COVID-19: We Are Tracing 4,370 People Of Interest – Lai Mohammed

 

 

The Federal Government says attempting to trace about 4370 people who may have contacts with coronavirus patients in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said, “We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing”.

Mr Mohammed urged those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities.

“We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard,” he added.

The minister warned that the nation is on the verge of reaching the level of community spread, noting that if proper measures are not taken, then the nation will record exponential cases in the days ahead.

Mr Mohammed argued that the nation’s strategy at containing the pandemic is working, he, however, stressed that the country still has a long way to go.

While stressing that he does not mean to spread panic, the minister noted that bold measures have been taken and more steps of such nature need to be taken to ensure that Nigeria beats the virus.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Are Not Giving Us The Deserved Support To Fight Coronavirus – Lai Mohammed

Below is the minister’s full statement.

TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON MINISTER OF
INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, IN ABUJA ON THURSDAY, 25 MARCH 2020

Good afternoon gentlemen, and welcome to this press conference, called
to update you on the measures being taken by the Federal Government to
tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.

2. I want to say straight away that our strategy at containing this
pandemic is working, but we still have a long way to go. We know our
priorities and we know our challenges. We have taken very bold
measures in stopping international flights into the country, and we
hail the state governments that have take equally bold measures in
their states, which include the closure of markets and the prohibition
of large congregations.

3. However, we are determined to be more aggressive in enforcing the
measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, such as:
– Social distancing
– Contact tracing
– Testing
– Isolation of suspected cases
– And ensuring that our messaging gets down to the grassroots

4. Gentlemen, I don’t intend to sound apocalyptic. But the truth is
that time is running out. If we don’t urgently and more aggressively
enforce the measures I have just listed, we have a short window within
which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the
cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.

5. In view of this, we are considering tougher measures to enforce
compliance, stop the exportation of the disease to states that do not
have it and minimize spread. Possible measures include:
– Stopping inter-state/inter-town travels, except for essential services
– Closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations. Already, all
train movements nationwide have been stopped.
– Using fire fighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate
cities and towns.
We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time,
but rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best
interest of Nigerians.

6. Let me announce that we have received donated safety and test
kits from the Jack Ma Foundation in China. The supplies are:
– 100,000 Face Masks
– 1,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
– 20,000 test kits
The face masks and the PPE will be distributed to the front-line
health workers while the test kits will be shared among the five test
laboratories.

7. We are also taking measures to increase the number of bed spaces
for isolation of suspects. The facilities we have now include the
40-bed DSS Hotel, the 60-bed Medical Centre in Zuba and the 160-bed
Women Development Centre in Abuja, We are still looking at other
facilities within the Federal Capital Territory.

8. As we said during our last press conference, contact tracing is
very critical to stopping the spread of the virus. Today, we have 51
cases covering 8 states:
Lagos – 32
FCT – 10
Ogun – 3
Ekiti – 1
Edo – 1
Bauchi – 1
Osun – 1
Oyo – 1
Rivers – 1
We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are
tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to
immediately report to the authorities. We urge Nigerians to support
the authorities in this regard. We are on the verge of reaching the
level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will
record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to
say this.

9. Let me say, without mincing words, that we are not getting the
kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians. Many are
busy engaging in meaningless criticisms instead of complying with the
stipulated directives to keep people safe. Some Nigerians who flew
into the country from overseas filled wrong addresses and phone
numbers in their forms, making it difficult to trace them when the
need arises. Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large
gatherings while some religious leaders willfully flouted the
directives to ensure social distancing. The government is doing its
best but we need the citizens to do their best too. We have now gone past
the stage of persuasion. It’s time for strong enforcement.

10. This brings me to the rising instances of fake news associated
with coronavirus. The epidemic of fake news is now competing with the
pandemic of coronavirus, and this is not helping the fight against the
disease. Instances of such fake news include
– That there are only two ventilators in Abuja, out of which one has
been commandeered for a top government official
– That a British Airways Flight was due to land in Nigeria on
Wednesday despite the closure of all international airports.
– That President Muhammadu Buhari has been coughing and is now on ventilator.
Fake. Fake. Fake. It’s all fake news.

