Court Orders INEC To Issue Certificate Of Return To Okorocha

Okorocha Sets Up 21-Member Transition Committee

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to immediately issue the Certificate of Return to the immediate-past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, as the Senator-Elect for the Imo West Senatorial District.

Justice Okon Abang who made the order in a judgment on the suit filed by Okorocha,challengingINECs decision to withhold his certificate of return after he was declared the winner of February 23, 2019, National Assembly Election in the Imo West Senatorial District, described INECs action as lawless and arbitrary.

Justice Abang also held that Okorocha having been declared the winner of the election, INEC no longer had any legal authority to withhold a certificate of return due to him.

The judge held, once the declaration is made under section 68(c) of the electoral act, INEC has become functus officio and INEC has no lawful authority to withhold the certificate of return for any reason whatsoever.

He also held that the issue of duress is unknown to both the electoral act and the constitution of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Imo Govt Sets Up 8-Man Committee To Probe Okorochas Administration

Justice Abang ruled that Okorocha remained elected subject to the outcome of the ongoing proceedings of the National Assembly election petition tribunal.

He, therefore, ordered, that INEC shall forthwith publish and circulate the name of the plaintiff as the senator-elect representing Orlu Imo West Senatorial District and also issue Okorocha the certificate of return as the Senator-Elect representing Imo West Senatorial District.

The judge also awarded the cost of N200, 000 against INEC in favour of Okorocha, while also ordering each of the seven defendants in the suit to pay Okorocha N100, 000 as damages.

The judge ordered the defendants to pay the costs personally to Okorocha before taking any further steps in the case.

Justice Abang added that the cost awarded against INEC would serve as deterrence to it from taking any future unlawful action.

INEC had refused to issue a certificate of return to Rochas Okorocha on the grounds that its returning officer who presided over the election complained to it that he declared the results under duress.

Ihedioha Inaugurates SSG, Vows To Ensure Separation Of Power

Imo Election: 47 Parties Vow To Challenge Ihedioha's Victory
A file photo of Imo State Governor-Elect, Emeka Ihedioha.

The Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, says his government will respect the principles of separation of power by ensuring the duties of the executive arm of government do not hamper that of the legislature and Judiciary.

He said this at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the state, Uche Onyeagocha and the Chief of Staff, Chris Okewulonu at the Government House Owerri the Imo State capital.

Read Also: Abel Diah Re-Elected Taraba Assembly Speaker

The governor stressed that his administration will adhere strictly to the Rule of Law and follow due process in order to restore sanity to the state.

Consequently, he advised the newly sworn-in government appointees to discharge their duties diligently, while calling for the support of Imo indigenes as he promised to run an all-inclusive government.

Imo Assembly Speaker Acho Ihim Resigns

 

The embattled Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, has resigned.

He resigned on Tuesday, days after 21 lawmakers in the Assembly passed a vote of no confidence on him and thereafter, asked him to step aside.

Calls for Ihim’s impeachment were hinged on a 10-count allegation bordering on gross misconduct, misappropriation of house funds, negligence of duty and illegally subduing legislative activities.

Read Also: Imo Assembly Deputy Speaker Resigns

Following the resignation, Lawman Duruji has been appointed as the new Speaker.

Court Sacks Imo APC Reps Member-Elect

Court Jails Woman Who ‘Killed’ Brother For Stealing Meat

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri the Imo state capital has sacked the member-elect representing Nkwerre/ Nwangele / Njaba / Isu Federal constituency of Imo State, Ugonna Ozurigbo under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a judgment delivered on Monday, the presiding Judge, Justice Tijani Ringim ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to issue a Certificate of Return to candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kingsley Echendu, who came second at the polls, even though the PDP nor its candidate was not a party to the suit .

The court affirmed that the plaintiff, Mr Harrison Nwadike is the rightful winner of the All Progressives Congress primary election for the Federal constituency.

READ ALSO: Alleged $40m Fraud: Court Acquits Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin

Nwadike had filed a suit against his party the APC and INEC over the submission of Ugonna Ozurigbo’s name as the candidate of the party after the primary election in the state.

Justice Ringim however declared the primary election null and void and said that the candidacy of Ozurigbo was illegitimate and ordered INEC to issue the PDP candidate Echendu who came second in the general election with a Certificate of Return as the rightful winner of the election.

The petitioner who spoke to newsmen after the judgment said that he agreed with the court ruling that his candidate was not the rightful winner of the APC primary election in the Federal constituency, but he faulted the decision of the court which ordered INEC to give the certificate of return to the PDP candidate as the winner of the election.

He insisted that ruling will be appealed.

Four Persons Escape Death As Building Collapses In Imo State

 

 

An uncompleted 2 storey building situated at No 10 Amaram Extension in Owerri, the Imo state capital has collapsed leaving four persons critically injured.

An eyewitness say the building which has been abandoned for over 20 years collapsed on Sunday afternoon.

