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Appeal Court Frees Ondo Cleric Prophet Sotitobire

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Baby Gold and Prophet Babatunde Alfa
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There was jubilation at the premises of the Court of Appeal in Akure by members of Sotitobire Praising Chapel as the church’s founder, Prophet Babatunde Alfa was set freed two years after he was taken into custody.

Prophet Alfa and five other members of the church were arrested in 2019 over the mysterious disappearance of a 13-month-old boy, Gold Kolawole, from his church.

They were arraigned on two count charges of conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping.

Last year, Prophet Alfa and the five church workers were sentenced to seven years imprisonment on count one, which bothered on conspiracy to commit felony to with aiding and abetting kidnapping and life imprisonment on count two bothering on aiding and abetting kidnapping contrary to and punishable under the Section 5 of the Ondo State Anti-kidnapping and Anti-Abduction law 2010.

One of the accused persons, Peter Anjorin, was discharged and acquitted for lack of substantial evidence from the prosecution.

Anjorin was accused of destroying evidence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the criminal code law of Ondo State 2006.

But the appellate Judge, Justice Justice Hammah Barka, held that the circumstantial evidence the lower court based its judgement on was not enough to convict Prophet Sotitobire.

The appellate court also discharged and acquitted one of the church workers, Motunrayo Ogunjobi.

It said there was no iota of evidence against her.

Ondo Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Titiloye Charles, said the State Government would study the judgement before taking action.

He said: “The Court of Appeal has decided this matter. The court has affirmed that the DSS can as a matter of fact investigate any case.

“However, the Court of Appeal has stated that circumstantial evidence upon which was based upon by the lower court is not enough to sustain a conviction of the defendant and has discharged the defendant.

“Our attitude from the state is that we will study the judgment and take a proper step we are supposed to take.”

Counsel to the appellant, Gboyega Awomolo (SAN), who was represented by Akinyemi Omoware, said truth has prevailed over falsehood.

“The Prophet was convicted on conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping. The Court of Appeal has overturned that judgment.

“It was held that the appellant was not found culpable of the alleged offence. He is not guilty as pronounced upon by the trial court.

“One of the defendants who is Motunrayo Ogunjobi has equally been discharged. The court said there is no iota of evidence against her just like the Prophet, that they don’t know about the commission of the offence.

“The basis was that the prosecution has failed in its entirety to prove the element of the alleged offence. The implication of that is that they were convicted wrongly by the lower court. They have been justified by the Court of Appeal.”

Baby Gold went missing on November 10, 2019, after he was dropped at the church’s children’s department by his mother, Mrs. Modupe Kolawole.

The church of Prophet Alfa was razed down after his arrest when rumours filtered in that the corpse of the missing baby was exhumed from the church altar.

Baby Gold has never been found since 2019.

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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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Judiciary

Alleged Assault: CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar Fails In Bid To Stop Senate Probe

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Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar
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A Federal High Court in Abuja says the Nigerian Senate has the power to investigate Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar over the case of an alleged assault on a security guard at a shopping mall in Abuja.

Delivering Judgement on Tuesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said the CCT boss failed to display high moral public standards by his conduct and with the Code of Conduct Bureau being a product of an Act ratified by the National Assembly, it, therefore, has powers to investigate his conduct.

The court subsequently dismissed the suit by Mr Umar seeking to stop his investigation by the Senate Committee Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, for lacking in merit.

The CCT Chairman had challenged among other things, the powers of the Senate to investigate him in an alleged assault perpetrated against a security guard at Banex Plaza in Abuja.

He is also asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate, its members, and agents from conducting or continuing to conduct investigations into the allegations of assault leveled against him via a petition submitted to the Senate.

Specifically, the plaintiff wants the court to determine whether the alleged case of assault which took place at Banex plaza in Abuja on March 29, 2021, formed part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate, as it’s not subject to the provision of section 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution.

The victim, Clement Sargwak, had alleged that he was assaulted by the CCT Chairman and a policeman attached to him in March 2021 at the popular Banex plaza Abuja where he worked as a security guard.

According to Sargwak, the CCT boss assaulted him while undergoing his lawful activities after he informed him that his car was wrongly parked.

The victim, therefore, asked the Senate to ensure justice is done over his case.

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