11. A section of the traditional media has also been engaging in
scaremongering and irresponsible reporting on the disease. It is wrong
to speculate on those who are positive or negative for coronavirus
without any empirical information. In any case, being positive to
coronavirus is not a death sentence, as we can see around the world.
There is no need for the kind of scaremongering we are seeing in a
section of the
media. The danger is that this scaremongering can even discourage some
who may want to come forward for testing. We therefore wish to appeal
to the media to be more circumspect in their reporting.

12. Gentlemen, we have noted the decision of at least five domestic
airlines – Air Peace, Aero and Azman, Dana and Arik – to suspend their flight
operations. The suspension is a boost for the efforts of the
government to check the spread of the pandemic. Some of the airlines have also
announced one form of support or another for the government’s efforts
to tackle the
pandemic. This is very commendable. We are aware of more private sector support
to the FG and will be announcing this after full compilation. We seek
the support and
cooperation of more capable individuals and organizations in order to
defeat this pandemic.

13. Finally, we appeal to Nigerians not to panic. It is said that
panic is our greatest enemy. The Federal Government is determined to
work with the good people of Nigeria to defeat Covid-19. And defeat
the disease we will.

14. I thank you, gentlemen, for your kind attention. I will now take
your questions.

200 Million Nigerians To Receive Fair Return On Surfeit Of Resources – Lai Mohammed

 

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that for the first time under our amended law, 200 million Nigerians will start to receive a fair return on the surfeit of resources of the nation’s lands. 

While addressing a news conference on Monday in Lagos where he highlighted the government’s achievement in 2019, Mr. Mohammed said increased income will allow for new hospitals, schools, infrastructure, and jobs.

The minister said over the years Nigeria has failed to secure its equitable share of the proceeds of oil production because all attempts to amend the law on the distribution of income have failed, adding that the present administration has broken the jinx.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Govt Has Embarked On The Most Massive Infrastructural Renewal – Lai Mohammed

“President Muhammadu Buhari, in a landmark move, signed into law the amended Deep Offshore Bill. This Act means that Nigeria will now receive its fair, rightful and equitable share of income from our own natural resources for the first time since 2003,” Lai Mohammed stated.

He also noted that 2019 has been a momentous year, adding the Buhari-led administration has taken Nigeria closer to its Next Level target.

According to him, the economy has continued to witness a strong performance, building on the steady recovery since the last recession.

“Nigeria has not reached its debt ceiling of 25% in total public debt stock to GDP (Debt/GDP), as it is currently on 18.99%, but its debt service to revenue ratio has been higher than desirable, which explains why the government is moving ahead with its economic diversification efforts, in addition to increasing oil and non-oil revenues and widening the tax base,” he stressed.

The Minister told newsmen that the security of lives and property has remained a priority of the present administration, adding that this has led to a tremendous improvement that has been witnessed in fighting terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other acts of criminality.

While agreeing that the year was indeed a challenging one in terms of insecurity, Mr. Mohammed however, argued that the Federal Government faced the challenge squarely to cancel doomsday predictions from the political opposition and their allies.

He concluded that the fight against insecurity was boosted by the border drill, which curtailed access to weapons by terrorists and other criminals.

FG Sets Up Committee To Tackle Fake News

Kajura Attack: FG Sends Security Operatives After Killers Of Nigerian, Briton
File: Mr Lai Mohammed addresses a press conference in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that a committee has been set up to implement the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on tackling hate speech and fake news.

Mr. Mohammed who disclosed this during a meeting with online publishers in Lagos on Sunday said that hate speech and fake news are the ‘Siamese twins
of evil’, and no responsible government will sit by and allow such to rule the airwaves.

He called on online publishers to support the national campaign and fight the menace which he claimed, is getting worse.

“Let me be clear: we didn’t think the issue will suddenly disappear, but we also didn’t think it will get worse, which is what it is now. In fact, it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity.

“No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to rule the airwaves, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration. That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.”

READ ALSO: SERAP Asks EFCC, ICPC To Investigate MDAs Over Recruitment Sandals

Mr. Mohammed gave the highlights of the approved recommendations which includes; Independence of the NBC from political interference in the
exercise of its regulatory powers, Upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speeches.

He added that the committee has been tasked to end the issue of monopoly in the broadcast industry, and no amount of coordinated attack will whittle down the implementation of the recommendations.

“Let me be straight: No amount of attacks sponsored or otherwise will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations. And only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.

