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HURIWA APPLAUDS FEDERAL HIGH COURT ON OKIGWE SENATE SLOT

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…..charges INEC to be swift, decisive and professional in the Okigwe senate poll

The leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group in Nigeria :- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) thinks that the decision by the Federal High Court Owerri division, which categorically decided on the legal interrogatory of who exactly is the flag bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC), in the yet to be fixed but much anticipated election to choose a senator for Okiwe that has remained “ a political orphan” in the upper legislative chamber, is a welcomed development.

Consequent upon the ruling of the Federal High Court resolving the controversy trailing the Okigwe by-election’s Senatorial primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Rights group said the candidates validly presented now to the Independent National Electoral commission as candidates including the Court decided flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress must now go to the fields and tell the constituents what blueprints they possess to change the fortune of Okigwe.

HURIWA stated that it is imperative that the just reappointed INEC Chairman should fix a quick date for the conduct of the by-election just as the Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said it was high time that Okigwe Senatorial zone changes from the unfortunate position as the most marginalized senatorial district in Nigeria to an economic zone whereby industrialization upgrade would drive up employment for the youngstars and bring about stability, growth, progress and security for all.

The group which says it has no favoured candidate in the poll, however charges all those willing to serve the people to be ready to do the most simple of all tasks by producing academic qualifications they have claimed to have so Okigwe no longer suffers perennial lack of representation in the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“HURIWA has recently visited Okigwe senatorial zone and from our findings, the constituents have this feeling of being short changed and the bad state of the only Federal road traversing Okigwe to Umunahia and Okigwe to Owerri, is a disgraceful phenomenon which means that this prolonged lack of representation of Okigwe in the senate is not just a political disadvantage but a gross human rights violation.”

Mahmood Yakubu
INEC Chairman

“We urge the rejuvenated independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) to fix a definite date for conduct of the Okigwe senatorial poll just as we challenge the electoral empire to conduct a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election so it will be impossible for the winner to be removed by the election Tribunal and so the seemingly unending episode of lack of representation of Okigwe at the senate would stop. We trust that Professor Yakubu Mahmood led INEC will not help to perpetuate this deliberate under-representation of Okigwe Senatorial zone.”

HURIWA recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri last Friday ruled that former Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and not Mr. Frank Ibezim or Lady Uchenna Uba, was the rightful candidate qualified to represent APC in the forthcoming by-election.

HURIWA recalled that the seat of Imo North Senatorial District formerly occupied by Senator Benjamin Emeka Uwajumogu, became vacant following the sudden death of the senator in his residence in Abuja last December even as part of the process of selecting a candidate to fly the party’s flag during the by-election earlier fixed for October 31, 2020, but put forward indefinitely due to the #EndSARS protests, APC organised parallel primaries.

HURIWA recalled that the then ‘candidate’ Ibezim, who was favoured by Governor Uzodimma emerged from the rival primary organised by the Chairman and Secretary of the APC Senatorial Primary Election Primary Committee, Senator Ararume, was announced winner in the alternate primary endorsed by other members of the committee.

Hope Uzodinma
Governor, Imo State

Dissatisfied with the outcomes of both exercises, Lady Uchenna Uba approached the Court seeking an order to be declared the authentic candidate of the party for the Senatorial by-election.

Joined, as parties to the suit were, APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Araraume, Dr. Edith Chidinma Uwajumogu and Hon. Mathew Omegara as 1st to 5th defendants.

Ruling on the suit No. FHC/101/2020, which was earlier scheduled for October 27, 2020, the Presiding Judge, Justice Tegem isolated two issues for resolution, including the issue of tentative result and determining the rightful winner.

He remarked that there were two different results tendered in evidence before the court, the result from the Plaintiff, the 1st Defendant, and also Mr. Frank Ibezim.

According to the court, while the first result was signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Seven Member Panel that conducted the primary election, where Ibezim polled the highest number of votes and was declared winner, the second tendered in evidence before the Court by the third Defendant (Senator Ifeanyi Araraume) was written by a split group of the same Seven Member Panel for the conduct of the Election, but did not sign that Result in which the third defendant polled the highest number of votes and was declared winner.

Although the court found on the first issue that “in the Court of law an unsigned document is no document, since the authenticity of the document cannot be ascertained,” it declared that the “result signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Seven Member Panel in my view is the tentative result.”

On the issue of who was the rightful winner, Justice Tegem queried: “What is the implication of the disqualification as adduced by the counsel to the 4th respondent (Edith Uwanjumogu)?

The Presiding judge noted that by coming to court through a proxy, Ibezim spoilt what ordinarily was a very good opportunity before him, but missed it having chosen to do it by proxy.

Consequently Justice Tegem disclosed that tendered in evidence before the Court by the Plaintiff was the reports of both the Screening Committee and the Appeal Panel of the APC, stressing that there was no evidence that the disqualified aspirants (the Plaintiff (Uba), Ibezim and the 5th Defendant Omegra and three others) showing that they appealed to the National Working Committee of the party.

The judge noted also counsel to the plaintiff and the 1st Defendant never raised any point of law in defense of the issue of disqualification during there adumbration in adoption of their written addresses and held that “this amounted in my view to an admission.”

