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NEWS

Why FEC Will Not Hold This Week – Presidency

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Presidency Tuesday, announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting will not take place on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

The reason according to the presidency, was due to the fact that all the memos earlier submitted to the Council for consideration have been returned to the various Ministries.

 

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu stated that the action would allow ministers who were recently sworn – in have their inputs in the memos sent by their predecessors in office.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on May 29, 2019 for his second term in office, the FEC has not been held because the cabinet members were inaugurated barely three weeks ago.

But the government explained that the period was to enable the ministers “who are still taking briefs from bureaucrats in the Ministries and familiarizing themselves with their work space, have more time to contribute to discussions at the meeting.

According to the presidency, the ministers would also utilize the period of the break to work towards the early preparation and submission of the 2020 budget estimates.

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Foreign News

UK PM Faces Parliamentary Grilling after Top Ministers Quit

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to maintain a grip on power in No 10 Downing Street as ministers and aides continue to quit his government in protest at his leadership.

It has only been weeks since Johnson survived a no-confidence vote sparked by revelations that he had attended parties in government offices at a time when government policy expressly forbade social gatherings.

The forbade gatherings were due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Now he was accused of having ignored concerns about the personal behaviour of Chris Pincher, who went on to take multiple government positions.

Pincher quit as deputy chief whip after allegedly assaulting two men while drunk at London’s Carlton Club.

The outrage about the story has prompted multiple Cabinet resignations, most recently that of Will Quince, who quit as children and families minister.

He said he could not accept being sent out to defend the prime minister on television with inaccurate information in the Pincher row.

Laura Trott quit as a ministerial aide, “saying trust in politics is and must always be of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.’’

Their resignations early on Wednesday followed a string of departures from the government on Tuesday, led by Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid who delivered broadsides at Johnson as they quit their Cabinet posts.

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Sunak’s replacement as chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, hinted at reversing a planned rise in corporation tax as part of the effort to restore trust between the leadership and lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative, or Tory, party.

But the Cabinet reshuffle did not appear to have persuaded Johnson’s critics to hold fire.

Quince was one of the ministers sent on the airwaves to defend Johnson’s position about Pincher.

The Prime Minister later acknowledged he had previously been informed of allegations against Pincher dating back to 2019 and said he regretted keeping him in government beyond that point.

Quince said he had received a “sincere apology’’ from Johnson for being sent out with an inaccurate briefing about the prime minister’s knowledge of events.

“I have no choice but to tender my resignation as I accepted and repeated those assurances in good faith.’’ (dpa/NAN

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JUDICIARY

Ekweremadu: Court Orders NIMC to Supply David Ukpo’s Biodata to AGF

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Federal High Courts
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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to supply the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) with the certified true copy (CTC) of biodata information of David Ukpo for onward transmission to the UK.

Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order following an omnibus application made by Muazu Mohammed, counsel for  NIMC, to the effect.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on June 27, reported that former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Beatrice had, in the application dated and filed on June 27 by their lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, sued NIMC and four others.

Others mentioned in the suit are the Comptroller General (C-G), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Stanbic-IBTC Bank; United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc as 2nd to 5th respondents respectively.

NAN reports that the couple were, on June 23, remanded in the UK police custody, after they were arraigned before the  Uxbridge Magistrate Court for alleged conspiracy to facilitate the travel of Ukpo, alleged to be a minor, for organ harvesting.

They, however, denied the allegations and the court adjourned till July 7 for hearing.

Ekweremadu also appeared before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court on June 30 where he was denied a bail.

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In the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, the couple prayed the court for an order directing all the defendants to supply them with the CTC of Ukpo’s biodata in their care for the purpose of facilitating the criminal investigation and tendering same to establish their innocence with respect to Ukpo’s age in the criminal charges against them before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court.

Justice Ekwo, on Friday, granted the couple’s prayers by directing all the defendants to release the CTC of Ukpo’s biodata to the Ekweremadus.

But when the matter came up today,  Awomolo told the court that NIMC was yet to comply with the court order.

The senior lawyer expressed concern that failure to obey the order of the court would give a setback to court judgment.

“As ministers in the temple, court has given a judgment, ours is to ensure it is followed,” he said.

Responding, Mohammed said NIMC was reluctant to release Ukpo’s biodata because it wanted to protect its system.

“It is not that the first respondent (NIMC) is not ready to comply. We have been talking with applicants’ counsel since the day of judgement,” he said.

“What is the difficulty you are facing in complying with that order,” the judge asked.

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“The difficulty is that we want to protect the system. If we comply with this judgment, the system will suffer in the future my lord,” he said.

Mohammed said although NIMC had reached 90 per cent compliance with the order, the commission was constraint to release the biodata to the applicants because of the Act which set up the agency.

He said the law does not allow the commission to release an individual biodata to another individual.

The lawyer stressed that if this was done because the applicants were highly-placed persons, this might be abused in future.

The judge, however, said that the order was not made because the applicants were high-placed.

He said the judgment was made for the whole of the country, saying it could have been an ordinary Nigerian making the application and that the court is there to protect everyone.

“If you need an order of court to carry out the judgment, it is a simple application,” Ekwo added.

Mohammed, therefore, made an omnibus prayer, urging the court to direct the agency to supply the biodata information of Ukpo to the AGF.

Awomolo did not oppose the application.

“We agree that the document be transmitted to the AGF for onward transmission to the UK,” he said.

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In his ruling, Justice Ekwo ordered NIMC to supply the information of biodata of David Ukpo’s national identification number which is in its care to the AGF for onward transmission to the UK.

“This is the order of this court,” he said.

The judge also warned the lawyer against making use of social media to discuss court matters

“When matter is in court, you must be careful how you deploy social media about court matters,” he warned.(NAN)

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CRIME

Prison break: Heavy Security Presence in Kuje Communities

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Security has been tightened in most parts of Kuje communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following sporadic gunshots and bomb blast reportedly heard at the Kuje Correctional Centre on Tuesday night.

Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who went round the area, observed heavy security presence with fierce-looking armed personnel in areas considered as flash points.

NAN reports that armoured tanks have been positioned around Kuje Prison junction, while various teams of security personnel in siren-blaring vehicles patrol the area.

The Police, in conjunction with other security operatives, have cordoned off the roads leading to the prison area and movements have been restricted in the area.

Police helicopters were seen flying above the area as banks and some schools remained closed due to the tension in the area.

Other security agents are also on red alert to forestall any breach of peace.

Residents leaving close to the area told NAN that the heavy gunshots which started at about 10.p.m. lasted close to an hour.

They said it was not clear who the gunmen were but it was believed they were some criminal elements. (NAN)

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