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Court didn’t bar APC from sending Delta candidates’ list to INEC – Party

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State has denied reports that a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, has restrained the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party from submitting the list of party candidates for the 2019 election from Delta State to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a statement made available to newsmen in Asaba on Wednesday by the legal adviser of the APC in Delta State, E.V. Onojeghuo Esq, the party described the report as false and lies cooked to deceive party faithful and cause disaffection in the party and amongst members of the public.

 

Read the full statement below:

The attention of the All Progressives Congress, Delta State has been drawn to the above-mentioned subject currently being circulated in various social media platforms and news outlets.

This case was instituted by one Chief Cyril Ogodo who participated and lost the congresses to elect a new executive committee. In his claims before the honourable court, he is seeking amongst other things a declaration as the authentic State Chairman of the Party and order restraining defendants from submitting names of candidates to INEC.

On 16th October 2018, when the case came up, the defendants informed the Court of their inability to file responses to the Claimants application for injunction. After much argument, the case adjourned to today the 17th of October for hearing.

In today’s proceedings, Counsel George Onaho Esq for the 1st and 2nd defendants (APC and the National Chairman) served their Counter affidavit and the Notice of preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Court. The counsel for the Claimants O.J. Oghenejakpor asked for a stand down to react to the preliminary objection which was granted.

On resumption, counsel to the Claimants served his reply to the preliminary objection on the counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants whereupon the counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants applied for an adjournment to file a reply on points of law which was opposed to by O.J. Oghenejakpor who insisted on going on with the motion for interlocutory injunction.

At this point, the honourable court informed O.J. Oghenejakpor the counsel to the Claimants that the motion for interlocutory injunction cannot be taken as the prayers in the motion are substantially the same as the main reliefs in the substantive suit. The court thereafter adjourned the matter to 1st and 2nd of November 2018 for accelerated hearing of the substantive case and preliminary objection to be taken together and the parties to maintain status quo.

The implications of today’s proceedings are:

  1. No Order restraining the defendants was made by the honourable court.
  2. The status quo to be maintained simply means that the State Executive Committee under the chairmanship of Prophet Jones Ode Erue remains the authentic structures in the State.
  3. It stands logic on the head to assume that the Court has technically restrained the defendants by asking parties to maintain status quo when the honourable court has rightly observed that the motion for interlocutory injunction carries the same reliefs as the substantive suit and even refused to entertain the said motion.
  4. The defendants are therefore at liberty to carry out their constitutional duties as there are no legal restraints imposed by the honourable court.

In the light of the above, we appeal to all faithful members of our great Party to remain calm and not be sway by social media pranks as the records of the Court are sacrosanct.

 

Signed

E.V. Onojeghuo Esq

APC State Legal Adviser

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N7bn: Unity Bank refutes SPIPRPP’s allegation, says claim is frivolous, unfounded

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Unity Bank Plc has faulted allegation against it by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) that it has refused to return about N7 billion it allegedly owes the Federal Government.

The presidential panel had said in a statement on Monday that the N7bn represents the sum of $15,561,769.99 and N1,488,455,810.90), being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the institution of Treasury Single Account. The panel further alleged that Unity Bank had agreed on the amount earlier in February, this year, but “has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating payments”.

But in a statement by Unity Bank signed by its Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Matthew Obiazikwor on Monday, the lender denied the allegation stressing that the report of the panel is geared towards misinforming the public and misrepresenting the Bank’s position and nil impact resolutions reached during the reconciliation engagements.

 

Read the full statement below:

Unity Bank has faulted the allegation against it by Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) over the ongoing reconciliation of the affected MDA accounts, stating that the report is geared towards misinforming the public and misrepresenting the Bank’s  position and nil impact resolutions reached during the reconciliation engagements.

In the ongoing investigation, Unity Bank has conducted itself professionally  by providing all evidence of customers’ instructions requested by the panel as it relates to all the MDAs.

Unity Bank had earlier transferred all the balances belonging MDAs to their respective TSA accounts in Central Bank of Nigeria as far back in 2016.

