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Lead lawyers meeting to sort out documents at PEPC collapses




As 70% of documents requested for were not provided by INEC

The meeting conveyed by Abubakar Mahmoud SAN, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s lead counsel between the legal teams of Labour party presidential candidate Peter Obi , President -Elect Ahmed Bola Tinubu and All Progressives Congress, APC, to sort out documents for the presidential election petition court has collapsed.

The meeting collapsed just INEC ,APC , Tinubu lawyers accused Peter Obi lawyers of walking out of the meeting on Tuesday, May 16.

But Obi lead counsel Dr Livy Uzoukwu said their accusations are blackmail intended to weaken and deceive the petitioner legal team to accept what is not right.

Recall that the lead counsel to the parties in the petition filed by Peter Obi: namely, Abubakar Mahmoud SAN, Livy Uzoukwu SAN, for Labour Party, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN for Bola Tinubu and Chief Lateef Fagbemi SAN had on May 10, 2023 persuaded the Court to agreed to their arrangement and agreement to set up a joint legal team to sort out documents that would be opposed and those that will be allowed during hearing without any objections .

At the resumed pre-hearing session on Wednesday Peter Obi lead counsel Dr Livy Uzoukwu told the court that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had refused to provide his team with 70 percent of the documents it requested for the meeting.

He said meeting scheduled for harmonization of documents by counsels was not successful because of INEC refusal to provide the necessary documents.He said they only got about 30 percent of the required documents to prosecute the matter .

Uzoukwu said for example, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC for Rivers state had blankly refused to provide any document including form EC8A,they had demanded for.
While INEC legal officer for Sokoto state demanded for a payment of sum of money that would be embarrassing to mention in Court as processing fees for certified copy of the needed document.

The counsel said despite all the efforts including five separate visits to the Independent National electoral commission, INEC Headquarters the respondent is insisting on a down payment of the sum of N1.5m as processing fee for documents in its headquarters to be certified. My team have only received 30 percent of the document, and we will pay for any of the document they certified.

Dr. Uzoukwu further told the court that, in addition to his efforts, he had written a letter to the INEC’s counsel detailing his predicaments on refusal of his client ( INEC ) to provide him with the needed documents.

Responding, Counsel for INEC Abubakar Mahmoud SAN reiterated his earlier pledge to cooperate with the counsel in the matter.

He said it was for same reason that he opted to initiate the meeting . He said that Livy Uzoukwu ,SAN, lead legal team did not honour the meeting of Monday,May 15 and that he was informed that the petitioner legal team walked out during the rescheduled meeting on Tuesday,May 16, 2023.

Counsel for the INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud specifically stated that his client is always willing to cooperate with parties to provide the needed documents.He, however, advised Obi’s lawyer to follow the necessary lay down protocol for accessing of certified copy by paying the prescribed fees.

In his response counsel to Tinubu and Kashim Shettima the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Chief Wole Olanipkekun, SAN, agreed with Mahmoud submissions that the LP team failed to honour the agreement reached by the counsel

The counsel accused Obi’s counsel of walking out of the pre-hearing meeting ordered by the court, an accusation Obi’ lawyer denied and rather said the submission was a blackmail.

Counsel for APC , Chief Lateef Fagbemi SAN also aligned with the submissions of Abubakar and added that APC had no problem and had received documents from INEC.

In his ruling , the Presiding Justice Haruna Tsammani ruled that all applications must be heard on Friday, May 19, 2023.

He said that the pre -hearing will end on Sunday, May 21 ,2023 and that if it warrants the court to sit on Saturday night they will do it.

Earlier during the proceedings the Court had ordered LP counsel Uzoukwu SAN to file his response to the five separate motions served on him between Monday and Wednesday.

The petitioner lawyer had insisted on Wednesday that he must take five days to respond to contentious motions seeking to strike out several paragraphs of the petition.

He also said that the electoral body,the Independent National Electoral Commission had filed an objection to the petition seeking to broadcast the Presidential Election Petition Court proceedings live.

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Subsidy: Petrol hits N1,200 Per Litre in Ebonyi



Petrol now sells for N1,200 a litre in Ebonyi state, according to a report by NAN. The shocking change came after President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy. Resident of Abakaliki in Ebonyi state were forced to buy petrol at a staggering N1,200 on Tuesday, according to the report. Scores of residents, who decried the high cost of petrol in the country, said they have since been engaged in panic buying. Some residents were also seen with their cans as many filling stations were under lock. A resident, Darlington Okeke, said panic buying was occasioned by Tinubu’s statement during his inauguration on Monday. Okeke stated that petrol in filling stations was sold between N800 and N1,200, against N230 per litre. Another resident, Ibrahim Ali, said black marketers sold a litre of fuel for N1,500, adding that the development was causing panic buying and frustration among residents. He, however, appealed to Tinubu to address the situation to mitigate panic buying and arbitrary hoarding of the products, which marketers introduced after the announcement by the president. Meanwhile, staff of some filling stations, who spoke under condition of anonymity, disclosed that the management of the Petroleum Dealers Association, Ebonyi State chapter, ordered the closure of fuel stations. “We are waiting for further directives,” they told NAN. Efforts to speak with the state chairman of the association, Sailas Njaka, on the development were not successful.

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Troops eliminate ISWAP top commanders, 55 terrorists in Borno



At least 55 Islamic State–West Africa Province terrorists have been eliminated by Nigerian troops. Those killed included top commanders of the terrorist group. The mission was carried out by the Multinational Joint Task Force in Arege, Malam Fatori, Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State. The Niger Ministry of Defence said that it conducted a 22-day operation tagged Operation HARBIN ZUMA, targeting ISWAP strongholds. The operation, it said, was coordinated by troops of Sector 3 and Sector 4 of the MNJTF. The operation started on May 6, 2023, and ended on Sunday, May 28. According to its report, several top ISWAP commanders, including Fiya Abouzeid, Qaïd Abou Oumama, and Qaïd Malam Moustapha, as well as some religious leaders whose identities are unknown, were killed during the 22-day Operation HARBIN ZUMA. The Niger-Nigerian Air Task Force and land forces worked together to locate the enemy and cause significant damage. The troops destroyed 13 vehicles, 13 motorcycles and five Vehicles Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. Two soldiers from Nigérienne Sector 4 MNJTF were killed, three were slightly wounded, and one phantom Mrap was damaged during the operation. However, The Niger Ministry did not disclose any casualties on the Nigerian side. The main aim of Operation HARBIN ZUMA was to neutralise terrorists in their stronghold in Aregé, Nigeria. The operation also aimed to maintain pressure on the Islamic State in West Africa and eliminate any presence of armed terrorist groups in the BOSSO, BAGA, GOUDOUMBALI, and GASHIGAR areas. The operation also planned to cut off all supply routes for armed terrorist groups and reduce the threat in the region.

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I pray Atiku succeeds in Nullifying Tinubu’s victory – Omokri



A former presidential aide, Reno Omokri has asked God to help Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s victory. Omokri took to social media to pray to God. The staunch Atiku’s ally applauded Tinubu for his bold statement on subsidy removal, meeting the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, same day he assumed office. Tweeting, Omokri said unlike the immediate last president, Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu started work immediately he assumed office. According to Omokri: “Making a bold statement on subsidy removal and backing it up with action. Meeting Godwin Emefiele, then Mele Kyari.“Making a string of appointments. Asserting his authority over the DSS in their face-off with the EFCC.“Tinubu, unlike Buhari, has hit the ground running. I sincerely pray that our petition will succeed and President Tinubu’s election will be nullified.“But be that as it may, I must commend the actions of his first 24 hours in office.”

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