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Judiciary

Court closes farmer’s divorce case in his absence

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A Customary Court sitting in Nyanya, Abuja, on Wednesday closed the divorce case involving a farmer, Mr Michael Elemide, against his wife, Mary, in his absence

Judith Ezeudogu: 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

Sport

Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio take promotion case to France’s highest court

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Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio said on Tuesday they are taking their case to France’s highest court for administrative matters after their request for promotion playoffs to be staged was rejected.

The French Olympic Committee rejected requests by Troyes, Clermont and AC Ajaccio for playoffs to be used to decide on promotion to Ligue 1 after the French League (LFP) ended the season early because of the COVID-19 crisis.

With 10 games remaining, Lorient (54 points) were crowned champions and promoted to Ligue 1 alongside RC Lens (53). Third-placed AC Ajaccio (52), fourth-placed Troyes (51) and fifth-placed Clermont (50) will all remain in Ligue 2.

“We will immediately submit an appeal to the Council of State to ensure that our rights and sporting equity are respected,” AC Ajaccio said in a statement.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Foreign

Germany’s top court rules against VW in diesel scandal compensation case

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A top German court ruled on Monday that leading carmaker Volkswagen (VW) must pay compensation for a buyer of the VW vehicle fitted with cheat device for emissions tests.

The latest episode of so-called dieselgate scandal sets an important precedent for about 60,000 similar cases.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe said in a statement that the buyer of the vehicle is entitled to compensation claims against VW, but the refund will not be the full purchase price, with the car’s mileage being taken into account.

A VW litigation spokesperson said in a statement that the ruling clarifies how the top court assesses the essential basic questions in the proceedings for the majority of the currently pending 60,000 cases.

The company is endeavoring to end these proceedings promptly in agreement with the plaintiffs, seeking “a pragmatic and simple solution with one-off payments,” according to the statement.

Monday’s ruling from the top civil judges basically confirmed the previous buyer-friendly judgment by a regional court in Koblenz. The plaintiffs and the defendants both appealed after the Koblenz court ruling, with the buyer demanding a full refund and the company arguing not paying at all.

The scandal surrounding illegally manipulated exhaust emission levels in millions of diesel cars turned out by VW became public in 2015. The German car giant has so far paid more than 30 billion euros (33 billion U.S. dollars) in regulatory fines and settlements worldwide.

In February, VW and the Federation of German Consumer Organizations reached an agreement on the negotiated 830 million-euro compensation settlement in a landmark action lawsuit, which involved around 260,000 VW customers.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

News Analysis: Israeli PM strives to use new gov’t as protection in court trial

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With newly appointed ministers behind him, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his trial opened on Sunday is “an effort to bring him down” and his right-wing political camp.

Netanyahu came to the court escorted by his supporters from the government, part of them in charge of the enforcement agencies and appointment committee of court judges.

Facing a “battle for life”, Netanyahu is striving to use its government power as the most effective weapon.

He has endeavored from the beginning of his investigations to depict himself as “a victim of a witch hunt” led by the left-wing side.

The corruption trials of Netanyahu in three different cases involve serious charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.

But no one could imagine anyone else able to form an alternative government in the near future, even Benny Gantz.

And not many believe that Netanyahu would hand over the post of prime minister to Gantz in 2021.

Benny Gantz, an alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister, signed a rotation agreement with Netanyahu, which enabled the latter to establish the government, in the act of uniting the Israeli society during the COVID-19 crisis.

Yossi Shain, head of the school of political science at Tel Aviv University, said in an interview with Xinhua that Gantz is trying not to break the government right now.

“He doesn’t see any value of destroying the government by condemning Netanyahu,” which will immediately bring the government down, said Shain.

Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli military, entered the politics a year ago claiming to overthrow “corrupted” Netanyahu. But after three elections, they joined hands.

Gayil Talshir, an expert on Israeli democracy at the department of politics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said Gantz has prevented Netanyahu from using the government to terminate his trial completely.

If Netanyahu had been able to form his dream government without Gantz which just consisted of right-wing parties, they could pass laws that undermine the trial at least as long as Netanyahu is the acting PM.

“I think that we will hear many statements of Netanyahu’s party members against the trial, the judges, and the police,” Talshir said in an interview with Xinhua.

Netanyahu just minutes before his trial started said at his speech to the media that the former head of the Israeli police, which he appointed, committed criminal offenses as leaking information from PM investigations.

