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Hearing On Ibori’s Bid To Stop EFCC Begins, Wednesday

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Federal High Court, Asaba will begin fresh hearing of Chief James Ibori on Wednesday April 28, 2010 in his application to restrain EFCC from arresting him.

Justice I.N. Buba, Monday April 19 in Asaba after listening to arguments by Mr J.B. Dauda (SAN) counsel to Ibori and Mr Chidi Okoroma, counsel to EFCC, fixed April 20.

 Ibori, through his counsel had filed a motion exparte on April 12, praying Buba to grant an interim injunction restraining the EFCC from arresting or harassing him.

Joined in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation; the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS).

Ibori also urged the court to restrain the respondents, their agents, privies and assigns from intimidating him or attempting to arrest him pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion.

 But the court ruled on April 14, that the Motion on Notice filed by Ibori be served on all the respondents and that the motion be heard April 19.

 Counsel to Ibori who argued the motion Monday said he was served the counter affidavit and Notice of Preliminary objection by the EFCC.

 Dauda said he was also served  the first respondents counter affidavit.

He said that the Notice of preliminary objection by EFCC contained an elaborate address and it was only fair for him to respond because it questioned the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.

“The lawyer raised certain facts not contemplated by the original application in which we need to file a counter and further affidavit.”

He also clarified “some misinformation” that the court granted Ibori a restraining order.

He also urged the court to compel the respondents to subject themselves to the rule of law.

Dauda also urged the court to grant Ibori a preservative injunction.

But Okoroma said the EFCC was “taken aback” when Dauda mentioned that they were in court to hear the case in which they were served only on April 15.

The EFCC counsel said there were no bases for the court to grant preservative order over Ibori.

He also urged the court to call the press to order against what he called the misrepresentation of processes of court in the reportage of the matter.

The judge said he would invoke and apply relevant sections of the criminal code on false publication on any journalists who ridiculed the administration of justice.

He said the court was at liberty to commit to prison anybody who is in contempt of court.

The judge who also adjourned to April 28 for fresh hearing notices to be served on the first and third respondents.

He also appealed to journalists to report correctly what happened in court and cross check facts when in doubt.

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Yiaga Africa Blames Govt For Voters’ Apathy

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Independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry that increasing voters’ apathy as witnessed in the Anambra governorship election may not have been caused by insecurity but increasing loss of confidence in government.
A board member of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu held the view in Awka during a post-election reflection meeting with leaders of Civil Society Organizations.
Nwagwu reiterated that the ugly trend was not necessarily occasioned by insecurity that had always heralded elections in the past, but growing disconnect between the government and the masses, saying it is time populace held government to account to bridge the gap.
He said: “Election is over. Now we have to watch governance and the only way to do that is to clearly design pathways through which we can hold the government accountable.
“One of the ways is for the citizens to engage the government with budget process. Government every year estimates what it uses the people’s resources to do for them.
“Unfortunately, the people involved don’t show any interest, and four years later, the same people will start complaining that government has failed, even when there was nothing to track.
“We need to see how the Media and Civil Society groups can collaborate and produce what I call a citizen charter demand that they can hand over to the new Governor-elect.
“They can liaise with other professional bodies to conduct infrastructural assessment in the state and use that as a document to organize a town-hall meeting to engage government officials.”
Nwagwu also identified what he termed “fear and complaint industries” as major impediments to the growth and development of the state, insisting that the two factors must be shut to enable people of the state enjoy democracy dividends.
He added: “We need to close up the two industries of fear and complaint that have gripped the state, especially after the election so people can leverage the benefits of governance.
“If we continue with this scare-mongering and complaints, we will only succeed in having few persons taking over the government and dictating the pace.”

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CVR: Fresh Registrations Hit 4.2m

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 4,297,494.
The commission disclosed this in the second quarter, week seven, weekly update released by the commission in Abuja recently.
The commission said that as at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 1,856,771 persons have completed their online and physical registration.
According to statistics provided by the commission, 1,856,771 persons who completed their registration, include 941,098 males, 915,673 females.
It also added that 741,183 persons completed their registration online, while 1,115,588 completed it through physical registration.

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Saraki Visits Benue Over Presidential Ambition 

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A former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his ambition to vie for President in 2023.
Saraki, after a close door meeting with Governor Ortom, also met with the State Working Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to familiarise them with his intention to kick start consultations for his ambition to rule the country.
He said that the nationwide defection of party loyalists from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP was an indication that there might not be anyone left in the party before the next election.
“A party that cannot organise its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organised its affairs is ready in leading this country and that is the PDP,” he said.
Saraki added that the North Central Zone has paid its dues by working so hard in keeping the country together as one united entity just as he pointed out that, “this time we must stand for our own and charity begins at home.”
The ex -senate president, who was accompanied on the visit by former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, thanked the Benue governor for standing out for the zone.
Earlier, Governor Ortom, eulogised Saraki for being one of those Nigerians that had contributed immensely to the development of democracy.
Ortom said it was time to rescue the country from bottom, a position it was placed by the APC government, to the top, adding that Saraki deserves the presidential seat to enable him salvage the country from its current mess.
On his part, the State Chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, represented by his deputy, Isaac Mfo, said the party in the state had remained intact even as he assured the presidential hopeful that they would back his ambition to rule the country.

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