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A former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Tuesday resumed for plenary at the upper wing of the National Assembly after he was released from Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja.

Naijaparry.com.ng recall that Kalu was jailed in December 2019 over allegation of misappropriation of Abia State’s funds to the tune of N7.6bn during his tenure from 1999 to 2007.

The Chief Whip of the Senate arrived the National Assembly complex at exactly 9:00amand exchanged pleasantries with his colleagues.

Speaking with journalists, Kalu said he was back to work and ready to serve his people.

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the release of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, from prison.

Kalu was jailed for 12 years on December 5, 2019, after he was convicted of N7.1bn fraud alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and a former Director of Finance at the Abia State Government House, Jones Udeogu.

However, the Supreme Court, in a May 8, 2020 judgment, nullified the trial and conviction of Kalu and others on the grounds that the judge who handled the case lacked jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court’s judgment followed an appeal by Udeogu, contending that the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, concluded the 12-year-old trial and gave judgment after he had been elevated to the Court of Appeal and ceased to be a judge of the Federal High Court.

On Tuesday, Kalu’s counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged Justice Mohammed Liman to the release of the ex-governor from prison custody, based on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Udeogu’s appeal.

“Our application is brought pursuant to Section 159 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

“This is a fallout of the Supreme Court decision delivered on the 8th of May,” Fagbemi said.

In response, the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the anti-graft agency would not, in principle, oppose Fagbemi’s application for Kalu’s release from prison.

“But we are also urging the court that the order made by the Supreme Court for trial de novo should be complied with by all parties; so that Your Lordship will give us a date when arraignment will be done.

“We want the trial to go on; losing more time will be dangerous for us,” Jacobs added.

The Nigerian government has warned vendors of face mask and sanitizers of risking jail term if they increase prices of the products.

Since Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus, it has been reported that the prices of face mask and sanitizers which are preventive measures have gone up.

This practice has now been warned against by Babatunde Iruekera who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

A statement issued read: “Any conspiracy, combination, agreement or arrangement to unduly limit or manipulate supply, in order to unreasonably enhance price or otherwise restrain competition is a criminal offence under S.108(1)(b) and (c), FCCPA.

“Any exercise or exploitation of undue pressure in selling or the sale of goods or services, or price manipulation between displayed, and selling price are also serious violations of the FCCPA under Sections 115(3) and 124(1).

“Taking advantage of the possibility of infection by a dangerous communicable disease to control supply, or unilaterally increase prices is predatory as it preys on the desperation of citizens.

“Considering the circumstances and the vital national interest/security this illegal conduct undermines, the Commission intends to strongly enforce the full letter of the law, including the fullest extent of penalties associated with this conduct.”

About twenty-four hours after Naijaparry reported that the Federal High Court, sitting in Calabar, has granted bail to the detained Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, the reporter has been released today from the Calabar prison after meeting bail terms.

It could be recalled that Agba Jalingo who is the publisher with
CrossRiverWatch was arrested on August 22, 2019, over a report alleging that the Governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state.

However, the Cross River State Governor, Benedict Bengioushuye Ayade, had earlier denied that he knows about the ordeal faced by the publisher.

Naijaparry understands that bail terms given by Justice Sule Shuaibu of the Federal High Court, Calabar, on Thursday for Agba Jalingo include, N10 million, a refundable deposit of N700,000 to court registry by sureties.

In another news, Naijaparry reported that members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has taken to the street to lament bitterly on
Supreme Court verdict which sacked governor-elect, David Lyon.

A part of law included in the bill of the embattled South-West Security outfit, nicknamed ‘Operation Amotekun’, has been leaked out on Wednesday.

Naijaparry recalls that Governor
Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has disclosed on Monday that law giving legal backing to the establishment of Amotekun will be made public on Friday, February 4.

Fayemi had noted that the law on Amotekun is part of the agreements reached by the state governors and the federal government over the setting up of the Amotekun outfit.

However, in a report given on Wednesday, it was revealed that one of the laws contained in the ‘Operation Amotekun’ bill includes a payment of fine amounting to N250,000 or a month’s prison term or even both for anyone who assaults an officer of the security outfit.

It further reveals that an official of the security outfit can also not be sued for any action taking while carrying out his duty, but will only be queried base on what he does in his personal interest outside the operation.

Naijaparry understands that the law was included into the Ekiti State Security Network Agency Bill 2020, now passed to the desk of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, other state governours in the South-West have reportedly submitted the same bills to their respective houses of assembly as regards the ‘Operation Amotekun’ .

Part of the bill reads;

“Any person who willfully hinders, delays, obstructs or assaults a member of the Ekiti State Amotekun Corps in the course of the exercise of his lawful duties under this law shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one month or to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand naira only (N250,000.00) or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

An Ota Magistrates’ Court in Ogun on Tuesday sentenced a teenager, Isaac Johnson, to three months imprisonment for stealing distilled alcoholic drink worth N17,200.

Magistrate Sam Obaleye, sentenced Johnson, after he pleaded guilty to stealing, burglary and conspiracytheft and begged the court for leniency.