Netanyahu accused the official of wrongdoings, as well another high-ranking police officer. “These are the people who led the investigations against me,” he said. “I am sure they did this deliberately and willingly.”

Talshir thinks that the new appointee by Netanyahu for the minister of public security who is now in charge of the police would make sure no new investigations against the prime minister would happen.

Analysts said some ministers appointed by the new government may not be the best fit for their public positions, but perfect for helping Netanyahu in the trial.

Netanyahu, 70-year-old and the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Israel, was elected firstly in 1996, served until 1999, and has been in power continuously since 2009.

Meanwhile, he has been indicted in three cases, including receiving gifts from billionaires in exchange for visa extension and tax reduction laws, helping a prominent publisher close its competitor in exchange for less negative coverage, and promoting regulatory decisions in favor of a telecom giant in exchange for positive coverage.

(XINHUA)

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Judiciary

Lawyers pay glowing tribute to late Supreme Court Justice Karibi-Whyte

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Some lawyers in Lagos on Saturday paid glowing tribute to late Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, who died on Friday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the late Justice Karibi-Whyte was aged 88.

Reacting, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa,SAN, said:”Nigeria has lost a foremost jurist and a fearless adjudicator with a robust intellectual mind.

“He was full of wits, wisdom and judicial stamina to tackle most cases that he participated in, either in writing the leading judgment, supporting judgment or dissenting judgment.

“He rendered very profound explanations behind the reasonings contained in his judgments, all of which have helped to shape the course of judicial history in Nigeria.

“He deployed his knowledge and experience garnered from private legal practice, up to the Bench as a judge of the then Revenue Court, now known as the Federal High Court, up to the Supreme Court, in the practical application of the determination of cases brought before him.

“His book on the practice and procedure of the Federal High Court is always a delight for judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students alike.

“I, hereby extend my heartfelt condolences to the Nigeria Bar, to the Governor and good people of Rivers State, to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President on the demise of this erudite jurist.

Also speaking, a former Chairman of the Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Adedotun Adetunji described the death of Justir Karibi-Whyte as a huge loss to the legal community.

He said the late jurist was an epitome of knowledge and a Professor of Law whose judgement could only be described as sound and classic.

“His Lordship was a fine jurist with penetrating and lucid reasoning in his judgements.

“Significantly, His Lordship was courageous to dissent with majority views while he was in the Supreme Court,” he said

He said that the demise of the legal icon leaves yet another legacy to be emulated by younger jurist.

Adetunji commiserated with the family of the deceased as well as the entire Nigerian legal community and prayed for a peaceful repose soul of the late Justice.

Another human rights activist, Mr Spurgeon Ataene in his reaction described the late jurist as a dogged fighter for the course of Justice.

He said:”I condole with the family of this legal Colossus Late Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte who retired from the supreme Court upon attaining the mandatory 70 years stipulated for retirement of Justices at that level

“He was such an enigma in every sense; one that should be emulated in hardwork and judicial activism.

“To have started out as a court clerk- the lowest in the court system and steadily acquired requisite education to become a lawyer, got his Masters degree from London and a PhD from University of Lagos.

“He was prepared for the journey to the bench, and was one with wide knowledge from the West and native intelligence from home in Nigeria.

“No wonder his gargantuan exploits on the bench cannot be easily matched.

“I commiserate with his entire family members, the legal community, and the country at large for Nigeria has indeed lost an almost irreplaceable brain,” he said

In the same vein, another lawyer, Mr Anthony Makolo described the late Judge as “the people’s jurist”

“When the news of his demise filtered the air, it simply reawakened in him, the consciousness that every man will be remembered for the legacy he leaves behind.

“I must extend my heartfelt sympathies to the NBA, the nation’s Judiciary, as well as the Rivers State Government for this great loss,” he said

NAN reports that Justice Karibi-Whyte hails from Abonnema, in Rivers State.

He was appointed as a Judge of the Federal Revenue Court in 1976, where he began his illustrious judicial career.

Thereafter, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1980, and later to the apex Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1984 from where he later retired after a meritorious judicial service.

Some of his notable celebrated judgments include Government of Gongola State v Tukur (1989), Attorney General of the Federation v Attorney General of Abia State , amongst others.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Foreign

UN expresses concern over military courts’ death sentences in eastern Libya

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The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Friday expressed concern over a number of death sentences issued by military courts in eastern Libya.

