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Court Nullifies Sections of CAMA 2020 for Infringing on Citizens’ Fundamental Rights




A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja has nullified some sections of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020 which were considered to infringe on the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian citizens.

Justice James Omotosho, who struck out the sections in a judgment, held that the plaintiff, Mr Emmanuel Ekpenyong, had a locus standi to institute the suit on the subject matter.

Report says that Ekpenyong, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, had in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1076/2020, sued the National Assembly, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Attorney-General for the Federation (AGF) as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

In the originating summons dated and filed on Aug.

31, 2020, the lawyer prayed the court to determine whether he had the locus standi to institute the proceeding.

“Whether the provisions of Sections 839, 842, 843, 844, 845, 846, 847, 848 and 851 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act infringes on the plaintiff’s right to thought  conscience, and religion as enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

Ekpenyong urged the court to further determine whether those sections infringed on his freedom of peaceful assembly and association as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution.

He also prayed the court to determine whether the provisions on the Administrative Proceeding Committee in Section 851 of CAMA, 2020 was inconsistent with the provisions of Section (6)(6)(b) and Sections 36(1) and 251(1) (e) of the 1999 Constitution.

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He asked the court to determine whether the court had powers to grant mandatory injunctive reliefs against the defendants.

The lawyer, therefore, prayed the court to void the affected sections, having infringed on his fundamental human rights.

In a counter affidavit dated  and filed Jan  20, 2021 by counsel to the CAC, Olasoji Olowolafe, the commission decsribed the suit as “an abuse of judicial process.”

According to the commission, the action is academic  hypothetical and of no utilitarian value to the plaintiff.

CAC, which argued that the case was not backed by any credible evidence, prayed the court to dismiss it.

The National Assembly, in its preliminary objection, also contended that the suit was incompetent because pre-action notice was not served on them and that the plaintiff had no locus standi.

Besides, the AGF argued that the suit did not have a reasonable cause of action, while insisting that the plaintiff lacked locus to file the matter.

Ekpenyong, however, filed a reply on points of law, among others, to counter their arguments.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Omotosho held that under Article 3 (e) of the Preamble to the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, anyone could bring fundamental human rights matters on his own interest, on behalf of another person or even in public interest.

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The judgment, which was delivered on Tuesday, was sighted on Friday by the press.

According to the judge, under the new human rights regime, a court shall not dismiss a human right action for mere want of locus standi.

He, therefore, held that the plaintiff in the case had locus to institute the suit.

Justice Omotosho held that the powers granted to CAC to regulate and administer Incorporated Trustees in Nigeria under Sections 839, 842, 843, 844, Section 845, Section 846, Section 847, Section 848 of the CAMA 2020 had infringed on Ekpenyong’s right to freedom of thoughts.

He also held that the sections infringed on the conscience and religion as enshrined under Section 38 of the constitution and freedom of peaceful assembly and association enshrined under Section 40 of the constitution and are therefore null and void.

He also held that the provisions of the Administrative Proceedings Committee in Section 851 of the new CAMA denied the plaintiff his constitutional rights of access to court in Sections 6 (6) (b) and Section 36 (1) of the constitution and also usurped the powers of the Federal High Court under Section 251 (1) (e) of the constitution.

The judge, consequently, struck down Sections 839, 842, 843, 844, 845, 846, 847, 848 and Section 851 of the CAMA 2020, declaring same to be null and void, having been inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution.

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The judge, however, agreed that since Ekpenyong did not serve the National Assembly with pre-action notice in line with Section 21 of the Legislative Houses Power and Privileges Act, the suit was incompetent against the legislative organ.

NAN had, on March 21, reported that Justice Inyang Ekwo of a sister court had retrained the CAC from suspending or appointing trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the churches.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in that judgment in a suit filed by the Registered Trustees of CAN, held that the provisions of Sections 17 (1), 839 (1) and (7) (a), 842 (1) and (2), 851 and 854 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020 and Regulations 28, 29 and 30 of the Companies Regulations (CR), 2021 were not applicable to CAN, the churches and other religious body.(NAN)


PDP Reserves Right to Suspend, Expel You, Court Tells Wike




A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday told the immediate past governor of Rivers state, Barr. Nyesom Wike, that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the right to suspend or expel him if the action is done in accordance with the law.

Justice James Omotosho stated this in a judgement he delivered on a suit filed by Wike prior to the 2023 general elections to seek a court order to stop the PDP from taking action against him without a fair hearing.

The former governor had sued the PDP, its National Working Committee (NWC), and its National Executive Committee (NEC) as 1st to 3rd respondents.

Wike, in the suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023) dated and filed Feb. 2 by his lawyer, Joshua Musa, SAN, also joined the National Chairman of PDP, Dr.

Iyorchia Ayu, National Secretary of PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 4th to 6th respondents, respectively.

He had prayed for an order directing all parties to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in the matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him by the 1st to 5th respondents pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.

Wike asked the court to enforce his fundamental right to freedom of association, which he alleged was about to be breached by the defendants.

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However, the PDP through its lawyer, Johnson Usman, SAN, disagreed with Wike’s submission.

Usman argued that the case was only based on speculation, as Wike had failed to provide any evidence to substantiate that the respondents intended to suspend or expel him from the party.

He said the party had not contemplated suspending or expelling members of the G5 Governors or the Integrity Group, despite engaging in anti-party activities.

Usman said Wike and four other governors engaged in anti-party activities by forming the Integrity Group and campaigning for another presidential candidate in the Feb. 25 election.

