowed to go on bail.

Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, Vincent Obeta, dismissed the claims of the DSS on the grounds that they were speculative and not supported with any documents or facts.

Court Defers Dokpesi’s Bail Application Till Monday

DokpesiA Federal High Court in Abuja has deferred till Monday, in the bail application filed by the founding Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who heard the bail application, said that he could not give ruling immediately because the processes filed by the parties in the suit were presented before him on Thursday.

Justice Kolawole said that he needed to study and assimilate the processes before reaching a decision on the bail application.

He subsequently ordered that Mr Dokpesi be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till December 14.

In his argument, Counsel to the Daar Communication boss, Mike Ozhohome, argued that the offences for which his client was standing trial were bailable offences.

He noted that Mr Dokpesi should be granted bail on self-recognizance or in the most liberal terms.

The Counsel to the EFCC rejected the application for bail on the grounds that he had allegedly uncovered the receipt of over 8.7 billion Naira from the Federal Government for the hosting rights of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2012 by Mr Dokpesi.

Court Declines Jurisdiction In Wada’s Suit

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has declined jurisdiction in a suit filed by the Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, against the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The judgment was delivered on Friday, a day to the scheduled supplementary election, by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

Governor Wada had asked the court to declare him the winner of the November 21 governorship election, following the death of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abubakar Audu, who was leading.

But Justice Kolawole said that only an Election Tribunal could adjudicate such suit.

He said that the role of the judgement was to create a judicial and permissive atmosphere for INEC to conduct the supplementary election scheduled for December 5.

‘Idle Judicial Indulgence’

The judge further said that it was his view that where the court did not have affirmative powers to make declarative orders, it would amount to idle judicial indulgence to proceed with the suit.

Justice Kolawole on Tuesday adjourned for judgment after all the parties adopted their final written addresses on contentious legal issues that arose after the sudden death of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abubakar Audu, before the election was concluded.

The court had consolidated four separate suits challenging the legality of the scheduled supplementary election, with the Justice saying that there was need for the court to expeditiously determine the issues “so that INEC will not conduct the election under a grave shadow of doubt as to the legal or constitutional validity”.

Other persons who filed suits, Johnson Usman, Emmanuel Daikwo and Emmanuel Igbokwe were asking the court to rule that a fresh governorship election should be conducted in the state.

INEC had declared the governorship election held on November 21 inconclusive, even as it fixed Saturday to conduct a run-off poll.

The electoral body said it declared the election inconclusive because the margin between the leading candidate, Late Audu and the second contestant, the incumbent Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, was less than the number of cancelled votes.

 

 

Lamorde’s Questioning: Keyamo Sues Nigerian Senate

Keyamo Writes Senate, Serves Court ProcessesThe Bailiff of the Federal High Court in Abuja has served the Nigerian Senate with court processes filed by Mr Festus Keyamo.

Mr Keyamo, who is a lawyer to the immediate past Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, is challenging the Senate and its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on their competence to question his client’s activities while in office.

A statement signed by a private secretary to Mr Keyamo revealed that a letter had also been sent to the Chairman of the Senate committee.

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

The former EFCC boss had challenged the powers of the Senate and its committee to invite him to appear before them.

In an originating summons filed by Mr Keyamo, Lamorde is asking the court to determine whether the Senate can invite the former EFCC boss to appear before them, as a person whose conduct of affairs is being investigated by them in relation to issues concerning the office he vacated.

Court Refuses To Stop Speaker From Setting Up Committees

courtA Federal High Court in Abuja has again declined to stop the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, from appointing principal officers and standing committees for the House of Representatives.

While ruling in an ex parte motion brought by Honourable Abubakar Lado and Olanipekun Jimoh, seeking to stop the Speaker from appointing principal officers, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the issue was a domestic affair of the House of Representatives.

Justice Kolawole said that “the court could only intervene when there is substantial infraction of the 1999 Constitution”, stressing that ‘for now there has been no breach of the Constitution’.

He added that it was not the duty of the court to choose principal officers for the National Assembly, because it had its own machinery.

The court also maintained that it would not allow itself to be used as a platform by aggrieved members, to get what they should canvass on the floor of the House.

Justice Kolawole insisted that  the court was not a supervising institution for the National Assembly on account of Separation of Power and that there was no evidence before the court that the constitution had been breached.

He, therefore, refused the application in its entity  and thereafter directed that the defendants in the substantive suit, which includes the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his Deputy, the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the National Assembly, be put on notice and served with the originating summon.

The case has been adjourned to August 12 before Justice Adeniyi Ademola.

In a related development, an ex parte order seeking to stop the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, from constituting the Senate Standing Committe, was rejected on Tuesday.

The Judge, Justice Kolawole, said there was nothing urgent in the application.