“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to fear. This is not a move to stifle free speech or gag anyone. But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep easy.”

FG Confirms Chibok Girls’ Release

Lai-Mohammed-Nigeria-Minister-of-information, Chibok GirlsThe Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has confirmed the release of 21 girls out of the over 200 school girls abducted from the government secondary school in Chibok two years ago.

The Minister at a press conference in Abuja stated that the federal government secured the release of the girls through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.

“We can confirm that 21 of the girls were released, safely, to us by 5.30 this Thursday morning and they were flown to Kaduna from the location of their release.

“This is the most glaring manifestation to date of the unwavering commitment of Mr. President to secure the safe release of the girls and reunite them with their families.

“It is also a result of the round-the-clock efforts by the Administration to put a closure to the sad issue of the kidnap of the girls.

“We expect the released girls to land in Abuja shortly. Ahead of their arrival, we have assembled a team of medical doctors, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, etc. to properly examine the girls, especially because they have been in captivity for so long.

“They will also be adequately debriefed. We have the list of the 21 girls but we are now contacting their parents as part of the necessary verification exercise.

“As soon as that is concluded, we will release the names to the public.

“As we have always said, we have been working on the safe release of the girls and following all the leads available.

“In this instance, the moment we had a credible lead, Mr President gave the green-light to the DSS to pursue it. We can confirm that the DSS pursued the lead in collaboration with a friendly European country and a renowned international humanitarian organization. The DSS was supported by the military,” he stated.

The Minister however clarified that the release secured by the government is based on confidence and not a swap arrangement with the terrorists group.

He added that as soon as the necessary confidence was built on both sides, the parties agreed on the date and the location of the release of the 21 girls.

“Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.

“We see this as a credible first step in the eventual release of all the Chibok girls in captivity. It is also a major step in confidence-building between us as a government and the Boko Haram leadership on the issue of the Chibok Girls.

“We want to thank all Nigerians for their support and for never losing confidence in the ability of Mr. President to secure the safe release of our Chibok Girls,” he concluded.

 

FG Dismisses Proposed Sale Of Assets As ‘Mere Speculation’

lai-mohammed on CorruptionThe Federal Government has described as mere speculation, talks of a proposed sale of national assets for the purposes of getting Nigeria out of recession, saying government is ‎yet to take a decision on the matter.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was only discussed and endorsed as a Medium Term Expenditure Framework and remains a suggestion but not a solution decided upon by government to rebound the economy.

Contrary to reports that government has already listed conditions that must be met before the sale of certain national assets, top among them the insertion of a buy-back clause in the assets sales agreements, the Information Minister says government is yet to reveal elaborate plans to take the country out of recession.

The National Economic Council headed by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo had last Thursday proposed and endorsed plans to sell some national assets, in line with government’s target to raise between ten to fifteen billion dollars to revamp the economy, following the drop in the nation’s monthly foreign earnings to about three hundred million dollars.

The proposed sale was swiftly rejected by the Senate in a thorough debate at its plenary, just as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened to embark on mass protest against the proposed sale.‎‎

The Federal Executive Council meeting also approved three memos; the National Water Policy, the National Irrigation Policy and a draft National Water Resources Bill all aimed at tackling the numerous water challenges in the country.

The Water Resources Minister, Mr Suleiman Adamu, is positive that the three bills and policy will help Nigeria bridge the gap in the sector and enhance Nigeria’s current agricultural production agenda and the National Irrigation Policy Roadmap 2030.

You Don’t Collect Returned Loot Without Criminal Procedure – George Uboh

Looted funds, returned loot, George ubohThe Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems, Mr George Uboh has condemned the manner in which the government has handled its recovery of looted funds.

He was on Sunrise Daily on Monday, reacting to the government’s decision to withhold names of persons involved in the list of recovered monies and assets released during the weekend.

He believes that concerned authorities are not being sincere with Nigerians in their handling of the anti-corruption campaign by the Nigerian government.

“If a minister on the run comes and says ‘look I have one billion Naira I want to return’, you don’t accept it without going through the criminal procedure,” he argued.

He explained that the removal of the sources of those monies meant that another government would not be able to ascertain that those persons who funds have been traced to have returned such monies traced to them.

He also accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of holding on to some of the recovered funds as he had several documents to back up his claims, having worked for the government to trace looted funds.

