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Maina fails in bit to adjourn trial as court rejects request

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Maina fails in bit to adjourn trial as court rejects request

A request by former chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, for an adjournment to prepare his defence has been turned down by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Justice Okon Abang ruled that the request was a ploy to waste the judicial time of the court.
It would be recalled that the judge had on December 4, 2020, adjourned the case involving N2 billion money laundering to Tuesday based on a request by Maina’s new lawyer, Adaji Abel.

Adeji pleaded that he needed more time to study the case.

The prosecution counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farouk Abdullah, was about to invite the ninth prosecuting counsel, Rouquaya Ibrahim, to continue her testimony when the defence lawyer raised an objection.

He said, in the previous proceeding, he applied for the court’s record needed by the defence to continue with the case, via a letter sent to the registry but he was yet to get  the record from the registry.
The EFCC prosecuting counsel, Abdullah while opposing the adjournment application,  said Maina had been given the opportunity to defend himself but he refused to avail himself of it.

In his ruling, Justice Abang dismissed the application noting that, Maina had refused to appear in previous court proceeding, and the last one he attended was September 29.

He said Maina has not been appearing until when the court issued warrant of his arrest and was produced in court on December 4.

Abang said that defendant had on his own jumped bail, so his right to fear hearing was not breached, and his trial had continue in absentia before he was eventually arrested and brought back to court.

Justice Abang also said it was the former counsel to Maina who was expected to hand over the records at his disposal to the new counsel who took over his case.

The Judge dismissed the counsel’s application for another adjournment as he ordered that the trial continues.

After the witness, Ruqqayah Ibrahim, presented what the investigation revealed, the Judge adjourned the matter till 9th December 2020

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Nassarawa grants pardon to 47 inmates

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Nassarawa grants pardon to 47 inmates

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

47 inmates awaiting trial in four federal custodian centers in Nassarawa State have been granted pardon.

The newly confirmed Chief Judge of the state, Justice Aisha Bashir made the disclosure in Wamba local government area of the state on Thursday.
She indicated that the visit was in compliance with the presidential directive to decongest custodian facilities as part of measure to contain further spread of COVID-19 in the state.

According to her, “About 47 inmates awaiting trial in four federal custodian centres in the state have been discharged.”

Justice Aisha, who was confirmed recently by the National Judicial Commission (NJC), was appointed the acting CJ on December 31, 2020 after the retirement of Justice Sulieman Dikko, former CJ from service.

She, however, gave the breakdown of the number released from every custodian centre to include, 30 inmates from the Lafia Custodian Centre, 6 from Nasarawa Custodian center, 8 from Keffi Custodian Centre and 3 from Wamba Custodian Centre respectively.

Justice Aisha said that under her watch, the judiciary in the state would work assiduously towards ensuring speedy administration of justice as well as tackle the menace of justice stagnation.

The CJ maintained that the Criminal Justice Committee in the state would soon come up with modalities to ensure that those whose cases were stagnated for so many years without progress get their cases concluded and justice delivered.

“I have also asked that names of inmates that had stayed for five years and above be compiled for onward submission to the Executive Governor of the state for pardon,” she added.

The first female Chief Judge of Nassarawa state said, “We recommend to the governor to grant them pardon as part of efforts to ensure justice is served as well as decongest custodian facilities.”

She, therefore, applauded the authorities of the Custodian Centres for teaching the inmates various skills and enrolling those interested in education at the Open University.

Justice Aisha said such steps by the authorities would truly rehabilitate the inmates and make them useful after serving their jail terms.

The CJ also admonished those released to work hard to convince the society that they are changed to make the society trust them again and assimilate them.

The CJ was accompanied on the visit by judges, Legal Aids Council of Nigeria. Human Rights Commission, among others.

The CJ’s tour of the custodian centres was the first since she assumed office in December 2020.

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NDLEA wants end to duplication of its functions amongst Sister Agencies

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NDLEA wants end to duplication of its functions amongst Sister Agencies

*Proposes NDLEA attache’s for foreign Missions

By Sunday Joseph


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is seeking exclusive legislative powers to be the lone government institution when it comes to dealing with offences relating to illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

The agency has also proposed for legal backing that will enable it to appoint drug attaches from amongst its staff to serve in Nigerian foreign missions.

This followed the ongoing NDLEA Amendment Bill, SB.288 of 2021 under consideration at the Senate, which was sponsored by Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka (Plateau Central) on the enforcement and execution of NDLEA Act Cap N30.

The Chairman of the agency, Brigadier-general Mohamed Buba Marwa made this know in his presentation at a public hearing on the bill Thursday in National Assembly.

Marwa who was represented by the Director General of NDLEA, Shedrach Haruna, noted that new amendment seeks to address four basic in the principal Act of the NDLEA, which includes: Establishment of additional scientific laboratories; replacement of the word ‘heroine’ to ‘heroin’; restriction of sentencing discretion of judges and increase in amount of fine for punishment of obstruction.

