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S/Court: Maritime Stakeholders, NNPP Chieftain Hails Gov. Yusuf’s Reinstatement 

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…Upholds Election Of Mutfwang As Plateau Governor as Stakeholders Say Judgment Signals Hope For Nigeria

Stakeholders in the Nigerian Maritime industry, particularly those in the freight forwarding fields celebrated with raised wine glasses in Lagos, as the Supreme Court reinstated Yusuf’s election on Friday, after losing at the lower courts.

 Similarly,  the Joint Action for Good Governance (JAGG) and a Chieftain of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) have applauded the  Supreme Court’s ruling reinstating Gov. Abba Yusuf of Kano.

It would be recalled that the NNPP Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam had called for a week of fasting, to pray and seek the face of God, in strengthening the hands of the Supreme Court judges to establish the divine will of God.

In separate interviews on Friday with newsmen in Lagos, the advocacy group and the NNPP stalwart said the reinstatement of the lone NNPP governor in the federation had further added to the credibility of the nation’s apex court.

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

The National Vice President of JAGG, Mr Abdulwaheed Odunuga highlighted that the ruling of the Supreme Court was a relief to many stakeholders in the nation.

*Gov. Yusuf of Kano State

“I am thrilled and relieved by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to reverse the sack of  Yusuf by lower courts and affirm his election as Kano governor.

“This judgment has not only reinstated the victory of  Yusuf but has also vindicated the integrity of the electoral process.

“It is noteworthy that the court emphasised that the lower courts were wrong in deducting votes based on technicalities related to the signing and stamping of ballot papers.

“This ruling reinforces the principle that substantial compliance with electoral laws should be prioritised over minor procedural irregularities,” Odunuga said.

According to him, as someone who has been actively involved in the NNPP and contested for the Federal House of Representatives in Kosofe, the verdict brings a sense of encouragement and optimism for the democratic process.

He added: “It reaffirms our belief in the rule of law and the capacity of the judiciary to correct perceived errors in electoral disputes.

“I commend the Supreme Court for its thorough and unbiased approach in delivering justice. It is my hope that this judgment will contribute to strengthening our electoral system and inspire confidence in the minds of the electorate.

”As we celebrate this victory, let us continue to uphold the principles of democracy and work toward a more transparent and accountable political environment.”

Gov. Yusuf of Kano State

In his reaction, Mr Adekunle Aderibigbe, NNPP chieftain in Lagos state said the decision of the Supreme Court had again, boosted the morale and confidence of the people of Nigeria in the justice system.

Aderibigbe said: It is heartening to see the Supreme Court uphold the democratic process by carefully reviewing and rectifying what appeared to be an erroneous decision by the Court of Appeal.

“The judicial system plays a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity of elections, and the apex court’s determination to restore the deducted votes and reaffirm Yusuf’s victory reflects a commitment to fairness and justice.

“This meticulous scrutiny ensures that electoral outcomes are determined based on accurate legal principles and not arbitrary decisions.”

According to him, the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Court of Appeal’s ruling regarding Yusuf’s party membership was a significant point.

He said the apex court rightly asserted that matters related to nomination and sponsorship are pre-election issues and fall outside its jurisdiction.

“This reaffirmation underscores the importance of adhering to legal procedures and recognising the delineation between pre-election and post-election matters,” he said..

The apex court set aside the verdicts of the Court of Appeal and Kano state Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified the victory of Yusuf in the March 18, 2023 governorship poll.

A five-member panel of the apex court in a judgment delivered by Justice John Okor, held that the tribunal and the court of appeal erred by sacking  Yusuf as governor of the state.

Yusuf and NNPP had filed an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had affirmed his sacking as earlier pronounced by the Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The tribunal had sacked Yusuf and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw his certificate of return and instead, issue same to Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, the candidate of the APC in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

However, not satisfied with the Tribunal’s judgment, Yusuf approached the Appeal Court.

But the appellate court had while affirming his sack, further held that the governor was not a member of the party as of the time of the election and could not have been said to have been properly sponsored for the election.

In another development, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the election of Mr Caleb Mutfwang as the duly elected governor of Plateau.

Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State

The appeal filed by Mutfwang, seeking to restore his mandate to lead the state was allowed and the judgment of the Court of Appeal was set aside.

Justice Emmanuel Agim who delivered the judgment held that the appeal by the governor had merit.

The appeal court had in a unanimous decision in November ruled that Muftwang was not sponsored by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court held that Nentawe Yilwada of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the 18 March 2023 governorship election and therefore upheld his appeal.

According to the result declared by INEC, Mutfwang scored 525,299 votes to beat Mr Yilwada polled 481,370 votes.

The Plateau Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier affirmed Muftwang’s victory prompting Mr Yilwada to file an appeal at the appeal court.

The decision of the Supreme Court on the case is final.


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crime

ENUGU: Police Arrest 83 Suspects, Rescue 20 Kidnapped Victims

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Enugu State says it arrested 83 criminal suspects and rescued 20 kidnapped victims within the state from Jan. 1, 2024, till date.

The offences for which the suspects were arrested included abduction, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, defilement and vandalism among other crimes committed within the state in the period under review.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the successes of the Command since the beginning of the year.

Uzuegbu noted that 46 firearms of different calibers were recovered as well as 125 ammunition of different calibres were recovered within the period under review.

According to him, 36 motor vehicles were recovered; six tricycles were recovered and 15 motorcycles were also recovered by gallant and eagle-eyed crime fighting officers and men of the Command.

