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Fed Govt’s agents, politicians threaten judiciary, says CJN



  • As NHRC says PDP shuns probe into killing of 50 Rivers residents

The independence of the judiciary and its ability to dispense justice unhindered are threatened by Federal Government agents and politicians, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has said.

Onnoghen regretted an emerging trend where judicial officers (judges and justices) were unduly castigated and accused of corrupt practices by agents of the Federal Government and politicians, without giving them the opportunity to be heard.

He spoke yesterday during a thanksgiving service in his honour at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Abuja Diocese, Wuse Zone 3.

“The Judiciary is under threat. Judges and judicial officers, including myself are being castigated without given the opportunity to be heard. But, God knows our heart.

“I did not set out to be a judge, but today I am a judge by divine intervention. It’s the Lord’s doing, and mine is to follow. My prayer is that God should help me and should not let me down.

“I thank Nigerians for attending this event. It is supposed to be a personal thing between me and my God, but I have no hiding place. I thank God for fulfilling His promise to me,” Onnoghen said.

The CJN, who was accompanied by his family , cited the case of Anambra Central Senatorial election, where Senator Uche Ekwunife reportedly accused the Judiciary of robbing her of her mandate, without evidence, as a case of undue accusation of the Judiciary.

He said the nation would only get it right when the leadership abides by the Constitution and Rule of Law.

Justice Onnoghen, who thanked God for his eventual emergence as the CJN, urged Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the sustenance of the judiciary.

The event was presided over by the Archbishop of Abuja Diocese of the Methodist Church, the Most Reverend Joseph Oche Job.

The cleric prayed God to direct and give the CJN the wisdom to lead the Judiciary.

He prayed for peace in the country and urged all to be guided by the fear of God.

Dignitaries at the event include the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Winifred Oyo-Ita, former governors of Rivers and Cross River states – Peter Odili and Liyel Imoke; and Senator Ndoma Egba.are Justices Mary Odili, Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Clara Ogunbiyi, Olukayode Ariwoola, Chima Nweze and John Okoro (all of the Supreme Court). A retired Justice of the court, John Fabiyi, was also in attendance.

In the meantime, the National Human Rights Commission says the Peoples Democratic Party’s leaders, accused of orchestrating violence in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State before, during and after the 2015 general elections, have turned down its invitations to an ongoing investigation into the violence.

No fewer than 50 persons reportedly lost their lives to the mayhem that engulfed the area before, during and after the 2015 polls.

The commission is currently investigating about 153 petitions on hate speeches and election-related violence which occurred in the various parts of the country in relation to the 2015 general elections.

About 23 of the 153 petitions were sent by persons linked to the All Progressives Congress in ONELGA.

The APC members, led by the then Chairman of ONELGA, Mr. Austine Ahiamadu, alleged wanton loss of relatives and properties to violence allegedly orchestrated by the PDP leaders during and after the 2015 general elections.

The commission on May 9, 2017, began an investigation into the allegations made by the APC members.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the investigation’s Project Coordinator and Director, Monitoring, NHRC, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, said while the petitioners attended the preliminary hearing, the PDP leaders, whose names were mentioned in the petitions, turned down its invitations.

Ojukwu stated, “The Rivers State petitions are not the only petitions we are investigating; there are 153 of them.

“Everybody concerned in the Rivers State petitions were invited. The petitioners were here (Abuja) for the preliminary hearing but those accused of the various allegations did not honour our invitations.”

He explained that the investigation was at the stage of analysing the oral and documentary evidence submitted during the preliminary hearing.

Ojukwu said, “The failure of anybody invited to attend our hearing will not stop the statutory duties of the commission.

“Right now, we are at the stage of evaluating and analysing what we got during the preliminary hearing because we have to be sure there are cogent issues to investigate further.

“If we find out that there are cogent issues that the petitioners can substantiate at the end of the day, we will conduct a public hearing and whoever is invited and fails to attend it must be ready with the findings of the commission at the end of the day.

“Fair hearing only requires giving an opportunity to the person accused to say his or her own side of the story.”

