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Wike Hails Judiciary Over Victory On PTF Case …Court Declares Deduction From Federation Account Unconstitutional

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has hailed the Federal High Court in Abuja for its judgement, last Wednesday, which barred the Federal Government from deducting funds from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies not listed in the Constitution.
He said the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act which the Federal Government relied on to deduct funds from the Federation Account was in contravention of the 1999 Constitution.
Wike, who spoke to journalists shortly after returning from Germany where he undertook a tour of the Rivers State Government’s Legacy 600 plane that had been parked in the European country for 10 years, described the judgement by Justice Ahmed Mohammed as a victory for democracy.
The Rivers State Government had filed a suit to stop the Federal Government from deducting the funds for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Scheme.
According to Wike, it was wrong for the government to have conceived the idea of deducting the funds because funding the police was a responsibility of the Federal Government.
He added that states should be allowed to decide on how and when to support the police, but not to make it an arbitrary deduction.
The governor also thanked his legal team for a job well done, saying that his administration was not afraid of an appeal.
“For me, it is a victory for democracy. And I have always told people, it is not whether you must win or not, but it is a matter of when you see issues that you think are in contravention of our Constitution and other laws, there is nothing wrong for you to challenge it, so that the right thing can be done.
“After all, if the money is given back to us, we can still, on our own, say police; we want to support you with this. But not the Federal Government arbitrarily deducting our money from the Federation Account and putting it into Police Trust Fund. I don’t think that that is right, and I thank God that, today, the court has made a clear pronouncement on it.”
The governor acknowledged that though the National Assembly was constitutionally empowered to enact laws, in enacting the Police Trust Fund Act, they went beyond their powers by contravening the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria.
Speaking further on the order of the court that the state government should be refunded the money deducted from its share to fund the police, Wike said the order would put an end to impunity.
“We are happy that the court has said that they should refund us all the money deducted, and luckily, the principal parties, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, the Accountant General, Attorney General Office they are all involved in the case.
“It is not about Rivers State, but it is about the impunity, it is about the violation of the Constitution as if anybody can wake up one early morning and just decide to do one or two things, which is wrong. I am happy that the decision we took, we are not wrong, and I thank my legal team.”
Earlier, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had declared as unconstitutional the Federal Government’s deduction of funds directly from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in line with Section 4(1)(a) and (b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed made the declaration while delivering judgement suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/511/2020 filed by the Rivers State Government against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Accountant General of the Federation, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Minister of Finance, last Wednesday.
Mohammed asserted that the provisions of Section 4(1)(a) and (b) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act 2019, that requires the Federal Government to deduct 0.05per cent of any funds in the Federation Account and 0.005per cent of the net profit of companies operating in the country to fund the police are unconstitutional.
The judge said the provisions of Section 4(1) (a) and (b) in the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act are inconsistent to the provisions of Section 162(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which explicitly state that the payment of total revenue collected by the Government of the Federation, including levies and taxes, must be paid into the Federation Account for sharing among the three tiers of government.
Mohammed said the court agreed with Rivers State Government’s contention that, by virtue of Section 162 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution, funds standing to the credit of the Federation Account “can only be distributed among the Federal, State and Local Governments in each state of the federation and not directly to any agency of the Federal Government, including the Nigeria Police Force.”
He said by the provision of Section 162(3) of the Constitution, no other entity, outside the three tiers of government is entitled to partake in the sharing of funds standing to the credit of the Federation Account.
Based on this, he said the provisions of Section 4(1) (a) and (b) in the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act are at variance with the provision of Section 162(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Mohammed stated that since the police was an agency of the Federal Government, it was the duty of the Federal Government to establish and maintain the Nigeria Police Force, and not the states.
He ordered the Federal Government to refund to the Rivers State Government its share of the funds from the Federation Account that had been illegally deducted since it commenced the deduction of funds based on the provisions of Section 4(1) (a) and (b) in the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act.
Mohammed also granted reliefs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 as prayed by the plaintiff, and in respect of reliefs 6 and 8, that relate to refund, the judge said they should apply to Rivers State.
The trial judge, meanwhile, declined to grant similar order of refund to the other 35 states on the ground that they were not parties in the suit.
According to him, Rivers State, as the plaintiff in the suit, did not file it on behalf of other states.

