The hope of former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye not to spend 10 years in jail was shattered today.
The Supreme Court upheld his 10-year imprisonment for the offence of criminal breach of trust.
A five-member panel of justices, led by Justice Mary Odili, in a unanimous judgment, held Dariye’s appeal in part, by setting aside the one-year sentence imposed on him by the Court of Appeal in relation to the offence of criminal misappropriation.
The apex court upheld Dariye’s concurrent conviction and sentence by the trial court and the Court of Appeal on the offence of criminal breach of trust.
Dariye had filed the appeal praying the court to set aside the Abuja Court of Appeal judgment that handed him a 10 year jail term.
Dariye in his appeal, prayed the apex court to upturn the November 16, 2018 judgment of the lower court, which convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years for diverting public funds estimated at N1.162billion while he was the governor.
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Arguing the appeal before the Supreme Court on December 17, 2020, Dariye’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), asked the court to either reverse his client’s conviction or reduce the 10-year jail term handed him by the lower court.
Agabi, after adopting his written argument, prayed the court to allow his client’s appeal and set aside Dariye’s conviction and sentence.
He argued that Dariye’s conviction was speculative and urged the court to show mercy.
Agabi added: “Here is a man sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. 10 years is more than a lifetime for some people. You should show him mercy.”
He, however, added that, should the court be minded to disallow the appeal and affirm the decision of the Court of Appeal, it should reduce the sentence substantially.
The counsell to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, countered and urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.
Jacobs contended that a public servant was not better than the common man in the eyes of the law.
He added: “As for the sentence passed, it has been reduced to 10 years. That he is a public servant does not mean he should go free.”
A five-member panel of justices, led by Justice Mary Odili, had, after hearing the appeal on Dec. 17, 2020, fixed judgment for March 12, 2021.
A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Stephen Adah, in its decision, upheld an earlier judgment by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), delivered on June 12, 2018.
The trial court convicted Dariye on 15 counts relating to the offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation, contained in the 23-count charge on which he was tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In upholding Dariye’s conviction, the Court of Appeal noted that the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) effectively proved its allegation of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation against the ex-governor.
The Appeal Court, however, faulted the trial court for convicting Dariye on counts 12 and 23, which it said the prosecution did not prove.
It also faulted the trial court for imposing the maximum sentences on both offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation.
The Appeal Court proceeded to reduce the 14 years sentence for the offence of criminal breach of trust to 10 years, and reduced the two years sentence for criminal misappropriation to one year.
Why North Is Opposed To Zoning Of Presidency – Na’Abba
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has given insight into why some people in the northern part of the country are opposed to the zoning of the presidency.
According to Na’Abba, many northners regard the President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime as a waste of opportunity for their region.
Na’Abba said this during an interview on Daily Trust TV, stating that most people in the north are opposed to zoning because they feel they did not benefit from the president’s leadership.
He said: “It is not as if northerners and southerners are at war, but in any relationship from time to time, you get some friction. This friction arises from certain reasons,”
The former speaker also described the president as “highly opinionated” noting that he had created an evident divide between the north and the south while presumably favouring one side.
According to Na’Abba, the president works alone and does not carry out due consultation regarding his policies, rather he believes its a one-man show.
“You cannot run a country in a manner that suggests you are highly opinionated. And this opinionation has nothing to do with the people. If it has to do with the people and their welfare, and their feelings — I think it’s ok.
“People in the south have this perception that he is a tribalist… he can’t even manage the country. Someone told me that this man can’t even manage his home, how can he manage a country?
“This idea of zoning, no matter how many times a president comes from a particular zone, it will never satisfy anybody. For example, within the north today, the idea of many people that the presidency must shift to another region is not a welcome idea because the feeling of many people is that the years of this president are a waste. They’ve not gained anything from them.
“So, why should anybody even talk to them about zoning when they believe they have the numerical strength to elect another person?
“No consultation. Since he suggests that, he works alone. We become president or whatever not because we have the monopoly of wisdom. Nobody has it.”
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Uncertainty Over Anambra Election As IPOB Declares One Week Sit-at-home Protest
A week sit-at-home protest has been declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to prevail on the Federal to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The sit-at-home protest is billed for November 5 to November 10 .This threatens the governorship election in Anambra State that is scheduled to hold on November 6.
IPOB’s Media and Public Secretary, Emma Powerful disclosed this development in a statement made available to our correspondent in Awka, Anambra State on Saturday.
Powerful said, “Following the adjournment of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to 10th of November 2021, by the Federal High Court, Abuja, we the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafraland from 5th of November to 10th of November except Sunday, November 7th, a day our people worship the Almighty God if the Nigeria Government fails to release our leader unconditionally before 4th of November 2021.
“Our leader, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi must be released unconditionally on or before November 4, 2021 because he has not committed any offense known to any law.
“Failure to release our leader Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on or before November 4, 2021, our one week Sit-At-Home begins on November 5, 2021 till November 10.
“Although we quite understand the pains and adverse effects of this option on our people, we are compelled to take it to achieve a better purpose in the collective interest of Biafrans.
“We have taken time to analyse what transpired on October 21 when our Leader was arraigned in court and discovered that the federal government is not sincere and only wants to humiliate him and keep him perpetually in DSS custody to rot there.
“We all saw how lawyers, journalists, Igbo delegates and respected traditional rulers and other people who came from all around the world to witness his court case were restricted and denied access into the court premises by security agents who kept them outside under the scorching heat of the sun. What a humiliation and wickedness!
“We cannot accept that anymore. We can never allow our leader Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to be tried secretly and we can never also allow him to be tried under Sharia law under any guise. Nigeria must follow International laws in handling our leader.
“Unless the federal government releases him unconditionally before November 4, we shall sacrifice one week for him as a warning protest to convey to our oppressors that Nnamdi Kanu represents over 70 million Biafrans.
“He is innocent of all the charges preferred against him. As long as he is in detention our individual businesses do not matter so much because he is suffering for us all and we can’t abandon him.
“We seriously regret the inconveniences this may cause our people but it’s a necessary sacrifice we need to make until we have our full independence. Nobody resident in Biafra land is expected to flout this directive as doing so amounts to challenging the will of the people on the Biafra project,” the release stated.
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I Already Know Of Three Presidential Aspirants In PDP – Makinde
Ahead of its national convention, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has declared that he is aware of three people in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who have indicated interest in the 2023 presidential election.
Makinde listed these people as former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and his Bauchi State counterpart Bala Mohammed.
There have been speculations in the past weeks over the candidates for the next general elections, especially with the issues raised around zoning.
During an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, Makinde said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had “eminently qualified” personalities that could lead Nigeria.
He also said the only way the PDP could be stopped was if the party was divided internally.
“Once PDP governors are able to move in one direction, align on most of the issues and the challenges we are faced with, I think there is hope for this country.
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“Our party has eminently qualified personalities that can lead this country successfully.
“Some have indicated interest like former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, like governor Tambuwal, like governor Bala Mohammed.
“The bottom line is when we get to that bridge, we will definitely cross it. What is important at this stage, which I will solicit the support of PDP members and the generality of Nigerians, is please support us to have a successful national convention.
“There is no way you can become anything — president, vice-president, even governor — if we don’t have a party.
What we want to do first is to ensure that we get things right within our party,” Makinde said.
When Makinde was asked if he thinks PDP would take over power from the APC in 2023, he replied: “Well, it is a question that I know Nigerians will answer and they will answer decisively.”
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