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Senate summons security chiefs over illegal arms

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N’Assembly begins probe into invasion by thugs
• Presidency has confirmed Buhari unfit, says PDP

The Senate, yesterday, summoned heads of the nation’s security agencies with a view to curbing illegal possession of firearms.

The security chiefs were Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; Director-General, Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and others.

The lawmakers blamed the situation on negligence by government agencies tasked with controlling how individuals and corporate entities acquire firearms. Consequently, the Senate mandated its committee on Intelligence and National Security to probe the remote and immediate causes of the problem.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, who traced the genesis of unlawful possession of firearms to the cases of religious, communal and other conflicts across the country.

Hunkuyi regretted that despite repeated killings in Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Zamfara and other states, government has not done enough to curtail the illegal possession of arms.

He warned that unless the matter is tackled urgently, ongoing calls by some opinion leaders for self-defence could make more citizens stock up on firearms.

In his contribution, Senator Shehu Sani accused the political class of complicity on the matter. He said the rate at which people were being killed suggests the country has more illegal firearms than ever before. He called for a new national mindset where people would see politics as an opportunity to serve rather than a do-or-die affair.

Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, also insisted the proliferation of firearms explains the many killings in the country. He tasked the security chiefs to find a lasting solution to the issue.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, while approving the resolutions, said the rate of the killings and poor response by the security agencies called for a concerted effort.

Also, Saraki inaugurated an ad-hoc committee of Senate and House of Representatives members to probe the April 18 invasion by thugs who made away with the upper legislative chamber’s mace.

The committee is to be chaired by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’ Allah.

The Senate president said: “The incident will go down as one of the darkest days of our democracy. The precincts of the National Assembly are not just places where the National Assembly meets, they are the symbol of our liberty and freedom from autocracy, and the base of our democracy.

“This should not happen. It should never have happened. The violation of this solemn place, the symbol of our liberty, by a group of mobsters and criminals, cannot simply be ignored. It has been inferred in many quarters that a serving, distinguished senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led this group of thugs and urchins. This is most despicable and unspeakable.”

He added: “We owe it a duty that the legislative process is purged of this dirt and the legislature restored to its full place of dignity. This is a duty that must be achieved. We cannot let a precedence proceed from this. Everyone involved, from conception to execution of this heinous crime, must be brought to book.

“This committee, therefore, must see its charge as pivotal to the restoration of the sanctity, the preservation of the dignity of the National Assembly, and the restoration of the security, integrity and moral authority of the National Assembly.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said: “After months of deceit, the Presidency has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari is unwell, ailing and unfit to attend to state matters.”

The party described as unfortunate the fact that “the President and his handlers had chosen to shroud the issue of his persistent illness in secrecy in a government that prides itself on claims of transparency and integrity.”

At a press conference in Abuja, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Nigerians were taken for granted, deceived and treated like lesser men and women without reasoning capacity, while our nation, at those periods, was left with no leadership, as Mr. President refused to transmit power as required by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”

The PDP said though it has nothing against Buhari’s decision to take care of his ailing health, it “detests the deception and lies that trailed the handling of his unabated health issue.

“Even as we speak, Nigerians are not aware of the ailment our President is suffering from and the identity of the doctors and the hospital attending to him.

Shortly before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, Mr. President, without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly, as required by the constitution, undertook a private visit to the U.K., where his doctors are known to reside, five clear days ahead of CHOGM.

“Nigerians were left in the dark for the period, despite demands for full disclosure by the PDP. Only last week, two days after his departure from the United States where he had gone for a state visit, Mr. President went ‘missing’ again. When concerns began to mount on his whereabouts, the Presidency claimed he had a ‘technical stopover in the U.K., citing flight issues, only for revelations to emerge from the same Presidency, on Monday, that Mr. President was actually in the U.K. to see his doctors.”

The PDP also drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the “import of the response by the Presidency to the petition filed by our party to the United Nations, detailing the gross violation of human rights, mass killings, state- sponsored violence, persecution of the opposition, subversion of democratic tenets and large-scale corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.”

The party said it was incontrovertible that “our petition, which was signed by our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, embodies the pains, anguish, mood, wishes and voice of the generality of Nigerians across board, particularly the victims of extrajudicial killings, state instigated violence, arrests and detentions, economic hardship occasioned by large-scale corruption and government incompetence.”

It noted: “The world was, however, shocked when the Buhari presidency, in a brash show of power and siege mentality, arrogantly dismissed the issues raised by the PDP and the international agencies as ‘comical’, and even went ahead to issue new threats to opposition and dissenting voices in our country.”

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BREAKING: Idongesit Ituen Appeals Federal High Court Judgment

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Ofonime Honesty | Uyo

The member representing Itu State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, has prayed the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Calabar, to overrule the judgement of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Uyo Judicial Division, that his seat in the Assembly be declared vacant by the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke.

Idongesit Ituen

In the suit dated 14 November, 2018, the legislator is the Appellant while the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, are Respondents.

