Respect Your Oath Of Office, CJN Charges Judges

 

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammad Tanko Ibrahim, has charged judges in the country to always respect their oath of offices by being just and fair in the discharge of their judicial functions.

He said that as judges accountable to God for their deeds, they must ensure that they dispense justice with honesty and transparency to all manners of human beings that come their way.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Arrest of Diezani, Convicts Two INEC Staff Over N362m Bribe

The CJN who spoke at the inauguration of Justice John Tsoho as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and Justice Benedict Kanyip as president of the national industrial court, asked them to live up to expectations of Nigerians.

The CJN also warned the judges not to allow any personal interest to override the discharge of their function as demanded by law and their oath of office adding that on no ground should they compromise on their principles.

“This inauguration does not call for a long speech, but let me remind you that you are holding your new offices in trust for people and you must not do anything to betray the trust.

“You should try as much as possible to justify the oath and your appointment by putting your experience to bear in the discharge of your duties,” he told the judges.

The CJN also reminded them on the need to respect the law by avoiding pitfalls because the law does not respect anybody who runs fowl of the law itself.

Justice Nguta Pleads Not Guilty To Eight Charges At CCT

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta has pleaded not guilty to eight charges bordering on false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government before the tribunal.

According to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Justice Ngwuta contravened section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, laws of the federation of Nigeria, which is punishable under section 23 (2) of the Act.

The Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter for hearing to July 12, 2017 after the judge pleaded not guilty.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the judges whose residence was raided in October 2016 by the Department of Security Service, which uncovered huge sums of money in in the process.

He is also standing trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16 counts bordering on money laundering.

 

Ajimobi Inaugurates New Caretaker Chairmen In Oyo

Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has assured the people of the state that elections into the 33 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) will be held as soon as the suit against it is settled.

Governor Ajimobi said this while inaugurating the Caretaker Chairmen for the LGAs and LCDAs in the state at the Governor’s Office in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice John Tsoho had in January 2017, ordered the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) not to proceed with its plan to conduct the elections earlier slated for February 11.

The order was sequel to a motion ex-parte filed on behalf of 16 Baales (traditional rulers) from Oyo Federal Constituency through their lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji, pursuant to the creation of 35 LCDAs in the state.

The Governor, however, noted at the inauguration ceremony that the polls would hold as soon as the case is settled.

“The day the court case is settled is the day we will announce the date of election. The only advantage you have now, as you have been sworn in, is that you can quickly do things that will endear you to your people before the elections.

“You are caretakers holding forth for others and your tenure is temporary, so be rest assured that your good work will be your certificate of retention. If you fail to work well, we will remove you,” he said on Friday.

Ajimobi further advised the new council bosses not to see their appointment as an opportunity for them to enrich their pockets with public funds.

He reminded them of their pledged to be faithful with tenets of governance, as well as adhere to the rule of law and the principle of confidentiality.

“There is a lot of satisfaction in public service, especially when you serve those in real need of it at the grassroots. A leader must not only visualise, he must also have the courage to reject what is wrong.

“Remember the oath of allegiance you just took which has to do with faithfulness, your action must be according to the law. Act without fear or favour, and do everything in adherence to the principle of confidentiality,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of appointees, Mr Bosun Ajuwon of Ibadan North-West LGA expressed appreciation to the Governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the trust reposed in them.

He promised that the new caretaker chairmen would deliver on the promises of the Ajimobi-led administration, to ensure a better life for the people at the grassroots.

FG vs INEC Officials: Court To Rule On Jurisdiction May 12

FG vs INEC Officials: Court To Rule On Jurisdiction May 12Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed May 12 to rule on the application to strike out the charge by the Federal Government against 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The officials were accused of allegedly receiving 360 million Naira as bribe from the Rivers State Government, to manipulate the outcome of the legislative polls in the state in December 2016.

The defendants, in a motion, asked the court to either strike out the case or alternatively transfer the case to Port Harcourt, on the basis that the alleged offences took place there.

