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Prisons decongestion: Stakeholders commend Kogi CJ



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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in Kogi State have commended the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Hon. Justice Josiah Majebi, for the decision to embark on decongesting prisons in the state.

The commendation was conveyed at the Judiciary headquarters in Lokoja when the CJ hosted and informed them of his plan to embark on the exercise in the coming weeks.

The stakeholders comprising the Ministry of Justice, the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Correctional Service, Legal Aid Council, DSS and the Nigerian Bar Association appreciated the Chief Judge for the decision.

They however, noted that the exercise was long overdue saying that the last prison decongestion exercise was over two years.

The body said conducting the exercise would bring succour to some awaiting trial inmates as the major beneficiaries adding that they usually look forward to it.

Justice Majebi had told the stakeholders that despite the High Court’s lean purse, the law provides that prisons be periodically visited and decongested by the Chief Judge.

He said that the exercise was to make respite come the way of Awaiting Trial Inmates who might have been groaning in jail as a result of wrongful detention.

He said the exercise, which would be undertaken at the expense of other needs due to financial paucity, would include for the first time, review of cases of those awaiting trial at the Family Courts level.

“We have critically looked at our situation but have decided to make sacrifices on behalf of our wrongfully detained citizens in the prisons.

“We have decided to decongest the prisons and this depends and logistics which means funding. We have said on different occasions that after the payment of salaries and Judges allowances, the court barely subsists.

“However, we have chosen to suspend every other administrative need this time so as to discharge two fundamental duties of the High Court which are prisons decongestion and appeals sittings.

“So, we said if what is left after payment of salaries and allowances can accommodate them we will try to conduct them”, he said.

Majebi commended the state Ministry of Justice for charging offenders to court promptly unlike what it used to be.

He expressed delight that the Ministry was being proactive saying that the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Kogi State, 2017 stipulates time within which offenders must be charged to court.

Majebi said non-compliance with the timeframe would make it particularly difficult for Magistrates who must act within the provisions of the law.

On the fate of the Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee which was inaugurated by the late Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah, but had remained dormant, the CJ revealed that the committee would soon be made functional.

“Immediately I came in, I identified the committee as one of the mechanisms of administering criminal justice in the state. But when I asked if it was functioning, I was told it has not even met for once due to lack of fund.

“So, we are working along with the Attorney-General of the state and other relevant organs and we have included it in our proposal to His Excellency.

“So as soon as funding is made available, the committee will commence its activities immediately”, he added.

The stakeholders pledged to make the exercise fruitful and commended the CJ for the timing of the exercise.

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Appeal Court upturns decision barring Abure, 3 others from acting as LP National executives




Julius Abure
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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reversed the decision of the FCT High Court, which dismissed the objection raised by Barr. Julius Abure challenging his removal as chairman of the Labour Party (LP).
The Court also placed a fine of One million naira (N1,000,000) on the respondents.

Recall that Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court, Abuja on May 13, 2023, dismissed the preliminary objection by Abure after a rulling on an ex-parte application which restrained him and three others; Farouk Ibrahim, Clement Ojukwu, and Oluchi Opara, from acting as national executives of the party.

The suit marked CV/2930/2023 was instituted by Martins Esikpali John, Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, John Elomah and Ayobami Arabambi.

The plaintiffs told the court that the defendants forged several documents of the court to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last elections.

Abure through his lawyer, Alex Ejesieme, filed a preliminary objection against the suit, saying that an allegation of forgery against his clients cannot be brought before the court by way of an originating summon.

Ejesieme alleged that the plaintiffs are not members of the LP and therefore, lack the locus standi to institute the suit, adding that the matter borders on the internal issues of the party which the court cannot interfere with.

Justice Muazu held that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter even though it relates to the party’s internal affairs, as there would have no need to interfere, had the party been at peace.

He added that the plaintiffs were right to have instituted the case by originating summons and subsequently restrained Abure and his executives from acting as National officers of the party.

Dissatisfied, Abure proceeded to appeal the judgement, seeking determination whether the lower court was right in the dismissal of his preliminary objection to his removal National Chairman.

Delivering the Lead Judgement on Wednesday, Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, held that the appeal filed by Abure was meritorious and set aside the earlier judgement of the lower court.

Justice Barka held that the process applied by the lower court is incompetent as it wrongly assumed jurisdiction over the case.

