El-Zakzaky, Saraki, Nnamdi Kanu, other high profile cases before Nigerian courts in 2017

Senate President Bukola Saraki CCB Trail
Senate President Bukola Saraki CCB Trail

As Nigerians await full resumption of Nigerian courts on January 9, a number of cases top the wish list. These cases, because of the personalities involved, previous judgements given, and controversies trailing them can be considered the most high profile cases.

IBRAHIM EL-ZAKZAKY

The Federal High Court is expected to decide on a course of action against Nigeria’s government, should it fail to comply with the court’s order for the release of the leader of the Shiite Islamic Movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The Abuja division of the court on December 2, 2016 ordered that the government should within 45 days set free Mr. El-Zakzaky and members of his family being held by the authorities since the bloody clash of members of the Islamic sect with the Nigerian Army in December 2015.

The order by Justice Gabriel Kolawole was sequel to an application filed by the detainee for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

The judge, while delivering judgement on the matter, said government should release the applicant and his family members to the police, who shall within 24 hours escort them to a safe place.

Mr. Kolawole said failure to comply with the order would attract a fresh course of action by the court against the respondents.

Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

He further ruled that the respondents; the State Security Service, Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation, should pay a fine of N25 million to each of Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife.

Mr. El-Zakzaky was arrested by the military on December 14, 2015, after a clash between the movement and officers of the Nigerian Army. The army killed at least 347 members of the group.

His supporters had held several protests in parts of the country, especially in the Federal Capital Territory, for his release before the court ruling in December.

Secretary of the IMN’s Academic Forum, Abdullahi Musa, said the group had suspended all protests for Mr. El-Zakzaky’s release till the expiration of the deadline of the court order.

The 45 days deadline will elapse on January 15.

NNAMDI KANU

Another topical matter before the same court is the expected decision of Justice Binta Nyako in the case involving a leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The trial of Mr. Kanu and three of his colleagues, David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Chidiebere Onwudiwe, in the court on charges of treasonable felony was forced to end without proper adjournment on December 13.

A rowdy session precipitated by the defendants had prompted the court clerk to announce an abrupt adjournment, after Mrs. Binta ordered a 10 minutes recess during session that day.

The disorder began after the court granted an application for partial screening from public view of prosecution witnesses as a measure of their protection.
The defendants had been re-arraigned before Mrs. Nyako’s court after the first defendant, Mr. Kanu, said he had no confidence in the former judge, John Tsoho.

Delivering the ruling that drew the defendants’ fury, Mrs. Nyako said the court would allow the witnesses some degree of protection.

“The counsels and the defendants will see the witnesses. The witnesses will have special entrances to and outside the court,” the judge had ruled.

Kanu in court
Nnamdi Kanu in Court

Mrs. Nyako also said the court would allow the witnesses to be shielded with screen-guards. She said the court would set aside two days for rehearsals on how the witnesses will come into the court and depart from the court.

After the ruling, Mr. Kanu said he would not submit himself to “a secret trial”.

After a brief recess, Mr. Kanu began to speak again.

“I will address this court! You cannot be killing my people and tell me that you will make me have a secret trial. That won’t happen! The president can intimidate the judges, but he cannot do that to me. Tell him he has lied,” said Mr. Kanu.

After the other defendants joined in the bedlam, the court clerk then announced that the session was over and that the matter would not continue again on that day.

Outside the courtroom, the IPOB supporters clashed with the security operatives while the latter tried to return Mr. Kanu and the other defendants to the vehicle that brought them.

Three days later, former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, met with Mr. Kanu in detention. The former governor said it was to explore possibilities for an out of court settlement on the matter.

Mr. Kanu’s trial began after he was arrested by operatives of the SSS in October 2015.

The case has moved from a magistrate court in Abuja to three separate courtrooms within the FHC since it started.

Justices Ngwuta, Ademola and Ofili-Ajumogobia

Hearing will continue this year in suits arising from the unprecedented arrest on October 7, 2016 of six senior judges, after midnight raids on their homes by operatives of the SSS.

