Two Human Rights groups have demanded the immediate release of female soldier Corporal Ruth Ogunleye who is said to have been detained for accusing army officers of sexual harassment.
This was contained in a joint press statement by Olu Omotayo Esq. For Civil Rights Realisation And Advancement Network (CRRAN) and Okechuwu Nwanguma Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC).
“We hereby demand the urgent and immediate release of Ogunleye, who was reported in the media to have been arrested by the Military Police and flown to Abuja, where she is currently being wrongfully detained without justification.
“Kindly recall that the Army Spokesman, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu had in ignorance of the correct position of the law, stated that the female soldier had not officially exhausted the available institutionalized channels before going on the social media.
“His statement is ottios, misleading and cannot be backed up by any law, practice or procedure in force in Nigeria.”
They called on the Attorney General of the Federation to rightly guide the Nigerian Army authorities by bringing to their attention the current and correct position of relevant applicable laws as enunciated by the court of Appeal and ensure the immediate release of the detained soldier and thereafter investigate the substance of the complaint which is sexual harassment of the person of Corporal Ruth Ogunleye by the said senior officers.
“This matter cannot be swept under the carpet on technical grounds. The hallmark of democracy is the respect for the Rule of Law by all the organs and components of the Federation and we seek to explore all relevant means within the provisions of the law for the release of Corporal Ruth Ogunleye.
“It is pertinent to bring to your notice the clear and unambiguous provisions of Sections 178 and 179 of the Armed Forces Act 1994. The said provisions guide officers and men of the Armed Forces on the procedure for making complaints respectively.
“We hereby state without equivocation that in view of the interpretation of Sections 178 and 179 of the Armed Forces Act 1994 and the combined decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of NWANKWO V. NIGERIA ARMY & ORS (2021) LPELR-56718(CA) at Pp. 22-26 paras. B-B), Corporal Ruth Ogunleye is entitled to lodge a complaint or seek remedy for whatever wrong she has suffered by other means available within the ambit of the Laws in force in Nigeria.
“The Court of Appeal held that the word ‘MAY’ make a complaint with respect to the matter to the Forces Council, used in the provision is not mandatory after the initial report to his commanding officer. The Court of Appeal held as follows:
“Looking at the wordings of Section 178(1) (reproduced once more for clarity):
“(1) If an officer thinks himself wronged in any matter by a superior officer or authority and on application to his commanding officer does not obtain the redress to which he thinks he is entitled, he ‘MAY’ make a complaint with respect to that matter to the Forces Council.”
“The Appeal Court further held that “there is no duty imposed on any public functionary to do any duty. The use of the verb ‘may’ clearly makes the decision to make a complaint to the Forces Council optional under this subsection”.
“Therefore, the female soldier under the law need not exhaust the channels provided under section 179 of the Armed Forces Act. The initial report to the appropriate authority where she is serving suffices. A careful consideration of the above insight reveals the Army Authorities ignorance of the actual position of the law in view of the pronouncement of the Court of Appeal which is not only disheartening but shameful.
“Furthermore, Corporal Ogunleye, has not committed any offence known to the law to warrant her detention unlawfully. The said detention is in contravention of her Fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. See Sections 33, 34, 35, 39, 40 and 42 CFRN 1999 As amended.
“Fundamental Human Rights are sacrosanct and must be respected irrespective of the profession of the citizens. There is no exception to the circumstance of Corporal Ogunleye and the fact that she is a member of the Armed Forces does not preclude her from exercising her rights especially where she has been made to suffer a violation and a wrong. We wish to state at this point that where there is a wrong, there must be remedy and she must not be made to suffer any further for seeking remedy and justice. She is thus entitled to urgent and immediate release from the Military police who have held her hostage under the guise of the Armed Forces.”
FG has a duty to control prices of commodities — Falana
This is the view of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, who believes that this is necessary to guarantee that the economy of the country is not concentrated in the hands of a few.
Falana spoke with Channels Television’s correspondent, Shola Soyele against the background of his recent lawsuit against the federal government over failure to control rising prices of essential commodities.
“The Bola Tinubu administration has said that there is food in abundance in Nigeria. I think the Minister of Information made that statement a couple of days ago, but we have a situation where majority of the people cannot afford the prices that have gone to the roof.
“And so that is why the government has a duty under the Price Control Act to control the price of essential commodities so that Nigerians will not be subjected to hunger unnecessarily. It is so bad now that if you pick a food item, if you go back to the market tomorrow, the price has gone up,” Falana said.
