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Atiku: INEC sabotaging my petition against Buhari

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Atiku: INEC sabotaging my petition against Buhari
  • Tribunal summons INEC chair, REC over electoral documents

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja that his petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari is being sabotaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Acting on the complaint, the Tribunal ordered the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Zamfara State to appear before it to tender some unnamed documents.
The duo had earlier been subpoenaed by the Tribunal for presentation of some documents, but refused to honour the summons.
However at yesterday’s hearing, Atiku, through his counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), complained to the Tribunal that Yakubu and Zamfara REC have been frustrating him in the 10 days hearing notice given to him by the Tribunal to substantiate his allegations and claims in the petition jointly filed with the PDP.
The petitioners had filed two applications on July 9 seeking an order of court to compel INEC chairman to physically appear before the tribunal and present certain documents listed by the petitioners and the REC to produce the election results for Zamfara State in the presidential poll.
While that of the INEC Chairman was served on him on July 15, that of the Zamfara REC was served on him on July 12.
Uche had, on resumption of proceedings yesterday, lamented that the commission was yet to respond to the tribunal’s subpoena served on the chairman and the Zamfara REC.
Responding, counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman (SAN), told the tribunal that he was not aware of the subpoena on Yakubu, but that of the Zamfara REC has been complied with, adding that they are waiting for the petitioners to pay the normal fee and collect the said documents.
But in a short ruling, Presiding Justice of the five-man panel, Justice Muhammed Garba, held that orders of court are sacrosanct and must be obeyed.
“Since the record of the court shows that the chairman of the 1st Respondent, INEC, and Zamfara REC were duly served to produce documents named therein, the chairman and Zamfara REC as the legal team representing them in this matter, are to comply with the order,” the tribunal held.
According to the chairman, the record of the court showed that Yakubu was served on July 15 and the Zamfara REC on July 12, but were yet to respond to the subpoena.
“They have not done so and there is no document to show.
“We note that the INEC chairman and REC were asked to produce documents on the day they were served, that is impossible.
“They have been directed to produce documents in the subpoena by 12 noon tomorrow (today),” he said.
However, after the ruling, Atiku and PDP then called in five witnesses who testified that several booklets of ballot papers were thumb printed in Borno State and counted as lawful votes for President Buhari and the APC.
The witnesses said that at the end of the thumb printing allegedly done by the APC agents and aided by security agents, zero vote was allocated to the two petitioners at Chibok Local Government.
The witnesses, who came from Borno and Nasarawa states, also testified that elections in Nasarawa, especially in Karu Local Government where PDP polled 22,580 votes and APC 9,407, the results were cancelled on the grounds that the petitioners led in the poll.
They further told the tribunal that result sheets were exchanged and in some cases allegedly rewritten to favour Buhari and APC.
Under cross examination by Buhari’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witnesses informed the tribunal that they did not come to Abuja with their own copies of the results having submitted them to their party in the state which in turn submitted them to the petitioners’ lawyers.
The five witnesses are: Iorshe David, Dangana Shau Barde, Aliu Abdullahi, Sanni Abdul and Dr Allen Manasseh.
Meanwhile, the Petitioners Witness 57, Arome Yahaya, while giving evidence, wept uncontrollably before the tribunal, alleging that PDP supporters were shot in Kogi State during the February 23 presidential election.
