A 59-year-old company driver, Obawale Saminu, on Wednesday appeared before an Ajegunle-Apapa Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, over an alleged theft of goods N500, 000.
Saminu, of Apapa area of Lagos, is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and unlawful damage.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offences.
The chief magistrate, Mrs R.T.A. Oladele, granted the defendant N500,000 bail with two sureties in like sum.
Oladele said that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and their addresses must be verified by the prosecutor.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Adeniyi Balogun, had told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Sept. 4, about 8:00 a.m., at Ports and Terminal Multi services Ltd. (PTML) junction, Roro port, Tin can Island in Apapa Igbona Area of Lagos.
Balogun said the defendant, a staff member of Eagle Haulage Nigeria Limited and two others still at large, had used the company’s Mack truck with registration number: LND-672 SR to steal goods valued at N500,000.
“They loaded the 2 by20-foot-container-size truck of unregistered cargo from PTML in Tin can Island terminal to Don Climax terminal at the rate of N500, 000 without the consent of Eagle Haulage Company.
“The defendant and his cohorts transported an unregistered cargo without the consent of his company and converted the money realised from it into their own use.
“In the process, they damaged the Mack truck belonging to Eagle Haulage Company which is valued at N3 million,” the prosecutor said.
He said the offences contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
The case was adjourned until Sept. 27, for mention.
Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Peter Dada
Bayelsa Poll: Appeal court orders INEC to maintain statusquo.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt,on Friday has granted an exparte order of injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from disqualifying the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa elections.
The three-member Appeal Court panel led by Justice ,Lokulo-Sodipi also restrained the INEC from executing the orders of Federal High to remove the name and logo of the APC and its governorship candidate, David Lyon, for the governorship race.
Justice Lokulo-Sodipi, in a ruling, held that the panel abides by the decision made by Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which compelled INEC to maintain status quo from the September 18, 2019, when the matter was instituted, pending the determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
The Appeal panel, thereafter, ordered that applicants should serve all the respondents notices and other processes before adjourning till November 21, for mention.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the proceedings, counsel for the governorship candidate of APC, Michael Numa,
welcomed the decision of the Appeal Court, which, he said, has given the APC and its governorship candidate, the opportunity to participate in Bayelsa State governorship poll.
Similarly, counsel for APC, Sydney Igbanichuka said that the position of the Court of Appeal would give opportunity to correct every wrong in the decision of the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, the state capital.NAN
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Battle for Langtang North LGA: Court dismisses deposed LG Chairman’s case, awards N2m
Justice Christine Dabup of Jos High Court IV, on Friday dismissed the case filed by Deposed APC Chairman and his deputy against PDP Chairman, Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission ( PLASIEC),Plateau Chief Judge and the State Governor.
The plaintiffs, Messers Kparnim Amos-Nanloh and his deposed deputy, Kennedy Bamle, had also sued the Chairman and members of the Local Government Appeal Tribunal, All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Ubandoma Joshua Laven and Plateau State House of Assembly on Aug. 28, 2019.
Nigeria News Agency reports that when the case came up for hearing, the plaintiffs refused to show up together with their counsel, following a letter withdrawing the case written directly to the judge.
The plaintiffs had sought for a declaration that the Plateau State Independent Electoral Laws had no commencement date and so the appointment of the Chairman and members of the Local Government Appeal Tribunal by the Chief Judge of Plateau State was null and void including the decision of the Appeal Tribunal which removed them from office.
They also sought that a certificate of return should not be issued to Ubandoma Joshua Laven by PLASIEC and restraining PLASIEC from conducting any local government election in Plateau State until the law became operational.
NAN reports that when the case came up for hearing on Oct. 16, 2019, the other Local Government Chairmen applied to be joined as Co-defendants because the suit had the effect of removing them all from office if it succeeded.
Consequently, on Oct. 21, the Chairmen were all joined as 14th to 24th defendants and the case was adjourned to Nov. 15 for definite hearing to enable the plaintiffs to amend their originating summons to reflect the additional defendants.
