The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Friday upheld the victory of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of Abia State.
The tribunal also dismissed the petition filed by Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye while delivering a unanimous judgement held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations of over-voting and non compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election.
The police have arrested 53 kidnap and robbery suspects, through a tip-off from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT), while 22 have been charged to Court in Abia state.
According to the Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon, during a press conference held at Police Headquarters in Umuahia, revealed that the introduction of operation Puff Adder launched in the state command is yielding the desired results.
He added that a total of eighty ammunition, firearms and other stolen items have been recovered from the suspects.
The police boss stressed that three suspected kidnappers and their armourer were also arrested.
“The arrest of three notorious kidnappers and recovery of firearms following a tip-off generated from the IGP IRT team. The team arrested three suspected notorious kidnappers, alongside their armourer, a 65-year-old man who hails from Abia state.
“All the suspects confessed to several kidnapping incidents around Aba. The police are not resting; we are hunting for other gang members.
“A total of 80 ammunitions, firearms and other stolen items have been recovered by the Abia State Police Command, and 53 suspects involved arrested while 22 have been charged to Court.”
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Dr. Alex Otti and that of the All Progressive Congress, Dr. Uche Ogar in Abia State, have rejected the result of the governorship election.
At a joint press conference in Umuahia, the state capital, shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the results on Sunday, both candidates described the election as a ‘sham’.
The Returning Officer, Professor Damian Ozurumba, had declared Ikpeazu winner of the poll after he secured 261,127 votes, more than double the 99, 574 votes polled by Ogar and 64,366 votes polled by Otti.
Otti alleged that INEC once again, breached its guidelines, adding that the results do not represent the true wishes of the people.
He further stated that any result that does not agree with the card readers will not be accepted.
Both candidates, therefore, gave INEC the next 24 hours to cancel the election, adding that both parties are willing to present themselves when the Commission is ready to conduct a free and fair election in the state.
The Abia State Command on Thursday held a meeting with herdsmen and farmers at the police officer’s mess in Umuahia, the state capital.
In attendance were security agencies, traditional rulers, Hausa Saraki, the leadership of Miyetti Allah amongst others.
Though the agenda of the meeting is yet to be clear, it may be connected to issues of cattle colony and finding a lasting solution to incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes and also ensuring a peaceful coexistence between both parties.
A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu to January 22 and 23rd.
Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the proceedings after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to produce one of its major witnesses in court.
The former governor is being tried on a 34 count charge alongside one of his aides, Udeh Udeogu and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N2.9bn from the coffers of the Abia State Government.
At the resumed proceedings of the case today, January 16, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told Justice Idris that the witness in question, one M.A. Udoh had been evasive, and the anti-graft agency was having difficulty bringing him to court.
He urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to locate and bring the witness, a retired employee of the Abia State Government House, Umuahia, to court to testify.
The defence counsel promptly opposed the move for an adjournment, describing it as frivolous.
They expressed disappointment at the EFCC’s request for an adjournment and indicated their readiness to continue. They also told the court that most of them had flown to Lagos from Abuja just to ensure that there was no further delay in the case that had lasted for over 10 years.
The defence then urged the court to either foreclose the prosecution’s case or in the alternative order the EFCC to bear the cost of their transportation and hotel accommodation.
But the EFCC prosecutor countered by reminding the court that the case was delayed for over 10 years at the instance of the defendants who pursued an interlocutory appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.
In his ruling, Justice Idris described the development as unfortunate.
He noted that the case had been adjourned on four different occasions at the request of the prosecution.
Though he conceded to an adjournment, the judge warned that it would be the last of its kind.
He then fixed further proceedings for January 22 and 23rd.
The Abia State Government has pleaded with Nigerians to patronize goods that are produced in Aba area of the state.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made this appeal on Thursday while receiving the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission at the government house in Umuahia, the state capital.
Speaking through his deputy, Mr Ude Chukwu, the governor said it is highly important for the NDDC to carry the State along is important to keep them abreast of the projects being executed in the state.
“I must not fail to appreciate the recognition of the ‘ Made in Aba’ products by the federal lawmakers, and I request the National Assembly to assist the state in convincing Nigerians to appreciate and patronize the ‘Made in Aba’ products.
“I maintain that the products made in Aba are of high quality. The communities where the NDDC projects are being carried out are supposed to be put on notice and should be involved in the scheme of things.”
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Hon. Nicolas Ebumo Mutu said the visit was part of oversight functions of the House of Representatives that enhances the cooperation between the state and NDDC.
He said, “The members of the committee are in the state to inspect some ongoing projects being done by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“I want to appreciate the consistent promotion of the Made In Aba products by the Abia State Government to drive the economy of the State.
“Given the manner the state government is championing the locally made products, I want to say again, if you get Aba right, you have gotten Abia right.”