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JUDICIARY

Kebbi Jubilates, as Malami Retains Justice Portfolio

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From Haruna Aliyu Usman, Birnin Kebbi 


As president Buhari Wednesday inaugurated his cabinet who for the next four years will pilot the affairs of the country in their respective ministries, he has put to paid rumours making the rounds in Kebbi and outside that Abubakar Chika Malami would not retain his seat as minister of justice and the attorney general of the federation.

The people of Kebbi were pleasantly surprised as Malami got back on the driving seat to continue his ministerial duties of steering the justice sector for the next four years of Buhari’s government.

 
Few hours after the inauguration DAILY ASSET sought the views of people in Birnin Kebbi.

Hajiya Umaima, a Birnin Kebbi resident said Malami’s return was an act of God and his outstanding performance. She added that she was not surprised because of the confidence the President has reposed in the Minister. “what is left for all us to pray for him to succeed, his success is for the entire country not for kebbi alone,” Umaima said. 
Another resident, Usman hailed the decision to return Malami because he was able to bring his legal expertise to bear on his official duties as cabinet minister, adding “we expect him to add to what he has done already in the justice ministry.” 
He described Malami’s first four years as full of events and cited the funds repatriation committee which Malami spearheaded as one of his major breakthroughs in the country. 
in his comment, Balkisu Abass said in the last four years of his reign as minister of justice, he courageously arraigned the then sitting -Senate president, Bukola Saraki and others in collaboration with the anti – graft agency, theEconomic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fight corruption, he was instrumental to the fall of the former chief justice of the federation, Walter onnoghen, therefore giving him another chance to serve the nation is a welcome development.

She however, urged him to be transparent and uncompromising for him to succeed in the new dispensation. 

Others who also spoke with DAILY ASSET were optimistic that Malami will rebrand the justice system in the country to benefit the common man in and advised him to strive to reduce corruption and redirect efforts to quick dispensation of justice to  all category of people which will go along way in de-congesting prisons across the country. 
Malami who  was a governorship aspirant during the 2015 election was rumoured to have been persuaded by Buhari to step down for the incumbent governor, Atiku Bagudu.

Sources in Kebbi’s political circles said Malami might eventually take another shot at the Governorship of the state when the next opportunity presents itself.


JUDICIARY

Fake Abduction: Appeal Court Affirms Dethroned Traditional Ruler’s Conviction

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The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on Monday affirmed the conviction of the dethroned traditional ruler of Shangisha in Magodo, Mutiu Ogundare, for faking his own abduction.

The court, however, reduced Ogundare’s sentence to 12 years from the 15 years initially handed down on him by the lower court.

Report says that Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High in Ikeja, had on Sept.

27, 2022, sentenced the convict to 15 years imprisonment.

Ogundare was charged alongside his wife, Abolanle and his brother, Opeyemi Mohammed.

They were arraigned on three counts of breach of peace and fake abduction, preferred against them by the Lagos State government.

The lower court had discharged and acquitted Ogundare’s wife, Abolanle, saying that she had no link to the crime.

The court, however, found Ogundare and Mohammed guilty as charged.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Ogundare, approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the lower court.

When the case was called on Monday, the lead Justice, Justice Peter Bassi, upheld the judgment of the lower court in counts one and two and upturned count three.

Other Justices of the panel were Justice Bayero and Justice Folashade Ojo, who agreed with the judgment of the lead justice.

Bassi said that Ogundare’s appeal succeeds in part and reduced his sentence to 12 years.

The court held that the appellant would  serve 10 years imprisonment for count one and two years for count two.

On the third count, the court upturned the sentence of the lower court, in respect of false representation to release a kidnapped person.

The convict was first remanded on July 16, 2017, in Kirikiri correctional centre by an Ogba Magistrates’ Court, for alleged fake abduction.

The state had stated that the convicts committed the offences on July 5, 2017, along Centre for Management Development  Road, Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area.

The state said that Ogundare, staged the kidnap to blackmail the state government. (NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Orders Release of Ali Bello’s International Passport for Medical Trip Abroad 

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, ordered the release of the international passport of Ali Bello to enable him travel to the UK  for medical examination and consultation.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling on Bello’s motion on notice moved by his lawyer, Abubakar Aliyu, SAN, ordered the deputy chief registrar of the court to release his travel documents.

Justice Egwuatu directed Bello to return  the international passport to the deputy chief registrar of the court on or before Sept.

15.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed an alleged money laundering charge against Bello, Abba Adaudu, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege and Iyadi Sadat as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

Although they were arraigned before Justice Egwuatu, they all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Bello, through his counsel, Aliyu, had, in the motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/573/2022, sought an order granting him the permission to travel to the UK for medical checkup.

In the application dated April 2 but filed April 5, the applicant sought two reliefs, including an order releasing his international passport in the custody of the deputy chief registrar of the court.

Bello said the purpose of the routine cardiologic follow-up was to review his medication and undergo cardiac tests scheduled for July of each year and as required based on medical advice.