He said that issues bothering on forgery, perjury and conspiracy are unproven and deals with serious issues of fact, so the suit should not begin with an originating summon.

The judge also held that the lower court was wrong to interfere in the internal affairs of the political party.

“The party is in its own right Supreme over its affairs, the court will not enforce its own will over that of the political party” Justice Barka held.

The court also held that no ward executive has the power to suspend a National officer of a political party dully elected by the National delegation, adding that such powers are exclusive to the National body.
Justice Barka therefore held that the appeal has merit and set aside the decision of the lower court.

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Appologise or face court action, Nwoko tells senator Abbor over Bribery allegation




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Former lawmaker who represented Adamawa North in the Senate, Senator Elisha Abbo has been directed to apologize to the Appeal Court President, Justice Chioma Iheme and the entire judiciary over the allegations of bribery or be prepared to face court action for false allegations.

Senator Abo, had accused the President of the Court of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensen, of collecting bribes.

He said the Court of Appeal has become a “cash and carry point” while calling some judges “judicial bandits.”

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom state, Uwemedimo Nwoko, insists that the former senator must either be prepared for court action to establish his bribery allegations or tender apologies for making unsubstantiated allegations.

He further notes that the former lawmaker has not produced any evidence to substantiate his allegations of bribery against the judiciary.

On 1st February Abbo in at a press conference accused the President of the Court of Appeal and others of taking bribes in the judgment that ousted him from the Senate.

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Fubara: Clark expresses excitment, says he could not sleep even with sleeping pills




Chief Edwin Clark
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Elderstates man and leader of the Ijaw nation Edwin Clark has reacted to the Supreme Court judgement that affirmed Siminalaye Fubara as duly elected Governor of Rivers State.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday he said his joy knows no bound to hear that the Governor has been affirmed.
“I could not sleep on Wednesday even with my sleeping medicines when it was announced that the judgment on Rivers State Governor election will be on Thursday, we thank God for the judgment and victory, I had expected it to be this way.

“You can imagine my joy, many years ago some of us practicing Lawyers we almost lost confidence in the Judiciary as the cases were going but I always believe that once there is a good leadership in the Supreme Court.
“Our Supreme Court is one of the best in the World.
“Cases of interference and so on. There may be some but they are not many, they are very few. So last night when it was announced that Rivers State Supreme Court judgement would be given today, I tried to sleep but couldn’t. And I took my normal sleeping tablets I couldn’t, then I knew something was worrying me.
“So this morning I stayed in bed waiting for the judgement to be announced. 10am there was nothing but not long after that, they said Tonye Cole petition has been dismissed for lack of evidence so I jumped up and shouted Halleluia but I knew he was going to win because almost every petitioner had withdrawn his case except the APC candidate chief Toye Cole.
“It was not easy to convince him, he was thinking he could win but God makes governors, God makes Presidents. God has made Fubara the Governor of Rivers State for the first four years and he will be re elected for his second term to complete his 8years.
“He has won, Nigerians like him, I listened to all commentries, even though he knew that it was unconstitutional going against the voice of the people and court process in order to brocker peace, he made series of sacrifices which he should not have made.
“He took an oath to keep the constitution of Nigeria
However, it is all over now. The 27 members of the Rivers state House of Assembly who lost their their seats when they moved to APC, their seats remain vacant until INEC conducts another set of elections and if they want go and face it they would be defeated because they are not sincere, they are not patriotic, they are not original in their minds.
“27 persons being pushed around by an individual, what a shame.
It is unconstitutional because a Governor cannot sign a budget and go to represent that budget before people who have been disqualified as members of the House.
In another statement he personally signed he said,
“With a grateful heart to God Almighty, and on behalf of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), I congratulate His Excellency, Siminalaye Fubara, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, on his victory at the Supreme Court today, 25th January, 2024.
“Now that all legal tussles are settled, it is my prayer and hope, that the Governor Fubara will settle down to carry out the task of governance in Rivers State, which the people has elected him to. I implore him to extend the olive branch to all opponents.
“On a lighter note, with full authority now to sign with the red pen, I sincerely hope that he will not disappoint his supporters, all who stood for him and all Rivers State people; that he will also bring together every one, for the good and best interest of the State.
“May the good Lord bless him and give him the courage and understanding he will need to perform his duties to the satisfaction of the people of Rivers State and indeed to Nigerians.
In the same vein, he also congratulate Agbu Kefas, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, on his victory at the Supreme Court, today”

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