Man, 38, remanded in prison for alleged abduction, rape of teenager

A Kano State Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday, remanded a 38-year-old man, Ibrahim Muntari, in prison over alleged abduction and rape of a 15-year-old girl.

Muntari, who lives at Rimin Kebe Quarters Kano, is standing trial on a two-count charge of abduction and rape.

The police prosecutor, Insp. Pogu Lale, told the court that one Aisha Mohammad of the same address reported the case at Zango Police Division Kano, on Jan.25.

Lale said that on Jan.24, at about 7.30 pm, the defendant abducted and locked the complainant, a 15-year-old girl in his friend’s room situated at Rimin Kebe Quarters.

The prosecutor said that Muntari and his friend, who is now at large, had unlawful sexual intercourse with the complainant one after the other for one day.

The defendant however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened sections 273 and 283 of the penal code.

Chief Magistrate, Muhammad Jibril, ordered the remand of the defendant in prison custody and adjourned the case until Feb.28, for further mention. (NAN)

Source: DailyTrust

Court remands teacher for allegedly defiling girl, 4

A Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Kano on Wednesday ordered the remand of a 35-year-old teacher, Kabiru Musa, for allegedly defiling a four-year-old girl.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Muhammad Jibril, said that the defendant should be kept in custody, pending an advice from the state’s director of public prosecutions.

Jibril adjourned the matter until Feb. 25 for mention.

The defendant, who resides at Yan Awaki Quarters in Kano, is facing a count charge of rape.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Pogu Lale, told the court that one Bilal Usman of Rijiyar Zaki Quarters Kano, reported the matter at the Shahuchi Police Division in Kano on Jan.17.

Lale said that on Jan.16, the defendant deceived and lured the complainant’s four-year-old daughter, into a class room and had unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

“The complainant noticed unusual stain of blood on his daughter’s pant when she came back from school and complained of virginal pain.’’

According to the prosecutor, during the course of questioning the victim, she revealed to her father that it was the defendant, a teacher in the school that raped her.

According to Lale, the offence contravenes Section 283 of the Penal Code. (NAN)

Source: DailyTrust

Police arrest 3 for alleged torture of lady over phone theft in Edo

Police authority in Edo state has arrested three persons in connection with a video in which one Miss Favour Ada, was allegedly stripped naked and tortured over phone theft.

It was gathered that Ada was allegedly accused of stealing an iPhone worth over N400,000, at Ugbiyoko, axis of  Benin.

The video of the alleged torture went viral on social media, showing the 25-year-old stripped naked and being tortured.

The video showed how grounded pepper was inserted into her private part after severe torture by her attackers.

The victim was heard from the video pleading for mercy from her attacker that she didn’t steal any phone.

It was gathered that the victim who was seriously injured, is presently receiving treatment at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

A source at the Edo state police command, who spoke to our reporter in confidence said that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

“They accused her of stealing an iPhone worth about N440,000 and did all that to her,” he said.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, said he is attending a conference in Abuja with the state Commissioner of police, Hakeem Odumosu.

Unconstitutional Remand of Deji Adeyanju; Whither Nigeria in the Comity of Civilised Nations?

I do not know who Adeyanju was before his current predicament neither do I hold his brief. However, it is only human for a legal mind to be puzzled by the above question as it relates to Nigeria extant situation. Mr. Deji Adeyanju had since December, 2018 been remanded in Kano Central Prison by a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kano on a First Information Report bordering on allegation of murder after taking his plea, the court’s sole reason for the order of remand is that she lacked jurisdiction to hear murder charges against the political activist.

Thus, Deji Adeyanju has been rotting away in Kano Central Prison since December till date. Now, the legal question that calls to my mind and as well to the mind of every serious minded lawyer or even a student of law with discernment is- is the court’s sole reason for remanding Adeyanju founded on Nigerian laws? If the answer to this question is in the negative, the question that ought to follow reasonably is- is the remand warrant founded on illegal ground a legally valid instrument? If the answer to this question is also in the negative, yet another reasonable question that ought to agitate the mind of the discerning is- is any person or authority bound by an illegal document?

Come with me, let’s beam the legal searchlight on the above three questions viz:

  1. Whether the court’s reason for remanding Adeyanju is founded on Nigerian laws?
  2. Whether the remand warrant with which Adeyanju is presently been held is not illegal?
  • Whether the Nigerian Prisons Service is bound to honour and give effect to illegal remand warrant?

