There was a mild drama on Tuesday in an Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice C. C. Ani as counsels struggle for legal representation of six dead plaintiffs in a land dispute.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the case which was filed in 2005 is between Ugwuaji and Ogui Nike communities in Enugu South and Enugu North Local Government Areas respectively.
The plaintiffs on record in the suit No. E/439/2005 are Benjamin Atu, Aneke Ede, Jackson Nshi, Ewo Nnaji, Godwin Ani and Sunday Ngene for themselves and Ugwuaji community.
The first set of respondents are Igwe Tony Ojukwu, Joseph Nnaji, Ikechukwu Agbo and Paul Anike for themselves and members of Ogui Nike community.
When the matter was called up, Counsel to the first set of defendants, Mr Kelvin Nwufor (SAN) told the court that the plaintiffs on record were dead and was bringing a motion to substitute them.
He said that the rules provided that either the lawyers for the plaintiffs or defendants could apply to bring new plaintiffs in such circumstance.
Nwufor said that the first set of defendants had waited for too long for the counsel to the plaintiffs to bring a motion to substitute the plaintiffs on record, but he had failed to do so.
The counsel said he sought to substitute the dead plaintiffs with living plaintiffs from the same community.
He told the court that the dead plaintiffs had earlier withdrawn their statements of claim before their demise and that it was improper for anyone to claim to be representing them.
“You cannot be representing anyone who is in the grave,” he said.
Nwufor also moved a motion to substitute one of the first set of defendants, Igwe Tony Ojukwu whom he said was late, with Mr Donatus Ojukwu.
However, Mr Emeka Offordile (SAN), who announced appearance for the plaintiffs, objected to the submissions of Nwufor to substitute the dead plaintiffs on record.
Offordile said that the issue of representation of the plaintiffs was contentious, adding that it had to be resolved first before substitution.
Also, Mr Chimezie Nkwor, who also entered appearance for the plaintiffs, said that he was duly briefed to take over the matter from Offordile.
Nkwor said that he had filed and served Offordile the application of change of counsel in the matter, adding that the application was ripe for hearing.
The counsel, while moving the motion on the application, told the court that he was the right person to represent the community.
He prayed the court to recognise him as the rightful counsel to the plaintiffs and strike out Offordile’ name as the plaintiffs’ counsel.
In an interview, Offordile told NAN that he had been representing the community since the matter started in 2005.
He however said that some young men in the community brought an application for change of counsel in the matter.
“But there are others who said they do not have problems with me as their counsel,” Offordile said.
The judge, who had earlier told the counsels that the court would prefer to resolve the issue of legal representation, adjourned the matter until Sept. 29, for continuation of adoption of processes.
NAN recalls that no fewer than six judges of the state high court have heard the matter since it was instituted.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ejike Obeta
Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says he does not wish to have any more disputes with club captain Lionel Messi.
This was after the Argentina captain reluctantly opted to stay at the club this month after failing to force through a move.
“I won’t get into any conflict with him. He’s our captain and the leader of our team,” Bartomeu said before the team’s 1-0 friendly win over Elche on Saturday.
“I couldn’t let him leave the club. He is the best player of all time and the team needs him. Having Messi is a guarantee of success.”
Messi had complained earlier this month that Bartomeu had not fulfilled a promise to allow him to break his contract unilaterally and leave the club without a transfer fee.
He had also lashed out at the president’s leadership.
But Bartomeu chose not to fire back against Barca’s all-time top goalscorer.
Instead, he praised Messi for turning a page and performing well in the team’s pre-season matches, including scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Girona last week.
“We have seen him do his talking on the pitch and we have moved on from the saga,” Bartomeu added.
“We should congratulate ourselves for getting Messi to stay with us and for how he has behaved in the last few days. The best player in the world should stay at our home.”
Bartomeu has been in the firing line ever since Barca’s historic 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals last month.
He came under renewed pressure after a campaign group gathered over 20,000 signatures from members to force a vote of no-confidence against him.
In compliance with the club’s statutes, Barca are currently validating the votes and if over 16,520 are approved, then a referendum will be held in the next three months.
Two-thirds of 150,000 members are needed to vote against Bartomeu to force his dismissal.