However the areas of amendment proposed for consideration by the NDLEA in Section 3, subsection (2) seeks to ensure that “All drugs units under existing institutions dealing with offenders or offences concerned with or relating to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances shall relate and be responsible to the Agency (NDLEA) in performance of their duties and function and transfer all seized substances and persons arrested in pursuant to this Act to the Agency for Prosecution”.

He said this will enhance local coordination by the Agency for the purpose of international reporting and cooperation. Marwa further hinted that this will grant the Agency the power to operate in all Nigerian entry and exit points and ports without hindrance or legal encumbrance.

The Agency has also proposed the amendment of Section 45 where it may in “consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appoint a drug attache from amongst its staff to serve in any Nigerian diplomatic mission abroad”.
However, Senate Committee chairman on health Yahaya Oloriegbe faulted the demand for drug attache in foreign mission saying, “I saw where you are proposing the appointment of drug attachés in every mission or as may be necessary which is not there before. “Do you know the cost implication of that vis a vis the load of work and then the relevance of that in all our missions abroad?
“Now, even the staff that we have who are the core staff, there are challenges in terms of payments. What you are trying to do is to create another corps that would be on drug desks in other countries and what kind or work will they be doing on a day by day basis and they will be a drain on national resources.
“I have concerns on this and unless you are able to convince us when we are taking up we will look at that.”

Haruna, who represented the Chairman of the Agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, in his response said: “We find that some country really requires the assistance of our drug attachés. We have seen that even Section 45 of the NDLEA law as presently couched grants the Agency powers to request for information of competent Nigerians abroad to enable us follow up with investigation at home. “However, we felt that just like we have liaison magistrates of foreign countries in Nigeria giving us assistance in other areas we also need to do that because we have had requests from so many countries saying that drug attachés from Nigeria will be needed to ensure that they have a comprehensive approach to investigations in their own countries.

“There is a need for drug attachés to support the investigations of Nigerians committing drug crimes abroad. We have so many Nigerians in some countries abroad that the drug agencies in those countries will actually require the assistance of Nigerians particularly in language issues.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe

“We have severally demonstrated that we cannot allow the degeneration ofnour values through drugs and other substances considering our concerted quest for growth.

“The bill before us is yet another attempt at strengthening the regulatory mechanism on drug abuse following identified loopholes in the extant law.
This amendment also flows from the regular trend of reviewing or updating laws after operational experiences as a step towards perfection.”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka:

“There is no doubt that the NDLEA Act Cap L90 is now overdue for amendment as the agency has experienced and learnt some lessons in the course of operating Nd enforcing the Act.

“It is therefore hoped that the this time around, the process of the amendment will be far reaching, all embracing and concluded n order to bring the amendment Act into force.”

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Gov. Bello charges Judicial officers to display character, courage

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Gov. Bello charges Judicial officers to display character, courage

By Friday Idachaba

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has charged judicial officers and legal practitioners to display character and courage in discharging their mandate in the dispensation of Justice.

Bello made the call during a validectory court session in honour of the retiring Chief Judge of the state, Justice Sunday Omeiza Otu on Thursday in Lokoja.

The governor who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja said the outing chief Judge, Otu had never acted out of character in
his 40-year sojourn as judicial officer until his mandatory retirement at the age of 65.

“His Lordship has shown an impeccable character and leadership as a consumate jurist has worked assiduously to help the state institutionalized and strengthen the rule of law and the principle of Separation of Powers between the three arms of government.

“Within the period that he was in the saddle as Chief Judge, he assisted the government in ensuring that the relationship between the Executive and the Judiciary strengthened. The relationship had never been more cordial”, he said.

Speaking earlier, Justice Otu thanked the governor for his leadership prowess and for his appointment and confirmation to serve as Chief Judge of the state.

He noted that the Judiciary held the society together as a creation of God to dispense justice to all and urged the state government to give the Judiciary utmost attention.

Otu urged government to insulate the Judiciary from all forms of interference saying, “God created law and God is law and it is the wish of God to dispense Justice to all manner of people.”

In the same vein, chairman of Lokoja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr Sam Owoyomi, described Justice Otu as a quiet; speak less act more; easy going person; intelligent and held traditionally to the rules of the court

He urged the state government to construct a multi-purpose ceremonial court hall, provide conducive courtrooms, appoint more judges and reconstruction the Hassan Katsina road leading to the High Court Complex and the state House of Assembly.

Speaking on behalf of the state judiciary, Justice John Olorunfemi, who is expected to succeed the outgoing chief judge described him as an Incorruptible judge that went through thick and thin of the judiciary of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Otu spent two months and 13 days in office as Chief Judge and was confirmed only Monday. (NAN)

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