Breaking News: Nigerian court orders INEC to publish audited election expenditure for political parties.

Breaking News: Nigerian court orders INEC to publish audited election expenditure for political parties.

A Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State capital, on Thursday, granted an Order of Mandamus compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the 2021 and 2022 Audited Financial Statements.

The court also granted an Order of Mandamus to publish the Audited 2023 election-related incomes and expenses of all the registered political parties in Nigeria.

The presiding judge, Hon. Justice T.B. Adegoke gave the order while delivering judgment in Suit FHC//AK/CS/72/2023 – Femi Emmanuel Emodamori v. INEC.

In the judgment, the Court also directed INEC to provide the Applicant (Mr. Femi Emmanuel emodamori), a certified true copy of the audited financial statements for 2021 and 2022, and separate Audited financial statements for the election-related revenue and expenditure of all registered political parties of Nigeria for the financial year 2023 within 14 days of the judgement date.

Justice Adegoke held that the decision was in line with Section 225(1)-(2) and Paragraph 15(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Section 89 (3), (4), (5) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Section 1(3) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

In September 2023, a legal counselor, Emodamori, had sued the INEC for its refusal to comply with the 14-day final proposal issued to distribute the 2021 and 2022 Examined Yearly Monetary Explanations as well as the Examined 2023 Race Costs of all the political parties. 

Emodamori said on August 24, 2023, he gave the electoral umpire 14 days to publish and avail him the certified true copies of the 2021 and 2022 Audited Annual Financial Statements as well as the Audited 2023 Election Expenses of all the political parties in Nigeria, in line with Section 225(1)-(2) and Paragraph 15(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, Section 89 (3)-(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 but that it failed to do so.

He explained that the suit he instituted through a team of seven lawyers, led by A. Olu Ogidan, was seeking an Order of Mandamus to compel INEC to perform its statutory duties.

Emodamori said, “Following the failure of INEC to comply with the 14-day ultimatum I gave  her on 24th August, 2023 to publish and avail me the certified true copies of the 2021 and 2022 Audited Annual Financial Statements as well as the Audited 2023 Election Expenses of all the political parties in Nigeria, in line with Section 225(1)-(2) and Paragraph 15(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, Section 89 (3)-(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, I have instituted a Suit at the Federal High Court against INEC, praying for an Order of Mandamus to compel her to perform her statutory duties in that regard.

“I instituted the Suit through a team of seven lawyers, led by A. Olu Ogidan. We cannot sincerely talk about fighting corruption, until we first beam our searchlights on how political parties and elections are funded in Nigerian, and the reciprocal patronage, access to national treasury or ‘dividends’ granted or paid to such political ‘investors’, usually at the expense of our collective national interests.

“INEC can also not claim to be above board, when it lacks the courage to investigate and publish the accounts of such parties for public information as expressly required under our laws.”

 

EU court rules gender-based violence ground for asylum

EU court rules gender-based violence ground for asylum

The European Court of Justice has ruled that women, as a whole, can be regarded as belonging to a social group and thus entitled to asylum if subjected to domestic or sexual violence. NGOs have welcomed the decision.

The Luxemburg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that women who suffer or are at risk of “physical or mental violence, including sexual violence and domestic violence” on account of their gender in their country of origin could apply for protection and be granted refugee status.

The original case in the ECJ concerned a Turkish Muslim national of Kurdish origin. She claimed that her family had forced her into marriage, and she had been threatened and beaten by her husband, from whom she is now divorced.

She escaped to Bulgaria after leaving him and said that her life would be at risk if she returned to Turkey. That is why she applied for international protection in Bulgaria, which turned to the ECJ for a ruling on what is essentially a case concerning a potential so-called “honor killing.”

 

‘Women are a social group’

The ECJ stated on Tuesday that refugee status was “to be granted in cases where a third-country national is persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership a particular social group.”

It then ruled that “women, as a whole, may be regarded as belonging to a social group,” and that refugee status could be granted if certain conditions applied. “This will be the case where, in their country of origin, they are exposed, on account of their gender, to physical or mental violence, including sexual violence and domestic violence.”