He said many of the arrested suspects had been arraigned in court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centre, while others would be prosecuted accordingly once investigations are concluded.

The commissioner said that proactive and people’s centred policing approaches of the Command had started yielding the expected results.

Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

“I wish to specially thank the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for the immense support his Administration has continued to extend to the police in the state.

“In the same vein, I profoundly thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Dr Kayode Egbetokun, for his visionary and pragmatic leadership style, which have brought about the policing strides recorded in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.

“Additionally, I express my immense gratitude to my colleagues in sister security agencies and the entire security stakeholders in Enugu State, for all the collaborative support we enjoyed in 2023, and which has continued into 2024.

“I also want to thank and appreciate my officers and men for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty, which have resulted in the operational successes recorded.

“I urge them to remain focused and committed to actualizing the mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in Enugu State,” he said.

The commissioner maintained that discipline remained the bedrock of the Nigeria Police, adding: “I caution officers and men to shun acts of corruption, unprofessionalism and moral debasements, which bring with them severe disciplinary consequences”.

According to him, officers and men must remain professional, firm, upright and diligent in the performance of their duties.

He warned unrepentant criminals to turn over a new leaf, as “we shall more than ever, turn up the heat and make Enugu State more uncomfortable for them and their activities.”

He said: “And if they fail to repent, then we shall stop at nothing to ruthlessly deal with them.

“I also want to strongly caution rumour mongers, rabble-rousers and peddlers of fake, misinformative and disinformative news in Enugu State to desist forthwith, as the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found wanting, in accordance with extant laws, particularly the Cybercrime Act.

“There is no doubt that the task of tackling the increasing security challenges in our society is daily becoming daunting.

“Nonetheless, the assurance I bring to the good people of Enugu State is that we will remain focused and unflinching in our commitment to enthrone a crime-free and peaceful environment for all and sundry to thrive in their legitimate enterprises.”

Uzuegbu urged the citizenry to remain law-abiding, security conscious and continue to support the police, through the provision of credible and actionable security information; while also reporting suspected criminals and their activities to the nearest police station. (

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Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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crime

Bill To Establish State Police Passes 2nd Reading At Reps

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Suspected bandits kill NIS personnel, injure 2 others in Jigawa

 …As Bandits kill 6 In Katsina

A  Bill for an act to establish State Police and other Related Matters thereto,  has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which will alter provisions of the 1999 Constitution to provide for the establishment,  was sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Kalu and 12 others.

Leading the debate at plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, Kalu who also presided, said in recent times, the nation’s collective security had been greatly challenged due to an upsurge in insecurity cases.

He said Nigeria operated a federation consisting of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with 774 Local Government Areas, about 250 ethnic nationalities, and more than 200 million citizens.

Kalu said Nigeria has a vast terrain,  spanning over 920,000 square kilometers but regretted that currently, the nation operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men.

Niger govt. rescues abducted Kagara students

He said there was no denying that the nation’s security architecture was under immense pressure.

Kalu also pointed out that  the fabric of any democracy remained woven with the threads of constant adaptation to the evolving needs of its society.

He added that at this point in our nationhood, state policing is not only inevitable but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

According to him, the bill emerged as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement.

“It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.”

He said the proposed alteration represented not just a legal adjustment to our constitution but a visionary leap toward a safer, more secure, and more harmonious Nigeria.

He said the bill sought the transfer of “police” from the “exclusive legislative list” to the “concurrent legislative list,” adding that the move would effectively empower states to have state-controlled policing.

He said the bill would also prevent unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in state police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

Contributing, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos), observed that police should be empowered to license any state willing,  that meet the requirements for state police, set up by the Police Service Commission.

He said the commission should be empowered to revoke and renew the licenses if such a state abused the license, adding that state police would reduce unemployment and relieve the recurrent expenditure on the Federal Government.

On his part, Rep. Awaji-numbek Abiante (PDP-Rivers), noted that the bill would cure the tragedy of the military decree of 1966.

He, however, called for caution, saying, “We have to be careful and committed enough to look at the bill thoroughly because this was not the first attempt for such bill.”

He said the bill should provide a sure way of guaranteeing the security of lives and property while underscoring the need for deliberate efforts toward making it a reality.

Rep. Ali Madaki (NNPP-Kano) noted that the bill was killed in the seventh Assembly but disclosed that the fear was to avert a situation whereby state governors would use the state police against political opponents.

He said there were high-security challenges nationwide,  adding that each state would deploy its police in a manner that would address their peculiarities.

Also speaking, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Kano), said about 21 states, including Benue and Taraba were caught in the web of socio-political and ethno-religious crises and could surmount such challenges if they had control of their police.

He said some of the states clamoring for the establishment of state police were not economically viable.

He acknowledged that state policing remained a noble idea while citing a scenario where a state governor denied a political opponent landing at the airport.

He argued that such a governor was capable of using the state police for negative purposes,  and urged  the lawmakers to put all issues into perspective before enacting the law.

Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos),  argued that 400,000 policemen to 200 million Nigerians was insufficient.

He said that the deployment of a police officer to a state he was not familiar with would make him inefficient and ineffective in discharging his duties.

Rep. Ben Itanabene (LP-Delta), called for the establishment of a distinct police structure but feared that the use of state police would be under the control of governors.

He urged the house to delete the word ‘state” from the bill while calling for decentralization of the Federal Police by using Police Command.

Kalu, after listening to contributions, put the bill to vote, which was  unanimously passed by the lawmakers

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