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Judiciary

Kaduna: Tribunal adjourns as El Rufai opens defence 

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Judiciary

2 docked over alleged unlawful possession of military kits

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Two men, Mutiu Ogundeji, 32, and Hakeem Adeagbo, 26,  on Wednesday appeared before Mrs Imoleayo Akinrodoye, the President of a Mapo Grade ‘A’ Customary Court in Ibadan, charged with posing as military officers.

The suspects, whose addresses were not provided, are facing a two-count charge of unlawful possession and impersonation.

Police prosecutor, Ayodele Ayeni told the Court that the defendants were arrested on Monday at Bode area of Ibadan, after some concerned members of the community, who knew them to be jobless, alerted the police of their activities in the neighbourhood.

He tendered two pairs of military trousers, two camouflage shirts, two underweares, two caps, four pairs of socks and a sweater as exhibits found in possession of the duo.

In their defence, each of the suspects confessed to being in possession of military uniforms, but denied using them for armed robbery or any fraudulent purpose.

Akinrodoye went ahead to admit the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 each with two reliable sureties each in like sum.

She later adjourned the case till Aug. 30 for continuation of hearing.

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Judiciary

Police in Niger confirm death of couple from generator fumes

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Police in Niger, on Wednesday confirmed the death of a couple in Maitunbi area of Minna from generator fumes.

DSP Mohammed Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, told Nigeria News Agency that the incident occurred on Monday night.

“The incident occurred on Monday night, but was reported to the police on Tuesday by neighbours at 8: 00 a.m.,” Abubakar said.

He explained that the deceased couple, Malam Adamu Mohammed, 30 and Sumaiya Adamu, 20, got married in December 2018.

He said that Malam Dahiru Mohammed, a brother to the late Adamu, visited the couple on Tuesday.

The PPRO said that when Dahiru knocked on their door and there was no response, he left without seeing them.

“When nobody attended to Dahiru he left the house of the deceased couple,” he said.

He explained that neighbours who did not see them coming out from their apartment raised concerns and had to break in.

“When the neighbors discovered what had happened they reported the issue to the police,” he said.

Abubakar explained that on the fateful night, the deceased couple had put on the generator, which they recently purchased, in one of their rooms that had no ventilation and slept in the next room.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the couple died as a result of the generator fumes.

“They died due to lack of ventilation from the generator fumes,” the police spokesman said.

NAN gathered from family sources that the couple has since been buried according to Islamic rites.

OCU/DOR

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Judiciary

Truck driver docked for knocking down army corporal

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A driver, Tasiu Habibu, who allegedly knocked down an army corporal with his truck, on Wednesday appeared before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

Habibu, 28, was brought before the court on charges bordering on reckless driving, driving without a valid licence and manslaughter.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the four counts preferred against him.

Insp. Oladele Adebayo, prosecting, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Aug. 16, at Alaba Bus Stop on Lagos – Badagry Expressway.

Adebayo said that Habibu, a driver in charge of a Mack truck with registration number GAK 302 XA, drove recklessly and caused the death of an army corporal.

He said that the defendant had knocked down Cpl. Akatobi Nkwagu, while riding his motorcycle on the highway, and also caused injury to a lady, Chidira Nnoram.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 19, 20, 22 and 26 of the Road Traffic Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr O.O. Olatunji, granted the defendant bail of N500,000 with two sureties each in the like sum.

Olatunji adjourned the case until Sept. 17 for mention.

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Tribunal reserves judgment in petition against Buhari’s re-election

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday reserved judgment in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the Feb. 23 general election.

Justice Mohammed Garba, Chairman of the five-man panel of justices reserved judgment to a date to be communicated to all parties, after all counsel in the matter adopted their written addresses.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Buhari was declared the winner of the Feb. 23 presidential election, with over 15 million votes as against Atiku’s 11, 262,978 votes.

NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and All Progressive Congress (APC) are the other respondents.

Earlier, Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, Counsel for INEC urged that panel to uphold the objections he raised against the admissibility of all pieces of documentary and oral evidence led by the petitioners.

