The Zamfara Governorship Election Tribunal on Friday adjourned sitting after the two counsel to the Action People’s Party (APP) candidate Prof. Agbo Madaki and Mr Obed Agu, said they have ”put their house in order and have agreed to work together.
Justice Fatima Zeberu, adjourned the matter on the prayers of Madaki and Agu, for a date to be communicated later.
“The application for adjournment is granted and the date will be communicated to the parties,” she said.
Earlier, Mr George Ibekwe, counsel for INEC, agreed with the application.
NAN reports that the tribunal on July 1, ordered counsel to the APP candidate to put their house in order, by filing necessary court papers on change in counsel.
The counsel representing Salisu of the APP prayed the court to grant them time to put heads together.
NAN reports that the petitioners prayed that the tribunal declare that Mutawalle was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election held on March 9, for the office of Governor of Zamfara.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Sowore: We have not violated court order–DSS
The Department of State Services (DSS), on Thursday, said it did not violate the court order on the release of Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow Protest, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
NAN recalls that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had, on Nov. 6, signed the release warrant of the defendants and ordered the DSS to make available all the necessary documents that would help to facilitate in the defence of the duo’s trial.
But on Thursday, Justice Ojukwu had condemned the security outfit’s attitude to court order, directing it to release Sowore and Bakare within 24 hours.
The judge then adjourned till Dec. 6 for trial continuation.
“I want to say once again that the DSS has not at any time refused or failed to comply with the court order.
“What we have done today is to go a step further to say that the DSS no longer want Mr. Sowore in their custody.
“That is what we are saying,” he said.
Liman explained that “when somebody is granted bail, he is expected to be released to the main person that has served as his surety.”
According to him, nobody, I repeat, has gone to the DSS to take Mr. Sowore and co. on bail.
“The court has made an order to release them forthwith.
“But the DSS has not refused, at anytime, to comply with court order
“And that is why the DSS filed an application today that they no longer want them in their custody,” he added.
Liman, however, assured that Sowore and Bakare would be released based on the order of the case and as soon as they meet the terms of bail condition.
“When you come tomorrow, you will know if that has been complied with or not,” he told the journalists.
Edited & Vetted By: Sadiya Hamza
Court remands farmer for allegedly raping his 12-year-old niece
A Kaduna Magistrates’ Court on Thursday ordered the remand of a farmer, Musa Safiyanu, 40, in a Correctional facility Centre for allegedly raping his 12-year old niece.
The Magistrate, Mr Umar Ibrahim, who did not take the plea of the defendant, ordered that the case file be sent to the Director of Public prosecutions (DPP) for advice.
Ibrahim then adjourned the case until Dec. 20 for mention.
The defendant, who resides at Ungwan Sarki, Kaduna, is facing a two-count charge of rape and incest.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Insp. Chidi Leo, told the court that Mohammed Yusuf of Kwari Village Ikara LGA of Kaduna State, a brother to the defendant reported the case at Ikara Police Station on Nov. 15.
Leo said that the defendant lured the girl into his house and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.
The prosecutor alleged that during investigation, the defendant confessed to the offences.
He said the offences contravened Sections 258 and 370 of the Kaduna State Criminal Law, 2017.
Edited & Vetted By: Edith Bolokor/Tukur Muntari,
Court gives DSS 24 hours to release Sowore, Bakare
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to release Omoyele Sowore, Convener, #RevolutionNow Protest, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, within 24 hours.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who gave the order, also awarded a N100, 000 fine against the DSS over its delay to serve the defence counsel with the additional proof of evidence in the ongoing trial despite the court’s order to the effect.
The judge, who was visibly angry over the development which had caused the court to adjourn the trial at the instance of the DSS, said the fine must be paid to the defendants before the next adjourned date.
NAN recalls that Justice Ojukwu had, on Oct. 21, adjourned commencement of trial till Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, after varying the bail conditions granted Sowore and Bakare.
But on Nov, 6, the trial was stalled because Counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana, SAN, told the court that the DSS was yet to serve them with the statements of the witnesses and the video recordings in evidence.
