A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday extended the interim order restraining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from removing Sen. Samuel Anyanwu as national secretary pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who directed parties to maintain status quo in the suit, adjourned the matter until Dec.
The development occured when counsel for the plaintiff, Moses Onyilokwu, informed the court that though the matter was slated for hearing, lawyer to the 1st to 4th defendants, Mohammed Atolagbe, had just served on them a counter affidavit in response to the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by them.
Onyilokwu said he would need a short time to respond to the application.
Atolagbe, who admitted serving Onyilokwu with their counter earlier today, said he was also within time to file their substantive response.
Justice Ekwo, who frowned at filing processes late, said if Atolagbe had filed his application in time, the substantive matter would have been taken.
“Now, the matter is not likely to go on today, something I would have penalised you for.
“Now, once party has submitted themselves to court , no action should be taken so that it will not affect the case at hand.
“Therefore, parties are to maintain status quo,” he said.
The judge, who adjourned the matter until Dec.b19, directed hearing notice to be issued to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that was not represented in court.
Reports says that the court had, on Nov. 23, stopped the PDP from removing Anyanwu as national secretary following an ex-parte motion moved by Joshua Musa, SAN, and fixed today for hearing of the motion on notice.
NAN reports that two members of the party, Geoffrey Ihentuge and Apollo’s Godspower, had sued the PDP, Umar Aliyu Damagun (acting National Chairman), and the National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants.
Others are the National Working Committee (NWC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th to 5th defendants, respectively.
The motion was brought pursuant to Order 26, Rules 2 and 6, and Order 28, Rules 1 and 2 of the FHC (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The plaintiffs, who sought five reliefs, prayed for an order of interim injunction, restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants from carrying out the threat to remove the national secretary (Anyanwu).
This, he said, is a violation of the provisions of Article 47 (1) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017) pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They argued that Anyanwu was duly elected on December 10, 2021, and was entitled to remain in office till December 9, 2025.
They said that an elected national officer of the 1st defendant cannot be arbitrarily removed from office in any manner without his resignation and in breach of the party’s constitution.
They argued that there must be a vote of no confidence as required by Article 47(3) of the party’s constitution proposed or moved at a national convention before a national officer like Anyanwu could be removed from office, among other arguments.
Justice Ekwo granted the prayers after the motion was moved.
NAN reports that Anyanwu was the PDP candidate in the Nov. 11 Imo governorship election, where Sen. Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was re-elected.(NAN)
UPDATED-Court to Rule on Nnamdi Kanu’s Bail Plea, Preliminary Objection March 19
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed March 19 for ruling on the bail application filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Justice Binta Nyako will, also on the same date, rule on a notice of preliminary objection filed by Kanu praying the court not to allow his trial until certain conditions were met by the Federal Government.
Justice Nyako fixed the date after the new counsel for the Federal Government, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, and Kanu’s lawyer, Alloy Ejimakor, adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the motions.
Reports says that the IPOB leader was initially standing trial on a 15-count charge bordering on terrorism offences before eight of the counts were quashed by the trial judge leaving seven counts, and the Supreme Court, on Dec.15, 2023, affirmed the lower court decision.
When the matter was called on Monday, Awomolo told Justice Nyako that the case was coming up for hearing after the decision of the Supreme Court on Dec. 15, 2023.
Awomolo said the apex court affirmed Nyako’s decision of April 8, 2022, by preserving counts one, two, three, four, five, eight and 15 of the charge which Kanu pleaded not guilty of.
The senior lawyer said that the Supreme Court ordered the continuation of trial of Kanu on the remaining seven counts.
“So we are ready to proceed with the hearing of this matter and it is in the defendant’s interest and everybody’s interest in this country to see to the end of the trial” he said.
But Counsel to Kanu, Ejimakor, told the court that he had two motions; an application for bail and a preliminary objection.
He said though he agreed that the Supreme Court directed the continuation of Kanu’s trial, they were not ready to continue the proceedings.
He urged the court to take his client’s bail application and preliminary objection for court to decide whichever way, and the prosecution did not object.
While given grounds why the bail plea should be granted, Ejimakor said Kanu currently suffered from life-threatening and serious health conditions.
According to the lawyer, Kanu has heart disease, hypertension and dangerous potassium levels that pose daily risks to his life while in detention.
He argued that the DSS had no standard medical facility that could treat the defendant but was only subjected to cell-grade medical treatment, which did not abate his conduction but instead worsened it.
He urged the court to grant the bail request on most liberal terms to enable the IPOB leader seek better medical care he urgently requires.
He said though Section 161 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, raised three conditions for bail to be satisfied, Kanu had met those terms, including ill-health, delayed proceedings and not being given adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defence.
