Nigeria: Human right activist Timipa Jenkins petitioned President Buhari to sack supreme court judge..

A lawyer and human rights’ activist, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Supreme Court Judge, Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili over allegations of judicial misconduct and abuse of privilege.

SaharaReporters gathered that Okponipere’s troubles with the Odilis began sometime in December 2006 when he led his law firm, First Law Solicitors, to conduct a referendum on corruption and politically-motivated killings in Rivers State under the former governor Peter Odili and Justice Mary Peter-Odili as First Lady of the state.

Following the widely acclaimed referendum, Odili lost the presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held on December 12, 2006, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

The former governor also lost out in the shadow race for the PDP Vice presidential ticket, as Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was declared the running mate to Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, the eventual winner of the presidential ticket.

Odili and his spouse, Justice Mary Peter-Odili reportedly saw Okponipere as the architect behind their loss of the PDP presidential and vice-presidential tickets, and promptly got him arrested and charged before Justice Biobele Georgewill of the Rivers State High Court on January 17, 2007.

The matter subsequently progressed from the Rivers State High Court to the Court of Appeal (Port Harcourt Division) and eventually, to the Supreme Court in 2010.

By that time, however, Justice Mary Peter-Odili was already a Justice of the apex court, and she eventually sat on the Supreme Court panel which heard and determined the suit on February 8, 2013: a criminal appeal in which her spouse was the Chief Complainant and Prosecutor against Okponipere.

The lawyer in a statement made available to SaharaReporters said several petitions he wrote to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the judge were not acted on.

He urged the Nigerian Bar Association to pressure Justice Peter-Odili to submit herself to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the NJC while the commission should redeem its image by standing up to its responsibility.

Okponipere called on President Buhari to rescue the situation as the judge “deserves nothing but dismissal from the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

He said, “Justice Mary Peter-Odili abused her position as a Judge of the apex court in the country when she simultaneously became the Complainant, the Prosecutor and the Judge in Criminal Appeal No: SC 250/2010 (TIMIPA OKPONIPERE Vs. STATE) which came before the Supreme Court in 2013.

This unprecedented judicial misconduct is capable of seeing her being dismissed from the Supreme Court bench. In the over 60 years history of the modern Supreme Court of Nigeria, not a single Justice of the revered apex court in the country, apart from Justice Mary Peter-Odili, has been so dragged before the NJC for such an unbefitting judicial conduct.

The legal principle/maxim of NEMO JEDEX IN CAUSA SUA (one cannot be a Judge in his own cause) is an elementary principle of Law. For a Supreme Court Judge of Mary Peter-Odili’s calibre, she rose through the ranks from the Magistracy to fall foul to such an elementary principle, explains her shallow knowledge of Law but deep involvement in judicial corruption.

On January 12, 2007 the Rivers State Government filed an 8 counts Information/Charge known as CHARGE NO: PHC/30CR/2007 (STATE Vs. TIMIPA OKPONIPERE) at a Rivers State High Court sitting at Port Harcourt against TIMIPA JENKINS OKPONIPERE, Port Harcourt lawyer and human rights activist, upon a criminal complaint by the then Governor of the State, His Excellency, Sir (Dr) Peter Odili. Certified true copy of the 8 counts Information/Charge is attached herewith.

All of the 8 counts of the Information/Charge were directly linked or connected with the person of Dr. Peter Odili and his failed 2007 presidential bid. So, under his watch as Governor of Rivers State, vigorous prosecution of the matter commenced before Justice Biobele Georgewill (now of the Court of Appeal). Dr. Peter Odili thus became the Complainant and the Prosecutor in the matter while Mr. Okponipere, being a Legal Practitioner, defended himself in person.

By means of an Interlocutory Appeal, the matter progressed from the Rivers State High Court to the Court of Appeal (Port Harcourt division) and eventually, to the Supreme Court in Abuja as Criminal Appeal No: SC 250/2010 (TIMIPA OKPONIPERE Vs. STATE). At about the same period, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, wife to Dr. Peter Odili (the Complainant and Prosecutor), had also been newly elevated to the Supreme Court bench.

