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Atiku seeks S’Court’s nod to tender fresh evidence against Tinubu, alleges forgery

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President Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar
President Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 25 election, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Supreme Court to allow him to present fresh evidence to back his claim that President Bola Tinubu forged the document he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

He said presenting forged documents by any candidate is a grave constitutional issue that must be discouraged.

This was contained in Atiku’s reply on the point of law to Tinubu’s objection to the leave. He sought to present fresh evidence before the apex court.

“Presenting forged documents by any candidate, especially by a candidate for the highest office in the land, is a very grave constitutional issue that must not be encouraged, ” he said.

Tinubu had urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the application,  describing it as a crass abuse of court processes.

But in his response on the point of law, Atiku urged the court to jettison technicality and grant his application.

He argued that the issue of merit ought not to be determined or pronounced upon at the interlocutory stage.

To refuse to grant the leave, as the respondents have argued, will amount to undue technicality.

“The Supreme Court, as the Apex Court and indeed the Policy Court, has intervened time and again to do substantial justice in such matters of great constitutional importance, as it did in the case of AMAECHI vs. INEC (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) 227 and OBI vs. INEC (2007) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1046) 565. The Supreme Court applied the principle of ubi jus ibi remedium to ensure substantial justice is done in such novel scenarios.

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“The need to rebuff, eschew, and reject technicality and the duty of Court to ensure substantial justice is very germane in this matter, given the gravity of the constitutional issue involved in deciding whether a candidate for the highest office in the land, the office of President of the Country, presented a forged certificate or not.

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“In urging the Honourable Court to overrule the objections of the Respondents, we can do no better than to commend to your noble Lordships the insightful words of the Supreme Court in ASSAH & ORS V. KARA & ORS (2014) LPELR-24212(SC), per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC as follows:

“Law is blind. It has no eyes. It cannot see. That explains why a statue of a woman with her eyes covered can be found in front of some High Courts. On the contrary, justice is not blind. It has many eyes, it sees and sees very well.

‘The aim of Courts is to do substantial justice between the parties and any technicality that rears its ugly head to defeat the cause of justice will be rebuffed by the Court, ” he stated.

Atiku stated that his stance was not if Tinubu attended the Chicago State University or not, adding that Tinubu presented a forged certificate to INEC.

“That the case is not whether the 2nd Respondent attended Chicago State University but whether he presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“That at the trial, a National Youth Service Corps certificate with serial number 173807 presented by the 2nd Respondent to the 1st Respondent was equally tendered by the Appellants/Applicants at the trial as “EXHIBIT PBD 1A” with the name Tinubu Bola Adekunle, which is annexed herewith as EXHIBIT “J”.

Also,  Atiku described Tinubu’s allegation that he was not consistent with his name as immaterial and pedestrian.

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Atiku held that there was no petition challenging his qualification.

“That it is immaterial that the 1st Respondent had since June 24th, 2022 published the fictitious credentials of the 2nd Respondent as presentation of a forged certificate by a candidate for election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a post-election matter under Section 137 (1) (j) of the Constitution”.

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In a 20-paragraph affidavit in support of the application, deposed to by one  Uyi Giwa-Osagie, he noted that should the Apex Court grant his application, adding that there would be no need for argument.

He said, “There would be no need for any further argument other than the written address in support of same showing that the 2nd Respondent is in violation of the provisions of Section 137 (1) (j) of the Constitution by presenting a certificate disclaimed by the institution from where he purportedly procured same.

“That contrary to paragraphs 16(xi) of the 2nd Respondent’s Counter-Affidavit, there was no ex parte communication with the Honourable Court, but the letter was forwarded to the Registrar of the Court just as was done in the case of Uzodinma vs. Izunaso (2011) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1275) 30, at 56 (paragraph h of the affidavit on page 56) in which Counsel for the 2nd Respondent and Counsel for the Appellants/Applicants were both involved.

He argued that Tinubu’s objection was baseless.

He said,  “The presence of the 1st and 3rd Respondents at the discovery and deposition was not necessary.

“That I know that the 2nd Respondent’s appeal was to prevent the discovery and deposition and that the said Appeal failed.

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“That I know as a fact that the discovery and deposition were ordered by the District Judge, and was not out-of-court.

“That the Appellants were not indolent in their pursuit of the discoveries and deposition as it was also the letter tendered as EXHIBIT XX2 by the 2nd Respondent in the course of his defense purportedly issued by Caleb Westerberg that clearly gave the Appellants/Applicants further reasons to build on the evidence of PW27 by the discovery proceedings for the documents and Deposition on Oath of the same Caleb Westerberg.

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“That the process for the discovery and deposition was commenced by the Appellants/Applicants with several initial preliminary processes by their U.S. Attorneys culminating in their eventually filing a Petition for the issuance of Subpoena, a copy of which is annexed herewith as EXHIBIT “K”.

“That the process was severely stalled by the vehement opposition of the 2nd Respondent, citing irreparable damage to him, amongst other excuses, and I annex herewith as EXHIBIT “L” the motion the 2nd Respondent to quash the subpoena, which application failed.

“That the process was also further delayed by a motion to join or intervene filed by the 2nd Respondent, which was granted, a copy of which application is annexed herewith as EXHIBIT “M”.”

“That eventually the subpoena was ordered, and annex herewith a copy of the subpoena along with the documents that accompanied it as EXHIBIT “N”.

He argued that the president made a move to block the release of credentials while he had equally applied through his lawyer for the release of the document.