Ejimakor alleged that the prosecution, since Kanu’s arrest and arraignment, had delayed the proceedings for several months through amendment of charges and adjournments
He also argued that he might not be able to put up a good defence unless Kanu was admitted to bail to have unfettered access to his lawyers.
Contrary to the prosecution’s counter affidavit that Kanu jumped bail, the lawyer argued that Kanu only fled for his dear life when his residence was attacked by security agents and that as far back as October 2018, he deposed to an affidavit to explain the circumstances.
But Awomolo disagreed with Ejimakor, insisting that the defendant violated the bail conditions, jumped bail and fled the country,.
He said there was no evidence before the court that if granted another bail, he would not jumped bail, urging the court to dismiss the application.
The senior lawyer said Kanu’s failure to prove that there was no standard medical facility in Department of State Service (DSS)’ detention contradicted Section 161(2a) of ACJA.
“So he has not been able to satisfied Section 161(2a),”:he said.
He argued that the IPOB leader had not tendered anything tangible or extraordinary to show he was entitled to bail.
On the delayed proceedings, Awomolo said the court itself observed that both parties were responsible.
The lawyer, who argued that the Supreme Court had settled issues about Kanu’s rendition, said other judgments in favour of the IPOB leader were only persuasive, and not binding on Justice Nyako.
On the preliminary objection, Ejimakor said the application prayed for an order that before any proceeding could commence in the trial, the Federal Government must cease and desist from certain conducts.
He said these include seizure of documents of his lawyers, stopping his lawyers from taking notes during visitation, and eavesdropping on Kanu’s consultation with lawyers on matters pertaining to his defence,
He also sought an alternative order that before commencement of trial, a non-custodial arrangement be made so as to afford Kanu adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defence.
But Awomolo, who opposed the application, described it as an abuse of court process.
He argued that a party cannot dictate to court how to conduct its proceedings.
He said it was an insult to the court for a party to dictate that unless the detaining authority acts in certain ways, trial should not commence.
The lawyer, who said that the prosecution had never breached the fundamental rights of the IPOB leader, urged the court to dismiss the application.
Justice Nyako adjourned the matter until March 19 for ruling and trial commencement for March 20.(NAN)
Court Further Adjourns Fayose’s Money Laundering Trial
Money laundering trial of a former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, could not proceed on Wednesday before a federal high court in Lagos, as the court did not sit.
The Judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, is said to be away on an official assignment.
The case has been adjourned until March 8 for continuation of trial,
Fayose is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N6.
He was first arraigned on Oct. 22. 2018, before Justice Mojisola Olatotegun.
He was arraigned alongside his company, Spotless Investment Ltd.
Fayose, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was granted bail on Oct. 24, 2018, in the sum of N50 million with sureties in like sum.
The defendants were, however, re-arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was withdrawn from Olatoregun following a petition by EFCC.
Fayose equally pleaded not guilty before Aneke, who allowed him to continue on the bail granted him by Olatoregun.
EFCC has since opened its case before Aneke and is leading witnesses in evidence.
According to the commission, on June 17, 2014, Fayose and one Abiodun Agbele took possession of N1.2 billion for the purpose of funding his gubernatorial election campaign in Ekiti.
The commission alleged that the sum formed part of crime proceeds.
Fayose is also alleged to have received a cash payment of five million dollars from the then Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through any financial institution.
EFCC also alleged that the former governor retained N300 million in his bank account and took control of the aggregate sums of about N622 million which formed part of crime proceeds.
It added that Fayose procured De Privateer Ltd. and Still Earth Ltd. to retain aggregate sums of N851 million which formed part of crime proceeds.
The commission also accused Fayose of using about N1.6 billion crime proceeds to acquire property in Lagos and Abuja.
The former governor also allegedly used N200 million crime proceeds to acquire a property in Abuja in the name of his elder sister, Moji Oladeji.
The alleged offences contravene Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d) and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011. (NAN)
Man in Court over Customer’s Tyres
The Police on Wednesday arraigned a 30-year-old man, Badamasi Saidu, in a Magistrate’s Court, New Karu, Nasarawa State, over alleged theft of two tyres belonging to his customer.
The defendant, who is into car wheel balancing and resides at Calvary Road, Mararaba was charged with criminal breach of trust, cheating and theft, offences he denied committing.
The prosecutor, Mr Shehu Ndam, told the court that the defendant was arrested on Feb.14, following a report by the complainant, Sylvia Ugochi.
“The complainant alleged that she entrusted some tyres to the defendant to sell, but that he stole two tyres, valued at N116,000.
“The complainant also alleged that goods worth N3 million had been stolen from her shop,” Ndam told the court.
He said the offence contravened sections 312, 322 and 288 of the Penal Code.
The Judge, Godiya Bawa, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 and one surety in like sum, and adjourned the case until March 8 for hearing. (NAN
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