Benue: Tribunal judgment is victory for our people, Says Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom says the judgment of the Benue State Governorship Election Tribunal is victory for the people of the state who elected him for a second term.

The Governor states that the verdict of the tribunal has confirmed the unanimous decision of Benue voters and has proven that his re-election was credible.

He returns all the glory and praise to God Almighty for honouring him with the mandate to lead the state for another term.

Governor Ortom also appreciates the leadership and members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, as well as other Benue people for the support given to him before, during and after the polls.

He specifically commends his Legal Team for its sterling performance during proceedings of the tribunal to secure the mandate.

The Governor declares that the victory at the tribunal is for every Benue person. He stresses that the task of building the state is the responsibility of all its people.

Governor Ortom extends a hand of fellowship to the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC for the 2019 governorship election, Barrister Emmanuel Jime and other contestants in the election.

He maintains that politics is over; now is time for governance, and gives assurance that his administration is willing to collaborate with Benue sons and daughters irrespective of political differences, ethnicity, religion and place of origin.

He restates the commitment of the present administration to the provision of selfless service to the people.

Appeal court clears APC Zamfara

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside a judgment of the Federal High Court, barring the All Progressives Congress from fielding candidates for the general elections in Zamfara State.

The Federal High Court’s judgment had followed the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bar the APC in the state from fielding candidates.

In the judgment delivered on January 25, 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, had held that INEC was right to have delisted names of candidates APC presented for the elections.

According to Ojukwu, the APC had failed to conduct a valid primary within the period scheduled by the electoral body.

But a 3-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained the suit and that it is an abuse of court process.

Justice Aboki stressed that the suit at the Federal High Court was filed out of time.

According to him, the Electoral Act provides 14 days to institute a suit after the cause of action had arisen, but in this case, the suit was filed 15 days after.

He, therefore, rendered the action incompetent.

The judgment of the Appeal Court comes just hours after the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, again stressed that the APC in both Zamfara and Rivers States will not field candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

“The position of the Commission remains the position we announced before now, that the parties in question by court order and/by our understanding of the interpretation of the judgments of two courts of co-ordinate jurisdictions delivered same day in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections,” Mr Mahmood said.

Patience Jonathan Forfeits N1bn by Court Order

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has secured an interim forfeiture of the sum of N1,000,494,000 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Naira) only lodged in three deposits with Fidelity Bank Plc on 20th and 25th May, 2015.

The forfeiture order by Federal High Court sitting in Kano and presided over by Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa is consequent upon a motion ex parte filed by the Commission seeking for the interim forfeiture of the money, which was found in the Bank account of Magel Resort Limited, a company linked to the former First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan.

The Commission had gotten an intel that a bank account domiciled in Fidelity Bank, had a huge sum of money that was not being used by anybody. Upon receipt of the intelligence, the EFCC swung into action by conducting preliminary investigation, which revealed that Patience and some relatives of former president, Goodluck Jonathan were directors of the Company.

Others named as directors are Oba Oba Tamunotonye, Goodluck Jonathan Aruera, Goodluck Jonathan Ariwabai and Esther Fynface. In trying to trace the origin of the money, it was discovered that N500,000 was deposited on the 20th of May, 2015 by Fynface, who is alleged to be in charge of the Company, while N1 billion (One Billion Naira Only) was transferred in two tranches on the 25th May, 2015 from PAGMAT OIL AND GAS NIGERIA LIMITED a company that was not incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Ruling on the motion, Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa held that: “An interim forfeiture order is granted to the Federal Government in the sum of N1,000,494,000 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand Naira Only) in the Bank account of the 1st respondent Magel Resort Limited 4011019546 which is maintained with 2nd respondent Fidelity Bank Plc”. The court further ordered that the forfeited sum be deposited in the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.

Appeal Court Throws Onnoghen Back to CCT for Trial

The Court of Appeal has refused to stay the trial of the suspended chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, in the false asset declaration charges brought against him by the federal government at the code of conduct tribunal.

The Appellate Court in a unanimous decision in a ruling delivered by justice Abdul Aboki held that the prayers of Onnoghen, that is trial, be put on hold, runs contrary to sec 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ACJA 2015, Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling sited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the supreme court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.

The Appeal court said that there were no special circumstances under which the prayer of Onnoghen could be granted in the appeal argued on his behalf by Chief Wole Olanikpekun.

In the ruling, the appeal court agreed that the prayer of the appellant for stay of further proceedings ought to be refused, and consequently dismissed the appeal, seeking to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal from taking further steps in the six count false asset declaration charges filed against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal headed by Yakubu Umar had on January 14th ruled to hear all motions that arose in the charges against Onnoghen together and give decision on the motions.

