Appeal court nullifies Metuh’s conviction, orders fresh trial - Newstrends
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Appeal court nullifies Metuh’s conviction, orders fresh trial



The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday nullified the conviction of former spokesman for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, on alleged money laundering and corruption charges.

The court held that Okon Abang, judge of a federal high court in Abuja, exhibited bias in Metuh’s case.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Metuh on seven counts of allegedly receiving N400 million from the office of the National Security Adviser.

On February 25, 2020, the trial court pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Metuh through his counsel filed an appeal in March 2020.

As part of the 10 issues raised by the appellant for determination by the appellate court, Metuh argued that he was not given a fair trial.

He submitted that the trial judge was biased, considering some of the remarks made during the trial.

He prayed the court to upturn the judgment of the lower court.

Delivering judgment on Wednesday, a three-man panel of justice agreed that the trial judge showed influence of bias against the appellant.

Stephen Adah who read the court’s decision, said, “The narrative of the trial judge suggests someone who didn’t enjoy trying the appellant and counsel because he said they were picking on him.

“He was struggling with the case and even wished that he should be recused out of the case. The influence from this narrative is indisputably to say the least that a trial judge was angered only in his mind that he was wrongly influenced and showed bias against the appellant in this case as this is what manifests from all the outburst, he has infused in his judgment.

 “Learned trial judge showed in his comments, the influence of an abnormal desire all inclination to pursue a predetermined line of action against the appellant.

“This no doubt is an influence of bias against the appellant. There is no way the learned trial judge can be seen to be detached from the malice against the appellant in the case as alleged.

“The duty of a trial judge is to be completely neutral in the case before him. A judge must not only be impartial; he must be seen to be impartial to both sides.

“His duty is to sit and determine the issues raised by parties and to conduct an examination into the parties. He is not an umpire just yet. His job is to find out the truth and do justice according to law.

“Appellants have been able to convince us in this court from the records shown and from all the utterances of the judge that there is likelihood of bias signifying that he was no freeman while the trial was going on.

“If this is allowed, it will set a dangerous president and that is never allowed by our constitution. Trial that was conducted in a hostile atmosphere without any regard to the constitutional right of the person accused can never be upheld.

“The learned trial judge unfortunately has shown the whole world that much was into that judgment than what was put in evidence before the judge.

“It was in this respect that we cannot ignore it. This court in its duty, set that decision aside. Judgment of the lower court delivered on 25th of February 2020 cannot stand because of the evidence of bias. It is accordingly annulled.”

Justice Adah subsequently ordered a return of the suit to the Federal High Court for fresh hearing by another judge.


2027 election: INEC receives application from 25 new political parties



Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

2027 election: INEC receives application from 25 new political parties

In Nigeria, 25 political associations have requested to be recognized as political parties ahead of the general elections in 2027.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), revealed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Public Presentation of the ‘NEEDS Assessment of Political Parties in Nigeria’, which was organized by the Kukah Centre and the European Union (EU).

Sam Olumekun, a National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, represented INEC.


He said: “Despite harsh criticism that INEC has passed through, especially in the last couple of months, we have the National Assembly that emerged from the political parties. There was a time we had many political parties before they were pruned down by legal requirements to 19.

“As at today we have about 25 political associations that have applied that they want to register as political parties. If political parties are not functioning well, why are groups coming up to seek registration as political parties?” Olumekun queried.

Also, Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, represented by the Senator from Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Victor Umeh, said that since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria’s political landscape had witnessed significant transformation, which can be attributed to the relentless efforts of various stakeholders and institutions, including Nigerians and political parties.

2027 election: INEC receives application from 25 new political parties

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Save Ondo from being driven into abyss, transmit power to your deputy – PDP urges Akeredolu



Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa

Save Ondo from being driven into abyss, transmit power your deputy – PDP urges Akeredolu

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, on Tuesday, said the state has been grounded economically by an alleged cabal, which hijacked the government of ailing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

It, therefore, demanded that Akeredolu should transmit power to his deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, for governance to save the state from being driven into the abyss.

The state chairman of the PDP, Mr Fatai Adams, who spoke in Akure, claimed that people within and outside of government were taking advantage of Akeredolu’s prolonged absence and were stealing government resources.

However, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Ade Adetimehin, rubbished the claim, challenging the PDP to name members of the said cabal.