Yahaya, who said he served as a Ward Collation Agent during the election, told the tribunal that thugs invaded his Ward, shot sporadically and carted away all the electoral materials.
He alleged that out of two people that sustained serious gunshot wounds during the raid, one of them subsequently died.
The witness said owing to the attack, he could not supervise the 29 polling units in his ward, which he described as a stronghold of the petitioners in Kogi State.
“There was so much gunshots that I had to go into hiding inside the bush for the whole duration of the election,” he said.
The witness told the tribunal that one of his colleagues, who he identified as Efe, was abducted by the gunmen and released the next day.
He added that the gunshots started at about 3p.m. on the election day.
However, when he was asked under cross-examination by Buhari’s counsel, Olanipekun, to tell the tribunal the party that won the last election in his ward, the witness broke down in tears.
“My lords, there was no election. They allocated votes to themselves. Beyond the issue of votes, this is human lives we are talking about,” he wept.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Garba urged the witness to control his emotions.
After he was handed tissue paper by the court clerk to wipe his eyes, the witness later told the tribunal that the APC won the election in 2019.
“PDP would have won the election if they had allowed it to go peacefully,” he insisted, adding that he was previously a member of the APC.
Furthermore, Petitioners Witness 52, a ward collation agent for the PDP in Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Aliyu Abdullahi, in his evidence, told the tribunal that he rejected results from two polling units located in a town that had been deserted.
Abdullahi said the INEC produced results from the two polling units in Wuji Primary School and Kuba Sarkin Wuji in Awe LGA, despite that the town had been deserted as a result of communal clashes involving Fulani herdsmen.
The witness, while being cross-examined by respondents’ counsel, told the tribunal that the election in Awe Local Government was conducted “in substantial compliance with INEC guidelines” except for the two polling units.
Olanipekun, however, drew the witness’ attention to a part of his written statement where he said the two polling units were not in existence.
When asked to clarify it, he said “the polling units still remained as polling units in Wuji.”
But he added, “As of that time, there was nobody there. Results were produced in these polling units.”
Asked to give the figures of the results from the polling units, he said: “I did not collate it. That is why I can’t remember. I refused it.”
Attempt by the petitioners’ counsel, Pius Akubo (SAN), to ask a re-examination question to enable the witness to clarify the seeming contradiction in his claim about the existence or otherwise of the two disputed polling units was stopped by the tribunal.
There was, however, a mild drama as the Petitioners Witness 53 caused laughter in the courtroom while responding to cross-examination questions at the proceedings.
Abdul said he was the collation agent for the PDP in Gaya Local Government Area of Kano State, during the February 23, 2019 presidential election.
Under cross-examination by APC’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Abdul was asked how long he had been in politics.
Responding, the witness said, “I’m not into partisan politics”.
But asked which party he belonged to, he said “PDP”.
Everyone in the courtroom, including members of the bench and the bar, burst into laughter following his response to the second leg of the question.
He said he neither listened to radio nor watched television.
Earlier, Abdul had said as the PDP’s local government collation agent, he received complaints of manipulation of votes, changing of results, and re-writing of results by INEC officials in connivance with security officials from different parts of the LG during the poll.
He, however, confirmed that he did not mention the names of those who perpetrated the irregularities in his statement on oath.
The tribunal later adjourned till tomorrow for continuation of hearing.
Tomorrow will, however, be the last day of the 10 days allocated to the petitioners to present their case.

