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JUDICIARY

Alleged Sexual Harassment: Court Remands Suspended UNICAL Professor in Kuje Prison

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A Federal High Court on Monday ordered that Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), charged with alleged sexual harassment be remanded in Kuje prison.

Ndifon, who is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before Justice James Omotosho, however pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge.

Reports says that the ICPC, though its counsel, Ebenezer Shogunle, had filed the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/511/23 on Oct.

30, 2023 against Ndifon.

In count one, the defendant was alleged to have, between June and September 2023, used his office and position to gratify himself by soliciting for nude photographs and videos from a year 2 diploma female student of the university through Whatsapp chats on his telephone number: 08037066222, contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

In count two, he was alleged to have corruptly requested for nude photographs and videos from a 400level female student of the Faculty of Law with the plan of changing her project supervisor to himself in order to guarantee favourable grades for her and offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 8(1)(a) (il) of the agency’s Act.

in count three, he was alleged to have corruptly requested to see photographs of a 16-year-old prospective post UTME female student, as an inducement to consider her for admission into the Faculty of Law contrary to and punishable under Section 18(d) of the Act.

Count four accused him of causing a female student to send pornographic, indecent and obscene photographs of herself to him through Whatsapp chats on his telephone number: 08037066222 between May and September 2023, contrary to and punishable under Section 24 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition & Prevention) Act, 2015.

These, Ndifon was alleged to have committed while being a public officer charged with responsibility for the certification of students as fit in learning and character as a prerequisite for the award of Bachelor’s degree in Law and admission into the Nigeria Law School.

After the charge was read to him, the embattled lecturer pleaded not guilty to the counts.

Ndifon’s counsel, Okon Efut, SAN, took his bail application dated Jan. 2 and filed Jan. 3.

Efut prayed the court to admit his client to bail, particularly on health grounds.

Besides, he informed the court that there were four other grounds why Ndifon should be granted bail.

Speaking from the dock, Ndifon said: “My lord, I was supposed to have an eye surgery on Glaucoma.”

Efut told the court that it was on the basis of his health condition that the magistrate court in Calabar admitted him to bail on Oct. 27, 2023, after being in detention for about 22 days.

He said based on the medical report, the surgery was expected to be carried out on Jan. 11.

ICPC Lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, opposed the application for bail.

He said on receipt of the process, the commission filed a counter affidavit dated and filed Jan. 5.

The lawyer, who alleged that one of the counsel to Ndifon threatened the commission’s star witness on phone, said they were in possession of the call logs.

Akponimisingha argued that one of the cardinal reasons for granting bail was the assurance that a defendant would not interfer with the case.

He further alleged that the lawyer’s name was in the bail application filed by Efut and that he was also at the court sitting.

Justice Omotosho then asked the lawyer to come forward.

“What is your name?” he asked.

  “Sunny Anyanwu is my name my lord,” he replied.

The judge then asked him if he would wish to respond to the allegation by filing affidavit of facts and he responded in affirmative.

Anyanwu, who admitted calling Tochi Kanu on phone, said the person he called was different from the names of the four witnesses in the charge and proof of evidence.

“Tochi Kanu called me. When she called me, I was at Federal High Court here and I said I will call you later through a message.

“It was much hours later I remembered somebody called me and put a call through.

“At that point, there was a network issue and I was saying hello, hello and the call was cut off.

“And that name they (ICPC) called was not in the proof of evidence. They have four witnesses,” he said.

When the judge asked him his interest in the matter, he said Ndifon was his lecturer and that he came as counsel to defend him or support the defence.

Justice Omotosho then asked Akponimisingha the name of the person that was alleged to have been called.

“The name is Tochi Kanu Jane,” he said.

The judge therefore directed Anyanwu to file his affidavit of facts for the court to decide on the issue.

But Omotosho wondered why Ndifon had not gone for the surgery since Oct. 27, 2023, when the magistrate court granted him bail.

Akponimisingha told the court that the medical report was served on them late and they were still verifying its genuineness.

Justice Omotosho, who ordered Ndifon to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre, adjourned the matter until Jan. 10 for hearing of the bail application and to enable Anyanwu filed the affidavit of facts.(NAN)

JUDICIARY

Surety Faces N500,000 Bail Bond Forfeiture Charge

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A 47-year-old man, Ogbonna Anoka, who allegedly stood surety for a church member, but failed to produce him in court as required, on Tuesday appeared before a Sabo-Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

Anoka, whose house address was not given, entered a ‘not-guilty’ plea to a charge of perversion of justice.

The Prosecutor, Insp.

Magaji Haruna, told the court that Anoka committed the offence on Jan.
26, at the State Criminal Investigation Department, M.A.K Smith St., Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

Haruna alleged that the defendant conspired with one other person to obstruct and pervert the course of justice.

“The defendant stood as a surety for one Nonso Onyekwelu, a church member, who was involved in a case of conspiracy and receiving stolen property reported at the station.

“Onyekwelu was granted bail and released to the defendant, who promised to produce him at the station until the case is finally disposed off.

“The accused is hereby called upon to show cause why the sum of N500,000 bond executed by him should not be forfeited,” the prosecutor said.

The offence, Haruna said, contravenes Section 97 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Reports says that the Section 97 provides seven years imprisonment for perversion of justice, while sub section (3) provides two years imprisonment.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. Y. Adefope, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.

The case was adjourned until Feb. 21 for mention (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Discharges Sowore, Bakare, Orders DSS to Release Seized Items

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, discharged Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare of alleged treasonable felony charge by the Attorney-General.of the Federation (AGF), Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling after counsel for the AGF, A.R. Tahir, withdrew the charge, struck out the matter.

Justice Nwite also ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to immediately release three phones and the sum of N10, 000 seized from Sowore during his arrest.

The judge also ordered the DSS to release a phone belonging to Bakare and the sum of N1, 500 confiscated from him during his arrest.

Justice Nwite equally ordered that Sowore’s international passport be released.

The orders followed an application by lawyer to Sowore and Bakare, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, to tye effect.

Reports says that Sowore and Bakare were earlier arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in 2019 before the matter was reassigned to Nwite.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

3 Docked over Alleged Theft of Maggi Seasoning Worth N50m

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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Three men were on Monday arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, for allegedly stealing 3,000 cartons of maggi seasoning valued N50 million.

The accused Emmanuel Akpan, 38; Tasiu Aliu, 27; and Usman Hassan, 48, are being charged with conspiracy and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp.

Innocent Odugbo, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on Dec.
15, 2023 at Engineering Close, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Odugbo said Akpan, a logistics agent, contacted a truck to convey 3,000 cartons of Terra Maggi seasoning belonging to TGI Distribution Company to Kaduna State.

The prosecutor added that Aliu, a driver and Hassan his motorboy, brought the truck for the conveyance of the goods.

”After their departure, all calls made to track their location failed, their cell phones were switched off .

”The goods were neither delivered to the agreed destination nor returned to the company,” he said.

He said the offences contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Magistrate, Mrs M. O Popoola, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N5 million each with two sureties in like sum.

Popoola adjourned the case until March 20 for trial.(NAN)

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