Falana also said that the security outfit had made it difficult for them to have access to the defendants to prepare for the trial.
Justice Ojukwu had ordered the DSS to make available all the documents and the video recordings to Falana besides directing Sowore and Bakare’s release while adjourning till Dec. 5.
On Thursday, the DSS Counsel, Hassan Liman, SAN, who told the court that the agency was ready to commence the trial, hinted that the required documents and the video recordings had been served on the defence counsel.
However, Falana, who disagreed with Liman, said contrary to court’s order, the prosecution only served them with summary of the witnesses’ statements and seven video cassettes, including voluminous additional proof of evidence the previous day.
The lawyer added that the DSS knew the case was not ripe for trial.
The lawyer, who demanded for the full statements of the witnesses, said: “the prosecution counsel knows that the case is not ripe for trial.”
“In a bid to frustrate the commencement of this case this morning, the prosecution served us with these bundle of documents only yesterday.
“We were also served with seven video cassettes notwithstanding that time is not on our side, we contacted the Legal Department of DSS to facilitate the meeting of our clients in order to confront them with the documents served on us and play the video cassettes and watch them together with our clients but the request was not granted.
“Between the last adjourned date and this morning, I called the learned prosecution and sent a text message not less than 20 times to ask for these documents.
“The only time he responded was to send a message that he was in a meeting and I would call you back. But he never did,” he said.
Falana stressed that several efforts made by the defence counsel to get the documents as ordered since Nov. 6 proved unsuccessful.
“Therefore, we are asking for full statements of all the prosecution witnesses as ordered by this honourable court and for the court to grant us the opportunity to prepare the defence after the facilities must have been made available to us.
“My learned friend knows and knew that this case is not ripe for hearing,” he said.
He also expressed sadness over the refusal of the DSS to release Sowore and Bakare despite meeting the bail conditions.
On his part, Liman argued that the security agency had complied with Section 379(1a) which listed the requirements or the contents of an information of a charge required in a register.
The DSS lawyer explained that the section required a proof of evidence considering the list of the witnesses, summary of the statements of the witnesses and a copy of the statements of the defendants.
“My Lord, we submit that the prosecution has complied with the provision of the law, haven included in the additional proof of evidence, summary of the statements of the witnesses which they admit their receipt this morning.
“We urge your lordship to disregard that aspect of their application,” he said.
On the issue of telephone calls and text messages by Falana, the DSS lawyer said: “My Lord, I will not join issue with my colleague. What he has said is the greatest reason I will not join issue with him.
“However, on the application for adjournment to enable them to fully study the additional proof of evidence, in the interest of justice, we are not opposing that.”
Justice Ojukwu, who was unhappy over the security agency’s failure to obey the court’s order, leading to the “frivolous adjournment” of the trial, told Liman that: “I am going to apply Section 316 of ACJA against you and I will award cost against you.
“This matter was slated for trial today and tomorrow.
“Today makes it one month, and you do not deem it necessary to serve them statements of defence and you now filed additional evidence yesterday and served them yesterday.
“You have been given ample time to do this and the document is your office document and I ordered you to serve them and now you brought them yesterday?” she queried.
According to the judge, I am concerned about two things; the issue of document and access to their defendants.
The judge also asked why the DSS was yet to release the defendants despite signing their warrant of release.
“I thought I have signed a release warrant, I just want to understand that?” she queried Liman.
Cutting in, the judge asked: “Is there a parallel court here. Who is directing that? Is there another court elsewhere?”
On the inability of the defence counsel to get access to their clients, Liman said he was not aware of the complaint.
“I am not aware that Falana was refused assess because last week, he visited the defendants in the office. He personally visited on Nov. 19 between 14:30 hours and 15:00 hours,” he told the court.
When Justice Ojukwu asked Falana if he was satisfied with Liman’s explanation, he disagreed with the DSS counsel’s submission.
“My Lord, I visited on Nov. 19 when the client of my learned friend told the whole world that I have refused to come for their bail and that the first defendant might be knocked down on the highway if he was released.
“I drove to their office and I said here is my car, let me go home with my clients but they said no,” he narrated.
