Rejection And Re-submission Of Magu’s Name; A Lawyer’s Perspective

daniel bwala nigerian lawyer on MaguA Nigerian lawyer, Daniel Bwala, on Tuesday gave his opinion on the Senate’s rejection of the request for confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the resubmission of his name by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

The Senate had on December 15 refused to confirm Mr Magu.

Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu was not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

On Monday, however, the Nigerian President re-submitted Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.

It was gathered that the President’s letter to that effect has been received by the Senate and may be read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday.

But Mr Bwala believes the earlier rejection by the Senate was more political and personal than it was on his character.

He insisted that the right process would have been the quizzing of Mr Magu at plenary, with the allegations put forward and an opportunity presented to him to defend himself.

On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the lawyer said that the resubmission of the name may have been as a result of recommendations made to the presidency by the Attorney General’s office after an investigation of the allegations against Mr Magu.

“It is possible that the President may have, after the recommendations of the Attorney General, come to the conclusion that there is no serious allegation against him.

“I have always had the view that magu’s rejection was political and personal than on the fact that was presented to the national assembly.

“We had thought that it was a serious allegation that the Senate had put forward.

“The circumstances surrounding the rejection and the procedure should be considered. There is supposed to be a debate for the suitability of the person for the position that the Presidency was nominating him for,” he explained.

The lawyer further alleged that on personal ground, Mr Magu’s desire to prosecute some former minister and governors, whom he said were now Senators, could have made the Senators refuse to confirm him.

“We all heard that prior to the period that Magu had said that the EFCC was embarking on prosecuting former governors and Minister. Most of this persons are in the Senate.

“EFCC is larger and bigger than Magu.

“We know that there are quite a number of cases that are on Magu’s table and if he is replaced, there is 90 per cent charge that they will die a natural death.

“When you say you want to investigate ministers, former governors that are now in the Senate and former Senators, it goes without saying that they will probably make an attempt to stop you from being confirmed,” he added.

Mr Bwala says he expects the Senate to confirm Mr Magu following the right process of fair hearing, pointing out that Nigerians also need to hear how Mr Magu will respond to the allegations against him.

Selective Application Of Law Causing Nigeria’s Challenges – Lawyer

Kenneth_OdidikaA Nigerian lawyer has attributed some challenges that the nation is facing to selective application of the rule of law.

Giving his opinion on Tuesday on the controversy surrounding the claims that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, is not qualified to contest in the February 14 election, Mr Kenneth Odidika, said that the ‘big man syndrome’ had led to the likely refusal of General Buhari to submit his credentials.

“We do not stick to rules in Nigeria and that is what is happening as regards the certificate controversy.

“We have a constitution and other laws with the constitution being supreme.

“The constitution has specified the needed qualification from every political party’s candidate but the APC has refused to give the leaving school certificate of his presidential candidate to the electoral body,” he said.

The certificate controversy had peaked when a spokesman of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team, Femi fani-Kayode, insisted that General Buhari was not qualified to contest, demanding that the APC’s presidential candidates should present his credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The APC had, in response, insisted that its candidate had the certificate, describing the fani-Kayode’s claims as ‘preposterous’ and capable of destroying the image of the Nigerian Army.

‘Big man syndrome’

But Mr Odidika said that the refusal to submit the certificate was outright disobedience.

“Selective application of the law is what Nigeria is facing. Big men refuse to subject themselves to the law.

“Big man syndrome is what Nigeria is suffering from.”

He also insisted that the INEC was culpable, accepting the forms without the certificate attached as stipulated by the law.

“They are supposed to submit the personal particulars of the person before they publish his name.

“If he had the certifications, he should have submitted them,” he said.

On Monday, General Buhari urged party members not to be involved in any violent act before, during or after the elections, a comment that was highly seen as necessary.

But Mr Odidika said the comment came a bit late and that an initial statement that the APC would run a parallel government if the election was rigged was insightful.

“What we say before something happens could be different and could contribute to why what will happen will happen.

“There have been statements from APC suggesting the necessity for violence.

