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Kashamu’s Extradition: Supreme Court Fixes July 30 Hearing Date

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The Supreme Court, Tuesday fixed July 30 as the fresh hearing date in an appeal filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu in which he is praying the apex court to stop the federal government from extraditing him to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking offense.

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the key respondents in the appeal filed by Kashamu to stop the execution of two Appeal Court judgments granted against him.

The fresh hearing date has been communicated by the court through the issuance of hearing notices to the parties involved in the legal tussle.

The Apex Court is to review the two judgments delivered in favour of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4, last year.

Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to the Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred the Federal Government from going ahead with the planned extradition.

The senator is praying the Apex Court to also set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.

But the AGF who is acting on behalf of the Federal Government has joined legal issues with him with a counter prayer that the Apex Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal which cleared impediments preventing the extradition plan.

The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside the judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.

The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug trafficking criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.

Legal luminary, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN is leading the legal team of the Senator while Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, is leading the Federal Government legal team at the Apex Court.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4 cleared the impediments for the federal government to extradite the senator, who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.

The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The court held that the hearsay that a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by the senator on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that offended Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government. Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

BIG STORY

Nigerian Govt Announces Committee To Address Job Creation, National Security As Nationwide Rampage Continues

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The National Executive Council (NEC) has set up a committee charged with addressing unemployment and national security in the country.

This was part of the council’s resolutions at its meeting on Monday, vice-president Yemi Osinbajo’s publicist, Laolu Akande, said in a mail sent to media houses Tuesday.

The decision was taken on the backdrop of issues triggered by the weeks-long #EndSARS protests where young Nigerians sought an end to police brutality before it was hijacked by hoodlums who have caused chaos across the country in the past week.

Headed by the vice-president, the committee has the governors of Sokoto, Borno State, Niger, Ondo, Ebonyi, Delta States as members.

The committee, Mr. Akande said, is expected to engage “relevant stakeholders” to chart a way forward on “employment, social safety net programmes, and national unity among other key issues of concern” for the country.

This, he said will be done alongside engaging with security agencies, including at the state level, “to provide compensation for those who have incurred losses in the last few weeks and a framework for social security to deal with the problem of unemployment and poverty in the country.”

Four in 10 Nigerians are poor and the country’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“The council observed the low morale of security operatives during the period and members resolved to commend the Nigeria police and all the security agencies for their handling of what is clearly an unprecedented problem,” Mr Akande said in his statement.

“NEC also supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a complete overhaul of the country’s security services by improving the capacity of security officers across the rank and file while providing them with the necessary equipment to carry out their jobs effectively,” he added.

Since the protest for police reform turned violent last week, the has country has experienced series of destruction, large-scale looting of public and private warehouses, and loss of lives, including those of security officials.

To this end, Mr Akande said NEC urged the CACOVID leadership, a private initiative committed to given palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, “to come out with an independent statement on the status of the distribution of palliatives donated to States which should clearly explain the circumstances behind the delay in the distribution of food items domiciled in warehouses across the country.”

“Council reviewed the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other secessionist groups, stressing that these subterranean and violent tendencies must be quickly addressed given that they have continually hijacked demonstrations and caused mayhem and lawlessness across parts of the country.

“Council decried the irresponsible use of social media in fueling misinformation and increasing social tensions,” Mr Akande noted.




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BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu Approves Full Reopening Of Markets In Lagos

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the full reopening of markets in the state.

The Lagos Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr Wale Ahmed, made this known in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement made available by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on New Media, Gawat Jubril, noted that both food markets and non-food markets can reopen every day of the week.

Before the announcement, food and non-food markets were allowed to operate three days in a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The state government had regulated the opening of the markets to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the full resumption of operations of both food markets and non-food markets.

“They are now to open daily.

“Mr Governor took the decision to further enhance trade and commerce and mitigate the hardship of recent times and ensure that Lagosians can recover fast.

“Mr Governor also advised the continued observance of all safety protocols.

“Traders and their customers must adhere strictly to the covid 19 protocols for their safety and the citizenry at large.”

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, on Monday, announced that the country recorded 119 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 62,111.




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520 Suspects Arrested For Arson, Vandalism, Others In Lagos

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The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, on Tuesday, said 520 suspects have been arrested in connection with the series of arson, vandalism, burglary, and robbing of unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables during the unrest occasioned by the #EndSARS protest in the state.

Odumosu, who disclosed this during a press briefing at the command headquarters in the Ikeja area of the state, said the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums, adding that the arrested suspects would be charged to court.

While stating the facilities affected in the state, the CP said, “A lot of public and private facilities were set ablaze, our police stations were also burnt and vandalized.

“Based on the incidences, the command swung into action realizing that this is no more #EndSARS, where lives and property are lost and vandalized and burnt. We realized that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums, so we moved in and we were able to recover some of the stolen items and arrested the perpetrators.

“So far, 520 suspects have been arrested for various offenses, ranging from arson, robbery, murder, rioting, malicious damage, and unlawful possession of firearms. All the suspects we have arrested are not #EndSARS protesters and they will all be charged.”




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