Hardship:Court Orders FG To Review Price Of Fuel, Others

Mohammed Shosanya

A Lagos Federal High Court, Wednesday, ordered the federal government to fix the price of goods and petroleum products within seven days from today.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa ordered the Nigerian government to fix the price of Milk, Flour, salt, sugar, bicycles and it’s spare parts, matches, motorcycles and its spare parts, motor vehicles and it’s spare parts as well as Petroleum products, which include: diesel, petrol motor spirit (PMS) and kerosene.

He gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/869/2023, filed by foremost human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), listed as first and second defendants.

Falana (SAN) had approached the court for the followings: “whether by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act., the first defendant is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods that are of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.

“A declaration that by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act Cap, the defendants are under a legal obligation to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene.

“A declaration that the failure or refusal of the Defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene is illegal as it offends the provision of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap…., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order directing the defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene not later than 7 days after the delivery of the Judgment of this Honourable Court.”

When the matter came up on Wednesday,Mr. Falana (SAN) informed the court that the motion on notice is premised on Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He also told the court that the defendants in the suit have been served with the processes since it was filed in May, 2023, but refused and failed to file any response or counter to it.

Falana (SAN) consequently, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought for since there is no any counter from the respondents.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa after hearing from the senior lawyer and perused through the court filed, observed that the defendants did not filed any counter to the suit after citing some plethoras of authorites held that: “all the reliefs contained in the motion paper are hereby granted as prayed.”

Supreme Court Verdict Invalidates Oba Elegushi’s Title On Inland Waterways

The Supreme Court of Nigeria in a land mark judgment delivered in the case of National Inland Waterways Authority & Others Versus LASWA, Gov Of Lagos State & Attorney General of Lagos State in Suit No: SC.17/2018 on the 5th day of January 2024 by JOHN INYANG OKORO JSC leading other 4 Supreme Court Justices declared null and void Lagos State Waterways Authority Law, 2008.

Since the title of Oba Saheed Elegushi is based on the Title issued by the Lagos State Government, it follows also that the monarch’s title has also collapsed.

The above statement is based on both Law and Facts, says Olajide Ajana, a Lagos based Legal Practitioner and Real Estate Advisor.

“The Supreme Court Judgment delivered on 5th January 2024, led by Justice Okoro at page 37 stated; “I have read through both National Inland Waterways Authority Act 2004 and the Lagos State waterways authority law 2008. I have no doubt whatsoever that both statutes have identical provisions.

“Section 22 of the LASWA law defines under the control of the first respondent to include all waterways, Rivers, Creeks, lakes, tiled land and lagoons within the boundaries of Lagos State” Similar to definition of “Inland waterways” in Section 29 of national inland waterways authority act which includes all waterways. Rivers,Creeks, lakes, tiled land, lagoons below the water based line.

“The Supreme Court further held : both enactment must not and cannot subsit side by side. The National Inland Waterways Authority Act being a Federal law must prevail whereas the identical law enacted by the Lagos State act of Assembly must be and is hereby declared null and void.

“The consequence and implication of the above pronouncements by the Supreme Court which is the highest and final Court in Nigeria is that all persons including Kabiyesi Oba Saheed Elegushi who derived title from the Lagos State Government in respect of the Inland water ways are bound and affected by the Judgement of the Supreme Court with no exception.

“Once the Title and the Claims of Lagos State has failed, the Title of Oba Saheed Elegushi and others to the area being sand filled at Orange Island axis of Lagos State has also failed, being derived from the Lagos State Government.

“The press Statement recently issued by Oba Saheed Elegushi to the effect that he is not a party to the case of NIWA VS LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT and therefore attempting to trivialize impact of the judgement as circulating fake news is very unfortunate.

“The previous Press Statements issued with regard to the recent Supreme Court Decision to enlighten the general public and investors are based on Law and facts

“The General public and investors should be properly guided and understand that the Supreme Court is the highest court in Nigeria and their decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

“Also when the root Title to a property is affected, it affects everyone claiming from the same root, which is the case with Oba Saheed Elegushi’s Title which was derived from Lagos State Government.”

