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JUDICIARY

Court to Rule in Application Filed by Embattled LP Chairman, others’ to Vacate Order May 12

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Justice Hamza Muazu of an FCT high court sitting at Maitama, on Thursday adjourned until May 12 to rule in the  preliminary objection filed by the embattled chairman of Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure and one other

The other respondents are the National Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim, Clement Ojukwu and Oluchi Opara.

They are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain a matter filed Martins Esikpali John; Lucky Shaibu; Isah Zekeri; Omogbai Frank; Abokhaiu Aliu; Ayohkaire Lateef; John Elomah and Dr Ayobami Arabambi

The plaintiffs are seeking for the removal of the four respondent through an ex-parte motion, marked M/7082/2023, brought before the court

Justice Muazu adjourned until May 12 after listening to the submissions of the counsel in the matter.

At the resumed hearing counsel for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Alex Ejesieme SAN, informed the court that he filed an application dated April 13.

He said the application is seeking to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate in the matter brought before it by the claimants.

He told the court that the plaintiff’s invaded LP’s secretariat and vandalized it against the court order

Ejesieme told the court that since the order was made that his clients have not violated it.

He said he filed a 13 grounds objections urging the court to dismiss the suit.
” Our contention is very clear that those criminal allegations can not be ventilated in an origination summon ”

“The issue of locust standi is there when you referred to LP’s constitution the claimants are not members of NEC nor the party . “They have a duty to present their membership card to the court which they didn’t.

He added that no certificate of pre -action was filed before the court in fulfilment of order II rules three and eight.

The matter borders on the internal issue of the party according to him.

Counsel for the claimants, George Ibrahim, told the court that the 1 st to 4th defendants had yet to obey the April 5 order of the court.
He added that they were still parading themselves as national officers of the LP.

Ibrahim vehemently objected to the preliminary objections of the 1st &2nd counsel and urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection.

Justice Muazu had on April 5 issued the restraining order while ruling in ex-parte application argued by Ogwu Onoja, SAN on behalf of the claimants.

Onoja had in the application informed the court how the sacked national officers allegedly forged several documents of the FCT High Court to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last general elections.

Among the documents are the receipts, seal and affidavits of the Court to carry out alleged criminal activities.

Onoja tendered several documents confirmed to the Judge that the Chief Registrar of the Court wrote the Labour Party to disown several documents used for the alleged criminal activities by Abure and three others.

Onoja said that following their indictment by police investigation, the four people are to be arraigned in court adding that warrants for their arrest have already been obtained.

Justice Muazu held that the application and the supporting affidavits have made out a good case for the request to be granted.

The Judge subsequently ordered that the four officers should immediately stop parading themselves as National Officers of Labour Party. (NAN)

JUDICIARY

Group Seeks Disciplinary Actions Against Lawyers Over Misconduct Towards Benue CJ, NJC.

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi 

A group known as Benue Arise Network, on Monday, called on the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), to as a matter of urgency, institute disciplinary actions against the team of lawyers led by Uwem U. Umoanwan over their alleged infamous conduct against the Chief  Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese and the National Judicial Commission(NJC).

The publicity secretary of the group, Mr.

Joseph  Igbudu, in a statement he issued and made available to newsmen in Makurdi, their attention has been drawn to media reports on a suit by a group,Optimum Media Limited, seeking the court to compel the Governor of Benue State, Reverend Fr.
Hyacinth Alia, to request the Benue State House of Assembly to  investigate the Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese. 

Mr. Igbudu said, according to the report, the suit which is filed by a team of lawyers led by Uwem U. Umoanwan, Esq, is marked FHC/MKD/CS/56/2024, before the Federal High Court Makurdi Division. 

He stated that, it would be recalled that, on February 12, 2024, the Benue Arise Network(BAN), drew the attention of the world to a malicious, frivolous and ill-fated petition to the National Judicial Commission(NJC), by a group under the umbrella of Benue Diaspora Vanguard(US Chapter ), 

against Justice Ikpambese, dated November 30,2023, bordering on alleged judicial misconduct, gross disobedience of court judgment, abuse of power and financial mismanagement. 

Parts of the statement read: “We also informed the public that,same petition was served on the Governor of Benue State, calling on the governor to investigate the allegations against the Chief Judge of Benue State by the same group. 

“As expected, that petition was decided by the NJC, and it met it’s ill-fated status as it was dismissed. The NJC under the chairmanship of Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, at it’s plenary on May 15th, 2024 and May 16th, 2024, resolved all pending petitions/issues, and Justice Ikpambese was not amongst the three judges disciplined by the NJC. 

“These facts are still in public domain and can easily be verified by media reports or just by visiting the website of the NJC, njc.gov.ng

“We find it strange and  embarrassing on the integrity of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, that a lawyer will file a suit on issues already decided by the NJC. 

