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Atiku, Tinubu, APC Trade Words over Alleged Intimidation of Judiciary




By Johnson Eyiangho & Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Candidate in the February 2023 Presidential Election, has alleged that the APC and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are intimidating and threatening the Judiciary in order to get favourable judgement from the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

Atiku, therefore, called on Nigerians and international community to be alert to frustrate what he called the “sinister plot to undermine Nigeria’s judiciary and democracy”.

In a statement at the weekend, the PDP candidate also appealed to the security agencies in the country to remain professional in the discharge of their duties and resist being used as an instrument of oppression and intimidation against the judiciary.

According to him, since the conclusion of the presidential election and the attendant controversies in its trail, there have been unfortunate developments that are saddening to many Nigerians.

He said that as proceedings on the controversial February 25 election continues at the court, there have been threats from the ruling party that aim to intimidate the judiciary from serving the duty of justice.

“It is regrettable that the APC and, indeed, agents of President Bola Tinubu have ceaselessly chosen to stand in the way of justice by making catastrophic threats to anarchy if justice is not served according to their whims.

“These and reports in the media about some heinous plots to harass justices sitting on the petition are ominous to peace and the security of our nation.

“Our democracy gives the people of Nigeria the powers to choose their leaders, and our laws demand that our judiciary must be allowed to act independently without harassment and intimidation by the government or powerful interests.

“To compromise the workings of our democracy and seeking to compromise the workings of our judiciary is an open call for anarchy,” he said.

Atiku said that as a party in the litigation that is currently reviewing the outcome of the last presidential election, he would “do all that is within the law in resisting any attempt to undermine our fragile democracy.

“Indeed, we are using this channel to call on the international community to be alerted.

“Nigeria’s democracy should not be undermined by using the judiciary to serve the interest of the ruling party.

“Sadly, this has become the stock in trade of the All Progressives Congress to intimidate the judiciary,” Atiku said.

He recalled that in 2019, the APC-led Federal Government similarly removed the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, when it was obvious that he would not bend to their will.

“The Department of State Services similarly stormed the homes of judges in 2016 and 2017, all in a bid to beat the judiciary into submission.

“The plot of the APC is simple: intimidate the judiciary, threaten judges with arrest so that they will bow to their will. This is a playbook from 2019 when they removed the CJN and then replaced him with Tanko Muhammad, who himself was later accused of corruption by his colleagues at the Supreme Court and resigned shamefully.

“However, the APC government never went after Tanko Muhammad as they did in Onnoghen’s case because it was never about corruption but election. The APC has, over the years, built a reputation of judiciary intimidation. They accused about 10 judges of corruption, stormed their homes, and got them suspended and yet could not convict a single one of them. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court could not recover from the embarrassment that he ended up dying in office.

“Now, they have initiated a new plot. This time around, they want to intimidate the judges into delivering favourable judgments for them at the election tribunal. We draw the attention of the international community and, indeed, Nigerians to this fresh plot to steal the mandate of over 200 million people.”

Presidency Faults Atiku for ‘Blackmailing Judiciary’

Presidency has criticized the former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2023 elections for blackmailing the judicial system, saying, “this desperation must stop.”

The presidency advised Abubakar should be honourable enough as a statesman to allow the Judiciary to perform its sacred duty without harassment and this resort to self-help.

Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake in a statement at the weekend, insisted that Tinubu won a free, fair, and credible election, adding that the February 25, 2023 Presidential election that produced him “is the most transparent election ever conducted in Nigeria since 1999.”

According to the presidential spokesman, attempting to discredit an important institution of State for selfish political ends is disingenuous, shameful, and unbecoming of a former Vice President of Nigeria.

Lagos State under the leadership of the then Governor Tinubu won over 13 cases up to the Supreme Court against the “hydra-headed PDP administration” at the centre, Alake stated.

“No leader with such a sterling and enviable credential as a champion of the rule of law, and independence of the judiciary like President Tinubu will ever contemplate undermining the Judiciary as alleged by Alhaji Atiku.

“The President and the APC absolutely have no reason to undermine the judiciary in the hope of any favorable judgement.

