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BIG STORY

Police Ask Court To Stop Ongoing Probe Of Abuses By Judicial Panels

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The Nigeria Police has initiated a move to stop various panels probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity against police officials, particularly operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

State governments have raised the panels to investigate alleged infractions by SARS operatives, following nationwide #EndSARS protests by youths.

The panels have since been sitting in almost all the states.

But, the Police have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking among others, an order restraining the Attorneys-General of the 36 states and the panels of inquiry they constituted, from proceedings with their investigation of the activities of the police and their officials.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, filed for the NPF by its lawyer, O. M. Atoyebi (SAN) has 104 defendants.

The defendants include the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the attorneys-general of the states, and chairmen of the panels set up by the states.

It is the plaintiff’s main contention that the decision by governors to set up panels of inquiry to investigate activities of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and their officials in the conduct of their statutory duties violate Section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.

The NPF is of the view that by the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution the Federal Government of Nigeria has exclusive power to “organize, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.”

The plaintiff raised three questions for the court’s determination. It is also seeking four main reliefs.

One of the prayers is a declaration that having regard to the provisions of Section a14 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Federal Government of Nigeria has the exclusive power to organize, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.

Other reliefs being sought by the plaintiff are:

* A declaration that the establishment of a panel of inquiries by the Governors of the various states of the Federation of Nigeria, to inquire into the activities of the Nigeria Police Force in relation to the discharge of her statutory duties is a gross violation of the provisions of Section 241 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, Cap.T21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

* A declaration that having regard to the circumstances of this case, the attitude of the governors of the various states of the Federation of Nigeria, in this case, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

* An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd to 38th defendants (the attorneys-general of the 36 states) from making or conducting any investigations, sittings, and inquiries and/or from making or conducting any further investigations, sittings, and inquiries in respect of matters affecting the Nigeria Police Force, and or further setting up any panel of inquiry in any state whatsoever in the country.

The case listed on the cause list for Wednesday, could not be heard because the court did not sit. It was rescheduled for December 18.

Also on Wednesday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, faulted a claim that the apex bank obtained court orders to block accounts linked to promoters of the #EndSARS protests.

Emefiele’s position was stated by his lawyer Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) while appearing before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Aondoakaa, a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, is Emefiele’s lawyer in the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020)of CBN v.Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others in which Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted an order freezing the accounts of the defendants for 90 minutes in the first instance.

The former AGF spoke while reacting to remarks by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), lawyer to Albert A. Ugochuwu, and others, whose accounts were also frozen in similar circumstance by another judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in the case marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/12000/2020.

Aondoakaa, who insisted that his client acted within the provision of Section 60 (b) of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), that allows the CBN to apply for a freezing order pending the conclusion of the investigation.

The ex-AGF faulted Adegboruwa’s claim that the CBN was going about filing multiple cases to freeze people’s accounts, including those linked to the #EndSARS protests.

He said the CBN did not apply for the freezing of any accounts because the owners were associated with the #EndSARS protests.

Aondoakaa stated that his client only applied to have the accounts frozen following suspicious and questionable transactions in them.

He noted that none of those affected by the orders have claimed, in the processes they filed, that they are #EndSARS protesters.

Arguing earlier, Adegboruwa accused the CBN of filing multiple cases to freeze accounts of people indiscriminately. He cited the case of those associated with the #EndSARS protests.

He argued that the CBN had a misconception of Section 60(b) of the BOFIA and that it lacks the power to conduct an investigation into alleged infraction of the law.

Adegboruwa noted that the CBN came before the court on September 21, 2020, and obtained the freezing order pending the conclusion of its investigation.

“The law permitting the CBN to approach the court makes it a clearinghouse. Not to investigate. The CBN is arrogating the powers of the investigating agencies. The CBN lacks the power to investigate crimes,” he said.

Adegboruwa prayed the court to vacate the order earlier made by the court and dismiss the CBN’s suit.

Justice Taiwo adjourned the matter till December 16 for the ruling.

BIG STORY

Sexual Assault: Baba Ijesha Denied Bail, Case Transferred To High Court [PHOTOS]

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The Yaba Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State, on Wednesday, declined to grant the bail application brought before it by embattled Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka, popularly known as Baba Ijesha.

Baba Ijesha, who wore a blue t-shirt, was taken to court in a black maria vehicle of the Rapid Response Squad.

Baba Ijesha has been in police custody since April 22, 2021, when the Lagos State Police Command announced his arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the care of popular comedienne, Adekola Adekanya, otherwise called Princess.

It was earlier reported that Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, said Baba Ijesha might be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty in court.

“After due consideration of the facts in the case file, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions issued legal advice on the 4th of May, 2021, which is to the effect that a prima facie case has been disclosed against Mr. Olanrewaju James and recommended he be charged under the following provisions of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015,” he had said.

