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Atiku writes UK, US others over Onnoghen’s suspension

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The opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential Candidate and former Vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has petitioned the United Kingdom, United State of America, France and Germany over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Nigeria’s chief justice.

“I have chosen to write this letter to Your Excellency for the enviable role that your country plays as champion of Democracy and the Rule of Law,” Abubakar wrote in the letter on Tuesday.

“As a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming General Elections that will be conducted and supervised by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the General Elections that are only a couple of weeks away.

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday swore in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria to replace embattled Onnoghen.

His swearing-in followed Onnoghen’s suspension by the president, who acted based on an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Onnoghen is facing a six-count charge of non-declaration of assets when he became the chief justice of Nigeria. Buhari said the allegations against Onnoghen were “grievous enough”.

Onnoghen’s suspension sparked reactions from Nigerians including the U.S. and Uk government

Uk noted that the “timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern.”

“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections,” the statement read.

“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely,” the statement read.

While the United State, on the other hand, said it “is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.”

“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of the government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful.”

The Nigerian government said the reactions of the two countries were hasty.

The government said it would welcome partnerships for successful 2019 general elections but would not condone unfair interference in matters that are specifically internal.

“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,”  presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement on Monday.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections,” he added

But the former Vice president in his letter insisted that the “attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria using phoney charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast-approaching nationwide electoral process represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy,”

“This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political Party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally,” he added

Abubakar affirmed that the “brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of the President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard-earned democracy by an extremely power hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019, draws nearer.”

Nigerians will be heading to poll less than a month from now to vote in a new president.

Buhari is seeking re-election with Abubakar mounting a strong challenge.

Abubakar, a former vice president during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 till 2007, is contesting the office of the president for the fourth time.

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Uniuyo bans Use of Wristwatches during Exams

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The Management of the University of Uyo has banned the use of wristwatches by students in examination.

In a statement released by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) Prof. Enoidem Usoro, students are now prohibited from wearing wristwatches to examination halls; and the ban takes effect from the 1st semester 2018/2019 Examinations.

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Skills Acquisition: Over 1,200 Constituents Sponsored by Emmanuel Ekon Receive Funding

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AmanamHillary Umo-Udofia

Over 1,200 constituents sponsored by Chairman House Committee on Local Content and honourable member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Ekon in partnership with The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) on various skills have recieved support tools and N10,000 seed capital to assist their choice projects. The latest batch of trainees is in addition to 1,300 constituents who earlier benefited from the gesture during the 2019 election campaign period.

The beneficiaries, who are mainly youths and women drawn from the federal constituency, benefitted from the training and empowerment programme on catering, palm oil production, poultry farming, and agro business and ICT.

Speaking at the one-day training held at Government Technical College, Abak Local Government Area, the Coordinator of the training programme, Mr. Ubong Affia said that the gesture of the lawmaker was a way of curtailing the menace of youth unemployment in the society. Stressing the essence of entrepreneurship and nation building, he commended the lawmaker for empowering youths and women with light skills. “The oil sector is failing, we must diversify to other sector as the mainstay of our economy” he added.

One of the training facilitators, Ms Lucy Ekpenyong commended the lawmaker and stressed that engaging the youths positively in such initiative, will considerably enable them to utilize their innate abilities for profitable ventures in areas like agriculture and also prevent restiveness in the constituency. He tasked the participants to take the training seriously and focus on multiplying the impact to the ward level.

Responding, the lawmaker who visited the venue of the training to interface with trainees said he has taken steps to engage his constituents, especially the youths, frequently, through skills acquisition, capacity building and educational development; and more importantly, to key into the economic diversification drive of the federal government.

“Between January and now, I have trained over 2,500 Constituents and also provided support tools. This demonstrates that my efforts was not about elections, but raising the next generation. I am willing to accommodate more constituents who want to take advantage of my training regardless of party affiliation.”

“I have lived up to my constituency responsibilities by ensuring and attracting federal projects in all areas of infrastructure and services spread to all the 3 LGAs of our constituency, especially in building the capacity of our youths and constructing sustainable infrastructures in our constituency through my Chairmanship of the House Committee on Local Content. I challenge anybody to show any House of Reps Member from Akwa Ibom that has attempted one-third of my projects”.

The lawmaker noted that he decided to train them on various skills to add more value to their businesses and also bolster economic diversification which is the cardinal project of this administration.

