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Court Restrains EFCC From Investigating Seriake Dickson Over Assets Declaration

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Court Restrains EFCC From Investigating Seriake Dickson Over Assets Declaration
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Court Restrains EFCC From Investigating Seriake Dickson Over Assets Declaration

The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa has entered a judgment order in favour of former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, on the issue of assets he declared between 2007 and 2020.

The former Governor when he was in the House of Representatives over 15 years ago, obtained loans from commercial banks to make the affected investments through the family investment vehicle known as the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated. The mortgage of some of these loans are still running. These investments, loans and liabilities were declared with the CCB before he became Governor and ever since.

The presiding Judge, Hon Justice Isah H. Dashien, ruled in the suit no: FHC/CS/81/2021, between the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Incorporated; Chief Henry Seriake Dickson, the first and second plaintiffs respectively and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (the defendant/respondents) that the assets acquired with loans when the former Governor was a member of House of Representatives should not be investigated any further having been declared before the Code of Conduct Bureau which issued a certificate of verification for them.

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The Judgment affirmed an earlier verdict of the Federal High Court which stated that the former Governor had complied with all the constitutional requirements of the CCB in asset declaration. Therefore it was contrary to the stipulation of the Law for the EFCC to open investigation into assets that were declared over the years before the relevant body, the CCB, and for which the CCB issued verification certificates. The earlier judgement noted that in addition to declaration of assets that the Former Governor while in office subjected himself to the Voluntary Assets and Income declaration scheme of the federal government (VADES) and paid taxes on the affected assets therefore the attorney general and other federal government agencies were perpetually restrained.

The court ruled that by virtue of the judgment and orders of the Federal High Court last year in suit number FHC/YNG//CS/40/2020, the commission lacked the powers to open further investigation into investments made by the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated.

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The judge further granted the order affirming the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court that the ‘invitation and interrogation of the 2nd plaintiff by the 2nd defendant (the EFCC,) and the bid to arrest, interrogate and/or detain officers and trustees of the first plaintiff ( the Registered Trustees of the Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated) by the EFCC over matter which deal with or relate to investments made by the 1st Plaintiff is illegal, unconstitutional and a disregard of the valid and subsisting orders of a competent court.”

Justice Dashien granted the application of the plaintiffs, for “ an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, its officers, men, agents or privies from inviting the 2nd plaintiff, officers and managers or Trustees of the 1st plaintiff over any matter dealing with or relating to any investment made by the 1st plaintiff as covered or affected by the said judgment of the Federal High Court in suit no FHC/YNF/CS/40/2020.

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The judge stressed that the EFCC cannot lawfully arrest, investigate and/or prosecute the former Governor who declared the assets in question and for which the verifying authorities, the CCB issued certificates of verification before he became Governor.

Reacting to the latest judgement, The former Governor thanked the judiciary for their intervention and urged Nigerians to support an independent judiciary and Public institutions including the EFCC. He urged operators of these institutions to be dispassionate and fair in carrying out their sensitive responsibilities.

He said that the agencies are doing a very important job and should be supported.

He urged those in authority to allow all institutions to do their job without undue pressure and enjoined Nigerians to work towards strengthening them.

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Chris Ngige Affirmed By APGA As Anambra APC Leader For Supporting Soludo

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Chris Ngige Affirmed By APGA As Anambra APC Leader For Supporting Soludo
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Chris Ngige Affirmed By APGA As Anambra APC Leader For Supporting Soludo

The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has affirmed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, as the leader of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Anambra State, for supporting Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the winner of the just-concluded November 6, 2021 governorship election in the state.

The National Chairman of All Soludo Support Group (ASSG), Chief Jude Emecheta, gave the affirmation over the weekend during the group victory party celebration of the November 6, 2021 election, held at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre Awka, the state capital.

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According to him, Ngige deserves to be respected for playing a mature opposition rule in the state, especially, during the governorship election.

“Ngige, in a goodwill message by his Media Office, shortly after the announcement of the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), congratulated the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for a resounding victory at the poll, saying it is a victory well-deserved,” he said

Emecheta, who was reacting to the eleven political parties that have filed petitions against the outcome of the gubernatorial election that produced Soludo as the winner, advised the parties to sheathe their swords and allow the governor-elect, who massively won 19 local government areas at of 21 LGA in the state to concentrate on his development agenda for Ndi-Anambra.

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“Not that APGA is afraid to confront them in the court, but I am appealing to them, especially, Senator Andy Uba of the APC, to withdraw their petitions because I know and I believe, they will not succeed, because Soludo’s victory is a mandate from God and the good people of Anambra. They are only going to court to spend their resources and to show their political relevance,” he added.

Speaking further, Emecheta, who is also the Managing Director of Anambra State Signage and Advertisement Agency, urged members to pray for the party’s victory at the tribunal.

Present at the victory party celebration were Deputy governor-elect, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim; Deputy Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Dr Paschal Agbodike; Traditional Ruler of Umueri, Igwe Ben Emeka; the Convener of SSG, Mr Chinedu Nwoye; member representing Njikoka Constituency II at the state House of Assembly, Hon. Pete Ibida; Transition Committee Chairman for Idemili North Council Area, Mr Asha Nnabuife and members of the Support Group, among others.

