Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria: CLO Seek Release of Legal Practitioner from Police Cell in A’Ibom

June 17, 2017

The civil liberty organization in Akwa Ibom has called on the state commissioner of Police Mr. Donald Awunah to obey the order of a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo and ensure the release of one Augustine Edet, a legal practitioner who was arrested by the Akwa Ibom Police Command on June 12.

The release order was issued by Justice Futun Riman on Friday after entertaining the case brought before him by Barr Clifford Thomas, Counsel to the detained lawyer.

Speaking to newsmen, Barr Clifford Thomas explained that the police had  on June 12 visited Edet’s chamber along Ikot Ekpene road in Uyo and handcuffed him without any warrant.

Thomas, who is also the Chairman, Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), Akwa Ibom State chapter said the police that came to the plaintiff’s chamber claimed they were acting on instructions humiliated him without explanation.

He said that Edet was forcefully taken away to Shelter Afrique Police Station in Uyo, where he was detained.

According to Mr Clifford Thomas, On Tuesday June 13, 2017, the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, approached the Federal High Court, Uyo; and obtained an Order directing the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone, Calabar, and the Inspector General of Police, who are parties in the suit pending before the Court, to release the Lawyer, immediately and unconditionally.







June 11, 2017

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Unconfirmed reports indicate that lawyer Franc Utoo who was abducted last week has been freed.










From the depth of my heart I appreciate you all. Firstly and greatly, I thank God Almighty for His glory and mercies!

On Saturday morning, I was somewhere in Gwarinpa, Abuja, in company with my 4 year old son when I was accosted by 4 men in mufti who had trailed me. I was shown a warrant of arrest by the Police SIB in Makurdi, Benue State. I wondered why warrant had to be issued when I could report to an invitation to the station in my own town. I made an attempt to draw the attention of my bosom friend and colleague, firstly, Barr. Wilson Tertsea Iorshe for his information, but my phone was snatched and I was hurriedly bundled into a waiting vehicle leaving my son there watching and statuesqued with no immediate care from any quarter. I was left incommunicado for the duration of the journey as my phone was seized till the time of my release 27 hours later. I was also puzzled on the timing of the whisking when I have a case at the Supreme Court slated for Monday, June 12.

The arrest was allegedly necessitated based on a petition by the state Chairman of my party, the APC, Abba Yaro. I was shown a 2 page petition where he accused me of being very critical of him just “because I was roundly defeated by Dickson Tarkighir in the APC primaries for House of Reps” (the whole world know that’s not a correct statement!); that I sent to him a 3 page texts of threats (texts, YES! threat, that’s very INCORRECT!) What he didn’t say was that those texts were a response to the call he earlier made to me to threaten to deal with me and to institute a legal action against me for defamation, a process he had already commenced with a letter requesting me to retract. The texts were simply daring and yes, insulting. I resorted to texts because he called me, threatened me and hung up immediately. Martins Terlumun Nyam was there when I got that initial call. Lastly, in the petition, I was accused of recruiting men from Ekpoma to assassinate him (this sounds more like an act from Nite of A Thousand Laughs). As Hon. Daniel Onjeh would say at the police station, “the Franc I know can NEVER hurt a mosquito (that remains a notorious fact!).

Friends, I was spurred to write a brief analysis of what actually transpired here because I heard, last night, that the State Acting Publicity of APC, my younger brother and kinsman, Berger Alfred Emberga Mrp (the same boy who donated his gulf car for me to be bundled from Abuja to Makurdi (a classical Judas) released a statement to misrepresent facts and deceive gullible public. I also heard the police tried to justify her actions on Radio Benue news. That’s quite sad. I have always been, and will forever be against the use of state institutions by individuals to score personal points.

I was literally coerced by my father and political leader, Rt.Hon Avine Agbom, to write an undertaking never to send Abba Yaro texts and nothing more. The police was contented with that. The pressure generated by that case from all over the country and beyond was overwhelming. The idea was to cow me into silence and/or submission. None was achieved and none is possible. Our insatiable demands for a right, just and egalitarian society where the system works not for some people or most people but for all people, can never be compromised!

