From Sylvia Udegbunam- Enugu
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello has commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for facilitating the adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the state.
Hon. Justice Bello who spoke when he led members of the Presidential Committee on Prisons Reform and Decongestion to pay a courtesy call on Ugwuanyi at the Government House, Enugu, described the adoption of the criminal justice administration act in Enugu State as “revolutionary”.
The FCT Chief Judge told the governor that the committee was in Enugu in exercise of its “sole mandate of visiting Nigerian Prisons to release inmates who have option of fines associated to their various sentences and also to review cases of inmates that have stayed over five years awaiting trials before various courts”and added that “in a situation where they have overstayed the period of sentences they were convicted, we take instant decisions to let them go”.
The jurist, who advocated a uniform criminal justice regime act to be adopted by the respective component states “without affecting the very substance intendment of the act”, said Ugwuanyi deserves to be congratulated for the adoption of the act in Enugu State.
“Your Excellency, you deserve to be congratulated for that. We are very happy that you have made it possible; that you are among the states that have adopted the act.
Many others are following suit because it is in that act that you find the road that will expedite delivery, eliminate delays, among others”, he said.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon. Justice Priscilla Emehelu, told Ugwuanyi that the delegation deemed it necessary to pay him a courtesy visit before embarking on the assignment because of his interest and commitment in ensuring that justice is done to people who are kept away in prisons unlawfully.
Responding, Ugwuanyi, who welcomed the FCT Chief Judge and other members of the committee to the Government House, Enugu, stated that his administration appreciates the efforts of the federal government in fast-tracking the decongestion of prisons in the country.
The governor disclosed that his administration has in many ways supported the rehabilitation of prison infrastructure in the state, to improve the environment and has assisted in the payment of fees to lawyers to represent inmates who could not afford legal representation, assuring the presidential committee of the state’s firm support to their noble assignment.
Court rejects no-case submission of woman charged with N110m fraud
An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday rejected the no-case submission of a woman, Portia Emilia, charged with N110 million fraud.
Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe, in her ruling, held that the prosecution had established prima facie against the defendant on the amended five-count charge bordering on stealing and fraud.
“I am satisfied that the prosecution has established a prima facie case, which the defendants are called upon to answer.
“The no-case submission is hereby overruled, and the defendants are called upon to enter their defence,” Abike-Fadipe said.
She adjourned until Jan. 18 2024 for the defendant to open her defence.
Emilia was arraigned on Aug.16, 2022 alongside her company, Savanah Crest Investment Ltd, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against her.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Franklin Ofoma, alleged the defendant stole the money from one Mrs Wendy Daniel and converted it to her personal use.
The prosecution had called two witnesses, tendered several documents and closed its case on March 16.
Defence had filed a no-case submission, arguing that with the evidence adduced by the EFCC, his client had no case to answer.
According to the prosecution, the alleged offences contravened the Criminal Laws of Lagos State (2015) and the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Fraud Offences Act 2006.
Police Parade Suspected Killers of Former Benue Judge
By David Trough, Abuja
The Benue State Police Command has paraded four suspects in connection to the murder of Retired Justice Margaret Igbetar, who was murdered in August this year.
State Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Tuesday said the suspects have since confessed to the crime.
According to him, among those who were arrested was a nephew to the deceased, Aondohemba Joseph, adding that Joseph had alleged that Justice Igbetar was holding his father’s property which should have been bestowed on him, but she (Justice Igbetar) had refused to relinquish the said property.
Onyeka said, “You will recall that on 24th August 2023, a case of Culpable Homicide involving the late Justice Margaret Mary Igbetar (rtd) was reported and I had promised to ensure that Justice is served. One Aondohemba Joseph, a nephew of the deceased was arrested immediately.
“A more detailed and advanced investigation started when the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and handed over to the Operation Zenda investigative team to continue.
The suspect who eventually confessed to having planned and recruited other people to help him in killing his Aunty (Justice Igbetar) led a team of detectives to Adikpo, in Kwande Local Government Area of the state where more suspects were arrested including, Igbazenda Gbidye, 63yrs old and Dzungwenen Ukor, 40yrs old.
“These suspects admitted that Aondohemba Joseph had reported to them that his father died and left so much property in the hands of his aunty (the deceased) and she has refused to hand the said property over to him. They agreed to join him in eliminating her so that he could have access to his property.
“One Akuhwa Barnabas, 32yrs old, a driver to the deceased who was also arrested, corroborated their statements by admitting that he was the one who allowed the gang access to the house and manned the gate for them until they finished the assassination process”, the State Commissioner of Police stated.
Onyeka said commended the people of the state for their patience and cooperation adding that the command would continue to do its best to rid the state of crime
CJN Swear in 23 Federal High Court Judges, Wednesday
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola will swear in the newly appointed 23 Judges of the Federal High Court on Wednesday.
A statement by the Director of Press and Information of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande on Sunday said, the Judges will be sworn in at 11:00 am at the main courtroom of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The new Judges according to the statement are: Dipeolu Deinde Isaac from Ogun State; Ogundare Kehinde Olayiwola from Ekiti State; Agbaje Olufunmilola Adetutu from Lagos State; Musa Kakaki from Kaduna State; Abdullahi Muhammad Dan-Ige from Sokoto State; and Sharon Tanko Ishaya from Kebbi State.
Others are: Salim Olasupo Ibrahim from Ogun State; Yilwa Hauwa Joseph from Gombe State; Wigwe-Oreh Chituru Joy from Rivers State; Owoeye Alexander Oluseyi from Kogi State; Anyalewa Onoja-Alapa from Benue State; Amina Aliyu Mohammad from Katsina State; Abiodun Jordan Adeyemi from Kwara State; Hauwa Buhari from Federal Capital Territory; and Aishatu Auta Ibrahim from Borno State.
The rest according to the statement are Hussaini Dadan-Garba from Bauchi State; Ibrahim Ahmad Kala from Gombe State; Mashkur Salisu from Zamfara State; Onah Chigozie Sergius from Enugu State; Egbe Raphael Joshua from Bayelsa State; Ariwoola Olukayode Jnr. from Oyo State; Ekerete Udofot Akpan from Akwa Ibom State; and Ogazi Friday Nkemakonam from Ebonyi State.
Akande also said, a valedictory Court session will be held on Tuesday, 10th October, 2023, in honour of the late Justice Chima Centus Nweze at the main courtroom of the Supreme Court at 10:00 am.
As customary, he said, the Chief Justice of Nigeria will preside over the session which will, among other things, feature the presentation of tributes by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chairman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) and President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in honour of the departed Jurist.
It will be recalled that Justice Nweze died on Saturday, July 29, 2023 in Abuja after a brief illness at the age of 64 years. He was sworn-in as Justice of the Supreme Court on October 29, 2014.
The late Justice of the Supreme Court was born in Obollo, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State on 25th September 1958 and attended St. John Cross Seminary, Nsukka from 1972 to 1977.
He gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus in 1979 where he graduated with a Degree in Law in 1983. In the same year, he represented the Law Faculty and, indeed, all Nigerian Law Faculties, at the Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC, as the Chief Oraclist.
His Lordship did his NYSC between 1984 and 1985 in Bauchi, after being called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984. He equally had his Doctorate Degree in Law from the same University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
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