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Apeeal Court Throws Out Onnoghen’s Appeals, Faults CCT’s Suspension Order

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The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday threw out four appeals filed by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, regarding his trial by  the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

But the court in one of the four unanimous judgments of the three-man panel, faulted the ex parte order issued by the CCT on January 23, 2019  for Onnoghen’s suspension.

President Muhammadu Buhari acted on the same order to suspend Onnoghen and swear in Justice Tanko Muhammad as acting CJN on January 25.

The three-man bench of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Stephen Adah in four separate unanimous judgments held that three of the appeals had become academic since the trial had been concluded by the CCT.

One of the appeals was ruled to be incompetent.

All the four appeals were filed to challenge various interlocutory decisions of the Danladi Umar CCT before the tribunal handed down its final judgment convicting Onnoghen on April 18, 2019.

Justice Adah said, “Since the substantive matter before the CCT  has already been concluded, this appeal is already spent and there is no basis to go into the nitty-gritty of the ex parte order.”

The Federal Government  on January 11, 2019 charged Onnoghen with breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by failing to declare his assets between 2005 and 2016 and also  making false declaration by not  declaring  five domiciliary bank accounts as part of his assets in 2016.

Onnoghen remained suspended until April 18 when the CCT convicted him on all six counts and ordered his removal from office.

But Justice Adah  said in one of the  judgments that the ex parte order for his suspension was not only made when the defendant had yet to be arraigned before the CCT, it was obtained in the proceedings “shrouded in secrecy and clandestine manoeuvre”.

He  said while all the parties to the case during the January 22, 2019 proceedings of the trial agreed with the tribunal to have the case adjourned till January 25 for the hearing of pending applications, the prosecution went behind the defendant to obtain the ex parte order on January 23.

“The mode of secrecy the ex parte order has raised some questions,” he said.

He also  said  courts must be wary not to address the merit of a substantive matter in an interlocutory application.

“The merit of the matter ought not be taken at the interlocutory stage,” he said.

Justice Adah also agreed with Onnoghen’s lawyers, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), and Chief Chris Uche (SAN), that the ex parte order breached the ex-CJN’s right to fair hearing.

“The appellant has said the order was in breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing. This is true and it ought not to be so,”  he  said.

Justice Olabisi Ige, who read the lead judgment in another appeal, also held that the CCT ought to have suspended proceedings in reverence  for  the various interim court orders issued by the National Industrial Court and the Federal High Court, restraining the tribunal from going on with the trial.

Justice Ige said, “The judgments, rulings, decisions and orders issued by a court of law  are  sacrosanct and must be obeyed until set aside.”

He said the tribunal should have obeyed the restraining orders not minding if the orders were illegal or that “the court went on a voyage of its own”.

He added that the only option available to the tribunal was to file an appeal before the Court of Appeal to have the orders set aside.

However, the Justices, including Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson, who delivered the lead judgment in another appeal, held that there was nothing wrong with  the CCT’s decision to hear the appellant’s notice of preliminary objection along with the prosecution’s interlocutory motion on notice.

They also ruled that the CCT rightly applied the provisions of section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act by refusing the defendant’s application for stay of proceedings.

Justice Adah, in another judgment dismissed Onnoghen’s appeal challenging the warrant of arrest issued against him by the CCT.

The appeal was struck out on the basis that the appellant failed to present a copy of the arrest before the court.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has yet to fix a date for the hearing of Onnoghen’s appeal challenging his conviction by the CCT.

The Punch

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South South Ward to Ward Group Scammed Atiku – SSRNGG

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Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Nigeria’s Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been reportedly scammed by a local committee of friends, Leo Squad purporting to be the executive members the South South Ward to Ward Group. The group which paid a courtesy call on Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday 10th of August 2022 at the Shehu Musa YarAdua Center in Abuja, was led by Onengiye Leonard Tamunoigbeinbia.

Following the visit of the Group to Atiku, Comrade Cleopas Timipre, of the South South Renaissance Network for Good Governance (SSRNGG) has raised the alarm and cautioned the PDP Presidential hopeful to be wary of groups posturing to represent the South South but have no presence in the region.

Making the call in Asaba, Delta State, following a consultative meeting of South South Political and Allied groups, Comrade Timipre urged the Atiku Campaign to do their due diligence before giving credence to misleading organisations that have no roots or presence within the South South.

“Look at this so-called South South Ward to Ward Group for instance, they are nothing but a committee of friends of the convener Leonard and all from the same community in Rivers State. How can a group we have uncovered as members of ‘Leo Squad’ now posture as being representative of all the States of the South South region. That’s not just misleading, it is fraudulent; a scam!” He queried.

“Gentlemen of the Press, we have supplied you with the details of the identities of key officials of the purported South South Ward to ward group. You will find from the details we supplied that the whole thing is simply a huge joke and an insult on the sensibilities of the South South region. Atiku has to be careful with whom he identifies with. The South South people will not be taken for granted. If all the members of the so-called South South group are from one community in Rivers State then Atiku is either scamming us or has been scammed.”

