FG Appeals Case Against Justice Ademola, Others

Adeniyi Ademola, Court, Joe Agi, Olabowale AdemolaThe Federal Government has filed an appeal against the decision of Justice Jude Okeke of the FCT High Court, upholding the no case submission in the corruption case against Justice Adeniyi Ademola; his wife, Olabowale, and Mr Joe Agi.

It was also gathered that the government, through the Ministry of Justice, has also filed a fresh case against Justice Ademola and his wife, this time in the Code of Conduct Tribunal, for allegedly living above their means and failure to declare their assets.

Justice Okeke had on Wednesday struck out the 18-count charge preferred against the three defendants, ruling that the prosecution failed to prove any of the allegations against them.

According to the judge, some of the charges do not meet constitutional standards and, in his words, no court can base its judgement on speculation.

The Presidency is however, said to have considered Justice Okeke’s judgement as a strange outcome which is capable of undermining the war against corruption.

The Department of State Services had accused Justice Ademola of receiving 30 million Naira from a senior lawyer, through a Guarantee Trust Bank account allegedly operated by his wife, a former Head of Service in Lagos State.

Apo Killings: Families Protest Court Verdict, Urge AGF’s Intervention

Students Protest, Kwara StudentsThe family members of the six Igbo traders who were murdered in Abuja in June 2005 have staged a protest at the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.

They registered their displeasure over the judgment of an Abuja High Court which sentenced to death, two out of the six police officers who were initially charged for their alleged complicity in the killings.

Leader of the aggrieved family members and Chairman of Apo Traders Association, Mr Chimezie Ifeh, stated their objection to the court’s decision on the matter.

He queried the propriety of the court judgment, saying “the real culprits of the gruesome murder of the Apo six traders have been left off the hook”.

Mr Ifeh urged the Minister of Justice to appeal the judgment and ensure that the perpetrators be brought to book.

The protesters were addressed on Friday on behalf of the Minister by the Director of Legal Drafting at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Tahir Hamzam.

Mr Hamzam assured them that the AGF would to look into the matter as he urged them to remain law abiding.

He also promised the protesters that the judgment would be studied while appropriate steps will be taken to address the issue.

Man Sentenced To Death By Hanging For Killing Wife

Man Sentenced To Seven Years Imprisonment for Raping OctogenarianA Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced a man, Sulaiman Olalekan, to death by hanging for the murder of his wife, Mrs Chika Egbo on November 20, 2012 in a case of domestic violence.

In a judgement passed on Thursday, in a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, of the Ministry Of Justice, Kayode Oyekanmi.

The convict (Olalekan), on the fateful day, allegedly poured acid on his wife, having become overwhelmed by the fact that the deceased went back to prostitution against his best advice.

Trial judge, Justice Lawal Akapo, in his judgment, convicted Olalekan for the murder of his wife and sentenced him to death accordingly.

In line with the zero tolerance posture of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration on issues of domestic violence, the Lagos State Government through the State’s Ministry of Justice, took over the prosecution of the case and filed necessary processes in court.

Olalekan reportedly met the deceased at Signal Hotel in Ijeshatedo area of Lagos state, where they started a relationship that resulted in marriage.

However, the deceased reportedly reneged on her commitment to the relationship by returning to prostitution, which caused Olalekan to procure acid from a battery charger in Ikotun area of the state and deceitfully invited her to visit with his mother on the said day when he poured raw acid on the deceased.

The victim was admitted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for emergency treatment, where she eventually died.

Arriving at his judgment, Justice Akapo, said he believed that the murder of Chika Egbo by Olalekan was premeditated.

In reaction to the judgment, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, who was the lead prosecuting counsel, thanked the court for a well-considered punishment.

“Today’s judgment is a victory in our fight against domestic violence and a victory for domestic violence victims”.

This is coming as a fulfilment of Governor Ambode’s 2016 pledge to make Lagos uncomfortable for perpetrators of domestic violence, after leading an All-Male Walk against Sexual and Gender Based Violence.

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For Rapists

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For RapistsWorried by the rising cases of sexual assault against minors in Kaduna, the State Government is proposing a life jail sentence as punishment for rapists in the new Child Right Bill that has been forwarded to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Amina Sijuade, disclosed this during the commissioning of the Sexual Assault Reform Centre at Gwamna Awan General Hospital in the state capital.

The Commissioner explained that the decision became necessary, following incessant cases of rape, particularly of minors, being recorded frequently in the state.

The Commissioner, after commissioning the Sexual Assault Reform Centre, said that the centre would work closely with security agencies and hospitals in order to achieve the desired objective.

“The Ministry of Justice has already designated a gender desk officer who will prepare all legal documents for legal action for victims.

“Also, all the officials that will work at the centre have already been trained with support from the Department for International Development (DFID).

