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Senate rejects amendment to Electoral Act  

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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The Senate, on Wednesday, rejected the Executive request by President Muhammadu Buhari to amend the Electoral Act signed into law on the 25th February, 2022.

This followed the failure of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to scale through second reading on the floor during plenary.

The move to reject the bill was signaled by a call from Senator Adamu Aliero for it to be stepped down after the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, moved a motion for the bill to be read a second time.

Aliero, who came under a point of Order, drew the attention of his colleagues to the provision of Rule 52(5) of of the Senate Standing Order.

Order 52(5) provides that, “Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of parties thereto.”

He, therefore, advised the upper chamber to step down consideration of the bill pending the vacation of a court order delivered by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday.

According to the Lawmaker, going ahead with the amendment of the Act was in clear conflict with the sub judice rule in law which prevents the legislature from deliberating or considering any matter already before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Going ahead to consider the bill obviously will mean that we are disrespecting that order, and this is an institution of the Senate – the symbol of Nigeria’s Lawmaking body.

“We should not be seen to be disobeying the court order. No matter how bad that court order is, we should respect it.

“So, I’m of the opinion that we should stop considering this bill pending the time the court set aside that order, and I think I’m speaking the opinion of my colleagues here”, Aliero said.

The court, in a ruling delivered 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.

The Senate President, while ruling on Aliero’s point of Order, insisted that the move by the upper chamber to amend the Electoral Act was in line with exercising its Constitutional duties amid following due process.

“To be specific to this particular request, for us in the Senate, it is to look at the request and follow our due process.

“Looking at the request does not mean granting the request. Members of the National Assembly are at liberty to review the request to see if the arguments by the Executive arm of government are convincing enough.

“If the arguments are not convincing enough, the National Assembly can deny the request, and that is how it is. We have no incumbrance from that order.

“So, it is for Senators here to decide to vote for this amendment or vote against it.

“I think we are not breaching any law, in fact, we are trying to promote democracy because to do otherwise may mean that one day someone will go to court and say that the Senate of the National Assembly should not sit.

“I want to appeal to all of us, that we are on the right course and my ruling remains that we are going ahead to consider the proposal which the Leader of the Senate is leading the debate.

“At the end of the debate, we are going to vote, and the vote will decide the fate of the bill.

“I’m sure all of us know that whatever we do here is to protect democracy and the sanctity of the upper chamber”,  the Senate President said.

The Senate Leader, was then given the floor to lead the debate on the Electoral Act Amendment bill.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), kicked against the deletion of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as requested by President Buhari.

He said, “There are certain things that we see which we think we don’t even have to come here to debate.

“One of those things is the fact that in every democracy, all over the world, there are certain rules which we don’t need to be told about.

“One of those rules is the fact that you cannot be a referee and a player on the same field. It is either you’re a referee or a player.

“So, every other place in the world where democracy is practiced including Nigeria, we don’t need to be told that if we want to run for office, we have to resign. That is a sine qua non that we don’t even need to debate.

“Yet here we are today in Nigeria, and people think they can sit in an office and contest an election and become candidates and continue to sit in that office until the date of election.

“So, how would we continue to debase democracy in this way?

“Mr. President, I think, a cursory look at this paper shows that this paper is dead on arrival. And I urge you my colleagues, to help us to continue to deepen democracy by insisting that this bill not be read a second time in any manner whatsoever.”

Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West), who was also opposed to the consideration of the bill said, “one of the hallmarks of democracy  is Justice, Fairness and Equity.

“Indeed, Mr. President, it is a settled matter in law that you cannot be a judge over you own case.

“In any election, where people have the added advantage of holding executive power, either by proxy or directly or by appointment, for such people to have access and compete with others who came from the street, I think is an unjust society.

“Therefore, Mr. President, I disagree with all the arguments on the need to consider a decision that has already been settled.”

A move by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to sway his colleagues was unsuccessful.

The bill, when eventually put to a voice vote for second reading by the Senate President after its consideration, received a resounding ‘nay’ from Senators in the majority across party lines.

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Terrorists Release Four More Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack Victims 

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Terrorists who attacked  an AK9 Train in Kaduna state on March 28 have released four more hostages in their custody.

Among the released hostages include an  90-year-old woman, Hajiya Halimatu Atta and and her 53-year-old daughter, Adama Aliyu.

A member of the negotiating team,  Tukur Mamu told Channels Television that the victims were released on Friday after spending over four months in captivity.

Meanwhile, Mamu  has drawn the attention of the federal government and the Christian Association of Nigeria about  plan by the terrorists to marry off the  youngest victim, 21-year-old Azurfa Lois John any moment from now, just as they did in the case of Leah Sharibu in Yobe state some years ago.

