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Why domestication of Administration of criminal Justice act is long overdue, by Niger Ag CJ

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From Naseer Mijinyawa Minna

The Ag chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik has enumerated benefits of the domestication and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the State
Justice Abdulmalik spoke at a stakeholders forum on domestication and implementation of the administration of criminal Justice act, 2015 state validation public forum held at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna.
She indicated that the domestication of administration of Criminal Justice act, 2015 (ACJA),will assist in ensuring speedy dispensation of Justice in the state
Justice Abdulmalik noted that the passage of the administration of criminal Justice act, will among others address the delay in the administration of criminal Justice, decongest cases in courts and checkmate corruption in the Judiciary.
She called on the Niger State House of assembly to hasten the passage of the administration of criminal Justice act, noting that Niger state is among the few states yet to domesticate the ACJA.
She applauded the MacArthur foundation and the national Secretariat of the Nigerian Bar Association for their commitment to the domestication and implementation of the Administration of criminal Justice act,
Speaking earlier, the Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Minna branch, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar El-Surur, observed that most of the laws in Niger State were obsolete as he called for speedy domestication of the act for quick dispensation of criminal Justice in Niger State.
According to him, no society can survive on obsolete laws as he urged the state house of assembly to as a matter of urgency ensure the speedy passage of the act.
Also speaking the chairman house committee on Judiciary in the Niger State House of assembly Hon. Ahmed Bello Agwara assured that the state assembly is committed to ensuring the speedy passage of the ACJA act in the state.
He disclosed that the ACJA bill has passed the second reading and already at the committee level adding that the house committee on Judiciary will soon call all stakeholders for public hearing for onward passage of the act.
In his remarks at the forum the Dean faculty of law University of Jos, Prof. Alphonsus Alubo,(SAN) observed that the passage of the Administration of criminal Justice act (ACJA) will assist in bringing succour to the criminal Justice system in Niger State and the criminal Justice in the nation’s judiciary system.
He noted that the domestication of the act will among others remedy convictions of offenders explaining that instead of convicting an offender the conviction will be placed on hold thereby decongesting the correctional facilities across the country.
Prof. Alubo expressed Concern over the increasing proportion of inmates on awaiting trial across the correctional facilities in the country describing the trend as unhealthy for the criminal Justice system in the country.
He insisted that the ACJA if domesticated in the nation’s legal system it will go a long way in ensuring the speedy dispensation of Justice “in our courts and reducing cases in courts”
He suggested that the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner Of Justice in the country should take over the prosecution of cases in the lower courts of competent jurisdiction than allowing police to prosecute cases noting that “if police must prosecute in court, the police must have to be a lawyer”

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Law

EFCC to arraign Bello on Thursday over alleged N80.2b money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has indicated it will on Thursday, April 18, 2024 arraign a former governor of Kogi State,  Yahaya Adoza Bello before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The antigraft agency said Bello will be arraigned before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects,  Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19- count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N80, 246,470, 088.88
The arraignment is being perfected following a warrant of arrest and enrolment order granted the EFCC by the court on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. 

Count one of the charges reads: That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, Ali Bello, Dauda Suliman, and Abdulsalam Hudu( Still at large), sometime, in February, 2016, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80, 246,470, 088.88 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity  to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended”.

Count 17 of the charges read: “That you Yahaya Bello between 26th July 2021 to 6th April 2022 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable  Court aided E-Traders International Limited to conceal the aggregate sum of  N3081,804,654.00( Three Billion, Eighty One Million Eight Hundred and Four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira) in account number 1451458080 domiciled in Access BankPlc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.

Count 18  of the charges reads: “That you Yahaya Adoza Bello  sometime in November 2021 in Abuja within the jurisdiction  of this Honourable Court  indirectly procured E-Traders international Limited to transfer  the aggregate sum of $570,330.00( Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand , Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars) to account number 4266644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act”.

“The Commission’s attempt to execute the Warrant of Arrest lawfully obtained against Bello met stiff resistance  on Wednesday,  April 17,  2024.  The security cordon around the former governor’s residence in Abuja was breached by the current Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo who  ensured that the suspect was spirited away in his official vehicle.  
“As a responsible law enforcement agency,  the EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation, waiting for his arraignment on Thursday, April 18,  2024.

“It is needful to state that Bello is not above the law and would be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

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Court bars Ganduje from parading himself as member of APC

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Yhe Kano State High Court has granted an ex parte order restraining the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, from parading himself as a member of the party.

The court ordered that Ganduje must refrain from presiding over all affairs of the National Working Committee of the APC.

The application waa said to have been granted by Justice Usman Na’abba on Tuesday, following an ex parte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’s ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area, the Assistant Secretary, Laminu Sani and Legal Adviser, Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs), who were part of the nine ward executives who suspended Ganduje on Monday.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC, NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee, and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15th,2024 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on April 30th 2024

Justice Na’abba, also held as prayed, stopped State Working Committee APC Kano from interfering with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

The ex parte order read,, “An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (first), APC National Working Committee (second), Kano State Working Committee APC (third), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (fourth), to maintain status quo ante belum as of April 15, 2024.
“The order thereby restraining the first respondent (APC) from recognising the fourth respondent (Ganduje) as a member of APC and prohibiting the fourth respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the fourth respondent (Ganduje}is prohibited from parading himself as a . member of APC or doing any act that may _ portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the
substantive suit.”

Nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of the APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of the AP from the National chairman’s polling unit.

in the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption charges against the
former governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed en April 8, 2024, nine members of the executives, led by the legal adviser, acted upon the petition, a decision that led to Ganduje’s suspension.

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Law

Mambilla Update: Agunloye heads to Appel Court over ruling fundamental rights

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu at the Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a Suit filed by Agunloye in June 2023 to restrain EFCC from harassing him and breaching his fundamental rights because of the ongoing International Arbitration on Mambilla Power Project

The points made by Agunloye in the Civil Suit which had dragged for over nine months had become irrelevant or expired in reality because the EFCC, the Respondent, had, while the case was in progress, declared Agunloye wanted, detained him, maltreated him in detention.
The antigraft agency also arraigned him before another court and remanded him in prison until the court granted him bail.

The court under Justice Egwuatu, however, did not consider the merits of the case largely on the ground that EFCC has the power to carry out its statutory duties and can not be stopped by the Court. On this basis, Justice Egwuatu dismissed the suit and awarded costs.

Agunloye’s lawyers have expressed preparedness in respect of the appeal considering that the court admitted basing its ruling on the suit being “an attempt to use the instrumentality of the Court to shield the Applicant from criminal investigation and to interfere with the statutory authority of the Respondent to investigate crimes or allegations of same in line with the EFCC Act.”

It is believed that the duties of EFCC must be performed in accordance with the law, and the court has the powers to stop any infraction by the EFCC in the course of performance of its duties. Such does not amount to interference with the statutory duties of EFCC but a legal checkmate of its powers to deter likely abuse.

With the Agunloye heading to
appeal against the Judgement, the case is far from being over, and the Court of Appeal will take the opportunity to look at the case extensively.

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