“We have been informed of at least 13 death sentences issued by the Benghazi High Court and four by an al-Bayda Court, in potential violation of Libya’s international human rights law obligations,” the UNSMIL said in a statement.

There have been reports that defendants have not been permitted to present their cases, or have evidence against them examined, and that following trials, sentences have been handed down secretly, with no written, reasoned judgements provided to defendants or lawyers, which is of deep concern to the UNSMIL, said the statement.

Hundreds of defendants are detained in prisons in eastern Libya, most of whom were arrested during the east-based army a few years ago.

According to international and local human rights organizations, most of the defendants did not have a fair trial, as judgments were passed in secret and far from the media.

Libya has been suffering chaos and political division since the 2011 uprising that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.

(XINHUA)

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Judiciary

Police arraign woman in court for alleged N415,000 fraud

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The police, on Friday, arraigned a 37-year-old woman, Folake Aderoyin in court for alleged N415,000 fraud.

Aderoyin, whose address was not provided, is facing a charge of fraud before an Ado-Ekiti Magistrates’ Court.

She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor, Sgt. Olubu Apata, told the court that the defendant committed the offence in  January  at Ajilosun area of Ado-Ekiti.

Apata said the defendant collected some goods worth N415, 000 from the complainant, Mr Mahmood Badra and promised to deliver the money to him, a representation she knew was false.

He alleged that the defendant fraudulently converted the money to her own use.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened Section 383(1) (2) (a) (b) (f) (4)  of the Criminal Law of Ekiti State, 2012.

Apata  urged the court to  adjourn the case to enable him study the file and assemble  his witnesses.

The Defence Counsel, Mr Olawumi Olowofela, urged the court to grant his client bail, promising that she would not jump bail.

The magistrate, Mrs Kehinde Awosika, granted the defendant bail  in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.

Awosika ordered that  the sureties must be her blood relations.

She adjourned the case until June 3 for mention.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

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Foreign

Conviction of former Prague Imam for terrorism charges upheld in court

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Former Prague Imam Samer Shehadeh lost an appeal on Thursday here at the High Court of Appeal against his 10-year sentence for participating in a terrorist group and financing terrorism, local media reported.

“As far as guilt is concerned, we have no doubt,” Judge Alexander Karolyi said, noting that Shehadeh’s confession and the “indisputable” evidence against him was sufficient for the court’s decision.

The court found that he helped his brother Omar Shehadeh and sister-in-law Fatima Hudkova go to Syria to join the Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. He had also funneled money from the Czech Republic to Syria to assist the group, according to the Czech News Agency (CTK).

Omar Shehadeh received an 11-year prison sentence and Fatima Hudkova received a six-year prison sentence, both of them prosecuted as fugitives in late February.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Lockdown: Kano mobile court prosecutes 45 drivers

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Court

Kano, April 21, 2020 Kano State Judiciary says it has prosecuted more than 45 drivers, whose vehicles were intercepted for violating the ban on inter-states movement.

Mr Baba Jibo, Public Relations Officer of the state Judiciary disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kano.

Jibo said that 30 of the defaulters were arrested at Kwanan Dangora on Kano – Zaria road, trying to enter Kano from Kaduna.

He said that during the operation, 10 other vehicles were intercepted while coming from Jigawa and the remaining five from other places.

He further explained that over 10 tricycles were also intercepted and the riders prosecuted for violating the lockdown order.

“The Kano Mobile Court, working with the law enforcement agents, arrested 45 drivers who disregarded the lockdown order and ban on inter-states movement on Thursday.

“Under the Chairmanship of Salisuf Sallama, the court fines all the lawbreakers accordingly to the gravity of their offences,’’ Jibo said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man over alleged armed robbery, theft of 50 gallons of palm oil

