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Fair Hearing

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Fair hearing is a trial conducted according to
all legal rules formulated to ensure that justice is done to the parties. It also entails doings in the course of trials, whether civil or criminal trial, all the things which will make an impartial observe, leave the court room to believe that the trial has been balanced and fair on both sides to the trial. An appellant’s right to fair hearing has been given a wider scope by the provisions of section 36 (6) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides thus; Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to:
a) Be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence.
b) Be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.
c) Defend himself in person or by legal practitioners of his own choice
d) Examine, in person or by his legal practitioners, the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court or tribunal and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court or tribunal on the same conditions as those apply to the witnesses called by the prosecution, and
e) Have, without payment the assistant of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial of the offence.
In the case of Alhaji Isiyaku Mohamm v. Kano Nature Authority (1968) I All NLR 424 at 426, Ademola CJN stated as follow;
“It has been suggested that a fair hearing does not mean a fair trial. We think a fair hearing must involve a fair trial, and a fair trial of a case consists of the whole hearing. The true test of a fair hearing, it was suggested by counsel, is the impression of a reasonably person who was present at the trial whether from is observation, justice has been due in the case…”
The Supreme Court in the case of Effion v. State 91995) NWLR (pt 373) 507.
It prescribed the essential elements of fair hearing as follows: easy access to court, right to be heard, impartiality of adjudicating process, principles of Nemo judex incausa suo and whether there is inordinate delay in delivery of judgment. The principles of fair hearing is also understood in terms of the twin pillars of natural justice, that audi alteram paterm and nemo judex in causa sua. Fair hearing lies in the procedure followed in a particular case and not in the correctness of the decision. Once a party alleges non-observance of the principle of fair hearing and the court establishes it, the proceedings will be vitiated notwithstanding that there was no miscarriage of justice. See Dinyadi v. INEC (No. 1) (2010)18 NWLR (pt 1224)

 

Nkechi Bright-Ewere

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Law/Judiciary

Supreme Court Strikes Out Perjury Suit Against Buhari

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The Supreme Court on Monday struck out the suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election over alleged perjury.
The suit was filed by Kalu  Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, all legal practitioners.
Delivering judgment, the Justice Mary Odili-led panel of five justices held that the case was statute barred and therefore dismissed.
The Tide reports that the justices during the introduction of appearances wondered why Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice will be representing a private individual.
Abubakar had announced his appearance for the first respondent (General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) in the suit.
They warned him to desist from such act of using public office to defend a private litigation.
Muhammad Dattijo, while addressing the counsel cited the President Bill Clinton’s numerous private cases while in the office.
“Clinton in his numerous private litigation, he never used government organs but rather personally sponsored all his private cases,”.
He warned that his actions contravened the Code of Conduct for public servants which has consequences.
Odili in her judgment said, ‘the court notes the inappropriate appearance of Mr Abdullahi  Abubakar state counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, representing the first respondent Gen. Muhammad Buhari Rtd in his personal capacity.
“This practice must be discouraged, appeal have been withdrawn is hereby dismissed”, Odili said.
The justices had warned Abubakar
The appellants grievances had arisen from the dismissal of their suit at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on grounds that it was statute barred and as such could not be heard.
They had approached the apex court to nullify the candidacy of President Buhari in the just concluded presidential poll over allegations of perjury.
The appellants specifically wanted Buhari’s nomination and subsequent victory at the Febrary 23 presidential election nullified on the grounds that President Buhari lied on oath in his form 001 that he submitted to INEC for the purpose of clearance for the presidential election.
They asked the apex court for an Order to set aside the judgment of the court of appeal and hear the matter on merit and grant the reliefs sought in the Originating Summons.
Among the reliefs sought are a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certifcate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.
They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC and another order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and also APC from recognising Buhari as a candidate.
The Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris, had on July 12, held that the singular fact that the suit was filed outside the 14 days provided by the law robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the it.
The Federal High Court had in May declined to grant the request of the appellants on the grounds that the suit was not filed within the time allowed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by Buhari at the hearing.
The appellants had through their counsel, Ukpai Ukairo, presented 12 grounds for the setting aside of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, amongst which are;
That the “Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law in relying on a Preliminary Objection withdrawn and struck out by the Court of Appeal in striking out and dismissing the appeal.

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Oil Theft: Wike Fingers Security Agencies

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has attributed the increasing spate of oil bunkering to the involvement of security agencies in the system.
Wike stated this during a visit on him by a delegation of Konrad Adencuer, a German Foundation, led by Dr Vladimir Kreck Andreas Lamnel and Dr Joachim Pifeiffer of the German Parliament in his office at Government House, Port Harcourt, Monday.
In a statement signed by the governor media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike noted that oil bunkering had continued to thrive across the country due largely to the collaboration of security agencies with the bunkerers.
Wike noted that inspite of efforts by the government to tame the situation, it has rather continued to worsen courtesy of security agencies involvement.
The governor said “some of the security agencies are involved in oil theft. When you talk about oil bunkering, the security agencies are involved. They are fully involved.
Wike however maintained that the partnership of fee federal government with the state government would foster the success of the fight against oil bunkering saying if the federal government cones strongly and partner the states, we will solve some of the problems”.
While noting that the politicization of security was also a militating factor against oil theft fight, Wike said that the security framework of the state was negatively affected by oil majors whom he said patronize cult groups for surveillance jobs revealing however, that the state security council was liasing with oil majors to stop the patronage.
“We have told oil majors to patronize official state security agencies and stop patronizing cult groups for surveillance jobs. This is because part of the problem is the continued patronage of these cult groups”, he said.

 

Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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Police Officers Are Doing Everything To Curtail Criminality – PPRO

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The police say they are trying their possible best to reduce cultism, kidnapping, and armed robbery but insist that crime still increases day by day.
Speaking with The Tide, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni in Port Harcourt said yesterday that police officers had to contend with the menace of cultism in the State.
Omoni also said that the police officers had tried their best to curtail armed robbery and  kidnapping but the crimes had remained inspite of their efforts. He noted that officers were in place to decimate cult boys that were creating issues with their rivals in most identified communities.
He, however, advised communities to cooperate with police officers around their vicinity to help maintain peace.
Omoni added that there were many reasons to curtail criminal activities so all houses should be on deck and urged the collaboration of community members with the police officers and vigilanties to help assist in terms of information dissemination.

 

Kpobari Barizaa

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