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Senate summons DSS boss over Rivers tribunal

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The Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions on Wednesday, summoned the Director-General of the Directorate of the State Services, Lawal Daura, for interrogation over allegation of interference in the affairs of the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal.

Daura is expected to appear tomorrow, Thursday, before the committee which is currently conducting investigation into the petition against him by lawmakers from the State House of Assembly.

The 31-member state lawmakers had forwarded a petition to the upper chamber, which was referred to the committee by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The petition alleged among others, that the DSS had arrested some officials of the Independent National Election Commission and members of the Election Petition Tribunal.

It further alleged that the DSS officials subjected the INEC staff members to serious intimidation, harassment and coercion to compromise the judicial independence of the tribunal and pervert the cause of justice.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, (PDP, Imo East) after listening to the submissions of the Rivers legislators on Wednesday, warned all parties involved in the matter against unnecessary delay.

He also stated that ‎the senate would want prompt response to invitations and questions raised during the investigation.

Anyanwu said the committee would pay serious attention to allegation of abuse of office implied in the petition against the DSS, even ‎as he asked the petitioners to provide specific details on the petition to assist the committee.

He said, “The issue of independence of the judiciary is a very serious pillar in the dispensation of justice. That is why the committee takes the allegation of intimidation of tribunal members ‎very seriously.

“If the judiciary is intimidated, then the independence is compromised. So we want all details about this allegation supplied to the committee without delay.”

The Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly‎, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, who led other members of the House to the committee, to defend the petition, stated that INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers state, Mrs. Gesila Khan and other Senior officials of the commission had equally been arrested and detained by the DSS in Abuja.

He said, “We make bold to say that they lack the power or the authority to invite ‎any judicial officer serving in the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal for questioning concerning their handling of election petitions pending before them based on some purported petitions from interested parties.

“We commend the stance and efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari ‎to instill discipline, strengthen institutions of State and deepen democratic values where all Nigerians will have equal opportunities.

“We are all appalled by their present clandestine and surreptitious moves aimed at derailing an efficient, transparent and unbiased justice delivery system and thereby bringing the judiciary into disrepute, public ridicule and odium.

“In Barking on this condemnable mission, the DSS purports to be acting on some pre-arranged petitions from persons who are directly interested in the outcome of the various election petitions from Rivers State.”

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Deborah Samuel: Gov Tambuwal relaxes curfew

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Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State government has relaxed the 24-hour curfew he imposed on the state capital following violent protest over the arrest of some youths allegedly involved in the killing Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student.

Tambuwal in a statement issued by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Isah Bajini, said the revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township.

The statement noted that “Sequel to the briefing by the security heads in the State, the State Governor, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has ordered the relaxation of the 24-hour curfew in force in Sokoto metropolis

“The revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township. This is with a view to affording people the window to pursue their legitimate businesses and other means of livelihood.”

Recall that following the lynching of the 200-level student for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed, the State’s police command arrested some persons linked to the incident.

However, a large number of Muslim boys who were angered by the arrest, stormed the streets in the State on Saturday, demanding the release of the suspects.

The development, which triggered tension in several parts of the State, made the Governor to impose the curfew.

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Arsonists burn down LG secretariat, Magistrate Court in Anambra

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Suspected arsonists have burnt down Idemili North Local Government secretariat in Ogidi and a Magistrate Court in the area.

Sources said the arsonists entered the premises on Sunday night to perpetuate the act, burning down all files, properties in the secretariat, including the secretariat building.

Videos and pictures circulating online showed that the entire buildings were reduced to rubbles, while vehicles parked inside the Local Government secretariat were also burnt to ashes.

The State Police Command has also confirmed the development, attributing it to unidentified arsonists.

DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, the spokesperson of the State Police Command said: “Yes, the incident was confirmed, and our men were there to restore normalcy.

“Right now, the fire has been put off, and calm has been restored to the area,” Ikenga said.

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National Assembly transmits amended Electoral Act to Buhari

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Senate

The National Assembly has transmitted the amended Electoral Act 2022 to the Presiden Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The bill was transmitted to the Presidency on Friday.

Sources in the Presidency and the National Assembly confirmed the transmission.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he had not been authorised to announce the development officially, said, “Yes, it has been transmitted. But wait till Monday when it may be announced when the President will sign it.”

Another source in the National Assembly said, “It was transmitted on Friday. I needed to confirm it before saying anything.”

It was further learnt that Buhari would sign the amendment ahead of primaries of political parties beginning next week.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had last week passed an amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates at primaries, congresses, and conventions of political parties.

The lawmakers particularly amended Section 84(8) of the Act to provide automatic or statutory delegates, ahead of the forthcoming party primaries, from where candidates would emerge for the 2023 general elections.
In March, the National Assembly had passed the bill for the Act while the President signed it into law.

While political parties are close to conducting primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections, the Act did not allow members elected into public offices and executives of the parties, known as statutory delegates, to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of parties.

The chambers had described the omission as “a fundamental error.”

Without the provision by the law, Buhari; the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local government areas, councillors, executives of political parties, amongst others, would have been disenfranchised.

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