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Alleged Fraud: Court Throws Out Suit Against Gbajabiamila

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The plaintiff, Phillip Undie, had filed the suit on May 21, 2019, asking the court to sack Gbajabiamila as a member of the House of Representatives and disqualify him from contesting the leadership of the lower legislative chamber.

Undie had claimed that Gbajabiamila was convicted by the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia in the United States of America in 2007 for fraud and dishonesty and therefore, was not qualified to be elected a member of the National Assembly and a Speaker of the House of Representatives.

On June 14, 2019 Undie’s lawyer, Akeem Olasupo announced his withdrawal from the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/539/2019.

Gbajabiamila’s lawyer, Femi Adedeji, queried Olasupo’s decision to withdraw his appearance without withdrawing the case.

Lawyers to the other defendants did not oppose Olasupo’s withdrawal as plaintiff’s lawyer, but noted that he ought to have withdrawn the case too.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Ekwo granted Olasupo’s request to withdraw from the case, but noted that: “The plaintiff’s counsel withdrew from the case, but he did not withdraw the case, meaning the case is still before this court,” and adjourned till June 17, 2019.

At the resumed hearing of the case, a new lawyer engaged by the plaintiff, S.D Okoro adopted a notice of discontinuance of the suit filed by the plaintiff and prayed the court to strike out the case.

Gbajabiamila’s lawyer, Adedeji did not oppose the plaintiff’s decision to discontinue the case, but argued that, since parties have joined issues, with the defendants filing counter processes, the appropriate order for the court to make was that of dismissal.

Adedeji also urged the court to grant the cost of N1million against the plaintiff.

He also prayed for a cost of N1m to be awarded against the plaintiff.

Ruling, Justice Ekwo said: “On the last day of hearing of this case, Mr. Okoro appeared for the plaintiff, but there were no processes before the court, showing that there was a change of counsel.

“Today (June 24, 2019), I take notice of a process titled ‘change of counsel’ by Mr. Okoro dated June 20, 2019.

“Therefore, I am satisfied that Mr. Okoro has authority to represent the plaintiff in this case and therefore, entitled to conduct the case in accordance with the law. Now, Mr. Okoro has adopted the notice of discontinuance, dated June 17, 2019 and this is happening after issues have been joined in the substantive matter. Mr. Okoro is praying that the matter be struck out.

“I have listened to Mr. Adedeji; counsel for the 1st defendant, and on the consequential order to be made at this stage. It is the law that when parties have joined issues and the plaintiff seeks to withdraw the case, the proper order is that dismissing the suit.

“It is in this like that I agree with the learned counsel for the 1st defendant, and I hereby make an order dismissing this suit. On the issue of cost, I will not make any order as to cost, since parties decided to end the matter peacefully. I allow them to go home without grudges against each other,” Justice Ekwo said.

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PHOTO: Tanko All Smiles After Senate Confirmation As CJN

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The Senate has confirmed Justice Muhammad Tanko as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He was confirmed at plenary on Wednesday.

The Senate had earlier gone into a closed-door session over his confirmation.

The upper legislative chamber went into the session after Abdullahi Abubakar, senate leader, moved a motion for the confirmation of Muhammad.

On Tuesday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan had asked that copies of Muhammad’s curriculum vitae (CVs) be shared among the senators.

Muhammad has been occupying the office of CJN in an acting capacity since January.

He took over the office after President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Walter Onnoghen for alleged misconduct.

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Please Beg Rafiu Not To Leave Me, He Should Forgive Me — Woman Who Attacks Hubby With Broken Bottles Prays Court

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An Ibadan-based trader, Bushira Salawudeen, has prayed a Mapo Customary Court to plead with her husband, Rafiu, to forgive her and stop the divorce proceedings.

Salawudeen, in her short statement before Alhaji Suleiman Apanpa, the President of the court, admitted that she threatens to attacks her husband with broken bottles during arguments to silence him.

“I can’t tell you what usually comes over me. I just know that I do attack Rafiu with broken bottles.

