Judiciary

Criminal Justice system: LASG working to meet citizens expectations — CJ

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The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, said that the state government was working hard to meet the expectations of the citizens in their quest for justice.

Oke said this on Tuesday in Lagos during a one-day workshop on criminal justice, with the theme: “Appraisal of Current Criminal Justice Regime in Lagos State“.

The workshop was organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.

According to Oke, regardless of daunting challenge in having successful criminal justice reforms, the state government is working seriously to meet the expectations of the citizens.

The state was also ensuring that litigants get the best justice system and experience, the Chief Judge said.

She said that some of the challenges facing criminal justice reforms in Lagos included lack of access to good counsel by indigent citizens, media trial by security agencies, inadequate funding and inadequate trained prosecutors, among others.

The chief judge called on stakeholders in justice sector for support, stressing that reform could only be actualised through inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

“As far as efficient and effective administration of criminal justice is concerned, this cannot be achieved without collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders in the sector.

“The importance of criminal justice to the smooth running of any society cannot be overemphasised. Indeed, an effective criminal justice system is regarded by many as germane to the maintenance of law and order,’’ she said.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said implementing the reform in criminal justice and maintaining law in a highly populated state like Lagos was not an easy task.

Kazeem said his expectations from the workshop included discussion on new trend and reforms that had worked, not just in other parts of Nigeria but also other jurisdictions.

He said their discussions should particularly looked into options of the traditional judiciary system and efforts at decongesting the prisons.

The commissioner said measures of post-conviction geared at rehabilitating convicts whilst preparing them for integration should likewise be discussed.

A representative of RoLAC, Dr Oluwatoyin Dadejogun, said criminal justice system must be able to respond with a heart, one that flowed with the milk of human kindness.

He said it should be able to discern and respond with a reformative objective in mind, stressing that the rule that regulate the system were made by people.

“The system at the end of the day should reflect the premium placed on human life and dignity, safety, security on victim of crime, on offender, and social harmony or cohesion,’’ he said.

Dadejogun commended Lagos State Judiciary for championing reform in criminal justice administration in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants were drawn from the Ministry of justice, Nigerian Bar Association, police prosecutors, Magistrates and High Courts Judges in Lagos.

Judiciary

Court slams N1m bail on estate agent over alleged fraudulent property sale

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A 59-year-old man, Agbomabini Kolawole, who conspired with others and obtained N8 million under false pretences from a woman to sell a building to her was on Monday granted N1 million bail by an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Y.O. Aje-Afunwa, granted the bail application and ordered that the defendant should produce two sureties as a condition for the bail.

Aje-Afunwa said that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and should be gainfully employed.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Kolawole, who resides at Agege area of Lagos, is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and stealing.

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

The Prosecutor, ASP Peter Nwaongwu, told the court that the defendant and others still at large, committed the offences on July 8, at Fidelity Bank, Agege Branch.

Nwaongwu alleged that the defendant and his accomplices conspired among themselves to obtain N8 million under false pretences from Mrs Chibuike Obi to sell a building to her.

He said that the building which is situated at No 8, Christ Foundation St., Ilupeju, Oke Aro, belonged to the defendant.

According to him, the offences contravened Sections 287, 314 (3) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.

Aje-Afunwa adjourned the case till Jan. 9, 2020 for hearing.

Edited by: Debo Oshundun/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Court remands 2 for allegedly robbing couple N1.97m

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An Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on Monday remanded two men – Idris Ibrahim, 28, and Jubril Ahmed, 36 -who allegedly robbed a couple of N1.97 million.

The Magistrate, Mrs O.A. Aderibigbe ordered  that the duo should be kept at  the Kirikiri Correction Centre, Lagos, pending  advice of the  state director of public prosecutions.

Aderibigbe did not take the plea of the defendants but adjourned the case until Jan. 18, 2020.

The duo was charged  conspiracy, robbery and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Mojirade Edeme, submitted that the defendants armed themselves with dangerous weapons and robbed one Mr Joseph Okafor and his wife, Helen, of N1.97 million, on Sept. 29 in Ikeja.