Olajide Ajana is a Lagos based Legal Practitioner and Real Estate Advisor with Office in Victoria Island Lagos.
oajana@yahoo.com

Court Stops Police,Others From Arresting Rivers Chief Of staff

Mohammed Shosanya

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has granted a motion ex-parte filed by Edison Ehie, Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House against the Nigerian Police.

Ehie had approached the court urging it to restrain the police or other security agencies from arresting, detaining and harassing him over allegations of his involvement in the invasion of the Rivers state House of Assembly.

Ehie,was a former lawmaker representing Ahoada East, before he voluntarily resigned as a member of the 10th assembly and was later appointment as the Chief of staff Government House by Governor Fubara.

About 25 lawmakers led by Martins Amaewhule, loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, had written criminal petitions against to the Rivers state Police command linking Edison Ehie to the attack and burning of the hallowed chambers of the Rivers state House of Assembly by unknown hoodlums.

In the petition,the lawmakers had demanded that the police to arrest, prosecute Ehie for his alleged involvement in the burning of the hallowed chamber of the house of assembly.

On October 29 an explosion rocked the Rivers State House of Assembly complex, with some properties in the chamber destroyed.

The incident occurred when some suspected arsonists threw an explosive into the complex around 9.30pm, causing a fire outbreak in the hallowed chamber of the assembly complex.

The explosion occurred prior to a failed impeachment attempt on the state Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, by some 25 lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Presiding Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku after granting the order, adjourned till February 6, 2024 for hearing of the substantive application.

Lagos Loses Control Of Inland Waterways,As Supreme Court Voids LASWA Law

The Supreme Court of Nigeria in a land mark judgment delivered in the case of NATIONAL INLAND WATERWAYS AUTHORITY & OTHERS VS LASWA, GOV. OF LAGOS STATE & ATTORNEY GEN. OF LAGOS STATE on January 5, 2024 by JOHN INYANG OKORO JSC leading other four Supreme Court Justices declared null and void Lagos State Waterways Authority Law, 2008.

The apex court noted on page 31 of the judgment that the views expressed by Femi Okunnu (SAN) in his book ‘’Contemporary State land matters in Nigeria. The case of Lagos State’’ heavily relied on by counsel for the first to fourth respondent to argue that waterways in Lagos State do not come under item 36 of the constitution and are the personal opinion of the learned author.

They do not represent the law and certainly cannot bind this court. The law is the law irrespective of whatever legal sentiment or opinion which may be thrown up.

The court said in page 37: “I have read through both National Inland Waterways Authority Act 2004 and the Lagos State waterways authority law 2008. I have no doubt whatsoever that both statutes have identical provisions.

“Section 22 of the LASWA Law defines under the control of the first respondent to include all waterways, Rivers, Creeks, lakes, tiled land and lagoons within the boundaries of Lagos State”Similar to definition of “Inland waterways” in Section 29 of national inland waterways authority act which includes all waterways. Rivers, Creeks, lakes, tiled land, lagoons below the water based line.

The Supreme Court held; “both enactment must not and cannot subsit side by side. The National Inland Waterways Authority Act being a Federal law must prevail whereas the identical law enacted by the Lagos State act of Assembly must be and is hereby declared null and void.”

Reacting, Olajide Ajana, a Lagos based Legal Practitioner and Real Estate Advisor said the recent position of the Supreme Court has lots of dire consequence with respect to lots of sand filling projects going on within the inland waterways in Lagos State particularly at the Lekki axis and Orange Island of Lagos State.

“One of the universal fundamental principle of Law is the MAXIM: Nemo dat quod no habet. Which means ‘No one can give what he doesn’t have’.

“Relating the above principle of Law to the recent Supreme Court Decision clearly means that Lagos State Government does not possess the power to issues Title or any form license to anyone within the zones and areas that falls within the Inland water ways which include all waterways. Rivers, Creeks, lakes, tiled land, lagoons below the water based line.

“Therefore claims to the above described areas by the Oba Saheed Ademola Elegunshi and others who are clinging to titles issued by Lagos State Government has no foundation, as the Laws relied on by Lagos state has been declared null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with a federal legislation. EX NIHIL FIT ; YOU CAN NOT PLACE SOMETHING ON NOTHING AND EXPECT IT TO STAND.” he added.

