A Major in the Nigeria Army, Akeem Adeerogba Oseni, has slammed a whopping N2 billion suit against the Nigerian Army and the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) for unlawfully freezing his bank account without court order.
The plaintiff in the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja is asking the court to order the two respondents to pay him the sum of N16.6 million being amount allegedly carted away from his private apartment, along with other valuable properties.
The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1104/2021, was instituted by his lawyer Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to own moveable and immovable property, right to dignity and right to fair hearing.
The plaintiff, also wants the court to order the Nigeria Army to remove the Post No Debit (PND) placed on his account and another order compelling FCMB to tender a public apology to him in at least three national dailies for the blatant violation of his fundamental rights without following the due process of the law.
Besides, the Army Officer applied for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, employees, operatives, detectives, servants and privies and investigating officers from further putting his bank on PND without valid court order.
In the grounds for the application, the plaintiff claimed that on February 23, 2017, one Major General I. M. Obot (Rtd), Chief of Staff, Army Headquarters Garrison, allegedly informed him of a jail break involving one Lance Corporal, Benjamin Collins and that he was instructed along with three others to drill the Corporal and relocate him to another detention facility.
He averred that in obedience to the instruction, he and the other three officers drilled the Corporal and that in the process the Corporal died.
Plaintiff further stated that he was put into military trial and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment which he is still serving, while the other three officers who allegedly participated in the drilling of the deceased corporal were discharged and acquitted.
He averred that in his bid to carter for his family, he raised some cheques for withdrawal through one of his friends and that the cheques were dishonoured on the grounds that the Nigerian Army had through a letter allegedly placed a Post No Debit on his account.
He further contended that he committed no offense known to law to warrant the Nigerian Army placing restrictions on his bank account without any valid court order.
Plaintiff further averred that freezing of his account and searching of his apartment without court order and his subsequent dehumanization by the two respondents is illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a blatant violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in section 36, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He therefore prayed the court to declare that freezing of his account, searching of his house and his dehumanization as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
Court of Appeal delivers 7,295 judgements, 3,665 motions in last one year
The president of Court of appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem on Monday disclosed that the court delivered a total of 7,295 judgements and ruled on 3,665 motions during the 2022/2023 legal year.
Justice Dongben-Mensen made the disclosure at the commencement of the 2023/2024 new legal year in Abuja.
She recalled that a total of 98 panels were constituted to hear election petitions cases across the country to handle a total of 1,209 petitions that were filed.
Among the petitions, five were filed at the presidential election petition court and have been concluded, while some of 147 petitions filed at the Senatorial election tribunal have been delivered and 417 petitions from the House of Representatives election are also being attended to.
She also said that a total of 557 petitions associated with the State houses of Assembly, and 83 Gubernatorial Elections petitions are being disposed off, she added that governorship elections petitions were filed in 24 states out of 28 States where Governorship elections took place.
According to the President of the Court of Appeal the Abuja division is currently overwhelmed by voluminous documents and suffers from lack of adequate storage facilities and office space.
The President therefore appealed to the Minister of the FCT to provide a large piece of land for the construction of the Abuja Division.
Bayelsa Governorship election: APC may not have a candidates
Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election slated for November 11, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, strong indications have emerged that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Timpre Sylva and his running-mate, Joshua Maciver, risk disqualification.
This was disclosed on the heels of a suit filed against the defendants, Sylva, Maciver, and INEC, by the plaintiff, Incorporated Trustees of the Trustfield Empowerment Initiative at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The plaintiff in the suit raised issues about Maciver’s jail term still running over a criminal offence, hence the party’s governorship candidate, Sylva does not have a valid running-mate for the election.
The plaintiff also queried INEC to allow Maciver to become a running-mate to Sylva knowing quite alright that Maciver is serving a criminal jail term.
The court summon leaked through an insider working at the court, indicates:
- Whether having regard to the provisions of Sections 175(1), 182(1)(d) and (2)(c) and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) and in view of the conviction of the 2nd Defendant for a sentence of imprisonment, the 1st Defendant does not have any valid candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election?
- Whether having regard to the combined provisions of Sections 175(1), 182(1)(d) & (2)(c) and 187(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended), the recognition and listing of the 2nd Defendant, who is under a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, as the Deputy Governorship candidate of the 1st Defendant in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is illegal, unlawful, null and a gross violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended)?
- Whether upon the community reading of the provisions of Sections 175(1), 182(1)(d) & (2)(c) and 187(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended), the 2nd Defendant having been convicted for a criminal offence with a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, is not eligible to be recognised or listed by the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as the associate of the 1st Defendant for his running for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election?
- Whether in view of the conviction of the 2nd Defendant for a term of imprisonment, his recognition by the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as the associate and running mate of the 1st Defendant for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is not at variance with the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria, null and void ab initio?
