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FG, IOM repatriate 167 victims of trafficking from Libya

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FG, IOM repatriate 167 victims of trafficking from Libya

… As CBN assures food prices will moderate in 2022***

The Federal Government in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday repatriated another 167 victims of human trafficking and forced labour stranded in Libya.

Mr Kabiru Musa, Charge d’ Affairs of the Nigerian Mission in Libya disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Musa stated the 167 stranded Nigerians left the Mitiga International Airport, Tripoli on Tuesday night and are expected to arrive at the Murtala Muhammed International Lagos on Jan. 26.

He said the Federal government granted a special waiver to the IOM and the Nigerian Mission in Tripoli following the circumstances in Libya which host thousands of stranded Nigerians.

Musa said the exercise which is the first in the year included victims of human trafficking, forced labour, those released from detentions and irregular migrants on voluntary return who took Libya as a transit country.

“Today, we conducted the first evacuation exercise of the year with 167 stranded Nigerians already air bond to Nigeria and expected to arrive at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos on Wednesday morning.

“Those that were airlifted include men, women and children who are victims of irregular migration, human trafficking that have been stranded in Libya.

“The exercise was carried out under a special waiver granted to the IOM and the Mission here by the Federal government because of the special circumstance of Libya where we have a lot of stranded Nigerians.

“Libya hosts majority stranded Nigerians as it is a transit country for irregular migrants and most of them end up getting stocked here and begin to suffer.

“The Federal Government is however living to its promise of ensuring that no Nigerian is left stranded in the country and by God’s grace we will achieve this.

“Arrangements have been made on the ground back in Nigeria to receive them and reunite them with their families,” Musa stated.

Musa stated that the exercise was conducted under the COVID-19 protocols with proper supervision of the Libyan Authorities and the Nigerian Mission in Tripoli.

He thanked the Libyan Authorities for their maximum support in ensuring the success of the evacuation exercise.

In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday assured Nigerians that food prices would not accelerate the way people had anticipated in 2022.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said this while answering questions from the press after presenting the outcome of the two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.

The MPC, at the meeting, retained the country’s Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and also unanimously agreed to retain all other monetary policy parameters.

The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) was, thus, retained at 27.5 per cent, Liquidity Ratio, 30 per cent and Assymetric Corridor, +100 and -700 Basis Points around the MPR.

Emefiele, answering questions after presenting the MPC meeting outcome, said the MPC saw logistical challenges in moving food from farm gates to the market, and also the activities of hoarders and would do everything possible to stop it.

According to him, the CBN is looking at the issues involved and will come up with good stories to tell about the trend by the next MPC.

“We found out that prices at farm gates are in line with our expectations because they are somewhat moderated; However, prices at the markets where our statisticians take their survey are high.

“So, if prices at the markets are high, there is, therefore, some problems between the farm gates and the markets.

“So, we see logistical problems, essentially bordering on transportation, also bordering on maybe destruction of food products or perishable items from farm to market.

“We are trying to encourage people who are interested in looking at how to resolve the logistical problems of delivering food from farm to market to come in and take advantage of some of the interventions that we have,” he said.

He said the MPC believed that the rise in food prices in December 2021 was temporary hence, the plan to look at it again in its coming meetings.

Emefiele said the MPC was happy about the Anchor Borrowers programme, which started last year, adding that it would help to moderate food prices and stop hoarding.

“Luckily, we started a programme last year where we said for our own repayment of our loans under the Anchor Borrower programs, we will receive the product into our own silos and our own warehouses and we will dispose them and sell them to the real end-users.

“Whether it’s the rice millers or the feed millers who need them to produce so that through that mechanism, we can be seen to be competing with the hoarders in the market to moderate prices,” he said.

According to him, it worked well in 2021 because between February and around August 2021, the central bank released on a monthly basis 50,000 tons of maize through those it recognised as feed millers.

The CBN governor also said the MPC had ensured that the Nigerian commodity exchange would come alive.

Emefiele said an independent board would eventually be inaugurated assuring that every support needed to play its role as a large commodity exchange that could hold different products in the country and compete with hoarders, would be given to it.

On the rice pyramid, the CBN governor assured Nigerians that soon they would be buying a bag of rice at a reasonable price.

“We will aggregate those rice paddies and we will sell them to millers and we would like to appeal to the millers that they should also be considerate.

“We are going to look at every transportation logistic that they are looking at but, Nigerians must receive rice in their plate on their dining tables at moderate prices,” Emefiele said.

 

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We have barely 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Enugu State — INEC

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We have barely 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Enugu State — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has 203,921 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) within its 17 local government offices in Enugu State.

The collection of PVCs had gone back to INEC local government offices throughout the state from the ward levels from Jan. 23 and the exercise would end on Jan. 29.

Mr. Rex Achumie, INEC Head of Department for Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), in Enugu State, said this on Wednesday that the uncollected PVCs were 203,921 as at the beginning of work today, Jan. 25.

Achumie said that the distribution of PVCs in the state had been ongoing seamlessly and progressively each day.

According to him, if you look at the total registered voters and the balance of uncollected PVCs in the state, one can confidently say ‘we are doing well’.

“We have a total of 203,921 cards left and I believe it will continue to reduce daily as residents of the state come for their PVCs daily.

“INEC is also praying that the massive number of people that came out to collect their PVCs within this window of PVCs collection, will actually come out to vote on D-day (election day).

“INEC is once more assuring Nigerians and the good people of Enugu State that their votes will count.