But when the case up on Friday, Nov. 15, they were not in court not even one of their counsel came around to give any explanation to why they were absent in court.
It was the presiding judge who informed the counsels representing the defendants about the letter she received from the plaintiffs, which she said was “strange” to the practice direction.
Dabup was furious that the plaintiffs bypassed their counsels and wrote directly to her office, and warned against such act.
Consequently, all the defendants’ Counsels led by Chief Pius Akubo (SAN), asked the Court to discountenance the letter by the plaintiffs to the Presiding Judge because it was unheard of for parties to communicate with a Judge.
“Moreover, any communication with the Court is to file a motion to withdraw with leave of Court and not by writing a letter to the Judge and not even to the Registrar of Court, “ Akubo stated.
At that stage, all the defendants’ counsels applied that the suit be dismissed with Akubo, the lawyer for PLASIEC, asking, “both the plaintiffs and their lawyer be asked to come and explain why they would write a letter to the Presiding Judge.”
They all applied for cost of the withdrawal of the case by the plaintiffs to the tune of N2.5m.
Justice Dabup, however, dismissed the suit with a total punitive and exemplary cost of N2,000,000 to all the defendants.
She then expressed disgust over the letter written to her by the plaintiffs and said that if they (plaintiffs) had been present in court, she would have detained them the whole day in court for contempt for them to have communicated with the Judge directly instead of through their lawyer.
NAN reports that the LG Appeal Election Tribunal had declared PDP candidate, Ubsndoma Joshua Laven, winner of the Oct. 10, 2018 LG polls held in 13 of the 17 local government areas of the state.
Following the decision of the appeal tribunal, Gov. Simon Lalong sweared in Ubandoma as Chairman of Langtang North Local Government.
Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf
S/Court says PDP, Atiku allegations against Buhari’s victory remain unproven
The Supreme Court on Friday said all allegations raised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar, challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Feb.23 presidential election were unproven.
Abukakar, a former Vice President, who contested the election against claimed he won the election.
Justice Inyang Okoro said this while giving reasons why the apex court on Oct.30 dismissed the appellants’ appeal that challenged the judgment of the presidential tribunal.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the appellants had claimed that the tribunal erred in addressing all the issues raised in petition.
NAN further reports that the issues brought before the tribunal bordered on the qualification, electoral malpractice, and transmission of election results electronically, among others.
In the circumstance, the appellant prayed the tribunal to rule all the issues in their favour and to go head and return Atiku as winner of the election.
However, Okoro, who provided the definitive reasons by seven-man panel of justices, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad also held that: “the appeal lacked any scintilla of merit and therefore needed to be dismissed’’.
On allegations on the president’s qualification, Okoro said Buhari was eminently qualified to contest the election as sufficient evidence was adduced to confirm both his educational and candidature status that were accepted by INEC.
Okoro, therefore, upheld the decision of the tribunal on the issues around the president’s qualification and possession of relevant certificates was legendary.
The judge also said that Buhari was not liable of any irregularities and corrupt practices before, during and after the election as claimed by the appellants.
He also said the president was not under any obligations to attach his credentials to his INEC nomination form as contested by the appellants, adding that such demand was not provided for by the Constitution.
On the allegation of the use of server by INEC in transmitting results of the election to a central point, Okoro, said PDP and Atiku failed woefully by not providing evidence to substantiate such an allegation.
“They were wrong to have relied on the so called results obtained from a website not maintained by the electoral umpire, adding that the claim by Atiku that he won the election based on information from such a clandestine source was questionable.
“I agree entirely with the court below that the appellants failed to prove that INEC has the server from which they got their figures.
“As a result, all the results, calculations and analysis based on the results from such a source that did not belong to INEC are of no moment,’’ the judge said.
