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Lawyers urge FG to save lives of Judges, Lawyers, Workers in Kogi Election Tribunal

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Electricity tariff: You’ve betrayed trust of Nigerians, Northern elders tell Tinubu
• President Bola Tinubu

Following the reported attack on the Secretary to the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Mr. David Mike by armed men suspected to be political thugs loyal to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the legal team of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, governorship candidate in the November 11 governorship election, Murtala Ajaka, has made a strong case to the Federal Government to save the lives of the judges, lawyers and workers of the tribunal.

Two members of the SDP legal team, Otumba Olumofin and J.S.Okutepa SAN, in a press statement issued Monday evening, said that the call had become imperative in view of the attack on the tribunal’s secretary by suspected hired political thugs in Lokoja on Monday.

The Advocate learnt that the armed men waylaid the tribunal’s secretary while on his way to Court after trailing him from his house and reportedly demanded for copies of the petition filed by the SDP governorship candidate before the tribunal.  Sources said he was whisked away to an unknown place and his whereabouts could not be confirmed by press time.

The press statement by the SDP legal team said the tribunal secretary was with copies of the petition filed on December 2, 2023 by their clients, Alhaji Murtala Yakubu and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, at the time of the attack.

The statement by the SDP legal team reads:

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA SAVE THE SOULS OF JUDGES, LAWYERS AND WORKERS IN KOGI STATE ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL.

TODAY, being the 4th of December 2023, the Secretary of Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal was attacked at guns points by hired political thugs in Lokoja. At the time the attacks occurred the Secretary was with copies of election petition filed on the 2/12/2023 by the legal team of Alhaji Murtala Yakubu and Social Democratic Party, SDP.

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The said petition was filed on the 2/12/2023. The petition is No: EPT/KG/Gov/03/2023. The said petition was duly received and stamped on the 2/12/2023 and certified by Mr U. D. Mike On the said date. By the provisions of Section 285(5) of the 1999,election petitions are to be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election.

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The result of the Kogi State Governorship Election was declared on the 12/11/2023. This petition was filed within time allowed by the constitution. The petition submitted was in three volumes. They are numbered volumes 1,2, and 3.

Despite the fact that the petition was filed within time and duly paid for, and completed copies were submitted and security deposit paid, some very uninformed and political miscreants who can accept to do any dirty job just for peanuts went to town in the name of an amorphous NGO, that claimed to be non-partisan and non-political, to misinformed the public that SDP and its candidate did not file the petition within time.

They made many incoherent and unfounded unintelligent allegations in the name of democracy and misconducted themselves professionally and then exhibited crass knowledge of law to satisfy their paid masters.

As a legal practitioner in the legal team that prepared and filed the petition, I did not see any sense in the sponsored press statement issued by these learned gentlemen if indeed they are lawyers. They should have known better.

My main worry here is the desperations being exhibited by some politicians in Kogi State who are afraid of allowing the conduct of the so called election of 11/11/2023 to be judicially examined. These anti democratic forces and agents of darkness have done everything since after that election to stop the examinations of the conduct of the said election.

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Kogi State has become so lawless under Yahaya Bello as Governor. There is complete failure of governance in the State. The attacks against the Secretary of the Tribunal and subsequent snatching of the petition filed by the legal team of Murtala Yakubu and SDP by agents of darkness in Kogi State and by those working for those who rigged their ways into the office is not only unfortunate but it constitutes an attack against the judiciary.

It is a direct interference with judicial process. I hope the Nigerian government will view this unfortunate incident seriously and ensure that sanity is restored in Kogi State. There is political insanity in Kogi State. There is political miasma in kogi State. There is total disdain for judiciary and judicial institution by Kogi State and the agents of the state.

How long will the President of Nigeria keep quiet and look the other ways when all is not well in Kogi State. It is shameful that those who rigged the election in Kogi State on 11/11/2023 are not allowing the conduct of the said election to be examined. It is sad. Given what is going on in Kogi State the lives of lawyers and judges handling this petition are not saved. Nigerian Government has a duty to do something and urgently too to avoid lawyers and judges being killed. The Federal Government of Nigeria must save the souls of all who have to handle these petitions.

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The Nigerian Bar Association must speak and act now. It is becoming too difficult to practice law in Nigeria. Those who rigged that election are desperate and they are doing everything to scuttle the hearing and determination of the petition. The judiciary must ensure that it takes judicial notice of the rascality going on in the state. There must be an end to this state sponsored attacks.

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Nigerians are watching the Federal Government of Nigeria. Kogi State must be monitored strictly to avoid further anarchy. People are being pushed to the wall. There is a limit to human endurance. Kogi must not be allowed to be on fire and further.

Enough is enough.

Otumba Olumofin

J.S.Okutepa SAN

4th December 2023.

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Yahaya Bello: AGF backs EFCC, warns those obstructing agency from performing its lawful duty

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Prince Lateef Fagbemi AGF

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, has warned public officials both serving and non serving to desist from obstructing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from carrying out it’s statutory operations.

Prince Fagbemi was reacting to news making the rounds in media space that former Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has been obstructing the EFCC in it’s attempt to arrest him.

The AGF said “The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to his notice.”

He described such situation “as a matter of very grave concern”.

The Justice Minister warned that the EFCC under the establishing law, has the legal right to invite, arrest or prosecute any person without minding status.

“It is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigation into any matter regardless of status.

“Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of EFCC but to honourably answer their invitation.

