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El-Zakzaky, wife drag Nigerian government to court over refusal to release passports

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Judgment Day for El-Zakzaky, wife today, detained since 2015

Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah, have dragged the Nigerian Government to court over the seizure of their passports.

Thee couple’s passports were seized from them after they returned from a government-supervised medical trip to India in 2019.

El-Zakzaky and his wife were then standing trial at the Kaduna State High Court on charges of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly among charges filed against them in connection with the bloody clash between IMN members and soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State, in December 2015.

They were, however, freed of the charges after the Kaduna court declared that they had no case to answer in a July 28 ruling.

The Kaduna Government thereafter threatened to take the case back to court.

In the latest suit filed by the couple, they stated that their passports and travel documents were collected by the State Security Services and was not returned till their victory at the Kaduna High Court. 

“By now it is no news to most Nigerians that the leader of the Shia group, El-Zakzaky, and his wife are suffering from various health issues since their encounter with the Nigerian Army in 2015.

“After returning from their failed medical trip to India, their passports and travel documents was collected by State Security Services and was not returned till their landmark win in Kaduna High Court last year. 

“The pair have been trying to leave the country to get the urgent medical attention they need. An official letter was reportedly sent to the DSS for the release of their travel documents, but the agency claimed they are not in possession of the passports. All other attempts to get their passports have proved abortive.

“The couple then approached the Nigerian Immigration Service to have new passports issued for both El-Zakzaky and his wife Mallama Zeenah. However, despite providing all the necessary documents required for the issuance of new travel documents, including paying all required fees the NIS refused to issue new passports to the couple.

“After exhausting all other available options, the couple decided to take the Nigerian Immigration Service to court for violating their fundamental human rights and infringing on their to movement and own moving property.

“The case filled before the Abuja high court dated 12/01/2022 accused the DG Nigerian Immigration Service of violation of their fundamental human rights.

“According to their counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, freedom to movement is a fundamental human right as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution, the African Union and internal declaration of human right. 

“A person has the right to freedom as long as they abide by the law and all charges filed against the couple has been discharged by the Kaduna court.”

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Reps Committees probes identities of contractors involved in N18.9b bush clearing contracts

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The Public Account Committee of the House of Representatives, PAC on Wednesday, resolved to unmask the real identities of the owners of the companies which took contracts valued the sum of N18.9 billion from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for clearing of bushes, land preparation, rehabilitation of soil plant lab and others during the last COVID-19 lockdown of the country.

The resolution followed the appearance of representatives of two of the 20 affected companies at the resumed investigative hearing of the Committee on queries to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of the federal government by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

The affected companies are: Easy Construction Company LTD and NUKAAG VENTURES LTD respectively while the remaining 18 companies failed to show up.

The Committee being chaired by Hon Wole Oke (PDP-OSUN) said that the two representatives of the Companies (Johnson Philip and Taiwo Idowu), were of the Managerial cadre and as such not competent to appear before the Committee going by the Rules of the House.

Responding to a question posed by the Chairman of the Committee on whether they were familiar with the submission submitted to the Committee on the award and execution of the contractors so as not to mislead it, they both said no.

Consequently, the Committee directed the duo to leave immediately and directed that the Managing Directors or Chairmen of the companies should personally appear before it and speak to the submission before the Committee.

In addition, Hon Oke directed the Clerk of the Committee to write to the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC to furnish the Committee, the detailed information of the affected 20 companies, including year of incorporation, Corporate offices, names of the owners, shareholders amongst others.

According to him, “we are not concerned about who won the contracts, what we are after is to deter value for money paid out and the sites of the projects, and we will carry that mission to the latter.

“The Clerk should also write the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, to furnish the Committee about the financial status of the companies.

Hon Oke assured that the Committee would carry out a diligent investigation into the matter as it was interested in finding out the location of the projects and the significance of such projects to the country.

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Blackout looms as IKEDC stops operations

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The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEC) has announced a shutdown of operations following the issues between the National Union of Electricity Employees and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TUC).

In a statement on Wednesday via its verified Twitter handle, @IkejaElectric, the Disco announced the shutdown of operations.

The statement read partly, “Due to the ongoing nationwide picketing of Transmission Stations by the NUEE, we are currently experiencing disruption of power supply as most stations within our network have been shut down.

“Kindly bear with us as we await an amicable resolution by the relevant stakeholders.”

Organised labour had on Tuesday directed workers in the power sector to shutdown and commence an indefinite strike over pending issues with the TCN.

The aggrieved workers under the aegis of the NUEE were at the Abuja national headquarters of the TCN Tuesday as a prelude to the proposed strike.

The union noted that the strike was in protest of a directive by the TCN Board mandating all PMs in acting capacity going to the Annual General Meeting to appear for promotional interviews.

In a circular titled, ‘Call to Action,’ which was addressed to senior assistant general secretaries and zonal organising secretaries, dated August 15, 2022, the General Secretary of the NUEE, Joe Ajaero, directed electricity workers to ensure total compliance, vowing to paralyse operations of the TCN nationwide over anti-masses activities.

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Electricity workers’ strike throws South-East into blackout

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Power distribution has been halted completely in the entire South-East States.

This follows the industrial action embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) power stations.

The development threw the five South-East States into a total blackout, Wednesday afternoon.

Emeka Ezeh, Head Corporate Communications, EEDC, confirmed that that operations across the franchise area of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) have been disrupted.

He said, “as a result of this development all our feeders are out of supply and this has affected supply to our esteemed customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.

“Consultations are ongoing among critical stakeholders in the power sector to address this issue and possibly restore supply.

“The Management of EEDC hereby encourage customers and neighbourhood associations to be vigilant and protect the electrical installations within their environment against elements who might take advantage of this outage to vandalise these installations.”

“We, therefore, appeal for continued patience and understanding while this is resolved,” he noted.

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