Bribery: Supreme Court Affirms Lawan Farouk’s 5yrs Jail Term

Mohammed Shosanya

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by the Chairman of the then House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy probe, Hon. Farouk Lawan seeking to quash his 5 years jail term.

Lawan had represented Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State, and was found guilty of demanding an aggregate sum of $ 3million from Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Chief Femi Otedola, to give his company a clean bill of health in the fuel subsidy probe the House of Reps initiated on 2012.

The former lawmaker has been in prison custody since 2021.

Justice Angela Otaluka, of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Apo, had on June 22, 2021, sentenced the former lawmaker to seven years in prison.

Lawan had among other reliefs, argued that he was not allowed to make a plea of allocutus (plea for leniency) by the trial court before it sentenced him to 5 years. imprisonment.

But the Supreme Court affirmed the judgement that convicted and sentenced Lawan, to five years in prison for bribery.

In a unanimous judgement, a 5-man panel of the apex court, dismissed Lawan’s appeal for lacking in merit.

Justice Inyang Okoro wrote the lead judgement that was read by Justice Tijjani Abubakar.

In the verdict, the Supreme Court said it was “crystal clear that failure of the trial court to call for allocution, did not vitiate the sentence passed on the Appellant.”

Dissatisfied with the decision, Lawan, filed a 6-ground of appeal to challenge his conviction.

He submitted that the ICPC failed to adduce credible evidence establishing a prima facie criminal case against him.

In its judgement on February 24, 2022, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court’s judgment.

In an unanimous decision by a 3-man panel, the Court of Appeal reduced Lawan’s jail term from 7 to 5 years, after it discharged and acquitted him of two of the charges that led to his conviction.

Rivers Crisis: Court Okays Tinubu’s Peace Deal

Mohammed Shosanya

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has struck out a suit before it challenging the legality and implementation of president Bola Tinubu’s peace proclamation on resolving the political crises in the state for lack of jurisdiction.

President, Tinubu had in the height of the political impasse between Governor Fubara and his predecessor Nyesom Wike, brokered an eight-point peace deal in Abuja, also known as the presidential proclamation, which among other stipulations directed that Governor Fubara represents the 2024 N800 billion to the whole house of assembly.

This was as a state high Court presided over by Justice Danagogo recognised Edison Ehie as the Speaker of the state assembly.

Ehie,who led four members of the state assembly loyal to Governor Fubara declared the seats of 24 lawmakers led by Martins Amaewhule after they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party which they were elected to the All Progressives Congress in December 2023 vacant and passed the budget into law.

The suit was filed by ten stakeholders of the state led by His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe against President Bola Tinubu, Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Martin Amaewhule, Rivers State House of Assembly and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

Sara-Igbe and nine others representing Rivers Sons and Daughters had filed the suit against the defendants seeking constitutional interpretation whether the purported directives for the resolution of political impasse in the state were not inconsistent with sections of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended.

The claimants in the suit also sought the interpretation of the 1999 Constitution as amended on whether the president has the legal right to direct the governor to represent the 2024 budget to 24 members of state assembly led by Martin Amaewhule even after their seats were declared vacant.

The applicants further asked whether it was proper for names of commissioners who willingly resigned their offices to be re-submitted for screening and reabsorb into the cabinet of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The applicants in their reliefs also asked the court to determine whether the 24 House of Assembly members led by Amaewhule after defecting from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress still have rights to remain Assembly members.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, the presiding judge, Justice Chinwendu Nworgu, did not allow for any motion, but delivered a ruling, declining jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Nworgu cited the judgment of James Omotosho of Abuja High Court which nullified activities of Edison Ehie led faction of the Assembly.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Sara-Igbe, said the suit was part of their efforts in fighting for the liberation of the souls of Rivers people.

Sara-Igbe added that the group would direct their counsel to appeal the decision of the court.

Emefiele Gets N100m Damages

Mohammed Shosanya

Justice Kayode Adeniyi of
High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, on Monday, ordered the Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to pay the sum of N100m to the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emfiele over unlawful detention without trial.

