Court Stops INEC From Conducting By-Election To Fill 14 Edo Assembly Seats

 

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting a fresh election to replace 14 Edo House of Assembly members-elect yet to be inaugurated to take their seats. 

The electoral body was restrained from conducting any election to fill the 14 seats declared vacant, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit against the leadership of the house.

The restraining order was a sequel to a motion ex-parte filed by the members-elect.

The state legislators-elect who instituted the legal action include; Victor Edoro, Washington Osifo, Vincent Uwadiae, Kingsley Ugabi, Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Sunday Aghedo and Chris Okaeben.

Others are Crosby Eribo, Aliyu Oshiomhole, Oshomah Ahmed, Ganiyu Audu, Ugiagbe Dumez, Uyi Ekhosuehi and Eric Okaka.

They had approached the court, seeking an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from conducting by-elections in respect of their seats in the Edo State House of Assembly purportedly declared vacant by the speaker on December 4, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

READ ALSO: INEC Fixes Date To Conduct 28 Reruns, By-Elections

The suit dated December 10, 2019, has as respondents Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Honourable Frank Okiye and INEC as first and second defendants respectively.

Delivering ruling in the ex-parte with suit: number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1582/19 and filed by Damian Dodo SAN, on behalf of the 14 lawmakers, Justice Mohammed ordered that parties in the suit should not take any further steps pending the determination of the motion before the court.

The judge had at the last hearing ordered the first and second defendants to appear before the court on December 19 to show cause why the interim injunction being sought by the plaintiffs vide their motion ex-parte should not be granted.

Justice Mohammed also ordered that the enrolled order to show cause on motion ex-parte for an interim injunction, motion on notice for interlocutory injunction and the originating processes should be served on the respondents.

The judge, who ordered that hearing notice be issued on the respondents, had then adjourned the matter till December 19 for Okiye and INEC to appear and show cause.

Although the court did sit at the adjourned date (December 19, 2019) parties in the suit were given January 7, 2020, for further proceeding.When the matter came up today, counsel to the applicants, Ikhide Ehighelua reminded the court about the motion ex-parte filed on December 10, 2019.

“My Lord, my learned friend from INEC is here today,” he said.

Responding, INEC’s lawyer, Femi Adeyemi, though acknowledged that the commission was served with all the processes, including the enrolled order, said it was not served with the motion ex-parte.

Adeyemi, who told the court that INEC’s position on the matter was to be neutral, said the electoral umpire did not oppose the application filed by the plaintiffs.

“My Lord, our position is that we want to retain our neutrality,” he told the judge.

He hinted that he had not filed an affidavit in support of the commission’s position.

Justice Mohammed, however, said based on provisions of Order 26 Rules 11, 12 and 13 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, where a defendant is asked to come and show cause, the defendant is expected to file an affidavit in evidence and not a piece of oral evidence.

“What you are telling me here is evidence. I understand you very well. You filed an affidavit that you want to be neutral.

“File an affidavit and explain there even if it is two paragraphs, but not to stand at the bar and explain,” the judge said.

The court held that INEC has decided not to oppose the applications filed by the lawmakers, the commission should restrain itself from taking further step since the matter was still pending in court.

Justice Mohammed, in addition, ordered INEC to file an affidavit in support of its position and to show cause why the interim injunction should not be granted before the next adjourned date.

The Judge ordered that the 1st defendant, Mr Okiye, who was not represented in court be issued with the hearing notice, adjourned the matter till January 28.

Obaseki Alleges Arson Of Markets, EDPA Building In Edo

 

Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said that the fire that razed the Ekiosa market and the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) building was no accident.

Governor Obaseki after inspecting the affected places at the EDPA building alleged that those who want to see his administration fail are behind the incident.

“If you thought the incidence in the markets were accidents, you cannot tell me that the fire on the sixth floor of this building could have been an accident.”

READ ALSO: Customs Intercept Smuggled Goods Worth N108m, Arrest Six Suspects

He assured the traders and residents of the state that the government will ensure a thorough investigation is carried out and those found culpable will face the wrath of the law.

“These are clear incidents of arson and as a government; we will do all that is necessary and required to make sure we get to the bottom of it.”

The inferno on Sunday destroyed goods and properties, leaving traders scampering to rescue some items.

Oyegun Declares Support For Obaseki’s Second Term

Former National Chairman of the Al Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Odigie-Oyegun has declared support for the second term bid of the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

 

Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Odigie-Oyegun has declared support for the second term bid of the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

Speaking at a meeting of Edo State Indigenes in Abuja on Thursday, Oyegun asked those who are against the governor’s ambition to have a re-think.

According to him, Obaseki has been able to do some of the things previous governors were unable to do for the benefit of the people.

READ ALSO: Kogi Governor Bello Dissolves Cabinet

The APC chieftain noted that since Obaseki assumed office in 2016, his administration has initiated people-oriented policies that reflect the dreams and aspiration of the founding fathers of the state.