The court added that if the conditions for granting refugee status were not satisfied, women “may qualify for subsidiary protection status, in particular where they run a real risk of being killed or subjected to violence,” all the more so if there was a risk of this being “inflicted by a member of their family or community due to the alleged transgression of cultural, religious or traditional norms.”

 

‘Important ruling for protection of women from domestic and sexual violence’

Terry Reintke, a German MEP and co-president of the Greens group in the European Parliament, told DW that it was a “very important ruling for the protection of women from domestic and sexual violence.” She said it made clear that the EU also had to protect women without EU passports from domestic violence in their countries of origin.

Polish MEP Robert Biedron, who chairs the women’s rights and gender equality committee in the European Parliament, said it was an “important step towards promoting an inclusive and compassionate approach to asylum policy.”

Germany’s largest pro-immigration advocacy group, Pro Asyl, and the German non-profit organization Terre des Femmes also welcomed the ruling. Karl Kopp, the head of Pro Asyl’s European department, said it would strengthen women’s legal position. Stephanie Walter from Terre des Femmes said it would improve the chances of women who are victims of domestic violence.

But Walter said she doubted that the ruling would make a major difference to German practice. She told DW that many cases in German courts had already been decided according to the standards set out by the ECJ ruling and pointed out that the “crux of the matter” lay elsewhere. She said that for women to be able to apply for asylum and make their case, a specific framework was needed, such as safe accommodation and access to specialist consultation centers.

She explained that women were often unaware when first asked to give their reasons for escaping their home country by authorities that genital mutilation, forced marriage and domestic violence were considered to be acceptable grounds.

 

Significance of the Istanbul Convention

Kopp said it was important to see how the ruling was implemented in the different member states of the EU but that, fundamentally, its effect would be positive.

He said if it were properly implemented, it could be assumed more women would receive protection in the future and that the “achievements of the Istanbul Convention” would once again be “fully reflected in the asylum procedure.”

The European treaty, which the EU ratified in June 2023, aims to prevent violence and protect victims and binds its signatories to a series of measures to this effect.

Though all EU states have signed it, it has yet to be ratified by Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia.

EU parliamentarian Reintke said that, in her view, the ECJ ruling was only made possible by the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention, which was mentioned explicitly by the court. She called on those EU member states that had not yet ratified the convention to do so.

Polish MEP Biedron said the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention was “a symbol of the EU’s willingness to eliminate violence against women.”

 

CREDIT: DW.com

Court Nullifies Kebbi Law On Judges’ Retirement Benefits

Court Nullifies Kebbi Law On Judges’ Retirement Benefits

The Presiding Judge, Sokoto Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice Rakiya Haastrup has nullified Section 4 of the Kebbi State Political and Public Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Law 2010 for being inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended).

The Court declared that the Kebbi State Government ought to rely on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) in the calculation of the retirement benefits of Justice M. S. Ambrusa (RTD) and not Section 4 of the Kebbi State Law No.25 of 2010 as applied by the State Government.

Justice Haastrup granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Kebbi State Government whether by itself, Officers from further relying on the provision of Section 4 of the Kebbi State Law No.25 of 2010 Political and Public Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Law in the calculation of the remuneration of Judicial Officers already provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended).

From facts, the claimant- Justice M. S. Ambrusa (RTD), a retired Chief Judge of the Kebbi State High Court had sought a declaration that the Kebbi State Government ought to rely on Sections 84 (1), (2), (7) and Section 291 (1), (2), (3a and b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) in the calculation of the retirement benefits of the Claimant and not Section 4 of the Kebbi State Law No.25 of 2010 as applied by the Defendant.

The retired Chief Judge argued that where the National Assembly has made provision, particularly for the remuneration of Judicial Officers, that a State House of Assembly cannot make any law which is inconsistent with the former.

Counsel to the retired Chief Judge, Munirat Yahaya Esq posited that Kebbi State Government law in calculating the benefits of retiring judicial officers runs contrary to the provisions of sections 84 and 291 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) and should be set aside as the Constitution being the grund norm supersedes any other law in force.