According to the eyewitness who was part of the rescue mission, four persons, including a female occupant were rescued from the debris and have been rushed to the hospital.

READ ALSO: Student Killed As School Building Collapse In Ondo

A shop owner in front of the collapsed building Mr Modestus Chima who was bruised in the process of escape when the building collapsed on his shop confirmed that he was able to escape through a small hole beside his shop.

The cause of the collapse is yet to be ascertained but residents of the area have blamed the collapse on the poor foundation.

Meanwhile, the Imo state police command is yet to come up with any statement on this recent development.

‘I Have Not Met Up With The Demands Of Imo State Judges’ – Okorocha

 

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has apologised to judges and lawyers in the state for not meeting up with their demands and all they have beckoned on him for.

Governor Okorocha tendered his apology on Wednesday during the inauguration of the newly built Justice Oputa High Court Complex in Owerri, the state capital.

He said, “I have not met up with the demands of the judges of Imo State, neither I have I met up with all that they have asked me to do for them.

“But I believe that by the time they come into this office, they might forget and forgive that there is something better for the future than what we are asking for today”.

READ ALSO: Okorocha Respects APC, He Has Not Left The Party – Governor Bagudu

Newly Built Oputa Complex

Listing his achievements in the state the governor said he has given the capital a facelift and urged all residents to embrace his achievements.

“I have given Owerri a new life and now Owerri is functioning.

“Our real estate is growing in a geometrical progression.

“I have turned land into capital as wealth set aside for the production of other wealth

“Only in Imo state is judged the fastest growing city outside Lagos and Abuja”

The governor whose tenure will be expiring on May 29, boasted of his administrative achievement in giving free education.

“You will remember me for the free education, for the past 8 years none of our children in primary, secondary or territory institution has paid school fees.

“We have produced more lawyers and judges which shall take after from you when the time comes.

“Our projects are there to speak for us”.

On the state health sector, he said his administration has built enough hospitals in the state adding that what is left for the incoming government is to maintain.

“Today I am proud to say that no governor would ever think about building any hospital again in the next 50 years because the issue of hospital in this land has been sealed signed and delivered”.

While rounding up his speech the governor promised lawyers and judges to clear up all outstanding salaries in the state.

“Before I leave next week I will make sure I clear all your outstanding which the CJ has reminded me about”, he added.

Imo House Of Assembly Suspends All 27 Elected LG Chairmen

 

The Imo State House of Assembly has suspended all the 27 elected local government council chairmen in the state over failure to honour an invitation to answer allegations of gross misconduct and misappropriation of funds leveled against them.

The suspension followed a motion moved by member representing Nkwerre state Constituency Mr. Chika Madumere who noted that the House had on several occasions directed the Council Chairmen to appear before it in company of their Treasurers, Directors of Administration and General Services last month but the Chairmen chose to appear alone necessitating the lawmakers to adjourn their appearance to today May 9th.

He equally added that at the resumption of plenary today, it was discovered that only the Treasurers, Directors of Administration and General Services appeared as none of the 27 local government area Chairman was present. And on several occasions the house had invited the local government chairmen through various media but at their own discretion decided to ignore the invitation of the lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Imo West Election: INEC Has No Power To Withhold My Certificate Of Return – Okorocha

The lawmakers say the idea to summon the 27 local government chairmen came after a petition was sent to the house of Assembly alleging that the chairmen appropriated funds without the approval of the Councillors.

The Speaker of the House Mr. Iheanacho Ihim therefore ruled that the Council Chairmen be suspended indefinitely while directing them to immediately hand over the affairs of the councils to the Vice Chairmen.

Mr. Ihim asked the chairmen to return all government property in their possession while urging clerk of the House to communicate the decision of the lawmakers to the state commissioner of police Mr. Rabiu Ladodo to ensure compliance.

Imo Senatorial Elections: Okorocha Petitions INEC Over Withholding Certificate Of Return

No Certificate Of Return For Okorocha, INEC Insists
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (file)

 

Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over withholding his certificate of return for the Imo West Senatorial District.

Okorocha urged the chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu to release the certificate of return without delay.

READ ALSO: Defection: Saraki, Dogara, 52 Others To Know Fate On May 17

Okorocha explained that the position of the returning officer who had alleged announcing results under duress, after announcing him the winner of the Imo West Senatorial district at the February 23, 2019 elections.

The petition by Okorocha raises concerns over an alleged conspiracy with political opponents and the commission. It added that INEC has no jurisdiction to question the authenticity of the election.

 

Certificate Of Return: Okorocha’s Suit Suffers Setback As Judge Hands-Off Case

No Certificate Of Return For Okorocha, INEC Insists
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (file)

 

 

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has washed his hands off the suit filed by the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha urging the Court to grant an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a Certificate of Return as the Senator-elect for Imo West Senatorial District.

Justice Taiwo consequently returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati for reassignment to another judge.