“This initiative will greatly help in curbing the alarming rate of violence and sexual assault against minors in the state,’’ she said.

She spoke further: “Already there is a review of the penal code for the 19 northern states. This initiative was chaired by myself together with all the attorney-generals of the 19 northern states. And in the penal code, what we did was we escalated the penalty for rape in response to calls by the public.

“What we are proposing is life imprisonment for rapists. Definitely it will help address the menace not just for minors but rape generally of both sexes. We emphasize the importance of traditional rulers in this fight, the community and religious leaders and lastly the media.

“Most of the reports on rape come from the communities where community and religious leaders are in charge, and the fight against it and sensitization cannot be successful without their help.

“So, they will be engaged in sensitizing their communities. The media is also crucial to this and we have commenced sensitization on radio and television. And we solicit for your cooperation.”

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre would be run by the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Social Development, Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies.

Incidences of rape are becoming rampant in Kaduna state. It is particularly disturbing that the offenders are mostly elderly men whose victims are toddlers and minors within the age range of three to six.

In most cases the suspects are related to the victims.

Generally, rape laws in a lot of countries are strictly clarified and efficient in terms of implementation. The same cannot be said of Nigeria where no capital punishment is meted against those that have been caught in such act.

Sadly, while the suspects suffer light or no punishment at all, their victims would have to contend with the trauma that comes with being a rape victim.

Family Alleges Foul Play In EFCC Suspect’s Death

EFCC, Desmond Nunugwo, JusticeFamily members of former Chief Protocol Officer to the Minister of State for Defence, Mr Desmond Nunugwo, have visited the Ministry of Justice to demand for justice over his death.

According to the deceased’s family, he died on June 9, 2016, after he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for his alleged role in a 91 million Naira fraud.

Mr Malami had called for an independent inquiry into how he allegedly died in the EFCC custody.

Lawyer to the late Nunugwo, Paul Edeh, who led the wife of the deceased, Mrs Susan Nunugwo and other family members to the Ministry of Justice for an update in the matter, alleged foul play in his death.

They expressed confidence in the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, in ensuring they get justice.

However, they frowned at the attitude of the anti-graft commission and security agencies towards the matter.

Late Nunugwo, according to EFCC, was arrested for fraudulently obtaining 91 million Naira from an acquaintance after he allegedly tricked her into believing that he had high net worth business associates in Dubai, who were to buy NICON Insurance and convinced her of their disposition to help her stock fish business.

FG To Probe Alleged Death In EFCC Custody

EFCC, Abubakar Malami, Desmond NunugwoNigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has called for an independent inquiry into how a former Chief Protocol Officer to the Minister of State for Defence, Mr Desmond Nunugwo, allegedly died in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to his family, Mr Nunugwo died on June 9, 2016, after he was arrested by the EFCC for his alleged role in a 91 million Naira fraud.

The lawyer to the family, Mr Paul Edeh, led relatives of the victim to the Ministry of Justice, where they had a private meeting with the Justice Minister.

Mr Edeh said that the Minister gave a directive that the issue be investigated and promised to get back to the family in a matter of days.

Wife of the deceased, Mrs Susanne Nunugwo, lamented that she had not been able to see the corpse of her husband since his death two months ago.

She requested that her husband’s name be cleared as he had been declared guilty by the EFCC and was no longer alive to defend himself.

Lagos Inaugurates Five Mobile Courts For Traffic Offenders

lagos state mobile courts The Lagos State Government has inaugurated five Mobile Court buses for road traffic offenders, with a pledge to end impunity on the roads.

The Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade‎ and the State’s Attorney General, Kazeem Adeniji, restated their commitments to ridding Lagos of recklessness and impunity on the roads at the inauguration of the Mobile Courts on Friday.

The inauguration was held at the premises of the High Court in Ikeja, the capital of the state.

Justice Atilade pointed out that flagrant disregard and violation of traffic rules with impunity was unacceptable. She, therefore, urged the people of the state to discourage and condemn the act.

The Chief Judge also disclosed that the judiciary remained committed and would stop at nothing to back the initiative of the State Government.

The Attorney General, on his part, said that the Mobile Courts would facilitate prompt and immediate trial of road traffic and environmental offenders.

Offenses to be tried by the Court include; driving against traffic, refusing to obey traffic signs like Zebra Crossings and Traffic Lights indications, crossing the highways where Pedestrian Bridges are provided, driving on the BRT by non-designated vehicle and parking at undesignated places, commercial buses on motion with their doors open thereby endangering lives of both their passengers and other road users, noise pollution and street trading amongst others.

He expressed hope that the reduction in the commission of these traffic offences, would determine how much Lagos had progressed as a civilised society.

