No Sentiments Attached To Gender Equality Bill, Senate Insists

SenateThe Nigerian Senate says there is no sentiment attached to the position of its members during the debate session of the Gender Equality Bill.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, made the clarification on Thursday while reacting to the debate on Sunrise Daily.

Senator Abdullahi insisted that the Senate had made it clear that they would be thorough in their activities, adding that the legislators would entrench efficiency and effectiveness.

“Let me make it very clear that the Senate is not averse in any form to the subject matter. We have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said while reacting to the bill in question.

The Senator explained that when the lawmakers at the Upper House see a bill that would suffer defeat in terms of rejection when it proceeds to the last stage, they prefer to do it early to enable the sponsors of such bill go back to address the various concerns raised at the floor of the Senate.

“If you look at the debate, you can see that it has no sentiments attached in terms of the positions people made.

“Part Two and Four (of the constitution) have made adequate provision for the subject that this bill sought (in order) to ensure that it is enforced,” he said.

Kogi Election: Faleke Ought To Be Governor-elect – Lawyer

Kogi Election:Faleke Ought To Be Governor-Elect – LawyerA Nigerian lawyer has given his opinion about the outcome of the Kogi State governorship election, saying that Mr James Faleke, the deputy of the late candidate, ought to be the Governor-elect of Kogi State. 

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Bwala Daniel said: “We are all witnesses to the fact that at the time the election was declared inconclusive, there was a clear lead by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and everybody could reach a conclusion that the APC won the election and Faleke would have rightfully taken over from there which is in line with the provision of the Electoral Act and the Nigeria Constitution, but that did not happen,” he said.

Giving his opinion on Falake’s refusal to be addressed as Yahaya Bello’s running mate, Mr Daniel said that Mr Falake should have forwarded his withdrawal as the deputy of Mr Bello in writing.

“However, the contention of Faleke may not be tenable in law because the requirement of law is, if he wanted to withdraw, he ought to have written expressly stating his withdrawal in line with the provision of the Electoral Act. Only if that had happened, he can consider himself  completely out of the race, but as he stands, he is part of the government.

“My concern is that, what transpired at the Federal High Court on Friday is a full test of what we are going to see consequently at the Court of Appeal and at the Election Tribunal; where you see Faleke and PDP fighting it all out,” he explained.

Answering a question on what he perceived before the outcome of the Federal High Court ruling, Mr Daniel said: “Had the Federal High Court not declined jurisdiction, the election would have been affected.

“I think the Federal High Court declining jurisdiction, probably in the mind of the court, the court applied the doctrine of convenience to say we are not going to say anything  about this, let them go to the polls and whatever happens will be determined by the Election Tribunal.

“But the court declined the jurisdiction because it said that the matter is within the confines of Election Petition Tribunal,” he said.

A Waste Of Time

The lawyer expressed disappointment in the argument of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of  Bello, Governor-elect in Kogi State, as ‘a waste of time’.

“With the greatest respect for the PDP, it is high-time Nigerians as well as the APC recognised that the PDP will always talk because they are learning to be in opposition and the APC is giving them credence by responding to their allegations.

“Going by the provision of section 138 of the Constitution, if you are challenging the candidature of someone, you go to court. Unless and until what you are challenging is covered by the provision of the Constitution, everything else you are saying is a mere opinion.

“PDP, if aggrieved with the outcome of the election, has the right in law to file a petition.

“The party has 21 days from when the result was announced to file the petition and has 180 days from when they file the petition, for that to be determined.

“The options available to PDP in this circumstance is to pursue two things – the bill to appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court declining the jurisdiction to interpret the law they approached the Federal High Court with.

“The second option is to go to the Election Petition Tribunal and challenge the outcome of the election,” he added.

Lawyers Say NASS Decision To Continue Constitution Amendment Violates Process

Fred Agbaje on Constitution amendment Two Nigerian lawyers on Wednesday condemned the decision of the National Assembly to continue with the amendment of the constitution despite an order by the Supreme Court to suspend the amendments that the Presidency had refused to approve.

