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Woman in court for slapping employer’s mother

A 32-year-old female employee, Sarah Oboh, who allegedly slapped and tore the clothes of her employer’s mother was on Friday arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

Oboh, a resident of Surulere area of Lagos State, is being tried for breach of peace, damage and assault.

According to the prosecutor, Insp. Clement Okuoimose, the accused committed the offences on Feb.1 at Bolaji Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

He said that the accused assaulted Mrs Olubunmi Jeyibo, by slapping her and tearing her clothes.

“The accused gave the complainant a slap and she also tore her clothes valued at N25,000,” he said.

He said that the complainant was assaulted when she went to her late son’s company to check the well being of staff and discuss with the accused who was managing the company.

“She went to her son’s company to have discussion with the accused who is in charge after the demise of her son. “During the discussion, an argument ensued and the accused slapped the complainant on her right cheek.

“She went further by tearing her clothes,” he said. The offences contravened sections 166, 170 and 348 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Section 170 prescribes a year imprisonment as penalty for assault.

The accused pleaded innocence of the offences and was granted bail in the sum of N20,000 with two sureties in like sum. The Magistrate, Mrs Y.O Ekogbule, adjourned the case to March 1, for mention.

Senate, lawyers split over vacuum in presidency.

The inability of President Muhammadu Buhari to resume duties on February 6 as contained in his earlier vacation letter to the Senate has triggered a debate over the legitimacy of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to continue to act on his behalf.

Also, the debate forecloses the effort to get the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen confirmed by the Senate, since there is no one, ‘legally’ speaking, that would forward his name to the upper chamber.

Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution says: “Whenever the president transmits to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such functions shall be discharged by the vice-president as acting president.”

Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, says that since the president did not return on February 6 as he promised and the letter he ‘purportedly’ transmitted to the National Assembly informing of his extended vacation on ground of ill health has not been read on the floor of the Senate to form its votes and proceedings, the legal capacity of Osinbajo ended midnight February 6, 2017.He said: “That ‘letter’ has not been seen by anyone, in order to determine its authenticity and its real author. When travelling in January, President Buhari personally transmitted a letter to the National Assembly, notifying them of a specific 10-day vacation, which ended on February 6, 2017. This letter was duly read and became part and parcel of the votes and proceedings of the National Assembly.

“The new ‘letter’ has not been read on the floors of either chambers of the National Assembly, to make it part of its votes and proceedings. Somehow, as if acting out a clever script, the Senate had hurriedly adjourned its sitting to February 24, ever before the ‘letter’ for an extended vacation arrived. So legally, the ‘letter’ is cooling somewhere in the National Assembly, just another letter, without any force of law. A letter transmitted to the National Assembly must be read at the plenary session to become binding.”

According to the lawyer, the implication is that there is neither president nor acting president at the moment, and since the acting president did not forward the name of Justice Onnoghen to the Senate before February 6, there is no one to do so anymore, even if the National Judicial Council (NJC) re-nominates him for the office in compliance with section 231(5) of the 1999 constitution.

“The tenure of the acting CJN will lapse on February 10, 2017. As of this night, the NJC has not met to consider recommending Onnoghen for renewal as acting CJN. The NJC cannot do this after February 6, 2017, as there will be no president or acting president, to receive such recommendation,” Adegboruwa insisted.

If this remains the true state of affairs, it means until the president resumes or the Senate breaks off from its vacation on February 24 to read the president’s second letter transmitting power to his deputy, the country shall run without either acting or substantive head of state. Also, at the expiration of the acting tenure of Justice Onnoghen on February 10, the judiciary shall remain without a clear leadership, leaving the legislature as the only legally functional of the three arms of government.But the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Abia State, Awa Kalu (SAN) disagreed. According to him, there is no vacuum because the tenure of the acting president still subsists.

Kalu said: “Only the Senate president or his spokesman duly recognised by the Senate can comment that they don’t have an authentic letter from the president. The Senate is an institution which has an office and secretariat. It is not a house where you can lock and go away. The information we have is that the president has extended his vacation and has informed the Senate accordingly. So, I don’t have a contrary opinion. Section 145 of the 1999 constitution does not say it must be read on the floor of the house.”

Also, former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Austin Alegeh (SAN) agreed with Kalu. He said the president had extended the time he would be out of the country and by implication had extended the time his vice would act.

“What the law requires is a notification that he is not going to be around and that somebody would be acting on his behalf. And once that letter has been transmitted, he has complied with the law,” he stated.

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, in the same vein maintained that the letter doesn’t have to be read to take effect. “It doesn’t need the approval of the Senate. All the law requires is that he transmits a letter to the Senate and once he does that, it is alright,” Keyamo declared.

Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed that the letter through which Buhari extended his leave is in the custody of the Senate President Bukola Saraki.

At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the spokesman of the upper chamber, Aliu Saabi Abdullahi said the letter was in compliance with the dictates of the law and the constitution of Nigeria.

But a question on who signed the letter threw Abdullahi into a fit of anger as he condemned what he called an insinuation that the Senate was not truthful about its declaration that the letter was in its custody.He said: “With due respect, I found the last comment very uncomplimentary to the president. I have no apology for that. If he’s there, can’t he write a letter and forward it to the Senate by DHL?

“If at this level we cannot trust ourselves to do certain basic things, then why should I trust you? I think it’s important we give ourselves some level of respect and trust. We are telling you a letter has been signed and sent to us. Are you saying that the Senate is not an institution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? I am speaking to you here on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“This is not the first letter Mr. President will be communicating to us. Are you saying that if we received a letter from Mr. President and we say we received a letter from him we don’t know what we are saying?”

When asked about the return date of the president, Abdullahi said: “The letter didn’t say that the leave is indefinite because the word ‘indefinite’ is taking the matter out of context, but then the president said he’s extending the leave beyond the 10 days he had asked for.”

The Senate spokesman said the decision on when President Buhari would return to Nigeria “is not in my hands but in the hands of the doctors. That is why the president is not giving us a date.”

On when the letter was received, Abdullahi said: “The letter was received by Saraki and I was briefed today (Tuesday). It was either yesterday or today they received it.”Also yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said there was no basis for comparison between the on-going situation over Buhari’s leave and what took place when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was ill and flown abroad for treatment. He insisted that Buhari was well.

Mohammed was reacting to a trending report on social media where a comment he made in December 2009 has become the butt of comments and jokes.

“Yes, I issued a statement on the 22nd of December (2009), but the circumstances are vastly different. Mr. President is not ill; Mr. President did not go for treatment; Mr. President went on leave and did the proper thing according to the constitution.”

In a statement issued as National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress (AC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed had said the situation then where ministers and aides of the president gave out uncoordinated information on his health, was doing more harm than good. He urged that the citizens should be given a daily update on the health of Yar’Adua.

2 weeks to Onnoghen’s exit as Nigeria’s Acting Chief Justice, lawyers criticise Buhari’s inaction

Two weeks to the expiration of the three months tenure of Walter Onnoghen as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, there is growing disquiet over the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to forward his name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive head of Nigeria’s judiciary.

The National Judicial Council had on October 6, 2016 recommended Mr. Onnoghen to President Buhari as successor to Mahmud Mohammed whose tenure was to expire on November 9, 2016.

But rather than immediately forward the name to the Senate for confirmation or reject the recommendation, the President on November 10 appointed Mr. Onnoghen to the office in acting capacity. That appointment will lapse on February 10 based on a constitutional provision.

As stipulated in Chapter 7, Section 31 (1) of the Constitution, “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate”.

Chapter four of the same section states that; “If the office of 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 has resumed those functions, the President shall appoint the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court to perform those functions.

The Constitution further states in sub-section (5) of the same section that; “Except on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, an appointment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appointment a person whose appointment has lapsed”.

From the foregoing, lawyers say that unless Mr. Onnoghen’s name is forwarded to the Senate and he is confirmed, he would cease to be the acting CJN from February 10. Mr. Buhari would also not be able to submit his name to the Senate as substantive VC after that date and he would have to be replaced.

According to some legal practitioners, the failure of Mr. Buhari to forward the name of Mr. Onnoghen to the Senate, long after his recommendation, is dangerous for Nigeria and the judiciary in particular.

Speaking on the matter, shortly before the expiration of the tenure of the former CJN, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon, described Mr. Buhari’s delay in processing the confirmation of Mr. Onnoghen as “scary, to say the least”.

“The name of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, the next most Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, has since October, 2016 been forwarded to the President, who is expected, constitutionally, to forward it to the Senate for confirmation.

“Till this moment, Mr. President has not forwarded Justice Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation. This is scary, to say the least”, Mr. Hon had stated.

But hours after the said expiration of Mr. Mohammed’s tenure on October 10, the president appointed Mr. Onnoghen to fill the vacant position, as stipulated by the Constitution.

As the expected three months during which Mr. Onnoghen can act as chief justice draws near, stakeholders have been speaking on the implications of not submitting his name to the Senate.

Speaking on the development, Rotimi Oguneso, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, viewed the president as “having a penchant for stirring up needless controversies”.

“This is where I find a problem with this government. It appears the present government has a penchant for stirring up needless controversies.

“The NJC has recommended Justice Onnoghen, who is the most senior judge to be the next CJN. What the president needs to do is to send his name to the Senate and it will come into being”, Mr. Oguneso said.

“The government has not told us; I am not aware of any situation or any disability on the part of Honourable Justice Onnoghen. He has already been recommended even to the substantive office, why make him acting in the first instance? That is where the controversy started.

