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Assets declaration: Charges against me laughable, malicious – Ekweremadu

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday said his attention has been drawn to an attempt by the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Ofem Obono-Obla, to smear his name in midst of the current political activities.
Ekweremadu described the suit filed against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on behalf of the SPIP over his refusal to declare his assets to the panel, contrary to the Constitution, as laughable and malicious.
He said: “Let me re-affirm to Nigerians and my supporters that I have no assets declaration case to answer. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requires public office holders to declare their assets every four years, a requirement which I fulfilled. The Panel requested and obtained copies of my Assets Declaration Form from the Code of Conduct Bureau where everything is stated in black and white.
“For emphasis, all my assets were fully and comprehensively declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“What is at issue here is that the SPIP had forwarded fresh assets declaration forms to me to fill contrary to the position of the 1999 Constitution, a demand I refused to oblige because it is clearly unconstitutional. It is this refusal to disobey the Constitution that I am now being charged for.
“I am aware that the Chairman of that Panel wrote the same letter to some serving Honourable Judges of the Federal High Court, who also declined to fill them.
“I am also aware that the affected Judges petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami, who immediately withdrew the provocative letters and fresh asset declaration forms with apologies.
“I am further aware that the Office of the AGF had also intervened in a similar case involving the Obla Panel at the Federal High Court, Lagos and I believe all these culminated in Obono-Obla’s suspension in November 2017 before his recall.
“It is, therefore, left to Nigerians to see the politics of the so-called charges in my case. The Office of the AGF should not allow itself to be used in filing malevolent and unconstitutional charges that destroy our democracy and make mockery of our judicial system.
“I expect the Attorney-General to channel his energy to prosecuting Obono-Obla Panel over his established case of forgery of his Senior School Certificate result instead of this politically-motivated prosecution and smear campaign.
“My position is that the Public Property Special Provisions Act, CAP R4 LFN, 2004, otherwise known as Decree No 3, 1984, which Obono-Obla has relied on to charge public officials to court had become obsolete and power to investigated non-asset declaration vested in the Code of Conduct Bureau by the 1999 Constitution. Only the Code of Conduct Bureau can receive asset declaration forms from public officers.
“It is obvious that this is part of the desperate and panic measures to cripple the opposition ahead of the 2019 general elections. Every opposition candidate and leader should, therefore, be ready for such smear campaigns and onslaughts, but rest assured, however, that they would ultimately triumph where their hands are clean.
“I insist that my hands are clean. Anybody, who knows any undeclared assets of mine, should feel free to avail the public of such information.
“Nigerians and the international community should, therefore, disregard this latest campaign of calumny and witch-hunt.”
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BEDC explains constraints on power distribution to Ondo South

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The management of BEDC Electricity Plc. (BEDC) has assured residents of Ondo South that it is committed to providing power to their various communities provided the federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) addresses the present technical constraints that impede power distribution to the areas.

BEDC in its reaction to complaints by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State over lack of power supply to some parts of Ondo South, appealed to the Governor to put pressures on TCN and other federal government- related institutions to create an enabling environment for BEDC to serve its customers better by addressing these technical constraints.

These constraints according BEDC includes; the repair of the faulty breaker on the 30MVA TCN transformer which affected voltage to Ondo South axis causing very poor and none useful power ‘candle light’.

BEDC also called for the replacement of the unstable Ife/Oshogbo 132KV undersized line and the recommencing/completion of the proposed 132/33KV, 2x 60MVA at Erinje in Okitipupa which will provide capacity for up to 90megawatts of power when completed.

“In order to have a lasting and complete solution to Ondo South electricity need as well as have a lasting solution to Ondo state general power limitations, the permanent solution is for TCN to complete the proposed 132/33KV, 2x60MVA at Erinje in Okitipupa project which has been awarded by NDDC and abandoned as well as replace the unstable Ife/Oshogbo 132KV undersized line” BEDC said.