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An Ile-Ife Magistrates’ Court in Osun, on Thursday, remanded one Elugbindin Timothy, 44, over alleged armed robbery and theft of 50 gallons of palm oil.
The Prosecutor, ASP Joseph Adebayo, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on March 10, around 5 am. at Odemuyiwa Village, via Ifetedo.
Adebayo said that the defendant conspired with others, now at large, to commit the offence.
He added that the defendant armed himself with gun and other dangerous weapons and robbed one Fatai Adeyeni of 50 gallons of palm oil and two bags of cocoa beans.
The prosecutor also listed other stolen goods to include three bags of palm kernel seeds, goats and hospital equipment, all valued at N10 million.
He further told the court that the defendant willfully set the house of Chief Fatai Adeyeni ablaze.
According to him, the offences were contrary to and punishable under Sections 1(1) and 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R11, Laws of Nigeria, 2004.
Adebayo added that the offence also contravened Sections 1 (1), (2)(a),(b) and 443 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun, 2002.
The plea of the defendant was, however, not taken despite the fact that his defence counsel, Mr Obi Samuel, announced his appearance.
The Magistrate, Joseph Owolawi, did not grant bail to the defendant on the ground that his court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
Owolawi, therefore, ordered the remand of the defendant at the State Criminal Investigation Intelligent Department (SCIID).
He adjourned the case till June 24, for mention.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Judiciary

Court sentences bricklayer, mechanic to 21 years in prison for bag-snatching

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An Ikeja High Court has sentenced a bricklayer, Ibrahim Olaore and a mechanic, Nurudeen Moshood to 21 years in prison for snatching the handbag of a banker in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that during Thursday’s virtual proceeding, Justice Yetunde Adesanya held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found the defendants guilty of a two-count charge of conspiracy and robbery.
“Section 297(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011 provides that anyone found guilty of the offence of robbery shall be sentenced upon conviction to imprisonment of not less than 21 years.
“The above is a mandatory prescribed term of imprisonment and the position of the law is that where no discretion regarding sentence is to be exercised the period of incarceration before the accused is found guilty cannot be taken into consideration when sentence is being pronounced.
“My sentence is as follows, you Ibrahim Olaore and Nurudeen Moshood are hereby sentenced to a mandatory 21-year term of imprisonment with effect from today Thursday 21st May, 2020. This is the judgment of the court,” Justice Adesanya said.
Earlier before the sentence, the counsel to the defendants, Mrs A. Onalaja, in her allocutus (plea for mercy), told the court to temper justice with mercy.
She noted that the defendants were young men in their twenties who still had their lives ahead of them.
“The defendants are in their prime of life, they are barely starting their lives. It is unfortunate that they have to start on this kind of note.
“I humbly plea that the court considers the ages of the defendants, the time they have spent in incarceration and also the fact that the second defendant (Moshood) is a father to a young child,” Onalaja said.
According to the prosecution led by Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, the defendants alongside Segun Ogunmola who is at large, committed the offences at 6.20am on April 24, 2016 at Foursquare Bus-stop, Ikotun, Lagos.
“The two defendants were on an unmarked motorcycle which was being driven by Ogunmola. They snatched the handbag of one Ms Blessing Popoola, who was on her way to church that Sunday morning.
“They were, however, apprehended about 30 minutes later by some youths who were on high alert due to the spate of motorcycle robberies in the area.
Popoola’s handbag containing her mobile phone, a Sterling Bank identity card and N4, 000 cash were recovered from the defendants,” Oluwafemi said.
NAN reports that during the trial, Popoola, the complainant and Insp Adekunle Adeshina, a Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) official, testified on behalf of the prosecution while the two defendants testified in their defence.
Popoola, while testifying in court, positively identified the defendants as the men who robbed her on her way to church.
The banker noted that hours after the robbery, she called her mobile phone which was picked by one Sgt Emeka who told her that the men who attacked her had been apprehended.
Popoola noted that she was summoned to Ikotun Police Station to retrieve her belongings.
Olaore and Moshood in their testimonies denied committing the robbery and also denied knowing each other.
The defendants had said they were passengers on a motorcycle and they were accosted and overpowered by some youths along Governor Road, Ikotun, Lagos and falsely accused of robbery.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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General news

Lockdown: Mobile court convicts 225 violators in Plateaued

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A Mobile Court sitting in Mangu Local Government Area in Plateau has convicted a total of 225 persons for violating the lockdown imposed by the state government to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mr Luka Pam, the Prosecutor disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Mangu.

Pam said that 425 persons were brought before the court between April 10 and May 20 for allegedly violating the lockdown order, out of which 225 were convicted.

“During the period under review, 40 of the convicts were quarantined while 65 did community services as their punishment for violating the lockdown directive.

“We all know how dangerous the COVID-19  is, but it’s very unfortunate how some residents will deliberately flout government orders,” he said.

