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PDP, APC Go Spiritual As Supreme Court Decides Sokoto, Benue, Kano, Bauchi Polls [PUNCH]

There is anxiety in Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto and Kano states following the tension created in view of the Supreme Court’s judgment on the governorship elections in the two states billed to be delivered today (Monday).

Some elders in the Bauchi under the aegis of the Coalition of Elders for Peace and Good Governance in Bauchi State appealed to the people to remain calm.

They made the appeal in a statement on Sunday signed by Sarkin Arewan Bauchi, Alhaji Hassan Sharif, and 19 others.

They said, “As elders, we foresee danger in crises, and we won’t like a situation where the generation of our unborn children suffer because of the inactions of some unscrupulous elements within our midst.

“It is on this basis that we call on the good citizens of Bauchi State to maintain the tempo they are known for by accepting whatever decision the Supreme Court may make as Bauchi should be our first priority.”

Operation Amotekun: We’re Not Targeting Any Ethnic Group, South West Govs Allay Fears [PUNCH]

The Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu,  on Sunday, said the regional security outfit, Operation Amotekun, was not targeted at any non-Yoruba ethnic group.

Akeredolu, who stated this in a statement in Akure by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo,  said discourse on Operation Amotekun should not be given an ethnic colouration.

The South-West governors, traditional rulers and other prominent indigenes had, in June last year decided to set up Operation Amotekun as a result of serial killings and kidnapping in the zone.

Imo: PDP Protests, Alleges Supreme Court’s Manipulation, Demands CJN’s Sacking [PUNCH]

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in their scores on Sunday protested against the sacking of Emeka Ihedioha by the Supreme Court and the declaration of Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, as the duly elected governor of the state.

The PDP members in Imo, Taraba, Abia and Ogun states urged the apex court to reverse itself and declare Ihedioha the winner.

In Owerri, the Imo State capital, protesters blocked major streets to show their grievances.

Police and military authorities in the state also positioned their personnel in strategic locations to forestall  a possible breakdown of law and order.

The PDP protesters who were decked in black attires, engaged in procession round the state capital, calling on the jurists to revisit the Tuesday’s verdict which sacked Ihedioha.

They vowed that the protest would continue if the apex court refused to resolve the Imo governorship debacle in their party’s favour.

Protest Rocks South East Over Sack Of Ihedioha By Supreme Court [SUN]

George Onyejiuwa, Owerri;Chijioke Agwu,Abakaliki; Okey Sampson, Umuahia

The South East, yesterday, erupted in protests as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) kicked  against removal of Mr. Emeka Ihedioha as Imo governor by  the Supreme Court.

In Anambra, protesters gave a seven-day ultimatum to the apex court to reverse itself alleging that Ihedioha was wrongfully removed.

The protesters dressed in black,  gathered at the party secretariat at Udoka Housing Estate in Awka, and marched through the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Aroma Junction, Alex Ekwueme Square up to Federal High Court, Awka, chanting pro-Ihedioha songs and expressing anger with the Supreme Court judges.

The party faithful, led by the state chairman, Ndubisi Nwobu, and former governorship candidate, Oseloka Obaze, carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Reverse S/Court judgment on Imo State Governorship Election,”  “Supreme Court wants to set Nigeria on fire,” “Supreme Court judgement, a travesty of justice,” “Supreme Court, stop daylight robbery” and “Imo State was won by PDP.”

2023: If North Insists On Presidency, There’ll Be Chaos –South South Elders [SUN]

  • Only entrepreneurial Igbo spirit can save Nigeria –Ebonyi PDP

The South-South Elders Forum has said it was the turn of the zone to occupy the plum office in 2023, warning that any attempt by the North to hold onto power would breach the principle of rotation of power and threaten the peace, unity and stability of Nigeria.

National coordinator of the forum, Anabs Sara-Igbe, who stated this yesterday, said the North should not take the South-South and South-East for granted.

Sara-Igbe, who is also the national publicity secretary of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), noted that the North had ruled for about 40 years, South-West, 12 years, South-South, four years, and the South-East only six months.

“For the north to insist on getting the Presidency again, they do not mean well. And that is why the Arewa group came out boldly to condemn the North advocating for another tenure and they put their weight behind the South-South, because if you want stability, we must be fair to all, and don’t underrate anybody.

“If the North wants to hold on to power, then they don’t want peace in Nigeria.  I think the North will not do that. If they want chaos, then they can insist on the presidency. But I can tell you that the South-South is a stabilising force in Nigeria. We will stabilise the country and we will not allow Nigeria to get to that level where there will be conflict,” he said.

Amotekun: Protest Rally To Hold In S’West States Tomorrow [SUN]

  • Go to court if you’re dissatisfied, Afe Babalola tells AGF, FG
  • It’s not regional army or ethnic agenda –Akeredolu

A Yoruba ethnic pressure group, Yoruba World Congress (YWC) will, tomorrow, staged a peaceful protest in all the six states of the South West in support of Amotekun.

The group, in a statement, by its Director of Contacts and Mobilisation, Victor Taiwo, urged all the Yoruba people to join the protest march in the state capitals of the six states.