When this is completed, BEDC said it will be able to take the transmitted power and distribute same to customers in other parts of Ondo South, but noted “this will only serve an additional 25% of the power needs in this area. This is because the estimated total power supply needed is 47.6MW and only additional 11MW will be available from this TCN source, hence there would still be a shortfall of about 36.6MW”.

BEDC said that in January it collaborated with Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) using National Independent Power Project (NIPP) to restore power supply to Ode-Aye town in Okitipupa and Igbokoda in Ilaje local government area of Ondo South by rehabilitating the distribution network in a phased manner and by bypassing major load using centers.

“This was done to demonstrate to customers in Ondo South axis that the network was ready to receive and distribute power when TCN makes same available” the company added.

BEDC says since 2015, it has escalated to Ondo State Government, Federal Ministry of Power and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that the issue of power supply to major parts of Ondo South is largely and principally affected by TCN constraint.

It added: “TCN has not been able to transmit adequate power to BEDC in Ondo State and especially in part of Ondo South due to its technical constraints which has led to its existing problem of none availability of power in these locations.”

“We wish to state categorically that as a service provider, BEDC is not comfortable watching a large proportion of its customers located in Ondo state and most especially in several locations in Ondo South without supply for so many years.

The reality however is that in line with existing methodology of buying and transmitting bulk power from TCN grid, such power which is purchased by BEDC is what is distributed to our customers in all areas.” BEDC stated.

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We won’t recognise speakers elected through fraudulent means – Obasa warns Edo, Bauchi governors over Assembly crises

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The Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly and Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, on Sunday urged the governors of Edo, Godwin Obaseki, and Bauchi, Bala Mohammed, to immediately resolve the crises that have engulfed the respective Houses of Assembly in their states.

Speaker Obasa asked for the reversal of their proclamations of the Houses of Assembly in both states as well as the elections of principal officers adding that illegality should not thrive on the altar of perceived personal ego and interest.

The Speakers’ Conference Chairman warned strongly that the body would not recognise any Speaker of a state legislature that emerges through fraudulent means or violation of the Constitution and Business Rules of the affected House of Assembly as the organisation cannot condone illegality.

In a statement personally signed by the Speaker, he admonished the governors to adhere to the Nigerian constitution as well as the rules of the Houses of Assembly, which stipulate how principal officers should emerge. He also noted that no society can progress when its stakeholders are at daggers-drawn.

Obasa frowned at the drama that happened recently in the Edo state Assembly where nine members would elect the principal officers in a 24-member House in an inauguration that allegedly held at 9.30 pm.

In Bauchi, recall that 11 out of the 31 elected members of the ninth House of Assembly also elected principal officers in what Speaker Obasa described as “questionable manner.”

The crisis in Bauchi has led to the emergence of two speakers in the state as well as issues about litigations.

“A situation where a minority number in a State House of Assembly takes control of its activities over the majority is condemnable.

“No lover of democracy in the country should support the charade that happened recently at both Houses of Assembly. If we must make progress, we must work in an atmosphere of peace, love and unity.

“We must also all call on the governors to do the needful by reversing their actions and acting in accordance with the laws backing up the legislative arms of the affected states,” the Speaker said.

Obasa argued that even though Section 92(1), Chapter V of the 1999 Constitution simply states that there shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of a House of Assembly who shall be elected by the members of the House from among themselves, Section 98(1 and 2) clearly stipulates that voting must be by simple majority.

Specifically, Section 98(2) states expressly: “Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority.”

While reacting to the injunction secured by the 11 members of the Bauchi House of Assembly stopping the majority in the House from parading their elected Speaker and Deputy, Obasa cautioned the Judiciary against unnecessarily meddling in the affairs of the State Legislatures.

Obasa said the injunction from the Bauchi State High Court was frivolous and must be stopped.

