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Court Orders INEC To Produce Officials Adding Underage Nigerians To Voter Register

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to identify, within 90 days, officials involved in the registration of underage voters. In a judgment, Justice Obiora Egwuatu directed the prosecution of the identified culprits by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Furthermore, the court issued a mandatory order requiring INEC to promptly remove from its national voter register the names of underage voters identified by the plaintiff. The plaintiff, Rev. Mike Agbon, filed the lawsuit against INEC, questioning the constitutionality and legality of registering infants and toddlers during the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process.

Justice Egwuatu also ordered INEC to provide the plaintiff with a certified true copy of the cleaned-up national voters’ register within 90 days or publish it on the commission’s website. The court responded positively to six questions posed by the plaintiff, including whether INEC is constitutionally obligated to conduct credible CVR and if registering underage voters violates the Electoral Act.

Agbon had alleged that INEC, during the CVR for the 2023 general elections, registered underage voters, which contravened electoral laws. He sought a mandatory order for INEC to identify and hand over officials involved in the registration of underage voters for investigation and prosecution.

The court highlighted the constitutional requirements for voter registration, emphasizing that individuals must be citizens, residents, and at least 18 years old. Justice Egwuatu noted that the registered underage voters had not met these criteria, concluding that INEC officials had failed in their duties.

Despite being served with court processes and notices, INEC neither appeared in court nor filed any defense. The court’s judgment, delivered on November 28, cited Section 120(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, stating that any officer acting in breach of official duty would be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000, imprisonment for 12 months, or both upon conviction.

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Third Mainland Bridge: FG announces 24-hour total closure

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The Federal Ministry of Works announced on Monday that both lanes of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State will be shut down to traffic from Wednesday at noon until Thursday at noon. Mrs. Olukorede Kesha, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, provided this information in a statement to the press.

Kesha clarified that the complete closure is part of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts on the bridge. She emphasized that the bridge will not be accessible to traffic during this critical 24-hour period and urged all road users to seek alternative routes.

Motorists are encouraged to cooperate with traffic management officials to ensure smooth traffic flow during this time. Additionally, the Lagos State Government has also issued a notification regarding the planned closure of the bridge.

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Closure of Osun courts making judiciary lifeless – CSO

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The Osun Masterminds (TOM), a civil society organization, has expressed dismay over the prolonged closure of courts in the state due to the strike declared by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), describing it as rendering the judiciary inactive. TOM also criticized the strike as thoughtless and contradictory to the principles of maintaining law and order and ensuring justice in the state.

The organization accused the state government, led by Governor Ademola Adeleke, of displaying indifference toward the ongoing closure of the courts. In a state of the state address delivered by TOM’s Executive Director, Prof Wasiu Oyedokun-Alli, the group insisted that the state government should have taken proactive measures to address the issues leading to the industrial action.

TOM alleged that the silence of the state government could be interpreted as tacit support for the strike, highlighting that the government continued to pay salaries to judicial workers while overlooking the current paralysis of the court system in the state.

Oyedokun-Alli, calling for an end to the strike, warned that the group would not hesitate to take legal action against all parties involved if the industrial action persists.

“As a group, we will not hesitate to take legal action against the participants in the judicial battle before competent courts if the strike continues.

“We advise all concerned parties to act responsibly and uphold the oath they took. It is crucial that the Osun State Government, rather than showing indifference, takes active steps to resolve the issues leading to the ongoing industrial action.”

It is worth noting that JUSUN in Osun State initiated an indefinite strike in November 2023, following allegations that police personnel had used tear gas against members who were picketing and protesting against the Osun Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo.

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AFCON 2023: We’re not stupid – Peseiro gives condition to invite NPFL players

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The head coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, stated during his press conference in Abidjan on Saturday that only talented players from the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) would receive invitations to the national team. Peseiro emphasized that the selection would be based on the players’ quality and abilities, irrespective of the league they currently participate in.

While addressing the media ahead of Nigeria’s opening fixture at the 2023 African Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea, the Portuguese coach clarified that he had not ruled out the possibility of inviting players from the local league. He mentioned the inclusion of Ojo Olorunleke in the team and expressed his openness to inviting other players from the NPFL if they demonstrated the required qualities.

Peseiro affirmed, “I have not said that no player in the local league can play for the Super Eagles, but I need to see if you have the qualities and capacities to play. Ojo [Olorunleke] is in the team, but if I see other players with quality, I will invite them. We coaches are not stupid. I need to choose the best players; if a local league player is better than the one outside, I will call him.”

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