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FIRS: PDP wants probe of revenue collections since 2015

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FIRS: PDP wants probe of revenue collections since 2015

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the National Assembly to hold a public hearing into revenue collections in the country by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) in the last four years.
The party also told the lawmakers to take urgent steps to recover the alleged stolen funds and channel such to projects that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians.
PDP, in a statement Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said variance in the remission of taxes by the FIRS  further confirmed its stance that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government is neck-deep in corruption and looting of the nation’s treasury.
The party added that the discoveries have vindicated it of alleged underhand dealings and frittering of monies collected as taxes in the last four years.
According to the statement, Nigerians were not deceived by the desperation by agents of the presidency to cover its complicity by seeking the sack of the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Babatunde Fowler.
It noted that a critical study of the leaked correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, to the FIRS Chairman at the wake of the revelations of financial discrepancies, betrayed the alleged complicity of the cabal in the presidency.

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Insecurity: DSS moves to check nuclear threats

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Insecurity: DSS moves to check nuclear threats

The Department of State Services (DSS), has begun moves to frustrate the use of nuclear technology for malicious purposes by non-state actors in the country.
According to the secret service, unless urgent steps were taken in that direction, terrorists, kidnappers, separatist agitators and other elements have the tendency to recruit students, workers in public and private sectors, to undermine the security of the country, using the available nuclear materials.
Conmandant of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), Mr. Ayodele Adeleke, made the disclosure Monday at a workshop in Abuja.
Adeleke said the choice of participants from the military, security, intelligence, para-military as well as ministries and agencies of government, was a deliberate decision to imbue them with expertise in insider-risk reduction among others.
The workshop, which was organised by the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, in collaboration with the NISS and other partners, had the theme, “human reliability implementation”.

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Alleged extortion: Joint enforcement team arrests 42 FRSC officials, agents – ICPC

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Alleged extortion: Joint enforcement team arrests 42 FRSC officials, agents – ICPC

Thirty seven officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and five of their suspected agents, have been arrested for alleged extortion of motorists in parts of the country.
The officials were arrested by a joint inter-agency team comprising the ICPC, FRSC ans well as the Department of State Services (DSS), operating in Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun states.
Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who made the disclosure in a statement Monday, said the joint team was established following complaint of extortion made by FRSC’s management against officials.
“A Joint Inter-Agency Team led by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arrested 37 officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for allegedly extorting money from motorists on Nigerian highways.
“The Team, comprising officials of ICPC, FRSC and the Department of State Services (DSS) also arrested five persons said to be agents of the corps officials in a sting operation carried out simultaneously in the six geo-political zones.
“The Team struck on Friday 16th August, 2019, following the receipt of a complaint from the management of the Corps of massive extortion of money from motorists on the highways by its patrol teams.
“The FRSC management had, in the complaint to the Commission, observed that incidents of extortion were rife in the six states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and Ogun.
“Based on this, the ICPC-led Team went into action and identified the notorious spots in each of the aforementioned states to include Aba in Abia State; Ahoada, Ajaokuta, Itori, Torro and Gwantu in Rivers, Kogi, Ogun, Bauchi and Kaduna States respectively,” Okoduwa said.

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Police seal off Lagos venue where Soyinka, Falana, others to speak on insecurity

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Police seal off Lagos venue where Soyinka, Falana, others to speak on insecurity

The police on Monday sealed off the venue of a symposium where Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana (SAN) and other speakers where to address the state of insecurity in the country.

The programme organised by a group known as Coalition for Revolution (CORE) was billed to hold at 46, Ibijoke street, Oluyole Bus-stop, Oregun, Lagos.

It has as its theme: “Democracy, State Repression and the State of insecurity in Nigeria”.

However, when New Telegraph showed up at the venue, police vans were seen at strategic locations around the venue preventing people from entering.

Falana, who is present at the venue, has been seen discussing with the policemen, ostensibly to find out why they are being prevented from holding the programme.

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Ekweremadu: Kalu debunks shelving medical check-up in Germany

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Ekweremadu: Kalu debunks shelving medical check-up in Germany

Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Kalu, has described as unfounded, social media reports that he suspended his planned medical check-up to Germany because of what happened to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu.

Kalu disclosed this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Only recently the former deputy senate president was physically assaulted in Germany at the weekend by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Ekweremadu was invited as a speaker/special guest of honour at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Nuremberg, Germany.

Kalu said that since the Senate commenced its recess, he has been in his country home, interacting with his constituents.

“I have been in my country home interacting with the people and settling disputes. The news that I suspended by planned medical check-up in Germany was not true.

“I was invited by Igbo group in Spain to attend their function, I could not go because of the interaction with my constituents.’’

Kalu had described the action of the IPOB members as uncivilised, unacceptable and barbaric.

The former Abia governor urged Igbo people to respect their leaders at all levels.

He noted that the only way the South-East zone can be prosperous was by embracing dialogue, peace and unity.

Kalu also urged the Embassy of Nigeria in Germany, the German Government and appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators of the ugly incident to book.

He said: “After watching a viral video of the physical attack on the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweramadu, I was not only disappointed, but irritated and disturbed with the action of some members of IPOB.

“The assault on the senator is a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of age, party affiliation and religion.

“The perpetrators of the uncivilised act must face the wrath of the law.

