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Court Adjourns Case against Plateau Govt, Jaiz Bank

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A Plateau state High Court on Monday adjourned the continuation of hearing in a suit filed by member representing Jos East /Jos Federal Constituency, Dachung Bagos, challenging Gov. Simon Lalong over the planned signing of an agreement with Jaiz Bank to rebuild the Jos Main Market.
Presiding Judge, Justice S. P Gang in his ruling adjourned the matter to Aug. 30 for continuation of hearing.


Earlier, counsel to claimant/applicant, Niri Darong, told the court that the defendants in his reaction to their originating summons had chosen to file pleminary objections and prayed the court to allow notice of originating summons to allow the two applications to be taken together.

Darong told the court that they gave the objectors time to file their responses which he said was within 21 days of notice.
He stated that the Nigerian constitution had given every citizen the right to challenge any act of government, adding that the lawmaker has rights to defend the right of his people and that of his constituents.

Attorney General of the state Chrysantus Ahmadu did not object to the prayer of the claimant’s counsel and utged that the originating summons and existing summons be taken together.
Newsmen recall that Bagos had secured a court injunction at the Plateau State High Court, restraining the state government from signing an agreement with Jaiz Bank on the reconstruction of the Jos Main Market.
The injunction, which was granted on Aug. 2, by Justice S. P Gang, restrains Gov. Simon Lalong, the state government and Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Plateau State from signing an agreement with Jaiz Bank pending hearing of the substantive suit.
The Jos Main market was gutted by fire in 2001 with more than 3,700 shops destroyed, affecting the source of livelihood of traders in the market over 20 years ago.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

#EndSARS Panel: Payment of Compensation just one Step to Justice says Ojukwu

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The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr Tony Ojukwu, SAN, on Tuesday said that the payment of compensation to the victims of Police violations is one step to the road of justice.

Ojukwu said this in Abuja at the presentation of the report of the independent investigative panel on human rights violations against SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police.

The panel investigated violations of human rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

Newsmen report also that the panel was set up by the Federal Government in November 2020 following the “ENDSARS Protest” which was triggered by nationwide allegations of Police brutality.

The 11-member panel was headed by retired justice, Suleiman Galadima.

Ojukwu said that the Justice Galadima led panel sat over 200 petitions in two years.

” Out of these, the NHRC awarded compensation to 100 victims to ensure that justice is served to the petitioners.

” Today, we are finally closing a chapter in the work of the panel but opening a new one for the commission and all governmental institutions that will be charged with the implementation of the report.

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” These include the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Miniter of Justice, the Police Service Commission and the Nigerian Police,” he said.

According to Ojukwu, there is still the need to hold indicted officers of the Nigerian police accountable for these violations.

He added that, In that regard, the commission welcomed the decisions and indictments issued by the panel.

Ojukwu said the commission also welcomed the recommendations made by the panel on Police Reforms to ensure effective and human right centered policing.

” I want to ensure Nigerians and victims and their families that the commission will do everything possible to ensure that the decisions are implemented.

” The commission is also pleased that the panel has made far reaching recommendations on other spheres of justice delivery and human rights enforcement including the payment of judgment awards.

” Also, police relationship with legal representatives of victims and institutional reforms in medical institutions for compliance with the release of the compulsory treatment of gunshots wounds and release of corpses amongst other reforms” he said.

Speaking earlier, Justice Galadima, thanked everyone who in one way or the other helped in making the panel’s work a success.

” We are here to submit the final report of the panel after almost two years.

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” We pray that the government will implement the recommendations.

” The commission should harmonise these various reports of all the panel and urgently submit same to the Federal Government for quick action.

” We can not forget to appreciate our police and civil defence team who ensured the safety and security of the panel through out the seasons” he said.

Giving the report on the fact sheet, the secretary to the panel, Mr Hiliary Ogbonna said according to geo-political zones, the North Central reported 60 per cent of the petitions received.

He added that the South South followed by 15.5 per cent, South East 11, South West 9, North West, 2.9.

” The panel fully decided on 95 petitions, 54 were withdrawn, 33 struck out, 57 referred to NHRC 56 were judgment debt petitions, totalling 295 petitions received.

” Police personnel recommended for prosecution are 28, for dismissal, 25 , for disciplinary actions, 15 and 4 for reduction in rank, totalling 72 indictments on police personnel.

” For the compensations paid, extra judicial killings, 39 petitioners amount paid N219.8 million, enforced disappearance, 7 received N52.5 million, unlawful arrest and detention, 9million and  N27 million.

“For torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, 30 received N82.4 million, threat to life, 6 N22.5 million, confiscation and seizure of property, 6 received N27.5 million, abuse of office, 3 petitioners received N7 million.