The defendants removed  the kitchen window to gain entrance into their apartment.

They pointed knives, iron rods, bottles among other weapons at the couple, demanding their money, threatening to kill them if they refused to comply.

For fear of the unknown, the couple surrendered their money,” he told the court.

The prosecutor said that as the defendants were on their way out of the couple’s residence, the complainant raised an alarm and the defendants and their accomplices fled, but neighbours  arrested the defendants .

The defendants were arrested, while others escaped with the money,” she said.

Edeme said that during police interrogation, one of the defendants confessed that it was the couple’s security guard that told them that they had some money at home.

She noted that alleged offences  contravened 287, 296 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 296 prescribes 21 year’s  imprisonment for robbery.

Edited by: Debo Oshundun/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Man, 31, arraigned for allegedly stealing N9m Mercedes Benz

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For allegedly stealing a Mercedes Benz  GL 450 model, a 31-year-old man, Patrick Oguaba, on Monday appeared before an Ojo Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

The defendant being  prosecuted by the police is facing  a count charge of stealing.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Simon Uche, told the court that the defendant committed the offence in October at the Agric area of Ojo in Lagos State.

The defendant was arrested after a tipoff revealed that he stole the car at Agric and moved it to an unknown location.

The car is valued at N9 million,” Uche said.

According to the prosecutor, the car belongs to one Mr Sunday Olubiyo,  a resident of Ojo.

The Nigeria News Agency   reports that stealing contravenes Sections 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Magistrate, Mr A.A. Adesanya, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N250,000 with two sureties in like sum.

Adesanya adjourned the case until Jan. 29 for mention.

Edited by: Debo Oshundun/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

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Judiciary

2 men in court for allegedly stealing car worth N2.5 million

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Two men, Godwin Amuzie and Godspower Imafidon, who allegedly stole a Honda Accord car valued at N2.5 million on Monday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court.

Amuzie, 25, an artisan and Imafidon, 25, a security man, who both reside at Satellite Town, Lagos, are facing charges of conspiracy and stealing.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

The Prosecutor, ASP Clifford Ogu, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on Sept. 13 at Satellite Town, Lagos.

Ogu alleged that the defendants stole the car belonging to the Complainant, Mr Ezema Anselem.

He said that the complainant dropped the car for Amuzie to wash and when he returned to pick his car, the defendant had left with it.

He reported the case to the police and the defendants were arrested with the car,” Ogu said.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr J. A Adegun, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 each with two sureties in like sum.

Adegun adjourned the case until Jan. 8, 2020 for mention.

Edited by: Okisor Angela/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Sowore: Rights commission urges law enforcement officials to respect law

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Sowore: Rights commission urges law enforcement officials to respect law

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urged law enforcement officials on Saturday to respect the law.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr Tony Ojukwu made the call in Abuja while reacting to the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Dec. 6 by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) to rearrest Omoyele Sowore who was earlier released by the same department.

Ojukwu said that the commission had watched with dismay the conduct of law enforcement officers in “facie curie“ on Friday Dec. 6 at the Federal High court Abuja.

He reiterated the need for law enforcement officials to understand that to qualify as law enforcement agents, they “must first of all be law abiding and not be above the law”.

“As officials paid with tax-payers’ money, there is no room for impunity and utter disregard for the constitution.

“Our democracy is founded on the principle of Separation of Powers and all citizens including law enforcement officials must understand the implications of that.

“They are enjoined to respect the law and the constitution in the enforcement of the law,” he said.

The NHRC executive secretary urged all the relevant agencies of government to arrest and try all law enforcement officers involved in the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the federal high court Dec. 6 for contempt in the face of the court.

He added that the concerned law enforcement officers should be tried so that it would serve “as a reminder to all law enforcement agents in carrying out their law enforcement duties they must obey the law”.

He said that law enforcement officials should be enforcing the law within the law.

“Impunity by law enforcement officials cannot be condoned in our democracy because impunity uproots the very foundations of our constitution and our democracy,” he said. (NAN )

Edited & Vetted By: Saidu Adamu/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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Judiciary

Rape : 6 Lagelu Grammar School students denied bail

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An Iwo Road Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan on Friday denied bail to six secondary school students who were alleged to have raped a female colleague.

