Judge disqualifies self from Adegboruwa’s trial

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday washed her hands off the criminal case filed against Lagos-based activist lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The judge, who announced her decision in the open court, said it was based on “personal reasons.”

She said she had decided to return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for assignment to another judge.

Out of nine witnesses listed to testify, EFCC had already called two.

The EFCC, in the case, marked, FHC/L/181c/2016, accused Adegboruwa of dealing in a landed property in defiance of a court order.

It arraigned the lawyer on May 13, 2016 on one count alongside one Jonathan Udeagbala, said to be at large.

The anti-graft agency claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala dealt in a property “lying, being and situate at House 105, Nicon Estate, Lekki, Lagos,” without the authorisation of the EFCC.

The prosecution said property was a subject of litigation before Justice C. A. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.

The EFCC claimed that on August 13, 2013, Adegboruwa and Udeagbala leased the property in defiance of an order of interim injunction made by Justice Balogun on June 18, 2012, concerning the property.

The defendants were accused of leasing the property to one Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited in the sum of N61,631,944.65, which the EFCC claimed was credited to Adegboruwa’s account with Zenith Bank.

The prosecutor claimed that Adegboruwa and Udeagbala committed an offence punishable under Section 32(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004.

But Adegboruwa pleaded not guilty, following which Justice Oguntoyinbo admitted him to a N10m bail with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties, the judge said, must be landed property owners in Lagos, whose bank account details and office and residential addresses must be verified by the court’s registrar.

Meanwhile, a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, presided over by Justice Aishat Opesanwo, had, after Adegboruwa’s arraignment, reportedly vacated the interim order of Justice C.A. Balogun, which the EFCC alleged that Adegboruwa defied.?

Southern Kaduna: In search of peace and justice – By Oyekan Adeolu

Over the last 37 years, Kaduna State has witnessed numerous violent conflicts, most of which are ethno-religious in nature. Contests for domain controls, resources and religious supremacy has led to the burning of religious places of worship, homes, marketplaces and public property.

Institutions of higher learning, which ought to be somewhat immune to the irrationality that fuels these conflicts, have many times been the theatre of war, as the College of Education riots of 1987, ABU crisis of 1988, and the Federal College of Education violence of year 2000 indicate. Notable places like Zagon Kataf, Kanfachan, Zaria among others, have become flashpoints where contest for identity recognition often results in bloodshed and wanton destruction.

More unfortunately though, attempts to permanently lay these recurrent conflicts to rest have failed, largely owing to half-hearted efforts by the authorities to implement enduring decisions identified as capable of bringing lasting respite.

It would seem that the political class benefits from the exploitation of the fault lines of the highly heterogeneous state for personal benefits. Granted that some of the lingering disputes have roots in colonial meddlesomeness that arbitrarily redrew districts and political domains, there has been little or no effort by the political leadership over time, to find lasting solutions. It is for this reason that the recurrence of violence, though sad, has not been surprising. It is within that brief overview that one must situate the ongoing conflicts in southern Kaduna.

The current conflict, said to have claimed close to a thousand lives, has exposed the fragile, distrustful relationship that exists between the different ethnic, religious and occupational groups in the state. The government, both at the state and federal level unfortunately, has conducted itself in a way that aggravates rather than ameliorate the crisis.

Governor El Rufai didn’t help matters when he, without recourse to verifiable facts attributed the conflict to non-Nigerian Fulani herdsmen who suffered losses while grazing, in the aftermath of the 2011 elections. The implications of this is that while the governor acknowledged the killings in southern Kaduna, he exonerated the indigenous Fulani community and held foreigners responsible for the numerous coordinated attacks on lives and property within his domain. By so doing, he has added a new, more frightening dimension to the issue, as it means that Nigeria is under attack from a band of aggrieved bandits who come into the country at will, wreak havoc, recoil and spring again as the nation watches helplessly. The implications of such an account wasn’t lost on any of the security agencies who have refrained from conferring credibility on the governor’s claim. The governor goes ahead to say that he Knows the perpetrators of these crimes, have visited them, and also offered huge monetary incentives to stop the destruction. Evidently, the governor did not consider as grievous and counter-productive, the use of unappriopriated resources of the State to pacify a party to an ongoing conflict, to the exclusion of the other sides whom the governor himself acknowledges to have suffered great human and material loss. While the governor’s ‘foreign invaders’ thesis is unconvincing, seeking to buy peace from a party to a conflict without a proper mechanism of mediation in a way acceptable to all the stakeholders takes the mismanagement of the Kaduna crises to a new height of incompetence.

Already, the attack on the residents of southern Kaduna a few weeks back, leading to the reported massacre of over 800 persons in the middle of a 24 hour curfew has been interpreted in some quarters as the tragic outcome of the governor’s handling of the issue.

Some have insinuated outright connivance. While we may not be able to affirm the connivance of the State governor with the Fulani side of the Kaduna crises merely on account of ethnic affiliations, the shoddy handling and management of the situation is evidently complicit.

Granted that the federal structure operative in the country gives the governor little control over security agencies, his self-explained use of the instruments of his office in bringing about peace falls far short of an objective, peace-oriented approach to the conflict.

Yet, more worrisome is the apparent indifference of President Muhammadu Buhari over the ongoing killings. It took public excoriation from many quarters to squeeze out a tepid press statement from presidential media aides in respect of the issue. This has unfortunately fuelled the belief in some quarters, rightly or wrongly, that the president, a Fulani himself, is sympathetic to the herdsmen at the centre of the conflict. The mistrusts that this presidential indifference has bred is inimical to lasting peace in Kaduna. Most worrying still, is that President Buhari is wittingly or unwittingly framing himself as a leader incapable of rising beyond narrow, primordial considerations in tackling matters of national importance.

The non-challant approach to conflicts involving herdsmen was an issue of much media debate in the wake of the attacks on farmers in Benue, Enugu and a few other places in months past. Rather than cement further, the increasing perception of the president as a sectional figure, General Buhari could have acted swiftly and decisively in the present Kaduna crisis to demonstrate to all in very clear terms the commitment to being a president for all as he swore to.

All over the world, we see the value attached to lives as leaders show up in areas where there are crisis, to console, identify with, and reassure their citizens in words and deeds that the people’s lives matter to those in power. In July 2016, President Francois Hollande of France was an early caller in Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray, where terrorists had killed a local clergyman. This was in spite of the fact that the assailants were killed at the scene by security agents. Earlier in 2015, in the wake of the murder of nine worshippers by the white supremacist, Dylan Roof, at a church in Charleston, President Obama visited the community to grieve with them. The import of this is very clear. When tragedies happen, it is expected of leaders to demonstrate empathy and commitment to a healing process. When tragedies occur as a result of conflict, it is even more imperative that a leader intervenes symbolically, calming jarred nerves and going beyond that to show the way forward in the interest of enduring peace, and more importantly, justice.

On this score, President Buhari has been grossly wanting. Unfortunately, such a disposition is not likely to be met with indifference from the feuding parties. It has the dangerous tendency to infuriate and energize further, those who perceive themselves as victims, while equally emboldening those accused of committing serious atrocities. In the absence of decisive and effective leadership, a conflict of this nature can only breed more anarchy and disorder, as people interpret justice and fairness from the perspective of self-interest. Ineffectiveness is a great incentive for degeneration into a Hobessian state

The federal government has decided to establish an Army formation in the part of southern Kaduna most prone to conflicts in order to restore peace. It remains to be seen if such a move will yield expected results in an area where distrust and accusations of connivance on the part of the Armed Forces are rife. In any case, the establishment of a military formation is at best a medium to long term solution which in itself is not encompassing. Peace enforcement all over the world is a temporary measure which precedes peace-building.

Achieving the latter requires establishing the credibility of government and its institutions as unbiased arbiters, dispelling methodically the grounds for further discord between the different sides, and bringing reforms carefully designed to address holistically, the numerous dimensions of the crisis.

In the case of Kaduna, finding lasting peace ought to factor in the political, economic, religious and social dimensions that the contesta has assumed. Areas of influence for each group must be clearly delineated and made binding to the satisfaction of all ethnic groups and other interested parties, while issues relating to the transition from the grazing approach to ranching by herdsmen equally requires a definitive resolution. Efforts must also be made to bring to justice, those known to have committed grave crimes on both sides. These steps, among others will go a long way in restoring trust, a sense of fairness and safety, and the needed peace and order upon which any developmental agenda can be predicated.

Adeolu lectures at the Lagos State University

Justice Ngwuta earns N24m annually, spent N500m in 10 months – AGF

The Federal Government on Wednesday said investigations had shown that a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, spent over N500m between January and October 2016 despite his total annual legitimate earnings, including his allowances being N24m.

This was disclosed in a document prepared by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, summarising the case of the prosecution against the Justice of the Supreme Court, who was on November 21, 2016, arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

During his arraignment, Ngwuta pleaded not guilty to 16 counts, including money laundering and others relating to fraudulent obtainment of multiple passports.

The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned till January 16, 2017, for the prosecution to start calling its witnesses.

The document, prepared in anticipation that the prosecution would be allowed to open its case on Wednesday, stated that the case brought against the judge, “chronicles corrupt enrichment, violations of the money laundering laws of our land, passport fraud, and an attempt to obstruct justice by a judicial officer”.

The prosecution alleged that from the N500m, the apex court justice transferred dollar equivalent of N313m cash in $100 bills to a building contractor within the period of nine months between January and September, 2016, to “develop several landed properties” for him.

It explained that earlier in 2015, the defendant, within a period of one month, made various cash payments totalling $180,000 to the building contractor.

It also alleged that during the raid on the defendant’s Abuja house by the operatives of the Department of State Services on October 7, 2016, total sums of N38.358m, $319,596 and £25,915 were found in his possession.

According to the prosecution, the Justice of the apex court gave no satisfactory explanation for the huge sums of money found in his possession.

Prosecutor’s document

The document partly read, “Another witness will testify before this court that the defendant’s total annual income, including allowances in 2016 amounted to approximately N24,000,000.

“It beggars belief how a serving public servant could have under his direct control, in a 10-month period spanning between January and October alone, cash sums in excess of N500,000,000.”

Adeogun-Philips said proposed prosecution witnesses would also appear in court to testify over the huge funds found in possession of the defendant, among other allegations.

The document stated, “In the course of this trial, the Federal Republic of Nigeria will adduce evidence from a building contractor engaged by the defendant, as to how in a period of nine months, spanning between January and September 2016, he received the total sum of N313,000,000 from the defendant in cash, which was paid to him mostly in $100 bills to develop landed properties for the defendant.

“This court will also hear from another witness, how in his capacity as an architect engaged by the defendant in 2015, he received from the defendant within a period of one month, various cash payments totalling $180,000.

“Investigators will further tell this honourable court how during a search at his residence on October 7, 2016, cash totalling: (1) N35,358,000 (2) $319,956 and £25,915 were found in the defendant’s possession.”

The prosecution alleged that the defendant had betrayed “the judicial oath of allegiance to discharge his duties as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, faithfully, with honesty, and to the best of his abilities”, which he swore to on June 23, 2011 when he was promoted to the Supreme Court bench.

The prosecuting lawyer also stated that he would lead evidence on how the defendant, on October 9, 2016, a day after being granted administrative bail by the DSS in Abuja, prevailed on a potential prosecution witness on the telephone to help him to move some bags containing title documents of landed assets and N27m cash away from his house in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

Adeogun-Philips stated, “The court will, in the course of this trial, hear how the defendant, having been confronted with the maze of evidence against him, following the search of his official residence in Abuja and his subsequent arrest on October 7, 2016, and oblivious of being under DSS surveillance, prevailed on a potential prosecution witness following his release on administrative bail on October 9, 2016, to remove from his bathroom at his private residence in Ebonyi State several bags containing several land title documents and the sum of N27m cash.