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Fubara Summons Support To Sustain Wike’s Legacy

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, has sued for support towards sustaining Governor Nyesom Wike’s legacy in Rivers State.
Fubara made the assertion during his acceptance speech after the party’s primaries in which he emerged landslide winner at Obi Wali Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The PDP guber flagbearer said his emergence was divine, hence the need for the party to give total support for victory in next year’s elections.
“We will work together to sustain the good things Governor Nyesom Wike has done”, Fubara declared.
Commending the sportsmanship displayed by his fellow aspirants, Fubara praised their zeal but reminded them that, “this is not victory for Fubara; but victory for the party and moving the state forward.”
The PDP flagbearer urged the aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory next year.
On his part, the Governor Nyesom Wike said the victory of Fubara was the decision of the party members who voted, “this is how Almighty God has willed it.”
In his speech, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike thanked the aspirants in the primaries for abiding by the peoples’ decision, reminding them that, “loyalty is not easy but with what we have achieved, it’s difficult for the PDP to lose election in this state.”
The governor pleaded with all members to join forces to win the elections now that a candidate has emerged.
In the coming weeks, the governor hinted that a committee would be constituted towards uniting and mobilising for victory in the 2023 elections.

By: Kevin Nengia

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NYCN Hails Fubara’s Choice As Rivers PDP Guber Candidate

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The leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has hailed the emergence of Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election in Rivers State.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, Chairman, NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo congratulated Sim Fubara on his emergence as the candidate of PDP in Rivers State.
The statement read, “His Youthfulness, AmbIhunwo Chijioke, the chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone, has congratulated, Mr. Sim Fubara, on his victory as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in Rivers State, for the forthcoming Governorship election.
“The youth leader of Rivers State stated that the victory of Mr. Sim Fubara is a significant indication that the delegates of People’s Democratic Party appreciate his efforts in the party and trust that he has the capacity to unite and continue in the awesome works of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike.”
According to the youth chairman, “Mr. Sim Fubara’s victory is a resounding vote of confidence in his ability and leadership skills, which he has demonstrated while serving as the Accountant General of Rivers State, and also signifies that the People’s Democratic Party are committed to a democratic process.”
The number one youth leader, however, noted that “other aspirants and leaders of the party should unite and rally round Mr. Sim Fubara in the task of winning the Governorship election come 2023.
“Additionally, the chairman commended the leader of the party, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for giving all aspirants a level playing ground and other leaders of the party for their efforts in making the primary election a peaceful one.
“The apex youth leader assured Mr. Sim Fubara that Rivers State youths, under his leadership will give him the needed support for him to emerge as the Executive Governor of the state”, the statement signed on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant to the Chairman on (Media & Publicity), Amadi Eze, last Wednesday, indicated.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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2023: Obuah Assures Fubara, PDP Of Total Support