He argued that while affluent citizens can cope with spiralling inflation, most ordinary Nigerians have been priced out of accessing basic commodities under the current laissez-faire regime. Hence, the urgent need for government’s intervention based on extant laws.
The Senior Advocate also questioned why electricity tariffs, telecom rates and petrol pump price could be moderated via subsidies whilst other essentials like food, medicines and diesel were allowed to rise astronomically thereby eroding people’s purchasing power.
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Wednesday, ordered the Federal Government to fix the price of goods and petroleum products within seven days from today.
Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa granted the order sequel to an originating motion filed and argued by the applicant, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.
Falana had dragged the Price Control Board and the Attorney General of the Federation, both of whom are listed as defendants before the court to determine “whether by virtue of Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the first defendant is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods that are of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.”
In an affidavit in support of the summons taken out by the Senior Advocate and deposed to by a legal practitioner from his firm, Taiwo Olawanle, the deponent noted that the following commodities: bicycles and its spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and its spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene are listed in the Price Control Act.
He also noted that the Act gives the Price Control Board powers to fix the prices of this wide array of commodities. (Channels TV)
Access Bank founder, Herbert Wigwe feared dead in chopper crash in California
Herbert Wigwe, the co-founder of Access Bank and the founder, Wigwe University, has reportedly died in a helicopter crash in California, United States.
Wigwe was also the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of Access Holdings, the parent company of Access Bank.
He was reportedly on board the chopper with his wife, son and three other passengers.
It was gathered that the chopper was headed to Las Vegas when it crashed near a border city between Nevada and California on Friday night.
The US government confirmed all on board dead as no survivors have been located as of Saturday morning.
The helicopter was carrying six people when it crashed on Friday night near the California-Nevada border.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration said that the Eurocopter EC130 helicopter crashed around 10:00 pm local time, near Nipton, California, an unincorporated community about 60 miles south of Las Vegas in eastern San Bernardino County.
According to Mara Rodriguez, a public information officer with the department, officials at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were made aware of the downed aircraft at 10:12 pm, local time.
She added that the scene of the crash was determined to be east of Interstate 15, near Halloran Springs Road.
The New York Times has confirmed the incident but did not name the passengers.
No official statement has been issued on the incident.
Alleged N10bn fraud: EFCC witness can’t recall if Yahaya Bello’s cousin made withdrawals
A prosecution witness in the trial of Ali Bello (said to be cousin of Kogi State’s ex-governor, Yahaya Bello) and one other, Edward Bananda, has said he could not recall if the defendants made withdrawals from the state’s account.
Bell and Dauda are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before a Federal High Court in Abuja on a 10-count charge in which they are accused of engaging in misappropriation and money laundering.
At the resumption of proceedings on Monday, Bananda, the second prosecution witness, was cross-examined by lawyers to the defendants – A. M Aliyu (SAN) and Nureini Jimoh (SAN).
While being questioned by Jimoh (who represented Suleiman), he was handed three statements of accounts belonging to the state government and asked to recall if the defendants made withdrawals.
Bananda, who had said most of the withdrawals were made by Hudu Abdusalam (a cashier at the Kogi State House), told the court that he could not recall if the defendants made withdrawals from the accounts.
When asked if he could identify Hudu Abdusalam among the two defendants, the witness said he could not.
The witness, who was taken through some pages of the account statements by Jimoh, noted that most of the inflows were security funds belonging to Kogi State Government.
He said none of the withdrawals in the account statements exceeded the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, stipulated cash withdrawal limit of N10 million.
Reading from one of the account statements, the witness noted that on May 24, 2019, there was an inflow of N50 million; N100 million on May 27, 2019; N50 million on May 31, 2019; and N50 million on July 3.
The witness who said all the inflows were security funds, noted that they were also withdrawn in tranches of N10 million each.
When Jimoh suggested to the witness that the funds were meant for security purposes of Kogi State, Bananda said he did not know.
Under cross-examination by Aliyu (who represented Bello) the witness said one of the accounts belong to Kogi State Government House Administration.
Bananda said funds in the account belong to the Kogi State Government and that there are names and signatories to the account.
At the conclusion of the cross examination, the prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), indicated his intention to call another witness.
The trial judge, Justice James Omotosho, adjourned till February 6 for continuation of trial.
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