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” The total amount is N438.8 million, he said. (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Rights Activist Decries Nigerian Migrants’ Detention in Italy without Trial

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A lawyer and  human  rights campaigner, Mr Lucky Aghedo, has expressed worry at the detention  without trial, of some  Nigerian migrants in Italy.

Aghedo expressed the concern in a statement in Lagos on Saturday.

He said that some Nigerian and other African migrants had been in custody in Italy over the years without trial while others had been serving long sentences.

“According to an Italian local newspaper, Gazzetta di Reggio, report  on the April 27, 2022,  no fewer than 36 Nigerians of Niger Delta origin, were arrested on grounds of different allegations ranging from credit card fraud to cultism, termed mafia in Italy.

“Since this widely publicised mass and coordinated arrest, as others had previously been detained, the suspects have not been tried.

“Most unfortunately, these inmates lack a basic understanding of the language and resources for legal aid.

“Mafia cases are similar to terrorism charges, which carry lengthier sentences,” the lawyer said.

He said that  while some elements of criminal involvement could not be denied for some of the detainees, others were likely innocent.

“These innocent parties have regular and permanent  jobs, and they may have been roped in due to certain association; hence, these cases should be judged on individual merits rather than place all suspects and detainees under one straight jacket,” he argued.

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The rights activist added that detaining those who might be complicit, for  a prolonged period without trial, breached fundamental human rights.

He urged that in line with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5, Section 1 C and 3, the suspects should be tried speedily or released if there was nothing incriminating to warrant their detention.

“Prevention of crime is justification for arrest and restraint of liberties. However,  there ought to be a structure for suspects to be tried conclusively within a reasonable time.”

According to Aghedo, some  Nigerian migrants had also since  been alleged to be carrying   out cultism in Italy, flashing machetes and other dangerous weapons of intimidation.

The rights activist said that Italian Government ‘rained down on them with a heavy hand’.

Aghedo alleged  that the system  allowed some migrants residence permit, mostly through asylum process,  but failed to create a systematic integration process, as obtainable in some other countries.

“Hence, many migrants resort to hawking, begging and other anti-social behaviours to the chagrin of host communities.

“One must take cognisance of the trauma and scars borne by many of the survivors of the dangerous crossings and trafficking.”

The lawyer said that the survivors ought to have received counselling or therapy to heal their damaged psychology.

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“It is an issue that has exacerbated most of the anti-social behaviours.

“Furthermore, Africans love merriment. These young stars are excited to make it to Europe alive, seeing it as second chance in life.

“Then, they gluttonously enjoy every vice offering such as parties and drugs. They will do all this in excess, fuelled by their youthful exuberance.

“Also, being all predominantly from the same region, along with sharing the same culture and experiences, it could be argued that they congregate in a place where they enjoy things in common: be it food, music and many other.

“Hence, it will be a miscarriage of justice to assume that whenever these individuals congregate in a place, it must be for cultism,” he said.

The lawyer said that there should  be efforts to separate the culprits from the innocent.

He added that the terrible experiences of the migrants, some whom crossed the Mediterranean on the same boat or were rescued from the same boat,  engendered camaraderie in them.

‘’It is a bond that will be totally wrong to be labelled a cult.”

According to him, Italy had been very hospitable to migrants over the years, but overwhelming influx of migrants eroded the kindness.

“However,  these kinds of arrests, long detention and constant control and profiling, have caused tremor and fear among many.

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“Since the trial is slow, it seems that detainees are tempted to take plea bargain.

“The risk is that some, out of frustration, may accept it, still risking long sentences, as they are vulnerable and negotiating from a point of weaknesses.

“Most unfortunately, the majority of these suspects are the bread winners for their families both in Italy and back home in Africa,” he said.

Aghedo called on human rights organisations to work with Italian Government to find a solution to the problem, to ensure justice and equity.

“More importantly is to ensure that others eschew anti-social behaviours which hopefully, will encourage peace and harmony between the host country, the suspects and the entire migrant community.” (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Supreme Court Strikes out Suit seeking PDP to Zone Presidency to South East

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, struck out a suit seeking to compel the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its nomination of presidential candidate to the South East Geo-political Zone of the country.

The court, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, struck out the suit on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Cosmos Ndukwe, a presidential aspirant of PDP and former Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, filed the suit against his party.

He had prayed for an order to compel the PDP to uphold its zoning and rotatory policy.

Ndukwe, specifically, sought for order of the court to compel the PDP to zone the nomination of its presidential candidate to the South East Geo-political Zone.

However, Justice Jauro held that the suit was not justiciable on the ground that the nomination of candidates for election is an internal affairs of political parties.

(NAN)

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