The Supreme Court has fixed tomorrow, 14th July 2020 for the hearing of the suit brought by the Attorney- General of Ekiti State, Olawale Fapohunda against the Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorneys- General of Lagos and Ogun States respectively.
In the suit brought pursuant to Order 3 rule 6, Supreme Court Rules (as amended in 1999), section 232(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and sections 1(3), 36(3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Attorney-General of Ekiti State is asking the Supreme Court to determine whether the directive issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation, vide its directive issued on the 20th of April, 2020 to the Head of Courts at Federal and States level, in conjunction with Guidelines, issued on the 7th May,2020, by the National Judicial Council specifically as it relates to the conduct of virtual proceedings in court is not only a violation of the federalism provisions of the 1999 Constitution but also in violation of the constitutional provisions on fair hearing specifically as it relates to the conduct of criminal trials in public.
The Ekiti State Attorney- General is also asking the Supreme Court to set aside, or strike down so much of the said directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation and National Judicial Council Guidelines, as it relates to Virtual or Remote Court sittings to the extent that they purport to be binding on the Ekiti State High Court for being inconsistent with Section 1(3), 4(6), 5(2), 6(2), 36(3) and (4), 272 and 274 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The issue of the constitutionality or otherwise of remote or virtual court hearing has dominated national discussion since the publication of the guidelines of the National Judicial Council which recommended virtual court proceedings for courts in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Opinion has been divided among lawyers on the legality of the directive. A number of High Courts including those in Lagos, Ogun, and Borno States have proceeded to implement the guidelines while many States have been adamant in their opposition to the directive insisting that only a constitutional amendment or pronouncement by the Supreme Court can ensure the legality of virtual court hearings.
BREAKING: 2.5% Equity Shares of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Company Limited: Appeal Court Dismiss Application Challenging Ownership
The Appeal court today dismissed an appeal challenging the decision of the National Industrial Court over ownership of the 2.5% equity shares of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited.
The National Industrial Court Port Harcourt division earlier dismissed an application seeking to set aside an Arbitral judgement awarded and enforced by the Federal high court.
The newly employed staff of the company, Indorama Eleme petrochemicals company limited filed a suit in CA/PH/ 209/2018: Between Kendrick Oluka & Ors Vs Bala Marama & Ors, contending the legality of the shares, they argued that Existed Staff of the company who are members of the Co-operative should not continue benefitting from the dividends as they are no longer staff of the company and as such should be replaced by the newly employed staff
But the Industrial Court declined jurisdiction to entertain the application declined jurisdiction stating that the federal High Court that granted the order enforcing the arbitral award is a court of equal jurisdiction.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the industrial court, the Appellants approached the court of appeal to set aside the judgement of the industrial court and also to uphold their argument.
But the Appeal court today 24th September 2021, dismissed the Appeal and affirmed the judgment of the National Industrial Court.
However, the Appeal court determined and resolved this appeal on the following grounds;
(a) The ground that the Judgment of the National Industrial Court was granted on a day that is the Court’s vacation.
The Appeal Court held that since there is no injustice suffered by the Appellants, the ground was resolved in favour of the Exited staff and Cooperative.
(b) The ground that the National Industrial Court should have set aside the decision of the Federal High Court.
The court held that both courts are courts of equal jurisdiction.
(c) The ground seeking the National Industrial Court to determine the substantive suit rather than saying the appeal is an academic exercise to delve into the substantive suit after same has been dismissed.
So the court refused to grant the ground.
The Court of Appeal dismissing the appeal resolved this ground by saying that since the Federal High Court in Portharcourt has enforced the arbitral decision, going into the same substance of the case will amount to upturning the decision of a court of equal jurisdiction.
(D) The ground that the Appellants did not seek for leave of the Appeal court before filing the Notice of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal said since parties have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court by entering appearance, it can no longer challenge the ground, so the court refused to admit the ground.
The Court resolved grounds A,B,C in favour of the Exited staff and the Cooperative while ground D’ was refused.
The case was finally dismissed with the cost of #200,000 granted in favour of the Exited staff and the Cooperative against the Appellants (Kendrick &Co).
Indoroma Eleme Petrochemical Co-operative Society: Federal High Court Berates EFCC , Ordered Restriction on Account Vacated
Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court , has ordered the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to vacate All restriction placed on the account of the Exited staff of the cooperative.
Justice Taiwo while Delivering a judgment in a matter of injunction brought by the Exited staff of the cooperative against EFCC, Wondered what the Commission claimed to be investigating In a matter that has been decided by the federal High Court and industrial court respectively.
He also held that the BPE whose petition the EFCC claimed to be investigating also acted outside their mandate , especially as it regards to the shares of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemical Co-operative Society. He held that the shares remains legally acquired and
anyone who feels aggrieved the normal thing to do is to approach the court for redress and not to use the EFCC as a tool for intimidation
“The EFCC has the right to investigate but must be seen to do this within the armbit of the Law, EFCC is not a court of law and must not allocate to itself the powers of the court “.
