Aturu’s Death Very Unfortunate, Says Fayemi

Bamidele-AturuEkiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described the death of Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Bamidele Aturu as “very tragic and unfortunate”.

Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said that the death of the prominent lawyer is an unprecedented loss to the pro-democracy and Human Rights community in Nigeria.

The Governor said that he received the news with shock as no one expected the death of Aturu whom he described as “a young man bubbling with life” at a time when the nation needs his contribution to quest for a just society.

He said Aturu’s demise has robbed the oppressed of an irrepressible defender, a tireless advocate and a committed fighter of injustice, oppression and repression, pointing out that the departed lawyer had committed himself to selfless service to mankind since his student days when he was a terror to tyranny, dictatorship and subjugation of the rights of the powerless.

According to him, it was this motivation that fired the zeal in Aturu to study Law after he had earlier received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics in a bid to use Law as a weapon to fight for the oppressed and speak truth to power.

Fayemi noted that Aturu’s contribution to the legal profession especially in the areas of Constitutional Law, Advocacy and Human Rights would remain indelible in the minds of Nigerians.

The Governor recalled the roles played by Aturu as a key actor in the fight to chase the military away from the corridors of power and enthrone democracy which is being enjoyed by Nigerians today.

He said Aturu was irrevocably committed to the struggle and never kept quiet in the face of impunity being committed by elected officials after the hard won democracy.

While praying to God to grant the deceased eternal rest, Fayemi urged his family, friends, colleagues and associates to be consoled by the good life he lived and the positive ways he had affected the society.

Amosun Lauds Bamidele Aturu’s Commitment To Democratic Principles

ibikunle amosunThe Ogun State Governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, has expressed deep shock at the news of the passing of a foremost politician and Human Rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Olufunmilayo Wakama, on July 10, Amosun said that he was greatly saddened by the news of the sudden death of the prominent lawyer, coming at a time when his wealth of experience was mostly needed in reshaping the destiny of the nation.

Mr Amosu hailed the strong commitment of the politician to the enthronement of democratic principles in the country.

“This is so sad; the law profession has lost another bright star. Bamidele Aturu was passionately committed to the enthronement of democratic principles and the emancipation of the marginalized and oppressed. He has done his bit and certainly left his footprints on the sands of time”, the Governor said.

Mr Amosun commiserated with the family of the deceased, the Nigerian legal profession, the Human Rights community as well as his friends and political associates.

He prayed to the Almighty God to grant his soul eternal rest and give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Mixed Reactions Trail New PDP, APC Merger

Nigerian lawmakers have made diverse comments on the merger of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and the All Progressives Alliance (APC), a development expected to generated unexpected debates related to its consequences in the plenaries of the upper and lower chambers.

The merger will be a source of worry for lawmakers, as they will have to consider the legal implications if they decide to move with the governors of the states they represent. The law may not have implications on the governor but on a lawmaker, the individual stands a possibility of losing his seat.

After the declaration of the merger on Tuesday by the chairman of the defunct nPDP, Mr. Kawu Baraje, some lawmakers hailed the decision, describing it as “the best decision the aggrieved group of governors should take”.

Lawmakers, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party the governors broke away from, insisted that the merger would not in any way affect the party.

Some other lawmakers said that the merger was long expected while others did not see it coming.

Other reactions stressed the fact that something had been brewing beneath the surface and had finally erupted with the merger.

Legal Consequence

Commenting on the legal consequence, a lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, said that any lawmaker that is part of the transition may lose his seat.

“Well, for governors there is really no legal consequence because once you are elected as a governor of a state it is assumed that you have a state-wide mandate of the constituency, which is a state to govern and he has been elected in his own personal capacity as such.

“Although, the Supreme Court, in Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s case made it clear that when you are elected, you are being elected on the platform of a party and it is the party that won the election.

“But the truth of the matter is that when it comes to the consequences of leaving your old party to another party that Supreme Court’s decision cannot hold sway. There is no provision that says that if you move over to another party you will lose you position,” Mr Aturu stated.

He said that, legally speaking, the governors would remain governors of their respective states and would not be affected.

