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Election: Tribunal Fixes Tomorrow For Atiku, PDP’s Motion On INEC’s Server

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The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal yesterday fixed Thursday for hearing of the Peoples Democratic Party and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s application for access to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s electronic server.
The PDP’s presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019 election and his party are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, Buhari and the APC are the respondents to the petition.
The Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man tribunal also, yesterday, reserved its rulings on nine applications it heard in respect of the petition yesterday.
Leading Justices Abdul Aboki, Joseph Ikyegh, Samuel Oseji, and Peter Ige on the panel of the tribunal, Justice Garba said the date for the rulings would be communicated to the lawyers representing the parties in the case.
INEC had declared that Buhari and APC the winner of the February 23 election polling 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.
But Atiku and the PDP, in their petition filed on March 18 to challenge the outcome of the poll, contended that “from the data” obtained from INEC’s server, “the true, actual and correct results” showed that they polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari whom they said scored 16,741,430 votes.
By calculation, Atiku and PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.
However, in its reply filed on April 10 to counter the petition, INEC urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, insisting that the petitioners’ claims were false.
It said, through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), that it collated the results of the election manually and never transmitted them electronically.
It added that it kept no server where results could have been transmitted electronically and stored as alleged by the petitioners.
However, the petitioners, in their application filed on May 8, maintained that INEC kept “central servers” in which “information was recorded and stored in database packets relating to accreditation of voters and transmission of results from the presidential election”.
They sought to be permitted to inspect the said servers and the card readers used for the conduct of the poll, examine and analyse the information obtained from them.
They also prayed for the tribunal’s permission to be allowed to file a report of their inspection, examination and analysis of the content of the facilities.
The applicants filed 13 grounds to back their application and their claims in it.
Part of the grounds of the application acknowledged that INEC was constitutionally and statutorily vested with the responsibility to conduct and manage the presidential election and set up electronic data central servers.
They stated, “The 1st respondent, as the body constitutionally and statutorily vested with the responsibility to conduct and manage the presidential election, set up electronic data central servers for the purposes of storage of transmitted accreditation data and results from smart card readers deployed for the election in an apparent bid to ensure relative transparency of the process.”
They added that “the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) itself acknowledges network data by recognition given to the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission in section 71 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). We also submit that section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011 recognises computer data, and evidence generated therefrom.
“Thus, the general framework of the law accommodates such data retrievable from computers, of which a server is a storage component.”
Maintaining that INEC deployed the servers for the conduct of the February 23 poll, they said as part of the grounds of their application, “the results of the election were electronically transmitted to the 1st respondent’s Central Server”.
They added that notice had given INEC “notice that reliance will be placed on the extract of the electronic data from the said Central Server as of February 25, 2019”.
They added, “It will work tremendous hardship and grave injustice to refuse access to the contents of the central server that will assist the honourable court in the just consideration and determination of the issues involved in this matter or to allow a Party suppress or withhold access thereto.”
The application along with another one filed on May 5 would be heard by the tribunal on June 13.

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Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has felicitated with the wife of the State Chief Executive Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020.

 

In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, 23rd May 2020, Dr. Banigo described Hon. Justice Wike as a humane and God fearing woman who is a great pillar of strength to our amiable Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

 

While wishing her many happy returns the Deputy Governor prayed the Almighty God to continue to protect and bless Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike.

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Former Nigeria President Jonathan Loses Foster Dad.

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The family of former Nigerian President,Goodluck Jonathan and the Otuoke community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as the News of the sudden demise of Chief Nitabai Inegite,the former president’s foster father reached them.

Though no official reports have reached us as to the cause of his death,The Tide learnt that the septuagenerian has been briefly ill shortly before his demise.
The former President, who visited the residence of his late foster father the early hours of Wednesday has not made any official statement regarding funeral arrangement.
Chief Inegite,popularly called ‘holy’ by his admirers and friends was initially reported to have been responding to treatment in an undisclosed health facility where his health later deteriorated before finally giving up  the ghost  at about 11:00 pm,Tuesday 19th day of May,2020.
You would recall that the late Chief Nitabai Inegite was twice reported to have been kidnapped some time between 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The late former president’s foster father was survived by his wife,biological children,grand children and numerous relatives.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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Nigerian Senate Considers Bill For Ensure Food Security

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…seeks establishment of Food Reserve Agency
The Nigerian Senate, in a seemingly proactive stop to forestall anticipated food shortfall  in the country ,  on Tuesday, commenced legislative work on a critical bill to ensure food security in Nigeria through  the establishment of  Food Reserve Agency to plan and implement policies for adequate food production and storage.
The bill  sponsored  by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), scaled second reading at plenary , on Tuesday.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Adamu noted that Nigeria as a nation needs to develop its Agricultural sector to ensure not only alternate economy but also food security .
He further emphasised that this requires  an vibral  agency to drive all attending policies for the growth and sustainability of the sector.
According to the lawmaker, the Food Reserve agency when established, would be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.
His words “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of every nation. Any country seeking to diversify its economy, alleviate poverty, create jobs and ensure food security should prioritize agriculture.
“Nigeria recognizing the important role Agriculture plays has made efforts to place the sector at the fore by introducing different intervention programmes and policies backed by enabling laws.
“A further step to be taken to ensure food security in our country at all times is to formulate enabling laws that will address food insecurity,”
“The agency will implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.”
The lawmaker recalled that, “the recent mandate of the President during the COVID-19 pandemic to distribute 70,000 metric tons of grains from the Grains Reserves shows clearly how important it is for a country to have a Food Reserve Agency.”
 Stressing the importance of food security ,he linked the current Covid 19 situation and its Nigeria’s readiness to  ensure the nation don’t wind up in food crises as well.
According to Senator Adamu, with the Agency in place, Nigeria will be taking the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.
“With the existence of the Agency, emergency food crises will be taken care of especially in the period of a pandemic.
“There will also be a reduction in post-harvest losses as silos, warehouses, equipment, ancillary facilities and other suitable storage facilities will be installed and maintained.”  the Senator explained.
After the debate, the President of  the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development chaired by the sponsor of the bill Adsmu Abdullahi.
The Committee  is given four weeks  to report back to the Senate.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi.
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