“The Nigerian government right from the Obasanjo time, do not seem to like the collegial system of appointment; whereby it is the judiciary that has so much say on who becomes the Chief Justice. But the truth of the matter is that if they do not like it; why don’t they push for a constitutional amendment?

“The former President Obasanjo did express his reservations, that the executive doesn’t seem to have so much say; but I don’t see that as being correct. Because there is nobody who is appointed a judge whom the State Security Service will not have conducted an investigation upon. If the president has anything against a certain appointee, he should state it. Why not make it public?” Mr. Oguneso queried.

For another senior advocate, Samson Ameh, the situation is not one that cannot be remedied as the NJC still reserves a constitutional right to intervene.

“The NJC can still intervene and prolong the period, possibly. So as it is now, if the period of three months is to expire, I will recommend the intervention of the NJC to enable the president take the decision that is to be taken,” said Mr. Ameh who encouraged the presidency to ‘act in order to avoid a constitutional crisis’.

Another lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, also said that the situation should not degenerate into something worrisome as many Nigerians presume.

“The hysteria in town about the possibility of a doomsday that is looming; that once that three month clocks, then the judiciary will be thrown into a pandemonium, or a new CJN may then be appointed on a rotational bases; that doomsday prediction may not occur”, Mr. Ogunye said.

“Let’s apply the facts to that provision; the NJC currently is headed by this same acting CJN, so the NJC can exercise the power to say we want the present acting CJN to continue, and the president cannot override that recommendation,” he said.

Mr. Ogunye however queried the president’s silence on the matter.

“What this president has failed to do is to either forward his name to the Senate or, if he has any reason that is cogent and verifiable for not accepting the recommendation, he then consults with the NJC on that subject.

“The Third Schedule to the Constitution, in Part One, Paragraph 21 and 22, details the composition of the NJC and the powers of the NJC. Under those provisions you will see that the president is empowered to consult with the NJC on any matter pertaining to the Judiciary.

“So under that position that allows for consultation, the president or governor of a state, if he has any reservation, is obliged to consult with the NJC. And the president can have such an objection, because it’s not a rubberstamp.

“So what this president has not done, which a lot of people find objectionable and unacceptable is that he has not exercised his power regarding this matter, and I have serious objection to that kind of dilatory and lethargic approach”, said Mr. Ogunye.

He added that the constitutional position of the NJC is not without its own faults and that before the expiration of these three months, the presidency is not under any obligation to succumb to the recommended choice of a CJN by the council.

“Some people have said that the position of the presidency is merely a rubberstamp; he has no choice in the matter. I don’t think so. What I think rankles and is unacceptable is for the presidency not to act. The NJC is constituted in such a way that it is possible for somebody who is not desirable to be a CJN to emerge. What is the tradition here? The most senior.

“At that point of recommendation, other persons do not have a say. And being that the NJC in recent times has done certain things that people have found very objectionable. Indeed, the NJC did come out to defend the judges, some of whom are on trial now, only for them to backtrack when they saw the groundswell of public opinion against that kind of stands, in the face of overwhelming damming evidence in the public domain.

“So my opinion is that government has to act on that recommendation. If he has a reservation let the president disclose it. You can’t allow government business to be transacted on the basis of speculation”.

Mr. Ogunye lamented the repeated cases of delays in ensuring the confirmation of public office holders by the Executive arm of government, describing the development as a “questionable style of governance”.

“And I have questioned what is now becoming a style of governance. Magu was appointed acting chairman of EFCC and it took months, something that ought to take days, before his name was forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. You go to constitute a cabinet and it took about eight months. As we speak some heads of agencies, parastatals and corporations are yet to be established.

“Now that we are talking about the Judiciary, when the president knows that he has to exercise this power, why has he not done so, or if he has a reservation, why has he not approached the NJC in good conscience?

“And this is rife. For over three months, this debate has generated various dimensions, basically an ethnic dimension, regional dimension and a dimension of the allegation that the Executive arm of government wants to control the Judiciary”, Mr. Ogunye said.

Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to get the presidency to comment on whether or not the name of Mr. Onnoghen will be sent to the Senate yielded no results.

The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said he was not in a position to comment on the matter, since the President was on vacation out of the country.

The spokesperson for the Vice President, Laolu Akande, neither picked his calls nor called back when approached by PREMIUM TIMES. He also failed to reply to text messages.


Source: Premium Times

Lawyers Protest Arrest, Detention Of Members By DSS

A group of lawyers under the aegis of Lawyers in Defense Of Democracy are protesting the continued detention of their members by the Department Of State Services (DSS).


They have called for the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).


Apart from asking for the release of their members, the group also called on the commission to ensure the disbandment of the Police probe panel into the Rivers State re-run elections killings.


According to the coordinator of the group, Agu Okwukwe, the arrests, detention and the probe panel constituted by the Inspector General of Police are targeted at their members for the role they played in ensuring that votes count during the re-run election in Rivers state.


Meanwhile, the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Oti Ovrawah, has promised to investigate the allegations.


Source: Channels TV

Gambian lawyers accuse ‘mercenary’ Nigerian judges of backing Jammeh

Gambian lawyers and members of the country’s opposition have accused the country’s leader, Yahya Jammeh, of using “mercenary judges” from Nigeria, and other officials sent as technical assistants to the country’s judiciary, to hound dissidents.

The Gambian Bar Association also accused the Chief Justice of Gambia, Emmanuel Fagbenle, of plotting to use Nigerian judges to overturn the outcome of the December 1, 2016 presidential election in which Mr. Jammeh lost to Adama Barrow.

After initially conceding defeat and congratulating Mr. Barrow, Mr. Jammeh, who has ruled the tiny West Africa country for 22 years, recanted.

He claimed the polls were characterised by “unacceptable abnormalities”, and filed a petition challenging the result and praying that he be declared winner.

The Gambian opposition, including the GBA and other activist groups, argue that by unanimously annulling the election, Mr. Jammeh usurped the role of the country’s Supreme Court, flouted the tenet of the constitution and possibly committed treason.

“While under normal circumstances the right to petition against election results does exist, the situation in the Gambia now, is that there is no constituted panel of the Supreme Court,” the Gambian Bar Association wrote in a statement.

“The GBA notes with concern that since May 2015, there has not been a sitting Supreme Court session due to the absence of a panel. This is despite several reminders issued to the Chief Justice by members of the Bar. In the circumstance; it would be against the principle of natural justice to for the outgoing President to appoint Supreme Court judges to hear a Petition filed by him or on his behalf,” the statement added.

The body said the last decision of the court was not in favour of the government and resulted in the acquittal of former Chief of Defence Staff, Lang Tombong Tamba, a general, and Sarjo Fofana, a rear admiral.

Shortly after that Mr. Jammeh dismissed the only two permanent Supreme Court judges, Sallieu Taal, former Vice President of the Gambian Bar Association further explained in an email to PREMIUM TIMES.

Hobnobbing with Jammeh

The Gambia’s Bar Association accuse the Chief Justice, Mr. Fagbenle, of plotting to manipulate the judiciary to give a verdict in favour of Mr. Jammeh.

The country’s lawyers said at an emergency meeting on December 12, 2016, the Bar Association “unanimously passed a resolution and mandated the Executive of the Association to call for the resignation of Mr. Fagbenle as the Chief Justice of The Gambia”.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, the association stated that Mr. Fagbenle’s had no moral right to occupy the office after his alleged openly bias position during the election.

“It was resolved by the members of the GBA that your conduct during the presidential campaign has brought disrepute to the Office of the Chief Justice,” the letter read in part.

“The position of the Chief Justice is a constitutional position and as the head of third arm of government, you are expected to maintain and uphold certain standards. You have in our considered view woefully failed to adhere to these standards,” the letter continued.

The GBA said during the campaigns leading to the election, Mr. Fagbenle openly attended the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, rallies. They further added that on the day Mr. Jammeh was nominated as the candidate of his party, the Chief Judge was “seen in front of the court premises waving and dancing in support of the incumbent presidential parade.”

“Several members of the bar saw you wearing APRC apparel on the court premises. You were distributing APRC apparel to the court staff and making preparations for the victory celebration of the incumbent president,” the lawyers wrote.

The GBA further accused Mr. Fagbenle of several misconducts throughout his tenure.

“You interfered with judicial officials who were presiding over cases and caused them to be dismissed when they made decisions which were deemed to be against the state’s interest,” they claimed.

“Emmanuel Fagbenle is clearly unfit to for the constitutional role of Chief of Justice and there is no doubt he will take steps to attempt to extend the illegal regime of Jammeh,” the association stated.

Mr. Fagbenle could not be reached for comments.

The lawyers’ association claimed that the recent announcement that six judges, five from Nigeria and one from Sierra Leon, have been appointed to the Gambia’s Supreme Court, is fraught with suspicion. The association of lawyers claimed that Mr. Fagbenle did not disclose their appointment until Mr. Jammeh’s challenge of the election was filed in court.

The six judges are: Habeeb A. O Abiru, a justice at the Court of Appeal in Jos, Akomaye Agim, a former Chief Justice of the Gambia and presently assigned to the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, Abubakar Datti Yahaya, also of the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, Abubakar Tijani, a former Chief Judge of Jigawa State and presently attached to the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal, and Obande Festus Ogbuinya of the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court.

The sixth judge, Nicholas Colin Brown, is a Sierra Leonean.

When contacted for comments, Acting Director of Information of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Soji Oye, told PREMIUM TIMES he was on leave and could not speak on the matter.

However, a source within the NJC, who asked not to be named because he had no permission to speak on the matter, said he was aware The Gambian judiciary had requested Nigerian judges to be appointed to its Supreme Court long before the election crisis ensued.