But Onnoghen, having been dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal to hear all motions together had approached the court of Appeal to set aside the decision of the tribunal.

His appeal was predicated on the ground that the issue of jurisdiction raised against his trial ought to be resolved one way or the other first before any other motion could be entertained.

The Interim order granted by the court of Appeal on January 24th has therefore been vacated in compliance with section 306 of ACDA.

It will be recalled that the tribunal on January 28th adjourned the trial of Onnoghen sine die as a mark in which the Mr. Kumar said “was out of respect to the court of Appeal interim order”.

Federal government on the 14th sort to arraign Onnoghen at the CCT on false declaration of asset but it could not hold due to the absence of the defendant in the tribunal, who was said not to have been summoned.

On the January 22nd, he was also not in court for the second time, but his lead counsel told the tribunal that although his client had been served as required by law, he was not there because Onnoghen challenged the competence of the charge against him as well as jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Mean while the court has fixed 4th February for the substantive appeal related to the competence of the charge as well as the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

Court Convicts Two Former INEC Officials

Two former officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) convicted for bribery and money laundering offences at The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday.

Christian Nwosu, an ex-Administrative Secretary with INEC and Tijani Bashir were found guilty of nine counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N264, 880,000.

However, one of the accused persons, Nwosu, was absent in court.

The former INEC officials were also found guilty of benefiting from a sum of $115.01m which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, doled out to compromise the 2015 elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Nwosu and Bashir collected N30m from the Diezani funds.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, then adjourned the case till Friday for sentencing.

Court dismiss suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria

Justice Nnamdi Dimg alt=’Court rejects suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria’ class=’img-responsive text-center’ style=’margin: auto;’ba of a Federal High Court in Abuja, has dismissed a suit challenging non-registration of a same-sex group by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), for lacking in merit.

 

The plaintiff, Pamela Adie, in the court papers, said that sometime in October 2017, she founded the “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives” whose objective was primarily to advocate for the rights of same-sex sexual orientation people but that her quest to register the association at the CAC, through her counsel, Fajenyo Kayode, was declined. She then filed a motion challenging the decision of the commission to decline the registration of the association.

In his judgment which was delivered last Friday, November 16th, Justice Dimg alt=’Court rejects suit seeking registration of lesbian group in Nigeria’ class=’img-responsive text-center’ style=’margin: auto;’ba held that the decision of CAC refusing to register the group was in compliance with 30 (1) (c) of the Companies And Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Cap C20 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“It is my view that where either the proposed name of the company or its aims and objectives are caught by the provisions of Section 30 (1) (c) of CAMA, the respondent is duly empowered to reject such an application for reservation of name or registration as it has done in this case.

 

“Section 30 (1) (c) of CAMA reads: “No company shall be registered under this Act by a name which- (c) in the opinion of the Commission is capable of being misleading as to the nature or extent of its activities or is undesirable, offensive or otherwise contrary to public policy.” the judge said

Recall that in January 2014, the Anti-Gay law which proffers 14-year jail term for anyone caught in any act of same sex was assented to by former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Barrister safiya bags perm Sec position at KTS ministry of justice

The Katsina State Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari has on Thursday sworn in Barrister Safiya Badamasi Umar as the new solicitor general and permanent secretary in the state ministry of justice.
Speaking at the ceremony Masari detailed that the former chairman of Commission of inquiry into looted funds who had a working experience with Safiya described her as a hardworking and dedicated civil servant.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari further implores on judicial officers to maintain their position of being last hope of common man.
“some lawyers do not uphold the ethics of the profession,” Masari affirmed
The Katsina State governor further reminded judicial officers on the day of judgment and charged them for accountability.
 The swearing-in ceremony had in attendance the state Chief Judge, the State Grand Khadi, the Secretary to the State Government (SGS), Judges, Qadis,  some members of the state executive council, among many others.
By Saleh Faruq Gagarawa

Patience Jonathan, EFCC battle in court over $8.4m, N7.3bn

The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed November 13, 2018, for further hearing in a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to permanently seize the sums of  $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35bn found in 15 bank accounts linked to a former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan. Punch report.

The anti-graft agency had on May 8 obtained an interim order to temporarily forfeit the funds to the Federal Government.

The EFCC claimed that its investigations revealed that the $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35bn emanated from the coffers of Bayelsa State.

It said the funds were moved at a time when Patience served as a Permanent Secretary in one of the ministries in Bayelsa State.

The anti-graft agency is pleading with Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to make an order to permanently forfeit the money to the Federal Government.

But Patience and the other defendants in the suit have vehemently opposed the prayer, insisting that funds were not proceeds of illegality as claimed by the EFCC.