Usman submitted that the electoral body conducted the Feb.23 presidential election in total compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

He also urged the panel to disregard the petitioners’ claims that the results of the election were transmitted electronically to a central server managed by INEC, adding that it was the “greatest lie of the century’’.

He submitted that it was laughable when the petitioners made pleadings that suggested that only the PDP and APC and their candidates contested the election.

Usman prayed the tribunal to take judicial notice of the fact that the Electoral Act 2010 prohibited the transmission of election results electronically.

According to him, the law only provides for manual transmission of election results.

Usman said that all the  witnesses presented by the petitioners admitted to the fact that transmission of election results electronically had no placed in the country’s statute books at the moment.

In his counter of allegations that INEC abandoned its pleadings by not presenting witnesses, the counsel said the commission simply extracted salient pieces of evidence from the petitioners’ pleadings to solidify its defence.

“It would have amounted to wasting the time of the tribunal for us to call witnesses when the petitioners could not discharge the burden of proof on allegations they had made,’’ he said.

Usman thereafter prayed the court to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.

Also, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Counsel for Buhari urged that the tribunal to dismiss the petition as it lacked substance and merit.

“I have handled a few electoral petition cases, this is one petition that yarns for help, for assistance and for evidence but could not get any.

“Apart from the hype the matter has generated, there is nothing in law to support the allegations before the tribunal’’.

On the qualification of the president, Olanipekun said Section 131 (b) had settled that matter.

“I make bold to say that the Constitution and case laws had not compelled the candidates of the election to tendered certificates or attached same to INEC form before submission.

Olanipekun submitted that the laws only mandated any person contesting election in the country to have gone to school up to Secondary School level.

On the issue of election results transmission by electronic means, the counsel said the use of such technology must be provided for in the Electoral Act.

“The allegation on the management of server by INEC is vague. Where is the server? This is a million dollar question that the petitioners could not substantiate.

“My Lords, this petition was not properly diagnosed, the action was ill-advised, I therefore urge the tribunal not to bow to sentiment or public opinion that does not represent the law.

“This petition is liable to be dismissed with a considerable cost’’, he said.

On his part, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Counsel for APC said he could not help but take the liberty to align himself with the submissions made by Usman and Olanipekun.

“My Lords it is disheartening to see that this petition still remain watery at this stage.

“The petition made allegations they could not proof. We have done a table showing how the petitioners have proven the case so far.

“The election took place in 119,976 Polling Units, 8,901 Wards in 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

“It is sad therefore to see that the petitioners only called 62 witnesses. Out of this figure, only five witnesses gave direct evidence of what happened in polling units.

“I feel sad that this matter has been starved of evidence and therefore deserves to be dismissed.

On the educational qualification of the president, Fagbemi insisted that Buhari had the requisite educational qualification which was confirmed by official of the West African Examination Council in evidence.

Meanwhile, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, Counsel for the petitioners urged the tribunal to discountenance the addresses of the respondents, adding that the petitioners had indeed discharged the burden of proof.

He said the tribunal must exercise its powers in good conscience to uphold the petition and return Abubakar as president.

Uzoukwu further said the second respondent (Buhari) was unable to present his Secondary School Certificate before the tribunal in order rest the allegation.

“My Lords, we pray the panel to judiciously and judicially evaluate our evidence in context of whether we have justified our allegation against Buhari’s certificate.

On the issue of server, Uzoukwu said INEC had operated activated and store the Feb.23 election results in a centrally controlled server.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

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Judiciary

Dasukigate: Court admits U.S.-based woman to N250m bail

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The Federal High Court Abuja, on Wednesday, admitted the U. S.-based businesswoman, Isabella Oshodin, bail in the sum of N250 million.

The court, which ordered that the defendant produced two sureties in like sum, said one of the sureties must have N500 million worth of property in Asokoro or Mariana District of Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the court had, on Monday, ordered Oshodin to remain in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s custody until Aug. 21 pending bail application.

NAN reports that the EFCC arraigned Oshodin for unlawfully receiving N22.9 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.).

The businesswoman, whose husband, Bob Oshodin was said to be at large, was arraigned on a 25-count charge bordering on sales of a furniture manufacturing company to the Federal Government to the tune of 55 million U.S. dollars.