I’ll conclude by thanking God Almighty for that situation; it could have been worse. I want to deeply sympathise with my son because the experience may be traumatic to him, at that an early age. I still don’t know how the story of my bundling was unveiled. I sincerely appreciate the effort of the following persons who trooped to the station just about 5 minutes after my arrival there:
My dad and political leader of my people, Hon Avine Agbom – APC (Assembly Member for Makurdi North); Hon. Terseer Adzuu -PDP (Assembly Member of my LG, Guma); Barr. Emmanuel Agbakor (Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Makurdi branch); my brothers, Jila Barnabas, Jonathan Modi, Vitalis Dino Hwande, Modom Barnabas.

I want to thank the uncountable number of persons who visited and laid physical siege at the police headquarters and for the roles they all played: my big brother, Chief John Akperashi, Dan Onjeh, Barr. Agbo Jerry Madaki Hon. Terna-kester Kyenge, Nat Apir, Kula Tersoo, Gideon Doo Inyom, Shighe Ityohen Moses, Saater Tiseer, Moses Pila, Fanuchii Fanen Amenger, Terseer Ugbor, Bemdoo Hulugh, Aver Angweh, Gurgur Japheth MP, Austin Agada,Joe ‘Poxy’ Idoko, Indigenous Prince Isaka, Eucharia Iordye, Winifred Daniel, Jethro Kaluba Annum, David Zaan, Mathias Agbo Omikpa, the entire APC Hausa Forum, the APC Isherev Forum led by my brothers, Ashinjo Peter and Ioraor Mtan. KOBA led by Adamu Tanimu Na’laraba, et al.

Very importantly, to my leader, Jime Emmanuel Jime, who took care of proceedings; Amb. Dickson Akoh who made sure things remain smooth; Hon. Abba Moro, for his endless contacts; Governor Ortom, for the Press Release extricating the government; Senator Akume, for his interventions; Gabriel Suswam, for sending a delegation; Engr. Felix Atume, Paul Ankwa Edeh, Prince Yemi Itodo, Benjamin Agbamo, Mimi Atedze, Col. Raymond Terungwa Utsaha, Sunday Akoji, VATIM and MAFO, the NBA and the Golden Jubilee set of the Nigerian Law School, Dr.Chike Amobi, Awele Henry Chigbue, Aposu Anande Linus, for taking up the matter more than I could have done! And for the tireless efforts of my lovely wife, Brenda Utoo, angelic auntie Margaret Bai-Tachia, auntie Tolufashe Funmilayo A, uncle Simon Bai, Khalifa Bello, my parents and siblings, I say THANK YOU! To the NBA Makurdi branch who had mobilised hundreds of her members and the over 15 groups who had organised thousands for a mass protest if I was not released, I can’t thank you enough.

Above all, I dedicate my freedom (which came after 27 hours like Nelson Mandela’s 27 years, and with a release of heavenly shower of blessings in Makurdi immediately I stepped out of the police station) to ALL OF YOU out here. You are too numerous for individual names to be mentioned. I have never been shown this kind of love. You pressured and drew the attention of the world. You caused people to call me and sent messages from all parts of the world. You exposed the real power of the social media. You sent a strong message that our time is come. You have proven that any status quo can be altered and change can come when million of voices stand up for the same purpose and in unison demand for change. Societies everywhere change because a group of people fired by higher ideals consciously get together and creatively destroy an existing dysfunctional order.
The message is now loud and the will is strong!!!

“You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Yours In Service,

Franc Fagah Utoo, Esq. LQC (Malaysia); LL.B (Hons) (Newcastle,UK)


Nigeria: BREAKING: Social activist, Franc Utoo abducted in Abuja

June 10, 2017

Foremost Benue born social activist, Barr. Franc Utoo has been abducted by unknown gunmen.

Utoo was abducted on Saturday, in the presence of his 2 kids, around Chambian Plaza in Gwarimpa-Abuja.

The unknown gunmen, who were said to be in mufti, apparently trailed Utoo from his house when he went out with the kids and house help to pick some groceries from the supermarket.

The abductors, however, were alleged to have told the house help that they had orders from some powerful politicians in Benue State Goverment and the State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to pick Barr. Utoo.

When contacted, a Police source in Makurdi, Benue State capital, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the arrest of Utoo.

The source disclosed that the APC stalwart was being held by the Police Authority at the state command on the order of an APC chieftain, who complained that Barr. Utoo insulted him on facebook.










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Nigeria: I did not order arrest of judges – Buhari

May 19, 2017

Following the arrest, last year of some Federal High Court Judges and Supreme Court Justices, an Abakaliki based lawyer, Onu John Onwe have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to court.

