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Court asks judges chairing Ganduje probe panel to resign

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A federal high court sitting in Kano has ordered two judges to resign their appointments as chairmen of the commission of inquiry constituted to probe Abdullahi Ganduje, the former governor of the state.

In a judgment delivered on Thursday, Simon Amobeda, the presiding judge, held that Farouk Adamu and Zuwaira Yusuf ought not to have taken the appointment by Abba Yusuf, the governor of Kano, since they are still serving judges of the high court of the state.

Amobeda ordered the judges to resign from the commission within 48 hours.

He said the National Judicial Council (NJC) (first defendant) shall stop forthwith the payment of any remuneration, allowances, and benefits meant for judicial officers from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation to the judges if they fail to comply with the 48-hour deadline.

Amobeda faulted the governor for setting up the commission without appealing an earlier court judgment by A. Liman, a judge, declaring that Ganduje can only be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

THE JUDGMENT

Citing relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the judge held that the Kano state government lacks the power to appoint the two judges to serve as chairmen of inquiry constituted by the governor.

“That, by the combined provisions of Sections 153(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, CFRN, 1999 (as altered), Paragraph 21(d) of Part I of the Third Schedule Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered)and sections 1, 3 and 6 of the Commission of Inquiry Law, Cap. 26, Laws of Kano State, the governor of Kano state has no power to appoint the 4th and 5th defendants and administer another oath of office on them to serve as chairmen of commission of Inquiry constituted by the governor of Kano state, an office meant for commissioners of Kano state government in order to exercise executive powers assigned to them by the governor of Kano state and stop them from performing their functions as judges of the high court of Kano state, without recourse to the 1st defendant,” the court held.

“That, by the combined effects of the provisions of Sections 6, 84, 153(1)(1), 271(2), and 272 together with Paragraph 21(c) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), the 4th and 5th defendants are not legally permitted, while still purporting to hold the office of judge of the high court of Kano state, to accept appointments as chairmen of commissions of inquiry with quasi-judicial powers equivalent powers to that of a magistrate court and subject to review by a judge of the high court of Kano state.

“That, by the combined effect of Sections 5 and 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), the action of the governor of Kano state of appointing the 4th and 5th defendants as chairmen of the commissions of inquiry pursuant to the provision of Sections 3 and 6 of the Commission of Inquiry Law, Cap. 26, Laws of Kano State, instead of appointing from amongst the commissioners of Kano state government is an encroachment into and undermining the judicial arm of government, a breach doctrine of the separation of powers, a grave violation of the Constitution, and gross misconduct on the part of the governor of Kano state and the 3rd defendant who administered the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance to the 4th and 5th Defendants.

“That, by the combined effect of the provisions of Sections 5, 6, 84 and 271 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) and Paragraph 21(c) of Part I of the Third Schedule thereof as well as the provision of the Preamble and Rule 3.7 of Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, issued by the 1 defendant, the 4th and 5th defendants, having accepted an executive appointment as chairmen of commissions of inquiry, abandoned their judicial functions and turned their Courtrooms to a place of performing executive function assigned to them by the governor of Kano state, cannot simultaneously continue to hold office as judges of the high court of Kano state and cannot be entitled to salaries and allowances of judicial officers, as fixed by the 2nd defendant and being paid by the 1st defendant.

“That, in view of the decision of this honourable court coram: Hon. justice A.M. Liman in Suit No.FHC/KN/195/2023 (Between Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje v. Nigeria Police Force & Ors) delivered on 5th day of March 2024 declaring that the plaintiff herein can only be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), it is an abuse of office and undermining the sanctity of the judiciary for the governor of Kano state to set up a commission of inquiry which is inferior to this court to purport to investigate the administration of the plaintiff.

“That the 4th and 5th defendants, being serving judicial officers, shall respectively resign from their appointments as chairman of judicial commission of inquiry for the recovery of misappropriated public properties and assets, and chairman of judicial commission of inquiry to investigate political violence and missing persons respectively, and shall desist forthwith, from performing executive functions assigned to them by the Governor of Kano state in courtrooms meant to adjudicate disputes between persons and authorities in Kano state.