“Sen. Ekweramadu is not only one of the Igbo leaders, but also a prominent Nigerian and as such should be accorded due respect by all and sundry at home and abroad.

“For the South-East to move forward, the people of the zone must embrace dialogue as a way of resolving pertinent issues and eschew violence.”

Kalu appealed to Igbo people across the globe to be law-abiding and good ambassadors of Nigeria.

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Sudan’s ousted President Bashir in court for corruption trial

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Sudan’s ousted President Bashir in court for corruption trial

Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir has arrived in court in the capital, Khartoum, for his trial on corruption charges.

There’s heavy security around the courthouse.

After he was ousted in April, millions of dollars in cash were allegedly seized from his house.

Bashir’s trial opened last month, but had to be postponed following the death of his mother, reports the BBC.

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Police, soldiers deploy in Zimbabwe as opposition challenges protest ban

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Police, soldiers deploy in Zimbabwe as opposition challenges protest ban

Soldiers and police deployed in large numbers in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo on Monday to enforce a ban on an anti-government demonstration, as the country’s main opposition party sought to overturn that decision in court.

The street protest was the second called in four days by the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC), which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement.

Authorities had also banned Friday’s gathering in Harare, intended as the launch event of a nationwide protest movement. The MDC called it off, saying it aimed to avert bloodshed after police there rounded up its followers and dispersed them with batons and water cannon.

In a similar show of force in Bulawayo, an MDC heartland, authorities prohibited the march on Sunday and on Monday sent soldiers in trucks into the centre of the city and nearby townships, bolstering police who patrolled on foot and lorries, witnesses said.

Businesses remained open and residents circulated as normal in the city, however.

David Coltart, an MDC senator from Bulawayo and lawyer, called the ban “clearly unconstitutional and unjust”, and told Reuters the party had lodged a court appeal that city magistrates would hear on Monday morning.

The MDC protest movement is rooted in Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis in a decade, and viewed as a test of Mnangagwa’s willingness to tolerate dissent in a country tainted by a long history of repression under Robert Mugabe, its ruler for nearly 40 years.

Anger is mounting over triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel and bread – bringing back memories of the hyperinflation of a decade ago that forced Zimbabwe to ditch its currency, reports Reuters.

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APC: Attackers of Ekweremadu are irresponsible elements

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APC: Attackers of Ekweremadu are irresponsible elements

… Says they were supported by PDP

 

Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the attackers of the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu as “irresponsible elements” being supported by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the ruling APC, the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who attacked Senator Ekweremedu on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany, had been supported by PDP against the ruling party.

In a statement issued in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party called on all to condemn activities of criminals everywhere and at whatever form.

APC condemning the attacks on the former Deputy Senate President, said: “Those involved in the despicable actions and the organisation they represent are unworthy in character. No Nigerian should be assaulted in the manner Senator Ekweremadu was. It is an indecent action and it is below the acceptable standard of behaviour expected of our citizens whether in Nigeria or abroad.

“It is, however, regrettable that some of the people and organisations who had offered these irresponsible elements open support in the past are raising their voices now. It would be recalled that the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its leaders chose to play politics over a matter that called for collective patriotic actions when IPOB raised a terror group in the South East. It is clear that PDP and its other short-sighted co-travellers who were the main cheerleaders of IPOB owe this country an apology. IPOB hid under regional identity to perpetrate criminality having recruited some misguided elements and miscreants.”

Speaking on the opposition political party, APC said: “Are we surprised by the PDP’s hypocritical reaction to the unfortunate attack on Senator Ekweremadu? No! The PDP and their leaders have acted true to type. This is what happens when politicians become myopic and allow narrow sentiments becloud their sense of judgement.”

Calling on all Nigerians to be responsive to security issues, the APC said: “We all have a responsibility to collectively rise against evil wherever we find it and in whatever guise it appears. We hope lessons have been learnt from this unfortunate incident.”

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Ohanaeze youths warn IPOB against attack on Igbo leaders

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Ohanaeze youths warn IPOB against attack on Igbo leaders

O

hanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday warned members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against further attack on Igbo leaders.

