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Suswam, Reps Member, Gbande Win at Benue Tribunal

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From Chris Gaga, Makurdi

The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi Tuesday, upheld the election of former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam as Senator for Benue North – East district

In a lead judgment delivered by the Chairman of the panel, Honourable Justice R.

A. Odudu, the Tribunal dismissed the petition filed by Mrs Mimi Orubibi of the All Progressives Congress(APC) against the election of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Suswam for lacking in merit.

In the petition, Mimi sought among others, an order of the Tribunal, an order nullifying the election of Suswam for reasons of non compliance with Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and that Suswam did not win the election by majority of lawful votes cast.

The APC candidate alleged over voting, allocation of votes, violence among other irregularities.

However, the Tribunal held that Mimi and APC failed to establish their case against Suswam, PDP and INEC and consequently dismissed same for lacking in merit.

According to the decision, the sole issue for determination was to establish whether or not there was over voting.

Beside, Justice Odudu held that the margin of win was enormous compared to the figure said to have been inflated.

The petitioners were therefore, ordered to pay Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400, 000. 00) as fine.

In his reaction, lead Counsel to Senator Suswam, Barr. Andrew Wombo  described the Judgement as a sound one and challenged the petitioners to test the judgement at the appellate court if they were dissatisfied.

On his part, lead counsel to the petitioners, Chief Frank Nomor said they will test the validity of the decision at the Court of Appeal.

In another Judgement delivered by Honourable Justice M. A. Onyetenu (Member I), the Tribunal dismissed the petition by Dickson Pawa of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who challenged the victory of Richard Gbande of PDP as member, House of Representatives (Ukum/Katsina-Ala/Logo).

The Tribunal held that Pawa, former ADC to former Governor Suswam failed to join in his petition, parties he made criminal allegations against them.

Above all, it was the decision of the Tribunal that the petitioners failed to establish their case to warrant judgment to be entered in their favour.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to Suswam, Barr. Andrew Wombo described the ruling as sound, and challenged the petitioner to test the ruling if not satisfied.

The lead Counsel to the Petitioner, Chief Frank Nomor said he will test the validity of the case at appellant court.


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FCT Spends $15m on Abuja Light Rail Rehabilitation – Wike

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, Monday said not less than $15 million was spent to rehabilitate the vandalized Abuja light rail.
Wike also revealed that the railway is ready for commissioning by President Bola Tinubu in less than seven days.


The Minister stated this while speaking to journalists at the sidelines of his final inspection of the project in Abuja.

He also expressed satisfaction with the facilities on ground and declared the Abuja light rail ready for commercial operations.

According to the Minister, thank God Almighty that we are good to go. We are ready and you can see the facilities.
“Just that we identify one or two things that were omitted during the design but we believe that during the full operations, some of these things will be taken into consideration.

“Particularly, I belief that as a standard Metro Line where the passengers will be waiting before they board the trains, there should be air conditioners and then I also thought that some of the stations should have had an elevator for those who are very old and those who may not have the strength to walk or to climb the staircases.
“Apart from that, I think we are happy with the work that has been done and we believe Nigerians will be happy, particularly the residents of FCT.
“The lack of the facilities will not inhibit the operation, they are just what will make the passengers’ ends more comfortable. When operations start these are things they could take care of. It will not stop the operation.
‘Without the access roads to the train station there would be no need for the metro line, how will the people from the various communities access the stations?
“But we thank God we have seen the access road, you can just take your car, park at the station, board the train, go to wherever you want to go and still come and take your vehicles and go back to wherever you live.
“So, we are happy , very happy, and we thank God the promise Mr President made has been kept.
“Mr President said he is going to deliver, and he gave a matching order to the foot soldiers which as ministers  and we have no choice than to make sure that the promise made by Mr President, his renewed hope agenda and Nigerians have come to see it’s a reality.
“Everything was made possible by God and the support and then by the Mr President has given to us in FCT. We are doing well because Mr President has given us every necessary support.
Assuming we are not getting the support from him, this would have been a reality today.
On the cost of the rehabilitation of the vandalized light rail the minister said, “The rehabilitation was not less than 15 million US dollars so not less than N10 billion and all that money has been paid. What we are doing now is additional work that was added.”
in a similar development, the Akwa Ibom State Governor Umo Eno has announced that his administration has expended N120 billion on road infrastructure within his first year in office.
The Commissioner for Information, Ini Ememobong, disclosed this in Uyo on Monday on the government’s achievements in its first year in office.
Ememobong said that the current administration in the state had been quite consistent with infrastructure development.
He said that within the first one year in office, the government had inaugurated the 3.3km Idua Road and carried out emergency intervention work on the collapsed section of the Afia Nsit Road in Eket.
“The governor has asked for a review of the Afia Nsit gully reclamation project to ensure proper channeling of rainwater,” he also said.
The commissioner also listed the 1.3km underground concrete flood control tunnel as another project undertaken by the Eno-led government.
”Remember that the governor recently invited former President, Goodluck Jonathan to inaugurate that project; it shows how serious we take the business of governance.
”We have reconstructed the failed section of the Atiku Abubakar Way, with a walkway, drainage and solar street lights.
”The reconstruction of adjourning 1km Afaha Ube road is also completed,” he said.
Ememobong further said that the state government had completed the 60 metre to Ide-Ikot Amba Bridge and the 800 metre approach road in Obot Akara Local Government Area.
”The government gives priority to infrastructure development. The essence is to ensure even distribution of dividends of democracy to Akwa Ibom people.
“As we speak, there is no local government area in the state that does not have either a completed or an ongoing project.
“The 1.8km, Paul Ekpo Crescent, 1km Emmanuel Ekon Avenue and 800 metre Obot Emem Street all in Uyo metropolis, are ready for inauguration,” Ememobong said.
He noted that the governor had not only performed creditably in the area of road infrastructure but had ensured human capital development.
The commissioner said that the governor recently spent N400 million to empower no fewer than 800 entrepreneurs in the state.
He said the entrepreneurs were rigorously trained on business techniques in order to equip them with the knowledge to begin their own businesses.
“Recently, a skills upscaling workshop was organised by the state government where a foreign-based senior academic advisor facilitated the training of public school principals in the state.
“The governor is also planning an education exchange programne in London for students in rural areas,” he disclosed.
”It is our promise to Akwa Ibom people; the governor will remain steadfast in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people.

