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Court Fixed April 29 For Hearing Of Maj. Al-Mustapha’s Appeal

The Court of Appeal Lagos, on Friday fixed April 29 to hear an appeal by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, sentenced to death for masterminding the murder of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

Al-Mustapha, who was the Chief Security Officer to the late Gen. Sanni Abacha and Lateef Shofolahan, a Personal Assistant to late Abiola, are challenging their conviction by a Lagos High Court on Jan. 30, 2012.

The appellate court, presided over by Justice Chima Nweze, fixed the hearing date after counsel representing both convicts had applied for a regularisation of their briefs of argument.

Counsel representing the appellants, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Mr Olalekan Ojo, had both applied for leave to file their  brief of arguments and serve same on the respondent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convicts were arraigned sometime in October 1999, on a four-count charge of conspiracy and murder of Abiola on June 4, 1996 on the Ikosi-Ketu Road.

The trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada had found both appellants guilty of the offence and sentenced them to death by hanging.

However, Daudu and Ojo, counsel to both the first and second appellants respectively, appealed against the conviction 24-hours after the sentence.

In the notice of appeal filed by Ojo, the appellants were contending that the death sentence handed by the lower court was unwarranted, unreasonable and a manifest miscarriage of justice.

The appellants further contended that the trial judge erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they conspired to kill Abiola on June 4, 1996.

The appellants are therefore praying the Court of Appeal to entertain the appeal, set aside the judgment and discharge them of the charges of conspiracy and murder.

NAN further reports that Al-Mustapha’s appeal was premised on four grounds, while that of his co-convict (Shofolahan) was hinged on five grounds.

They faulted the trial judge’s admissibility of the “contradictory statements” of Barnabas Jabila (aka Sgt. Rogers) and Mohmamed Abdul, and the reliance on the testimony of Dr Ore Falomo on the bullet extracted from the corpse.

The appellants also faulted the rejection of portions of Jabila’s testimony which they felt favoured them and applying only areas which did not favour them. (NAN)

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Adamawa Govt. To Sack Unqualified Teachers

Adamawa Government on Friday in Yola said it had set up a screening committee to flush out unqualified teachers in its public schools.

Mr Musa Kaibo, the state Head of Civil Service, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the measure followed a recent mass recruitment of teachers by the state Post Primary Schools Board.

“A report reaching my office is that government had decided to set up a powerful investigation and screening committee with the aim of flushing out unprofessional teachers from the sector.” 

Kaibo noted that government had invested a lot in the education sector.

He said that what happened during the last teachers’ recruitment needed to be reviewed, to facilitate proper implementation of education policy in the state.

He said the screening was not meant to witch hunt any body or group, but rather, was a step forward to address the issues militating against the development of education.

The head of service, therefore, urged those involved to exercise patience as their salaries would be paid after the exercise.

The state government had in the last two years established 230 new junior secondary schools and recruited more than 5,000 teachers.(NAN)

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Rivers Govt. To Spend N74bn On Monorail Project

The Rivers Commissioner for Transport, George Tolofari, has said that the state government will spend N74 billion on its monorail project to ease traffic in Port Harcourt.

Tolofari made the remark while conducting the team of Good Governance Tour, led by Information Minister Labaran Maku, round the project site.

He said that out of the amount, N19 billion had been spent so far on the first phase of the project, covering 6.5 km.

Tolofari said that all the equipment needed for the completion of Phase 1 had been acquired, including the train with seven coaches, out of which one would be dedicated to the handicapped.

According to him, the second phase has five coaches.

“The monorail is designed in such a way that people from the town will park their vehicles at Lagos bus-stop and use the train to go wherever they want to go in the city.

“We are expecting that this first phase will be completed by September,” he said.

The team also visited Kesley Harrison Hospital and Dental Maxillo Facial Hospital, built by the state government at a cost of N2 billion each.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker who conducted the team round the two hospitals situated in Port Harcourt, said that they were referral institutions.

Parker said that the institutions have the state-of-the-art equipment with Kesley Hospital having 150 beds. (NAN)

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