Judiciary

Lawyers seek quick dispensation of justice in new legal year

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Some lawyers in Lagos on Monday pleaded with the judiciary to ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the new legal year.

The lawyers made the appeal while speaking to reporters at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, after a special church service, marking the opening of the Lagos State Judiciary legal year.

One of the lawyers, Mr Ige Asemudara, said that lawyers would do their best to support the bench to achieve the aims of justice delivery in the new legal year.

He, however, appealed to judges “to as much as possible embrace speed and fairness in their dispensation of justice”.

Asemudara also appealed to the executive arm of government to ensure independence of the judiciary which, he said, had been clamoured for over the years.

“Although the concept of independence of the judiciary was not developed in Nigeria and is a problem world over, the country should have gone beyond the point that we are.

“We expect that this new legal year will engender a change.

“We should also as a people put pressure on the executive to let the judiciary gain its independence.

“A judge will not just give a decision that is completely off radar if nothing is pushing him or her.

“So I think the time for the independence of the judiciary is now,” Asemudara said.

Another lawyer, Mr Adesola Abimbola, the Chairman of the Epe, Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, urged the judiciary to ensure that every citizen would have equal access to justice.

“This new legal year, I expect to experience a country where justice, rule of law and gender equality reign.

“We also want to experience practical independence of the judiciary,” Abimbola said.

In his remark, Dr Daniel Idibia, told the judiciary to improve on its supervisory role on some judges, delaying hearings of cases.

Idibia also appealed to the judiciary to pay more attention and do more research on quick dispensation of justice.

“The judiciary should research more and focus on how fast a civil case can take in court from commencement of action to the determination of such suit.

“This, in my view, at most should not be more than three years but the current practice is really far from such as many cases last for 10 years or more in courts,” Idibia said.

The Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, while delivering a sermon at the church service, told the judiciary not to accept bribes but to see the profession as a call to service.

He said that God placed people in the profession to help do justice to everyone whether rich or poor.

Olumakaiye appealed to judicial workers to use their offices to advise government to restrict peddling of drugs in the country, to stop untimely death of youths, dealing in dangerous drugs.

OCC/DE/SN

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Silas Nwoha

 

 

 

Judiciary

Trader remanded for allegedly defiling neigbhour’s daughter

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A Kaduna Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, remanded a 35-year-old trader, Aliyu Abdullahi, in a correctional centre in Kaduna for allegedly defiling his neighbour’s daughter.

The Chief Magistrate, Umar Ibrahim, did not take the defendant’s plea but ordered the defendant to be remanded in correctional centre, Kaduna until Jan. 14, 2020 when the court would have obtained the advice of state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the case.

The defendant, who resides at Bima Road, Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna, is being tried for defilement.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Chidi Leo, told the court that the defendant committed the offence Nov. 23 at Bima Road, Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna.

The prosecutor said at about 2.00 p.m., the complainant sent her 10-year-daughter to the defendant’s house to borrow a tray from his wife.

On reaching there, the girl met the defendant instead of his wife and he lured her into his room and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her,” he said.

Leo added that the girl who was crying told her mother what happened when she came back and the defendant was arrested

He said that during investigation, the defendant voluntarily confessed to the offence, adding that the offence contravened Section 209 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017.

Edited by: Ejike Obeta/Dada Ahmed
(NAN)
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Judiciary

Scavenger jailed 3 months for stealing N2,000

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A Grade I Area Court, Mpape, Abuja, on Thursday sentenced a scavenger, Muhammad Hashim, to three months in prison for stealing N2,000.

The Judge, Salihu Ibrahim, sentenced Hashim, 20, after he pleaded guilty to forcefully collecting and stealing N2,000 from Ms Linda Matthew.

Ibrahim, however, gave the convict an option of N4,000 fine.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Edwin Ochayi, had told the court that the case was reported at Mpape Police Station by Mathew, who lives in Crushed Rock Area of Mpape, on Nov. 26.

Ochayi said that the convict and two others, now at large, conspired and accosted the complainant on a lonely path,  forcefully collected her purse containing the sum of N 2,000, and made away with it.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code.

