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Tribunal fixes judgment in Osun governorship dispute for Friday

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Tribunal fixes judgment in Osun governorship dispute for Friday

The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Apo, Abuja has scheduled Friday for judgment in the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the September 2018 governorship election held in the state, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

PDP and Adeleke are, by their petition, challenging the declaration of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The date for the judgment was communicated to parties via hearing notices sent to them on Tuesday to that effect by the tribunal’s secretariat.

Tribunal Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo had, on March 7, after parties adopted their final written addresses, announced that judgment in the case would be reserved till a later date.

Justice Sirajo said parties will be informed, at least, 48 hours before the date of delivery of the judgment.

Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appeared for Oyetola; Akin Olujinmi (SAN) represented the APC while Lasco Pwahomdi appeared for INEC on March 7.

The petitioners’ legal team was led by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN).

In adopting their separate final addresses, Olanipekun, Olujinmi and Pwahomdi urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioners have failed to prove their case.

On his part, Ikpeazu urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and grant all the reliefs prayed by the petitioners.

Olanipekun, while adopting his final address, noted that the petition was full of confusing claims and betrayed the petitioners’ lack of understanding of the nation’s election petition jurisprudence.

In identifying what he described as the many contradictions in the petition, Olanipekun noted that “in pages 37, 38 and 39, the petitioners are presenting a different case entirely from their pleadings. The petition is a bedlam of confusion.”

Olanipekun noted that the petitioners have admitted breaching the electoral law by seeking that some of their votes be quashed.

He added: “They are also asking the tribunal to quash some of their votes. A self-confessed petitioner, who has in writing, admitted infringing the law, cannot be asking to be returned as a winner of the election.

“In their relief seven, they want the court to nullify the certificate of return, but they failed to present the certificate before the tribunal. Where is that certificate? Can the tribunal nullify what is not before it?

“They said the certificate of return is with us. If it is with us, should they not have given us a notice to produce it? They did not give us notice to produce,” Olanipekun said.

He relied on a decision of the Court of Appeal given on Wednesday in the motion filed by the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar and urged the tribunal to decline the petitioners’ prayer to void the guideline issued by INEC for the conduct of the election.

In similar argument, Olujinmi faulted the evidence given by 63 polling agents called as witnesses by the petitioners.

He noted that, though the petitioners called 80 witnesses in all, 63, who were polling unit agents gave common evidence by saying similar things and using almost exactly the same words.

Olujinmi also argued the the evidence by the petitions’ 74th witness, who was the state polling agent, amounted to hearsay evidence because he admitted getting the information from the documents submitted to him.

He urged the tribunal to ignore the various documents tendered by the petitioners, which he said they merely dumped on the tribunal without demonstrating their link to the case.

Olujinmi also noted contradictions in the case of the petitioners and the evidence they led.

He noted that while the petitioners want the tribunal to declare them winner of the first part of the election held on September 22, 2018 and void the supplementary election held on September 27, 2018, their 74th witness said they have no cause of action as it relates to the election of September 22, 2018.

Ikpeazu, in his counter argument, urged the tribunal to disregard the issues raised by the respondents’ lawyers.

He faulted the written addresses by the 2nd and 3rd respondents, which he argued, were not filed as required by law.

Ikpeazu said there was no confusion as it relates to the case of the petitioners. He said the respondents’ claim of existence of confusion betrayed their misunderstanding of the case.

Ikpeazu said the petitioners’ case was that, based of the result of the election of September 22, the 1st petitioner, having satisfied provision of Section 179(2) of the Constitution, ought to be declared as having won.

He faulted the respondents’ argument that the petitioners dumped documents on the tribunal.

Ikpeazu argued that the petitioners have effectively demonstrated all the documents tendered, including the certified true copies of the result sheets, which he said, were riddled with alterations.

He queried the powers of INEC to alter election results and urged the tribunal to grant the petitioners’ prayers.
Culled from thenewsguru

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Niger AG promises to sustain partnership with police for speedy dispensation of justice

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From Naseer Mijinyawa Minna

The Niger State Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice Nasara Danmallam promised that his office will continue to partner with the Niger state police command to ensure the speedy dispensation of criminal Justice, in the state,

He gave the assurance during a courtesy visit to the state Commissioner of police Mr Monday Bala Kuryas in his office in Minna, during the week.
He said the state Ministry of Justice has an outstanding existing working relationship with the Niger State police command under previous leadership of the command. He promised that his ministry would continue to build on the established relationship towards achieving the collective responsibility of administration of criminal Justice in the state.
According to the Attorney general, the need for the state Ministry of Justice to synergize with the police cannot be overemphasize adding that the police as a critical stakeholder in the administration of criminal Justice,

According to him, the command should always feel free to approach his office for support that will enhance the quick administration of criminal Justice.
He noted that successive Commissioners of police in the state have been working in partnership with the ministry of Justice adding that the partnership has yeilded the needed result in the prosecution of capital offences and securing overwhelming conviction.

