Nigeria Police, Minister bow to pressure, arraign 72-year old Journalist in court
Consequent upon pressures from Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and various groups across the country; the Nigeria Police Force, on Monday, arraigned a 72-year old Journalist, Pa. Oga Tom Uhia in Court.
Pa. Uhia, Publisher of Power Steering Magazine, has spent 30 days in secret detention, on the order of the Minister of State for Power, Jeddy Agba, over an “injurious” publication against him in July 2020.
The Police filed a 15-count charge bothering on defamation and injurious falsehood before an FCT High Court, in the Gudu District, Abuja.
Counsel to Pa. Uhia, Barrister Alex Oketa, had filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit against Mr. Agba, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, who is said to be the uncle of the Honourable Minister, and others, before Justice Peter Affen at an FCT High Court, Maitama.
The proceeding was, however, stalled last week, due to absence of the Judge, hence, a new date of 10th November, 2020.
During the arraignment of Pa. Uhia in Gudu on Monday, his lead Counsel, Chief Paul Harris Ogbole (SAN), argued for his bail.
The bail application, was however, objected to, through oral application by the prosecuting Counsel, Barrister Danjuma O.
Ogbole argued that, the grounds being canvassed by the prosecuting Counsel are bailable. He also faulted the inability of the Prosecutors to file an objection to the bail application, 9 days after it was filed.
The learned Sage pleaded the Judge to grant Pa. Uhia bail also, on his health condition and for sake of justice.
In his ruling, Justice A.B. Mohammed granted Pa. Uhia bail to the tune of two million naira (N2m) and a level 15 officer with the federal civil or public service, as surety.
Justice Mohammed said, “the Prosecuting Counsel has not shown enough reason why the Defendant should not be granted bail”, stressing that, it was a bailable offence.
The matter was adjourned till 10th December, 2020 for hearing.
As at the time of filing this report, lawyers to Pa. Uhia were seen in court premises, trying to perfect the bail conditions, so that he could be released from the Force CID detention, Garki, Abuja, immediately.
Meanwhile, the enforcement of human rights suit filed against the Minister and the Police comes up Tuesday.
In the suit, Pa. Uhia is demanding the total of N110m for severally abusing his rights by keeping him for one month in secret detention, without trial, even after meeting bail conditions with the Police.
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Organ Trafficking: Ekweremadu, Wife, Doctor Sentenced To Various Prison Terms
The duo of Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta has been senenced to various jail terms for bringing a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
A judge at The Central Criminal Court, [ Old Bailey], announced the sentence friday.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The sentencing follows their conviction in March for organ trafficking, The Ekweremadus’sick daughter, Sonia was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The conviction is the first under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The sentencing comes after pleas from multiple prominent personalities and institutions, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Other petitioners included both chambers of the National Assembly, the Chairman/CEO, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Erewa Dabiri, and the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
After months of a pre-trial, the trial commenced on January 31, 2023 and lasted about six weeks, culminating in a guilty verdict against Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta.
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Reps Seek UK Government Clemency for Ekweremadu
The House of Representatives has write to the government of the United Kingdom seeking mercy in sentencing the embattled Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
This is contained in a resolution reached following a motion moved by Toby Okechukwu, a lawmaker from Enugu State.
A UK court found the duo guilty of conspiracy of organ harvesting of another Nigerian. The Ekweremadu couple will be sentenced in the coming days.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu said diplomatic intervention in this kind of case is normal.
“It is a common practice in international relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadus,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, said intervention by the House is not a justification for the charges against the Ekweremadus. He urged the UK government to consider Ekweremadu’s years of public service.
Consequently, the House resolved to urge the UK government and the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing Ekweremadu, his wife and the doctor.
Also, they urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take all diplomatic steps and other necessary interventions regarding the travails of the Ekweremadu family.
- Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on email@example.com.
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HYPPDEC Donates Food Stuff, Clothing to Locals in Kogi to Tackle Cashless Policy Effect
By Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC), on Tuesday, donated 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women rappers to ten Local Government Areas in Kogi State under the agency to cushion the effect associated with the new cashless policy.
Making the presentation to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State at the Lugard House, Lokoja on Tuesday, a Board Member of HYPPDEC, Alhaji Isah Ozi Salami, said that the gesture is part of the agency’s intervention in times of natural disaster or any hardship situation on citizens.
Salami expressed the commitment of HYPPDEC in tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians as a result of the Cashless Policy.
“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi
“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi” Ozi Salami told Governor Bello.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for the provision of logistic supports that have facilitated smooth operation of the agency in Kogi.
He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC will soon begin the construction of 50 housing units in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.
“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. The Governor is expected to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project” Ozi Salami disclosed.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Jamiu Asuku who received the food stuff on behalf of his boss, hinted that Kogi will key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property for citizens.
Governor Yahaya Bello appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programme as a result of the bad terrain of the area.
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