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Bauchi Re-run: What Next For Abubakar After Losing At The Poll, Court Case? |RN

Chinedu Asadu

Mohammed Abubakar, governor of Bauchi state, has suffered three defeats in the space of two weeks — with another one looming.

The governor, who is seeking reelection under the All Progressives Congress (APC), was first defeated during the March 9 governorship poll. He garnered 465,453 votes to come second to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) Bala Mohammed who got 469,512 votes.

He then got a temporary reload when a federal high court in Abuja granted his request, suspending the collation of the remaining results of the election until the determination of a suit he filed. But for how long?

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continued with the supplementary election in the state and  Abubakar was again defeated. The PDP candidate polled 6,376 votes to leave the governor following closely with 5,117 votes.

Back to the court case, at its sitting on Monday, the federal high court struck out the governor’s application seeking to stop the collation of the remaining result — in Tafawa Balewa LGA.

Although the result of the remaining LGA has not been announced, there is a slim chance Abubakar is going to survive the process.

Tafawa Balewa has a total of 22,759 registered voters, according to figures released by INEC and the sum of the votes in the two elections show he is losing with a margin of 5,318. Will the governor escape by the skin of his teeth or is disaster looming for him?  (The Cable)

 

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NJC Begins Hearing On Petitions Against Onnoghen, Acting CJN, Tanko |RN

Walter-onnoghen-and-tanko-muhammad-

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 

An investigative panel of the National Judicial Council will this week begin hearing on the petitions of alleged misconduct written against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; and the Acting CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.

Our correspondent learnt the five-man panel set up by the NJC to investigate the petitions against the top judicial officers would conduct a hearing on Muhammad’s case on Tuesday.

It was also learnt that the panel had its first sitting on Onnoghen’s case on February 6 and adjourned till Wednesday.

The NJC had at its February 13, 2019 meeting reviewed the pre-assessment report on the petitions written against the two men and considered the complaints worthy of being investigated.

The council then set up a five-man panel led by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice S.A Akande, to investigate the petitions and issued queries to the judicial officers.

One of the petitions was reportedly written by a civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative, and its Executive Director, Mr Dennis Aghanya.

The allegations in the petition sent to the NJC were said to be the same as the one sent to the Code of Conduct Bureau, made up of six counts, accusing the suspended CJN of failure to declare some bank accounts with huge funds in foreign currencies as part of his assets.

The other petition sent to the NJC was said to be by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accusing Onnoghen of having suspicious lodgements of huge funds in his bank accounts.

The petition sent to the NJC against Muhammad was reportedly authored by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), who requested that Muhammad be sanctioned for submitting himself to President Muhammadu Buhari to be sworn in as acting CJN without any recommendation by the NJC.

Our correspondent gathered that both Onnoghen and Muhammad had replied to the queries issued to them.

Agbakoba, the author of the petition against Justice Muhammad, confirmed to our correspondent on Sunday that he had received a notice for the Tuesday hearing on the Acting CJN’s case.

“I will appear before the panel on Tuesday,” Agbakoba told our correspondent over the telephone.

Our correspondent learnt that Mr R.A. Rabana-Lawal (SAN), who was said to have led Onnoghen’s team to the March 6 sitting of the NJC’s investigative panel, could not be reached on the telephone on Sunday.    (Punch)

 

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Executive Order 6: Court Backs Buhari On Seizure Of Looters’ Assets |RN

                                            President Muhammadu Buhari

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday validated the Presidential Executive Order 6 of 2018 which provides for the interim seizure of assets linked to ongoing criminal trials and investigations.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 5, 2018, issued the Presidential Executive Order, but two lawyers, Ikenga Ugochinyere and Mr Keneth Udeze, instituted a suit before the court to challenge its constitutionality.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the lawyers’ suit for lacking in merit and affirmed that the President had the constitutional powers to issue the PEO as long as it did not encroach into the principles of separation of powers.

She ruled that the PEO was issued as a policy directive for the implementation of provisions of existing laws, adding that it also recognised the right of every citizen to approach the court for redress if aggrieved by the enforcement of the PEO.

The plaintiffs had on July 13, 2018, filed the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/740/2018, arguing that the PEO contravened constitutional provisions.

They argued that by virtue of the combined effect of sections 5, 36 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President lacked the power to issue the PEO.

They maintained that the President’s act or conduct in issuing the PEO interfered with or encroached into the ownership of assets or properties of any person who had not been found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The plaintiffs had through their lawyer, Mr Obed Agu, joined President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, as the defendants.

But dismissing the suit on Thursday, Justice Ojukwu agreed with the defendants’ lawyer, Mr Tijani Gazali, that the PEO could only be enforced in line with the provisions of the law and did not amount to an infringement of the rights of the affected person, who also had the right to approach the court to seek redress.