The operation was carried out simultaneously in Abuja, Sokoto, Port Harcourt, Kano, Enugu and Gombe.

Those arrested include Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro of the Supreme Court and Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court Abuja.

Others are Justices Muazu Pindiga of Gombe State; Kabiru Auta of Kano State, Innocent Umezulike, of Enugu State and Mohammed Tsamiya, an appeal court judge in Ilorin, Kwara State.

ofili-ajumogobia
Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia

Six days after the arrest, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said it had commenced a separate investigation of eight other judges who may also be charged for fraud.

Two of the arrested judges, Messrs. Ngwuta and Ademola, have since been charged by the Federal Government for alleged fraud.

The trial of Mr. Ngwuta which began on November 21, 2016 is expected to continue on January 18.

Mr. Ademola’s trial which began on December, 13, 2016 is also expected to continue onJanuary 18.

In Lagos, the trial of another Federal High Court judge, Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia, who was arraigned by the EFCC, is expected to continue on January 9.

Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia and a senior advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, are facing a 30-count charge of fraud. They were arraigned on November 28, 2016.

BUKOLA SARAKI

Another topical matter to continue in 2017 is the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki which began in September, 2015.

Mr. Saraki’s trial, on a 16-count charge, for alleged false and anticipatory declaration of asset, featured the protracted cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Michael Wetkas, by the defendant’s lawyers.

Mr. Wetkas, whose cross examination began on April 18, appeared at the Code of Conduct Tribunal 14 times before the end of his cross-examination seven months later in November, 2016.

The trial is expected to continue on January 11.

SAMBO DASUKI

Another matter likely to make the news from cases involving politically-exposed persons is the trial of former National security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Mr. Dasuki, who has been facing multiple trials in relation to an alleged abuse of office while he was NSA, had been granted bail by several courts, but the orders were ignored by the Nigerian government.

FILE PHOTO: Former NSA Sambo Dasuki and others arraigned over misappropriation at the FCT High Court in Abuja
FILE PHOTO: Former NSA Sambo Dasuki and others arraigned over misappropriation at the FCT High Court in Abuja

After it did not respect the bail orders of three Nigerian courts, the Nigerian government said it was not obliged to obey a court order by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Court delivered on October, 4 2016.

The court had ruled that the Federal Government should pay a sum of N15 million as damages to Mr. Dasuki.

It further decided that the cost of litigation will be summed up and charged against the Nigerian government.

Two separate cases, involving Mr. Dasuki, at the federal Capital Territory High Court, under the same judge, Hussien Baba-Yusuf, are expected to continue on January 24.

Another matter, concerning Mr. Dasuki and bordering on illegal possession of firearms at the Federal High Court, in Abuja has been suspended, after the presiding judge, Adeniyi Ademola, withdrew from the matter on October 18.

Mr. Ademola’s decision to withdraw from the matter was based on an allegation that his arrest by the SSS on October 7, 2016 was in connection with a previous decision he had made on Mr. Dasuki’s trial.

OLISAH METUH

PIC. 21. OILSA METUH AT FEDERAL HIGH COURT IN ABUJA
Olisa Metuh

The trial of former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, which began in January 2016 is expected to be determined this year.

The trial was among the first set of cases to reach defence stage, among the list of cases begun by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Mr. Metuh is facing a seven-count charge for alleged diversion of N400 million, part of $2.1 billion allegedly diverted from the office of Mr. Dasuki as NSA.

The trial is expected to continue on January 10.


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  • Kontri Watchers

    Premium Times Editor,

    Muhamadu BUHARI could be the problem with Nigeria

    The Fulani are not the only ones
    Buhari gives a license to kill. The Chief Executive of Sterling Bank, Yemi
    Adeola, sits pretty in the office today with the immunity of a Muslim, despite
    having been found to be a criminal accomplice to Mrs. Dizeani Madueke in
    stealing 153 million dollars from NNPC and hiding it from bank books under an
    elaborate criminal scheme. With such financial crimes beatified with his Islamist
    verses, Muhamadu Buhari becomes a problem with Nigeria, an immoral hurdle to
    national reform.

