Usofor Ataga: Absence Of Prosecution Witness Stalls Murder Trial
Trial of an undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu for the murder of Usifo Ataga, Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, was on Monday stalled due to the absence of a prosecution witness.
Ojukwu is standing trial before a Lagos High Court sitting at the Tarfa Tafawa Balewa Square.
Chidinma is charged with murder, stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
On Monday, prosecution counsel, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi, also Deputy Director of Lagos State Directorate Public Prosecutions, told the court that a prosecution witness, billed to testify, was not in court.
She prayed that earlier dates for continuation of hearing of the case be vacated to enable prosecution to get toxicology and Deoxyribonucleic Acid results needed for the trial.
Oluwafemi said the results were not available yet, adding that the next witness would be examined with those documents.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya consequently vacated the dates, and adjourned the proceedings until April 25 for the continuation of trial.
Sylva Pleaded, Requested Settlement Twice, Did Not Win Any Defamatory Case in U.S- Pointblanknews Publisher, Jackson Ude
The publisher of Pointblanknews.com, Mr. Jackson Ude has said that Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Marlin Sylvia, pleaded for out of court settlement and did not win any case against Pointblank News in the US. He stated this in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday. The statement reads “My attention has been drawn to spurious, criminal, malicious, defamatory and disparaging news report being sponsored by the Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Marlin Sylvia, in which he claimed victory in a United States Eastern District Court, Pennsylvania.
“Nothing can be more ridiculous than such a claim when indeed the Minister was the one who instituted a defamatory case against me, turned around to twice request for an out-of-court settlement through his attorney, used leaders in Nigeria to reach out to me to accept an out of court settlement.
“In 2021, Sylva came to the U.S court and filed a lawsuit against me for defamation. The case started in February 2022. After discoveries were conducted by attorneys for both Sylva and me. Sylva appeared for deposition via zoom and was interrogated for closed to five hours in May. I was also deposed for about three hours. After the deposition, Sylva through his lawyers approached my lawyers for an out-of-court settlement”.
” The first request was denied. He came back again on July 22, 2022 and made another request. This time, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, whom I have tremendous respect for, has been reaching out to me on behalf of Sylva, requesting I accept to settle the matter out of court”
“After going through Sylva’s requests and adjustments made by my lawyers, I accepted the request in good faith and directed my attorneys to proceed with it” “Judge Hon. Joseph Leeson Jnr of the Eastern District court, thereafter, set up settlement conference hearing for August 11, 2022. And also set September 14 as the Jury trial date if we did not reach an agreement to settle. I attended the hearing as ordered by the Judge while Sylva pleaded with the Judge to allow him to appear via zoom”.
“At the Settlement hearing, we both went through the agreements. The Magistrate Judge, Hon. Pamela Carlos, supervised the process and both parties agreed and signed off the settlement agreement. No judgment was pronounced. Sylva was not pronounced winner as no trial in the case ever happened”
“In plain language, the suit did not proceed to trial or judgement stage. It was simply a settlement out of court which Sylva, not me, sought”.
“It is, therefore, a violation of the Judge’s order for Sylva to sponsor defamatory, malicious and disparaging publications against my person and that of Pointblanknews.com in other to whitewash himself. In due course, he would return to the U.S court to explain his actions”.
“The amateur attempt to hoodwink the public and spread lies are some of the instrument politicians have employed to deceive Nigerians. Again, Timipre Sylva never won any defamatory case. How can you be a winner in a case that never went to trial? Otherwise, Sylva should show to the public a judgement he obtained from the U.S Court declaring him winner. It is pure lies from the pit of hell” Ude sounded with a note of finality.
Lagos APC Scribe, Hon. Odesanya, Urges Lawyers to Participate In Electioneering Process
Court sacks Accord Party Exco, NWC
A High Court of Federal Capital Teritory, Maitama, on Monday has barred the National Chairman of the Accord Party, Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado, from further occupying any position in the party.
This was as the court also sacked all the National Executive Members and National Working Committees, who were said to have contested and spent more than two terms in office and so prevented from re-contesting for the same post/office or remain in the same office in acting capacity after the expiration of their term(s).
In a judgment delivered by Hon. Justice O. A. Adeniyi was consequent upon an Originating Summons brought against the National Executive and National Working Committee of the party by Innocent Igboekwe, Prince Joseph James and Jamilu Abass.
Represented by their Attorney, Chief Wakeel Olawale Liady of The Bridge Chambers, the three party members sought a declaration from the court to prevent the national officers of the party not to hold any office in their hierarchy of the party having been sworn-in twice as prescribed by the constitution of the party.
The plaintiff also asked the Court to declare that the tenure of office of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the party has expired on the 17th of January 2022 having been elected and sworn in on the 18th day of January, 2018.
The declaration stated inter alia: ‘Having regard to the clear and unambiguous provision of section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Articles 19 and 23 of the Constitution of the Accord Party,
‘By the reason of the expiration of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the ACCORD on the 17th day of January, 2022 there has been a vacuum in the administration and running of the 1st Defendant’s political party.
‘By the reason of the expiration of Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the ACCORD on the 17th day of January, 2022, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants and/or any member of their committee cannot function, act and perform as subsisting members of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee of the 1st Defendant as from 18th day of January, 2022.
‘The deliberate refusal, failure and negligence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to call and hold National Convention and meetings of the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee as required by the law is a gross violation of provisions of the 1st Defendant’s Constitution.
‘The deliberate refusal, failure and negligence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to call for the annual auditing of the finance of the ACCORD is an infraction of the provision of 28 (1) of the Constitution of ACCORD.
‘By virtue of provision of section 223 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the 2nd Defendant should oblige that the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to comply with the extant laws on tenure of office and finance of the ACCORD.’
Granting the plaintiff’s prayers, Justice Adeniyi therefore restrained the Accord Party and the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) from allowing the Naldo, Michael Lerama, and Barrister Maxwell Ngbudem alongside other executive and the NEC members, who had contested and held party office for two terms from further contesting and holding office after their second term.
The Court also granted an order in favour of the Plaintiff restraining Accord Party and INEC from according or continuing to accord any recognition to the r any other member of the party, who has served during Hon. Mohammad Lawal Nalado’s led National Executive Members and National Working Committee because their tenure of office had expired on the 17th day of January, 2022.
Justice Adeniyi also directed the Accord Party to hold its National Convention/State Congresses with a view to elect members of the National and State executive Committee with ninety (90) days from the date judgement is delivered in this suit.
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