“Please, help me beg him, I will not repeat it again,” she begged the court.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rafiu had told the court to put an end to the 23-year-old union between him and his wife on grounds of threat to life, lack of love and nagging attitude.

“For over three years now, she has threatened my life. She breaks bottles and threatens to stab me with it.

“I can’t allow her into my house again,” he told the court.

Corroborating the plaintiff’s submission, Rafiu’s sister prayed the court to dissolve the union without any further waste of time.

“My lord, I have spoken to her to drop her arrogance and act of hooliganism, but her heart is made of stone.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Apanpa noted that the court does not tolerate any act that could bring about bloodshed.

Apanpa dissolved the marriage and awarded custody of two children to Rafi’u and the one to Salawudeen.

“Rafiu shall pay N5,000 as the child’s monthly feeding allowance in addition to being responsible for his education and welfare.

“Rafiul shall also pay N5,000 to Bushira to enable her to move her property,” the arbitrator ordered.

(NAN)

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Hit-And-Run Driver Kills NAN Director Two Months After Predecessor’s Death

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A hit-and-run driver on Sunday killed Christian Okoro, the Head of Technical Services of the News Agency of Nigeria.

Okoro, 50, was killed around Sharp Corner area of Mararaba along the Keffi-Abuja Road while trying to cross the road to pick his car.

His death is coming barely two months after his predecessor, Mathias Ajudua, died on May 10.

An eyewitness account indicated that Okoro had gone to watch the Nigeria/Algeria AFCON semifinal encounter at a football viewing center and was on his way home after the match when the speeding vehicle knocked him down and zoomed off.

He was said to have earlier gone for his community meeting and was heading home when he decided to join some friends to watch the crucial match.

“The car was speeding, so when it hit Okoro, the impact was very heavy on him. He died instantly,” the witness told NAN.

Meanwhile, Okoro’s corpse has been deposited at the National Hospital, Abuja mortuary, while a condolence register has been opened at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.

A senior Police Officer, who confirmed the incident, described it as “saddening and unfortunate”.

“The matter has been reported to us and is being investigated,” the officer told NAN, craving anonymity.

Born on June 20, 1969 in Enugu-Ezike, Igbo Eze North Local Government in Enugu State, Okoro attended St. Theresa College, Nsukka, Enugu State before heading to the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, where he bagged a Bsc in Electrical/Electronics.

He was a member of the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

He joined the services of NAN on January 8, 2004, and steadily rose to become an Assistant Director, Technical Services.

He is survived by his widow, Cordelia, and four children.

The Acting Managing Director of NAN, Malam Ibrahim Mammaga, who led the management and staff of NAN to pay a condolence visit to his family, described Okoro’s death as “a huge loss” to the NAN family.

“The death of Okoro has robbed NAN of dedicated staff. Okoro was a huge asset to the agency. He has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill,” Mammaga said.

He prayed God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Alhaji Abdulhadi Khaliel, Head, Administration and Human Resources Management, who also reacted to Okoro’s death, described it as “devastating and painful”.

“Okoro was a peace-loving officer, who was committed to duty and always ready to learn,” Khaliel said.

Julius Enehikhuere, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief, described Okoro as “a jolly good fellow and a committed staff who was always there for the editorial department”.

“We shall miss his team spirit and deep commitment to duty. His sudden exit is shocking to all of us. We pray God to comfort the family,” Enehikhuere said.

The agency’s Assistant Director A/HRM, Moses Uzoagba, also described Okoro’s death as “a personal loss to me”.

“Okoro, apart from being a colleague, was my personal friend. We have been together for years and I will greatly miss him,” Uzoagba said.

Another staff, Livinus Ugochukwu, said Okoro was a personal friend whose death had hit him like a thunderbolt.

“The news shocked me to my marrows; I am particularly sad because his children are still very young,” Ugochukwu said.

Kemi Olumorin, who worked with Okoro in the office, described him as “a transparent boss that was always ready to listen to his subordinates”.

“He was approachable; he had a listening ear and was a good boss. He was a very considerate leader and could feel your pains,” Olumorin said.

Okoro is the second Director of ICT to have died within the last two months.

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