Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Umuahia branch, has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, to redeploy Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jonathan Johnson, from the state for alleged disobedience to court orders.
The Umahia Branch NBA chairman, Amanze Chioma made the call at a Press briefing in Umuahia, Thursday.
He said that Jonathan’s continued stay in Abia State would breed anarchy as his “penchant” to disobey court orders would create room for a lawless society.
Chioma also presented the petition of the NBA to the IGP, urging him to call the Abia CP to order by asking him to obey court orders.
The Umuahia branch NBA chairman said that disobedience to court orders would only create anarchy and lawlessness, adding that in such a society, anybody could be a victim.
The group, in its three-page petition to the IGP dated April 6, 2010 and endorsed by the chairman, Chioma and Secretary, Chief Eze Ihekoronye, gave three instances of alleged disobedience to orders of court by the Abia Commissioner of Police.
According to the NBA, a Magistrate granted bail to one Nze Jossy Nnoduechi in Charge No. U/55C/2009 on December 15, 2009, and after the bail conditions had been perfected, he was released but the CP gave orders for his arrest shortly afterwards on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the accused person bail in that matter.
The NBA also stated that in Suit No. HU/73/2010, an applicant, Sunday John, was granted bail on March 8, 2010. Rather than obey the order after being served, NBA alleged that Johnson hurriedly charged Sunday to a Magistrate Court , six days after being with the Orders of Court and the applicant was remanded at the Federal Prisons in Afara, Umuahia.
Furthermore, the group said that in Suit No.FHC/UM/M/03/2010, the presiding Judge, Justice E.A.Obile ordered the release of one Paschal C. Nwakanma. When Johnson was served with the Order, he ordered for the arrest of the counsel in that matter, Mr U.R.Ndubuka. They stated that NBA had to intervene to save him.
“Sir, these are very few glaring examples of the continued disobedience to Orders of Court by Mr Jonathan Johnson in Abia State . The unrepentant and ever growing addiction to disregard court orders by the Commissioner of Police is a daunting challenge to the administration of justice and shameful confrontation to the Rule of Law,” part of the petition read.
The NBA wrote further: “Sir, while we may approve of calls by the public to prosecute Mr Jonathan Johnson over several disobedience to Court Orders, it is imperative to advise him to desist from his unconscionable policy of detaining persons whose freedom has been declared by the court of Law.
“Jonathan Johnson’s attitude is a stubborn and recurrent problem in access to justice and Rule of Law in a democratic polity and we condemn it and urge you to call him to order in the interest of justice or he may face the wrath of the law he sought to destroy by his worrisome and continued disobedience to Court Orders.”
Reacting, Johnson denied ever disobeying any Order of Court. “I, Jonathan Johnson, I have never, never disobeyed any court orders,” he said as he challenged his accusers to prove their claim.
The Police Commissioner maintained that the NBA has never served him with any court orders or brought his attention to any that has been served on him and he disobeyed same. “Has the NBA chairman ever called me to say Commissioner, you have disobeyed a court order,” he asked.
With this development, Jonathan is the third CP whose removal from Abia was being sought.The first was CP Emmanuel Ezeozue on who the state House of Assembly passed a resolution, calling on the IGP to redeploy because he could not contain the onslaught of Kidnappers.
Same for Edgar Tam Nanakumo, who succeeded Ezeozue. Nanakumo also was apparently overwhelmed by the activities of Kidnappers. Johnson succeeded Nankumo.
Group Urges Police To Apologise To Protesters
The Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), has asked the Nigeria Police to apologise for violating the fundamental right of the protesters to freedom of expression.
A statement by the human rights group yesterday, by its Interim Chair, Femi Falana (SAN), also accused the police of deliberately contravening Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020.
The section provides that “Where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilize personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.”
The group noted that Section 36 of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression including the right to protest against policies of the government.
Many Nigerians in many states across the country trooped out on Saturday, June 12 to mark the day– Democracy Day – with protests against bad governance.
The protesters chanted ‘Buhari must go’ in apparent dissatisfaction with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government that has seen security, economy, youth employment rate and some other sectors and indices worsen.
However, there were arrests and harassment of peaceful protesters by the policex particularly in Abuja, Lagos and Cross River.
