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Presidential election: Tribunal didn’t dismiss application to check INEC server – Atiku attacks Buhari

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The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday said the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal did not reject his request to check the purported central server of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as “prematurely” claimed by the Presidency.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a statement on Monday commended the ruling by the tribunal, stressing that the opposition’s attempt to overreach the judicial process was overwhelmingly rejected by a unanimous decision.

Recall that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had in a unanimous decision ruled that the request could not be granted since the issue of whether such central server existed or not, is already a subject of controversy in the substantive petition that is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.

Atiku, in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, argued that his case to check INEC server was not dismissed as claimed by the presidency, adding that the “main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages”.

The statement read, “What the honorable Tribunal said is that it is still at preliminary stages and the main case has not begun and that the matter of granting access to inspect the INEC server is not relevant to the preliminary stages. It is a matter to be adjudicated upon when the case proper is being heard.

“Their giddiness has even blinded them to the eye witness testimony given to multiple media in interviews by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission that there is indeed a server and that they actually submitted results and accreditation through it.

“In their rush to claim a Pyrrhic victory, the Buhari administration missed out the fact that the 2019 budget has multiple line items for procurement, maintenance and service of the server they claimed does not exist.

“Furthermore, the statement tried to spin the recent verdict on the election passed by the EU election observers. For the avoidance of doubt, what the EU report said is that the 2019 elections had significant defects and fell short of expectations. It should be noted that one of the issues they raised is the attempt to muzzle not just the media, but more importantly, the judiciary.

“In the light of this, we remind those who are gloating in their ignorance that ‘he who laughs last, laughs best’. “The last has not been heard of this matter and we eagerly anticipate the actual ruling of the Tribunal when the case proper begins.”

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Boko Haram Kills Aid Worker In Borno, Three Others Missing

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Boko Haram militants have killed a member of the Action Against Hunger, Grace Taku, as well as a driver while three health workers are missing.

The incident happened when a convoy of the aid agency was heading to Damasak in Borno State.

The attack is coming a day after an army commander, colonel and some soldiers were ambushed in Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists.

A statement by Action Against Hunger reads, “One of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the northeast of Nigeria. We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.

“Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.”

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Probe Soldiers’ Stealing Of Millions Of Naira, Reveal Identity Of Moneybag, Say HEDA, CISLAC

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Nigeria’s federal lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives have been called upon to probe the recent stealing of hundreds of millions of naira by some soldiers detailed to escort a top government official.

Reports earlier in the week said the soldiers were detailed on July 11 to escort a bullion van backed with a convoy of Toyota Hilux and a Buffalo gun truck from Sokoto to Jaji.

The soldiers, after they escorted the cash to Jaji airstrip were said to have refused to load the money into a waiting jet.

In a joint statement on Friday, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre/Transparency International, Nigeria (CISLAC) said Nigerians needed full disclosure on the scandal saying it was a national embarrassment.

The group noted that it was unfortunate that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai, had refused to speak on the embarrassing development.

The two organizations said the “stealing of the money by soldiers” who should represent a qualitative moral fabric of the country raised serious questions about Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

“We call on the National Assembly to probe this incident. The House Committee on Defence needs to provide the necessary clue. There is no doubt that the action of these soldiers will have a serious impact on the campaign against terrorism. The Senate should get to the root of this matter before it is too late. If nothing is done, other soldiers on the frontline may be encouraged to embark of stealing of national assets,” Olanrewaju Suraju and Anwalu Rafsanjani stated.

The groups said the Senate should unravel the owner of the money to either confirm or deny speculations that the funds belonged to Major General Hakeem Otiki, the General Officer Commanding, 8th Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto.

HEDA and CISLAC said that security operatives should be the best examples in any country’s campaign against corruption, adding that the theft indicated that the soldiers have no iota of discipline and respect for the President Muhammadu Buhari.

The groups said, “They dared the consequences of crime probably because they knew it was a trend in the armed forces. There is a major problem if security operatives have no respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces”.

A few days ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) handed over to Voice of Nigeria a property belonging to a former military chief to the government by a court.

The groups stated further: “We call on the National Assembly to treat this issue as a top priority. Who are these soldiers? How much was the money involved? Who owns the money? Is the money owned by an individual or by the country? Is the money the proceeds of crime? There are many questions waiting to be answered.”

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Okorocha warns Ihedioha over N100bn claim, tells Governor best thing to do

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The immediate past Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has warned the State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, against making allegations that he (Ihedioha) is not willing to defend.

Okorocha challenged Ihedioha to publish the details of the N100billion debt for public consumption, adding that the governor is taking Imo people and Nigerians for granted.

In a statement by Sam Onwuemeodo, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Okorocha said, “With regard to the governor’s latest claim of N100billion debt, we also want to challenge him to publish the details.

“He should publish the details of the N100billion debt for public consumption. If he could spend billions to launch media attacks and sponsor protests against Okorocha and to discredit his projects, what would it cost to publish details of his N100billion debt claim.

“How can a governor be making claims or allegations he is always not willing to make the details public. And the person telling him to publish the details has always been the man he accused.

“The speed with which Governor Emeka Ihedioha makes certain claims and dishes out figures about the last administration which Senator Rochas Okorocha headed, without taking steps to prove any of the allegations or authenticate any of the Claims when challenged, means he is taking Nigerians and Imo people in particular, for granted.”

Recall that while addressing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains in Owerri on Thursday, Governor Ihedioha had accused his predecessor, Senator Okorocha, of incurring N100billion debt “without anything to show for what the monies were used for”.

The Governor had earlier before now, or soon after his inauguration, said that the debt profile of the State attracted by Okorocha was N300billion.

Okorocha’s statement added, “His Chief of Staff said it was N275billion. This is worrisome. The governor should not be dishing out figures as if governance has become a child’s play.

“The disturbing aspect of the whole thing is that when they make these bogus Claims or allegations and you challenge them to show proofs they would recoil.

“With regard to the governor’s latest claim of N100billion debt, we also want to challenge him to publish the details.

“He should publish the details of the N100billion debt for public consumption. If he could spend billions to launch media attacks and sponsor protests against Okorocha and to discredit his projects, what would it cost to publish details of his N100billion debt claim.

“How can a governor be making claims or allegations he is always not willing to make the details public. And the person telling him to publish the details has always been the man he accused.

“The truth of the matter is that the governor knows how INEC declared him winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the State. And the major Candidates are at the tribunal to ensure the correction of that anomaly. And people believe that he is doing all these in preparation for a possible re-run.

“We also want to ask the governor to avoid making unbelievable claims. To say that Okorocha achieved nothing would be seen by all and sundry as too cheap.

“And he has been visiting Okorocha’s projects and finding faults with some of them just to discredit the projects. In case he does not know, Imo people know that what Okorocha achieved as governor in eight years exceeded all that those before him achieved put together.

“He should leave Okorocha and the family alone and face governance. At the event, he announced that he has set up a panel to probe Okorocha and at the same time, released the figure of N100b debt. And what if the probe panel comes up with another figure. Governance is a serious business and should be seen as such.”

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