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Akpata Fails To Appear For The Body Of Benchers Meeting

NBA President, Mr. Akpata who is by virtue of his office a member of the Body of Benchers, was absent both physically and through the virtual platform.

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Notwithstanding his threat letter that Chairman of Body of Benchers (BOB), Chief Wole Olanipekun, should step aside, President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), has failed to appear during the last meeting of BOB, held in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

At the well attended meetings were the members of the Body from both the Bench and the Bar, who honoured the invitation as sent out by the Chairman of the body, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.

Though, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Olumide Akpata was conspicuously absent from the meeting, as the reason for his absence is not known at the time of filling this report.

Mr. Akpata who is by virtue of his office a member of the Body of Benchers, was absent both physically and through the virtual platform.

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Consequently, feelers are of the opinion that his absence may not be unconnected to the recent development whereby the NBA president requested for the BOB chairman to step down from leasing the august body owing to the probe of one the partners from his chambers, Wole Olanipekun & Co. accused of breaching the Rule of Professional Conduct, RPC by allegedly luring clients.

But, a source who preferred anonymous said the meeting which was well attended by members , including the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola and other Benchers discussed so many issues affecting the legal profession and the country as a whole.

The meeting was held at the Body of Benchers Complex.

Among those who were present at the meeting were the Ex CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, retired Justice Mary Odili, Mr. Dele Adesina, SAN, former NBA president, Paul Usoro, SAN, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, O. C.J Okocha, SAN, J. B. Daudu, SAN amongst several others.

The meeting is said to be part of preparations for the Call to Bar ceremonies scheduled to hold in Abuja from Wednesday and vital issues bordering on the security of the nation particularly as it affects the Call to Bar Ceremonies were discussed.

Mr. Akpata’s purported controversial letter to the chairman BoB, however, did not form parts of their discussion for the meeting.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and he is the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

CRIME

Bamise Murder Trial: Court Orders BRT Driver To Get Lawyer

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The trial of the driver of Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, Andrew Nice Ominnikoron who allegedly raped and murdered a 22-year-old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, suffers set back due to the absence of his lawyer.

At the resumed hearing of the case, at the Lagos State High Court, in Tafawa Balewa Square, the court was informed by the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Dr Babajide Martins that the defendant’s counsel Abayomi Omotubora was not in court.

On the last adjourned date, on July 7, 2022, Justice Sherifat Sonaike had ordered the defendant to get himself another lawyer to represent him.

The Judge suggested that the defendant should avail himself of a lawyer on the next adjourned date and adjourned the case to September 28, for continuation of trial.

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The Judge noted that If the defendant is unable to avail himself a lawyer on the next adjourned date, she would direct that the Legal Aid Council should take up his case.

Omotubora has been absent from court for six consecutive times, but on June 30, the court ordered that the junior counsel from his chamber should conduct his defence.

Ominnikoron is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos state government.

The incident took place on February 26, 2022, at about 7 pm, at Lekki- Ajah Conservation centre Lekki Ajah expressway Lagos and Carter bridge.

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The prosecution said that the defendant had sexual intercourse with Oluwabamise Ayanwole, without her consent and murdered her.

According to the prosecution, the offences committed are contrary to and punishable under Sections 411,223,260 and 165 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.

However, the 47-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

The matter was further adjourned till tomorrow for continuation of trial.

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Court Orders Obi Supporters Not To Converge At Lekki Toll Gate

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Labour Party and its supporters not to converge at the Lekki toll gate for its #Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally billed to hold on the 1st of October, 2022.

The court also directed the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with the order.

Justice Daniel Osiagor made these orders while ruling on a motion for injunction brought by 10 plaintiffs, who are asking the court to, among others, restrain the LP, its presidential candidate Peter Obi, his vice Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, one Julius Abure and their loyalists from holding the rally.

The court also held that while the rally cannot stop at the Lekki toll gate, it can pass through the venue to access Falomo Bridge and other venues at which the rally plans to meet.

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A preliminary objection filed by the defendants seeking to stop the court from hearing the motion on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction could however not been entertained as all parties to the suit had not been served.

The court adjourned hearing of the substantive suit to November 4th.

In the substantive suit, the plaintiffs are arguing among other things that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will cause a breakdown of peace and will result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.

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CRIME

Governor Dapo Abiodun Aide Sentence To 5yrs Imprisonment for Wire Fraud

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Abidemi Rufai, the suspended aide of the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

A District Court in Western Tacoma, Washington, United States, gave the verdict yesterday.

A statement by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, confirmed the development.

The statement said that Rufai, “A 45-year-old resident of Lekki, Nigeria, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to five years in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his attempt to steal nearly $2.4m from the United States government, including approximately $500,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.”

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Until his arrest, Rufai was a Special Assistant to the Ogun State Governor.

The statement, however, said he admitted a long history of using stolen identities to defraud U.S. disaster programs, including aid for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and file fraudulent U.S. tax returns.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge, Benjamin Settle, said the motivation was greed, unrestrained greed, and callousness towards those who have suffered.

According to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, Mr. Rufai was relentless in his scheme to use the stolen identities of Americans for fraud.

“He orchestrated ‘mystery shopper’ scams, business email compromise attempts, and filed fake tax returns to financially harm individuals and businesses.

Also Read: EFCC Secures Extradition Of Alleged Wire Fraudster To USA

“But when disaster struck, so did Mr. Rufai. Whether it was hurricane disaster relief, small business loans, or COVID unemployment benefits, he stole aid that should have gone to disaster victims in the United States,” Brown said.

The Associate Deputy Attorney-General, Kevin Chambers, the Justice Department‘s Director of COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement, said, ”Abdemi Rufai chose to exploit the pandemic for personal gain, using stolen identities of Americans to support his lavish lifestyle overseas.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and their law enforcement partners did exceptional work bringing this defendant to justice. The Department will continue to pursue fraudsters who abused these programs and seek to recover their ill-gotten gains, whether they are in the United States or overseas.”

According to records filed in the case, since 2017, Rufai stole the personal identifying information of more than 20,000 Americans to submit more than $2m in claims for federally funded disaster relief benefits and fraudulent tax returns.

“The various agencies involved paid out more than $600,000. The largest amount of fraud was committed against the Washington State Employment Security Department, which paid out $350,763 in fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims to accounts controlled by Rufai. Rufai also submitted fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims in at least 17 other states.

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“The Employment Security Department deeply appreciates the tireless efforts of the Department of Justice, federal agencies and law enforcement in this matter.

“We always stand ready to hold those accountable who steal public funds and we appreciate the partnership in catching and prosecuting this individual,” the Commissioner for the Employment Security Department, Cami Feek, said in the statement.

 

 

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