Edo Lawyers Boycott Court Over Judge Iheme-Nwosu’s Kidnap

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Benin branch, on Wednesday commenced a three-day boycott of courts.

The boycott by the lawyers is to protest the kidnap of Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu.

Channels Television reporter upon arrival at the court premises in the state observed that the courtrooms were under lock and key. The Evboriaria Magistrate Court also in thee state capital is bereft of lawyers as well.

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The Chairman, NBA, Benin branch, Collins Ogiebgean, said the court boycott would last till Friday.

He stated that if by then the abducted judge remained in captivity, members of the body would have no option but to extend the boycott.

“If judges can be kidnapped and taken away in daylight, what about us? It is for this reason that we have resolved as a mark of protest to embark on this boycott,” Ogiebgean said while speaking with journalists.

Justice Nwosu-Iheme was abducted last week in Benin City while on her way to court. The Benin Court of Appeal judge is known to be Nigeria’s first female judge to study law up to the Ph.D. level, specialising in the law of intellectual property.

Her abduction comes days after a federal high court judge in Akure, Ondo state justice Abdul Dogo, was freed by kidnappers who had abducted him on Tuesday last week at the border between Edo and Ondo states.

See photos of the empty courtrooms and premises below…

Arrest Of Jigawa Indigenes Is Unlawful, Says NBA

A file photo of northers arrested in Lagos.

 

 

The Nigerian Bar Association, Jigawa State branch has condemned what it calls unlawful arrest of 123 Jigawa State indigenes in Lagos State.

The chairman of the association, Mr Bashir Usaini, faulted the arrest in a statement sent to Channels Television on Saturday.

According to him, the people were on their way to Lagos for a lawful business and their arrest is an abuse of freedom of movement.

READ ALSO: Leah Sharibu Is Alive – Presidency

Mr Usaini added that the arrest contravened their fundamental human rights guaranteed by Section 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.

He, therefore, called for their immediate and unconditional release and be allowed to carry out their lawful business in Lagos and other parts of the country.

On its part, the Jigawa State government said it has contacted the authorities in Lagos to secure the release of its 123 indigenes.

”Governor Badaru has spoken to the authorities concerned in Lagos and they assure him of their release today,” said the government’s spokesperson, Mr Auwal Sankara.

The persons were arrested on Friday by a team of policemen attached to the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences.

The police team was on traffic enforcement duty along Moshalashi Road in the Agege area of Lagos before the arrest was made.

But the Lagos State Police Command said the arrested persons have since been released and allowed to proceed to their various destinations.

It said they were released after it was satisfied with their legitimate mission of travelling to Lagos from Jigawa State.

Read the full statement from the Jigawa chapter of the NBA below:

Anti-Corruption War Sometimes Used As Excuse To Degrade Rule Of Law – Paul Usoro

 

President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, has said that the Federal Government sometimes uses the anti-corruption fight as an excuse to degrade the Rule of Law.

According to him, if the government is indeed serious about fighting corruption, it would directly block the loopholes that have allowed the menace to thrive.

Mr Usoro who was a guest on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, said this while addressing the issue of Separation of Powers and the independence of the various arms of government.

Read Also: ‘This Government Is Intimidating The Judiciary’ – Galadima

He said: “This business of having to fight corruption…sometimes, it is used as an excuse to infringe on people’s rights and degrade the Rule of Law.

“If the government is seriously interested in having to fight corruption, the significant way to do it is to look at those loopholes in the system and make sure you plug those loopholes”.

The NBA boss also took a swipe at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the manner in which he says the agency goes about fighting corruption.

According to him, recovering monies or winning cases does not bring an end to corruption.

“I find it very ridiculous that for example (the EFCC), its index for establishing that it is fighting corruption is how much money that it recovers and how many cases that it wins in court.

“That doesn’t stop corruption.

“On the other hand, if for example you find that petroleum subsidy enhances corruption, then government needs to look into it.

“If you look into it, then you will block that oxygen that gives life to corruption,” he said.

I Have Compiled 32 Court Orders Being Disobeyed By Nigerian Govt – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says he has compiled a list containing 32 court orders which were disobeyed by the Nigerian government.

The Human rights advocate said this in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also tasked members of Nigerian Bar Association of Nigeria (NBA) to rise up to their duties.