In defense, the defendant- Kebbi State Government submitted that the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) recognizes the power of a State House of Assembly to make laws for the payment of retirement benefits to Judicial Officers and that the use of the word ‘or’ is disjunctive and separates two situations. Also, the payment of retirement benefits could be by an Act of the National Assembly or by a Law of a State House of Assembly since in his opinion, it is not a matter contained in the exclusive legislative list.

In reply, the counsel to the retired Chief Judge, Munirat Yahaya Esq further argued that where the National Assembly by an Act or the Constitution has already made provisions on the subject matter, then a State House of Assembly cannot make any law to alter or is at variance with such earlier statute, that the argument of the Kebbi State Government being the one paying the said retirement benefit is inconsequential since the Constitution is binding on all and has already made provisions on the said subject matter, urged the Court to grant the reliefs sought.

In a well-considered judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Rakiya Haastrup held that where a matter contained in the concurrent legislative list has been legislated upon by the National Assembly, then a State House of Assembly cannot pass legislation in that regard as the Act of the National Assembly is said to have ‘covered the field’ in that regard.

Justice Haastrup held that since there is an Act of the National Assembly I.e. Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008 in force, the Kebbi State Government through its State House of Assembly, cannot come under the provisions of sections 4 (6) and 100 of the Constitution to legislate on the subject matter before this Court.

“This is in addition to the fact that section 4 of the Kebbi State Political and Public Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Law No. 25 of 2010 have figures or amounts stipulated therein that are inconsistent with what has been provided in the Federal enactment and by the provision of section 4 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).”

The Court awarded the sum of N100k in favour of the retired Chief Judge.

 

CREDIT: TheNigeriaLawyer

NMA backs IG’s directive on treating gunshot victims

NMA backs IG’s directive on treating gunshot victims

The Nigerian Medical Association said it would adhere to the directive of the acting Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, to treat gunshot victims without asking for police report.

The NMA said prior to the directive, medical doctors in the country had always attended to emergency cases without demanding a police report.

Egbetokun had issued the directive while urging health workers to sensitise Nigerians about the issue.

The IGP’s directive, based on the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017, was contained in a Police internal memo dated October 25, 2023, and signed by the Force Principal Staff Officer, Olatunji Disu.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MEMO

The memo was addressed to all Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, Commissioners of Police and the Commandants of Police Colleges in Ikeja, Kaduna, Oji-River, Maiduguri and Enugu.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, the President of the NMA, Dr Uche Ojinmah said, “Prior to now, it has been that if it is an emergency, you treat the emergency if there is no report and then you report the case to the Police.

“I pray the IG can hold his policemen because it is always from them. You will come to say you admitted someone bleeding with a gunshot injury and the person is stabilised, but they will arrest you.

“The problem is not with the medical doctors, it is with the Police, as long as the Police will obey what the IG has said, I assure you that it will be a thing of the past.”

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MEMO

 

Credit: THE PUNCH

Prison Congestion: Magistrates Barred from Granting Police Remand Orders

Prison Congestion: Magistrates Barred from Granting Police Remand Orders

Magistrates in Lagos State have been directed to stop granting remand orders to police to detain suspects in their cells.

The Deputy Chief Registrar, Legal, High Court of Lagos State, Joy Uggbomoiko, gave the directive in a circular dated October 18, 2023 and titled: “Re: Rejection of new inmates by correctional service.”

The circular indicated that the magistrates had earlier been given a directive to stop granting remand orders to the police to take suspects to prison, as the prison authorities, formally known as the Nigeria Correctional Service, had started rejecting inmates due to the congestion of their facilities.

Instead, the magistrates were encouraged to only grant remand orders for police to detain suspects in police station cells.

However, in the fresh circular, the DCR directed the magistrates to stop granting remand orders to the police altogether.

The DCR said the magistrates were only permitted to grant remand orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In the circular sighted by our correspondent, the DCR said, “I have been further directed to inform Your Honours to stop accepting overnight cases from any police station, formation or command except EFCC cases until directed otherwise.

“This overrides earlier directive that defendants be held in police custody. No magistrate shall order any police to detain a defendant at the station.”

A source told our correspondent that the circular was issued following a memo from the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in response to a complaint by the Nigeria Correctional Service stating that the prison were congested and they had started rejecting new inmates.

 

Credit: The Punch

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