“I was engaged by the federal government to trace funds trapped in financial institutions and within 27 days I traced in different currencies aggregate 324 billion Naira. So if the government is coming as a government saying they traced a little over a hundred billion in one year, you be the judge,” he said.

Mr Uboh’s engagement has since been revoked by the Attorney-General of the Federation but he insisted that by recent happenings, he had been vindicated on his past allegations against the EFCC and details of traced loots which he has made public on several occasions.

“I have always accused the EFCC, I have the evidence…and with this (his) engagement I have been able to find the monies EFCC is hiding and more.”

Appointed In Error

The Attorney-General of the Federation, in a letter published in the media had asked the President to disregard Mr Uboh’s published claims that he had traced the amount totalling 1.9 trillion Naira.

Mr Uboh claimed that he was aware of this and had taken it up with the AGF who told him that there had been a public outcry and other ministers had demanded that his engagement for the tracing of looted funds should be revoked.

The AGF’s letter also stated that Mr Uboh was engaged in error as he was later discovered to have been “previously convicted in the United States for bank fraud and was recently jailed by an FCT High Court for fraud related issues”.

Mr Uboh said that the most convenient excuse is for anybody to say he is an ex-convict but “If the evidence I proffered against the EFCC is fake, arrest me. If the evidence I have proffered regarding my tracing is fake, arrest me.

“What has that got to do with anything? Is he denying that he signed the engagement letter?” he asked. He clarified that he was not contesting the issue of the revocation of his engagement but was only insisting on the recovery of what he had traced during his engagement.

“I have the record, names, and account numbers of all the monies I traced…the government has to answer, why are these funds traced not recovered?

He would not deny his conviction as stated by the AGF but insisted that the case was in appeal as he was wrongfully convicted. He vowed that he would win the appeal and clear his name.

On his conviction in the US, he further said, “I am celebrating my conviction. You know why? Because my conviction elevated me to the status of all the idols I admire all over the world who have been arrested, detained, in some cases jailed for fighting corruption and injustice globally. It comes with the territory.”

Distortion of Records

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Emeka Onohwakpor, agrees with Mr Uboh’s demand that names should have been published with the funds and assets recovered.

Giving a slightly different perspective, he believes that the names should have been published in order to ensure proper record.

While Mr Oboh earlier suggested there might be a cover up, Mr Onohwakpor believes that the decision to withhold names is a loop hole for more fraud to be committed as there are possibilities that some persons are concealing information.

Emeka-OnohwakporThe lawyer also warned that the manner in which the recoveries were declared will allow for distortion of the records.

He added that anyone who indeed returned money after discovering that monies paid for services were stolen, cannot at the moment be sure if what they returned have gone to the government..

“If somebody who has been accused of looting funds refunds one billion dollars and only 500 million is declared, then there is a problem,” he said.

“We cannot just leave it to only one side declaring what they got. The side that gave, you even owe them a duty to say ‘I got this from Mr B’.

Mr Onohwakpor disagreed with the government’s stance that they might be liable to litigation if they publish names of persons they have recovered monies and other assets from.

He said that publishing a list of recoveries and their sources does not mean the persons mentioned have been tagged looters or have been declared guilty of fraud.

“And the issue of whether it is going to tarnish their image; I don’t think it comes in here because if the money you’re returning to the government is gotten through legitimate means you put your case out there. Nobody is accusing you.”

He also stated that a media organisation or the federal government would not be liable to any form of litigation for naming persons they recovered monies or assets from as long as they truly returned such money. “The point is, let it not be a lie,” he said.

He admitted that no one can be declared guilty until the courts say so but having returned money, the burden of proof swings to the person to proof his innocence.

He also dismissed the view that some persons were not aware that the sources of the monies they were paid for services were illegal arguing that being overpaid should have been an indication that the sources were fraudulent.

“The way forward is to create a level playing field. It doesn’t matter who is involved,” he advised.

 

FG Releases Interim Report On Financial, Assets Recoveries

PresidencyThe Federal Government has finally released the interim report on funds and assets recovered from individuals who looted the nation’s treasury.

According to a statement from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the total cash recoveries comes to the sum of seventy eight point three billion Naira; one hundred and eight five million point one US Dollars, three point five million Pounds, and eleven thousand Euros, from May 29, 2015 to May 25, 2016.