By virtue of her status as wife to Dr. Peter Odili (the Complainant and Prosecutor), Justice Mary Peter-Odili ought to have recused herself from hearing and delivering Judgment in Criminal Appeal No: SC 250/2010 (TIMIPA OKPONIPERE Vs. STATE) when the matter progressed to the Supreme Court.

However, against all known canons of natural justice, equity and good conscience, Justice Mary Peter-Odili shamelessly and brazenly sat on the 5-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which heard and delivered Judgment in a Criminal Appeal where her husband, Dr. Peter Odili, was the Complainant and the Prosecutor. Automatically therefore, she simultaneously became the Complainant, the Prosecutor and the Judge, in her own cause. This was a clear and manifest abuse of judicial privilege.

Judgment was delivered in the matter on February 8, 2013 with Justice Olukayode Ariwoola delivering the Lead Judgment. Other members of the 5-man panel of Justices included Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad (the current Chief Justice of Nigeria & Chairman, National Judicial Council); John Afolabi Fabiyi; Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili (delivered Concurring Judgment) and; Kumah Bayang Akaahs. Certified true copy of the Lead Judgment and Justice Mary Odili’s Concurring Judgment are attached herewith.

In a petition on oath filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on July 17, 2020 (over a year ago!) and submitted same day to the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria & Chairman of the NJC, Mr. Okponipere urged the NJC to take disciplinary action against Justice Mary Peter-Odili for gross violation of Rules 8 and 12 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in Nigeria. Copy of Mr. Okponipere’s petition to the NJC is attached herewith.

Rule 8.1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in Nigeria states thus: A Judge shall not allow the Judge’s family, social or political relationships improperly to influence the Judge’s judicial conduct and judgment as a Judge.

Rule 8.3 of the Code imposes a duty on Judicial Officers to avoid pursuing self-interest. It states: A Judge who takes advantage of the judicial office for personal gain by his or her relative or relation abuses power. A Judge must avoid all activity that suggests that his or her decisions are affected by self-interest or favoritism, since such abuse of power profoundly violates the public’s trust in the judiciary.

Rule 12 of the Code makes provision for “Disqualification”. Justice Mary Peter-Odili is particularly liable under this Rule. Among others, Rule 12.1 states: A Judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality may genuinely and reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to the instances where: (a) he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal

knowledge of facts in dispute; (c) he knows that he individually or as a Judicial Officer or his spouse or child; has a financial or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.

In a letter with Reference No. NJC/F.1/SC.11/I/241 dated 24th August, 2020 the Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council acknowledged receipt of Mr. Okponipere’s petition and assured him that action was being taken. Copy of the letter is attached herewith.

However, more than a year after, no action has been taken against Justice Mary Peter-Odili. There seems to be a grand design by the NJC to sweep Mr. Okponipere’s legitimate petition under the carpet. Once Justice Mary Peter-Odili retires from the Supreme Court bench in May, 2022 the petition shall naturally become worthless.

No responsible government would sit idly and watch its Supreme Court being denigrated and ridiculed by the controversial actions of one of the Justices of the same Honourable Court. Accordingly, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari, Africa’s Champion of Anti-Corruption, to rescue the situation. Justice Mary Ukaego Peter-Odili deserves nothing but DISMISSAL from the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The NBA should be made to call on Justice Mary Peter-Odili to submit herself to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the NJC. 30. The NJC should redeem its image by standing up to its responsibility. Firm and decisive disciplinary action should be taken against Justice Mary Odili, without delay. Finally, the media should jettison all forms of gullibility and display courage and bravery in the overall interest of preserving the integrity and dignity of the Judiciary in the country.

FM proposes establishment of Iran-Armenian economic commission.

Hossein Amirabdollahian and Ararat Mirzoyan in their Wednesday night phone talk focused on various issues, such as bilateral relations, economic cooperation, the two countries’ joint economic commission, the ECO summit meeting, and the regional and international developments.

