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ECOWAS: President Buhari charges security chiefs on transborder crimes



President Muhammadu Buhari has called on police and security chiefs from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to share Intelligence to curtail violent crimes ravaging the subregion.

President Buhari 

He said terrorist’s activities affecting Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin countries and Cameroun in central Africa have created new humanitarian problems and serious security threats.

The president made this known at the closing ceremony of the 16 Annual General Meeting of West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and Meeting of the Forum of Ministers in charge of Security in Abuja.

Represented by the Minister of Interior, Lieutenant-General Abdulrahman Dambazau, President Buhari noted that insecurity posed by corruption, terrorism, communal clashes, kidnap for ransom, organised crimes among were some of the vices threatening the peace in the region.

The President, who attributed the vulnerability of the region to criminal activities and other threats to peace and security to the vast borders and proximity to the Sahel, said that it was imperative for member-states to coordinate their security plans and activities, to enable law enforcement and other security agencies to contain and prevent these vices.

“We are aware of other threats to security such as climate change which brings with it environmental degradation, extreme poverty and poor governance,” Dambazau said, speaking for the President.

“However, as police chiefs, your focus is on security of lives and property in relation to law and order,“ he said.

Buhari noted that the fight against crime and criminality was vast and resource consuming, transcending national, regional and global levels.

He said that WAPCCO was a forum that affords the police and security chiefs the opportunity for cooperation and collaboration to proffer solutions to the security challenges confronting the region.

The President said that the fight against crime and criminality could only be achieved through the collective will and effort of member-states.

He said that resolutions in the meeting would become the standard measure of performance of the participants.

“It is pertinent to note that resolutions in the meeting would become the standard measure of your performances which in turn would help in safeguarding our nascent democracies.

“The knowledge they garnered here will also enhance your competences and capacities to successfully handle and resolve such incidences when they occur.

“Nigeria in the last four years has taken drastic measures and spared no effort in her resolve to fight corruption and her quest to defeat Boko Haram.

“We have led vigorous military campaigns against the terrorists by re-organising the multinational joint task force which had dislodged them.

“Working with our regional and international allies, we have denied them safe haven within and around the sub-region.

“We have also strengthened legislation against terrorism and corruption by equipping the ant-graft agencies in the country to be able to carry out their mandates,“he said.

He said that the measures adopted have yielded much dividends in reducing financial crimes and acts of terrorism in the country.

On his part, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Brou, said that the current security challenges in the sub-region required urgent attention.

He was represented by ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin.

Brou said that results could be achieved in the fight against crime and criminality if it was handled by members-states with seriousness.

He noted that the security situation in the region was precarious due to terrorism, drug trafficking, arms proliferation and smuggling among others.

The president attributed insecurity in the sub-region to poverty, corruption and socio-political problems.

He called on member-states to collaborate with ECOWAS to hold the WAPCCO meeting annually.

Also speaking, Dambazau said that the region was faced with numerous regional and international security challenges.

Dambazau, who was represented by an official of the ministry, Mrs Georgina Ehuriah, charged the security ministers to provide lasting solutions to tackle them by providing leadership and formulating policies.

He said that all over the world, crime and criminality are assuming new and unimaginable dimensions that no country can effectively fight without the collaboration with others.

Countries in attendance were Bukina Faso, Cape Verde, Benin Republic, Cote I`Voire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria.

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PDP Governors back Atiku



Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors have given their backing to the decision of the party’s 2019 presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar to appeal the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal’s judgment upholding President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory.

The PDP Governors Forum said the tribunal stood justice on its head in the September 11 verdict.

It added that if the verdict is not challenged at the Supreme Court, it may have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s democracy.

In a statement by its Chairman and Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, the Forum said the tribunal’s judgment attempted to lay a faulty moral foundation for future generations.
The governors said: “After painstakingly and prudently understudying the line after line tenets of the judgment, several holes were picked and countless anomalies identified by us.

”We would be doing a greater disservice and moral injustice to our party, our democracy and Nigerians in general if we turn blind eyes, swallow such bile and applaud that rape of justice.

”The judgment, to say the least, has further painted our judiciary with darker colours; only this time around with a never-before-seen blemished coat of tar.

”However, we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will re-write that history by ensuring that such stains and tar are removed from our judicial archives.

“The apex court should know that its integrity is at stake and in order to avoid it been shredded to particles, must employ all known technicalities to save our nation and the future of Nigerians yet unborn from a development that may further make us a perpetual laughing stock amongst the comity of nations.”

The Forum said Nigerians were very hopeful that the tribunal’s “wrongs” will be made right by the Supreme Court.

“Without any iota of trepidation, it is most paramount for us to once more restate and reconfirm our undiluted loyalty, deserving support and maximum commitment to our great party and the Atiku-Obi presidential ticket.

“This is our stand, now and in the future. Posterity would judge us harshly if we did otherwise,” the governors added.