He added it is not the responsibility of a president or even an attorney general to handpick which court order to obey.

“In my latest compilation, I’ve compiled about 32 court orders being disobeyed flagrantly by the government of Nigeria which is not in line with the rule of law.

“It doesn’t lie in the mouth of an attorney general or the president of a country to choose and pick which orders of court to obey.

“When you do that, you are reducing the status of the country to a banana republic. And that is why the bar has to rise up now and take its rightful place,” he said.

Falana warned that unless proactive steps are taken, nobody will respect the rights of Nigerians because “there is no penalty for impunity in our country.”

READ ALSO: U.S Imposes New Visa Charges On Nigerians, Blames FG For Decision

During the interview, he added that Human Rights, the Democracy and Rule Of Law are not all taken seriously in Nigeria.

He blamed this on the NBA noting that it is stated clearly in the constitution of the NBA that human rights and the rule of law be defended.

“The official bar and the private bar have not taken the issue of human rights and democracy or even the rule of law seriously.

“We have a new human rights regime in our country on paper that can be compared with that of any civilised or advanced bourgeoise democracy

“For instance, under the current political dispensation, no Nigerian shall be detained in any detention center in Nigeria without an inspection, monthly inspection of the facility by a chief magistrate or a judge of the federal high court. In other words, you can no longer have indiscriminate arrest and detention,” he said.

The constitution provides that anybody who is arrested by the police shall be taken to court within 24 or 48 hours.

Falana said Nigerian lawyers should be burdened that illegal arrests occur on a daily basis in Nigeria.

The law, he said, provides that before you search or arrest a Nigerian, you must obtain a court order from a Federal High court.

“If you want to search his house, you obtain an order like a search warrant. If you want to seize his phone, you get an order, because your right to liberty, your right to the privacy of your home and correspondent are constitutionally entrenched.

“So, if you are going to violate any of those rights, you must obtain a court order. But what happens in Nigeria? You go and invade somebody’s house in the dead of the night, when you have kept him for few days, you suddenly realize ‘oh I need a court order’ then you rush to court. No, that’s not our law.”

Falana decried the situation when security officers raid communities and arrest people on the road for wandering, adding that the law on wandering has been “abolished as far back as 1989.”

He lamented that the poor and indigent people in Nigeria are on the receiving end and the only way Nigerian lawyers can stem this tide is to be armed with the law.

Ubani Asks CJN To ‘Justify Honour Bestowed On Him’

Former 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani.

 

 

A former Second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, to justify the honour bestowed on him.

Ubani, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Lunchtime Politics on Wednesday, noted that the CJN was the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, following Justice Walter Onnoghen’s exit.

He said, “He (CJN) is imminently qualified to be the CJN. If you look at his curriculum vitae, he has been the most senior of them all, in the issue of character and experience that is key. And I think he has all that in clear abundance.

“So he has to justify this particular honour that has been given to him before the Senate today because the law requires that particular input from the Senate, he has to be the one to confirm.”

“The President has sent his name recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC). This is clearly in compliance with Section 231 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). So what is going on now is a process and that process has to be completed,” the lawyer added.

READ ALSO: Justice Tanko Muhammad Seeks Executive, Legislature Partnership To Restructure Judiciary

Earlier during his screening before the Senate, Justice Muhammad said the judiciary was nothing without the other arms of government.

Ubani, in his reaction, alined himself with the position of the CJN, saying, “He is right. Judicial officials don’t actually speak for themselves.”

According to him, the NBA has a responsibility of speaking for the independence of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

While calling for an effective judiciary, the lawyer noted that a nation would be peaceful and efficient if its judicial arm was functional.

NBA President Task Buhari, Governors on Security, Independence of Judiciary

Court Adjourns Alleged N1.4bn Laundering Case Against Usoro, Others
NBA President, Mr Paul Usoro.

 

The National President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the 36 State Governors to find lasting solution to the insecurity problem in the country.

Mr Usoro who noted that in today’s Nigeria no part of the country or ethnic group is safe warned that if urgent steps are not taken Nigeria may soon become a failed state.

The president who made the call during the third National Executive Meeting (NEC) in Abuja, also appealed to leaders at all levels of government to guarantee the independence of the judiciary which he said is fundamental to the survival of democracy and the nation.