The students: Akeem Abee, 17, Olaiya Faruq, 16, Kazeem Awal, 16, Ajao Waris, 17, Alamu Boluwatife, 17, and Dauda Mubarak, 17, are facing trial for conspiracy and rape.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Chief Magistrate, Mr Taiwo Oladiran, said the magistrate court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

Oladiran said : ” We all have powers; the issue of their age range of between 16 and 17 years is very important.

” If we have a very good correctional centre for minors where they can be corrected, they would have been held there.

” Even though the defendants are minors, they are to be remanded at Agugu police station pending receipt of legal advice from the Oyo State Directorate of Public Prosecution,” he said.

The magistrate , thereafter, adjourned the matter till Dec 13 for mention.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Mrs Christy Gbadeyanka, had asked the court to take the pleas of the defendants and grant them bail, citing some precedents.

She argued that defendants were minors and keeping them with criminals would affect them negatively.

Gbadeyanka said the defendants had learnt their lesson while in the police custody.

She added that the defendants would not jump bail if released to reliable sureties, adding that the sureties would ensure they were available for their trial.

The defence counsel also submitted that the defendants were first time offenders and had no previous criminal records.

At the arraignment of the students, the Prosecutor, ASP Sunday Ogunremi, had alleged that the defendants on Nov. 17 at 6.00pm at Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan, had unlawful carnal knowledge of one female student.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 516 and 485 of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

(Edited & Vetted By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Judiciary

Court dissolves 11-yr-old marriage over sex starvation

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Chief Ademola Odunade, the President of a Mapo Customary Court in Ibadan, on Friday dissolved the 11-year-old marriage between one Kazeem Amzat and wife, Adijat, over sex starvation and adulterous lifestyle.

In his judgment, Odunade held that the court had done everything possible to settle the problem between Kazeem and Adijat, all to no avail.

He subsequently pronounced the marriage dissolved in the interest of peaceful living.

Odunade awarded custody of the two children produced by the union to Adijat and directed Kazeem to pay N10,000 as the children’s monthly feeding allowance in addition to being responsible for their education and other welfare needs.

Earlier, Kazeem, a private security guard, had told the court that he was fed up with his wife because she regularly starved him of sex.

He further said that his parents-in-law were in support of the divorce suit he filed because they were also frustrated by their daughter’s attitude.

“Since we had our last child, more than five years ago, Adijat has not allowed me to perform my conjugal duties with her.

“She keeps giving excuses of babies sleeping on the bed.

“I allowed her and the children to be sleeping on the bed because they are small but I observed that she no longer loves me because she now sleeps with men outside.

“At various times, I have caught Adijat in a compromising position with a particular man who lives near her shop.

“Also, she disrespects my mother and other relatives, comparing them with animals,’’ Kazeem said.

The respondent, who consented to the suit, however, denied some of the allegations levelled against her.

In her counter-argument, Adijat said that her husband was irresponsible.

“It is true that I no longer allow Kazeem to sleep with me and it is simply because I don’t want him to infect me with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDS).

“Whenever I am not at home, he brings in his concubine and his relatives are aware he does this.

“In fact, Kazeem has turned me to his slave and beats me often.

” Furthermore, Kazeem’s mother joins him in molesting me inspite of the fact that he doesn’t fend for the children and me.

“Even when I gave birth, he never gave me anything nutritious to eat,’’ Adijat said.

(Edited & Vetted By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Judiciary

Alleged double registration: Gov. Bello knows fate on Jan. 20

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, will, on Jan. 20, 2020, deliver judgment in the suit seeking Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi disqualification over alleged double registration as a voter.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, who fixed the date after parties in the case adopted their briefs of argument, said there was the need to give it accelerated hearing.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that Natasha Akpoti, Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s candidate in the Nov. 16 governorship election in Kogi, had filed the suit, seeking the court’s determination on the eligibility of Bello at the just concluded election, having been allegedly involved in double registration as a voter.

But Bello had told the court that he was ready to defend himself on the allegation of double registration framed against him by Akpoti.