He said the court had, on two occasions, granted him leave to travel between August 2023 and December 2023 and that he did travel and return the international passport to the deputy chief registrar of the court before the expiration of the times granted.

He, therefore, undertook to return the travel passport as he had always done  if leave is granted and upon his return.

He equally undertook to be law abiding in the UK should his application be granted.

But in opposition, the EFCC filed a counter affidavit of five-paragraphs deposed to by Abubakar Salihu Wara on April 19, 2024.

Mr Rotimi Oyedepo SAN, lead counsel to the the anti-graft agency, argued that Bello had not placed any medical report before the court to show the health condition that necessitated the medical appointment.

Oyedepo said that Exhibit ‘A’ attached to the application did not disclose the email address of the sender and the receiver of the said medical appointment and had not exhibited anything to show that Exhibit ‘A’ emanated from London Centre for Advanced Cardiology.

He argued that Bello might tamper with the evidence in the charges against him if the application is granted.

But Bello, in a further affidavit, disagreed with the EFCC’s submission.

Delivering the ruling, the judge asked if Bello had placed enough material before the court to enable the court grant the application.

According to Justice Egwuatu, it is on record that this court granted bail to the applicant.

“Since the grant of bail, he has not breached the terms of bail and has been coming to court to stand his trial.

“It is not controverted that this court had on two previous occasions granted the applicant similar prayers.

“On those two occasions, that is, between the 1st to 31st of August, 2023 and 17th of December, 2023 and 10th January, 2024, the applicant did not breach the terms of the permission granted.

“Applicant’s depositions that ‘on the two occasions, I returned my International Passport to the Deputy Chief Registrar of this court was not denied by the respondent (EFCC).

“There is no evidence before this court that the applicant breached the terms of the grant or the terms of the bail granted to him by this court.

“The grounds for opposing this application now by the prosecution are anchored on Paragraphs 4 (a) to (g) of the counter affidavit.

“I have examined these paragraphs vis-a-vis the response of the applicant,” he said.

The judge said that there was no evidence before the court by the EFCC that the name of the London hospital “and address are not in existence and no contrary evidence disputing the fact that the applicant has a scheduled appointment with the said cardiologist.”

According to him, there is also no evidence before this court that the applicant while on bail did or attempted to interfere with evidence or collude with any person to tamper with evidence.

“The law is trite and clear: facts not disputed or challenged are deemed to have been accepted and/or admitted by the party against whom they are averred.”

“I therefore believe the depositions of the applicant,” the judge said.

Justice Egwuatu further said that a defendant ought to be healthy to be able to stand the rigors of trial.

“It has to be noted that the health of every citizen is very important consideration to the state, whether he is a defendant/suspect or a free man.

“I wholeheartedly subscribe to the view that a defendant should be alive to stand trial and face the just desserts of his crime if he is adjudged guilty as charged.

“As stated by Obadina JCA in Ani vs. State (2002) 11 WRN 53 at 68:’..it is only the living that can praise God, so also it is only the living that can be tried, convicted and punished for an offence..” he quoted.

The judge subsequently granted Bello’s prayers being sought.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

S/Court Judgement: Jigawa Assembly Begins Amendment of Electoral Law

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A bill seeking to repeal the Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission (JISIEC) Law 2024 and re-enact Law 2012 has passed first and second readings.

This followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader of Jigawa State House of Assembly, Mr Lawan Muhammad (APC-Roni) and seconded by Mr Muhammad Inuwa (APC-Kazaure) at a plenary on Friday.

Muhammmad said the bill seeks to repeal the JISEIC amendment No.

1 Law, No.
7, 2024 to re-enact the provisions of Sections 64 and 65 of the JISEIC Law Cap J19, Laws of Jigawa State 2022 and for related matters.

The Speaker, Mr Haruna Aliyu, who presided over the plenary, asked the majority leader to suspend order 12 and rule 81 for the bill to be read for the second time.

After unanimous approval by the members, Muhammad read the bill for the second time, which was seconded by the speaker.

On the reason for the amendment, the Majority Leader said: “Just of recent, this honorable house amended this law to be in line with the electoral act, 2023. We amended this section in order to domesticate the electoral act.

“So we are now going back to previous bill that we have repealed and suspended. That’s the reason for the suspension of the rule 81. So we are going back to the previous law that we suspended just two months ago.

“This is also because of current order or Supreme Court judgement on local government councils. Therefore I moved this motion so that honorable members be in line with the court judgement to allow us conduct local government election in the next two months.

“I want my colleagues to be supportive to join our colleagues in the 36 states”.

Contributing, members representing Kaugama and Kazaure constituencies, Sani and Muhammad Inuwa, expressed the need for other members to support the amendment in order to have democratically elected officials to run the affairs of the local government councils of the state.

After unanimous approval by the house, the speaker referred the bill to Committee on Local Government and to report back on July 30. (NAN)

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