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Atiku Insists Server Results are not False, Says ‘I’m Nigerian by Birth’

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has denied the All Progressives Congress’ allegation that he is not eligible to contest because he was not born in Nigeria.

Atiku stated this in a response to the APC’s reply to the petition he and his party jointly filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

He said he was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, therefore he was a Nigerian.

The APC had alleged in its response that as of November 25, 1946, when Atiku was born, Jada, was part of  Northern Cameroon.

But Atiku insisted that he was a Nigerian citizen, adding that his parents were also Nigerians by birth.

He said while his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, hailed from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State, his mother, Aisha Kande, hailed from Dutse, now Jigawa State.

Atiku and the PDP said, “Contrary to the allegations contained in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 3rd respondent’s (APC’s) reply, the petitioners state that the 1st petitioner (Atiku) is a citizen of Nigeria by birth and thus qualified to vote and be voted for and returned in the election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held on Saturday February 23, 2019 going by the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The 1st petitioner was born on November 25, 1946, in Jada, Adamawa State, by Nigerian parents and he is, therefore, a citizen of Nigeria by birth.

“The 1st petitioner’s father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir, was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State, while the mother, Aisha Kande, was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in the present-day Jigawa State.

“The parents of the 1st Petitioner are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria.

“The birth of the 1st petitioner in Jada, in the present-day Adamawa State of Nigeria, was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku, who was an itinerant trader, from Wumo in the present-day Sokoto State to Jada in company with his friend, Ardo Usman.

“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st petitioner, gave birth to Garba who in tum gave birth to the 1st petitioner and named him after his father, Atiku.

“The 1st petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande, was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in the present-day Jigawa State.

All averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st petitioner.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission had on February 27, 2019, declared that the All Progressives Congress alongside its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, won the February 23 election with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, whom it said polled 11,262,978 votes.

But the petitioners stated that “from the data in the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) server…the true, actual and correct results” from “state-to-state computation” showed that Atiku polled a total of 18,356,732 votes defeat Buhari whom they said scored 16,741,430 votes.

INEC had in its response to the petition distanced itself from the “server results.”

The commission, through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), had said the results of the poll were never transmitted or collated electronically.

It added that it kept no such server where such electronically transmitted results could have been obtained.

In their reply to the APC’s reply, Atiku and the PDP insisted that they truly got authentic results of the February 23 election from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s server.

They said, “In reaction to paragraph 29 of the 3rd respondent’s reply, the petitioners aver that the data and scores in the 1st respondent’s server were as transmitted by the 1st respondent’s officials and those scores are valid, and legitimate.

“The conduct of elections and declarations of results by the 1st respondent is the subject of the present petition.

“Contrary to paragraphs 31 and 34 of the 3rd respondent’s reply, the petitioners contend that the figures and scores in paragraph 22 of the petition are neither false nor contrived or concocted by the petitioners.

“Indeed, the ad hoc staff and officials of the 1st respondent in obedience to the training/instruction by the 1st respondent (INEC) transmitted the scores they got from the polling units to the 1st respondent’s server.”

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Ahead Ekiti APC Primary: Seven Gov Aspirants Withdraw, Call for Cancellation

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Former Minister of Works, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, and six other governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress have withdrawn from the party’s primary election in Ekiti State.

Others, who withdrew, according to a statement on Thursday, are a former governorship aspirant, Kayode Ojo; Demola Popoola; Femi Bamisile; former House of Representatives member, Bamidele Faparusi; National Assembly member, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; and Afolabi Oluwasola.

They alleged that the primary election committee is made up of loyalists of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, claiming that the governor is attempting to impose former Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, as the Ekiti APC governorship candidate.

This is as some members of the party protested against the process of the governorship primary election scheduled to take place on Thursday (today).

The statement read, “The seven aspirants herein received with rude shock and dismay the purported list of local government election committee and ward election committee made up solely by party members and political appointees that had before now openly endorsed the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji the immediate past secretary to the state government.

“It is on record that the government of Governor Kayode Fayemi has given its unwavering support to the candidacy of Biodun Oyebanji, it is common knowledge that the Governor and most appointees of the governor are openly rooting for and supporting Biodun Oyebanji’s aspiration to become the flag bearer of our great party.

“What is more disturbing is the fact that a simple glance at the names of the persons appointed as members of both committees would reveal that it is made up of appointees of government who are all supporters of a candidate in the primary election they are appointed to superintend on.

“The seven candidates herein are loyal, faithful and committed party members who are sincerely concerned about the chances of the party in the forthcoming 2022 governorship election where an imposition is allowed to override a democratic primary election for determining its flag bearer.

“We request that both the local government election committee and ward election committee that were constituted on the list already in circulation be disbanded and replaced with names that would reinforce internal democracy and uphold the aims and objectives of the party.”