“The evidence will also reveal how the defendant ordered the same witness to remove three luxury vehicles from his residence following which the said vehicles were subsequently concealed at various locations in Ebonyi State in an attempt to obstruct ongoing investigations in this case.”

He also said the evidence to be led by the prosecution would reveal “how the defendant, deliberately misled the Nigeria Immigration Service into issuing him four valid passports – two diplomatic and two standard Nigerian passports – having previously declared to the said service on oath that he had lost two of these passports”.

“The defendant was later found with all four passports during a search at his residence on October 7, 2016,” the prosecution stated.

Adeogun-Philips added, “It is for these reasons that the defendant is standing trial before this honourable court today. By the end of this trial, I am confident that the prosecution would have established beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is indeed guilty of the offences charged.”

The prosecution was scheduled to call its first set of witnesses against Justice Ngwuta on Wednesday, but the defendant, through his lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), begged the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, to further adjourn the case to afford him (Ngwuta) more time to prepare for his defence.

He said his client was eager to defend himself, “But unfortunately we still have a lot to do to be sufficiently ready.”

He cited section 36(6) of the constitution which he said entitled any person accused of criminal offences to be given the “time and facilities” to defend himself.

He said, “There are some documents we still need to access from the prosecution. Under our constitution the defendant should be given enough time.

“I urge your lordship to direct the prosecution to avail us of all the documents they intend to use so that we can be fully prepared.”

Prosecutor opposes adjournment

But Adeogun-Philips, who said a lot of resources had been expended to bring three of the prosecution witnesses to court on Wednesday, opposed the application for adjournment.

He opposed the application on the grounds that both parties had on November 21, after the arraignment of the defendant, consented to the commencement of the trial on Wednesday.

Insisting that all the documents the prosecution would use had been front-loaded and served on the defendant along with the charges, he added that the  application for adjournment also violated section 396(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which provides for day-to-day trial upon arraignment until the conclusion of trial.”

He also said the adjournment would also violate the provisions of the court’s Practice Direction 2013.

He suggested that if the court was willing to grant the adjournment, the prosecution should be allowed to call its witness and give the defence another date to cross-examine the witness.

Defence lawyer seeks adjournment

Responding on point of law, Agabi said day-to-day trial was impracticable and that under section 396(4) of ACJA, the defendant was entitled to seek adjournment five times throughout the period of the trial in the event of the impracticability of day-to-day trial.

But ruling, Justice Tsoho agreed with the defence lawyer on the grounds that the provision of the constitution overrides the provision of the ACJA.

He said that the time and facilities which the provision of Section 36(6) of the constitution provides must be afforded the accused person which could extend to “emotional and psychological” readiness.

Allegations Of Corruption In The Justice Delivery Sector: Implications For Rule Of Law & Democracy By Femi Falana


For the past three decades, I have been involved in the struggle against human rights violations, corrupt practices and abuse of powers by certain principalities in Enugu State. In the 1980s I was here to defend the late Chima Ubani and other leaders of the student union of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka when they were expelled on grounds of political extremism. I also defended them when they were later charged before a Special Military Tribunal which sat at Enugu. In the 1990s I was equally here to launch legal battles against the proscription of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by the Sani Abacha junta and the expulsion of Malachy Ugwumadu and his colleague by the Vice-chancellor the UNN. Even though the country was under the jackboots at the material time the military dictators and the UNN authorities lost all the criminal and civil cases to our clients.

Three years ago, I was briefed to take up the case of the illegal detention of the then first lady of the State, Mrs.Clara Chime. She had been locked up in a room in the government house for weeks. She briefed me, through SMS and emails which she secretly sent to me, to secure her freedom from the illegal custody. When it was discovered that she had contacted me her phones and IPAD were impounded. I took up her case pro bono. As soon as I reported her illegal detention to the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service my locus standi to intervene in what was regarded as a family affair was challenged by her husband who was then the State governor. In defending my own intervention in the matter I referred the detainer who is a senior lawyer to the celebrated case of Fawehinmi v Akilu. where the Supreme Court held that we are all her bothers’ keepers.

Shortly thereafter, I led a team of colleagues to challenge the illegal impeachment of a former deputy governor in the State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi by the House of Assembly. The ground for the removal of the public officer from office was that he had engaged in poultry in the government quarters. Since the Constitution has excluded engagement in farming from the management or running of private business by public officers which is prohibited the Enugu State High Court had no difficulty in voiding the illegal impeachment.  Sometime last year, Mr. Peter Eze was subjected to intimidation by the then Chief Judge of Enugu State for reporting him to the National Judicial Council (NJC). Apart from securing the enforcement of his personal liberty at the Federal High Court we fought against the official moves to cover up the gross misconduct alleged to have been committed by the Chief Judge. Through personal sacrifice, courage and perseverance Mr. Eze was able to say like Paul the Apostle,”bonum certamen certavi” (I have fought thegood fight). I am therefore delighted to return to a familiar terrain of struggle to address the Enugu branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on the controversial issue of judicial corruption in our country.

Danger of raiding Judges’ homes at night

Even though I support the purge of the judiciary I am unable to persuade myself not to endorse the nocturnal raid of the official quarters of corrupt judges. More so, that leading politicians of the ancient regime and scores of military officers accused of criminal diversion of public funds have not been subjected to such bizarre indignity. In any case, since the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has admitted that he authorized the raid he is vicariously liable for the illegality of the invasion of the house of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court. From the information at my disposal the ‘offence’ committed by the judge was that he had ordered the SSS to produce a detainee in a fundamental right application pending in his court.  Since Justice Dimgba has never been associated, even remotely, with corrupt practices, he deserves an unreserved apology from the federal government. In prosecuting the war against corruption the SSS should not be allowed to harass judges whose fidelity to integrity cannot be questioned.

Under successive military dictatorships in Nigeria the NSO/SSS carried out several nocturnal raids on my home in a desperate move to cow me to submission. I always opened my doors ajar whenever the security operatives came calling. However, on  April 8, 1990, after the night raid of my house I was arrested at about 4.15 am and driven to the outskirts of Lagos along the lonely Epe road and dumped in the bush by the operatives of the SSS. Simultaneously, the home of the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti was invaded. He too was arrested and driven to Ijanikin along Badagry road where he was abandoned in the bush by his abductors. It was not a commercial venture as no ransom was demanded or paid before our release. As soon as we returned to our homes we addressed the press to alert Nigerians of the new tactics of kidnapping political opponents by the military junta. To our utter chagrin, the SSS denied any involvement in our abduction. Although we dismissed the official denial we and our colleagues in the human rights community resolved never again to open our doors to midnight marauders. And we never did until the end of military rule in May 1999.

However, when the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN, the late Dr. Ransome-Kuti and I returned to Kuje prisons in July 1993 we met a security officer who was in detention for alleged security breach. In the course of our interaction he informed us that the April 1990 abduction was carried out as part of the preparation for the Gideon Orkar-led coup. According to the officer, our abductors wanted to incite the human rights community against the Babangida junta.  I have recalled the personal encounter with the semi official kidnappers to draw attention to the danger of invading the homes of judges in the middle of the night. As kidnapping has become rampart in the country corruption may fight back by recruiting criminal elements to wear masks and abduct innocent judges at night and kill them andthereby embarrass the Buhari administration. To avert such ugly development the federal government is advised to stop security forces from further raiding the homes of judges at night.

Allegations of Corruption in the Justice Delivery Sector

Notwithstanding the arrest and the raid of the homes of judges where sums of money were recovered. And notwithstanding the arraignment of some of arrested judges in court the charges are mere allegations until they are proved beyond reasonable doubt. To that extent, we cannot comment on the contents of the charges since the criminal cases are sub judice. In this presentation, we shall therefore limit ourselves to the allegations of judicial implications.  At the same time, we shall call on the Nigerian Bar Association to take advantage of the ongoing purge of the judiciary to reorganize the courts. It has to be realized that we cannot successfully fight judicial corruption if we fail to stop the service of originating processes through extortion by court bailiffs, the execution of judgments through extortion by deputy sheriffs, the compilation of records of appeal through extortion by the record section and obtaining judgments of courts through extortion by court registrars.

It is often said that the court is the last hope of the common man. This is a myth in every capitalist society like Nigeria where the common man is economically disabled to access the court for redress. Within the ambit of a neo-colonial legal system the judiciary has performed fairly well. But the judiciary has not impacted on the masses of our people. We have over 40,000 poor people who are languishing in prison custody because their cases are awaiting trial in the criminal courts. All attention is largely concentrated on the High Courts and the appellate courts patronized by the elite which is constituted by a tiny fraction of the society.

The judiciary in Nigeria is yet to appreciate that it has the duty to lead the battle against corrupt practices and abuse of power or impunity in order to consolidate the democratic process. So much is expected of the judiciary due to the crucial role of the judicial arm of government in any democratic society. But in spite of the shortcomings in the legal system the judiciary has continued to uphold the rule of law to sustain the status quo in the overall interests of the ruling class. However, allegations of corruption in the judiciary are rife. According to Samson Uwaifo, a retired Supreme Court Justice, “If a judge is corrupt he is no longer a judge, he is a thief and therefore he should be treated as such, according to the law and sent to jail. The substantive issue is corruption. Is it true that these people are actually corrupt and that huge sums of money were found in their place? If that is so, the question of the procedure that taken would be a secondary thing – DSS can be punished for what they did (wrong) but focus should be on the result of the action”

In his reaction to the arrest of judges who are under investigation for corrupt practices a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yemi Candide-Johnson has categorically asserted that, “I believe that there is nothing uglier or more dangerous than a corrupt judge. A judge accepts an oath to administer justice without fear or favour, it is a trust and practically a holy obligation. Corruption at this level poisons public confidence in the entire system of government and threatens the peace and stability of our entire community. It is shameful and a disgrace to the memory of generations who built the Nigerian legal profession. It is vital that examples are made and I would like to see corrupt judges shackled and on their way to long prison sentences.”

I fully agree with Mr. Candide-Johnson SAN that “a corrupt judges is dangerous to the society.” In fact, judicial corruption is the worst form of corruption because judges have been empowered to exercise the power of life and death over other human beings. The judiciary is not a perfect institution. But unlike other arms of government it has devised inbuilt mechanism for removing corrupt or indolent judges. Under the Buhari administration a number of judges have beensacked for corrupt practices, dereliction of duty or abuse of office. Some have been charged to court while others are under investigation for corrupt practices. But no minister has been sacked. No legislator has lost his or seat on ground of corruption. To that extent, the judiciary has fared better than the executive and legislature in the sanitization of the political system.

I have said in another forum of lawyers that the judiciary cannot be an oasis of integrity in a corrupt society. But as prosecutors and defence counsel in corruption cases lawyers should refrain from manipulating the law to promote corruption. Asinterpreters of the law our judges should stop conferring immunity on politically exposed persons. As a defender of human rights and rule of law the Nigerian Bar Association should monitor lawyers and judges and ensure that the bad eggs among them are reported to the appropriate disciplinary bodies. The point I am labouring to make is that the legal profession can reduce the menace of corruption to the barest minimum in the society. In order to consolidate the democratic process the NBA should activate the human rights committees in its 120 branches with a view to defending the human rights of the Nigerian people.

More importantly, the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) should join the campaign for the enforcement of the rights of Nigerian Citizens to education, adequate health, safe environment, etc which have been guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation, LFN, 2004. Since there is equality before the law the Public Officers Protection Act and all laws which require service of pre-action notices as well as the fiat of Attorneys-General to garnishee the accounts of the governments should be abolished. Our judges should be prepared to promote public interest litigation in order to empower citizens to challenge executive lawlessness and official impunity in the country.