“That, where the 4th and 5th Defendants fail to comply with this order within 48 hours of its service on them, the 1st defendant shall stop forthwith the payment of any remuneration, allowances, and benefits meant for judicial officers from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation to the 4th and 5th Defendants while they are still holding office as chairmen of commissions of inquiry.”

However, the court declined to order that the judges cease to be judicial officers.

The suit was instituted by Ganduje.

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8 steps you must follow to get your e-Central Motor Registry

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Recently, the Nigerian Police Force announced that it will begin enforcing the digitalised Central Motor Registry (e-CMR) on July 29.

In a statement released on Saturday in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, urged vehicle owners to comply with the new registration requirements.

Adejobi explained that the e-CMR initiative aims to improve the security of lives and property while modernising and digitising the motor vehicle registration system. This measure is part of improving the country’s safety and security infrastructure.

He highlighted that the e-CMR is an advanced, real-time online database of motor vehicle information. It is designed to assist police investigations, support operational activities, and combat vehicle-related crimes such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery.

The police spokesperson also noted that transitioning to this digital system will simplify the documentation and verification processes for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

Below are the eight (8) steps required to get your e-Central Motor Registry:

Step 1 – Visit https://cmris.npf.gov.ng./ and click on the apply icon.

Step 2: Create a profile using NIN, Driver’s Licence, or TIN.

Step 3: Log in using your access credentials if a profile exists.

Step 4: Select the CMR request, then select a sub-request.

Step 5: Provide vehicle details and click Next.

Step 6: Check the box to confirm the accuracy of vehicle details and click on Proceed.

Step 7: View the invoice and click Make Payment using any payment method.

Step 8: Details of the request will be sent to the registered phone number and email address.

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Scammers hacked phone number of governor Adeleke, says aide

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Olawale Rasheed, spokesperson of Ademola Adeleke, Osun governor, says one of the phone numbers of his principal has been hacked.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Rasheed asked the public to ignore any calls or messages from +234 803 365 7555.

The spokesperson said appropriate action has been taken to remedy the situation.

“This is to alert the general public that one of the telephone numbers of his Excellency, Governor Ademola Adeleke has been hacked,” the statement reads.

“Please ignore any solicitation from +234 803 365 7555.

“Appropriate action is ongoing to remedy the situation.”

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Kano state government files fresh charge against Ganduje over N240m fraud

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The Kano state government has filed a fresh charge against Abdullahi Ganduje, former governor of the state.

Ganduje was charged on four counts alongside Musa Lawan, former attorney-general of the state.

The offences border on criminal conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation, contrary to Section 308 and punishable under Section 309 of the Penal Code (as amended) CAP 105, Vol. 2, the Laws of Kano State of Nigeria.

The duo were alleged to have misappropriated, diverted and converted the sum of N240 million belonging to the state.

In the charge sheet, the state government said it intends to present four witnesses.

No date has been fixed for the arraignment.

In April, the Kano government filed an eight-count charge bordering on bribery, misappropriation, and diversion of public funds against Ganduje; Hafsat, his wife; Umar Abdullahi Umar, his son; and five others.

Other defendants in the case are Abubakar Bawuro, Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Properties Limited, Safari Textiles Limited, and Lasage General Enterprises Limited.

On July 11, the defendants were arraigned in absentia and the court entered a plea of not guilty on their behalf.

BACKGROUND

In 2018, the Daily Nigerian, an online newspaper, published a video of Ganduje allegedly receiving bundles of dollars from contractors, which he stuffed into his ‘babanriga’, a traditional outfit.

The APC national chairman was the governor of Kano from 2015 to 2023.

The newspaper said Ganduje requested $5 million as kickback from the contractors who recorded the video.

In 2023, the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) invited Ganduje for questioning over the video.

The former governor did not honour the invitation and instead instituted a suit against the agency.

In March, a federal high court in Kano stopped the agency from inviting or questioning Ganduje over the bribery allegation.

The court ruled that the agency lacks the power to invite or investigate Ganduje.

Abdullahi Liman, the presiding judge, said the alleged infraction is a federal offence that cannot be prosecuted by the state anti-graft agency.

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