Court orders DSS, D-G to pay N10m compensation for human rights infringement

An FCT High Court, Apo, on Thursday ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) and its Director-General DSS to pay N10 million compensation to one Kasim Kayode for fundamental rights infringement.

The judge, Justice Peter Kekemeke, ordered the respondents to either charge Kayode to court or releases him unconditionally.

Kekemeke held that the action of the DSS in detaining Kayode since April 10 was unconstitutional, degrading and inhuman.

He said the plaintiff ought to have been charged to court because the respondents did not have power to lock him up for over two months without fair hearing.

The court stated that the right to fair hearing had been breached as provided in Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution which states that very person is entitled to fair hearing.

“In democracy, the law is a king, liberty and freedom of a citizen is being breached when detention is not in accordance with the constitution,” he said.

Kekemeke also said that administrative bail amounted to no bail because only the courts could grant bails in accordance with the law.

He said that Kayode was given administrative bail with condition to produce a level 16 civil servant with a landed property in Asokoro, Abuja, which he could not fulfil.

The judge noted that the 19 paragraph affidavit by Kayode’s counsel, Elisha Oloruntobi, said that he arrested at midnight at his place of work in Lagos by security men from the DSS on April 12.

He, was however, brought to Abuja and had been detained since then.

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Court adjourns Orji Kalu’s trial till Sept. 27

An Abuja Federal High Court on Thursday adjourned former Gov. Orji Kalu’s alleged money laundering trial till Sept. 27.

The judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere, adjourned the case pending an appeal filed by the defendants at the Supreme Court.
Kalu is standing trial alongside, his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and Jones Udeogo, a former Commissioner for Finance in Abia for allege money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned them on a 32-count amended charge of diverting state’s fund as the chief executive officer of the state between 1999 and 2007.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe, said the offences contravened Section 17 (C) of the Money Laundering Act.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Mr Solomon Akuma(SAN), counsel to the third defendant, informed the court of a pending appeal in the Supreme Court.
He, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the proceedings to await the outcome of the appeal.

Although the prosecution opposed the application for adjournment, the court however, granted the third’s defendant’s application.

The judge, consequently fixed Sept. 27 for the defence to report on the status of the appeal and continuation of trial.(NAN)

FG inaugurates Governing Board of the ECOWAS RCDC

In order to increase the surveillance and information system for early detection, strengthening of laboratory capacity, preparedness and emergency response and retention of trained healthcare workforce in West Africa, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has flagged off the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Disease Control (RCDC).

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Governing Board of the RCDC in Abuja, the minister charged members to build upon the existing structures and successes recorded by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Prof Adewole said the Centre was also pilot – testing an open source Surveillance and outbreak response management and analytic system (SORMAS) software that uses smart phones to improve bi-directional communication and management of outbreak, thereby significantly reducing outbreak response time. This, he said contributed to making our health system more resilient and improved response time to health emergencies.

He said the Government’s commitment towards providing the necessary infrastructures for the immediate operationalisation of the ECOWAS RCDC, as contained in the MOU and our acceptance to use Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as a platform for the immediate take of the RCDC.

The Director General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr. Crespin Xavier, said that the Governing council has the difficult task of supervising the activities of the Centre in strict compliance with ECOWAS rules and regulations. due to the rampant outbreaks of disease epidemics in environment with scarce resources. “The stakes are high, the task is difficult but there is no doubt that we have what it takes to deliver best practices for disease surveillance and control which already exist, indeed we have the support  and goodwill of our heads of state and government’’, he said.

Dr. Xavier expressed gratitude to the Government for all the support given to WAHO, for the smooth take off of ECOWAS RCDC in the country and also thanked the technical partners for their support.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Amina Shamaki, represented by Director, Public Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Evelyn Ngige, urged the Governing Board to use their expertise in carrying out the assignment for the overall benefit of the West African populace.

The Members of the Governing Board are:   Dr. Xavier Crespin (DG WAHO) as Chairman of the Governing Board,   Prof. Dagnan N’cho Simplice – ( Cote D’ ivore),  Dr. Badu Sarkodie -(Ghana),  Dr. Placido Monteiro Carddoso – ( Guinea Bissau), Lamine Koivogui – (Guinea),  Dr. Abdoulaye Bousso – (Senegal), Dr. Henri Kabore –  (Mali),  Dr. Carlos Pedrio Faria de Brito – (WAHO), Mr. Richard Awunyo – ( WAHO), Mme Savage Ami Ibrahim – (WAHO) and  Maitre Ely Diallo – (WAHO)

Ex-NAF chief returns N2.6b to FG

The Federal High Court in Lagos heard on Wednesday that a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd), charged with laundering N21 billion, has returned N2.6 billion to the Federal Government.

His lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while arguing Amosu’s bail application after his arraignment before Justice Mohammed Idris, said his client had returned “colossal sums” to the federal government.

