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CONSTITUTION REVIEW: WE’LL CONTINUE TO ENGAGE GULAK’S CHAMBERS – SENATE

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DEP PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, SEN. OVIE OMO-AGEGE, ADDRESSING HAJIA JEMILA GULAK, WIDOW OF THE LATE ALHAJI AHMED GULAK
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Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has explained that a successful outcome of the ongoing constitution review by the 9th Assembly would be an unforgettable tribute to the memory of the late Alhaji Ahmed Gulak who was killed in Owerri, Imo State while on national assignment.

Omo-Agege who made this disclosure when he led a delegation of the National Assembly leadership on a condolence visit to Hajia Jemila Gulak, widow of the slain lawyer and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, described the death as a personal loss going by his deep and close relationship with Gulak spanning several years at both political and professional levels.

Members of the delegation included the Senate Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya; Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Omo-Agege, while disclosing that Gulak was one out of the three consultants that were in Owerri for the Constitutional Review zonal public hearing, assured the family members that the professional services of Gulak’s chambers would still be retained by the committee, assuring that everything would be done to cushion the effects of the loss on the family.

He said: “Before the unfortunate incident involving the demise of our friend and brother, we engaged him as a consultant to the committee and he had, on our mandate, gone to Owerri as one of three consultants to assist members of the committee that were sent to Owerri to conduct the zonal hearing. So, he had been there in his capacity as a consultant during this unfortunate incident that occurred. He was on national assignment on behalf of the National Assembly.

“We would have come to condole with you much earlier, but a lot of us here have very personal relationship with Gulak and for me, it was so many years with him and we find it very difficult to confront the fact that we have actually lost him. It is easy for others to condole and just move on but most of us are in denial and that is why we kept away until this time but it is something we must do. We cannot shy away from the fact that we lost him and we thought that as leaders of the committee, it would be proper that we come in today and condole with you.

“In the course of his services to us as a committee, he was everything we expected. He wasn’t there because of political relationships but in his capacity as a brilliant lawyer, apart from being the former Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly and Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“I knew him in terms of those capacities but more importantly that he was a member of my own legal profession where he excelled and finally, it was in that capacity that we engaged him into the committee. So, this is a very deep, personal loss to me, to all of us and frankly to the country”.

The Delta Central lawmaker said the best tribute the National Assembly can give the deceased is to ensure that the Constitution Review exercise meets the yearnings and aspirations of most Nigerians.

“He (Gulak) wanted us to have a very thorough, professional constitutional review job and I think that is the least we owe him and we are determined to ensure that his memory will be remembered at the end of the exercise.

 

“So, on behalf of the President of the Senate, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the whole family. I want the family to know that we are always here; always feel free to stay close and don’t let his demise be the end of that relationship,” Omo-Agege added.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, a personal friend to the late Gulak, tasked the delegation on the need to assist the family and immortalise his name by ensuring that nothing is done to frustrate the outcome of the amendment of the Constitution.

His words: “We cannot use any words to express our appreciation and gratitude for this visit. It shows the importance and caliber of the person the nation has lost and the nation mourns his demise but we are submitting ourselves to the will of Allah.

“There is not much to say because the leader of the delegation, His Excellency, the Deputy President of the Senate has already spoken”.

With Gada were Ambassador Umar Damagum, Alhaji Mainasara Sokoto and two children of Gulak, Dr. Mustapha Gulak and Zainab Gulak Esq.

 

 

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Supreme Court Orders FG To Pay allocations Directly To LGAs

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The supreme court has ruled that the federal government should henceforth pay allocations directly to local government councils from the federation account.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Thursday, a seven-member panel of justices held that state governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for LGAs.

In May, the federal government filed a suit at the supreme court against governors of the 36 states.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the federal government asked for full autonomy for the country’s 774 local governments.

In the suit filed by Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, the federal government also requested the supreme court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to local governments — in accordance with the constitution.

The suit was hinged on 27 grounds.

