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Court won’t stop amendment of Electoral Act, says Lawan 

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the ruling by the Federal High Court in Abuja, won’t stop the National Assembly from amending the Electoral Act.

The court in a ruling delivered on Monday by Inyang Ekwo, on an ex-parte application by the People’s Democratic Party, barred the President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Senate President from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.

The Court maintained that the Electoral Act having become a valid law could not be altered without following the due process of law.

President Buhari, in a letter dated 28th February, 2022, requested the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act.

He drew the attention of chamber to the provisions of Section 84(12), which, according to him, constitutes a “defect” that is in conflict with extant Constitutional provisions.

The Senate President, while reacting to the ruling by the Federal High Court after the Electoral Act Amendment Bill scaled first reading during plenary, on Tuesday, said same violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution )as amended) on Separation of Powers.

Lawan said, “I find it necessary to talk to this at this point, because our governance system is based on the Presidential system of government where there is clear cut separation and exercise of powers.

“The Judiciary, under no circumstance cannot stop the National Assembly from performing its legislative duties.

“We know what our due processes are, just like we wouldn’t venture into what the Judiciary does, it should also understand that we have our processes.

“If the President writes to the National Assembly to request for an amendment, that is within his competence, and it is for the National Assembly to decide whether it agrees with the request of Mr. President or not.

“But to say that we cannot consider it, is to ask for what is not there to be given. I believe that Members of this National Assembly know their work and will do what is right.

“This is due process, we are not doing anything outside of the law, whether it is Mr. President or any Nigerian who feels very strongly about an amendment, this National Assembly is ready to take in and consider.

“It is within our exclusive right to consider whatever request we receive from Nigerians, whether through the Executive arm of government or through our colleagues – private members’ bill.”

Senator Gabriel Suswam, a PDP Senator, while rising under a point of order, faulted the ruling of the Federal Court.

“I agree with what you have said, the court cannot stop us from making laws. The problem with the letter sent to us by the President was that there is a part of it that interpreted the law we made.

“I think that is the only part that the court can act on, because he (President Buhari) said that the law we (National Assembly) made is ultra vires the Constitution, which is not his responsibility, and, I think, to that extent, the court can comment on that and not on the fact that we are making laws”, he said.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, while citing Order 52(5) of the Senate Standing Order, called on the Senate to abide by the court ruling.

He said, “When we were waiting for the President to assent to the Electoral Act, some of us made a suggestion we believed would help, namely that the President would sign and then we would commit ourselves to amending that section.

“Mr. President, I also offered to help in redrafting it, now we have a situation where they’ve told us there’s a Judicial restriction on us to do that.

“Mr. President, I agree with you entirely, but the principle as all the lawyers here know, is that if there is a court order, no matter how wrong it is, our responsibility as individuals and citizens is to respect it.

“The argument you have raised is what we are going to raise in response.”

The Senate President, while giving his ruling to the Order raised by Ekweremadu, said, “this has nothing to do what happens in the court.”

Ekweremadu, however, advised the National Assembly to discharge the court order.

“I think the argument you’ve raised is valid, but this point is what we have to present in court to discharge that order.

“We cannot sit and appeal on a matter that has already been given an order in court. I think we should exercise caution in siting a judgment over a matter that an order has been given.

“What we should do is to brief our lawyers to go and discharge the order, instead of sitting here and disobeying court order, is is not good for us and our system, that is calling for anarchy.”

Responding, Lawan said, “my opinion about anarchy is when either arm of government decides to go into the exclusive preserve of the other.

“If the Judiciary wants to come into the Legislature to decide when we sit and when we don’t, then that’s anarchy.

“If the Judiciary would simply say we are not to consider this and that, and we obey those kind of rulings, that is anarchy, because it is emasculating the legislature and that is not supposed to be .

“We will continue with what we are supposed to do because that is our calling. We are just advising that the Judiciary should please help us develop this democracy, because this arm of government is the least developed and if we are allow these kind of rulings, we may end up going back 23 years ago.

“I believe that what we are saying is the same, but we are emphasising that that judicial pronouncement will not stop us from doing what is right and our work here.”
 

 

 

 

 

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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Conditional Cash Transfer: Lagos flags off distribution of ATM card, activation pins

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Lagos State Government on Thursday flags off distribution of ATM cards and activation pins to beneficiaries in continuation of conditional cash transfer programme.

Speaking at the event which took place at Agege Local Government, Agege, Lagos, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon.Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, appreciated the Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office(NCTO), under the Office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), who has the mandate to develop humanitarian policies, provide effective co-ordination of national and International Humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and manage the formulation and implementation affair, focused social inclusion and protection program in Nigeria.

She recalled that she was elated that CCT beneficiaries in Lagos State have received the bi-monthly cash stipends from the programme and have been availed with the much needed capacity skills through the Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM) training, which have been in no small measure of immense benefits to their livelihood, which culminated in the result of the success stories that have been shared across the targeted LGAs /LCDAs.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, established National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), have played a pivotal role to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity with a view to ameliorate the lives of the citizenry. The NASSP Project Development Objective (PDO), is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded National Social Safety nets system”, Arobieke said.

She further maintained that the National Cash Transfer Office under NASSP, was given the mandate to implement the Federal Government conditional cash transfer, also known as Household Uplifting Programme.

“The programme since inception has successfully paid beneficiaries via transparent and accountable means that enables the NASSPS programme pay beneficiaries at their doorstep through Payment Service Provisions (PSP)”, Arobieke said.

She also acknowledged the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for being a father of the nation and as well as a proactive governor for putting the programme in place with his audacious vision of lifting 100 million people out of the poverty net in Nigeria .

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