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Onnoghen’s Suspension: Presidency Moves To Bribe Senators …As NASS Convenes, Tomorrow …Buhari, APC Plotting Coup In NASS -CUPP …NJC, NBA Summon Emergency Meeting

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The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has alleged fresh plot to takeover the National Assembly ahead of tomorrow’s emergency session.
The lawmakers have agreed to meet over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP spokesman, in a statement yesterday, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) government were of the firm belief that Tuesday is their best and last chance to effect the changes.
He said the APC was ready to do whatever and destroy the very fulcrum of constitutional democracy.
The statement reads: “The judicial coup which they believed was supposed to be more difficult went very easily beyond their imagination hence the need to complete the takeover of the National Assembly immediately so that the distraction of the election campaigns will be put to use.
“They have also resolved that the government will make some big positive announcements tomorrow being Monday, 28th January so as to deflect the minds of Nigerians. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Chibuike Amaechi and Babatunde Fashola have been saddled with the responsibility of choosing the issue for announcement by the government.
“The plot will see the criminal announcement of Sen. Ahmmed Lawan as the Senate President, Sen. Hope Uzodimma as the Deputy Senate President and Sen. Godswill Akpabio as the Senate Leader. While in the House of Representatives, Hon Gbajabiamila will be announced as the Speaker of the House and Hon Abdulmimin Jibril will be announced as the Deputy Speaker.
“The decision on who will be the House leader will be resolved by the trio of Bola Tinubu, Adams Oshiomhole and Sen. George Akume. The arrowheads of this treasonable plot in the National Assembly include Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Ali Ndume, George Akume and Kabiru Gaya. While the members of the House who are part of this plot to destroy democracy include Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon. AbdulmiminJubril and Hon. Agbonayima.
“To ensure the plot goes successfully, the Federal Government has mapped out the sum of $70, 000 for each Senator and $40, 000 for each House member for what it called welfare since majority of them will be compelled to be in town suddenly. The money for the bribes have already been released to Senator Lawan and Hon. Gbajabiamila for onward distribution to their members as they return. The money amounting to $15million ($8million for the House and $7 million for the Senate) was sourced from NNPC, CBN, NDDC, NPA, NIMASA, a commercial bank and a company the owner of whom is a member of the cabal.
“Nigerians are hereby put on notice that these coupists are plotting that Sen. Saraki, the Senate President, Sen Ike Ekweremmadu the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ben Bruce and Sen. Sen. Dino Melaye, BiodunOlujimi,
Hon. Dogara, Kingsley Chinda, NnenaUkeje among others would be stopped by security agents from gaining entrance into the National Assembly.
“Thugs have been mobilized from Plateau, Kwara and Kogi to mount protest at the gates of the National assembly and have the approval to attack and disperse any group that come to hold a counter rally.”
Similarly, the National Judicial Council, NJC, has summoned an emergency meeting over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari
The NJC is an organ of the judiciary that is responsible for the Appointment, Promotion and Discipline of Judicial Officers.
It was in 2016, responsible for the nomination of Justice Onnoghen to President Buhari to be confirmed as the 17th CJN. President Buhari had on Friday, suspended Onnoghen and swore in the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the Acting CJN.
He based the decision on corruption allegations pending against Onnoghen. The action had elicited varied reactions both within and outside the country, coming too close to a general election that will kick-start next month.
Meanwhile, Justice Onnoghen who was accused of failing to declare his assets as prescribed by the law, as well as maintaining five separate foreign accounts, had insisted that FG ought to have allowed the NJC to investigate and recommend him for prosecution.
He challenged the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to hear the charge marked CCT/ABJ/01/19, contending that the petition against him, likewise the outcome of the investigation purportedly conducted on his assets declaration forms by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, ought to have been forwarded to the NJC for proper actions to be taken.
Justice Onnoghen argued that FG failed to abide by existing judicial precedent as encapsulated in a recent Appeal Court decision in Nganjiwa v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2017) LPELR-43391(CA), to the effect that any misconduct attached to the office and functions of a judicial officer, must first be reported to and handled by the NJC, pursuant to the provisions of the laws.
He stressed that only after the NJC pronounced against such judicial officer could prosecuting agencies of the Federal Government proceed to initiate a criminal proceeding.
Placing reliance on a recent decision of the CCT on a similar charge FG lodged against another Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Ngwuta, the suspended CJN’s legal team, maintained that FG’s decision to sideline the NJC, stripped the tribunal off its jurisdiction to entertain the six-count charge.
A source at the NJC told Vanguard last night that the meeting billed to hold at the Supreme Court premises with the Three Arm Zone, Monday morning, will be conducted in camera.
“The meeting was earlier scheduled for last week when, but Justice Onnoghen said it should be temporarily placed on hold in view of the situation on ground”, the source added.
Though the CJN is statutorily empowered to preside over NJC meetings, it was learned last night that both Justice Onnoghen and the Acting CJN, Justice Muhammad, may not be allowed to participate in the meeting.
In a related development, the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has also summoned emergency meeting over President Buhari’s action against Onnoghen, which the legal body insisted was illegal.
Those summoned to attend the meeting holding at the National Headquarters of the NBA, are all its National Officers, Past Presidents, Past General Secretaries, Branch Chairmen, Branch Secretaries, Branch NEC Representatives and Chairmen and Secretaries of Sections.
Meantime, there is palpable anxiety within the judicial circles, as the Justice Danladi Umar-led three member CCT panel, resume sitting on Monday.
The tribunal which earlier declined to hand-off Onnoghen’s trial, had on January 23, granted the ex-parte order President Buhari relied upon to suspend his as the substantive CJN.
The order that was signed by its Chairman, Umar, and another member of the panel, Mrs. Julie A. Anabor, read: “It is hereby ordered as follows: That the defendant/respondent shall step aside as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council over allegation of Contravening the provisions of the code of Conducts and Tribunal Act CAP C15 Laws of the Federation 2004 pending the determination of the Motion on notice dated 10th January 2019.
“That the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall take all necessary measure to swear in the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council in order to prevent a vacuum in the judicial arm of government pending the determination of the motion on notice.
“This matter is hereby adjourned to the 28 Day of January 2019 for Hearing”. FG secured the ex-parte order barely 24 hours before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, ordered the CCT to stay further proceedings on Onnoghen’s trial.
The appellate court also fixed January 30 to hear an appeal the suspended CJN lodged before it. The CCT panel had initially spurned four interim injunctions from high courts and the National Industrial Court, stopping it from taking further steps on the trial. Though the Court of Appeal has constitutional powers to exercise supervisory control over the CCT, it is not however clear if the Mr. Umar-led panel would insist on proceeding with Onnoghen’s trial.

