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Compel Buhari to Publish Loans Taken Since 2015, SERAP Tells Court

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal High Court to order President Muhammadu to publish the details of loans taken by his administration since May 29, 2015.

The group in a statement on Sunday said it filed the suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

SERAP also asked the court to order the president to provide details of the interest rate accruing from the debt, the total amount of debts that have so far been incurred by the government, as well as details of the projects on which the loans have been spent.

Respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha.

SERAP also asked the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians if he would instruct the anti-corruption agencies; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the spending of all loans obtained since May 2015.”

The group further asked the court to compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians the names of countries and bodies that have given the loans to Nigeria.

It added that the suit is “permitted under the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act; the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

According to the group, the suit followed a Freedom of Information FOI letter it sent to the president in May requesting him to provide spending details of all loans obtained by his government since he assumed office in 2015.

It said it feared the growing national debts of money borrowed in the name of Nigeria may have been mismanaged, stolen or squandered.

The National Assembly had approved an N850 billion loan requested by President Buhari. Another loan of $22.79bn has already been approved by the Senate. Mr Buhari had also sought the National Assembly’s approval for a fresh loan of $5.513bn to fund the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects, and support some states.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Nigerian government has the capability to pay back loans collected for the construction of rail projects within the stipulated period of 20 years.

He made the remarks following an investigative hearing held last week by the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements probing loans taken by the government.

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APC’s Loss in Edo is Still a Mystery to Me – El-Rufai

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Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said that he was optimistic up to three weeks ago that his party, the All Progressives Congress, would win the Edo State governorship election.

El-Rufai on Monday expressed shock at the election result because, according to him, opinion polls before the election indicated a win for the APC and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The governor, who spoke on Monday morning while featuring on Channels Television, said the election was “reasonably decent”.

He said, “We (APC) would have loved to win and quite frankly, I was optimistic up to three weeks ago; the polls indicated that we were going to win. I don’t know what happened in the last three weeks of the campaign.

“As you know, a large number of voters make up their minds in the last two weeks of the election. Many voters decide no matter what happens, this is how I am voting but most people want to wait and make up their minds in the last two weeks.

“Three weeks ago, the polls clearly showed that APC was going to win but the result came out differently from what we expected. Obaseki has won, that’s it. You can’t go into an election without the possibility of losing.

“The election was reasonably decent. We were all worried about violence but there was very little violence or none at all.”

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Edo 2020: There’s No More APC, Okorocha Laments

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A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Sunday congratulated the people of Edo State for fighting against alleged injustice in the just-concluded election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Okorocha, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, described the loss suffered by the party as a “revolution of the masses against injustice”.

He added that respect for the President Muhamamadu Buhari was all the party had left.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, ahead of his 58th birthday on Tuesday, Okorocha noted that “there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari”.

During the event, Okorocha’s in-law and 2019 former governorship candidate in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, blamed the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for the party’s defeat, saying “all he did was to try to muzzle people to accept a candidate they never wanted”.

“This is not what APC was built on, we expect things to be done the right way but the former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, believes that anything can come from anywhere without going through the due process,” he said.

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Jubilant Edo Residents, Melaye Mock Oshiomhole As Obaseki Wins

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Jubilant residents of Benin City on Sunday trooped out to celebrate the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party over the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the Saturday poll.

Some of the residents mocked a former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, who was the major promoter of Ize-Iyamu.

This was as a former member of the National Assembly from Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, also mocked Oshiomhole and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Obaseki polled a total number of 307,955 votes to emerge winner of the poll while Ize-Iyamu scored 223,619 votes.

Obaseki had contested on the platform of the APC in 2016 governorship election against Ize-Iyamu who was then the candidate of the PDP and Obaseki won.

However, Obaseki and Oshiomhole, who is also a former National Chairman of the APC, fell apart and the crisis cost Obaseki the APC governorship ticket. Ize-Iyamu, who had defected to the APC ahead of the APC governorship primary election, was given the ticket.

While celebrating Obaseki’s victory on Sunday, Melaye said Oshiomhole had been reduced.

“Fellow countrymen and women, I salute you once again. I am reaching you directly from Edo. What  we used to have as Osho Baba has now been reduced, downgraded and degraded to Osho pikin. Nobody should call Osho Baba again, never! The only thing you now have is Osho pikin…..

“How can you expect that a man with the umbrella will not win during the rainy season? Definitely, the PDP won. APC, how market? Oshiomhole, how market?” Melaye said before bursting into a song to mock Oshiomhole and Tinubu, who had released a video ahead of the election, urging the people of Edo to reject Obaseki.

“The dollars brought in a bullion van to Edo have gone down the drain,” Melaye added.

Also, some of Obaseki’s supporters said Oshiomhole should relocate to Lagos to join Tinubu to help him cope with the shame of the defeat.

Obaseki’s supporters called Oshiomhole many unprintable names, saying he became too arrogant after the people of Edo State compensated him to win the 2007 governorship in the state.

While dancing and singing, some of the youths said, “He (Oshiomhole) should relocate to be living with his godfather in Lagos.”

A driver, who identified himself as Lucky Godwin, said, “Edo no be  Lagos; we told Oshio and his father that they will be humiliated and that has happened.”

A Lady among the supporters, who identified herself simply as Rose, said “This victory is sweet; e dey pepper Oshioo.”

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