“But if you are a legislator and you move to another party and you cannot show that your old party has been racked with division, then, of cause, you will lose your seat by virtue of the constitutional provision that is relevant to this matter,” he explained.

Hezbollah Armoury: Lebanese Sue FG For N50billion

Four Lebanese including the co-owner of Amigo supermarket, Mustapha Fawaz, who were arrested over the cache of arms uncovered in Kano state have filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja for unlawful arrest and detention without trial.

They are demanding N50 billion as compensation from the Department of State Security Services (DSS), the Director General of DSS, Ekpeyong Ita and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

In the suit filed by Mr Bamidele Aturu, the applicants are asking the court to declare their arrest and continued detention without trial as “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

They are also asking the court to stop the respondents from unlawfully extraditing them.

Armoury suspected to be that of Hezbollah organization were recently uncovered by a team of joint security officers after conducting a search of the house located at No3 Gaya road off Bompai road allegedly belonging to one Abdul Hassan Taher Fadlalla – a Lebanese national who is now at large and declared wanted.

The DSS on 16 May, 2013 arrested one Mustapha Fawaz, suspected to be the co-owner of the popular Amigo supermarket as well as Wonderland Amusement Park, all in Abuja. They also arrested one Abdullahi Tahini at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport while trying to leave the country.

Following the arrest of Mustapha Fawaz,  businesses belonging to him such as Amigo Super, Wonderland Amusement Park in the nation’s capital have been shut down.

Joint security forces, again discovered more weapons another a cooler buried under a wardrobe at the same Lebanese house. The cooler contained 80 indicators, 5 PPK pistols, 334 rounds of 7.62mm special, 9 magazines, 4 pistol silencers, hand grenades caps, 4 explosive fuses and 2 explosive device.

Meanwhile the chairman, Lebanese community in Kano state, Mr. Muhammed Taher Fadlalla, on Sunday, denied ownership of the house where large quantity of assorted weapons suspected to be that of Hezbollah terrorist organization were uncovered by the JSF in the state.

In an interview with Channels Television, Mr. Fadlalla, denied any knowledge of knowing or coming in contact with the said Abdu Hassan Taher Fadlalla or the other occupants of the house.


Fashola has no right to ban us on federal highways – Okada riders

A Lagos High Court has granted accelerated hearing into the suit filed by some commercial motorcycle operators,known as  okada riders, against the Lagos State Government for banning their operations on some federal highways in the state.

The suit filed by the commercial motorcycle operators under the aegis of the All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and workers Association (ANACOWA) want the court to declare Section 3(1) of the new Lagos Traffic Law, which prohibits the riding, driving or propelling of a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on the major highways in Lagos, as unconstitutional.

They further asked for a declaration that the defendants have no power ‘whatsoever’ to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or Highway Roads.

They argue that restricting their operations on the said roads would violate their rights to freedom of movement, guaranteed by Section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

The defendants in the suit are the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye.

Presiding Justice Aishat Opesanwo however dismissed an interlocutory application which they filed to restrain the government from implementing the new Lagos State Traffic Law.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Bamidele Aturu, told the court that they were withdrawing their interlocutory application so that they could get an accelerated hearing of the main suit.

“We believe that there is a need for the court to urgently deal with this matter because it is in the interest of the generality of the populace”adding that “many of them (Okada riders) have been suffering from this draconian action of the government to restrict the motorcyclists from operating in federal high ways” stated Mr Aturu.

“We are therefore asking the court to strike out the application and grant us an accelerated hearing of the substantive suit”, he said.

In the main suit, the motorcyclists challenged the ban placed on them from plying 475 roads in the state.

Road rampage

However, the Attorney general of the State, Mr Ade Ipaye who is the third defendant and counsel to Lagos State Government, informed the court that the law was already being enforced in the state with effect from the 2nd of August 2012.

He noted that “it was in reaction to its enforcement that the claimants herein only on Monday October 22, 2012 went on rampage.”

The Attorney General also noted that the law enforcement agencies were not joined as defendants in the suit.

“They are not parties to this action and we cannot tell this honourable court that they will not do their duty in enforcing the law”, he said.

The court has however fixed the 16th of November for hearing of the substantive suit.