Adaobi Egboka, Executive Programmes Director, of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) speaking at the Global Washington 2017 Annual Conference titled Renewing Global Leadership held on November 29, 2017. She was speaking at a panel on “Authentic Leadership Development”.

Adaobi Egboka, Executive Programmes Director, of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) speaking at the Global Washington 2017 Annual Conference titled Renewing Global Leadership held on November 29, 2017. She was speaking at a panel on “Authentic Leadership Development”.

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It was a great opportunity to share the impact of LEDAP’s work within and among the communities it serves. As NGOs continue to evolve their engagement practices, leadership development and capacity building is becoming a critical strategy in creating real and lasting change.  LEDAP has been at the forefront of empowering and mentoring individuals, survivors and communities across Nigeria to find their voice, mobilize and take action. Adaobi, shared her experience on what is working and what are the challenges in authentically developing and supporting leaders from the local communities through legal empowerment, legislative advocacy, training, network building amongst others.

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Apo Six: Senate Investigates Reinstatement Of Police Officer

The Senate has resolved to investigate alleged recent reinstatement of a Deputy Police Commissioner, Mr Danjuma Ibrahim, who was indicted by a judicial panel of inquiry set up in 2005 to probe killing of five young Igbo traders and a young lady in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The resolution followed a Point of Order raised by Sen. Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP-Ebonyi) on the floor of plenary on Wednesday.

Ogbuoji expressed concern that two police officers who operated under the directive of Ibrahim to kill the young traders were convicted but he was acquitted.

He further expressed concern that the Police Service Commission (PSC) exonerated and reinstated the leader of the police team that committed the murder while his subordinates were severely punished.

“My personal explanation is on an incidence that took place that led to the death of six young people, five of them male and one a female at a police checkpoint. That incidence involved Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Augustina Arebu.

“The then President Olusegun Obasanjo, set up a judicial panel of inquiry because the police report was unacceptable to him when they insisted that those young people were armed robbers.

“Following that, some police officers were found to have killed these young people.

“They were then taken to court by the state. The commander of that particular police unit, one Danjuma Ibrahim, as we speak today, has been reinstated by the police.

”Also, one of them, Othman Abdulsalami, till today is at large. But the court on the 12th of last month sentenced two of the police men to death for murder.

“One is worried that the commander of that particular patrol unit that killed what is now known as Apo six has been reinstated by the police whereas the police found others who were under his command culpable.

”This has generated a lot of tension among the people whose children were killed in cold blood.

”I call on the Senate to find out how one of the police officers is at large and the police is unable to trace his whereabouts till today, almost twelve years after.

”Also, one of them has been reinstated and reabsorbed into the Police Force.

”I urge the Senate to take interest to find out what has happened with this exercise, ” he said.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, asked Ogbuoji to bring a formal petition on the matter so that it would be referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

He said, “I think this would have come under a petition so that we easily refer it to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions but as a ranking Senator, we give you this privilege.

”The matter will be referred to Ethics and Privileges when you come with a formal petition.’’

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had set up a panel of inquiry into alleged extra-judicial killing of five young men and a lady, said to be between ages between 21 and 25 on June 7, 2005.

The police officers allegedly involved in the murder were placed on suspension following findings of the panel.

Twelve years later, 2017, two of the officers were convicted and sentenced to death.

However, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court presiding judge, Ishaq Bello, said there was no evidence to convict Mr Danjuma, who was a Deputy Commissioner of Police and two others.

The victims, Ifeanyi Ozor, Ekene Mgbe, Paulinus Ogbonna, Chinedu Meniru, Anthony Nwokike and Augustina Arebu, were said to be returning from a nightclub when they were stopped at a police checkpoint.

The police had claimed that the victims were members of an armed robbery gang that had opened fire on the officers when accosted at the checkpoint.

The judicial panel of inquiry, however, found the police account to be false and recommended the trial of five officers for extra-judicial killings.

The indicted officers are Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami, Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel, and Sadiq Salami.

Source: https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2017/11/29/apo-six-senate-investigates-reinstatement-police-officer/

Senate debates alleged ‘sale’ of Nigerian migrants in Libya

The Senate on Wednesday debated the alleged auction of Africans, mostly Nigerians, in the North African country of Libya.

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The lawmakers took turn to condemn the act which has drawn public outcry following gory pictures and videos currently in circulation on social media.

Presenting the motion, Baba Kaka Garbai, Borno-APC, said that the inhuman condition aired in the latest report by CNN is a “humiliation not just to Nigeria and Africa as a whole but also to human civilization and the fundamental principles of human rights under the United Nations Charter.”

He noted that even though protests are ongoing in European countries such as Paris and Brussels, “we who are the most affected as these are our children, our brothers and sisters, our youths, are indifferent.”

“The report by Libyan officials is that its detention centres are full and they have only deported five per cent of the 20,000 in the detention centres because of lack of response from the home governments of the migrants;

“The Libyan government does not have the means nor the commitment to crack down on the perpetrators as their hands are full. Hence these smuggling networks are killing, torturing, extorting and detaining migrants at will.”

