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Supreme Court judgement: Plateau lawmakers’ dilemma reignites calls for Electoral Act amendment

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The controversy sparked by the removal of all federal and state lawmakers from Plateau State, as decreed by the Appeal Court, has reignited calls for an amendment to the electoral act. This development arises amid growing public dissatisfaction with perceived political injustices stemming from the Court of Appeal’s decisions regarding cases related to the 2023 general elections.

Recalling the sweeping judgment in November of the previous year, the Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed all 16 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Plateau State House of Assembly. The grounds for their removal included an alleged breach of a court order and a lack of political structure. Subsequently, the Appeal Court also ousted five PDP members from the House of Representatives, two senators, and Governor Caleb Mutfwang, though the Supreme Court later overturned Mutfwang’s dismissal.

While Mutfwang was relieved by the Supreme Court’s decision, state and federal lawmakers faced less fortunate outcomes, with their cases concluding at the appellate court. The Supreme Court, in its judgment, asserted that the issue of nomination falls within the internal affairs of a political party and is thus beyond judicial jurisdiction.

Reacting to this, a senior lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, criticized the Appeal Court, contending that it deprived the people of Plateau State of their voting rights. He suggested a potential revision of the Electoral Act, directing such matters to the Supreme Court to prevent similar injustices.

Despite these challenges, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) submitted petitions to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission, seeking redress for its members ousted by the Court of Appeal. The PDP cited the Supreme Court’s judgment as the basis for its appeal.

However, legal opinions differ on the viability of seeking a review from the NJC, with some asserting that the NJC lacks the authority to revise judgments. The National Working Committee of the PDP remains determined to pursue justice for its members, emphasizing the need for corrective action against the perceived judicial overreach.

In response to the ongoing situation, a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, urged the Supreme Court to reconsider some of its decisions on political cases. Additionally, calls for a constitutional amendment have emerged, proposing an adjustment to allow the Supreme Court to adjudicate cases related to state and federal legislative elections.

While the complexities of the legal process persist, various stakeholders express their opinions, emphasizing the need for fairness, justice, and potential reforms to safeguard the democratic process.

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BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law

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On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima

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Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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