The three -man appeal panel, presided over by Justice Adamu Juaro, in a unanimous verdict, said Fayemi not resigning as the then Minister of Mines and Steel Development to contest the May 12, 2018 governorship primary , where he emerged as candidate, was not enough to disqualify him.
Other Justices of the appeal panel are: Justices Emmanuel Agim and Abubakar Lamido.
The Appeal court in a judgement delivered by Justice Agim, held that Fayemi’s indictment by Justice Silas Oyewole-led judicial panel of inquiry set up by former governor Ayodele Fayose to try the governor for alleged embezzlement does not suffice to bar him from participating in the election.
The Justices said only a conviction by a competent court of law can bar any aspirant from participating in a primary or general election and not a mere indictment by a panel .
The federal high court, had in a judgement delivered by Justice Uche Agomoh last year, dismissed the case for lack of merit, after which the former governor appealed the case.
Oni’s lawyer, Chief Tony Adeniyi, urged the court to determine whether the lower court didn’t commit infraction to have ruled that Fayemi, by virtue of being a Minister was not obligated to resign in line with Article 2 of the 2014 guidelines of the APC , which provided that every intending aspirant must resign 30 days to the primary.
Oni also told the court that Fayemi as a public servant must comply with this provision and he again contended that the governor having been indicted by a judicial panel of inquiry was not eligible to participate in the party’s primary.
But Fayemi, through his lawyer, Raheem Balogun, countered the position canvassed by Oni, saying Fayemi was not a public servant and was not obliged to comply with article 2 of the guideline.
He also added that the panel of inquiry that indicted Fayemi was not a court of competent jurisdiction and lacks the power to bar any aspirant from contesting an election.
In its judgement, the court, however, agreed that a Minister is a public servant as claimed by the appellant, saying the position is an office in the public service of the federation.
The appeal court said: ” We have considered the positions of all the parties regarding who is a public servant. Section 277 of the 1999 constitution explained who is a public servant and a Minister being an office in the service, is a public servant.
” But the 1st respondent(Fayemi) was not an employee since he was hired and confirmed by the Senate to perform a specific task in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. It is not every public servant that is an employee in the civil service”.
On the issue of 2018 primary, the Court said : ” the 30 days recommended by law for any public servant to resign is not applicable in this case, because the 1st respondent is not an employee of government and he can be removed anytime by his principal”.
In the case of his indictment by a judicial panel, the court added: “Indictment is not a conviction. Only a competent court of law can bar anyone from participating in an election.
“The judicial panel that indicted him is not a court of competent jurisdiction. It is just a fact finding body.
” And the appellant did not show any sign of prosecution of the 1st respondent and his conviction for the offence alleged to have been committed to deserve being barred”, he said.
In the primary election, Fayemi polled a total of 941 votes to defeat Oni, who garnered 481
Fayemi’s lawyer, Balogun, commended the jurists for their industries and zeal , saying they had once again reestablished the fact that Fayemi did not err in law by contesting the primary.
Oni’s lawyer, represented by Olusesan Akinola, said they would study the judgement and from there determine the next line of action.
Buhari issues fresh order to military over banditry
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Katsina, Katsina State, charged the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits, ordering them “not to spare bandits’’ that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.
Addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, President Buhari, said:
“This group was formed by the military to secure the geo-political zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them,’’ he said.
“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations,’’ he said.
The President, flanked by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, assured the troops that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for restoration of peace in the country.
“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with despatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,’’ he added.
President Buhari said the government and all officials were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, and they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property.
“Please give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu speaks on attack on him by IPOB members in Germany
Ike Ekweremadu, the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate has confirmed a physical assault on him by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, in Nuremberg, Germany, on Saturday.
Ekweremadu confirmed the attack in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Uche Anichukwu in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 64-second video about the attack had gone viral on the social media earlier on Saturday.
NAN further reports that there were initial speculations on the veracity of the video where the senator was attacked with eggs by the irate IPOB members.
The Senator who also gave an account of the event on his social media handle, @iamekweremdu, however, assured that he was safe.
He condemned the attack and said he had immediately reported it to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Yusuf Tuggar.
He said: “I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it eventually.
“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.
“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organizers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.
“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons, who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the southeast Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they do.
“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hail and hearty. I have also spoken with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.”
Army vs Police: Military issues strong warning to Nigerians
The warning became necessary following the controversies and public criticism that greeted the killing of three policemen and a civilian last week by soldiers on the Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Acting spokesman for the DHQ, Colonel gave the warning while reminding Nigerians that the police and the army are two very important services in the country.
He said that concern should be geared at ensuring the joint panel constituted undertakes an exhaustive investigation.
When asked by The Nation about the captain alleged to have been responsible for the unauthorised shootings and release of the suspected kidnapper, Nwachukwu said, “That information did not come from me. Our concern is to allow the panel do a thorough job and avoid comments that heat up the situation. We are trying to apply some restraint on this issue to avoid pitching the police against the army.
“These are two very important institutions in Nigeria and it will be most unfair to this nation to pit them against each other or the personnel of each service against the other.
“What is important is that lives have been lost and this is a difficult time for the families of the victims. We should be more concerned at looking into the human angles, the psychological traumas these families are going through.
“Our concern should be that the panel does exhaustive investigation and gets to the bottom of the matter. So, I would not like to begin to make comments that would pre-empt the investigation or its outcome.”
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