BUHARI LACKS POWER TO IMPOSE LOCK DOWN

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), says the President, Muhammadu Buhari, lacks the power to impose lock down without recourse to the National Assembly.

Adegboruwa said this in a statement while reacting to the President’s total lock down of FCT, Lagos and Ogun States.

Buhari had in a broadcast on Sunday imposed a total lock down in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The senior advocate said, “The President has no powers to restrict the movement of persons without recourse to the National Assembly. The President has not invoked his powers under the constitution to declare any state of emergency, which must be approved by the National Assembly.

“We are running a constitutional democracy and it is illegal for the President to take over the affairs of any state of the federation without the express consent of the people of that state through their elected representatives.

“It is only the governor of the state through the House of Assembly of the state that can make any declaration concerning the people of that state. Little wonder that the President could not cite any law that he relied upon for his declaration.”

Adegboruwa, who stated that he supports measures put in place to curb the virus, said the law must be respected.

He, further, implored on the President to do the right thing.

The senior advocate also called on Buhari to put measures in place to palliate the financial consequences of the restriction.

“I support every measure taken to contain the Coronavirus pandemic but such must be in accordance with the law. If we allow this to stay, then tomorrow the President may just impose a total restriction on all States of the Federation for whatever reason.

“I humbly urge the President to reverse the restrictions and work with the States concerned in accordance with the laws of our land.

“Also, there must be measures put in place to address the financial consequences of the proposed shutdown, especially for small scale businesses, those who depend on daily earnings and the needy and vulnerable members of the societies to be affected.”

SUPREME COURT DISMISS APC PLEA ON ZAMFARA

The Supreme Court has dismissed the application by the Abdulaziz Yari led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a review of its May 24, 2019 judgment in the intra-party dispute in the Zamfara APC.

In a majority ruling on Friday, four members of a five-member panel, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, dismissed the application on the grounds that it was without merit.

Justice Inyang Okoro, in the lead judgment, held that the ruling was a gross abuse of the process of the court.
Justice Okoro proceeded to award cost of N2million against the applicant.

In a dissenting judgment, Justice Centus Nweze held that the court ought to have reviewed the judgment by setting aside the consequential order which made the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the ultimate beneficiary of the intra-party crisis in the Zamfara APC.

Justice Nweze noted that the Supreme Court has reviewed its decision before and should be bold enough to admit where there are errors that ought to be rectified.

He dismissed the objection raised by the respondents, upheld the application and granted the prayers sought.

US GROUP FILES $20 TRILLION LAWSUIT AGAINST CHINA

Washington-based law firm Freedom Watch and Texas Company Bus Photos, which specialize in high school sports photography, have filed legal action against China.

The Organizations filed a Texas lawsuit seeking $ 20 trillion ($ 20 trillion) in damages from China, the source of the corona virus.

They allege that the Chinese government has created the Coronavirus as an illegal biological weapon that has spread to the world. The virus was released by the Wuhan Institute of Viroja, a biological test.

The virus they had prepared against the enemy was being released at an unexpected time. The petitioners argue that although China was primarily targeted at the American people, the virus was not limited to it.

There was a heartless act on the part of China that was unacceptable. The people of China are good but their government is not. According to the plea, the court has sought compensation from China, which has brought the world into such a situation.

According to a petition filed by Bus Photos, the loss of $ 50,000 last week was due to the closure of educational institutions and sports events following the outbreak of the Corona virus in the United States. Buzz Fotas has been sued by activist and lawyer Larry Klayman.

(www.newsnow.co.uk)

Culled

ECOWAS SUSPENDS JUDICIAL ACTIVITIES

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has suspended it’s activities ‘until further notice as part of measures to prevent and contain the spread of the Corona Virus, COVID-19,. According to a statement issued on Friday by court’s President, Justice Edward Asante.

The court’s spokesperson, Elohor Ovadje said the statement by the court’s President comes less than a week after the court suspended its travel-related activities, mainly official missions, because of the outbreak of Covid-19 following its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ovadje quoted Justice Asante as saying that the court “remains committed to ensuring the safety of staff and other stakeholders.

“The court will take all necessary preventive and containment measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Asante urged staff not to panic but to ensure that they remain calm, healthy and go about their duties whilst ‘maintaining personal hygiene and social distancing in a professional manner.

The president also stated that the court’s Registry and all other departments will carry out their duties on a shift basis to decongest the offices in order to create the necessary distancing recommended by WAHO and the WHO. In this instance, staffs who work from home will liaise with their departmental Supervisors and report to them via the electronic means put in place by ECOWAS Institutions; skype, emails etc.

In suspending the court’s travel related activities, the President had emphasized that the court did not want to expose staff to ‘avoidable risk considering the global threat posed by this pandemic. He added that it was also consistent with the international response including the advisories by West African Health Organisation (WAHO) based in Bobbo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso and later the ECOWAS Commission.

