There’s a new twist to the ongoing trial of kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans as an Ikeja High Court in Lagos has asked the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to take over the defence for his alleged inability to afford legal fees.
The Lagos State Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) told the court on Friday that his team placed a phone call to Evans’ legal team on the last court date to enquire about the whereabouts of Evans’ counsel.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi, thereafter, noted that Evans had developed a habit of engaging the services of lawyers who according to the judge, “disappeared halfway through trial” and this has caused delays in the case.
He is standing trial alongside four others over the alleged kidnap of Mr Donatius Dunu, the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical ltd.
The Lagos State government has insisted that there is no definite time yet for the reopening of churches, mosques, and event centres in the state.
While giving an update on the disease outbreak in the state on Friday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that worship centres would remain closed until further notice.
He said, “Places of worship will remain closed in Lagos State, until further notice. All social and events centres, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now.
“However, a list of social clubs with verifiable Trustees and Governing Board that have met strict guidelines will be released from time to time for supervised openings, as approved by the Incident Commander on the recommendation of the Lagos State Safety Commission.”
‘No Mask, No Service’
The governor, who stated that the nationwide daily curfew remained in force in the state from 10pm to 4am, announced that the state government has made some changes to its COVID-19 protocols.
According to him, hairdressing salons that have been accredited by the government may begin to open strictly on an appointment-only basis, with a maximum occupancy of 40 per cent of the total floor space at any given time.
Governor Sanwo-Olu added that communal sports facilities and use of recreational parks in residential estates would be permitted to operate, but with a maximum of 20 persons at any given time.
He explained that this was to promote well-being and appealed to the Residents’ Associations to strictly adhere to the guidelines in the interest of public health.
On the proposed resumption of local flight operations, the governor said, “The Federal Government has approved the reopening of the Airport in Lagos for domestic operations from Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
“The relevant Federal Agencies are putting out additional information to guide intending passengers and airport users; I enjoin everyone to look out for this information.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu, therefore, reminded the residents that the use of face masks in public places was mandatory.
“We are asking offices and business and commercial premises to refuse entry to any persons not wearing masks, in line with the Presidential Task Force directive on ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no service,” he said.
“We are also constantly reviewing our Testing Strategy, to adapt to the evolving nature of the pandemic. Going forward, there will be two categories of people who qualify for testing for COVID-19 in Lagos State, as follows:
“The first category will be those who need to be tested; who fit the case definition for testing and therefore actually require testing.
“This category of people will continue to be tested free of charge by the State Government through our public laboratories, and everyone who meets the case definition for COVID-19 will be tested.
“What this means is that if you’re showing symptoms of the infection, or you have had contact with a confirmed case, or have been exposed to a location where confirmed cases have been reported, you are entitled to free testing by the Lagos State Government,” he said.
Meanwhile, 10 private schools in the state have been sealed for flouting the closure directives of the Federal and State Governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of students.
The Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Lagos State, Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, who led the Monitoring and Investigation team of the office made this known during the second and third phase of the massive monitoring of private schools compliance to the directive to curb the spread of the scourge still ravaging the country and the world at large.
The governor asked school authorities in the transitional classes to ensure adequate preparation for resumption ahead of August 3.
He said, “Tertiary institutions will remain closed. We continue to support online teaching during this period.
“However, students in the transitional classes who have mandatory public examinations ahead of them will be permitted to resume for revision classes and examinations. The commencement date for this will be from Monday, August 3rd.
“All educational establishments are to follow the guidelines for the reopening. We just finished a very serious with stakeholders in the educational sector for the reopening.
“SS3 and TECH three students are to start; for JSS3, and primary six they will wait for about a week or two before resumption.
“This permitted opening will for only day schooling. No boarding activities are permitted during this time. School authorities are expected to prepare well from now till August 3.”
The Lagos State government has continued to record more success in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) following the recovery of 40 more people.
The state governor and Incident Commander, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He explained that the recovered COVID-19 patients comprise 17 females and 23 males, including two foreign nationals.
Governor Sanwo-Olu noted that they were discharged from five of the government isolation facilities in the state where they had been receiving treatment.
He said 19 patients were released from the treatment centre at Onikan, seven from Gbagada facility, and three from the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba.
According to the governor, eight patients were discharged from the facility at Agidingbi and three from the isolation centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after their full recovery and testing negative to COVID-19.
He called on the residents to keep adhering strictly to the physical distancing and hand hygiene principles, as part of measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the state.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Stephen Oshinowo, a former Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Scholarship Board for an alleged N127 million fraud.
He was arraigned on Thursday on an amended eight-count before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in the Ikeja area of Lagos.
In one of the counts, Oshinowo was alleged to have converted the sum of N30 million belonging to the Lagos State government.
The count read, “That you, Stephen Osinowo, sometime in 2018, in Lagos and within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being a civil servant, dishonourably converted to the use of Oshinowo Adenike the total sum of N30 million (Thirty Million Naira), property of Lagos State Board.”
“That you, Stephen Oshinowo, between 8th day of February, 2016 and 30th day of December in Lagos and within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being the Secretary of Lagos State Scholarship Board, dishonestly converted to your own use, through Julikam International Limited, the sum of N39, 934,919 (Thirty -nine Million Nine Hundred and Thirty-four Thousand Nine Hundred and Nineteen Naira) property of Lagos State Board,” another count read.
The EFFC said its investigation showed that Oshinowo, at various times, allegedly diverted to his personal use the sum of N127,164,066 meant for the board.