The Bar and judicial corruption 

In a critical assessment of the state of judicial independence in Nigeria Professor Osita Nnamani Ogbu has opined that: “In practice, however, the Nigerian judiciary has been far from being independent and impartial. The executive branch has overwhelming influence on the judiciary. Other factors that affect the independence of the judiciary include the politicization of the issue of appointment of judges and the membership of secret cults by some judges. The Nigerian judiciary is not free from the pervasive phenomenon of corruption in Nigerian society. The executive also disobeys some court orders.”

In recent time there is no bar President who has not publicly accused the judiciary of corruption of hawking justice to the highest bidders. Convinced that the disciplinary measures put in place by the NJC were not sufficiently effective, a former NBA president, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN once called for the setting up of a panel of enquiry like the Kayode Eso panel, to inquire into the allegations of judicial corruption in the country. And while commenting on the sack of Justice Shadrack Neabosike as Chief Judge of Abia State, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN, also a former president of the NBA, said that “the decision of the NJC is laudable as it is part of the ongoing cleansing process of the judiciary”. He further stated that it was important for the judiciary to be rid of all forms of forms of corrupt and fraudulent officers so as to forestall a collapse of the system.”

In spite of the condemnation of judicial corruption by bar leaders the NBA has refused to expose, name and shame corrupt judges and lawyers. Consequently, the entire legal profession is now at the receiving end. Having regard to the monetization of NBA elections and inducement of voters by bar politicians it is not surprising that the national officers of the NBA lack the moral right to fight judicial corruption. The local branches of the NBA are also involved in the racket as they have specialized in extorting money from contestants. In view of the expenses incurred in the elections bar leaders do not hesitate to sacrifice the basic objectives of the NBA in order to recoup their huge investment. The implication of corrupt NBA electoral process is that bar leaders who bribe voters may see nothing unprofessional or illegal in bribing judges. The same thing applies to lawyers who sell their votes to the bar leaders during elections. It is therefore my submission that the fight against judicial corruption has to start with credible elections of bar leaders.

However, one of the dangerous implications of judicial corruption is that cases are no longer won on the basis of industry of counsel as justice is sold to the highest bidders in many courts including the appellate ones. The prize fixed on cases is chasing many hardworking lawyers out of practice. A high court judge has just been dismissed from the bench and recommended for prosecution by the NJC for allegedly fixing a case for the sum of N197 million. However, the NJC merely recommended for retirement Justice Hassan Tsiamiya of the court of appeal who demanded N200 million from an appellant. Last week, Chief Robert Clark SAN disclosed on Channels Television that a serving governor once told a senior counsel that the fee charged by him was much lower than what the judges in an election petition tribunal had demanded.

Whereas before now legal practitioners could not meet judges in chambers for any discussion whatsoever in the absence of colleagues on the opposing side it is not uncommon these days for litigants to inform counsel that they had met and negotiated with judges trying their matters. In many jurisdictions, the lawyers and court registrars who are couriers for corrupt judges are well known to all and sundry. Instead of taking steps to flush out the judicial merchants who have turned our courts to supermarkets for the rich lawyers are falling over themselves to fix cases. Meanwhile bar leaders have specialized in verbalizing the commercialization of the justice sector.

Another area where the NBA has failed to call its members to order is the deliberate delay of the prosecution of corruption cases and pre-election matters.  In other jurisdiction all pre-election matters are tried and concluded before elections. For instance, on the day of the United States election the Donald Trump campaign organization had filed a suit praying  the courtto direct a county registrar of voters in Nevada State to preserve and segregate ballots from voting machines in four early voting areas where there were suspicions of fraud. The claimant asked for an order that the ballots cast after the designated polling hours be not “co-mingled or interspersed” with other ballots. The judge heard the arguments and delivered his judgment in view of the urgency and implication of the case.

But in Nigeria our courts have turned pre-election matters to post election affairs with dire consequences for the democratic process. Contrary to the letter and spirit of the Electoral Act the dispute over the governorship primary conducted by the PDP in Enugu state is still pending in the Supreme Court even though the term of office of the governor who won the contest expired in 2011. Equally pending in the apex court are the appeals arising from the disputes over the governorship primaries conducted about 2010 in Abia and Cross River states. Although a winner has emerged in the governorship election held in Ondo state on November 26, 2016, the pre-election legal battles over the primaries of both the APC and PDP together with possible election petitions are going to be fought in the courts throughout the tenure of the winner of the election.

In the hearing of such cases for years politicians become desperate and are ready to win the cases at all costs. To stop judicial corruption through pre-election matters the judiciary should ensure that they are heard and determined with dispatch before election are held while election petitions are concluded before the inauguration of elected governments. The NBA and other stakeholders should propose relevant amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act to fast track the hearing of election disputes. Delay in the trial of politically exposed persons has also exposed the judiciary to ridicule before the generality of Nigerians and the international community. It is interesting to note that the manipulation of the criminal justice system is perpetrated by the politically exposed persons with the connivance of their counsel who are members of the inner bar. The deliberate manipulation of the criminal procedure to keep corruption cases in court indefinitely was decried by the Supreme Court in the case of Dariye v FRN where Ngwuta J.S.C held:

“It is not the duty of learned counsel to resort to motions aimed principally at delaying or even scuttling the process of determining whether or not there is substance in the charges as laid. In my view, this motion is a disservice to the criminal process and a contemptuous lip service to the fight against corruption. The tactics employed here is only one of the means by which the rich and powerful cripple the criminal process.

There are cases which the accused develop some rare illness which acts up just before the date set for their trial. They jet out of the country to attend to their health and the case is adjourned. If the medical facilities are not available locally to meet their medical needs it is only because due to corruption in high places the country cannot build proper medical facilities equipped with the State of art gadgets. There should be no clog in the process of determining whether or not a person accused of crime is guilty irrespective of his status in the society…

Lawyers are engaged to espouse the case of their clients. It is a monopoly and they should bear in mind that like all monopolies, there conduct are subject to strict rules of accountability for adherence to set ethical standards. They can fight the cause of their clients but as lawyers they must act within the rules regarding ethical conduct. They owe a duty to their client but they owe a higher duty to a higher cause-cause of justice .”

However, the Federal High Court has taken advantage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to accelerate the trial of criminal matters including corruption cases. In the last one year, the EFCC has secured about 200 convictions. This was why I was vehemently opposed to the recent call of the NBA leadership that the EFCC be divested of prosecutorial powers. Politically exposed persons have found that they can no longer manipulate the criminal justice system, at least in the Federal High Court. The appellate courts have also refused to suspend any trial by granting stay of proceedings. Interim orders of forfeiture of assets of criminal suspects are being granted while some of the suspects have been remanded in prison custody by judges and magistrates to facilitate investigation. Very soon, the fat cats are going to be convicted and jailed for looting the treasury.

The NJC and judicial corruption

Upon a critical analysis of the arrest of judges I have blamed the NJC and NBA for the cover up of cases of judicial corruption which led to the mess that the legal profession has found itself. Many petitions alleging misconduct against senior judges and members of the NJC have been suppressed. A Chief Judge has just been removed for collecting N10 million from a litigant at a book launch. But nothing has happened to another Chief Judge who raised over N40 million from a similar book launch. Is he a sacred cow because he is a member of the NJC? In defending the arrested judges the NJC claimed that it had treated all complaints of misconduct against judges with dispatch. The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, a civil society organization challenged the claim by referring to not less than 10 complaints which were not treated by the NJC.

Notwithstanding that it is incongruous for judges who are on trial for corrupt practices to continue to sit in judgment over other people the NJC said that it was not going to suspend the suspects. I had to remind the NJC that in 2006, it requested the SSS to investigate the members of the Akwa Ibom election petition tribunal who were alleged to have collected bribes to pervert justice.  Before the investigation was ordered the NJC had suspended the judges. In April 2014, I was the only lawyer who condemned the removal of Justice Peter Agwumagu as chief judge of Rivers state and his suspension before investigation was ordered by the NJC? Thisday published my article on the illegality of the removal. The NJC wrote a rejoinder to the article. The NJC was  also reminded that it suspended Justice Ayo Salami as President of the Court of Appeal before the investigation of the allegations levelled against him by the then Chief Justice. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

It was at that stage that the NJC accepted the request of the NBA President, Mr. A.B. Mahmoud SAN to suspend the judges from performing judicial functions until they have been absolved of the allegations of corrupt practices.  However, the NJC has refused to consider the serious implications of the conflicting judgments and orders of judges of the federal high court and other judges of coordinate jurisdiction. Hence, the federal high court and the Ondo State High Court have just issued conflicting orders with respect to the governorship candidate of the PDP in the November 26 election.

The NBA has 5 members in the NJC who are usually members of the inner bar even though the Constitution provides that at least one of them shall be a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Through its members in the NJC the NBA has continued to allow corrupt and incompetent lawyers to be appointed judges without a whimper. The comments on the character of candidates applying for appointment to the higher bench which are compiled by the various branches of the NBA are usually ignored by the NJC with the connivance of the NBA representatives. Instead of insisting on the appointment of judges on the basis of merit and integrity the NBA has never kicked against the politicization of the process of appointment. If we want an incorruptible judiciary the bar and bench should address the mode of appointment of judges, security of tenure as well as the working condition and retirement benefits of judges.

A former Chief Justice, Lady Justice Alooma Muktar put some measures in place to curb the excesses of itinerant judges. For instance, no judge could travel out of the country without a written permission of the NJC. Even a judge could not leave his/her duty post without the approval of the Chief Judge. Appointments to the higher bench were substantially based on merit.  As she would not allow the appointment of incompetent judges one of the heads of court refused to set the engine in motion for filling the vacancies in his Court.  But as soon as she completed her tenure it became business as usual in the judiciary. It is on record that the unprecedented impunity of the last three years encouraged the primitive accumulation of wealth by the judges who are currently embroiled in the miasma of corrupt practices.

In another move to protect corrupt judges the National Judicial Council has barred publication of allegations of misconduct against judicial officers or employees of the judiciary. Part of the policy reads: “It shall be the policy of the judiciary on complaints that allegations of misconduct against judicial officers or employees of the judiciary shall not be leaked or published in the media” and if and when it leaks, that would be the end of the investigation. Instead of gagging the media the NJC should be advised to learn from the NBA. Apartfrom advertising the names of lawyers being investigated the trial of indicted ones is conducted publicly by the legal practitioners disciplinary committee of the NBA. Even though the proceedings are covered by the media heavens have not fallen!

In any case, a petition against a judge may be leaked to the media without the knowledge or consent of a petitioner. In other words, it may be leaked to the media through the secretariat of the NJC or at the court where an accompanying affidavit has been sworn and deposited or by the respondent judge or through a member of the investigative panel or through any other member of the NJC.  Since any petition published in the media is liable to be dismissed by the NJC the respondent judge may leak it to the media if he/she has no defence to the allegation contained in the petition. The NJC ought to realize that it is the constitutional responsibility of the media to promote public accountability   and transparency in public institutions. Since the NJC is a public institution it cannot gag the press from reporting its activities. The NJC lacks the power to restrain the press from discharging the constitutional duty conferred on it by section 22 of the Constitution.  Since the petition against a judge is a public document it shall be made available to any Nigerian journalist pursuant to section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. Furthermore, the NJC cannot prevent a petitioner from imparting information to the media in respect of a petition against a judge as it is an exercise of the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

Corruption encouraged to fight back by Government

President Buhari has said that corruption is fighting back. This is not unexpected given the enormous resources in the soiled hands of the politically exposed persons who have been investigated or charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission. However, the federal government is needlessly encouraging corruption to fight back by frustrating the trial of some of the suspects. In fact, the government has continued to play into the hands of the suspects by refusing to comply with the orders of courts which have admitted them to bail.

Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), a former National Security Adviser, has refused to make himself available for trial on the ground that the SSS has illegally revoked the orders of three courts admitting him to bail. The government has also ignored the declaration of the ECOWAS Court to the effect that the further detention of Col Dasuki is illegal and unconstitutional. As if that is not enough, the federal government has refused to comply with the order of the Federal High Court to the effect that Commodore Umar Mohammed (rtd) be admitted to bail. Consequently, the Federal High Court has adjourned the arraignment of the retired military officer until the order admitting him to bail is complied with by the government.

When Olisa Agbakoba SAN was the President of the NBA a ledger was opened in the secretariat for recording judgments that were not been complied with by the governments. Even though many judgments were recorded in the ledger the NBA did not take any step to enforce them.  We cannot claim to operate under the rule of law if judgments of courts are treated with disdain by governments with the connivance or silence of Attorneys-General. The payment of judgment debts has been frustrated in many instances by Attorneys-General who refuse to give fiat to judgment creditors.Since the judgments of courts are binding on all authorities and persons the NBA should sanction Attorneys-General who fail to ensure compliance with the judgments of courts by the governments.

I cannot but concur with one of the leading lights in the legal profession, Chief Folake Solanke SAN who has rightly observed that “It is contrary to the rule of law that anyone or any institution should disobey a court order. Every lawyer must see that his clients obey court orders. It is a professional duty which must not be compromised for any client. A ‘person’ who disobeys a court order today may need the due process of law tomorrow to redress a wrong or an infraction of his right. The ambivalence of disobedience is exposed when a favourable court order is obeyed promptly and an unfavourable order is disobeyed.”

The NBA should wake up from its lethargy in the face of incessant disobedience to court orders. If the NBA under the presidency of Alao Aka-Bashorun could boycott courts over the flouting of a single court order by a military junta the NBA cannot afford to remain indifferent to executive lawlessness under a democratic dispensation.  As a matter of urgency, the NBA ought to prevail on the federal government to comply with the following court orders:

1.The orders of the Federal High Court,  the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory and the ECOWAS Court  directing the federal government to release Col. Sambo Dasuki(Rtd) on bail.

2.The order of the Federal High Court admitting Commodore Umar Mohammed (Rtd) to bail.

3.The order of the Federal High Court mandating the federal government to publish the amount recovered from those who looted the public treasury.

4.The order of the Federal High Court directing the SSS to release Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky and his wife from illegal custody.

5.The orders of the Federal High Court directing the federal and state governments grant autonomy for the judiciary.

6.The order of the Federal High Court directing the federal government to restore the Peoples Bank.

7.The order of the Federal High Court directing the federal government to establish the Nigerian Education Bank.

8.The order of the ECOWAS Court directing the federal government to ensure that every Nigerian child is given access to Universal Basic Education.

Criticisms of judgments of Nigerian Courts

In December last year, I had cause to criticize the granting of stay of proceedings by the Supreme Court in the case of Saraki v FRN . My criticism was based on section 306 of the ACJA 2015 which has prohibited the suspension of the hearing of a criminal case. Upon the publication of my views a retired judge called to warn me that I could be stripped of the rank of SAN for my impetuosity. The counsel to the appellant threatened to commence contempt proceedings against me. The then NBA president, Mr. Austin Aleghe SAN apologized publicly on our behalf and announced that we were going to be sanctioned for subjecting the decision of the apex court to criticism. I reacted by daring both Messrs.Daudu SAN and Aleghe SAN to file contempt proceedings and initiate disciplinary proceedings against me for exercising my freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Contrary to the misleading impression that it is contemptuous to criticize the judgments of courts, it is not uncommon for judges of appellate courts to criticizethemselves through dissenting opinions. In Awolowo v Shagari Eso J.S.C. held that it was illogical to fractionalize a state and therefore said that 2/3 of 19 states was 13. In Abacha v The State Ejiwunmi J.S.C. held that disagreed with the majority judgment of the Supreme Court which had said that the appellant had no case to answer in a charge of conspiracy to murder. In justifying his minority decision his lordship said that, ‘”To hold otherwise is in my respectful view, to submit to the tyranny of the majority in its capricious interpretation of settled principles laid down.” In Buhari v Yaradua Oguntade and Muktar J.J.S.C. could not agree with the majority decision. As far as they were concerned, a valid election could not be based on illegal ballot papers.

If members of the apex court could deliver dissenting opinions it is not out of place to criticize the judgments of the Supreme Court. In welcoming the review of the judgments of courts Justice Jackson of the United States Supreme Court once remarked: “We are not final because we are infallible. We are infallible because we are final”. David Pannock  Q. C. has said that “Judicial independence was not designed as, and should not be allowed to become, a shield for judicial misbehaviour  or incompetence  or a barrier to examination of complaints about injudicious conduct on apolitical criteria.”

Justice Khrishner Iyer, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of India once said that, “Judges are humans though they are ordinarily of high standard and rarely commit serious solecisms, fundamental flaws and grave goofs. Justly, therefore, even High Bench pronouncements do desiderate decisional review and correctional reversal. So we must abandon the populist superstition of judicial supremacy or curial papacy. Judges are under the Constitution, not over it. It becomes necessary to make a thorough scrutiny of the moral, materialist and value-based opinions of the ‘robed brethren’ which stultify established principles of justice and violate constitutional vision.”

In Blackdurn (No. 2) Ex parte R. v. Metropolitan Police Lord Denning said:

“Let me say at once that we will never use this jurisdiction as a means to uphold our own dignity. That must rest on surer foundations. Nor will we use it to suppress those who speak against us. We do not fear criticism, nor do we resent it. For there is something far more important at stake. It is no less than freedom of speech itself. It is the right of every man, in Parliament or out of it in the Press or over the broadcast, to make fair comment, even outspoken comment, on matters of public interest. Those who comment can deal faithfully with all that is done in a court of justice. They can say that we are mistaken, and our decisions erroneous, whether they are subject to appeal or not. All we would ask is that those who criticize us will remember that, from the nature of our office, we cannot reply to their criticisms. We cannot enter into public controversy. Still less into political controversy. We must rely on our conduct itself to be its own vindication. Exposed as we are to the winds of criticism, nothing which is said by this person or that, nothing which is written by this pen or that, will deter us from doing what we believe is right.”

Having regard to many contradictory judgments of our appellate courts and the conflicting orders of high courts of coordinate jurisdiction it is dangerous not to review the judgments of our judges on a regular basis. When the Supreme Court held that the use of card readers was illegal I thought it was like saying any judgment typed by computer was illegal. But when I found that the apex court did not advert its mind to the Electoral Amendment Act 2015 which has empowered the INEC was use card readers. In the circumstance, I was compelled to criticize the judgments of the apex court in an article titled “The Legal Validity of Card Readers”.

Even though the Supreme Court has ruled that any legal process not stamped and sealed by the NBA is illegal the judgment ought not to be accepted as the gospel truth because the attention of their lordships was not drawn to the fact the NBA is a voluntary society of lawyers.  The legal implication is that lawyers who are not members of the NBA and other citizens who may want to handle their cases without the services of lawyers cannot be required to seal and stamp their documents with the imprimatur of the NBA. Since the Constitution recognizes the fundamental right of litigants to defend themselves court processes filed by him cannot be stamped and sealed if they decide not to engage the services of legal practitioners who are members of the NBA. After all, the late Professor Ayodele Awojobi, a mechanical engineer, prepared and filed all his cases and argued them from the High Court to the Supreme Court.


A few months ago, the Presidential Advisory Council on Corruption headed by the renowned Professor Itse Sagay organized a seminar in Abuja on corruption in the judiciary.  I was privileged to have taken part in a symposium along   with the Chief Justice of Ghana, Lady Justice Georgina Theodore Wood. She was the cynosure of all eyes at the occasion because 22 corrupt judges had then been sacked in Ghana on grounds of corruption and abuse of office. At that seminar I warned Nigerian judges not to allow the Ghanaian experience to repeat itself here. In Ghana, the legal profession did not move against corrupt judges. So an investigative journalist, Mr. Anas Aratemew Anas inquired into judicial corruption and caught over 100 judges and judicial staff on tape demanding or receiving bribes. In order to prevent a situation whereby the reform of the judiciary would be externally instigated I was compelled to plead with the NJC to move speedily against the few bad eggs and lawyers who are corrupting the Nigerian judiciary. Unfortunately, my plea was ignored.

However, permit me to conclude this presentation by referring to Justice Krishner Iyer’s book on Law Versus Justice where wrote:

“Central to a democracy of rights and remedies, for people who had suffered irremediable wrongs from lawless law makers and callous, cruel Authority and influential brackets of society, was a judiciary upright, independent, equally accessible, activist and creative and geared to the promotion of social justice revolution.”

DSS raids: I didn’t move $2m from my house – Judge tells Reps

Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court Port-Harcourt Division has debunked claims that he moved $2 million from his official residence during a sting operation by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Liman said this at a public hearing conducted by the Hon. Garba Datti-led House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating cases of invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS, yesterday.

Liman said he was not the target of the raid.

Between October 7 and 8, DSS raided the homes of some senior judges, in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto states.

Justice Liman said his reputation degenerated by false reports emanating from the raid. This was even as he blamed a section of online media for reporting that he was the unnamed judge which the DSS said in its statement quickly moved money out of his home during its operation.

Liman also told the committee that it was Justice Uche Agomoh’s home that was the target of the Saturday, October 8 raid, which he said lasted from 1:00am to 4:00am.

“I must state categorically that the DSS did not come to my house, which is No. 33 but it was Justice Agomoh’s house they targeted. It was shocking and frightening when, on Saturday afternoon, the DSS released an official statement claiming to have attempted to search the house of an unnamed judge, who, when approached, resisted and mobilised thugs and with the assistance of Governor Nyesom Wike and the tacit support of a sister security organisation, removed $2 million which was stashed in his house to an unknown place…”

Another judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja who was arrested during the raid in Abuja, Nnamdi Dimgba who appeared at the hearing, however, said it would be prejudicial to speak on the matter.

Meanwhile, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who declared the hearing open stressed that the House was investigating the propriety, or otherwise, of operations conducted by the DSS, at the homes of judges and other alleged DSS invasion of Akwa Ibom State governor’s lodge and Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Dogara who was represented by the Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, said the peobe will be useful should the National Assembly find reasons to amend the National Securities Agencies Act.

“It is critical that any investigation of this nature must have a legislative purpose as required by section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. It is in this regard that I enjoin this committee to make relevant findings of fact that will enable the National Assembly initiate the necessary amendments to the National Security Agencies Act and even the Constitution, where necessary”.

But, a mild drama played out when chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Sam Saba, reversed his position that the DSS has the power to arrest judges over allegations of corruption as corrupt acts are a threat to national security.

Earlier, Saba cited section 2 sub section 3 of the National Security Agencies (NSA) Act Cap N74 which states that the DSS has powers of prevention, detention within Nigeria against the internal security of the country.

He further cited Section 4 and the provisions of subsection (1) (2) and (3) of the NSA Act, saying it shall have effect not withstanding the provision of any other law to the contrary or any other natter therein mentioned.

He also told the committee that the DSS didn’t need to give the National Judicial Council (NJC) prior notice before arresting the judges. He equally stated that the CCB has powers to investigate criminal allegations against judges, especially with regards to under-declaring or false declaration of assets.

But Saba chose to withdraw his statement when asked by committee members, Kingsley Chinda and Edward Pwajok to state categorically, if false declaration of assets by public officers threatened internal security of the country.

