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Judiciary

Alleged UNILAG gang-rape: Absence of 3 defendants stalls trial

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The absence on Tuesday of three of the five students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), facing trial for allegedly gang-raping a student of the institution has stalled their criminal trial.

The students are facing trial at an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court for allegedly raping a 17-year-old student of UNILAG.

The five students facing trial are: Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19, James Aguedu, 20, and Josephine Osemeka, 20.

The male defendants – Omowole, Chukwu and Aguedo were however, absent during proceedings, due to the inability of the officials of the Kirikiri Medium Prisons to bring them early to court.

Justice Abiola Soladoye had stood-down proceedings at 9 a.m. when none of the defendants was in court.

However, at about 10.23 a.m., the female defendants, Nwankama and Osemeka were brought into the courtroom by officials of the Kirikiri Female Prisons.

When the case was called at 10.51 a.m. for hearing, the three male defendants were still absent in the courtroom.

Aguedu’s Defence Counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN),        registered his displeasure over the development.

“The court sits at 9 a.m. We, the state and citizens are equal before the law.

“The same indulgence (standing-down the case) will not have been granted if the situation was the reversed,” he said.

Reacting to Pedro’s submission, Dr Jide Martins, a Director in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and lead prosecutor in the case, noted that the delay was not caused by the prosecution.

“The correctional services are yet to bring the defendants to court. I do not want to speculate but one can generally assume that it is caused by the traffic situation.

“I am not comfortable with the aspersion that is inferred that the delay was at the instance of the prosecution.

“This is beyond our control. We have done our part. Our witness is in court and we are ready to proceed with our case.”

According to Martins, Omowole, Chukwu and Aguedo sometime in January and sometime in February, 2017 defiled the complainant by having unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

“Chukwu, who lives at No. 25, Shobande St., Akoka, Yaba in January, 2017 knowingly allowed Omowole to defile the complainant by having unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

“Nwankama, Aguedo and Osameka between January and March 2017 were into the procuration (obtaining) of young girls for the purpose of defilement.

“Osemeka sometime in the month of January 2017, in UNILAG, sexually assaulted the complainant by kissing her.”

However, as a result of the absence of the three male defendants, Soladoye adjourned the case till Dec. 3 for continuation of trial.

A prison official, who spoke to the Nigeria News Agency on condition of anonymity at the court premises, confirmed that the absence of the defendants was as a result of heavy traffic.

“I spoke to my colleagues at the Kirikiri Medium Prison.  They are encountering very terrible traffic in that area. That is why there was delay in bringing them to court this morning,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the defendants were eventually brought to court at 11.32 a.m. by prison officials after the court had risen and concluded hearing for the day.

According to the prosecution, the defendants committed the offences sometime in 2017 at the Akoka Campus of UNILAG.

The complainant while testifying on Feb. 26, said that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a staff quarters hostel at UNILAG.

She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight male students and sexually assaulted by Osemeka.

She alleged that the gang-rape and sexual assault at High Rise was videotaped and that she was blackmailed with the video.

She alleged that she was also gang-raped on some other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large. (NAN)

MAE/CHIN/SN

Edited By Chinyere Bassey/Silas Nwoha

 

 

Judiciary

Tailor in court for allegedly beating up businessman

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A tailor, Collins Nnochiri,44, on Wednesday appeared in a Karmo Grade I Area Court for allegedly beating up a businessman.

The police charged Nnochiri with three counts of assault, criminal intimidation and mischief.

The prosecution counsel, Ijeoma Ukhagha, informed the court that the defendant committed the offence on Nov. 2 in Jabi.

She told the court that the complaint was lodged by a businessman, Benjamin Udueje, who lives in  Jabi.

She alleged that the defendant went to the complainant’s place of business, attacked him and tore his shirt valued at N5, 000.

The prosecution also alleged that he defendant threatened to kill the complainant.

During police investigation, he said, the defendant could not reasonably explain his actions.

Ukhagha said the offence contravened the provisions of  sections 397, 265 and 327 of the Penal Code law.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The judge, Alhaji Inuwa Maiwada, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N50,000.

Maiwada then adjourned the case until Nov. 27 for trial.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

Court jails  2 men 14 years for receiving stolen items

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An Ado Ekiti High Court on Wednesday sentenced two men to seven years’ imprisonment each for receiving stolen property.

Justice Abiodun Adesodun convicted Adams Samson, 39, and Ayinla Kolawole, 33, for receiving stolen property.

He did not give them an option of fine.

The judge, however, did not find them guilty of armed robbery which there were also charged with.

He held that the prosecution failed to prove the allegation of armed robbery against the defendants; hence their acquittal of the  charge.

Earlier, prosecution counsel, Mr Gbemiga Adaramola from the state Ministry of Justice, said that the convicts committed the offences on or about May 30, 2017, on Jimoh Aliu Street in Ado-Ekiti.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 427 and 430 of the Criminal Code,  Laws of Ekiti, 2012.

The prosecution called three witnesses and tendered exhibits including pictures, mobile phones, statements of the convicts and vehicle particulars.

Defence called only a witness..

