CISLAC Boss: True Democratic Process Will Prevent Questionable ‘Jankara Judgment’


Funke Olaode  in Washington, DC

The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, has said that if Nigeria is serious about winning the war against the political woes that have plaque her democracy in recent times, it must strengthen all the processes that will make it come out stronger.

Rafsanjani made this statement during an exclusive interview with Thisday at the ongoing Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Washington DC, United States of America.

Rafsanjani said it is worrisome that the whole democratic system has been bastardised, as people of questionable characters now rely on the ‘weak’ judicial process to get to power instead of the democratic process where the masses vote for politicians.

According to him, the trend must be stopped through a solid electoral framework that will boost confidence in the country’s democracy and judiciary reform.

“It’s possible if we have reforms in the judicial sector, if we have reforms in the political sector if we have reforms in the way and manner our institutions work. It means that we can actually have true democracy. We can benefit from democracy, but not the kind of democracy we are seeing now where people possess power, use dirty money to capture power, and, of course, when they get in there, they will look for possible means to pay their sponsors.

He said, “So, election in Nigeria and public service is no longer about public service. It is about actually using the opportunity to amass wealth and a display of impunity. That is why we need to come back to the real democratic tenets and democratic practice, whereby we can reform the electoral process by voting in leadership that will respond to the yearning and aspiration of Nigerians in an honest.”

Speaking further, the CISLAC boss emphasised the need for a serious country to have visionary leadership, noting that such leaders’ vision and mission have triumphantly moved their countries into the realm of development through economy, alleviating suffering and poverty, tackling insecurity, and eliminating corruption.

He added, “This is the only way democracy can make meaning to Nigerians. This is the only way we can actually begin to address developmental challenges in Nigeria, including also improving our economy. If we don’t do that, the level of insecurity, corruption, indiscipline, and hopelessness in society will definitely overwhelm the nation. And that is where we are today. And when the government at all levels must rise up to the occasion to respond to the challenges that we are facing with all sorts of patriotism and commitment to the nation building.”

Rafsanjani said the judiciary must uphold integrity at all times.

“Ideally, a judiciary is supposed to be an institution with a high profile of people with integrity, honesty, sincerity, impartiality, and dedication to justice in the country. Unfortunately, because of corruption and the way and manner in which the judiciary runs, many Nigerians are beginning to lose hope and confidence. This is really dangerous,” said Rafsanjani.

The activist added, “And if Nigerians have lost confidence in the administrative of judicial system, then you are actually promoting anarchy. That is why it is important for our judicial officers to understand that in the role they are playing, they are supposed to guarantee justice and fairness. If they don’t do that, it means that justice will continue to be for sale.”

He stressed that many Nigerians could not go to court to seek redress or to the police station because the system in the country “is failing” them.

“Therefore, it is a vote of no confidence on many poor people who cannot afford to pay a bribe to get justice in Nigeria,” he stated.

Man Bags Life Imprisonment for Defiling Teenage Neighbour

Funke Olaode

The Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Monday sentenced a 24-year-old baker, Adesina Farouk, to life imprisonment for defiling his neighbour’s 15-year-old girl (name withheld). Justice Rahman Oshodi held that the prosecution proved the sole charge of defilement against Farouk.

Oshodi said there was consistent evidence that the convict forcefully had sexual intercourse with the survivor (prosecutrix), which was not consensual, as the convict ripped off her pants, and there was blood everywhere.

The judge said, “It is an offence that leaves its scars on its victims, both physically and emotionally and can have long-lasting effects on their mental health and overall well-being. In this case, the evidence presented before the court has established that on November 29, 2020, you had forceful sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old victim, who was your neighbour.

“The medical evidence corroborate the violence nature of the act with medical doctor noting the hymenial laceration and your action has not only violated the prosecutrix bodily integrity, but also breaks the trust that exists between neighbour’s living in the same compound.”

According to the judge, the convict is a pathological liar who tried to lie his way through the case as he said that the prosecutrix was 18 years old and that they were in a relationship, but evidence showed that she was born on May 19, 2005.

The judge said that the medical report, the convict’s confessional statement that he and the prosecutrix were lovers and, as a result, had sex with her, and the testimony of the prosecutrix showed that the convict committed the offence.

He said that the medical report showed blunt, forceful penetration of the vagina, and according to the medical doctor, the prosecutrix looked very unhappy when she came for the medical examination.

“The prosecutrix testified that the defendant forcefully had sex with her when she went to deliver pure water for him in his house. She said when she got to the front of the house and knocked, he did not reply, which made her enter the house to drop the water, only for the defendant to grab her neck from the back, rip off her pants and forcefully have sexual intercourse with her,” stated the judge.

He said further, “According to her, she started bleeding due to the force, and the defendant threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it. During cross-examination, when the defence counsel put it to the prosecutrix that the sex was consensual, she replied, ‘If he did not force me, how did my pants get torn?’.”

The court rejected the defendant’s evidence that the prosecutrix was his girlfriend and that the sex was consensual.

The judge held that the charge of defilement was a grave offence, and he thereby sentenced Farouk to life imprisonment and his name be registered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.