The State Attorney General also said that the Courts would be presided over by Magistrates and that there would be prosecutors from the Ministry of Justice and defence lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), who would be readily available to defendants who so desire.

Stop Official Cars For Everybody – Senate Chief Whip

senateSenate Chief Whip, Professor Olusola Adeyeye, believes members of the National Assembly and all government officials need to cut down on luxury in order to move Nigeria forward.

Prof. Adeyeye was on Channels Television’s Politics Today to discuss the presidential media chat held on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 and the national issues that were tackled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Professor Adeyeye was full of praise for President Buhari’s honesty during the media chat, particularly in admitting that the government was not sure about the location and condition of the abducted Chibok girls.

“He spoke the truth. He did not try to over-sweeten the story as politicians would do, he was optimistic about the future but he also clearly made the nation know that there were problems ahead,” he said.

The APC Senator threw his weight behind the President’s war on terrorism and corruption, noting that these were problems he inherited and should be commended for fighting.

He stated that “terrorism is not an issue that is solved overnight” and that the circumstances in which the war had been sabotaged in the past have made it more difficult.

Prof. Adeyeye also recalled how he had been an advocate of transparency and prudence in government during the 7th Assembly but one of the issues that came up during the presidential media chat was the proposed allocation of funds for the purchase of official cars for members of the National Assembly in the 8th Assembly which he also belongs.

President Buhari had frowned at the purported allocation of over 40billion naira for this purpose and the Senator agreed with the President.

“If I was president of Nigeria today, honestly to the extent possible I will end official cars for everybody – from President to the level 8 officer.

“We once had a republic where our head of state rode a Peugeot 504 and gave us what he called ‘Operation Low Profile’. We must go back to that.

“A situation whereby we go through the streets of Abuja and everybody is riding SUVs, everybody is focusing on the senators because 109 of them are the ones who were elected. Ask yourself, ‘what type of cars are the ministers riding? What type of cars are the judges riding? What type of cars are the DGs of parastatals riding?’

“My official car right now as the Chief Whip of the Senate is not as good as what the DGs of many parastatals are riding.

“What we need to do is to say ‘regardless of your position, let’s go back to Operation Low Profile’,” the Senator said.

He insisted that the financial situation in Nigeria requires all citizens in government to make sacrifices.

“If we are going to correct this mess, we must correct it in every ministry, in every government department and across board.

Adeyeye, who represents Osun State in the Senate, commended President Buhari for his handling of other national issues during the presidential media chat.

Buhari Meets More Permanent Secretaries

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari continued his interaction with permanent secretaries by taking a look at the books of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Abdullahi Yola.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, Yola said his ministry was ready to prosecute any person indicted by relevant agencies of government for looting public fund.

He said that the prosecution could only be done when agencies have found the individuals wanting and make their findings available to his ministry.

Also in the State House to brief the President were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, as well as that of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Abdulkadir Musa, who also told State House correspondents that his briefing with the President centred on job creation.

Musa said that in the days ahead, the current administration would be doing everything possible to attract more investments and encourage businesses.

Ahead of the appointment of ministers, President Buhari has been receiving briefings about happenings in the various ministries to get a first-hand information.

President Muhammadu Buhari continues to push further his concern about the prudent management of Nigeria’s finances, with a call on the Permanent Secretaries of various ministries to be prudent in the management of resources.

He had on Monday received the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Anesthesia Nwobia, who told reporters that her ministry was working assiduously to ensure that all revenue leakages were blocked, as instructed by the President.

El-Rufai Assures Judiciary Of Independence

el-rufaiThe Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has an assurance of his administration’s total support for the independence of the Judiciary and Rule of Law which he affirmed as a necessary requirement for the sustenance of democratic governance, peace and development of the state.

Addressing principal staff of the Ministry of Justice, led by the Chief Judge, Justice Tanimu Zailani, during his visit to the ministry on Thursday, Governor El-Rufai said that his administration will not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary as regards the dispensation of justice, funding and rule of law.

He expressed worry over the poor state of prisons across the state due to congestion of prisoners, and appealed to the Chief Judge to ensure the speedy trial of inmates especially those awaiting trial.

The Governor also said that he would liaise with the Chief Judge to review the cases of some of the inmates, particularly those on death row to see how he can grant some of them amnesty if the need arises.

On his part, the Kaduna State Chief Judge thanked the Governor for the unscheduled visit to the ministry, and also used the opportunity to highlight some of the challenges confronting the ministry which includes; lack of Judges for the three arms of the state judiciary, High Court, Sharia Court of Appeal and Customary Court of Appeal.

He asked for an assessment of the need for the appointment of Sharia and Customary Court judges.

The Governor, while describing the judiciary as a very important arm of government, assured them of his readiness to work closely with the ministry.