The source further explained that Nigerian judges sent to other countries were expected to act professionally and not to abuse their privileges. He said any judge on assignment outside the country who is proven to have acted unprofessionally will be severely sanctioned by the NJC.

“We normally send judges to other countries, not only The Gambia on their request. They normally send their request through the NJC, and the NJC will screen judges before sending to them,” the source said.

“The request usually go to the chairman of the NJC, the CJN (Chief Justice of Nigeria) and the chairman will now decide on which judges to send.

“They (The Gambian judiciary) have written before this crisis for the appointment of Nigerian justices. It is only judges of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court that are normally sent there.

“If there is a petition against them that they are planning to make Jammeh overrule the election result, they have not implemented the plan yet. It is when they have implemented the plan that the NJC will step in. Any judge who is sent to another country knows the implication of misbehaving because they know they are coming back to the NJC so they cannot mess up because they know the implications,” the source explained.

“Mercenary Judges”

The Gambia Bar Association also alleged that at least, there are seven judges “handpicked” from Nigeria working as high court judges in the The Gambia who are being used by the Jammeh administration to perpetrate judicial fraud.

“These persons have never been judges or sat in a judicial capacity. They were imported and appointed and have demonstrated in several high profile judgement that they will not take any steps contrary to the will of the president,” the GBA stated.

They gave the names of the judges as: Agboola, Anyim N.C Ikoro, Uduma, E.E Ogar, E.O Dada, Sulaiman and E.O Otaba.

PREMIUM TIMES found that the named judges, whom Gambian media refer to as “mercenary judges”, are embroiled in several judicial controversies in the West African Country.

The judges were personally handpicked by Mr. Fagbenle and The Gambia Attorney General, Fatima Singhateh.

Our investigation shows that one of the judges is the founder of Liberation Chambers located at Suite 34, Abuja Shopping Mall Zone 3, Wuse, Abuja. The telephone number he provided was listed as incorrect.

In June 2016, senior Gambian lawyer, Antouman Gaye, and his legal team, who represented opposition lawyer, Ousainou Darboe, and others standing trial on a six-count, staged a walkout after Mrs. Dada, who was adjudicating the case, refused to stop soldiers who had forced their way into a private conversation between the lawyers and their clients.

According to local media reports, soldiers with guns had walked into a private room where lawyers were speaking to their clients, insisting that they will have to listen to the conversation. When Mrs. Dada was asked to order the army out of the room, she purportedly said: “I cannot prevent the army from listening in.”

Also, in July 2016, The Gambia opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP), wrote a petition to the Nigerian government, accusing seven Nigerian “judges” and other members of the Nigerian technical Assistance of “judicial rascality”.

They particularly mentioned Hadi Saleh Barkum, a Nigerian, and Gambia’s director of public prosecution (DPP), whom they accused of cooking up trumped-up charges against members of The Gambian opposition.

Copied in the petition were the NJC, Senate Committee on Judiciary, House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“It was the expectation of the People of The Gambia that these personnel would import best practices and systems of justice and moral code from our Sister Republic, however to our dismay this has not happened. Instead they have become the preferred tool in the hands of the Executive which unscrupulously uses threats of imprisonment against members of the public in the firm assurance that same would be made good by Nigerian prosecutors and judges.

“Mr. Attorney General, our country can afford to hire its own prosecutors, our country has the budget and the manpower to man its own Ministry of Justice. The legitimate need for Technical Assistance no longer arises,” the petition reads.

“It is, therefore, a vital priority for the Government of Nigeria and all Bar Associations to condemn the actions and capacity of all judges of foreign nationality currently sitting in Gambia and call for their immediate repatriation to prevent them from undermining the will of the Gambian people,” the GBA also said in another similar statement.

Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, his media aide, Isah Salihu, and the director of information of the ministry did not answer calls made to their mobile phone. They also did not respond to text messages sent to them asking for steps the ministry has taken in respect of the petition.

A curious association

The GBA also slammed the African Bar Association (AFBA), a lawyers’ association whose members are mainly Nigerians for giving what it described as a “semblance of legitimacy” to annulment of the December 1, 2016 election by Mr. Jammeh.

“The AFBA was full of praises of Jammeh and critical of the local bar for taking a position in the matter,” the GBA stated.

The AFBA, which claimed to be mediating with the Gambian government and opposition in order to resolve the election logjam, had released a statement on its position on the The Gambian crisis which thanked Mr. Jammeh for “peacefully making his case”.

“AFBA believes that the President knows the constitution of Gambia and having run Gambia for 22 years will not want to create chaos and destroy his legacy of landmark development,” the statement reads.

It then proceeded to blame the GBA for not pointing out the unavailability of a Supreme Court justices to sit on Mr. Jammeh’s petition before the election.

The AFBA has since met Mr. Jammeh and country’s President-elect, Mr. Barrow, and has plans to return to the country in early January in what it described as on-going negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

But the GBA said that it was suspicious of the intentions of the AFBA. Though on its website, the AFBA listed the GBA as one of its national legal member associations, the GBA released a video statement denying it has any connection with the association.

“The Gambian Bar Association is not connected or associated to with Mr Hannibal Owaifo (the president of the AFBA) and his organization, the African Bar Association. The general public is hereby notified that this organization does not represent all or any association or bodies of African lawyers as the name suggests. The said African Bar Association is not connected or associated with Nigerian Bar Association, although its members are predominantly Nigeria. It also is not connected or associated with the Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU), The International Bar Association (IBA), or related entities.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which was also listed as a national legal member of AFBA also denied being an affiliate of the association.

The NBA president, Abubakar Mahmoud, told PREMIUM TIMES that though he was aware that some of its members were also members of the AFBA, the NBA had no relationship with the association.

However, the AFBA says it is a legally registered association which derives recognition from its members and not from other individuals or associations.

“The African Bar Association does not need the approval or recognition of any individual no matter how highly placed or any law society,” Osa Director, special adviser, media and publicity, AFBA told PREMIUM TIMES during a telephone chat.

Lawyers disagree with Kaduna govt. labelling Shiite IMN “insurgent group”

Nigerian lawyers have expressed divergent views on the legality of the action by the Kaduna State government designating the Shiite group, IMN, an “insurgent group.”

While one of the lawyers who spoke in interviews with PREMIUM TIMES said the declaration was constitutional, others said it was not.

The Kaduna State government in a White Paper released on Monday said “for all intent and purpose, the IMN is an insurgent group and ought to be treated as such.”

The government also vowed to prosecute the group’s leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky for “crimes” committed by him and his followers for the past 30 years.

Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife have been detained without trial since December last year after soldiers killed over 300 members of his group.

The soldiers accused the IMN members of blocking the road and plotting to kill the Army Chief, Tukur Buratai; a claim the Shiites denied.

The killing was condemned by local and international rights group.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on December 2 declared the detention of Mr. El-Zakzaky as unconstitutional and ordered his release within 45 days.

The judge, Gabriel Kolawole, also awarded a N50 million fine in favour of Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, against the State Security Service, SSS, and the Attorney General of the Federation.

He ordered that a safe place of residence be created for the cleric and his wife in Kaduna State, and that the IMN should not be demonised.

“I am of the view that the applicant need not be demonised, but that they should be allowed to practice the faith they choose,” said Mr. Kolawole.

Three days after Mr. Kolawole’s judgement, the Kaduna government announced its decision to label the IMN an insurgent group. The state government had earlier banned the group.


In his reaction, Akin Olujimi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the Kaduna government acted based on law, and therefore the declaration was constitutional.

“The terrorism act contains provisions empowering government to declare an organisation a terrorism organisation. These are security issues that rely in intelligence which you and I may not be privy to. So when they have those intelligence they can now come out to say the group is a terrorist group,” he said.

“But we must also know that the court has a power to determine a matter before it. If the court has enough evidence before it that a group is a terrorism organisation the court will make such a pronouncement. But if it does not have enough evidence to make such a declaration, it will not make such a pronouncement. It will only ensure that the fundamental rights of parties are respected.”

In a contrary opinion, another senior advocate, Simon Ameh, said the declaration is null and void.

“The people are entitled to peaceful assembly, it is their constitutional right. He (the governor) has no right to ban them. The Kaduna State government just has a duty to ensure compliance to law and order. But this declaration in law is null and void,” said Mr. Ameh.

Similarly, another lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, said the declaration is a complete aberration of the provisions of law and an invitation to disaster.

“Even without a positive pronouncement of a court order, the act by the Kaduna State government is illegal and unconstitutional,” Mr. Ogunye said.

“The right to freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution and government ought not to make it a habit to infringe on that right.

“The Shiite are a religious minority in northern Nigeria and the invasion by the northern part of Nigeria including the Nigerian government is that they are using state authority to wage a sectarian battle. Nigeria is not an Islamic state, so whatever problem the Shiites and the Sunni Muslims might have, ought to not be the problem of Nigeria. So when you use state apparatus to destroy the lives and homes of these people, declare them an insurgent group and then ban them; what impression are you creating.

“The attack of December, 2015 did not result in the death of one military officer; innocent Nigerians were reportedly killed in that incident. You cannot use state apparatus to wage sectarian battle against a religious group. When the Boko Haram issue started, that was how it was poorly managed till today it has become a Nigerian problem,” Mr. Ogunye said.

Lawyers petition US, UN, UK, Germany over IMN’s threat to peace in Nigeria.

