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Blasphemy: Nigerians knock Ganduje, say he does not have a single shred of religious legitimacy

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ABDULLAHI Ganduje, Governor of State Governor has come under criticism from Nigerians for saying that the Kano State government would not add one minute to sign the execution order passed on Shariff Sharifai, a musician convicted for blasphemy.

Ganduje reportedly said during at a stakeholder meeting on the death penalty at the Government House, Kano on Thursday that the State Government has accepted the death penalty on Sharif noting that the verdict would be signed in 30 days.

“Kano State Government has accepted the judgement passed by the Sharia Court and it has also accepted the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Ganduje  had said.

He noted that the convict has a 30-day grace to appeal the judgement, adding that failure to do so within that time would lead to the government signing the death penalty.

“In the event the convict appeals the judgement, we shall wait and follow the case up to the Appeal Court. If he further appeals to the Supreme Court, we shall follow the case there. If the Supreme Court upholds the two lower court judgement, the governor of Kano State will not add one minute to sign the execution order,” the governor said.

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He also raised alarm on the growing issue of blasphemy adding that the government would ensure that it is curbed in the state.

Sharif, a resident of Sharifai in Kano metropolis, was accused of committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad in a song he shared on WhatsApp in March 2020.

Subsequently, the singer’s home was razed down by angry protesters who marched on to Kano Hisbah command’s headquarters to lay a complaint against the actions of Sharif.

In a verdict delivered by Aliyu Kani, the judge presiding over the case at the Kano Upper Shari’a Court, sentenced Sharif to death by hanging.

He was convicted based on Section 382 (b) of Kano Penal Code of 2000.

However, moments after Ganduje’s decision on the verdict, Nigerians reacted by calling him out for stating that he would carry out the execution of the musician.

Many of those who reacted wondered why anyone would want to fight for God by killing another human being.

Abdulbasit Kassim, a Ph.D. candidate in Religion and a Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Thought in Africa at Northwestern University in a tweet said the governor does not have a single shred of religious legitimacy.

“Governor Abdullahi Ganduje does not have a single shred of religious legitimacy. He is neither an Imam nor a caliph. His role in this verdict is an abuse of the sharīʿa itself. What happened to the rule of “ʿidraʿu al-ḥudūd bi-l-shubuhat” and Istitābah?” Kassim’s tweet read.

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“This disposition of actively seeking for people’s death by all means in a region where Shari’a is class-based and full of egregious irregularities and irreconcilable contradictions is unbecoming. As ugly as Yusuf’s utterances, he is repentant and deserves another chance.”

A Twitter user @FakhuusHashim, a member of North-Normal, a Non-Governmental Organisation calling for the end of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria said the Nigerian President should interveneto stop this judgement from being carried out.

She said, “I continuously call for the condemnation of the death sentence of #FreeYahayaShariffAminu on the false charges of blasphemy in Kano. @NGRPresident must intervene to stop this judgement from being carried out. Lawyers must advice Mr Yahaya to seek an appeal.”

“Today, Ganduje is Khadimul Islam but I see him with both hands on him even though he was caught stealing with evidence. They have re-crowned him & forgiven him for theft for the price of killing a man whose allegations cause no harm to another human, Certainly not the Prophet.”

“But do you know the cost of Ganduje stealing? On a spiritual level, as Muslims we all know what Allah said on Leaders that betray the trust of their people. On a practical level, that’s your schools, your safe roads, your hospitals, your clean water source in his pocket.”

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“Do you know what happens when public funds are not redirected to where they should go? # You have unequipped hospitals, unpaid doctors, dilapidated schools, your children in Limbo, unpaid teachers, the degradation of education, potholes in your roads, road accidents, people die.”

Also, Inibehe Effiong, a constitutional and human right lawyer, said Ganduje has not signed death warrant for criminals convicted for murder and armed robbery in Kano State but wants to use the corrupt hands he used in collecting bribes to sign the death warrant of a citizen over a comment deemed to be blasphemous. Boko Haram will be celebrating.

 

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JUSUN urges Buhari invoke Executive Order 10, deduct Judiciary allocation

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, has urged President Muhammadu to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Accountant General to deduct monies standing to the credit of the judiciary.

The Deputy President of JUSUN, Emmanuel Abioye, told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview in Abuja.

We call on the President to invoke his powers under Executive Order 10, by advising the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct at source, all funds due to State Judiciaries, and to pay same directly to the Heads of Courts in States that have refused to comply with the Executive Order 10, as constitutional directives are non-negotiable,” he said.

NAN reports that the union had, on May 5, vowed that the industrial action embarked upon to demand financial autonomy for state judiciaries would not be called off until the governors complied with the constitutional provisions.

