An Abuja high court sitting in Kubwa district has summoned President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it to give evidence in the case of alleged forgery of presidential directives’ bromide published in LEADERSHIP newspaper of April 3, 2013.
Justice Usman Musale had issued a summons (subpoena ad testificandum) dated July 15, 2013 to the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria courtesy of Federal Ministry of Justice headquarters, Maitama, Abuja.
The subpoena , which was sequel to the request of the lead lawyer to LEADERSHIP journalists, Mr. Femi Falana, stated that the president should appear before the court “from day to day until the cause is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the accused persons and also to bring with you and produce at the time and aforesaid the purportedly forged document titled ‘presidential directive’ having on it the seal of the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria published on the front page of Leadership newspaper of 3rd day of April, 2013.”
The Federal Government, had on June 27, 2013 re-arraigned two LEADERSHIP journalists namely, group news editor, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and senior correspondent , Mr. Chibuzo Ukaibe on an alleged 11-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery.
The journalists were, however, granted bail by the trial judge, having pleaded not guilty and the court consequently adjourned the case to July 16, 2013 for hearing.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, the lead lawyer to the Federal Government, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) told the court that he was ready to go on with trial, but Falana informed the court that a subpoena personally signed by the trial judge was served on the Presidency via the Ministry of Justice.
Falana also told the court that he had filed a motion on notice asking for an order of the court to suspend further proceedings in the matter indefinitely (sine die) to await the end of the term of President Jonathan to enable him to testify as a witness for the accused persons/applicants.
Falana premised his motion on the grounds that the fundamental right of the accused persons to fair hearing could not be observed by the trial court as their application for the issuance and service of subpoena ad testificandum on President Jonathan had not been granted by the court.
He anchored his submission on the grounds that the fundamental right of the accused persons to fair hearing could not be observed by the trial court as their application for the issuance and service of subpoena ad testificandum on President Jonathan had been granted by the court.
According to him, by virtue of section 308 of Nigeria’s constitution, the court lacks the power to issue and cause to be served, a subpoena ad testificandum on the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces to testify as a witness for the accused persons in this case.
“The accused persons are inhibited from obtaining the attendance of the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to testify as a witness for the accused persons in this case.”
The prosecutor, Chief Awomolo, however opposed the application, which he said was not ripe for hearing. He observed that the defence should wait for the prosecution to try its case and then raise the issue of their star witness when it gets to the turn of the defence.
He asked the court to allow him to call his witnesses for the commencement of the trial while Falana could later bring the issue of calling the president as a witness after he might have concluded the case.
The judge informed the parties that he needed time to deliver his ruling and consequently adjourned the matter till today to rule on whether or not Falana’s motion was ripe for hearing.
“I feel that this is not a matter that I can rush into ruling; for this reason this matter is adjourned to July 17 for ruling; ruling shall be made by 11a.m. and the bail of the accused is extended,’’ Justice Musale said.
The judge had earlier stood down the matter for close to one hour to consider the motion before the adjournment.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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