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JUDICIARY

Court Remands 30-year-old Mason for Alleged Trafficking in Person

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A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday, remanded a 30-year old mason,  Ushana Danbeki for allegedly trafficking his 15-year old sister to Burkina Faso for prostitution.

Danbeki, who resides at Ugba town in Logo Local Government Area of Benue, is facing a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and trafficking in person.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Kelvin Mbanongun, who did not take the plea of the accused because of  lack of  jurisdiction, ordered his remand at the correctional centre in Makurdi.

He also adjourned the case until April 18 for mention.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Insp Jonah Uletu told the court that the case was received at the State CID, Makurdi on Feb.

7 from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Logo via a letter dated Feb 6.

Uletu said the letter stated that on Jan 31, the defendant conspired with his girlfriend, Joy Wuayouna of Zaki-Biam, Ukum Local Government Area of the state and deceived the victim to go to Lagos with her.

According to the letter, the accused girlfriend told the victim that she had a boutique in Lagos and needed her assistance in selling the clothes there.

He said that the victim followed the accused girlfriend to Lagos under the pretext of selling clothes for her in her boutique but was deceitfully shipped to Burkina Faso for prostitution.

The prosecutor said that the defendant was arrested during a police investigation, and he confessed to the crime while his girlfriend was still at large.

Uletu said the offences contravened sections 97 and 282 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue, 2004. (NAN)

JUDICIARY

Lagos Prison Controller Summoned for Alleged Refusal to Remand Man

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An Ikeja High Court on Monday has summoned the Lagos State Controller of Nigeria Correctional Services (NCoS) Alagbon in Ikoyi to throw light whether or not the Chairman of Confidence Cargo Freight Forwarder, Dada Aigbe, who was committed to a one month prison for contempt, was in custody or not.


Justice Akintunde Savage also ordered that the Deputy Sheriff of Lagos High Court, one Mr Michael Alogaga, be summoned to court to tell the court how he served court process on Aigbe.

Counsel for the claimant, the judgment creditor in the suit marked no ID/3831LMW/2016, Mr Maruf Jimoh-Akogun said the case was instituted by Oba Shakirudeen Adeshina Kuti for themselves and on behalf of the Ajamogun/Onikotun family of Ewu kingdom.

The claimant filed the suit against the Osolo of Osolo, Oba Agbabiaka  Kabir Orisedeko Elemo and the Baale Mafoluku, Ajao Estate, Chief Hussam Raheem Shekoni Elemo, as the first and second defendants respectively.
Savage adjourned the case until April 25 for the controller and the Sheriff to be in court and give  evidence of the whereabouts of the embattled freight forwarder.
Jimoh-Akogun, in his hearing notice dated April 22, had applied before the court to summon the controller general and the court sheriff to produce Aigbe (contemptnor) or give evidence in court whether or not he was truly in prison.
The judge had on March 11, ordered that Aigbe be committed to prison for a period of a one month until he purged himself of the contempt.
The court order was sequel to Form 48 and 49 contempt proceeding filed against Aigbe, the application which was filed and moved by Jimoh-Akogun.
The judge, in his enrolment order dated Mach 11, had said, “Mr Dada Aigbe is hereby committed to Kirikiri Maximum Prison for a period of one month or until he purges himself of the contempt of this court and files an affidavit to henceforth not disobey this court or any court order.”
In order to effect the court order, the deputy Sheriff of high court took a “Request for Police Assistance” form dated March 18 to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command and the form was received the same date.
Jimoh-Akogun, however, argued that barely a month after the court had ordered that Aigbe be remanded, he had not been taken to any correctional centre in the state.
Jimoh-Akogun argued that following the arrest of Aigbe, the convict had not been taken into Kirikiri custody.
He prayed the court to invoke Section 116 of the Evidence Act.
According to him, Aigbe had yet to purge himself of the flagrant disobedience to court order.
“I urge My Lord to extend the ruling mandating Michael Alogada, a sheriff of this court and Lagos Controller of Correctional Centre to come to this court on Thursday to give evidence whether Dada Aigbe is in prison or not,” Jimoh-Akogun said.
Counsel for the respondent judgment debtor, led by  a former Lagos State Attorney-General, Mr Kazeem Adeniji (SAN), in a motion dated April 5, attached with  the affidavit of extreme urgency, had prayed to court to set aside an order of the court committing Aigbe to prison for a month. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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JUDICIARY

My Ill-tempered Wife Attacked me with a Knife, Military Officer Tells Court

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A retired military officer, Mr Thomas Olawaye, on Monday prayed a Mapo Grade ‘A’ Customary Court in Ibadan to grant his request for divorce to his wife of 52 years, Victoria on grounds that she was ill-tempered.

Olawaye,  the father of five,  told the court that in spite of several interventions by relatives to ”calm” his wife, she refused to change her bad ways.