According to him, those in Lagos are to converge on Gani Faweyinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, those in Oyo State will converge on Agodi Cenotaph, Ibadan, while those in Ogun State will meet at Pansheke Junction, Abeokuta and those in Osun State will take off at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo.

Also, the protest in Ondo State will hold at Alagbaka roundabout, Akure while those in Ekiti are to converge on Fajuyi roundabout, Ado-Ekiti for the protest.

Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola, has told the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to take the six South West governors to court over the launch of the joint security network, Operation Amotekun.

Babalola argued that declaring Amotekun illegal  by Malami is itself an unlawful pronouncement as the AGF had gone overboard dishing out judgment on issues of such nature as if he were a law court. He added that it would also constitute gross abuse of court process for the Federal Government to expect the South West governors to file an action against it.

Anxiety, Tension As Supreme Court Decides Fate Of Ganduje, Tambuwal, Mohammed [SUN]

There is uneasy calm in Bauchi, Kano and Sokoto states ahead of today’s Supreme Court judgement on the 2019 governorship election disputes.

In Bauchi State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Mohammed Abubakar, are challenging the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Bala Mohammed as winner.

In Kano, candidate of the PDP, Mr. Abba Yusuf, is challenging INEC’s declaration of Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC, while in Sokoto, the APC and its candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, are challenging INEC’s declaration of Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP as governor.

The Election Petition Tribunal, as well as the Court of Appeal divisions in Bauchi, Kano and Sokoto states upheld the results declared by INEC in the governorship elections in the three states.

A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, last week fixed today to deliver judgment in the election petitions.

FG Exempts School Fees, 20 Food Items From New VAT Rate [LEADERSHIP]

Reprieve has come for agitated Nigerians as the federal government has exempted school fees for all levels of education, 20 basic food and other essential items from the new 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) rate contained in the recently passed Finance Act 2019.

The exclusion of the items, the government says is to ensure that the cost of living does not rise for the citizens because of the changes in the VAT tax.

In the new Finance Act 2019 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last week, VAT, which is a consumption tax, was increased from five per cent to 7.5 per cent, which caused discontent among Nigerians.

But, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the senior special assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the government listed basic food items, locally manufactured sanitary towels, pads and tuition relating to nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary education among those to enjoy the VAT exemption.

Akande said that amongst other benefits, the law would consolidate efforts already made in creating the enabling environment for improved private sector participation and contribution to the economy as well as boost states’ revenues.

According to the statement, “the Finance Act will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 budget. We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.”

“The additional exemptions include the following: basic food items – additives (honey), bread, cereals, cooking oils, culinary herbs, fish, flour and starch, fruits (fresh or dried), live or raw meat and poultry, milk, nuts, pulses, roots, salt, vegetables, water (natural water and table water); locally manufactured sanitary towels, pads or tampons; services rendered by microfinance banks and tuition relating to nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Nigeria Woos Investors To Bitumen Mining [LEADERSHIP]

The federal government has taken steps to attract investors to the mining of bitumen which the country is richly endowed with.

The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, told LEADERSHIP in Lagos that there were no exploration activities in bitumen mining for now but that the government was doing everything possible to attract investors into the field.

He said: “We have bitumen and it’s there. As long as it is still below the ground, it is a potential. It is one of the priorities of the ministry for this year to attract investors to it.

“The market is there no doubt. Nigeria imports a lot of bitumen annually which are used in repairing, constructing and building roads. Bitumen is in demand and the market is there. We have lots of it in the Ogun/Ondo axis,” he said.

Bitumen is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as residue from petroleum distillation and is used for road surfacing, roofing, adhesives, Insulation and others.

The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development recently said that Nigeria has the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, spanning approximately 120km.

50 Directors Moved In Massive FIRS Shake Up [NATION]

No fewer than 50 directors of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) are affected in the massive shake up effected by Executive Chairman Muhammad Mani.

Mani replaced Mr. Babatunde Fowler as EC in December. He has been consolidating his hold on the tax agency “to be able to meet the N8.5trillion 2020 tax revenue target,” according to officials.

There is disquiet in the agency as a result of the movements, which also affected about 50 deputy directors, assistant directors and over 100 other employees have either been transferred who have their portfolios swapped.

A source said: “The movements were a means of shaping FIRS along the lines Mani believes could fetch him the N8.5 trillion target.

Southwest Governors Won’t Back Down On Amotekun [NATION]

             ‘It’s not regional army’

             Outfit constitutional, says Afe Babalola

             Youths plan protest

             Atiku okays state police

Southwest governors insisted on Sunday that the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) Operation Amotekun has come to stay.

The security outfit, launched on January 9 to give cover to the zone, was declared illegal by the Federal Government.

Reiterating the position of the governors on Sunday, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said they would not “capitulate to blackmail either from within or outside the region but ready to pursue the Amotekun security scheme through all permissible political and legal means.”

Akeredolu (SAN) is the Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum. He made this position known through a statement by Commissioner for Information Donald Ojogo.

Senior Advocate of Nigeria Afe Babalola,  said attempts by the Federal Government  to scuttle the initiative would fail because it   is constitutional.

His position tallies with that of other legal giants like Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).

Akeredolu explained that  Amotekun was initiated to complement the efforts of  conventional security agencies that appear to have been hampered by the absence of local intelligence gathering.

 

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