Interestingly, the simple answers to the above questions are all contained in a single caselaw authority decided by the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, and it might interest you to know that the case in reference is a case that emanated from Kano State Chief Magistrate’s court- the same cadre of court that has presently remanded Adeyanju to prison, to Kano State High Court., then, to Court of Appeal. The decision had neither been appealed against to the Supreme Court nor had the ratios in the decision been overturned by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the decision thus remains valid, correct, subsisting and binding all lower courts in Nigeria including all authorities and persons. The case of BAFFA BABBA DAN AGUNDI .V. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE (2013) AllFWLR pt.660 P. 1247., clearly put to rest all the questions raised above.

To these questions seriatim we shall now turn in the light of the above cited case.

Question 1

Whether the court’s reason for remanding Adeyanju to prison is founded on Nigerian laws?

You may recall that the court- Chief Magistrate’s Court, Kano State  suo moto admitted and confessed like a neutralized witch that it lacked the requisite jurisdiction to try the offence of murder with which Adeyanju is being charged for, now the question is- when a court lacks jurisdiction to try an offence can such a court still go ahead to make an order remanding the accused? When a court goes ahead and does this, does it not run afoul to the constitutional guaranty of presumption of innocence of an accused? The Court of Appeal in the above stated BABBA DAN AGUNDI .V. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE (2013) AllFWLR pt.660 PG 1247 had theses to say on this point “ … no person is to be brought to a court that has no jurisdiction to try or grant bail. In the instant case, the accused persons were arraigned in a Margistrate Court which had no jurisdiction to try the offences they were charged with, the Chief Magistrate erred by assuming jurisdiction thereon…Therefore a Magistrate or judge is not to receive a first information report and take cognizance before sending accused to a proper court for trial or to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice or for the filing of Information in the High Court for lack of jurisdiction. A wicked Magistrate or judge can remand the suspect for months before the case gets to proper court or Ministry of Justice.”

In the light of the above unequivocal pronouncement of the Appellate court, it is clear that a Chief Magistrate Court in Kano State cannot receive, act on or make any order on the offence of murder for lack of jurisdiction. Why then did the inferior court in question ignore the pronouncement of the Appellate court to remand Adeyanju in prison when clearly she is not in any way qualified to try the offence of murder? Is it palpable ignorance of the law? Is it the symptom of agbero-like* judicial rascality? Or has the inferior court become an adscriptus glebae to the prosecutor, acting out a script written by some unscrupulous cabal or politicos? Your guesses are as good as mine.

Question 2

Whether the remand warrant with which Adeyanju is presently been held is not void and illegal?

The principle in UAC .V. MACFOY is as popular as kindergartens rhyme to Nigerian law students let alone lawyers. The rule is to the effect that if an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, it is incurably bad. You cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand.  In the instant case, the mere fact that the trial Chief Magistrate took official cognizance of the first information report and went on to make an order remanding the accused Mr Adeyanju in prison were acts done in excess or want of jurisdiction and were therefore nullity. It cannot be gainsaid that jurisdiction is the blood that gives life to the survival of an action in a court of law, where a court lacks jurisdiction to hear or try a matter, the court is dead to that matter and a dead court can not in its cadaver state speak or make any pronouncement.

From the foregoing therefore it clear that the remand warrant under the hand of Kano State Chief Magistrate Court with which Adayanju is being held presently at Central Prison Kano State is a worthless piece of paper and the words engraved on it do not even worth the worthless value of the paper that bears them and as such is of no moment in our laws and thus void and that paper bearing it is not in any way different from tarkada sere**

Question 3

Whether the Nigerian Prisons Service is bound to honour and give effect to illegal remand warrant?

An attractive argument here for some lawyers might be that, a court order must be obeyed no matter how stupid, useless or patently illegal it might appear, but I make bold to say that though very attractive as this argument seems, its attractiveness is on all fours with the attractiveness of a prostitute which in the actual sense of it is ugliness personified! Reason- In Kalu .V. Odili (1992) 6SCNJ (Pt.1) 79: Nyarko .V. Akowuah (1954)14 WACA 426 our law is clear that where a court has no jurisdiction, it cannot make binding orders. And a review of a void order or judgement is in itself a nullity and no appeal is necessary to get rid of it. Thus the Nigerian Prison Service ought not to have obeyed or gave effect to the illegal remand warrant on Adeyanju knowing too well that a Magistrate Court in Kano State does not have jurisdiction to make any order when approached with a case bordering on murder. This does not apply to Adeyanju alone but to every Nigerian and non Nigerians in Nigeria a black market remand warrant is procured against.

