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Court Orders Final Forfeiture Of Properties Linked To Okorocha

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Rochas Okorocha
Rochas Okorocha
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A State High Court in Owerri has ordered the final and absolute forfeiture of Royal Palm Springs Hotel and other properties said to belong to Senator Rochas Okorocha and other members of his family.

The forfeited properties are contained in pages 226 to 272 of the Imo state Government white paper report by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters.

According to the ruling by Justice Fred Njemanze, who was sitting as a vacation judge, Okorocha’s counsel failed to give concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the Imo state government.

Justice Njemanze added that the suit filed against Imo state Government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly filed.

He also described it as a surplusage, a term in lawn which means a useless statement completely irrelevant to a matter.

Justice Njemanze maintained that the white paper gazette by the Imo state Government is a legal binding document.

The judge concluded that there was no concrete reason before it why the forfeiture should not be made absolute and final, hence the Imo state Government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit to do with the properties.

As for persons who might have made purchase on such properties, Justice Njamanze said they are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles.

However, the properties as at today have been returned to the Imo state Government.

Justice Fred Njamanze had February 26 given an interim order of forfeiture on the properties urging Senator Rochas Okorocha to approach the court to show case as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given over the properties following an application brought by Mr  Louis Alozie, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of the state government.

This prompted Okorocha’s counsel to file a preliminary injunction to stop the final forfeiture citing forceful eviction and that the suit by the Imo state Government was not properly Instituted.

Some of the properties forfeited include:

1. Eastern Palm University, Ogboko
2. Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments
3. IBC staff quarters said to have been illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College
4. Owerri magistrate quarters, Orlu road/cooperative office/Girls Guide allegedly converted to private use housing market square and Kilimanjaro eatery
5. Public building situated at plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the ministry of women affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, allegedly acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s all-in Mall along Aba road.
6. Plot P5, Naze residential layout, initially part of primary school management board but now annexed to All-In Mall along Aba Road, belonging to Mrs Nkechi Okorocha
7. And all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the government white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration in Imo state from June 2006 to May 2019”.

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Judiciary

Senate Mandates Bamidele led Committee to wade into Faceoff between CJN and Justices of Supreme Court

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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Nigerian Senate on Wednesday waded into faceoff between the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed and Supreme Court Justices Mandating It’s Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters led by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele to Investigate the matter with the aim of resolving the issue.

It would be recalled In an unprecedented petition, 14 Justices of the apex court had jointly accused the Chief Justice of Nigeria of corruption, maladministration and incompetence.

The main issues put forward by the Justices in their letter through a welfare committee were; non-replacement of poor vehicles; accommodation problem; lack of drugs at the Supreme Court clinic; epileptic electricity supply to the Supreme Court; increase in electricity tariff; no increase in the allowances for diesel; lack of internet services to residences and chambers.

However, the Chief Justice of Nigeria Tanko
Mohammed had denied allegations raised against him by the 14 Supreme Court Justices.

As a resultof this development, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan said that lawmakers must be interested in what is happening in the Judiciary with view finding solution to the issue.

Lawan therefore asked the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters chaired by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele to wade to the issue and find out what is the real issue.

He said, ” We must have interest in what is happening in the Judicial Arm of government with a view of bringing solution to the issue .

” Our Standing Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters should get involve and find out what the real issue is so.that the National Assembly can help out.”

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Judiciary

Court Sentences Danish Man Peter Nielsen To Death For Killing Wife, Daughter

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A Lagos High Court Sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square of Lagos Island on Friday sentenced to death by hanging, a Danish man, Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his Nigerian wife Zainab and his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

The judgment which lasted about five hours was delivered by Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile.

The Lagos State Government had arraigned the defendant, Peter Nielsen, before the court on a two-count charge of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2015.

The state submitted that the defendant aged 53 allegedly killed his Nigerian musician wife, Zainab also known as Alizee and his daughter on April 5, 2018, at about 3.45 am at their Banana Island residence in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.

Nielsen was arraigned on June 13, 2018.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

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Judiciary

Supreme Court Joins Rivers In Buhari’s Suit Against Section 84 (12) Of Electoral Act

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The Supreme Court has granted Rivers State’s request to join in President Muhammadu Buhari’s suit against Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.

Hearing in the suit has been fixed for May 26.

The Supreme Court fixed the date after joining Rivers State as an interested party.

Justice Muhammad Dattijo adjourned the matter following the concession by Buhari’s lawyer Lateef Fagbemi that the speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly and Attorney General, Rivers State, be joined as parties.

Section 84 (12)

President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

In the suit filed on April 29, the President and AGF, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
They are seeking an order of the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, saying it is inconsistent with the nation’s Constitution.

According to the court document, the plaintiffs contend that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well as Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.

President Buhari and Malami also contended that the Constitution already provides qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners, and Special Advisers.

They urged the court to make: “A declaration that the joint and combined reading of Sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended); the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.”

In the same vein, the National Assembly has asked the Supreme Court to strike out the suit instituted by President Buhari.

The National Assembly, in its counter-affidavit, filed by its lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, said the Supreme Court cannot be invoked to amend the provision of any law validity made by lawmakers in the exercise of their legislative powers as granted by the Constitution.

They argued that the 1999 Constitution, as amended gave the National Assembly the power to make laws for good governance in Nigeria.

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