CCT Chairman Umar Danladi and Ex-CJN Walter Onnoghen
By Clement A. Oloyede
The embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has convicted suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, accused of false and non-declaration of assets.
The tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, while giving judgement in the case on Thursday, held that the prosecution had proven the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Umar held that Onnoghen is convicted as follows:
Removed from office as CJN and Chairman of NJC
Banned from holding office for the period of 10 years
The money in the 5 accounts that the defendant has failed to declare be confiscated, seized and forfeited to the FGN as it is proven that the money was gotten illegally and the defendant has not provided any evidence of how he got them.
Before his punishments were read to him, the tribunal gave opportunity for allocutus.
However, counsel to Onnoghen, Okon Efut (SAN), said the defence had nothing to say.
When tribunal asked Onnoghen if he has anything to say, he said “My Lord, I don’t”.
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The special courts for the trial of terrorism-related cases has convicted and sentenced 113 Boko Haram members to jail over their involvement in acts of terrorism.
The convicts, who were sentenced to various jail terms, were arraigned before the special court sitting at the Wawa Military Cantonment, in Kainji, Niger State, by the Federal Government.
They were charged for various offences ranging from membership of the proscribed Boko Haram group, concealing information vital to security agencies, providing support to the sect, participating in acts of terrorism which resulted in the deaths of many persons and murder.
Those sentenced included one Kabiru Mohammed from Kaban-Magadan, in Funtua, Katsina State. He was accused of receiving training in the use of explosives and other terrorism items. He was also accused of participating in series of attacks in Bama, Kunduga, Baga in Borno State and Damaturu in Yobe State which resulted to lots of deaths in the two states.
According to him, he joined the sect in 2013 and rose to become a leader. He was said to have led others in carrying out attacks as well as instructing them to carry out attack on people and communities.
Mohammed, who disclosed that he voluntarily joined Boko Haram, said at a time, he became tired of the kind of life he was leading and threw away his gun and ran to Katsina State, his home town.
He was arrested in 2015 at a motor park in Katsina.
He pleaded guilty to all the 7-count charge and was consequently sentenced to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour on each of the counts which are to run concurrently from the day of his arrest.
Next was one Adamu Mohammed, 22 years from Gombe State, who was charged with the murder of six people as well as throwing a bomb at a market place.
While he admitted to killing six persons through the use of a short gun, he, however, claimed he threw the bomb in a river and not in a market place.
He was sentenced to 25 full calendar years with hard labour in a maximum prison and without an option of fine.
Banzana Yusuf, from Kano State, on his part bagged 20 years for his role in the planning and kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.
So also was 25 year-old Shetima Modu, who was arraigned on a 4-count charge of engaging in terrorism activities.
He admitted to participating in attacks on a church in Mala village as well as another attack in Gonuri village where seven people were killed.
One Sabo Kyari Mohammed, who was described by the Department of State Service (DSS) as a “strong member of Boko Haram”, however, bagged a jail term of five full calendar years.
Part of his charges included providing surveillance for the group and participating in the attack known as ‘operation point and kill’ at his Musa village in Borno State.
He was arrested by men of the Nigerian Army in Jos, Plateau State along with his wife and two children.
In handing down the sentence, the trial judge stated that, though the defendant being a 1st time offender, the court ordinarily ought to have showed him mercy in the judgment, but, “due to the carnage and wanton destruction of lives their action caused society, he is to serve a five full calendar years imprisonment.
“This is to serve as a deterrent to himself and others like him “, the judge held.
Also sentenced was Zainab Idris, wife of Boko Haram commander, Babawo Idris.
Zainab was arrested in 2014 with her two children, while on her way to join her husband in Sambisa forest.
Her husband, popularly known as Idoko or Nagada was numbered 156 on the military’s wanted list before his arrest last September.
The court sentenced her to four years imprisonment for being a member of a proscribed group.
However, the court held that haven been in custody since 2014, it is possible that she has served her jail term and consequently ordered that she be released.
The judge, in addition ordered that she be taking to a rehabilitation center, ” for de-radicalization, and monitored under strict surveillance to avoid going back to Boko Haram”.
The judge advised her to learn a trade at the center so as to become useful to herself, her children and society in future.
However, the case of a notorious member of the sect, Mohammed Zakariya, also known as “Butcher”, could not be taken on the grounds that he was mentally sick.
The court consequently ordered that he be taken to a psychiatric for treatment and adjourned till November 14 for his arraignment.
The special sitting of the court, which held between Monday and Tuesday heard over a hundred cases.
A total of 111 persons were discharged / acquitted or had their cases struck out for lack of evidence to support the charges, while 9 others were adjourned to Abuja. (The Sun)
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was convicted Friday of hushing up child sexual abuse allegations in 2001 against Jerry Sandusky, whose arrest a decade later blew up into a major scandal for the university and led to the firing of beloved football coach Joe Paterno.
The jury found Spanier guilty of one misdemeanor count of child endangerment over his handling of a complaint against the retired assistant football coach but acquitted him of conspiracy and a second child endangerment count.
Spanier, 68, showed no emotion when the verdict was read after 13 hours of deliberations. He could get up to five years in prison. His lawyer said he will appeal.
The trial centered on how Spanier and two other university administrators handled a complaint by graduate coaching assistant Mike McQueary, who said he reported seeing Sandusky sexually molesting a boy in a team shower in 2001. The three officials told Sandusky he could not bring children onto the campus anymore but did not report the matter to police or child welfare authorities.
Sandusky was not arrested until 2011, after an anonymous tip led prosecutors to investigate the shower incident. He was convicted the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving 10 to 30 years behind bars. At least four victims at Sandusky’s trial said they were molested after 2001.
“Evil in the form of Jerry Sandusky was allowed to run wild,” prosecutor Patrick Schulte told the jury.
The scandal sent shockwaves through Penn State. It led to the ouster of both Spanier and Paterno and resulted in the school paying out more than $90 million to settle claims by over 30 Sandusky accusers. In addition, the NCAA fined Penn State $48 million and briefly erased more than 100 of Paterno’s football victories from the record books.
The Hall of Fame coach was never charged with a crime. He died of cancer in 2012 at age 85.
Another prosecutor, Laura Ditka, said Spanier was “convicted for all the children who came to Penn State after what Mike McQueary saw that night.”
Two of Spanier’s former lieutenants, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment charges a week ago and testified against Spanier. But all three denied they were told the encounter in the shower was sexual in nature.
“The verdict, their words and pleas indicate a profound failure of leadership,” Penn State said in a statement. “And while we cannot undo the past, we have re-dedicated ourselves and our university to act always with the highest integrity, in affirming the shared values of our community.”
The prosecution’s key evidence included notes and email exchanges in which the three debated what to do after McQueary’s report.
Spanier approved a plan to tell the retired coach to stop bringing children to athletic facilities and to inform The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth that Sandusky founded.
At one point, the administrators planned to inform the state Department of Public Welfare. Instead, Spanier approved putting that on hold, and the agency was never contacted. That decision formed the heart of the case against him.
“The only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,” Spanier told Curley and Schultz in 2001 in the email exchange. He called the plan “humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”
Spanier’s attorney, Sam Silver, said the case involved judgment calls by the administrators. He said there was no evidence of a crime by Spanier.
Ditka said during closing arguments that the three university leaders wanted to protect the university’s reputation at the expense of children.
“They took a gamble,” she told the jury. “They weren’t playing with dice. They were playing with kids.”
A report commissioned by the university and conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Paterno and the three others hushed up the allegations against Sandusky for fear of bad publicity.