Many innocent Nigerian have lost their lives on these various illegal remand warrants in Kano State while some had wasted the lion share of their productive years in prisons across Kano State. I just lost a client who had spent more than four years in Goron Dutse Prison in Kano on a trumped up first information report alleging the offence of rape, my innocent deceased client was never charged before any competent court neither was he convicted of any offence but spent more than four years in Goron Dutse Prison Kano, four gruesome years that saw him got totally paralyzed from his waist downward, even though bail was gotten for him on the ground of serious ill health before I could conclude his fundamental right enforcement he passed on, this is only one in thousands!

There is also a story of a policeman who got interested in the wife of his neighbor, all he needed to do and in fact did was to make an allegation of rape on his neighbor got him arrested got a black market remand warrant like the one on Adeyanju and my deceased client, the innocent man was thrown in prison and his wife was taken over. I do not know how true this story is but believe me, it is very much possible in a country where you leave criminal justice system solely in the hands of the lowest in rank, lowest paid, lowest trained and lowest enlightened in the arm of criminal justice system, anything is definitely possible.  If you doubt this, go to Goron Dutse and Central Prison in Kano and find out. Our prisons are not actually housing criminals but poor Nigerians, real criminal stroll in and come out in no time.

The Nigerian Prisons Service has a legal department funded with taxpayers money and they ought to know and be giving valuable legal advice to the Prisons service on situations and circumstances like this, a lawyer is a lawyer no matter where he/she finds himself, they are not and should not be seen as ohu*** to the Nigerian Prisons Service they are professionals and it is high time they started showing it.

Finally, with recent events in Nigeria where legal orders are disobeyed and illegal orders are obeyed with the speed of lightening, one does not need an Ifa**** to conclude that Nigeria is fast approaching the murky waters of uncivility as a nation. We cannot fold our arms and watch this happen. By; Ernest Nkwocha

Ernest Nkwocha is a Kano based legal practitioner, you can reach him via 08112403463

 

 

 

Mob kills man who hacked his mother to death in Enugu – Police

The police command in Enugu State says it has begun investigation into the killing of a man who allegedly hacked his mother to death.

The man was said to have been killed by a mob in Isiagu Ibagwa community in Igboeze South Local Government Area of the state.

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO, SP Ebere Amaraizu, who made this known  in a statement in Enugu on Friday, said the incident occurred at about 1:30pm last Monday.

Amaraizu said: “Tragedy had allegedly struck at Isiagu Ibagwa community when a man identified as Ifesinachi Ukwueze allegedly killed his mother identified as Beatrice Ukwueze with a cutlass over a yet to be established issue.

“It was further gathered that the action of Ifesinachi Ukwueze allegedly angered some people who descended heavily on him and left him lifeless before the arrival of security operatives,’’ he said.

The police spokesman added that the dead bodies of the son and mother had been deposited in a nearby mortuary “while police operatives have commenced a full-scale investigation into the incident.” (NAN)

Source: DailyTrust

Lawyers Present Arguments As Court Decides Whether To Remand Babachir Lawal In Prison

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, arraigned Babachir Lawal, the former Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), before a Federal High Court in Abuja for offencesbordering on conspiracy and fraud.

Babachir-Lawal Lawyers argue

Lawal, who appeared in court in a grey kaftan, is facing a 10-count charge of conspiracy levelled against him and Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd., an offence contrary to Section 26(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.

Lawal was alleged to have conspired with Hamidu, a Director in Rholavision and Abubakar, a staff in the same company, to fraudulently acquire a property.

In October 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked Lawal, after a report of investigations by a panel chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, into allegations of fraud levelled against him.

Lawal pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, ass his lawyers are currently arguing for his bail application.

The matter is being presided over by Justice Jude Okeke.

Woman allegedly assaults 8-yr-old househelp with hot iron

An Ogba chief magistrate court in Lagos yesterday ordered that a 36-year-old woman, Shukurat Mahmud, be remanded in prison custody for allegedly using a hot iron on her eight-year-old househelp.

Mahmud was brought before the court on a two-count charge of child abuse and assault occasioning harm.

The accused, if found guilty, might be jailed 12 years.

The police said that the incident occurred penultimate Monday at 43, Nurudeen Oyebola Street, Ikorodu, Lagos.

Source: DailyTrust

Reforming bail system through bondsmen

The Lagos State Judiciary has held a stakeholders’ summit on ‘bondsman and recovery of recognisance.

Bondsman Bail

Where are the bond persons?’ asked Chief Judge of Lagos State,  Justice Opeyemi Oke, as stakeholders gathered for a summit. It was organised to discuss the operation of bondspersons, sureties and bonds companies as part of the efforts to enhance criminal justice administration in the state.

