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NJC Removes Onnoghen’s Name from Membership List

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Justice Walter Onnoghen’s name has been removed from the National Judicial Council’s members’ list, preparing the ground for a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, to emerge as the council’s deputy chairman, The PUNCH reports.

The altered membership list of the NJC was observed on the council’s website at about 7.15pm on Sunday.

The list, displaying 23 members instead of the full membership of 24, shows that the council has yet to have a deputy chairman as constitutionally provided.

It was gathered that following Onnoghen’s exit, Justice Rhodes-Vivour as the second most senior Justice of the Supreme Court would be announced as the deputy chairman at the next meeting of the council.

“The date of the next meeting of the NJC is not known yet; but because the acting CJN has just taken over as the acting chairman of the council, it is expected that the deputy chairman will be announced at the next meeting,” a top judiciary source told our correspondent on Sunday.

Paragraph 20 (a) of Part I of the Third Schedule to the Constitution makes “the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court” a member of the council and provides that the person “shall be the Deputy Chairman.”

Our correspondent also observed on the website of the council on Sunday that the membership list of the NJC had been altered to reflect the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the acting chairman.

Onnoghen now occupies the 16th position on the list of former Chief Justices of Nigeria as observed on the website by our correspondent on Sunday.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal had last Thursday convicted Onnoghen on charges of breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and ordered his removal as the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the chairman of both the NJC and the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

But multiple judiciary sources told our correspondent on Sunday that the NJC’s membership list was altered shortly after Justice Onnoghen tendered his resignation letter on April 4.

Constitutionally, the CJN is automatically the chairman of both the NJC and the Federal Judicial Service Commission, but Muhammad only took over the headship of the council on April 4, over two months after he began to act as the CJN.

This was a day after the NJC cleared him of wrongdoing in allowing himself to be sworn in as the acting CJN without NJC’s recommendation.

The council, which also investigated Onnoghen for various acts of misconduct, was said to have recommended him for retirement.

Onnoghen reportedly resigned on April 4, barely 24 hours after the NJC sent its recommendations to President Buhari.

Muhammad took over as the acting CJN after he was cleared by the NJC and Onnoghen resigned.

The current members of the NJC as observed on the council’s website on Sunday included Justice Muhammad; President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa; a former Justice of the Supreme Court and a former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola; a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sunday Akintan; and a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi.

They also included a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice, V.O.A Omage;

Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati; President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adejumo; Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello; and Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abiola.

The Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah; Chief Judge of Imo State, Pascal Nnadi; Chief Judge of Delta State, Marshal Umukoro; Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Kwara State Grand Kadi Mohammed Abdulkadir; and President, Customary Court of Appeal, Plateau State, Justice Julia Kyentu are also members.

They also included the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN); a former NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN); and three NBA members, namely Dr Muiz Banire (SAN); Damien Dodo (SAN), and Efe Etomi.

The rest are a retired public servant, Mrs Rakiya Ibrahim; a former Permanent Secretary, Mrs R. Inga and Secretary to the Council, Ahmed Saleh.

The Punch

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Super Eagles to Play Tunisia As AFCON 2021 Enters Knockout Stage

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria will face the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) round of 16 fixtures.

The mouth-watering clash was announced on Thursday night following Tunisia’s 1-0 loss to the Gambia — which consigned the North Africans to qualify as one of four best third-placed teams in the group stage.

Nigeria had finished top of Group D after winning all three of its group stage matches.

The tie against Tunisia is expected to be a repeat of the bronze medal match at AFCON 2019 in Egypt where Odion Ighalo’s goal confirmed the Super Eagles’ third place.

It is also a reunion for Austin Eguavoen, Super Eagles interim coach, who faced Tunisia at the quarter-finals stage at AFCON 2006 in Egypt. Nigeria won 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to advance into the semi-finals.

In other pairings, Cameroon, AFCON hosts, will face Comoros, tournament debutants, while Burkina Faso will play the Gambia, another debutant nation.

Two giants will also clash as Ivory Coast will slug it out with the Pharaohs of Egypt in a repeat of the 2006 AFCON final. Egypt, the then hosts, had won the clash 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw to deny the star-studded Ivorian team.

The round of 16 ties will begin on Sunday, January 23, with Nigeria’s tie against Tunisia one of two matches for the day.