Justice Taiwo also said his Court will not shield anyone from investigation but the EFCC must also desist from the act of trying to turn a matter that is purely civil case to a criminal case.
Justice Taiwo refused the prayer of the applicants seeking to remove the chairman of EFCC from office over contempt of court , he held that the court lacks the power to do so and as such decline the prayers.
But then went further to declare that the matter of shares regarding Eleme Petrochemical Co-operative Society is purely civil in nature.
He gave the EFCC Seven days to write First Bank PLC to lift the ristriction placed on the account and allow access to funds in thier Custody.
He also instructed the Bank to immediately honour the judgement when served with the order of the court.
He also award a 5million Naira damage against the EFCC for illegally arresting and detaining a member of the Co-operative Society for 5days without a court order.
Recall that in February 26,2009 the federal government through the National Council on Privatization had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt ,Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd.
The 10% equity shares was shared as 7.5% was allotted to the host community while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the Staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.
Also Recall that the EFCC had placed a restriction on the account of the Co-operative Society claiming to be investigating a fraud , Matter which has led to litigations and the bank refusing to honour the instruction of the Co-operative on the order of the EFCC.
BREAKING: Court Stops Farouk From Parading as President of AFAN
The All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has obtained a court injunction from a Federal High Court in Kano, stopping Mr Mudi Farouk Rabiu from further parading himself as the president of the umbrella farmers’ body and holding any activity in the name of AFAN.
The Mudi led breakaway faction had illegally usurped the authority of the association at the national level without grassroot support and in violation of the association’s constitution, to the extent of gaining recognition from the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, who did not heed to appeals from the bona fide executive to disregard him.
In a statement made available to the media, Alhaji Salisu Mukhtar, Assistant Publicity Secretary of AFAN, noted that: “the desperation and misadventure of the lawless group led by Faruk Rabi’u Mudi and his fraudulent obtuse supporters have led them to earn the wrath of the law in Kano.”
According to Murktar, on Monday, 16th August, 2021 the Mudi led group organized a charade at the Sani Abacha Indoor Stadium, Kano to illegally conduct the election of officials of AFAN Kano State chapter, before the injunction which was issued on the 18th August 2021.
He said: “The group boastfully announced that they would be on air to be seen by the whole world. This was regardless of the pendency of a matter they filed in the Federal High Court, Abuja, slated for definite hearing on 27th September, 2021.
“A law-abiding group would wait for the determination of the matter before proceeding to do anything but because they are bereft of decorum and good education they landed themselves in a serious quagmire.”
Recall that the All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter illegally registered by Mudi which was used to open a fresh bank account in Heritage Bank was disapproved by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
AFAN has continued to flay Heritage Bank for allowing the illegal account which was opened without due diligence to remain open and deployed in fraudulent activities which Mudi has been accused of by third parties.
According to Murktar, AFAN had earlier written the management of Heritage Bank on the 14th of February 2021 referenced AFAN/HERITAGE/FRAUD/CAC/2021/014th February, 2021 on the illegality of the account opened with them in the name of a fake entity claiming to be AFAN.
The letter reads in part: “We write to inform you that your Branch has inadvertently opened an Account: All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Acct. No.5100311787 without due diligence.
“All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter is a nullity as the CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) has issued a letter dated 22nd June, 2020 (copy attached) to them to change their name within six weeks or it will be cancelled.
“The registration of All Farmers Association of Nigeria Kano Chapter contradicts CAMA as it is not done with the express permission of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), the parent body.
“We implore you to close this account forthwith because it has been opened to defraud the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and all Nigerian farmers.”
AFAN further disagreed with the minister for permitting Mudi to give a goodwill message at the Council on Agriculture conference held in June 2021, where the police soon moved in to arrest him over a criminal matter but was shielded from the arrest by the minister.
“We are looking up to the police to ask Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono to produce him since he has not been seen in his office since June,” Murktar said.
The association noted that the injunction secured from the Kano Judiciary has finally clipped the wings of the renegade faction and their leader Mudi from parading as members or representatives of AFAN anywhere, warning that anything that the group received in the name of AFAN from the ministry of Agriculture for AFAN members nationwide should hitherto be accounted for.
“We reiterate that anyone who transacts any AFAN business with Faruk Rabi’u Mudi does so at his own peril.
The Faruk faction had earlier advertised a paid registration platform for farmers with the promise of accessing micro-credit loans, benefitting from programmes and interventions.
Intending registrants were required to indicate their names, states, and commodity they produce, while making the payment.
However, the executive led by Arc Kabir Ibrahim had insisted that Mudi is not a member of AFAN but a fraud.
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