Obaleye gave the convict an option to pay N20,000 as fine.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Cpl. Titi Olatoye, told the court that the accused and others at large committed the offence on Feb15,2019 at about 9 p.m. at Chelsea Area, Ota, Ogun.

She said that the convict and his accomplices broke into a shop, belonging to the complainant, Eric Success and to stoke steal the alcoholic beverage worth N17,200.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 390(9) 416 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun,2006.

NAN

A 30-year-old man, Chigozie Mathew, has been remanded in prison custody in Benin, Edo State, for raping a 17-year-old girl.

Prosecutor, Ifidon Daniel, told the court that the accused person committed the offense on January 6 at Okey Golden Hotel, Upper Sakponba Road, Benin city.

The accused however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

Magistrate Adamaigbo Dorothy, who rejected the oral application for bail made for the accused, adjourned the case until March 25 for hearing.

Justice Jude Okeke of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, sentenced the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Olusegun Runsewe , to prison.

Runsewe made headlines a few months ago after he described Bobrisky as a national disgrace who needs to be ruthlessly dealt with urgently by the government.

The DG of NCAC said if Bobrisky’s activities were not promptly curtailed, the resultant effect would be worse than Ebola – the deadly virus that killed thousands in West Africa a few years ago.

In a ruling on Thursday, January 9, 2020, Justice Okeke sent Runsewe to prison for contempt of the order of court made on December 15, 2017.

In 2017, an FCT high court had restrained the NCAC from demolishing and evicting traders from the Abuja Arts and Crafts Village.

Despite the order, the village was closed by the police, who said they would only reopen on the orders of the NCAC director-general.

The villagers had alleged that the police arrested those who were guarding the market after the December 11, 2017, fire incident that razed down 35 shops and destroyed multimillion naira goods.

The traders then filed a suit seeking an order of the court committing Runsewe to prison for contempt of court.

Delivering the judgement, Okeke described Runsewe’s action as highly “contemptuous”.

The judge ordered him to remain in prison “until he purges himself contempt”.

He said the court sentence will serve as a lesson to other people in positions of power to abstain from disobeying court orders.

The judge ordered the inspector general of police (IGP) to arrest the NCAC boss with immediate effect and hand him over to the prisons, while he make amends.

The Nigerian Senate said it will not be declaring vacant the seat of the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu , who was convicted by the Federal High Court Lagos.

Despite not be performing any legislative function from prison, the convicted senator will continue to receive his salaries and all other entitlements while in prison.

Naijaparry had reported that the Federal High Court in Lagos, sentenced Orji Uzor Kalu to a maximum of 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud.

In a statement on Sunday, spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said Kalu’s seat will not be vacant until he exhasuts all legal options, adding that the convicted senator will be paid all of his entitlements in full.

“He (Orji Uzor Kalu) is still a senator. This is the first court. The matter is going to Supreme Court so, he still has the opportunity to appeal up to the Supreme Court level.

“Of course they will pay him. Because he is a sitting senator just like I said…if you file for appeal, you are still serving and so they will pay you.

“All his entitlements will be paid. There is no cause for alarm. In fact, even if Court of Appeal says they have upheld the judgement of the lower court, he still has the right to go to Supreme Court. So once the Supreme Court says, yes, the judgement is okay, then that’s the final,” he explained.

Akwashiki further stated that no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant.

“The Senate has no reason to declare his seat vacant. This is not the first time that such a thing would happen. There is no provision in the constitution that says the seat of any senator facing prosecution or convicted at a lower court should be declared vacant. He still has the opportunity to appeal the case.

“Even the tenure of a former governor Joshua Dariye, who has been in prison for some time now, ran its course until the end of the 8th National Assembly. Nobody declared his seat vacant. The Senate President cannot declare the seat of Kalu vacant. It is against the law.

“Tell those who are canvassing such things that there is nothing like that, it is a non-issue” he said.

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A Nigerian man identified as Akpoghene Edeno, who allegedly spent 12 years in jail for a crime he did not commit, has just become a lawyer, 7 years after he was allegedly released from prison.

According to Facebook user, Charles Mallam-Obi, Edeno was locked up in a prison for 12 years for a murder he did not commit.

This, however, did not stop him from pursuing his dreams as he wrote WAEC in prison, and proceeded to the University of Benin (UNIBEN) to study law after he was released from the prison.

7 years after his ordeal, he was among the thousands of other lawyers called to the Nigerian Bar on Tuesday in Abuja.

“Akpoghene Edeno is my childhood friend who spent twelve years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He wrote WAEC while still in prison. He came out in 2012 and immediately proceeded to the University of Benin to study law. Today, he has been called to the Nigeria bar.

“His story is a testament to how indomitable the determined human spirit is. He could have been bitter at the society for the injustice he suffered for an offense he didn’t commit. He could have been depressed. But he chose to show up and face the challenges of life.
“Congratulations, my brother. The sky isn’t even your starting floor!”