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Plumber arraigned over alleged theft of N100, 000 valuables

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A 30-year-old Plumber, Dele Atanda on Thursday appeared before an Okitipupa Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ondo for allegedly stealing valuables worth N100, 000.

The defendant, whose address is unknown, is standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on burglary and stealing.

The Prosecuting Counsel, Insp. Ayodeji Omoyeigha told the court that the defendant had on April 21 at about 11:20 p.m., at No. 2, Aladeye Street in Okitipupa, Okitipupa magisterial district burgled into the house of one Erinayo Akindele.

He said that the defendant stole one Samsung and Tecno camera phones, one Breezewwell standing fan and a necklace, totalling N100, 000 property of Akindele.

The Prosecutor added that the offences contravened Sections 412 and 390(9), Criminal Code, Cap.37, Vol.1, Laws of Ondo State 2006.

The defendant however, pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Dickson Ogunfuyi admitted the defendant to N200, 000 bail and a surety in like sum with evidence of a year tax clearance paid to the state government.

He however, adjourned the case until Aug. 30 for further hearing.

 

Judiciary

El-Rufai vs Ashiru: Tribunal ends sitting, reserves ruling

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El-Rufai vs Ashiru: Tribunal ends sitting, reserves ruling

Judgment

By Shuaib Sadiq

Kaduna, Aug. 19, 2018 The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has adjourned sitting on Monday after counsel adopted their final written addresses and replies to points of law.

Justice Ibrahim M. Bako, Chairman of the three-member Tribunal, said that a date would be reserved for judgement and all parties will be notified through their counsel.

Recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Governorship candidate, Alhaji Isah Ashiru had petitioned the March  9 poll in which  Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai was returned as duly elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Petitioners in their final written address on Monday, asked the  Tribunal to cancel a total 515, 951 votes which it contended were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the March 9 poll.

The petitioners had called 135 witnesses out of the 685 they assembled to prove massive rigging,  ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the poll as contained in their petition.

The petitioners alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had added 391,741 votes to Nasiru El-Rufai of APC and a total of 124, 210 unlawful votes to the PDP through wrong or double entry on the result sheets.

The PDP and its candidate also contended that declaring El-Rufai winner by INEC was illegal as he did not score majority of lawful votes.

The PDP through its legal team led Emmanuel C. Ukala (SAN), said  deducting  391,741 votes from 1,045,427 scored by El-Rufai and 124,210 from Ashiru’s 814, 168 votes will give victory to PDP and Ashiru, its candidate in the poll.

The counsel further argued that after the deduction of the alleged unlawful votes, Ashiru will be left with 689,958 lawful votes, while El-Rufai will have 653,686 votes.

In his submission, Ukala  argued that all parties to the petition are bound to argue their cases on the basis of whether or not the petitioners had assembled credible evidence to sustain their petition, as formulated by the tribunal.

According to him, “only the 2nd respondent premised his argument on the issues formulated by this honorable tribunal. The 1st  and 3rd respondents went on their own forays.

“It is therefore our submission that the argument of the 1st and 3rd respondents should go to ‘no issue’, having not addressed the issue which was binding to all parties, “ Ukala argued.

The petitioners counsel further said that based on the issues formulated by the tribunal, the issue has been narrowed down to the credibility of evidence.

“Based on this simplification of the issue, it is our humble submission that when the evidence led by both sides are placed on the imaginary scales of justice, what is obvious is that the weight of evidence of the petitioners will overwhelmingly weigh in favor of the petitioners as against the respondents, “ he said.

“First, the petitioners called 135 witnesses. All respondents put together, 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents,  called a total of five witnesses.

“What is obvious is that there were so many areas covered by the petitioners that were not addressed by the respondents.“

 Ukala further pointed out that the quality of the petitioners’ evidence was more qualitative than that of the respondents with polling unit agents who actually saw what happened on the election day and testified.

However, in its final written address and reply to points raised by the petitioners, Counsel to APC, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN) said: “our final written address before the tribunal is that the petitioners have not been able to establish their claim before the court.

“There are certain allegations that were made which were criminal.

“The petitioners also complain that certain votes were illegally recorded for  the 2nd and 3rd respondents, but unfortunately no evidence were made to prove those points.

“So, we urge the Tribunal to dismiss the petition as  the petitioners have failed to live up to the standard expected of them in proving their petition.”

Similarly,  Abdulhakeem  Mustapha, counsel to El-Rufai, the 2nd respondent in the petition, asked the tribunal “to invoke its majestic powers to dismiss the petition as lacking in merit and to confirm that the 2nd respondent, Malam Nasiru El Rufai as duly elected as governor of Kaduna State on the March 9 election. “

Mustapha in an interview with newsmen also said: “we have been able to tell the court that all the witnesses called by the petitioners failed woefully to prove the ingredient of the fact relied upon in their petition.

“The onus is on the petitioners to come with credible evidence and all the testimonies of the witnesses produced by the petitioners were demolished under cross examination.

“ There is nothing that the court will see to be persuaded to give judgment in their favor, we have been able to show with the witnesses we called that the election was conducted in conformity with the provision of the electoral Act.