 

 

The group was reacting to attack on former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by IPOB in Germany at the weekend.

 

 

 

Ohanaeze youths condemned the attack and urged IPOB to stop assaulting Igbo leaders.

In a statement issued in by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, the Igbo youths said Ekweremadu’s attack was contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all.

 

 

It reads: “We condemned vehemently the introduction of mob action against Igbo leaders, as this is a wrong precedence that should be condemned.  We believe that there are likely more targeted Igbo leaders on their lists, who may face the consequences of failed leadership in the South-East but Ekweremadu’s assault is contrary to Igbo norms and values and should be condemned vehemently by all stakeholders.

 

 

“From intelligence report, Revolution has begun in Igbo land, Igbo leaders should be careful, they are no longer safe across the globe, this assault on Ekweremadu was to test run on what is likely to happen to other marked leaders, if this ugly trend remained unchecked, it will be bring doom to Igbo leadership.

 

 

“We call for cease fire on violence against Igbo leaders, but urge that South-East political leaders to find a means to make peace with between all the stakeholders in the South East, especially the youths and agitators.”

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Crisis rocks Ondo community over upgrade of monarch

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Crisis rocks Ondo community over upgrade of monarch

A

major crisis broke out at the weekend in the oil-rich Aboto in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo State over the upgrade of Chief Behiah Idiogbe as Alaboto of Aboto by the state government.

 

 

Sources in the town said there was a breakdown of law and order in Aboto community following the upgrade of Idiogbe from being chief to the status of the monarch of the coastal community.

 

The source said youths in the community who have been protesting the upgrade of Idiogbe who they alleged is not from that community to the status of a monarch threatening to blow up the bridge linking the community to other parts of the state if the decision is not reversed by the government.

 

 

The State Executive Council had effected the upgrading of Chief Beniah Adeola Idiogbe from Oloja of Aboto to the position of Alaboto of Aboto in Ilaje local government area of the state.

 

 

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo said the request for the upgrade had been approved by the State Executive Council 12 years ago, adding that the present government came in and decided to effect the upgrade.

 

 

This announcement, sources in the community said had led to the burning of houses and government projects.

 

 

The lawyer to Aboto community, Prince Idowu Mafimisebi who confirmed the crisis in the community said the former administration of late Olusegun Agagu in 2007 erroneously announced the approval of Idiogbe as the Alaboto which led to a bloody crisis leading to the death of some persons and razing of many houses in the community.

 

 

The lawyer alleged that many indigenes of the town have fled the town for safety since Thursday when the announcement was made by the government.

The statement appealed to the state government to call its foot soldiers to order and allow peace to reign in Aboto community.

 

 

Mafimisebi said Agagu’s administration immediately reversed the decision then having discovered it was wrongful. He said the community already has an approved monarch who was selected by the kingmakers.

 

 

The statement by Aboto community read ” It is an anathema that a government led by a SAN had to toe the line of a wrongful decision of a previous government made 12 years ago which was reversed consequently after the loss of lives and properties.

 

 

“Although correspondences have been sent to the present government through a letter dated July 8 and another one on August 14 to the effect that selection has been done for our client, while the commissioner  for local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Attorney-General and Ilaje local government chairman affirmed that the selection of Prince Oyetayo Ofoaye was done in accordance with the Chieftaincy law of Ondo State.

 

 

“The Amapetu of Mahin who has been restrained by Ilaje District Council and a court of competent jurisdiction since 1957 from meddling with Aboto land not being a community under him cannot make a person an Oloja over such a community, and it is, therefore, impossible to upgrade a person made an Oloja through an incompetent authority”.

 

 

However, Ojogo insisted that Alaboto’s elevation had been approved almost 12 years ago, emphasizing that some encumbrances had delayed the pronouncement.

Ojogo said” The process is what we met on ground and government felt justice must be served. It is not a fresh process; state executive council gave approval for Alaboto’s elevation since 2007, but was not effected by the previous administration”.

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