Explaining his role during the failed arrest of Justice Agomoh, Governor Wike blasted the DSS and described the episode as a “national tragedy,” adding that the DSS failed to observe the rule of law in conducting the Port-Harcourt raid.

According to the governor, the DSS operatives, one of who assaulted him, didn’t know where exactly they were headed to even as they conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner. The governor was represented by his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma.

Federal Court Rejects Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s Motion Seeking Release From Custody

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, today rejected an ex-parte motion filed by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia seeking her release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Moyosore Onigbanjo appeared for the judge to argue the motion seeking immediate release of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.

The senior lawyer said that the detention of the judge in EFCC custody for more than 24 hours violates her fundamental rights, and that the anti-graft agency ought to have charged her to court if it has any charge against her.

“There is no need, under the law, to continue to keep her in detention except to humiliate her; because the offence is a bailable one,” he argued.

He urged the court to order the EFCC to either charge his client to court or release her, noting that Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is ready to defend herself if or when charged to court.

“The EFCC has the option to charge her to court, but it has not done so. She has also stated that she is ready to defend herself vigorously against any charge that may be slammed on her,” he said.

Justice Hassan, after hearing the defense counsel, declined the application and ordered him to serve EFCC the motion on notice, saying the fair thing to do.

He further stated that the prayers being sought by Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia cannot be heard by motion ex parte, and adjourned the hearing to November 28.

The commission had filed a 30-count charge against the judge and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is one of the judges recently arrested by the Department of Security Service (DSS), and has been under interrogation by the EFCC for allegedly collecting bribes.

The EFCC alleges that she received the sum of N5m as gratification from Mr. Obla, who is also being detained by the agency.

Mr. Obla has also filed a fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC.

No apologies for refusing to do politicians’ bidding – Ex-CJN

The former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday said he had no apologies for refusing to do the bidding of politicians who wanted to intimidate the judiciary.

Justice Mohammed spoke yesterday in Abuja at a valedictory session held for him by the Supreme Court to mark his exit from the bench.

His remarks came just as President Muhammadu Buhari swore in his successor, Justice Samuel Walter Onnoghen, as the acting CJN.

Onnoghen will be the first person from southern Nigeria to hold the post in 29 years after Justice Ayo Irikife stepped down in 1987.

The former CJN said the nation owed the judiciary a debt of gratitude for standing firm in the face of the contrary winds that threatened to blow the country’s democracy off course.

According to him, it took the steadfastness of the judiciary to avert a replay of what happened during the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was presumably won by the late Chief MKO Abiola, during last year’s general election.

He said: “During the run up to the 2015 elections, our judicial officers withstood immense pressure, in order to guarantee a level playing field and smooth transition of government, which ensured that we were spared a re-enactment of the June 12 saga.

“In fact, the courts, thus securing the electoral process, disallowed so many frivolous matters aimed at truncating the electoral process.

“I must particularly commend the Supreme Court for refusing to be intimidated or influenced by any candidate or political party, and I make no apologies for the firm stand that we took in our decisions.

“I am proud to be a part of the Supreme Court which refused to be cowered into truncating the electoral process. I am proud to have headed this noble arm of government and steering it through some very stormy waters. I am proud of the Nigerian judiciary.”

Justice Mohammed said the independence of the judiciary must be jealously guarded in the interest of the country, warning that its independence must not be compromised for whatever reasons, if Nigeria is to function effectively and peacefully.

He said the judiciary had proved to be an institution, which must be protected, sustained and carefully handled better than any other institution.

He warned that where the rule of law was absent and due process disregarded, the sentinel of civilisation would be missing.

He reminded judges that competence in the performance of their duties required legal knowledge, skills, thoroughness and preparation, and encouraged them to continue to improve on their performance.

He also asked judges and other judicial officers to be impartial in the delivery of justice, adding that impartiality was the fundamental quality required of a judge and core currency of repute that engenders respect for the judiciary.

He said: “Diligence requires consistency in the high standards of justice delivery that is required to optimally perform at your best.

“Judicial competence will diminish on compromise when a judge is debilitated by misconduct, corruption and other vices.

“Though various dynamics and court room antics may abound, but you as judges must remain as the resolute of justice. When you do that, the judiciary will burn as a beacon of hope for the common man.”

Justice Mohammed pointed out that he initiated several reforms during his tenure as CJN and pleaded with his successor to maintain the reforms so as to make Nigeria a better nation.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria represented by Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), blamed the current travails of the judiciary on the ineptitude of both the bench and the bar to curb misconduct in the profession at the early stages.

He said: “We in the profession, both the bar and the bench, have kept a blind eye to our problems for far too long, we have looked the other way when improprieties and disgraceful conduct were manifesting themselves right in front of us.

“We have been soft in matters that required stern handling. We have allowed rules to be twisted or bent because it will adversely affect our people.

“We have sacrificed merit on the altar of geographical spread when we know that, no matter how much we spread, we cannot cover everyone and everywhere. That kind of attitude must now give way to positive thinking as to what will be the best for our judiciary system and the profession.”

To make sure that only men and women of integrity become judges, the Body of Senior Advocates called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to review the guidelines for the appointment of judges.

The body said: “The profession must say goodbye to the immediate past era when the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in the state appoints or recommends for appointment as judges, candidates whose only basis for selection is the appearance of the candidates’ names in the lists submitted by the state governor, his privy or some party leaders.”

It also urged the NJC to resist political interference in the appointment of judges, and called for its reform.

“The provisions of the constitution which limits participation of the five Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) members in the NJC in matters of appointment of judges ought not to be allowed to remain a minute longer,” it added.

Okpoko further promised that lawyers would rally round the next CJN in reforming the judiciary.

He charged the incoming CJN to face the challenges head on, so that the judiciary would regain its lost glory and confidence.

Also speaking at the event, the Attorney-General of the Federation (SAN) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said collaboration should be the way forward for the judiciary to maintain its integrity and impartiality as the last hope of the common man.

Represented by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun, the AGF charged the new leadership of the judiciary to ensure steady progress of the judiciary.

The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), reiterated the association’s support for the fight against corruption, whether in the judiciary or any arm of government.

He added, nonetheless: “We maintain, however, that this must be done in accordance with due process and the requirements of the rule of law. We will not accept the style of operations adopted by the Department of State Security (DSS).

“We condemn that approach. We will not also accept that any department of government exercise supervisory powers over the NJC, as the DSS sought to do. Our constitution prohibits it.”

He observed that the recent arrest of judges presented the judiciary with the opportunity to confront the problem of corruption in the judiciary and the legal profession.

All the speakers paid glowing tributes to the retired CJN.

Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday swore in Justice Onnoghen as the acting CJN. His swearing-in followed Onnoghen’s appointment by the president, in accordance with Section 230(4) of the 1999 Constitution.

Section 230(4) of the constitution provides: “If the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is vacant, or if the person holding the office is for any reason unable to perform the functions of the office, then until a person has been appointed to and has assumed the functions of that office, or until the person holding the office has resumed those functions, the president shall appoint the most senior justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.”

The NJC had recommended Justice Onnoghen for consideration for appointment as CJN. He will be the first person from southern Nigeria to occupy the position in 29 years.

The president may have to regularise his appointment within the next 30 days.

He replaces Justice Mohammed who retired yesterday, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Godwin Onyeacholem: Kano blasphemy killing: Where is justice for Bridget Agbahime?

Indeed, for any keen observer of governance in post-colonial Africa, Nigeria must be a very depressing address. And this is more so for the simple reason that no country, in many people’s reckoning, has done so much as Nigeria in consistently consciously making itself an object of perpetual ridicule in the comity of civilized countries of the world. That explains why those who argue that Africa’s backwardness is a function of Nigeria’s pathetic leadership vision cannot be entirely wrong after all. Even Nigeria’s own citizens, who look up to their country to provide the required domestic and international leadership, have continued to be utterly disappointed and embarrassed in very many ways.

Take for example the case of Bridget Agbahime. On June 2, the 74-year-old kitchen utensils trader from Imo State was brutally attacked and killed at Kofar Wambai Market in Kano by a Muslim mob who accused her of blasphemy. According to reports, she was pounced upon and murdered after she refused to allow a Muslim man perform ablution in front of her shop. As expected, the circumstances of Bridget’s death sparked outrage within secular, Christian and progressive Muslim circles across the country and beyond, provoking once again that troubling question as to when these ignorant killings in the northern part of the country in the name of Allah would come to an end.

On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, promptly issued a statement describing the incident as “sad and regrettable.” In the usual tone of such statements, it urged the people not to take the laws into their hands and affirmed that justice would be done in the matter.

On his part, Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, also called a meeting attended by prominent personalities including state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Ransome Bello, the husband of the deceased, Pastor Mike Agbahime, of Deeper Life Bible Church, Igbo leaders in Kano, Islamic scholars and security agencies. At that meeting the governor named the prime suspect in that heinous crime as one Alhaji Dauda. He said the killing was “unjustifiable” and that justice would be done in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.

The Police corroborated the governor as regards Dauda. Olabisi Okuwobi, Assistant Commissioner of Police who was then Force Public Relations Officer, issued a statement saying two key suspects, Dauda Ahmed and Zubairu Abdullahi, were already in custody and would be speedily prosecuted. Added Okuwobi: “In order to ensure a diligent and professional investigation the Inspector General of Police has directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) to deploy the Homicide Section of the Department to immediately take over the investigation of the case and ensure a meticulous investigation and speedy prosecution of arrested suspects.”

Apart from Dauda and Zubair, the investigation led to the arrest of three more suspects namely Abdulmumeen Mustafa, Abdullahi Abubakar and Musa Abdullahi. The five suspects were charged at the Kano Magistrate court on a four-count allegation of allegedly inciting disturbance, culpable homicide, joint act and mischief.

And five months into the incident, more than enough time for Nigerians and the Agbahime family to have arrived at a closure on that act of bestiality, what did the people get? Just when they were bracing for a firm prosecution that will lead to conviction, they were treated to the familiar abracadabra that is peculiar to the country’s legal system. In what must go down as a classic judicial swindle, the chief magistrate, Muhammad Jibril, acting on the advice of the Attorney General of Kano State, discharged the suspects and terminated the case.

According to the Kano State government, “There is no case to answer as all the suspects are innocent.” Really? And this from a State whose governor had called the killing “unjustifiable” and vowed to go all out to ensure that the culprits are treated in line with the country’s laws? Where is the justice Buhari promised in his reaction to Bridget Agbahime’s killing? What the Kano government did to this case is not the kind of thing that should happen in a government that professes “change.”

Surely now, the widower, Mike Agbahime, and the entire Agbahime family must be heartbroken. It would not be surprising to hear that the man has suddenly developed some serious health problem, for this is the sort of perversion of justice that led to the death of Justice Atinuke Ige, whose husband, Bola Ige, was assassinated at their Bodija residence in Ibadan in 2001. Sixteen months later, the woman died from a heartbreak resulting from glaring manipulation of justice by state prosecutors who deliberately messed up the trial of suspects arrested in connection with her husband’s gruesome murder.

This is not the first time blasphemy killings would occur in the northern part of the country. In 1995, in the same Kano, a young Igbo trader, Gideon Akaluka, was beheaded by Muslim fanatics who stormed the police station where he was being held for alleged blasphemy. The head was hoisted on a stick and used as trophy which the mob carried round the streets in a chilling victory parade. There was neither arrest nor prosecution.

In 2007 Christiana Oluwasesin, teacher and mother of two, was beaten to death by her own students at Government Day Secondary School, Gandu, Gombe State. The sixteen suspects arrested in connection with the crime were released without any charge. In addition to the Agbahime case, this year has also witnessed blasphemy killings in Talata Mafara in Zamfara State, and Padongari in Rafi local government area of Niger State. In these two cases as in others, not one person was arrested and made to face the law.