“That the constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution,” the originating summons had read.

“That all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse funds from the federation account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local governments is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution.”

The federal government had asked the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the constitution to declare that the governors and state houses of assembly are under obligation to ensure democratically elected systems at the third tier.

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N33bn Fraud: Ex-Minister Mamman Collapses Outside Court

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The arraignment of Saleh Mamman, the former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was on Thursday, July 11, 2024, stalled at a Federal High Court in Abuja due to ill health.

Mamman, whose plea was fixed for Thursday morning, collapsed outside the courtroom before the case was called.

The former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate (SAN), told the presiding judge Justice James Omotosho shortly when the matter was called for Mamman to take his plea.

Upon resumed hearing, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the dock with part of his clothes drenched.

Justice Omotosho then asked why Mamman was sweating or whether it was raining outside.

The former minister, who responded from the dock, said water was poured on him.

The counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), while addressing the court, said though the matter was fixed for Mamman’s arraignment, there was a development outside the courtroom.

Olumide-Fusika said he had a discussion with Ate outside the courtroom about Mamman’s ill-health.

“I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learner senior advocate to tell the honourable court himself,” he said.

Speaking, Ate said Mamman, “upon being brought into the premises of the court collapsed and had to be resuscitated and treated by the medical personnel of the Federal High Court.”

He said his client was served with the charge after he was resuscitated.

N1.6bn fraud: Please give me time to return looted funds, ex-AGF begs court

“He was served this morning,” he added.

The lawyer said he sought the understanding of Olumide-Fusika for an adjournment so that the arraignment could be done on Monday when his client would have been okay.

However, the judge said due to the workload in the court dockets, the arraignment could only be fixed for September ending.

Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.

The judge, however, asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today and he responded in the affirmative.

Mamman, however, said he was fit to continue with the arraignment.

“It can happen to anyone,” the judge said.

Justice Omotosho, thereafter, stepped down the arraignment until Thursday afternoon.

The EFCC had filed a 12-count money laundering charge against the Mamman.

He was alleged to have committed money laundering offences to the tune of N33 billion.

The former minister served under former President Buhari from 2019 to 2021.

 

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Olaide Akinremi, House Of Reps Member, Dies At 51

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Olaide Adewale Akinremi, a member of the house of representatives, is dead.

The lawmaker died on Wednesday morning aged 51.

Akinremi represented Ibadan north federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was a ranking member and house committee chairman on science and research.

In a statement, Akin Rotimi, spokesperson of the house, said the Oyo lawmaker was a “dedicated public servant known for his unwavering commitment to the development of his constituency and the country at large”.

“His passion for service, coupled with his deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of his people, earned him the endearing title of ‘Jagaban’.

“Throughout his tenure, he was a staunch advocate for policies and initiatives that promoted social welfare, economic growth, and scientific research.

“His contributions to legislative debates and his active participation in committee activities were a testament to his dedication and hard work.

“Rep. Akinremi was as much a grassroots politician as he was an astute statesman who leveraged his goodwill and network of relationships to attract positive impact to the people of his constituency.

“He built friendships by being intentional about reaching out and sending goodwill messages to all colleagues on special occasions, fostering camaraderie and unity within the House.

“As a ranking member, Rep. Akinremi had keen institutional memory and was a mentor to many first-time parliamentarians, guiding them with wisdom gained from his extensive experience in legislative affairs.”

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house, also expressed “profound sadness” over the passing of the lawmaker.

“Rep. Akinremi Olaide Adewale was a beacon of dedication and service,” Abbas said.

“His contributions to our legislative work, especially in the area of science and research, were invaluable.

“His passing is a great loss to the House, his constituency, and the nation. We will miss his leadership, wisdom, and the unique passion he brought to his work.”

Akinremi’s death comes weeks after the passing of Isa Dogonyaro, a member of the house of representatives who represented Babura/Garki federal constituency of Jigawa state.

Dogonyaro died in May after a brief illness.

 

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