“Mr Governor, you are standing for dignity. Mr Governor, you are standing for the truth. Mr Governor, you are standing for the type of Nigerian nation that we preached in 2015. A nation that will change ethically, morally, a nation that will know truth from falsehood, a nation that is ready to defend what is right at all times.

“Given the way you became governor, given the role that you are playing today, given the kind of example that you are showing to Nigerians, people should be ready to fight for the truth. They don’t know how difficult it is to reconcile a man who has truth with a man who wants to compromise those principles at all cost.

“So it is our prayer that courage will not fail you. That the people of your state will stand by you and to assure you that we will stand by you,” he stated.

PHOTOS: Esther Edigin Sworn In As New Edo Chief Judge

Justice Esther Edigin takes the oath of office as the Chief Judge of Edo State on November 22, 2019.

 

 

Justice Esther Edigin has been sworn in as the seventh Chief Judge of Edo State.

She takes over from Justice Esohe Ikponmwen who is now retired.

The swearing-in ceremony held on Friday at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

It had in attendance the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, as well as top government officials and members of the judiciary in the state.

In his address at the ceremony, Governor Obaseki asked the new chief judge to expedite effective service delivery in the state’s judiciary.

Justice Edigin, in her response, said that the fight against corruption would be top on her priority list.

Highlights of the event are captured in the pictures below:

Edo APC Suspends National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole

A file photo of APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, addressing a press conference in Abuja.

 

 

The crisis in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new twist with the suspension of the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

The decision followed the vote of no confidence reportedly passed on Mr Oshiomhole on Tuesday by the Chairmen of the APC in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

A statement jointly signed by the APC Chairman and Assistant Secretary in Edo, Anselm Ojezua and Ikuenobe Anthony, respectively explained that Oshiomhole was suspended for his alleged role in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

“Consequent on the development, the State Executive Committee has adopted the vote of no confidence passed on him and the subsisting suspension order from the organs of the party in the state.

“The vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole and the suspension are the fallout of his role in trying to disintegrate the party in Edo State,” it said.

READ ALSO: Edo APC LG Chairmen Ask Party’s National Leadership To Expel Obaseki

The state party chieftains stressed that the suspension was necessary to prevent a repeat of what happened in Zamfara State, where the APC was unable to field any candidate in 2019 general elections.

The statement added, “Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC. We have passed a vote of no confidence in him and he stands suspended from the party.

“We don’t want what happened in Zamfara State or other parts of the country to happen in Edo State.”

In another statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the body and Etsako West Chairman, Ibrahim Akokia, as well as his Etsako Central and Owan West counterparts, Suleiman Bagudu and Lugard Alukpe respectively, the 18 LGA Chairmen of APC in Edo distanced themselves from Oshiomhole’s suspension.

They insisted that they were not aware of such a meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on Oshiomhole who they said was “doing very well”.

On the contrary, they accused the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, of harassment and intimidation, adding that his actions could pull down the APC in the state.

They, therefore, called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to expel Governor Obaseki from the party over allegations of anti-party activities.

Edo Kidnap: Traditional Rulers Demand Justice Iheme’s Release

Alleged Fraud: Judge Withdraws Over Defendant’s Plea For Favour

 

The Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers has demanded the immediate release of Justice Chioma Iheme unconditionally.

The Deputy Chairman of the Council, Chijioke Okwara, made the demand on behalf of the royal fathers while addressing reporters on Tuesday at the palace of the Chairman of the Council in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

He made the request one week after gunmen kidnapped Justice Iheme of the Court of Appeal in Edo State.

READ ALSO: Fire Guts Section Of Balogun Market

Okwara described the incident as quite unfortunate, claiming that the security operatives have done nothing to ensure that the judge regains her freedom.

He, therefore, noted that an illustrious daughter of Imo from Nkwerre Local Government Area of the state, the traditional rulers demand Justice Iheme’s immediate and unconditional release.

The traditional ruler also called President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors, and security operatives among other relevant stakeholders to do everything possible to find a permanent solution to the security challenges in the country.

Gunmen Kidnap Another Judge In Edo

 

Gunmen have abducted another judge this time in Benin City the Edo state capital.

Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Benin Court of Appeal was kidnapped today on her way to the court.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dan-Mallam Mohammed, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television, says a manhunt has been launched to track down the gunmen and rescue the judge.

READ ALSO: Ambode’s Probe: Court Adjourns Case Till Nov 20

Justice Nwosu-Iheme is known to be Nigeria’s first female judge to study law up to the Ph.D. level, specialising in the law of intellectual property.

Her abduction comes days after a federal high court judge in Akure, Ondo state justice Abdul Dogo, was freed by kidnappers who had abducted him on Tuesday last week at the border between Edo and Ondo states.

Justice Dogo was rescued on Saturday by operatives of the inspector general’s intelligence response team from a forest behind the federal college of education in Itakpe, Kogi state.