“My dear colleagues, as you would observe, I have given you three illustrative
instances of the insecurity that pervades our land from the three NBA Nigerian Zones East, West and North – and that, by itself, makes the point that no part of our country is safe.

“No region is safe, and no tribe is safe. No one indeed is safe. And yet,
we have governments in place, at the Federal, State and Local Government levels and the primary business of governments is the protection of lives and property”, he said.

The NBA president argued that without security of lives and property, everything in the country will ground to a halt, adding that, “Only those who are alive can enjoy medi-care, educational facilities, infrastructure renewal, economic boom and all the other tangible and intangible benefits of a democratic society.

“We therefore demand from our governments at all levels this basic minimum of their debt to us, to wit, security of lives and property in the land”, he said.

Usoro who also lamented the lack of independence of the judiciary, remarked that it is an irony that those in position of power today are the ones that would first run to the judiciary for help when they are out of power and are in trouble.

He disclosed that judges today operate under very oppressive and pervasive climate of fear and insecurity.

“There is the pervasive concern that government and its security operatives have dossiers on judges, real or imagined, and could unleash inquisitorial terror on judges if they decide issues against governments and its agencies.

“Even those of our judges who are whistle-clean – and I believe that most even if not all are – may not be willing to go through the inquisitorial processes of the various security agencies to prove their innocence. And so, we have Judges literally walking on egg-shells, notably, where governments and their agencies have interest in matters that they adjudicate upon”, he said.

Alleged N20m Fraud: Former Ikeja NBA Chairmen, Treasurer Get Bail

 

The Lagos State Special Offences Court has granted bail to two past chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch, Adesina Ogunlana and Yinka Farounbi, accused of stealing N20.1 million from the Association.

On the 22nd of May, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had arraigned the two alongside another of their colleague, a former treasurer of the branch, Aderinola Kappo, on a 30-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.

They had all pleaded not guilty and despite the request of the EFCC that they be remanded in prison custody pending their trial, Justice Mojisola Dada ordered their release upon the presentation of their international passports.
She adjourned till today to hear their formal bail applications.

At the proceedings today, Justice Mojisola Dada granted the three lawyers bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties each in like sum.

The court held that one of the sureties for each defendant must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.

The 3 defendants have two weeks within which to perfect their bail, failing which they will be remanded in prison.

After the ruling, Justice Dada adjourned the case until July 3 for commencement of trial.

In arriving at her ruling on bail, Justice Dada held that the EFCC failed to provide proof that the defendants, especially the first defendant (Ogunlana) tampered with prosecution witnesses.

The judge further stated that the anti-graft agency did not provide proof that the defendants jumped administrative bail or that the third defendant (Kappo) provided a fake address to the EFCC.

THe court observed, The allegation that the three defendants jumped administrative bail was not proven; although the first and third defendants said they were not around on the last Friday they were supposed to appear before the EFCC.

They, however, presented themselves the next Monday for arraignment, despite not being served by the EFCC.

There is no evidence that shows that the EFCC investigated the claims of the third defendant that she was in a hospital in Badagry on that Friday.

The EFCC also failed to produce the second defendant (Farounbi) in court for arraignment, despite being in EFCC custody up until then.

Failure to appear on the last Friday should not be sufficient reason to deny them bail but they will not be granted bail on self-recognizance.

Walton Sued For Alleged Sexual Assault

Head coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (file photo) Yong Teck Lim / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

NBA head coach Luke Walton is being sued by a woman who alleges he forced himself on her at a Santa Monica, California hotel, according to US media reports Monday.

Celebrity news outlet TMZ reported Walton had invited the woman, a sports reporter, to meet him at his hotel to discuss a book she was writing.

Citing court documents, it said the woman alleged Walton, with whom she had a previous business relationship, convinced her to go to his room and forced himself on her.

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There, according to the lawsuit, he allegedly pinned her to the bed, kissed and groped her while she resisted, TMZ said.

It added the lawsuit says he eventually stopped and let her go but, as she walked away, grabbed her from behind and pulled her close — before eventually allowing her to leave.

Now, coach of the Sacramento Kings, Walton was let go by the Lakers last week after coaching them for several seasons.