He called on the public to be patriotic and keep to the government directives aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly virus in the state.

Edited By: Joe Idika and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man over alleged theft of 50 gallons of palm oil

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An Ile-Ife Magistrates’ Court in Osun on Thursday remanded one Timothy Elugbindin, 44, over alleged robbery of 50 gallons of palm oil at gun point.

The Prosecutor, Asp. Joseph Adebayo told the court that the defendant committed the offence on March 10, 2020, around 5a.m., at Odemuyiwa Village via Ifetedo.

Adebayo said that the defendant conspired with others now at large to commit felony to wit: Armed Robbery.

He added that the defendant armed himself with gun and other dangerous weapons and robbed one Fatai Adeyeni of 50 gallons of palm oil and two bags of cocoa beans.

According to him, other stolen goods are: 3 bags of palm kernel seeds, goats and hospital equipment, total valued N10 million.

According to him, the defendant willfully set the dwelling house of Chief Fatai Adeyeni ablaze.

The Prosecutor stated further that the offence was contrary to and punishable under sections 1 (1) and 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R11, Laws of Nigeria, 2004.

Adebayo added that the offence also contravened sections 1(1), (2), (a), (b) and 443 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun, 2002.

The plea of the defendant was not taken, in spite of the fact that his defence counsel, Mr Obi Samuel announced his appearance.

Magistrate Joseph Owolawi did not grant the bail of the defendant on the ground that his court lacks jurisdiction to hear the armed robbery case.

Owolawi, therefore, ordered for the remand of the defendant at the State Criminal Investigation Intelligent Department (SCIID).

He adjourned the case until June 24, for mention.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Foreign

New head of Latvian Supreme Court appointed

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Latvian lawmakers on Thursday approved Aigars Strupiss as the new chief judge of the Baltic country’s Supreme Court, the parliamentary press service informed.

Strupiss was chosen by Supreme Court judges to succeed the court’s outgoing head Ivars Bickovics, but it was up the parliament to approve the nomination. As they voted to nominate Strupiss, the judges cited the candidate’s vast academic experience and many years of service as a Supreme Court judge with a specialization in commercial law.

Strupiss’ nomination was supported by the parliament legal committee and subcommittee for judicial policy, as well as political parties representing the government coalition.

In the parliamentary vote, Strupiss was appointed the Supreme Court’s chief judge for a five-year term, with 91 out of 100 lawmakers voting for his appointment.

Strupiss told lawmakers that in his new office he intends to improve the quality of the judicial process, including court rulings. He plans to work more closely with courts of lower instances, strengthen judicature and enhance the training of judges. Strupiss also underlined the necessity to make court judgments more comprehensible to the public.

Strupiss has been working as a Supreme Court judge since 2014 and heading the court’s department of civil cases for the past two years. He is also a member of the Latvian Judicial Council.

Ivars Bickovics’ second term as the Supreme Court’s chief judge will end on June 15.

(XINHUA)

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Judiciary

Court sentences man to 2 weeks community service for theft

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A Grade 1 Area Court, Kubwa in Abuja on Thursday sentenced one Nura Usman, to two weeks community service for stealing one iron pipe and escaping from lawful custody.

Usman was convicted and sentenced for criminal trespass, theft and escape from lawful custody.

The judge, Muhammad Adamu, sentenced Usman to one week community service with an option of N3, 000 fine for the offence of criminal trespass and theft.

Adamu also ordered Usman to observe one week community service for escape from lawful custody.

He however, warned him to desist from committing crimes and be of good behaviour.

Earlier, the prosecuting counsel, John Okpa told the court that one Emmanuel Ukam reported the matter at Kubwa Police Station on May 11.

He said Usman criminally trespassed into the complainant’s compound at Kubwa, Abuja and stole one iron pipe valued N28, 000.

Okpa said while Usman attempted to escape, he was chased and arrested with the stolen item.

The prosecutor further said while Usman was detained at the station for investigation, he escaped from lawful custody, was chased and rearrested.

He added that the offence contravened Sections 342 and 287 and 173 of the Penal Code.

Usman pleaded guilty and begged for mercy.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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General news

COVID-19: Enugu govt. begins decontamination of court premises, filling stations

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The Enugu State Fire Service, on Wednesday, commenced the decontamination and fumigation of all court premises and offices in the state.

