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$4.054bn and €710m ($$839m) Loans: Buhari is in Order, Says NASS

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The Senate on Wednesday justified the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari  (retd.)’s  plan to obtain $4.054bn and €710m ($$839m)  loans.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, said there was no country that does not engage in deficit financing.

Basiru said this as the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, while giving a  breakdown of the public debt stock for the second quarter of 2021 during a virtual media presentation on Wednesday, said Nigeria’s total public debt stock rose from N33.11tn as of March 31, 2021 to N35.47tn as of June 30, 2021.

This suggests an increase of N2.36tn or 7.12776 per cent increase.

The President had on Tuesday submitted to the National Assembly, a request for approval to obtain fresh external loans of $4.054bn and €710m (($$839m).

According to a letter written to both chambers of the National Assembly, Buhari is also seeking the federal legislature’s approval for grant components of $125m in the 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan.

The President had on May 18, 2021sought the approval of the Senate to borrow $6.18bn external loan to finance this year’s N5.6tn budget deficit.

He said the loans would be used to finance critical projects and create jobs.

If the President gets the go-ahead to obtain the loans, the country’s debt profile will rise.

He allayed the fears of Nigerians over the borrowing plans of the President, assuring them that there was no cause for concern.

He explained that the latest loan request by the President was an addendum to the earlier one approved by the federal parliament and that it was still within the framework of the external borrowing plan of the government

Basiru said the President accompanied the loan request with supporting documents which contained details of what the money would be used for.

He said, “What Nigerians should be looking at is the benefit and the advantage the society would have when the loans are taken and effectively utilised.

“There is no country that does not engage in deficit financing. We are still within the approved limit guaranteed by law.

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Electoral Act: Supreme Court Strikes Out Buhari’s Suit Against NASS

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, struck out a suit filed against the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari challenging the legality of the controversial section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The Apex Court held that Buhari, having assented to the Electoral Bill on February 25, 2022, has no power to turn around to challenge the legality of the Electoral Act.

The Supreme Court, in a judgment prepared and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, declared the action of Buhari in instituting the case as a gross abuse of court.

The Apex Court said the President by the suit sought to approbate and reprobate at the same time and that such must not be allowed.

Besides, the court held that Buhari has no power under any law to dictate to the National Assembly on law-making.

The unanimous verdict held that Buhari, having participated in the making of the Electoral Act by his assent, lacked Constitutional powers to come up to challenge same.

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Lawyer Protests Hijab Ruling, Appears at Supreme Court Dressed in Native Doctor’s Attire

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A human rights lawyer, Malcolm Omoirhobo, on Thursday, caused a stir due to his mode of dressing at the Supreme Court in Abuja.

Photos circulated on social media showed Omoirhobo dressed in a lawyer’s robe mixed with other materials that made him look like an African native doctor.

The lawyer had a gourd with cowries around his neck and a feather on his wig.

According to him, he wore the attire to show gratitude to the Supreme Court which had, on Friday, June 17, 2022, granted the use of hijab by female Muslim students in government-owned schools in Lagos.

Addressing journalists, Omoirhobo said, “I am very grateful to the Supreme Court. Just last week Friday, they made a very resounding decision that promotes Section 38 of the constitution. That is our right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

“That we are free to express our way of worship in our schools and in our courts. That decision was reached on Friday and that has encouraged me.

“Because I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to ‘Olokun’, the god of rivers.”

Reacting, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, Francis Egbokhare, told The PUNCH that the lawyer’s action exposed the ridiculousness that is sometimes associated with law.

He said, “I believe this is just basically sarcasm, as far as I’m concerned, bringing to our attention the ridiculousness sometimes of law when you stretch it out to such an extent.

“For instance, if dress code does not matter, or if you are to modify a dress code, the question is what are the boundaries or limitations, and where do you draw the line?”

Advising the lawyer, Egobkare said, “I think it will be a good thing for him to test it further because this is a comic relief so far. Until he brings it up through the legal process, it may not have any impact beyond just giving us something to laugh about.”

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UK Police Arrest Ekweremadu, Wife for Alleged Plan to Harvest Child’s Organs

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The United Kingdom Metropolitan Police have formally charged two Nigerians with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting.

The suspects were arrested and charged over their plan to bring a child into the country to allegedly harvest the said child’s organs.

The two arrested suspects were identified as Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, and Ike Ekweremadu, 60, from Nigeria.

The suspects who have been remanded in custody will appear at Uxbridge magistrates court later on Thursday.

They are charged with conspiracy to harvest organs, The Guardian UK reports.

According to the report, the charges involve arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting, the Met said in a statement.

The child involved has been safeguarded, according to the Met.

The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022, the force said.

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