The suit filed by Barr. Uyo-obong Udom and Barr. Samuel Udiminue, on behalf of the lawmaker, averred that “the Appellant was justified to join another political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), upon the merger, alliance, union or coalition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 37 other strange political parties to form Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) in July 2018, as envisaged by the proviso to Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

The suit argued that the “trial court (Federal High Court, Uyo) erred in law when it held that the Appellant was not entitled to the benefit of the proviso to Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” which permits defection on grounds of division or crisis in one’s political party.

It posited that “a party that enters into a merger, alliance, union or coalition for purpose of standing election is deemed to have admitted its weakness that it cannot independently contest and win an election.

Faulting the Federal High Court’s upholding of the first respondent, AKHA Speaker, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke’s counter claim that Ituen’s seat be declared vacant, the Appeal suit amongst other submissions posited that “all reliefs of the purported counter claim were embedded in the counter affidavit in violation of Section 115 (5) of the Evidence Act which stipulates that no extraneous matter like argument, conclusion or prayers should be contained in an affidavit.”

It referenced a precedent in a case between Hon. Ifedayo Adegunde vs. Ondo State House of Assembly, that “counter claim does not support the decision of the trial court as the counter claim in that case was raised as a separate claim with pleadings and supported by an affidavit and a further affidavit and a separate written address.”

The suit also argued “that the decision of the Federal High Court, Uyo Judicial Division, was against the weight of evidence adduced at the trial.”

Counsels to Hon. Idongesit Ituen had earlier filed a Motion Federal for an Order of Staying Execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court, Uyo Judicial Division, pending the hearing and determination of Applicant’s Appeal at the Court of Appeal.

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Emmanuel Ekon raises Motion to Forestall Resurgence of Youth Restiveness in Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun

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Chairman House Committee on Local Content and Member Representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency has raised a motion on the need to forestall resurgence of youth restiveness in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State.

In a video obtained from Hallow Mace, the lawmaker called on the Presidential Amnesty Committee to integrate the aggrieved youths for proper rehabilitation, training and reintegration.

 

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Ebola: Former Minister Reveals How Jonathan was stopped from Recognising Stella

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Former minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has revealed how the plan by former President, Goodluck Jonathan to immortalize late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the medical doctor who died in the efforts at containing the spread of Ebola in the country, was frustrated.

According to Chukwu, the former president had planned a national broadcast to announce her and some people as national hero but was advised against the move by some people.

He, however, promised to reveal those behind the plot in his book.

The former minister spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the Public Lecture and Awards Organised by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).

The event has as its theme “Politics and Health: Implications of the nexus to the Nigerian citizen.”

The former minister who was the chairman of the occasion said: “At a time, I know how many hours I spent on the phone and on laptop in 2014 with Dr. Ruben Abati, who you know was the chief Spokesperson of Mr. President Jonathan.

“The president gave us a task that the two of us should draft the speech he was going to make, very important speech just about the time that it was declared that there was no more Ebola in Nigeria and the president was to make an important address to the nation.

“Indeed what the president (Jonathan) wanted was to make some people national heroes. Of course Dr. Adadevoh was one of those to be announced as national hero. But after we spent four hours on our laptops myself and Dr. Abati and hoping that this will finally get to be mentioned, it didn’t get out.

“And of course I picked it up with Mr. President on why he would allow us to work for four hours to prepare his speech and it didn’t come out in his final work and he told me it is politics.

“There are people who told Mr. President that this woman cannot be a national hero. Yes but sometimes people just write. Let me tell you it is part of what the guest speaker is going to tell us today on how health mixes with politics.

“So when someone becomes Mr. President, pity him because he does not take all the decisions but receives blames for what he did not say.”

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Minimum Wage: NLC reacts to Governors’ threat to sack workers

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Akwa Ibom INFO had reported that the Chairman of NGF, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara State, was quoted as saying, ”the proposed wage would be paid if labour would agree to downsizing of the workforce across the country “or Federal Government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula”.

However, reacting, Wabba said the threat to sack workers was not new.

He said, “Therefore, the current one by the governor of Zamfara cannot be used to intimidate labour.

“The consequences of workers retrenchment are too grievous for any political office holder truly elected by the people to contemplate.

“Few political office holders are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts mislabeled as salaries.

“We urge such elected public officials to subject their humongous salaries and allowances, reputed to be among the highest in the world to public perusal.

“Pro rata with the minimum wage they want to force down the throats of Nigerian workers,” NAN quoted him as saying.

He, therefore, urged each of the state governor to go to their respective state and inform workers on their individual position on the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.

“To the oppressors, we have only one answer for you, we will never sleep on our rights.

“We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.

“We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election, ‘’Wabba said.

“It would interest Nigerians to know that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 was a product of intense and robust negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee that lasted for one year.

“ At the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee, state governments were represented by six states, one state from each of the six geo-political zones.”

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