Edited by: Ephraims Sheyin
(NAN)
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Judiciary

FG investigating Sowore-DSS incident – Malami

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN, has disclosed that the Federal Government has commenced investigation into the incident that happened between the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow protest, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Malami made the disclosure on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen shortly after he visited the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho and the President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Benedict Kanyip.

Nigeria News Agency recalls that the DSS operatives had rearrested Sowore after the court proceeding on Dec. 6.

He, however, said his visit to the Chief Judge was not over Sowore’s case but to congratulate Justice Tsoho on his confirmation by the Senate as the substantive Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

(Sowore’s case) is not the only case that the Federal Government is involved. We have multiple cases and more serious cases than that of Sowore pending.

Generally, the case of Sowore is certainly not an exception. So, I cannot be here for an exclusive case,” he said.

Asked if he was worried by the DSS’ conduct, Malami said, “Whatever affects the integrity of the court is a worrisome issue for us.

But then, I can never be preemptive of an incident over which I was not a live witness.

But one thing I am certain of is that the government has put in place mechanism for investigation of the reported incident.

So, I would not like to be preemptive in terms of a conclusion, one way or the other, without allowing the consummation and conclusion of the investigation process.

Also responding to questions on the matter, he said, “I think it is about commitment to the sanctity of the judiciary and the judicial system.

As a government, we have established a tradition of respect and interest to the independence of the judiciary.

The minister also paid a courtesy visit to the President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Benedict Kanyip, on his confirmation as substantive head of the court.

Malami pledged the Federal Government’s support to Kanyip towards achieving his mandate.

According to him, the Federal Government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and we are looking at the possibility of coming up with an Executive Order to strengthen the judiciary independence.

Kanyip, who thanked the minister for the visit, said the major challenge facing the court was how to reduce the trial time because justice delay is justice denied.

He assured the minister that the court would continue to live up to its expectation on labour and employers’ related matters.

Edited by: Felix Ajide
(NAN)
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Judiciary

Alleged pension scam: How Maina illegally acquired property in son’s name–EFCC witness

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An EFCC operative, Mohammed Goji, on Wednesday, revealed how Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Pension Reform boss, illegally acquired several property in the name of his son, Faisal.

Goji, who is a Principal Detective Superintendent with the anti-graft agency, was also the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the ongoing trial of Faisal.

Goji, who is also a member of Pension Fraud Team of EFCC that investigated Maina, gave the narrative while giving evidence before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

He said the Pension Fraud Team was constituted in 2010 to conduct investigation into pension accounts audit at the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation as well as the Police.

“During that time, Abdulrasheed Maina was the chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, established to restructure the pension office.

He also became a subject of investigation. It was in the course of the investigation of Abdulrasheed Maina that the name of the defendant (Faisal) featured prominently.

During the investigation of Abdulrasheed Maina, who was involved in a complex web of money laundering, which include movement of funds from the police pension account as well as the accounts of the pension office of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation to corporate entities as payment for biometric enrollment; payment of collective allowances and payment of contracts, which were fraudulent,” he said.

He added that in the course of the investigation, a letter was sent to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to request for information on some of the companies they came across.

They obliged us with copies of incorporation, Form C02 and other documents, which revealed the directors of the companies and their shareholders.

Also, we sent letters of investigation activities to banks and requested for details of accounts and they obliged us with these documents,” he said.

The EFCC operative explained further that sometimes in September 2019, the EFCC received an intelligence report that Abdulrasheed Maina was in the country but they did not know where he was.

“So, the EFCC liased with the DSS to assist us in effecting the arrest of Maina.

He was eventually arrested along with the defendant (Faisal) on Sep. 29, 2019.

The DSS handed them over to us on Oct. 2, 2019 along with some items recovered from them, which include cars and personal belongings in suitcases, handbags and Bagco bags.

“We granted them an opportunity to invite their lawyers because we were directed to record their statements.

“On Oct. 3, Faisal was interviewed in the presence of his lawyer. His statement was recorded in his own handwriting and signed.

Additional statements were recorded about three or four times later. He also filled his declaration of assets form in the presence of his lawyer,” Goji said.

The witness added that during the investigation, they came across an account named: Alhaji Faisal Abdullahi Farms with the UBA, of which he (Faisal) is a co-signatory with Abdulrasheed Maina.