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The former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro Felix Obuah, has congratulated the winner of the party’s governorship primary in the state, Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara for his emergence, describing his victory as the only clear choice of PDP in the state.
Obuah, who gave the assurance in a statement he personally signed, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, also expressed his readiness to do all within his powers to ensure the emergence of Governor NyesomWike as the PDP Presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections.
He said, “May I also use this singular opportunity to congratulate our party governorship flagbearer, my brother and friend, Hon. Siminialaye Fubara on your historic election. I wish you all the best and pledge my full support to ensure that our party again makes history by winning the governorship election in the state for three consecutive terms.
“As we celebrate the peaceful and successful governorship primary in Rivers State, we pray the good Lord also grant our mentor, leader, courageous and pragmatic Governor, Chief NyesomWike victory at the presidential primary.
“Once again, I pray that the good Lord will grant us the grace to forge on together as one united indivisible team and help us actualise our individual and collective aspirations under the leadership of our great party, PDP, irrespective of who occupies the driver’s seat”.
The statement read in full, “For some months now, we have witnessed a tense political atmosphere as our country, Nigeria plans to go through another transition in our democratic experiment which is hoped to come to a head with the 2023 general election.
“Consequently, there have been clamours among individuals and groups for certain persons including my humble self to come out as a prospective governorship aspirant in the state under the canopy of our great Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); somebody who has the capacity to sustain the great works and quality leadership of our brave and visionary Governor, Chief NyesomWike.
“The newspapers, the electronic and social media were all awash with such calls from all the nooks and crannies of the state, beckoning on me to just declare my interest.
“After some deep thought and wide consultations, I wholeheartedly accepted to run for the office of governor of Rivers State on the platform of PDP and also went ahead to obtain the nomination and interest forms in line with our party’s guidelines.
“This singular expression of interest gladdened the hearts of many of you, my ardent supporters within and outside the state.
“Even without my consent, many of you went on to campaign for me through the various sections of the mass media and other fora just for my sake.
“Sadly, that hope, that faith and joy may appear to have been dashed. This is the reason for this special message of hope and appreciation to all of you, my dearest friends, my supporters and my people.
“Let me first assure you that no hope is lost. The choice of who succeeds our dear governor is an exclusive party affair. This is what party loyalty is all about. It is not a personal affair.
“On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State Chapter has spoken and a governorship candidate has emerged.
“As a faithful, loyal and committed party man, and the immediate state chairman of the party under whose watch by the grace of God, the party won the governorship election in the state back to back in 2015 and 2019, respectively, I must abide by the decisions of the party at all times even when the decisions are at variance with my personal convictions.
“Accordingly, I decided to withdraw and not contest the governorship primary election in the interest of the party.
“I hereby submit and surrender to the decision of the party. Election is not, and should not be a do-or-die-affair. Moreso, power comes from God. I cannot be a party to anything that may obstruct the course of victory for our party both at the state and national levels, or cause disaffection among our party leadership and members.
“I, therefore, enjoin my faithful supporters across the state not to be dismayed or lose hope for where there is a will, there must be a way.
“I sincerely appeal to you to take every development about the governorship primary in the state in good faith. A renowned writer once said, ‘When hope is lost, when faith dies, the man is dead’.
“As long as we remain alive and trust in God, surely, there are better days ahead.
“I am a peacemaker and according to Matthew 5:9, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’.
“I, once again, call for peace in the PDP and amongst my teeming supporters. United we stand, divided we fall. I thank you all for all your support my social media friends, journalists, Northern groups, Indigenes without Borders, youth groups, churches, Christian organizations, my own people of Omoku, Orashi region, all members of the PDP family across the state, my supporters outside the state, Team Felix Obuah in the 23 LGAs, Go-Round TV, Bro Felix Obuah (BFO) groups, Goround 23, Youth Earnestly Ask For Obuah, ONELGA Political Forum, OtuOzimini Age Grade of Ogba Kingdom, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, and many others.
“I am extremely grateful to the Oba of Ogbaland and Council of Chiefs, my stewards/cooks, drivers, my lovely wife and children for their understanding.
“I am also extending my appreciation to all those who signed my nomination form, management and staff of National Network newspaper, Goround Revolution Group, Rivers Women, Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), women and youths, my personal aides, my Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and others too numerous to mention.
“I also thank you for complying with my appeal to all my supporters via a press statement on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 ahead of the Governorship primary scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
“Following an insight, I was compelled to sue for calm amongst my numerous supporters across the state.
“That press statement, which was widely circulated, published on the electronic and print media as well as the social media was timely as it doused tension and pacified those who were already agitated.
“I also did mention in the statement that the party is supreme in all matters and I would stand by the decision of the party”, Obuah said.

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