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Senate moves to scrap government agencies, others

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Nigeria Senate on Thursday in Abuja said some agencies and parastatals of government among over 700 of them would be scrapped for effective services to the nation.

Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, stated this in his remarks during the plenary, noting that the red Chambers has to thinker in doing away with those agencies that have outgrown their usefulness.

He lamented that some agencies and parastatals of government were gulping annual budgetary allocations and doing nothing.

“Distinguished colleagues, as we develop a legislative agenda for the next four years, it is important for us to look at those things that are important to the nation.

“There are over 700 agencies of government with some of them duplicating responsibilities, while some are doing nothing. I think we have to look at them and see that the irrelevant agencies are scrapped.

“Some of them were created at a time there were needed, but situations have changed and they are no longer needed, so we have do away some of those ones. ”

He added that the nation’s revenue was dwindling, hence, government should not continue to spend money on Ministries that are not beneficial to the country.

Lawan said, the Parliament would create new agencies if there was need, stating that Nigerians were expecting more from the legislature.

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Buhari

Police arraigns editor, journalist over report on company allegedly owned by Buhari’s adviser

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The Nigeria Police Force has arraigned the Editor of NewsDigest, an Abuja-based online newspaper, Gidado Yushau and a student journalist, Alfred Olufemi before a magistrate court in Ilorin Metropolis.

They were arraigned on Tuesday following a petition from a company allegedly owned by the just appointed Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Finance and Economy, Dr. Sarah Alade over a report on hemp smoking published on 19 May, 2018.

The investigative report titled: “Inside Kwara factory where Indian hemp smoking is ‘legalized,” was authored by Olufemi.

According to the report, Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry, one of the groups of companies allegedly owned by Alade, a former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), tolerated the smoking of cigarettes, as well as Indian hemp by workers within its vicinity.

The report also stated that the industry refused to respond to Olufemi’s inquiry on the disturbing situation after he had put several calls and text messages to the industry’s hotlines.

Police operatives earlier arrested the platform’s webmaster, Adebowale Adekoya in Lagos and Gidado Yushau in Abuja before taking them to Ilorin for further questioning.

Olufemi later voluntarily submitted himself to the police in Ilorin.

On Tuesday, the two defendants (Gidado and Alfred) were charged with Criminal conspiracy and defamation against Sections 97 and 192 of the penal code.

The First Information Report (FIR) obtained by PRNigeria averred that the two defendants “criminally conspired to tarnish the name and image of Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industries.”

Both Messrs Shuaib and Olufemi pleaded not guilty before a Magistrate Court in Ilorin Metropolis.

Following the bail application made by the defence counsel, Barrister Usman Kola Belgore, the Chief Magistrate of the Court, Magistrate A.O Muhammed released the defendants on grounds of recognition and that they are innocent until proven otherwise.

The conditions of bail include two sureties each who are relatives of the defendants with a bail bond of two hundred thousand Naira (N200,000.00).

The case was adjourned for hearing on January 13.

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Nigerian Senate Approves N10bn Loan Refund For Kogi

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Three days to the Kogi State governorship election, the Nigerian Senate has approved the refund of N10bn loan to the state.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in late October sent a letter to the Senate, requesting an approval of the payment of N10bn to Kogi.

The approval by the President had raised question on the timing of the refund with concerns that the money might be used to influence the outcome of the election.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had called for a debate on the report when presented by Chairman of Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, Clifford Ordia.

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, asked the upper legislative chamber to delay the payment until after the governorship election but Lawan declined, saying the Senate can approve the payment of the money anytime.

Lawan subjected the matter to a voice vote and ruled in favour of those supporting it.

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Appeal Court affirms Udom Emmanuel as Akwa Ibom governor, fines Nsima Ekere

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday affirmed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State. The Appeal was filed against the judgement of the tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019 at Uyo, which dismissed Mr Ekere’s petition for wanting in merit.

The tribunal had held that the petitioner could not lead credible evidence to prove his claims that the elections were not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.

Delivering judgement in the Appeal filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the re-election of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in the March 9, 2019 Gubernatorial Elections, the five-man panel gave her judgement on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.

The Appellate Court first affirmed the decision of the tribunal rejecting series of documents filed by the Petitioner at the tribunal and held that the reasoning of the tribunal were unassailable,vciting that the documents which were all public documents could not be admissible if they were not properly brought as Certified True Copies of the public documents sought to be tendered.

Furthermore, on whether the tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioner/Appellant did not lead credible evidence to prove their case, the Court of Appeal affirmed the tribunal’s judgement and upheld the tribunal’s findings on evidence.

The Appellate Court noted that out of the results of twenty one (21) Local Government Areas challenged, the Petitioner did not lead any evidence to prove their case in eight (8) and led very scanty evidence which on cross examination were rendered very impotent in the other Local Governments where they made any effort to prove their claims. The court again held that the decision of the tribunal was unassailable on that score and therefore affirmed same.

The court also agreed with the Lower Tribunal for not relying on documents dumped on the tribunal by the Petitioners/Appellants without being linked by them to any of the issues raised and canvassed by the petitioner. The court thereupon affirmed the victory of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State from the Gubernatorial elections held on March 9, 2019, and awarded the cost of 500,000 naira in favour of the First Respondent to be paid by the Appellants. The lead judgement was affirmed by all the other justices of the Court of Appeal.

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