“We are very satisfied with the proceedings and we are very sure that justice will be done and sure that Malam Nasiru  El-Rufai was duly elected by the people of Kaduna State.

 “On behalf of the 2nd respondent, the final written address which was dated 2nd August, was filed on 3rd August, 2019, while the 2nd respondent filed a reply on fact of law on August 16,” Mustapha said.

Meanwhile, Counsel to the 1st respondent, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),  Aliyu Umar (SAN) urged the tribunal to “dismiss the petition and confirm El Rufai as duly elected Governor of Kaduna State.“

Umar drew the attention of the tribunal to the fact that the petitioners had just served him with a list of additional authorities on the day of sitting.

He also told newsmen shortly after the sitting that:  “We told the tribunal to take witnesses of the petitioners one by one and urged the tribunal to hold that their evidence was different from what they alleged in their petition.

“And their witnesses have all confirmed during cross examination that no INEC officials connived with any other person.

“The petitioners only called 135 of the 685 witnesses the petitioners said they would call, that is short of the number they were supposed to call to prove their case.

“They are to win their case by the evidence presented not by our witnesses,“Umar said.

At the end of the sitting, Justice Bako, thanked counsel to all the parties, party members and representatives of the media  for their cooperation and publicity through out the hearing.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that  Khadi Adamu Usman and Justice Jude Obiora served as members of the Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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Judiciary

Military invasion: Court orders CBN to pay N8 billion to Benue communities

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The Federal High Court, on Monday, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately pay the sum of N8 billion to Tiv communities in Benue invaded by soldiers sometime in year 2001.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the money was awarded in favour of the communities in Logo, Ukum, Kwande and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas of the state for the loss  of lives and property they suffered during the invasion by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in 2001.

The judge, who had earlier granted the preliminary “garnishee nisi”, made the garnishee order “absolute” on Monday by ordering the CBN to pay the sum of N8 billion into an interest yielding account to be domiciled with  First Bank of Nigeria Plc administered by the Chief Registrar of the court.

The judge added that he would subsequently make an order for the disbursement of the money after the CBN complies with the order for the payment.

‎He said the terms of disbursement would have to be signed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.

He ruled: “The garnishee (CBN) is hereby ordered to pay the garnishee sum into an interest yielding account to be opened and maintained by the Chief Registrar of this court in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

“The order authorising the disbursement of the money, shall be made upon being satisfied with the terms of disbursement including the legal fees jointly signed by Ocha Ulegede Esq, and J.K Gadzama, SAN, for the ganishors and endorsed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala local government areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.”

NAN reports that the plaintiffs in the suit are 14 persons from the Benue communities, who were victims of the  military invasion which occurred about 18 years ago.

Those who instituted the suit were late  Dr. Alexander Gaadi, Peter Orngu, Terfa Akaagba, Anongo Unishigh, Ngunengen Adula, Demelu Adula, Zaki Mazan, Mbakesen Ayatse, Mbayemen Maswuan, Anande Agashia, Azenda Igo, Elizabeth Aoughakaa, and Andrew Juntu.

They instituted two separate suits which were later consolidated against the then Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces,  President Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In their consolidated suits, which were filed at  the Federal High Court in Markurdi but later transferred to Enugu Division of the court, the 14 plaintiffs alleged that the Army was used against the Tiv communities under the pretext of settling communal conflicts.

They, therefore,  urged the court to declare the deployment of the army  as genocidal, and the continued occupation of the communities by soldiers as undemocratic and unconstitutional.

They also sought a public apology, among other prayers.

Delivering judgment on the consolidated suits on July 5, 2007, the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court presided over by then Justice A.L Allagoa, awarded N10 billion in favour of the plaintiffs and against the respondents.

None of the defendants had filed any papers to defend the suit at the trial court but they appealed against the judgment.

At the Court of Appeal in Enugu, the parties agreed on N8 billion damages which the court awarded in favour of the the Benue communities in a consent judgment delivered on Feb. 2, 2015.

Ruling on the plaintiffs’ garnishee application on Monday, Justice Ekwo held that there was nothing standing as impediment to the payment of the N8 billion since the respondents had consented to it at the Court of Appeal.

“Upon studying the averments in the six-paragraph affidavit to show cause deposed to on March 28, 2017, by one Huseini Sani Kagai, and three-paragraph further affidavit showing cause deposed to on May 8, 2017, by the same Huseini Sani Kagai, I am unable to see any contrary issue or impediment established by the garnishee that would constitute a cause shown by the garnishee why the order nisi proceedings ought not to be made absolute and I so hold.”

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Dasukigate: Isabella Oshodin to remain in detention until Aug. 21

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The Federal High Court Abuja, on Monday, ordered that an American-based businesswoman, Mrs Isabella Oshodin, should remain in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s custody until Aug. 21 pending the determination of the suit brought before it.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who adjourned the matter till Aug. 21, ordered that Oshodin should remain in the EFCC’s detention.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Oshodin was arraigned for unlawfully receiving N22.9 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser, 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 US dollars.

Oshodin, who has been in the custody of the EFCC for about 70 days, however denied the charges.