El-Rufai’s visit to the ministry excited the workers who came out in large numbers to welcome him. They said that it was the first time a Chief Executive of the state would be visiting the ministry since the inception of the state.

Justice Ministry Advises Government To Domesticate Treaties

Court Justice domesticate International lawsThe Nigerian government has been advised to go beyond signing international treaties to domesticating them and turning the treaties into laws.

At a peer review forum in Abuja on Monday, the Acting Director of International Law at the Ministry of Justice, Mr Pius Oteh, said treaties ratified at international level without domestic legislation to back them up, fail to achieve the targets for which they were designed.

He pointed out that under such conditions the benefits such instruments should afford the country and the people would be lost.

Mr Oteh said despite the gains made over the years to ratify and domesticate treaties, much more effort was still required to ensure that Nigeria’s legislature would adopt the laws in time so that Nigeria and Africa as a whole would not be left behind in the comity of nations.

Fashola Advices Lawyers To Restrict Themselves To Area Of Specialization

Gov-FasholaLagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has charged law officers in Nigeria to restrict themselves to their areas of specialization when accepting briefs from clients in order to minimize delays in discharging cases at the courts.

Governor Fashola who was speaking at a one-day Law Conference held at the City Hall in Lagos, said the major reason there are delays in court processes in the nation’s courts was the issue of those he described as ‘non- trial lawyers’ accepting cases and going to court to handle such cases, adding that the result of such situations was unnecessary adjournments.

Fashola compared the situation with what obtains in other professions, arguing that just as in the medical profession where a practitioner who is not a surgeon cannot go into the theatre, a non-trial lawyer would only be a nuisance in a trial court as he would be lost before a trial judge.

“How many of us really are trial lawyers and how many of us admit that they are not trial lawyers and still go to court? Because it is not every medical practitioner that is a surgeon, so some of those clear distinctions must be made”, the Governor said, charging participants at the on-going conference to “at least ventilate if not resolve the issue”.

Commenting on the argument that solicitors should be separated from barristers, Fashola noted that, “these are some of the hard pills we may have to swallow”, adding that the distinction has been made a long time ago in the judicial system of the United Kingdom.

He maintained that a trial lawyer who comes to court knows the environment, what the rules are and how the system operates adding that just as a non-surgeon would be fumbling around in the theatre until the patient may die, a non-trial lawyer would continue to fumble and delay justice.

“And that is a serious undertaking that we are dealing with – human lives, peoples’ fortunes and we could do with some real professionalism in the country so that you don’t have practitioners in the courts who are fishing for an answer”, the Governor said.

Citing some of the actions of non-trial lawyers that cause delay in court, Fashola said, “They will deny every plea you claim; they will deny even the name of the plaintiff. What happens is that the plaintiff will now be first put on trial to prove that he is who he is and all these take time. It is only when the issues are in control of professionals that you could have a real trial’, adding, “It is the lack of experience because they don’t know what to do; it is not their area of specialization”.

He also advised lawyers to debunk the concept that they must win every case they handle in court pointing out that a lawyer should restrict himself to getting justice for his client  according to the rule of law adding that if lawyers understand this and put it into practice it would narrow down the issues in court.

“The concept that lawyers must win a case is a concept that must go out of the window. Lawyers are trained and paid to help their clients get justice according to the law and not to win cases. If trial lawyers understand this and put to practice what we will achieve first is the narrowing of the issues”. Governor Fashola said

He urged Judges to insist on trial lawyers narrowing down the issues in court to avoid unnecessary waste of time.

Governor Fashola also advised lawyers to restrain their clients from going to court, when it is possible, adding that giving their clients honest advices on whether or not to go to court would, in addition to reducing unnecessary litigations in court and putting pressure on judges, earn the confidence of clients for the law officer as it would save money that would have been spent on a fruitless pursuit.

He agreed with the suggestion that law officers must be made to pay for wasting the time of the court on any case arguing that the right to be heard does not mean the right to be a nuisance.

“I agree that we must make some serious evaluation in the matter of cost and you cannot do that without some modification of the rules. Perhaps part of the modification is to see the roles that we the operators of the rules play as lawyers and judges and other members of the judicial system”, he said.

Governor, who highlighted other factor that could cause delay in court processes such as lack of adequate infrastructure including Power supply, said the Lagos State Government  has done a lot in the last 14 years to correct the anomaly adding that the administration has built courtrooms and upgraded the magistracy as well as supplied Power through its Independent Power Project.

Fashola who commended the ministry of Justice for the conference said his administration undertook to increase the jurisdiction of the magistracy and expand it in order some relief to the High Courts because there were cases that were piling up in the high courts that could to provide be dealt with at the magistracy level adding that it was done to complement the high court reforms that were made during the tenure of Professor Yomi Oshibanjo as the State’s Chief law Officer.