While Akpoti was the plaintiff, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Bello were 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.

NAN recalls that the suit, dated Oct. 10 and marked: /1221/2019, was filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Akpoti’s behalf.

At Friday’s sitting, Ozekhome prayed the court to make a consequential order that Bello was not qualified to have contested the election having registered in both Abuja and Lokoja, in Kogi.

He argued that the offence was against Section 24 of the Electoral Act.

According to Ozekhome, the case is not a pre-election matter that require time limit to file but a case of fraud, which can be filed at anytime.

He submitted that the 2nd defendant, INEC, had already admitted that it committed an error to have registered Bello twice.

The lawyer told the court that the electoral umpire had, in a national television, disclosed that it had sacked two of its staff involved in Bello’s double registration as a voter.

According to Ozekhome, INEC said its hands were tied to do anything now because of the governor’s immunity.

INEC has said on television that it committed a grave error by registering him (Bello) twice in Abuja and Lokoja, saying if not for immunity, it would have moved against him,” he said.

Ozekhome insisted that “when fraud is involved in a matter, as the instant case, time of filing is not an issue.”

Counsel to the 1st defendant (APC), Abdulwahab Muhammed, however, urged the court to dismiss the suit, while questioning the competence of the court to entertain the matter.

He said it was a pre-election issue, hence, it had become stale because the time allowed to file pre-election matters had already elapsed.

“The electoral act is very clear on this; only a person who has been convicted that cannot stand in an election.

“The 3rd defendant has not been convicted and he is not on trial.

“So the case is only an academic exercise. I urged my lord to dismiss the suit,” he said.

In his submission, Counsel to the 2nd defendant (INEC), Alhassan Umar, SAN, also corroborated Muhammed’s stand.

He argued that by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Electoral Act, the time to file the suit had elapsed.

He said INEC also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter, saying the 3rd defendant had not been charged or convicted to warrant being disallowed to contest an election.

He submitted further that mere suspicion of alleged double registration or an offence “bordering on fraud was not enough to disqualify anyone through administrative tribunal.”

He urged the court to dismiss the suit.

Muizudeen Abdullahi, Counsel to Bello, challenged the competence of the plaintiff to file the case.

He said there were no documents from the plaintiff to prove that his client registered twice.

“He was not in the country when he was alleged to have carried out the double registration.

“He was not in the country between May 13 and May 18, to have registered twice as being alleged,” he said.

He further submitted that the suit could not have come through originating summon in the case of fraud but only through writ of summon.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the case in its entirely and award cost against the plaintiff for wasting the time of the court and counsel.

Justice Ekwo, after the arguments, adjourned till Jan. 20, 2020 for judgment.

Edited & Vetted By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Judiciary

Man, 42, bags 3 months imprisonment for N858,000 fraud

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An Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court, Isabo, Ogun, on Friday sentenced a 42-year-old man, Mutiu Babatunde, to three months imprisonment for defrauding a woman of N858,000.

The Magistrate, Mrs Adenike Adeniji, sentenced Babatunde after she found him guilty of the seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and unlawful conversion.

Adeniji held that the prosecutor proved her case beyond reasonable doubt.

She, therefore, sentenced Babatunde without option of fine.

Earlier the Prosecutor, Sgt. Adebari Adejoke, told the court that the defendant committed the offences with some other persons still at large in February at Ibara, Abeokuta.

Adejoke, said the defendant collected the N858,000 from the Complainant, Mrs Adebisi Edionseri, that he would help her buy some livestock and some plants for her farm and home.

“The defendant, collected the sum of N100,000 from the complainant for 50 pieces of juvenile cat fish; and N660,000 for 3,000 pieces of day-old chick.

“Also collected N90,000 to assist the complainant in purchasing and plant flowers in her residence and N8,000 for vegetable seeds, which he failed to do,’’ the prosecutor alleged.

Adejoke said that the defendant converted the money to his personnel use and refused to either refund the complainant or deliver the goods.

The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 419, 390 (9) and 516 of the Criminal Law of Ogun State, 2006.

The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Edited & Vetted By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

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