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JUDICIARY

APC, Tinubu, Oppose Consolidation of Election Petitions

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The All Progressives Congress, (APC) and it’s presidential candidate in the Feb. 25, Presidential Election, Sen. Bola Tinubu, on Monday opposed the consolidating of the petitions as raised by the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC).

At the resumed hearing to consider the matter of consolidation, counsels to Tinubu, Mr Akin Olujimi, SAN, and the APC, Mr Charles Edosomwa, SAN,  opposed the move to consolidate the three different petitions.

They insisted that merging all the petitions, would affect their ability to effectively defend all the issues raised by the petitioners.

The senior lawyers maintained that the petitioners did not only raise various issues,  but were seeking different reliefs.

 Mr Shehu Abubakar

announced appearance for the Allied Peoples Party, (APM) Mr Kenny Pinhero, SAN represented the Independent National Electoral Court, (INEC).

Abubakar said the party would not be opposed to consolidation of the petition and counsel to INEC  said that he was neither in support or opposition but however, left the decision  at the discretion of the PEPC.

The counsel to INEC said that they were neutral on the issue.

The APC in opposing the application for consolidation of the petition said the interest of justice would not be served.

This he held was because the issues raised were different  and because of the  variance of pleadings.

“The justice factor is a good reason for your lordships not to consolidate the petition.

“The 2nd respondent is afraid of being prejudiced,”he said.

Olujimi submitted that the 3rd and 4th respondents also opposed consolidation of the petitions.

He adopted the submissions of counsel to the 2nd respondent, insisting that though paragraph 50 of 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, donated an in built discretion to the court, however he argued that such discretion was not mandatory.

“The interest of justice should be a restraint on the power of court to exercise discretion in granting consolidation.

“The issue canvassed in each of the petitions vary,” Olujimi said.

For the 5th respondent, Mr Rowland Otaru adopted the submissions of counsel for  the 2nd to 4th respondents.(NAN)

JUDICIARY

EFCC Re-arraigns Bizman for Alleged N84m Car Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned a businessman, Edrian Ididia, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for alleged N84 million car fraud.
Reports says that Ididia was re-arraigned before Justice Ismail Ijelu of Ikeja Special Offences Court on an amended two counts of obtaining by false pretence and stealing.


The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The defendant was sometime in November 2021 arraigned before retired Justice Serifat Solebo but was granted bail.

When the case was called on Monday, the EFCC counsel, Mr Ebuka Okongwu, prayed the court for a trial date and also urged the court to remand the defendant.
The EFCC alleged that Ididia obtained the sum of N84 million with intent to defraud one Mark Umeh on the false representation that he had three Sports Utility Vehicles for sale in September 2019, knowing full well that his claim was false.

The commission also submitted that the defendant allegedly stole the money and converted it to his personal use.
The defence counsel, Mr Dada Awosika (SAN), informed the court that he filed an application for bail dated May 2 and he prayed the court to allow his client to continue on the bail earlier granted by the retired judge.
Awosika submitted that the defendant did not at any time violated the bail granted.
He added that the defendant had always been in court.
He prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail as he had been granted bail by a Federal High Court in a similar matter.
“The defendant is ready to stand trial and he will not jump bail if granted by the court,” he said.
EFCC, however, filed a counter affidavit to oppose the bail application.
Okongwu submitted that the defendant worked in a construction company in Canada and that he had a Canadian passport.
“He does not even live in the address he wrote in the statement. The address was traced on the Google and it was discovered that it was a short let apartment.
“He has no residential address for the commission to trace him,” he said.
Awosika, however, responded that the defendant resided in Benin and that his international passport was deposited at the Federal High Court due to the ongoing matter.
He undertook to bring the defendant at the next adjournment date.
“I urge your lordship to release him to me and I will get his family to prepare for his bail bond,” Awosika said.
According to the prosecution, the alleged offences contravene Sections 1(1) (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences 2006 and Section 285 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015.
Ijelu adjourned the case until May 22 for ruling on the bail application and commencement of trial. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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JUDICIARY

Unpaid Judgment Debt: Court Grants Issuance of Contempt Notice on CBN Governor

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A Federal High Court, Abuja has authorised the issuance of notices of contempt proceeding against the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, over alleged failure to obey an order of the court.

The notices (Forms 49), requiring Cardoso to show cause why order of committal should not be made against him, also joined the CBN’s Director, Legal Services Department, Salam-Alada Kofo.

The documents, endorsed by a registrar of the court, specifically addressed to Cardoso and Kofo.

The duo was alleged to have failed to comply with a Feb. 22 garnishee order absolute made in a ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Justice Ekwo had directed the apex to pay a judgment debt of N63.

7million and $10000 awarded against the Federal Government for the unlawful arrest and detention of a German, Martin Gegenheimer,
by men of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

In the notice, the two CBN’s senior officials were directed to attend court proceedings on a date to be communicated to them.

Part of the notice reads: “This court, having delivered its ruling, made the order nisi dated 14th February, 2023 order absolute against the garnishee (CBN) on 22nd day of February, 2024.

