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Ignore CCT summon, S/South govs tell Onnoghen

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The South-South Governors Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save the country from embarrassment by condemning move to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The forum also called on the CJN to ignore this so-called Court summon from the CCB.
 
The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Bayelsa, Mr Seriake Dickson, made the call while reading the governors communique  issued after the forum emergency meeting held at Bayelsa Governor’s lodge on Sunday in Abuja.
 
 The CCT had Scheduled Monday, Jan. 14 for the arraignment of  Onnoghen, on allegations of false and non-assets declarations.
 
Dickson said that the governors condemned  the “assault on the CJN and the judiciary”, especially coming after similar assaults on the National Assembly, saying the  action against Onnoghen constituted a setback to the gains of the nation’s democratic experience.
He said that Buhari had a constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend the country ‘s democracy.
 
Dickson said that under Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Judicial Council (NJC), had ample powers to deal exhaustively with matters pertaining to allegations of misconduct and discipline of Judicial officers.
“Specifically, the NJC has the powers and clear procedures for investigating allegations, and recommending appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures against judicial officials as a matter of first instance before any further steps.
“The judicial pronouncements in the cases of FGN Vs Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court (January 9, 2018) and Justice Ngajinwa Vs FGN 2017 at the CCT have given validation to the express provisions of the constitution on this issue.
“We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state including the National Assembly and the judiciary.”
Dickson said that no democracy could  survive without respect for the constitution, strict adherence to the rule of law, and separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution.
“We strongly believe that the regrettable development at the Supreme Court at this critical time, when preparations for the general elections are wobbling (with serious concern about INEC and security agencies) is capable of causing avoidable anxiety, tension and possible breakdown of law and order in the country.
“We note further that the action undermines confidence not only in the judiciary but also the electoral process that has already commenced, in view of the pivotal role that the judiciary plays in the process of electoral adjudication.
“Based on the foregoing, we hereby call on the President:
“To condemn without any equivocation, this assault on the CJN and the judiciary especially coming after similar assaults on the National Assembly, to save the country from this embarrassment and global contempt.
“We call on the CJN to ignore this so-called Court summon from the CCB and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters.
“While we are not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, such an action must always be anchored on the rule of law.”
Dickson said that they considered the step, as directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region.
“This is totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South South story of endless marginalization and intimidation.”
He added, “the unceremonious removal of former Acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa and his replacement was still very fresh.
In attendance were Governors Nyesom  Wike of Rivers,  Emmanuel  Odom of Akwa-Ibom, Prof.  Ben Ayade of Cross-River and that of Delta Ifeanyi Okowa, who left before the end of the meeting. (NAN)
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I’ll recover my stolen mandate, says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he is confident in getting his “stolen mandate” from the court.

He spoke on Wednesday during a courtesy call on the southern and middle belt leaders at the Abuja residence of Edwin Clark, a leader of the group.

Atiku, who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had rejected the result of the presidential poll and is currently challenging the validity of the election at the tribunal.

“This is a mandate that has been stolen from Nigerians. We believe justice would be done at the end of the day,” he said.

“As I had announced earlier, I have rejected the result of the election. As announced earlier, we have filed our petition before the tribunal or the courts because we believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from the Nigerian people. And I believe that the courts will do justice in this case.

“We still have confidence in our courts and we believe justice will be done. But the most important thing here is that between ourselves, we have been able to galvanize the people of this country to think alike and in unity.

“Of course, we have also come to realize and accept that the basis of our unity, our coexistence lies fundamentally on restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and also have opportunity to exploit their human and materiel resources for the development of the citizens while remaining in the same country.”

Thanking the leaders, Atiku said he believes this is a struggle that is achievable, and Nigeria has nothing to fear about restructuring.

In his remarks, Clark commended Atiku for heading to court, and assured him that the elders were behind him.

“We are happy that you are in court, you have already filed your papers, it’s not a question of saying am going to court. We are behind you. And by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for,” he said.

The group of elders comprising Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) had adopted Atiku two weeks to the election.

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NNPC confident of meeting 2019 oil production target – Baru

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed confidence that it would meet the target of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day (MBOPD) benchmark used in the 2019 Midterm Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

This was according to the Group managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who stated this while appearing before the Senate committee on Finance on Tuesday.

Baru, who was represented by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Mr Bala Wunti, disclosed that the corporation has installed oil production capacity of over 2.5 Mbopd to support the yardstick used in 2019 MTEF.

Baru identified the major obstacle to achieving the planned production volume as the security situation in the Niger Delta region, which according to him, has seen considerable improvement.

The NNPC GMD noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s strong focus on “collaboration and effective community engagement for sustainable partnership” has significantly helped to douse the security challenge in the region.

Baru said the improved security situation in the Niger Delta has led to a corresponding improvement in crude oil production under the current administration. The GMD expressed optimism that the security situation will only further improve, adding that the “NNPC remains confident that Nigeria can achieve the 2019 budget production target of 2.3 Mbopd.”

Responding to questions on the impact of OPEC quota on the country’s oil production level, the GMD invited the Committee to note that the National production of 2.3 Mbopd is the national liquid hydrocarbon production which is not only crude oil but also includes condensate. The OPEC quota is an allocation for only for crude oil and not condensate. He explained that Nigeria’s condensate production oscillates between 0.4Mbpd 0.6Mbld out of the 2.3 Mbopd.

The GMD further disclosed that the NNPC mandates on the 2019 MTEF are premised on the 3 thematic assumptions of Production volume, Crude oil price and Unit Cost of Crude Oil Production. “The Corporation is glad to report that NNPC in collaboration with other relevant agencies have emplaced measures to ensure the attainment of these assumptions used in developing the 2019 MTEF,” he said.

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Stop the rumour! Dangote not part of ‘Kano Elders Committee’ on election postponement

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The social media had been awashed with information purporting the creation of a “Committee of Elders of Kano” to address the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Kano elections, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as inconclusive

Investigations conducted by First-Weekly Magazine revealed that the news is fake as some of the alleged committee members such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote is currently out of the country on a business trip.

Moreover, we reliably gathered that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is apolitical and he has never been involved in politics in any form.

It was reported in the story that Alhaji Aliko Dangote was to be received by other eminent Kano elders on Tuesday, March 12, 2019  at the Kano International Airport and thereafter proceed to the Emir’s palace to discuss current political situation in Kano State.

Sources revealed that the Nigerian Industrialist, though an indigene of Kano State is primarily committed to developing African economies through his business footprints across 17 African countries and positively touching the lives of people across the continent and beyond.

“It is necessary to properly inform members of the public on this sensitive issue to counter the fake news and set the records straight.

“As a citizen of the country, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is interested in the development and progress of Nigeria and Kano State, but that does not mean that he would dabble into politics.

“He loves his fatherland and his homeland, but he is not the type that would dabble into a terrain that he is not familiar with as he is committed to establishing businesses and enterprises that would promote the economy of the country and provide employment for the teeming Nigerians, some of whom are gainfully employed in his companies and organizations,” said a source.

The source then urged members of the public to disregard the news and treat it as fake, saying that there was no way Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is out of the country on a business trip, would be having meetings with some people in the country at the same time.

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