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Taraba APC Stakeholders Threaten To Burn Their Brooms

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Taraba APC Stakeholders Threaten To Burn Their Brooms
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Taraba APC Stakeholders Threaten To Burn Their Brooms

The crisis rocking the Taraba State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have taken a nosedive as some critical stakeholders of the party are threatening to collapse the entire party structure into another political party, following what they called negligence of the chapter of the party by the national leadership.

A stakeholder who spoke to our correspondent in confidence on Sunday said that the party has done very well in ensuring that President Muhammadu Buhari gets overwhelming support in the state since 2015 but was disappointed that the President has never reciprocated the gesture to the party.

He said that the failure of the President to appoint another Minister for Taraba several months after he dropped the then Minister of Power Saleh Mamman has shown clearly that the President may not have the interest of the party at heart especially now that the party is warming up for another general election.

“In 2015, the APC gave the President overwhelming support in Taraba. Infact, you will remember that the crowd that came out to welcome him was so much that it led to a stampede and the death of several persons. The only thing we got was the minister of Women Affairs who later left the party ahead of the 2019 elections. We went into that election almost naked. Even at that, we still have him landslide in Taraba.

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“Now again, after the 2019 elections, the President appointed someone who was little known in the party and he could not galvanize the party. But at least he was there. Sadly, we are facing the next general elections and there is no clear plan for the party. Several months after the President sacked the minister, Taraba state has remained with a minister and no serious national appointee. This is detrimental for the party.

“We had hoped that the President will look at the records and see those that actually worked for the party over the years and appoint someone who has the track record of bringing the people together so that all the issues bothering the party could be addressed and yet nothing is been done. So what is the point staying in the party? As it is, the party needs a leader apart from the state officials who can bring all the stakeholders together to sort out our issues and prepare ahead of 2023.

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Taraba APC Stakeholders Threaten To Burn Their Brooms

“I can tell you in confidence that already consultation is underway to move the party structure in Taraba to another party. What is the point staying when we are not appreciated and have been abandoned by our leaders? What is the motivation here when hard work and absolute loyalty counts as nothing? It is this same action that cost the party Taraba state governorship in 2019. We can not sit back and watch that happen again.

“To further worsen the situation, we learnt that some people in government are lobbying for some persons who are either not party members at all or are, at best, Fairweather members, to get tickets and appointments. What message are they trying to send to those that have worked faithfully and tirelessly for the party? So don’t be surprised if you wake up tomorrow to witness the death of the APC and birth of a new party in the state”.

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The APC has been through some challenging times in the state with some attributing it to a lack of clearly acceptable leader of the party at the state level who can bring all the stakeholders to a round table and sort out their differences in a manner that will be tolerable by all parties involved.

Another member of the party Alhaji Sani Umar noted that the reward system of the party seems to work well everywhere else except in Taraba state.

Umar said that “the APC does not consider Taraba chapter of the party for anything at all. As a state where the President won election back to back even though the PDP is the ruling party in the state, it is sad that we are not considered for appointments and other good things that come with been in leadership.

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Ekiti PDP describes council election as monumental fraud

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Ekiti PDP describes council election as monumental fraud
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Ekiti PDP describes council election as monumental fraud

The Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has discredited the recently concluded local government election in which the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) won all the chairmanship and councillorship positions in the 16 local government councils as well as in 19 newly-created Local Council Development Area (LCDA).

The main opposition party had boycotted the election, claiming that the APC is incapable of organizing any free and fair election devoid of violence.

The other six political parties however participated in the election. They include; Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC), National Rescue Movement (NRM), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

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The Ekiti State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Raphael Adeyanju, in a press statement made available to newsmen, in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, claimed that the results of the election and the obvious low turnout of voters have confirmed the opposition’s fear that the result had been predetermined by the APC.

“The reality in Nigeria today is that the APC cannot win any free and fair election in any state of Nigeria. That none of the six other political parties that took part in the council election was able to win a single councillorship position shows the desperation of the ruling party.

Ekiti PDP describes council election as monumental fraud

“Those parties were only used to give credibility to the local government election. We knew this, and that was why we kept away from the charade. Ekiti electorates have also understood the antics of the ruling party and refuse to be used, No wonder, the election recorded the lowest turnout of electorates in the history of Ekiti State. Events from across the state on Saturday clearly showed that the people of Ekiti have rejected the APC and its government,” he said.

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The PDP spokesman also described the conduct of election in the newly-created LCDAs as unconstitutional, claiming that since the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognizes only the existing 16 local government areas in Ekiti State, election in the 19 LCDAs is an aberration and a waste of resources.

Adeyanju said: “The creation of mushroom LCDAs is an act of political gerrymandering, which is a fraudulent creation of constituencies to favour the ruling party. It is an act that was carried out without proper consultation with all relevant stakeholders, especially the opposition parties.”

The PDP also alleged that Governor Kayode Fayemi has a penchant for creating LCDAs when his party is about to lose a gubernatorial election.

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“The APC government has as usual created the LCDAs to become a burden for the in-coming PDP administration in Ekiti State. We can see how the 16 existing local government areas have been under-developed by the APC government. They are all in a sorry state and have been left at the mercy of the predatory state government,” he added.

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