The group in the statement said, “For having the audacity to insist on their fundamental right to protest against unpopular policies of governments, teams of armed police personnel fired teargas to disperse the peaceful rallies. As if the unprovoked attack was not enough, the Police brutalised and arrested scores of protesters in Lagos, Abuja and Calabar (Cross River State capital).
“Since the protesters who were arrested during the peaceful rallies did not commit any offence, they have since regained their liberty. But the police authorities ought to apologise for violating the fundamental right of the protesters to freedom of expression.
“More so that the Police had deliberately contravened Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020 which provides that ‘Where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilise personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.’
“While commending the protesters for conducting the themselves in a matured and peaceful manner, we condemn the official lie that the protesters were teargassed to prevent hoodlums and miscreants from hijacking the peaceful rallies. Since the Police admitted that protesters committed no offence whatsoever why were some of them arrested? Why were the so-called hoodlums and miscreants who wanted to cause mayhem and unleash violence on the protesters not arrested?
“Or were they treated like sacred cows because they had been hired to disrupt the peaceful rallies of the protesters? Why were the scanty pro-government protesters who were reported to have fought openly in Abuja over their booty not arrested for breach of the peace in the Federal Capital Territory?
‘MKO Most Acceptable Nigerian Democrat’
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has described the late Chief Moshood Abiola, widely believed to have won the June 12, 1993 presidential poll, as “the most acceptable democrat cherished by Nigerians”.
Mohammed said this in Gamawa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state during the distribution of empowerment items to youths and women under the Kaura Economic Empowerment Programme (KEEP).
He said the empowerment scheme historic as it coincided with Democracy Day which he described as an unforgettable day in the history of Nigeria.
The governor, who was full of praises for the late business mogul, said Abiola provided the country with a lot of empowerment programmes without considering the tribe, language and geographical location of the beneficiaries.
“Our launching of this empowerment programne today is historic and passionate; we remember today is democracy day and we decided to do it on this day.
“This is because Chief Moshood Abiola, who we are celebrating, empowered several people.
“He did that across board without considering the religion, language and origin of those that benefited from the gestures.
“Abiola will remain in our memory as the most acceptable democrat or politician in Nigeria.
“We all voted for him and that is why myself, my deputy and the government decided honour to him this day by coming to Gamawa and Zaki to empower the people,” he said.
Mohammed noted that democracy day meant remembering people who had empowered the masses, adding that the late Abiola was in that category.
The gesture, he said, was also to show appreciation to the people who brought his administration to power, adding that his government had a lot to offer to the people.
Buhari, Bello Greet Abubakar At 79
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated former Head of State, retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on his 79th birthday, joining family members and friends to celebrate with the iconic leader.
The president’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja yesterday.
Buhari noted that Abubakar’s legacy of setting the country on the path of democracy and good governance, and passionate pursuit of peace had continued to yield results.
He congratulated the General for another age, appreciating his patriotism and visionary leadership style of always advocating unity, projecting maturity and wisdom on national discourse, and providing a rallying point for the future of the country.
The president noted the goodwill that the former Head of State had continued to attract to the country, both at national and international levels.
He particularly lauded him for sacrificing his time and resources to reach out to individuals and institutions on the need to work for the growth of Nigeria.
Buhari prayed for increase in wisdom, strength and long life for the former military leader that midwifed return of democracy to the country in 1999.
Similarly, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger has felicitated former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), on his 79th birthday.
Sani-Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel-Berje, last Saturday in Minna eulogised Abubakar and described him as a “complete gentleman”.
According to him, the former head of state is a patriot who has remained “consistent and significant” in the progress and development of the country.
He said Niger and the country were indeed lucky to have an outstanding leader and statesman who had consistently remained on the path of promoting national unity and integration, as well as pursuit of global peace.
“Undoubtedly, your resolve to rededicate yourself to the service of our fatherland and humanity in general is a clear testimony of your statesmanship and influence which cuts across the length and breadth of the country,” Sani-Bello said.
He noted that at 79 years, Abdulsalami had remained a reference point for good governance, diplomacy and conflict resolution.
He prayed Allah to grant him sound health, many more years of wisdom, courage and determination to continue to offer selfless service to the nation and humanity.
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