Yet Bartomeu, who will be leaving the role after elections in March regardless of what happens with the motion of censure, ruled out resigning.
“The board and I will keep working to ensure we have the most competitive team possible,” he said.
“We will speak again after validating the votes, but right now no one wants to quit. The club won’t stop and we will keep working, we have lots of issues to sort out.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Sultan turbans 15 District Heads in Sokoto
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Saturday turbaned 15 new District Heads in Sokoto State.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ceremony followed the demise of the District Heads of the respective areas.
Abubakar congratulated the newly turbaned Heads and urged them to ensure the best representation for their communities in the Sultanate Council.
“Your turbanning is an added responsibility and opportunity to serve the society, as such I urge all of you to remain focused in ensuring sustainable development to the people.
“You are all aspected to continue to work closely with your community in ensuring sustainable peace and unity in the state,” he said.
The Sultan further prayed for the new district heads and for peace and prosperity in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN ) reports that those turbaned include the district head of Kware, Alhaji Muhammadu Dan’iya, father of the Sokoto State Deputy Governor and Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, as District Head of Tsamiya, among others.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh/ Maharazu Ahmed
Police in Anambra arrest 3 suspects for alleged abduction, rape of job seeker
The Police Command in Anambra has arrested three suspects, who allegedly abducted and raped a 24-year-old woman under the pretext of securing a job for her.
The command’s Spokesman, SP Haruna Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement in Awka on Saturday.
Mohammed said the suspects allegedly raped the victim repeatedly while in thier custody, inspite of collecting N400,000 ransom from her relatives.
He identified the suspects as Ekwugha Chinazo, 25; Chidiebere Ogoegbunam, 24; and David Nnaemeka,19.
Mohammed however did not expose the identity of the victim.
He said: “On Sept. 19, at about 2:00p.m., police operatives attached to the Command Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested the syndicate at Awkuzu in the Oyi Local Government Area.
“The suspects had on Sept. 13, lured a 24-year old lady residing at St. Micheal Hostel, Temporary Site, Awka, under the pretext of securing for her a beauty make-up job.
“They picked her at Ukpo Junction along Enugu-Onitsha expressway and took her to an isolated building at Awkuzu, where they allegedly raped the victim repeatedly while in captivity for two days.”
According to him, the suspects have voluntarily confessed to the crime and the victim taken to the hospital for medical examination.
He said investigation was still ongoing after which the suspects would be brought to book.
“Consequently, the command enjoins the public to be wary of this new trend of crime and report suspicious persons through the police emergency number 07039194332 or the nearest police station for prompt response please,” he advised.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Ejike Obeta
Ebonyi Bus Plunge: FRSC confirms 14 corpses retrieved from river
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ebonyi has confirmed the retrieval of 14 corpses from the Akeze-Ukwu river after a Mercedes Benz 608 model bus plunged into it on Friday evening.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bus was conveying members of a particular church who attended their pastor’s burial and were returning to Enugu when the incident occurred.
The bus driver was said to have lost control of the vehicle while trying to overtake an articulated vehicle on the bridge but five victims were rescued unconscious on Friday.
“Seven males and seven females, all adults were inside the vehicle all and they were all dead.
“Their corpses have been deposited at the Mater Misericordae Hospital, Afikpo, but both professional divers from Port Harcourt and the local ones are still searching for more victims,” she said.
Uchegbu said that with five persons rescued on Friday and 14 corpses retrieved on Saturday, it was clear that there more victims still missing.
“This sums to 19 recovered persons as against the expected 32 passengers on board the bus.
“The FRSC personnel are still on ground, maintaining free flow of traffic with the road cordoned to motorists since Friday,” she said.
Chief Onyebuchi Ogbadu, Chairman of Ivo Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, disclosed that the state government hired divers from Rivers and Cross River to assist in the rescue efforts.
“The divers located the bus inside the river, pushed it to enable the crane pull it from the river,” he said.
Sources close to NAN revealed that the driver was one of the persons rescued on Friday and he disclosed when he regained consciousness that 32 persons were inside the bus.
“The driver said he managed to dive from the bus as it plunged into the river,” the source claimed.
Edited By: Peter Ejuiofor)