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Legal Practitioners Receives Recognition Award of Excellence



Nigeria foremost corporate lawyer, Gbenga Oyebode amongst several lawyers have bagged awards in recognition of their achievements in the legal and corporate industry.

The award which was organized by the Nigerian Legal Awards in Lagos featured several legal practitioners who came top in their different fields of endeavor.

Other awardees include Mr Seni Adio SAN who received Business Law Icon award, Yakubu Maikyau SAN, Legal Icon Award, and Mrs Adejoke Layi-Babatunde, the Legal Amazon Award.

In the corporate category, Sterling Bank won the banking award, Nigerian Exchange Group won the Capital Market award, G. Elias&co won the Aviation Law Firm of the year, Olanihun Ajayi won in the Energy and Power category, Alliance Law firm won the Dispute Resolution Team of the year, Jackson, Etti &Edu won the Intellectual Property award, while the Company Secretary of Communications giant, MTN, Mrs Uto Ukpanah is the Company Secretary of the Year.

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The Chairman of the awards committee, Mrs Cecilia Akintomide, a non-executive director, FBN Holdings in her remarks congratulated all participants in the awards for their remarkable work and contributions towards development of law in Nigeria.

She said: “I congratulate the finalists in all categories on their achievements during the last year on behalf of the judges of the Nigerian Legal Awards. Despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the judges applaud all the finalists for their remarkable work and contributions to businesses and the Nigerian economy;

All the deals submitted and reviewed during the judging process demonstrated who advise and aid management in the conduct of business continue to play an important role in the commercial growth of businesses and the economy at large”.


Also, at the event, forty young lawyers under the age of forty years won awards for their various accomplishments. One of them, Mrs Adedolapo Akinola, Head Legal, KUDA Microfinance bank. A graduate of Sheffield University, United Kingdom, Mrs Akinola worked with Udo Udoma, Bello Osagie&Co before she joined KUDA bank. She played a significant role in the Series A and B investments rounds of the bank amounting to a total raise of $80 million. She is also involved in the current cross border expansion plans and advises on the running of the day to day affairs of the bank.

The Chairman of the 40 under 40 judges, Mr Mathew Walker said: “The forty lawyers who made the final shortlist for consideration should all be extremely proud of everything they accomplished in 2021. In particular, their commitment towards pro bono work, and their dedication towards the creation of not only a vibrant legal community but also excellence in learning and understanding of the law, are achievements in which they should all take pride”.

The organizer and Editor, ESQ Legal Awards, Lere Fashola used the award opportunity to promote the Destiny Trust, a charity that is involved with helping 1000 children go to school.

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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 Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. 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


Arms Fraud: EFCC Institute charges Against ex Army chief, Kenneth Minimah




The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has instituted criminal charge against the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, retd, over alleged diversion of about fourteen billion naira meant for procurement of arms.

Others listed as Defendants in the charge before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, are a one-time Chief of Accounts and Budget of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. A. O. Adetayo, as well as the former Director, Finance and Accounts of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier Gen. R. I. Odi.

EFCC, in processes filed in court, said it had on August 15, 2016, received a report by the Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces (CADEP) from 2007- 2015, chaired by AVM Jon Ode (rtd).

It said the report, alleged that between 2010 and 2015, several billions of Naira were received by the Nigerian Army from the Federal Government for procurement of Military hard-wares and were discovered to have been misappropriated by Senior Army Officers.

The anti-graft agency told the court that in the course of investigation conducted, it was revealed that the sum of Thirteen Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Six Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Nine Naira (N13,798,619,309) was misappropriated by the following persons: Lt. Gen. KTJ Minimah (rtd), the former Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. A.O Adetayo, one-time Chief of Accounts and Budget, Nigerian Army and then Colonel R.I Odi, former Director, Finance and Accounts, Nigerian Army”.

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“The sums were transferred from various accounts belonging to the Nigerian Army and moved to company accounts of entities that had no business relations with the Nigerian Army.

“This caused huge loss to the Nigerian Army and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the unlawful gains made by the aforementioned Officers who converted the monies for their personal use.

“The legal advice on the investigation opined that a prima facie case has been sustained against the officers,” EFCC added.

It said the outcome of the investigation led to the filing of charges against the three officers fingered in the alleged fraud.

Consequently, EFCC, said it wrote the Nigerian Army, requesting the three officers to make themselves available for arraignment it said would have taken place since September 15, 2020.

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Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 9, to hear a suit the three Defendants filed to challenge the legal propriety of the charge against them.

The Defendants, through their team of lawyers led by Mr. Mahmud Magaji, SAN, are praying the court to determine;

“Whether in view of Sections 6(3), (5) (a), 240 and 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8(3), 123, 124, 126(1), (2) 8. (4) and 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not subject to be charged arraigned and /or prosecuted only by a Court Martial as a Court of first instance, to the exclusion of any other trial Court, viz: the Federal High Court, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, and High Court of States, in respect of any offence committed by them.

“Whether in view of Section 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (the 2nd Defendant) or any other prosecuting agency can Iawfully investigate, charge, arraign and/or prosecute the Plaintiffs.

“Whether by virtue of Sections 123, 124(1) 8(3) and 126(1), (2) 8. (4) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not to be reported in the form of a charge to their commanding officer after the investigation of any allegation against them.

“Whether in view of Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8(3), 124(3), and 126(1), (2) and (4) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs can validly be charged arraigned and/or prosecuted under any other law other than the Arm Forces Act, Cap.A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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“Whether by virtue of Sections 6(3) 8(5) (a) 240 and 318 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 129 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Plaintiffs are not subjected to Court Martial in respect of offences (if any) committed by them.