“Interestingly, the same petition dated November 30th, 2024, addressed to the NJC and was dismissed by the NJC is marked as Exhibit ‘A’, while the letter to the Governor, urging him to investigate the CJ of Benue State are annexed  and marked as  and Exhibit ‘B’ in the suit before the Federal High Court in Makurdi. 

“We wish to state that the lawyer who filed the suit praying the court to order the Governor of Benue State to request the Benue State House of Assembly to investigate the Chief Judge of Benue State ought to know as lawyers  that the disciplinary body for judges is the NJC and not the Governor of Benue State or the Benue State House of Assembly. 

“The team of lawyers led by Uwem U. Umoanwan ought to be  ministers in the temple of justice and should know the appropriate disciplinary body for judges. 

“It is our believe that the suit is accentuated by malice and the conduct of the lawyers is infamous and worthy of disciplinary actions”. 

The group  therefore called on the respective NBA branches of the affected  lawyers to sanction the affected lawyers. 

“We equally call on Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee(LPDC) of the NBA to immediately commence  disciplinary action against the team of lawyers that  filed Suit No:FHC/MKD/CS/56/2024, as the issues before the court have already been decided by the NJC. 

“If the plaintiffs/lawyers were not satisfied with the decision of the NJC, they would have taken the NJC to court and challenged the decision of the NJC and not urging the court to compel the governor to request the Benue State House of Assembly to investigate the CJ of Benue State. 

“The suit is also an invitation to a gross violation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which has already made provisions for the procedure for disciplining judges”. 

The Benue  Arise Network further cautioned those sponsoring attacks on Justice Ikpambese to desist from such as they are ready to mobilize spirited individuals and well-meaning citizens of Benue State and Nigerians to counter any plot against the CJ who has done nothing other than to offer meritorious service to the Nigerian judiciary and Nigeria as a nation. 

They however urged Justice Ikpambese not to be deterred or blackmailed to give into the whims and caprices of those who are bent on discrediting his hard-earned reputation and that of the Nigerian judiciary at large.

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JUDICIARY

Man, 24, Jailed 6 Months for allegedly Stealing Canned Beer, Drinks

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An Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court on Friday sentenced a 24-year-old man, Wisdom Emmanuel, to six months imprisonment for stealing canned beer and other soft drinks valued N216,000.

The convict, whose address was not provided, was convicted on a one-count charge of stealing.

The Magistrate, Mrs B.

V Williams held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, while the defendant was guilty as charged.

She, however, sentenced Emmanuel to six months imprisonment without an option of fine.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Insp.Lawrence Olu-Balogun, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on May.

18 at about 2:30am at No 2 Olubara Road Housing Estate, Ibara in Abeokuta.

Olu-Balogun said that the convicts broke into the shop of one Mrs Taiwo Olayinka and stole different brands of can drinks, and cartons of Indomie

“Emmanuel entered the shop of the complainant at mid-night and stole one pack of canned Guinness valued N12,000, 12 pieces of Lord’s dry gin valued N18000, 12 pieces of canned Bullet valued N24,000.

“He also stole eight cartons of Indomie valued N64,000, five packs of Maltina valued N20,000, six pieces of Five Alive valued N18,000, six pieces of 33 canned beer valued N5000.

“12 pieces of Goldberg valued N12,000, twelve pieces of Legend Stout valued N12,000, two pieces of Coca-Cola valued N700, and a cash sum of N20,000 all valued N216,000,” he said.

He further explained that the convict was caught by the patrol team of the police, while some of the stolen items were recovered from him.

The prosecutor, however, said the offence contravened sections 383 and 390(9) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun 2006. (NAN) 

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JUDICIARY

Emirship tussle: Court rule against Kano govt, others challenging jurisdiction

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano has on Thursday, ruled against Kano State government and others challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the issue of fundamental human rights instituted by a Kano traditional holder, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi in connection with the Emirship tussle.

Recall that the applicant, who is the traditional title holder of Sarkin Dawaki Babba of Kano emirate, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi had approached the court seeking for enforcement of his fundamental human rights claimed to have been violated by government action in the Emirship tussle.

The respondents in the suit are Kano State Government as 1st respondent, Kano State House of Assembly (2nd), Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly (3rd), Attorney General of Kano State (4th), Kano Commissioner of Police (5th), Inspector General of Police, IGP (6th), NSCDC and DSS as 7th and 8th respondents respectively.

Delivering the ruling on jurisdiction on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Abdullahi M. Liman, ruled that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter concerning the applicant’s fundamental human rights.

Justice Liman gave the ruling relying on Section 42 sub-section 1 and Section 315 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

However, reacting to the ruling, the Counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Ibrahim Isah Wangida, said he will meet with his client to decide the next line of action whether or not they will take the option to appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, the judge, Justice Liman, adjourned the matter till Friday for hearing of all pending applications saying the case is too sensitive for it to be dragged for too long.

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