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Court stops El-Rufai from licensing Pastors, Imams in Kaduna

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A Kaduna State High Court has declared the state Religious Bill recently passed by the former State House of Assembly as illegal.

The Court noted that the plan by the Kaduna State government to issue licences to the pastors of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) using the Religious Regulatory Bill is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights, which guarantees freedom of association and freedom of religion.

The Court added that the passage of the religious bill is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The judge, Hon Justice D. Gwadah, while passing the ruling, said that the actions of the Kaduna State House of Assembly in proceeding to pass the bill into law despite the pending court proceedings and the subsisting court injunction restraining the action, “is an affront to this honourable court”.

The case was instituted by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Kaduna chapter since 2016 against Kaduna State Governor (Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai), Kaduna State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Kaduna State over the Kaduna State Religious Regulatory Bill.

The lawyers representing the respondents, in reaction to the judgment, said that their clients will go higher, meaning Gov El-Rufai and the Kaduna State House of Assembly will appeal the judgement.

But Barr S. A. Akani (lead counsel to PFN), who briefly addressed the press after the ruling, expressed satisfaction over the judgment on behalf of his client, the PFN.

Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, through its lead counsel, Barr S. A. Akani, had sought a declaration, among others that the establishment of Religious Preaching Regulatory Committees vide section 6(1) and (2) of bill for the Kaduna state religious preaching regulation law for the purpose of screening preachers and entertaining applications for preaching licences constitutes a blatant invasion of applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion enshrined in section 38 (1) of the constitution and as such unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.

DAILY POST noted that the Kaduna State PFN that instituted the case is a registered trustees body. Thus, PFN is an entity that has the power to sue and be sued.

However, the power is limited to act on behalf of the members of the body. Hence, the court ruling is applicable to the members of PFN. Though by implication, other Christians and Pastors can benefit indirectly from the ruling.

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Crime

Father to court: I defiled my daughter to test if she is virgin

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A 37-year-old security guard, Wasiu Orilonise, has confessed to defiling his 15-year-old daughter after being arraigned before Oyo State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ibadan.

The suspect was arraigned on one-count of having unlawful carnal knowledge of his daughter with Charge‎ No. Mi/271c/2019.

He, however, begged the court for forgiveness as he claimed to have committed the said offence because he wanted to test the virginity of his daughter to protect her.

The prosecutor, Mr. Sunday Ogunremi, told the court that the accused, in December 2018, at Omo Village, Agbofieti, Ibadan, in the Ibadan magisterial district, did rape one Orilonise Adenike.

Ogunremi‎ said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 34, Subsections 1 and 2 of the Child Rights Law of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2006.

No plea was‎, however, taken during the arraignment.

However, when the Chief Magistrate, Mr Taiwo Olaniran, sought to know from the accused what could have pushed him into defiling his biological daughter, Orilonise said that since he lost his wife a few years ago, he had been taking care of Adenike and others siblings.

He further told the court that he committed the act in an attempt to protect his daughter and check if she had lost her virginity.

“The incident happened as I was trying to ascertain if Adenike had lost her virginity,” he said.

Upon discovering that she was still intact, he started having sex regularly with her both in the morning before she leaves for school and at night.

‎The magistrate criticised fathers who were fond of sexually abusing their daughters and other under-aged girls.

He thereafter ordered that the accused be remanded in Agodi Prison pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and adjourned the case till July 30, 2019.

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Buhari

HURIWA to Buhari: Continuous detention of El-Zakzaky, Dasuki is an act of treason

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the continuous detention of the leader of Shiites Islamic movement, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd.) as an act of treason.

In a statement on Thursday, the civil rights group called on global leaders to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to release on bail the duo “who have languished in underground jails for over three years extralegally”.

Citing section 36(5) and section (6) of the Nigerian constitution which states: “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty; provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts”, Huriwa expressed disbelief that world leaders could fold their arms and watch as President Buhari “unleashed venoms and vicious attacks on its citizens”.

“It is the view of the human rights platform that the continuous detention and duplication of charges against the duo by President Muhammadu Buhari is an act of treason against the constitution just as HURIWA stated that it is necessary that they are not allowed to die in detention following reports of their deteriorating health conditions,” the statement added.

The group also reacted to the recent order issued by the Inspector General Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, on the restriction of public protests in certain locations in Abuja.

It will be recalled that the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, gave the order on Wednesday.

According to Huriwa, the order by the IGP is “illegal” as it is “against the clear provisions of the constitution in chapter four and provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly, including the binding Appellate court’s verdict clearly stating that police don’t have any legal right to stop protests and against the most cherished values of constitutional democracy built around the tripod of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of movement which are even guaranteed by a plethora of global human rights laws.”

The group added that they were shocked that whilst constitutional democracy gradually dies away in Nigeria due to deliberate whittling down of respect for human rights by the current administration, world leaders in the US and UK simply don’t care but pretend to be unaware of the global consequences of a deluge of refugees from Nigeria should democracy collapsed under the heavyweight of tyranny and totalitarianism of the current administration.

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Law

Frail-Looking Picture Of El-Zakzaky, Wife Emerges As Court Adjourns Ruling On Application For Medical Trip Abroad

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The Kaduna State High Court has adjourned its ruling on the application filed by the detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, seeking permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Members of Zakzaky’s movement and rights group have raised alarm concerning his deteriorating health in recent months, ChannelsTV reports.

Justice Darius Khobo, the presiding judge, adjourned sitting on the matter to July 29, 2019, to rule on the application.

Counsel for Elzakzaky, Femi Falana (SAN), told the court that the health condition of his client was getting worse by the day, hence the need for him to seek urgent medical treatment abroad.

In a written application filed before the Court, Falana, said his client is in dire need of medical attention, having lost one of his eyes while in custody of the Department State Services.

The lawyer argued that Elzakzaky and his wife, Zeenat had not been given adequate medical care since their detention on December 14, 2015.

The Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero, objected Elzakzaky’s application because Nigerian medical doctors had yet to be invited to ascertain if the IMN leader should be treated locally or abroad.

Elzazaky and his wife are facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of the public peace, among other charges filed against them by the Kaduna state government.

They were first arraigned on May 15, 2018, following their arrest in Zaria, in December 2015.

Justice Gideon Kurada, who is handling the case, had on March 25 adjourned the trial of the IMN leader indefinitely.

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