Information released to the press by SSRNGG indicated that key members of the South South Ward to ward group delegation to Atiku were members of the said Leo Squad led by Leonard Onengiye Tamunoigbenbia and are all said to be from his community Okrika.

See Photo and link below:

1. Leonard Onengiye Tamunoigbenbia from Okrika, Rivers State, https://www.facebook.com/leonard.tamunoigbeinbia
2. Tam Iyalla from Okrika Rivers State https://www.facebook.com/tamsfelix
3. Diepiriye Aliawite from Okrika Rivers State https://www.facebook.com/diepiriye.aliawite
4. Atamuno Sunny Okujagu from Okrika Rivers State https://www.facebook.com/Atamsky
5. Oriye David from Okrika Rivers State https://www.facebook.com/david.oriyeorikabo

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Legit.ng Makes Top Five Facebook Publishers in March 2022

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Nigeria’s leading digital news media publisher, Legit.ng strengthens its hold as top digital media platform on Facebook with over 14 million engagement in March and a total article count of 4,264.

Ending Q1 on a big note, Legit.ng has once again been recognized by Newswhip in the top 5 Facebook Publishers in March 2022. The acclaimed Nigeria’s number 1 online news and entertainment Platform, Legit.ng overthrew American publisher CNN from its formerly occupied 5th place , with 14,636,032 Facebook engagements and 4,264 Article counts.

Without doubt, this is proof to the news publisher’s readers and the media ecosystem in Nigeria that it continues to lead the way in the Nigerian media. The leading digital news platform comes next in line to globally acclaimed publishers like Dailywire, Dailymail, Mirror and BBC, in the Newship Analytics March ranking.

How media houses were assessed
The analysis was based on English-language content from publishers, and it is ranked based on Facebook likes, shares and comments to the web content and ranked by domain.

Leading the way through news
Legit.ng continues to lead the way as a recently published report shows that the no.1 online news website in Nigeria has one of the most engaging Facebook pages in Africa.

Share in our success and join our online community of readers Legit.ng (former Naij.com) is the largest online publisher in Nigeria (by Alexa rank). Every month 10m+ users reach 50m pageviews on our website.

Legit.ng also has an impressive social media presence with 11.4m Facebook followers on all pages, achieving an average post reach of 80,000. Every 4th Nigerian who is on Facebook is a Legit.ng page subscriber.

As the biggest news publisher in the country, Legit.ng has a responsibility to improve the lives of our readers in any way possible. That is why we pride ourselves in creating life-changing news that makes our readers more conscious about the world around them.

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Second Term: My Bid to Return Out of Commitment to Democratic Ideals – Demola Doherty

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Hon. Demola Doherty is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a House of Representatives aspirant in Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency, Lagos State. Addressing newsmen recently, Doherty highlighted his achievements as an Executive Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye Local Government and his desire for a second term.

“The administration in which I was the Executive Chairman remains a reference and legacy administration in Ifako-Ijaiye till date, the more reason the people yearn for my return as Chairman for 2nd term in office.

“The template for the infrastructural developments witnessed during our first term is still with us upon which successive governments have built their projects but we still have a lot to do to remove Ifako-Ijaiye from the sub-urban status.

“Classical examples of infrastructures visible on ground are drainages & road construction viz: Mojisola Str, Adekoya Str, Gospel Crusader, Abu Alfred, Aina Ajobo, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Rd. (Old Akute Road) et al.

“The health of the people was of utmost importance to us hence the concept of Ashabi Taiwo Maternity.

“My next term plan is to address strategic roads yet to be done, such as Oshola Str., Powerline, Ibari Str. and link Ogundimu to Olowo surbub. I also intend to team up with our Assembly member to accelerate construction of Abiola Onijemo bridge.

Health:

The health of the people was paramount to our being in govt hence the concept of New Ashabi Taiwo Maternity, upgrade of Ajilete PHC for 24hrs service.

Construction of New Ogundimu PHC; donation of 30 KVA Diesel Generator; Out Patient benches for Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital and financial support.

Education:

Three new buildings, consisting 36 classrooms were constructed in Ajuwon (Ward F), Ogundimu (Ward F) Fagba (Ward D) and Rmrehabilitation of Bishop Oluwole Primary School (Ward C1).

Desks, chairs & tables were provided for pupils and teachers, respectively.

Yearly bursary to tertiary institutions students were increased by 50% and paid regularly. Indigent students were annually assisted with free WAEC/GCE forms and extra-mural classes.

Bags, English Language workbooks, exercise books and writing materials were provided free to 8000 pupils & students of Ifako-Ijaiye as dividend of democracy.

My next term plan is to wholly support Hon. Tope Adewale our Assembly member, to increase the number of free JAMB forms beneficiaries to 100% and to provide additional support to tertiary students in our local govt area.

Market:

Ishaga market was expanded and rebuilt to accommodate more market women and men. My next term plan is to rebuild NRC Area Office as well as Obawole/Ndike/Powerline Market.

Political Class:

The political class witnessed remarkable cohesion with local govt support during our last outing but there is a great deal of room for improvement.

My next term plan is to restructure wealth creation and poverty alleviation in a way that items relevant to the specific needs of the people shall be given out to reduce poverty in the land and make them self-sustainable.

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