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Court dismisses Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal on unlawful arrest, detention

Court of Appeal on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by Felix Okonkwo, one of the lawyers to the  leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu over his unlawful arrest and detention by the Police and the DepartmentThe of State Services (DSS) .

Justice Okon Abang dismissed the appeal for want of merit.

Delivering judgment, Justice Abang held that the appellant failed to establish miscarriage of justice in the judgment of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in the matter.

The appellants comprising of Felix Okonkwo, Ikenna Chibuike and Okafor Ugochukwu had dragged the Nigeria Police Force and the DSS before the high court for the enforcement of their client’s fundamental human rights.

The appellants specifically accused the two security agencies of violating their fundamental rights by their unlawful arrest and detention on September 27, 2021, during which they claimed that they were tortured, harassed and intimidated while in the custody of the Police.

Justice Samaila Bature had, in his judgment delivered on March 24, 2022 found the police liable for the unlawful arrest and detention of the the appellants and subsequently imposed a fine of N2 million against Police to be paid to the appellants.

Justice Bature however did not make any order against the DSS because the appellant, then plaintiffs did not disclose any cause of action against the state services.

Not satisfied with the findings and decisions of the high court, the three plaintiffs had approached the Court of Appeal praying for an order to hold that SSS was also culpable in their arrest and detention.

In a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel of the appellate court, Justice Abang held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, there was no where the operatives of the SSS were found at the scene of their arrest in the house of Ifeanyi Ejiofor in Anambra state.

They claimed that the N2 million imposed on the police as fine, was paltry and ridiculously low and asked the appellate court to jerk up the fine as compensation for their unlawful arrest and detention.

In a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel of the appellate court, Justice Abang held that from the video footage tendered as exhibit by the appellants at the trial court, there was no where the operatives of the SSS were found at the scene of their arrest in the house of Ifeanyi Ejiofor in Anambra state.

He disagreed with the appellants in their claims that the N2 million compensatory damages was grossly insufficient.

According to Abang, the decision to award compensatory damages is at the discretion of a Judge and cannot be dictated by any plaintiff or appellant.

In the instant case, Justice Abang agreed with Justice Bature that perculiar facts and circumstances of the unlawful arrest and detention of the appellants were carefully considered at the trial court before arriving at the amount.

Besides, Justice Abang said that the appellants did not point out irrelevant facts in the judgement of the high court and did not also disclose their status in the society, they did not point out their monthly or yearly income and also did not point out what they lost in the course of their detention.

“In my opinion and going by the perculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the N2 million compensation to the appellants was properly awarded.

“I cannot fault the award because the appellant did not give any good reason for them to have been awarded a much higher amount.

“In the final analysis, the appeals lacks merit and it is accordingly dismissed, the decision of the trial court is hereby affirmed. There is order as to cost”, Justice Abang held.

Justices Joseph  Oyewole and Abba Bello Mohammed endorsed the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Abang.

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No one has been cleared in humanitarian ministry fraud investigation- EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it has not cleared anyone involved in the ongoing fraud investigation in the humanitarian affairs ministry.

Spokesperson of the commission, Dele Oyewale stated this in a statement tagged ‘Setting the Records Straight on Investigations of Humanitarian Ministry’ on Sunday.

According to him,  ongoing investigation have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

The statement read;

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

“Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices.

“Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily.

“The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

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Junior Pope: NSIB launches investigation, sends team to accident site

The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has launched an investigation into the boat accident that claimed the lives of Nollywood actor, Paul Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope; Abigail Frederick; Precious Oforum, and Joseph Anointing, while returning from a movie location.

THN reported that the boat accident involved a commercial speedboat and a fishing canoe on the Anam River in Anambra State on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

The boat carrying 12 film crew members and a boat operator reportedly crashed into the canoe, resulting in the loss of five lives.

Tthe director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB, Bimbo Oladeji in a statement on Sundat, said the Bureau has dispatched an investigation team to the accident site.

According to Oladeji, examination of the wreckage from both boats involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, eyewitnesses, and a review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat would be analysed, among others.

“The NSIB extends its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident.

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“Also, the director general of NSIB, Capt. Alex Badeh Jr, share in your grief and NSIB is fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragedy and prevent similar occurrence in the future.

“An investigation team has been dispatched to the accident site, and inquiry has begun. The investigation scope includes, but is not limited to: examination of the wreckage from both vessels involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, and eyewitnesses, review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat, analysis of weather and environmental conditions at the time of the accident, and assessment of compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations for inland waterway transportation,” NSIB spokesperson said.

Oladeji further assured Nigerians that the Bureau will release the preliminary reports of the investigation to the public.

“NSIB will collaborate with relevant authorities, including the Marine Police section of the Anambra State Police Command, maritime authorities, and industry experts during the investigation.

“The bureau will release its findings in a preliminary report, followed by a final report upon the investigation’s conclusion. These reports aim to enhance safety by providing recommendations to prevent similar accidents in the future.Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims affected by the Anam boat mishap,” she added.

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Invasion of Assembly: Police arrest 20 Yoruba nation agitators, recover 67 cutlasses, others

The Police in Oyo State have arrested 20 suspected Yoruba nation agitators over Saturday’s invasion of the state’s House of Assembly complex in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a group of persons allegedly invaded the complex located at the Government Secretariat vicinity in an attempt to take it over.

Police spokesman in Oyo State, SP Adewale Osifeso confirmed the arrest of the suspects in a statement he issued in Ibadan.

Osifeso stated that the 20 suspects arrested had in their possession three pump action guns, 29 life cartridges, two expended cartridges, 67 cutlasses, five bulletproof vests and six pairs of boots,

They also had in their possession, 10 Public Address Systems, three berets with Oodua insignia crafted on them, seven belts, 11 Oodua Nation camouflage uniforms, one unregistered bus and three motorcycles, he added.

Osifeso stressed that the police, in collaboration with sister security agencies successfully thwarted the attempt by the agitators to forcefully take over the secretariat.

“The suspects who wore military camouflage came heavily armed in an unregistered bus and had cutlasses, pump action rifles, cartridges, assorted charms and an Oodua Nation agitation flag with them.

“They were overpowered and completely suppressed by officers and men of the police in concert with those of sister security agencies,’’ he stated.

Osifeso described the act of the suspects as criminal and unpatriotic and a clear case of treasonable felony and terrorism.

He assured that appropriate punishment would be meted to those found culpable, while the police would continue to protect law-abiding citizens.

The spokesman stated that the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr Adebola Hamzat already ordered an investigation and an enlargement of the dragnet to arrest others connected with the incident.

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