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Rivers’ll Be Known For Peace, Not Crisis -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that peace has prevailed because he draws strength from God to resist insults and tantrums thrown at him while frustrating attempts by some disgruntled persons who wanted to plunge the State into unending crisis.
The Governor also said that because he has anchored his Government on promoting peace, the enabling atmosphere has been provided for investments and sustainable development to flourish.
Governor Fubara made the assertion when he received a delegation of members of the Bishops and Gospel Ministers’ Association International Incorporated, Rivers State Chapter, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by the Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, Governor Fubara said while most people took his meekness for weakness, his stance on peace has unarguably enhanced harmonious atmosphere of concord as residents sleep with their two eyes closed, and investors and shareholders are happy with the returns on investment.
He said, “Before, what they hear of Rivers State is that they are fighting, and some genuine investors will not come. Some people even ask you: How are you coping in Rivers State?
“But now”, he asserted: “The Governor has brought about a lot of changes in the State. One of the most important things is that he has changed the negative narrative. It is no longer Rivers of blood. It is now Rivers of peace.
“We are enjoying our lives here. Why? Because there is a change in the narrative. We have peace. The Governor is, as much as possible, absorbing any level of insult at him only for one purpose: that Rivers State may have peace; that we may grow; that this state will experience genuine development.”
Governor Fubara urged them, as members of the Christian family in the State, to continue to pray for the State and the Government so that the enemies of the State will be put to greater shame.
“This peace is what I want you to embrace. Go and continue to pray, because when the sower of the seed went and sowed, the enemy went in the night and sowed tares inside there. But the Governor is sowing peace.
“When I listened to the leader of the team, His Grace Eddy Ogbonda, he said you came all the way from Eleme Junction, and stopped at major junctions, and you uttered prayers for the peace of Rivers State.”
He also said: “I, hereby want to thank you for identifying with the Governor at a time like this. At a time when it looks as if someone wants the Governor’s peace posture misunderstood as weakness.
“When someone has the strength to fight back, but refuses to fight back. That is a bigger strength; that power of restrain does not just come, it can only come from God.
“You cannot give peace, if you do not have peace within you. The Governor is not interested in any form of trouble or violence. What he is interested in is known, and it is: let there be peace in Rivers State,” he said.
In his address, leader of the group, Archbishop Eddy Ogbonda, said they had observed a week-long intensive prayers that culminated into a peace rally, which brought them to Government House, and assured the Governor that God will continue to give him victory over his adversaries while preserving Rivers State.
“It is Rivers State Prophetic Prayer Convocation and Rally 2024 with the theme: ‘Peace be still’. Of a truth, everyone of us understands that we live in a time when we need peace much more than any other thing.
“Rivers State needs peace. Everyone as individuals need peace. The country needs peace, and the world at large needs peace. So, we are here to do a peace march. We pray that God will command His peace to reign in Rivers State,” he said.