According to Falana, the visit of Nov. 19 could not have envisaged the bundle of documents served on me yesterday.
The lawyer, also said that on Nov. 20, he put a call through the prosecution counsel and when he failed to pick the call, he sent a text message.
Falana said: “If there is any lawyer in Nigeria that should ignore court’s order, it shouldn’t be my learned friend,” citing cases where Liman had faced the same treatment of disobedience to court’s orders.
The human right lawyer told the court that it was disheartening that with the court order and after meeting the bail conditions, the DSS failed to release his clients to him.
However, Liman argued that the security outfit had never refused to comply with the order of the court.
“So why have they not complied on this because I remember I signed the release warrant?” justice ojukwu asked.
She, therefore, ruled that the case would not go on until the DSS complied with the order of the court.
The judge, who said no one was above the law, said the law must always be the guiding principle.
“This matter cannot go on. There’s no way this matter will go on because first, the case was adjourned at your instance (DSS).
The judge, who awarded a N100, 000 fine against the DSS, ordered that the fine should be paid to the defendants before the next adjourned date.
Justice Ojukwu also ordered that Sowore and Bakare be released within 24 hours.
The judge then adjourned till Dec. 6 for trial continuation.
Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza
Administration of Criminal Justice : Masari inaugurates implementation C’ttee
Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State, on Thursday inaugurated 14-member committee for monitoring process of Administration of Criminal Justice as part of measures to ensure speedy Justice delivery in the state.
Inaugurating the committee, Masari noted that the objective of every legal system is to deliver justice, which is the pillar that upholds decency in civilised human societies.
He reminded members of the committee that justice is the best guarantee for peace, prosperity and good governance.
“There is the urgent need to address the speed of justice delivery by all stakeholders in the justice sector,” he said.
He lamented that the justice delivery system is bedeviled by the problem of delays and inefficiency.
“It was in response to the challenges that the reforms in the justice sector became imperative, hence the signing into law in May, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Katsina State,” he said.
According to Masari, the broad objective of the law is to facilitate an efficient and transparent criminal justice delivery which he said would in turn induce confidence in the court system.
He said the law had specified the functions of the committee in fast tracking the process of crime investigation, prosecution and conviction.
Masari added that the law had made adequate provisions on the role of all stakeholders in coordinating, monitoring and assuring timelines of the process from arrest until conclusion of the trial.
He also commended the State High Court for establishing community conflict and dispute resolution centres in some parts of the state.
The governor said the initiative was in line with the state government’s resolve to addressing the lingering security challenges in the state and North-west sub-region.
Masari assured that the state government would continue to support the committee to enable it perform its responsibilities optimally.
In his remarks, the committee Chairman, who is also the State Chief Judge, Justice Musa Danladi-Abubakar, assured that a radical revolution would be witnessed in the Administration of Criminal Justice in the state.
“The era of passing blame will be over with the bringing together for the first time all the stakeholders by the law,” he said.
He also assured the governor that the committee members would work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in them so as to achieve the desired objective.
NAN reports that the committee members include the state Grand Kadi, Attorney-General and commissioner of Justice, Solicitor-General, Police Commissioner, Director DSS, Comptroller, Nigerian Correctional Service, Director, Human Rights, a High Court Judge and Chief Registrar of State High Court.
Others are Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Director, Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice and Director, Legal Aid Council, among others.
Edited & Vetted By: Tukur Muntari.
Alleged falsehood: Abuja court forcloses prosecutionin Melaye’s trial
Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an FCT High Court Maitama, on Thursday foreclosed the prosecution in the trial of Sen. Dino Melaye for alleged falsehood.
Melaye, who until recently represented Kogi West in the Senate, is standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on giving false information to the police.
He was alleged to have sometimes in April, 2017 deliberately given false information to the police to incriminate the then Chief of Staff to Kogi State governor, Edward David Onoja.
Melaye allegedly gave the name of Onoja, now the state deputy governor, as the mastermind of an assassination attempt on him.
Melaye was also alleged to have in April, 2017 given false statement of facts in a phone conversation with Mr Mohammed Abubakar, son of a late former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu.
