The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has strongly condemned the intrusion of the residence of the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, Justice Ita Mbaba, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement on Wednesday by the NBA President and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yakubu Maikyau, the NBA described it as unwarranted and completely unacceptable.
It said while it does not in any way oppose the EFCC or any other law enforcement agency in the discharge of their statutory duties, the NBA would lawfully resist any attempt to harass, intimidate, or in any way bully judges and justices.
The legal body also questioned the timing and manner of the “Property Verification Exercise” of the EFCC, saying as such verification could have been done without armed operatives, and at a more appropriate time of the day through a civil process.
It, therefore, called on the EFCC to not only take appropriate disciplinary actions against the concerned officers but to also issue a public apology to the affected justice, saying it would monitor the observance of the demands.
Read the NBA President’s full statement below:
I have been following the unfortunate event of the intrusion of the residence of the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, at about 5am this morning, by armed officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
I have personally spoken with His Lordship and I was quite relieved to know that His Lordship is fine and calm. I contacted the Kano Branch Chairman of the NBA, who together with the Attorneys General of Kano and Jigawa States, engaged the officials of the EFCC on the matter.
A few hours later, I again spoke with His Lordship the Presiding Justice, who confirmed that the Chairman of the EFCC had called to explain the conduct of the officials and apologize for the ensuing embarrassment.
I have also seen the ‘Press Statement’ of the EFCC and called the Chairman of the Commission to express the concerns of the NBA over the incident. He explained the circumstances surrounding the incident and also confirmed that he reached out to His Lordship.
The EFCC in its statement admitted that its operatives were on a “Property Verification Exercise” and stated that His Lordship is “not under any investigation by the Commission”.
The statement however fell short of rendering an apology to His Lordship and the Judiciary for the invasion of His Lordship’s privacy and the resultant embarrassment by the actions of its operatives.
The NBA strongly condemns the intrusion of the residence of His Lordship; it is unwarranted and completely unacceptable. Whilst we do not in any way, oppose and will not stand in the way of the EFCC or any other law enforcement agency in the discharge of its statutory duties, the NBA will lawfully resist any attempt to harass, intimidate or in any way bully our Judges and Justices.
The timing and manner of the “Property Verification Exercise” leave much to be desired, to say the least. Such verification could have been done without armed operatives, at a more appropriate time of the day, and through a civil process. We are a Country of laws and regulations, and we must show regard for the Rule of Law and due process.
I, therefore, call on the EFCC to not only take appropriate disciplinary actions against the concerned officers but also issue a public apology to His Lordship, the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, and the entire judiciary. The NBA will monitor the observance of these demands.
I thank His Lordship, the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chairman of the EFCC, Attorneys General of Kano and Jigawa States, the Chairman and executive members of Kano Branch of the NBA, other stakeholders, and the public for their concern and prompt interventions, following the incident.
The NBA will not shirk in its responsibility to protect and defend the Rule of Law as well as the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.
Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN President
1,148 total views, 6 views today
Alleged P&ID Scam: High Court Revokes Briton’s Bail, Orders His Arrest
A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Wednesday, revoked the N100 million bail granted to the Briton, James Nolan, a director in the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, issued a bench warrant against Nola.
Justice Mohammed ordered that the British national should be arrested by security agencies, including the Interpol, anywhere he is sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand his trial.
“As far as this court is concerned, the absence of the 2nd defendant (Nolan) in court implies he has jumped bail.
“The bail is hereby recalled and a bench warrant is issued against the 2nd defendant,” he ruled.
The judge also directed that the surety, Mr George Kadiri, a retired civil servant living in Gwagwalada, Abuja, should appear in court in the next adjourned date to show cause why his bail bond should not be forfeited.
Mohammed consequently adjourned the matter until Nov. 3 for hearing.
The judge gave the order following an oral application made by counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bala Sanga, to the effect.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the anti-graft agency had, on Aug. 18, 2020, arraigned Nolan before Justice Mohammed in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020.
While Lurgi Consult Limited is the 1st defendant, Nolan is the 2nd defendant in the matter.
Nolan, alleged to be at large, is also standing trial in about eight other cases for his involvement in the 9.6 billion dollars controversial contract awarded to P&ID.
NAN reports that while eight of the matters are before FHC in Abuja with six of the cases before Justice Mohammed, one case is before an FCT High Court.
Sanga, upon resumed hearing in the matter, told the court that Nolan, who was standing trial, had jumped bail.
He said though the agency’s 1st prosecution witness, Mr Tope Erinomo, was in court, Nolan was not.
“However, we were informed that the 2nd defendant has jumped bail while the 1st defendant has never been represented in court as a corporate body,” he said.
He, therefore, said that he had about five applications to make.
He said there had been a deliberate attempt by the defence to frustrate the case ever since Nolan was admitted to the N100 million bail by a brother judge, Justice Okon Abang, after the defence appeal the bail terms earlier imposed.
“But now, he is not in court today. The substantive 9.6 billion dollars suit will be starting in London,” he said.
Sanga said after Nolan met the bail conditions, the EFCC investigated the property used as the bail bond in Gwagwalada and discovered there were inconsistencies in the subject of the bail bond.
He informed that the property did not worth the N100 million required either at a forced sale or open market value.
