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Appeal Court Affirms Natasha Winner Of Kogi Central Senatorial Seat

natasha akpoti uduaghan

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The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Tuesday, affirmed the election victory of Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial election held in February.

The three-member panel, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Hamma Barka, upheld the judgment of the state’s election tribunal and dismissed the appeal filed by Sen. Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court agreed with the submission of counsel for Akpoti-Uduagan, Mr Johnson Usman, SAN, for being meritorious.

The panel agreed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to give a good reason why it did not collate the results in parts of Kogi Central Senatorial District, particularly Ganaja/Ajaokuta Ward in nine polling units where the election was conducted.

The appellate court equally agreed that the results of PDP and its candidate, Akpoti-Uduagan, in about eight polling units where the election was conducted and results declared at the polling units, were suppressed by the ward returning officer at the ward level.

The panel agreed that the votes ought to have been restored and that the state’s election tribunal was right when it restored those votes.

Justice Barka, in the judgment, awarded the sum of N500,000 against Ohere, the appellant in the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/EP/SEN/KG/35/2023 between Ohere and another Vs. Akpoti-Uduagan and two others.

Besides, the judge also awarded the sum of N500,000 against INEC in the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/EP/SEN/KG/57/2023 which the commission filed against Akpoti-Uduagan and three others.

The Kogi State National and State Election Assemblies Tribunal, had, on Sept 6, declared Akpoti-Uduagan the validly elected candidate for the senatorial poll.

The tribunal also invalidated the victory of Sen. Ohere, after the PDP candidate filed the petition at the tribunal to challenge Ohere’s declaration as winner.

*Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan

The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Kemakolam Ojiako, delivered the unanimous judgment of the three-man panel, revealing that Sen. Ohere’s results were inflated in nine polling units in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area.

He added that INEC reduced Akpoti-Uduagan’s results in those areas and omitted the results of other polling units meant for Akpoti-Uduagan in the same LGA.

Following the necessary corrections, the court declared Akpoti-Uduagan as the winner of the election with 54,074 votes, surpassing Ohere, who garnered 51,291 votes.

But unsatisfied, Ohere approached the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the election.

INEC had declared Ohere as the winner of the senatorial election held on Feb. 25.

INEC returning officer for the district, Rotimi Ajayi, had announced that Ohere garnered 52,132 votes to beat Natasha who had 51,763 votes, with 369 votes margin.

Speaking shortly after the judgment, Mr Usman, who appeared for Akpoti-Uduagan, said justice had been done to the people of Kogi Central Senatorial District, who came out en mass to vote for his client on Feb. 25.

“It is called the people’s mandate and justice has been done,” he said.

Also speaking, Sen. Dino Melaye, the PDP Candidate for the Nov. 11 Kogi governorship election, described the judgment as a “victory for democracy.”

 Melaye, who congratulated Akpoti-Uduagan, said his party would replicate the victory in the Nov. 11 election.

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NPA: Dantsoho Pledges To Reposition For Increased Productivity, Efficiency, And Revenue Generation

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… Assures timely payment of emoluments, compensations, training and capacity development

Groomed through the ranks and thus, better informed, the new Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Dr Abubakar Dantsoho has pledged to reposition the Authority for increased productivity, greater operational efficiency and increased revenue generation.

Dantsoho pledged during the handover ceremony which took place at the conference room Headquarters, Marina Lagos. He has since resumed duty at the Headquarters in Marina.

 “As we match towards this great journey, I wish to state that our main goal is to reposition the Nigerian Ports Authority for increased productivity and greater efficiency for increased revenue generation”, Dr Dantsoho said, expressing his deep appreciation to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the opportunity given to him to be the 29th Managing Director of NPA.

The Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s Seaports affirmed his commitment to ensuring that the Nigerian Ports compete favourably with neighbouring ports, especially in areas of Port operations.

 This he stated would be achieved through the robust exhibition of the overall commitment and collaboration to achieving success.

Speaking like an administrator who truly feels the pains of staff neglect, Dantsoho stressed that he is committed to improving the welfare of the workforce through the timely payment of emoluments, compensations, training and capacity development especially for employees who show added value in their areas of deployment.

The NPA Boss promised to continue with the digital transformation of the Authority and the Port Community system which are key to blocking leakages and corruption while promising to explore ways of further improving Port infrastructural renewal. 

