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Appeal Court reserves judgment in Senator Ubah’s appeal

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Senator Ifeanyi Ubah

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah against the judgment of a Federal High Court which ordered his removal from office as Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District.

Justice Stephen Adah, who led a three-panel of the court, announced after hearing parties that they will be informed when judgment is ready.

Lawyer to Ubah, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), while adopting the appellant’s brief, urged the court to allow the appeal.

Ikpeazu also urged the court to set aside the judgment of the High Court of the FCT on the grounds that the suit on which the judgment was based was incompetent.

He was of the view that the stamp and seal of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) affixed to the originating summons was forged, and that the payment for the originating summons was made on September 25th 2019, months after the judgment was delivered.

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Ubah’s party, the Young People’s Party (YDP) asked the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the High Court of the FCT.

Respondents to the appeal, including Anani Chuka and Dr Obinna Uzoh prayed the court to dismiss the appeal in its entirety.

Justice Bello Kawu had on January 17, 2020, affirmed his order which nullified Ubah’s election on the ground that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council (NECO), certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.

The court had on April 11, 2019, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr Obinna Uzoh of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who came 2nd at the election.

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Dissatisfied, Ubah approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgement which he insisted occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him.

In the appeal predicated on four grounds, the Senator insisted that he was denied fair hearing by the trial court, adding that he was neither served with the Originating Processes nor hearing notice with respect to the suit that led to his sack from the Senate.

Besides, he argued that the Abuja court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to hear and determine a pre-election matter that arose from election that held in Anambra State.

However, in his further affidavit in support of his motion on notice filed on March 6, 2020, Ubah is asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of Justice Kawu on the grounds that the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating there from are manifestly incompetent being a nullity.

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According to him, the proceedings amount to a nullity on the grounds that, “As at the time the judgment in the suit numbered: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered, the suit had not been filed as filing fees had not been paid.

“That as at the date of filing of this action the appellant/ applicant had been duly elected as the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and his election has been affirmed on September 9, 2019, by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

“That having regard to the date of payment of filing fees, suit numbered: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was a post-election matter and the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain same.

“That by the above, the suit, the entire proceedings and the judgment emanating there from are manifestly incompetent being a nullity.”

Nigeria Update

Cancellation of WASSCE will truncate future of Nigerian children – Reps

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The House of Representatives on Friday said the cancellation of the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations [WASSCE] will truncate the future of Nigerian children.

WuzupNigeria reports that the examination, administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and held yearly in May, was postponed indefinitely in April after schools were shut down across the country in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced during a media briefing on July 6 that the examination will now take place between August 4 and September 5.

But the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday 8 July 2020 at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled examination, saying he would prefer that “Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers” of COVID-19.

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He added that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.

But the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonbvare, who made the position of the House known in a statement in Abuja said the announcement by the minister was done without due consultation with relevant stakeholders in the education sector.

He said the Education Minister did not inform the country if his decision was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.

He said:

“The minister also did not also inform the public, if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all state governments that are in charge of all, but the unity secondary schools that are owned by the federal government.

“The Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach, had briefed the nation at the COVID 19 Presidential Committee briefing over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID 19 protocols.

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country. It is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students and show to our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“The reversal also shows that our policymakers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.

“The House Committee disagrees with the minister and believes that a reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system on the following grounds that Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of Covid-19.

“Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools; the Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders, while the WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with Covid-19 protocols.”

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Ondo deputy gov asks court to jail 26 lawmakers for contempt

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BREAKING: Ondo Deputy gov, Agboola dumps APC for PDP

The Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi, has asked the Federal High Court in Akure to jail the 26 members of the state House of Assembly for contempt.

Ajayi, in his suit filed on Friday, specifically asked the court to impose one-year imprisonment on the 26 lawmakers for “deliberately plotting and executing plans to impeach him” despite his suit filed at the Abuja division of the court challenging the impeachment process.

The deputy governor also asked the court to set aside all the actions so far taken by the lawmakers, including the impeachment notice issued against him on July 7, 2020, since he filed his suit on June 26, 2020.

Members of the state House of Assembly loyal to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu were said to have started plotting on impeachment process after Ajayi left the All Progressives Congress, the platform on which he was elected along with the governor, in 2016, for the Peoples Democratic Party.

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Fourteen of the lawmakers had on July 7, 2020, signed the notice of impeachment of the deputy governor while nine others opposed it.

But the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, rejected the formal request by the 14 lawmakers for her to set up an impeachment panel to investigate the deputy governor.

But Ajayi, through his lawyers, Dr Joshua Olatoke (SAN) and Babs Akinwumi, on Friday, contended that the legislators’ action of continuing with the impeachment process despite his pending suit was aimed at bringing the court to disrepute.

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He stated in an affidavit filed in support of the suit:

“On July 7, 2020, at the sitting of the Ondo State House of Assembly, the alleged contemners issued an impeachment notice against me, despite the pendency of suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/684/2020 and have vowed to continue with the illegality.

“Copies of newspaper reportage of the illegality of issuance of the notice are hereto attached and marked as Exhibit DG4.

“I verily believe that the action/conduct of the alleged contemners is to foist a fait accompli on the court, to render the outcome of suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/684/2020 nugatory and bring the court to disrepute.

He, therefore, sought among others;

“An order of this honourable court committing the 1st to 26th alleged contemners (the 26 lawmakers) to prison for a term of 1 (one) year or as the court may otherwise determine for the reason of the criminal contempt committed by the alleged contemner by deliberately plotting and executing plans to impeach the applicant despite the pendency of suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/684/2020 and despite having notice of the said suit.”

He also sought an order “nullifying and/or setting aside all the actions taken so far by the 1st to 26th alleged contemners in their attempt to impeach the applicant, starting from July 7, 2020.”

He sought another order restraining the lawmakers “from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against the applicant.”

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Amaechi celebrates old Rivers’ governor, Ada-George at 80

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has described Rufus Ada-George, a former Governor of old Rivers, comprising Bayelsa and Rivers states, as an exemplary leader and a father to all.

Amaechi, the immediate past Governor of Rivers said this in a statement, on Friday in Abuja, to commemorate the 80th birthday anniversary of Ada-George, the Peripelebo 1 of Okrika.

“As governor of Rivers state, you raised leaders, you created opportunities for growth in politics for many of us.

“You are a father figure to many of us who served in the government of Rivers state.

“You left indelible footprints in the state and opened up a path for us to follow.

“On this occasion of your 80th birthday, I pray God to grant you more life, good health, grace, peace and joy.

“I wish you a very happy birthday,’’ Amaechi said.

NAN

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