The director added that his team had visited the various parts of the country for the preliminary hearing but chose to conduct hearing with respect to Rivers State at its headquarters in Abuja for security reasons.

Nation with additional report from Punch

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Security: Agbekoya Deploys 4,000 Security Personnel for S/West Farmers



…Says ‘We have decimated cases of kidnapping and clashes in our towns and farms

The Agbekoya Society of Nigeria, a Yoruba farmers and hunters association, says it has about 4,000 personnel providing security for farmers in the Southwest.

The Aare (President-General) of Agbekoya worldwide, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, disclosed this at a news conference to unveil activities for the 85th Anniversary celebration of the society in Lagos on Wednesday.

The Southwest governors, the Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and other Yoruba leaders and farmers, will attend the anniversary scheduled to hold on Nov. 26.

“Today, Agbekoya is still leading as the biggest farmers’ association in Nigeria since 1938 and we will continue to provide security for our farmers.

“Agbekoya has done a lot for farmers and this has helped in feeding the nation. We have tried our best to eradicate anything that can make our farmers run away from farms.

*Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, the Aare Agbekoya Worldwide (3rd Left) and other leaders of the society at a news conference on Wednesday in Lagos.

“Security in farms is relatively good now. We have done a lot in protecting farmers and their farms. We have put up several measures to ensure security for farmers,” he said.

Okikiola said being an association comprising farmers and hunters, it had its executive council and security wing in all towns in Yoruba land.

The Aare added: “We have decimated cases of kidnapping and clashes in our towns and farms. If you see any, they are very few.

“This is because our security arm swing into action in case of any hitch anywhere. We have about 4000 security personnel for farmers’ protection in southwest alone.”

According to him, the situation that forced many people to vacate farms for city because of insecurity has been decimated.

Okikiola said that Agbekoya had been very useful to conventional security outfits like Police to undertake certain difficult jobs that required going into forests to track down criminals.

“We don’t run away from creation of God. We are ready to challenge any battle that want to confront farmers in the southwest,” he said.

On the society’s achievements, Okikiola said that his leadership had grown Agbekoya membership from 49 members to 4.3 million members.

Commending a former minister of agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for his efforts toward rebuilding the agbekoya society, Okikiola said the now President, the African Development Bank, believed in the society to achieve agricultural goals.

According to him, the society has not also relented efforts in training, educating and empowering farmers in partnership with local and foreign agencies and institutions as well as governments.

On the anniversary, Okikiola said the Ooni of Ife would be the Royal Father of the Day; the Olowu of Kuta, Oba Hameed Oyelude (Tegbosun III) Chairman and Chief Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, the Iyaloja General of Nigeria, as Mother of the Day.

He added that Aare Onikoyi of Yorubaland, Otunba Tomori Williams, would be the Chief Launcher with Iyalaje of Oodua, Princess Toyin Kolade among other eminent Yoruba leaders and farmers in attendance.

Okikiola said  the society would be celebrating  85 years of agricultural excellence and his 25 years as its  President-General.

“Since our inception in 1938, Agbekoya society of Nigeria, has stood as a guardian of agricultural interests, ensuring security and prosperity of our farming community.

“The 85th-anniversary celebration is a testament to our enduring commitment to the welfare of farmers and the sustainable development of agriculture,” he said.

Highlighting activities for the event, he said there would be a grand opening ceremony, exhibition/showcase of the evolution of agricultural practices and cutting-edge technologies.

He said there would also be a cultural extravaganza to explore the rich cultural heritage of the  agricultural community as well as performances, displays, and presentations.

Okikiola said pioneers of Agbekoya would be honoured to pay tribute to the visionaries and leaders who played pivotal roles in the success and growth of the society over the past 85 years.

According to him, there will also be an interactive forum which will engage stakeholders in discussions on the future of agriculture, sustainable practices, and the role of security in ensuring a thriving farming community.

He said the anniversary would reinforce the collective strength of agricultural sustainability for the good of the nation.

Okikiola said the society was dedicated to fostering a secure environment for farmers and ensuring the prosperity of agriculture through vigilant protection and advocacy.