“His lawyers and that of APC have presented a very solid defence of the result of the election and we are sure the judiciary will impartially deliver its ruling based on points of law and evidence before it, not based on presumptuous speculations and unfounded accusations,” the presidency advised.

 Claim Arrant Nonsense, Ruling Party Fires Back

The All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday said the allegation made by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, Atiku Abubakar lacks substance.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Felix Morka, in a statement issued on Saturday, described Atiku’s allegations as arrant nonsense.

He said there was nothing in Atiku’s statement that was worth a reaction from the ruling party.

The spokesperson said Atiku’s statement alleged that the APC and its government are engaged in a plot to intimidate members of the judiciary towards unduly influencing the outcome of pending cases before the court.

Morka stressed Atiku and his minions offered no evidence to support their wild, hollow, and mischievous allegations.

The spokesperson stressed that President Bola Tinubu and the APC won the election convincingly, adding that the ruling party has faith and confidence in the courts to dispense electoral justice in accordance with the Constitution and all applicable laws.

“Quite frankly, there is nothing in Atiku Abubakar’s statement that is worth a reaction from the APC. It is just arrant nonsense, totally lacking in substance and cogency.

“It’s only imaginable purpose is a childish attempt to float an alibi to deflect the shame of a highly probable defeat in court, having miserably failed to make out a credible case to justify his bogus claim that he won the last Presidential Election,” he added.


Death Toll in Military Drone Attack on Kaduna Civilains  Rises to 80




From Nicholas Dekera, Kaduna

Death toll in the bombing of civilians by the Army at Tudun Biri Village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna has risen to 80.

Kaduna State Government has said the Nigerian Army has claimed responsibility for dropping a bomb, which left no fewer than 30 villagers dead on Sunday.

Initial reports had it that about 30 villagers were killed in the incident, which happened during a Maulud celebration around 9PM.

There were also conflicting reports on the cause of the mass deaths.

However, the Overseeing Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army and Force Commander Operation Whirl Punch, Maj Gen VU Okoro, admitted that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists when the incident happened.

This was contained in a statement released by the commissioner to journalists shortly after the deputy governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe met with Islamic clerics, traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, where “the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.”

The meeting was held at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna on Monday. The statement read, “The General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro, explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.”

He added that search-and-rescue efforts were still ongoing as dozens of injured victims had been evacuated to the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the state government. He also quoted the deputy governor as having commiserated with the victims’ families while praying for the repose of the victims’ souls.

 The statement added, “The Kaduna State Government has received briefings on Sunday night’s attack which left several citizens dead and others injured.

“In a meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, which had in attendance heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders, the Nigerian Army explained the circumstances which led to the unfortunate and unintended attack.

“The General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major VU Okoro, explained that the Nigerian Army was on a routine mission against terrorists but inadvertently affected members of the community.

“The deputy governor, at the end of the closed-door meeting, conveyed the condolences of the government and people of Kaduna State to the families that lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls.

“As of the time of this update, search-and-rescue efforts are still ongoing, as dozens of injured victims have been evacuated to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital by the Government.”

 The heads of security agencies who attended the meeting included the state Commissioner of Police, MY Garba; Director of the Department of State Services, Abdul Enenche; the Chairman of the Kaduna State Chapter of Jam’atu Nasril Islam, Prof. Shafi’u Abdullahi, who led other religious leaders as well as the District Head of Rigasa, Alhaji Aminu Idris, in whose domain the incident occurred.

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Finally, FG Takes Delivery of  2nd Niger Bridge From Contractors




Federal Government has taken delivery of the Second Niger Bridge from the contractor, Julius Berger.

This is seven months after it was inaugurated by the Muhammadau Buhari-led administration on May 23.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, while addressing journalists shortly after he was conducted around the bridge on Sunday, said he was satisfied with the level of work done.

Umahi was conducted around the bridge by the Managing Director of Julius Berger, Dr Lars Richter.

The minister commended the previous and present administrations for doing quite a lot for bringing the work to fruition, described the job as “impeccable, very beautiful and well completed”.

According to him, we have light issue and we’ve put things together on how to permanently have light especially at night.

“What we have agreed is to deploy solar solution in the coming weeks so that every night we don’t have to run diesel.