This comes after the Federal Government failed to publish the list of individuals and the amount stolen on May 29, as earlier promised.

Full text here:

PRESS RELEASE 
LOOTING: FG RELEASES INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL, ASSETS RECOVERIES

The Federal Government made cash recoveries totaling N78,325,354,631.82 (Seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo); $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US Dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros) from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016.

In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also disclosed that Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period totaled N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo; $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents; 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents).

According to the statement, which is based on the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016, the Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions total $321,316,726.1 (Three hundred and twenty one million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty six Dollars, one cent); 6,900,000 Pounds (Six million, nine hundred thousand Pounds) and 11,826.11 Euros (Eleven thousand, eight hundred and twenty six Euros, 11 cents).

It showed that Non-Cash Recoveries (Farmlands, Plots of Land, Uncompleted Buildings, Completed Buildings, Vehicles and Maritime Vessels) during the period total 239.

The following is the breakdown of the recovered cash and assets: 

INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL AND ASSET RECOVERIES MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM 29 MAY 2015 TO 25 MAY 2016

Cash Recoveries

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1EFCC Cash at hand39,169,911,023.00128,494,076.662,35511,250
2Royalty/tax/payment to FGN account in JP Morgan account New York4,642,958,711.4840,727,253.65
3ONSA Funds Recovery Account in CBN5,665,305,527.418,000,000.00
4VAT recovered from companies by ONSA529,588,293.47
5EFCC Recovered Funds Account in CBN19,267,730,359.36455,253.80
6ICPC Revenue Collection Recovery in CBN869,957,444.89
7Office of the Attorney General5,500,000,0005,500,000
8DSS Recoveries47,707,000.51,943,000.53,506,000.46
9ICPC Cash Asset Recovery2,632,196,271.71
Total78,325,354,631.82185,119,584.613,508,355.4611,250

 

Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Cash in bank under interim forfeiture8,281,577,243.921,819,866,364.733,800.00113,399.17
2Amount frozen in bank48,159,179,518.907,131,369,498.49605,647.55
3Value of properties under interim forfeiture41,534,605,998.0077,844,600.001,875,000.00190,000.00
4Value of cars under interim forfeiture52,500,000.00
5ONSA Funds under interim forfeiture27,001,464,125.2043,771,433.73
6Value of Assets Recovered by ONSA512,000,000.00
7ONSA Assets under interim forfeiture260,000,000.00
8DSS Recoveries Frozen in Banks658,929,000.00226,476.20
9EFCC Cash in Bank under final forfeiture103,225,209.4117,165,547.00
Total126,563,481,095.439,090,243,920.152,484,447.55303,399.17
Grand Total204,888,835,727.259,275,363,504.765,992,803.01314,649.17

 

Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions

JurisdictionUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Switzerland321000000
2UK6900000
3UAE31050111826.11
4USA6225.1
Total321,316,726.16,900,00011,826.11

 

Non Cash Recoveries    

SerialItems Quantity
  ICPCEFCCONSA
1Farmland22  
2Plot of Land4  
3Uncompleted Building1  
4Completed Building331454
5Vehicles223 
6Maritime Vessels 5 
Total821534

 

Segun Adeyemi

SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture

Lagos

4 June 2016

Rivers APC Members Rejoice Over Tribunal Judgement

Rivers APCMembers of the Rivers State APC took to singing and dancing at the APC secretariat in Port Harcourt, the rivers state capital on Saturday following the election tribunal judgement that annulled the April 11 governorship election in the state.

Many of the Rivers APC members were seen carrying posters of their governorship candidate at the last elections, Dakuku Peterside, and singing solidarity songs but the PDP in the state has said that the merriment might be short lived.

In a press statement signed by the Media Adviser to the Chairman of the party, Jerry Needam, the party referred to the judgement as a travesty of justice, insisting that the party would exhaust all legal options to upturn what it called a conspiracy against Rivers people.

The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Chris Finebone, however, stated that his party is not bothered by any legal move that the PDP might make.

According to him, the Rivers APC is confident that the tribunal judgement that nullified Governor Wike’s election has made the job easy for both the Appeal Court and Supreme Court.

Rivers Governorship Tribunal: PDP, Wike To Appeal Judgment

RiversThe Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike say that they will appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship tribunal which nullified Wike’s election as Governor.