“There is a whole lot of improvement in INEC, a new Electoral Act and the use of technology to ensure efficiency and that there is no human interference in the system,” he said.

On the remaining uncollected PVCs, Achumie said that the commission in the state is not relenting to see to the total collection of the remaining PVCs.

“We are seriously working hard to ensure that most of the PVCs are collected before the expiration of the PVCs collection on Sunday, Jan. 29,” he added.

A total of 2,112,793 eligible voters had been registered by INEC in Enugu State.

It is highly likely that most of them are desirous to vote in the forthcoming general elections.

INEC had fixed Feb. 25 for Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as March 11 for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections nationwide

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Ogun PDP governorship: Supreme Court dismisses Lawal’s appeal, others

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 The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed four appeals filled by the Ogun state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship legal battle.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, leading a panel of five-man Justices, dismissed the appeals following their withdrawals by the respective lawyers.

The appeals instituted by the governorship aspirants, Otunba Jimi Lawal and some ward delegates were dismissed on the grounds that the appellants had no cause of action.

In one of the appeals, filed by Tayo Olabode against the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state, Oladipupo Adebutu, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the delegates who filed the action lacked locus standi (legal right) to do so.

It was agreed that the delegates who claimed to have been disenfranchised in the PDP primary election that produced Adebutu cannot initiate any court action against the primary election since they were not aspirants in the election.

The apex court held that the law is clear that only an aspirant in a primary election conducted for the purpose of nominating candidates for election, can lawfully challenge the outcome and not any other party member.

In another appeal, that was predicated on the failure to serve to originate summon on the defendant, the court held that since the aggrieved defendant participated in the matter from the beginning to the end, the issue of service can no longer take the front burner.

Tayo Olabode, who led a team of the ward delegates, had in his suit on behalf of his colleagues, alleged that they were disenfranchised from participating in the governorship primary election.

Specifically, he requested the court to quash the primary election that produced Adebutu on the ground that unlawful delegates conducted the primary election.

The apex court unanimously agreed that notwithstanding the anger of the aggrieved ward delegates, they are not legally permitted to challenge a primary election in which they were not aspirants.

Based on the findings, the appellant lawyers Chikwudi Enebeli and Deji Eniseyin said that they were painfully withdrawing the cases of their clients.

kekere-Ekun, consequently dismissed the appeals on the ground that they have no legs to stand upon.

Recall that the apex court had in a lead judgment by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa ordered speedy hearing of the suit after holding that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

In line with the Supreme Court’s order, on December 1, 2022,. a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja,   dismissed a suit by Otunba Adebisi Lawal, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, seeking to remove Oladipupo Adebutu, as a candidate for the 2023 Ogun state PDP governorship election.

Lawal and Adebutu had both laid claims to the gubernatorial candidate of the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo in a judgment held that he did not see any concrete documentary evidence by the plaintiff to support his claim that an unlawful delegate list was used by the PDP to conduct the April 30, Ward Congress in Ogun state.

The court noted that the plaintiff, by the suit, played a role of a spoiler, and held that the suit is a product of an afterthought.

It was the opinion of the court that Plaintiff had in a further affidavit, included pleadings not contained in the originating summons.

“I have no reason to say that the primary election was invalid, null and void.

“Upon reviewing the evidence, I find that the plaintiff attempted to use a further affidavit to amend his originating summons.

“The case of the plaintiff has been debunked by exhibits of the defendants.

“I find that the case of the plaintiff lacks credible evidence and I make an order dismissing the case,” the judge said

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Supreme Court Restores Akpabio as APC Senatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial

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Supreme Court Restores Akpabio as APC Senatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial

 The Supreme Court on Friday restored former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godwin Akpabio as the Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial District.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the Apex Court upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which in September last year granted a verdict in favour of the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

Saulawa after reviewing the arguments canvassed by Akpabio said that his appeal was meritorious and therefore was allowed.

The judgement was on an appeal filed by Akpabio challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal Abuja, which set aside his victory at the Federal High Court Abuja.

In arriving at the decision, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement said each of the 10 issues formulated by the appellant was resolved in his favour, and against the respondent.

It held that the court below lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, adding that whatever decision arrived at by the court amounted to nullity.

It would be recalled that the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal had on November 14, 2022, set aside the judgment of Federal High Court Abuja, removing Godswill Akpabio as the All Progressives Congress candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.

A three-member panel of Justices led by Justice Danlami Senchi held that Akpabio failed to file a proof of arguments within the time provided by the rules.

The panel further ruled that Akpabio, having contested the presidential primary of the APC, could not participate in the valid primary of the party held on May 27 and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which produced Udom Ekpoudom as a candidate.

But Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court Abuja had on September 22, 2022, ordered the INEC to reinstate Senator Akpabio as APC’s candidate, being the candidate nominated by the party in the second primary of June 9.

The trial court had directed INEC to accept the former Minister of Niger Delta as the APC flagbearer.

Nwite also ordered INEC to publish Akpabio’s name as APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North/West senatorial district in 2023, stating that the Commission acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish the former governor’s name when it was submitted to it by the APC as its candidate.

He added that Akpabio was validly nominated as the Akwa – Ibom North/West Senatorial District candidate of the APC from the primary conducted by the party’s National Working Committee on June 9, 2022.

The trial Judge faulted INEC for electing to monitor the May 27 primary, conducted by an illegal faction of the party led by Augustine Ekanem as against the June 9, primary authorized conducted by the APC NWC.

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