A group of legal practitioners in the country under the aegis of Lawyers Initiative For Civil Rights Advancement in Nigeria have petitioned the United States Embassy in Nigeria alerting it of the imminent security threat posed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The letter, which was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, said the threat posed by the “radical Shiite movement” has several security implications not just for Nigeria, but other West African countries.

The petition was equally copied to the British High Commissioner, German Ambassador and the UN mission in Nigeria.

The letter, which was signed by the LICRAN Director of Research and Advocacy, Unande Tersagh, and made available to journalists, described the IMN as an Iranian-backed rebel group.

Tersagh, who described LICRAN as an umbrella body of pro-democracy lawyers dedicated to the advancement of civil rights, justice, equality and rule of law in Nigeria, said it is within public domain that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been harassing Nigeria using members of the IMN.

He said buoyed by Iran’s backing, IMN members in October and early November unleashed violence across several Nigerian cities in the North under the cover of the Ashura procession.

According to him, this led to several deaths in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna and Katsina States.

Tersagh said Nigerians were surprised that IMN propaganda machine used the widespread mayhem as an excuse to allege clampdown on Shiism in Nigeria contrary to the fact on ground.

He said it is on record that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have in previous years been named in illegal shipment of weapons that were deliberately mislabeled as other goods into Nigeria.

He stated further: “There have also been reports that the IMN members visit Iran under the cover of academic scholarships to be trained as terrorists by the same Revolutionary Guards Corps. This will be consistent with recent revelations by Salar Abnoush, Deputy Commander of Iran’s Khatam-al-Anbia Garrison, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards Corps that his country is sending out sleeper cell assets to infiltrate other nations.”

Tersagh urged the ambassador to prevail on the US Government to declare the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terror organization bearing in mind that their modus operandi is strikingly similar to that of Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and ISIS.

The group added: “In the light of foregoing, we passionately appeal for peace and justice by calling on your good offices in collaboration with those of other members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to swiftly lend support to the Nigeria government in her bid to shut the door against all emerging and potential terrorist groups so as to strengthen the fragile peace that we are enjoying at the moment.”

NBA President vows to deal with “bad eggs” in Nigeria’s judiciary.

The President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Abubakar Mahmud, said on Thursday that the association was working towards restoring the integrity of the judiciary and legal profession.


Mr. Mahmud made this known on the sidelines of the first National Executive Committee Meeting of the Bar, held in Minna.


“We acknowledge that there are problems affecting the Nigerian society and it’s institutions, including the institution of the judiciary.


“But I want to assure you that we are on top of the situation as we are working to rescue and better the integrity of the legal profession and judiciary,” he said


He stressed that allegations of corruption against some members of the Bar and the Bench should not undermine the significant contribution of the judiciary to nation building?.


“The current situation should not underrate the contribution that the legal profession and judiciary are making.


“A few bad eggs in the system should not lead to a total condemnation of the institution of the judiciary”, he added.


On Federal Government’s prosecution of members of the Bar accused of corruption, Mr. Mahmud said the NBA would follow up with its own disciplinary processes if the allegations were established at the end of the day?.


According to him, the legal profession and the judiciary still enjoy enormous goodwill and respect of Nigerians despite? the recent development.


He stated that the NBA was willing to cooperate with the Federal Government in fishing out corrupt elements, adding that the war on corruption should be done in accordance with due process.

Lawyers walk out on Chief Judge during court proceedings.

Two lawyers, Mr. Dapo Agbede and Mr. Morakinyo Ogele, have accused the Ondo State Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi, of bias over a land dispute involving members of one Olokunjuwon family before the court.

The duo stormed out of the courtroom during the court proceedings on Friday at a High Court in Akure, the Ondo State capital, after Justice Kumuyi, who presided over the case, did not allow Ogele, who is the counsel for the claimant, to have access to the record of proceedings of the court, having been recently retained by the claimant.

During the proceeding, Ogele, appearing in suit no Ak/173/2012, prayed the court to allow him have access to the record of proceedings so as to allow him to give proper representation to his client.

He also sought for an order compelling the registrar of the court to produce the certified true copy of the record of proceedings in the case to the new counsel.

Ogele said the case was initially handled by another lawyer, who discontinued his appearance after he was not paid.

Ogele stated that since he took over the legal representation, efforts to get the record of proceedings from the officials of the court had proved abortive.

Agbede also supported the motion of Ogele, saying the new counsel would not be able to give proper legal representation without the record of proceedings.

The counsel to the second, third and fourth defendants, Adetunji Oso and Ola Olawale, said the court should use its discretion.

Justice Kumuyi refused to grant the request of Ogele and Agbede.

The lawyers told the judge that they would not be able to proceed with the case because the refusal of the application would deny the clients a fair hearing.

They subsequently walked out of the courtroom with their clients, leaving the judge on her seat.

Judges arrests: Lawyers trade words on DSS raid

Some Abuja-based lawyers have condemned the arrest and invasion of homes of judges by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The lawyers spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Abuja on Sunday.

While some decried the invasion of the homes of the judges at night, others described it as a step in the right direction.

The critics said that the DSS had no right to invade the houses of the judges because the allegations had nothing to do with national security.

Mr Auta Maisamari said that the constitution provided ways to deal with erring judicial officers.

According to him, if there is any allegation of professional misconduct it is the duty of the National Judicial Council (NJC).to investigate and discipline such erring judges.

“When the NJC establishes case against them it is either they are dismissed or forced into retirement and the judicial immunity will have been removed in this regard.

“I am in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption, but the fight must follow due process.

Another lawyer, Mr Audu Mammah, said that there were better ways to handle cases of corruption and professional misconduct as alleged by the DSS.

He said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should have been the one to come into this matter and not the DSS as this had nothing to do with breach of national security.

“This is very bad for the current leadership of the DSS and does not speak good of the administration at all in this democratic era.

“Government institution should adhere strictly to their core mandate,

“DSS has no business in invading the justices’ houses based on the allegations they got because that is not their core mandate,” Mamman said.

Mr Ikubanni Oluwayomi, said the appropriate and constitutional procedure where any judge was alleged to have committed wrong while sitting as a judge was to petition the NJC.

He said “NJC is a body recognised by the constitution to investigate such judicial officers and determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegations.

“If the mode of arrest is wrong, including if arrest was effected by a wrong security agency, it may defeat the interest of justice as we are not in the military era where rule of law may be thrown over board.

“The houses of the justices were broken into at about 2 a.m. in the night; how can a warrant of arrest be executed at 2 a.m?

“And there is no evidence to show that the justices were first summoned but they refused to obey the summon.

“The alleged offence among others of the justices is one of corruption and the duties of the DSS does not extend to making of arrest in corruption, ” Oluwayomi said.

But, some female lawyers said that there was nothing wrong in any endeavour to sanitise the sector.

They told NAN that if there must be fundamental change in the country, the starting point should be the judiciary.

Mrs Chinelo Eruchalu said that the rot in the judiciary should be cleansed, adding that it must start from somewhere.

“In handling this, it must be within the ambit of the law, it is long overdue and I support the move.” she said.

Eruchalu said that the judiciary had allowed itself to be used by both the politicians and the influential in the society.

“Our society should be healed from the cancerous sore called corruption, which has eaten deeply into the fabric of our society.

“What is now going on in the judiciary is a step in the right direction which should be encouraged and supported by all well meaning citizens of this country,” she said.

Another lawyer, Mrs Jumoke Idowu, who described the sanitisation as a step in the right direction, said the fight against corruption in the judiciary should not be selective.

“Let this fight against corruption in the judiciary be fought with honesty and sincerity of purpose. Let it not be another vendetta or witch hunt.

“Everyone involved in corruption must pass through the sword of justice and if found wanting should be treated in accordance with the dictates of the law.

“This calls for an upright disciplinary mechanism which cannot be easily compromised,” she said.

Femi Falana (SAN) blasts the NBA for shielding corrupt judges

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday, criticised the Nigerian Bar Association for shielding corrupt judges despite having information about their activities.

He described the failure of NBA to deal with corrupt officials in the judiciary as an embarrassment to the “incorruptible members of the bar,” adding that it was responsible for the current state of the country’s judiciary.

He said this while reacting to the raid on the homes of some judges and the arrest of four of them by the Department of State Services between Friday and Saturday. The operatives of the DSS had raided the official quarters of judges at Abuja, Gombe, Kano and Port Harcourt and ended up arresting at least four judicial officers.

The arrested judicial officers comprised two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro – as well as Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court and another judge of the Gombe State High Court, Justice Mu’azu Pindiga.

In a statement issued at the end of the raid, the DSS alleged that the suspects had engaged in judicial misconduct and corrupt practices, adding that a huge amount of money was recovered from three of the judges.

In response to the raid, the NBA had declared a state of emergency and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the judges.

Falana, however, criticised the NBA, saying, “In particular, the Nigerian Bar Association which has information on all corrupt judges and lawyers in the country has continued to shield them to the embarrassment of incorruptible members of the bar and the bench.

“The few lawyers who have plucked up the courage to expose corrupt judges and lawyers have been stigmatised and treated like lepers by their colleagues.

“It is on record that when both the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sent invitation letters to judges suspected of corruption they had rushed to the Federal High Court to obtain interlocutory injunctions to prevent their arrest, investigation, and prosecution.”

He said members of the legal profession had themselves to blame for the harassment of judges by security forces as they had failed to take advantage of the relevant statutory disciplinary bodies to purge the bar and the bench of corrupt elements.

“It is on account of negligence on the part of the legal profession that the SSS which screens candidates before they are recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment as judges has now engaged in the arrest of judges for alleged corruption and abuse of office,” he said.

