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Acting CJN asks judges to shun corrupt practices

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The Acting Chief Jus­tice of Nigeria, Justice Nkanu Onnoghen, yes­terday, asked judicial officers of lower courts in the country, to desist from corrupt prac­tices in order to align with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led anti-corruption battle.

In a keynote address he delivered at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Con­ference for all Judges of the lower courts organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja, Onnoghen said judges, as impartial ar­biters, must uphold the “rule of law, eliminate unnecessary delays and to dispense justice without fear or favour” to all parties in accordance with the law.

Justice Onnoghen noted that the primary role of judg­es of the lower courts is to settle disputes in accordance with the provisions of the rule of law, adding that, “The per­formance of this onerous task depends on strict adherence to rule of law, the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, access to justice, integrity and independence of judiciary”.
The Acting CJN identified inadequate funding and cor­rupt practices as some of the major challenges hindering the smooth administration of justice and exposes the judici­ary to a lot of criticisms.”
According to him, admin­istration of justice is crucial to the effective running and sta­bility of a democratic society as well as the peaceful coex­istence of its citizens, without which, he said, the society will degenerate into anarchy.
While commending the judiciary for its innovative strides in the field of Infor­mation and Communication Technology (ICT), Onnoghen restated that ICT had im­proved access to justice.
“It is pertinent to note that an independent, strong, re­spectable and responsible ju­diciary is indispensable to the administration of justice and to have such an institution, we must adhere to the oath of office and the code of con­duct for judicial officers”, On­noghen stated.
Earlier, NJI Administrator, Justice Roseline Bozimo said if the lower courts must serve as veritable instruments for jus­tice and peace in a democratic society, it must continually demonstrate deep foresight for productivity, exceptional ca­pacity and remarkable courage in the defence of constitution­ally guaranteed individual and institutional rights.
She said the nation’s judi­ciary has witnessed its low and high moments in the last 16 years of democratic rules, adding that with the develop­ments, it has shown that the judiciary would rather uphold the rule of substantial justice rather than technicalities of law.

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Magu fights for his honour in suit against The Sun

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The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has told Justice Doris T. Okuwobi of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, that he has never been investigated by the Department of State Services, DSS.

Magu stated this while giving evidence in a N100m suit he filed against the publisher of The Sun newspaper and four others over an alleged defamation.

Joined in the suit are the Editor, Saturday Sun; Fred Itua, James Ojo and Lawrence Enyoghasu.

Magu is seeking compensation for libellous imputations and statements made against him in a story published in the March 25, 2017 edition of The Saturday Sun entitled: “Magu Under Fresh Probe Over 2 Abuja Mansions”.

At today’s proceedings, Magu, who gave evidence in-chief, told the court that the statement of oath written by him through his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, represented his evidence in the proceedings.

Led in evidence by Shittu, Magu told the court that the publication was done deliberately to damage his reputation.

“The publication said I was under probe.

“But no government agency, has probed or investigated me since I came to the EFCC,” he said.

In his further testimony, he told the court that the publication was completely false, adding that “I cannot buy a house in Maitama, even if I have the money because houses there are so expensive.

“I live a modest life. My wife is a civil servant. We have only one house in Karu site, Abuja; and when I retire, I will go back there. The onus is on the defendants to produce the owners of the properties. The publication has done a lot of damage to my reputation and that of my lineage.”

When Magu’s lawyer sought to tender a letter of complaint written on behalf of his client to the publishers of the newspaper, counsel to the defendants, Charles Enweluata, objected to its admissibility on the grounds that it did not carry the legal practitioner’s seal.

He, however, said the “irregularity was curable.”

In his response, Shittu said: “It does not derogate the admissibility of the letter since the witness has identified and confirmed it.

“It is written on my letter head. The contents are relevant to the proceedings and the author of the letter has also confirmed it. He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection by the defence counsel and admit the document in evidence.

In her ruling, the Judge ordered the claimant’s counsel to get the seal. “It will be admissible upon the fixing of the seal to the letter”, she ruled.

When the seal was eventually produced, the court admitted the document in evidence.

The claimant also confirmed to the court his statement in paragraph 18 of the said letter, where he mentioned that the Federal Government, through the Office of the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, officially appointed him as the acting Executive Chairman of the EFCC.

The letter dated November 9, 2015 was admitted in evidence as exhibit.

When the counsel to the claimant sought to tender a series of letters of promotion as well as letters of transfers that Magu had received in the course of his career as a police officer, the defence counsel objected to their admissibility on the grounds that they were electronically generated.

Counsel to the claimant, therefore, applied to withdraw the letters in the circumstance, saying, “I will apply to withdraw the documents, which are said to be electronically generated for now, even though there is certification for them.”

Giving further evidence, Magu told the court that the second story by the newspaper entitled” Magu: The Untold Story”, was not intended to correct the damage created by the first report done on him.

“They went to my town and interviewed several people. They wanted to get more things to damage my reputation. But they were disappointed.”