But lamenting Akeredolu’s prolonged absence, the opposition leader said, “We are deeply concerned about the ruinous cost the health challenge of the governor has bestowed upon the state, the most obvious is the emergence of a cabal, largely informal, that has seized every initiative, mindlessly driving our state into penury.

“As we speak, there is no clear leader of government business; the governor remains on his sickbed, the deputy governor is still battling for his political survival, irrespective of President Bola Tinubu’s much-proclaimed intervention and our state continues to wander in darkness. Most disturbing, however, is that our finances are suffering as hard-earned resources of the state are being pilfered by interest groups within and outside government, this is to the detriment of our development and wellbeing.”


Reiterating the call for transmission of power to the deputy governor, the PDP chairman urged Akeredolu to adopt the advice he gave late former President Umar Yar’Adua and transmit the power, so he could concentrate on taking care of his health.

“Much as we know, our governor is sick or at best recuperating, thus he remains missing in action and our state deserves every attention. This is why the Constitution made provisions for a period like this.

“We wish to remind Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of his admonition to (the late) President Umaru Yar‘Adua when he was ill. He (Akeredolu) said and we quote, ‘No matter how much you love your country, it should not be at the detriment of your health. It is not your party or your wife that will determine whether you are capable of handling state matters; it is only your doctors.’

“It is now crystal clear that Akeredolu’s doctors have since instructed him to stay away from his office and state, this certainly underscores the fact that he is currently not fit to handle state matters. We urge Mr Governor to please use his then advice to the late President Yar’Adua and again transmit power to the deputy governor in the interest of our dear state.”

In a swift reaction, the Ondo APC chairman, Adetimehin, described the PDP as a drowning party, adding that the allegation was baseless.

 Adetimehin said, “Adams is my friend but it is always painful to be in the opposition. I could understand his feeling, that is why he is talking for talking sake. Who is the cabal? He should be bold enough to mention them if he knows what he is saying or give evidence. It is mischievous to say the absence of Akeredolu has grounded the state, that a cabal has taken over. I want to tell you that there is no cabal anywhere.


“Their party is drowning and many of their members have openly decamped to the APC; so he is just talking to be noticed, seeking attention that is not there.”

Also reacting, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye, said, “This is a lie from politicians to blackmail this government. I can say this government I am serving in, there is no cabal anywhere and if they know one, they should tell the general public, rather than blackmailing the government.”

The PUNCH reports that Akeredolu has been away from the state for months. In June, the governor went abroad for medical treatment. Though he wrote to the state Assembly that he would only be away for 21 days, he later sought an extension and did not return to the country until September – three months later.

Since his return to the country, he has not been in Ondo but in his residence in Ibadan, Oyo State. Amid worry over his absence, the deputy governor battled political survival as the Assembly pushed to remove him from office, following a breakdown in the relationship between the governor and the deputy governor, who was accused of gross misconduct.

Save Ondo from being driven into abyss, transmit power your deputy – PDP urges Akeredolu

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S’Court fines Ozekhome N40m for revisiting 2019 Imo gov suit



S’Court fines Ozekhome N40m for revisiting 2019 Imo gov suit

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed N40m fine on constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome.
He was fined for filing a ‘frivolous, vexatious and irritating motion’ before the court with respect to Imo State governorship tussle that was decided in 2019.

Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, called to the Nigerian Bar over 42 years ago and was fined a huge amount for bringing a motion before the Apex Court seeking to revalidate the suit that removed Emeka Ihedioha as Governor of Imo State in 2019.

The Senior lawyer was ordered in a ruling by Justice Tijani Abubakar to personally pay the N40M fine to four respondents he dragged before the Court.

Those to be paid are the Action People’s Party, APP, Uche Nnadi, Uche Nwosu and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.

In the motion considered to be frivolous by the Court, Ozekhome had asked the Court for a consequential order to compel INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Ihedioha to enable him spend a four-year tenure as Imo Governor.

His grouse was that the incumbent governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma unlawfully spent the four years that Ihedioha ought to spend.

Among others, Ozekhome in the motion claimed that the All Progressives Congress APC had no candidate in the 2019 Imo Governorship election, hence, Uzodinmma ought not to have been made governor on the platform of APC.

However, the Apex Court dismissed the motion on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to entertain such a motion.

Justice Abubakar held in the ruling that the request was strange, frivolous, baseless, unwarranted, vexatious and irritating.

He further held that the motion was a calculated design to demonize the Supreme Court.

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