The charge was read to the defendant and he pleaded “not guilty”.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Usman Buhari, asked the court for a trial date and prayed that the defendant be remanded.
The defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, on his part, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable it hear the bail application of his client.
Justice Taiwo, thereafter, adjourned until Friday for the hearing of the bail application and ordered that the defendant be remanded in the EFCC custody.
The Lagos State Safety Commission has sealed some lounges, bars, spas, and night clubs for flouting the government’s directives on the closure of social clubs in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.
The Director-General of the Commission, Lanre Mojola, disclosed this on Monday while giving an update on the recent exercise carried out by the agency’s Compliance and Enforcement teams.
He listed the areas to include Lagos Island, Surulere, and Abule-Egba among others, stressing that the government has zero-tolerance for breach of safety precautionary measures and would not condone flagrant disobedience of its directives.
“Mass gathering of people in social clubs, spas, bars, betting and gaming centres, negates the safety guidelines,” the agency’s chief said.
He added, “Our preliminary investigations revealed that some bars and night clubs are not complying with safety guidelines and closure directive issued by the state government.”
Mojola stated that the Commission has started issuing provisional safety compliance certificates to social clubs that have registered and have had their facilities verified for re-opening.
He, therefore, urged other social centres that have yet to register for the “Open Initiative” policy to do so, stressing that the facilities that have already been issued certificates were still not allowed to open until stipulated guidelines and pronouncements were made by the governor.
The agency’s chief said registration and verification were free and user-friendly and appealed to business owners to support the government by complying with all safety guidelines and protocols as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Lagos State government has revealed plans to build an International Infectious Disease Research Centre in the state.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed that the centre would be situated at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, as part of the government’s response to COVID-19 and preparation for other infectious diseases after the pandemic.
He made the disclosure on Sunday at the official launch of the 150-bed Mainland Infectious Disease Isolation Centre donated by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu explained that the government would also erect a purpose-built Doctors’ Quarters and permanent isolation wards to ramp up capacity for any infectious disease outbreak in Lagos, as part of the global masterplan for the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.
“Our Infectious Disease hospital is seeing a lot of brand new things coming up and we are committed that this hospital’s post COVID19 would see a purpose-built international infectious disease research centre; the designs are out already,” he said.
The governor added, “We will also be building purpose-built isolation wards, we will ramp up our infrastructure and capacity and not wait for a pandemic to come on us again.”
He commended CACOVID for donating the state-of-art 150-bed Isolation centre to Lagos, saying that the facility would certainly add to the state’s capacity and enable it do a lot more in the war against COVID-19.
According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, the latest donated structure is about the sixth or seventh structured isolation centre in Lagos.
He, however, noted that beyond putting up isolation facilities for COVID-19 case management, it was important for citizens to understand the need to take responsibility against the pandemic.
The governor said, “It is not a function of how many isolation beds that are built but a case of ourselves taking responsibility; understanding that this virus knows no race, colour or age.
“COVID-19 is real and we owe it a duty to tell our people to be very cautious and take precautionary measures and ensure that it is only when we do all of these things that this pandemic can be defeated.”
Police in Lagos have arrested a 61-year-old man accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with his 19-year-old daughter.
In a statement on Sunday, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, Bala Elkana, noted that Eke Kanu was apprehended following a complaint from a female lawyer at the Ikorodu Police Station.
According to him, the victim said her father has been engaging in the immoral act since she was small and threatened to deal with her if she tells anyone.
She added that when Kanu discovered that she was pregnant, he took her to a chemist where she was administered some drugs and injection to abort the pregnancy.
Elkana said the victim has been taken to a medical centre for treatment and forensic examination and the suspect has been detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti for discreet investigation and diligent prosecution.
Similarly, he disclosed that the Bariga Police Station received a report on Friday that one Chibuike Kalu had defiled his 14-year-old daughter.
The command’s spokesman stated that the 33-year-old suspect confessed that he committed the crime and the victim has also been taken to a medical centre for treatment and forensic examination.
A legal practitioner, Olukoya Ogungbeje, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos to challenge the ban imposed by the state government on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as okada, and tricycles otherwise known as keke.
Ogungbeje asked the court to declare that the ban, as issued in February by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was not backed by any court order as it “grossly violates Section 41 of the Constitution.”
He also urged the court to make a perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos State government from enforcing the ban.
The lawyer specifically asked the court to award N500 million as general and exemplary damages against the state for the alleged violation of citizens’ rights.
Apart from the state government, he joined the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences Unit, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, the state’s Attorney-General; the Commissioner of Police in Lagos; the Vehicle Inspection Service; and the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, as defendants in the suit.
Ogungbeje, who argued that the ban had visited untold hardship on him and other law-abiding Nigerians living in Lagos, prayed the court to declare that “the forceful impounding, seizure or confiscation of motorcycles and tricycles” by agents of the state government amounted to an infringement on the right of residents to own property under Sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.
He also asked the court to declare that the power given to agents of the state, under the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, to arrest and punish violators of the ban was equivalent to the usurpation of the functions of the judiciary, “and is thus a gross infringement on the right to a fair hearing and human dignity under Sections 36 and 34 of the Constitution.”
The case has been assigned to Justice Mohammed Liman who has fixed September 28, 2020, for hearing.
On behalf of #COVID19Lagos Incident Commander @jidesanwoolu and the entire #COVID19Lagos response team, we convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of the former Governor and the people of Oyo state.