OPA/

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Judiciary

Police in Osun arraign Man, 47,  over alleged fraud of N6.3m, impersonation

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The Police in Osun on Wednesday arraigned a 47-year-old man, Olaitan Bashiru, at an Osogbo Chief Magistrates’ Court over alleged fraud of N6.3 million.

Bashiru, who is facing a two-count charge of fraud and theft, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The State Prosecutor, Mr S.O Ayodele, told the court that the defendant committed the offences between June and September 2018 in Osogbo.

Ayodele said the accused defrauded a company, Cadtech Nigeria Limited, by clamming to be the owner of Powerex Nigeria Limited, a claim he knows to be false.

He said the accused, in a fraudulent manner, obtained the sum of N6.3 million from Cardtech Limited on a business transaction he knew to be false.

The Prosecutor said the offenses contravened Sections 390(9) and 419 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Vol 11, Laws of Osun, 2002.

The Defense Counsel, Mr Eyotayo Soji, prayed the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms.

The Magistrate, Mrs Aishat Ajanaku , granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum.

Ajanaku said the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction with evidence of tax payment and two passports photographs attached with an affidavit of means.

The case was adjourned untill Dec 19 for hearing.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Judiciary

Father docked over alleged cruelty to his baby

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The police, on Wednesday, arraigned one Mr Livingstone Okpezi in a Karshi Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, over alleged cruelty to his child

The defendant, who resides at Angwan Sarki Orozo, Abuja, pleaded not guilty to one count of cruelty to a child. 

Earlier, the prosecutor, Mohammed Lawal, told the court that the complainant, Nwabeke Ginika , who lives in Orozo, Abuja, reported the matter at the Karshi Police Station on Oct. 21.

baby at a motherless babies home.

defendant threatened to cut the baby into two.

The prosecution counsel said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 238 of the Penal Code.

The judge, Isa Anas, admitted the defendant to bail  in the sum of N200, 000  with one  surety in like sum.

Anas adjourned the case until Dec. 16, for hearing.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Judiciary

Lagos State Judiciary Staff Union elects new exco

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The Lagos State Chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) on Tuesday night elected new executives to run its affairs for the next four years.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the election which took the form of party politics had two teams-  Omoluabi Team and Pillars Team – vying for executive positions.

Judiciary staff from all over Lagos State thronged the premises of the Ikeja High Court at 3.00p.m. to cast their votes. Voting  ended at 7.45p.m. after which counting of votes began.

Mr Kehinde Shobowale of Pillars Team was declared the winner of the election after polling 388 votes to become the new Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of JUSUN.

He narrowly defeated Mr Taofeek Gbadebo of the Omoluabi Team, who got 382 votes.

Addressing the judiciary staff at the event, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Aloba, praised the peaceful conduct of the election.

The chief judge, who was represented by Mr Sanusi Kamar, Director of Finance and Human Resources of the Lagos State Judiciary, pledged support for staff of the Lagos State Judiciary.

He urged them to work hard and pursue excellence in their various fields, promising that their welfare would remain important to the judiciary.

In his acceptance speech, the new JUSUN Chairman, Shobowale, promised not to let down the judiciary.

Shobowale said that he would work hard to deliver all his electoral promises.

NAN reports that Mrs Adenike Ogunnaike was elected the union’s Vice-Chairman, while Mrs Olorunfunmilayo Oloyede emerged the Treasurer.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Ijeoma Popoola

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Judiciary

Alleged P&ID scam: Court refuses to grant adjournment in trial of Briton

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Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, overruled the British national, James Nolan, on his application for adjournment over inability of his counsel to prepare for his defence.

Justice Abang, who overruled Nolan, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, to call his first witness.

Nigeria News Agency reports that EFCC had, on Oct. 21, arraigned Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), both British nationals, over their alleged complicity in the 9.6 billion dollars judgment against Nigeria.

Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), an Irish engineering company, had secured the award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) the company had with the federal government.

The arraignment of the two British nationals is coming weeks after two P&ID directors were convicted over the deal.

The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited, were arraigned on a 16-count charge bordering on money laundering.

Earlier, the EFCC’s counsel had told Justice Abang that since the matter was slated for trial, the anti-graft agency was ready to commence the trial.

The lawyer told the court that he was in the court with two witnesses.

However, Nolan’s Counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN, told the court that he had already briefed the prosecution about the difficulty he faced in preparing for the trial.

He said the Nolan was being held at Kuje Correctional Centre where they were allowed access to him twice a week.

According to him, and on each visit, we are allowed only 15 minutes.

The lawyer attributed this to the fact that there were lots of persons awaiting trial at the correctional center who all need to be visited by their counsel and families.

He said it was disheartening that all these persons received their visitors at once without any privacy, besides the time constraint.

“Again, the visitors are supervised by prison officers. So the time for proper communication is nit there,” Erokoro said.

He lamented that the development had made it difficult for him to prepare for the trial.

Erokoro also hinted that his application for bail variation for Nolan was before the court.

He urged Justice Abang to grant the request.

However, Justice Abang dismissed the prayer for adjournment and ordered the EFCC to present the first witness, one Mr Agunbiade Adewale Akinseye, an account officer with Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB).

Details later…

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