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Appeal Court reserves Judgment in Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal

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By Francesca Iwambe

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Tuesday, reserved judgment on the appeal filed by the detained self acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

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Kanu in the appeal is seeking the dismissal of the remaining 7-count charge filed against him by the Federal Government.

The panel led by Justice Hanatu Jumai Sankey said it will communicate the date for judgment to the parties.

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When the appeal came up for hearing, Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN informed the three-man panel of the appellate court that the appeal was predicated on a notice of appeal dated 29, April 2022, while the brief of argument was dated June 20, 2022.

He said the respondent filed its reply brief of argument dated July 29, but filed on August 3.
The appellant filed a reply brief on 25 August 2022 but deemed consequential filed today, September 13.

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Ozekhome adopted his processes, and urged the panel to grant the appeal as “one of substance and merit”.

By way of adumbration, Ozekhome told the Court of Appeal that the appellant was first arraigned on 23 December 2015, and granted bail on 25, April 2017.

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He informed the court that agents of the Federal Government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, code-named “Operation Python Dance” at the appellant’s home town on September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country, to Isreal, then London.

The senior advocate recalled that on 27 June 2021, “the FG forcefully arrested Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria “in the most cruel and inhuman manner.

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“On 29, June 2021, the appellant was taken to court by the FG, where he was re-arraigned.
“Following the appellant’s preliminary objection to the 15-count charge preferred against him by the FG, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, on 8 April 2022, struck out 8 counts.

“Our humble submission is that the remaining seven counts ought not to be retrained by the trial court because, before the time Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing the five-count charge.

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Ozekhome submitted that going by section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of Kenyan government.

“The remaining 7 counts, cannot stand, being filed illegally without following due process under the rule of speciality as envisaged under section 15 of the Extradition Act.

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“Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8, which were retained by the Federal High Court, were offences allegedly committed by the appellant (Kanu) before his forceful rendition to Nigeria.

“These allegations of rendition were never denied by the FG, and you cannot sustain the charge when you extradited the appellant without the approval of Kenyan authority.

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In addition, Ozekhome argued that when charging for an offence, “you must mention the particulars and location where the office was committed.

“But in this case, the appellant was charged without stating where the offence was allegedly committed.
Kanu’s lawyer contended that by section 45 (a) of the FHC Act, with regards to criminal charges, the trial court does not have “global jurisdiction”.

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More so, “Section 195 and 196 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), state that a charge must have the date, time, location etc.

He insisted that there was no need for the FHC to retain the remaining 7 counts, and therefore urged the panel to take over the charges and strike them out.

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The senior lawyer also asked the appellate panel to hold that the respondent has not furnished the court with any prima facie case against the appellant for which he is being charged.

Reacting, the FG’s lawyer, Kaswe asked the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

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After 138 days: Journalist detained for allegedly exposing Ogun state Gov, finally released

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Prince Olamilekan Hammed, blogger and publisher of Eagles Foresight has been released on bail after spending 138 days in detention.

His lawyer, Habeeb Whyte, confirmed his release to The PUNCH in a phone conversation.

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“Yes, he has been released. The case was struck out,” he said.

The journalist was detained by the DSS, also known as the State Security Service (SSS), on the orders of Dapo Abiodun.

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According to his lawyer, he was invited by the agency over a report he published exposing the criminal activities of Abiodun.

The Ogun State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) has arrested and detained blogger and publisher of eaglesforesight.com.ng, Prince Olamilekan Hammed (Lahbash) for reasons yet to be disclosed,” the lawyer had said in a statement.

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However, it was reported that Ogun State Government denied Governor Abiodun’s involvement in the blogger’s arrest and detention.

He was detained for publishing a story relating to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun’s credit card fraud in the United States of America.

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It was gathered that Hammed, who appeared before the Federal High Court 1, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, was released on Tuesday.

