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Crime/Justice

Crime’ll Only Reduce When Youths Are Empowered-Group

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Youth Educational Needs And Empowerment Initiative (YENEI), Fidelis Adizua, has said that crime will only be on the decline when the youths are empowered.
Adizua said this during the South South General Assembly conference of the body in Port Harcourt recently.
According to him,if youths are engaged,  crime will reduce in the society.
He said it was against this background that the organisation was organi-sing a skills acquisition programme for youths across the country.
Adizua also said one million youths would be empowered in the first phase of the event.
He  further pointed out  that the training will be more on agriculture and urge those involved to take the programme seriously.
The group’s CEO, also called on government to create a conducive environment for the group to operate as foreign partners were willing to support the group to succeed.
Also speaking, the South South coordinator of the organisation, Pastor Edidion Okpo,  said that  millions of youths had been driven into crime because of lack of jobs.
He further urged youths in the zone to ensure that they  involve actively in the programme.
It would be recalled  that security experts had  repeatedly linked crime and its attendant aftermath to lack of employment  and joblessness among young people.

By: King Onunwor

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Crime/Justice

On Issues Of Counter-Claim

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although a counter claim is a distinct action, and a separate decision would be given in respect of the counter-claim, it must be directly related to the principal claim and not outside and independent of the subject-matter of the principal claim. See Oyegbola vs. Esso West Africa (1966) 1 all NLR 170.
Awosanya vs. Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing & Urban Development and ORS.(2021) LCN/14971(ca).
Issue: counter-claim-Whether a court with subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a main claim can lack same to hear a counter-claim(Issue is mine)
Principle:
“I think the Appellant’s Counsel was only grandstanding, when he tried to fault the jurisdiction of the trial Court, on appeal, to entertain the counter-claim, on the allegation that the 4th Respondent was seeking “declaration of title to land and possession”, which is outside the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. Appellant did not raise any such issue of lack of absence of jurisdiction at the trial Court, because, I believe, he knew the truth that the real issue in the case was the sale of the property to 4th Respondent by the 1st to 3rd Respondents, rather than to him, Appellant!
The case was never one for title to land, despite the inelegant couching of the reliefs by the 4th defendant at the trial Court. It could not have been issue of title and possession to land, because both Appellant and the 4th Respondent had acknowledged the Government (represented by 1st to 3rd Respondents) as the owner of property, No. 9 Mekunwen Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, and that the same was sold to the 4th Respondent, even when he (Appellant) was still on the property and wanted same to be sold to him (Appellant)! See the reliefs 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 by the Appellant in this case (earlier produced).
And so all the legal gymnastics/arguments and cases cited as to whether the trial Court (Federal High Court) had jurisdiction to hear and entertain a case seeking title to land and possession of land, were, in my opinion, completely unnecessary, and a distraction in this case, as the case of the 4th Respondent, was obviously, a counter-claim, to affirm the sale of the property to him by the 1st to 3rd Respondent and for the consequential orders for Appellant to vacate the property!
It is however conceded, that the couching of the reliefs sought by 4th Defendant’s Counsel in the counter-claim were quite inelegant, talking about declaration that 4th Respondent was the lawful owner and title holder of the property; and for possession of the said piece or parcel of land.”
I do not think the Appellant or any of the parties failed to understand the real issues before the trial Court, by the two sides, for determination, as earlier stated in this judgment, and so none can claim to have been misled by the said in-elegance in the drafting and presenting the claims (reliefs) in the counter-claim, nor by the findings and decision of the trial Court thereon. Courts are expected to pursue substantial justice, not technicalities.
It is also quite glaring, that the substance of the two cases questioned or sought, to justify the power of the 1st to 3rd Respondents to deal with the property, No. 9 Mekunwen Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, by selling same to 4th Respondent, and how the sale was made. While Appellant questioned the sale, the 4th Respondent justified it and sought an order for Appellant to vacate the property, and because the 1st to 3rd Respondents are Federal Government Agencies, which controlled and administered the property by virtue of Section 49 of the Land Use Act, 1978. The Section concedes to the Federal Government or its agency to hold title to land. The provision says:
“49(1) Nothing in this Act shall affect any title to land whether developed or undeveloped held by the Federal Government or any agency of the Federal Government at the commencement of this Act and accordingly, any such land and shall continue to rest in the Federal Government or the agency concerned.
49(2) In this section, ‘agency’ includes any statutory corporation or any other statutory body (whether corporate or unincorporate) or any company wholly owned by the Federal Government.”
Of course, Section 251(1)(r) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended, says: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Constitution and in addition to such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly, the Federal High Court shall have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other Court in civil causes and matters;
(r) any action or proceeding for a declaration or injunction affecting the validity of any executive or administrative action or decision by the Federal Government or any of its agency and…”
There is no doubt that the action or decision of the 1st to 3rd Respondents (Federal Agencies) to sell the property owned by the Government, to the 4th Respondent is at the root of this case of the Appellant and the 4th Respondent. The trial Court (Federal High Court) is therefore the appropriate Court with requisite jurisdiction to determine the dispute(s), in my opinion. See the views of my Lord Okoro, JCA, (as he then was) in the case of Minister, Federal Housing Authority & Urban Development & Anor. Vs. Bello (2009) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1155) 345 at 364-365.
Certainly, this was not a land case, or one for declaration of title, since the parties had agreed that title was vested in the Federal Government, and which transferred the title to the 4th Respondent. Appellant only disputed the sale, saying it ought to have been to him! The trial Court was therefore properly located to pronounce on the sale, whether it was valid or not, and whether the Appellant was entitled to it or not.
I think that, even if the trial Judge/Court were not to have jurisdiction to entertain the 4th Respondent’s counter-claim because of the inelegance or wrongs in the drafting of the reliefs sought, that the striking out of the counter-claim would not affect the value passed to the 4th Respondent by the 1st to 3rd Respondents in the property, upon the dismissal of the Appellant’s case by the lower Court. The challenge of jurisdiction, in the circumstances, was not well thought out, in my opinion.” Per MBABA, JCA.
Astor wrote from N.Ngbea & Co Chambers, Makurdi, Benue State.