On allegations of over voting, violence and malpractices, Okoro held that the failure of the appellants to call credible witnesses was fatal to their case, adding that five witnesses invited to prove such allegations was unimaginable.
According to the judge, most of the issues raised by the appellants were based on to prove hearsay evidence, adding that the apex court could not grant prayers that were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“We are of the conviction that the lower court did a good job based on the evidence brought before it by the appellants. We also unanimously dismissed the appeal as all five issues remained unproven,’’ the judge said.
Edited by Martins Odeh/Sadiya Hamza
Alleged N28.9m Fraud: Mild drama in court as fake cleric‘s counsel withdraws service
There was a mild drama in a Plateau High Court on Friday when a counsel, Mr J.O. Ogieva, withdrew his legal representation to a fake cleric, charged with alleged N28.9 million fraud case,.
The EFCC charged Anu Ojo-Olakunori, is charged alongside a couple, Kunle Farinuola and his wife, Josephine and defrauded a housewife, Mrs Ladi Deborah-Alabi, of N28.9m between December 2016 and February 2018.
Ogieva, counsel to the first defendant, objected to the continuation of trial and told Justice Christine Dabup of High Court IV, that the case can not continue.
“My Lord, l am sorry to announce to this honorable Court that I am withdrawing my service and representation to the 1st defendant in this case.
“I have a motion on notice to that effect applying for my withdrawal in the case. If my fellow counsels in this matter wouldn’t mind I wish to move the motion right away, “ Ogieva pleaded.
Responding, Mr Joshua Saidi, EFCC prosecution counsel opposed to the application which he described it as strange “more so that we are in the midst of taking testimony of the second prosecution witness, who is the direct victim of the scam.”
“She (victim) started giving us her testimony yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 14, and hope to conclude it today so that we can make progress but this application to us is very unnecessary at the material time.
“He can not withdraw from the case at this stage. We believe this application is just a ploy to delay the case.
”After all, we are entitled to time within which to reply his application served to us just now in court, “ Saidi lamented.
The judge, Justice Dabup, then asked the defendant if the defence counsel told had briefed him and he answered, “ yes my Lord, he earlier discussed it with me.”
At that stage, the court allowed Ogieva to move his application and the judge expressly granted.
She the asked the pastor, “now that your counsel has withdrawn his service and representation to you, what do you want the court to for you?”
In reply the pastor pleaded, “I want the court to give me more time to enable me get another lawyer that will represent me in this matter.”
Justice Dabup then adjourned the case until March 4 and March 5, 2020 for continuation of hearing.
The EFCC filed 16 count charge of conspiracy to commit felony to wit;obtaining money under false pretences and therefore committed offenses contrary to sections 8(a), 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offenses Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Agent docked for allegedly scamming prospective property owner N2.5m
An estate agent, Ismaila Opeyemi, 37, who allegedly obtained N2.5million under false pretences over the sale of a house, on Friday, appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court.
Opeyemi, whose address was not provided, was standing trial for conspiracy, obtaining by false pretences, fraud and threatening violence.
The prosecutor, ASP Benson Emuerhi, told the court that the defendant committed the offences sometimes between Sept. and Oct. 2019, at Oshodi, Lagos.
Emuerhi said that Opeyemi and some others at large, collected the amount from Mr Ndubuisi Ezeah as part-payment for the sale of a house located at No. 4, McCarthy Lane, Anthony Village, Oshodi.
The prosecutor said that the defendant collected the money knowing full well that the house was not his and that the owner had not given him authority to sell.
He also said that the defendant deceived and cheated one Mr Joseph Onuorah and Mr Amos Orakposimi by negotiating with them that the said house, which belonged to Mr Raimi Eyiowuawi, was for sale.
“The defendant also threatened the life of the complainant, Mr Ndubuisi Ezeah, for daring to ask for a refund of his money, when the bottom fell out in the agreement.