Under the advisory, the ECOWAS Commission and Community Institutions were advised to strongly discourage non-essential large gatherings of people; defer, cancel or postpone meetings with over 50 participants until further notice and employ remote technology if possible (Zoom, Skype, etc.) to help avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Among the activities affected by the suspension of the travel related activities are the second judicial dialogue of the Court with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights initially scheduled for 27th and 28th March in Arusha as well as the preceding training of the Court’s office managers which was scheduled to start on 16th March 2020 also in Arusha.

The Nation

COURT ORDERS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF SANUSI

Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the immediate release of dethroned Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from confinement/detention.

Justice Anwuli Chikere made the order in an ex-parte ruling on Friday morning after listening to lawyer to Sanusi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) who argued a motion ex-parte to that effect.

The order, made interim, is directed at the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Attorney General of Kano State and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) – who are all named as respondents in a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed on March 12, 2020, by Sanusi.

Justice Chikere, in the ruling, said: “An interim order of this honourable court releasing the applicant from the detention and or confinement of the respondents and restoring the applicant’s rights to human dignity, personal liberty, freedom of association and movement in Nigeria, (apart from Kano State) pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s originating summons.”

The judge also granted the applicant leave to serve a copy of the release order and the processes in relation to the substantive suit on the respondents through substituted means.

Justice Chikere allowed Sanusi to serve the defendants in the following manner: On the IGP, through any officer in his office at the police headquarters at Louis Edet House, Garki, Abuja; on the the the DG DSS, through any officer at the DSS headquarters at Aso Drive in Abuja; on the AG of Kano State, through any officer at the sate’s Ministry of Justice, Audu Bako Secretariat, Kano, and on the AGF, through any officer at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja.

Sanusi is, by the substantive suit, challenging his purported banishment to a community in Nasarawa State, arguing that such restriction violated his constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Details shortly…

LAWYERS OF MS II TO SUE KANO STATE GOVERNMENT

The legal team of the dethroned Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi ll, has threatened to sue the Kano State Government over what it called “illegal detention and banishment “ of its client.

It said was driven at night for seven hours to a remote village in Nasarawa State, all in a bid to cause him “maximum trauma and distress.”

Mr Abubakar Balarabe-Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and leader of the team, made this known just as the state Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission said it would resume the investigation of Sanusi.

Balarabe-Mahmoud , at a news conference in Kano on Tuesday, said: “We have not spoken to the Emir since Monday, but we understand they are at their destination somewhere in a remote part of Nassarawa State after driving for nearly seven hours in the night and arrived at about 2am on Tuesday.

“We understand the choice of location to detain Sanusi was intended to cause him maximum trauma and distress. This again is illegal and unconstitutional.

“According to instructions we received from the Emir through his Chief of Staff, we are directed to take legal action to challenge the legality of his detention and banishment.

“We are of the firm view that this action is illegal and unconstitutional. Section 35 of our Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to personal liberty. The basis of the denial of personal liberty are set out clearly in this Section of the Constitution. None applies to the case of Sanusi.

“The archaic practice of banishment of deposed Emirs, a colonial practice, has no basis under Nigerian law or Constitution. We are totally perplexed at the resort to this practice in present day Nigeria by its political leaders.

“The illegality of such practice was pronounced by the Court of Appeal in Attorney-General, Kebbi State vs. former Emir of Kwandu, Alhaji Al-Mustapha Jakolo and ors 2013 LPELR 22349/CA where the court pronounced it as illegal and unconstitutional and gross violation of the rights of the Emir.

“This is what the court said in that case: The banishment and deportation from Kebbi State by the governor of Kebbi State of the first respondent, Jokolo, to Lafia in Nassarawa State and later to Obi also in Nassarawa State is most unconstitutional and illegal.”

The Senior Advocate therefore called on the Minister of Justice,Abubakar Malami; the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and the Director General of Department State Services to ensure the release of the banished former Emir.

Stating that his team was “ concerned about his(Sanusi) personal safety and security’ he also called on “Nigerians and the international community to bring their influence to bear “ on the issue.

“We, the legal team of the dethroned Emir,is working both in Kano and Abuja and unless he is released immediately, we will be taking appropriate legal action,” Balarabe-Mahmoud said.

He argued that the Kano State Emirate Council Law which was recently enacted does not give the Executive Council of the state or the governor the powers to unilaterally remove the Emir.

The SAN added: “The reason given in the letter of deposition of the Emir dated 9th March, 2020, was alleged ‘disrespect to lawful instructions from the authorities.’

“The (deposed)Emir was also alleged to have ‘refused to attend official programmes and meetings organised by government’, as far as we are aware, there has not been any notice of such disrespect ever given to the Emir or query issued to him for refusal to attend official functions.

“He was never given any opportunity to defend himself against those charges. Section 13 of the Kano Emirates Council Law 2019 cited in the letter of deposition empowers the Governor to depose an Emir only after due inquiry and in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.

“We are not aware of such due inquiry nor are we aware that the Kano State Council of Chiefs was at any time summoned to any meeting much less discuss the removal of the Emir or give any advise to the governor on the deposition.”

He added that the deposed Emir was the Chairman of the council and if such meeting was summoned, he would have been aware.

“He would have informed us, in our view, the action was patently illegal and unconstitutional and a clear abuse of power,” he said.

