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Court stops ongoing NNPC recruitment



The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the suspension of ongoing recruitment of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pending the determination of a suit filed by one Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Olajengbesi, a public interest lawyer, had commenced the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of all potential applicants to set aside the recruitment by the NNPC on the ground that it was discriminatory.

The recruitment had disqualified Nigerians above the age of 28 from applying for the vacant positions.

Olajengbesi had faulted the age criterion placed on the ongoing recruitment of the NNPC, noting that it violated section 3(e)(iv) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure), 2009 which protected the public interest of Nigerians.

He had written to the then Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, on March 26, threatening to drag the organisation to court for placing discriminatory age requirement on qualified Nigerians who would have applied for the jobs advertised by the corporation.

The NNPC had invited applications from candidates for a number of positions including trainees who must not be more than 28 years as of Dec. 31, 2018 and had graduated from a university or polytechnic not earlier than 2014.

At the hearing on Oct. 18, 2019, the applicant prayed the court to ensure that justice was served on the unemployed Nigerians who needed to know their stand in the matter.

“The matter has long been before the court and the rest of the matter is at a stake and under Order 8 Rule 4 of the Article II of the African Charter of Human and People’s Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

“I pray that the matter be heard together with the preliminary objection filed by the respondents in the interest of justice,” the applicant said.

When the matter was called up, the applicant’s counsel informed the court that the respondent filed his counter on Oct. 15, 2019.

In reply, the respondent informed the court that he was sick and had a surgery.

The presiding judge, Justice Muhammed Tsoho (Acting Chief Justice of The Federal High Court) informed the respondents counsel that his counter was not proper before the court and had not been regularised.

The court in considering the urgent nature of the matter granted an adjournment for the respondents to regularise their counter.

Tsoho, however, ordered that parties must maintain status quo pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

He adjourned the matter until Oct. 29, 2019 for hearing.

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Falana fires back at DSS over Sowore’s continued detention



Femi Falana, activist lawyer has charged the Department of State Services, DSS, to release detained Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement and save Nigeria from ridicule.

He said this while faulting DSS latest reason for holding Sowore in custody. DSS had yesterday declared its readiness to release Sowore to his sureties only.

Falana, however, condemned the condition, saying the secret police had constituted itself into an appellate court over the Federal High Court for making such demand.

A statement he personally signed and issued in Abuja, on Wednesday reads: “The SSS has now said that it is only appropriate that those who stood surety for Sowore present themselves and have him released to them.

“With respect to Sowore, we wish to state without any fear of contradiction, that the SSS has apparently constituted itself into an appellate court over the Federal High Court.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no condition was attached to the order of the court for the release of both detainees.”

He insisted that the secret police was aggravating the felony of contempt of court by asking sureties, who had been verified by the trial court to report in its office for an illegal verification.

Falana added, “On that occasion, the SSS never asked our sureties to report after they had been verified by the trial court.

“I demand for nothing less for my clients under the current political dispensation which ought to be anchored on the rule of law.”

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Court orders Gov Ben Ayade to conduct local government elections



A High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State capital, presided over by Hon Justice E. Ita has ordered Governor Ben Ayade to conduct local government elections in the State.

The Court in a Suit No: HC/514/2018 filed by the APC through their Lawyer, Chief (Barr) Utum Eteng against Gov. Ben Ayade and the State Attorney General, frowned seriously on the action of the defendants and stated that there is no alternative to obeying the constitution and the law in the matter of this nature.

The Court held that it is a breach of section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution for Gov. Ayade not to conduct election to usher in a democratically elected Local Government as stipulated by section 7(1) of the constitution and section 2(1) of the CRS Local Govt. Law 2007.

The Court said that more than 3 years after the expiration in December, 2018 of the democratically Local Govt. Councils put in place in December, 2015 by the Gov. Liyel Imoke led State Govt., the Ayade Government has not found it proper to do the needful by conducting Local Government elections into the 18 Local Government Councils in the State.

The Court also held that the representation put in place by APC members, Engr. Obono Onen, Ekaha Effiom, Hon. Polycab Effiom, Rt. Hon. Mkpanam Obo Ekpo and Benedict Lukpata, representing other APC possible Chairmanship candidates to the 18 Local Govt. Councils was in order pursuant to the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2008.

The APC had stated that Gov. Ayade and the CRSG have no constitutional power to stop conducting local government elections in the eighteen local government areas in the state.

The APC was represented by Chief Utum Eteng, who led 2 other lawyers from his chambers, Barr. Jude Otakpor and Ihua-Maduenyi.They commended the Court for being on the side of the clear and unambiguous provision of section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution.

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Nyako vs EFCC: What happened in court on Wednesday



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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