They also argued that the prosecution’s submission that the trail cannot take place due to security concerns was unfounded, saying the offences in question are currently being tried in various courts in Rivers State.

The prosecution, however, opposed the application and called for its dismissal for lack of merit.

Speaking to reporters, Counsel to the defendants, Ukpai Ukairo, said: “All the elements of this offence happened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“We are saying that it is appropriate and that’s the position of the law that it should be tried in Rivers State. The prosecution says that there are security challenges in Port Harcourt, but our contention is that those security challenges will not inhibit the trial of this case in Port Harcourt.

“They’ve completed investigations into this matter and there is nothing before the court showing that there will be a breach of security if the defendants are tried in Port Harcourt”.

On his part, the prosecution counsel, Alilu Kayode, noted that it was up to the court to decide where the trial would take place.

“The argument is already placed before the court, it is for the court to now determine whether by the submissions of all parties, the court has territorial jurisdiction or not.

“If it has, we will continue here; if it does not have, we will await the court determination of the application,” Mr Kayode said.

Malabu Oil: Ruling On Shell, AGIP Applications Stalled

malabuThe Ruling on two separate applications filed by Shell Oil exploration Nigeria LTD and Agip Oil seeking to vary an order made by the Federal High Court in Abuja, on January 26, 2017, which granted temporary forfeiture of the oil prospective license 245 bloc to the Federal Government has been stalled.

The ruling could not go on because of the three fresh applications filed by Malabu Oil, principally seeking to be joined in the suit as well, as a party in the already heard applications filed by Shell and Agip.

Counsel to Malabu Oil, Mr. Abdullahi Haruna told Justice John Tsoho that, the joinder application was aimed at delaying the ruling in the application filed by the two oil giant, so Malabu Oil can become one of the plaintiff in the suit.

However, the application was objected by lawyers to Agip and Shell because it is frivolous and a waste of the courts time.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Johnson Ojogbane, did not file any application but rather left the issue at the court’s discretion.

Nevertheless, after taking submissions from counsel, Justice John Tsoho adjourned the ruling on Malabu’s application to March 17, 2017.

Free Basic Education An Enforceable Right; Court Declares

Court Declares Free Basic Education An Enforceable RightA Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that every Nigerian child has the constitutional right to free and compulsory primary education, and free junior secondary education.

In a suit filed by a non-governmental organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), against the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation, Justice John Tsoho also declared that the Federal and State governments have constitutional duties to provide adequate funds for it.

In the suit, LEDAP asked the court to determine whether by the combined effect of Section 18 (3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 2 (1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, (UBE) 2004, the right to free and compulsory primary education and free junior secondary education for all qualified Nigerian citizens are enforceable rights in Nigeria.

Justice Tsoho, who relied on a 2002 decision of the Supreme Court, held that by enacting the UBE Act, the National Assembly has made the right to free and compulsory primary and free junior secondary education contained in Chapter 2 an enforceable or justiciable right.

Reacting to the judgment, the lead counsel to LEDAP, Mr Chino Obiagwu, said that the court on Wednesday gave life and hope to over 28 million Nigerian children who are currently out of primary and junior secondary school, or who are at risk of being withdrawn from school because of the inability of their parents or guardians to pay the tuition fees and school expenses, or who are withdrawn from school so that they can be given out in early marriage or be sent to the streets to hawk or beg for alms.

By this judgment, any child not enrolled in school or who is withdrawn from school can exercise his or her constitutional rights against the parent, guardian or government.

And failure by any government to fund free primary and junior secondary education will constitute a breach of the constitution.

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Malabu Oil To FG

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Malabu Oil To FG Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, has ordered an interim forfeiture of oil prospecting licence 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil.

The order, according to him, would last pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Ltd, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd, Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd and other individuals named in connection with the act of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering.

Justice Tsoho, who gave the order, also ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), to manage the oil processing licence of OPL 245, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told the court that it has taken steps in the interest of the public in view of the crimes and fraud against the Federal government of Nigeria.

