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‘Why We Declared Amaechi Governor’

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Two years after Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State was declared the validly elected governor of the state, Supreme Court Justice, George Oguntade, Friday at a lecture gave reasons for the decision of the apex court.

The court, he said, was motivated by the desire to do substantial justice in the case of the governor versus the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Amaechi, he stated, was wrongfully excluded from the erection as he was the validly nominated candidate of the party in accordance with Section 34(2) of the Electoral Act.

He said the same principle guided the court also in the case of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and the PDP who was expelled by the party in an apparent attempt to render the judgment of the apex court nugatory.

Oguntade, who voiced his frustration at the lawlessness exhibited by the ruling party in its bid to frustrate the court judgment, said if he had his way, the party would have been committed for contempt.

“After Araraurme won the case in the Supreme Court, PDP then said, well you have won the case but we have expelled you from the party. If I had my way, I do not know why PDP should not be committed for contempt.”

Oguntade, who wrote the dissenting judgment in the case of Gen. Mohammed Buhari, and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), said he decided to deliver the lecture entitled: “Dissenting Judgments and Judicial Making”, because of the role dissenting judgments play in the development of the law.

“It is my firm view that in a nascent democracy as Nigeria’s, where our public law can he regarded very much as still in its infancy, judges must be encouraged to exercise independence of mind in the interpretation and application of law so as to protect the rights of the people.”

The Justice also went down memory lane to comment on the case of the former vice president, Aliku Abubakar and INEC when he was excluded from contesting the 2007 on the strength of a committee set up by former President Olusesun Obasanjo.

The former vice president, Oguntade said, was treated unfairly as he was denied the provisions of Section 34 (2) of the Electoral Act which provides for 90 days of campaigning before election as he (Atiku Abubakar) only had four days to campaign.

For law and order to prevail in the nation’s democracy, Ohasanjo, he emphasis, needed to be told in categorical terms that he had no power to constitute himself as the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge.

The court, he said, was motivated by the conviction that nobody should be denied the right to contest an election unless convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The judge who will be retiring from the Supreme Court early next year on the attainment of the statutory age of 70 years, spoke at the inaugural Justice Adolphus Godwin KaribiWhyte Convocation lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS), University of Lagos.

Distinguised guests at the lecture included the Justice Minister, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN); retired Supreme Court Justice; Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, Director-General of the Institute, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN) and Chief George Uwueche (SAN).

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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