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Supreme Court removes Umar as Niger-East Senator, declares Musa as replacement

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The Supreme Court on Friday sacked David Umar as the Senator representing Niger-East in the newly constituted ninth Senate and declared Muhammed Musa as his replacement.

Umar was the  Chairman, Senate Committee Chairman on Justice, Human Rights and Legal Matters, in the last Senate.

In a unanimous judgment of the five-man panel led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, the apex court nullified the earlier verdict of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had validated Umar as the rightful candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 23, 2019 senatorial election.

The apex court, after nullifying the Court of Appeal’s judgment, restored the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court which had declared Musa, as the rightful candidate of the party.

Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on February 7, 2019, declared Musa as the rightful candidate.

In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Friday, the apex court agreed with Musa’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that the Court of Appeal wrongly interpreted the provision of section 285(9) of the Constitution.

Justice Ariwoola held that the Court of Appeal was, therefore, wrong to have struck out the suit filed by Musa before the Federal High Court after adjudging the suit to be statute-barred.

He held that contrary to the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Musa had instituted his suit within time, as the mandatory 14 days period within which the suit ought to be filed, should be counted from the date the Independent National Electoral Commission published the names of candidate and not from the date a winner of the primary was declared.

Justice Ariwoola held, “At the end of the day, as this court has held in some other judgments including the one delivered yesterday (Thursday), that, time began to run not from the time primary election was conducted but at the time the name of the 1st respondent (Umaru) was forwarded to INEC instead of the name of the appellant.

“In the circumstance, the court below was wrong in holding that the action was statute barred.

“The court below was wrong in its interpretation of section 285(9) of the Constitution (as amended) in view of the available facts.

“In the final analysis, this appeal is meritorious and deserves to be allowed. Accordingly, the judgment of the court below delivered on April 8, 2019 is hereby set aside and the judgment of the trial court delivered on February 7, 2019 is restored and affirmed. The appeal is allowed.”

Other members of the panel, including the Acting CJN who headed it, agreed with the lead judgment.

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Lecturer queried over alleged sex scandal

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The management of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti led by the acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olubunmi Ajayi, on Friday issued a query to a lecturer of the institution, allegedly fingered in a sex-for-marks scandal.

Head, Directorate of Information, EKSU, Bode Olofinmuagun, said this in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, adding that the institution “would not condone any act of sexual harassment in the university.”

He also said, “The attention of the management of EKSU has been drawn to a video that has gone viral on an alleged sex scandal involving one of its lecturers.

“The video allegedly fingered one Dr O. O. Aduwo of the Department of Accounting.”

He added that the institution had “as such, issued a query to the concerned lecturer to defend himself against the allegation, as a first step in the spirit of due process.

“Thereafter, a panel of investigation would be constituted to get to the root of the matter, while the findings of the panel would be made public. The general public is hereby assured that management would continue to be transparent and would not allow such a matter that could smear its good image to be swept under the carpet.”

Students alleged that the lecturer went to a female student’s residence to have sex with her in exchange for marks, unknowingly for him that other students had laid in wait at the place to embarrass him.

According to some students who preferred anonymity, the lecturer was about to begin the “immoral act” when other students appeared, dragging him out and assaulted him.

A video that had gone viral about the alleged sex scandal showed the lecturer in towel, pleading for mercy from the students who mocked and tortured him, as he struggled to resist being drawn out of the room into the public glare.

But a student said on Saturday that the incident took place in the lecturer’s house, adding that it was “a set-up”, allegedly “to teach him some bitter lessons.”

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Global Warming: Anambra students, others protest against detrimental practices

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Students of different Schools in Anambra State in partnership with Live Mother and Child initiative and Mind Savers Youth Initiative and Nigeria Coalition of Eco-Social Research (NCEHR), yesterday, protested devastating effects of climate change in Nigeria, especially in the South east.

The students were drawn from Community Secondary School Enugwu-Agidi; SUSU College, Nkpor; Lighthouse Academy, Okija, Golden Star Secondary School, Amichi, as well as Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Medical Student’s Association (COOUMSA), Awka, Anambra State.

The protesters highlighted several practices detrimental to the environment, which according to them, included: deforestation, poor waste management, use of fossil fuels that increase carbon footprint.

One of the protesters and member, Nigerian working group of Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (NWG-CCGHR), Dr. Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu, appealed to citizens to practice greener lifestyles in order to save the planet, just as she asked government to create and implement policies that would aid in the global fight against climate change.

Ikechebelu, who addressed journalists in Onitsha, expressed joy that Nigerian students were committed to reminding the government on the state of climate emergency in the country.

She said, “The protest taking place in different countries of the world is part of the global school students’ decision to demonstrate, through an international movement, called Friday For Future (FFF).

“In Nigeria, the FFF was organised by the NWG-CCGHR which comprised of Nigerian students at the University of Victoria (UVic) and British Columbia.”

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Lekki hotel gang rape: Complainant seeks to withdraw rape charge

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A 24-year-old woman (name withheld), allegedly drugged at a  nightclub and gang-raped in a hotel at Lekki, Lagos, by two dropouts of Babcock University, wants the criminal suit filed against the defendants – Don-Chima and Olusegun, withdrawn.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the complainant made her request for withdrawal of the case during proceedings at an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Thursday,  via a “Letter of Withdrawal”.

The letter, dated June 3, 2019, was addressed to the Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecution and signed by the complainant.

In the letter, which was read in court by Justice Abiola Soladoye, the complainant attributed her decision to seek the withdrawal of the case to “intervention of family members”  and for the sake of her integrity.

Mr Akin George, a Deputy-Director in the Directorate of Public Prosecution and lead state prosecutor, however, opposed the complainant’s request.

He noted that the complainant was in court for the continuation of her cross-examination by the defence.

“We do not have a directive from the office of the Attorney-General.

“My lord, the Honourable AG is the complainant in this case.

“In every criminal matter, victims are naturally witnesses and as we speak, there is no AG in office due to the change in power.

“We are also aware of the rules of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law which states that even the Court of Appeal cannot stay an ongoing proceeding.

“Our office initiated this action in court and there has to be a closure one way or the other.

“My lord, we have submitted issues for the respective decisions of this court.

“We will bring the witness to state her position before the court, while we continue proceedings and await directives from the AG’s office,” George said.

Responding, defence counsel, Mr Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN), said while he shared the views of the prosecution that Lagos State originated the criminal suit, he disagreed that the absence of the AG had created a vacuum.

He also sought the release of the defendants from prison.

“The constitution is so clear that when we do not have an AG in office, the Solicitor-General takes over the function of the AG. My lord, we are ready to proceed.

“The unfortunate thing is that the defendants have been in prison ever since. The complainant, who is their (prosecution) witness, has developed cold feet for one reason or the other; this development is replete in the letter by the complainant.

“To meet the end of justice, I apply that your lordship should consider releasing the defendants on bail.

“At the end of the day, no compensation will be paid to them. They are young men who have languished in jail for four or five months,” Ayanlaja said.

After listening to the submissions of the prosecution and defence, Justice Soladoye said that the court would continue with proceedings, and that bail would not be granted to the defendants because the court had already delivered a ruling denying them bail.

“However, so that these proceedings will not be an exercise in futility, a short adjournment will be taken,  pending directives from the office of the AG,” she said.

The case was adjourned to June 18 for the continuation of trial.

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