A child rights activist, Wale Ojo-Lanre, has slammed a N50 million lawsuit on Labour Party Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi, for involving a toddler in his political rally in Lagos.
Mr Ojo-Lanre had on October 27 filed the originating motion on notice before a family court in the Ikeja Division of the High Court in Lagos.
He is suing the respondents as a “concerned Nigerian and litigation friend” of the toddler.
Other respondents in the suit marked ID/6332GCM/2022 included the Labour Party, Queen (mother of the underage), the federal government and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The petitioner is seeking an award of N50 million in damages against the first, second and third respondents for violating the child’s rights.
Mr Ojo-Lanre argued that it was illegal, misleading, unlawful, exploitative, and abusive for the presidential candidate to post the picture and video of the toddler via his Twitter handle on October 2 and refer to her as “a poster child.”
“The first defendant allowed participation and usage of a toddler in an adult political rally, which took place on the street of Lagos on October 1. This is contrary to sections 29 and 33 of the Child Rights Act of Lagos State and Article 36 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Children, 1981,” the activist explained.
He added, “We seek an order for the first and second respondents to delete their respective tweets and several other posts on their social media accounts in reference to the underage girl-child. We also seek an order mandating the fourth and fifth respondents to withdraw the toddler from the care and custody of the third respondent.”
Mr Ojo-Lanre said he was seeking a court order to foster the child “to any welfare home under the accreditation and supervision of the federal ministry of women affairs or other appropriate authorities for proper care, education, protection and upbringing until she turns 18 years.
“In addition, we seek an order to disqualify the second respondent from participating in the 2023 presidential election for condoning, adopting, encouraging and allowing the usage of the toddler for his rally.”
The activist also urged the court to prevent the first, second and third respondents from posting, circulating and printing the picture of the toddler.
He further submitted that the fourth and fifth respondents should initiate criminal complaints, arrest and prosecution of the first, second and third respondents for alleged exploitation and flagrant violation of the toddler’s rights.
Sylva’s Petition Won’t Distract Us -Bayelsa Dep Gov
The Bayelsa State Government has restated its commitment to working assiduously for the continued peace, stability and development of the state.
Deputy Governor of the state, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this recently while speaking at a special dinner organised in honour of some stakeholders of Bayelsa West Senatorial District at his Lodge in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, quoted the deputy governor as saying that the Governor Douye Diri-led administration would remain focused on completing all ongoing projects and embark on new economically viable ones to achieve job and wealth creation.
The Bayelsa number two citizen vowed that the administration would not allow anything, including the ongoing legal action filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the 11th November 2023 governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva, to distract its attention.
He called on all well-meaning Bayelsans, including opposition politicians, to join hands with government in expanding the frontiers of development in the state, rather than embark on a wild goose chase.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who expressed optimism that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate would be victorious at all levels of the legal battle, stressed that the 2023 governorship election was won and lost fair and square.
He thanked the people of the state across party lines for their show of love and support during the elections and the second term inauguration ceremony, describing it as unprecedented in the annals of the state.
According to the Deputy Governor, similar get-together ceremonies will be organized to appreciate PDP stakeholders in Bayelsa Central and East senatorial districts.
“First, we all have to thank the Governor who has directed us to start this process. We are going to do this across the three senatorial districts as part of measures to thank you for the support you have always given to us and our party.
“Unfortunately, few of us decamped because they fell for the deception dummy our opponent sold to them. I pity them and I don’t know why they are always falling for his tricks.
“I hear he told his supporters that there was going to be a repeat of 2020. I don’t blame him because he doesn’t know that my boss and I are special species. He fails to understand that he doesn’t have the kind of grace we carry.
“What doesn’t happen anywhere continues to happen for us. Our swearing-in the other Wednesday was unprecedented. There won’t be any swearing-in like that again in this state just like there was none like it before.
“You all saw how colourful it was and the number of dignitaries that attended: Two presidents-Liberia and our own president represented by their vice. Secondly, two former presidents and over 11 serving governors across party lines”, he said.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Solomon Agwanana, underscored the sense of unity and singleness of purpose with which the people of Bayelsa West pursue their political agenda.
While urging the senatorial district to sustain the gesture, Mr Agwanana, maintained that the people of Bayelsa West were able to garner the highest votes for the PDP in the 2023 governorship election because of their unity.
Also speaking, the PDP Caucus Chairman of Sagbama LGA, Hon Fyneman Wilson and his Ekeremor counterpart, Hon Dein Benadoumene, expressed gratitude to the Deputy Governor for organizing the Thank-You event less than two weeks after the second tenure inauguration of the Prosperity Government.
Ariwera lbibo- Howells, Yenagoa
Solid Foundation Needed For Nigeria’s Restructuring -Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu, Wednesday, assured Nigerians that his administration would restructure the country as earlier promised, but noted that a good foundation must be laid.
Tinubu gave the assurance during a visit to the National Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State.
After the closed-door meeting with some selected leaders of the group, the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Jare Ajayi, quoted the President as having assured Nigerians that he would still restructure but that certain structures need to be put in place.
Quoting the President, Ajayi said: “On the issues of restructuring, the President said that he is aware of the need to restructure Nigeria but that a good foundation must be laid before bringing the restructuring in place such that if it is done in a rush without a proper foundation, the restructuring may collapse very soon, but it would be done.
