By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja has adjourned to October 23, for ruling on an Ex parte motion urging the court to issue a Bench Warrant for the arrest of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Deputy Governorship candidate, Mr Sam Ranti Abenemi.
The trial Judge, Justice A.S. Ibrahim reserved the ruling after hearing submissions of the State Counsel and Kogi State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Badama Kadiri Esq and Counsel to the Defendant, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN).
In the Case No: HCL/112c/2023 between: The State – Complainant/Applicant and Sam Ranti Abeneml – Defendant, the state government alleged forgery of GCE O’Level certificate against the defendant.
Charged with Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of Forged Record, the SDP Deputy Governorship candidate was said to have tendered a forged 1979 Ordinarily Level Certificate in his Form EC9 submitted to INEC.
The Prosecuting Counsel, said the offence was contrary to Sections 158, 164, 366 and 368 respectively of the Kogi State Penal Code.
According to him, a complaint was written to the Director of Security, Department of State Services (DSS) by one Shaibu O. Abdullahi, the vice chairman, Kogi Central Senatorial District of the SDP.
According to him, Abdullahi had alleged in the “Complaint” that Abenemi presented a forged GCE result to the Independent national electoral Commission (INEC) for the November 11th, 2023, Governorship Election.
The SDP Deputy Governorship Candidate, according to Abdullahi, lied on Oath in his Form EC9 (Substitute) Affidavit in support of particulars, that he obtained the said GCE result.
The Prosecution further submitted that during investigation of the complaint by the DSS, several invitations were extended to the defendant but he failed to honour them.
He said that the case diary was forwarded to the office of the DPP for Legal Advice and the Legal Advice declared a prima facie case of Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of Forged Record against Abenemi.
Kadiri submitted that the Defendant had also refused to appear in court for his trial and went ahead to file the Motion Ex Parte to compel appearance through a Bench Warrant.
The motion, supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Ayegba Momoh, a Litigation Registrar in the state Ministry of Justice prayed the Court to grant an Order issuing a Bench Warrant for the arrest of the Defendant answer the case against him.
He also prayed for an Order of the Court directing all Police Officers, Officers of the Department of State Services (DSS), Officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) or any other person executing the warrant of arrest to apprehend the defendant.
Counsel to the defendant, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), flanked by J.O. Adele (SAN) and 12 other lawyers, told the court that the State was only exhibiting the “Audacity of Arrogance in trying to procure a Bench Warrant against the defendant.”
He said that by the 9th of October when the prosecution were filing the Motion Ex Parte, they had not even served notice on the defendant adding, “As at 9 am when Your Lordship sat, the Bailiff had not been mobilized to effect service.
“If he (Abenemi) had been served, he would have been here. He has nothing to run away from. Granting this motion will be a dangerous precedent to set for criminal jurisprudence.
“Justice is not only for the DPP or Kogi State, it is also for the defendant. Justice hurried is justice denied. We should all flee from appearance of impropriety”, Okutepa cautioned.
The trial judge, Justice A.S.Ibrahim adjourned to October 23, for ruling on the Motion Ex Parte. (Ends)
Appeal Court Sacks Nasarawa speaker
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, the court declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon. Sa’ad Abdullahi Ibrahim (Turakin-Opanda), as the rightful winner of the election for Umaisha/Ugya State Constituency.
Appeal Court affirms Hyacinth Alia’s victory as Benue Governor
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia as declared by INEC after the March 18th, 2023 election as governor of Benue State
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba, had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal that upheld Alia’s election.
At the tribunal, Uba accused Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, of presenting a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)
He also alleged that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.
A three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.
Ruling on the appeal on Monday, the appeal court’s three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode
As long as God remains on the throne our mandate will be preserved, says Mutfwang
Plateau Governor, Caled Mutfwang spoken with confidence that as long as God remains on the throne, the people’s mandate will be preserved and protected as he reiterated his commitment to the rule of law, while assuring the people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mutfwang who was reacting to the Appeal Court judgement that sacked him on Sunday described the verdict as a temporary setback that will not deter him from repositioning the state.
“We have unwavering faith in the judiciary and the Constitution of Nigeria,” he added.
The Governor said he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court, admonishing citizens of the state and PDP supporters to remain calm.
Mutfwang gave the indication in a press statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, expressed optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the citizens would be restored.
Mutfwang polled 525,299 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state, while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes.
Goshwe challenged the victory of Mutfwang at the tribunal, claiming that the Governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his Party, insisting there was non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
Displeased with the judgment, the APC candidate appealed the tribunal judgment.
The appellate court ruling on Sunday, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, held that the PDP did not validly sponsor the Governor during the election.
She held that the Party violated a court order to conduct a valid Congress in that state’s 17 Local Government Areas.
She said there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress before sponsoring the governorship and other candidates.
The court held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter contrary to the tribunal’s findings, which held that the appellant lacked the locus to contest the validity of the respondent.
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