Suffice to say that blasphemy killers in Nigeria, a secular, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country are never brought to justice. Yet without justice there can never be peace. And the absence of peace means there is no unity. Agbahime’s case happens to be the first time an attempt, no matter how idle and unenthusiastic, has been made to arraign alleged perpetrators of blasphemy execution.

But against all expectations, the case has decidedly been bungled by the government which ought to protect citizens, messed up in a manner that powerfully vindicates those who insist that Nigeria is not yet a nation, that much as the people desire to live together as one, there is an urgent need for a roundtable meeting of its various stakeholders to fashion out a modern nation by agreeing on terms for the people’s coexistence. Call it whatever name, Nigerians has to work towards arriving at an acceptable framework that determines the basis of a much desired unity in a re-invented country.

A cornerstone of that framework must be justice for all, regardless of your background or where you come from. As it is now, no matter what any Nigerian leader at whatever level preaches about Nigeria, with the way they have been denied justice, the Agbahime family, or the children of Oluwasesin, for instance, will never, ever feel that they belong to this country.

But this government can still redeem itself and that is what it should do by revisiting the Agbahime case and making sure those who needlessly killed that woman are truly punished. Otherwise, not only that this country will continue to be a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, one would be persuaded to queue behind those who still argue with candid vehemence that we are yet to have a country.

Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com

Chief Justice blames Executive For Corruption in Judiciary

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Mahmud Mohammed has said that the “the failure on the part of the Executive Arm of Government to act upon recommendations by the National Judicial Council (NJC) cannot be blamed upon the NJC.”

Justice Mohammed made the statement in a letter dated October 26 and sent to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

The letter with reference No.CJN/Gen/MISC/A37/Vol.XXI/8 and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the CJN, , H. S. Sa’eed, was in response to SERAP’s request to Justice Mohammed requesting him as the Chairman of the NJC to “take over from the Department of State Service (DSS) the cases of all the 7 judges released by the DSS and refer the cases of those judges to anti-corruption agencies for conclusion of investigation and prompt prosecution.”

But the CJN in reaction told SERAP that, “Certainly, you will agree with me that where there are clear constitutional provisions relating to the power of any individual, institution or Arm of Government, then it cannot deviate nor exceed such powers as this will be unlawful.”

The letter by the CJN reads in part: “While restating the willingness of the NJC to act upon any petition as well as commitment of the Nigerian judiciary to the fight against corruption, his Lordship opines that any significant involvement in the fight against corruption will be upon a similar commitment of the Prosecutorial Agencies to actively prosecute their cases expeditiously when information about same is received”

“It is necessary to restate that the NJC is a creation of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) being established under Section 153 with its mandate clearly set out in Para 21, Part One of the Third Schedule to the Constitution. This provision clearly stipulates at Para 21(b) and (d) that the Council may only ‘recommend’ to the President and the Governors, the removal from office of Judicial Officers and to exercise disciplinary control over such Judicial Officers, which in effect is the extent of its power to discipline. Hence, the Council cannot, suo moto dismiss any Judicial Officer.”

“The NJC can also neither ‘hand over corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover proceeds of corruption, as you have suggested. It can merely recommend to act upon its findings, as it has always done.”

“However, in exercise of its constitutional mandate, the NJC has enacted the Judicial Discipline Regulations, 2014 in order to ensure that petitions are received, investigated and addressed as appropriate.

As SERAP’s own Report attests, 64 Judicial Officers have been disciplined within 5 years even preceding the institution of the new guidelines. Any failure on the part of the Executive Arm of Government to act upon such recommendations cannot therefore be blamed upon the NJC.”

“With due consideration to the contents of your letter, I am directed to acknowledge and address the concerns which SERAP have raised, which may reflect the wider opinion held by some Nigerians.

While his Lordship doubtless appreciate SERAP’s concern for the incidence of corruption in the judiciary, it is indeed erroneous to conclude that the NJC has ‘felt satisfied with applying only civil sanctions and have not deemed it fit to hand over corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover proceeds of corruption’, as insinuated in your letter under reference.”

“To be sure, every citizen of Nigeria inclusive of Judicial Officers, are entitled to the protection of the law and a key provision of the Constitution is the presumption of innocence, as enshrined in Section 36(5) of the Constitution (as amended).

I must also remind us that the Seven Judges like all other persons are entitled to a fair hearing as stipulated in Section 36 of the Constitution. As such, it would be presumptive and indeed preemptive to sanction the said judges without exhausting the proper procedure for their removal.”

“As a valuable member of the society, the Hon. CJN is certainly delighted with SERAP’s dedication to justice, fairness and justness. His Lordship also wishes to emphasize that it is indeed our collective responsibility to tackle any perceived challenges facing the Nigerian judiciary.”

“Indeed, with the support of well-meaning and eminent Nigerians such as members of SERAP, giant strides will be made towards reaching the goal of a transparent, fair and equitable system of justice. The Hon. CJN wishes you the best in your future endeavor as SERAP strives to support and entrench good governance in Nigeria.”

It would be recalled that SERAP had in a letter dated October 11 and signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, expressed serious concern that “the NJC has for many years failed to appropriately deal with several cases of corrupt judges by failing to refer those cases to the EFCC and ICPC for prosecution. Many of these suspected corrupt judges are still alive and their cases should be promptly referred to the anticorruption agencies.

The NJC under your leadership should seize the opportunity of the just released 7 judges to comprehensively address corruption in the judiciary.”

SERAP said that it believed that “The NJC is in the best position to tackle corruption within the judiciary, and to ensure the application of appropriate disciplinary and legal measures in the cases of the released 7 judges and other judges suspected of engaging in corruption.”

SERAP’s letter reads in part: “SERAP believes that corrupt judges should not merely be retired where there are clear allegations of corruption against them. Corrupt judges must not also be allowed to keep their ill-gotten wealth, or receive their pension and retirement benefits, as if they have done no wrong while the victims of their corrupt acts are left without an effective remedy.”

“SERAP believes that corrupt judges are more dangerous to the society than corrupt politicians because a corrupt judiciary denies both victims of corruption and those accused of corruption access to an independent, impartial and fair adjudication process. No country can succeed with corrupt judges as there can’t be no rule of law, development, justice and enjoyment of human rights when judges are corrupt.”

“Judicial corruption is antithetical not only to human rights and good governance but it also directly undermines the ability of government to satisfactorily combat corruption. Judges should not be allowed to avoid accountability for corruption if judicial impartiality and independence is to be held sacrosanct and access to justice is to be effectively achieved.”

Why Always Me: Another Supreme Court Justice accuses Amaechi of bribery.

The last of the two justices of the Supreme Court arrested during the invasion of the residences of the justices of the court by the Department of State Security Service, DSS, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, yesterday accused the former governor of Rivers State and now, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of masterminding the operation.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA called on the judges accused of corruption to cease adjudicating on cases until the allegations against them are cleared.

The president of the umbrella body of lawyers called on them to purge themselves of the allegation before sitting in judgement on cases.

Justice Ngwuta, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said that Amaechi had approached him in 2013, where he asked him to set aside the election that produced Mr. Ayo Fayose as governor of Ekiti State and replace him with the former governor of Ekiti State who is now the minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi.

He also said in the letter that Amaechi had also attempted to influence other Justices on the Rivers election panel.

Ngwuta said: “My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre.

“Honourable Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table. He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks after, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal.

“Amaechi called me by 6.45 am. He said he had come to see me but was told I had left for my office. When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted but he would not tell me.

“He did not come that evening but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work. He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi.”

How Amaechi Begged me to Help Nullify Fayose’s Election – Judge

A Justice of the Supreme Court yesterday accused Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and Science Minister Ogbonnaiya Onu of being the architect of his travails.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who was arrested by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives for alleged corruption, blamed it all on his refusal to cooperate with the duo, who he said had requested him to influence some electoral cases in their favour.

He alleged that Amaechi and Onu asked him to assist them in relation to the governorship election disputes in Ekiti and Ebonyi states.

Justice Ngwuta alleged that Amaechi, who claimed to be acting on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted him to facilitate the annulment of Ayodele Fayose’s election so that Kayode Fayemi (Minister of Solid Mineral) could participate in a rerun election.

Justice Inyang Okoro has also accused Amaechi of trying to bribe him.

Justice Ngwuta said Onu had sought his help to facilitate the victory of the Labour Party (LP) candidate in the Ebonyi State governorship election dispute.

Justice Nqwuta, in his October 18, 2016 letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, accused DSS operatives of planting the money they claimed to have recovered in his home there.

“My Noble Lord, I am a victim of my own resolve never to violate my sacred oath of office as a judicial officer. Politicians and their collaborators have been hunting me on that account.

“It started in Ebonyi State where I was falsely accused before a panel set up by NJC in August 2000. It was replicated in 2009 when I was pulled from my division, Calabar, to preside over a motion filed by Senator Andy Uba seeking to be a Governor without going through the process of election. In each case I was exonerated.

“My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then Chief Justice of Nigeria in an event organised in the International Conference Centre. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table.

“He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks after, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal. Amaechi called me by 6.45 am. He said he had come to see me, but was told I had left for my office.

“When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted, but he would not tell me. He did not come that evening but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work.

“He begged me to ensure that Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend Fayemi to contest. I told him I would not help him and that even if I am on the panel I have only my one vote.

“After the Rivers State governorship election was determined by the Court of Appeal, he called to tell me his ears were full and he would like to tell me what he heard. I told him I was out of Abuja at the time.

“On my return, he came in the evening and even before he sat down he barked ‘You have seen Wike’. I asked him whether that was a question or a statement. Then he made a call and asked me to speak with someone. The man he called said he was a DSS man. We exchanged greetings and I handed the phone to him.

“Next, he said ‘Oga is not happy.’ I asked him who is the unhappy ‘Oga’ and he answered ‘Buhari’. I retorted ‘go and talk to his wife.’ He got very angry, and left, remarking ‘we shall see’ several times.

“Your Lordship may recall one morning when I pleaded not be on the panel for Rivers Appeal. Your Lordship said I was already on the panel and asked me to explain why I made the request to be excluded.

“When I explained what transpired the previous night, Your Lordship told me Amaechi had also attempted to influence other Justices. My Lord, on the day we heard the appeal with your Lordship presiding, we were allowed lunch break at 4.20 pm.

“The moment I got into my chambers he, Amaechi, called. When he told who was calling, I said to him, ‘Your Excellency, you want to issue more threats?’ He replied ‘Have you been threatened before?’ I replied ‘I know a threat when I hear one even if veiled. In any case I will not talk to you’ and I switched off my phone.

”The people who failed in their attempt to destroy me in Ebonyi in 2000 and in Enugu in Andy Uba’s case in the Court of Appeal, Enugu in 2009 are now supplying Amaechi with information to fight me for my negative response to his demands, especially my answer to his statement that ‘Oga was not happy.’

On the role allegedly played by Dr. Onu, Justice Ngwuta added:

“When the governorship election appeal from my state, Ebonyi, came to the Court of Appeal, one Mr. Igwenyi, a senior staff of Federal Judicial Service Commission came to my chambers and told me that the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had pleaded with him to convince me to see him, Dr. Onu.

“I asked him to call Dr. Onu; he did and I wanted to know why he wanted to see me. He said it was confidential. I asked when he wanted to see me and he said he would like me to come in the evening. I told Igwenyi that he would have to take me to Dr. Onu in his car and bring me back.

“I had wanted him to listen to what Dr. Onu had to say, but when we arrived, Dr Onu put him in a different room. He asked me whether I know the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal and I told him that His Lordship was my Presiding Justice in the Court of Appeal, Benin division.

