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Appeal Court dashes minister’s guber hope in Cross River

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Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani


Another judge withdraws from Usoro’s trial
Usani Uguru Usani’s hope to contest the March 2 governorship election on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform has been dashed, as the Court of Appeal in Abuja struck out his appeal yesterday.

Usani was challenging the judgement delivered on January 7, by Justice Adeniyi Olukayode of the Federal High Court, which dismissed his prayer that he be declared the governorship candidate of the APC in the state.

But the judge accused the minister of forgery, just as it declared that Usani was not an aspirant in the first place, having not taken part in the primaries conducted by the national executive of the party.Briefing the media in Calabar yesterday on the outcome of the appeal, the National Vice Chairman (South South) of APC, Hilliard Eta, said the Justice Abdul Aboki had struck out the appeal by Usani as it lacked merit.

“Usani is no more seen in the light of contending the gubernatorial ticket of the APC, as the court ruling takes pre-eminence over the high court verdict.“The issue of replacement of the Sir John Ochala-led executive committee with that of Etim John is also an exercise in futility going by the clarifications made above,” he said

Meanwhile, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court Lagos, yesterday, recused himself from handling the N1.4 billion criminal charge preferred against the embattled president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

EFCC had filed criminal charges against Usoro, alleging that he laundered N1.4 billion belonging to the Akwa Ibom State government.The anti-graft commission alleged that Usoro ought to have known that the fund was proceeds from crime.The NBA leader was arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan, after which his lawyers demanded a transfer of the matter to another judge. They passed a vote of no confidence in the judge because he was EFCC prosecutor before getting the appointment as a judge.

Consequently, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court transferred the matter to Obiozor. At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, Usoro was billed to be re-arraigned and charges read to him, so that he could make a plea.Surprisingly, the judge declined to proceed with the case.
“For personal reasons, I hereby disqualify myself from handling the case. I hereby return this filed to the Chief judge of Federal High Court for reassignment,” he declared.


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