He requested the Commissioner of police to prevail on his investigating teams to continue to maintain that performance.
He said the Ministry of Justice under his leadership has sofar secured substantial number of conviction of capital offences of rapes, culpable homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery among other heinous crimes within the last four months.
This according to him was attributed to the cordiality that existed between the ministry of Justice and the state command.
He admonished the Commissioner of police to continue to build on the already harmonious working relationship with the state Ministry of Justice inorder to ensure perfect administration of criminal Justice system in Niger State at all times.
Responding, the Commissioner of police in Niger State, Mr. Monday Bala Kuryas commended the Attorney general for the visit which he described as timely.
He told the visiting Attorney general that the command under his leadership has a Paramount responsibility to partner with the office of the Attorney general to ensure the speedy dispensation of criminal Justice in the state.
He assured the Commissioner of Justice of his preparedness to work with the ministry of Justice to bring criminal minded elements to face Justice stating that the police as a critical stakeholder in Justice system will not in any way compromise in ensuring that criminal elements in the state were made to face the full wrath of the law.

He further assured the Attorney general that his command will continue to request the legal unit of the state command to always work with the Ministry of Justice toward making case files available to the office of the Director of public prosecution (DPP), in the Ministry of Justice for speedy legal opinion for proper prosecution of offenders.

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P&ID Contract: FG Probes Nine Contracts signed in Breach of Due Process by Previous Administrations

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***as Senate decries Soaring Judgement Debts

The Federal Government has constituted a panel that will investigate nine contractual agreements entered in to by previous administrations which were in breach of due process that can undermine the nation’s economy.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami made the disclosure when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
He pointed out that the P$ID contract that was signed without due process and procedure has the capacity to rip off $10 billion from Nigeria.
In 2017, the tribunal awarded P&ID $6.6 billion as damages. But, the amount grew to $8.9billion with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at 7 per cent rate per annum following Nigerian Government’s refusal to appeal the matter for over five years.
Malami while responding to questions from the members of the Committee explained that the P$ID contract was never allowed to pass through the office of the Attorney General adding that  the account are embedded in the contract clauses that are inimical to Nigeria’s interest. 
He said that the Taskforce set for that purpose will spent N1.1 billion in 2022 to carry out holistic Investigation on nine other contracts signed against the interest of the country by previous administrations.
He said, “It is the Taskforce that is intended to review the existing problematic contracts that have the capacity of undermining the economy in line with the P & ID; a kind of lessons and experience.

“In the office of the Attorney General, there exists two fundamental departments relating to getting of contracts. Solicitor Department is charged with vetting any governmental contract and they have lived up to expectations over time. 

“But the major problem with P&ID is that contract was never ever allowed to pass through the Office of the Attorney General for getting. So, on the account of that there are embedded in the contract clauses that are inimical to the interest of the nation.

“Because of the fact that there is a preliminary conspiracy among the key promoters of the contract, the contract was never allowed to pass through the Federal Executive Council, FEC for its approval, neither was it allowed to pass through the Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting.

“The existing structures are there, but they can only act in respect of contracts that are referred to the department. For example, as it is now, even though in respect of government contracts, arising from the fact that China is involving certain clauses regarding immunity which some ministries and departments are willing to compromise, they are not allowed to pass.

“We have developed need for other circulars that these are intended clauses that could be tolerated in public interest and the interest of the nation in mind were attached.
“What I’m saying in essence is that the Taskforce is poised to looking at it. 
In respect of P&ID, there were about nine contracts that were signed at the same time in breach of due processes and procedures. “
In his opening remarks, The Chairman lamented soaring Judgement Debts which has become National embarrassment demanding urgent action about the development from the Ministry of Justice.
Bamidele said, “;It is also pertinent to state that the judgement debt profile of the country keeps soaring without corresponding response from government in order to address the situation.
“This development is now viewed as a national embarrassment and necessary action must be taken to ensure that the image of the country is protected .
“In this regard , I implore you prioritize your budget and make a case for legislative intervention where necessary, in order to ensure that this area of concern is critically looked into, with a view to proffering the much needed solution.”
The Ministry proposed N11.8 billion for 2022 budget . The Personel cost – N3.9 billion, overhead cost (exclusive of Legal Services) – N2.4bn , Legal Services – M2 billion , Capital budget- N3.5 billion.
All parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Justice also appeared before Bamidele led Committee to defend 2022 budget.

