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“This practice must be discouraged, appeal have been withdrawn is hereby dismissed”, Odili said.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.
Businessman Docked For Theft Of Melon
Godwin Thomas,35,of North Bank, Makurdi, was on Friday arraigned before a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court for alleged conspiracy and theft of melon.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Godwin Ato, told the court that the case was reported by one Ukaan Shimana of behind NKST Church, North Bank Makurdi, at the ‘C’ Division Police Station, North Bank.
Ato said that the complainant kept three bags of Egusi (melon) worth N200,000 with Godwin Thomas, Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor.
Ato said that the defendants were the custodians of a store along Ter-Guma Street in North Bank area of Makurdi.
The prosecutor said that the complainant later discovered that the bags were missing.
He alleged that the defendant and his friends had stolen the bags containing the melon when she went there to collect them.
Ato also said that Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor were immediately arrested and charged to Chief Magistrate’s Court 8, North Bank.
The prosecutor said that during further investigation by the police, the defendant who initially was at large; was later arrested in connection with the crime.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The prosecutor told the court that investigation into the matter had been completed and that other defendants were already standing trial at CMC 8 North Bank in Makurdi.
Ato said that the court should arraign the defendants in the same court.
He prayed the court to adjourn so that the case could be transferred to CMC 8 North Bank.
The magistrate, Mrs Ajuma Igama, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000.00 with one surety who must be a civil servant with Benue Government.
Igama also ordered that the case file be transferred to CMC 8 for hearing and determination of the case.
She adjourned until Jan 24 for hearing.
Police Arraign Three For Damaging N1.8m Parking Iron Bars
The police yesterday arraigned three men in a Karmo Grade I Area Court, Abuja, for allegedly damaging parking iron bars worth N1.8 million.
The police charged Mohammed Musa, Innocent Adama and Izuchukwu Nwaigwe with two counts of joint act and mischief.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mrs Ijeoma Ukagha, told the court that the matter was reported at the Utako Police Station on Dec. 14, 2019, by one Adewole Adeola, who of Dove Court Estate, Abuja.
Ukagha alleged that the defendants intentionally damaged the iron bars and demarcation drums worth N1.8million at the Dove Estate.
She said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 327 of the Penal Code.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The judge, Alhaji Inuwa Maiwada, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200, 000 each, with a surety each in like sum.
Maiwada ordered that the sureties must be reliable and must deposit his or her identity card at the court registry for verification.
He also ordered that the sureties must resides within the jurisdiction of the court and his or she address must be verified by the court officer.
Maiwada adjourned the case until Feb. 12 for hearing.
Missing N35m: Defence Counsel’s Ill-Health Stalls Trial Of JAMB Official
The trial of Yakubu Jekada, one of the accused persons charged with the misappropriation of N35 million belonging to JAMB, was stalled in an FCT High Court, Maitama, due to the defendant counsel’s ill-health.
Jekada was first arraigned on May 31, 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Peter Affen of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
He was arraigned on a four count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and dishonest use of JAMB funds to the tune of N11.189 million.
The JAMB official was accused of committing criminal breach of trust while being JAMB state coordinator for Plateau between 2009 and 2016 when he was entrusted with 11, 189 units of e-facility cards belonging to the Board which he disposed without duly rendering accounts to the Board.
On the resumed sitting on Tuesday, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, informed the court that the matter was for continuation of trial and he was with his two witnesses.
Responding, Mr Gyang Zi, counsel to Jekada, prayed for an adjournment.
“I took ill yesterday before I left Jos. I am feeling funny, and I went to get some drugs thinking it would help me out.
“But it continued, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences it would cause the court and others, including the witnesses,” Zi said.
Iheanacho said that the learned counsel has presented a sympathetic picture before the court based on health.
“So, we will not be objecting to his application for adjournment,” Iheanacho said.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Peter Affen adjourned the matter until March 3, for continuation of trial.
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