“They said that if the election was rigged, they would form a parallel government. How do you determine if an election is rigged without going to the court. What that means is that once they lose, they will take to the streets to install a parallel government.

“Anything the candidates say means a lot to their supporters.

“Thank God Buhari said what he said. The Peoples Democratic Party and the APC must ensure that their members stick to the rule of the game,” the lawyer stressed.

On the challenges that the INEC had witnessed in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that the electoral body had insisted voters would only vote with, Mr Odidika said that there was the need for the INEC to consider allowing persons with the old temporal card to vote in areas where they had challenges issuing out the PVC.

 

Experts Demand Criminal Justice System Reform

Criminal justiceSome Nigerian legal experts have called for a reform of the nation’s criminal justice system to enable judges serve justice speedily to both the rich and the poor in the society.

According to the experts who spoke at a forum in Abuja during the week, the current criminal justice system favours the rich who commit huge financial crimes as against the poor.

It was a gathering of legal experts to identify with their colleague, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), who had written a book, “Oiling The Wheels of Justice In Nigeria”.

As the title suggests, the experts analysed the structure of Nigeria’s justice system and its impact on the nation’s democracy.

According to Professor of Law at the University of Jos, who was also the Keynote Presenter, Joash Amupitan, reforming Nigeria’s criminal justice system would not only speed up justice administration, it would also reduce impunity.

A reform in the system, according to the group of professionals, would help to prevent what they called “time buying technique” often adopted by the rich to escape justice.

In the last three years, efforts have been made to reform the judiciary, especially in relations to electoral matters.

Experts say such reforms which have sped up hearing in the election tribunals should also be introduced in criminal procedures.

Law School Reacts To Mass Failure Of Bar Exams

Law SchoolThe Board of Studies of the Council of Legal Education has directed that henceforth, re-sit candidates are to attend at least eight weeks compulsory revision classes at the Nigerian Law School.

This is in view of the poor performance of re-sit candidates at the August 2014 examinations.

According to the press release signed by the Head, Public Relation of the Nigerian Law School, Mr Chinedu Ukekwe, no re-sit candidate shall be allowed at the bar final examinations until he or she has undergone the stipulated revision classes.

The release also gave a break down of the performance of the Law School candidates for the August bar final exam.

A total number of 5,841 regular candidates took the exam out of which four had a first class honours, while 96 candidates had 2nd class upper division and 620 had 2nd class lower division.

However, a total of 2,610 passed while 501 had conditional pass and 1,932 failed the exam.

The release also indicated that a total of 1,335 re-sit candidates sat for the exam while 88 passed, 26 had a conditional pass and 1,168 failed.

The Law School authorities said that anyone who is not satisfied with the result can call for a review in line with the extant laws of the school.

17 Lawyers Become SAN, Keyamo Falls Short

gavelll_0The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, LPPC, has conferred with the rank Of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, 17 out of the 109 lawyers screened.

Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr Sunday Olorundahunsi, who announced the approved list, said the award was a mark of excellence of the legal profession by the nominees.

He, however, added that while no female met the criteria set by the committee for the award, popular Human Rights lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, also fell short of the requirements for the award.

Those approved are:

(1). Dr.Olu Onagoruwa

(2). Prof Joash.O.Amupitan

(3). Olusola Olaseni Idowu

(4). Dr.Ernest .M.Ojukwu

(5). Ahamefula.I.E.Ejelam

(6). Chike G.Onyemenam

(7). Tawo E.Tawo

(8). O.O.Adejuyigbe

(9) S.A.Ogwemoh

(10) Dr.A.A.Olawoyin

(11). Dr.J.O.Olatnke

(12). T.O.Busari

(13). Kevin.C.Nwufo

(14). Dr.Amuda-Kannike Abiodun

(15). Oluwakemi.A.Balogun

(16). Hakeem.O.Afolabi

(17). Gerald G.E.Ezeuko.

 

More details soon.

