Peace Ambassadors of the Niger Delta (PAND), a group of former militants, on Wednesday endorsed the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
At a press conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the ex-agitators said they have witnessed the great commitment of the Buhari administration to the development region.
Ebikabowei Victor Ben, Convener of PAND, lauded the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government for not scrapping the Presidential Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta despite pressure from some quarters.
Ben said: “In spite of promises by several administrations, this government under the leadership of the now United Nations Deputy Secretary, Amina Mohammed, put the framework for the remediation and cleanup of Ogoniland, which is the largest of such effort in the world and expected to cost $1billion.
“As we speak, contractors have been mobilised for the first phase of the exercise. Also, the Bodo City/Bonny Road, which was abandoned for more three decades have been awarded and construction is ongoing.
“Also, the Niger Delta is not left out of this government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure which is one of its biggest spending priorities. The long-abandoned East-West road is finally receiving funding and attention.
“All of these achievements find expression in a 20-point plan for the Niger Delta, which was presented to us by the Petroleum Minister, Ibe Kachikwu. The plan also covers the need for government and oil companies working in our region to create at least 100,000 jobs yearly. The plan for the Niger Delta is what we need now for a more sustainable future.
“As witnesses to the commitment of this government to these issues that we have presented over the years through various fora, and tangible achievements we have seen as it concerns our region over the last four years, we have decided to endorse the government to continue beyond 2019.”
The PAND Convener stated that ex-agitators and the people of the Niger Delta region have seen a deep-seated commitment of the current administration in addressing the issues faced by the people of the region.
Atiku Gets 55 Cartons Of Documents From INEC As He Closes His Case Today
Ahead of Friday’s sitting, the Independent National Electoral Commission has produced the documents which the presidential election petitions tribunal, in Abuja called for on Wednesday at the instance of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The documents which were packed in 55 cartons would be the last to be presented to the tribunal as the petitioners are expected to close their case on Friday.
However, only 58 out of its proposed 400 witnesses had been called as of Wednesday which happened to be the ninth of the ten days given to the petitioners by the tribunal to present their case.
The petitioners are, by their petition, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the February 23 poll.
The tribunal of five judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba had on Wednesday ordered INEC to produce the documents by noon on Thursday.
This followed the complaints by the petitioners that the subpoenas issued and served on INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s resident electoral commissioner in Zamfara State to produce the documents had not been complied with.
The tribunal had on Wednesday adjourned the case until Friday, but the counsel to the PDP and Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), attended the Thursday’s proceedings scheduled for hearing in respect of other petitions filed by the Hope Democratic Party and the Peoples Democratic Movement.
Uche said his presence in court was to ensure INEC’s compliance with the Wednesday’s order of the tribunal.
At about the time the five-man panel was to recede to chambers to write a ruling in respect of PDM’s petition, Uche informed the bench of his intention in court on Thursday.
In reaction, Justice Garba asked for update from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN).
Replying, Usman informed the tribunal that the “documents had been substantially produced.
“It is a very tedious task, but we have to obey the court’s order,” he stated.
Within the period of the one-hour break observed by the members of the tribunal, INEC officials had brought in a total of 55 boxes of documents into the court room.
When the tribunal resumed sitting, INEC’s lawyer informed the panel that the order of the court had been complied with.
Pointing to the cartons of documents lined up in the courtroom, Usman said since the order of court was not for INEC officials on whom the subpoenas were earlier served to testify, the Director of Legal Services, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola, was present to represent the commission.
He also said there was a cover letter signed by the secretary to INEC, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, accompanying the documents.
He noted that the request by the petitioners for result sheets for the national assembly rerun election in Zamfara State were not available as no such election was conducted.
Buhari vs Atiku: PDP tenders 1,353 result sheets at presidential tribunal
Counsel to PDP and its 2019 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Chris Uche told the tribunal that the result sheets comprised of EC8As and EC8Bs from 11 states.
EC8A is the final result for a polling unit while EC8B is the final result at the ward level.
Uche told the tribunal that the EC8As are 1,266 and the EC8Bs are 87 in number.
“We have EC8As and Bs. The EC8As are 1,266 and the EC8Bs are 87 in number.
“We have 38 receipts as payments for the documents,” he said.
But counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yunus Usman objected to admission of the documents as evidence.
He contended that the reason for objecting to the admission of the result sheets would be contained in their final written address.
“We object to the admissibility of these documents. [Reasons] will be in our final address,” he said.
Lateef Fagbemi, counsel of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also objected to the admission of the documents.
“We object and reason for our objection will be till the end of time in this case,” he said.
HURIWA to Buhari: Continuous detention of El-Zakzaky, Dasuki is an act of treason
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the continuous detention of the leader of Shiites Islamic movement, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd.) as an act of treason.
In a statement on Thursday, the civil rights group called on global leaders to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to release on bail the duo “who have languished in underground jails for over three years extralegally”.
Citing section 36(5) and section (6) of the Nigerian constitution which states: “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty; provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts”, Huriwa expressed disbelief that world leaders could fold their arms and watch as President Buhari “unleashed venoms and vicious attacks on its citizens”.
“It is the view of the human rights platform that the continuous detention and duplication of charges against the duo by President Muhammadu Buhari is an act of treason against the constitution just as HURIWA stated that it is necessary that they are not allowed to die in detention following reports of their deteriorating health conditions,” the statement added.
The group also reacted to the recent order issued by the Inspector General Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, on the restriction of public protests in certain locations in Abuja.
It will be recalled that the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, gave the order on Wednesday.
According to Huriwa, the order by the IGP is “illegal” as it is “against the clear provisions of the constitution in chapter four and provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly, including the binding Appellate court’s verdict clearly stating that police don’t have any legal right to stop protests and against the most cherished values of constitutional democracy built around the tripod of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of movement which are even guaranteed by a plethora of global human rights laws.”
The group added that they were shocked that whilst constitutional democracy gradually dies away in Nigeria due to deliberate whittling down of respect for human rights by the current administration, world leaders in the US and UK simply don’t care but pretend to be unaware of the global consequences of a deluge of refugees from Nigeria should democracy collapsed under the heavyweight of tyranny and totalitarianism of the current administration.
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