The prosecution alleged that the phone call was with the intention of harming the reputation of Onoja.
Melaye, however, pleaded not guilty of the offences punishable under Sections 140 and 393 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963.
Justice Goodluck foreclosed the prosecution in a bench ruling on the application made by the counsel for Melaye, Mr Olusegun Odubela, SAN, who drew the attention of court to the absence of the prosecuting counsel.
The judge held that she could not disregard the antecedents of the counsel for the prosecution in the case.
She stated that the prosecution did not accord the court with the respect of a written letter explaining their absence in court.
Justice Goodluck further stated that the case had been adjourned more than the required five times at the instance of the prosecution through absence in court or non preparedness to go on with the case.
The judge noted that at the last sitting on Nov. 19, the court did everything possible to ensure that the case proceeded, even going on to award cost against the prosecution with a view to gingering them to going on with the case.
According to her, she would have ordinarily dismissed the case for lack of diligent prosecution in line with the provision of Section 351 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
She stated that she did not do that based on the submission of Odubela, who argued that the prosecution might resuscitate the case in the future if it was dismissed.
In view of this, Goodluck held that it was her considered view that “the case of the prosecution be foreclosed and it is hereby foreclosed”.
She stated that having stated that they were going to make a no-case-submission for the court to either duly dismiss the case or otherwise, the court would adjourn to enable the defence to do the needful.
Goodluck then, adjourned until February 11, 2020 for the defence’s no-case-submission.
Earlier, Odubela told the court that it was obvious and clear that the prosecution was absent in court even though it was represented at the last sitting.
He said that it was certain the prosecution was no longer interested in prosecuting the case.
“On that day (Nov. 19), we stated that the prosecution is no longer interested in prosecuting the case because they have achieved what they wanted which is media prosecution.
“We drew the attention of the court to Section 36(4) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 396(4) of ACJA, 2015,” Odubela told the court.
He then applied that the prosecution be foreclosed “because they are not serious”.
Odubela added that the defence team did not want to ask for the dismissal of the case in view of the fact that the prosecution can still bring it up again.
He stated that the defence intended to make a no-case-submission, stating that, “we will take the appropriate steps between today and the next adjourned date.”
Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu
Karu JSS wins NHRC 2019 secondary schools quiz competition
Junior Secondary School (JSS), Karu, Abuja, on Thursday emerged the winner of the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) 2019 secondary schools quiz competition in FCT.
The first three schools received trophies for their efforts.
Questions asked bordered on issues relating to human rights and answers were within a time frame.
Expressing her joy on their victory, Miss Favour Uzoma, 14, who led JSS Karu, thanked the Commission for organising the competition.
According to her, the competition exposes children to knowledge of what human rights are and what to do when ones rights are violated.
Miss Goodness Ifeanyi, 12, of JSS Kubwa said the competition helped the children to develop confidence.
She added that other organisations should also follow what NHRC did in order to help develop the educational needs of the children.
Ifeanyi further encouraged other children to have confidence in themselves and come out for such competitions adding that parents should also encourage their children to come out.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr Tony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary, NHRC, stated that the competition was to inculcate human rights norms and values in children from their early stages of development.
According to him, the 2019 edition of the Human Rights Quiz competition for secondary schools in the FCT was with the theme ‘Youths Stand Up for Human Rights’.
Ojukwu added that the theme was apt considering the pivotal role the youth played in nation building.
“We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to support the cause of children and the youth to enable them to realise their potential in life.
“Considering the achievements recorded from previous competitions in the FCT, we are planning to reach out to more schools outside Abuja to encourage more schools to participate.
“We believe the idea of organising this quiz competition each year will improve the knowledge and understanding of human rights principles among the young population,” he said.
Ojukwu stated that the reason the event was important was that human rights education was crucial to the work of the commission.
He added that apart from quiz competitions the commission had established human rights clubs in schools across the country.
“Apart from encouraging the establishment of Human Rights Club in secondary and primary schools, the commission will establish same in tertiary institutions,” he said.
Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu
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