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SERAP Approaches Court, Demands Slash in Allowances of Buhari, Governors

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to order the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to reduce the remuneration and allowances of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, 36 governors and members of the national assembly.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/658/2021 filed on Friday, SERAP argued that “slashing jumbo pay for these high-ranking political office-holders would reduce the unfair pay disparity between political officer holders and judicial officers, address the persistent poor treatment of judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice and effective remedies.”

“While high-ranking political officeholders continue to enjoy lavish allowances, including life pensions, and access to security votes, which they have powers to spend as they wish, the remuneration and allowances of judges are grossly insufficient to enable them to maintain themselves and their families in reasonable comfort,” the organization said.

“The huge pay disparity between these high-ranking political officer-holders and judges is unfair, unjust and discriminatory, especially given the roles of judges to the people and the country.

“While government reviewed upward the salaries and allowances of political office holders on four occasions between May 1999 and March 2011, the salaries and allowances of judicial officers were only reviewed twice during the same period.

“The increase in the cost of living and the injustice of inadequate salaries bears heavily on judges, as it undermines their ability to effectively perform their judicial functions.

“Nigerians would continue to bear the brunt of denied access to justice, a better judiciary and a better administration of justice until judges across the country are paid what they rightly deserve.”

SERAP is asking the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the RMAFC to send its downward review of the remuneration and allowances of these high-ranking public office holders and recommendations to the national assembly for appropriate remedial and legislative action, as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).”

“An order of mandamus to direct and compel the RMAFC to perform its mandatory constitutional duty to urgently review upward the remuneration, salaries and allowances, as well as the conditions of service for Nigerian judges.”

SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel NSIWC to perform its mandatory legal duty to urgently examine, streamline and recommend upward remuneration and allowances of Nigerian judges, and to recommend downward review of allowances of President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 governors and lawmakers to the national assembly.”

Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo are the lawyers handling the matter

Joined in the suit as respondents are Ahmad Lawan, senate president; Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of house of representatives (for themselves and on behalf of all members of the national assembly) and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In June, SERAP had also secured a court order directing RMAFC to review the salaries and allowances of members of the national assembly, to reflect the country’s current economic realities.

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DHQ Announces Arrest of Two More Suspects of Owo Church Massacre

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The Defence Headquarters on Thursday said two additional suspected terrorists linked with the Owo attack have been arrested.

The Chief of Defence Staff , General Lucky Irabor, had during a meeting with media executives and editors on Tuesday announced the arrest of some suspected terrorists including the mastermind of Owo attack.

The PUNCH reports that armed men stormed the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022 and killed no fewer than 40 worshippers.

However, in a statement on Thursday, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, said the duo of Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris were arrested at the Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA in Ondo State during a joint operation with the DSS, Police .

The statement was titled , ‘Arrest of two additional suspected terrorists in connection with the Owo Catholic Church on June 5,2022.’

It read, “Recall that the Chief of Defence Staff during his parley with media executives and editors yesterday, Tuesday 9 August 2022, informed of the arrest of 4 terrorists among those who carried out the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo on 5 June 2022.

“They were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022. Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.

“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of four of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, two additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, August 9 2022.

“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris. ”

He, however, said that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State , which led to the death of many.

The Punch

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How 12-Year-Old Boy Killed Nigerian Mother in US

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A 12-year-old Nigerian boy has killed his mother, Ayobiyi Cook, at their home in Forestdale, Alabama, United States.

According to CBS News, the boy “accidentally discharged a firearm” which struck and killed his 29-year-old mom on Monday.

His father, Djuan, a policeman, was said to be at work when the incident happened.

A statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office revealed that the boy had initially lied to detectives about the cause of his mother’s death after cops arrived at the scene some minutes past midnight.

He was reported to have said an intruder broke into the house, shot his mother and fled.

But on further investigation of the killing, he reportedly admitted to killing his mother.

The statement read in part, “The child originally fabricated a story that detectives determined was not possible; the child eventually gave a true account of what happened

“The boy’s family, who he will remain with, has been cooperative. The case will be addressed through the family court system.”

A prior statement by the Jefferson County deputies stated that there had been no forced entry into the home when they arrived at the scene.

It read, “On Saturday, August 6, 2022, at 12:10am, Jefferson County Deputies received a 911 call for help at a residence in the 2400 block of Freemont Avenue in the Forestdale community.  Deputies arrived and found a 29-year-old woman deceased on the scene. There appeared to be no forced entry into the home and a man was seen fleeing from the residence shortly before the 911 call was made. Sheriff’s detectives were able to recover evidence on the scene and are continuing to investigate.”

The deceased’s husband, Djuan, in a Facebook post, said Ayobiyi was known as “Yo” or “YoYo.

He wrote, “The funeral arrangements would be held on August 12. Orange was Yo’s favourite colour so feel free to wear it as we celebrate her life.”

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Ihedioha Denies Making Statement Against Igbo, Peter Obi

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A former governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, has denied talking down on the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi.

Some reports had on Monday claimed that Ihedioha had called Obi ‘crafty’, and had asked Igbos to wait till 2031 for Presidency.

However, a statement by Ihedioha’s media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, had asked the public to disregard the statement, adding that it was fake news.

The statement dated August 8, 2022 was titled, ‘RE – 2023: Igbos Should Wait Till 2031, Peter Obi is Crafty’.

It read, “Our attention has been drawn to another fake news, with the above caption, circulated in some social media platforms.

“This is one of the many orchestrated efforts by political opponents of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON and their collaborators who are afraid of squaring up against him in the coming elections.

“It is noteworthy that His Excellency did not grant any interview in Abuja or elsewhere as claimed.

“His Excellency is known to acquit himself in the most civil, decent and respectful manner and therefore could not have employed such uncouth words.

“We are aware that the purveyors of these unfounded reports are unrelenting in their desperation to impugn His Excellency’s integrity and reputation.

“The public, therefore, is alerted and indeed advised to kindly ignore and disregard the fake news.”

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