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Ayade swears in Customary Court of Appeal President, others

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Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade has sworn in Justice Maurice Eneji as the new President of the state’s Customary Court of Appeal.

Also sworn in on Tuesday were four new High Court Judges and four Customary Court judges.

The new four High Court judges are Justice Obo Agbor Anthony, Justice Ititim Felix Igobi, Justice Dada Eunice Oshim, and Justice Ankpor Jeremiah Arong; while the Customary Court judges are Justice Daniel Ofre Kulo, Justice Rita Otu Marshall, Justice Odibu Emmanuel Ekanya, and Justice Obin Blessing Egwu.

Speaking during the event held at the State Executive Council Chamber, Ayade decried the poor salary of judges in the country and vowed that despite the lean financial resources, Cross River will lead in improving the standard of living of judges by reviewing their salaries.

He said he would meet with the state House of Assembly to ensure the new salary structure for judges takes effect by the first of March.

He said, “This is a very clear statement that will charge the whole federation to look into the issue of the salary of judges.

“From the 1st of March, the salary of our judicial officers in Cross River State will be changed for good. We will increase your salaries so that other states can know that Cross River, which is number 35 out of 36 states in terms of federal allocation can increase the salary of judges.

“If Cross River State can increase the salary of judges which state will not increase? It is a way to compel them to increase the salary of judges because it is sad that you put a man in such a sensitive position and expose him to temptation by leaving him on the same salary scale for 13 years.

“Cross River State will enact the appropriate law in partnership with the legislature so that by March, we will have a new salary structure for our judges.”

Ayade charged Justice Eneji and the new judges “to be shining examples of Cross River.”

“Be a shining star, be that agent of change that will bring fairness, justice, goodness, kindness and sincerity to the judiciary as a whole,” he reiterated.

“As you hold your Bible today while taking the oath, do not forget the significance of that Bible, let your God be your watchword, let indeed, the fear of God be your guide because your children and grandchildren will reap from what you do.

“Let it not be that when you judge on earth and by the time you go to heaven to be judged you will be sent to hell.”

He told the judges that both the common man and the elite solely depend on the judiciary for justice as the last bastion of hope and must not, therefore, compromise justice.

Responding, Justice Eneji, a former acting Chief Judge of the state, said, “Let me say this on record, Your Excellency, you are the most judiciary-friendly governor. This is the third time you are swearing in judges into office.

“Also, before you came to office, the judiciary was owed a backlog of allowances for about two years, unfortunately, you came on board when the judiciary staff were angry and decided to go on strike but in your humane nature, you gave us your word and said from this day on, this is what I can do, Your Excellency, you kept your word to date.

He commended the governor for facilitating the take-off of the Customary Court of Appeal in the state, adding, “What people do not know is that without the Customary Court of Appeal, we are short-changing ourselves because the money is already voted for, but because we didn’t utilise it, the money is used elsewhere for those who have Customary Court of Appeal.”

He appealed for a bigger and befitting judiciary headquarters in the state because the existing one is too small for the Cross River judiciary.

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Nation

Our helicopter did not crash – Police

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By Christopher Oji 

The Nigeria Police high command has denied reports making rounds that one of its Bell 429 5NMDA helicopters flying from Abuja to Bauchi on Wednesday crash-landed. 

In a statement by Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CP Frank Mba, the police explained that the helicopter was involved in a controlled safe landing at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi.

“The aircraft did not crash, as being reported in some sections of the media, and none of the occupants sustained any injury whatsoever.

“All six on board, including the pilot and co-pilot, are in good condition.  

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“Similarly, the aircraft, which was flown by one of the best police pilots, was professionally safe-landed with minor damage on the rear rotor as a result of obstacle at the landing spot.

The incident occurred around 7:30pm (local time). The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has commended the Police Air Wing for their professionalism in safe-landing the aircraft and averting any serious air mishap.

He further noted that the Nigeria Police Air Wing, with a fleet of one fixed-wing aircraft, a Citation jet and 13 helicopters, has got a strong history of air safety since its establishment in the year 1972.”

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Police arrest wife, 2 others for murder of Lagos hotelier 

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By Christopher Oji 

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested three persons in connection with the death of a popular hotelier, Mr. Femi Bakare Alaba, who was allegedly murdered last Monday by his wife. 

The deceased’s family had  returned from a trip from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, before he was murdered in their house at 9, Finance Road, Maplewood Estate, Oko- Oba, Agege, Lagos.

The family had accused Alaba’s wife of using a hot pressing iron to burn the man while he was sleeping.

The police said three persons, including his wife, have been arrested in connection with the murder and that the  body has been deposited at Yaba Mainland Hospital’s morgue for autopsy. 

According to Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, “The deceased’s wife and three others have been arrested in connection with the suspected murder case. Meanwhile, the case has since been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence  Department, Panti, for diligent investigation on the order of the Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi.”

A police source at the homicide section of  SCIID, said the woman was not cooperating with the police as she has refused to tell investigators on what really happened to her husband.

The police source who said there was more to the murder beyond the allegation that the deceased impregnated another woman as his family were alleging that their brother was questioning the paternity of two of her two out of their three kids.

“ We are investigating and there are many things we are trying to unrevel but they are not what I can tell you till further notice. For now, we are having his wife and two others who though are not cooperating with us,but they will soon open up”, the senior police officer said.

When  Alaba and his wife returned recently from a trip from Dubai,their house was a Mecca of sort as family members and friends thronged the premises to welcome them back home

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No one could envisage that danger loomed. In fact, if anyone had told them that the life of one of the couple would be abruptly cut short, the person would have been dismissed and tagged a prophet of doom. 

Those who visited them when they returned were not disappointed as they were well entertained and got one gift or the other .

The family was described as philanthropists as well as peace lovers that they were the envy of residents. The couple was loved and admired by all.

But in the morning of January 24, things took a dramatic turn to the amazement of all. The owner of the popular Bama Hotel was murdered by his wife of eight years. 

According to a source, Bama, as he is fondly called was allegedly roasted to death with a hot iron by his wife.

A resident, who identified himself simply as Emmanuel, said: “My brother, we are still in shock because the unexpected really happened. We were told that Bama’s wife discovered that another woman was pregnant for her husband and was embittered.

“She waited for the man to sleep and used hot iron to press his body and the man died out of severe pain. We are still baffled and surprised how the woman who we saw as easy-going would have the mind to kill her husband in his sleep.

“The deceased was the owner of Bama Hotel and Suite. He was a good man that we respected him a lot. The couple has three kids and they just returned from Dubai before the incident occurred.”

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Fire  razes 57 shops, properties in Niger 

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From John Adams and Umar Yunusa Minna

An early morning fire yesterday razed no fewer than 57 shops, destroying  goods worth millions of naira  at  Mokwa main market in Mokwa local Government Area of Niger State.

The fire was said to have started at about 4:00am when the shops owners were at home.

A source close to the market, Abubakar Umar, said the inferno razed many shops and destroyed properties worth millions of naira as nobody or agency was on ground to put out the fire or salvage the goods. 

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According to him:” The fire  destroyed many shops in the market. The situation was very serious because there was no help coming from anywhere.The fire started around 4:00pm this morning and it was so serious that no body could go near it.

The hamattan weather  could not help the situation. We are grateful to God that no life was lost.

Adamu Usman, a  revenue officer of  Mokwa LG ,said that  about 57 shops were destroyed by the inferno.

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