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Federal Government Drops Forgery Charges Against Saraki, Ekweremadu

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ekere-sara

The Federal Government, on Friday, gave reasons why it decided to drop the two-count forgery charge it initiated against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, before an Abuja High Court at Jabi.

FG said it took the decision considering that the subject matter is already pending before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court. Aside Saraki and Ekweremadu, government prosecutor, Mr. Aliyu Umar, SAN, also applied to terminate further proceeding on the charge against former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr. Benedict Efeturi.

Umar told the court that though his witnesses, including the Investigative Police Officer in charge of the case, were prepared and ready to testify, he said FG took the action as a mark of its respect for the rule of law. He said: “My lord, having been well guided at the last proceeding and because of certain applications I am about to make, I did not ask my witnesses to come, though the IPO is here. “On October 5, I filed response to motions of 1st and 2nd defendants. I was also served a counter-affidavit dated October 8.

“My lord I have also been served with the 3rd defendant’s notice dated September 30 and that of the 4th defendant dated October 4, “However, in view of the fact that this government respects the rule of law and hierarchy of the judiciary, it is obvious that these applications cannot go on. “Your learned brother in the Federal High Court is dealing with issues that are supposed to be dealt with by your lordship. “It is trite law that two courts of the same coordinate jurisdiction cannot be seized of the same matter at the same time. “Before this court, we have an amended charge dated October 5 and the original charge dated June 10 which the defendants pleaded to on June 27.

I apply to withdraw both the initial and amended charge. “I ask my lord to strike them out and discharge all the defendants”, Umar submitted. None of the defendants opposed the application, though their lawyers took turns to commend FG for withdrawing the charge. According to Saraki’s lawyer, Mr. J.B. Daudu, SAN, “going by facts and circumstances of the matter, it took the government a lot of courage to take this bold step”.

After listening to all the parties, Justice Yusuf Halilu struck out the two charges. “I have had the privilege of having the leadership of the National Assembly before me. For whatever reason, the prosecution has a duty to do its work and it has decided to withdraw the charge. “On the other hand, my duty is to strike the two charges out, accordingly the charges, having been withdrawn, is hereby struck out.

“The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants are accordingly discharged”, the Judge held. The defendants were hitherto on trial over allegation that they masterminded the usage of a bogus Senate Standing Rules for the July 9, 2015, election, through which both Saraki and Ekweremadu took over the leadership of the Senate. The court had on June 27, granted the defendants bail after they pleaded not guilty to the forgery charge against them. Whereas the court gave Saraki bail on self-recognition, it ordered the other defendants to produce two reasonable sureties each. The court stressed that the sureties must be owners of landed properties in the highbrow areas of Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the civil suit at the Federal High Court which was filed by Senator Bath Nnaji from Enugu State, is challenging the powers of the FG to meddle in an internal affair of the Senate.

Source: Vanguard

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Senate Committee Screens Yakubu For INEC Chair Today

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Senate Committee Screens Yakubu For INEC Chair Today

Mahmood Yakubu

The Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will screen Mahmood Yakubu today following his re-appointment as Chairman of the Commission for a second and final term.

The Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday after the panel submitted the report of the 2021 budget estimates of the commission to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.

The Senate received President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter seeking Yakubu’s confirmation on Tuesday.

Also Read: 2023: Buhari Reappoints Mahmood Yakubu As INEC Chairman

He had on October 27 announced his decision to reappoint the former INEC boss.

The president’s letter was forwarded to the committee on INEC for screening which Senator Gaya said will be carried out expeditiously.

“Precisely the re-nominated Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu is to face our committee by 2:00 pm for the required drilling, the outcome of which will determine the report to be submitted to the Senate on Tuesday,” he said.

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No Plan To Review 2021 Spending Estimates: Minister

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No Plan To Review 2021 Spending Estimates, Says Ahmed

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has expressed that there is no plan to review the spending estimates of the 2021 budget.

She has also allayed the fears of federal civil servants that the country’s entering into recession might stall the salary payments of workers.

She made this known while speaking with journalists after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House.

Also Read: Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister

Ahmed said even the consequential adjustment in the 2020 budget wholly addressed salary matters.

Recall that the proposed 2021 budget is currently being reviewed by members of the National Assembly.

“On the 2021 budget, we are not planning to retrieve the budget or to reverse the budget beyond the work of appropriation that the National Assembly is currently doing in consultation with us,” she said.

 

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#EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG

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#EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG

Geoffrey Onyeama

The federal government of Nigeria has stated that it has reached out to the United Kingdom to explain its side of the story over the #EndSARS crisis.

This follows a petition being considered by the United Kingdom to sanction officials of the Nigerian government over alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests in the country.

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, explained to State House Correspondents on Wednesday that Nigeria has reached out to the UK govt.

He explained that FG has presented its own side of the story to the UK govt to aid its deliberations on the matter.

This he stated after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that a balanced view is important in such matters.

Also Read: #EndSARS Protest: Those who have murdered Nigerians will not benefit from trade or travel to the UK – Lyn Brown

He said: “Yes, we have reached out to the UK government. The meeting that took place were Parliamentarians and they do not speak for the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom and they have also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that has happened.

“So, we have been in touch with them and engaging with them. Of course, as in any democracy, the members of parliament are able to also able to air their views.

“But what is important, is that a balanced picture is made available to them before they take any decision.”

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