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Nigerian Military Declares Nigerien Terrorist, Halilu Buzu Wanted

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The Nigerian Military has declared  Halilu Buzu, a national of  Buzu in Republic of Niger wanted for terrorising Nigerian territory, particularly Zamfara.

The Director of  Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja, at a media briefing on the operations of the military.

Buba said the notorious suspected terrorist leader settled in Subbubu Forest in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara.

He said that Buzu had a camp for illegal gold mining located at Kawayi, in Anka Local Government Area of the state, and had lots of boys working for him.

According to Buba, the terrorist is also a prominent cattle rustler.

He said that the Buzu’s group had in the last week killed 19 villagers at Farar Kasa.

”He is a High Value Target and we hereby declare him wanted.

”Furthermore, he is a major arms supplier, trusted by arms dealers supplying arms from Libya.

”We have been on his trail and whenever we close in on him, he bolts across the border into Republic of Niger for refuge.

”At this time, we are through appropriate channels calling on the Nigerien authorities, regional and international bodies to support in effecting his arrest to hold him accountable for his atrocities,” he said. (NAN)

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Cooperatives Capable of Boosting Inclusive Growth, Eradicating Poverty-Shettima

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Vice -President Kashim Shettima, says cooperative initiatives have what it takes to boost inclusive growth, development and end poverty in the country.

Shettima said this at the 2nd Abuja Cooperative Summit organised by the National Cooperatives Agency of Nigeria (CFAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

Shettima, represented by Dr Nurudeen Zauro, the Technical Adviser to the President on Financial Inclusion, said the role of cooperatives in facilitating economic activities was key to the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

He said that Tinubu’s administration had signed the Student Loan Act, set up the Credit Corp to enhance access to consumer credit.

The vice-president said the recent signing of Aso Accord on Economic and Financial Inclusion was also a commitment to support economic and financial inclusion which cooperatives played significant roles in achieving.

”This administration is mindful of the fact that over 30 million of our people do not have access to a broad range of affordable financial services to enable them to fulfill their economic potential.

”A major reason for that is low income.

”This is not just an economic problem but might further lead to insecurity, this is the reason why the conversation on economic inclusion, financial inclusion, and insecurity is of high priority to this administration today.

”This administration believes a strategic approach is important to address the subject of economic and financial inclusion, and as such has elevated the subject to the agenda of the National Economic Council, ” he said.

Ms Nkem Chime, the Head, Strategy Coordination Office, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that 74 per cent of the populace was financially included while 26 per cent was excluded.

Chime said the CBN would continue to pave the way for innovative programmes to encourage cooperatives.

The Executive Secretary of CFAN, Mr Emmanuel Atama, said the summit was geared toward activating the Cooperative Development Fund.

Atama said the summit was also to have a robust discussion on cooperatives resilience in the face of diverse economic challenges.

He said the agency had also partnered with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Department of Science, Technology and Innovation to build the entrepreneurial capacity of cooperative members.

The Director, FCT Department of Science Technology and Innovation, Mr Olobashola Kolawole, said that cooperatives were the backbone of entrepreneurship.

He said the department would continue to collaborate with cooperatives to establish youths for the development of the country.

Reports says that cooperatives’ members from different states attended the summit. (NAN)

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