In his contribution, Dino Melaye, Kogi-APC, expressed surprise that the federal government has remained silent since the emergence of videos of the slave trade.

“Mr. President, the social media has been awashed for over a month now with different video clips with very excruciating pictures of Nigerians being humiliated,” he said. “It is high time we resigned to citizen diplomacy as practised by the United State of America. Nigeria and Nigerians must take the life of every Nigerians not only seriously but to defend Nigerians anywhere in the world. I am particularly surprised Mr. President that these video footages has been on YouTube and social media for over one month and there’s not been one very drastic position by the federal government to condemn and take very proactive position on the lives of Nigerians outside the shores of this country.”

He urged government at all levels to take the security of Nigerian citizens as priority.

Ali Wakili, Bauchi-APC, wants the government to give more attention to education as a way to nip the menace in the bud.

“We need to address the root causes of these issue of illegal migration. There is the issue of poverty that is bedevilling our people. There is the issue of poor governance, there is the issue of fact that we have corrupt leaders that have taken our wealth to the western countries and it is not helpful to them, nor to their descendants nor to us people,” he said.

“Our education needs to be looked into. We churn out graduates that are not employable, especially in the digital period in which we find ourselves. Our education system need to be looked into so that we can have vocational training and others so that they can meet up with local challenges.”

The Senate resolved to “condemn in totality the current depravity and sheer animalism being exhibited by these Libyans selling fellow Africans as slaves, urge the federal government to urgently investigate how many of our people are affected and urgently commence the process of repatriation and rehabilitation of Nigerian citizens caught up in these despicable treatment and human rights abuses.’

The Senate also resolved to invite the Libyan ambassador in Nigeria to brief the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and urged the government at all levels in Africa to take steps to ameliorate economic hardship feeding this migration crisis.

The lawmakers also adopted an additional prayer by Bala Ibn NaAllah, Kebbi-APC, that President Muhammadu Buhari should seize the opportunity of the ongoing EU-AU all summit in Abidjan to table the matter.

Source:https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/250989-senate-debates-alleged-sale-nigerian-migrants-libya.html

Law Pavilion boosts Judges’ feedback system

The administration of justice has received another boost with the introduction of an innovation aimed at assisting the Judiciary to effectively monitor judgments on appeal from the court of first instance, usually High Courts  to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.The innovation was launched by a leading legal technology company, Law Pavilion. Speaking at a media briefing, Managing Director of Law Pavilion, Mr Ope Olugasa, pointed out that while working closely with the Court of Appeal, the Appellate Feedback System for Judges (AFSJ) was conceptualised and developed by the organisation. According to him, the initiative was a response to the obvious need by Judges of courts of first instance to be promptly notified whenever matters they pronounced upon which went on appeal were decided by appellate courts. He stated that the innovation was unveiled at the Biennial Judges’ Conference organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI), in Abuja. The AFSJ is an unprecedented innovative solution that proposes to celebrate the skill and sagacity of high court judges who adjudicate and pronounce on millions of cases across the federation, to have their decisions upheld all the way to the Supreme Court. The AFSJ is also an attempt to give Judges an impartial feedback on their performance such that they are personally motivated to consider all facts and the law before making pronouncements on matters before them. Speaking further, Olugasa stated that a solution like the AFSJ was the needed incentive to facilitate massive improvement and support for the judiciary, especially from the Executive, as  AFSJ could serve as a testament to the quality of judges on the Bench in a particular state. Olugasa was optimistic that having demonstrated the rich possibilities of the AFSJ, the administrators of the judiciary at both the state and federal levels would be at the forefront of procuring this new innovation.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/law-pavilion-boosts-judges-feedback-system/

ACJA as key to modern criminal justice

By Chino Obiagwu, National Coordinator LEDAP

In the next 12 series, I will discuss the innovations in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and will demonstrate how, if well implemented,they will reduce delays, modernise criminal justice administration and protect the rights of citizens in conflict with the law.

The first is the provisions to deal with protracted pre-trial detention. In the past under ACJA, remand proceedings were used to buy time in order to allow the Police conclude investigation or receive legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General on whether or not the evidence in the case file raise prima facie case to arraign the suspect. The suspect is charged before the magistrate’s court that, because it has no jurisdiction to try the offence would remand the suspect and remit the case for legal advice. In practice, this process creates bottleneck because if the case file is not moved to the AG’s office on time, it may get lost, and the suspect will be on remand detention indefinitely. This results in unduly protracted and long pre-trial detention. The ACJA has not created time protocols to ensure that criminal proceedings are handled with minimal delays. Under section 264 ACJL Lagos or sections 293 and 294 ACJ Act, where a suspect is arrested for an offence for which the magistrate has no jurisdiction to try, he shall ‘within a reasonable time,’ be brought before a magistrate’s court for remand using the ‘Request for Remand Form’ prescribed in the Appendix. A remand order may be made by the magistrate detaining the person in prison custody pending the time the prosecution files the proper charge or information at the court with jurisdiction to try him. Such remand order will be made if the information supporting the request for remand disclosed ‘probable cause’ to suggest that an offence might have been committed. In other words, the ACJA has given the magistrate the power to examine the ground for remand request, thus giving him jurisdiction over remand proceedings of such offence even if he does not have the jurisdiction to try the offence. The remand order must be made returnable within specified period of time, and if the person is not arraigned before the appropriate court within the set time limit, the magistrate is under obligation to grant bail to the person or discharge him unconditionally, after serving hearing notices on the Police and Attorney-General. The time frames for this remand protocol differ from one ACJ to another. Under ACJA, it is a total period of 28 days and under ACJL Lagos, a total of 90 days. The innovative implication of this provision is to separate the interlocutory remand proceeding from the proceeding for the substantive trial of the charge.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/acja-key-modern-criminal-justice/