AFCON ROUND OF 16 FIXTURES

  • Nigeria vs Tunisia
  • Ivory Coast vs Egypt
  • Burkina Faso vs Gabon
  • Morocco vs Malawi
  • Senegal vs Cape Verde
  • Cameron vs Comoros
  • Mali vs Equatorial Guinea
  • Guinea vs Gambia

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IPOB Faults Army, Says We Have No Camps in Ihiala, Criminals Not IPOB Members

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The Indigenous People of Biafra has said that it does not have any camp in Lilu, Ihiala in Anambra State. The group claimed that they were not militants or criminals, hence do not operate in hidden camps.

The army, had, on Tuesday, through its spokesman, said it dislodged the camps of IPOB and Eastern Security Networks in Lilu, Ihiala.

However, in a statement on Wednesday, the IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said that the security agencies only unleashed cruelty on the people living in those communities claiming they were members of IPOB and ESN.

Powerful stated that if criminals take refuge in any community in Biafra land, that doesn’t make them IPOB members or ESN operatives.

He said, “We have also not said there are no more criminal gangs in Biafra land just like every other country even in the advanced western nations. But we won’t accept the tagging of every criminal element found in Biafra as an IPOB member or ESN operative.

“Recall that some of these criminals were already mentioned by IPOB leadership sometime during a broadcast. These hoodlums were a creation of wicked politicians in their desperation to discredit IPOB and ESN.”

The group claimed that the Nigeria Army, Police and DSS keeps dishing out falsehoods against IPOB and ESN by tagging those criminals they arrested as IPOB and ESN members.

It said the so-called camp where these said criminals were arrested does not belong to ESN, “They should stop lying against us,” Powerful said.

The statement further reads, “In Orsumoghu, Nnewi South, Lilu Orsumenyi of Ihiala LGA of Anambra State these criminals whose names are Emmanuel aka (Obereagu), Innocent Obiekee from Isingwu Orsumoghu, Izuchukwu from Amaduru Orsumoghu, Ofordie aka Baby, are the ones impersonating ESN/IPOB members using ESN name to commit crimes against the people of these communities they are not ESN members, the communities involved should use their vigilante group and stop them, ESN will help them too.

“In Orlu, Imo State, these criminals whose names are Agu, 50, Vice, Ojoo are the ones impersonating ESN/IPOB members to demonise IPOB and ESN members, they are sponsored by Hope Uzodinma and his co-travellers and traitors to demonise IPOB and ESN members in Imo State.

“They and their gang are collecting illegal levies at the Eke-Ututu market in the name of ESN when they are neither ESN operatives nor IPOB family members.

“The people are collecting proceeds from innocent communities. Collecting N5,000 from Orlu people in the name of ESN. These names mentioned or listed in this press statement have been declared Persona Non-Grata in Biafraland and they remain so. People must stop giving them money they are not ESN operatives and not IPOB volunteers.

“They have been kidnapping people, snatching cars and raping our women in our territory. IPOB volunteers and ESN operatives have also been making efforts to apprehend these agents of sorrow. We cannot watch these beasts created and sponsored by Hope Uzodinma, his masters in Miyeti Allah and their co-travellers destroy Biafra land.

The statement continues, “Again, ESN does not write letters to people or make calls to people requesting funds, funds for what we ask? IPOB and ESN have no dealings with such evil activities of these criminals who are now on the ESN watchlist. Be warned and stop giving them money in the name of ESN or IPOB volunteers.”

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Eguavoen Will Only Earn Bonus, Won’t Earn Salary, Says NFF

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Interim coach Austin Eguavoen will be entitled to only win bonuses as the Super Eagles gaffer at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Eguavoen was appointed on a short-term deal after the Nigeria Football Federation sacked Gernot Rohr in December.

Rohr was Nigeria’s longest-serving manager after taking charge in August 2016, but had his contract terminated after leading the Eagles to the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-offs and sealing a spot at the Nations Cup in Cameroon.

The Franco-German also led Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup and guided the team to third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

“Eguavoen is on the payroll of the NFF and he won’t be entitled to salary for the role he is playing as an interim coach of the team,” President of the NFF Amaju Pinnick stated recently on Arise TV.

“He will be entitled to the winning bonuses as the team progress at the tournament.”

Eguavoen has already won his opening two group games at the tournament which has sealed their place in the round of 16 in the competition

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