“Why should any reasonable court grant injunction in favour of 11 against 20? Why should the Judiciary interfere in the business of the Legislature which is supposed to operate on the principle of separation of powers?” Obasa queried stressing that this was part of the discussions recently at a two-day conference on the implementation of autonomy for State Legislatures and Judiciary in Abuja.

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EKEDC warns against assault on staff

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The management of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has warned residents in the area to desist from assaulting its staff.

In a statement by the management of the company, the EKEDC said individuals who assault staff of the company must be brought to book as legal action against some of the offenders have yielded some fruits.

 

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

The management of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC’s tussle to ensure that individuals who assault staff of the company are brought to book, has yielded some fruits.
The company’s legal representatives have been inundated with reports of assault, public incitement and threat to life against personnel of EKEDC in recent time.

While we consider this very unfortunate, as a law abiding company, we sought the assistance of security agents in helping in the arrest and prosecution of these troublemakers. Sadly, some of them claim to be community leaders. This set of people have often made the company’s efforts to maintain a peaceful coexistence with customers very difficult.

EKEDC’s Double Victory

In one of the cases of assault on our staff, on the 24th of May, 2019, one Mr. Moses Ogunleye, a resident of Mushin, led some group of people to House No.29 Omowunmi Street under Idi-Araba Undertaking of Mushin Business District to obstruct, restrict and assault the Eko Field Representatives (EFRs) of EKEDC during the May Cash drive activities. Mr. Ogunleye assaulted Mrs. Abejide and damaged her phone in the process. This act was caught on camera.

The EFR however, reported the case at Olosan Police Station that same day, being the Divisional Police station having jurisdiction over the area of the incident. The culprit was arrested by the policemen from Olosan Divisional Police Station and the other group fled only to resurface with two police officers from (PANTI SCID) to arrest the ZDM (Engr.Yahyah Abdulrafiu) at Olosan Police Station as they alleged that there was a petition against him. The Divisional Police Officer and DCO stopped the police officers from panti SCID and asked them to do it in a proper way by sending police invitation to his organization (EKEDC) to release him for appropriate investigation.

Mr. Ogunleye was granted bail at the police station at about 7pm on the same day.

The case was however charged to court on the 31st of May and Mr.Moses Ogunleye was arraigned at court 1 Mushin Magistrate Court Ogba. He pleaded not guilty to the three counts charge and was subsequently granted bail with one surety in like sum of N80,000. The surety must be gainfully employed and the address be verified by the prosecutor.

The case was adjourned to, Monday, 24th of June, 2019 for mention.

Also, one Mr. Israel Olayinka, 52, of No. 115, Gaskiya Road, Ijora Badia, Apapa Lagos and some others, now at large attacked our staff, obstructed the EKEDC’s vehicle and incited the public against them as they tried to discharge their duties. This happened in 2018 with Mr. Olayinka fleeing at the time too.

Olayinka conspired with his cronies to inflict beatings and injuries on Ajibola Matthew and Segun Ogunyemi, both staff of the EKEDC.
Nemesis however soon caught up with Olayinka as he was arrested and charged to the Samuel Ilori Magistrate Court, Ogba on the 21st of June, 2019. He however, pleaded not guilty to the 3-count allegation levelled against him. The court session was presided over by Mrs Y.O Ajiafunwa.

The suspect has however been granted bail in the sum of N600,000 with two sureties and evidence of Lagos State Tax Payment and verifiable property address.

However, latest information reaching the EKEDC confirms that he is still in Kirikiri Prisons as his bail terms are yet to be perfected.

EKEDC will like to reiterate that it is committed to the provision of unrivalled service to its networks and customers but will not condone any act of violence and intimidation against its personnel as they try to discharge their lawful duties. The company also calls on community leaders to work in unison with EKEDC as we work assiduously hard to ensure better service provision to our teeming customers.

We implore customers to use the numerous avenues we have opened to lodge complaints as well as suggestions.

We also assure of our readiness to work with community leaders and their followers in the discharge of our duties to ensure a better and more peaceful coexistence.

 

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