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Atiku Not Nigerian, Not Qualified to Contest Presidency – APC

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The All Progressives Congress has said that Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth and ought not to have even been allowed in the first place to contest the election.

APC said this in response to the election petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

APC, the third respondent to the petition, faulted the grounds of the petition, adding that Atiku “is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth and ought not to have even been allowed in the first place to contest the election.”

APC also faulted the claim by the petitioners that they obtained the authentic results of the February 23, 2019 election from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s server showing that they won the election.

INEC had, on February 27, 2019, declared the APC alongside its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, whom it said polled 11,262,978 votes.

But the petitioners stated in their 139-page petition anchored on five grounds 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.

They said the results were the total votes scored by the candidates in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as there was “no report on sever” about the results from Rivers State as of February 25, 2019.

By calculation, Atiku and PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.

In its reply filed through its lead counsel, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the APC said the data and computation of results on state-by-state basis were not legitimate.

The party stated that only the results declared by INEC were authentic.

The party averred that Atiku was born on Nov. 25, 1946 in Jada, Adamawa, in Northern Cameroon and was therefore a citizen of Cameroon and not a Nigerian by birth.

According to APC, contrary to the assertion of Atiku in his petition, he has no right to be voted for as a candidate in the election to the office of president of Nigeria.

Apart from the issue of the origin of Atiku, the APC asserted that most of the claims contained in his petition had become statute barred and that the tribunal was not the appropriate place to entertain such.

The APC specifically said that the issue of the educational qualification of Buhari as raised by Atiku could not be treated by the Tribunal.

The party said this was because the period for claims and objections on such issues had expired.

It maintained that the petitioners failed and neglected to use the appropriate period to challenge the validity of the educational qualification of Buhari.

Atiku had in his petition to the tribunal, faulted the conduct of the Feb. 23 Presidential Election on grounds of non-compliance with relevant electoral laws and other malpractices such as intimidation of voters.

The former Vice President and PDP claimed to have scored the majority of the lawful votes in the election and prayed the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election.

In the alternative, he prayed for an order for the cancellation of the election and another order by the tribunal directing INEC to conduct a fresh election that would conform with relevant laws.

No date has, however, been fixed for hearing of the petition.

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COVID-19: Fresh Lockdown Likely After Two Weeks – PTF

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.

The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.

Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians.  Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi  Akeredolu, contracted the virus.

Warning people in authority, the SGF said,  “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”

When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.

He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.

“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”

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Cross River Finally Joins the Fray As Nigeria Records 575 New COVID-19 Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 575 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 29,286.

Nine deaths were recorded from the virus on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 654.

There was an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported Monday compared to what was reported on Sunday (544).

The health agency in a tweet Monday night said the 575 new cases were reported in 20 states including Lagos, Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), Delta, Edo, Ogun, Katsina, Bayelsa, Rivers, Borno, Plateau, Ondo, Oyo, Kwara, Osun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Abia, Cross River, Kaduna and Ekiti.

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

NCDC has officially recorded the confirmed cases reported in Cross River, after days of controversies on the cases.

Lagos remains the epicentre for the disease in the country while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 48 days.

“Till date, 29, 286 cases have been confirmed, 11, 828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.

The 575 new cases were reported from 20 states: Lagos – 123, FCT – 100, Delta – 58, Edo – 52, Ogun – 42, Katsina – 24, Bayelsa – 23, Rivers – 22, Borno – 19, Plateau – 18, Ondo – 18, Oyo – 17, Kwara – 15, Osun – 13, Enugu – 9, Nasarawa – 7, Abia – 6, Cross River – 5, Kaduna – 3 and Ekiti – 1.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria in February, NCDC said, 152,952 samples have been tested.

As of the time of reporting, there are 16,804 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, while 11,828 have recovered and have been discharged.

A breakdown of the 29,286 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 11, 367 cases, followed by FCT – 2,281, Oyo – 1,530, Edo – 1,435, Delta – 1,285, Kano – 1,268, Rivers – 1,205, Ogun – 1,047, Kaduna – 868, Katsina – 628, Borno – 574, Gombe – 520, Bauchi – 518, Ebonyi – 503, Ondo – 474, Plateau – 454, Abia – 391, Enugu – 381, Imo – 352, Jigawa – 318, Kwara – 284, Bayelsa – 268, Nasarawa – 232, Osun – 178, Sokoto – 153, Niger – 122, Akwa Ibom – 112, Adamawa – 99, Benue – 97, Kebbi – 84, Zamfara – 76, Anambra – 73, Yobe – 61, Ekiti – 45, Taraba- 22, Kogi – 5, and Cross River – 5.

While confirmed cases of the virus have continued to increase in the country, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the government is trying to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection, by preparing all public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection hospitals sites.

This, he said will require working with state governments to identify the facilities and the space within them, to conduct training for the personnel selected and supply both PPEs and sample collection kits, as well as the logistics to go around to recover test samples.

“If logistics around sample collection and delivery to test sites are better organised, a lot more will be achieved.

“However, the more we test, the more confirmed cases we shall find, of which the vulnerable will have to be prioritised for admission to treatment centres, even if they are not yet showing symptoms,” he added.

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EFCC Acting Chair, Magu Spends Night in Police Custody

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The embattled acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, spent the night in police custody on the orders of a presidential panel probing alleged infractions against him.

He was taken to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he appeared before a presidential panel investigating alleged corruption and insubordination.

The allegations of insubordination and ‘relooting of recovered funds’ were levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

In separate statements Monday, the SSS denied arresting the anti-graft chief while the EFCC said Mr Magu was only invited for questioning.

Similarly, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has also described Mr Magu as a victim of power play in the presidency.

Security and family sources informed PREMIUM TIMES Mr Magu was not allowed to go back home because the panel ordered his detention.

The EFCC official was grilled for several hours by members of the panel in the presence of an EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo.

When the panel rose for the day, it decided to send Mr Magu to Area 10 Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police, sources said. He spent the night there, in police custody.

This newspaper learnt that several options of sanctions against Mr Magu were being weighed, pending the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“They are planning to take him to court,” PREMIUM TIMES was told Monday afternoon by a source who asked not to be named because he lacked the authority to speak officially

Another source at the presidency said there is a lobby group advocating for a soft-landing for Mr Magu, a police commissioner.

“According to this power bloc, disgracing Mr Magu will leave a dent on the EFCC and the government’s fight against corruption,” the source said.

“You cannot claim successes in the fight against corruption and turn around to say the man leading the war is a corrupt, immoral person. That is part of the argument of Mr Magu’s sympathisers,” said the source late on Monday.

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