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.
Second Term: My Bid to Return Out of Commitment to Democratic Ideals – Demola Doherty
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cleric Offers Scholarship to Underaged Victims of Sexual Abuse
A popular Islamic cleric, philanthropist, business and Estate mogul, and founder, Sebilu Nnajat TV, Sheikh Hammed Olanrewaju Alfulaany, has offered scholarships to two sexually abused underaged girls, aged 14 and 16, who were sexually molested by their parents.
The victims, Ayomide Rachael Johnson, and Motunrayo Ogunsanwo, were allegedly sexually assaulted by their fathers in Meiran, and Epe respectively before they were rescued by Lady of Africa Foundation.
The organization reported the matter to the police and the fathers were arrested. The case is presently in court.
The Cleric was approached by the Founder and National Coordinator of the Foundation, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, to assist the victims in furthering their education. Since their case became public knowledge, the victims had been under the care of the Foundation.
Upon hearing the plights of the victims, the business mogul offered to sponsor their education to University level and promised to take care of their feeding and daily expenses.
The elated Princess Bukola Fasuyi expressed gratitude to the cleric for coming to the aid of the victims, and urged other philanthropists to follow suit by coming to the assistance of the Foundation in providing succour to the needy.
Apart from the victims, the business mogul also offered scholarships to a 22year old Barakat Hassan and her 24-year old sister, Azeezat, who were abandoned by their mother for 22 years after she packed out of her matrimonial home.
Their situation became worst after the death of their father, as they had no one to take care of them.
Barakat lost her sight in the process, placing a heavy burden on her sister to fend for both of them.
Their plight was brought to the attention of the philanthropist who offered to foot the medical bill of Barakat running into millions of naira. She is presently receiving medical attention in one of the top hospitals in Lagos.
The two sisters have also been given accomodation by the philanthropist and are on the verge of enrolling in school.
While eulogising the philanthropic gesture of Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi said the philanthropist has demonstrated there should be no religious or ethnic biases towards helping the needy, adding such gestures should be emulated by every Nigerian.
She called on International community, government and well-to-do Nigerians to support Sheikh Olanrewaju Hammed Alfulaany in his philanthropic gesture as well as come to the aid of Lady of Africa Foundation in it’s quest to give back to the society.
Domestic Violence: Foundation Calls for Protection of the Girl-Child
A women advocacy group, Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, LAEAF has called on government to ensure the right of girl child is protected amidst rampant cases of domestic sexual abuses of young girls.
While reacting to increase in cases of sexual abuses of teenagers, the founder of the group, Princess Oluwabukola Fasuyi, said it’s disheartening to hear cases of fathers sexually molesting their daughters.
According to her, children who are victims of such abuses ends up becoming wayward and live with the psychological effects of the abuse for the rest of their lives.
Citing the case of a 14year old girl at Meiran, Lagos State, who was sexually molested severally by her father before she was rescued by the organization, Princess Fasuyi said the victim is currently battling with the trauma, having been introduced to a wayward as a result of her father’s action.
She added the organization is making every efforts to assist the victim recover from the abuse and has enrolled her in one of the government’s school in the state.
“It’s high time government ensured the right of girl child are protected. It’s disturbing when.you hear stories of fathers sleeping with their daughters. We have a case of a 14 year old girl who was sexually abused by her father. At times the girl would ran out of the house in the middle of the night whenever the father wanted to.sleep with her. This happened on several occasions. W
When we got wind of it, we had to rescue the girl and report the matter to the police. The father was arrested, charger to court, and is currently in prison custody while the case is going on in court.
The action has made the girl wayward but the organization is trying to re-orientate her and give her a new life,” she said.
She also cited the case of a 17year old girl who was rescued in Epe after being severally sexually molested by her father. The girl was later rescued by the organization.
According to her, the organization reported the matter to the police and the father was arrested. The case is presently in court.
” We are urging the government to pay more attention to women by empowering them. It’s said when you build a woman, you build a nation. Many young girls who grow up to be wayward are victims of domestic abuses from childhood. Government must ensure violators are brought to book.
Law enforcement agencies must ensure violators are prosecuted and justice is served to victims. Girl child should be educated while parents, especially mothers should pay adequate attention to their daughters to protect them from randy father’s,” she urged.
Lady of Africa Empowerment and Foundation is a non governmental organization committed to the empowement and rapid development of women.
Over the years, the Foundation has been involved in several cases involving the welfare of women.
In 2009, the Foundation rescued one Dupe Olowoyo, a widowed and single mother of two who was down with cancer of the vagina. Several millions of Naira were spent on her treatment by the Foundation before she was cured of the disease, and was later empowered by the Foundation.
Likewise, one Yinka Popoola, a single mother of four, was treated of cancer of the mouth by the Foundation.