DSS ARRAIGN CORP MEMBER ON ALLEGED IMPERSONATION

The Department of State Services (DSS) has arraigned a 26-year-old corp member, Oluwatosin Medaiyese before an Osun State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Osogbo for alleged impersonation.

The charge presented by the prosecution counsel read, “That you Oluwatosin Medaiyese “M” on or before 30th January 2020 at Osogbo did falsely represent yourself as Hon. Justice Aliyu Jimoh to Emmanuel Attah Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with the intent of fraudulently securing the posting of Corps members to their desired places of primary assignment and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 108 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State 2002.

The Corp Member Medaiyese,pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

The counsel to the accused, Mr. Omaniyi Abifarin applied for bail for his client.

He said the alleged offense against Medaiyese is a bailable offense and the accused person is currently on a one-year mandatory service with National Youth Service Corps in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Abifarin assured the court that the accused person will provide reliable surety if granted bail.

The magistrate, Adebola Ajanaku granted the accused person bail in N100,000 with one surety and adjourned the case to 25th March 2020 for hearing.

SUPREME COURT SET DATE FOR BAYELSA REVIEW

The Supreme Court has slated Wednesday for the judgement in the application by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for a review of its judgment in the Bayelsa State governorship dispute.

Recall that the apex court has, in its February 13, 2020 judgement, voided the participation of the APC’s candidates in the election on the grounds that its deputy governorship candidate submitted false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about his education credentials.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court took arguments from parties to the applications by the APC for the review of the judgment and stood down, proceedings, promising to return later for judgment.

Seven-member panel of the court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, did not indicate when the judgement will be given Wednesday.

Afe Babalola (SAN), who has not attended any major court proceedings for over 10 years now, represented the APC candidates in the election (David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo), while Wole Olanipekun (SAN), led Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC.

Babalola and Olanipekun urged the court to grant the two applications they filed praying the court to review a portion of the judgment where it voided Lyon’s participation in the election.

Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Yunus Usman (SAN) and Chris Uche (SAN), who represented the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates in the election, prayed the court to reject the applications.

They argued that the applications were an invitation on the court to violate the Constitution and could open the floodgate for such request in future.

Lawyer to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , Tanimu Inuwa (SAN) said his client did not file any processes in respond to the applications.

DARK TUESDAY FOR OLISA METUH

Federal High Court in Abuja has on Tuesday sentenced a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh to a seven-year imprisonment upon convicting him on charges of money laundering and fraud.

Justice Okon Abang, announced the sentencing after delivering judgment for over six hours in the trial of Metuh and his firm, Dextra Investment.

Justice Abang had convicted the two defendants on all the seven counts, including the fraudulent receipt of N400m from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014 and use of the money for political activities of the PDP and for his personal purposes.

The court also convicted Metuh for transacting with a cash sum of $2m without going through a financial institution.

Justice Abang held that the prosecution successfully proved that the transaction violated the anti-money laundering law which pegs the maximum cash transaction an individual undertake outside a financial institution at N5m.

The judge proceeded to sentence Metuh to seven-year imprisonment on counts 1, 2, 4 and 7; five-year imprisonment on count 3; and three-year in respect of counts 5 and 6.

Justice Abang directed that the sentences shall run concurrently, meaning that he would only spend the highest number of years of jail term, which is seven, in prison.

The judge ordered the winding up of Dextra Investment and ordered Metuh to pay a fine of N375m to the Federal Government.

He equally ordered Dextra Investments to pay N25m to the Federal Government. Hesaid the accounts of Dextra in Diamond Bank and Asset Resource Management to be closed and their proceeds forfeited to the Federal Government.

87 IMN MEMBERS REGAINS FREEDOM

Court sitting in kaduna on Friday freed 87 members of the Shiite group accused of killing a soldier after clashes with troops more than four years ago, their lawyer  said.

The court “discharged and acquitted” the members of the Islamic Movement for lack of evidence alleging  them to the death of the soldier during the bloody encounter in December 2015.

The islamic movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known and called as shiites was founded by Ibrahim Zakzaky, in the late 1970s and inspired by the Iranian Revolution, the IMN has been at loggerheads with the Nigerian authorities for decades.

Troops launched a merciless clampdown on the group in Zaria Kaduna State in 2015 when members blocked the convoy of the army chief of staff during a religious procession.

Rights groups said some 350 IMN members were killed and buried in mass graves after two days of clashes in which their leader Zakzaky was blinded in one eye and arrested along with more than 200 supporters.

Last year, more than one hundred detained members were released in two batches after they were acquitted by the court.

But the leader Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat are still behind bars on charges including “culpable homicide”.

The lawyer said he would continue to push for the release of the Shiite leader.

“We will now focus our attention on the trial of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky,” Magashi said.

Zakzaky’s continued detention has led to street protests by IMN members in the nation’s capital, Abuja, sparking violent clashes with security forces that have claimed many of lives.

Last July the Nigerian government listed the IMN as a proscribed terror group, banning their activities.

Shiites make up a small minority of Muslim believers in mainly Sunni northern Nigeria.