    Anyone saying Buhari has brazenly failed
    to uphold the laws of Nigeria, as far as his murderous Fulani kinsmen are
    concerned, is minimizing a bigger problem of a personal mind-set racked by
    ignorance and bigotry. Bukola Saraki has but utter contempt in the dock where
    he stands accused of innumerable crimes because he senses that Buhari
    himself is not honest to have a standing to prosecute him for corrupt acts.

    Let’s be clear. Muhamadu Buhari is closer to
    a rogue than to a man of integrity because Buhari is too mentally corrupt
    to resolve any serious case. He has no moral compass for deciding right from wrong.
    This is not just about personal decisions on false credential claims, but about his corrupt
    twist of public laws for the benefit of kinsmen, northerners and Muslims.

  • John

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  • ANONYMOUS because of Police

    ….So, just because Buhari is immoral and corrupt…..means he cannot be a good president?
    ………Who else can catch corruption more than the real Capone of corruption himself?……..
    ……… ..I no know book O. I just dey ask question. I beg make I run before Police catch me!…..

    • Dan Blocker

      “In the President, in whom much hope was invested and misery was reaped, the man died.
      In the President, who made promises of alleviating poverty during campaign but rather
      exacerbates the level of hunger in the land, the man died.

      In the President who promised to declare his assets but goes to odious lengths to explain why he
      could not do it any longer, the man died. In the President who promised to reduce the cost of petrol
      but ended up increasing it astronomically, the man died. In the President who promised to increase the
      value of our Naira but rather devalued it beyond recognition, the man died”.

      ………………..Remi Oyeyemi

      (January 3rd, 2017)

  • Dazmillion

    When the atorney general dropped the forgery case against Saraki/Ekweremadu any right thinking Nigerian should have known it is only a matter of time before Saraki will be set free from his case at CCT.

    • Epo Motto

      Look, @Dazmillion:disqus , let’s call a spade a spade,
      President Buhari cannot fight corruption. That is the whole truth.
      Buhari is part and parcel of the problem.

      Corruption has been growing under Buhari’s government with 300
      million Naira taken to cut grass with cutlass. Buhari himself put one [1]
      billion Naira in cash into the pocket of Brigadier Buba Marwa in July 2015.
      What else do you want me to say?

      • Alkaliimaam

        The corruption case BUHARI sweeps under carpet: CENTRAL BANK audit result

        • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
        • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spending.
        • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police guards
        in one year.
        • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
        for charter service.
        • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
        • ₦1.97billion was taken out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
        expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
        • ₦20billion was entered as paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons
        unknown.
        • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido and written off as expense ostensibly to promote
        Central Bank image.

  • Kwenu

    EDITOR SIR,

    What exactly is wrong with BIAFRA?

    What is wrong with having BIAFRA? How does Biafra concern Muhamadu Buhari and his cows in
    Daura, Katsina state, if Buhari himself said that Sharia amputation does not concern Christians,
    who therefore must not complain? Buhari wants to punish KANU who is only saying that BIAFRA
    is an alternative to a useless Nigeria. Does Buhari want to force KANU to like useless Nigeria,
    without electricity since the year 2017 started? What sort of animal sense is this one now?

  • Lola S. Agunbiade

    YES, PRESIDENT BUHARI HAS NOT DONE WELL. HE HAS BEEN A FAILURE SO FAR.

    BUT LET US GIVE BUHARI JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME FOR THREE MORE MONTHS.

    AFTER THAT THE ANGRY PEOPLE OF NIGERIA CAN TROOP OUT TO DO AND UNDO.

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  • Otile

    Why is Julius playing dead? He is supposed to bott in to speak for his god Imam Buhari. Above all Julius is expected to abuse his enemy Kanu mainly because he hates Kanu’s ethnicity with passion.