Businessman Writes IGP, Seeks Withdrawal of Criminal Suit Against Him

Wale Igbintade 

A businessman, Raqeeb Quadri Adeshile, has asked the inspector general of police to withdraw the multiple criminal charges filed against him by the police.

In the petition, Adeshile called for a comprehensive investigation of all the issues that gave rise to the multiple charges against him, which were brought by a business partner, Musa Akinleye, an official of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

The petition, titled ‘Request For An Urgent Intervention In Respect of a Petition Against Musa Akinleye and Orbzenergy Limited And Criminal Suit Instituted Against Mr. Raqeeb Quadri Adeshi’ was written by his lawyer, Jedidiah F Akpata.

Specifically, the petitioner drew the IGP’s attention to the two charges filed against him before the FCT High Court and the Lagos High Court, respectively.

According to the petitioner, charge number FCT/CR/260/202 and charge number LD/21904C/2023 were filed against him before the FCT High Court and Lagos High Court bordered on the same allegations.

The petitioner, a maritime professional with many years of experience in the business and operations of the maritime industry, stated that he had been operating a business outfit, although unregistered.

He said that in 2018, he approached his friend, Musa Akinleye, a public officer and staff of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (which was not brought to his attention at the material time), with the offer to use his company name to secure business contracts in the maritime business, especially container terminal contracts.

As a result of the foregoing, he was made a 45 per cent shareholder and director of the company, Orbzenergy Limited.

In furtherance of the business venture, the Petitioner said he was in charge of the day-to-day running of the business in its operational site in Lagos, while Akinleye was the managing director and remains the sole signatory to the accounts operated and maintained by the company.

The petitioner stated that, as a result of alleged poor financial management and other ancillary issues with which he was not comfortable, Akinleye and the other shareholders purportedly removed him as a Director of the company through unlawful means.

He said he was oblivious to his unlawful removal as company director until a petition was filed against him at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters in Abuja.

He said in the petition he was accused of financial misappropriation, even though he is not a signatory to the company accounts.

The petioner stated that hortly before our client could respond he was arrested at Ibadan and brought to Abuja to answer to a charge filed at the FCT High Court, where he is currently standing trial.

The petition said, “The current matter which has been instituted against our client at the High Court of Lagos State, apart from being one instituted in bad faith by unscrupulous persons who intend to use the Nigeria Police Force to foster their own selfish cause and foist injustice on our client, equally amounts to lack of fair hearing, abuse of Court process and deprivation of constitutional safeguards.

“We wish to bring to your attention the fact that prequel to this letter, we previously wrote a petition against Mr. Musa Akinleye to the office of the Honourable Attorney General, the Chairman of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Chairman Code of Conduct Bureau and your good office were in copy of the letter.

“It is with utmost humility that we are appealing to you, sir, to use your good Office to intervene and ensure that justice is done in this matter and not allow our client to be a victim of malicious prosecution and double jeopardy.”

Gani Fawehinmi’s Group Advocates Social Justice to Solve Socio-economic Problems

Funke Olaode

In commemoration of the death anniversary of the late human rights activist and legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, and Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Organisation (GAFARMOG) has advocated social justice as the solution to Nigeria’s protracted socio-economic problems.

The group said that to enhance and advance democracy, government at all levels must be proactive regarding social equality, human dignity, and the rights of Nigerians.

The governing council chairman of GAFARMOG, Comrade Agunbiade Babatunde, stated this when speaking yesterday on the commemoration of Fawehinmi and Musa.

He said, “This year’s event is scheduled for April 22, 2024. It will be held at Umar Musa Yar’Adua international Conference Centre, Kaduna, with theme ‘Social Justice as a Foundation for Human Dignity’.”

He noted that the conference would usher in the annual celebration of Fawehinmi’s posthumous birthday and immortalisation of Musa, who stood for justice for all and established standards on how every Nigerians, irrespective of social class or status, should be treated.

Alleged N8.4m Fraud: Court Issues Arrest Warrant Against Property Developer

Wale Igbintade 

Chief Magistrate Ademola Olatunbosun of the Yaba Magistrates’s Court, Lagos, has issued an arrest warrant against 49-year-old Abiola Afolabi Sarafadeen, a self-acclaimed property developer, for failing to appear before the court to face trial on charges of fraud and stealing levelled against him by the police.

The defendant was charged on September 20, 2023, with obtaining by false pretence and stealing the sum of N8.4 million.

He was alleged to have fraudulently obtained the money from one Monsurat Shobowale Olabisi, with the pretence of building three units of bedroom flats for her, a presentation he knew to be false.

According to the prosecutor, Mrs. Rita Momah, a superintendent of police, the offences contravene sections 314 and 287 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015 and are punishable under the same Laws.

Sarafadeen, however, denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following his not-guilty plea, he was granted bail of N1 million with two sureties in like sum.

The magistrate also ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed, with evidence of three years of tax payment.

However, since the defendant was released on bail, he has failed and refused to appear in court to face his trial.

Following his refusal to appear in court, the prosecutor, Supol Momah, asked the court to issue a bench warrant against the defendant.

The magistrate, after listening to the prosecutor and perusing the court’s record, acceded to the prosecutor’s request and held that “the defendant is placed on bench warrant and surety to show cause.”

Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned to April 10 for mention.

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