Falana, however, said because the detained judges “are presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the State, they should be admitted to bail in self-recognizance.”

He urged the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to ensure that the judges were immediately arraigned without delay.

He lamented the state of the legal profession, saying, “It is a matter of grave concern that the legal profession has allowed the denigration of the hallowed temple of justice because of the misconduct of a few corrupt judges.

“For several years, judges who committed grave criminal offences were not prosecuted but merely retired by the authorities on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.

“Although the National Judicial Council recently recommended the dismissal and prosecution of a judge for extorting the sum of N197m from a litigant the authorities had paid lip service to the menace of judicial corruption in the country.”

Unemployed Man Docked For Stealing Spaghetti

A 29-year-old unemployed man, Monday Suileman, who allegedly sneaked into a shopping plaza and stole three cartons of spaghetti, was on Thursday charged before a Badagry Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State.

The accused, who resides at No. 2, Adewusi St., Ajara Dokoh area of Badagry, is facing a charge of stealing.

Prosecutor Innocent Uko told the court that the accused committed the offence at Ajun Plaza in Gbaji area of Badagry, but did not state when the offence was committed.

Uko said the accused stole the items from the shop of the complainant, Miss Gbemi Adoveh.

“The accused went into the shop in the plaza and as soon as he noticed that there was no one there, he took three cartons of Spaghetti but he was immediately apprehended by the shop owner.”

The offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

The accused, according to the section, may be sentenced to three years in jail on conviction.

The accused, however, denied the charge.

Mr Remi Ajose, counsel to the accused, urged the court to grant him bail, saying he will not jump bail.

In his ruling, Magistrate Abiodun Etti granted the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 with a surety in like sum.

Further hearing has been adjourned to Oct. 7.

20 SANs, Lawyers To Defend Man For Naming Dog ‘Buhari’.

Following the uproar that has trailed Joachim Chinakwe Iroko for naming his dog Buhari, 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and several barristers are willing to defend him.

According to a report by Daily Independent Newspaper, the legal practitioners are willing to assemble and rise to the defence of Joachim, who has caused a stir for naming his dog after Nigeria’s President.

Led by Barr. Inibehe Effiong, convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD), the lawyers said the decision was a move against “injustice, tyranny and arbitrariness.”

In the same vein, Joseph Adamu of the Coalition Against Human Rights Abuse (CAHRA), said it would assemble lawyers that would properly assist the cause of freeing Joachim.

Adamu was also reported to have said the Coalition Against Human Rights Abuse would raise financial assistance to pursue the cause if needed.

Iroko was arrested last week for naming his dog ‘Buhari’, which was deemed offensive by some of his neighbours in an area said to be populated with the President’s supporters.

No Criminal Implications In Naming Dog After Person- Lawyers

The incoming Second National Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Monday Ubani, yesterday, said that no offence is committed by someone naming his dog after somebody else.

He said: “In the eye of the law, it is not criminal for somebody to name his or her dog after another person. It may be offensive by examining the circumstances under which the incident happened.

“I understand that a particular dog was named after a neighbour and both of them were not in good terms; in a Hausa community somewhere in the South-West.
“So expediency would have prevailed on him not to name his dog after somebody he was quarrelling with.“The Bible says wisdom profited for direction. Anything you are doing must be with wisdom. If such a thing would provoke unnecessary argument, you should avoid it.”

Another Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Tunji Muyedeen, said: “As far as I am concerned, there is no way such offence could be sustained in law. Anybody can name his pet after anybody’s name.

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Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Gets New President.

A former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Kano State, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, has been elected as the new president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).


The new NBA President was elected at the 2016 National Elections held in Abuja, in contested election conducted through e-voting.


Mr. Mahmoud polled 3,055 votes to defeat Joe-Kyari Gadzama who polled 2,384 votes.


The position of General Secretary was won by Mr. Olagunju Isiaka who polled 2,721 votes against Yamah Desmond who scored 2,510 votes.


Mr. Dajan Gal emerged as the first Vice President with 4057 votes and Mr. Monday Ubani, second Vice President with 4375 votes.


Olagunju Isiaka polled 2721 votes to emerge General Secretary as against Yama Desmond who secured 2,510 votes.


Announcing the results in the early hours of Monday, the chairman of the NBA Electoral Committee, Mr. Ken Mozia (Senior Advocate of Nigeria) said both the first and second Vice Presidents emerged unopposed.

Ohagba Loe polled 2,402 votes to emerge first Assistant Secretary, while Balogun Oyeyemi emerged Legal Adviser with 3068 votes as against Onwuzuike Christopher who polled 2,043 votes.


The election was monitored by the Deputy Director, Legal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mariam Musa.


This is the first election conducted through electronic voting by the Nigerian Bar Association.


At the end of the E-voting process, the Chairman of the NBA Electoral Committee, Ken Mozia announced the result while the outgoing President of the Association advised contestants who lost the election to shun acrimony.


The new NBA President, Mr. Mahmoud in his response promised that the new executive will hit the ground running once they are sworn in.


The new executives of the NBA are expected to be sworn on August 26, 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

How Lawyers, Judges Are Slowing Down Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption War- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the judiciary arm of government was yet to perform its functions to the satisfaction of Nigerians given the reforms brought about by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Mr. Buhari stated this at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, while declaring open a Workshop for Nigerian Judges organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in conjunction with the NJI.

The President also said the Judiciary must take steps to ensure that it was not perceived as being partisan.

He said Judges must be aware of the sensitivities of the public and take steps towards avoiding even a shred of a doubt regarding their independence.

“In justice, integrity is a necessity. Hence, Judicial Officers and all other members of this sector must always demonstrate manifest integrity,” he said.

Mr. Buhari advised the judiciary to be in the forefront of efforts to develop rights-based jurisprudence as an element in the multi-disciplinary approach advocated in the fight against corruption.

He said as an arm of government, the judiciary had a role to play in the fight against corruption by enforcing the applicable laws.

“Critically important also, is the sacred duty of the judiciary to ensure that criminal justice administration is not delayed,” Mr. Buhari said.

“I am worried that the expectation of the public is yet to be met by the judiciary with regard to the removal of delay and the toleration of delay tactics by lawyers.

“When cases are not concluded the negative impression is given that crime pays. So far, the corruption cases filed by government are not progressing as speedily as they should in spite of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 essentially because the courts allow some lawyers to frustrate the reforms introduced by law,” he said.

Mr. Buhari said the scenario such as the one he painted must change for his administration to succeed in its fight against corruption.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Lawyers Chide Fayose Over Letter To China

More reactions have trailed Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose’s letter to the Chinese government, asking it to refuse President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for a $2 billion loan.
Chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos State and other lawyers yesterday condemned Fayose’s action, describing it as mere irritation and inconsequential.

A former chairman of the Ikeja branch of the NBA, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, described the letter as of no consequence, since negotiations had already been concluded.
“The letter by Fayose is similar to a situation of bringing a motion for a court injunction for a completed act. This letter is a mere irritation especially coming from a sitting governor. I will urge Nigerians and especially journalists to regard his letter as nothing, but a mere irritation.
“Negotiations are already concluded and the Chinese government are willing to release funds to Nigeria. Although, it is very disheartening that such a letter is coming from one of our governors, but I think it serves no purpose,” he told NAN.
Ubani, therefore, urged Nigerians to resist any act capable of disrupting the smooth running of government.
In the same vein, the Ikeja Branch Chairman of NBA, Mr Yinka Farobi, described the letter as “over stepping of one’s bounds.”
“Fayose was elected as a state governor and not as the president of Nigeria. His letter is clearly out of the purview of his powers and I seriously condemn it,” he said.
Farobi also urged Nigerians to be supportive of moves aimed at transforming the Nigerian nation for growth.
Again, the Ikorodu NBA Branch Chairman, Mr Dotun Adetunji, described the letter as a show of rascality.
He noted that although “there is a provision for immunity for a sitting governor, there must also be a limit on the activities of a leader.”
“There are 36 states in the federation and out of these states, only one governor has courage to write to a foreign authority, urging it to refuse funds to its federal government. To my mind, such action is really reprehensible and should be discouraged,” he said.
Mr Spurgeon Ataene, a lawyer, said: “If the loan being sought by the federal government is for the purpose of revamping the battered economy, then we should not have a problem with that.”
Another lawyer, Mr Ola Ogunbiyi, said Fayose’s action fell short of the status of his exalted office.
“Fayose is a ‘security risk’ working against national interest, I think he has too much freedom and should be cautioned all because we are in a democratic rule. What he said was wrong, we all know the loan is for our economic growth, for him to have written a letter to another country is wrong. The picture he tried to paint is that there is no unity, we have no united front by going to counter the action of the president,” he said.
Credit: Dailytrust

MTN Hires Ex-US Attorney General To Challenge $3.9b Fine

MTN Group has hired a former United States Attorney –General, Eric Holder, to help challenge a $3.9 billion fine imposed by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered users.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday that Holder pleaded with Nigerian officials last month on behalf of MTN.

Africa’s largest mobile phone company was handed a $5.2 billion penalty in October, prompting weeks of lobbying that led to a 25 percent reduction to $3.9 billion, Reuters reported.

MTN, however, was still not prepared to pay the fine and launched a court challenge in December, saying the NCC had no legal grounds to order the penalty.

A judge in Lagos had last month gave MTN until March 18 to reach a settlement on the fine, which equates to more than twice MTN’s annual average capital spending over the past five years.

MTN spokesman, Chris Maroleng, was not immediately available to comment on latest development, Reuters added.