She ruled that contrary to the plaintiffs’ contention, the Executive Order 6 did not violate the rights of citizens to fair hearing and to own property under sections 35 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution, but was informed by the President’s willingness to preserve suspected property from being dissipated while an investigation or criminal trial linked to it was ongoing.

“What the President has demonstrated by the Executive Order in question is his willingness to ensure the prevention of the dissipation of assets and funds connected with the commission of the offence of corruption and other related offences, until the determination of any corruption-related matter against the person or firm,” the judge held.

However, the judge made a little modification to the PEO which she noted seemed to give the AGF the discretion on when to seek the court’s permission to seize any property suspiciously linked to corruption or other criminal activities.

The judge, in modifying the order, directed that the AGF, who is assigned the coordinating role by the PEO, must, at all times, obtain a court order before seizing any asset.

While reiterating that the PEO must be implemented in accordance to the principles of the rule of law, she added that the coordinating role imposed on the AGF by the PEO was subject to Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution and must be predicated on the existence of facts.

The judge ruled, “It is pertinent that the honourable Attorney General of the Federation, as the overseer of the activities of all the law enforcement authorities listed in the 2nd Schedule to the Executive Order, should ensure due process and uniformity of purpose.

“It is the further opinion of this court that the honourable Attorney General of the Federation first obtains an order of the court in all circumstances before blocking or freezing or confiscating such funds or assets pending the conclusion of an investigation or legal action.

“An application may be made ex parte and if the court is satisfied with the averment and information contained in the application, the order may be granted.

“It is, however, recommended that an order of the court in that regard include a period of investigation or subsequent date. Where the court is of the opinion that the party to be affected by the order should be put on notice, the court should make that determination.”

Affirming the constitutionality of the PEO and the need to implement it in line with the rule of law, the judge ruled, “In the final analysis, what this court has to say is as follows:

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has powers under sections 5 and 315 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to issue Executive Orders on routine administrative matters, to state’s policies, especially for the internal operations of state’s agencies insofar as it does not step on the toes of legislative and judicial powers under the constitution.”  (Punch)

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BREAKING NEWS: Agbakoba Sues Buhari For Being Petroleum Minister |The Republican News

Olisa-Agbakoba-buhari

President Buhari, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN)

By Uche Usim,  Abuja 

Foremost Maritime lawyer and former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba has filed a claim at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Federal Government of Nigeria via the Attorney General of the Federation, to determine the constitutional qualification of the President of Nigeria to also hold executive office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Agbakoba, according to a statement released by his Chambers, argues that on the basis of section 138 of the Constitution disqualifying the President of Nigeria from taking any paid employment or holding the executive office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, the President cannot hold office as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

His other argument is that in any event, the President’s appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources was not confirmed by the Senate of the National Assembly, as stipulated by section 147(2)of the constitution.

The affidavit supporting Agbakoba’s claim states the determination of the questions in the claim is of vital national importance, in view of the governance chaos at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

He has requested the court to return answers that the President is not validly qualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources and in any event, the President is also disqualified to be Minister of Petroleum Resources, not having been confirmed by Senate.

No date has been fixed for the hearing.  (The Sun)

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Court Strikes Out Charge Against Ex-Bank MD, Akingbola, 5 Others |The Republican News

From: Lukman Olabiyi

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, on Friday, withdrew a seven-count criminal charge filed against a former Managing Director of Mainstreet Bank Registrars, Mr Oluwadare Akingbola, and five others before a Federal High Court, Lagos.

Others listed as defendants in the suit alongside Akingbola were Chairman of the firm, Sulaiman Adedokun; Adegbami Adegoke Elijah; Patrick Okoh; Dauda Taiwo Oluwasshola and Olufemi Charles Olanihun.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, on Friday, which was fixed for the arraignment of the defendants, the prosecutor, Henry Obiazi, informed Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, that the Inspector General of Police had instructed the prosecution to return the case file.

Obiazi told the court that the IGP’s decision was a sequel to a letter received from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), whom he said wanted to re-assign the matter for reinvestigation.

Obiazi also told the court that the decision of the IGP was brought pursuant to section 108(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

He, therefore, urged the court to strike out the charge against the defendants, pending when IGP will order for the suspects’ prosecution.

In the same vein, lawyer to Akingbola and others, Mr E. Udeh, told the court that prior to the withdrawal of the charge against his clients, he had written a letter to the court to strike out the charge for being defective, since the prosecution failed to attach proof-of-evidence with the charge.

Udeh cited several authorities to support his call for striking out the charge against his clients.

Satisfied with the submissions of the prosecution and defence teams, the judge, Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, struck out the charge against all the suspects.  (The Sun)

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