The senior lawyer argued that a member who voluntarily joined an association must abide by its rules.

Usman, who argued that the ex-governor must have exhausted the internal mechanisms of the party first, said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, which, he said, was only within the realm of conjuncture.

He further argued that it was not enough for Wike to institute the suit on fundamental rights enforcement grounds.

Justice Omotosho had, on Feb. 2, given an interim order against the party and others listed in the face of Wike’s ex-parte motion.

The judge, who extended the restraining order on Feb. 14, held that all parties should maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

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Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Justice Omotosho said the court had considered the processes filed by parties and the arguments of counsel.

He held that suspending or expelling the applicant without affording him the right to defend himself would breach his fundamental rights as enshrined in the party’s and Nigeria’s constitutions.

Omotosho said that though the party had the right to suspend or expel its members, this must be done in compliance with its own laws.

The judge said that though Section 46(1) of the law vested jurisdiction on the court if one’s rights had been breached, he said the court would not dabble into the internal affairs of any political party, except where the rights of a member had been violated by the party without recourse to its own laws.

According to him, fundamental human rights are rights enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria and are sacrosanct.

“Where this right ought to be enforced, the court will do everything within its reach to ensure this. However, as fundamental and sacrosanct these rights are, they are not absolute,” he said.

Justice Omotosho, therefore, agreed that any member of a political party who appeared before a disciplinary committee should be given the opportunity to defend himself.

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“If not, any decision taken shall be null and void,” he said.

“This court is convinced that the applicant is entitled to a fair hearing and that the respondent also has the right to discipline its members in accordance with the law,” he added.

The judge further said that Wike had the right to associate and that the threat to dismiss him without inviting him to defend himself contravened Article 57 (1) (2) of the party.

He said that the party’s national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, and his agents were bound to promote constitutional democracy.

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ICPC Docks  Fire Official Over Job Racketeering 




By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

A Deputy Superintendent of the Federal Fire Service, Augustine Abah has been arraigned in court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), over allegations bordering on fraud and employment racketeering.

This was contained in a statement signed by ICPC Spokesperson, Mrs.

Azuka Ogugua in Abuja on Wednesday.

ICPC in a Charge No: CR/283/2023, brought before Honourable Justice F.A. Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 57, sitting in Apo, Abuja, accused the defendant of defrauding an unsuspecting job seeker to the tune of Six Hundred Thousand Naira (N600,000).

In a 2-count charge, the Commission through its counsel, Mr. Mashkur Salisu, told the Court that the accused person fraudulently induced his victim into parting with the said sum of money in the guise of securing employment for the victim in the Federal Fire Service.

His action is contrary to Section 8(i)(a) and punishable under Section 8(i)(b)(ii) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and contrary to Section 320(b) and punishable under Section 322 of the Penal Code Act.

When the accused person was admitted to take his plea, he entered a “not guilty” plea.

The defense counsel, Mr. G.E. Ejekela, via a “Motion on Notice” thereafter moved a bail application on behalf of his client.

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In the application which was supported by a 6-paragraph affidavit, the defense lawyer sought the relief of the Court to grant his client bail in the most liberal of conditions, stating that the accused person was willing to attend his trial.

Although the bail application was not opposed by ICPC counsel, he, however, urged the Court to impose conditions that will compel the defendant to attend his trial.

The trial judge after listening to both parties, admitted the accused person to bail in the sum of One Million Naira (N1,000,000) and a surety in like sum, who must be a civil servant on grade level 12 and above.

Hon. Justice Aliyu also ordered that the surety should submit his Appointment and Promotion Letters to the Court for sighting.

The matter was adjourned to the 13th of July 2023 for hearing.

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Nasarawa, Benue Tribunal Chairman Warns Counsel on ”Frivolous Excuses”




The Chairman of the Nasarawa and Benue Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, has urged counsel handling election cases to avoid frivolous excuses for adjournment.

Justive Ajayi gave the warning during the combined inaugural sitting of the three-member panel of justices.

He called for the cooperation of all the legal counsel for smooth and timely dispensation of justice.

‘We are here for justice, equity and quick dispensation of justice.

We will not entertain frivolous adjournments.

”This tribunal is determined to work within the 14 days mandate,” he warned.

Mr Joe Gadzama, SAN who responded on behalf of all the counsel promised to cooperate with the panel of justices to enable them to do their work seamlessly in the interest of democracy and the rule of law.

When the first petition by the Nasarawa state governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2023 governorship election, David Ombugadu against the governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Sule was mentioned for pre-hearing, the lead counsel to the petitioner, Gadzama adopted the petition.

While addressing the tribunal, counsel to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respondents, Ishaka Dikko, Adebayo Ade and Hassan Liman, SANs adopted their answers to the pre-hearing respectively.

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Justice Ajayi fixed June 9 for the continuation of pre-hearing.

The tribunal also entertained the petition by the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP challenging the declaration of Sule as the governor of Nasarawa state by INEC.

In the case between Gov. Hyacinth Alia of the APC and the PDP governorship candidate Titus Uba, the tribunal adjourned sitting until  June 8  for continuation of pre-hearing.

Speaking with newsmen after the pre-hearing,  Gazama said the adjournment was for the interest of the parties involved.

Gazama said all cases filed in respect of the governorship petitions are at the tribunal for pre-hearing conference.

On his part, counsel to INEC, Diko said all the counsel to the parties had agreed that instead of having staggered applications, all the petitions should be taken and treated within  three days. (NAN)

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