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Lawyer Protests Hijab Ruling, Appears at Supreme Court Dressed in Native Doctor’s Attire

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A human rights lawyer, Malcolm Omoirhobo, on Thursday, caused a stir due to his mode of dressing at the Supreme Court in Abuja.

Photos circulated on social media showed Omoirhobo dressed in a lawyer’s robe mixed with other materials that made him look like an African native doctor.

The lawyer had a gourd with cowries around his neck and a feather on his wig.

According to him, he wore the attire to show gratitude to the Supreme Court which had, on Friday, June 17, 2022, granted the use of hijab by female Muslim students in government-owned schools in Lagos.

Addressing journalists, Omoirhobo said, “I am very grateful to the Supreme Court. Just last week Friday, they made a very resounding decision that promotes Section 38 of the constitution. That is our right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

“That we are free to express our way of worship in our schools and in our courts. That decision was reached on Friday and that has encouraged me.

“Because I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to ‘Olokun’, the god of rivers.”

Reacting, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, Francis Egbokhare, told The PUNCH that the lawyer’s action exposed the ridiculousness that is sometimes associated with law.

He said, “I believe this is just basically sarcasm, as far as I’m concerned, bringing to our attention the ridiculousness sometimes of law when you stretch it out to such an extent.

“For instance, if dress code does not matter, or if you are to modify a dress code, the question is what are the boundaries or limitations, and where do you draw the line?”

Advising the lawyer, Egobkare said, “I think it will be a good thing for him to test it further because this is a comic relief so far. Until he brings it up through the legal process, it may not have any impact beyond just giving us something to laugh about.”

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Electoral Act: Supreme Court Strikes Out Buhari’s Suit Against NASS

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, struck out a suit filed against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari challenging the legality of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The Apex Court held that Buhari, having assented to the Electoral Bill on February 25, 2022, has no power to turn around to challenge the legality of the Electoral Act.

The Supreme Court, in a judgment prepared and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, declared the action of Buhari in instituting the case as a gross abuse of court.

The Apex Court said the President by the suit sought to approbate and reprobate at the same time and that such must not be allowed.

Besides, the court held that Buhari has no power under any law to dictate to the National Assembly on law-making.

The unanimous verdict held that Buhari, having participated in the making of the Electoral Act by his assent, lacked Constitutional powers to come up to challenge same.

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UK Police Arrest Ekweremadu, Wife for Alleged Plan to Harvest Child’s Organs

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The United Kingdom Metropolitan Police have formally charged two Nigerians with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting.

The suspects were arrested and charged over their plan to bring a child into the country to allegedly harvest the said child’s organs.

The two arrested suspects were identified as Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, and Ike Ekweremadu, 60, from Nigeria.

The suspects who have been remanded in custody will appear at Uxbridge magistrates court later on Thursday.

They are charged with conspiracy to harvest organs, The Guardian UK reports.

According to the report, the charges involve arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting, the Met said in a statement.

The child involved has been safeguarded, according to the Met.

The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022, the force said.

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Senate, NBA Wade into Supreme Court Crisis, Demands Accountability

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The Senate and the Nigerian Bar Association have waded into the conflict between the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, and Justices of the Supreme Court over issues bothering on welfare and working condition.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at the plenary on Wednesday, mandated the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to, as a matter of urgency, wade into the crisis.

Lawan gave the directive moments before the Senate adjourned plenary, saying, “We may recall that there were some issues coming out of the judiciary.

“We must have interest in what is happening in that arm of government. I believe that we owe it to Nigerians, to look into what is happening in that arm of government, with a view to bringing solutions to the problem that our judiciary in Nigeria faces.”

He added, “So, I will urge our Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to get involved with the CJN and judiciary generally – at this level with the Supreme Court – to find out what the real issues are  and how the National Assembly can help.”

Also, the NBA stated that there is an urgent need for fundamental reforms of the administration and governance of the judiciary.

The association’s president, Olumide Akpata, stated this in a statement issued on Wednesday in reaction to a memo written by 14 Justices of the Supreme Court to the CJN, in which they alleged various improprieties and administrative inefficiencies and the subsequent response of the CJN.

The NBA lamented that the situation has not only affected the judicial responsibilities of the Justices but also impacted on the justice administration process.

While calling for the independence and financial autonomy of the judiciary, the NBA also noted that it is important that the judiciary must not only be, but should also be seen as being above board and transparent in the management and allocation of the resources currently available to it.

The statement partly read, “The judiciary must entrench the principles of accountability and probity in the manner in which it expends allocated resources. While the fight for increased budgetary allocations for the Judiciary continues, it is important that the available resources be used for the welfare and wellbeing of our judicial officers, as well as for the improvement of the infrastructure and facilities required by our judges and justices to effectively discharge their duties.

“There is a clear need for mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that the judiciary (with the Supreme Court leading the charge) is providing the necessary template to other arms of government on transparent procurement and budgeting. This will reduce the perception in some quarters that the Judiciary is not accountable to anyone and is also not self-regulating.”

Akpata also noted that with the election season, and the humongous war chests that the politicians and political parties are amassing, the only way to insulate and make the judicial officers immune to the “temptations of being corrupted by these politicians is to assure them of decent working conditions and adequate compensation both in and out of service.”

The NBA president also stated that the judges and Justices, on their part, have a duty to ensure that the honour and respect that is accorded the judiciary by the public “is not lost or dwindled, and that the public continues to hold the judiciary in the highest esteem.”

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