”My lord, for you to know how terrible Victoria had been, I stopped performing my duties as a husbamd  22 years before she eventually left my home in 2021.

”She grabs my private parts whenever we have an argument .  Victoria doesn’t mind her business in the neighbourhood we lived in.

”She has no good words for me. She curses and has even destroyed our children’s lives with curses.

He accused his estranged of attempting to stabb hi with a knife in 2023.

The petitioner tendered the knife as an exhibit before the court.

The respondent was however, absent in court.

The bailiff had informed the court that he served hearing notices on the respondent many times.

Delivering judgment, the court’s President, Mrs S.M. Akintayo held that there was no marriage to be dissolved between Olawaye and Victoria in the first place.

Akintayo said that this was because the petitioner did not pay any bride price and did not perform  essential traditional rites required.

”The fact that a man and a woman are living together and even bearing children together does not mean that they are married, their togetherness is a mere cohabitation,” she said.

She added that the failure of the respondent to appear in court to controvert the evidence tendered against her necessitated the admission of the evidence.

She also granted the order restraining Victoria from threatening, harassing, disturbing and interfering in the private life of Olawaye. (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court to Deliver Ruling in Agunloye’s Objection Challenging EFCC Charge

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Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT)high court on Monday fixed May 15   for ruling on former former minister of power and steel, Olu Agunloye ‘s preliminary objection.

Agunloye is challenging the power of the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute him regarding certain infractions in the alleged 6billion dollars Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station in Taraba.

The EFCC charged Agunloye with seven counts of forgery, disobedience of presidential order and corruption.

He was alleged to have, among others, on May 22, 2003 awarded a contract titled “Construction of 3,960 megawatt Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station on build, operate and transfer basis to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited without any budgetary provision, approval and cash backing.

The prosecution also alleged that it traced some suspicious payments made by Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited to the former minister’s accounts.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

Justice Onwuegbuzie adjourned ruling  on the preliminary objection after the parties finished given their arguments.

” Ruling on the preliminary objection is adjourned until May 15.”

At the resumed hearing on the case, counsel for Agunloye, Adeola Adedipe, SAN told the court that EFCC lacked the power to prosecute his client.

He told the court that contrary to constitutional provision, the AGF did not give EFCC the fiat to investigate and institute proceeding in the case against him.

Adedipe cited section 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), told the court that instead of getting such fiat from the AGF, EFCC got it from the Solicitor-General of the Federation.

He urged court to take judicial notice, under Section 124 of the Evidence Act.

Adedipe informed the court that the current AGF, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, was sworn in on Aug. 21, 2023, while the prosecution filed the charge against Agunloye on Sept. 7, 2023.

“The AGF did not give a fiat for the investigation. It was the Solicitor-General of the Federaion that gave EFCC fiat when he does not have such power under Section 174 of the Constitution (as amende); it is the exclusive reserve of the AGF (to do so).

“This charge was filed on Sept, 7, 2023. It was filed when the AGF was on seat who did not even ratify, did not give a fiat,” the senior advocate said.

He argued that the commission lacked both investigative and prosecutorial powers under Sections 6, 7 and 46 of EFCC Act, 2004.

He noted that the offences allegedly committed by Agunloye were based on his (Agunloye’s) activities as a public officer.

He added that the former minister was alleged to have awarded the contract for the power plant without budgetary provision, approval and cash backing.

Adedipe further argued that the defendant was accused of an alleged disobedience to the directives of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as a forgery of a letter dated May 22, 2003.

He cited legal authorities to back his assertion, and submitted that the allegations against the former minister did not constitute financial crimes and as such could not be investigated and prosecuted by EFCC.

According to him, “These allegations do not constitute financial crimes which can be lawfully investigated and prosecuted by EFCC, pursuant to its powers under Section 6,7 and 46 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act in consonance with the supreme Court’s decision in Nwokobi vs Federal Republic of Nigeria (2002) 6 NWLR (Part 1.1826)293.”

He further argued that, “not having the mandatory statutory powers to investigate the allegations in the charge ab initio, I know that the purported investigation and current prosecution of this charge by the EFCC is ultra vires its powers.”

He therefore urged the court to grant their application.

Responding, the prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, said the Supreme Court had decided in FRN vs Osahor and others that the power of the AGF under Section 174 of the Constitution is not exclusive to him.

According to him,this implied that other authorities could initiate criminal proceedings in court, adding that in the instance case, the AGF did not complain that EFCC usurped his power.

Mohammed added that the Appeal Court had decided in Audu vs FRN that EFCC can prosecute offenders under the ICPC Act.

He urged the court to take judicial notice that the Solicitor-General of the Federation, who signed the fiat to prosecute the defendant was the acting AGF as of August 8, 2023 as there was no substantive AGF then.

He therefore urged the court to disregard the defendant ‘s application. ( NAN)

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