The defendant was said to have sold the company to the Federal Government in 2014 and received the alleged sum through Dasuki’s office.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that the defendant received the said amount in about 15 tranches through her family company, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited, which is the 1st defendant in the matter.

Her Counsel, Osahon Idemudia, had pleaded with the trial judge, Justice Taiwo, 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 further told the court 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.”

EFCC’s Lawyer, Aisha Habib, 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 after argument from the counsels adjourned till Aug. 21 for ruling and ordered that the defendant remain in the custody of the commission till the next adjourned date.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Court voids Okorocha’s in-law’s Imo governorship candidature

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the name of Uche Nwosu as a governorship candidate in the last election held in Imo.

Justice Inyang Ekwo voided Nwosu’s candidacy on the grounds of double nomination by two political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Alliance (AA), in violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act.

The ruling came as Nwosu, a son-in-law to the immediate-past Governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, is currently pursuing an election petition at the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as the candidate of AA, challenging the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, in the March 11 poll.

In his judgment on Monday, Justice Ekwo upheld the the case of the plaintiffs, the Action People’s Party (APP) and its Deputy National Chairman, Mr Uche Nnadi, to the effect that Nwosu’s governorship candidature was null and void on the grounds of multiplicity of nominations as a governorship candidate of both the APC and AA.

According to him, the nomination of Nwosu by AA as a governorship candidate is invalid, null and void, having been made at the pendency of similar nomination of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) by the All Progressives Congress for the same position.

The judge noted that Nwosu affirmed to be the APC’s governorship candidate in his statement on oath sworn before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

The judge similarly declared that Nwosu “has not been validly nominated by the 3rd defendant (AA) as its governorship candidate for the state governorship election having been made at the pendency of the order of Justice Valentine Ashi of the Abuja High Court recognising the 2nd defendant as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Imo 2019 governorship election.”

He noted that Nwosu participated in the APC’s primaries held on October 6, 2018 and was subsequently nominated as the party’s governorship candidate.

While laying claim to the APC’s governorship ticket, amidst stiff opposition from members of the party, he was said to have on Oct. 9, 2018, obtained an order of Justice Valentine Ashi (now deceased) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, recognising him as the valid candidate of the party.

In the midst of this, Nwosu was also offered the ticket of the AA.

In his judgment, Justice Ekwo said, “There is no controversy that, on Oct. 6, 2018, the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) had himself nominated as the governorship candidate of the APC.

“Furthermore, there is no controversy that, to secure his nomination by the APC, the 2nd defendant on October 9, 2019, obtained an order of the High Court of the Federal High Court which subsists having not been set aside.”

Justice Ekwo held that Nwosu, through his lawyers, failed to offer any valid rebuttal to the plaintiffs’ evidence that he was nominated by both the APC and the AA, while INEC filed no papers in the case.

The judge ruled, “It is illegal in the eyes of the law. No one is allowed to benefit from an illegal act.

“The 2nd defendant allowed himself to be nominated by the APC and the 3rd defendant (AA).”

He therefore said, “It is hereby declared that the nomination of the 2nd defendant by the All Progressives Congress and Action Alliance, the 3rd defendant, is invalid, null and void and constitute violation of section 37 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

“An order of this honourable court is hereby made directing the 1st defendant (INEC) to remove the name of the 2nd defendant (Nwosu) as the governorship of the 3rd defendant (AA) in the 2019 Imo governorship election for multiple nomination in violation of the provision of section 37 of the Electoral Act 2018 (as amended).

The judge had earlier dismissed Nwosu’s preliminary objection and picked holes in the defence he and the AA separately filed against the substantive suit.

Dismissing the preliminary objection, Justice Ekwo ruled that the provision section 285(9) of the Constitution which stipulates that a pre-election case must be filed within 14 days of the occurrence of the event being complained of, was not applicable to the case.

But Justice Ekwo held that the intention of section 285(9) of the Constitution cited by Nwosu’s legal team was not to make the court “to gloss over all acts prohibited by the Electoral Act”.

He added, “It will mean that section 285(9) of the Constitution is capable, by effect, of allowing a void, illegal or prohibited act to stand and the person behind the act to benefit from the act that is void ab initio.

“It must be said that an illegal or prohibited act does not become legal by virtue of being time-barred,” the judge added.

The judge, who ruled that the suit was not an abuse of court processes since it was filed to seek an interpretation of the provision of the Electoral Act, stated that by virtue of the provision of section 37 of the Electoral Act, the plaintiffs, in spite of the fact that they did not participate in the election, possessed the locus standi (legal right) to file their suit.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Dasukigate: Isabella Mimie to remain in detention until Aug. 21

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Remand

The Federal High Court Abuja, on Monday, ordered that Mrs Isabella Mimie Oshodin should remain in the EFCC’s custody until Aug 21 pending the determination of the suit brought before it.

Oshodin was arraigned alongside the furniture company, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited, for unlawfully receiving N22.9 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.

Justice Taiwo, who adjourned the matter till Aug. 21, ordered that Oshodin should remain in the EFCC’s detention.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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