The Nation gathered from a reliable source that Amosu returned N2.6 billion to the government.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Amosu alongside a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting at NAF, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget at NAF, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

Companies arraigned with them are – Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil And Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Limited, Deegee Oil and Gas Limited, Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care Limited.

EFCC accused them of converting N21 billion from the NAF on March 5, 2014 in Lagos.

They were also accused of concealing “proceeds of crime” and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable  under Section 17(a).

Arguing the bail application, Ayorinde said his client, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, has always cooperated with the prosecution since his arrest in January and would not jump bail.

“He has remitted colossal sums of money to the federal government, although not in admittance of guilt, but out of cooperation with security agencies.

“My application is that bail be granted to the first defendant on self-recognisance. Let those terms be liberal. He has been reporting to the EFCC, sometimes twice a week.

The first defendant will make himself available for trial,” the Senior Advocate said.

Adigun’s lawyer, Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN), also, urged the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms.

Lagos inaugurates Advisory Council on prerogative of mercy

In its bid to ensure justice for all and sundry, the Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated a nine-member Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem who spoke at the inauguration of the Council at the Conference Room of Ministry of Justice, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, said that the Council was derived from the Nigeria Constitution which provides for the constitution of an Advisory Council and grants the Governor powers to grant clemency to convicted persons on the advice of the Council.

Kazeem said: “Prerogative of Mercy is a right recognised under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); Section 212(2) of the Constitution provides that the powers conferred on the Governor under Section 212(1) shall be exercised by him after consultation with the Advisory Council of the State on the Prerogative of Mercy as may be established by the Law of the State.”

He affirmed that the Governor has approved the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy in response to persistent request of the citizenry of the State, to grant pardon to inmates that have been reformed and ready for re-integration into the society.

The Attorney-General identified the objectives of the State’s justice system to include reform, rehabilitation and re-integration into society of offenders after serving due punishment, adding that members of the Council were appointed based on their individual track records and experience while membership cuts across key sectors of the society.

The new Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy members include Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, a legal practitioner as Chairman; Mrs. Tola Akinsanya, Director, Legislative Drafting, as Secretary; Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, Lagos Attorney-General; Mr. Olugbenga Oniyire, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch; Mrs. Bolatumi Animashaun, NBA Lagos Branch; Mr. Adedotun Adebayo Adetunji, NBA, Ikorodu Branch and Mr. Chris Okoye, NBA, Badagry; Mrs. Musili Onasanya, representative of the State Controller-General of Prisons and Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Ahmed, a clergyman.

The Commissioner said that in accordance with the provisions of the Law, the tenure of the present Council commences from 21st June 2016 and ends on the 28th May, 2019, adding that “however, a member, not being a person employed in the Civil Service of the State, may at any time resign his appointment by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor.”

He therefore implored members to work tirelessly to achieve the set objectives and most importantly ensure that the most deserving inmates are adequately re-integrated into the society.

The Chairman of the Council, Prof. Oyewo thanked the Governor for the appointment and opportunity to serve the State, promising that members will discharge their duties with probity and due process.

Court stops Ogah’s swearing-in as Abia Gov

The ongoing tension in God’s Own State, Thursday, took another dramatic turn, as a High Court sitting in Osisioma, Abia State, issued an injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from issuing a certificate of return to Uchechukwu Ogah who was declared governor by an FCT High Court on Wednesday.

The Court also restrained the Chief Judge of Abia State from swearing him in while ordering status quo to be maintained until pending the determination of motion on notice.

Justice C.H Ahuchaogu in granting the order relied on section 143 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

This came as INEC advanced reasons for its decision to issue a Certificate of Return to Mr Uche Ogah who came second at the last PDP governorship primaries in Abia State.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of the South East, Amb. Lawrence Nwuruku said the commission only kowtowed to the lawful order of a court.

However, responding, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who had filed an appeal against the ruling expressed shock at the hurry at which INEC issued a certificate of return to his rival.

Ikpeazu had in a statement on earlier on Thursday, urged the people of the state to remain calm and law abiding despite the issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah.

Police step up security at Abia Govt House

The Police have stepped up security around the Abia Government House in Umuahia, following report of the issuance of Certificate of Return to Dr Uche Ogah as Governor-elect of the State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the news, which filtered into the state around noon, caused anxiety among residents of Umuahia.

At the city centre, popularly called Isi-gate, some traders, tricycle riders and passersby expressed happiness over the development.

However, the situation was different at the Government House, where political office holders were seen moving hurriedly out of their offices, while workers simply watched.

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who was on his way to deliver an inaugural lecture at the Abia State University, Uturu when the news filtered in, cancelled the event and made a quick return to Aba.

Ikpeazu had operated from the Government House Liaison Office in Aba since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.

NAN learnt that hundreds of Ogah’s supporters have moved to Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport, Owerri, to receive him.

Many other supporters were seen at the Government House main-gate in anticipation of his inauguration.

Attempts to get the reaction of officials of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state on the development were unsuccessful.

The Chairman of the party, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, did not pick calls made to his cell phone