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Confusion as Court nullifies all PDP primaries in Ogun elections

governorship, Osun, campaign
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* Bars INEC from recognising
as governorship candidate

*Orders another primary in 14 days

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By Francesca Iwambe

A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, on has nullified all the primary elections conducted by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in choosing candidates for the 2023 general elections in the State.

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The presiding judge, Justice O. O Oguntoyinbo in his judgement ordered the party to conduct another primaries within the next 14 days.

The court also barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Hon. Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.

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The party had on May 25 conducted the primary election which produced Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party.

But three members of the party, Taiwo Olabode Idris, Kehinde Akala and Alhaji Ayinde Monsuri had dragged the party, Ladi Adebutu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court challenging the authenticity of the delegates’ lists used for the conduct of the primaries.

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The plaintiffs argued, the persons on delegates’ list used by electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses, hence the panel “cannot unilaterally or arbitrarily impose” the list on the party for the primaries.

The plaintiffs in their originating summons, had prayed the court among others to nullify or set aside the state congress/indirect primary election, held by the 1st defendant (PDP) on 25th of May, 2022 “for the purpose of choosing the candidate which the 1st Defendant intends to nominate/sponsor at the 2023 Governorship election in Ogun State based on the list of delegates who were not democratically elected at the ward congress.”

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They also sought an order directing the 2nd Defendant (INEC) “to disregard and/or refrain from giving effect to the results of the alleged 1st Defendant’s indirect primary election held on the 25th of May, 2022 based on the list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected at the ward congresses constituted by the 1st Defendant for that purpose”.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Idenyi said, the court nullified the election “because it was conducted using a list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected.

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“The implication of the judgement is obvious, the PDP will have to put their house together and then conduct a fresh primary as ordered by the court.

“This time around, the court was specific that they have to use the list that has been certified by INEC because after the primary, those lists were submitted to INEC as parts of its report of covering those ward congresses held, so the court has now said that is the list which must be considered in the conduct of the fresh primaries, so the PDP had to just put their house together and use those lists to conduct a fresh primary.”

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The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Akinloye Bankole said, the party would study the judgement before any action is taken.

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Jubilation in Rivers as Wike receives aircraft abandoned in Germany

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By Francesca Iwambe

There was Jubilation in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday as governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said the recovery and eventual return of an asset of the State, Legacy 600 Aircraft, was a reality and not mere politics.

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The governor had earlier on Tuesday morning returned to Nigeria from London, where he had traveled to for an undisclosed reason, along with his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom.

Wike spoke after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft that touched down on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre local government area of the State.

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He explained that it took intelligence report for his administration to discover such asset, owned by the state government.

“The immediate past administration flew the aircraft to far away Germany, without any record of it made available to his administration.

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“To the glory of God, the plane is back and Rivers people can see, Nigerians can see. It is not that we are playing politics. All we are saying, we never knew, nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere”, he said.

Wike recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili-led administration to serve the interest of Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi-led administration since 2012.

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The governor said: “What is very important to all of us here today is that when we came into power in 2015, nobody handed over any report or gave us handover note to let us know where such asset of the State was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere.”

He said that because air transportation is a more technical area, great care was taken to put the Legacy 600 Aircraft into its best form to undertake air travel effectively.

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Wike stated that so much money was expended by the state government on the aircraft, money that would have gone into other development projects if his administration had known of the Aircraft quite early.

“In fixing the aircraft, certificate of air worthiness issued by the Nigerian government, was secured for the aircraft to return to Nigeria.

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“Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that by the grace of God we will not allow this asset to go that way. We must return it for the people of the State to decide what they are going to do with it.

“I am so elated that at the end of the day, all of our struggles are not in vain. I thank Rivers people for the support. I thank the Rivers State House of Assembly for the support. I thank the Executive for the support.

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“But for their support, it would not have been possible to spend the money we spent. If you hear the money we spent, it’s money that would have been put in other development projects if we were told on time of it.”

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