The Court of Appeal sitting in
Benin last Thursday ordered the re-constituted election petition tribunal to
start the petition filed by retired Maj.- Gen Charles Airhiavbere afresh.
Airhiavbere of the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the education qualification of
Adams Oshiomhole to contest the July 14 governorship election in the state. He
joined the ACN, INEC, the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the INEC
Returning Officer, as co-respondents. On September 27, Justice Suleman Ambrusa,
struck out several paragraphs of the pleadings and held that it was a
pre-election issue, which only the regular court had jurisdiction.
Consequently, Airhiavbere appealed against the ruling. In a lead judgment,
Justice Helen Ogunwuniju, upheld Airhiavbere’s appeal, saying that there were
triable issues in the petition. The court held that the tribunal erred in law
to have disqualified itself from entertaining the reliefs that bordered on
Oshiomhole’s education qualification to contest the governorship election. She
held that even though the petitioner had the option of approaching either the
regular court or the tribunal, Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution vested in
the tribunal jurisdiction to entertain it.
The court further held that the Supreme Court had always
warned against dismissing election petitions on technical grounds without
allowing parties to ventilate their issues on merit. She further said that the
tribunal erred in striking out several paragraphs of the petitioner’s pleadings
on grounds that they were scanty. The court held that the appellant’s pleadings
were clear and direct and that the form as stated in the paragraphs been struck
out by the tribunal were the foundation of the appellant’s case. The appeal
court in its judgment, therefore, restored all the pleadings as contained in
the petitioner’s original petition. She further ordered that the Acting
President of the Court of Appeal should reconstitute a new tribunal to hear
Airhiavbere’s petition on its merit. Justice Tom Yakubu, who concurred with the
lead judgment, said that Oshiomhole’s integrity would be enhanced if the issue
of qualification was laid bare and trashed out at the tribunal. Meanwhile, the
court also in a unanimous judgment dismissed Oshiomhhole’s cross appeal against
Airhiavbere’s appeal, holding that it lacked merit. The court described the
cross appeal as a mere academic exercise in view of the earlier judgment
delivered in Airhiavbere’s appeal.
In his reaction, Airhiavbere’s counsel
Aguenede commended the court for the judgment, saying that it would strengthen
the pillars of democracy. The counsel to Oshiomhole and ACN, Mr Omoruyi Omonuwa
and Ken Mozia, said they would study the judgment before taking the next steps.
Five Feared Killed In Fresh Kaduna Attack
A Sunday evening attack by gunmen on Unguwan Magaj community in Kauru Local Council of Kaduna State may have left four indigenes dead and 36 homes torched.
But the bravery of the youths reportedly led to the death of one of the attackers and confiscation of his handset.
Useful information was said to have been retrieved from the phone that had allegedly been handed over to the police.
In a statement yesterday, the National Public Relations Officer of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Luka Biniyat, said: “The invaders, who came by 6:45 pm yesterday (Sunday) from behind the hills that serve as the boundary of Kaduna State and Ganawuri, Plateau State, were numbered over a 100.
“They attacked from four flanks, causing pandemonium among unsuspecting villagers as the youths tried to fend them off.”
He continued: “After about 30 minutes of violence, the following were unfortunately killed: Mrs Hanatu Joseph, 58, mother of five children; Mrs Sarah Sunday, 40, she left behind her husband and six children.
“The others are: Mrs Dije Sajay, 55, married with six children; and Mr Sunday David, 47, married with seven children. He was a retrenched civil servant.”
He noted: “The attackers targeted food stores and bans of grains, making sure they burnt as much as they could. This is to ostensibly cause starvation, especially under this lockdown from the Coronavirus.
“Police and soldiers came into Unguwan Magaji only this morning (yesterday) around 9 am and saw the corpse of the dead herdsman, which they later took away.”
Besides, Biniyat said: “Early this month yesterday, Ibrahim Atiga, 42, a native of Unguwan Magaji, was killed by herdsmen on his way to the farm. He has since been buried.”
COVID-19: Nigerian Correctional Service Receives 2nd Batch Of PPE
The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Lagos State Command, yesterday said the state government had released the second batch of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the service.
The Spokesman of the command, Supt. Rotimi Oladoku, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
The Tide reports that the items donated were hand gloves, face marks, inferred thermometers and sanitisers.
Oladokun said the gesture was part of the preventive measures taken by the state government, especially at custodial centers, to contain the spread of the virus.
“The first set of the PPE was released to the command on March 27 and the command also received the second bath on April 20,” he said.
According to Oladokun, the Lagos State NCoS Controller, Mr Sam Iyakoregha, received the items on behalf of the Controller-General of NCoS, Ahmed Ja’afaru.
“The NCoS thanks the Lagos State government for this tremendous support. The NCoS is well positioned to prevent COVID-19 in the custodial centres,” he said.
I’ll Give Special Attention To Respect For Citizens’ Fundamental Rights – CP …Citizens Set Agenda For Him
The new Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mukan has said that he would give special attention to respect for citizens’ fundamental human rights in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni and made available to newsmen last Monday in Port Harcourt .
The statement said that Mr Mukan would rekindle the people’s confidence in the police and as well reposition the command for efficiency and productivity.
According to the statement, the new Police Commissioner would be expected to work with humility and integrity as part of efforts to command a better police force in the state.
It further revealed that the Rivers police boss has an impeccable track record in crime fighting, thus the trust to make good his promises.
The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, however, through the statement, solicited for cooperation in terms of information sharing from the people in order to help the command to serve them better.
Meanwhile, some members of the public have called on the new Police Commissioner to remain neutral and face his primary assignment of policing.
A Port Harcourt-Based lawyer, Emperor Nnaoma, who spoke in an interview with The Tide , yesterday, said Mr Mukan must pay priority attention to his core mandate of crime fighting, if he wants to succeed in the state.
Nnaoma, recalled that previous Commissioners of Police who went outside their major task never ended well in the state.
In his view, the Eze Oha Evo III of Evo Kingdom, King Leslie N Eke, said the Commissioner should make out time to check the activities of some of his men who allow themselves into chieftaincy issues in the communities.
The Eze Gbakagbaka/Nyerisi Eli Woji, said that such interference has divided the attention of some police officers in the state as they are always tempted to dance to the tune of their pay masters.
By: King Onunwor
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