“He asked of my relationship with the PJA and I said it was cordial. He nodded his head several times in apparent satisfaction.

”He told me that the candidate for the Labour Party was ready to switch over to APC if he could help him win the appeal in the Court of Appeal and that in appreciation of the undertaking to come over to his party, he had obtained the services of three Justices of the Court of Appeal to ensure victory for Labour Party.

“He said he needed one to convince the PJA to include his three Justices of the Court of Appeal in the five-man panel to hear the appeal. I told him I would not help him and that I could not in good conscience convey such request even to a Customary Court Judge.

“He was disappointed and asked me whether I knew the husband of the PJA. I told him I did not know the man. I bid him good night and left. Igwenyi joined me in the passage and when he drove me back to my home I told him what Dr. Onu wanted. Igwenyi apologised to me and assured me that he would not have bothered me if he had known what Dr. Onu wanted me to do.

FG Okays Trial of Justices Okoro, Ademola, Others

The Federal Government, yesterday, shunned the National Judiciary Council, NJC, and pressed ahead with its decision to bring the seven suspected corrupt judges to justice.

The seven are among the 15 already identified by the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, but the other eight are yet to be named and invited for questioning.

The NJC, which claimed to have omnibus powers over both criminal and administrative matters relating to judges in Nigeria, last week, disregarded the Presidency’s directive to suspend the suspected corrupt judicial officers from duty, pending the trial and disposal of the criminal allegations leveled against them.

Rather than comply with Presidency’s order, the NJC slammed the DSS for daring to search the homes of the judges in the night and making away with huge cash in local and foreign currencies.

Although none of the suspects denied keeping the huge cash in their homes, the NJC was silent on the propriety of the discovery of the money in the homes of the judges but disparaged the DSS for the raid, which it claimed was intended to cow the judges from doing their jobs.

In a brazen move to get at both the NJC and the suspects, who have tried to blame key ministers in Buhari’s administration for their ordeal, the Federal Government, last night, formally approved the prosecution of the suspects with immediate effect.

A top Presidency official confirmed to newsmen that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, had approved the immediate prosecution of the suspects so as not to give the erroneous impression that government was promoting corruption. The top source said the trial of the suspects would be carried out in phases and handled by the National Prosecution Council, which was recently inaugurated.

The source said the refusal of the NJC to suspend the suspected judges was interpreted as a ‘slap’ on the Presidency and that no country would allow a few people to constitute themselves into a cabal that is ‘above the law’.

Asked to disclose the nature of the charges to be preferred against the judges, the official said:  “The charges are generally for corruption, with an isolated case of illegal possession of firearms to be pressed against one of the judges.”

‘The firearms were recovered from the home of one of the suspects by the DSS during the nocturnal raid on October 7, a development that had sparked national outrage.’

Giving further insight into the trial, the source hinted:  “I can tell you that the National Prosecution Council will lead the prosecution of the suspects, while the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice will coordinate the team.

“The charges were cleared from the OHAGF only yesterday and the suspects are certainly going to be charged to court any moment from now. The Federal Government is not deterred by the refusal of the NJC to suspend the suspects from office.”

Efforts to speak with the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, proved abortive, as he was said to be outside Nigeria. None of his officials claimed knowledge of the approval of the charges against the suspected judges.

It will be recalled that the DSS had launched a sting operation in the homes of the judges on the night of October 7, 2016, recovering local and foreign currencies worth N360 million. Two of the judges are from the Supreme Court, while the rest sit in Federal and State High Courts.

While Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court claimed on Tuesday that $38,000 found in his home was his estacode, he did not say how the over N3 million cash was left in his home and not the bank.

On the other hand, Justices Ademola Adeniyi and Nnamdi Dimgba have blamed their ordeal in the hands of the DSS on the AGF over certain court verdicts they claimed they gave against him in the past.

Nonetheless, the allegations against Malami were not mentioned to anyone until the raids on their homes by the DSS.

Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia shuns EFCC invitation

Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, justice of the federal high court, Lagos, on Tuesday, failed to honour an invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

But Musa Haruna Kurya, another judge of the federal high court, reported at the commission’s Lagos office at 10 am on Tuesday in order to react to some findings in an ongoing investigation.

Kurya, accompanied by his lawyer, was attended to by the operatives of the commission on arrival.

However, Ofilli-Ajumogobia, who was also supposed to be at the commission’s office on a similar invitation, dishonoured the call and refused to show up at all.

On Monday, two federal high court judges, Mohammed Nasir Yunusa and Nganjiwa Hyledzira, reported to the EFCC Lagos office, where they were quizzed for hours.

The National Judicial Commission (NJC) had placed Ofili-Ajumogbobia on its “watch-list,” and had barred her from being elevated from her present position, owing to gross misconduct.

Accused of corruption, Justice Ademola resumes sitting at Federal High Court

Two judges of the Federal High Court, Abuja, whose homes were raided by operatives of the State Security Service for alleged corruption have resumed sitting days after the National Judicial Council, NJC, described the raid as illegal.

The judges, Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba, presided over court sessions for cases slated to continue on Monday by their various courts.

While Mr. Ademola and six other judges were arrested after the raids, Mr. Dimgba was not.

The SSS said it arrested the seven judges across the nation after petitions bothering on allegations of fraud were made against them and neglected by the NJC. The agency said it had enough evidence to prosecute the judges for corruption.

The security service also alleged that it recovered tens of thousands of dollars and millions of naira from Mr. Ademola’s residence.

Mr. Ademola’s arrest was the most dramatic as he locked himself in a room and told his aides to lie he was not at home, multiple sources including those close to the judge told PREMIUM TIMES.

Knowing the claim was false, the SSS broke down Mr. Ademola’s doors to arrest him.


in his reaction to the allegations, Mr. Ademola said he was forced to attest to the alleged discoveries at gun point.

He alleged that the search conducted at his residence and his subsequent arrest were meant to punish him for rulings he had given in favour of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, against the wish of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Mr. Ademola also mentioned an old score he said he had with Mr. Malami as a reason for his arrest.

The NJC had also denied reports by the SSS that petitions written against the seven judges were neglected.

In its reaction to the matter, the NJC detailed its findings on the activities of the SSS relating to the judges. The council said only two separate complaints had come from the SSS regarding two of the judges.

The judges whose homes were raided include, Messrs. Dimgba and Ademola, both of the Federal High Court Abuja; Justices John Okoro and Sylvester Nguta of the Supreme Court; Muazu Pindiga of Gombe; Kabiru Auta of Kano High Court; Innocent Okoro, outgoing Enugu State Chief Judge; as well as Mohammed Tsamiya, an appeal court judge in Ilorin.

Responding to issues arising from the raid, Mr. Malami said the SSS was merely discharging its constitutional function of investigation. He said corruption is a threat to the security of any nation.
Over one week after the raids and arrests, the SSS is yet to file charges against the affected judges.

Nemesis? Judge who sentenced Ken Saro Wiwa to death fingered in bribery scandal

Tope Tomekun wrote:

The day was Friday, November 10, 1995! It was a black Friday in Ogoni land and in Nigeria among good men.

It took five attempts to hang Ken Saro-Wiwa before the Nigerian writer spoke his last words and his body went limp. “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues,” were his last words that Friday morning, blindfolded and dangling from a rope. And he died!

“In my innocence of the false charges I face Here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: ‘All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor’. The day cometh.” Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa, looking into the two eyes of Justice Auta, sitting on some filthy bench up there, wielding the transient powers of life and death, uttered these prophetic words before being led away from court/tribunal room, into his death by hanging after Justice Ibrahim Auta pronounced him and his Ogoni compatriots guilty as charged, of framed-up charges.

Justice Ibrahim Auta, the judge who was handpicked by the Abacha regime to head the kangaroo tribunal that sentenced renowned environmentalist and minority rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight compatriots to death by hanging, today is the same Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, who is now facing corruption mess in the hands of the DSS.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in whose home over $550,000 was allegedly found during the raid, has reportedly confessed to a deal between him and Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, by which $300,000 of the physical cash found in his bedroom was to have been shared between the two men.

The said Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had reportedly confessed that the bribery for Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court is that several High Court judges are assigned lucrative cases by the CJ, who then requests them to collect the bribes in dollars and transfer to him physically at home.

He revealed that the CJ has received monies from him several times after matching him with high profile cases that are then settled in favor of the highest bidders.

Now it is clear that Saro Wiwa’s death sentence was a product of corruption in the judiciary. Meaning that without corrupt judges, Saro Wiwa and many more would still have been alive today. Ah! We must kill this monster, corruption in the bench; it has killed many innocent souls.

A corrupt judge is a killer, a murderer, an assassin without bullet; sometimes he murders justice, sometimes he murders men.

A great lesson here is that if falsehood has travelled for twenty years, within one day the truth will catch up with it. Justice Ibrahim Auta after sentencing Saro Wiwa to death has been rising rapidly in his career and he became the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Nigeria and now the pandora box split opened. Evil doer might rise in his evil doing but the day Nemesis arrives his doorstep, his fall shall be concluded speedily!

Saro Wiwa rests in peace but his killers shall not, never find peace!

It’s justice time for the unjust Justices and the nemesis has just arrived Nigeria!

Paedophile Spared Jail After He Tells Judge He Wants To Start A Family

A paedophile who was caught with more than 137,000 child porn images on his laptop and phone has been spared jail because he wants to start a family.

Richard Arrowsmith, 41, was facing up to five years in prison but was let-off with a suspended sentence after telling a judge he wanted to become a father.

The married man, of Church Gresley, Derbyshire, was arrested after police received a tip off in February that an IP address linked to his Sky account was used to download depraved pictures.

Officers executed a warrant at his home and seized a computer, external hard drive, laptop, mobile
phone and USB sticks on April 19 this year.

A court heard a police computerised scanning system flagged up at least 10,000 indecent images and videos on the devices.

But a large number couldn’t be categorised due to the sheer amount of movies and pictures – including 4,336 videos and 137,000 images.

Arrowsmith pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images and videos of children when he appeared at Derby Crown Court yesterday.

But he was spared jail after a judge heard he was hoping to start a family with his wife who was still supporting him.

Sentencing Arrowsmith to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, Recorder Martin Butterworth, said: ‘You are 41-years-old, with no previous convictions and you pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

‘There are three charges against you in relation to the possession of indecent images of children.

‘I am taking into consideration your previous good character, you have a wife who supports you, a steady employment and your hopes to start a family in the near future.

‘These are not victimless crimes, they encourage serious abuse of sometimes very young children.

‘You were less than honest about the nature of the images.’

Arrowsmith was also ordered to pay £250 costs and carry out 160 hours of unpaid work as well as being made the subject of a curfew restricting him from leaving his house between 7pm and 5am.

He was also banned from working with children and was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Help the poor to get justice – Wike tells NBA

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on the state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association to assist the poor who cannot foot the cost of litigation.

Wike made the call on Tuesday while inaugurating a building donated to the NBA by the state government.

The governor said some indigenes of the state had been denied justice because they could not afford the services of lawyers.

He urged the NBA to make its presence felt in the state by helping to deepen the rule of law to make the judiciary in Rivers one of the best.

He added that “the greatest return that you can give to us and all those that organised the realisation of this project is to ensure that this property is adequately utilised and cared for to serve the purpose for which it was built.

“As government, we shall always call on you to join forces with us to deepen the rule of law to ensure that judiciary embraces the law and the interest of the poor in the state.

“We urge the NBA in Rivers to strive toward excellence in the discharge of its duties so as to be counted as one of the best in the country.”

The governor also said that the donation became necessary to accommodate the growing size of the Rivers State branch of the Association.

