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.
#BuhariMustGo: Court Orders SSS to Release Protesters Arrested at Dunamis Church
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered State Security Services, (SSS) to release five worshipers who were arrested at Dunamis International Gospel Centre on July 4 for allegedly wearing #BuhariMustGo t-shirts.
The applicants, Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Emmanuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel Iwatonaiye, filed their separate suits at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order following separate ex parte applications filed on their behalf by their lawyer,Tope Temokun.
Justice Chikere ordered that the SSS should release the applicants with immediate effect.
They had sued the SSS, President Muhammadu Buhari, the church’s pastor-in-charge, Pastor Paul Enenche and others for alleged unlawful arrest and detention.
The plaintiffs, who urged the court to declare their arrest and detention unlawful, also asked the court to award N10 million, each, in damages, for the violation of their fundamental rights.
Mr Temokun had argued in the separate suits that his clients were entitled to fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of expression and the press, right to freedom from discrimination and right to personal liberty.
According to him, the rights are guaranteed under Sections 35, 38, 39 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and under Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Ratification and Enforcement.
Other defendants include the Director-General of the DSS, Mr Yusuf Bichi and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The matter has been adjourned until August 2 for hearing.
Kemi Adeosun: Court Clears Ex-Minister of NYSC Certificate Controversy
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, cleared the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, of National Youth Service Corps certificate forgery, which resulted in her resignation in 2018.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his ruling on the originating summon with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/303/21 brought by Wole Olanipekun SAN, on her behalf, held that the NYSC certificate based on the constitution is not a mandatory requirement for holding a political office in the country.
“I am of the view that denying the plaintiff of the relieves sought is not going to be doing justice to the matter,” she said.
The judge, therefore, granted all the four relieves sought for determination by the former minister.
Taiwo noted that the defendant stated that the Federal Government did not withdraw the ministerial appointment of the plaintiff or ask her to resign, but that Adeosun resigned on her own accord.
Dollar Videos: Court Fines Ganduje N800k for Withdrawing Suit Against Ja’afar Ja’afar
Kano State High Court on Tuesday fined Kano governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje N800,000 after he discontinued his defamation suit against an online publication Daily Nigerian.
Ganduje had dragged the publisher Ja’afar Ja’afar to court over a story and videos where he was purportedly seen stuffing foreign currencies in his pocket.
The court, presided over by Justice Suleiman Danmallan, who granted the application to discontinued the case, however directed the governor to pay N400,000 each to Ja’afar and parent company of the newspaper, both defendants in the suit.
Counsels for both defendants, Ubi Eteng and Muhammad Danazumi had both urged the court to award a total of N400million as cost of discontinuing the suit but Ganduje’s counsel, O.E.B. Offiong (SAN) urged the court to disregard the prayers, noting that since the defendants had informed the court they have filed a counter-claim, issue of cost should be delayed till then.
In the counter-claim filed by Ja’afar, a copy of which was seen by Daily Trust, the publisher asked the court to declare that the governor’s case wass “vexatious, baseless, gold digging and of no substance whatsoever.”
He also seeks the declaration that “the deployment of thugs, political stalwarts and primary school pupils by the plaintiff at the grounds of the Kano State House of Assembly chanting slogans and insults on the person of the defendant is unwarranted, uncalled for, immoral and defamatory.”
He thereafter asked the court to direct the governor “to issue a public apology to the 1st defendant in at least two national daily newspapers for filing a baseless case against the 1st defendant”
He also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the plaintiff either by himself, agents, representative, privies or any person howsoever called from further filing any frivolous against him (Ja’afar) on this subject matter.
The judge has, however, directed that a date would be fixed for hearing of the counter-claim when the parties are ready.
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