Victory for transparency as court rules FOI law applicable to Lagos govt

An Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court on Tuesday ruled that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011, is applicable to the Government of Lagos State and does not require “domestication” by the state to have effect.

Justice Beatrice Oke-Lawal, while dismissing a preliminary objection raised by the Lagos State Ministry of Health in a suit instituted against the Ministry and the Lagos State Government by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) over its failure to disclose records and information requested by the organisation under the FOI Act, held that the Act was validly enacted by the National Assembly and applicable to the federal and state governments.The suit arose from a Freedom of Information request made by MRA in November 2016 to the Ministry, asking for:

· Details and copies of plans put in place by the institution to provide the Araromi Zion Estate located in Akiode Area of Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) with health care services;
· Details and copies of plans put in place to provide the Araromi Zion Estate with health care services taking into consideration the peculiar needs and circumstances of the community;
· Details of any research or assessment carried out on the needs of the community and its residents as well as copies of relevant research or assessments report or reports;
· An outline of the timeframe for the implementation of the plans, if there are plans to provide the Estate with primary health care facilities, and
· Details of the budgets and costs estimates for the implementation of the plans, if any.

Following the failure of the ministry to respond to MRA’s request despite a reminder issued to it, the organisation, through its lawyer, Mosunmola Olanrewaju, filed a suit against the ministry and the Attorney-General of the Federation asking the court to declare that the ministry’s refusal to provide it with the requested information is wrongful and to compel the disclosure of the records and information to the organisation in accordance with the FOI Act.

However, the ministry filed a notice of preliminary objection to the suit in which it contended that the court had no jurisdiction to determine the suit and asked that the suit be struck out on the grounds that:

· The substance of MRA’s case is not contained in the Exclusive Legislative List under the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution to confer exclusive power on the Federal Government to make the FOI Act for the Federation;
· MRA’s grievance is against the Lagos State Government which is not an agency of the Federal Government;
· Even if the FOI Act is applicable to Lagos State, MRA’s application for judicial review was filed outside the 30-day time limit stipulated by section 20 of the Act; and
· The Lagos State Ministry of Health is not a juristic person that can sue or be sued.

Ruling on the ministry’s preliminary objection, Justice Oke-Lawal noted that three issues arose for determination in the matter namely, whether the FOI Act is applicable to Lagos State, whether MRA was out of time in filing the suit and whether the Lagos State Ministry of Health is a juristic person.

On whether the FOI Act is applicable to Lagos State, after an analysis of Section 4(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the judge ruled that the National Assembly has the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation on any matter included in the Concurrent Legislative List, adding that if any law enacted by a State House of Assembly is inconsistent with any law made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly would prevail.

She said based on the provisions of these sections of the Constitution, she was of the opinion that the wordings of the Constitution are clear as to the powers of the National Assembly to make laws for the federation as long as the issue is within the Concurrent and Exclusive Legislative lists.

The judge’s decision is seen as a blow for the Lagos State government, renowned for ignoring FOI requests on its activities from journalists and civil society organizations.

The judge also upheld Mrs. Olanrewaju’s argument that the FOI Act was validly enacted by the National Assembly and as such applicable to the federation and that it is not dependent on states adopting it for it to become applicable in such states.

She cited, in support of her position, the decisions of the Supreme Court dismissing similar challenges made to the validity and applicability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act to the states.

Justice Oke-Lawal, therefore, held that the FOI Act applies to the federal and state governments.

On whether MRA was out of time when the organisation filed its suit against the Ministry and the State Government, the judge said having critically examined the processes filed by the parties to the suit, going by the date MRA’s freedom of information request was made and the date the originating processes were filed by MRA, it was clear that when it filed the suit, the organisation was within the time stipulated by the FOI Act for filing an application for a review of the decision of any public institution not to disclose requested information.

On the argument of the Lagos State Ministry of Health that it is not a juristic person that can sue or be sued, Justice Oke-Lawal said there was no evidence to support the claim that the ministry is not a juristic person. She upheld the submission of Mrs. Olanrewaju that the creation of Lagos State by the State (Creation and Transitional Provisions) Decree No. 14 of 1967, on May 27, 1967 automatically conferred legal status on the ministry as one of the institutions that took off with the state.

She ruled that the preliminary objection raised by the ministry lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.

source: http://thenigerialawyer.com/victory-for-transparency-as-court-rules-foi-law-applicable-to-lagos-govt/