On December 20, 2016, the EFCC charged nine suspects, including former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, with respect to the $1.1bn scam.

Other accused persons named in the charges filed by the EFCC before a Federal High Court in Abuja, were Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, Rocky Top Resource Limited, Imperial Union Limited, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Limited, Group Construction Limited and Megatech Engineering Limited.

Trial Of Nnamdi Kanu Adjourned Till April 26

Nnamdi KanuThe trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, which was expected to continue on Tuesday morning has been adjourned.

Kanu’s counsel, Chuks Muoma (SAN) applied for stay of proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by them challenging the ruling of the court delivered on March 7 granting the request of the Federal Government to shield witnesses.

Justice James Tsoho has therefore adjourned ruling on the stay of proceedings to April 26.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had on March 7 granted the application by the government to shield its witnesses in the trial of the self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu and two others standing trial for alleged treason.

According to the prosecutor, the witnesses claimed they had been threatened by associates of the accused persons should they testify in the court, stressing that they would only testify if they were assured of their personal safety.

Trial Of IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Stalled

KanuThe trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu has been stalled following‎ an application for stay of proceedings filed by the his counsel. 

At the resumed trial in Abuja, lawyer to the accused, Mr Chuks Muoma, told the court that he has filed a motion for stay of proceedings having filed an appeal against the ruling of the court permitting secret trial of Mister Kanu.

The prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Diri, in his response admits receiving a copy of the motion for stay of proceedings shortly before the court commenced sitting.

He, howe‎ver, told the court that he needs time to respond to the motion filed by the defence counsel.

Delivering a short ruling, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned the case to the April 5, 2016 for hearing of the defendants motion.

Alleged Fraud: Dokpesi’s Trial Stalled

dokpesiThe trial of the former Chairman of DAAR Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, stalled on Wednesday after defence counsel made a complaint.

At the resumed trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, the defence team led by Mr Wole Olanipekun, argued against the commencement of the trial on the ground that the proof of evidence supplied by the prosecutor was not readable.

The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, countered the argument of Mr Olanipekun saying that since he came into the case, he had not provided the address of his chambers for the service of documents.

He, however, informed the court that he would make a clean and clear copy of the proof of evidence available to the defence team before the next adjourned date.

Justice John Tsoho subsequently adjourned the case to March 28 and 29.

Mr Dokpesi is standing trial on a six-count charge of money laundering and other charges relating to procurement fraud.

Court jails Indian brothers for one month

 

A Federal High Court, in Lagos has sentenced three Indian brothers to one month imprisonment for contempt of court.

The three Indian brothers, Chandru Ganglani, Bharat Ganglani and Trishul Ganglani are joint owners and directors of Sacvin Nigeria Limited, a plastic wares manufacturing factory in Lagos.

Presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho sentenced the brothers without an option of fine following their conviction for refusing to obey an interim order given by the court on July 9, 2009. The court had granted an interim order restraining Sacvin Nigeria from manufacturing and selling or distributing the plastic products and surrender them to the court.

The court had restrained the company from producing and trading in plastic products with the Sacvin logo, pending the determination of the suit filed by Vik Industries Limited, which alleged that the Indian brothers engaged in the manufacturing and sale of plastic products similar to its own.

The plaintiff said it discovered in June 2009 that Sacvin Nigeria was selling plastic products which were so identical in design to its products.

The plaintiff’s attorney on Monday argued that, the defendant disobeyed the court order and continued to manufacture, import, supply, sell and distribute the plastic products, hence the contempt of court.

It further argued that it was experiencing difficulties in sales and incurring serious financial loss on daily basis,  as a result of the defendants’ company’s infringement.

In his ruling, Justice Tsoho in his ruling noted that the foreigners won’t be given an option of fine on the ground that “it will make a mockery of the judicial system”.

He adjourned the case to April 20 for further substantive hearing.

The three brothers in court on Monday