The event was the The stakeholders’ summit actualising the law on the bondsman and recovery of recognisance in Lagos  State.

At the event were judges, magistrates, experts in bonds posting and the civil society, among others.

The Practice Direction for Bondsmen and Bonds companies was inaugurated at the event.

The Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State 2011 makes provision for bondmen. Lagos State judiciary is pioneering the system.

What the law says

Section 138 of the ACJL 2011 authorises the licensing and registration of Bondspersons by the Chief Judge of the State.

Section 138 (1) of the Law provides: “The Chief Judge may by regulation, register and license individuals or corporate bodies or persons to act as Bondspersons within the jurisdiction of the Court in which they are registered.”

The law was followed with the setting up of a “Committee on Creation of Bondsmen and Recovery of Recognisance” set up on November 30, 2012. It was a matter of regret that to date, not one individual or corporate organisation has been registered for the scheme.

Justice Oke lamented the absence of licensed bondsmen to bail defendants. She wondered why no individual or corporate body has applied to be licensed bondsman and bonds company over eight years after the Bondsmen Regulation of 2011 came into force in line with Section 138 of the  ACJL 2011.

It was in line with her desire to see the scheme in operation that she also set up another committee last February 27 with a mandate to find ways to actualise the recommendations  of an earlier Committee on Creation of Bondsmen and Recovery of Recognisance set up November 30, 2012.

The 10-man committee was chaired by Justice Grace Onyeabo, with Justices Mojisola Dada, Hakeem Oshodi, Sybil Nwaka, Abidemi, Okikiolu-Ighile, Lateef  Lawal-Akapo,  Kudirat Jose, Sedoten Ogunsanya,  Adedayo Akintoye  and Idowu Alakija as members.

The Chief Registrar, Mrs. Taiwo Olatokun and Deputy Chief Registrar (Admin.) Lagos, Mrs. Adebisi Femi-Segun were Secretaries.

The Committee held its inaugural meeting last April 11 and deliberated extensively at its various meetings on its terms of reference.

In spite of the work done by the committee, no individual or corporate body registered to participate in the bail bonds scheme.

“I have been greatly concerned that in spite of the hard work and deliberations of the Committee, nobody has signified interest in registering as a Bondsman,” Justice Oke said.

She was, however, gladdened by the committee’s findings that “the major hindrance to the commencement of Bondsman scheme in Lagos State Judiciary is the lack of understanding of how it works and lack of publicity by stakeholders on the forfeiture of recognisance and registration of Bondsperson.

“Hence the Summit to create necessary awareness and bring to fore creative ways of actualising the law on bondsperson in the state”.

The Chief Judge, therefore, encouraged individuals and corporate bodies to partner the Judiciary on actualising the bondsman scheme in order to make bail more accessible to defendants standing trial in courts.

She urged them to make necessary applications to join the scheme, emphasising that it has been proven in other jurisdictions that the professional bail bondsman brings important benefits to the society in which it works.

She said the introduction of the bondmen was to make bail more accessible to anyone charged with a criminal offence and prevent touting by unlicensed persons and  defendants from absconding from trials.

In the meantime, Justice Oke disclosed that the Bondsperson scheme would be implemented with a pilot scheme that will operate for six months in four courts, that is, two high courts and two magistrates courts in Lagos and Ikeja Divisions

Justice Oke described the bondsmen scheme as very laudable, pointing out that it would assist defendants to obtain bail and ensure that such persons can be produced seamlessly as and when needed in court.

She expressed confidence that the bondsperson scheme will significantly reduce prison congestion and other problems associated with same, while also ensuring that recognisance can be recovered in full where persons on bail abscond.

How it works

On how it would work, Justice Oke explained that  Section 138 (8) of the ACJL confers on the bondsperson the power of arrest should a defendant attempt to abscond.

She said: ”Every bondsperson shall have the powers to arrest any defendant or suspect, who is absconding or who he believes is trying to evade or avoid appearances in court: if he cannot bring the person arrested within 12 hours of the arrest before a court, he shall hand the person arrested over to the Police which shall produce such person before the appropriate court.

“In the United States, bail bondsmen play an important role in maintaining social control over bailed defendants.

“The bondsman and the defendant form a contract in which the bail bondsman agrees, for a fee, to act as the defendant’s surety. In addition to paying the fee, the defendant agrees to appear in court for all scheduled appearances,” she said.

Making the system effective

In his lecture titled: A Practical approach to the Bondmen procedure in the Justice system in Lagos State, a bail bond expert, Dr Seyi Adetayo, noted that bondsmen practice has not only helped defendants to access bail, but also assisted low income group  to access justice.

