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For challenging Tinubu, Shettima’s nominations, court fines Udeze-led AA N1m

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Kenneth Udeze

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, awarded a N1 million fine against the expelled National Chairman of the Action Alliance (AA),  Kenneth Udeze, for instituting a suit in the name of the party against Sen. Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and his vice deputy,  Kashim Shettima.

Delivering judgment, Justice Binta Nyako, held that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the case, having not been the authentic party vested with the power to file the matter.

Justice Nyako further held that the suit was instituted by a busybody just to waste the judicial time of the court.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Udeze, through his lawyer, Kalu Kalu Agu,  had, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1256/22, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu and Shettima as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

He had filed the suit in the name of AA as plaintiff in the matter.

In the suit, he sought a declaration that the nomination of Shettima by Tinubu as his vice presidential candidate is void arising from the express provision of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022 in that Shettima allowed himself to be nominated in more than one constituency for the 2023 elections.

He averred that having been nominated as senatorial candidate for the Borno Central District, his subsequent nomination as vice presidential candidate of the APC contravened the law.

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He had sought an order of perpetual injunction, restraining Tinubu and Shettima from holding out themselves as presidential and vice presidential candidates for the Feb. 25 election.

He also sought an order of perpetual injunction, restraining INEC from listing their names as presidential and vice presidential candidates in the final list of candidates in the said election.

Besides, he sought an order, restraining the electoral umpire from placing the APC on the ballot for the said poll.

But the defendants urged the court to dismiss the suit for being statute barred, having failed to file within 14 days of the nomination.

They argued that the suit was non-justiciable as the plaintiff lacked the locus to challenge the nomination of the candidates, which bordered on the internal affairs of the party.

They asked the court to dismiss the suit.

Besides, the Dr Adekunle Omo-Aje leadership of AA, in a motion on notice filed by their counsel,  Oba Maduabuchi, SAN, had prayed the court for a joinder and the court, on Nov. 22, 2022, granted the order joining them as necessary parties to the suit.

In the amended originating summons filed by Udeze’s lawyer, AA, Omo-Aje, Amb. Suleiman Abdulrasheed, were joined as 5th, 6th and 7th defendants respectively.

The Omo-Aje leadership of the party, in their preliminary objection, also urged the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that the action was purported to have been commenced by AA.

They argued that by the constitution of AA, only the mational legal adviser on the instructions of the national chairman of the party could institute an action for the party.

They further argued that neither the national chairman nor the national legal adviser instructed that the instant suit be instituted.

They said the suit was incompetent, praying the court to dismiss it

Justice Nyako agreed with the Omo-Aje leadership of the party that the suit did not emanate from the authentic party’s executives.

She held that Udeze-led AA, as “a busybody who goes to different courts filing cases to waste the time of the court,” lacked the legal right to institute the matter.

She, therefore, dismissed the suit for lack of locus standi.

The judge, who condemned Udeze’s lawyer,  Agu, for failing to properly guide his client, gave a consequential order of N1 million fine against the duo.

She directed that the money should be paid into the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.

NAN reports that Justice Nyako had, on Jan. 10, awarded a fine of N1 million against Udeze for parading himself as national chairman of AA.

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Ex-Minister escapes assassination as gunmen kill 2, abduct 4 in Cross River

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Gun-riddled vehicle of ex-Minister Usani Usani

For Usani Usani, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, it was a lucky escape on Saturday as gunmen suspected to be kidnappers rain bullets on his vehicle along the Calabar-Ikom highway of Cross River.

Usani, who is the governorship candidate of Peoples Redemption Party, PRP was reportedly to be on his way to his home town in Nko, Yakurr Local Government Area when he was attacked.

But while the ex-minister and his deputy who was with him were lucky, the gunmen killed two persons in another vehicle while three other persons were abducted.

The State Commissioner of Police, Sule Balarabe, who confirmed the news, said it occurred between the axis of Akamkpa and Biase Local Government Areas of the state at about 4pm on Friday.

He said it started when a white Ford with Registration number AAA 41 AQ was ambushed by the suspected kidnappers, killing the two yet-to-be identified victims.

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The Commissioner further said that three other persons were abducted in the process by the gunmen.