WHEREOF the Plaintiff seeks the following Reliefs:
(a) A DECLARATION that in view of the conviction of the 2nd Defendant for a sentence of imprisonment, the 1st Defendant does not have any valid candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
(b) A DECLARATION that recognition and listing of the 2nd Defendant, who is under a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, as the Deputy Governorship candidate of the 1st Defendant in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is illegal, unlawful, null and a gross violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended), null and void ab initio.
(c) A DECLARATION that the 2nd Defendant having been convicted for a criminal offence with a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, is not eligible to be recognised or listed by the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as the associate of the 1st Defendant for his running for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
(d) A DECLARATION that in view of the conviction of the 2nd Defendant for a term of imprisonment, his recognition by the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as the associate and running mate of the 1st Defendant for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is at variance with the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria, null and void ab initio.
(e) AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 3rd Defendant (INEC) by itself, agents, servants, privies or howsoever described from recognising, listing, publishing or in any other manner whatsoever according any recognition to the 2nd Defendant as the associate and running mate of the 1st Defendant for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
When the issue of Locus Standi was raised by one of the journalists, the Lawyers said
THE CASE IN QUESTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PRIMARY ELECTION, NOMINATION OR SPONSORSHIP OF A CANDIDATE IN AN ELECTION. THIS IS WERE THE ISSUE OF LOCUS CAN BE RAISED.”
“IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRIMARY ELECTION OF THE APC CANDIDATE OR SPONSORSHIP OF THE APC CANDIDATE IN THE ELECTION.”
“IT IS PURELY A CASE OF CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION. IT HAS TO DO WITH THE INTERPRETATION OF WHETHER SOMEONE WHO IS UNDER A LEGAL DISABILITY OF A COURT SENTENCE OR IMPRISONMENT CAN VALUDLY BE A RUNNING MATE IN AN ELECTION IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.”
“IT IS PURELY A QUESTION OF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRIMARY ELECTION WHERE A LOCUS NEEDS TO BE ESTABLISHED.
THE CASE BOTHERS ON CORRUPTION.”
“THE CASE ALSO BOTHERS ON INTERPRETATION WHICH MEANS THAT ANYBODY HAS A LOCUS TO APPLY TO THE COURT TO INTERPRETE THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION.”
“AN NGO HAS THE LOCUS TO APPROACH THE COURT TO SEEK IF THE CONSTITUTION IS BEEN VIOLATED VIS-A-VIS THE MATTER.”
BAVCCA backs FCT Chief Judge, debunks corruption allegations
Bloggers and Vloggers, Content Creators Association (BVACCA) has debunked corruption allegations leveled against the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chief Judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf.
The National President, BVACCA, Comrade Ikechukwu Chukwunyere, stated this in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja.
Comrade Chukwunyere pointed out that there was no in-depth investigation before some online media houses reported what they received as allegations from some unknown persons, he described as mischievous and unscrupulous elements.
He said: “When the report of “FCT Judges accuse Chief Judge of stealing multibillion-naira allowances, leaving them vulnerable to bribe traffickers” broke out by some unknown bloggers, as the umbrella body, we immediately set up a 5-Man Committee to ascertain the veracity of the story.
“The Committee’s report came back in the negative, saying that Chief Judge Husseini Baba-Yusuf was innocent of all the allegations.
“We have deemed it fit to debunk claims against the Chief Judge Husseini Baba-Yusuf, over alleged corruption and personnel grievances that posses far-reaching implications for the administration of justice in the nation’s seat of power which are not true as they make Nigerians to believe a lie.
Ordinarily BAVCCA would not have responded to this allegations considering the fact that the allegations are not only false and baseless but the said allegations were levelled by faceless criminals who only embarked on this mission for political purposes and cheap blackmail.
“We have carefully gone through the articles and discovered that no name was mentioned as the source of their information, no Judge was also mentioned as their source and no evidence was even adduced to substantiate the said allegations.
According to him, the correct position with respect to issues raised in the malicious publication are as set out below:
A. ON THE ALLEGATION THAT THE COURT IS RUN LIKE THE PRIVATE ESTATE OF THE CHIEF JUDGE:
The Office of the Honourable Chief Judge in relation to other Judges of the Court is that of first among equals. His Lordship, Honourable Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf is very much aware of this, and therefore has always maintained a very cordial relationship borne out of mutual respect for his brother Judges. In the discharge of his duties, he has always been fair to his brother Judges. He has always ensured that they are given their dues, entitlements, rights, and privileges as at when due, devoid of any segregation in whatever shape or form. His brother Judges have, both in the open and in private meetings, have consistently expressed their satisfaction with the way the Chief Judge relates with them, carrying them along in his efforts at improving justice delivery in the FCT.
No Judge has been accorded any iota of preferential or better privilege than the other. They have all at various times attended trainings, seminars, and conferences due to them within the Court’s financial strength.
However, when the occasion so demands, some Judges of this Court are nominated, not by the Chief Judge, but by either the National Judicial Council (NJC), or National Judicial Institute (NJI) or some foreign organisations for some conferences or trainings, within or outside the country. On such occasions, the only option is for the Hon. Chief Judge to facilitate such travels. On such occasions, it will be preposterous to accuse the Chief Judge of favouritism in any way, having not nominated them in the first place.
