Sowore: Never In Nigerian Democracy Has A Judge Been Treated With Such Disdain – Atiku

 

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Friday said the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to arrest Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore was a rape of the sanctity of the court.

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last election said the act is unacceptable, stressing that Nigeria is not a dictatorship.

Atiku said he was in extreme anguish of spirit having watched the unfortunate drama that played itself out at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

He said it was sad that the agents of the state could cause a commotion in court in order to frustrate the judgment of a competent court.

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According to the elder statesman, never in the history of Nigerian democracy has a judge been treated in such a disdainful and brazen attack on not just her person and office, but on the entire judiciary.

“This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court. Nigeria is not a dictatorship. We are a democracy, no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us,” Atiku said.

He called for an immediate inquiry to be set up to identify those responsible for the maltreatment meted out to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and the desecration of her court, and indeed the Nigerian judiciary.

“They must be sanctioned to the highest extent permissible by our laws.”

He further called for all law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to immediately respect not just the court order made by Justice Ojukwu, but the order of any court in Nigeria, on any detainee, be it Omoyele Sowore, Sambo Dasuki or Ibrahim Zakzaky, among others.

Atiku said the nation cannot have a situation where its government is quick to obey foreign court orders and even quicker to disobey domestic court orders, adding that this is symptomatic of a mindset that is servile to foreign powers and brutal to Nigerians.

“Without the rule of law, there can be no rule at all. Power in Nigeria still flows from the people, not from the barrel of a gun. I call on all men and women of goodwill not to keep quiet or sit on the fence at times like this.

“To keep Nigeria democracy is the paramount duty of all concerned stakeholders. Please speak up against this tyranny and side with the Nigerian people,” Atiku opined.

Operatives of the Department of Security Service (DSS) on Friday re-arrested Mr. Omoyele Sowore barely 24hours after his release.

Mr. Sowore was released on Thursday night after the court gave Nigeria’s secret police a 24-hour ultimatum to release him.

The court also awarded N100,000 against the prosecution for failing to comply with court orders requesting the release of Sowore and for not serving the defence counsel with necessary documents early enough.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu after court proceedings adjourned the case till February 11 and 12 and 13, 2020 for definite hearing.

But as everyone filed out of the courtroom, no fewer than 15 armed officers of the DSS, who had laid an ambush for the defendants, made their way towards Sowore and his co-defendant Bakare, who put up a resistance but were eventually whisked away.

N1.5bn Fraud: Court Fines Nanle Dariye’s Counsel N200,000 For Inefficiency

 

 

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has levelled a fine of N200,000 against counsel for Apartment le Paradis, a hotel in which Nanle Dariye, son of a former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, is a director, for inefficiency.

Nanle was on February 27, 2018 arraigned along with Apartment le Paradis on a six-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N1.5 billion, to which he pleaded “not guilty”.

Shortly after the prosecution closed its case against him, his counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, on February 13, 2019 argued his “no-case” submission via an application dated and filed on December 13, 2018.

Ruling on the application on March 7, 2019 the trial judge struck out count one of the charges, which directly affected Nanle, and held that the hotel had a case to answer in the money laundering charge.

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Invariably, Justice Ojukwu had adjourned to April 10, 2019 for the second defendant to open its defence.

However, at the resumed sitting, Agabi was absent in court, but instead, sent in a junior lawyer, who rather than continue with the defence, appealed for an adjournment, noting that she was just informed about the case and was not prepared to lead the defence.

She further added that an agreement had been struck with the prosecution as regards the request for adjournment.

But counsel for the EFCC, Ike Okonjo, refuted the claim of any such agreement, stressing that the prosecution had come prepared to continue with the case and was surprised at the position of the defence.

“For the records, we do not have any agreement with the defence, and this is all mischief to delay the course of the law,” Okonjo said.

Expressing displeasure at the rather lackadaisical attitude of the defence, Justice Ojukwu wondered how the defence would come after one month unprepared to continue with the case.

“I have given you ample time to adequately prepare for the defence, you cannot come here one month after to ask for another adjournment,” the trial judge said.

The trial judge, thereafter, adjourned to May 13 to 15, 2019, and ordered the defence to pay N200,000 fine before the next trial date.