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JUDICIARY

Governors Propose Monthly Payment to State Judiciaries

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Governors of 36 states of the federation have proposed a novel idea to resolve the impasse over the implementation of the constitutional provisions that grant financial autonomy to state judiciaries and legislatures.

The impasse triggered the ongoing indefinite strike by judicial workers, which began on April 6, to press for the implementation of the law.

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The governors, in a report by a committee, chaired by Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and which was set up by Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), proposed the payment of a minimum irreducible amount monthly to the two arms of government in each state for their operations as against the constitutional provisions for funds due to the judiciary and the legislature in each state to be on a first-line charge.

Following the failure of state governors to implement section 121 (3) of 1999 Constitution as amended, which makes votes for state judiciaries and legislatures a first-line charge on the consolidated revenue, President Muhammadu Buhari had signed Executive Order 10 to enforce the constitution.

But the governors resisted the order as well as three separate court judgments that declared their action unconstitutional.

It was gathered at the weekend that a copy of the proposal was presented to the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, last week.

The governors are also expected to meet today (Monday) with Gambari to discuss the details.

The governors, it was learnt, will also meet with speakers of state Houses of Assembly later today (Monday) and hold a final engagement tomorrow ( Tuesday) with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.

Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, grants financial autonomy to state judiciaries, stating: “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.”

Courts have also affirmed it in suits involving the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria Vs National Judicial Council (NJC) and Governors of the 36 states in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/667/13; Olisa Agbakoba Vs Federal Government of Nigeria, NJC and the National Assembly in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 and Olisa Agbakoba Vs Attorney General of Ekiti State and two Others in Suit No. NAD/56/2013.

Following the recalcitrance of the states, the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) shut down the courts and embarked on a strike.

But in the proposal, the governors said instead of direct allocations to the state judiciaries and legislatures, a certain minimum amount will be paid monthly to them for their operations.

A source told Thisday at the weekend that the proposal was made to end the ongoing strike by the judicial workers.

When asked if the governors had reached an agreement on how to end the judiciary workers’ strike, the source said: “Yes, but that would be finalised today (Monday). We are meeting on Monday. The last meeting became inconclusive because there was a report that had not been sufficiently shared. So, everybody now has a copy, so they will look at it. But I think all that will be resolved on Monday.

“When you say agreement, basically, this goes back to the autonomy of the judicial and legislative arms. So, the governors have agreed to a monthly payment of an irreducible amount that would help the judiciary service their operations.”

When asked if Gambari is involved in the meeting, the source said: “Yes, he has been at the heart of all these. That interaction will happen between the governors and the leadership of the speakers on Monday in the morning.

“Then, in the afternoon, we have a meeting with the Chief of Staff. Then, the next day (Tuesday), the entire team will meet with the Minister of Labour, and I think that will end the whole thing, except there is more to it.”

Recall that a technical report containing the position of the governors had been submitted to Gambari, while they awaited the return of the president from the foreign medical trip for a final resolution of the issue.

The governors had also faulted Executive Order 10, describing it as unconstitutional and full of inconsistencies.

A source had told THISDAY that the governors were still trying to reach a consensus over the enforcement of the order.

He added that the governors had planned to approach the Supreme Court to interpret certain provisions of the order but later shelved the plan in order not to embarrass the federal government.

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JUDICIARY

NBA condemns attack on Delta court by thugs

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The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA , Warri Branch has condemned the attack on the Delta State High Court 4 by thugs in Warri South Local Government Area.

The NBA in a statement signed by its Chairman, Emmanuel .O. Uti and Mr. Joseph A Omonoseh, Secretary respectively expressed shock and sadness over the unprovoked attack and invasion by the thugs.

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The NBA noted that the act led to the disruption of court proceedings in a suit challenging the succession to the stool of the Olu of Warri Kingdom which was ongoing peacefully.

The NBA said the hoodlums who were armed with dangerous weapons, chased away judicial staff, litigants, lawyers including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN who was representing one of the parties and disrupted the proceedings.

The NBA condemned the act describing it as despicable and a desecration of the hallowed temple of Justice.

“The NBA Warri branch condemns in totality this unprovoked attack and barbaric behaviour by the hoodlums/thugs and therefore calls on the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State and the Director of State Security Services to immediately set up a team of investigators to unmask the perpetrators of this reprehensible act.

“We also call on Security Operatives to immediately set in motion measures to nip in the bud this ugly trend by providing adequate security in and around the Court premises in Delta State to prevent a reoccurrence of this ugly trend.

 

“We advise the players in the ongoing succession tussle to sheath their swords and allow peace and the law to take its full course as we cannot afford to see our peaceful and loving Warri Kingdom engulfed by the flames of crisis.”

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JUDICIARY

22-year-old man to die by hanging for robbery

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A 22-year Kehinde Olajide has been sentenced to death by hanging for armed robbery in Ekiti State.

A High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti on Thursday sentenced Kehinde for involvement in robberies.

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He was docked for arming himself with dangerous weapons to rob Dayo Folorunsho, Saka Yusuf, Adeoye Oluwatosin, Adeola Oluwatobi, Olayemi Aremu, Hambali Ojo and Ayodele Oluwafemi of their belongings.

Justice Lekan Ogunmoye who pronounced the judgement, said that “the prosecution had proved ingredients of armed robbery against the convict without any reasonable doubt

Ogunmoye said, “He is hereby sentenced to death by hanging until he is dead. May God almighty have mercy upon his soul”.

The convict and others who were involved in the alleged robbery were charged with nine count charges bordering on conspiracy, unlawful possession of firearms and robbery.

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The three other men involved in the robbery include, Kareem Azeez (24), Bamisile Lateef (28) and Adebayo Basiru (25).

The Judge, however, acquitted them for lack of proof of the offence they were charged for.

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JUDICIARY

Job Scam: Court Sentences Kano Civil Servant to 1 Year in Correctional Center.

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The Kano State Senior Magistrate Court presided over by Haulatu Magaji has convicted Kano Civil Servant Abubakar Jibril to 1 year in Correctional Center with an option of fine to the tune of N50,000.

Arraigning the suspect before the court, the prosecution counsel Barrister Halliru Isa told the court that Jibril was found to be collecting money under the pretence of providing jobs to applicants.

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He told the court that the offence against Abubakar Jibril contravenes section 342 of the penal code.

After reading the charge on him, he pleaded guilty and sought for leniency, stressing that he was first time offender.

Prosecution Counsel prayed the court to try the defendant summarily acccording to section 151 of Criminal Procedure Code.

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Consquently, Magistrate Haulatu Sentenced Jibril to 1 year in Correctional Center. Her words ” Having admitted with the content of the charge I here by sentence you to 1 year in Correctional Center with the option of N50,000 as fine. Similarly, you are to pay the complainants N700, 000 or to spend 6 months in Correctional Center in case of any default”.

It could be recalled that the convict who is a staff with Kano State Agency For Mass Education was apprehended by the operatives of NSCDC while selling appointment letter of NSCDC to public.

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Recall that when he was paraded to Journalists by NSCDC, the convict confirmed that he downloaded referee form from the Corps’ website and selling it to his victims under the pretence that he will secure job for them.

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