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Court adjourns Sowunmi’s suit against PDP until March 18

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The Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned until March 18, the suit filed by a chieftain of the PDP, Mr Segun Sowunmi against the party for not convening a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting within constitutionally stipulated period.

Sowunmi is before the court praying for an order compelling the party’s officials to convene a NEC meeting and a restraining order preventing the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) from further delays.

The plaintiff is also asking the court to note that a party must obey its own constitution, saying that a party which disobeys its own constitution ought to be proscribed.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, counsel to Sowunmi, Mr Anderson Asemota told the court that all parties in the suit had now been duly served.

Asemota also told the court that he had received the counter affidavit from the defendants challenging the motion filed by the former Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido to be joined in the suit.

The lawyer said that he tried to file his response before the next adjourned date but it was not possible.

He prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable him peruse the counter affidavit and respond appropriately.

Since the defendants did not oppose the application for an adjournment, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon adjourned the matter until March 18 to hear all applications filed in the suit as well as the substantive matter.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN), Asemota said that some of the grounds on which the defendants were opposing the motion for joinder were that Lamido was not a necessary party in the suit.

They also claimed that Sowunmi alone was sufficient enough to handle the matter and that moreover, he was not a NEC member.

NAN reports that Sowunmi dragged the PDP, its National Chairman and National Secretary, Mr Samuel Anyanwu and the National Organising Secretary, Mr Umar Bature to court seeking an order to compel them to convene a NEC meeting.

Other defendants in the suit are the National Auditor, Mr Okechukwu Daniel the National Treasurer, Mr Ahmed Yayari and the National Youth Leader Mr Muhammed Kadade and INEC.

He said he was insisting that the meeting be convene for the purpose of presenting the activities of the party from the date of the last NEC meeting.

In the suit, the plaintiff is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd to 8th defendants by themselves or their servants, agents or privies from functioning or continuing to function or discharge the functions of their offices.

This he said was until they called for or caused to be called and held, a meeting of the party’s NEC in total fidelity and obeisance of the party’s constitution.

The plaintiff also wants the court to declare that by virtue of the provisions of Article 31(2)(d), 4 and 5 of the PDP constitution (as amended in 2017), he, as spokesman of the party during the last election is obligated and/or entitled to file the suit to give effect to the aims and objectives of the PDP and to ensure that the provisions of Article 7 of the PDP constitution are observed and respected by members and national officers.

“A declaration that under and by virtue of the provisions of Article 31 (2)(4) and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of NEC of the PDP, the meeting of the NEC of the PDP at which the 1st to 7th defendants shall be present quarterly financial reports or income and expenditure of the party to the members of the NEC.

“A declaration that, under and by virtue and the provisions of Article 31 (2)(4) and (5) of the PDP constitution and Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st to 7th defendants are obligated to call for or cause to be called and held quarterly or at the request of the one-third of members of the NEC of the PDP at which the defendants shall present quarterly reports containing the activities of the PDP to the members of the NEC”.

He also wants the court to declare that the defendants are under obligation to call for PDP NEC meeting to present proposed guidelines and regulations governing the conduct of elections to the party offices at all levels and procedures of selecting party candidates for elective offices to the NEC members.

“A declaration that, having failed, refused and/or neglected to call for meeting and held quarterly or at the request of one-third of members of the NEC of PDP in which the 8th defendant (INEC) ought to have been invited, the 1st to 7th defendants are in the breach and/or violation of the constitution of the party and the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022”.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, the plaintiff averred that the last NEC meeting of the party was last convened by the sacked National Chairman of the party, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu on Sept. 8, 2022.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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