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Alleged election exclusion: Court declines jurisdiction in suit by 15 PDP members

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Jurisdiction

An FCT High Court, Jabi on Monday threw out a case filed by some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers, seeking leadership positions as Ward officers within the party.

The claimants, Osaro Nwakaji and 14 others dragged PDP before the court alleging that having made requisite payments for nomination forms, they were entitled to be issued forms for elective positions, but were however, excluded from participating in the Ward Congress that took place in February.

Delivering a ruling, Justice Charles Agbaza,held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Agbaza said that the defence counsel, C.P Aninwoya in his submissions had argued that the claimants had filed, refiled and withdrew same suit before another court in the FCT, which was an abuse of court process.

The judge said he aligned with the counsel’s argument and found that filing same suit before another court was an abuse of court process and resolved the matter in favour of the defendant.

Agbaza further held that another argument raised by defence in its Preliminary Objection was that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.

He said because the cause of action arose in Rivers, where the claimants were excluded from the congress that took place, he said a suit ought to have been instituted there.

According to Agbaza, courts had been recently directed by the CJ to transfer cases back to jurisdictions where cause of action arose.

He further reiterated that the court found that the suit was a case of forum shopping which the Apex court had condemned in strong term and that its lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter as doing otherwise would amount to ”judicial rascality”.

The judge also added that the matter was an internal affair of a political party which ought to be settled as such by the parties exploring the use of internal mechanism to resolve same.

He equally declined to delve further to address the Originating Summon and the second Preliminary Objection as raised by the defence, which still bordered on lack of jurisdiction, having determined that the suit was incompetent.

According to him, ” doing so will amount to academic exercise which the court. does not have the luxury to entertain ”

” This suit is hereby struck out and parties are to bear their cost” Agbaza concluded.

The defence on its part said they were excluded from participating because they were not registered members of the party.

The claimants therefore approached the court to seek for a declaration that they were entitled to participate in the Ward Congresses which held in Feb. and also be part of the Local Government and State Congresses.

They further sought for a declaration that their exclusion from participating in the Congress was unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

In addition, the claimants prayed for an order of court for a perpetual order of injunction restraining the defendant from conducting any wards, Local Government Areas or State Congresses or further Congresses in its Rivers chapter.

In the relief sought also, the claimants prayed for a perpetual order of injunction restraining the defendant from recognising or accepting any results of any purported Ward Congress held in 2020.

Joined as claimants in the suit were Daniel Esiowere, Agbovu ThankGod, Lambert Isaac, Akwini Dandi, Okere Ibekwem, Chinese Jacob, Nwiko Kpuginuaeebu.

Others are Dandi Enyi, Baribeela Gbarabe, Ngozi Enyi, Prince Oyebulu, Kpai Kabari, Omubo Tolofari and Ibiwere Green.

NAN reports that the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, on June 19 barred judges of the court from issuing ex-parte orders to stop any election.

Justice Bello warned that disciplinary action would be initiated against any judge that violates the New Practice Direction that would operate in all high courts within the jurisdiction of the FCT.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Glory Abuh-adejoh: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

Pastor, 59, allegedly defiles girl, 10 in Ogun

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Ogun police have arrested 59-year-old pastor of the Light Christian Church, Odeda, for allegedly defiling a 10-year-old girl.

Ogun Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said in a statement on Tuesday in Abeokuta that the pastor was arrested following a report by the father of the victim.

According to the father, the suspect saw his daughter playing with other children when he led her to get his key from his room.

“He called her to go and bring his key for him in his room, while the innocent girl was going into the room, the pastor followed her behind, pushed her into the bed, covered her mouth with his hands and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.

“Upon the report, the DPO Odeda Division, CSP Ajayi Williams, detailed his detectives to the scene where the randy pastor was promptly arrested.

“On interrogation, the pastor owned up to the crime and he is currently being detained at Odeda police station, while the victim has been taken to General Hospital Odeda for medical attention,” the statement said.

