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Electoral Act: I Didn’t Order Senate To Remove Section 84 (12), Buhari Tells Court

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he did not order the Senate to remove the contentious Section 84 (12) from the amended Electoral Act 2022.
Contrary to the claims of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a suit instituted against him and 12 others on the Electoral Act, Buhari said that he only expressed reservations and concerns in respect of the aspect of the Electoral Act.
The president’s position was contained in a counter affidavit filed at the Federal High Court at the instance of the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
In the joint counter affidavit by Buhari and Malami to debunk PDP’S claims in the suit, the AGF explained that Buhari on February 25, 2022 gave proper, full and unconditional assent to the amended Electoral Act.
The counter affidavit by the President and Malami was filed on their authority by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Oladipupo Okpeseyi and deposed to by Abimbola Akintola, a legal practitioner.
Buhari and Malami averred that the claims of PDP in its suit against them on the Electoral Act are totally false and replete with gross untruths aimed at misleading the court to give judgement against them.
The counter affidavit read in part, “The assent of the 1st defendant (Buhari) to the Electoral Bill given on February 25, 2022 was proper, full and unconditional.
“The 1st defendant (Buhari) assented to the Electoral Bill 2022 on February 25 but did not give conditions or directives to the National Assembly in the manner erroneously deposed to by the plaintiff (PDP).
“At no time did the 1st defendant (Buhari) give any directive to the management or leadership of the National Assembly as regards the removal of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022; from the Act.
“Prior to assenting to the Electoral Bill 2022, the 1st defendant (Buhari) merely expressed his observations and concerns about the constraints of Section 84 (12) of the Bill on serving public office holders and political appointees but gave his assent to avoid further delay as time was of essence.
“That the 1st defendant (Buhari) merely expressed his views not only to the National Assembly but to the entire nation as regards the inconsistency of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act with other provisions of the Constitution.
“On March 8, 2022, 1st defendant (Buhari) officially wrote the Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker to express his concerns about Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act and formally requested for amendment to be effected on the section so as to eliminate areas of infarction with the Constitution.
“I’m aware that the National Assembly neither accepted nor acted on the opinion or suggestion of Buhari.
“In this instance, 1st and 2nd defendant, (Buhari and Malami) truly and firmly believe that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act disenfranchises and discriminates against Nigerians in public service or public office holders who are political appointees and prevent them from engaging in the electoral process in exercise of their inalienable rights in a participatory democracy.
“That Buhari and Malami have never taken it upon themselves to declare Section 84 (12) or any provisions of the Electoral Act unconstitutional as such is beyond their constitutional power”.
Besides, Buhari and Malami claimed that a Federal High Court in Abia State had in March through a judgement by Justice Evelyn Anyadike struck down the section, and ordered that it be deleted forthwith for being inconsistent with the Constitution.
The two defendants said that both the National Assembly and PDP have since appealed the judgement, adding that it was only the Court of Appeal that can restore the section into the Electoral Act and not any high court.
Insisting that the PDP suit has become academic and constituted abuse of court process on the strength of the pending Court of Appeal matter, Buhari and Malami asked the court to dismiss the PDP suit.
They argued that PDP should not be allowed to take over the functions of the National Assembly since it has no power to amend or enact law.
Buhari and Malami also averred that PDP has nothing to suffer if the contentious section was deleted, adding that removing the section would deepen the practice of democracy and stop discrimination against public servants and public office holders.
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on March 7 stopped Buhari, AGF and Senate President from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.
The judge in a ruling on an ex-parte application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agreed that the Electoral Act having been assented to by Buhari has become a valid law and cannot be tampered with without following due process of law.
Ekwo agreed with Chief James Ogwu Onoja, SAN, counsel to PDP, that the proper place to challenge the validity of any existing law or the Electoral Act is a court of competent jurisdiction.
Specifically, the court had restrained all the defendants in the suit from removing Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or preventing It from being implemented for the purpose of the 2023 general election.
Meanwhile, hearing in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 247/2022 has been fixed for May 16 by Ekwo.

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NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians To EU Ban On Dex Soap

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has alerted Nigerians on the ban on Dex Luxury Bar Soap (No 6 Mystic Flower), by the European Union (EU).
The notification is contained in a public alert with No. 012/2024, signed by NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, and issued to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
“The product does not comply with the cosmetic products regulation; it also contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional (BMHCA), which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system.
“It also causes harm to the health of unborn children and may cause skin sensitisation.
“It is as a result of the defective nature of the product that the EU banned it.
“The products is not in NAFDAC database; importers, distributors, retailers and consumers are to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain,” she said.
NAFDAC boss urged marketers and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the product, stressing that product’s authenticity and physical condition must be carefully checked.
She enjoined members of the public in possession of the product to discontinue sale or use, and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.

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Communities, Volunteers Ready To Face Upcoming Floods – Red Cross

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The Country Manager of the British Red Cross in Nigeria, Karsten Voigt, says communities and volunteers are ready to face the challenges expected with the upcoming floods.
Voigt said this at the sidelines of the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Lagos Branch.
The Tide’s source recalls that the British Red Cross donated resilience items to some communities in December 2023, to help mitigate the effects of flooding.
The items included cash, rain boots, rain coats, mosquito nets, handheld flashlights, solar powered lights with radio, USB chargers and a bridge to link the communities.
The communities that benefited included Agboyi 1, Agboyi 2, Agboyi 3 and Odo Ogun in Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.
Voigt said the Red Cross had measured the impact of the project in the communities and noticed that a lot of progress had been made.
According to him, apart from the cash and items given to the communities, simulation exercises have also been carried out to prepare the volunteers ahead of the floods.
“We have seen that people used the cash to address immediate needs they have after floods.
“Many households have used part of the cash to build up businesses.
“The solutions we have given to them are not only addressing their immediate needs after the disaster but actually building family income for their future,” he said.

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Nimet Forecasts Three-Day Sunshine, Thunderstorms

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and thunderstorm from Monday to Wednesday across the country.
NiMet’s weather outlook released yesterday in Abuja, forecasts sunny skies on Monday with a few patches of cloud over the northern cities and prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Taraba later in the day.
According to the forecast, sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with prospects of morning thunderstorm over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States.
“Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi and Benue States.
“The southern region is expected to be cloudy with spells of sunshine with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos States.
“ In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Lagos and Bayelsa States,” it said.
NiMet also anticipated sunny skies on Tuesday with few patches of cloud over the northern states with prospects of isolated thunderstorms envisaged over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and Kaduna States during the afternoon and evening hours.
It envisaged the North Central region to be sunny with patches of cloud during the morning hours.
The agency also envisaged isolated thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Niger States, later in the day.
“Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South, with chances of morning thunderstorm over parts of Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
“In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and Bayelsa States ,” it said.
It predicted a sunny atmosphere on Wednesday, with patches of cloud over the northern region, during the forecast period.
“Sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with chances of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, the Federal Capital Territory and Benue States, during the afternoon/evening periods.
“ Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia.”
Other states to experience cloudy atmosphere, are “Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States, later in the day.”
NiMet urged the public to take adequate precaution as strong winds might precede rains in areas where thunderstorms were likely to occur.
The agency also urged airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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