According to Mamu, one of the top commanders of the terrorists is said to be in love with Ms John.

He however pled with the Federal Government and other stakeholders  to intensify efforts towards the release of the 23 victims still with the terrorists whose health  conditions, he said, is pathetic and require urgent medical attention.

Mamu also called on CAN not to politicize the issue or reduce it to mere press releases, but to work closely with relevant authorities to engage the abductors on the case of Ms John before it is late.

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NBC Revokes Silverbird, AIT, Raypower, Rhythm FM, Others’ Licences

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked the broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, and Rhythm FM amongst others over failure to renew their broadcast licences amounting to N2.66 billion.

A statement by NBC on Friday noted that the move followed the publication of a list of stations yet to renew their licences.

According to the Commission, a two-week waiver was given to them in May to do so after which they risked the revocation of their broadcast licences.

But three months after the publication, NBC said, “some licensees are yet to pay their outstanding debts, in contravention of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly section 10(a) of the third schedule of the Act.

“Therefore, after due consideration, NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the…stations and gives them 24 hours to shut down their operations.

Our offices nationwide are hereby directed to collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance.”

The broadcast regulator said the continued operation of the “debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security”.

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OKADA: LAGOS GOVT EXTENDS BAN TO 4 MORE LGAS, 5 LCDAS FROM SEPT 1

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…7,500 Commercial Motorcycles Impounded, Crushed Since June 1

…‘Enforcement’ll Be Total, Livelihood Support For Willing Riders’ – Govt

Lagos State Government, on Thursday, extended a ban on the activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, to four more Local Government Areas (LGAs) and six Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

Effective from September 1, 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu directed enforcement teams to fully implement the proscription order and bust erring riders across the councils listed in the Okada ban.

The additional places are Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu and Mushin Local Government Areas. The Development Area Councils are Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Isolo LCDA, Bariga LCDA, and Odi-Olowo LCDA.

The latest pronouncement came about three months after Sanwo-Olu ordered a total restriction on Okada in six LGAs, comprising Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa, as well as LCDAs under them.

This brings it to 25 councils of the 57 councils in which Okada activities have been proscribed.

Announcing the ban at a press conference held at the Government secretariat in Alausa, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the extension of the proscription order was a move by the State Government to sustain the gains recorded in the ongoing action against Okada operations in the State.

The commissioner said Okada accidents and fatalities had reduced by 63.7 per cent across the 15 local councils where the first phase of ban had been enforced, stressing that the development also significantly brought down the rate of crimes associated with motorcycles.

This, Oladehinde said, led to resolutions reached at a Stakeholders Forum, last Tuesday, with interest groups in which the participants unanimously urged the Government to make the Okada ban State-wide.

He said: “The Ministry in conjunction with the inter-ministerial committee on Okada, having critically accessed these resolutions and the challenges of Okada operations on the security architecture of the State, recommended to Mr. Governor not to go back on the already laid down phase ban in a bid to sustain the gains.

“Based on the apparent positive impact of the ban and the resolution of the Stakeholders’
Forum, Mr. Governor has approved the ban of Okada in another four LGAs and their respective five LCDAs for the second phase of the total ban, in addition to the on-going ban in the six LGAs and their respective LCDAs.”

The State Government advised residents to embrace alternative means of transportation for their journey, noting that the State had provided safe and sustainable First- and Last-Mile Transport Scheme, BRT Scheme, e-hailing taxi Scheme and other acceptable means for the safety of commuters.

Oladehinde disclosed that 7,500 motorcycles had been impounded and crushed in the ongoing enforcement, while resistance had dropped sharply. He issued a stern warning to riders who may want to flout the proscription order, stressing that the enforcement would not be sparing.

The Commissioner said the State Government had interventions in place to empower the affected Okada riders as an alternative means of livelihood. He urged them to embrace the intervention programmes which are being coordinated by six Government ministries and also Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

He said: “It is important to reiterate the State Government’s commitment to the safety, security of lives and properties in the State. In exercising this, any motorcycle impounded will be crushed and the process will be made public.

“Both riders and passengers arrested on proscribed routes will be made to face the full wrath of the law in line with the provision of Section 46, sub-section 1, 2 & 3 of the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018.”
Commissioner for

Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, observed that the last Tuesday meeting with stakeholders reviewed the enforcement action taken since the total ban, pointing out that the feedback from the public informed further measures to curtail the activities of the commercial motorcycles.

He said Okada riding remained alien to the State’s integrated transportation master plan.
The ban enforcement will be supervised by the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation.

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