He said the Commissioner of Police, CP Kenneth Ebrimson, had ordered the transfer of the suspect to the Anti-human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State CIID for further investigation and prosecution.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

NEXIM bank clarifies N50bn alleged fraud, says says money used for 62 projects, others

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The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), on Tuesday clarified the alleged mismanagement of N50 billion Export Development Fund released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saying that 62 projects were supported using the intervention.

Mr Tayo Omidiji, Head of Strategy and Communications Department, NEXIM Bank, made the clarification in a statement issued in Abuja.

Omidiji said that the fund which was wrongly referred to as Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility by the petitioners was to support export-oriented projects toward achieving the Zero Oil Plan of the Federal Government.

According to him, following the release of the fund in February 2018, a total of 62 projects have been supported with a total amount of N52.9 billion disbursed.

“The projects supported are reputable exporting companies with verifiable track records and many of them ranking highly on the list of Top 100 exporters published quarterly by the CBN.

He said that the clarification was to explain a report trending “that a petition has been forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, calling for a probe of the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr Abba Bello, over mismanagement of the fund’’.

He further said that the loans granted were adequately secured, mostly with bank guarantees and were all performing, with export proceeds received from 2019 to date.

He said that the export proceeds received from 2019 till date amounted to 90.1 million dollars and 80,000, Euros translating to N34.8 billion, from projects that had so far repatriated their revenues.

“In addition, an estimated 8,062 jobs have been created and/or sustained as a result of the intervention,’’ he said.

Omidiji, however, noted that the immediate focus of the Bello-led executive management was to retool the Bank and return the institution to its pride of place.

He said: “it is pertinent to note that within three years of his resumption in office, the fortunes of the Bank have remarkably improved, with profits of N2.03 billion achieved in 2019 and N1.09 billion in 2018.

“As against a loss of N569 million in 2017 and a much bigger loss of N8.03 billion in 2016, which explains why the previous management could not produce an approved financial statement for three years (2014 to 2016)’’.

He explained that the current management of the Bank, led by Bello, assumed office in April 2017 to replace the former management.

He, therefore, expressed dissatisfaction over the recent incessant attacks on the Bank and its management in a section of the media, predominantly the social media.

He also noted that the said petition was attributed to a faceless organisation identified as Citizens Committee for Corruption Free Nigeria (CCCN), whose address could not be verified.

“However, since the perpetrators of the campaign of calumny appear to be relentless, the bank has found it necessary to put the records straight and allay the concerns of our numerous stakeholders.’’

Omidiji said  that in spite of the malicious attacks, the management remained focused on the task of achieving its mandate of broadening Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings by funding credible export-oriented businesses in the non-oil sectors.

He, therefore, urged the public to ignore any reporting to the contrary.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man in State CID’s custody over alleged rape

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An Ile-Ife Magistrates’ Court in Osun on Tuesday remanded one Adeleke Abraham, 19, in the State Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) custody over alleged rape.

Ayeni ordered the remand of the defendant pending the consideration of his bail and adjourned the case until Aug.11, for mention.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, ASP Joseph Adebayo, had told the court that the defendant was facing a two-count charge of rape and indecent assault.

Adebayo said that the defendant committed the offences on June 29, around 9:30 a.m., at No. 2, Stadium Road, Ile-Ife.

The prosecutor said that the defendant unlawfully had carnal knowledge of a 14-year-old girl (names withheld).

He added that the defendant unlawfully and indecently assaulted a 14-year-old girl (names withheld).

According to him, the offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 31(1)(2) of the Child Rights Law of Osun State, 2007 and 360 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun, 2002.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges of rape and indecent assault.

The Defence Counsel, Mr Babawale Omodogbe, applied for bail for the defendant in the most liberal terms and promised that his client would not jump bail, but would produce reliable sureties.

Magistrate A.A. Ayeni directed the prosecutor to duplicate the case file for submission at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPPs)in the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Alleged N700m EFCC fraud: APC guber candidate appears in court, case adjourned

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The Federal High Court sitting in Benin on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Sept. 19 Edo Governorship Election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and four others until Oct 15,

Justice Mohammed Umar adjourned the case to enable the counsels to file reply to the pending motions challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try the case.