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NNPP Heads To Supreme Court Over Appeal Court’s Sacking Of Kano Governor 



NAGAFF @23: Our Mission is Liberation of Industry Operators- Aniebonam

The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) says it plans to appeal the judgment of the Court of Appeal which upturned the victory of Gov. Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court.

Alhaji Abba Ali, the NNPP acting National Chairman, said this at a news conference on Saturday in Abuja.

Ali said that the judgment was a miscarriage of justice saying that Yusuf was given a popular mandate by the people of Kano State.

He said the party had already briefed its lawyers on the issue.

“Believing in the credibility of the judiciary and its ability to correct any error of judgment by the lower court, our party approached the Court of Appeal and prayed the appellate court to set aside the unjust ruling of the lower court.

“To our greatest shock and consternation, the Court of Appeal on Friday, Nov. 17 delivered a convoluted judgment that was anchored around their erroneous belief that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP,” he said.

NAGAFF @23: Our Mission is Liberation of Industry Operators- Aniebonam
The NNPP Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam

Ali said that to claim that Yusuf was not a member of the NNPP at the time of the 2023 general election, was mischief.
He wondered how Yusuf could have been successfully nominated on the INEC portal if his name was not submitted with the NNPP membership card.

“For our party, and we are sure for INEC as well, the issue of membership of candidates is a non-issue since the system of nomination is designed by INEC in such a way that only registered members can be nominated and uploaded onto the portal.

“It is therefore unbelievable that the Appeal Court would refuse to look at the merit of our party’s appeal and cling to the erroneous issue of membership that has already been settled severally by both the Appeal and Supreme Courts.

“We are therefore informing all members of the NNPP and indeed all Nigerians that our party has already briefed our lawyers to appeal this injustice at the Supreme Court.

“We believe that the Supreme Court will correct the errors of the tribunal and the Appeal Court and restore the mandate of the good people of Kano State by re-affirming Alhaji Yusuf as the duly elected Governor of Kano State,” he said.

Ali called on the judiciary to live up to its calling as the temple of justice and the last hope of the common man.


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Benue In N359bn Debt – Gov. Alia



Gov. Hyacinth Alia of Benue on Sunday disclosed that his administration inherited the sum of N359 billion as debt from the past administration in the state.

Alia disclosed this at an interdenominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary.

The church service was organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Benue State Chapter, at the Methodist Cathedral, South Bank, Makurdi.

The governor,  who is a Catholic priest, said that in spite of the debt burden, he was determined to reposition the state by providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“God has accomplished his work,  and it is now left for us to make our state and nation to work. I am here to make things work.

“What we inherited was nothing to be proud of, but we will do what will make us all proud. I inherited over N359bn debt,” he said.

*Gov. Hyacinth Alia

He regretted that the state lost billions of Naira worth of agricultural produce and other property to herders’ attacks on farmers.

He said that the farmers must be supported to do their job well.

Alia said that the condition of rural dwellers following incessant herders’ attacks and fuel subsidy removal had become worrisome.

He said that his administration would find ways to support farmers by providing seedlings, fertilisers and other forms of support to enable them to work effectively in the coming farming season.

“My colleagues call me the governor of the richest state in Nigeria and I agree with them because we have numerous mineral deposits, we have the best yams and soya beans, among others.

“We will create billionaires in the state through our farms. We have everything it takes to do it.”

Alia ordered an immediate end to illegal mining in the state.

“The foreigners illegally mining gold in Kwande, Logo, Konshisha LGAs and other places in the state should desist from it immediately. This is an order,” he said.

He said that God blessed the state and the entire Nigeria abundantly and it was left for the leaders to make things work.

He decried the spate of kidnapping and other criminal activities in the state, pledging to tackle them.

The governor said that the future of the state lay in the hands of the youth, adding that his administration was training 10,000 youths in information technology for improved digital knowledge.

Alia gave the assurance that his administration would not accommodate corruption and nepotism.

The governor appealed to Benue’s sons and daughters to support the state in any way they could.

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