The Lakers issued a statement on Monday night saying they had no previous knowledge of the allegations.

“This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers,” a team spokesman said.

“At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA.”

AFP

Abducted Ex-Taraba NBA Chairman Regains Freedom

 

A former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in Taraba State, Joel Daniel, has been released by his abductors.

Mr Daniel was kidnapped in the early hours of Wednesday, March 27, 2019, by gunmen.

They were said to have made their way to his house located at Mayo Dasa area of Jalingo, firing gunshots into the air to scare away residents.

While it is unclear as to whether or not a ransom was paid to secure his release, one of his family members, Thankgod Andetarang confirmed the development to Channels Television.

According to him, Mr Daniel was released unhurt on Thursday evening.

NBA, YouTube Launch Channel For Sub-Saharan Africa

BOSTON, MA – March 18: Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets shoots the ball against the Boston Celtics on March 18, 2019, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Brian Babineau / NBAE / Getty Images / AFP

 

The NBA and YouTube announced Wednesday the launch of a channel for sub-Saharan Africa that will broadcast live games every week and showcase African players’ impact on the NBA.

NBA Africa YouTube’s first live game broadcasts will take place Sunday with Boston at Charlotte followed by the Los Angeles Clippers at New York.

Two live games will be shown each week for the remainder of the 2018-19 seasons as well as in the playoffs through the NBA Finals.

READ ALSO: 2019 AFCON Qualifiers: Rohr Hints At Squad Rotation Ahead Of Seychelles Game

Other original content will include a weekly magazine show, documentaries on current and former African NBA players and the league’s efforts to boost basketball in Africa as well as inspire and empower African youth.

“As we enter the home stretch of the NBA season and teams fight for playoff positioning, we look forward to bringing the excitement of the NBA to more fans in sub-Saharan Africa while celebrating the NBA’s rich history and bright future in Africa,” NBA Vice President for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall said.

The NBA became the first professional sports league to partner with YouTube and launch its own channel in 2005, a channel that has generated more than 5.4 billion views.

There were 13 African-born players on NBA rosters when the season began and more than 80 current or former NBA players are from Africa or have direct family ties to the continent.

The NBA and world governing body FIBA announced last month plans for a 12-team Basketball Africa League across the continent.

AFP

NBA Slams INEC, Says Reasons Do Not Justify Election Postponement

NBA Slams INEC, Says Reasons Do Not Justify Election Postponement

 

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

NBA President, Mr Paul Usoro, in a statement he signed on Saturday said the association was confused by the announcement of the commission to shift the polls on the same day they were meant to commence.

He queried why the electoral body would postpone the elections, given the earlier assurance that the polls would not be shifted.

Mr Usoro said it was “unkind” for the commission to make the announcement hours into the polls, stressing that the reasons given were not justifiable.

He noted that Nigerians were anxiously waiting to take part in the exercise, with some electorate going to the extent of travelling for the elections.

READ ALSOINEC Chairman Explains Reasons For Postponement Of Elections, Seeks Understanding (Full Speech)

According to the NBA president, regulatory authorities such as INEC require discipline and foresightedness to carry out their functions.

He asked the electoral body to be mindful that the process of conducting a credible election begins with adequate preparations.

Read the full statement below;

POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTIONS

The Nigerian Bar Association is confounded by and disappointed with the

postponement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the wee hours of this morning, of the elections that were scheduled to hold today, 16 February 2019 and on 02 March 2019.

We are confounded by the postponement, considering the serial assurances that INEC had, prior to this morning, given of its preparedness for the conduct of the elections; INEC had also expressly assured that postponement of the elections was not howsoever in contemplation.

Our disappointment is compounded by the fact that none of the reasons that INEC has proffered justifies the postponement; all the reasons, with some diligence, could have been remediated.

It was particularly unkind for INEC to announce the postponement only hours to the opening of the polls for the national elections today, knowing as we all do that most Nigerians register for elections in their States of origin and had traveled there from their various stations to exercise their civic rights.

The cost in manhours, resources and inconveniences cannot be readily quantified not to mention the risk to personal safety.

Worse, we run the risk that some who may have to return to their workstations early next week may not be able to travel again for the rescheduled polls next weekend.