On May 17, 2021, Baba Ijesha was granted bail by magistrates and judicial workers on tour to decongest prisons in the state during the industrial action by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria.

However, Baba Ijesha could not meet the bail conditions which include N500,000 and a level 16 civil servant as surety.

Baba Ijesha consequently appeared before the magistrate in Yaba on Wednesday.

Speaking with reporters after the arraignment today, one of the counsels for the suspect, Kayode Olabinran, said he prayed the court to grant his client bail on health grounds.

He, however, said the magistrate declined to grant his client bail as the case was already filed at the High Court in Lagos by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in the state.

He said, “He (Baba Ijesha) was not granted bail because the case has been filed at the High Court and that has denied the (Magistrate) Court the power to grant him bail.”

Olabinran also said the date for the hearing at the High Court was not yet known.

Also, Baba Ijesha’s colleague, Yomi Fabiyi, who was in court in solidarity with the actor, said “justice must not be dispensed with the personal sentiment”.

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Days After Google Yanked Off His Crowwe App, Instagram Also Deletes Adamu Garba’s Account

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Former Presidential Aspirant, Adamu Garba’s Instagram account has been deleted.

This occurred shortly after Google deleted his Crowwe app from the Google Play Store.

Nigerians had taken to google play store to drop horrible reviews on the instant messaging app, which imitates Twitter.

They also reported that Crowwe’s Terms and Conditions were plagiarized word for word from another app, Spotify.

Google in a response to the reports, yanked the Crowwe app from the play store.

“Google removes from the Play Store, applications that are perceived to have violated its policy.

“Once your app is removed, the published version of your app won’t be available on Google Play until a compliant update is submitted,” the app store policy said.

However, we’ve noticed that Instagram had now deleted Mr Garba’s IG account from the popular image and video sharing app, with his page displaying ‘the user not found.’

The reason for deleting Mr Garba’s account was unclear but Instagram is known for banning accounts that violate its policy or reported for spam, fraud, or a fake account.

Also, he has received a public backlash regarding his Crowwe app accused of disingenuity.

Reacting, Mr Garba who spoke with newsmen on Wednesday morning said that Instagram took down his account because some users reported him.

“It was reported by some users and was disabled by Instagram,” he said.

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I Have First-Hand Experience In War, I Can Tackle Nigeria’s Insecurity —- Buhari’s COAS Faruk Yahaya

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Faruk Yahaya, Nigeria’s chief of army staff, says he has the required experience to tackle insecurity in the country.

Yahaya stated this on Tuesday when he appeared for screening before the house of representatives joint committee on defence and army.

The army chief said he had participated in war and peacekeeping in Liberia, adding that with his experience, he can ensure improved security in the country.

“I have brought along with me 36 years of military experience, having joined the army on 27 September 1985, as a member of 32nd regular course in NDA,” he said.

“I passed out on 2nd September 1990, and I was posted to the infantry corps as an infantry officer, and since that time, I have passed through all the relevant courses commensurate to my career as I grew up, and I had served in various capacities, including command, staff, instruction, and administration, including extracurricular.

“Less than three years ago, we were drafted to Liberia where I had the first-hand experience in war if you would call it so. And finally, my unit was located at Kata town, member of number 16 and for those conversant with that deployment, Kata town was the last deployment of the ECOMOG who were the ones facing Charles Tylor NPFLA there.

“So, all activities including wars and operations, including of course negotiations, were conducted by my unit on behalf of ECOMOG.

“We have severally hosted the United Nations negotiations in Kakata. We have hosted other factional leaders, including Kromah, Johnson, and others in those negotiations. We also fought our way to that end.

“So, if you will, I have the first-hand experience, barely three years after my passing out in war and its processes, similar to what we are facing now.

“After that, when we came back to the country, I was also promoted to guards brigade here where I served as a platoon commander. So, I am also abreast with the security requirement of Abuja itself and the parade and other requirements that characterized that deployment.

“Subsequently, I grew up in my career to become a commanding officer in guards brigade garrison in Abuja here, and so I was involved in all the security requirements of securing Abuja and, particularly, the presidential villa.”

Yahaya said going by his military experience, he is well equipped to tackle the security challenges across the country.

“Looking at my career, I have virtually seen it all. I have seen war in other countries; I have seen how it was done. I was involved also in internal security operations both there and here,” he said.

“Here also, I have been to the north-west like I mentioned, south-south like I mentioned, and to the north-east. The challenges we are facing now are characterized by what I have mentioned. I have first-hand information where I have commanded troops and administered them in achieving what we have done.

“What I brought is the certificate of experience and commitment I have had all across my career. Throughout my career, I have been appointed as at when due. I am determined to provide my best, having known what is required to achieve the result.”

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