“He (Tinubu) said that when he took the oath of office, he (Tinubu) pledged his allegiance to Nigeria, that he knows what he is facing.
“Tinubu said: “I prayed for it, I danced for it, I campaigned for it and I got it. I know the enormous responsibility. So, don’t pity me, Baba (Fasoranti), just sit down and relax.
“He (Tinubu) assured Nigerians that he understood the struggle and that he is trying to build the structures that will not be reversed.
“The President said that the structure he is trying to put in place in Nigeria economically, socially and politically would be such that it would bring Nigeria back to where it is supposed to be.
“On the hardship Nigerians are facing, he (Tinubu) appreciates the pains Nigerians are going through and said that very soon, Nigeria will overcome it; that is a matter of time. He said that the kind of policies government is implementing will bring positive solutions to the challenges.
“He said that Nigerians should grow our foods, that we should eat the food we grow. Doing so would wean us from depending on foods from foreign sources.”
Responding, Pa Fasoranti said: “Your performance so far has shown that you understand the full gravity of your mandate which is to show the Nigerian people that a good government is possible.
“In Yorubaland, we do not seek for any special treatment or unfair advantage. We know you are our own, but you now belong to all Nigerians. Your mandate was freely given by the people of Nigeria and blessed by God. Therefore, Mr President, continue to govern fairly and courageously and with the fear of God. That is what we expect, that is what we know you will do.
“You know that since the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, the Yoruba people, led by Afenifere, have been at the forefront of the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria.
“It is now incumbent on you to address this issue of constitutional reforms with courage, fairness and determination.
“We know we cannot return to the past, but we have to seek a future where regional competitions would bring out the best in our country as it did during the First Republic.
“We seek, therefore, a true Federal Republic that would reflect fiscal federalism. We believe a review of the 2014 National Constitutional Conference would help you in charting the course.
“For the people of the South-West, restructuring also has a more pressing meaning. Today, Nigeria has a population of 200 million which would double in the next 25 years to 400 million.
“However, the South-West is facing an avalanche of migration from the other zones of the country to the extent that in 25 years, if the current trend continues, the South-West would be home to 50 per cent of the population of Nigeria.
“We need to be prepared so that our region would not be overwhelmed by imported challenges.
“We want each of the geopolitical zones to have greater responsibilities for security, food production and infrastructural development.
“Since the removal of fuel subsidy, which was costing Nigeria $10 billion yearly, the state governments have been receiving hefty allocations from the Federation account.
“Mr President should persuade the governors to allow this change of fortune for the states to reflect at the grassroots so that life can be better for our people. They should not just buy rice and yams for the people.
“Mr President, thank you for this visit. You owe a duty to posterity to serve Nigeria with all your strength and wisdom.”
Gov Alia Sets Up Panels To Probe Ortom
Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has instituted two separate judicial commissions of inquiry to probe the management of the state’s resources and assets under his predecessor, Samuel Ortom’s administration.
Governor Alia charged the two commissions of inquiry, which he inaugurated earlier in the week, to scrutinize the former administration between 2015 and 2023.
He urged the two panels—the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Income and Expenditure of Benue State Government (from May 29, 2015, to May 28, 2023) and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Sale/Lease of Government Assets, Companies and Markets (both state and local government-owned markets), as well as Moribund Companies (from or before May 28, 2015, to May 28, 2023)—to do a thorough job.
The governor explained that the setting up of the two commissions of inquiry to look into the activities of the outgone administration has become necessary in response to the desire of the people of the state, who are the major stakeholders and owners of the resources.
In his response, the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Income and Expenditure of the Benue State Government 2015-2023, Justice Taiwo Taiwo (rtd), assured that they would do a thorough job within the space of time available to them in line with their terms of reference.
Also, the Chairman of the Judicial Commission on Sale/Lease of Government Assets, Companies, and Markets, Justice Apollos Paul Idi (rtd), expressed readiness to work in line with the terms of reference given to them and come up with recommendations that would help the government move the state forward.
The Commission of Inquiry on the Income and Expenditure of Government Funds from May 2015 to May 2023 has Chief John Ochoga, Henry Tor, Tom Ujah, Ode Igbade Nick, Iorpenda Tarnguhar, and Terfa Gbande as members, while Barr. Ajinge Sar and Dr. Abraham Gberindyer are to serve as government counsel and secretary, respectively.
The Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of Assets, Companies and Markets from 2015 to 2023 has Clement Nenge Beetse, John Ogah, Dr. Terungwa Adzende, and Hon. Abraham Atotse as members, while Victor Nyamtamen (Esq.) and John Edigbo serve as government council and secretary, respectively.
Meanwhile, Chief Ortom has said he welcomed the inauguration of the two judicial commissions by his successor to probe the activities of his administration between 2015 and 2023.
The former governor, through his media aide, Terver Akase, expressed willingness to cooperate with the probe panels as long as the investigation is carried out in line with the law.
Chief Ortom stressed that his administration was built on transparency, accountability, and good governance as he emphasised his readiness to provide any information or clarification as may be required, urging his former appointees to equally make themselves available whenever called upon to provide clarifications.
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