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Ekiti Poll: PDP Engages SAN For Legal Battle

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Ali, says the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the July 14, governorship election in Ekiti State, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, has asked him to lead his legal team to challenge the victory of Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, at the election tribunal.
Olusola, who lost the election to Fayemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, according to the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has vowed to challenge the poll outcome.
Fayemi, a former governor of the state, defeated Olusola in 12 out of the 16 local government areas of the state, polling 197,459 votes while Olusola scored 178,121 votes.
Ali told newsmen, last Friday, that he had accepted to lead other senior lawyers to reclaim Olusola’s mandate.
The senior advocate however said he would need to discuss details of the brief with his client to know the grounds upon which the candidate was contesting the poll results.
Ali added that he would not be able to give an accurate figure of other lawyers that would join him in the legal battle against the APC candidate.
He said, “I have just been contacted to represent the PDP (at the tribunal). The (legal) team is just being put together; so, I don’t know the number of SANs and other lawyers that will work with me yet because it is the client that will determine who they want to bring on board.
“On the grounds of the petition, I was just briefed (to take up the matter); we would need to engage in further discussions before I will know exactly what is involved.”
Meanwhile, a three-man panel for the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has been set up to sit on the disputes arising from the July 14 governorship election in the state, sources said.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, is empowered to constitute the election petitions tribunals for governorship as well as for state and National Assembly elections.
The Head, Media and Publicity Unit of the Court of Appeal, Mrs. Sa’adatu Musa, responding to an inquiry by newsmen, yesterday, said the tribunal for the Ekiti State governorship election was constituted two weeks before the election held on July 14.
“The Ekiti State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal was set up two weeks before the election,” Musa said in a text message in response to the enquiry.
Section 133 (3)(a) of the Electoral Act provides that the tribunal “shall be constituted not later than 14 days before the election.”
The registry of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal was said to have been opened in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, one week after it was constituted.
By virtue of Section 134(1) of the law, an election petition to challenge the validity of an election must be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results.
“An election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of results of the elections,” the law states.
With the result of the election declared one week ago, it implies that aggrieved persons have only two weeks left within which to file their petitions before the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the poll.
Section 134(2) of the Electoral Act provides that “an election tribunal shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition.”
Olusola had, penultimate Sunday, alleged that he was robbed of victory in an election he claimed to have received over 70 per cent of the votes, having won in almost all the 16 local government areas in the state.
At a press conference after INEC declared Fayemi the winner penultimate Sunday, the PDP candidate, who is the deputy governor of the state, alleged that security agencies threw all caution to the wind by taking sides with the APC and Fayemi.
He accused security agencies of not only supporting but also supervising the indiscriminate arrest of PDP leaders and agents while also harassing voters on a massive scale, especially in Ado Ekiti, Ikere and other places.
He equally alleged that security agencies gave tacit and active cover for thugs imported into Ekiti by the APC to snatch ballot boxes, create confusion, cause mayhem, and drive away voters in PDP strongholds.
“INEC, on its own part, reneged on its promise to have results counted, declared and pasted on the wall of each polling station. There was nowhere INEC transmitted results from the polling centres as earlier promised.
“Ballot boxes were illegally moved to INEC offices while our agents were disallowed from following the process,” he stated.

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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