By: King Onunwor with
reports from James Astor

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Crime/Justice

Monarch Hails Wike For Peace In Rivers Community

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The Eze Risi Ohia Mbam Abali/Rebisi in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze Christopher Wonodi, has attributed the prevailing peace in Rebisi Kingdom to an act of God and the magnanimity of Governor Nyesom Wike to the kingdom.
Eze Wonodi, who said this in an interview with newsmen in his palace in Port Harcourt said all nooks and crannies of the kingdom are experiencing peace, adding that God has been so gracious to the people.
The second class traditional ruler also thanked Governor Wike for siting projects in all parts of the kingdom.
He said the numerous road, bridge and other infrastructural projects constructed by the present administration has opened up the kingdom for more investments.
Eze Wonodi also said the on-going dualisation of the eastern by pass/Ogbunabali road has opened up the community for more investments.
He, however, called on the people to ensure that all government projects sited in the area are not vandalised.
The traditional ruler commended the mayor of Port Harcourt City, Sir Allwell Ihunda for his numerous programmes to improve the lives of the people.
According to him, “mayor is a man of the people. He is a humble fellow He takes advice. He is close to the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Community Development Committee (CDC), Oro Abali, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area has lauded the mayor of Port Harcourt City local government area, Sir Allwell Ihunda for initiating several empowerment schemes for the people.
Chairman of the committee, Mr Manuchim Lammy Wopara said this during a courtesy call on the council chairman in his office in Port Harcourt.
He said his community, Oro Abali benefitted from the scheme, adding that several women and youths of the community also benefitted from the empowerment scheme.
The CDC chairman said the visit to the mayor was to show appreciation for his support to the community as well as to show solidarity and support to the administration.

By: John Bibor

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Crime/Justice

Community Leader Cries Out Over Alleged Murder Of Relation, Others

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A community leader and elite in Kono Boue Community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Dr. Promise Abanee, is definitely not a happy man today, following the alleged gruesome murder of his only surviving uncle, Mr. Nubari Ifaah, said to be a 77-year-old retired teacher; his friend and neighbour, Mr. Ideebom Monday Beteh, and a host of other indigenes of his community, by gunmen suspected to be cultists on a genocide mission, to apparently exterminate his people.
Consequent upon this, Dr. Abanee, who lamented what is currently playing out in the community, said in a chat with The Tide that the place is now a ghost town, as the inhabitants have fled their homes, with some of them scattered around Bori, the local government headquarters.
According to him, his uncle met his untimely death on Monday, August 23, 2021, when he visited the community from Bori, to see Mr. Ideebom Monday Beteh, whom he learnt had been at home for over two days, with a promise to return on Tuesday.
He said Mr. Ifaah as planned, could, however, not return to Bori, where he was living at the younger brother’s place, because over 20 gunmen had allegedly invaded the community that Monday, shot and killed three other persons before abducting the retired teacher and his friend. He also alleged that the invaders destroyed windows and doors of buildings in the community before leaving.
Dr. Abanee further alleged that the mangled bodies of the two victims, Ifaah and Beteh, were located in a bush far away from the community on Thursday, August 26, 2021, with a unit of the police in Bori providing security, contending that the remains of the victims were buried same day.
He listed the names of those who had earlier been allegedly killed by the gunmen to include Barikui Yor-ho, Torne Bari Bakpo; Emmanuel Atangsi Deele; Samuel Agbokara; and Lekara Stephen Bira.
Others are Bariya Kaanagbara; Baridakara Sorkue; Blessing George; Baridoolenu Dike Baesor; and Gbara-Akpo Imanyie; among others.
With this revelation, Dr Abanee said Kono Boue Community is today facing a humanitarian crisis, and pleaded for the urgent intervention of the Rivers State Government and the international community, to stem the spate of killings in the area.
When contacted, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Bori, SP Bako Angwashim denied allegations that people were being killed in Kono Boue Community, insisting that residents were deserting the town out of fear and suspicion.
He said the police were fully prepared to maintain law and order in any troubled community in Ogoniland, and appealed to the people of Kono Boue to return to their community.
According to him, “nothing is happening in Kono Boue Comunity”.
It would, however, be recalled that the Chairman of Khana Local Government Area, Dr. Thomas Bariere had reportedly visited the community recently as a result of the unfolding unfortunate incidents, and appealed to all communities of Boue to abide by a subsisting peace agreement.

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