“In the eyes of the Law, the Plaintiff, Frank Ibezim, Mathew Omegra and three others never participated in the primary election. Disqualified aspirants remained not aspirants in the said primary having been disqualified,” the judge declared.

Consequently the court ordered as follows: “The participation of Frank Ibezim is nullified having been disqualified by the party screening committee and the Appeal Panel before the primary election.

“That the next person who polled the third highest votes in the resolved tentative result, which is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, to now be the candidate of the party for the by-election of the Imo North Senatorial District, replacing Ibezim.”

The Rights group is therefore urging politicians to give peace a chance so the people of Okigwe will be offered the Constitutional right that belongs to them as Nigerian citizens to freely elect their Senator so the vicious circle of systemic lack of representation at the highest legislative body in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is brought to an end

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FG, States, LGCs Share N1,208 billion April 2024 Revenue

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Again Fulani Terrorists Attack Omala LGA, Kill 3 in Ajokpachi

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Barely a few weeks after a deadly attack by Fulani herdsmen on the Agojeju-odo Community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State,  another community has suffered the same fate.

The Dare Devil Fulani Bandits on Tuesday launched a deadly attack on the Ajokpachi Odo Community, a neighbouring Community killing no fewer than three persons, and carting away Motorbikes, foodstuff while scores of people still missing.
The attack was said to have occurred when the Youths in the area on surveillance mission were ambushed and killed  by the Fulani herdsmen terrorists.
According to the locals , the fulani militia who have been engaging in fierce battle with the Agatus in Benue state for over a week now were relocating when they met the   youths who were holding a meeting in Ajokpachi Odo and openedfire on them.,
Among the confirmed dead were Musa Sule from Ajokpachi Odo , one youth from Bagaji Odo and another one from Ajomachi, a border village in Benue state who were attending  the meeting on how to protect their communities.

Victims of the Fulani herdsmen attack on Agojeju-odo

Unconfirmed reports have it that the terrorists have also earmarked other communities in the local government for similar attacks. This has resulted in the desertion of Agbenema, Opada, Ajedegbo and surrounding communities whose inhabitants are moving in droves to Abejukolo the local government headquarters.
SunriseNigeria could not reach the Divisional Police Officer of the local government as his line could not be reached.
However a Community Leader , Nifu Abuka, who spent all night in the bush for fear of his life  as a result of the incident, said since  the heinous attack on  Agojeju Odo, his people have been sleeping with one eye closed.
He added that the porous security situation in the area has made them vulnerable to incessant Fulani attacks and called on relevant government agencies to come to their rescue.
He explained that the age long  feud between Agatu and Fulani in Benue and Nasarawa states have made his community, which share boundary with Agatu in Benue state -susceptible to attack.
In an interview with our correspondent, a prominent indigene of the local government, Dr James Odaudu reiterated the age-long calls by stakeholders for the establishment of a military base,  especially the Navy, in the area,  since the marauders usually cross the River Benue from the neighbouring Nasarawa State to attack the Agatus in Benue state and and communities in Omala LGA in Kogi State.
He called on the Federal and Benue  state Governments to urgently deploy permanent Security outfits to the communities to save them from unwarranted
deaths in the hands of the heavily armed Fulani herdsmen who have taken over their farms and the  deserted  villages.
According to him, the people are tired of the usual condolences by those whose responsibility it is to protect them and said if left unchecked, the bandits will overrun not only the local government, but the whole of Igala Kingdom.
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Submit Yourself to the Law, Tinubu Media Group Tells Yahaya Bello

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The Tinubu Media Support Group, TMSG, has urged the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to heed the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, and submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the court of law.

According to the group, it has become necessary for Bello to clear himself of allegations of financial malfeasance while in office.

In a statement issued Sunday and jointly signed by its Chairman, Emeka Nwankpa and Secretary, Dapo Okubanjo, the group described the stand-off between the former governor and the EFCC as unnecessary, saying it is an affront on the sanctity of the law and the integrity of the President’s war against corruption.

The statement said: “We have carefully watched all the drama and subterfuge that continue to trail the invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Governor Yahaya Bello, a senior member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the curious attempts to politicize the routine matter of the request by the graft fighting agency to ask former Governor Bello to meet with its investigators.

“For us, the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, asking the former Kogi governor to subject himself to EFCC’s scrutiny is a clear signal in this regard, not only on the position of law, but also on the stance of the President Bola Tinubu administration on anti- corruption.

“It should be clear by now to all Nigerians that strict accountability in governance occupies a cardinal place in President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. To serve this purpose, his government has shown zero tolerance to cases of corruption since assuming office.

According to the statement, the EFCC, by inviting the former governor Yahaya Bello, like it did with past and previous officials of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and others, is in tandem with its policy and character to nurture a culture of probity and accountability in governance.

The group added that as a staunch member of the APC, Bello has no reason to fear.

“We urge him to heed the advice of the Attorney General and make himself available to EFCC’s investigators as required by extant laws.

“We also advise members of the ruling party who have been up in arms against the anti- graft agency to be circumspect in their reaction to the issue,” the group added.

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