We read the INEC announcement and listened to its broadcast to hear how INEC intends to mitigate that possibility and nothing was said in that regard.

INEC needs to be reminded that a free, fair and credible election starts with the preparations therefor by the Electoral Commission.

If the Commission is unable to exercise its functions without avoidable glitches, it is difficult to see how it could justifiably impose sanctions on infracting political parties who give excuses for their infractions similar to the ones that INEC has given today for the postponement of the elections.

Regulatory authorities such as INEC require discipline and foresightedness to carry out their functions.

It is only by imbibing those twin virtues, amongst others and showing same by conduct that they can justifiably sanction infracting parties over whom they exercise regulatory control.

NBA hopes that the new dates of 23 February 2019 and 09 March 2019 for the rescheduled elections are sacrosanct and the preparations therefor will be foolproof and glitch-free.

Our democracy can only prosper and be strengthened if our electoral umpire does not give room for disputation of election results through sloppy arrangements and inadequate preparations.

Our elections can only be adjudged free, fair and credible if INEC does not give room for speculations or concerns about its readiness and preparations for the elections.

Nigerians can only have faith in the electoral process if, amongst others, there is no room for suppositions as to the motives – hidden, ulterior or unknown – of INEC for taking certain actions, including but not limited to the postponement of elections.

In concluding, we urge Nigerians not to give up or tire out. We must give INEC the benefit of the doubt and turn out in our numbers to vote for the parties of our choice on the rescheduled dates for the elections i.e. 23 February 2019 and 09 March 2019.

As the NBA pointed out in its 2019 New Year Message: “This is the year that we would decide both at the national and states levels how we wish to be governed and into whose hands we will entrust our affairs and lives . . . The decisions of our rulers directly impact and determine the course of our lives.

It determines the quality of our lives, not only from an economic standpoint but also from our health, longevity and developmental standpoints.

Our decisions at the polls will determine the quality of life for our youths and children from an educational prism as well as from the perspectives of employment and self-development opportunities.

The quality of rulers that we will vote into power this year will determine whether we move from a perennially consumptive economy into a productive and hopefully an industrialised economy; it would determine whether we would, in our lifetimes ever be assured of such basic necessities like pervasive energy supply and provision of potable water and primary health care for our citizens.

The elections of 2019 should and must, therefore, serve as a defining moment for our country.”

Paul Usoro, SAN

President

Onnoghen’s Trial: NBA Insists On Withdrawal Of Charges Against Suspended CJN

Onnoghen: Foreign Interference In Nigeria’s Internal Affairs Is 'Insulting' – FG
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

Ahead of Wednesday’s proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Nigerian Bar Association has once again called on the Federal Government to discontinue the charges of non-declaration of assets filed against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In a statement issued by its President, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), on Tuesday, the NBA commended the Federal Government for adhering to due process by submitting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) petition against Justice Onnoghen to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for consideration.

The association, however, urged the government to allow the NJC conclude investigations into the two petitions so far instituted against Onnoghen at the Council, in adherence to the law and due process.

The NJC on Monday, February 11, 2019, gave Justice Onnoghen seven working days to respond to the EFCC petition against him before adjourning its sitting till Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

During Wednesday’s the sitting, the NJC is expected to review a report of its pre-assessment committee on the petitions against Justice Onnoghen and the acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

The NBA said, “Given these nonexhaustive considerations and facts, we press on the Executive arm of the FGN to please discontinue the charge against the CJN when the matter comes up before the CCT tomorrow, Wednesday, 13 February 2019.”

Read Also: Falana Writes AGF, Asks FG To Withdraw Case Against Onnoghen

A similar demand had also been made by a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), who condemned the suspension of the CJN.

Last week, he wrote to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, arguing that since a petition had been submitted to the NJC alleging grave misconduct against Onnoghen, it was unconstitutional to continue with his trial at the CCT.

Falana said, “The charge should not be allowed to hang like a Sword of Damocles on the head of the Chief Justice while he is being investigated by the National Judicial Council.”

According to him, “A public officer cannot be removed from office on the basis of an ex parte order granted by any court or tribunal in Nigeria, we (therefore) urge you (the AGF) to advise President Buhari to reverse the suspension of the Chief Justice.”