Under cross-examination by counsel to the defendants, Charles Enweluata, Magu admitted that his wife, Fatima, was not a party in the suit but that she was allegedly linked to the properties mentioned.

When asked if he read in the story that he was being investigated by the DSS, he said “Yes, I read the story.

“But there was no name of any agency investigating my wife or me. The paper did not mention DSS.”

Also, when the defence counsel put it to the claimant that the story carried the name of the Department of State Services as the investigating body, Magu said: “The paper did not mention DSS.

“I do not agree that the DSS investigated me or my wife in any manner.”

Consequently, the matter was adjourned till February 28, 2019 for further hearing.

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Eyiboh blasts Akwa Ibom govt, says peace slogan mere farce

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Hon. Eseme Eyiboh

Hon. Eseme Eyiboh


The Campaign spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom state, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh has described the much-celebrated peace slogan by the state government as an illusion.

He added that it was quite deceptive on the part of the state government to claim that all is well in the state even in the midst of glaring security challenges ravaging Akwa Ibom state.

Eyiboh, who is also the Chairman of Cross River Basin Development Authority, disclosed this on Wednesday when he was hosted in a radio programme at the Inspiration FM, Uyo.

According to him, “there’s no peace in the state, as celebrated by the ruling party, PDP. It is farcical of the state government to claim it has brought peace to the state despite obvious security challenges.”

He argued that normalcy and peace have not yet returned to crisis-ridden Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo councils of the state as claimed by the state government.

“As we speak, Ukanafun local government council secretariat is still under lock and key.

“Work at the council secretariat has come to a standstill. Some aggrieved youths went and terrorised staffers of Etim Ekpo local government council some months ago.

“If there is peace, why is Ukanafun local government council being administered from outside the area? Why is Ukanafun High Court seated in Abak? It means a poor person from Ukanafun seeking justice has to go to Abak.

“I know there is no peace globally, but the state government has not shown strong resolve to nail the crisis in the bud.

“The governor should not come to the public to tell the people that there is peace in the state. If there is peace, why was Mfon Udeme, former aide to the governor shot? Why was Nsima Ekere the APC governorship candidate attacked in his house? If there is peace, why do we have this welter of security flashes in the state? The architecture of peace in the state has deteriorated,” he said.

The spokesman, who was enunciating the campaign agenda of Nsima Ekere, the APC governorship candidate in the state on security and social protection, said “I am sure you are aware that in some local government areas in the state, there is no peace. In short, people are not living there. Even when government is coming out with a confession that there is rehabilitation, there is rehabilitation because there was crisis.

“For more than three years, some communities in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas were embroiled in cult-war that metamorphosed into killings, rapes and kidnapping of innocent people as well as closure of many churches, public schools, health institutions and markets.”

Speaking on youths who laid down their arms in the state, Eyiboh said; “Go and see the youths who laid down arms. As the beneficiaries of the programme, they are not enjoying it. Government should show clear direction, responsibility, capacity and willingness in handling the issue instead of dilly-dallying.”

On allegation that the rehabilitation has turned many to merchants, Eyiboh said, “In Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun, you have heard about the Debam cult. The rehabilitation is like the issue of defection. It has been turned to instrument of merchandising – you have merchants of defection and merchants of rehabilitation.”

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2019: CAN denies endorsing candidates

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Rev. Samson Ayokunle President of CAN

Rev. Samson Ayokunle President of CAN


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Thursday said the association did not endorse anyone, but only met with 14 Presidential Candidates in Abuja to speak on their plans for the nation.

The President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle made the explanation in a statement issued by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN president, in Abuja.

Ayokunle explained that the issue of endorsing anyone for a second term did not form part of discussions during the meeting.

“Our attention has been drawn to a news story published by an online news outfit that has become notorious for publishing fake stories.

“The story says CAN has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for the second term in office after it met with some 14 presidential candidates in Abuja.

“There was nothing like that, either before, during or after the parley; not even at the tail end of the programme.

“The church cannot take the back seat in this situation because it can only prosper when Nigeria prospers. If the election is not free and fair, then, all Nigerians, including the church, will be in trouble.

“So, we decided to reach out to the presidential candidates to ask them their credentials for aspiring to the highest office in the land.

“Also, to interrogate their plans for all, including the church.

“We also brought them together to speak to their consciences so that they don’t set this nation on fire,” he said.

Ayokunle said that when he was asked for the outcome of the parley, he replied that conclusion would be drawn at the end of the meeting.

Speaking on the Buhari’s decline of assent to the Electoral Act amendment, he said: “the Executive and the National Assembly should put their house together.’’

“Whenever there is this kind of disagreement or a stalemate, the executive and the legislature should come together as partners in progress to mutually find a way forward.

“They can’t afford to play with the future of the country as the 2019 general elections is at hand.

“Everything must be done to ensure that the election is free and fair.”

The cleric appealed to the general public to beware of fabricators of fake news for whatever reasons.

Present at the forum were the former governor of Anambra and Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, while the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi, represented the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also the former Minister of Education, Mrs Obi Ezekwesili, the Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, (ACPN) was at the meeting.

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