The Hope Democratic Party (HDP) has returned to the Supreme Court with a motion urging it to reverse itself in the judgment delivered on October 3 dismissing its appeal filed against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, presidential election.
In the said motion, the party claimed that the judgment delivered by Justice Mary Peter Odili in favour of Buhari was invalid and unconstitutional on the ground that it was based on technicalities of law rather than merit and justice.
In the motion brought pursuant to Order 8, Rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules and Sections 6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act, the party and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Owuru, pleaded with the court to restore their appeal for fresh hearing on merit.
Besides, counsel to the appellants, Chukwunonyerem Njoku, who filed the motion, insisted that the dismissal of their appeal on October 3 on technical ground was without compliance with the mandatory procedure of law.
The fresh motion, predicated on eight grounds, indicated that the appeal dismissed on preliminary objection of Buhari without requisite applications after it filed briefs and incorporation of notice of objection without leave of the apex court was a nullity and liable to be set aside.
Other ground is that by virtue of Order 8 upon which the dismissal was based, an appellant whose appeal has been dismissed under the rule may apply by notice of motion that the appeal be restored and heard on merit.
The appellants maintained that there were exceptional circumstances as required by law to cause the restoration of the appeal having been dismissed on technical ground without respondents first applying for or granted leave to prevent ambush or surprise to them to prevent the hearing of the appeal on merit and affirm their claim as winners of February 16 presidential referendum election.
They further claimed that the decision of the court arising from respondents’ ambush, intimidation, misdirection of court and non compliance with the strict rules and procedures for hearing notice of preliminary objection is invalid and a nullity in law and liable to be set aside.
A 10-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion with number SC/1110/2019 and deposed to by one Odion Peter Olhoaye, a legal practitioner in the law firm of AA Owuru, claimed that the appellants filed notice of appeal dated August 28, 2019, from the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to the Supreme Court from their personal record when judgment was withheld, held back and delayed by the tribunal.
They averred that following the last minute release of the judgment by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, additional grounds were hurriedly filed and mistakenly titled “Notice of Appeal” instead of “Additional Grounds”.
The two appellants insisted that a mere mistake in the title “Notice of Appeal” instead of “Additional Grounds of Appeal” was not enough ground for Supreme Court to dismiss their appeal on that technicality.
Besides, the appellants further claimed that the Supreme Court jurisdiction had not been fully activated because motion for substituted service on Buhari who up till September 27, 2019, evaded service of court process was yet to be moved or withdrawn in the court’s record before the court was misled into dismissing the appeal on technical objection.
Appellants further contended that the Supreme Court was under a duty in the interest of justice to first dispose of all outstanding applications and motions before determining any issue that touched on the substantive appeal.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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