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Another Judge Withdraws from Okorocha’s Certificate of Return Suit

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The second judge has withdrawn from a suit filed by the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, seeking an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue him a certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West.

The development came barely a week after the first judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, withdrew from the case.

The PUNCH gathered on Monday that after Justice Taiwo withdrew from the case on April 10, it was reassigned to Justice Okon Abang also of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Abang was said to have on April 11 fixed April 18 for hearing in the suit.

But on the date fixed for the hearing, Justice Abang announced his decision to withdraw from the suit.

His decision was anchored on Okorocha’s letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, asking for the transfer of the case to another judge.

The governor, in the letter, was said to have sought the transfer of the case to another judge because opponents in the case were jubiliating that Justice Abang would dismiss the case.

The judge, upon seeing the letter in the file, immediately informed parties of his withdrawal from the suit.

Justice Taiwo had earlier withdrawn from the suit following allegations of bias levelled against him by two parties to the suit.

INEC had refused to certificate of return to Okorocha on the basis that the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Prof Francis Ibeawuchi, said he declared the outgoing governor winner of the senatorial election under duress.

Okorocha had subsequently filed the suit, challenging INEC’s decision to withhold the certificate of return due to him as the winner of the election.

But Justice Taiwo, who had been presiding over the matter, announced his decision to withdraw from the case and ordered that the case file be returned to Justice Abdul-Kafarati, for reassignment to another judge.

The judge said he took the decision following allegations of bias levelled against him by Okorocha’s opponents in the February 23, 2019 election, Jones Onyeriri of the Peoples Democratic Party and Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressive Grand Alliance.

Onyeriri sent a petition dated April 8, 2019, to the chief judge, demanding that the case file be retrieved from Justice Taiwo and re-assigned to another judge of the court.

In an affidavit deposed to on his behalf by a lawyer, Chijioke Nzekwe, Onyeriri stated that Justice Taiwo on April 5, 2019, had made a bias comment in favour of the plaintiff, Okorocha, when the judge allegedly told INEC’s lawyer, Wendy Kuku, that the commission was responsible for the problems arising from the election.

The affidavit added that the judge had pre-judged the notices of preliminary objection filed by the second and third defendants (INEC and Onyeriri) when he allegedly said he had read through the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and found nothing therein that robbed him of the jurisdiction to hear his suit.

Izunaso also filed an application dated April 8, 2019 before the same judge, asking Justice Taiwo to disqualify himself from further handling the matter and return it to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge.

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Army Chief Commissions Multiple Projects in Janguza Barracks, Commends Troops of 3 Brigade

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, has commissioned multiple projects in Janguza Barracks, Kano.

The newly completed projects, according to a statement signed by the Director Army Public, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, which include 72 units of Corporals and Below Quarters (CBQ), 30 units of Single Officers’ Quarters (SOQ) and 5 blocks of Company Offices and training shades were officially inaugurated today 26 January 2022 during COAS’ maiden working tour of 3 Brigade area of responsibility.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, General Yahaya stated that the visit is in tandem with his command philosophy, to enable him interact with troops and obtain first hand information that will enhance his command and administration of the Nigerian Army (NA).

Gen Yahaya disclosed that the dearth of personnel accommodation in the NA is receiving adequate and prompt attention with the construction of befitting accomodations across formations and units of the NA, adding that the welfare of personnel is paramount to his command.

During the working tour, the Commander 3 Brigade, Brigadier General Sinyinah Nicodemus gave the COAS a brief on the Operational engagements and security situation in the Brigade’s <a href=”https://metrotimesng.com” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>area</a> of responsibility.

The COAS in his appraisal, commended troops of the Brigade for discharging their duties with diligence.

The COAS was accompanied during the visit by principal staff officers from Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Kabiru Muhktar.

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NIWA Poised to Change Safety Narratives on Waterways – Moghalu

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The Managing Director, National Inland waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu, has said the apex regulatory agency on brown water economy will leave no stone unturned in the quest to ensure accident free water transportation in the country.

He also informed that safety on waterways as a major mandate of NIWA will be pursued with vigour under his watch as a process to engender confidence among water transportation operators and users, and also to attract local and foreign investment.

Speaking after inspecting navigational buoys facilitated by NIWA on Lagos waterways from Marina to Ikorodu, with an ongoing phase two from same Marina, navigating iworo to Badagry,. Dr Moghalu noted that the Lagos template, geared towards activating a national water transportation safety architecture, will further help in emergency rescue operations and provide distressed boats an anchor before help arrives, thus eliminating incidences of crafts drifting on mid waters.

Accompanied by Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Lara Braimah and President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun, Dr Moghalu assured that NIWA will not fail in its responsibilities to enthrone enduring accident free water transportation signature across littoral states in Nigeria.

Mr Gani Balogun thumped up the niwa initiative, saying that Dr moghalu is a man of his words and should be trusted to make water transportation safe and attractive for all end users.

“At the last stakeholders meeting last year in Lagos, Dr moghalu promised to ensure a navigable Lagos waterways through provision of buoys which would not only serve as an anchor point for distressed boat operators but will help provide access and geographical location to rescue efforts and today, we have seen that promised fulfilled and we say more grease to his elbows,” an excited Mr Balogun stated.

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Lagos Govt Suspends Activities of NURTW

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The Lagos State Government has placed indefinite suspension on activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Eyin Eyo, Church Street and Idumota Bridge on Lagos Island.

This was as a result of the mayhem that engulfed the areas last week where union members freely used dangerous weapons to attack themselves and commercial paralysed activities in the areas.

At a stakeholders meeting comprising the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Central Business District (CBD) and Lagos State Market Women Association (Iya Oloja General and Iya Oloja of Lagos Island) at the Bagauda Kaltho Press center to tackle crisis often caused by the activities of the union, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka meted out the ban to prevent further acts of violence at idumota, adding that the Lagos State Parks Monitoring Authority will resume at Eyin Eyo.

Fayinka stated that the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) would station an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) on Idumota Bridge to deter motorists from driving against traffic in compliance with traffic rules and regulations and to enforce the suspension of the NURTW within the axis and simultaneously flush out the Oju Opake boys lurking along Plaza around Church Street axis.

Also suspended are the activities of the transport union at Church Street and John Street, particularly Keke Marwa and Mini Buses (Korope).

The Transport Special Adviser added that the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) in collaboration with the State Police Command would ensure safety of lives in the area.

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