Judge Kidnapped In Edo Regains Freedom

Alleged Fraud: Judge Withdraws Over Defendant’s Plea For Favour

 

The Federal High Court judge, Justice Abdul Dogo, who was kidnapped on Tuesday at Ibilo, in Edo state has been rescued.

A police source confirmed to Channels Television that Justice Dogo was rescued in the early hours of today by operatives of the inspector general’s intelligence response team.

He said Justice Dogo was released from a forest behind the Federal College of Education in Itape, Kogi state.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Akure Federal High Court Judge

Although the victim was said to have sustained a minor injury, he has since been reunited with his family in Abuja.

The gunmen had demanded a 50 million naira ransom but it was not confirmed if any ransom was paid.

Justice Dogo of the Federal High Court Akure in Ondo State was kidnapped along with his driver at the Ibilo/Isua Akoko axis, a border area between Ondo and Edo states, on their way from Abuja to Akure.

VIDEO: Youths Shut Benin-Lagos Highway As Car Kills Four People


 

It was a sad day for the residents of Uselu in Edo State as four ladies were killed by a BMW saloon car.

The incident happened on Saturday in Egor Local Government Area of the state.

According to witnesses, the car rammed into the victims while they were waiting to board a bus along the Benin-Lagos highway.

READ ALSO: Judge Kidnapped In Edo Regains Freedom

A picture of the car said to have killed four people in Edo State on October 26, 2019.

 

This caused tension in the area as a crowd of angry youths stormed the scene and razed down the car involved in the accident.

The youths also locked down the road while some of them told Channels Television in an interview that some police officers allegedly shot and took away three persons in their bid to clear the blockade they had set up.

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, who visited the scene confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He also gave assurance that the police would launch an immediate investigation into the purported shooting by the security operatives.

Civil Societies Protest, Reject Privatisation Of Edo Specialist Hospital

Members of the Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO) protest at the State Specialist Hospital in Benin City on October 22, 2019.

 

 

Civil groups in Edo State have staged a protest against the alleged privatisation of the Specialist Hospital by the state government.

The protesters, under the aegis of Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), stormed the facility on Tuesday to reject the purported action of the government.

They had stated a similar demonstration on Friday last week and threatened to empty the facility of patients and staff should there be any on the ground on their arrival today.

READ ALSO: Police Promote Senior Officers, Retire Two DIGs

Dozens of protesters participated in the demonstration which took place at the Edo State Specialist Hospital located on Sapele Road in Benin City, the state capital.

The state government has since denied the allegation of privatising the hospital as claimed by the protesters.

Edo Govt To Demolish Illegal Structures

 

The Edo State Government is set to commence the demolition of illegal structures erected on government property, including public schools and waterways in Benin City and other major settlements in the state.

The Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Erimona Edorodion, announced this in a statement on Thursday.

The exercise will also affect roof eave-extensions and structures erected on the right of way of roads, moats, riverbanks, as well as buildings closed to high tension lines of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Dr Edorodion explained that said the exercise became necessary to address the challenges of poor living and working environment and incessant cases of flooding in urban centres.

He said, “The exercise will involve development control activities to ensure that illegal structures which are poorly constructed and wrongly sited are demolished.

“It will also ensure that developments that are involved in the unlawful discharge of sewage and industrial wastes into our environment are sanctioned.”

“This is in accordance with the provisions of the State’s Extant Town Planning and Environmental Laws and Regulations and to ensure that our living and working environment is safe, healthy, convenient and aesthetically pleasing,” he added.

The commissioner asked developers to demolish or remove illegal structures and reinstate such land to its original status prior to the illegal construction.

He warned property owners and developers involved in the violation of the state’s environmental laws to desist from such practice.

Dr Edorodion said, “The relevant ministry shall enforce the provisions of the Extant Environmental and Town Planning Laws of the State, to control illegal development.

“The cost of such action shall be recovered from the violators in a law court of competent jurisdiction and they shall be prosecuted accordingly.”

Teachers’ Day: Edo Has The Lowest Out-Of-School Children, Says Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, says his state has the lowest level of out-of-school children in the country.

The governor stated this on Saturday during the 2019 World Teachers’ Day which held at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Obaseki also blamed the challenges of unemployment and human trafficking on what he described as poor education.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Marks 2019 World Teachers’ Day

According to him, his administration did not just build classrooms across the state but also addressed the issues from the foundation level.

“The fact is that if a teacher is not in class, the child will not learn. If the teacher does not know what to teach the child, there will be no learning.

“What is most important as to anything in life is the foundation. If you do not make the right investment or commitment to the foundations of education, then people will not learn,” he said.

Speaking further, the governor explained that the state government has prioritised both basic and technical education within the last two years.

His remarks come shortly after being honoured as the Most Educationally Friendly Governor of the year for some strides recorded by his administration in education.