Ibori Replies Attorney-General: “There Is No Ibori Loot Anywhere”

Read the press statement below…

Chief James Onanefe Ibori’s Media Office was shocked to read in the newspapers of Wednesday January 27, 2016, that the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said the Federal Government was priming itself to recover the sum of 6.9m British Pounds Sterling described as “Ibori loot”.

In a press statement, Mr. Tony Eluemunr, Ibori’s Media Assistant said ‘’there is no Ibori loot anywhere in the world.

Such money, whether in British pounds, American dollars or the Nigerian Naira just does not exist. This is because the Ibori London trial is not yet over. It is an incontrovertible fact that the confiscation hearing has not started at all, and remains months away into the future. This makes it disappointing that a high official of State such as the Attorney-General may have been misled into believing that an Ibori loot not only exists anywhere, but he even put a figure (6.9 million pounds) to it.

Mr. Eluemunor continued: “With all due respect to the Minister and the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, it is curious that such a misleading statement could have come less than a week that dozens of well-respected foreign media organisations including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Times of London, The Guardian of London,   and a host of Nigerian news outlets reported that the case against Ibori and his associates have become shaky as some operatives of the London Metropolitan Police have been accused of bribery and corruption in the course of their investigations. Thus at the Thursday January 21, 2016 hearing the prosecution was forced to withdraw its case against one of Ibori’s counsels, Mr. Bradesh Gohil. It had charged Gohil of leaking fabricated documents to media organisations and Members of (British) Parliament, but Gohil turned the case against the Police, accusing it of misleading the court with tainted evidence from corrupt operatives and of withholding key documents which could have proved police corruption.
The New Indian Express of Monday 25 January 2016 ventured further than the Times to report that Gohil, who was freed from jail last year, may now challenge his previous conviction, just as Ibori or any of his associates already convicted may also decide to do.
In representations to the judge, Stephen Kamlish, Gohil’s defence team leader accused the Crown Prosecution Service of “positively misleading the court and the parties as part of their deliberate cover-up of discloseable material”.
In response, the Judge said, “The crown has offered no evidence for one or both of the following reasons. One, that the allegations of corruption made by Mr Gohil are true, and not false. The second is that the crown has suppressed material both in this court and in other proceedings, including the trial of Ibori”. Then he said in words that must be sweet music to Ibori’s ears; “The crown offering no evidence can only mean the crown is not prepared themselves to explain their decision, either for the abuse of the court in bad faith or for the police corruption. In those circumstances, it is our duty to our client to raise these matters and this brings into question the safety of these (past) convictions.”  This means all the past convictions could be challenged afresh.
The New Indian Express continued; “A Met police intelligence report seen by the paper suggests an RISC employee telephoned a police officer working on the Ibori investigation in 2007 and allegedly told him his inquiries were “on the right track”. Separate documents shown to Gohil’s defence team are said to reveal the existence of 19 cash deposits into the same officer’s bank account. The Crown Prosecution had allegedly denied the existence of the documents”. However, it is on record that in the run up to the hearings, Ms Wass was directly accused by Gohil’s representative, Mr. Stephen Kamlish, of lying to the Court of Appeal and also lying to His Honour at the Southwark Court and disobeying his order for the Crown to disclose evidence in their possession which include the bank statements of Detective Constable John McDonald to the Defence before the start of the trial.
Eluemunor said that he assumed that the Minister may have been misquoted and so did not issue a rebuttal immediately. It was only when he failed to retract the statement after 24 hours that he decided to give Nigerians (including the Minister) the true perspective about the Ibori London trial and state categorically that the so called “Ibori Loot” Mr. Abubakar Malami saw as a “low hanging fruit ripe for plucking” must have been a terrible mirage. This has done nothing though to affect in any way the high regards Chief Ibori and his Media Office have for President Muhammadu Buhari, his administration and Ministers, including the Justice Minister, Mr. Abubakar Malami.  Chief Ibori wishes them well in their stated bid to leave Nigeria better than they found it.
 Signed: Tony Eluemunor

Media Assistant to Chief James Onanefe Ibori.

Dasuki’s Lawyer Pleads With Buhari

Counsel to embattled former National Security Adviser Dasuki Sambo, Ahmed Raji SAN, has appealed to President Buhari to allow his client go and enjoy the bail granted him by an Abuja High court on December 21st last year.

In an interview with Daily Trust, Raji said that he was too small to join words with the president.

“On the isolated case of my client- Sambo Dasuki, I plead with the President to allow him to enjoy his bail. I am too small to join words with the president of the country. I will only plead that he allows him to go on bail. In law, we have judicial review of administrative actions. We don’t have executive review of judicial decisions. That is why I would beg the president to allow all those that have been granted bail to go and enjoy it,” he said.

Dasuki who is standing trial for the misappropriation of $2.1 billion arms deal, was re-arrested immediately he met his bail condition last week.

During the presidential media chat last week Wednesday, president Buhari had suggested that the former NSA will not be released despite fulfilling his bail condition for fear of him running away and not facing the charges brought against him.

Lionel Richie Contacted Lawyers Over Adele’s ‘Hello’

Lionel Richie has admitted (well, joked) that he contacted his lawyers about trademarking ‘Hello’ after Adele’s comeback single of the same name.

Talking to The Sun, he joked: “You can’t use my word without my acknowledgement, thank you very much.

“I have been trying to figure out, from a legal point of view, can you own a word? So far all the lawyers have told me, ‘No’. I’ve tried… but the association is fabulous!”

He added that the two ‘will meet’ – hopefully for a duet – at some point, saying: “When she’s on tour I’ll catch her backstage.”

Credit: Yahoo

Charlie Sheen Slams Porn Star Ex-Fiancée: ‘She Insisted On Unprotected Sex After HIV Diagnosis’

Charlie Sheen says his porn-star ex-fiancée is an “extortionist” who insisted on having unprotected sex with him in 2014 even though she knew he was HIV-positive..Responding in court to Brett Rossi’s lawsuit alleging that Sheen had physically abused her, forced her to have an abortion and failed to disclose his HIV status, Sheen sought to undermine Rossi’s credibility by bringing up her past as a sex worker.
In the court papers, which were filed Monday and obtained by the LA Times,Sheen’s lawyers read…

“She was the one who insisted on having unprotected sex with Sheen ‘like a normal couple,'” after she learned of his diagnosis. “As a porn star, Rossi has had hundreds, if not thousands, of sexual partners. Exposure to sexually transmitted disease is a risk that she knowingly and willingly accepts every time she has sex on film, and she made the same choice when it came to Sheen.”Rossi “signed a confidentiality agreement” after he revealed his HIV status to her.
“This is a case by an extortionist … who gets paid for sex as a prostitute and a porn star,” the lawyers write. “Rossi is banking on the fact that Sheen will pay her millions of dollars to avoid the negative publicity surrounding this action.”

Rossi, 26, who was engaged to Sheen for eight months in 2014, filed a lawsuit last week seeking unspecified damages from the actor for assault, battery, false imprisonment and emotional distress after his bombshell HIV announcement, one day after he failed to pay her more than $1 million they had reportedly agreed upon prior to his November “Today” show interview.

Dizieani Alison Madueke’s Family Releases Press Statement

Below is a press release issued by Alison Madueke and the Agama families about the travails and media trial of their daughter and wife.

The Truth Versus The Media Hysteria Against The Madueke Family

  1. In this era of cyber terrorism, decency dictates that one should response to false and defamatory allegations with silence. But there is a limit to how much any reasonable person can bear the tactics of these cyber terrorists. We all know that what makes a lie fly is the little truth contained therein. This happens to be the weapon used by most online news media to feed their weird obsession with defaming highly placed people.