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Hoteliers, School Owners Charging In Dollars Risk Arrest -EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that hotels, schools, and other establishments that accept payments in dollars from their customers are at risk of facing arrest.
The Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said this in the agency’s publication called EFCC Alert on Monday, adding that action would be taken against individuals involved in the dollarisation of the economy.
According to him, the exception is if foreigners come in to transact business and the only means of transacting is their credit card and dollar but to charge local customers in dollars or other foreign currencies would no longer be allowed.
He said charging local activities and customers in dollars is against Nigeria’s constitution.
The EFCC chairman said, “Schools that charge Nigerians in dollar, supermarkets that trade in dollar, estate developers that sell their property in dollar, hotels that are invoicing in dollar, we are coming after you and we have made arrests in that area.
“Yes, if foreigners are coming in and the only means of transacting is their credit card, and dollar, why not? You will get that.
“But document it properly as against selling things within the system, local economy and you will be using dollar as the medium of exchange, it is illegal.
“Our law does not allow for that. And we have also affected some arrests.”

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Eid-El-Fitr: Fubara Felicitates Muslims, Calls For Unity, Tolerance

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has enjoined Muslim faithful to remain steadfast to the lessons learnt during the holy month of Ramadan.
Governor Fubara stated this in his message of felicitations to Muslims as they celebrate the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr Sallah, which marks the end of the one-month Ramadan fasting.
The Governor emphasised the importance for Muslims to also uphold the tenets of Islam by exhibiting the fear of God and showing piety in their daily work.
Governor Fubara said, “We must all continue in the good attributes imbibed during the holy month of Ramadan as directed by God through His Prophet, so as to ensure peace, unity and harmony in the society for a better future.”
While praying that the essence of the festival offers them happiness, peace and prosperity in all aspects of life, Governor Fubara said he recognises and appreciates the critical role that the Muslim community continues to play in the development of Rivers State, and indeed, Nigeria at large.
Governor Fubara charged them to remain unwavering and steadfast in their commitment and positive contributions to advance the development of the State and the country.
“I enjoin you all in the State to remain calm, be patient and continue to do what is right,” the Governor added.
He wished the Muslim faithful in the State and across the country a happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

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