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

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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.

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Northern politicians wooing Buhari to unseat Tinubu, says Shehu Sani

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Northern politicians wooing Buhari to unseat Tinubu, says Shehu Sani

 

Senator Shehu Sani has alleged that northern politicians are working hard to woo Muhammadu Buhari in a plot to remove President Bola Tinubu from office ahead of 2027 presidential election.

He said the recent visits by the politicians to ex-President Buhari are part of the calculated moves to unseat Tinubu in the 2027 general election.

Indeed, the ex-senator noted that the northern politicians were interested in resurrecting Buhari’s political charm and fanaticism to mobilise the gullible people in the North for a selfish reason.

Newstrends recalls that many top northern politicians have recently visited Buhari in his Daura home, Katsina State.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Aminu Tambuwal, ex-governor of Sokoto, visited Buhari on June 22

About 24 hours after, Nasir el-Rufai, an ex-governor of Kaduna, also visited the former president.

In a statement on Monday, Sani said that though the visits were tagged as “Sallah homage,” they had a political undertone.

“The recent visits by some prominent northern politicians to Daura appear to be the usual Eid homage, but looking deeper and beyond the facade, it’s surreptitiously a new attempt to build a strong northern alliance using ex-President Buhari as a rallying point to challenge and evict President Tinubu’s government in 2027,” the statement read.

He also stated, “It’s a regrouping of Northern political forces for the next general election. A project that will eventually kiss the dust.

“They want to resurrect Buhari’s political charm and fanaticism and mobilise the gullible to another hollow and bewildering end.

“They want to stock up and light up the Arewa sentiment without considering the inferno it would eventually generate.”

Sani noted Buhari, a northerner who served as president for eight years, did not make a significant impact on the nation.

“They had power and wasted it. What do they want to do with it again?”

The former senator said, “A southerner is in power just for one year. It’s too early for the desperate and power-hungry northern elite to start plotting.

“The South never did that to Buhari. Their intended action has the capacity of ruining the democratic process and wrecking the fragile unity of the country when the south is awakened to this reality. Their obsession with power is condemnable.

“Opposition to Tinubu from the point of policies, promises and programs of his administration is a democratic right of any Nigerian.

“People have the right to speak and criticize the government. But attempts to whip up Northern sentiments to achieve their political ends is a dangerous political experiment and expedition at this material time.

“No serious southerner challenged Buhari for eight years. These power-drunk Northern politicians are dragging the region to a new political journey through a land mine.

“The Daura homage of the disgruntled and the obsessed will fail. Our people in the North should reject these faces and their plots.

“They have nothing to offer. From the abandoned Baro Port, Ajaokuta, Lake Chad basin refiling and Mambilla hydropower, they failed.”

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PDP expels former Edo deputy governor, Philip Shaibu

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Comrade Philip Shaibu

PDP expels former Edo deputy governor, Philip Shaibu

Former Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has been expelled from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Shaibu’s expulsion was announced on Wednesday by the leadership of the Edo chapter of the party.

The national vice chairman (South-South) of the party, Dan Orbih, was also expelled.

The development is contained in a statement issued in Benin by the party’s state publicity secretary, Ogie Vasco.

According to Vasco, Shaibu and Orbih were expelled for anti-party activities, according to PDP.

Vasco said also expelled for the same reason was Omorgie Ihama, a former House of Representatives member, who represented Oredo Federal Constituency.

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He said the decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting attended by nine members of the state working committee at the party secretariat.

“The SWC has extensively deliberated on the issue and resolved to expel, with immediate effect, Chief Dan Orbih, National Vice Chairman South South.

“It also decided to expel Phillip Shaibu and upheld the expulsion of Ogbeide-Ihama from Ward 2, Oredo Local Government Area,” he said.

Reacting, Orbih told journalists that the body is not empowered to suspend a member of the national working committee or expel anybody without following the provision of the party’s constitution.

“When a group of persons sits down to make pronouncement that are unconstitutional it only showed that they are ignorant of the constitution of the party.

“That is all I have to say about that and nothing more,” Mr Orbih told journalists.

PDP expels former Edo deputy governor, Philip Shaibu

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APC can no longer win elections except through rigging, says ex-party National VC Salihu Lookman

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Former DG of Progressive Governors’ Forum and immediate-past National Vice Chairman, North West, Dr Salihu Lukman

APC can no longer win elections except through rigging, says ex-party National VC Salihu Lookman

Former Director General of Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF and immediate-past National Vice Chairman, North West, of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Salihu Lukman has ditched the party, saying it has outlived its usefulness and can no longer win elections without rigging.

In a statement, yesterday, Lukman said he found it necessary to write to a few leaders of the party and try to clarify his position regarding the situation both in the party and in the country.

He said: “First, it is a shared concern of most leaders of the party that the situation in the country has deteriorated in the last year since the assumption of office of President Bola Tinubu.

“Given a reality that the party structures have been demobilized and the government is implementing policies that have eroded the value of incomes of citizens, conditions of living are rapidly getting worse by the day. With that, both the APC and the governments it controls are getting more and more unpopular.

“It doesn’t require any investigation, at this rate, there is no way we can win election except through rigging. The popular saying in the country now is that President Tinubu is a one-term President. The hard truth is that the country will be lucky to get to 2027, without witnessing upheavals,” he stated.

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Lukman said given the experiences of Nigerians with both former President Muhammadu Buhari and now President Tinubu, Nigerians must learn the appropriate lessons by ensuring that moving forward, they must prioritise the development of a strong party organisation, which can subordinate the President and all elected representatives under the control of organs of the party.

“Given all this, it is not possible to remain in APC, if at all President Tinubu will allow internal reform in the party to return it to its founding vision, which as it is, is very remote. But my reality now in the party is that my membership has been rendered useless and there is no need for me to continue to impose myself.

“I have, therefore, gone back to the trenches and will try to work with all committed Nigerians, who agree and subscribe to the goal of actively campaigning for the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria. We must grow our democracy to the point whereby elected representatives at all levels are accountable to the party and it is possible for Nigerians represented by various interests to develop strong relationships with political parties and elected governments based on which policies of governments can be made to reflect wider interests of Nigerians.

“Although I pray that God Almighty will touch the heart of President Tinubu to make him recover whatever is left of his democratic credentials, I have lost hope that after one year of planless leadership, not much can be achieved during his tenure.

“It, therefore, behoves on all patriots, democrats and progressives in the country to take up the responsibility of organising and mobilising Nigerians towards rescuing Nigerian democracy. As it is, APC and the government of President Tinubu have been lost to the whirlwind. Just like we campaigned against military rule and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, we must rise to the task of campaigning against the President Asiwaju whirlwind,” he stated.

APC can no longer win elections except through rigging, says ex-party National VC Salihu Lookman

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