  1. The Madueke family is appalled at the ongoing media frenzy against Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke by a section of the mass media following an invitation to her by the British authorities last Friday for reasons which have yet to be disclosed. For the avoidance of doubt, the family would like to state categorically that it has no issues with any persons from the family being invited anywhere in the world to answer questions about their private or official conduct. The Madueke family believes in law and order, honour and due process.
  2. However, it is clear that here is  a deliberate and vicious campaign to demonise members of the Madueke family, with all manner of frivolous allegations. For example, an online news media gleefully published that Mr. Ugonna Madueke “owns at least three properties in the United States.” It even called the properties “POSH” and went on to state the addresses. THEY LIED.
  3. Mr. Ugonna Madueke has NO PROPERTY ANY WHERE in the United States and has NEVER OWNED ONE. The USA is a country which runs on transparency, accountability and technology. A little honest effort by the online news media would have provided in a few minutes the true ownership of the properties at issue.
  4. For historical accuracy, the Madueke family avers without any fear of contradiction that 11711 Scooter Lane (a three bedroom town house) in Fairfax, Virginia, was acquired by the Madueke family in 1997 when Ugonna was only 10 years old. Ugonna’s siblings lived in this property while attending George Mason University in Virginia, USA. Records available to the appropriate authorities in the United States can also show that 13116 Silver Maple Court in Bowie, Maryland, USA belongs to an uncle of the Madueke siblings and was purchased in 1995 when Ugonna was only 8 years old. As a student of the University of Maryland in 2002, Ugonna stayed with his uncle at the said address. All of this was before Mrs. Diezani was appointed to government office. No Madueke or a distant relation has anything to do with the ownership of No. 4227 Summit Manor Court in Virginia.
  5. It is evident that what the online news media did was to turn on an internet search engine and maliciously reported that every property where Ugonna Madueke has ever lived in the United States or used as his address must belong to him. The description of the properties as POSH was the icing on the propaganda cake. This is not only unprofessional, as it offends the tenets of journalism, it is clearly not in resonance with good conscience.
  6. The online news media also reported that Ugonna and his cousins registered a company by name Hadley Petroleum Solutions Limited which they have been using to deal in Nigerian crude oil sales. As young men bubbling with enthusiasm and fantasy, they registered a company but after two years of no jobs, the company folded up. The company never had a bank account, let alone being a trader of Nigeria’s crude oil. They lied.
  7. The online news media took its campaign to the in-laws of the Maduekes. It claimed that Mrs. Beatrice Agama, the 81 year old mother of Mrs. Diezani Madueke, owns a house in the United Kingdom. A LIE! Mrs. Agama has no house or property in the United Kingdom. She has been staying in a rented two-bedroom flat from where she is receiving medical attention for a broken femur. Her son, Timi Agama who has been living in the UK for decades, used to have a house in the UK long before his sister was appointed to government and he sold it long ago. Since then, he has no house in the UK. Archbishop Doye Agama of the Apostolic Pastoral Congress in Manchester, who is in his 60s, is a successful professional and consultant well known amongst his peers, but he does not own Unit 8 Quebec Building in Manchester which the online newspaper ascribed to him.
  8. As though to outdo the sensational allegations in the online publication, the mainstream media in Nigeria has been alleging that Mrs. Diezani attempted to purchase a property on Hyde Park Street in London for a whooping amount which embarrassingly ranges from 12.5 million sterling pounds to 13 billion sterling pounds. This claim is utterly false and laughable, for  the amounts mentioned are only in the imagination of the reporters. This property is quite popular. It belongs to a well-known eminently successful Nigerian entrepreneur who would also find this allegation embarrassing as the intention to sell the property has neither been contemplated nor disclosed to any person.
  9.  It is worthy to note that despite all the frenzy over Mrs. Diezani Madueke, not even one reporter or journalist has tried to contact the family to verify any of the rumors they have published with reckless abandon. This may be because they know the stories are false but it feeds the mood of the moment. Hence, the silence from Diezani all along. It is worth emphasising that Mrs Alison-Madueke was never arrested or detained and her passport was never seized. She was merely invited, and she honoured it promptly.
  10. The Madueke family, like most other families, have their own challenges. For instance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK which started while she was in office. The health crisis has unfortunately exacerbated in recent times. She completed months of chemotherapy just last week and she is scheduled to undergo surgery next week in London. The family has been bearing this challenge with prayers and as much grace and fortitude as possible; and would plead with all reasonable Nigerians to pray for her recovery so that she can face this allegation and give account of her stewardship. Yes, she can—and very well, too.
  11. The Madueke and Agama families would want the decent public to know that neither Ugonna nor Somze or Abiye or anyone related to the two families was picked up or arrested or invited for questioning by anybody whatsoever. Ugonna’s father (the Rear Admiral) has been in Lagos and working in his office. The lies about his having travelled with a team of lawyers should please stop. The Madueke family has taken a decision on how to appropriately deal with those who are on a mission to soil their hard earned family name.

Signed for and on behalf of the Madueke and Agama families.

Barrister Oscar M. Onwudiwe.

Legal Attorney

Don’t Defend Looters, Buhari Tasks Lawyers

President Muhammadu Buhari urged lawyers in the country not to sacrifice the integrity of the country’s legal system in a bid to cover the misdeeds of their clients, no matter how lucrative the brief may be.

Speaking at the opening of the 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, Buhari called on lawyers to support his administration’s war against corruption and help the country return to the path of rectitude by making Nigerian courts functional and effective again.

The president stressed that his administration had taken on the challenge of improving security, fighting corruption and revamping the economy, among many others.

Buhari said: “The fight against corruption is in reality a struggle for the restoration of law and order. Corruption and impunity become widespread when disrespect for law is allowed to thrive in society. Disrespect for law also thrives when people get away with all sorts of shady deals and the court system is somehow unable to check them.

“Ability to manipulate and frustrate the legal system is the crowning glory of the corrupt and, as may be expected, this has left many legal practitioners and law courts tainted in an ugly way…”

Read Morenationalmirroronline

Buhari’s Actions ‘Illegal & Worrisome’, Lawyers On AMCON/NNPC Board Jobs

Recent appointments into the boards of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by President Muhammadu Buhari have come under scathing criticisms by some eminent lawyers.

Most of the lawyers who spoke on the issue, described Buhari’s actions as ‘illegal and worrisome.’ Meanwhile, lack of stable organizational goals, unstable tenures and political interference have been identified as factors that have contributed to the appointment of 17 Group Managing Directors (GMDs) for the NNPC within its 38 years of existence.

Lagos based human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said the President appears not to be ready to benefit from legal advice, following those appointments.

Read More: ngrguardiannews

Lawyer Sues President Buhari Over Scarcity of Petroleum Products

A lawyer and rights activist, Kabir Akingbolu has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over his failure to make adequate provision for the production and supply of petroleum products to all citizens at regulated prices.

Akingbolu, in the suit, has the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, as the second defendant.

The lawyer is contending that considering the nature and extent of inconveniences which the citizens of the country were being subjected to by the lack of petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), the failure of Buhari, as the Chief Executive Officer of the country, to act by making the products sufficiently available, was capable of causing breach of peace and serious
discomfiture for the citizenry.

He is praying the court to determine whether the failure of the president to address the scarcity by the President was a breach of the oath of office he took on May 29, 2015 and a violation of the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 130 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Akingbolu is asking the court to declare that the failure of the defendants (Buhari and AGF) to make available petroleum products as a breach of oath of office, and that the failure to fix the refineries in the country was equally a breach of the constitutional obligation of the president.

Source: Vanguard

EFCC Must Do More To Win Cases – Lawyers

Three prominent Lagos-based lawyers on Sunday said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) needed to do more in the area of prosecution and win cases, to justify its establishment.
The lawyers told NAN in Lagos that further EFCC loses in court would mar its popularity.
They said the commission needed to be more diligent in its prosecution of alleged corrupt public officials as a way to support the Federal Government’s anti-corruption crusade.
Mr Jiti Ogunye told NAN that the EFCC needed to be more committed and diligent in its investigation and subsequent prosecution of those accused of fraud.
Ogunye said the way the charge against Mr Femi Fani-Kayode was prosecuted by the EFCC had revealed the need for a review of its handling of the prosecution of suspects.
The EFCC s dilatory and cavalier prosecution ended up telling Nigerians that it was not sure of what it was doing.
The way the charge against Fani-Kayode was being changed showed that not much was properly done by the anti-graft agency.
It has an advantage as both the investigating and prosecuting body and so will not be excused for failure to bring those charged with corrupt enrichment to answer for their deeds.
The anti-corruption body ought to know the strength of the cases they are taking to court on the basis of their investigations, he said.
Ogunye said that the EFCC could justify its funding through tax payers’ money by ensuring that it gets guilty judgments, especially against those charged with public embezzlement.
Facts must be properly substantiated in the eyes of the law by the agency. The EFCC needs to carry out thorough investigation and painstaking, diligent and conscientious prosecution of its cases.
It must not allow extraneous factors, influence or pressure to affect the performance of its statutory duties, Ogunye saisaid.
Similarly, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, urged the EFCC to streamline the counts it brings against suspects.
The EFCC is fond of going to court with so many counts as charges. It is an indication that the prosecution is unsure of what it is doing when it brings about 40 to 50 count charges against a person.
One can almost assume that perhaps the prosecution is playing games or gambling with so many charges against one person.
The onus is on the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and you don’t need too many charges to accuse someone of theft or fraud.
The judge in Fani-Kayode s case correctly stated that the principle of law is that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
You really do not need several counts to convict someone because it ends up being bulky and time- wasting.
In the UK, USA or Canada, you will only find public prosecutors going to court with a maximum of six counts, Osipitan said.
To the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (Ikorodu Chapter), Mr Adedotun Adetunji, the EFCC needed to improve on its investigation of allegations against suspects.
The agency has to be more diligent in the investigation of financial crimes and the prosecution of offenders.
It needs to ensure more diligence so as to be able to prosecute more efficiently and effectively, Adetunji added.

Keyamo Fails Again To Attain The Post Of SAN

Popular Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo has failed again in his attempt to clinch the rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, as the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee conferred the rank on 21 lawyers today without the well-respected lawyer, even though he made it to the final interview.

It was gathered that the 21 lawyers were selected after an interview of the 50 shortlisted candidates held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Keyamo was shortlisted for the final interview last year also, but sadly did not make the final list. ?This will be the second time the Lagos Lawyer will get so close to getting the rank after previous attempts that failed to earn him an opportunity for the final interview.

Kenyan Lady Begs Lawyer To Marry Her, Not Obama’s Daughter

A fearless Kenyan woman made headlines recently after she penned a letter in response to a widely circulated offer of cattle by Nairobi lawyer, Felix Kiprono for one of US President Obama’s daughters’ hand in marriage. She suggested that he reconsiders his offer and consider marrying her instead

From Left: Ann Kioko, lawyer Felix Kaprino and Malia Obama. Source:thestar

From Left: Ann Kioko, lawyer Felix Kaprino and Malia Obama. Source:thestar

Kiprono got more than he bargained for when a bold 27-year-old beautiful and hardworking single Kenyan lady of Kamba origin, Ann Kioko wrote a long letter as a reply to the Lawyer’s open letter to the American president,  in which she wonderfully inscribed her own reasons why she should be considered instead of Malia.