“The vehicle in which they killed two persons had seven occupants including two police officers, ASP Ibor Bassey and Insp. Ebro Ebri who escaped and called for reinforcement.

“A tactical Unit was immediately dispatched to the area and three persons have so far been rescued,” he stated.

Balarabe said that the rescued persons were members of the PRP who were traveling with the former Minister.

He solicited for support by way of useful information to the police from the communities along the Calabar-Ikom highway.

“We are appealing to all community leaders and traditional rulers to help security agencies by providing us with useful information through our dedicated lines.

“These criminals are not spirits, they are human beings who live amongst them, without useful and timely information, it will be very difficult to nip this nefarious activities in the bud,” he said.

Speaking on the attack, Media Aide to the former Minister, Mr David Agabi, said that they escaped by the whiskers.

According to him, “We were in a convoy, the gunmen started shooting at us around Betem in Biase, my principal’s driver sustained gunshot injuries while the vehicle was riddled with bullets.

NAN/PM
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Zulum threatens to revoke lands of banks hoarding new naira notes

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Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum

Following the alleged hoarding of the naira notes by the banks, the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has directed banks in the state to dispense the new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and banking halls or risk losing their lands to the state government.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has also arrested bank officials in Dei Dei, Abuja, for hoarding cash.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced an investigation of Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, an actress and cosmetologist, for allegedly tampering with the redesigned naira notes, an offence contrary to Section 21 (5) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, 2007.

This is coming as the Chairman of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has alleged that the scarcity of the naira could de-market the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue before it snowballs into crisis.
Zulum gave the warning yesterday after visiting branches of banks in Maiduguri, the state capital, to assess problems being faced by residents trying to access new naira notes.

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 “Any bank in Borno State unwilling to ensure their ATMs are fully dispensing new naira notes cash to ease the suffering of our people, we will withdraw their land title immediately. We will only spare Banks with verifiable constraints,” Zulum said.
He added that he was unhappy seeing hundreds of people queuing at a bank branch, with only one out of 10 ATMs dispensing cash.
“As you can see here, only the less-privileged people are queued up. I didn’t see rich people here. Many people are said to be here since 3:00 am; some could not even eat anything. The new naira note and even the old ones are not available, which is adversely affecting commercial activities in the state, and people are suffering,” the governor said.

He said further: “We just released salaries of about N5 billion, and the banks don’t have money; some of the ATMs are not working. We don’t have any problem with the CBN policy or the withdrawal limit, they said individuals could only withdraw N20,000, but why can’t everyone have access to that N20,000?” he queried.
“Yesterday, I was in Gubio with over 70,000 people, but it was impossible to source N100,000 in the entire local government, neither of the new or old notes. A ram worth N100,000 is now being sold for N35,000 because people are desperate for cash, and some wicked rich people are going to rural areas to exploit poor people,” Zulum explained.
The governor urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the availability of new notes at commercial banks for people to access their money.
“Right now in Borno State, I have visited more than 10 ATMs, and there’s no cash,” Zulum said.

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Naira scarcity: Oyo youths, police clash, three killed

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Barely 24 hours after protest rocked Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of fuel and new naira notes, another group of youths, on Saturday staged a protest at Dogo community in Apata, Ido Local Government Area of the state, leading to the death of three persons.

It was gathered that the youths were assembling when security operatives arrived at the scene and asked them to disperse.

The directive by the security personnel led to an argument between them and the youths.

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A credible source told Sunday PUNCH that, “I cannot actually say what really happened. The youths assembled themselves and suddenly police and soldiers arrived in the area. Nobody knew what happened until one of them angrily shot into the air. People started scampering for safety.

“This action infuriated those youths, and they engaged security officers. The officers shot three people. One died immediately, the second guy died before getting to the hospital while the third person died at the hospital.”

Reacting to the unrest through a statement, the state Police Command said only one person was killed.

A statement authorised by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said, “Today (Saturday) at about 1015hrs, while embarking on series of confidence building patrols around different black spots and flash points, the joint convoy patrol comprising of the police and other agencies ran into a band of hoodlums around Apata junction market, Apata Area, under Ido Local Government Area.”

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