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A’Court orders fresh hearing of petition against Melaye’s election

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday ordered fresh hearing of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Smart Adeyemi, challenging the election of Dino Melaye of the All Progressives Congress as the Senator representing Kogi West in the Senate.
The Kogi State National and State Legislative Assembly Elections Petitions had on June 18, 2015, struck out Adeyemi’s petition on the grounds that it was incompetent and had been abandoned.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had in its result of the March 28, 2015, election declared that Melaye polled the highest valid votes to defeat Adeyemi who was seeking a re-election.
Adeyemi and his party had filed a petition challenging the results declared by INEC.
But the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Akpan Ikpeme, who delivered the ruling of the three-man panel, had held that the petitioner flouted the provisions of the Electoral Act in filing his reply to Melaye’s response out of time.

According to the tribunal, the petitioner, who was served with Melaye’s response on May 13, 2015, filed his reply seven days later instead of five days stipulated by law.
Adeyemi had subsequently filed an appeal against the decision of the tribunal before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Ruling on the appeal on Friday, Justice Mohammed Adume-led Court of Appeal panel on Friday held that the tribunal was hasty, adding that it relied “heavily on technicalities” to determine the petition.
The appellate court in a unanimous decision also ordered a retrial of the petition on merit in the interest of substantial justice.
It also ordered the tribunal to accelerate the hearing of the petition so that the retrial is conducted within the 180 days period from the day of filing as stipulated by law.
The appellate court also rejected the tribunal’s decision to the effect that the response of the petitioner to the reply of Melaye  was filed seven days after being served with the reply instead of five days.
Justice Adume held that there was no affidavit evidence from the bailiff of the tribunal that the reply of Melaye to the petition was served on the petitioner on May 13 as contended by Melaye’s counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN).
The appellate court ruled that from the available evidence it could hardly be true that the petitioner was served with Melaye’s response on May 13.
The court held, “From the available record, the petitioner was reportedly served with the response of the defendant within 26 minutes the response was filed at the registry of the tribunal, but for all intent and purposes, it is practically impossible for the petitioner to have been served with the response within 26 minutes, more so, when the contact address of the petitioner is outside the tribunal premises in Lokoja.
“It is against natural sequence of human events for a court process to have been served on recipient in just 26 minutes when the recipient is not within the court premises.
“Findings of the tribunal that the service was effected within 26 minutes was not supported with affidavit by the tribunal bailiff. The tribunal was wrong in its hasty conclusion and in striking out the petition on technicality.”
“A tribunal has the duty to verify and evaluate evidence before it in order to arrive at a just conclusion. The tribunal was wrong in stopping the train while on its way to justice.”

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APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme

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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.

In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.

WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.

“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.

“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”

To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.

The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.

WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.

Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.

The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.

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Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.

He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.

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Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer

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A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.

This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.

A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.

However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.

A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.

It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.

The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.

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