The Senate had in their plenary on Tuesday expressed readiness to overturn President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to sign some of the amended parts of the constitution, which the Presidency said it stripped it of some powers.

The Executive Arm of government had on May 7 secured a court injunction from the Supreme Court to halt the amendment, but the National Assembly looks ready to violate the court order.

A constitutional Lawyer, Mr Fred Agbaje, told Channels Television on Wednesday that the constitution amendment presented to the President by the National Assembly to approve was a ‘dubious document’ that would have striped the presidency of major constitutional power that were vested in him.

He stressed the need for the National Assembly to abide by the rules guiding the amendment of the constitution.

“Section four of the constitution deals with legislative powers in the Federation.

“There is a clause in the law that gives the Judiciary Arm of government a supervisory role to ensure that everything done follows the provision of the constitution. It gives the judiciary the power to superintend or review the laws.

“The constitution is founded on the principle of separation of power. The judiciary comes in when any of the other arms of government attempt to go against the provision of the law,” he said.

The lawyer also pointed out that the court would not interfere with the power of the legislature to legislate, except when it was against the provisions of the constitution.

“In the cause of making the law and the law is violated, the court will come in.”

Mr Agbaje further suggested that the amendment of the constitution should involve Nigerians who power belonged to.

“It is a very serious thing to amend the constitution. In the previous five amendments, there are no contributions of the people.”

He stated that the decision of the Senate to overturn the order of the court was an affront and a threat to the Rule of Law.

“The National Assembly must legislate by example. There might be constitutional crisis if it is not properly handled.

“Once a matter is before the court, even if it is a customary court, all the parties involved should sheath their sword allow the court to decide.

According to him, the situation could lead to a constitutional crisis that could take some time before it would be resolved.

The lawyer suggested that both parties should discuss the areas of misunderstanding and resolve the matter.

Another lawyer, Emmanuel Anyaegbunam, linked the brewing crisis to structural issue, saying that the Supreme Court order should be obeyed by the National Assembly in line with the oath to obey and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“They should bear in mind that they are to make law to the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria. They should not go against that. It is the people’s will that is in the constitution.Emmanuel Anyaegbunam

“The constitution is a handiwork of the people and law making is a handiwork of the parliament.

“The people are shut off. There is no people’s referendum. The people were not involved in the amendment of the constitution because it had been done through parliamentary process.

“Nigerians subjected law making as an act of parliament. The Constitutional jurisprudent is now so poor that we are talking about veto,” Mr Anyaegbunam stated.

He further suggested that the establishment of a constitutional court in Nigeria should be considered.

Group Tasks Nigerian Leaders On Constitution Amendment

Professor Ben Nwabueze is the leader of the Project Nigeria Movement

Project Nigeria Movement led by Eminent Jurist and Elder statesman, Professor Ben Nwabueze has tasked leaders of conscience to immediately rise above the current political situation and intervene on the side of political restructuring of Nigeria through the amendment of the constitution.

The secretariat of the coalition of eminent national leaders and Activists, in its state of the nation address on Monday in Lagos, said it did not come to them as a surprise that the country’s democracy is beginning to yield to desperate and panicky actions from the political class.

Speaking through its Head of Secretariat, Mr Olawale Okunniyi, the movement stated that “by the framework of the subsisting 1999 constitution coupled with its attendant amendments, it will be very difficult for any government in Nigeria, no matter how well intentioned, to meet the democratic expectations of the people”.

Okunniyi, who was a delegate of the civil society movement to the 2014 National Confab, also lamented the inability of the political class to correct the inherent anomalies in the constitutional framework of the current democracy which, according to the movement continues to sustain the self serving politics breeding electoral desperation in Nigeria.

The group urged the political class to unanimously consider the popular resolutions of the new draft constitution produced by the 2014 national confab and amand the constitution to reflect the recommendations of the the conference.

According to Mr Okunniyi Nigeria’s governance and electoral structure needed to be reconsidered to ensure that it would help in the sustenance of democracy.