“That the 2nd Respondent has been in primary possession of all the facts sought in the discovery but took every step to block their release, notwithstanding that the 2nd Respondent had equally applied through his Attorney in the United States, Mr. Wole Afolabi, for the release of the said documents, which were released to him as shown is EXHIBIT “P” presented in the course of the discovery and deposition process”,  he said. (PUNCH)

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We’re not aware of Ganduje’s suspension – Kano APC Chairman

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Ganduje, wife, son to be arraigned before Kano court April 17
APC National Chairman and former Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje

The Ganduje ward executives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kano State, have denied the reported suspension of APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi-Umar Ganduje.

The ward executives made the denial while briefing journalist at the APC State Secretariat, on Monday in Kano.

According to the ward Chairman, Malam Ahmad Ganduje, those purported to have announced the suspension were not members of the party.

He said they were solemnly behind the APC national chairman and have confidence in his style of leadership.

The ward chairman added that they had passed a vote of confidence on Ganduje, and urged all party members in the ward and across the state to remain calm and law abiding.

In his remarks, the APC Chairman, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Alhaji Inusa Dawanau, said the party will take legal action against those the “impersonators”, who announced Ganduje’s suspension.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, Malam Haladu Gwanjo, who claimed to be the Legal Adviser of APC in Ganduje Ward, had earlier announced the purported suspension of party’s national chairman.
Gwanjo, who cited alleged corruption and other vices as reasons for the suspension, said that the decision was taken by nine executive members of party in Ganduje ward.(NAN)

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Over 1,000 kidnapped victims so far rescued without ransom — FG

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Over 1,000 kidnapped victims so far rescued without ransom — FG

THE National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday, said the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government has so far rescued over 1,000 kidnap victims without paying a ransom.

Ribadu said this when he received 22 students and staff of the Federal University of Gusau, Zamfara State, rescued on Sunday.

The bandits had, on September 22, 2023, invaded the institution and abducted over 30 students and members of staff.

The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mani Mummuni, who was at the university to sympathise with the families and the school authorities over the incident, called on security agencies to hasten the rescue of the kidnapped students.

In a press statement, the spokesperson for the Zamfara State Police Command, Yazid Abubakar, assured that the command would ensure the rescue of all the kidnapped students, as it had deployed an additional tactical team for search-and-rescue operations.

The police noted that “On September 22, 2023, at about 0250hrs, suspected bandits, riding on about 50 motorcycles, armed with sophisticated weapons, invaded three students’ rented apartments in Sabon Gida Village near the Federal University, Gusau and kidnapped an unspecified number of students, taking them to an unknown destination.”

Seven of the students were rescued while two escaped, leaving 22 others in captivity.

On Sunday, the 22, comprising 15 students and seven workers of the university, were rescued in an exercise coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.

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Speaking while receiving the students in Abuja, the NSA appreciated the security operatives for rescuing the students “without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom.”

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He said, “On behalf of the President, I thank all those involved in the successful rescue of the victims without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom.

“This is yet again a success story in our efforts to free all those being unlawfully held in captivity.

“We have so far released over a thousand such victims without noise and with complete respect to their privacy and safety.

“This occasion marks a final juncture in a series of rescues we have undertaken in the last few months, to free victims of recent cases of mass abductions.

“Going forward, we are strengthening law enforcement and security measures to prevent these abductions and strengthen physical security across vulnerable communities.”

Ribadu urged the students and university workers not to allow their experience to break them, but should rather make them stronger.”

In March, the military rescued 137 students kidnapped from Kaduna State, with the Federal Government saying no ransom was paid, despite that the bandits demanded N1bn.

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The NSA also thanked the parents of the rescued victims for their patience and understanding during the period and commended security agencies for their sacrifices.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, NCTC, Maj-Gen Adamu Laka (retd.), said search and rescue operations conducted by security agencies led to the release of the students in three batches.

He said, “Search and rescue was conducted by a combined team of law enforcement agencies and the abductees were subsequently released in three batches, after 207 days in captivity.

“The first batch was rescued on March 15 the second batch was rescued on April 12 and the last batch rescued on April 14.

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“All the abductees were profiled at NCTC while the ONSA Medical Team examined them and administered minor treatments on the bruises sustained by three of them.

“Four of them were diagnosed with malaria and are being treated. None of the females was molested and all the females tested negative for pregnancy test.”

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Six family members die in Gombe road crash, Gov mourns

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Six family members die in Gombe road crash, Gov mourns
• Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya
No fewer than six family members of the Maidalan Gombe, Ahmad Shehu, have reportedly died in a road crash.

It was reported that the deceased passed on in an accident along Azare- Gombe Road on Sunday.

Conveying Governor Muhammadu Yahaya’s condolence in a press statement on Monday, Director-General Press Affairs Ismaila Misilli, said the entire Gombe community is deeply affected by the sad event.

Yahaya, who attended the funeral prayers alongside the Emir of Gombe, Abubakar Shehu-Abubakar III and hundreds of other sympathisers, noted that the loss of family members in such a tragic manner is quite devastating.

The statement partly read, “Our heartfelt condolences to Maidalan Gombe and the entire bereaved family members during this incredibly difficult time. The loss of six family members in such a tragic road accident is not only a profound loss to your family but it also deeply affects the entire Gombe people.

“Words cannot adequately express the sorrow felt for the immense grief you and your loved ones are experiencing. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you pass through this heartbreaking time.”

While praying for the repose of souls Yahaya added, “Almighty Allah to forgive the shortcomings of the deceased and reward their good deeds with Aljannat Firdaus.”

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