The Iranian foreign minister said that Iran-Armenia relations are quite logical and ever onward, asking for their further comprehensive expansion.

He expressed satisfaction about the recent months’ growth of the two countries’ relations and highlighted the significance of expansion of ties in political and economic grounds, as well as the other fields.

The Iranian foreign minister announced the readiness of the Iranian companies for having a stronger presence in Armenian Republic.

Amirabdollahian said in the phone talk that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s basic policy is not accepting any change in regional countries international borders, expressed Tehran’s worries about the recent military clashes in Caucasus region, and asked for self-restraint and respecting the territorial integrity of all regional countries.

The Armenian foreign minister, too, in the phone talk referred to the proposed roadmap for the two countries’ relations which was emphasized in his recent visit of Tehran and announced his country’s readiness for sponsoring the joint economic commission and expansion of economic ties with Iran.

Ararat Mirzoyan praised the Islamic Republic of Iran’s standpoint on the need to respect the territorial integrity of every country and announced Yerevan’s determination to expand comprehensive relations with Iran.

He, meanwhile, repeated his invitation for his Iranian counterpart’s visit to Armenia.

Stat Tuned!!..

Sweden’s first female prime minister Magdalena Andersson resign.

Hours after being tapped as Sweden’s first female prime minister, Magdalena Andersson resigned Wednesday after suffering a budget defeat in parliament and her coalition partner the Greens left the two-party minority government.

The government’s own budget proposal was rejected in favour of one presented by the opposition that includes the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Sweden’s third-largest party is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement. The vote was 154-143 in favour of the opposition’s budget proposal.

Andersson, leader of the Social Democratic party, decided it was best to step down from the post more than seven hours after she made history by becoming the first woman to lead the country.

“For me, it is about respect, but I also do not want to lead a government where there may be grounds to question its legitimacy,” Andersson told a news conference.

Andersson, who was finance minister before briefly becoming prime minister, informed parliamentary Speaker Andreas Norlen that she is still interested in leading a Social Democratic one-party government.

Norlen, the speaker of Sweden’s 349-seat parliament, said he will contact Sweden’s eight party leaders “to discuss the situation.” On Thursday, he will announce the road ahead.

Andersson said that “a coalition government should resign if a party chooses to leave the government. Despite the fact that the parliamentary situation is unchanged, it needs to be tried again.

Even though the Green Party pulled its support for her government, it said it is prepared to stand behind Andersson in a new vote to tap a prime minister.

But the Greens said it was in the best interests of the party to pull support for her after the budget defeat in parliament.

We have a united party behind us saying we can not sit in a government that implements a policy (the Sweden Democrats) negotiated. We must look our voters in the eye and feel pride,” said Marta Stenevi, Green Party spokeswoman as the party chose to resign from the government.

The other Green Party spokesperson Per Bolund said “that is something we deeply regret.”

Earlier in the day, Andersson said she could “govern the country with the opposition’s budget.

The approved budget was based on the government’s own proposal but of the 74 billion kronor ($8.2 billion) that the government wanted to spend on reforms, just over 20 billion kronor ($2.2 billion) will be redistributed next year, Swedish broadcaster SVT said. The approved budget aims at reducing taxes, increased salaries for police officers and more money to different sectors of Sweden’s judiciary system.

Andersson’s appointment as prime minister had marked a milestone for Sweden, viewed for decades as one of Europe’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender relations, but which had yet to have a woman in the top political post.

Andersson had been tapped to replace Stefan Lofven as party leader and prime minister, roles he relinquished earlier this year.

Earlier in the day, 117 lawmakers voted yes to Andersson, 174 rejected her appointment while 57 abstained and one lawmaker was absent.

Under the Swedish Constitution, prime ministers can be named and govern as long as a parliamentary majority — a minimum of 175 lawmakers — is not against them.

Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!.

Nigeria: Governor of Kaduna State El-Rufai under fire from PDP over comment.

Gov. Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State has come under fire for begging Nigerians not to vote for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP in 2023, claiming that PDP, if voted into power will take the country backwards.