Addressing journalists after the judgment, counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche (SAN), said that Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.

He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal makes appeal vital as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.

Mr Uche noted that the tribunal’s reliance on card reader accreditation to nullify the governorship election when evidence was led by both the respondents and the petitioners that both card reader and manual accreditation were used for the election requires testing at the court of appeal.

According to the lawyer, it is shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the tribunal sent notice that judgment would be delivered this morning.

PDP Rejects Rivers Governorship Tribunal Judgement

pdpThe Peoples Democratic Party has declared the verdict of the Rivers State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja as bias, bizarre and unacceptable.



The party expressed its position on the judgement in a press statement that was signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh.

He said that the judgement is part of the ruling All Progressives Congress plot to manipulate the will of the people

The Peoples Democratic Party is also picking fault with the 24-hour time frame after the various counsels to the case submitted their written addresses to the tribunal, saying the judgement was delivered in a hurry.

Mr Metuh also called on the international community to note plots by the ruling party to upturn the party’s victory in other states including Taraba, Abia and Delta states.

The Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Saturday, nullified the election of Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as the Governor of Rivers State, on grounds that his election did not comply with electoral guidelines.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Ambrosa , ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the state within 90 days of the ruling.

Deadly Blow To Impunity

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Saturday’s judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that overturned the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as a deadly body blow to impunity and hooliganism.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the judgement has shown clearly that the era of impunity and hooliganism was over and that the only way for elections to have legitimacy is for them to be free, fair and credible.

The party hailed its governorship candidate in Rivers, Mr Dakuku Peterside, for his doggedness and strong conviction in the pursuit of his petition against the election of Wike that was not only marred by widespread violence and electoral malfeasance, but also acknowledged to be so by local and international observers and now, by the judiciary.

Wike To Appeal

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike say that they will appeal the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship tribunal.

Counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche (SAN), said that Governor Nyesom Wike remains governor until the appeal processes are exhausted.

He added that the nature of the judgment delivered by the Justice Ambrosa-led tribunal makes appeal vital as the new position adopted by the tribunal must be tested in the interest of justice.

Just as the PDP said, the lawyer also found it shocking that less than 24 hours after lawyers on all sides submitted nine written addresses and documents, the tribunal sent notice that judgment would be delivered on Saturday morning.

 

Rivers Tribunal Judgement, Deadly Blow To Impunity – APC

APCThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Saturday’s judgement of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that overturned the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party as a deadly body blow to impunity and hooliganism.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that the judgement has shown clearly that the era of impunity and hooliganism was over and that the only way for elections to have legitimacy is for them to be free, fair and credible.

”What has come across from this judgement is that there is no shortcut to free, fair and credible elections. This is part of the wind of change that is blowing across the land and touching all arms of government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

”Elections are about the expression of the will of the people and they must always be free to express themselves, irrespective of what some desperate politicians may feel,” he said.

The APC said that politicians, especially those seeking or occupying elective office, must realize that they can only derive their legitimacy from the people and that unless they respect the wishes of the people, they would not go far.

The party hailed its governorship candidate in Rivers, Mr Dakuku Peterside, for his doggedness and strong conviction in the pursuit of his petition against the election of Wike that was not only marred by widespread violence and electoral malfeasance, but also acknowledged to be so by local and international observers and now, by the judiciary.

The statement urged all APC members and supporters in the state to remain peaceful, even in the face of provocation.

Senate Confirms 18 Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesEighteen of the 37 ministerial nominees from the list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the Senate.

They include Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril, Babatunde Fashola, Aisha Alhassan.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Solomon Dalong, Ibe Kachukwu, Kemi Adeosun, Abubakar Malami, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige.

At the end of plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki read out the names of the nominees who had fielded questions from the lawmakers. The senators in a vote confirmed all 18 nominees.

The lawmakers carried out the confirmation.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was the first to take the stand at the Senate chambers today.

Mr Fashola held his audience spell bound for almost an hour and half answering questions from senators.

He told them that as governor for eight years in office he did not sign a cheque.

Mr Fashola also responded to questions on loyalty and on the 78 million naira allegedly sank to build a website.

Watch all videos of the Senates’s screening of the ministerial nominees on Channels Television YouTube channel.