JUSUN had begun a nationwide strike on Tuesday, April 6, when the union directed all its members across the federation to shut down all courts after the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum earlier given over the failure of the government to implement the law.

However on May 6, after a conciliation meeting between the government negotiating team with JUSUN and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, PASAN, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, expressed optimism that the workers’ union would soon call off the strike.

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They had fixed another meeting for Tuesday, May 11, for the unions to consult with their various National Executive Committees on the government proposal to their members.

My call to the Federal Government in this instance is that directive should be given to the public officer who is meant to carry out that assignment.

“And who is the person? It is the Accountant General of the Federation maybe through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

“In all these, we don’t even need the consent of the governors before the needful is done,” he said.

The union leader, who stated that Sections 121(3), 81(3) and 162(9) of the constitution clearly stipulated the autonomy of the judiciary and legislature, said it was disappointing that since Jan. 13, 2014, when the union got the Federal High Court judgment in its favour, the law was yet to be implemented.

 

What is needed is that the Accountant General of the Federation in conjunction with the directive of the AGF whatever ought to have deducted the money from the source,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on May 22, 2020, signed into law an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the federation.

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The Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 made it mandatory for all states to include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

The order also mandates the accountant general of the federation to deduct from source amount due to the state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state, for states that refuse to grant such autonom

NAN

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Judiciary

JUSUN Strike: Is the Judiciary Totally Helpless? What Does the ACJA 2015 Say -By Bayo Akinlade Esq

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Many people think that the JUSUN strike has totally paralysed the administration of justice mechanisms in Nigeria but this is a serious misconception.

On the contrary, the JUSUN strike is merely a catalyst to looking at ways to reconsider the human interface with our justice systems. Let’s examine some advantages the JUSUN strike presents to us.

1. Delivery of Judgements and Rulings can be done via zoom. Hardcopies of these judgements can be sent via electronic means

2. Resolution of disputes. With the lockdown of the courts, litigants should explore mediation. Lawyers can conduct mediation sessions in their chambers, litigants can use the multidoor court houses or take advantage of the Office of the Public Defender, Citizens mediation Center and other private mediation processes

3.

In Criminal cases,
Section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 provides that the Chief Magistrate or any magistrate designated by the Chief Judge for that purpose to conduct an inspection of police stations and other places of detention every month.

During the visit, the magistrate may:
(a) call for and inspect the record of arrests;
(b) direct the arraignment of a suspect, or
(c) where bail has been refused, grant bail to any suspect where
appropriate.

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4. Pending Court cases can be resolved between parties during the lockdown of courts if Lawyers can just talk to their clients and to each other. There is no problem that can’t be solved with negotiation and a spirit of intent to solve our client’s legal problems.

To focus a bit more on our Criminal Justice Systems, I ask; what happened to all those committees we set up for criminal Justice Reform or the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee established by the Act? What are they doing? Are they not meeting?

What happened to the other initiatives like the PDSS, District Prosecutors Scheme etc. What happened to the Human Rights Committees of the NBA, the Human Rights Institutions and other bodies set up to help the Justice Sector…..The JUSUN Strike is the best time to show the relevance of these initiatives and institutions.

Our respective Chief Judges go on prison visitation yearly and they sit as a court in correctional facilities, so what stops a magistrate or judge from going to these correctional facilities to do the same thing? All they would need is their legal assistants and Correctional center officers to do the paper work afterall the Judges and Magistrates are only expected to make a PRONOUNCEMENT

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What is stopping Magistrates from visiting Police detention centers? With the PDSS on ground and a volunteer group of lawyers to accompany them, they now have every support to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.

The Judiciary has been accused of many things including the fact that they know what to do but they are too lazy or they don’t care….I don’t want to believe this because these men and women on the bench are lawyers like me, they chose a higher calling on the bench, they gave up economic prospects to serve this nation, they gave up their social and political freedoms to live a life of seclusion and commitment to Justice.

I believe in many of our Judges and Magistrates. I have no doubt that they will be more effective if they had the independence to do what they are called to do.

Let’s think outside the box!

 

Bayo Akinlade Esq is the national convener of Fight Corruption in the Judiciary and promotes PDSS nationwide

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Judiciary

Obedience to Constitution Non-negotiable, Judicial, Legislative Workers Tell FG insists on full autonomy for both judicial and legislative workers

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•Insist on implementation of full financial autonomy for judiciary, legislature

There seems to be no end in sight for the industrial action by the judiciary and legislative workers pressing for the full implementation of financial autonomy for the two arms of government in states as they have vowed not to compromise on their demands for the implementation of the 1999 Constitution as altered.