Also joined in the suit are the Director of State Security Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu and National Judicial Council (NJC).

The DSS had in a commando-style on the night of 7th and 8th of October 2016 raided the homes of some judges, searched their residences, arrested and detained them.

Some of the Judges including Justice Nwali Ngwuta of the Supreme court are still standing trial for alleged corruption.

Apparently worried at the manner the whole operation was conducted, the treatment metted out to the judges, and its legal and political implication on the rule of law and activities of the judiciary, Onwe filed a suit at the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki accusing the defendants of not acting in accordance with the rule of law.


Nigeria: Court fines Gov. El-Rufai N50,000 for breaching lawyer’s right to life

May 15, 2017

Kaduna State High Court 9 presided by Hon. Justice Esther Lolo, Monday asked Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna state to pay N50,000 as fine to one Barrister Gloria Mabeiam Ballason in suit nos KDH/KAD/164/17 between her and the governor.

The court also restrained the governor from arresting, prosecuting and jailing the young lawyer for expressing her published opinion in a Nigerian newspaper.

The case which was first mentioned on 1st March, 2017 was filed by the Applicant’s Lagos- based lawyers, Messrs Matthew Burkaa & Co.

Ballason had an array of prominent lawyers numbering 36. They include tough Human Rights Lawyer, Festus Okoye Esq, the Chairman Nigeria Bar Association, (NBA), Kaduna Branch, Ndasule Sherrif Esq, B.L. Aliyu Esq, Reuben James Esq ( Former 3rd national Vice President of the NBA), Mark Jacob ( Former Attorney General of Kaduna State), Timothy Kambai Esq, Mike Nwakanma Esq, Sule Shuaibu Esq, James Kanyip Esq, M.T. Mohammed Esq , Bavo Nyan Esq et al.

According to her lawyers, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State had threatened to arrest and prosecute Gloria for her civic activities including an opinion article she wrote on November 28th, 2016 in her column in the Blueprint Newspaper.




Nigeria: Midnight Horror: Gunmen waste policeman, lawyer in Benin

May 12, 2017

Midnight Horror: Gunmen waste policeman, lawyer in Benin

A Benin-based lawyer and a Policeman have been shot dead by gunmen in Benin City.

While Barr. Agbontaen Eghosa Odiase was killed before his wife and children at his residence in Odiase Street, Off Pipeline Road, Upper Sokponba, Avbiama Community, the cop Sgt. Sunday Agbonmwema Eguakun a.k.a Barry was shot dead in Ogbemudia Street, Off Avbiama Road in the same area.

Until the unfortunate incident the cop was attached to the Iyase of Benin kingdom Chief Sam Igbe.

It could not be ascertained at press time whether the police officer was also a target but he was murdered a distance away from his private residence while driving.

The separate but brutal killings which occurred between 9pm and 11pm on Monday, May 8, 2017 sources revealed, were plotted and executed by a gang of gunmen who operated unchallenged.




Nigeria: Lawyer sustains spinal cord injury after soldiers’ assault (photo)

March 20, 2017

Lawyer sustains spinal cord injury after soldiers’ assault (photo)

In Delta state, 5 soldiers attached to the 222 Battalion, Agarha-Otor, Ughelli-North local government area, have reportedly beaten a legal practitioner, Mr Sunny Ekwe to coma and leaving his spinal cord broken.

Punch reports that, this incident was said to have taken place on Saturday, March 11, at about 7pm. The man had gone to visit a relative at Okpara waterside in Ethiope local government area of the state when he was attacked by the soldiers.

It was gathered that the soldiers dumped the lawyer in a gutter, where they ostensible left him to bleed to death. However, a source present at the scene narrated that trouble started when one of the soldiers approached and ordered Ekwe to follow him into a dark place where four other soldiers were waiting.

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The lawyer, sensing danger, refused to follow the soldier but unfortunately, his refusal to follow the soldier drew the attention of the four other soldiers, who emerged from the dark and joined their colleague to beat Ekwe.

Ekwe’s close friend, Mr Omes Ogedengbe, who confirmed the incident on Sunday, said the victim also sustain injures in his head and was lying critically ill at undisclosed hospital. Ogedengbe, a lawyer and the National Coordinator, Conference for the Actualisation of Human Rights, called on the Nigerian Army to ensure that justice was served in the case.