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JUDICIARY

Judge hails Ugwuanyi over Criminal Justice Administration Act

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Federal Capital Territory High Court
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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.

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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LG Autonomy: S/Court Reserves Judgement on FG’s Suit against 36 Govs

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By Lubem Myeorny, Abuja

The Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgment in a suit filed by the Federal Government against the governors of the 36 states of the federation over alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas.

Justice Garba Lawal, who led a seven-member panel of Justices of the apex court reserved judgment after all parties, adopted their various written addresses earlier.

Lawal said the date for judgment will be communicated later.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, had on behalf of the federal government sued the 36 states over the manner the governors are running the LGs funds.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the AGF prayed the apex court for an order prohibiting state governors from unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government executives.

Fagbemi in the originating summons is praying the Supreme Court for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

He also sought an order of the apex court stopping governors from constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognised and guaranteed democratic system.

He applied for an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents, and privies from receiving, spending, or tampering with funds released from the federation account for the benefit of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place.

Fagbemi asked the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7, and 14 of the constitution to declare that the state governors and State Houses of Assembly are under obligation to ensure a democratic system at the third tier of government.

The suit also wants the apex court to invoke the same sections to hold that the governors cannot lawfully dissolve democratically elected local government councils.

In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by Kelechi Ohaeri from the AGF’s office, Fagbemi averred that he filed the suit under the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government.

The deponent asserted that the local government system recognised by the constitution is a democratically elected local government council and that the amount due to local government councils from the federation account is to be paid to the local government system recognised by the constitution.

That the governors represent the component states of the Federation with Executive Governors who have also sworn to uphold the Constitution and to, at all times, give effect to the Constitution, and that the Constitution, being the supreme law, has binding force all over the Federation of Nigeria.

Other prayers include: that the constitution of Nigeria recognises federal, state, and local governments as three tiers of government, and that the three recognised tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the Federation Account created by the Constitution.

By the provisions of the Constitution, there must be a democratically elected local government system, and the Constitution has not made provisions for any other systems of governance at the local government level other than a democratically elected local government system.

In the face of the clear provisions of the Constitution, the governors have failed and refused to put in place a democratically elected local government system, even where no state of emergency has been declared to warrant the suspension of democratic institutions in the state.

The failure of the governors to put a democratically elected local government system in place is a deliberate subversion of the 1999 Constitution, which they and the President have sworn to uphold.

Fagbemi also said that all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system have not yielded any result.

The AGF said that the federal government continued to disburse funds from the Federation Account to the governors for non-existing democratically elected local governments to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 Constitution.

He averred that in the face of the violations of the 1999 Constitution, the federal government is not obligated, under Section 162 of the Constitution, to pay any state funds standing to the credit of local governments where no democratically elected local government is in place. 

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