Bayelsa Tribunal Fixes April 11 To Decide On Inspection of Election Materials

 Election MaterialsJustice Kazeem Alogba has fixed April 11 for ruling on whether the APC candidate in the Bayelsa governorship election, Timipre Sylva, can inspect the materials used for the polls.

The Balyesa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday heard an application filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, to inspect election materials used for the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 governorship election.

Counsel to Mr Timipre Sylva, Sebastian Hon, had moved the motion hinged on seven grounds.

He urged the Tribunal to grant the request, since INEC, which conducted the election and in possession of the items sought to be inspected, is not opposing the application.

According to him, in law, the facts deposed to in an affidavit and not challenged by way of counter affidavit are deemed admitted by the force of law.

He argued that it was wrong of Governor Seriake Dickson to claim that Mr Sylva’s claim was vague when the documents sought to be inspected were well pleaded in the petition and in line with section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010.

Opposing the application, lawyer to Governor Dickson, Tayo Oyetibo, urged the Tribunal to reject the application on the ground that it lacked merit.

Oyetibo insisted that the request of the petitioner was vague because it failed to name the maker of the items sought to be inspected

He also argued that the petitioner failed to give reasons he wanted to inspect the election materials, adding that the motion violates Section 104 of the Evidence Act because the mandatory fee for certification of the materials has not been paid by the petitioner.

Among the materials sought to be inspected are the ballot papers, Form C4 and duplicate copy of the Certificate of Return issued to Governor Seriake Dickson.

APC Gets More Days To Inspect Akwa Ibom Election Material

inspection of election materials Akwa IbomThe Akwa Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday gave the All Progressives Congress (APC) four days extension to conclude the inspection of materials used for the April 11 governorship election in the state.

The order of the Tribunal followed an oral application made by the Counsel to the party, Solomon Umoh.

Mr Umoh had complained that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not give the party adequate time to inspect the election materials.

Before the extension was granted, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the INEC opposed the application on the ground that the facts were not rightly stated by the APC and its candidate.

The PDP’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo, said that the APC had not stated the facts but had been clogging the wheel of their progress.

He, however, told the Tribunal that the request should only be granted if it was made on the basis of the Eid-el-Fitr public holiday which made it impossible for the INEC to conclude the process,

Earlier at the proceedings, the APC presented some of its witnesses who alleged that there were hijacking of election materials by top members of the ruling party in Akwa Ibom State, the PDP.

They claimed that in some cases the materials were hijacked before the election commenced and in other cases, after the voting process, an act they said rendered the process inconclusive.

Out of the APC’s over 800 witnesses, it has only been able to present 16.

After the extension was granted, the Tribunal adjourned to July 23 for further hearing on the issue.

EFCC Charges: Court Dismisses Tukur’s Application To Quash Charges

high court lagosJustice Lawal Akapo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Friday dismissed an application filed by Mahmud Tukur and Ochonogor Alex, seeking to quash charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The judge dismissed the application for lack of merit and abuse of court processes.

In his ruling, Justice Akapo upheld the prosecution’s argument that “the issue of sufficiency of proof of evidence cannot be raised until the prosecution had closed its case”. According to the judge, “this argument is vital and renders the application premature”.

Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, had argued that the application to quash the charges against Tukur and Ochonogor was premature since the substantive suit was yet to be considered.

A statement signed by the Head Media and Publicity (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, said Tukur, Tayo Oyetibo, had argued that the charges preferred against the accused persons should not be entertained by the court because it was their company, Eterna Plc that committed the crime imputed to them.

However, Jacobs pointed out that the position of the law, on the issue, is that “a company on its own cannot commit a crime but must use human agents”.

He further submitted that, the company, without the human agents, could  not answer to the alleged crime and the roles played by the accused persons were clearly stated in their statements.

He asked the court to “look at the statement of the first accused (Mahmud Tukur) who gave a vivid account of the transaction and how he signed for the monies paid into the account of the 4th defendant (Eterna Plc)”.

Jacobs further submitted that Tukur’s statement showed his involvement in the transaction that led to the charge. He added that the accused was involved in the day-to-day-running of the affairs of the company and that Ochonogor, as Director of Finance during this period, played major role in the importation and transfer of licence. “So, Tukur and Ochonogor are qualified to be charged together with Eterna Plc, as defined under the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State,” he stated.

Justice Akapo ruled that: “The court cannot delve into the substantive suit at an interlocutory stage. I therefore find no merit in the application and it is accordingly dismissed”.

He subsequently adjourned the matter to September 15, 22 and 25 for trial.

Mahmud Tukur, Alex Ochonogor, Abdullahi Alao and Eterna Plc were arraigned on a nine-count charge over an alleged 1.8 billion Naira subsidy scam.

Money Laundering Charges: Change Of Counsel Stalls Lagos Speaker’s Trial

The trial of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, was on Tuesday stalled by a change of counsel.

Ikuforiji is standing trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly laundering over 339million Naira. The charges were brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC alleged that he and one of his aides, one Oyebode Atoyebi accepted various cash sums on behalf of the State House of Assembly without going through a financial institution.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Wole Olanipekun, told Justice Ibrahim Buba, that he had just been briefed by the Speaker to take over the case from the previous counsel, Tayo Oyetibo.

While no reason was given for the change of counsel, the new counsel however asked the court for time to study the case file in order to adequately prepare for the defence of his client.

Although, Counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla, had expressed his readiness to proceed with the trial, he did not oppose the motion for an adjournment.

The counsel merely expressed regret that the Nigerian Constitution did not make any provision for a demand for cost.

After listening to both lawyers, Justice Buba was forced to cancel Wednesday and Friday, January 8 and 10, 2014 which he had earlier fixed for the continuation of the trial. The case was then adjourned till the March 17.

Security Breakdown Is A Result Of Nigeria’s Sociological Problem – Oyetibo (SAN)

On this edition of the programme, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Tayo Oyetibo examined the issues of security in the country, following the release of his colleague, Mike Ozekhome.

“I think it’s a sociological problem. Even though the security of the nation is being threatened, we must look beyond the immediate incident,” he said.

He admonished the government to provide education and employment to get the masses engaged and occupied as anybody could be a victim.

Mr Oyetibo gave his perspective on the security challenge as well as his take on the crisis in political parties and how best the courts can entertain the numerous applications before them.

Mr Oyetibo is also a prominent member of the Gani Fawehinmi Chambers Alumni Association who rose to become the Deputy Head of the Chambers before leaving to establish his chambers in 1991.