Apart from Patience, the other defendants in the suit are Globus Integrated Services Limited, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd., Pagmat Oil And Gas Ltd. and Magel Resort Limited and Esther Oba.

At the Monday’s proceedings, Patience’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), argued that it was not enough for the EFCC to conclude that the funds found in Patience’ bank account were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of fraud when the anti-graft agency had not invited Patience to offer any explanation.

The SAN argued that the EFCC’s application seeking the final forfeiture of the money was premature and fell short of the requirements of Section 36 of the Constitution.

Adedipe added that there was no such crime as “statutory suspicion” in the Nigerian laws.

He described the EFCC’s application for the permanent forfeiture of the funds as vindictive and urged Justice Olatoregun not to allow the court to be used as “a vehicle for injustice”

Also, counsel for 3rd to 6th respondents, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), maintained that the money found in his clients’ bank accounts were proceeds of legitimate business, adding that the 3rd defendant made the money from the sale of grocery and drinks.

He urged the court to allow a video clip, which, he said, captured the various business outfits legitimately run by the 3rd defendant.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned further proceedings in the case till November 13.

 

My husband lasts for only two minutes, woman tells court

A housewife, Hauwa Adamu, on Wednesday, begged a Mararaba Upper Area Court, Nasarawa State, to dissolve her marriage to Isyaku Na’Allah, over his alleged inability to sexually satisfy her.

Hauwa told the court that her husband has never satisfied her sexually, and only “lasts for two minutes on top of her.’’

She said that she married him under the Islamic rights and the union did not produce any child.

Hauwa also alleged that Na’Allah always accused her of aborting pregnancies. She denied this accusation.

She said that their childlessness was as a result of Na’Allah’s lack of “sexual performance.’’

She told the court that she was no longer interested in the marriage and begged the court to dissolve it.

Hauwa added that she would return the Sadaq (dowry) the respondent paid on her.

The respondent,  Na’Allah, however, denied the allegations.

The judge, Mr. Ibrahim Shekarau, adjourned the case until October 29 to allow the parties to settle out of court.

(NAN)

Police ordered to pay Charly boy N50 million

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian Police
Force, Inspector Genersl of Police and the FCT Commissioner of Police to
pay N50 million to Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, the leader of
‘OurMumuDonDo’ movement.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice John Tsoho awarded
the amount on Monday while delivering judgment in a fundamental rights suit
brought against the Police by Charly Boy.

Tsoho said the sum was a compensation for the violation of Oputa’s rights
to dignity of the human person, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly
and association.

He ordered the Police to publish an apology to Charly Boy in two national
newspapers.

NAN recalls that in a suit filed on March 29, Charly Boy had accused the
police and their officers of harassing him and members of the OurMumuDonDo
campaign during the #ResumeOrResign protests.

Charly Boy through his lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong, argued that the Police
attacked the group during a peaceful demonstration at the Unity Fountain in
Abuja.

He asked the court to determine whether the “use of water cannons, teargas
canisters and wild police dogs to harass him and members of his group
during the said a peaceful protest on Aug. 8, 2017 is constitutional.

” He argued that the act was an infringement on his fundamental rights,
freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association as enshrined in
Sections 34, 39, and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 1999 (as amended.

Charly Boy, therefore, prayed the court to make a compelling order on the
FCT police and their commissioner to publish a public apology to him in
five national newspapers.

He also demanded that payment of the sum of N100 million as general damages
be awarded to the applicant as well as direct that N400 million be paid as
exemplary damages by the police.

Delivering judgment on the case, Justice Tsoho held that there was no
evidence that miscreants invaded or stormed the premises of the protest as
alleged by the police.

On whether the Applicant is entitled to stage the protest, the court held
that protest is a constitutionally-guaranteed right provided it is done
peacefully.

“The Respondents (the Police) need not exercise an uncommon aggression and
mayhem to ward off alleged miscreants. “The law is that the court has the
right to grant redress to anyone whose right is violated and the applicant
is entitled to a remedy.

“Relief four is granted and the respondents are ordered to publish an
apology to the applicant in two national newspapers for violating his
fundamental rights.

“The sum of N50 million is awarded against the respondents as general and
exemplary damages,’’ Tsoho ruled.

Reacting to the judgment, Charly Boy’s counsel, Effiong described it as “a
resounding victory for democracy, freedom of expression and peaceful
assembly in the country”.

“This judgment sends unequivocal message to the Nigerian Police that they
have no power to stop or disrupt peaceful protests by Nigerians.

“The police by this judgment cannot invent flimsy excuses to stop citizens
from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and
peaceful assembly. “I am highly elated by this victory for democracy,’’ he
said.