B ON THE ALLEGATION THAT THE COURTROOMS ARE WITHOUT SUPPORT STAFF OR EQUIPMENT
In this age of information explosion, ignorance is a choice! On this note, the author of the mischievous publication comfortably opted to travel on the highway of ignorance by his failure and deliberate refusal to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the story of lack of personnel and equipment in the court. If he had done so, he would have realized that the average staff strength of courts, including the Magistrate Courts, is not less than ten (10) persons per court, excluding drivers and cleaners. In some courts, there are over twenty (20) personnel. So, the lack of court personnel or paralegal staff has never been a challenge of this court.
Also, every Judge of this Court has officially been given a laptop, installed with law pavilion software and duly supported with periodic updates, the relevant laws, rules and regulations of all levels of courts in Nigeria, as well as that of other jurisdictions in the country.
C. ON THE ALLEGATION THAT THE HON. CHIEF JUDGE “STOLE” FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE MILLION NAIRA (N495, 000, 000:00) FROM THE MARRAKESH TRIP ALONE:
One of the spurious allegations in the malicious publication was that the sum of FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS ($15, 000:00) was allocated to each of the 58 Judges for the trip to Marrakesh in Morocco, but that the Chief Judge released only the sum of THREE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($3, 500:00) to them, “pocketing” the rest, and therefore “stole” the sum of N495, 000, 000:00 therefrom.
There are pertinent questions that any reasonable person ought to ask in this regard: how much is a Judge of a High Court in Nigeria entitled to as Estacode for foreign travel? Is it possible for the sum alleged in the publication as Estacode to pass through the National Judicial Council (NJC), Budget Office, or the National Assembly without being queried and stopped?
The simple truth is that no such sum was allocated or approved for the Judges’ trip to Morocco, and no such amount was released to or stolen by anyone. In fact, the total sum allocated to the entire High Court of the FCT for both foreign and local trips for all Judges, the Chief Registrar, Directors, Magistrates, as well as the entire staff of the Court for the whole budget year, 2023, is far less than THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION NAIRA (N350, 000, 000:00). Therefore, even in the unlikely event that no Judge, Chief Registrar, Director, Magistrate or court staff ever went for any training for the year, and all the money was given to the Chief Judge, it will not amount to the sum of Four Hundred and Ninety Five Million Naira (N495,000,000:00) for which he has been accused of “stealing”.
If this is so, how possible is it for the Hon. Chief Judge to have stolen what never existed in the first place, if not for reasons best known to mischief makers bent on tarnishing His Lordship’s image for no just cause? The undisputable fact is that no single Kobo was “stolen” as false alleged by the mischievous publication. The Hon. Chief Judge never tampered with the Judges’ Estacode or any money whatsoever. The Chief Judge was paid his Estacode for the Morocco trip just like other Judges.
“Therefore, from our independent investigations and findings, we observed with keen interest that the stories and reports put out there are all tissues of lies and baseless.
“That the allegation against Honourable Justice Baba-Yusuf milking Judges’ meagre allowances, leaving their courtrooms without support personnel, equipment and luring them to bribe, is untrue as he remains committed to prioritizing the welfare of Judges in Abuja.
“That It is unfortunate, some of these publications were hurriedly put together and some news media ran with them without doing due diligence through investigation to verify and balance their reportage.
The BVACCA president, however, maintained that the allegations against Chief Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf have never been verified and authenticated anywhere and anytime; rather they are deliberately cooked up by some unscrupulous elements who do not mean well for our judiciary.
“Therefore, BAVCCA as the umbrella body of all Bloggers, Vloggers and Content Creators frown at the fact that members of our body should be used as tools in the hands of cheap blackmailers who thrive in peddling unsubstantiated information in the media. Bloggers who allow themselves as agents of these false news shall be penalized”, he said.
He called on Nigerians to discard this cheap blackmail from persons who are out to defame the Chief Judge of FCT, who has positively transformed the judiciary and repositioned it for high productivity.
“That Honourable Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf is a go-getter, who has transformed the image and the integrity of the Judiciary, therefore, he has attracted local and international recognitions and awards.
“Itis on record that nobody has written any petition against Chief Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf to the National Judicial Council since 1998 when he was appointed as a Judge in Federal Capital Territory High Court. Hence, he is committed to making adjudication of Justice pure and unadulterated.
“He has been able, through his proactive and pragmatic steps to improve the sanity and independence of the judiciary.
“Members of the Bench, Bar and Judiciary staffs have showered encomium on his sterling performance since he took over the helm of affairs of the Judiciary in the FCT.
“A disciplinary committee has been set up to investigate erring members and appropriate punishment.
” BAVCCA assures Nigerians that we will continue to uphold the true tenets of Journalism, we also assure them of our impartiality in the delivery of duties to the Nigerian public”, he said.
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