The decision of the judge followed allegations of bias made against him by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party for the February 23 National Assembly elections, Jones Onyeriri and that of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA); Senator Osita Izunaso.

Mr. Onyeriri in his petition addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, dated April 8, 2019, asked the judge to disqualify himself from the suit.

The petition which was signed by him, Onyeriri demanded that the judge should withdraw from the matter because of his utterances in which he “clearly prejudged the substantive issues that will be resolved in this matter and clearly showed he has taken sides with the plaintiff (Okorocha).”

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Strikes Out Appeal Over Dissolution Of Kwara APC Exco

In an affidavit deposed on their behalf by a lawyer, Chijioke Nzekwe, both men stated that Justice Taiwo on Friday told counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wendy Kuku that the commission was responsible for the problems in the election.

Mr. Nzekwe further averred that “The Judge went further to say that he has read through the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and found nothing therein that robs him of the jurisdiction to hear his suit.’

They added “’That this pronouncement shocked all the counsel who was present in court and even members of the public and journalists who were in the gallery because 2nd and 3rd defendant (INEC and Onyeriri) have Notices of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear this matter,’” he averred.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, Justice Taiwo announced his decision to rescue himself from adjudicating on the matter based on allegations of bias against him.

He further announced that the case file will be returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati for re-assignment to another judge.

Okorocha won in the February 23 Imo West senatorial election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

He was however not presented with a Certificate of return by the electoral body as his name was not listed by INEC among the senators-elect who were presented with their certificates of return by the electoral body.

Okorocha’s name was omitted following claims that the result that saw him emerge, winner of Imo West senatorial election, were allegedly declared under duress as claimed by the returning officer of the district, Professor Ibeawuchi Innocent.

FUTO Students Call For Investigation Into Deaths Of Three Colleagues

 

Students from the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Imo state, have called on the Nigeria Police Force to intensify efforts and do a proper investigation into the mysterious death of three students in a hostel on April 3rd, 2019.

The students allegedly died from an overdose of ban substances which was recovered in the room where the tragedy happened.

According to the students, a full-scale investigation would unravel what killed the three and left one other student unconscious and hospitalized.

The tragedy was discovered when students forcefully gained entrance into the room after trying to gain access for several hours.

Although the school management are yet to confirm if truly the victims are students of Federal University of Technology Owerri.

The Public Relations Officer of FUTO, Uche Bright-Nwelue, told Channels TV that where the hostel is situated is in a host community and students from the higher institutions in the state, live there.

She confirmed that the university authority is making efforts to confirm if the deceased are students of the school.

“The school heard the story, but we are not giving a confirmation yet because the university is still investigating if they are FUTO Students. The management has gone ahead to get their names, match it to the registration number.

“Where they live is outside the university environment and not the university hostel, it is a lodge around the university environment, in a host community and there are other students from the other higher institutions around and that is why we are being careful.”

READ ALSO: Zamfara Killings: I’m One Of The Unhappiest Leaders In The World, Says Buhari

According to the Public relations officer Imo Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, families of victims involved in the incident have been contacted and relevant investigations are ongoing.

He advised parents to keep watch on the activities of their children in schools and assured the public that the truth will be revealed in no distant time.

“We are making efforts in collaboration with the family members to ensure how were going to find out the actual cause of death and we have also contacted the school authorities within that area. There are two schools, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, and FUTO. In the hostel, we have students from both schools reside in that hostel.

“Both schools are checking their records to know if any of the four are their students. We are following up on investigations. We are taking it up from there and by the time investigation reveals otherwise, you will see that we are going to make arrest and then prosecution will follow.”

Police Rescue 15 Travellers Kidnapped Along Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway

 

15 travellers who were kidnapped along the Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway have regained their freedom.

The spokesperson of the Imo State Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed this to journalists on Friday.

According to him, the kidnappers intercepted the victims who were travelling on a bus from Bayelsa State and took them to a forest.

They were, however, rescued by police operatives in the Ohaji Divisional headquarters, after a fierce gun battle with the gunmen.\

Ikeokwu noted that patrols have now been intensified along the expressway to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Police Arrest Suspected Mastermind, Killer Of Magistrate Remi Ogu

 

The Imo State police command has arrested one Friday Nnaekezie from Oru west LGA of Imo state suspected to be the mastermind and killer of Late Magistrate Remi Ogu of Magistrate of Oru West Magistrate Court in Imo state.

While addressing newsmen on the development in Owerri the Imo state capital, the state’s Commissioner of Police Dasuki Galadanchi says the suspect paid the sum of 500,000 Naira to 3 hired killers from Lagos who carried out the dastardly act.

READ ALSO: Police Rescue 15 Travellers Kidnapped Along Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway

He, however, noted that the suspect has helped the police with some information and the command is on the trail of the remaining three suspects.

Channels Television had earlier in November 2018, reported the Kidnap and murder of Magistrate Remi Ogu as well as a protest by the Imo State chapter of the NBA calling on the police hierarchy in the state to fish out the culprit.