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Senate Passes Bill Empowering FG to Seize Illegally-Acquired Assets

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he Senate has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to allow the Federal Government to seize assets acquired by corrupt public officers, terrorism financiers, among others.

The legislation is titled, ‘A bill for an Act to Make Comprehensive Provisions For Seizure, Confiscation, Forfeiture and Management of Properties Reasonably Suspected to Have Been Derived From Unlawful Activities.’

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Suleiman Kwari, in his lead debate, said the proposal passed first reading on March 16, 2021, and was also listed among the versions of bills of interest contained in the recent communication from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the National Assembly.

Buhari had last week appealed to the parliament to pass three anti-corruption bills on proceeds of crime, whistle-blower and witness protection.

The Senate had on Tuesday passed the Witness Protection Bill for second reading.

Kwari said the main objective of the bill was to provide for the establishment of a department in the relevant organisations to manage forfeited assets.

According to him, the department would provide for an effective legal and institutional framework for the recovery and management of the proceeds of crime, as well as civil forfeitures in non-conviction based sentencing.

He said, “This bill further makes provisions for restraint, seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of property derived from property unlawful activities; any instrumentality used or intended to be used in the commission of such unlawful activities; and for non-conviction based procedure for the recovery of proceeds of crime.

“The bill’s other objectives are to strengthen the criminal confiscation procedure by ensuring that the total benefit from a person’s criminal activity is calculated and an equivalent amount, where recoverable, is confiscated on behalf of the Federal Government.

In his submission, Senator Smart Adeyemi, stated that it had become expedient for government to go after anyone who cannot account for how they acquired their properties.

“In supporting this bill, Mr. President, I hold the view that the people who have acquired their properties legally and with good funds have no cause to fear,” he said.

The Deputy Majority Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi said, “I think it is our duty to support such a law, but it must not be done in a manner that at the end of the day, when you have somebody that does not mean well, you have given him a weapon to go after his perceived enemies. I think that is where caution has to come in.”

Senator Stella Oduah, who is under the radar of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, however, kicked against the bill.

Oduah said, “For very brilliant senators such as us, we cannot be seen to pass a bill which we haven’t thought through and that is not in line with best global practice. We shouldn’t play ostrich with this bill. We are going to create a situation where conflict of interest within establishments will continue to exist. Subjectivity in handling issues will be the subject of the day, and innocent Nigerians will be made to be victims of this law, and laws are not supposed to be like that.

“Laws are supposed to stand the test of time. This bill will not stand the test of time because it will be very subjective.”

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, after the second reading, referred the bill to the Joint Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes; and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The joint committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to broaden the functions of the Public Complaints Commission also scaled second reading on Wednesday.

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Conduct Fresh Probe into Kyari’s Link to Hushpuppi, PSC Tells IGP Baba

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The Police Service Commission has directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to deepen investigations into the connection between the suspended erstwhile head of the Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, and an internet scammer, Abbas Ramon, commonly known as Hushpuppi.

The commission, it was learnt, gave the IG two weeks to turn in the report which would be reviewed by the PSC Standing Committee on Discipline.

The directive to the IG was sequel to the advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

A four-man Special Investigation Panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike, had earlier probed Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Kyari had been suspended in July 2021 for alleged involvement in a $1.1 million Internet fraud allegedly perpetrated by Hushpuppi and four others; AbdulRahman  Juma (Abdul); Vincent Chibuzo (Kelly); Rukayat Fashola (Morayo); and Bolatito Agbabiaka (Bolamide).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had alleged that Hushpuppi paid $20,600 to two bank accounts allegedly provided by Kyari on January 20, 2020.

Kyari denied wrongdoing.

The PUNCH gathered on Wednesday that the AGF said the facts contained in the police investigation report were not strong enough to convict the DCP.

Malami was said to have informed the commission that the police investigation on Kyari was not water-tight and that more facts were needed to establish the relationship between the ex-IRT commander and Hushpuppi, who is awaiting sentencing after striking a plea bargain deal with the United States authorities.

Based on the AGF’s advice, the commission was said to have asked the IG to carry out a further probe into Kyari’s relationship with Hushpuppi.

A senior official, who confided in our correspondent, stated, “The advice from the AGF is that the case needs further investigation; that the evidence produced on Abba Kyari was not enough to convict him despite the fact that they have established a prima facie case against him. But the facts cannot convict him in the court of law.

“So, the police report was returned and the IG was asked to set up a special panel to look at the case. We have given them just a short period of two weeks to turn in their report.

“The final report is expected to return to the standing committee which will review and send recommendations to the plenary where the final decision on Kyari will be taken.”

Meanwhile, spokesman, US Attorney Office for Central District of California, Thom Mrozek, has said Hushpuppi would be sentenced on February 14.

According to BBC Pidgin, Mrozek, however, did not state the jail terms, which is expected to be between 10 and 18 years.

“He may be subjected to removal from the United States once he completes his prison sentence,” he said.

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