El-rufai who made the remarks in Kaduna further accused PDP senators from the state of stalling development in the state, urging Nigerians to avoid PDP in 2023 so as not to be taken back to the “problems of yesterday,

But in a swift reaction, PDP Vice Chairman, Abia North senatorial district, Chief Amah Abraham, accused the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, of standing truth in the head.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..

South Africa: Jacob Zuma ‘fine’ and back home after routine hospital visit, family confirms.

Former president Jacob Zuma is “fine” and back at his Nkandla home after a routine visit to a Johannesburg hospital last week, his family said on Wednesday.

Jacob Zuma

Both of Zuma’s brothers confirmed that he has returned to his Nkandla homestead.

Joseph Zuma told our source, that though he had not seen his brother because he was in Durban, he called twice to check on him on Wednesday.

I called around noon and I was told to call back later because he was dealing with a lot of people who had come to see him at home. I called again this afternoon and I was told he is not available so he is home, there’s no problem. He is fine, he said.

Zuma’s other brother, Khanya, said he too had not had a chance to go to the homestead, which is not too far from his.

I heard that he is back. I will try to go and see him, he said.

Last week Joseph told our source: “We are not overly worried because it is just a regular check-up nothing serious. He goes to the doctor from time to time but he is not sick. 

Zuma was admitted to a military hospital for medical treatment in August, shortly after he began serving his 15-month jail term at the Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt of court. His undisclosed illness saw him granted medical parole by the department of correctional services.

The 79-year-old former head of state has been in and out of hospital since 2014. Khanya previously told our source that Zuma had been unwell since he was poisoned in 2014.

In October, the Sunday Times reported that Zuma was spotted out and about for the first time since he was granted medical parole, at Sibaya Casino in Durban. The Sunday Times received a tip-off that Zuma was meeting close allies there, among them former Luthuli House staffer Carl Niehaus and former SAA chair Dudu Myeni.

Zuma’s visit to the casino raised eyebrows because a day earlier he had told supporters gathered for his welcome-home party that he could not attend the event because of his strict parole conditions. The department of correctional services confirmed at the time that Zuma was granted permission to attend the meeting.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..

U.K., Irish Statement on Colombian Peace Agreement Anniversary.

On Wednesday, 147 parliamentarians from the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Houses of the Oireachtas of the Republic of Ireland, and the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland signed a declaration to support the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). The text of this declaration is presented below.

We take this moment of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian state and the FARC-EP to reiterate its historic importance and our ongoing commitment to supporting its full implementation.

We recognize the international community has a responsibility to support the Colombian people in their efforts to ensure the success of the peace process as declared through United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2261 of 2016 and 2366 of 2017.

We welcome the full compliance of the FARC-EP with its obligations regarding the laying down of weapons, as was verified by the United Nations on 27 June 2017, and its ongoing fulfilment of its obligations relating to the transitional justice process being carried out under the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition.

We highlight the important progress being made by the transitional justice system in general through its three components, the Truth Commission, the Unit for the Search of Disappeared Persons and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). We consider all three to be integral structures for the hope of a sustainable peace in Colombia, and we give our full support to their ongoing work. 

However, five years since its signing, we must express our profound concern at the lack of progress overall. The lack of implementation by the Colombian government of some its crucial obligations in the agreement has left the peace process weakened and is denying the Colombian people the opportunity to experience the agreement’s transformative potential to build a sustainable and lasting peace. 

The first chapter of the agreement focused on rural reform has advanced far too slowly. A similar picture is faced regarding the chapter on illicit crops with far too few of the families who entered into the manual substitution programme being given access to an alternative economic project, a fundamental part of the agreement to ensure sustainability.

We welcome the transformation of the FARC-EP into a political party engaged in parliamentary politics and, while delays have been worrying, we hope to see imminently the full activation of the 16 specially created congressional seats for areas with high levels of historic violence. Advancement in these areas is particularly important given they relate to the structural causes behind the armed conflict.

We congratulate the significant efforts being made by former FARC combatants to set up cooperatives and economic projects as part of their reincorporation process, often with essential support from the international community. However, roughly half have still not been given access to funds, thereby undermining a fundamental commitment in the agreement.

