- Says Evans, TB Joshuaâ€™s Synagogue wonâ€™t escape justice
- Clarifies issues around consumption tax regulation
Gboyega Akinsanmi and Akintunde Akinwale
The Lagos State Governor Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, thursday disclosed that the fate of the General Overseer of Christian Praying Assembly (CPA), Mr. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (a.k.a. Rev. King) would be determined in due course.
Also, the state government noted that the notorious kidnapper, Mr. Chukwudumese Onwuamadike (known as Evans) and the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) Prophep Temitope Joshua would not escape justice in separate high-profile criminal charges they are currently facing.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, made the disclosure at a ministerial news conference he addressed thursday at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa alongside the state Solicitor-General, Mrs. Funmilola Odunlami among others.
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja had sentenced Rev. King to death by hanging on January 11, 2007 for the murder of his church member, Ann Uzoh.
Subsequently, a Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos and the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the trial court that awarded death sentence against Rev. King.
Since the apex court had upheld death sentence awarded against Rev. King, however, the state government has not yet signed his death warrants and other condemned prisoners currently on the death row in the state.
At the news conference thursday, the attorney-general noted that the state government would determine Rev. Kingâ€™s fate in due course
Kazeem explained that the truth of the matter â€œis that the case of Rev. King as high profile as it could be, it is just one of the other cases that are on death row.
â€œThe case of the clergy will be considered like others that had been convicted by the court. If and at any point in time, it gets to the stage where the death sentence is to be carried out, it will be carried out.
â€œAlso, if he is worthy of clemency, that will be given to him. But we have not got to that stage now. So, he can continue to cool his heels in prison until his case is determined in due course,â€ Kazeem said.
Likewise, the attorney-general noted that the state government was committed to ensuring logical conclusion of all pending cases in court and serve justice to the people.
He said the cases filed against Evans â€œare ongoing in court. The issue is that the lawyer representing him is trying to play some games to delay the matter but in all his games, we have been defeating him in court.
â€œWe have filed different cases. Some are for kidnapping and some bothered on murder and his lawyer is fighting all the cases but what I can assure the people is that we are committed to the matter is concluded and defeat him at the end of the day,â€ Kazeem added.
On the Synagogue building collapse that claimed over 100 lives including foreign nationals within the church premises, the attorney-general said the case against the clergyman would soon be concluded.
He explained that the wheels of justice â€œmoves slowly especially when it is a high profile case. As you know, the Synagogue case has been on for a couple of years. Only recently, the prosecution closed its case.
â€œUsually when the prosecution closes its case, defence is expected to open. Rather than do this, the defense counsel filed a no case submission, claiming that the state government has made no case against the clergy.
â€œThe defendants lost the no case submission. So, the court has directed the defendants to open their defence so that the matter can move forward. I believe that very soon, the case will come to conclusion.â€
Kazeem, also, clarified the Hotel and Restaurant Consumption Regulations 2018, saying it was neither a new law nor an additional tax, but a regulation aimed at improving transparency in revenue collection.
He added that it â€œis a regulation and not a new law. It was made pursuant to an existing law that was already in operation. What this regulation essentially seeks to do is to allow the government to put certain equipment in the restaurants and hospitality organisations.
â€œThe essence of installing the equipment in the restaurants and hospitality organisations to properly monitor the revenue that is coming so we can know what exactly is due to the state government.
â€œIt is not an additional tax. It is just to enhance transparency in collection of taxes that are due to the state. So, I want to clarify that carefully,â€ Kazeem said.