The order was sequel to a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the embattled former CBN Governor against the Federal Government agency.

In the verdict,the court held that the prolonged detention of Emefiele in the custody of the Department of State Services without trial was a flagrant violation of his fundamental rights.

Justice Adeniyi also restrained the Federal Government and its agents from re-arresting or detaining Emefiele without an order of court.

“It is hereby declared that the actions of the first and fourth respondents and its agents incarcerating the applicant’s from June 13, 2023, to October 26, 2023, when he was transferred to the custody of the fourth respondent and his further detention by the third and fourth respondents without arraignment in the court of law for the commission of any offence up until November 8, 2023, when by the order of this court when the applicant was released on bail to his senior learned counsel constitutes a flagrant violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty preserved by the provision of section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979, and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right.

“Also, a sum of N100m only is hereby awarded in favour of the applicant against the first and fourth respondents jointly as damages for the unlawful violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty, the court ordered.

The court added that, “without prejudice to its powers with respect to the criminal trial the applicant is currently facing at the High Court of the FCT, the respondents are hereby restrained either by themselves, their officers, agents, or any person acting on their behalf from further re-arresting or detaining the applicant without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction”.

In the rights enforcement suit, Emefiele had prayed the court to order the respondents to pay him N1bn damages and to restrain them from further arresting and or detaining him.

The former CBN Governor was arrested on June 10, 2023, shortly after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

Man Bags 75 Years For Investment Fraud

Mohammed Shosanya

Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, on Thursday, December 14, 2023 convicted and sentenced Olaniyan Gbenga Amos to seventy five, 75, years imprisonment for multiple investment fraud.

He was convicted alongside his firm, Detorrid Heritage Investment Limited.

They were prosecuted on 35-count count charges by the Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, bordering on obtaining by false pretences, contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

Count 35 of the charge reads: “That you Olaniyan Gbenga Amos and Detorrid Heritage Investment Limited on or about the 20th of February, 2020, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N1,540,000 (One million, Five Hundred and Forty Thousand only) from Akinlabi Qasim Dada, when you falsely represented to him that the money was meant for registration and investment with Crime Alert Security Network with a promise of 30% return on investment in six weeks (30 working days), which representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence of obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.”

Another Charge reads: “That you
OLANIYAN GBENGA AMOS and DETORRID HERITAGE INVESTMENT LIMITED on or about 27th of August, 2020, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N170,000 (One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) only from Alhaji Mukaila Odunayo, when you falsely represented to him that the money is meant for registration and investment with Crime Alert Security Network with a promise of 30% return on Investment in 6 weeks (30 working days), which representations you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence of obtaining money under false pretence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.

EFCC counsel, Sanusi Galadanchi opened the case on February 17, 2022 and called six witnesses, tendered eight exhibits and closed the case on January 24, 2023.

The defendant filed a “no case submission” which was overruled by the court.

Consequently, the defendant opened and closed his case by calling three witnesses. Thereafter, Justice Taiwo reserved judgment in the matter till December 14, 2023.

At the resumption of the trial on Thursday, December 14, 2023, Justice Taiwo convicted and sentenced the defendant to fifteen (15) years imprisonment on each of counts 27, 32, 33, 34, and 35 but discharged and acquitted the defendant on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ,8, 9; 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29; 30 and 31 respectively.

Besides,the court ordered that the sentence should run concurrently and the defendant should also restitute the victims.

Amos has three other ongoing trials before Federal and State High Courts in Ibadan, Oyo State.

His journey to the correctional centre began when he was arrested and arraigned before Justice Bayo Taiwo on December 14, 2021 by the EFCC. He swindled several individuals through fake investment ventures that led to the loss of money to the tune of over N1 billion by investors.

He deliberately reneged to meet up with the agreements he made with his investors, by not paying the agreed “Return on Investment” to those who invested in “Crime Alert Security Network”, a security investment programme under the umbrella of his firm.