The lawyer said though the surety claimed that Nolan was a family friend in the affidavit of means he deposed to, he later revealed that he did not know the Briton but was only offered N1 million to stand as his surety.
He said that there was a video recording evidence to the effect.
But Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, said it was not in Sanga’s place to raise such issues at this time.
“The court should hear us out,” he said.
Michael, who held the brief of Paul Erokoro, SAN, stated that Nolan, since the commencement of his case, had always been in court, even in other matters where he was standing trial.
He, however, said that his client’s “mysterious disappearance” had kept them wondering on what could have happened to him.
“The last time we saw him was on 21st of June before your learner brother,” he said
The lawyer informed that Nolan told his principal that he had been suffering from a disease called Bipolar disorder and that he would be going to a Lagos hospital for a medical attention.
He said since then, his phone number had been unreachable.
“We went to the prosecution and the police. We have been doing something,” he said.
According to Ajara, my principal even went to London as part of the efforts to know his whereabouts.
He said a brother judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, where his client was also standing trial, on Tuesday, adjourned the matter to Nov. 9 so that they could liaise with the police and report back to the court about his whereabouts.
Responding, the judge said all the explanations by Ajara led to a conclusion that Nolan was no where to be found.
“Whether the disappearance is justified by law, you cannot say because you don’t know his condition.
“What is apparent is that he is not in the dock.
“What do you want the court to do now if you are the one sitting here,” Mohammed asked.
Ajara then prayed the court to give them a little time to ascertain Nolan’s whereabouts.
The judge also asked Kadiri, the surety, if he knew Nolan’s whereabouts but he responded in the negative.
Justice Mohammed held that there was no evidence to justify the disappearance of the defendant.
“As far as the law is concerned is to issue a bench warrant against him,” he said.
If is disappearance is justify by law, then the law can be bent after seeing him.
He said the law is that if a defendant is not in court and no reasonable explanation is giving, the court has the discretional power to issue a bench warrant.
“I am not bind by any previous decision of any body,” he said.
The judge, who said that the law is not by conjunctures and assumptions, said: “It is by evidence.”
Addressing Ajara, he said: “That application is out of place. If I grant that, it will be a misapplication of discretion.”
Sanga, in his oral application, then prayed that Nolan’s bail be revoked and a bench warrant issued against him.
“Thirdly, the surety should be summoned to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond,” he said.
7 total views, 7 views today
Bamise: Again, Absence Of BRT Driver’s Lawyer Stalls Court Hearing
The trial of Andrew Ominikoron, a BRT driver who allegedly raped and murdered Oluwabamise Ayanwole, a 22-year-old fashion designer, again failed to go on today owing to the absence of his lawyer.
The lawyer, Abayomi Omotubora, arrived at the Lagos High Court, sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square after the trial judge, Justice Sherifat Sonaike, had adjourned the hearing to Thursday owing to his absence.
It is about the fifth time that Omotubora would be absent from the court hearing since the start of the trial.
He was absent at the court proceedings on July 30 but sent a junior counsel. He was also absent at the proceedings of June 7th and 9th.
At the last sitting of the court on July 7, where he was again absent, Justice Sonaike condemned his continuous absence. The judge described it as “appalling and unbecoming of the noble profession.”
The court also ordered the defendant to get a lawyer to defend him before adjourning till today, Sept 28.
When the journalist sought to know what happened after he arrived late to today’s proceeding, the lawyer said that he came all the way from the Ikorodu area of the state to the TBS.
On his repeated absence, the lawyer said that he also has other matters to attend to.
“This is not the only matter, I have to appear for other matters too,” he said.
344 total views, 344 views today
High Court Orders Obi’s Supporters Not To Converge At Lekki Toll Gate
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Labour Party and its supporters not to converge at the Lekki toll gate for its #Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally billed to hold on the 1st of October, 2022.
The court also directed the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, and the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Abiodun Alabi, to ensure compliance with the order.
Justice Daniel Osiagor made the order today while ruling on a motion for injunction brought by 10 plaintiffs, who are asking the court to, among others, restrain the LP, its presidential candidate Peter Obi, his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed, one Julius Abure and their loyalists from holding the rally.
The court also held that while Obi’s supporters cannot stop at the Lekki toll gate, they can pass through the venue to access Falomo Bridge and other venues at which the rally plans to meet.
A preliminary objection filed by the defendants seeking to stop the court from hearing the motion on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction could however not be entertained as all parties to the suit had not been served.
The court adjourned hearing of the substantive suit to November 4, 2022.
In the suit, 10 plaintiffs are Adedotun Ajulo Esq., Salamatu Suleiman Lewi Esq., Hakeem Ijaduola, Esq., Ogunbona Akinpelu Esq., Owolabi K. Oluwasegun, Esq., Mogbojuri Kayode Esq., Wuyep Mantim Nadom Esq., Dimimu Mabel, Esq., Kolawole Salami, Esq. and Mr. Wale Abe Lawrence.
The 1st to 10th defendants are Obi, LP, Baba-Ahmed, Abure, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Lagos State Command), Director-General (Department of State Services), Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited, Attorney-General of Lagos State and The Governor of Lagos State.
In the substantive suit, the plaintiffs are arguing among other things that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will cause a breakdown of peace and will result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.
349 total views, 349 views today
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