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Maryam Sanda, the sentenced to death for killing her , Bilyaminu Bello, has asked the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division to void the judgment by an Abuja High Court.

In her appeal, the convict claimed that the trial was tainted by bias and prejudices leading to her denial of right to fair hearing and consequent conviction.

She averred that the conviction was based on circumstantial evidence despite the reasonable doubt created by evidence of witnesses, lack of confessional statement, absence of murder weapon, lack of corroboration of evidence by two witnesses and lack of autopsy .

In her 20 grounds appeal filed by her counsel Rickey Tarfa (SAN), Maryam Sanda pointed out the alleged failure of the judge to rule on her preliminary objection challenging the charge preferred against her and the jurisdiction of the court.

“The trial judge erred in law when having taken arguments on her preliminary objection to the validity of the charge on the 19th of March, 2018 failed to rule on it at the conclusion of trial or at any other time,” she said.

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Sanda claimed he “exhibited bias against the defendant in not ruling one way or the other on the said motion challenging his jurisdiction to entertain the charge” and fundamentally breached the right to fair hearing of the defendant.

In ground 2, the appellant contended that the trial judge erred and misdirected himself by usurping the role of the police when he assumed the duty of an Investigating Police Officer (IPO).

In the said page, Justice Halilu had said “I wish to state that I have a duty thrust upon me to investigate and discover what will satisfy the interest and demands of justice.”

The appellant submitted that the wrongful assumption of the role of an IPO made “the trial judge fail to restrict himself to the evidence adduced before the court” and instead went fishing for evidence outside those that were brought before the court.

She stated that while “the duty of investigation is the constitutional preserve of the police, “the constitutional duty of a trial court is to assess the credible evidence before it and reach a decision based on its assessment.”

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The convict argued that “the court’s usurpation of the duty of the police by taking it upon itself to investigate and discover, negatively coloured its assessment of the available evidence and resulted in it reaching an unjust decision contrary to the evidence before it.”

In ground 5, Sanda claimed that “the trial judge erred in law and misdirected himself on the facts when he applied the doctrine of last seen and held that the appellant was the person last seen with the deceased and thus bears the full responsibility for the death of the deceased, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

“There is no evidence before the trial judge that the defendant was the last person who saw the deceased alive”.

She added that the statement of Sadiya Aminu, tendered before the trial court (who was initially charged as 4th defendant in the amended charge) also confirmed that the deceased was alive though injured when she saw him.

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“The the circumstantial evidence which the trial court relied upon in its application of the last seen doctrine does not lead to the conclusion that the defendant is responsible for the death of the deceased”, Sanda’s lawyer argued.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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EFCC: Ibrahim Magu opens up on ‘N550b missing interest’

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Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has denied the claim that he failed to account for the interest in the N550 billion recovered fund kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, custody.

Recall that the Final of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets, PCARA, surfaced at the weekend showing how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the anti-graft agency in the period from May, 2015, to May 2020.

The report said the EFCC, “Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.”

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Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday suspended Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC.

The agency’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, has taken charge and now oversees the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into Magu’s case.

Magu, on Friday wrote the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, asking to be released on bail.

In a letter dated July 10, 2020, Magu’s legal representative, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, asked Adamu to grant bail to his client on “self recognizance.”

The acting EFCC Chairman was arrested on Monday and taken to the presidential Villa in Abuja, where he is being interrogated by a panel headed by Ayo Salami, a retired president of the Appeal Court.

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World risks another virus like COVID-19 – UN

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The United Nations on Drug and Crime (UNODC) says that the world risks another virus of the magnitude of COVID-19.

The UN warned that this could happen if the trafficking, sales and consumption of wildlife are not stopped.

UNODC, in a statement, said the World Wildlife Crime 2020 revealed that zoonotic diseases represented 75 percent of all emerging infections globally.

Diseases like SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID-19 pandemic have already been linked to wildlife with pangolins top on the suspected list.

UNODC noted that the coronavirus pandemic “has shown that wildlife crime is a threat not only to the environment and biodiversity, but also to human health”.

It said when wild animals are poached from their natural habitat, butchered and sold illegally, the potential for transmission of zoonotic diseases is increased.

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UNODC added that pangolins, which were identified as a potential source of coronavirus, were the most trafficked wild mammals in the world.

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UNODC disclosed that in the last 20 years, it made 180,000 seizures from 149 countries and territories.

Executive Director, Ghada Waly, stressed that if wildlife crimes were not stopped, they would heighten the risk of a future public health emergency.

He said stopping the trafficking in wildlife species was a critical step not just to protect biodiversity and the rule of law, but to help prevent future public health emergencies.

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“To protect people and the planet in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to ignore wildlife crime”, the official appealed.

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