Briefing newsmen during the exercise at the State Judiciary Headquarters Complex, Enugu, the state Chief Fire Officer, Mr Okwudiri Ohaa, said that the ongoing exercise was directed by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

He said the exercise was in furtherance of the administration’s efforts to contain spread of COVID-19.

Ohaa explained that the first phase of the decontamination would cover the High Courts and Magistrates Courts, while the second phase would be the turn of the Customary Courts.

The chief fire officer noted that the court premises were among the sensitive places that attracted influx of people.

He recalled that the Ugwuanyi-led administration had recently carried out the decontamination exercise in Enugu metropolis and its environs, major markets, motor parks, hospitals, among other high traffic areas of the state.

Ohaa pointed out that from the courts, the exercise would be taken to fuel stations where essential services were also being rendered.

He added that the exercise would equally be extended to Nsukka and Awgu zones.

According to him, Enugu State has been consistent in the decontamination and disinfection of its environs.

He said: “The records are there. We have covered over 300 high human traffic areas in the state and we are continuing.

“The substance we are using for the fumigation and decontamination is powerful chlorine disinfectant mixed with calcium hypochlorite. It is internationally recognised and not harmful to health,” Ohaa said.

Responding, Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Mrs Martha Aroh-Onuoha, on behalf of the State Chief Judge, Justice Priscilla Emehelu, thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for his administration’s commitment to safety, health and well-being of the people.

She said the decontamination exercise coincided with the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, that all courts should be decontaminated.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

 

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Judiciary

$10m bribe allegation: Court restrains Reps from inviting CUPP Spokesman, Ugochinyere

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The Federal High Court Abuja, on Wednesday, restrained the House of Representatives from inviting Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, Spokesperson, Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), over allegation of 10 million dollars bribery scandal.

NAN reports that the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc committee investigating the 10 million dollars bribery allegation against the speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had summoned  Ugochinyere to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday.

 

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who delivered the ruling in a suit filed by Ugochinyere,  reminded the defendants of the position of the law once a matter was before the court.

According to Justice Taiwo, once a matter is in court, parties must not do any act to foist upon the court a situation of fait accompli.

The Speaker, House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, Clerk of the National  Assembly and the Inspector-General of Police, are defendants in the case. 

 

NAN reports that the House had set up an Ad Hoc Committee led by Rep. Henry Nwawuba to probe the bribery allegation offered to the lawmakers by Bill Gates to accelerate the quick passage of Control Infections Disease Bill, 2020. 

The committee had given the CUPP spokesman seven days to appear before it.

Besides restraining the lawmakers from going ahead with the probe, the judge also ordered accelerated hearing of the case.

In a motion ex-parte dated and  filed on May, 7, the court held that ”The defendants are enjoined not to do anything on the subject matter of this suit and the reason for the exparte application until the court considers the affidavit to show cause why the court should not grant prayers 2 and 4.”

Prayer two sought the court order, directing Gbajabiamila and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, to produce and tender an oath before the court on the original version of the Control of Infections Disease Bill, 2020; within seven days thereof.

The plaintiff also asked for “an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining the defendants whether by Itself, members, Committees, agents, staff, privies or howsoever described, from proceedings with the committee hearing or sitting of any committee or Inviting, indicting and/or otherwise proceeding against the plaintiffs In connection with the opposition, condemnation or fair opinion expressed about the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants  over the alleged inducement to pass the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 which is the subject matter of present suit, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

Justice Taiwo, then, adjourned the matter until May 27.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Rwanda’s most-wanted genocide suspect appears before French court

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Arraignment

Paris/The Hague, Felicien Kabuga, accused of funding the 1994 Rwandan genocide, appeared before a French court on Wednesday, four days after his arrest following a quarter of a century on the run.

In his first appearance in public in more than two decades, the octogenarian was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, dressed in jeans and a blue jumper and wearing a face mask.

Kabuga has been indicted by UN prosecutors for genocide and incitement to commit genocide, among other charges.

He is accused of bankrolling and arming the ethnic Hutu militias which killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus over 100 days.

Rwanda’s most wanted fugitive, he was arrested on Saturday in a Paris suburb.

The court’s three judges, who are due to decide whether to transfer Kabuga to the UN tribunal – adjourned the hearing to May 27.

Kabuga’s lawyers said he wanted a trial in France and accused the country’s chief public prosecutor of trying to rush the legal process.