He added that Alhaji Faisal Farms is operated by Abdulrasheed Maina and that investigation revealed that the account was funded with the proceeds of illegality.

“We came across following companies: Drew Investment & Construction Company LTD, Cruise City Ltd; Northridge Property Int’l Ltd; Mambilla Resorts. These companies have the defendant (Faisal) as a director.

“We also discovered that a property at Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Kaduna, was acquired in the name of Drew Investment & Construction Ltd.

“We also discovered that another property at Gombe Road, Biu LGA of Borno State was acquired in the name of Cruise City Ltd.

“We also discovered that a property at No. 3A Sambo Road, Kaduna, was acquired in the name of Faisal A. Abdullahi.

“A property at Plot 165 Life Camp, Abuja, was acquired in the name of Doctor Faisal A. Abdullahi.

A property at No 16e, Kajuru road, Kaduna was also acquired in the name of Faisal A. Abdullahi,” he stated.

Gogi, who told the court that the full name of the defendant is Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, hinted that in the course of filling the declaration of assets form, Faisal indicated his grandfather’s name as Abdullahi.

Justice Abang adjourned till Dec. 16 and 17 for trial continuation.

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Judiciary

Pension scam: Maina’s sister, Fatima, distance self from coys, bank accounts linked to her

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Fatima Abdullahi, younger sister to Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Pension Reform Chair, on Wednesday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that she was not aware of the companies and bank accounts opened in her name by her brother.

Fatima, who told Justice Okon Abang that she shared the same parents with Abdulrasheed, said she became aware of the companies when she was arrested by EFCC operatives in Kaduna.

Fatima, a civil servant, who gave evidence behind a screen where her face could only be seen by the judge, was the second prosecution witness to testify in the ongoing trial.

Testifying, the witness said she had never heard of companies called Common Input & Investment Nigeria Ltd, Kangolo Dynamic Clinic Services and Drew Investment Ltd. until around August 2019 when she was arrested.

Sometimes in August, 2019, I went to the ATM of Diamond Access Bank to withdraw some money.

Unfortunately, I could not. So, I went inside the bank to see the manager to complain. The manager told me to hold on, that he would find out the reason.

After waiting for an hour, the manager told me that I was under arrest and he took me to an office and asked me to wait for the EFCC officials to come and take me to their office in Kaduna.

That was when the manager told me that my accounts were blocked.

So when the EFCC official came, they took me to their office for questioning. When we got there, the officials were asking me if I know any company by the name Common Input, to which I told them I do not.

In fact, that was the first time I was hearing about the name.

They told me that there was a transaction in Common Input and I told them I am not aware of the transaction. So, they made me to write a statement.

Afterwards, I was given an administrative bail on the same day and that I should proceed to the EFCC office in Abuja the next day.

The next day, I went to the Abuja office of EFCC together with my lawyer. The officials also asked me if I know any company by the name Common Input, to which I say I do not.

So, they presented a CAC incorporated form of the company where the name Fatima Samaila Abdullahi was stated together with my date of birth but the phone number on the form is not my own.

Even the name as stated on the form is not my name because my full name is Fatima Abdullahi,” she narrated.

Fatima also told the court that her signature was neither the one on the form nor the one on another CAC incorporated forms for Kangolo Dynamic Clinic Services and Drew Investment.

So, I was asked to write a statement, which I did.

Also, I was shown an account opening package of Common Input and Drew Investment with UBA.

I was shown a BVN, which is my BVN and I told them I don’t know anything about those accounts.

I was never given any form to sign in respect of those accounts before and I have never made any deposit or withdrawal from Drew Investment, Common Input and Kangolo.

I have never opened any account with UBA.

The other accounts I have are in GTBank, Access, Fidelity and First Bank,” she said.

According to Fatima, all my genuine accounts were blocked together with those fictitious accounts.

Even my salary account was blocked and I can not access it,” she added.

The witness also denied knowledge of shares bought in her name in the companies, adding that the photograph attached to the documents was a younger version of her before she got married.

Jusrice Abang then adjouened the matter until Dec. 16 for continuation of the cross-examination and hearing of the bail variation application filed by Maina.

Edited by: Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)
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