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JUDICIARY

Federal High Court Loses Judge

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Justice Fatun Riman of a Federal High Court (FHC), Awka Division, has died.

Reports says that Justice Riman died in England on Saturday after a brief illness
The Chief Judge (CJ) of FHC, Justice John Tsoho, made  the announcement in a statement released by the court’s Assistant Director of Information, Catherine Oby-Christopher, on Monday in Abuja.
According to Tsoho, the late judge had been admitted to the Lister Hospital in England on September 8, 2023 before his demise.
“Further burial information will be communicated later by his family,”the said.
The CJ expressed deep sadness at the loss and prayed for the peaceful repose of Justice Riman’s soul.
He also prayed for God to grant the deceased judge’s family the fortitude to bear the great loss.
“The Federal High Court mourns Justice Riman who served diligently on the bench until his unfortunate passing.
“He will be fondly remembered and missed by the court.
“We will miss him more than words can express,” Justice Tsoho said.(NAN)

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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JUDICIARY

Kano High Court Affirms Ganduje’s Suspension

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A Kano State High Court has restrained the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, from parading himself as a member of the party.

Justice Usman Malam Na’abba, on Wednesday, made the order, following an exparte motion filed by Dr Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two APC executive members of Ganduje ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area.

The plaintiffs are the party’s Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani, and its Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo.

The duo are among the nine ward executive members who suspended Ganduje from the party at the ward level, two days ago.

The respondents in the case include, All Progressives Congress (APC), APC National Working Committee (NWC), APC Kano State Working Committee (KSWC), and Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Granting the motion, Na’abba made an order restraining Ganduje from parading himself as APC National Chairman.

The court further made an order directing Ganduje to henceforth, desist from presiding over all affairs of the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

The court directed the respondents to henceforth maintain status quo ante belum as from April 15, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April, 30.

Justice Na’abba also granted the plaintiff’s prayer which ordered the APC SWC, from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by two thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

“An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (1st), APC National Working Committee (2nd), Kano State Working Committee APC (3rd), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (4th), to maintain status quo ante belum as of 15th April, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the 1st respondent (APC) from recognizing the 4th respondent (Ganduje) as member of APC and prohibiting the 4th respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legal and valid decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the 4th respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.

It will be recalled that nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano state government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of APC from Ganduje’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu made allegations of corruption charges against the former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party against the backdrop of President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Following the failure of the Ward Chairman and Secretary to act on the petition, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted and took the decision that led to the suspension Ganduje. (NAN)

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