“We as lawmakers should not fold our arms, but do our bid to eradicate poverty and unemployment. Ekon added that the beneficiaries were being trained and financially empowered to support their small businesses without any challenge.

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Construction of Local Content Board Headquarters, a Token of Redemption for Niger Delta Region – Ekon

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Chairman House Committee on Local Content and Member Representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, has described the ongoing construction of a 17 floor head office building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Bayelsa State, as a token of redemption for the Niger Delta region.

Speaking alongside a cross section of the Committee Members at a Transformation Leadership and Management Workshop organized by the Management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, the lawmaker stated that he was “pleased that a token of redemption is risen in the Niger Delta region with the presence of the new headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board”.

The landmark edifice located at the Bayelsa State Capital, Yenagoa, handled by Megastar Tech and Construction Company is one of several flagship projects of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and part of his committee’s repositioning of the local content board as a hub for industrial revolution and job creation.

While on a tour of the construction site, the lawmaker expressing satisfaction with the level of work done within the stipulated time frame by the contractor and commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for making sure the project meets specification. He stated that with a renewed vision, the board is energized to deliver on its constitutional mandate to the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

Ekon further added that upon completion, the local content board will have a functional administrative headquarters and also bring the board closer to the Niger Delta region which is the mainstay of oil and gas explorations in Nigeria. He said the Local Content Board has come off age and urged other federal agencies to emulate the board by relying on indigenous companies to executr projects of this magnitude.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, who took the lawmakers round the project site, reiterated the lawmaker’s position that the decision to embark on the building a 17-storey head office building was to create an enabling environment for Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to concretise their administrative base in the Niger Delta region.

It was gathered that the project which is the first of its kind in the Niger Delta is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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Ekere to build new mechanic village in Uyo

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The Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Obong Nsima Ekere, has promised to establish a new mechanic village in Uyo, the state capital, if elected Governor on Saturday.

Speaking during a visit to the mechanic village located at Afaha Offot in Uyo on Thursday, Obong Ekere said the proposed mechanic village will be patterned after what is obtained in advanced countries of the world.

He decried the deplorable state of the present village, established more than 30 years ago, and promised to construct an access road to the village immediately after his inauguration on May 29, 2019.

The APC standard bearer criticised Governor Udom Emmanuel for failing to fulfill the promise he made, four years ago, to reconstruct the village and for coming recently to again deceive the occupants of the village after failing to ameliorate their suffering for nearly four years.

“Akwa Ibom State does not need a lying Governor. That is why we are embracing change. Change has come to Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom State is getting to the next level,” he said.

Obong Ekere charged the technicians in the Mechanic Village to protect and follow their votes to the collation centres.

Senator John Udoedehe, a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who is an indigene of Afaha Offot, wondered why Governor Udom Emmanuel came to campaign in the Mechanic Village after failing to fulfill his promise to develop the village made four years ago.

“Any government that looks down on mechanics, that government is a fool because you are the employers of labour. Nsima Ekere’s government will retrain and equip you. I want you to be agents for Nsima Ekere because Nsima Ekere is your future. Politics is a game of development. If Udom had performed, we would have nothing to campaign with,” he said.

Senator Udoedehe commended Obong Ekere for awarding a contract for the expansion of the internal roads in Afaha Offot and condemned Governor Emmanuel for refusing to equip the Primary Health Centre which he attracted to the village.

He said that he had also attracted an electrification project from the Ministry of Niger Delta to Afaha Offot.

Atuekong Don Etiebet, the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State APC Caucus, described Obong Ekere as a quality person who will turn the mechanic village to a quality place.

He predicted total victory for the APC in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Comrade Ufot Eno, the Secretary of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Mechanic Village, Uyo, Branch, who represented the Chairman, said Obong Ekere would be elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, come rain come shine, disclosing that President Muhammadu Buhari won in the Mechanic Village polling unit during the February 26, 2019 election.

Mrs. Iniobong Ekanem, the Women Coordinator of NATA, Mechanic Village Branch, predicted victory for Obong Ekere and appealed to him to build what she called “a digital mechanic village” when he becomes Governor.

Eteidung David Etuk, the Village Head of Afaha Offot, who was present during the visit, thanked Obong Ekere for constructing roads in the village during his tenure as the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and expressed the belief that the APC standard bearer will transform the Mechanic Village if elected Governor.

He assured Obong Ekere of the votes of Mechanic Village and the larger Afaha Offot Village, adding that they had a stake in Obong Ekere’s incoming government through Senator Udoedehe, an insider.

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