“Take notice that you are hereby required to attend the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja on the first mentioned day to show cause why order for your committal should not be made after due services upon you of the orders and the notice of the consequence of the disobedient to the order of this honourable court.”

In the notice of the consequence of the disobedient to the order (Form 48) earlier issued on the two CBN officials, they were reminded about what could happen to them should they persist in disregarding the order.

The earlier notice reads in part: “The garnishee (CBN) deliberately failed, refused and or neglected to obey the order of this honourable court made against her more than 44 days after the order.

“This is far more than the timeline allowed by the Garnishee Charter for service to the public wherein all issues of law touching and concerning the Garnishee ought to be resolved and or responded to within 10 days. The judgment creditor is yet to enjoy this provision.

“Unless you; Mr Olayemi Cardoso and Mr Salam-Alada Sirajuddin Kofo, the Governor and the Director Legal Services, CBN (the alta egos of the garnishee), obey, the order absolute made against the garnishee, (the CBN) on the 22nd day of February, 2024, both of you will be in contempt of the Federal High Court order made against the garnishee, which you both control and direct its activities and you both will be liable to be committed to prison at the correctional centre of Nigeria.”

The order absolute was made in a garnishee proceeding, marked: FHC/ABJ/NJR/M3/2022 initiated by Gegenheimer, through his lawyer, Daniel Makolo, to enforce the judgment of the ECOWAS Community Court delivered on March 4, 2021in which the N63.7million and $10000 were awarded in his favour.

In the Feb. 22 ruling, Justice Ekwo ordered the CBN to deduct the judgment sum from Federal Government’s funds in its custody to settle the judgment debt.

Justice Ekwo rejected CBN’s claim that the Federal Government’s foreign exchange accounts was currently in deficit and thereby making it impossible to pay the entire judgment sum.

The judge agreed with Makolo that, as against the contention by the CBN, ECOWAS Court’s judgments do not qualify as foreign judgement in the strict sense of it and could be enforced by Nigerian courts.

He said: “Upon a keen perusal of the provisions of the Foreign Judgments Reciprocal Enforcement (FJRE) Act 2004, it cannot be said that the judgement sought to be enforced in this case, is stricto sensu (in the strict sense) a foreign judgement.

“I agree with the learned counsel for the judgement creditor (Makolo) that, by Article 15 of the Reviewed Treaty of ECOWAS, and Article 24 of the 2005 Supplementary Protocol (which amended the 1991 Protocol), the judgement of ECOWAS Court can be registered and enforced in Nigeria by this court without referring to it as a foreign judgement, in the same manner that the judgement of any other court in Nigeria can be registered and enforced in this court,” the judge said.

Justice Ekwo proceeded to make absolute, the garnishee order nisi he earlier issued against the CBN.

The German said he visited Nigeria on a business trip, but while returning to Kenya on 23rd February 2020, he was stopped by men of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) at the boarding gate of the Kenya Airways aircraft after all necessary departure formalities were completed.

Gegenheimer said the NIS officials arrested him, seized his passport and detained him in a jam-packed detention cell between February 23, 2020 and March 4, 2020 despite the Covid protocol and without acceptable food as well as medical care.

He subsequently challenged his arrest and detention before the ECOWAS Court, in a suit marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/23/2020.

In the March 4, 2021 judgment, a three-member panel of the sub-regional court, presided over by the court’s President, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, declared Gegenheimer’s arrest and detention illegal.

They ordered the Nigerian government to pay him N53,650,925 as special damages for various losses suffered and costs incurred while under unlawful arrest and detention by the NIS.

The costs, the court said, relate mainly to hotel expenses incurred by the German while under forced detention by agents of the Nigerian government.

The court further ordered the Nigerian government to pay him another N10 million in general damages as reparation for all violations and moral prejudice suffered for the violation of his rights, and additional $10,000 being the expenditure incurred by the applicant to secure his bail.

The ECOWAS Court equally ordered the Nigerian government to remove the German from its watch list and to immediately and unconditionally release his German passport, which was “arbitrarily and unlawfully,” seized by agents of the Nigerian government.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Remands Tenant for Allegedly Setting Landlord’s House on Fire

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An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court in  Ibadan, on Thursday ordered that a 35-year-old man , Dickson Peter  be remanded in a correction facility for allegedly setting his landlord’s house on fire.

Reports says that the police charged the defendant with two counts of felony and arson.

The Magistrate, Mr M. Mudashiru, who did not take his plea due to want in jurisdiction, ordered that he should be remand in Abolongo Correctional facility, Oyo Town.

Mudashiru said the remand is pending legal advice from the  Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

He adjourned the matter until July 23, for mention.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Insp Femi Oluwadare told the court that Peter on April 18, at about 12:30a.

m, was alleged to have unlawfully set fire to the House of his Landlord , Cepas Okeme and destroyed properties worth N6.5 million .

Oluwadare said,  after he set the building on fire, it also spread to the next house property belonging to Bose Ali ‘ F’ and also destroyed property worth N3.5million .

He said the offence contravened the provisions of section 443 of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State 2000.(NAN)

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