$400,000 Alleged Scam:Court orders Police To declare Paz Oil Director, Ibrahim Shehu,Others Wanted

Mohammed Shosanya

An High Court sitting in Ilorin,has granted the Nigeria Police Force, (NPF) an Order to declare the Directors of Paz Oil Nigeria Limited; Ibrahim Shehu Tenimu and Jemima Monosoko Shehu wanted for allegedly conspiring to defraud Dr. Kamoru Ibitoye Yusuf, owner of Kam Steel Nigeria limited of $400,000.

The order was sequel to series of attempts by law enforcement agencies to prosecute Ibrahim Shehu Tenimu, the prime suspect, all to no avail as he remains at large.

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ilorin had in August remanded Esther Shehu and David Kpanaki at the Federal Correctional Centre following a petition written by Dr. Yusuf vide a direct complaint on July 18, 2023 through Tafa Ahmed & Co Solicitors & Advocates.

The defendants were brought to the court on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, screening an offender, obstruction of justice and obtaining by false pretence.

The offences contravened Sections 97, 322, 167 and 148 of the Penal Code Law and 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud/other related Offences Act Cap. A6 LFN

According to the Police First Information Report (FIR), Ibrahim Tenimu Shehu and Jemima Monosoko Shehu, now at large conspired with Kpanaki, who identified himself as the director of Paz Oil, to fraudulently sell a vessel MT ORYX TRADER as MT REMOS to the petitioner. That the suspects
“dishonestly presented the vessel as free and not subject to any administrative detention, knowing fully well that it is a subject of a court order.

That “on the account of fraudulent presentation by Ibrahim Tenimu Sheu, Jemima Monosoko and Kpanaki David cause financial loss to the petitioner to the tune of $400,000 in addition to the purchase price of the vessel and absconded”.

The charge sheet further added that when the suspects were later tracked by a team of Police operatives to Abuja for possible arrest, the second accused, Esther Shehu, obstructed the officers by dishonesty called your accomplice who claimed to be the DPO of the jurisdiction who deceitfully led the operatives to leave the premises with a promise that the suspect Tenimu Shehu Ibrahim (at large), will meet them at the police station by 12pm, however the prime suspect was whisked out of the premises by Kpanaki in a Blue Tinted Toyota Corolla to an unknown destination”, the sheet added.

Since the arrest and detention of his accomplices the prime suspect has remained at large. Consequently, the Prosecutor leaving no stone unturned have apply that the suspect at large be declared wanted and a warrant of arrest issued for their apprehension.

The prayer was granted by the High Court of Kwara State against the fugitives. All hands are on deck to ensure that the suspects are arrested to face the music of their inglorious act. Meanwhile the duo of Esther Sheu and David Kpanaki are still in detention.

Rights Violation: Court Orders Republic Of Benin To Pay Igboho 20m CFA

Mohammed Shosanya

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),in Abuja, has ordered the government of the Republic of Benin to pay Yoruba nation activist Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, a sum of 20 million CFA within three months for unlawful detention and violation of his fundamental human rights.

The court ruled that the government of the Republic of Benin must ensure that the money is paid to Adeyemo in three months, starting from the day the judgment to that effect is delivered.

The court announced this in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justices Gberi-Bé Ouattara, Sengu M. Koroma, and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro GONÇALVES, in matter marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/15/22 Chief Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) vs. Republic of Benin.

It further ordered the Francophone country to comply with its order to pay 20 million CFA to Adeyemo within three months and also report back to the court with the evidence of payment.

The verdict was sequel to the application brought before the court by Adeyemo against the defendant (Benin Republic), challenging his arrest and detention in the French-speaking country on July 21, 2021.

It was filed before the ECOWAS Court in Abuja, on February 10, 2022.

According to the court documents, “Orders sought wherefore Chief Adeyemo prays for the following from this Honourable Court: 1 “Pursuant to Article 59 of Rules of Procedure, an expedited procedure and hearing regarding the imprisonment and release of Chief Adeyemo;

“…2)An Order for the immediate and unconditional release of Chief Adeyemo, along with his Nigerian passport, pending litigation and determination of damages, and (3) Such orders as this honourable court may deem fit.”

Igboho and his wife Ropo were arrested on July 20, 2021, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and detained at the request of the Nigerian government.