In the case filed against her, the anti-graft agency alleged, among others, that she, on 16 occasions, received N500 million; N750 million; N125 million; N350 million; N170 million; N85 million; N60 million; N50 million and other sums totalling N2. 3 billion from the Office of the NSA.

The EFCC also alleged that the defendant, on eight occasions, received from the Office of the NSA funds amounting to $57 million into the Escrow accounts of Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited.

She however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Counsel to Oshodin, Osahon Idemudia, had, on Monday, informed Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a pending bail application filed by the defendant.

He said the prosecution was only trying to treat a civil contract transaction as a criminal matter.

“This has to do with a civil contract transaction. It is either a misunderstood commercial transaction or someone is being mischievous. The defendants sold their furniture factory to the Federal Government for $55 million.

“They have only paid half of the money, which the prosecution has calculated as N22.9 billion. The money stated in the charges, which they claimed to be money laundering, is actually payment for the purchase of the furniture factory,” he said.

The defence lawyer averred that a copy of the contract for the sale of the factory had been exhibited before the court and that the prosecution admitted its existence in the counter-affidavit it filed.

Idemudia pleaded with the trial judge to admit the defendant to bail in liberal terms pending the determination of the trial.

Idemudia, while moving the bail application, drew the attention of the judge to the fact that, she had been in the underground cell of the EFCC for about 70 days without electricity.

He insisted that the alleged offence bordered on civil contract freely entered by the Federal Government and the defendant was committed to accelerated trial to enable her clear her name from the allegations.

The lawyer debunked the anti-graft agency’s claim that Mrs Oshodin jumped the administrative bail granted her by the agency, adding that the EFCC did not make any attempt directly to get her attention, but only directed her surety to produce her.

Idemudia therefore pleaded with the court to use its discretion in favour of the defendant, taking into consideration her present state of health.

The EFCC however vehemently objected to the bail application on the grounds that the defendant might likely jump bail if granted “because her husband and all her children are based in the United States of America.”

It also sought accelerated hearing of the matter.

EFCC’s Lawyer, Aisha Habib, said that it could be difficult to have the defendant return to stand trial if proper precautionary measures were not taken and she was granted bail and allowed to travel to the U.S.

She, however, said if the court was inclined to granting the application, it should do so with some conditions that would ensure “the defendant is available for trial.”

Justice Taiwo, while delivering his ruling on Wednesday, cited the relevant sections of the law upon which the bail application was brought.

He said he had carefully observed all the processes and that the charges remained allegations until they were proven beyond reasonable doubt.

“Therefore, any fact in the charges cannot be considered at this stage,” he said.

The judge, who said that he would base the judicial powers of the court on the law, noted that the applicant was said to have jumped bail leading to the arrest of her surety, who was at that time, charged to court.

He noted that Oshodin, who had been in the EFCC’s detention, was administered with a drug, Ventoline, to aid her breathing by the commission’s doctor any time she had difficulty in breathing.

Quoting relevant sections of the law on bail application, Justice Taiwo said “it is a judicial discretion to grant bail.”

“But the exercise of discretion must be devoid of extraneous issues,” he said.

He listed criteria that a court could grant bail application to include the inability of the applicant to access medical facility, criminal record of the applicant, among others.

He averred that in performing its judicial function, the court has discretionary power without being emotional or sentiment of the law.

Citing a Supreme Court’s case, the judge said everyone was entitled to have access to medical facility.

Justice Taiwo, however, said there was the need for him to strike the balance between the law and the fact before him.

He, therefore, admitted Mrs Oshodin to a N250-million bail and ordered the defendant to produce two sureties in like sum.

The sureties, who must deposed to affidavit of means, must resident in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the court.

Justice Taiwo also said that one of the sureties must have N500 million worth of property in Asokoro or Maitama District.

He also said the addresses of the two sureties must be verified.

The judge, who ordered that Oshodin is not allowed to travel outside the country pending the determination of the trial suit, also said that the defendant would remain in the EFCC’s custody pending the perfection of these conditions.

He adjourned the case until Oct. 15, Oct. 16, Oct. 17 and Oct. 22 for trial.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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