The workers, who have been on strike for about one month, said yesterday at a meeting with a federal government team, led by Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that the issue of financial autonomy for state legislatures and judiciaries was the constitutional provision that did not warrant any negotiation with governors.

The national leadership of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) also insisted that the governors must fully implement financial autonomy for the two arms of government in the 36 states of the federation as guaranteed by the constitution before the current strike will be called off.

But the federal government pleaded with the unions to consider the efforts being made to resolve the dispute and suspend their strike to enable courts and legislative houses to reopen

Ngige said yesterday in Abuja that progress had been made on about 90 per cent of the issues in dispute.

However, the meeting between the federal government team and the leadership of the unions ended last night with an agreement that the unions should go and study the government’s proposal, while the meeting reconvenes next week.

But earlier, during the opening of talks with the federal government team and representatives of the governors, the Deputy Chairman of JUSUN, Mr. Emmanuel Abioye, said the unions still maintained their stance on the full implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary and legislative arms of government in the states.

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Abioye, while responding to the minister’s address, said: “I am happy that when you were talking, you said it is a constitutional issue and so since it is a constitutional issue, I don’t think we should negotiate on it. We are trying to avoid someone somewhere coming to challenge the constitution one day. So, anything short of this is not why we are here.”

Also, President of PASAN, Mr. Mohammed Usman, said the meeting availed them the opportunity to receive the fresh proposals by the governors, adding that the unions resolved to present the proposals to their national executive committees.

He stated that the unions would be reporting their decisions to the government at another meeting next Tuesday, adding that the strike will continue.

According to him, the governors only agreed to shift ground on the issue of ceding money for capital projects to the two arms of government.

“Aside from the ceding of capital projects, there is nothing new in the governors’ position. However, we are happy that the federal government has opened negotiations on the matter but we will not suspend the strike until there is agreement on the implementation of full autonomy,” he added.

Ngige, however, asked the workers to suspend the strike.

While welcoming the parties to the resumed negotiations, the minister said about 90 per cent progress had been achieved in harmonising issues with the governors.

Ngige expressed optimism that the strike would soon end.

He said the government side had made offers to the two unions for them to consult with their various National Executive Committees and revert back.

According to him, a lot of work went into the proposal given by the government side to the two unions, which substantially addressed their demands for judicial and legislative autonomy in the 36 states of the country.

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The minister stated that the proposal was produced by the committee of the government side, comprising the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata (SAN); the Secretary of the Presidential Committee for the Implementation of Judicial and Legislative Autonomy, Senator Ita Enang; representative of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Director-General of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).

Ngige said: “A lot of work went in. We have exchanged briefs with the JUSUN and PASAN. They have their demands, which they had earlier submitted. The government side has given counter offers and properly addressed the burning issue of financial autonomy for state legislatures and judiciary.”

He stated that questions were asked and answered, while observations were made and explained, working on the proposal given by the government side.

Ngige said the meeting had been adjourned with a view to enable JUSUN and PASAN to take back the government proposal to their members for consideration.

We expect them to work on the documents from tomorrow and if they are satisfied, they should inform us. And you know that when they are satisfied, the logical thing is to call off the industrial dispute. So, we are to receive their views on the government offer by Tuesday morning,” he added.

Ngige said the discussions were fruitful, adding that they have moved from the initial position of ground zero, to ground 85.

He, however, appealed to the striking workers to return to work to enable the government to meet the remaining part of their demands.

We cannot do this when the legislatures are closed in various states. We cannot also operationalise them when the courts are closed and heads of courts are not allowed into the courts or their offices.

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“We have made documentation and statistics for the state Houses of Assembly to make appropriate laws. So, we plead that you open the courts and state Houses of Assembly.

“Besides, we are menaced by bandits, terrorists and arsonists. With the courts closed, the police cannot tackle insecurity,” Ngige said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Eta Enang, who also spoke at the opening talks with representatives of JUSUN and PASAN, said the suspension of the strike had become necessary to enable the legislatures to pass legislation needed to ensure the smooth implementation of the financial autonomy.

“I just want to appeal to JUSUN and PASAN that we did not undertake all these efforts in vain and that when we arrive at a certain decision at the end of the technical session, you will be able to hit the ground running. We plead that you call off the strike because we will not be able to pass the necessary laws if the legislative houses remain closed,” he said.

According to him, from the engagement so far with the governors, he believed that the gap was being closed.

Enang stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had told the governors to do what was right to the judiciaries and legislatures in their states just as was being done at the federal level.

“The president is saying to the governors, go and treat the state legislature and judiciary arms the same way we treat the National Assembly and the judiciary at the federal level,” he added.

When asked to comment on the outcome of the meeting, Abioye said they were going back to meet with their National Executive Committees to study the situation and consider the offers made before reverting back to Ngige.

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