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More trouble for Ekweremadu as Enugu lawyer seeks declaration of seat vacant

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By Francesca Iwambe
There seem to be more troubles for former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who has been in detention in the United Kingdom since June this year over allegation of organ harvesting, as a lawyer, Chief Ogochukwu Onyema, has asked the Federal High Court, Enugu, to declare his seat vacant by default of representation.
Onyema, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had contested the primary of the party for Enugu West Senatorial ticket in 2018 for 2019 general elections, but lost to Ekweremadu.
In the suit where he listed Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Clerk of the National Assembly; National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and INEC as defendants, Onyema asked the court to declare that, by the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended; the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended, and the Senate Legislative calendar 2022, that the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate will be declared vacant by default, if the Senator representing it is, without just cause, absent from meetings of the Senate for a period amounting, in the aggregate, to more than 1/3 of the total number of days during which the House or Senate meets in any one year, which is 1/3 of 181 days.
He argued that going by denial of several bail applications on Ekweremadu by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Court till date, “and the fixing of his pre-trial on or about October 4, 2022, and trial on or about May 28, 2023 as judicially noticed, it cannot be rightly said that Ekweremadu will still perform his duty of representing Enugu West Senatorial zone as provided in the constitution.”

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Onyema, who asked the court to compel the Senate President, PDP and INEC to declare Ekweremadu’s seat vacant, also requested for the order of court on the PDP to forward his name (Onyema) as replacement for Ekweremadu within the seven days of service of the order.
He asked the court for an order to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ekweremadu and fresh certificate of return issued in his favour, as well as a perpetual injunction barring the party from submitting the name of any other person except him.
When the matter came up, yesterday, Justice I.N Buba had granted the leave of the court to serve the defendants on their individual addresses outside jurisdiction and substituted service of the originating summons, as well as other court processes in the matter.
He also adjourned to October 5, 2022, for possible hearing and addresses on jurisdiction.

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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