Lawyers Debate Whether Nigerian Insecurity Is Due To Leadership Failure

Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan said that Nigeria was currently facing its worst security challenges in recent times. This crisis is in various forms; communal, religious, political and socio-economic with varying degree of casualty, mostly innocent citizens of this country.

On 14 May, President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northern Nigerian states, Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and ordered the immediate deployment of more troops to those volatile states in response to a surge of violence the president says poses a “very serious threat” to Nigeria’s territorial integrity.

In this week’s episode of faceoff, two lawyers, Hannibal Uwaifo and Joe Onyenweuzo debates whether increasing insecurity in Nigeria is a result of leadership or citizen’s failure.

Lawyers threaten to sue CBN over N5000 note

Lawyers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Friday referred to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to introduce the N5000 currency note as a shallow, poorly thought out, hare – brained initiative which will devalue the Naira, diminish the lives of Nigerians and push corruption and money laundering to new heights.

The lawyers’ position was contained in a communique issued by the NBA at the close of its 52nd annual general conference in Abuja.

The association rejected the argument of the CBN that the introduction of the N5000 note will not promote inflation noting that the realities of the Nigerian economic situation cannot be found in the Western Business Models that the CBN officials are familiar with.

The NBA observed that Nigerians may well see a N10, 000 or N20, 000 notes very soon.

The lawyers argued that such a measure which will affect the lives of Nigerians in many ways is not a mere fiscal measure which the CBN can claim exclusive jurisdiction over saying that the issue is a legislative matter that is within the sole legislative province of the National Assembly.

“Such far reaching fiscal or currency measures are beyond the competence or purview of the CBN,” the communique said.

The NBA also noted that the CBN is not the 4th arm of government for there is no such term in Nigeria and advised the apex bank to submit the measure for legislative approval which the National Assembly is expected to consider in line with the wishes of majority of Nigerians and threatens to drag the bank to court if it persists to negatively alter the face of the Nigerian economy.

While commending the Nigerian Senate for its “stay action” order on introduction of the N5000 note, the NBA called “for the investment of the billions of Naira that will be expended on the unnecessary currency manipulation on the revamping of the security apparatus and on strong and effective anti-corruption battles.”

On the state of insecurity in Nigeria, the NBA said that insecurity remains the bane of national development and resolves that good governance is the antidote to the prevailing climate of insecurity. It further noted that given the helplessness of government and security agencies in curbing escalating crime and criminality, that there is urgent need for state and community police to reflect the realities of our federalism.

The association resolved to rededicate itself to continued fearless advocacy in the cause of the Rule of Law, Due Process and Social Justice, in particular towards the underprivileged and deprived.

It also insisted that “henceforth, judicial vacancies be advertised so that qualified legal practitioners may apply as opposed to the current disgusting situation whereby cronies, relatives and adopted sons and daughters of a select few are appointed to the exclusion of otherwise meritorious candidates and corrosion of an effective justice delivery sectors.”

The new executives of the association led by the President, Okechukwu Wali, were sworn in, thus marking the end of the Joseph Bodunrin Daudu’s era.

Lawyer offers to prosecute Otedola for free

A Lagos-based lawyer, Robert Igbinedion, has voluntarily offered to prosecute multi-billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola.

In an interview with Daily Times NG on Wednesday, Igbinedion disclosed that he had sent letters explaining his willingness and intentions to the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Acting Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.

He said, “Nigerians have lost trillions, but they still go ahead to spend millions on prosecutors and yet, nothing to show for it. So I’m offering my service so there will be no more cost on the masses.

The lawyer accused Otedola of attempting to scuttle investigations into the oil subsidy and operations in the oil sector.

“He (Otedola) is the first to come out in the open to scuttle the investigation, because all he is doing is an attempt to blackmail the House (of Representatives) and scuttle investigations,” he said.

He, however, said that his focus was beyond Otedola.

“My intention is to attack those that claim to be high and mighty who have stolen our oil wealth,” the lawyer explained.

According to him, not much success has been made in the country’s purported fight against corruption, in spite of the huge budget going into funding anti-graft agencies.