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Rivers guber: Judgement day for APC as Supreme Court rules Tuesday

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday deliver judgements in about six appeals by factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

The appeals followed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Port-Harcourt, which upheld the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State which voided the primaries conducted by the faction loyal to Rotimi Amechi and the other loyal to Senator Magnus Abe.

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour scheduled judgment after arguments, on Monday, from lawyer to the faction loyal to Amaechi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Henry Bello, who represented the faction loyal to Abe.

Fagbemi and Bello argued the appeal filed by the APC, in which the court said it will give judgment on Tuesday, and which will be binding on the other appeals.

Fagbemi urged the court to void the judgement of the High Court on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertains the suit on which the judgment was given.

He contended that since the trial court had no jurisdiction it’s judgement in the matter amount to a nullity and should be set aside.

Fagbemi urged the court to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and give final judgement to end the multiple cases arising from the rivers state APC primary election.

Bello, in his counter-argument, urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it has become a mere academic exercise in view of an earlier decision by the court.

He contended that by the decision of the court on February 8, 2019 which upheld the order of the High Court, restraining APC in Rivers State from conducting any primary election, the current appeal by APC had died and should be buried.

Bello told the court that the respondents, led by Ibrahim Umar, who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the Constitution in the manner the APC conducted its pre-election matters in Rivers, had secured a consent judgement in their favour, a judgment, he insisted, still stands.

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Business

Tunde Ayeni: Judge blasts EFCC for misleading court in ex-Skye Bank Chairman’s case

An FCT High Court Maitama on Tuesday, set aside an order it earlier granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to detain a former Chairman of the defunct Skye Bank, Tunde Ayeni for 14 days.

Justice Yusuf Halilu, setting aside the order, said that the EFCC had suppressed facts which, misled the court into earlier granting the application, thereby, making the detention illegal.

According to NAN, Justice Halilu held that the Court was not aware of all the facts presented by the applicant and which the EFCC could not deny.

“Having considered all the facts before the court, it is clear that the commission suppressed facts to mislead the court.

“If indeed there is a fresh petition against the applicant, and a pending matter is before the Federal High Court, the respondent needs not a remand order, but to apply to amend the charge in which it is prosecuting the applicant.

“By coming for a remand order, the respondent had come to tamper with the sacred right of the applicant, which he enjoys. I wonder

“On this note, I hereby set aside the earlier remand order and order the immediate release

Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN Ayeni’s counsel had approached the court seeking his release from the EFCC custody.

The anti-graft agency had last week approached the Court through an ex-parte application seeking a 14 day remand order of Ayeni.

The EFCC had premised the request for a remand on a need to investigate a petition submitted by the Office of the Vice President in respect of his alleged roles as the Chairman of the defunct Skye Bank.

The court then granted the said ex-parte application.

In his submissions, Raji argued that the application is challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the action of the Commission.

He informed the court, of a pending suit before the Federal High Court against the applicant on the same subject matter and that the trial judge at the Federal High Court, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had in the particular case admitted him to bail.

He added that the bail condition had since been perfected

Raji added that the detention of the applicant was a breach of his fundamental human right as he went to the Commission by himself on invitation.

He further submitted that anti-graft agency purportedly admitted the applicant to administration bail on a non -realizable terms, which amounts to “giving bail with one hand ,and collecting it back with the other hand”.

Raji argued, that the subject matter in which the applicant was detained centers around Skye bank issue which is already before the Federal High Court.

He however prayed the court to set aside the remand order and release the applicant.

In his response, respondent counsel, Mr. A.I Audu opposed to the application on ground that the subject matter of which the applicant is being detained was fresh quite different from the that of the matter before the Federal High Court.

He added that asides the petition submitted by the Office of the Vice President, the acting Chairman of the Commission also received a petition against the applicant from a Non Governmental Organization.

He however added that the applicant was invited based on the petition that he received about N8 billion from CBN to buy over Union Homes.

Audu further submitted that the applicant has been giving useful information to the Commission but fell ill along the way and he was consequently taken to the hospital.

He added, it is the illness of the applicant that prompted the Commission to seek for an order to further remand him to complete the investigation.

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Law

Nigeria elections: INEC and Police dragged to court

An activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, on Tuesday urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to declare as unlawful, the restriction of vehicular and people’s movements during elections.

Omirhobo and his non-governmental group, Incorporated Trustees of Malcolm Omirhobo Foundation are the first and second applicants in the suit.

NAN reports that they are suing for themselves and on behalf of the Nigerian public.

Joined as first and second respondents in the suit are the Inspector-General of police and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

In his originating motion, brought under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, the applicant is seeking a declaration that the restriction of movement of citizens nationwide, during the 2019 general elections, is a flagrant violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of movement.

He avers that it is a violation of the fundamental rights of the Nigerian public, to freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of expression as guaranteed by Sections 39, 40, 41, and 46 of the constitution.

He says it is therefore, illegal, unlawful, undemocratic and unconstitutional.

The applicant also seeks a declaration that the police have no power under the laws of Nigeria, to breach the fundamental rights of the Nigerian public to freedom of movement, association and expression nationwide as they are guaranteed by the constitution.

Omirhobo seeks a declaration that the restriction of movement during the election, is not a law and that there is no law in force which is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society to warrant a derogation of the rights of citizens.

The lawyer, therefore, seeks an order of court, restraining the first respondent, his servants, agents or privies, from enforcing or implementing the restriction of vehicular movement of the Nigerian Public nationwide, during the conduct of elections.

He also seeks an order for the enforcement of his fundamental rights and those of the Nigerian public, against the respondents.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the originating motion.

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Nigeria Election: Buhari death threat to ballot box snatchers unconstitutional – Ozekhome

Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat that people who snatche ballot box during the elections will lose their lives.

Buhari said this during the national caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was quoted saying, “snatch a ballot box at the expense of your life”.

Ozekhome, reacting,bdescribed the President’s statement as unconstitutional, unpresidential and usurping the powers of INEC and the Police

He said Buhari’s statement shows “his extreme desperation and panicky mindset.”

Ozekhome in a statement made available on Monday pointed out that Section 129(4) of the Act already stipulates 24 years imprisonment for anyone who snatches ballot boxes at an election.

The statement read: “Section 131 of the Electoral Act on the other hand prescribes N1 million fine or 3 years imprisonment for anyone who directly or indirectly inflicts injury on others, or causes harm, violence, or uses duress and undue influence for the purpose of winning an election

“This statement, to say the least, is not only outrageously unpresidential, but it shows his extreme desperation and panicky mindset.

“For the records, it is the president’s own APC party that has so far been involved, to the knowledge of the whole world, in bizarre acts of electoral malpractices during their primaries, leading to an implosively divided party of disparate and inchoate tendencies”.

“All over the world presidents are known to be extremely cautious and restrained, even when others do not.

“This is because a president is supposed to approximate the highest ideals, morals and nobility of the national psyche, ethos and consciousness.”

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