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JUDICIARY

Review monthly Salary, Appointment process of Judges – Afe Babalola SAN tells governments

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Legal icon, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) has advised the Federal and state governments to improve on the current salaries of judicial officers, especially judges, so as to guarantee commitment and fairness in the handling of cases.

Babalola gave the advice on Sunday in Ado Ekiti at the presentation of a book titled; “Testament of Judicial Pronouncements”, as part of activities to mark the retirement of Ekiti State Chief Judge, Justice Ayo Daramola.

The lawyer also canvassed for stringent process of appointment for judges in order to get men and women of sound scholarship and moral integrity on the bench.

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” Each time I see judges’ cars break down on the road due to age of such cars, I feel sorry for the Judiciary. There are situations where some of them don’t even have cars.

” Worse still, unlike the Judges in those days who used to move around with their police orderlies into their gorgeous residences in the GRA’s, many judicial officers now live in rented houses in built-up areas and this is very risky.

” No successful Senior Advocate would abandon his lucrative practice to serve as a judge unless we address the issue of remuneration of judges.

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”In the past, Judges’ remuneration was at par with the remuneration of Judges in England.

” Today the salaries of Nigeria Judges when compared with the salaries of their counterparts in other countries are to say the least miserably low,” Babalola said.

According to him, the quality of the Judiciary will depend on the brilliance of the lawyers appearing before the courts.

The legal icon said that it was important to review the process for appointment of judges, stressing “in the past, appointments to the Bench were by invitation, only based on the competence and integrity of the lawyers appearing before the courts.

“It has been acknowledged that the best Judges are the seasoned, tested and competent legal practitioners.

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“It was then an abomination to invite applications for the post of a Judge.

“In England, seasoned Queen’s Counsels, the equivalent of our Senior Advocates, are invited to the Bench. Unlike what obtained in the 60’s and 70’s when we had few senior lawyers, Nigeria can now boast of hundreds of seasoned Senior Advocates today.

“I therefore suggest that we should borrow a leaf from England by inviting eminent SANs to the Bench at High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court levels in order to improve the quality of the Judges in our courts.

” After all, the late Hon. Justice Taslim Olawale Elias (SAN), the late Hon. Justice Augustine Nnamani (SAN), and until recently, Hon Justice Safiya Babamasi Umar (SAN) were examples per excellence of what to expect when we appoint seasoned Senior Advocates to the Bench”.

On the state of Nigeria’s Judiciary today, he said government should find means of addressing the continued closure of the nation’s courts, saying allowing the present situation to drag further, portends danger for the country.

“Since I started practice in early 1960’s, I have never witnessed the closure of all the courts even for one day.

“It is common knowledge that continued closure of courts portends danger for smooth running of governance by other arms of government

“The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has been on strike since and the courts have been shut down for months.

“As a result of the closure, the Police have not been able to charge any suspected criminal to court, while those who have cases in courts or those who want to file new cases are also affected.
“Of course, you can imagine the effects on the income of lawyers.

” It is a well-known fact that the Judiciary is the third arm of government after the Executive and the Legislature, and the situation can thus be likened to a human being whose ability to work depends on the arm, the legs and the eyes.

“If for any reason any of these three important parts of the human body is incapacitated, then the whole body is in trouble. With this scenario, Nigeria is certainly in crisis.

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“The Executive and the Legislature should immediately ensure that the situation in the Judiciary is immediately resolved, or else, they are by their action, aiding the collapse of the country”, he said

Babalola also called on governments to quickly set in motion, workable processes that would end continued fluctuation of the Naira against Dollar, state of insecurity in in the country as well as the poverty level of an average Nigerian.

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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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JUDICIARY

Court Orders 20 Strokes, 180 Days Against Six Phone Snatchers In Kano

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Kano State Upper Shari’ah Court, City Number 1, presided by Ibrahim Sarki Yola has sentenced 20 lashes with cane and 180 days in correctional center, against six phone snatchers who were found guilty of their offences.

The convicted persons were arrested in different locations within Kano metropolis

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According to the First Information Report by Police, the convicts were apprehended after series of complaints from members of the public.

” Eight stolen phones were recovered in their possession and they couldn’t give any satisfactory information in relation to how they acquired the phones”

” Knives and other dangerous weapons were also recovered from the suspects.”

The six convicts of different addresses in Kano Metropolis included : Umar Ibrahim, Abba Sani and Abubakar Yusuf.

Others were Ahmad Mustapha, Aliyu Bashir and Ahmad Musa.

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They all pleaded guilty and prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.

Ibrahim Sarki Yola ordered 20 strokes be administer to each of the convict.

The Judge, similarly convicted each to spend 180 at correctional centres.

” This will serve as a deterrent to other culprits who are terrozing the public”

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JUDICIARY

Federal High Court Fixes June 23 For Re-arraignment of FIRS Top Officials

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The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed June 23 for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to re-arraign some top officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and two former directors over alleged fraud.

Justice Bolaji Olajuwon fixed the date after counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, informed the court that the matter was formally before a sister judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who had been transferred to the Calabar division.

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The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Olajuwon from Markudi division took over from Justice Ojukwu.

“This matter was slated for the prosecution to open its case but due to recent transfer that took place, the matter will have to be commenced denovo (afresh),” Iheanacho told the judge.

The EFCC lawyer hinted that though the defendants were already on bail, he would have prayed for an arrest warrant against three of the defendants who were neither in court nor represented by counsel.

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NAN observes that only the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 9th defendants were either in court or represented by their counsel.

“They are actually on bail. But if not for the fact that the matter is coming up for the first time before my lord, I will have made a request for the arrest warrant,” Iheanacho said.

The judge, therefore, held that the defendants, who were absent, should be given another opportunity to come to court.

Olajuwon then adjourned the matter until June 23 for fresh arraignment.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the anti-corruption agency had, on March 11, arraigned Mr Peter Hena, former Coordinating Director; Mohammed Bello Auta, ex-Finance Director, and seven other staff of FIRS before Justice Ojukwu.

Others are Aminu Sidi, Umar Aliyu Aduku, Mbura Mustapha, Obi Okeke Malachy, Obaje Napoleon Adofu, Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred and Benjamin Jiya.

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They were arraigned on 42-count charge bordering on corruption, fraud and criminal misappropriation of funds running into millions and punishable under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012).

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