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Law/Judiciary

Rights Of Children Born Out Of Wedlock

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Section 42 (2) of the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides thus, No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth. This provision of the constitution provides for equal right for children born in a lawful wedlock and those born out of wedlock. The Supreme Court in the case of Salubi V. Nwariaku (2003) NWLR (Pt 819) endorsed this provision of the constitution, which it held that children of the deceased who were born within a lawful wedlock and the children born out of wedlock are entitled to equal shares to the properties of the deceased.
A child born out of wedlock has a right to apply for letter of administration, Section 26 (1) of the Administration of Estate law, laws of Lagos State, Volume 1, Cap A3, 2003 provides that “In granting administration the court shall have regard to the rights of all persons interested in the estate of the deceased person or the proceeds of sale thereof ….. and any such administration may be limited in any way the court thinks fit”. Note that the children born out of wedlock fall within the category of persons interested. And based on the above provision of the Constitution, he cannot be denied his right based on the circumstances of his birth, i.e, his right of applying for letter of administration. In Chief J.L.E Duke V. Rev (Dr) Peter Etim Duke (2014) LPELR -23095 (CA), the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the trial court where it granted letters of administration in respect to the deceased to both the apellant and respondent. Although the appellant, who was born within the lawful wedlock of the deceased, had contended that the respondent was not entitled to a grant of the letter of administration because he was born out of an adulterous relationship. The court held that, that was not enough ground to refuse the respondent his right to be appointed as an administrator to his late father’s estate.
Also in Mgbodu V. Mgbodu (2015) 12 NWLR (pt 1474) 415, the Court of Appeal held that a child born out of wedlock must not be prevented from partaking in the sharing of his deceased father’s estate. In the words of His Lordship, Bolaji-Yusuff, JCA, “it has long been established that in this land, Nigeria, once a father acknowledges the paternity, of a child whether born in or out of wedlock, the child is regarded as a legitimate child and is entitled to share in the estate of his/her father… This custom has now received Constitutional approval through Section 42 of the 999 Constitution (as amended) …..
It is also important to note that letters of administration can be set aside for the non inclusion of children born out of wedlock, as was the case in Mgbodu V Mgbodu (supra). It is advisable for the adoption of consensual approach in the administration of the estate and distribution of the assets of the deceased since both parties have equal right in the face of the law.

 

Nkechi Bright Ewere

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Law/Judiciary

Fish Farming’ll Reduce Cultism, Crime – NFAN

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The National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN), South-South region, has said that a venture into agriculture particularly fish farming would help to curb the rising spate of cultism, pipeline vandalisation and other related crimes not only among youths but Nigerians.
The National Vice President, National Fish Association of Nigeria, South/South Zone, Comrade Billy Prekunoma-a Thankyou, stated this at the one-day NFAN South/South Zonal Summit at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) House, Port Harcourt, recently.
Thankyou, who regretted that the agricultural sub-sector, fish farming, had long been neglected and abandoned noted, however, that the sector has the capacity of generating millions of jobs across the nation thereby engaging the youths and idle-minds and reducing the violence and crime pervading the region and nation at large.
Thankyou, who recalled the recent outcry by the inhabitants of the zone on the upsurge of soot said it was due largely to the activities of youths involved in illegal refining of crude oil popularly known as bunkering.
According to him, fish industry is one major vista of hope for replacing Artisanal Refining and its attendant problems of health challenge and economic sabotage.
The Vice President, South/South Zone of NFAN maintained that the association was living up to its mandate and urged the government of the z\one to work in synergy to create a wealthy, healthy and crime-free region through the strengthening of weak agricultural institutions and better policy framework to enable the youths start up micro and macro-businesses within the region.
“By doing this, the issue of cultism, pipeline vandalisation, artisanal refining and soot would be laid to rest permanently within the region, he said.
In attendance were the representative of the BoT, NFAN, Mr Tanko Osamwonyi, from Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mrs Hajara Abdulahi, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Martina Usang, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Mike Asebake Brooks, University of Port Harcourt, Dr (Mrs) Nene Jamabo, HOD, Fisheries, River State University, Prof. Deekae Suanu, Head DFO, CNB, Mrs A. O. Osuya and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Port Harcourt, Mr Goodluck Nwoko and other dignitaries from Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State, Delta State and Bayelsa State. Also Assistant National Organising Secretary, NFAN, Mrs Mary Onota-Akemu, National PRO, NFAn, Chief Mazi Okoh and National Vice President, South East, Mr Patrick Mbah.