“Whether in view of Sections 113, 114 (1), (2) 8. (3), 123, 124, 126(1), (2) 8(4) and 270 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, any Court other than Court Martial can entertain any charge against any of the Plaintiffs”.

They bemoaned that EFCC, for concluding that there is a prima facie case against them.

The embattled Generals argued that the Audit Committee on alleged misappropriation of procurement of Military hardwares, only referred the case to the 2nd Defendant (EFCC) for further investigation and not to proceed to file criminal charges against the Plaintiffs.

Insisting that they are still subject to service law (the Armed Forces Act), the Plaintiffs, argued that, if any military officer under the service law of the Nigerian Army commit an offence, it is reported in form of a charge to the commanding officer of the accused person for investigation and trial if necessary.

“That Nigeria Army has its rules and statutory mechanisms for the administration of Criminal Justice.

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Judiciary Funding: Judgement on Dispute Between States and FG Suffers Set Back




The Supreme Court has reserves judgment till a later date in the dispute between the thirty-six states and the Federal Government on Judiciary funding, Executive Order 10.

The judgment expected to be delivered yesterday, according to hearing notices dispatched to parties by the court’s Registry, suffers set back.

Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed, who led the court’s five-man panel, announced that the judgment was not ready.

He explained that members of the panel who heard the case had tried to ensure that the judgment was ready for delivery on December 7, but it became impossible to get it ready.

The judge who expressed regret assured the parties that they would be informed when the judgment is eventually ready.

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However Justice Mohammed did not stated the specific day it would be delivered.

Counsel in the case, who came from outside Abuja, were unhappy with the development.

The thirty-six states, through their attorneys general, filed the suit to challenge the legality of Executive Order 10 and to compel the Federal Government to undertake capital funding of the superior courts created under Section 6 of the Constitution.

On October 4, this year, a seven-member panel of the court, led by Justice Muhammad, had, after taking final submissions from lawyers to the parties and the five amici curiae invited, announced that judgment was reserved till a date to be communicated to parties.

While the states are contending, among others, that it is the responsibility to the Federal Government to bear the capital and recurrent expenditure of all courts created under Section 6 of the Constitution, the Federal Government has said otherwise.

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Arguing the plaintiffs’ case on October 4, their lawyer, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), averred that the current practice where the Federal Government limits itself to funding only the recurrent expenditure of superior courts in states was a violation of the Constitution.

He argued that since the salaries, remuneration and allowances of judges were already charged in the Consolidated Fund of the Federation, they do not form part of the annual appropriation (budget), which should cover the capital expenditure of Federal courts and superior courts in various states.

In a counter-argument, lawyer to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who is the sole defendant, Mr. Tijani Gazali (SAN), argued that issues raised in the case had been decided in the case filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

The senior silk argued that the attorneys general of the thirty-six states were parties in the suit who chose not to appeal or comply with the judgment but rather filed a fresh suit before the Supreme Court.

He added that Section 81 of the Constitution provides for the responsibilities of the Federal Government on Federal courts, while Section 121 applies to the responsibilities of the states to the Judiciary.



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Alleged $8.4m Fraud: Court Orders Serial Fraudster Ajudua To Undergo COVID-19 Test




A Lagos State High Court, Ajah, has ordered serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua to undergo Covid-19 test at Yaba Infectious Disease Centre Laboratory, in the presence of the representatives of both the prosecution and defence, and the result must be communicated to the court within 48-hours.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso made the order shortly after counsel to the defence, Mr. Akinwale Kola-Taiwo, who represented the lead counsel for the defendant Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that though Ajudua was present in court premises but pleaded that he should not be made to entre the court room because he has been tested positive for COVID-19.

Ajudua, allegedly defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4 million while they were both in Kirikiri Prison in 2004 for different offences.

The defendant and his accomplices approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he would hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) at a cost of $8.4million, to help him secure his release from custody.

It is on record that for over two-years, Bamaiyi has been under cross-examination by the defence after giving his evidence-in-chief on Nov. 26, 2018.

Read Also: EFCC Arraigns Convicted Serial Fraudster Over Possession of Fraudulent Documents

The cross-examination of the former Chief of Army Staff has suffered several delays brought about by the defence.

At the resume hearing of proceedings, Mr. Kola-Taiwo told the court that medical report of the defendant shows that he contacted the deadly virus for the first time on 8/01/2021, and was tested negative on 15/01/21 after he treated himself through self-medication.

He said: “I’m sincerely sorry for the absence of the defendant. He is downstairs but I don’t think he should be made to entre the court.

“An associate of the defendant met me and handed over these documents to me. They are medical reports of the defendant testing positive for COVID-19 virus.

“Sometimes around October 14 this year while he was in his home town in Delta State, the defendant also contacted COVID-19. The defendant has been medicating ever since, but the condition is deteriorating

“The latest test was done three days ago on 3/12/21, and the result came out positive again. I was told that the defendant flew in from Delta state last night. We will be praying your lordship for an adjournment to give room for the defendant to be treated for the virus.

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In his response, lead prosecution counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Seidu Atteh query the absence of the lead defence counsel Ojo.

He says the defence should make all the documents available to the prosecution so that they will conduct their own investigation on the authenticity of the documents.

Mr. Atteh said in alternative, the court should invoke S. 235 of the newly passed Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2014, which states that defendant can be tried in absentia.

Justice Oyefeso while delivering a bench ruling ordered the defendant to be tested at the laboratory of Yaba Infectious Disease Centre, in the presence of both the prosecution and defence.

The court also ordered defence to file application attached all the medical reports of the defendant before the court.

The judge directed prosecution to bringing the issue of S.235 of ACJL, 2014 before the court as an application.

Justice Oyefeso adjourned the matter to February 15, 2022 for continuation of trial.

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