“Mr Kabuga is an old man, he’s tired and sick,” lawyer Laurent Bayon told the judges. “The prosecutor wants to be rid of Mr Kabuga.”

The UN tribunal’s prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said a request had already been launched for Kabuga’s transfer into UN custody and that he could initially be held in The Hague rather than Africa because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

It “is definitely an option” for a first legal phase to be conducted in The Hague, Brammertz said.

Two policeman stood behind Kabuga, whose voice was weak but audible as he confirmed through an interpreter his identity and parents’ names. He gave his date of birth as March 1, 1933.

Kabuga’s arrest marked the end of a more than two-decade long hunt that spanned Africa and Europe.

The one-time tea and coffee tycoon is accused of being a main financier of the genocide, paying for the militias that carried out the massacres, as well as importing huge numbers of machetes, according to the UN tribunal’s indictment.

He also co-owned a media group whose radio station broadcast anti-Tutsi messages that fanned the ethnic hatred. The United States had placed a five million dollars bounty on his head.

Kabuga was the most high-profile fugitive of the UN tribunal which tried Rwanda genocide suspects in Arusha, Tanzania, known as the ICTR. It closed five years ago, but a successor body still operates there and in the Netherlands.

The ICTR was at the centre of efforts to set new standards in international justice, though incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame said it was too slow and too inefficient.

Other critics said it was too focused on prosecuting Hutus and not Kagame’s Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Kabuga’s defence team said they would later seek his release on bail. Exiting the courtroom, Kabuga raised his fist as several relatives including one son voiced encouragement.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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General news

Indicted Rwandan genocide suspect Kabuga appears before French court

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Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga indicted in his absence on charges of bankrolling ethnic militias that massacred some 800,000 people in 1994 was brought before a French court on Wednesday.

In his first appearance in public in more than two decades, the octogenarian was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, dressed in jeans and a blue jumper and wearing a face mask.

He spoke to confirm his identity.

Kabuga was arrested on Saturday in a Paris suburb and the court is to decide whether to transfer him for trial to a UN war crimes tribunal.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court fixes June 2 for Orji Kalu’s application seeking release from prison

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed June 2 to hear an application filed by Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking his release from prison.

The motion on notice will be heard by Justice Mohammed Liman.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kalu is currently serving a 12 years jail term at the Correctional Service Centre in Kuje, Abuja for allegedly looting N7.2billion belonging to Abia State.

He was sentenced by Justice Mohammed Idris on Dec. 5, 2019 , to 12 years imprisonement while his co- defendant, Jonnes Udeogo had bagged a 10 years jail term.

Kalu had hired a 12 man team of lawyers, including six Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN)s, to prosecute his freedom bid.

He filed the motion on May 12 asking the court to nullify his conviction.

NAN reports that following Udeogu’s appeal, the Supreme Court had on May 8 held that the fiat issued to Justice Idris to conclude the trial of the defendants after he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal was “a nullity”.

The apex Court had consequently, set aside Idris’ verdict “as it relates to the appellant (Udeogu)”.

The court had ordered Udeogu’s freedom and the re-trial of his case.

In his new pending motion, Kalu is contending that no legal basis exists for his continued incarceration following the Supreme Court’s judgment which declared his trial a nullity and freed Udeogu.

The motion will be heard on June 2.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

Israeli court orders Netanyahu to attend trial’s opening

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The Israeli court on Wednesday ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to appear at the first court session of his upcoming corruption trial.

The Jerusalem District Court rejected a request filed by Netanyahu’s lawyers on Tuesday to exempt him from appearing for the opening hearing.

The lawyers argued that Netanyahu’s presence was unnecessary because he had “read this indictment several times already,” and the five bodyguards needed to secure his arrival would cost the public coffers “a fortune.”

The presence of defendants in their opening session is a regular procedure in Israel.

The trial will begin on May 24 at the Jerusalem District Court.

On Sunday, Israel’s longest-serving leader was sworn in his rare power-sharing government together with his former rival, Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, breaking a year and a half of political stalemate following three rounds of inconclusive elections.

Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust should have begun in March but was postponed to May 24 because of lockdown restrictions amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Netanyahu, the first sitting prime minister in Israel’s history to stand trial, denies all allegations as part of “a witch hunt.”

The trial, including the expected appeals, could take several years.

(XINHUA)

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