Upon approaching the Bank in 2018 to conduct investigations on the subject of MDAs, Unity Bank, as a responsible corporate citizen, cooperated with the panel accordingly. But out of its own volition, the panel refused to admit further documentary evidence from the Bank when it was obvious that the Bank has no balances kept in its books for the MDAs.

Instead, the panel suspended the investigation as apparently it could not fault any of the evidence presented by the Bank.

The Panel in an earlier letter requested the Bank to accept culpability and pay off a certain sum deemed outstanding which the Bank objected and insisted on completing the reconciliation exercise because the claims presented at this point against the Bank were unfounded and frivolous

It is therefore surprising for the SPIPRPP to turn back and issue a statement alleging sabotage when it abandoned its sitting and investigation midway.

Furthermore, it must be emphasized that, without prejudice to the constitutional power of Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) as the sole agency of government to investigate,  review, reconcile and collect revenue for government,  the bank co-operated fully with SPIPRPP and its consultants in the investigation process and it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that Unity Bank has all records to show that it does its banking transactions transparently and in compliance with extant banking regulations and at no time took charges on the MDAs that were outside what is contained in the Bankers Tariffs, which guide banking operations in Nigeria.

The bank therefore maintains that the allegations of SPIPRPP, are superfluous, frivolous ill-motivated and unfounded as falsely presented in a press statement purportedly sent to the public.

We hereby call on our customers and the general public to disregard the allegations which is subterfuge aimed to unnecessarily smear the image of the Bank.

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NGE rejects NASS’ accreditation guidelines for journalists

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The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has rejected new guidelines for the accreditation of media organisations, journalists/correspondents covering the National Assembly, describing it as primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people.

The guidelines issued by authorities of the National Assembly (NASS) is due to become effective from June 11 2019.

It demands, among other draconian provisions, that a media organisation wishing to be accredited for coverage of NASS activities should submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.

Other requirements include “presentation of evidence of certificate of incorporation of the media organisation, evidence of membership of professional bodies for the journalists, maintenance of a functional Bureau in Abuja (staff strength not less than 5 Editorial staff) and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for the print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure.”

Finding the guidelines  vexatious, disrespectful and Draconian, and a scurrilous attempt to gag the press in a democracy, the Guild said it cannot stand.

“These guidelines run contrary to the grains of reason, democratic ideals and they are a clear affront on the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution which empowers journalists to freely practice their profession without any gag, muzzling and restriction.

“The NASS guidelines negate the constitutional principle of freedom of expression and run contrary to the African Charter on fundamental rights and the right of the people to know. The Guild strongly objects to these guidelines in their entirety as they serve no public good except the myopic interest of its chroniclers and purveyors.

“The Guild is disappointed that the same 8th National Assembly which benefited immensely from free press in its moments of trial has turned round to put the same press in shackles and chains. We reject this crude abrasion of our constitutional rights to freely disseminate information. It cannot stand,” the Guild said.

The Guild strongly urged all media houses across the nation to rise up and reject the medieval intrusion into the media space in the 21st century, much more in a democracy which Nigerian media doggedly fought for and for which some journalists paid the supreme price.

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FG declares May 29, June 12 public holidays

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Nigerian Government has declared May 29 and June 12 as public holidays to mark the transition to a new government and Democracy Day respectively.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohamed, disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Mohammed said that most of the activities formerly performed on May 29 as Democracy Day have been moved to June 12 and that the events slated for May 29, would be low key.

He said world leaders will only attend the June 12 events.

Until June 6, 2018, the Democracy Day was held annually on May 29, the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960.

It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in the year 2000.

On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018, had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day.

Prior to the government’s declaration, Nigeria Senate last week passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognise June 12 as the country’s Democracy Day.

The bill was passed almost one year after Buhari announced that June 12 would replace May 29 for Nigerians to commemorate the return of democratic.

Although a few lawmakers protested the change in date of Democracy Day, it was, however, approved after a majority of the lawmakers supported passage of the bill.

The passage of the bill means the amendment to the Public Holiday Act has been effected in concurrence with the House of Representatives.

With the assent granted to the bill by President Buhari, Nigeria will observe May 29 and June 12 as public holidays annually.

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