“A situation where public officals who are themselves subject of protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is to say the least, insufferably disquieting.

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“A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it” the AGF warned.

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In a statement on Thursday, Prince Fagbemi stated unequivocally that he stands for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies.

The AGF’s press release was titled: “EFCC SHOULD NOT BE OBSTRUCTED FROM PERFORMING ITS LAWFUL DUTY”.

However, he tenaciously held the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.

Nigeria, he said, has a vibrant judicial system that is capable of protecting everyone who follows the rule of law in seeking protection.

“I encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on a temporising self-help and escapism that can only put our country in bad light before the rest of the world” the AGF stated.

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Junior Pope: South East filmmakers protest in Enugu

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• Protesting Southeast filmmakers
Different groups involved in filmmaking under the auspices of South East Film Crew Welfare, Wednesday afternoon, took to the street protesting the manner five of their members died after a boat conveying them to shooting location capsized in Anambra River.

Junior Pope, Abigail Frederick, Precious Oforum, Joseph Anointing and Friday Okoroafor, all lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.

Members of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria (CDGN) in Enugu State and others marched on the streets of Enugu metropolis from Okpara Square, Independence Layout, through Rangers Avenue, Bissala Road and terminated at Film Arena, National Museum.

A candle light procession was slated in honour of the fallen heroes and heroines.

Their spokesperson, Jonas Onunweze, a props and set designer, condemned the treatment given to artistes and other Nollywood crew members by film producers.

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Yoruba Nation: Those threatening Nigeria’s sovereignty have price to pay, Tinubu warns

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Yoruba Nation: Those threatening Nigeria’s sovereignty have price to pay, Tinubu warns
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

–As he receives Afenifere leaders

—Says he’s resolute in achieving economic security

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu on Wednesday gave a strong warning to ethnic agitators, saying that those who think they can threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria will have a price to pay.

President Tinubu also  said that his administration remained undeterred in its pursuit of comprehensive economic security for the country while addressing foundational challenges and creating a fair and equitable system in which all Nigerians can thrive.

Speaking when he received leaders of Afenifere, the respected Yoruba Socio-Cultural Organization, at the State House in Abuja, the President said his administration is re-engineering Nigeria’s finances and seeking to boost the purchasing power of citizens, and spread prosperity down the line, by instituting a credit system where the element of cash is not an impediment to a significantly enhanced standard of living for all citizens.

He said Nigeria must secure itself economically first before it can achieve any of its more sophisticated objectives.

The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, was quoted as saying, ‘’We are committed to the economic survival of our country. To re-engineer the finances of our country, we must start in earnest. So first, retool, revamp the economic opportunities available, and resolve to continue taking the firm and steady baby steps that are necessary.

‘’Education is a strong weapon against poverty. To empower the people, we must invest in the future of our youths. We have seen the problems parents face in training their children in school; it is the reason why we established the National Student Loan Programme, which is taking off well.

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‘’We are equally examining what to do with the high degree of unemployment. We must help vulnerable people by providing social security. We are looking at how to provide allowances for the unemployed, and we are developing ways to boost the purchasing power of citizens with the Consumer Credit Scheme. If we remove the cash upfront element to buy a car or a house, we will reduce the propensity for fraud and corruption across the land,’’ President Tinubu said.

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Speaking on security, the President declared that those who threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria would pay a heavy price.

The President threat is coming on the heels of the recent report in which some people from the South West embarked on agitation for Yoruba nation.

Tinubu said, ‘’I am irrevocably committed to the unity of Nigeria and constitutional democracy.Constitutional democracy is reflected greatly here since we assumed office. What we face now is the challenge of terrorism. Security of life and property is very necessary for development. I can tell you we are achieving success. We have degraded terrorism to a level that they cannot threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria any longer.

‘’Banditry and kidnapping will be defeated. And there is no payment of ransom whatsoever. We are taking the battle to them. We are getting results more rapidly than before. We are working hard on intelligence gathering. Those who think they can threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria will have themselves to blame. They have a price to pay. And we are not going to relent.”

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The President thanked the esteemed delegation for their prayers and support, assuring them that he would not relent in his resolve to advance Nigeria.

‘’God bless Nigeria. God bless our unity; our diversity must bring prosperity for all for the sake of Nigeria,’’ President Tinubu concluded.

Earlier in his remarks, His Royal Majesty, Oba Olu Falae commended the President for his courageous decisions and for the rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, as well as other critical ongoing projects.

He urged the President not to relent in ensuring fairness and equity for all Nigerians while noting the importance of a constitutional amendment to devolve more powers to the states.

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‘’We are delighted about what you are doing for our country, and we assure you of our continued support. We thank you for your visit to Akure in February 2024, and we believe it is right and proper to reciprocate your kind gesture. We appreciate this relationship, and we need to make it work in the interest of Nigeria.

‘’Mr. President, you are the leader of Nigeria now and the most important political figure in Africa. We expect you, in view of your legacy and pedigree, to lead our country with knowledge, courage, and integrity. We have no doubt that your tenure will mark a turning point in the history of our country. Under your leadership, Nigeria will be repositioned.

‘’We will stand by you as you make all efforts to change the Nigeria story for the better. Be assured Afenifere will not abandon you in fair or foul weather. As long as you remain faithful to the principles of fairness, integrity, and courage that is expected of you as the leader of Nigeria, we will stand by you,’’ Oba Falae said.

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The delegation was led by Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of Afenifere; Oba Falae, alongside other eminent citizens.

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