He said the edifice would enable the NBA to operate independently outside the official premises of the judiciary.

Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), the President of the NBA, commended the governor for the achievements so far and for donating the edifice to the Association.

Mahmoud said: “I have heard so many testimonies since I came to Rivers in the last couple of weeks about the giant strides being made by this administration.”

The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Adama Iyaye-Lamikara, on behalf of the NBA, thanked the state government for the donation and promised the Association’s support in enhancing judicial activities.

Zamfara ‘Blasphemy’ Killings “Barbaric & Unacceptable”, Buhari Pledges Justice

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of at eight persons in Zamfara State on the allegation of “blasphemy”.

A mob, suspected to be students of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, on Monday descended on a man they accused of blaspheming the Prophet of Islam. They later set those who tried to help him alight.

The attack occurred at Talata Mafara, a town in Zamfara.

Mr. Buhari described the attack as “barbaric and unacceptable”.

Writing on Twitter, the president said he “received news of the mob killings in Zamfara with great dismay”.

“I assure that the law will take its course. My prayers are with the families of the victims,” he said.

Mr. Buhari, who has been widely criticized for failing to speak out or condemn similar attacks in the past, said “Under my watch we will work to ensure that there is no place for violence in the name of religion, ethnicity, or in any guise whatsoever”.

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AGF Directs EFCC, Others To Submit High Profile Criminal Cases To Him

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has directed prosecuting agencies to compile list of “high profile criminal cases” they are prosecuting for transfer to a special committee.
Malami, a few months ago, constituted the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) with a brief to assume prosecution of some identified “high profile criminal cases” being handled by prosecuting agencies.

The minister said the committee was constituted to ensure “smooth and prompt” prosecution of such cases.

The directive for the agencies to compile the list of such pending cases was announced yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with heads of the prosecuting agencies and representatives of the AGF.

Buhari Promises Justice Will Be Done In Killing Of Woman In Kano

President Muhammadu Buhari has described as sad and regrettable the developments that led to the killing of Mrs Bridget Agbahime, an Igbo market woman in Kano.
A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari condoled with the husband of the deceased, Pastor Mike Agbahime, the family and relations, praying that God would give them the fortitude to bear the loss.

He also commended the law enforcement agents for apprehending the prime suspect behind the killing, as well as the Kano State government which summoned a meeting of Christian and Islamic leaders, widower of the deceased, and security agencies, as soon as the sad event occurred.

Adesina said Buhari promised that justice would be done in the matter, and urged the people not to take the law into their hands.

He equally charged those who might want to use the development to fan the embers of religious or ethnic hatred to remember that two wrongs never make a right, and that when law and order break down, the victims are never distinguished on the basis of religion or ethnicity.

Credit: Thisday

Car Gift Allegation: Justice Will Prevail – Secondus

PDP Deputy National Chairman Uche Secondus, has expressed optimism that he would get justice in the ongoing investigation into allegation of receiving cars as gift from his friend.


Secondus made the statement in Abuja on Thursday while addressing newsmen on his detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).


It will be recalled that Secondus was invited by the EFCC on Feb. 23 to clarify issues related to ongoing investigation by the commission.


Secondus said that he was confronted with allegation of receiving some cars from Mr Jide Omokore who had been his friend for more than 20 years.


“I admitted to them that Mr Jide Omokore has given me car gifts on several occasions in the last 10 years for my personal use.

“I want to state categorically that what I received from my friend, Jide Omokore were cars and buses supplied by a well-known car company, Skymit Motors apparently from credit facility Omokore has with the company.

“I don’t have any knowledge of the so-called transaction the investigators are alleging he had with the NNPC,’’ he said.


The PDP chieftain expressed dismay that the facts of the matter under investigation had been grossly misrepresented in the media.

He said that he was granted bail under stringent conditions after eight days in detention.


“Since the EFCC did not establish any case against me, I find my needless detention a clear case of witch-hunt and pure political persecution.

“My immediate concern is the denial of my fundamental human rights, excessive physical incarceration and the orchestrated negative media campaign completely skewed against those being investigated.

“Nevertheless, I hereby restate my confidence in the rule of law and the relevant institutions for the resolution of this matter on its merit in the interest of justice,’’ he said.




Mob Amputates Mechanic For Stealing N10k In Lagos

Ajegunle, a Lagos suburb also known as the Jungle, after an angry mob amputated a 25-year old mechanic, Seun Adisa, for allegedly stealing N10,000. The incident happened at Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos State.

Kwara State-born Adisa was allegedly caught in the early morning after robbers invaded Mokoya street in Olodi Apapa, an extension of Ajegunle in Lagos State, and carted away valuables.

Adisa was reportedly caught and searched while the robbers were escaping and was found with some stolen items.


P.M.News gathered that a resident brought out a cutlass and cut off his right arm and when he was about to cut off one of his legs the police came and they handed him over to them.

The police alleged that Adisa and other members of his gang who are now at large, allegedly broke into the home of Augustine Enijore and stole the N10,000 he kept in the house including a wrist watch and necklace.

Adisa was brought to court on Monday with his right hand covered with bandage and when he was arraigned, he pleaded not guilty.

The presiding Magistrate, Mr T.A. Aborenwa granted him bail in the sum of N50,000 with one surety in like sum. He was ordered to be remanded in custody pending when he will perfect the bail.

However, because of the injury he sustained, the prison officials rejected Adisa and insisted that they needed medical report before they would accept him as an inmate. Adisa was taken back to police custody pending when the report will be ready.

Pm News

Pres. Jonathan Appoints New Supreme Court Justice

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Aminu Sanusi as a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Soji Oye, Acting Director of Information, the National Judicial Council announced this on Tuesday.
His statement read,
“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Hon. Justice Aminu Sanusi,  OFR as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
“Hon. Justice Aminu Sanusi, OFR will be sworn-in by the Honourable , the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON on Thursday , the 14th day of May, 2015 at 11am in the Supreme Court Complex”.
The appointment brings the number of members of the apex court bench to 18.

Temper Your Expectations With Justice, Buhari Tells Nigerians

President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has called on Nigerians expecting so much from him to temper such expectations with justice.

Speaking Sunday in Abuja when he received a delegation of Northern elders led by Maitama Sule, Mr. Buhari said his emergence as president came at “the wrong time” due to the enormous challenges his administration would face.

Mr. Buhari said the Peoples Democratic Party had virtually destroyed the country during its 16 year reign. “”You know that we used to have Nigerian Airways, Nigeria National Shipping Line and Nigeria Railways. Where are they now? Where is the infrastructure?

“Now we have invariably  inherited all the problems, especially in the north east. I am sure that you have heard about or seen the children recovered from Sambisa forest. Only the children and women are remaining while all the able-bodied men have been gotten rid of somehow. Some have been taken to as far as Adamawa state to be resettled. A generation has been denied education and health care. Infrastructure has gone.

“You can imagine what is happening in the high seas where up to 400,000 barrels of crude oil which we rely on is stolen everyday with the full cooperation of those who are supposed to protect it.

The price of oil has gone down and 90 percent of the foreign exchange we rely on comes from that. “So, you have to convince your constituencies that we have virtually arrived at the wrong time and that they have to temper their expectation with some justice towards the leadership,” he said.

The President-elect urged the visiting northern elders to deliver his message in churches and mosques, saying that is the fastest way to communicate to ordinary Nigerians.

He said the people should always be reminded of the promises he made during the campaign which include the provision of security to the populace, employment for the youth and provision of infrastructure.

“The fact is that more than 60 percent of the Nigerian population are youth and most of them, whether they have been to school or not, are unemployed and this is the biggest danger.

“So, there must be jobs for these people as quickly as possible for us to even enjoy relative peace. So, security, getting job for these people and putting the infrastructures in place especially power,” he said.

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Ige Family Seeks Justice From Buhari Over Father’s Murder

The son of the late Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige has revealed that the family would reopen the case to their father’s gruesome murder under the administration of President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Daily Independent reports that the son of the late justice, whose name was simply given as, Muyiwa Ige, made the disclosure on Monday while addressing journalists.

Muyiwa, who expressed strong believe that the family would get justice this time around said; the killers of his late father would be brought to book and made to face the full wrath of the law.

Muyiwa, who is an Architect and Osun State Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, revealed that the killers of his late father would be found this time although it is almost 14 years since the murder took place.

He said the case has been stalled for several years, but expressed optimism that it would not be so under the new administration.

The son of the late icon while speaking on the reason those that assassinated his father have not been arrested after almost a decade and half, disclosed that the family already knew who they are.

He insisted that the case must reopen once the new government is sworn in on May 29, 2015. “We know the killers, they are still out there walking, but sooner or later the killers will be found. Once we have a concerned government in power, we will fish out the killers. I thank God that on May 29 a concerned government will take over. When we have the government that believes in the rule of law, we are going to push for the case to be reopened. Right now, the prime suspects have no power base. We are going to reopen the case and, hopefully, justice will prevail,” he said.

Read More: naij

Ekiti Impeachment Plot: Mother Of Late Olaiya & Widow Seek Justice

The impeachment plot against Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose assumed a new di­mension yesterday with the governor urging Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba to investigate the killing of a protester, Modupe Olaiya on Tuesday. This is even as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threw its weight behind Fayose.

Olaiya was killed when Speaker Ad­ewale Omirin, was leading 18 other All Progressives Congress (APC) mem­bers to Ekiti to continue the impeach­ment plot, aborted by Peoples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) loyalists. Mother of the deceased, Mrs Ag­beke Olaiya, yesterday revealed how she lost her 32-year-old son. She is de­manding justice.

She and Olaiya’s widow, Yinka, were at the Government House, Ado- Ekiti, wailing over their loss. Madam Olaiya said: “My son was 32-year-old. It happened at Fabo, at Efon Alaye’s Junction on the way to Ijebu-Ijesha. I was told a serving APC member of the House of Assembly shot him. He is an indigene of Efon.

“They said he was coming with some Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), members from Lagos. They made a de­tour in Osun, but they were coming to Ekiti through Ijebu-Ijesha…”

Read More: sunnewsonline



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The Lagos State government has filed two suits against the Nigeria Police over citizens shot during the anti-fuel subsidy protests last January.

In the first suit ID/153m/2012 filed at the High Court of Lagos State on behalf of those who sustained gun shot wounds on the same day; the state prayed the court to compel the respondents to issue unreserved apologies to the applicants in two national newspapers and electronic media.

Joined in the suit were the Inspector General of Police, CSP Segun Fabunmi, and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The applicants; Chizoba Odoh, Samuel Egbujor, Abubakar Alimi, and Joy Monday; sustained various degrees of injuries after the trigger-happy Mr. Fabunmi opened fire on them.

In addition, the state asked the court to order that the sum of N100 million be awarded as damages to each of the applicants by the respondents for psychological trauma, mental and emotional torture, loss of income and employment, among others.

In the second suit ID/154m/2012; the state government prayed the court for an order for the enforcement of the fundamental right of life of Ademola Samuel Abe.

Ademola Samuel Abe was shot on January 9 by Mr. Fabunmi, a Divisional Police Officer, during the protests.

The suit filed on behalf of Adebayo Abe, the deceased’s elder brother, asked the court to order the payment of the sum of N200 million jointly and severally against the respondents as compensation for the violation of the fundamental human right to life of Mr. Abe.

Speaking after the burial ceremony of Ademola Samuel Abe, whose remains were interred on Wednesday in Lagos; Omotola Rotimi, the Director of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) told journalists that they would get a hearing date “very soon.”

“The Directorate of Public Prosecution will take over the criminal case, the OPD is doing the civil case on the violation of their rights,” said Mrs. Rotimi.

“It is only in the civil suit that they can get compensation in monetary terms; the criminal case is just for the person to get punishment.