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Court Fixes October 21 For Hearing On Sowore’s Bail Variation Application

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Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed October 21, 2019 for the hearing of the application filed by pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and co-defendant, Olawale Bakare popularly known as Mandate for variation of their bail conditions.

The activists were granted bail in a ruling by the court on October 4, 2019 but with stringent conditions.

Their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), had approached the court for an adjustment in the bail conditions to what his clients could meet.

The judge granted Sowore bail in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.

Justice Ojukwu also barred him from travelling outside Abuja, in addition to asking him to deposit N50m in the account of the court as security.

She granted Bakare bail in the sum of N50m with a surety in like sum.

He was barred from travelling out of his base in Osogbo, Osun State, except while coming for trial in Abuja.

The trial judge also barred the two men from talking to the press and participating in any form of protest pending the conclusion of their trial.

Sowore and Bakare are still being held in the custody of Department of State Services as a result of their inability to meet the bail conditions.

Sowore was arrested by the DSS in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to express their displeasure over the poor state of governance in the country.

On September 30, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had granted him bail and ordered the DSS to release him after he met the condition given by depositing his international passport with the court.

But despite that ruling, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime refused to free him, attracting condemnation from across the world.

The government is charging Sowore for acts of money laundering, insulting Buhari and planning to bring down his government – charges the pro-democracy campaigner vehemently denies and that had been described by legal practitioners across and beyond Nigeria as laughable and baseless.

The matter was adjourned to November 6, 7 and 8 for accelerated trial by the court.

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Nyako vs EFCC: What happened in court on Wednesday

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Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, Counsel to the 3rd defendant in a suit filed by EFCC against Murtala Nyako, former Adamawa State Governor, and others; has appealed to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the EFCC to produce three of its witnesses for cross-examination.

Maikyau made the oral application, on Wednesday, before Justice Okon Abang.

Nyako is the 1st defendant, his son, Sen. Abdulaziz Nyako, is the 2nd defendant while Zulkifik Abba is the 3rd defendant in the case.

The EFCC had charged the former governor, along with others, with N40 billion fraud.

They were arraigned on a 37-count charge bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako was Adamawa governor.

Also arraigned along with them was Abubakar Aliyu and firms allegedly used to perpetrate the fraud which were joined as the 5th to the 9th defendants were Blue Opal Ltd, Pagoda Fortunes Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had indicated his interest to close his case, having taken the evidence of Kobis Arithimni, who was Secretary to Adamawa State Government during Nyako’s administration, via video link in the last sitting.

DAILY POST reports that Justice Abang had, on Oct. 30, granted EFCC’s prayer to take Arithimni via video link.

Arithimni, who presently resides in the United Kingdom (UK), gave his testimony on Nov. 5.

However, Maikyau, who opposed to the closure of the case, on Wednesday, told the court that since the prosecution was unable to call all its witnesses on its list, the prosecution is under obligation, upon request by the defendant, to present such witnesses for purpose of cross examination by the defence.

“I stand to make the application on behalf of the 3rd defendant that the prosecution be directed by this honourable court to make available witnesses number 12, 26 and 27,” NAN quoted him as saying.

The lawyer, who noted that these witnesses were yet to be called by the EFCC, said the call became necessary in the spirit of fair hearing.

He acknowledged that though the prosecution is not bound to call all the witnesses listed by it, Maikyau said the 3rd defendant wanted to take advantage of the principle of law that has been made available to the defence which is only consistent to the principle of fair hearing.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Jacobs, who opposed the oral application, sought for more time to respond to the prayer and the earlier request by the 2nd defendant, Abdulaziz Nyako, to travel abroad.

Justice Abang adjourned until Nov. 19 to hear the prosecution’s reply.

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AGF reveals implication of cancelling recruitment of 10,00 police constables

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Mr. Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on Wednesday, urged the Federal High Court, Abuja to consider the economic implication of nullifying the recruitment of 10,000 police constables as requested by the Police Service Commission (PSC).

Malami, in a counter-affidavit filed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, SAN, opposed the suit instituted by the PSC to challenge the proprietary of the constables’ recruitment process by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

He told Justice Inyang Ekwo that cancelling the process which he said had gone through “significant stages,” as requested by the commission, would amount to an economic loss for the country.

Meanwhile, DAILY POST reports that the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, adjourned till Nov. 20 for the Police Service Commission (PSC) to respond to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF)’s counter-affidavit in a suit to stop the recruitment of 10, 000 police officers.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, who adjourned the case on the instance of the PSC, said the development was to allow its counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, to respond to the counter-affidavit.

Justice Ekwo, therefore, adjourned till Nov. 20 for the continuation of the matter.

PSC had taken the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to court over the recruitment of 10,000 constables.

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Appeal Court affirms Udom Emmanuel as Akwa Ibom governor, fines Nsima Ekere

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday affirmed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State. The Appeal was filed against the judgement of the tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019 at Uyo, which dismissed Mr Ekere’s petition for wanting in merit.

The tribunal had held that the petitioner could not lead credible evidence to prove his claims that the elections were not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.

Delivering judgement in the Appeal filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the re-election of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in the March 9, 2019 Gubernatorial Elections, the five-man panel gave her judgement on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.

The Appellate Court first affirmed the decision of the tribunal rejecting series of documents filed by the Petitioner at the tribunal and held that the reasoning of the tribunal were unassailable,vciting that the documents which were all public documents could not be admissible if they were not properly brought as Certified True Copies of the public documents sought to be tendered.

Furthermore, on whether the tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioner/Appellant did not lead credible evidence to prove their case, the Court of Appeal affirmed the tribunal’s judgement and upheld the tribunal’s findings on evidence.

The Appellate Court noted that out of the results of twenty one (21) Local Government Areas challenged, the Petitioner did not lead any evidence to prove their case in eight (8) and led very scanty evidence which on cross examination were rendered very impotent in the other Local Governments where they made any effort to prove their claims. The court again held that the decision of the tribunal was unassailable on that score and therefore affirmed same.

The court also agreed with the Lower Tribunal for not relying on documents dumped on the tribunal by the Petitioners/Appellants without being linked by them to any of the issues raised and canvassed by the petitioner. The court thereupon affirmed the victory of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State from the Gubernatorial elections held on March 9, 2019, and awarded the cost of 500,000 naira in favour of the First Respondent to be paid by the Appellants. The lead judgement was affirmed by all the other justices of the Court of Appeal.

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