Attorney-General of the Federation’s office yesterday failed to arraign two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their alleged involvement in electoral fraud during the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The officials, Sulaiman Ikhuoriah and Olugbenga Omotiloye were scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of an FCT High Court, Maitama.
The AGF charged the suspects with falsifying results in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates in the elections held in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo.
Ikhuoriah was said to have served as the Collation Officer for Ward 6 in Saint Maria Gorreti Secondary School, while Omotiloye was an electoral officer at Bishop Kelly, beside St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City.
The alleged infractions of the two officials of the electoral body were investigated by the Edo Command Office of the DSS.
The duo were initially billed for arraignment before the court March 10 but the court did not sit that day.
At the resumed hearing , both defendants were absent in court, prompting the judge to ask the counsel from the Office of the AGF of their whereabout.
The prosecution told the court that the DSS had yet to bring the two defendants to Abuja from Edo State, adding that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF) communicated through letters with the DSS to bring the defendants to Abuja and expressed surprise that the Service did not bring them.
They, therefore, asked for a date in April for the prosecution to bring the two before the court for arraignment.
Justice Halilu, however, frowned at the inability of the prosecution to bring the defendants to court.
According to him, the court was not a warehouse where the prosecution would only come and file the case against the defendants and subsequently do nothing about it.
He then told the counsel from the OAGF that he would not give the prosecution any date, saying, however, that, “If you bring them (from Edo State) today, bring them tomorrow to court for arraignment.”
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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.
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