 

Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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Court Orders Military To Pay N20m Damages To LG  Boss, Two Others

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A State High Court sitting in
Port Harcourt has ordered the Nigerian Army to pay the sum of N20 million as damages to the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Council, Mr Roland Sekibo  and two others for harassment during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Tide gathered that the  Nigerian Army  had raided the homes of Roland Sekibo, Tobins Tobins and Damiete Dokubo during the 2019 Presidential election and declared same wanted  over allegations of sponsoring hoodlums to truncate the electoral process to favour the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
The judgment was delivered  Monday by Justice Gorge Omerji in Port Harcourt.
The court  declared that the actions of the military against the three persons were anti-democratic, thus the reason for the judgment.
Hon. Justice Omereji condemned the military for issuing a statement indicting the Executive Chairman of Council,  Mr Sekibo and the others as masterminds of events that occurred on the 23rd of February, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly polls.
According to the learned judge, it was wrong for the military to have  issued a statement, declaring the three persons wanted without the opportunity  of fair hearing.
Omereji, however, ordered the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff to pay the sum of N20 million, as damages for the raid of the private homes of the parties.
In a chat with newsmen,  Counsel for  Roland Sekibo, Mr  Ibim  Dokubo,  pointed out that the judgment of the court so far,   had proven that his client  and the two others were innocent when they participated  in the general elections.
“It gave a clear landmark judicial pronouncement, stating that the event of the 23 of February  which happened in the course of the general election as it applied to Roland Sekibo, Tobins Tobins and Damiete Dokubo were an infringement on their fundamental human rights.
“The court granted all the prayers we sought and condemned in clear terms the involvement and actions of the military in the electoral process. The sum of 20 million naira was awarded in favour of all the applicants as against the military.
“This means that our clients were not wrong in participating in the election, but it was undemocratic for the military to have arrested them and invaded their homes in any manner.”, he said.
The  counsel for  the First and Second respondents, Nigerian Army and the General Officer Commanding the 6 Division Port Harcourt and the Chief of Army Staff,  Mr Samuel Edewede, hinted  that the Army would appeal the judgment.
”The judgment went against us and the court resolved that my clients carried out the act complained about by the applicants. We do not feel satisfied because we have said we were not election agents. In this era when people go about with military uniform and carry military guns and carry out acts, but court agreed with them that it was the military,” he  stressed.

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Body Wants Effective Enforcement Of Correctional Service Act

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Executive Director, Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Dr Uju Agomoh, yesterday called for effective enforcement of the Correctional Service Act, for better service delivery.
Agomoh, who said this in an interview with The Tide in Abuja, described the prisons change of name as long-awaited.
The Tide reports that bills sponsored by eight senators and members of the House of Representatives were harmonised to give birth to the Nigerian Correctional Service Bill.
The lawmakers include Senators Shaaba Lafiaji, Oluremi Tinubu, Babajide Omoworare and Gershom Bassey, while their House of Representatives counterparts were Henry Nwawuba, Ochiglegor Igagbor, Danburam Abubakar and Johnbull Shekarau.
The draft harmonised bill of the 8th Assembly was reviewed by the Committee of Interior of the Senate in April 2018 and July 2018.
In early August, the president assented to the bill in early August.
According to Agomoh, enforcement of the act would change the notion that it was meant to punish offenders, rather than correcting them.
“You will agree with me that sending one to a prison is already a punishment. But what is important is that while the person is there, we should be able to reduce the chances of that person committing the same offence when out of the service.

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