‘’In particular, we shall drive port rehabilitation and modernisation. We shall pay attention to logistics that surround the arrival of cargo to the port corridor, loading of ships and other things that surround berthing of cargos,’’ he said, assuring that he would further tap into the benefits of the Deep Seaport corridor as well as promote the ideals of Transparency for Ease of Doing Business. 

In the area of collaboration with sister agencies, Dr. Abubakar stated that he would maintain an open door for communication and collaboration with sister agencies and all relevant stakeholders.

He equally congratulated the former Managing Director, Mohammed Bello Koko and his team, for their invaluable contributions to the industry. 

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Echoes from CGC Adeniyi Reactivates CMAA With US Customs & Border Protection

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Bilateral Boost: CGC Adeniyi Reactivates CMAA With US Customs & Border Protection

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Bilateral Boost: CGC Adeniyi Reactivates CMAA With US Customs & Border Protection

…To effectively enhance national security, Better Service Delivery through Global Partnerships

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, On Thursday, July 18, 2024, took a significant step in strengthening global partnerships by participating in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Washington, D.C. 

Determined to revive the over-a-decade-old Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) and subsequently enhance national security service delivery through global collaborations and data-driven decision-making, the Comptroller General of Customs CGC, Adewale Adeniyi last week participated in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Washington, D.C. 

The gains of the meeting which was held Thursday, July 18, 2024, aside from offering a significant step in strengthening global partnerships, will also help Nigeria address the challenges of cross-border crimes, particularly drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and money laundering, each of which dovetails on boosting national security. 

“Reviving the CMAA will bolster the Nigeria Customs Service’s capacity to protect the nation’s borders and enhance service delivery, paving the way for a more secure and prosperous future for all Nigerians”, the CGC, Adeniyi emphasized, highlighting the successful interception of illegal items, which includes drugs and weapons, at major ports and airports in Nigeria. 

Also Read: Echoes from CGC Adeniyi Reactivates CMAA With US Customs & Border Protection

He then stressed the need for increased capacity building to tackle Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement and opiate issues. 

“Our efforts at the ports and airports have yielded significant results, but there is still much to be done in capacity building and enforcement,” the highly informed Customs Arrowhead said.

Adeniyi underscored the importance of a  Center for Advanced Cargo and Passenger Data Analysis to mitigate risks; and the need for such a centre to enhance cargo and passenger security, while pointing out the success of prosecuting wildlife criminals.  

Additionally, he advocated for an advanced Command and Control Centre (3C) to address security concerns.

 “A dedicated targeting data fusion centre will significantly improve our ability to manage risks and enhance security measures,” Adeniyi explained, adding: 

 

“By customising our approaches and collaborating globally, we can address the complexities of air cargo security more effectively,” he remarked.

The meeting diligently covered the challenges of commercial air cargo security and potential partnerships with U.S. government agencies.

Adeniyi highlighted the importance of future operations, including CBP’s global targeting advisory directors and their capabilities in information sharing on cargo and passenger sides.

In his reaction, James Collins, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of International Affairs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, emphasised data integration, partnerships, and targeted efforts to address transnational criminal groups exploiting seams and boundaries. 

“Integration of data and international cooperation is crucial in countering transnational threats”, James Collins stated and highlighted the importance of collaboration and information sharing in border security and intelligence gathering. 

He stressed the need for investing in capacity building, train-the-trainer programs, and targeted training to address gaps in border security.

 Collins stressed the need for secure channels for sharing intelligence and building partnerships with international organisations to sustain efforts in combating illicit trade and traffic. 

“Continuous training and secure intelligence sharing are vital to our success in maintaining border security,” Collins also noted.

Key action items identified include establishing specific channels for continued intelligence sharing between Nigeria Customs and CBP, exploring operational partnerships between Nigeria Customs units and networks like CBP to coordinate cross-border responses, leveraging INTERPOL programs and collaborating with other West and Central African countries on transnational crimes.

The meeting concluded with a presentation on Artificial Intelligence by Sunil Madhugri from the Office of Information and Technology, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, highlighting the future of technology in enhancing customs operations and security.

 “Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in our strategy to modernise and secure our borders,” Madhugri said.

In a related event, CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi visited the Nigerian Embassy in the USA, where he was received by Mr. Rabiu Lawal, Charge d’Affaires a.i, and his team.

 The CGC appreciated them for their warm reception and their tireless efforts for all the Nigerians in the diaspora.

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