The other defendants in the case include Chief Dan Orbih, estwhile State chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the state Chairman of the party, Tony Aziegbemi, former Deputy Governor of Edo, Mr Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony.

The defendants are being tried on charges bordering on alleged N700 million money laundering case filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Although Justice Umar had,  on Thursday, June 18, validated the corruption charges against the defendants whose case had suffered setback on July 7 following the inability of  Ize-Iyamu to appear in court because of his ill health.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Ize-Iyamu arrived the court as early as 8:30 am., while his lawyer, Mr Charles Edosomwan (SAN), objected to the EFCC’s  Counsel, Mr Ahmed Imoovba’s request to continue with the case when the pending motions before the court were yet to be heard.

Edosomwan prayed the court to grant the defendants seven day’s extension of time to react to the EFCC’s motion on point of law in line with the rules of the court.

Imoovba and counsels to the other defendants did not oppose Edosomwan’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

Similarly, Imoovba, in his own separate motion, sought for extension of time to file his reply to Edosomwan’s objection.

Justice Umar, after listening  to the submissions of both counsels, ruled that he had given all the parties seven days within which to file all relevant documents to court before commencement of its vacation on July 27.

Justice Umar adjourned the case until Oct. 15 for further hearing.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the EFCC, in Suit No. 21C/ 2016, had filed an eight-count charge against the defendants over alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election.

The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract awarded.

IMEL/ Á

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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General news

Group protests Edo Govt’s alleged attempt to obtain N20bn loan

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The Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDES) in Edo, on Tuesday protested against Gov. Godwin Obaseki’s alleged attempt to obtain another N20 billion loan from the Nigeria capital market.

Mr Osemwengie Isere, who led the protests to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo Council, Benin, said that the move was an attempt to mortgage the future of the state.

Isere said: “first, Edo’s domestic debt profile stands at N84.76 billion; secondly, we have the highest domestic debt in Nigeria next to Lagos.

“We have the highest external debt in the entire South-South amounting to $257.92 million as at March 2020.

“Apart from the few renovations of already existing infrastructure, we have not seen any landmark or gigantic projects the government has done with the funds accruing to the state.

“We, therefore, find no justification for the government’s desire to acquire another N20 billion loan few weeks to the governorship elections in the state,” Isere said.

In his reaction, Mr Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, said that there was no such thing as N20 billion loan proposal by the Edo Government.

Osagie said: “Edo people cannot be distracted by such a wild claim.

“We advise the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate to go to court and face his corruption trial, instead of sponsoring protests over non-existent issues.

“In a bid to distract the Edo people from his ongoing trial in court for a N700 million fraud allegation, the candidate of the APC has resorted to sponsoring protests over non-existent issues.

“Edo people are too intelligent to be swayed by such tantrums and staged drama of the absurd being displayed by the sponsored protesters.”

Mr John Mayaki, the Chairman, Edo APC Media Campaign Council and Spokesman for Pastor Ize-Iyamu, said: “We do not sponsor protests and we do not claim to control the minds of the Edo people.

“Once again, the government is trying to deflect attention and distract the people and the press from the real issues,” Mayaki said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man, 55, for allegedly raping 7-year-old

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A Kano Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday ordered the remand of a 55-year-old man, Abdullahi Haladu, at Goron Dutse Correctional Centre for allegedly raping 7-year-old girl.

The defendant, who lives at Unguwar Mahauta Gani Village, Kano, is facing a one-count charge of rape, contrary to Section 283 of the penal code.

The Prosecutor, ASP Badamasi Gawuna, told the court that Isa Uba of the same address reported the case at Sumaila Police Division, Kano, on June 29.

He alleged that on the same date at about 8p.m, the defendant deceived and lured the child into his room situated at Unguwar Mahauta and raped her.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge levelled against him.

Chief Magistrate Muhammad Idris adjourned the case until Aug. 31, for mention.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands Student for allegedly stabbing man, 35, to death in Kano

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A Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday ordered the remand of a 24-year-old student, Surajo Mohammad, in a correctional centre for stabbing one Gambo Umar,35, to death with a bottle.

The defendant, who resides at Kofar Ruwa Quarters in Kano, is standing trial for alleged culpable homicide.

The Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Idris, ordered the defendant to be remanded in correctional centre, and asked the Prosecutor, Mr Badamasi Gawuna, to send the case file to the State Director of Public Prosecution for advice.

Idris adjourned  the case until Aug.31 for further mention.

Earlier, the prosecutor had told the court that the defendant committed the offence on May 7 at about 4:00 p.m at Kofar Ruwa Quarters, Kano.

He alleged that the defendant had a misunderstanding with his neighbour whom he stabbed with a bottle on his neck..

“The victim was rushed to Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital where he died while receiving treatment,” he told the court.

Gawuna said the offence contravened Section 221 of the Penal Code.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Á

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Judiciary

Man in court for allegedly causing co-tenant’s wife to miscarry

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A 30-year-old man, Abdul Abdulkadiri, on Tuesday appeared in an FCT High Court sitting in Nyanya for allegedly causing his neighbour’s wife to miscarry.

The police charged Abdulkadiri with causing the death of an unborn child.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Okokon Udo told the court that the defendant and his co- tenant had an altercation  in their house in Kabusa, Abuja.

He alleged that the defendant threw a stone at his co-tenant which missed him and hit his wife, Ebere Adebayo who was four months pregnant.

The prosecution alleged that Adebayo had a miscarriage.

The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of Section 236 of the Penal Code.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to offence.

The defendant’s counsel, Mr Etta Effion, applied and argued for his bail which Udo did not oppose.

Subsequently,  the judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke admitted him to bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties in the like sum.

Kekemeke ordered that one of the sureties must be a land owner in Abuja with a certificate of occupancy.

He adjourned the case until Oct. 15 for trial.

In another development the police also charged one Moses Anyaoha with nine counts, bordering on criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and stealing.

The Police alleged that Anyaoha and one Tony Mba, now at large, between 2010 and January 2011 conspired to commit offence of culpable homicide contrary to Section 96 of the Penal Code.

Prosecution Counsel, Mr Peter Amadi, alleged that the defendant injected one DCP Augustina Ihesiaba, with poison which caused her death contrary to Section 221 of the Penal Code.

He also alleged that Anyaoha stole N70 million from the various accounts of the deceased which is contrary to Section 287 of the Penal Code.

The prosecution also alleged that the defendant disposed of several plots of land in Abuja entrusted to him by the deceased contrary to Section 312 of the Penal Code.

The defendant however pleaded not guilty.

His counsel,  Mr Raeboh Sanami, could not argue his bail because he did not  serve the prosecution with the motion for bail.

After listening to both counsel,  Kekemeke ordered that the defendant be remanded at the Police facility at Garki, Abuja, until the next adjourned date.

He then adjourned until Sept. 17, for the hearing of the defendant’s bail application. (NAN )

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

 

 

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Judiciary

3 men docked over alleged theft of N1.9m laptops

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Three men, Kareem Lateef, 32, Chinedu Agba, 32 and Henry Obiora, 43 were, on Tuesday, arraigned at an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing laptops worth N1.9 million.

Lateef, an employee of an LG Electronics Company, and two others were arraigned on a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen goods.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Chinedu Njoku, told the court that the defendants committed the offences sometime between March and May this year, at No. 34, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He said that the first defendant, Lateef, stole his employer’s four LG laptops and a Hisense GSM, all valued at N1.9 million.

According to Njoku, the stolen laptops are with serial numbers – LG PC 132940501 NZQR043308; LG PC 14U530601 NQORM2309; LG PC 15U530307 NZNNO10657 and LG PC Z360 Ultra-Book 307 NZ5J004310.

The prosecutor stated that Lateef sold the stolen laptops to the other defendants, Agba and Obiora, who received the items with the knowledge that they were stolen.

He said that the stolen goods belonged to the complainant, LG electronics showroom, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Njoku said that the offences contravened sections 287, 326 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The trio, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Magistrate, Ms Kikelomo Ayeye, granted the defendants N500,000 bail each, with two sureties each in like sum.

She ordered that the sureties must show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government and adjourned the case until Aug. 4 for mention.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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