“The roads are going to be completed when we have completed the two inter changes, one is taking us off from Asaba town to cut off the traffic and the other one is going to be done by Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Ltd to avoid Onitsha town and take you straight to Obosi.

“President Ahmed Tinubu is very committed to the project and we are going to acquire more, so that we can build service stations, filling stations, restaurants and supper markets and other facilities as we see in western world.

“We are determined to do that; the need to do this with the inter changes is going to be a very smart one, so that over the years we can have a beautiful and maintained road,”  he said.

The minister further assured of security with the bridge by providing Closed-Circuit (CCTV) cameras and some security personnel so that one could get security assistance within five minutes.

Earlier, the Managing Director of Julius Berger, Dr Lars Richter, said that the event was a technical handover after the project was inaugurated by the former administration.

Richter said that work was successfully completed in time and Julius Berger had delivered highest quality of work.

Also speaking, the Director Bridges Design and Construction, South, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr Bede Obioha, tasked the residents around the second Niger bridge to help secure the already installed facilities and those that are yet to be installed safe.

Bede commended the staff of his ministry and the contractors for a job well done, urged the road users and the residents to abide by the rules of the road.

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Private Sector As  Key to Successful Energy Transition Project -Analysis




By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

In Nigeria, desertification in the north, floods in the centre, pollution and erosion on the coast and the associated socio-economic consequences allude to the reality and grave impacts of climate change.

Consequently, the Nigerian government has undertaken the action to limit the effects of climate change and set the nation on a net-zero carbon development and resilience-building trajectory.

As such, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the African Climate Foundation (ACF) held a private sector engagement towards a successful Nigerian energy transition project on 27th of Nov.

While delivering a presentation on the project overview on Private Sector Engagement Towards a Successful Nigerian Energy Transition Project, Facilitator Sustainability Policy Commission of the NESG, Dr Eugene Itua stated that the project has two components, which are energy transition and carbon finance, and that the project aims to assist in driving and encouraging energy transition, unlocking opportunities in the sector and stimulating resilience and economic development.

He noted that the private sector is at the threshold of assisting in the implementation of the energy transition and carbon finance goals as they have the capacity to catalyse required finance.

Hhe reiterated the need for collaboration to strengthen the participation of private and public sector players to create an enabling environment.

 Dr Itua noted that the carbon finance and carbon trading landscape have a compliance/regulatory part mandated by law and a voluntary part open to all interested individuals.

He pointed out that the Nigerian energy transition project will develop policy briefs based on the research outcomes, using evidence-based support for ATP and carbon emission reduction in Nigeria.

Speaking in the same vein, the Facilitator of the Energy Policy Commission of the NESG, Dr Segun Adaju, while speaking on Nigeria’s Energy Transition plan stated that the commitment of Nigeria to achieve net zero by 2060, and Nigeria has launched plans to kickstart the transition.

He noted that five sectors shoulder the Energy Transition Project: power, transport, industry, cooking and oil and gas.

Dr Adaju said that for Nigeria to reach the Net Zero Plan by 2060, the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan estimates that the country needs about $ 1.9 trillion, including $410 Billion above projected usual spending and an additional cost of about $10 billion annually.

Dr Adaju reiterated that carbon finance through the carbon market is crucial and part of a more considerable global effort to raise needed funding to combat climate change and that in developing countries such as Nigeria, carbon finance is seen to contribute significantly to actions in the transition to low-emission and climate-resilient approaches.

 He noted that there are a number of enabling policies, laws, strategies, and plans for net-zero transition to 2060, including the Nigeria Climate Change Act 2021, Energy Transition Plan (ETP), and the Long-Term Vision 2050 (submitted to UNFCCC in 2021) and the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) which is currently being elaborated.

Thematic Lead, Climate Change, Sustainability Policy Commission of the NESG, Mrs Dolapo Kukoyi, said that the project aims to strengthen public-private engagement around implementing the Nigerian energy transition plan and support the development of the carbon market whilst supporting interventions that will drive socio-economic improvement.She also noted that policy briefs that will support the participation of solar projects, aggregation of projects for the voluntary carbon market and quality of data to ensure that adequate data is obtained, including in-country capacity for verification and aggregation, will be compiled.

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