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Legal practitioner condemns indiscriminate search, arrest warrants, interim orders

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A legal practitioner and a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court Chukwudi Ezeobika Esq has condemn the indiscriminate issuance of search and arrest warrants as well as Interim orders by Judges and Magistrates describing such as immoral, reckless and irresponsible.

This was contained in a statement he issued and made available to the NationalUpdate in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking against the backdrop of the invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s residence he said the Judiciary in any democracy through interpretation of laws, remains the sole police and chief custodian of societal norms, values and morals.
He added that to that very extent,the judiciary could be seen as the last hope of the common man with regards to the principles of equity, Justice and fairness.

“The Nigerian Judiciary, having unwittingly allowed itself to be undermined by other arms of government especially the executive, has greatly whittled down its powers to protect and preserve the sanctity and sacredness of the temple of Justice and the law, to the extent that belief and faith in it has become questionable.

“The National Judicial Council (NJC) as well as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have remained completely alienated and out of touch with their roles and responsibilities to promptly assert their authority in ensuring that persons under their supervision, no matter how highly placed, conform to the norms and ethics of the Legal Profession in order to save its image and integrity.

“The indiscriminate issuance by Judges and Magistrates in Nigeria, of Interim Orders including Search and Arrest warrants without preliminary investigations on their part, has become not only unethical but has subjected the Bench and Bar to untold ridicule and disgrace both locally and internationally. “
He said the interim orders including search and arrest warrants have suddenly become a potent tool in the hands of the Mohamadu Buhari led APC Government since 2015, to oust Judges and Justices who do not share in their beliefs and or agenda.
Barrister Ezeobika said they latched of the interim orders, search and arrest warrants to shrink the political space by targeting individuals perceived to be in opposition.

“The National Judicial Council and the Nigerian Bar Association have so far remained indifferent and unaware of current realities on ground to the extent that the Courts, as against the electorates, now decide who wins at the polls during elections in Nigeria.

“This trend ( imposition of Candidates by the Courts ) which currently fuels violence and which has since become the order of the day in Nigeria is, in itself, a great disservice to the Nigerian people and must be jettisoned by the Courts.
“This the Courts can do by allowing votes cast by the electorates during elections to count, as opposed to foisting and or imposing unwanted Candidates on the people.

“The recent invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s private residence in Abuja by security operatives further confirms the Mohamadu Buhari led APC Government’s contempt and hatred for the Igbos.
This he said is especially so with regards to public offices and the attitude put forward to this illegitimate action by the Nigerian State through its Attorney General, calls to question, the capacity and competence of Mr. Abubakar Malami to continue in office as the Nation’s Attorney General and the justification for him to retain the esteemed title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

“The militarization of the South-East region by the Mohamadu Buhari led APC Government which results in daily killings of innocent Nigerian citizens as well as security operatives calls to question the genuineness of the intentions of the APC administration in addressing the burning issues of inequity, injustice and marginalisation of persons of Igbo extraction.”
He however advocated for an effective engagement with traditional Rulers and stakeholders in the South-East in the light of the lingering insecurity and ahead of the scheduled Anambra State governorship election.
as opposed to such sustained reckless show of force by the the security agencies.

“The great people of Anambra State have chosen to turn out enmarse to vote for a Candidate of their choice and shall neither be Intimidated nor stopped in exercising their franchise. This remains the only way they can choose their true leader and avoid imposition of unwanted Candidates.”

He called on all relevant agencies of the Nigerian government saddled with investigative and prosecutory responsibilities to commence a thorough investigation and prosecution of Security Operatives who illegally and unlawfully invaded the private residence of Justice Mary Odili – a serving Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He called on the Nigerian Judicial Council and the Nigerian Bar Association to investigate the recent conduct of Abubakar Malami and all Law Officers as well as legal practitioners involved in this disgraceful conduct.
This he said is expedient in order to ensure that the integrity of the Nigerian Bar and the Bench are protected and duly preserved.

“The current administration is through this medium, called upon to allow the will of the Anambra people to prevail in the forthcoming November 6 2021, Anambra State governorship election and not do or be seen to do anything that will derail the democratic process in Anambra State.”

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