2015 Elections: Jonathan Eligibility Hearing To Commence In December

Goodluck-Jonathan12A Federal High Court has adjourned the hearing of two cases challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest in the 2015 general elections till December 1.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Wednesday adjourned the hearing, saying it would allow parties in the suit exchange brief and return for hearing.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, said he was seeking an interpretation of the court on the eligibility of President Jonathan based on series of events that had taken place in the last six years.

According to the plaintiff, having spent six years as President from 2010 following the death of former president Musa Yar’Adua, vying for presidency in the 2015 election will give the President a total of ten years instead of the eight years prescribed by the constitution for the president.

They have therefore asked to court to decide if the president is eligible and fit to contest in the light of the constitutional provision.

President Jonathan had on Tuesday declared his intention to vie for a second term in office in the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He had, 12 days ago, collected the nomination form of the PDP, indicating his interest in the presidential ticket of the party.

Prepare To Vacate Your Seat- PDP Alerts Remi Tinubu

remi tunubu The Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) has vowed to stop the return of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to the Senatorial district, cautioning the Senator to stop her “unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperience manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.

The Party’s stance is on the heels of reports of two interviews allegedly granted in two different National Newspapers, wherein Senator Tinubu “disparaged the Senate as nonentity and also described the hallowed Chamber as not befitting enough of her likes to return!”.

The said interviews were brought on the floor of the Senate, by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.

The PDP, in statement by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Mr Taofik Gani, noted that the Senate has “asked the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the Lagos central Senator following her statement that except the All Progressives Congress (APC) becomes the majority, she has had her fill in the senatorial seat and adding that the Senate has failed Nigerians”.

The party also noted that the Senate Majority Leader warned “Senator Tinubu to stop disgracing the State by her unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperienced manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.

The PDP also vowed that “unless the Senator is lucky to escape reprimand by the Senate, it shall mobilise voters in Lagos Central Senatorial District to invoke section 69 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. The said section talks about Powers and Processes to recall a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives.

“First, we want to re-assure Senator Remi Tinubu that indeed she has had her Fill in the Senate and can never return to the Senate in 2015, at least not as a Lagos Senator.

“As a matter of urgency, her completing this present term is hanging and imbalance. Unless she is lucky to scale through the senate and be cleared by the Senate committee asked to investigate her, we shall mobilise voters from her Senatorial District to commence the process of her recall as allowed under Section 69 of our Constitution.

“Lagosians are now too embarrassed by the ignoble actions of this APC Senator who we expected would be a fast learner and graduate from being a rookie Senator to an experienced Senator.

“Indeed, we do recognise her Right of freedom of expression, however, she ought to exercise same within the Rules of the Senate. Persistently making same mistakes shows that she is either Treacherous or inexperienced, consequently Unfit to remain in the Senate” the party said.

Senator Yerima Becomes Superhero

Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima is featured as a surprising superhero with the name ‘Yeriman’ in an episode of Ikenna Azuike’s What’s Up Africa which focuses on the #ChildNotBride campaign.

The Senator from Zamfara state has been the crux of online criticisms for his contribution during the debate on amending the Nigeria constitution as regards age limit for rejection of citizenship and child marriage.

The Senator is portrayed as an abridged Superman for his stance on the debate.

What’s Up Africa is a political satire on African issues hosted on Radio Netherlands Worldwide by Ikenna Azuike.

House Consideration On Constitution Amendment Stalled

Plans by the House of Representatives to begin clause-by-clause consideration of the report on constitution amendment for the alteration of the 1999 constitution was today  stalled after some lawmakers questioned the procedure being adopted by the house leadership.

Being the first allotted day for consideration of the report of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the review of the constitution, the chairman of the committee; Rep. Emeka Ihedioha started with a summary of how Nigerians had voted on the items being considered for amendment.

The Speaker of the House; Aminu Tambuwal then advised the lawmakers to be on the side of the people as they consider the report. Even as he said the house is not targeting any public office holder with the proposed amendments to the constitution.

The speaker however said the procedure was in order but after other observations by other lawmakers on the non-availability of the proposed documents, the house put off the consideration till tomorrow.

He also encouraged lawmakers to be on the side of the people during the consideration and not to follow the bidding of any individual.

But the proposed consideration was brought to a halt following an observation about the procedure to be used by the house.