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Kogi deputy governor’s impeachment gains momentum



The Secretary to the (Kogi) State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folashade Ayoade-Arike, on Monday, entered the witness box to testify at the panel hearing investigating allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor of the state, Elder Simon Achuba.

Others that testified at the panel sitting at the state High Court, Lokoja, included the Acting Director (Treasury), Office of the Accountant General, Mr. Elijah Ebinemi, who presented before the panel, evidence of alleged salaries/allowances payment, to the embattled deputy governor.

The certified true copies of said payment were said to have covered between 2016 and 2017. Also testifying was Saliu Hassan Itopa, Cashier, Office of the Deputy Governor.

The Chief Judge (CJ) of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajanah had on August 23, constituted a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct raised by the state House of Assembly against the Deputy Governor.

Members of the panel are Mr. John Baiyeshea (SAN) (Chairman), Hajia Bilikisu Abdulmalik Basher, Mr. William A. Aliwo, Canon Z. A. Asun, Alhaji Isa Adeboye, Mr. Muhammed A. Aikoye, and Mr. Ada Shaibu. Mr. Bamidele Aina, while the Deputy Court Registrar (DCR), Special Duties at the High Court will serve as secretary to the panel.

The SSG under cross-examination by lead counsel to Achuba, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), among others, alleged that the state deputy governor last attended the weekly state executive council meeting, in August 2018.

She said that she was incompetent to issue a query to the deputy governor, the latter being her boss.

She stated that while it is not under the schedule of the Office of the SSG to pay the salary of the deputy governor, all workers of the state, including the deputy governor and his aides, have however been paid “up-to-date”.

She said that her office is responsible for the payment of salary to political officeholders.

Under cross-examination by Mr. Anthony Adeniyi, lead counsel to the state government, Itopa, the cashier in the office of the deputy governor, explained that allowances and other monies, including impress are paid directly into the bank accounts of those concerned.

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APC demands apology from Atiku, PDP



The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, Thursday taunted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for losing their bid to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the election.

The duo urged them to apologize to Nigerians for challenging the president’s declaration as the winner of the election, adding that Buhari will win the former vice president even at the World Court or the Supreme Court.

But the PDP, which has signified its intention to appeal the judgment of the tribunal, which rejected its petition to nullify Buhari’s election, at the Supreme Court, fired back, saying their triumphalism would be transient.

Mohammed called on Atiku and the PDP to apologise for deliberately distracting the Buhari administration with what he described as a frivolous election petition.

In a statement yesterday from St. Petersburg, Russia, Mohammed acknowledged that while the PDP and its candidate reserved the right to pursue their petition to the highest level, “they will be better served by dropping their toga of desperation and realising that there is a limit to tomfoolery.”

“Nigerians are tired of this orchestrated distraction, and will rather wish that the opposition, having lost at the polls and in court, will now join hands with the government to move Nigeria to the next level.

“This is more so that the judgment validating the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari was unanimous that the petition lacked merit, that the petitioners failed to prove any of the grounds upon which their case was anchored and that President Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the poll,” he added.

According to him, instead of casting aspersion on the judiciary with their poorly-framed reaction to the ruling of the tribunal, the PDP and its candidate should be thanking their stars that they are not being prosecuted for coming to court with fraudulently-obtained evidence.

“It is intriguing that a party that trumpets the rule of law at every turn will present, in open court, evidence it claimed to have obtained by hacking into a supposed INEC server.

“Don’t they realise this is a criminal act for which they are liable? Instead of threatening to head to the Supreme Court, driven more by ego than commonsense, they should be sorry for allowing desperation to overwhelm their sense of reasoning. Enough is enough,” Mohammed stated.

He commended the tribunal for not only doing justice to the case but for explaining, in painstaking details that lasted hours, how it arrived at its judgment.

”We also thank Nigerians who voted massively to re-elect President Buhari for their continued support,” he said.

On his part, Oshiomhole yesterday said Buhari and the APC would defeat the PDP and Atiku should they go to the Supreme Court, and if possible, the World Court, to challenge the ruling of the tribunal.

Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents when he accompanied APC women leaders from the national, zonal and 36 states of the federation to meet with Buhari.

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Tribunal sacks Senate’s spokesperson



The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Tuesday, nullified the election of Senator Dayo Adeyeye of Ekiti South. Justice Danladi Adeck, a member of the three-man tribunal, read the unanimous judgment.

He declared former Minority Leader and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Biodun Olujimi, winner of the poll.

When the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Adeyeye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the February 23 election, Olujimi petitioned the tribunal that she was the real winner of the election.
The former Minority Leader submitted that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast in the election.

She prayed the tribunal to nullify Adeyeye’s victory and order a supplementary election.

The petitioner claimed that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, having been allegedly fraught with all manner of irregularities.

Justice Adeck nullified the elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi the authentic winner of the poll.

Olujimi polled a total of 54,894 votes to emerge victorious over Adeyeye, who polled 52,243 votes.

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