“The case was reported at a police station, and efforts by the police to locate his whereabouts failed, until information was received on his hideout,” he told the court.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, contravene Sections 56(1), 314, 323 and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs O. Sule-Amzat granted him N200, 000 bail, with two sureties in like sum.
Amzat adjourned the case until Feb. 2020, for mention.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni and ‘Wale Sadeeq
I’m ready to defend alleged double registration accusation – Gov. Bello tells court
NAN reports that the suit, dated Oct. 10 and marked: /1221/2019, filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on Akpoti’s behalf, sought the court’s determination on the eligibility of Governor Bello in the Saturday’s election, having allegedly involved in double registration as a voter.
Bello, reacting in a counter-affidavit filed by his lawyer, M.Y. Abdullahi, stressed that he did not engage in double registration as alleged by the plaintiff.
The affidavit was deposed to by Khaliat Bello, a lawyer in Abdullahi’s law firm.
It reads: “That on the 23rd day of May, 2017, the alleged date of double registration, he was outside the shores of Nigerian and couldn’t have been anywhere in Nigeria to do voter registration.
“That as of fact, he travelled out of Nigeria on the 18th day of May, 2017 and never entered the country on May 28, 2017.
“The copies of his travel documents which show the immigration exit and entry stamps are attached jointly as ‘Exhibi A.’
“That he is ready and prepared to defendant the allegation of double registration framed against him by the plaintiff.
“That he wants to join and defend the plaintiff’s suit no: /1221/2019 as a defendant.
“That the proposed counter-affidavit and written address of the applicant are attached and marked ‘Exhibit B.’”
The governor argued that since the reliefs sought by Akpoti were against his nomination, qualification and candidacy, he urged the court to join him as 3rd defendant in the suit prior to the hearing of the originating processes.
Bello, who was represented at the court by Mike Enahoro, also sought an order of the court directing the plaintiff and the original defendants to serve him all the processes filed by them in the suit in the interest of justice.
He said the application was filed on Friday because he got wind of the suit the previous day.
Counsel to Akpoti, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, who acknowledged receipt of the motion this morning, hinted that the motion sought to stop court’s proceeding on the matter.
He urged Justice Inyang Ekwo not to grant the request since the election was Saturday.
On his part, Counsel to the APC, Abdulwahab Mohammed, said he would need more time to study the motion.
However, Counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar, SAN, said he had no objection to the motion.
Justice Ekwo, who adjourned the matter till Nov. 21, said the decision was to afford Governor Bello, who sought to be joined in the matter, a fair hearing.
He said though the election would be Saturday, that would not stop the court from doing its business.
The presiding judge, who gave the plaintiff two days to amend their processes to accommodate Gov. Yahaya Bello as a defendant, also granted all the defendants, including Bello, two days to reply upon being served by the plaintiff.
The judge held that all preliminary objections in the suit would be taken in the adjourned date and any party absent on the day would be deemed to have adopted them.
In an interview shortly after the court sitting, Ozekhome described Governor Bello’s application as a ploy to delay justice.
“We are ready to go on with the case but through deployment of delay tactics, Governor Yahaya Bello, through a counsel today, suddenly brought in a motion to be joined in the suit.
“We did not sue him, being aware of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution that confers absolute immunity on the governors.
“So we sue APC and INEC and APC is a party fielding him under Section 177 of the constitution. So he doesn’t need to be in the matter,” he said.
Ozekhome stressed that the application would be opposed in the adjourned date.
Also speaking with newsmen, Enahoro wondered why the governor was not made a party in the suit, yet his name was mentioned in all the plaintiff’s three questions for determination by the court.
“There has been so much hurry to have this case determined before the election.
“You will recall that the law permits pre-election matters to be determined within 180 days. This suit is barely 30 days and yet there is a hurry
“You cannot shaves someone’s head in his absence ” he said.
Enahoro described the act as “a joke and an abuse of court process.
“We have furnished the court with sufficient materials. Nigerians will see it that this case is a joke.”
edited by Sadiya Hamza
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