Meanwhile the lack of security in many rural areas and the urgent human rights crisis is extremely alarming. Over 290 former FARC combatants and approximately 1000 community activists have been killed since the peace agreement was signed.

The Colombian peace agreement remains Colombia’s best hope to respond to this crisis. The peace agreement offers a major opportunity to take significant steps in addressing the historic, structural factors that have been at the root of so much violence over so many years.

It is essential that the current and future Colombian governments remember that it is their obligation to implement the peace agreement as it was signed, a commitment made in front of the international community and enshrined in the Colombian constitution. A recent report from the Comptroller General in Colombia stated that at the current rate of funding implementation would take 26 years rather than the stipulated 15 – this is a damning reflection of the attention given to the peace process in recent years. 

Just as the international community’s involvement assisted Colombia in reaching the historic moment five years ago which saw the signing of the agreement which brought an end to a half-century armed conflict, it continues to have an important role to play. We will keep working in our respective parliaments and with all those internationally committed to supporting peace in Colombia to ensure the weight of the international community remains focused on implementation of the 2016 agreement and building a complete, stable, and lasting peace. 

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..

Italy Curbs Social Life of the Unvaccinated person as Covid Cases Rise.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has approved new curbs targeting mainly unvaccinated people in a bid to shield Italy from a surge of coronavirus cases elsewhere in Europe.

Only those with proof of inoculation, a certificate known as the “super green pass, will be permitted to access venues such as restaurants, cinemas and theaters. The unvaccinated will still be allowed to enter their workplace after testing negative for the virus.

The rules which were approved during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday will apply starting from Dec. 6, according to a government statement.

The clampdown in Italy was approved as Europe grapples with another wave of the disease. Austria has reimposed a full lockdown and is proposing compulsory vaccinations and Germany is discussing tougher measures.

Italy endured one of the worst outbreaks of Covid at the start of the pandemic. It now has one of Europe’s highest inoculation rates, with 84% of the population aged over 12 fully vaccinated. But the country has been facing an increase in cases that threatens the Christmas tourist season. 

This week, the government shortened from six to five months the time frame to receive a booster shot. Sweden announced Wednesday that it will offer all adults a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, after a six-month gap, and France is discussing opening up boosters to more adults.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..

Dozens of people drown in English Channel’s deadliest ever migrant accident.

Dozens of people were found dead on Wednesday in the English Channel the waters between France and the UK  after their inflatable dinghy capsized, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

A local official said it was the worst accident in the English Channel involving migrants on record.

This is no doubt the worst accident involving migrants trying to make it to Britain, Franck Dhersin, mayor of the French district of Teteghem and vice president of transport for the northern France region told Reuters news agency.

Earlier, Dhersin had said 24 corpses had been recovered and 26 people were found alive. Local news channel BFM earlier reported that at least 27 people had died in the incident.

The incident ocurred near the French coastal cities of Calais and Dunkirk.

A rescue operation was still underway, after local fishermen spotted the an empty small dinghy and with bodies on the water.

Two helicopters and three police or rescue boats were at the scene, local authorities said.

French Prime Minister Gerard Darmarin said he would travel to the scene. “We cannot say enough about the criminal nature of the smugglers who organize these crossings, Darmarin wrote in a tweet.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would chair an emergency meeting after hearing news of the incident.

The English Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The currents on the water are strong, which makes the seemingly short voyage rather dangerous.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..

Britain: Leave Ethiopia now, UK Govt tell citizens in Ethiopia.

Britain on Wednesday urged its nationals to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible, citing the potential for fighting to move closer to the capital.

The conflict in Ethiopia is deteriorating quickly, Africa minister Vicky Ford said.

In the coming days, we may see fighting move closer to Addis Ababa, which could severely limit options for British nationals to leave Ethiopia, she said.

I am urging all British nationals whatever their circumstance to leave immediately while commercial flights are readily available and (the airport) remains open.

Oneworldnews Stay Tuned!!..