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Court quashes FG’s white paper on indicted politicians

Posted by By KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2007/03/20 | Views: 845 |

Court quashes FG’s white paper on indicted politicians

The Federal High Court in Kaduna has quashed the Federal Government’s white paper on the administrative panel of inquiry on alleged corrupt practices by some public officers and other persons.

The Federal High Court in Kaduna has quashed the Federal Government’s white paper on the administrative panel of inquiry on alleged corrupt practices by some public officers and other persons.

The court also declared the invitation of those allegedly indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the administrative panel of inquiry headed by Professor Ignatius Ayua through a newspaper as a nullity.

Delivering judgment in three separate cases instituted against the Federal Government, the EFCC, chairman of the administrative panel of inquiry, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and President Olusegun Obasanjo, Justice Abdullahi Liman also declared that Obasanjo acted in excess of his powers by enthroning the administrative panel of inquiry to look into cases concerning state public officers.

Liman also held that the 48 hours notice given to those allegedly indicted by the EFCC to defend themselves at the administrative panel of inquiry was unconscionable because it did not take into account the circumstances and state of the affected persons.

The Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and Senator Usman Al-Bishir, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship candidate in Yobe State, asked the court to quash the white paper, which upheld their indictment by the EFCC.

The court quashed the white paper, which indicted the presidential candidate of the PPA and governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and ordered INEC to recognize Senator Usman Al-Bishir as the ANPP candidate in the 2007 governorship poll.

It also set aside the indictment of Mr. Tom Zakari, a House of Representatives candidate from Kogi State by the administrative panel of inquiry and the entire proceedings and reports of the Peoples Democratic Party.

In the three judgments, which took about five hours to deliver, Justice Liman held that the administrative panel did not give the applicants fair hearing.
In the case of the PPA against Obasanjo, chairman of the administrative panel and two others, over the indictment of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, C. C. Elechi, Obasi Agu and T. A. Orji by the white paper, Justice Liman held that the time set aside for hearing those indicted was insufficient.

"From the above, I’m satisfied that the administrative panel did not give the candidates fair hearing. It denied them the opportunity to defend themselves of whatever allegations leveled against them.

"The particulars of this indictment consists of and did not disclose any specific allegations which would have enabled the persons involved the opportunity to adequately prepare for their defence.
"The time limit is another impediment. The period of 48 hours as the maximum time limit within which the persons were required, which did not take into account the state and circumstances of the affected persons, is to say the least very unconscionable.

"And thirdly, the action of the Presidency that the publication would come to the notice of the affected persons has a negative impact on the integrity of the service on the persons. The cumulative effects of this therefore, renders the entire process a nullity.

"The proceedings of the administrative panel, its findings, its recommendations indicting Orji Uzor Kalu, the PPA presidential candidate; the PPA governorship candidate in Abia State, T.A Orji; C.C Elechi, Abia State House of Assembly candidate and Mr. Obasi Agu, another PPA Abia House of Assembly candidate, and the white paper on them are hereby brought into this court and are hereby quashed," Liman ordered.

He said that Obasanjo arrogated to himself limitless powers, which he did not have and that the setting up of an administrative panel to look into cases outside those allotted to the Federal Government in the constitution makes the panel unconstitutional.
"The president believes his powers are amorphous and limitless. However, the constitution is clear on the areas the president can preside over," Justice Liman held.

On the application brought by Zakari for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights to fair hearing, the judge similarly ordered: "Accordingly, on the whole process, I hereby order that the proceedings, recommendations of the administrative panel set up by the Federal Government and the white paper therefrom are hereby brought to this court for the purpose of being quashed and accordingly quashed."
Liman further ruled that the ANPP and INEC erred in substituting Al-Bashir’s name as the governorship candidate for Yobe State and therefore set aside the entire process.

"I am satisfied that the second defendant did not give any reason at all for substituting the name of the plaintiff with that of the third defendant, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidan. And having failed to furnish such reason, which must be cogent and verifiable, exhibit C wrongfully falls short of the requirements of the Electoral Act. It is therefore, invalid, null and void, of no effect and is hereby set aside. In the circumstances of this case therefore, all the questions formulated by the plaintiff are hereby answered in the positive and the reliefs are hereby granted," Liman held.

Commenting on the judgment, the Assistant Secretary of the Central Working Committee of the Al-Bashir Campaign Organization, said that the next step was for the ANPP candidate to approach the party and INEC to effect the order of the court.

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Comments (9)

Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...