This observation led to a short break in the proceedings as the leadership consulted before coming with a decision.

Amosun Frees 20 Prisoners

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun has ordered the release of 20 prisoners serving various terms, while three others on death roll have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun

According to a statement by the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yusuph Olaniyonu, “the action was in exercise of his powers of Prerogative of Mercy under Section 212 subsection (1) of the 1999 constitution and based on the recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy.”

Mr Olaniyonu said the 20 Prisoners whose freedom has been ordered by the governor were among those serving sentences of three years imprisonment and above with 12 months left and are adjudged to have good records and good conduct.

Accoding to the press statement the released prisoners included Opeoluwa Bankole, Kehinde Onifade, Saliu Raji, Gabriel Michael Paul, Lateef Opeoluwa, Abubakar Muhammed, Popoola Yekini, Waheed Ogunwale, Lukman Osikoya and Afolabi Odunaike.

Others are Sunday Nnao, Sylvester Oboki, Monday Nbom, Nurudeen Adeleke, Abubakar Abah, Sunday Isaac, Kehinde Rafiu, Sunkanmi Badejo, Abiodun Adetayo and Idris Adewuyi.

The three others whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment are Sunday Olatunji convicted for murder, Segun Ogunsanya and Michael Ebedinwe, both of whom were convicted for armed robbery.

What To Do When Your House Is Demolished

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Nkechi Chukwueke on Thursday listed the steps to take when acquiring properties and how to handle conflicts arising from evictions and/or demolition of properties.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Ms Chukwueke gave four reasons why any property can be demolished by the government.

The first reason according to her is “if a land is acquired illegally.”

She said another reason why a house can be demolished is if the property is constructed on government reserved area.

“Three, if the property in question is also built on an area designated for another purpose,” Ms Chukwueke.

She said the government can demolish any structure for ‘overriding public interest.’

In this video, Ms Chukwueke provided some advice to those whose properties are in contention.

Watch More Local Stations not DStv For News, DG NOA tells Nigerians

The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri on Thursday said Nigerians must learn to pay attention to local news media for information that will enhance their lives.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Omeri queried Nigerians who complained that there are not aware of the activities of his agency.

He said: “I have discovered something, like I said, I have travelled over 20, 000Km since I took office. I have met people who say they have not seen me even in their states but then when I ask them what do they watch? They watch CNN, they are always on DStv watching other programmes; they don’t watch local stations.”

Mr Omeri said because Nigerians are always watching programmes on Digital Satellite television (DStv), the NOA may have to broadcast its information through that channel.

He however advised that “Nigerians must begin to look inward and look at their stations for news and things that interest them and are happening within their communities.”

National Assembly In Power Contest With Sanusi – Lawyer

A legal practitioner and financial analyst, Tilewa Oyefeso on Thursday said the bill before the National Assembly, seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) act is the most important in the history of the country.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Oyefeso said it is wrong to allow just one person decide the fate of Nigerians in terms of currency in use.

Citing section 17, 20 and 22 of the CBN act which says “The bank shall have the sole right of issuing currency notes and coins throughout Nigeria and neither the Federal Government nor any State Government, Local Government, other person or authority shall issue currency notes, bank notes or coins or any documents or tokens payable to bearer on demand being document or token which are likely to pass as legal tender.

“The bank shall arrange for the printing of currency notes and the minting of coins; issue, re-issue and exchange currency notes and coins at the bank’s offices and at such agencies as it may, from time to time, establish or appoint; arrange for the safe custody of un-issued stocks of currency notes and for the preparation, safe custody and destruction of plates and paper for the printing of currency notes and disc for the minting of coins; and arrange for the destruction of currency notes and coins withdrawn from circulation under the provisions of section 20 (3) of this Act or otherwise found by the bank to be unfit for use.”

Mr Oyefeso said the National Assembly’s ambition to take back the powers vested on the governor of the CBN is the motive of the lawmakers to seek an amendment of the act that established the bank.

“There is a contest for power; the National Assembly, they want to take back that power. There has always been this conflict which may eventually be resolved by the Supreme Court,” he said.