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Offa Robbery Case Abruptly Adjourns, Citing Security Reasons

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An Ilorin High Court trying the suspected armed robbers that last year attacked commercial banks in Offa, Kwara state on Thursday abruptly adjourned resumed trial of the suspects.

The court cited security reports for its decision. The court had commenced sitting on the case at about 9.00 A.M for the continuation of hearing as one of the prosecution witnesses, Hitila Hassan continued to give his evidence in chief and was cross-examined by the defence counsel Mathias Emeribe. At some minutes past 2.00 P.M , the trial Judge, Justice Halimat Salman said “reports reaching us are not favourable for the continuation of the case today. I don’t have anything doing but the court had to rise for the case to continue tomorrow(Friday). “For the security of the suspects and all of us here, I have to rise. May God spare our lives till tomorrow(Friday) for the continuation of hearing.”

The five suspects standing trial for their alleged involvement in the April 5th, 2018 robbery incident in bloody Offa, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran were in court.

In his evidence-in-chief, Inspector Hassan said the confessional statement of the first suspect (Ayoade Akinnibosun) indicted the Chief
of staff to Kwara state government, Babatunde Abdulwahab, political adviser to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Lekan Alabi and one Adeola
Omiyale.

He added that the first suspect alleged that he got the AK47 rifles allegedly used in the robbery incident from the above people, saying
that informed their arrest by the police high command in Abuja. Hassan, who said he is an inspector of police attached to the
Intelligence Response Team of the former Inspector General of Police, added that it is headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari. Hassan said he supervised the recording of the confessional statements of Ibikunle Ogunleye (2nd accused ) and Adeola Abraham (3rd
accused), adding that he helped write those of the first accused (Akinnibosun) and 5th accused (Niyi Ogundiran) and he countersigned as the writer. Lead Prosecuting Counsel, Prof. Wahab Egbewole sought to tender the statements as exhibit but Mr. Emeribe objected.
Emeribe argued that the statements were not voluntarily taken, noting that they fell short of the provisions of the Evidence Act particularly
sections 28 and 29. He said :

“They fall short of the Kwara state Administration of Criminal Justice Law because as it did not show the voluntariness of the statements as stated, particularly as it concerns section 33 of the Kwara state Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018. “Even in the absence of the law they did not comply with the judge’s rules. It must be understood that Kwara state Administration of
Justice Law 2018 was created to protect the rights of the accused when statement of this nature is about to be taken. Failure to yield to
these provisions will automatically render the admissibility of same null and void.

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Issue Adeleke Certificate of Return as duly elected Osun Gov, tribunal orders INEC

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The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has ordered INEC to issue Certificate of Return as duly elected governor to Senator Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2018 election.

The three-man tribunal upheld the petitions filed by Adeleke and the PDP, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress and Gboyega Oyetola at the September 2018 governorship election.

The tribunal had earlier dismissed the objections of the APC and Oyetola, insisting that Adeleke’s petition had merit.

The tribunal also declared the rerun election as illegal.

NAN reports that the PDP and Adeleke had filed a petition asking the tribunal to declare that Adeleke polled the highest lawful votes and should be declared the winner.

But Oyetola, APC and INEC had filed their notices of preliminary objection, contending, among others, that the petition was incompetent and that the court lacked jurisdiction.

The tribunal also held that the supplementary election held by INEC in seven cancelled units on September 22, 2018, was null and void.

The tribunal ruled that the Returning Officer who cancelled the results had no power to do so.

(NAN)

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Osun governorship re-run election illegal, tribunal declares

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The Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja has declared as illegal the September 27, 2018 supplementary governorship election held in seven polling units as illegal.

The tribunal held that the supplementary election was a product of an illegal cancellation of the results in the seven polling units during the September 22, 2018 main election.

It ruled that the Returning Officer who cancelled the results had no power to do so.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke, in the election had filed the petition urging the tribunal to declare that Adeleke polled the highest lawful votes and be declared the winner.

Punch Newspaper

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BreakingNew:FG closes case against Onnoghen after 3 witnesses

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Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, after it produced only three witnesses that testified before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen Though FG initially expressed its intention to produce a total of six witnesses to substantiate all the allegations it levelled against the embattled CJN, however, shortly after the third witness was discharged, the prosecution counsel told the tribunal that it would be unnecessary to call further witnesses.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Aliyu Umar, SAN, told the tribunal that the defendant was at liberty to summon any of the listed but uncalled witnesses to testify on his behalf if he so wished. He was immediately overruled by the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, even as Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, rejected the offer.

“This is the case of the prosecution. If it feels that it is satisfied with evidence of the three witnesses, then so be it”, the CCT Chairman held. Thereafter, Awomolo told the tribunal that the CJN would in line with section 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, enter a no case submission with respect to all the allegations FG levelled against him. Awomolo, therefore, applied for record of proceedings of the tribunal to enable his client to file the necessary processes.

The case was subsequently adjourned till next week Friday for hearing of the no-case application by the embattled CJN, as well as for adoption of the final written addresses. Earlier in the proceeding, the third prosecution witness, PW-3, Mr. Ifeoma Okagbue, a staff of Standard Chartered Bank in Abuja, told the tribunal that it was not true that the defendant possessed either $1million or £1million in any of the five bank accounts that necessitated the charge. Okagbue who told the tribunal that she started managing Onnoghen’s bank accounts since 2015, gave a load down of both the opening and closing balance of all the accounts from January 2018 to January 2019.

She said the accounts were all linked to one Bank Verification Code, BVN, adding that the bank had upon securing an approval from the defendant, diverted funds from the accounts into various profit yielding ventures. The PW-3 told the tribunal that profits that accrued from the investments were credited back into the accounts. While two of the accounts are in Naira, the three others were Pounds Sterling, Euro and Dollar accounts. The witness told the tribunal that all the accounts were domiciliary, and were opened and managed at the branch of the bank in Wuse 2, Abuja.

Before Mrs. Okagbue mounted the witness box, the PW-2, who is a retired Director at the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr. Awal Yakassai, told the Mr. Umar led three-man panel that contrary to what was alleged in the media, he said the suspended CJN owned only five houses.

He said it was not true that CCB investigators linked the ownership of 55 houses to the defendant. The witness made the disclosure after he was shown copies of Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration forms, which the Federal Government tendered in evidence before the CCT.

The embattled CJN was said to have submitted the forms marked as Exhibit 2 and 3, to the CCB in 2014 and 2016.

Answering questions under cross-examination, the PW-2, told the tribunal that he served at the CCB for 29 years before he retired in April 2018. He admitted that the CCB was yet to verify Justice Onnoghen’s assets with a view to finding out if he made false declarations. Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, FG had in the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, FG, alleged that Onnoghen operated five foreign bank accounts, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

FG had insisted that it was the CCB that okayed Onnoghen’s trial based on certain infractions that were discovered in his asset declaration forms.

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