Dr Adetayo said the introduction of the bondsmen would eliminate the activities of touts masquerading as professional bondsmen and other malpractices, adding that it would generate employment.

He described bail as the amount of money that acts as insurance between the court and the person in court or jail, otherwise, the defendant could escape from justice.

He said defendants, particularly in criminal matters, have the option to pay for their bail in cash, adding that many found it difficult to do this as bail is often set at a high amount.

He said this explained why most defendants are financially unable to post bail by themselves. He said this is why they seek help from a bail agent or bail bondsman, who will post a bail bond for them to forestall them from being in prison custody while trial lasted.

Adetayo  explained that there are two types of bail bond. According to him, the criminal bail bond is used in criminal cases and guarantees that a defendant appears for trial when called upon by the court.

The civil bail bond, on the other hand, is used in civil cases and guarantees the payment of a debt, plus interest and costs, assessed against the defendant.

According to him, the name given to a firm whose business it is to assume the responsibility and payment guarantee for the obligations of another person is ‘surety bonds company’.

Such a company, he said,  is licensed to post bail guarantee for a person brought before the court.

On the other hand, he described bondman or bonds agent as a professional agent for an insurance company who specialises in providing bail bonds for people charged with crimes and awaiting trial.

While the scheme might appear alien in Nigeria, Adetayo said the system of bondsman and surety bond company has been in practice in the United States for many years and some other developed countries.

Benefits of bonds system

Apart from checking the activities of ‘court touts’, Adetayo explained that  licensed bondsmen are not useful to the defendants, but  makes it possible for low income earners to access justice.

He stated further that in addition to its being an avenue for employment generation, it has the capacity for decongesting the prisons.

It ensures that a defendant does not abscond from trial, he said.

According to him, the scheme works perfectly in the US because its social security system has a data bank that enables the people to be captured and documented.

He said because of the country’s peculiarity, we must develop our own approach to fit our system.

The requirements

For the process to be practicable in the country, Adetayo said the scheme must begin with the process of registering and licensing both bond person and the surety bond companies, which must be incorporated in the country.

He also said the surety bond companies to be so licensed must be able to post an insurance guarantee of not less than N10million while the board members must have capacity to serve, but must exclude persons from the judiciary,  a serving member of the civil service, Ministry of Justice among others.

The bondperson, according to him, must not be less than 18 years, possess a minimum of Ordinary School Certificate Level (O/L), satisfy and pass bondsman licensing examination, must be a serving member of LEA, civil service or the judiciary and  has not been convicted of a minimum of felony among other criteria.

The license of such practitioner, both individual and corporate, must be renewable every two and three years respectively, he said.

For the scheme to be a success, Adetayo advised the judiciary to develop and approve bail schedule for the different levels of the court to work with in order to curb malpractices and ensure compliance with set rules.

He said an internal mechanism must also be put in place to check the process for compliance and ensure  that too much burden is not put on the person the law is meant to protect.

He advised on the need to appoint a registrar for bail postings to set up mechanism for ethics and conducts, and establish a three-way seemless filings and approvals among others.

Justice Kazeem Alogba also stressed the need for inter-agency cooperation with the judiciary to make the scheme work, advising the proposed surety bonds companies to latch on to insurance companies, which could assist them to take on higher risks.

He stressed the need for police involvement in the scheme in view of the fact that a court order would be required before a suspect could  be remanded in prison custody.

Aside from suggesting an effective biometric system to lessen the risks of those absconding, he advised magistrates to be wary of bail conditions they grant in their courts in order for defendants to meet them.

Justice Onyeabo described the bondsmen scheme as an innovation of Lagos State, which would assist the police to arrest defendants that have absconded and ensure effective criminal justice administration system.

Speaking on the workability of the scheme, a senior lecturer in Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Dr Akeem Bello, disclosed that statistics in the US have shown that defendants released on bond bail appear more in court for trial than others. He expressed confidence that the scheme would improve criminal justice administration in the state.

Bello suggested the creation of a unit in the judiciary to oversee its implementation and for the scheme to take off on a small scale at the initial stage.

To create awareness, Dr Bello said efforts should be made to introduce it among the branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), retired police officers, and businessmen among others.

Aside from organising training programmes for prospective bonds persons and surety bonds corporate bodies, he also suggested that they should be empowered to be able to obtain collateral security from such defendants, like uncles, to ensure that defendants always appear in court for trial. Report was made by Adebisi Onanuga.

Culled from TheNation