In the letter the Kenyan lass begs the city lawyer to choose her and explains why she thinks she would be the ideal woman for Kaprino. She later on made copies which she disseminated to the local media, probably hoping that the letter will somehow end up in the lawyer’s hands.

Later on, she posted on her Facebook account that she was giving the lawyer 5 days to respond.

Screen grab of Ann Kioko's facebook post. Source:thenairobian

President Buhari’s Secret Declaration Of Assets Is A Breach Of Trust – Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa

Vocal Lagos Lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has downcasted the secret declaration of assets by President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, saying the declaration is in contradiction to the solemn vows they willingly made open to Nigerians, in the course of their campaigns.

The lawyer, in a statement issued on Sunday said “it is indeed unfortunate and too early for Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, to be turning against the solemn promises he made to Nigerians. He argued that it’s not enough for the president to declare his asset with the Code of Conduct Bureau, but to further make the content of the assets public.

Read full statement below:

It is thus gratifying to note that the General has declared his assets, with the code of conduct bureau, but he has to go a step further than that, by making the contents of such declarations public. He will not be the first President to do that; Yaradua did it, Jonathan once did it, when he was still in tune with Nigerians, at the early stage of his public life.

Government is run on trust and integrity; and this was one of the selling points for Buhari during his campaign, when he made a solemn covenant with Nigerians. There is no reason to turn away from that path of honor which he has promised Nigerians. The only thing that will make General Buhari not to declare his assets publicly now, is that he wants to shield others who are to work with him, who probably have so many skeletons in their cupboards, that they can’t afford to share with Nigerians.

The President should be a man of his words and not go about taking Nigerians for granted, so early in his regime. The assets must be declared publicly, so that all others working with Buhari will take a cue from him.

Buhari’s Speech Gives Hope – Lawyers, Labour Leaders

Some prominent lawyers in Lagos on Friday hailed the inaugural speech of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as encompassing and inspiring.

The lawyers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the speech had given hope to Nigerians that the country’s challenges were surmountable.

Mr Onyekachi Ubani, former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, said the president spoke on vital issues that needed to be addressed.

Ubani said: “The speech gives us hope. He talked about some vital issues; issue of security, corruption, health, decayed infrastructure, which are major issues Nigerians are clamouring for.

“Though he did not talk so much about unemployment, he talked about managing the economy. So the speech is very encompassing and we are very hopeful.”

Another lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr Wale Ogunade, said the address was straight forward and a road map to a positive change in the country.

“It is heartening to note that he said he is the president of us all; that everybody owns him and nobody owns him. If nobody owns him, it means that he is a man of his own.

“I want Nigerians to know that for the first time, we are having a president who is prepared to take over the affairs of this country.

“This is someone who has been planning to be the president for the past 12 years and three times he could not make it until this time around.

“The man has outlined how he is going to tackle Boko Haram, how he is going to tackle corruption and how he is going to tackle energy because Nigeria’s energy problem is a national shame,” Ogunade said.

On his part, Mr Yinka Farounbi, Chairman, NBA, Ikeja branch, advised Buhari to hit the ground running and justify the mandate given to him by Nigerians.

“Let the rule of law be his paramount guide. Anything that is going to be done, let it be in accordance with the law,” Farounbi said.

Also, some labour union leaders who spoke with NAN on phone commended the new President for the points he highlighted in his inaugural speech.

Mr Bayo Olowoshile, the General Secretary of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said that the labour would give him needed cooperation in spite of the challenges.

Olowoshile said: “we are going to actually cooperate with him to ensure that Nigeria makes tremendous progress in spite of the challenges ahead.

“On our side as labour unions, we are going to assist him so that he can surmount the challenges ahead for Nigerians to experience real changes in all areas of their endeavour.

“We want him to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the entire country is carried along in the new government.’’

According to him, for the country to progress, the cooperation of workers is vital.

Mr Muhammed Sheikh, the General Secretary, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) on his part, urged the Buhari not to be distracted.

Sheikh said that the new President must keep religiously to his promises and the party manifesto.

He said: “we pray he (Buhari) won’t have any distraction at all because we want him to take us to the right direction.

“Beyond the party manifesto, Buhari came in on a high moral ground and huge expectations from Nigerians because of his zero tolerance for corruption.

“I think if he could lead by example and all the lieutenants around him follow suit, they will be able to exhibit to Nigerians that they mean well.’’

According to him, it will be very easy to right the wrongs that had happened over time if the new administration can be focused.

“Labour will always give support to any government that is sensitive to the plight of workers and to any government that has strategies to ensure full employment to citizenry of our country.

“The support of labour will always be there as long as workers and the general masses are being given policies that could help their well being,’’ he said.

The labour leader said that the economic policies of the new administration should translate into the general lives of the people such that common people would be able to meet their basic needs.

According to him, over years gross growth in the economy did not reflect in the lives of the masses as unemployment and poverty are still overwhelmingly increasing.

Also, Mr John Odigie, Secretary, Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commended Buhari for recognising the role of labour unions in the success of any government.

“For Buhari to recognise labour and its roles in capacity building in his speech is a very good platform to start a government because we are actually creating the wealth.

“We wish him well but we must let him know that Nigerians’ hopes are actually on him and he cannot afford to dash the hopes.

“He has promised us that we will see change and it is that change that we are actually looking for.

“I pray he fulfills most of these promises that he made, most especially in the area of job creation, power and security,’’ he said.

Buhari was sworn in as the new president of Nigeria on Friday, having emerged the winner of the March 28 Presidential Elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He defeated the immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, who contested under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ending the party’s 16-year rule at the federal level.(NAN)

Chief Judge Advocates English Language Lessons For Lawyers Due To Poor Grammar

Justice Ishaq Bello, the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, has advocated for continuous education for lawyers, particularly in the use of  English language. Bello stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at the launch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stamp and affinity products.

The Acting Chief Judge said that it was becoming rather irritating for lawyers to appear  before a judge and continuously mix up their tenses in trying to present their cases. He observed that the declining standard of lawyers could be noticed in the quality of legal practice, where a lawyer stands from the bar saying “I didn’t did it” or “I saw them passes”.

He urged the leadership of the NBA to do more to further encourage the continued education of lawyers, saying the trend was becoming quite irritating. “All lawyers must go through what is called Language Usage Course (LUC); all lawyers must be exposed to the dynamics of global evolving legal landscape.”

He added that the only way lawyers could keep up was for the association to continuously encourage them to learn and urged the older lawyers to provide guidance to the younger ones.

Similarly, the Chief Judge of Borno, Justice Kashim Zanna, reiterated Bello’s call, saying that it was quite embarrassing for lawyers to be unable to present their cases in good English language. Zanna also encouraged the NBA to quickly organise the training, saying that the continuous use of bad English by some lawyers in court was robbing off on all lawyers.

Credit: NAN

Lawyers Urge Jonathan To Sign Amended Constitution

President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to sign all the amendments effected on the Constitution and the Electoral Act (EA) by the National Assembly before Saturday to avoid a possible constitutional and legal crises during and after the elections.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sebastine Hon and the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Clement Nwankwo said in Abuja that it was imperative that the amendments were urgently assented to by the president to avert a possible chaos after the election and the transition period.

Hon said it was necessary for the President to sign the amended Constitution into law, to avoid reverting to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) up to the 3rd Alteration Act.

Nwankwo, who spoke during the unveiling of the Election Day Situation Room of Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs), and initiative of the Nigerian Civil Societies Situation Room, said the President’s signing of the amendment to the EA, will resolve the current issues surrounding the innovations introduced by INEC in the electoral process.

Hon said: “With only about 72 hours or less left to the conduct of the Presidential election, grave constitutional implications lie in wait for all of us if these amendments are not signed into law.

“In the first place, once elections are conducted, they would have been conducted pursuant to the current Constitution, hence the winners thereof can only take their oaths of office pursuant to and under the said current Constitution, the fact that Mr. President decides to sign it into law after the conduct of the elections notwithstanding.

“Secondly, Election Tribunals and other courts trying election related matters must, by force of law, apply the existing Constitution as opposed to the amended one. This is because the Nigerian Constitution does not operate retroactively. The net will then be that all the efforts and resources expended in producing the constitutional document will be rubbished.

“The further implication is that Nigerians will be deprived of enjoying the robust and dynamic alterations introduced by the legislature in the new constitutional document.

“In legal jurisprudence, the law grows or is expected to grow at par with the society. So much has happened in the Nigerian society between 2011 and now, hence the imperative of the amendments introduced by the legislature in the amended constitutional document.

“In other words, let Nigerians not be deprived of the enjoyment of the legal revolutions introduced by the legislature into the 4th Alteration Act.

“I, therefore, again strongly urge Mr. President to sign the amended Constitution into law before Saturday the 28th of March, 2015,” Hon said.

Nwankwo, who is also the coordinator of the Nigeria CSOs Situation Room, said “overall, the legal framework for the 2015 general elections provides satisfactory basis for the conduct of democratic elections in accordance with international principles and Nigeria’s international legal commitments.

Lawyers Walk for Buhari/ Osinbajo Candidacy

Hundreds of lawyers on Wednesday embarked on a “Walk for Change” in support of the Muhammadu Buhari and Pro. Yemi Osinbajo presidential ticket. The duo are the All Progressives Congress representatives in the February 14 election.

Lead by the National Coordinator of the Lawyers4Change, Adesina Ogunlana, the lawyers walked through some major streets in Ikeja, campaigning for a change of government at the federal level when election holds on February 14.

The walk took off from the Bar Centre of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja, through Oba Akinjobi Way, Oba Akran Road, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Allen Avenue, Toyin Street, Olowu Street and back to the centre.

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