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Appeal Court Adjourns Hearing on Election Sequence

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

 

As a custodian of the law, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division has adjourned hearing in a suit challenging the ruling of a Federal High Court which set aside the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya told the parties in the case on Thursday that a full court would be constituted to hear the suit, as their panel cannot hear the appeal.

The counsel to the National Assembly, Mr Joseph Daudu, said the issue before the court was very urgent.

He told the court that suit torched on matters of the coming general elections and as such, time was important.

Daudu stressed that urgency was much more intense, as not having a pronouncement could make anyone want to challenge the bill.

In his submission, counsel to the Accord Party Wole Olanipekun told the court that there was nothing urgent about the appeal to warrant parties to return to the court when the Appeal Court was headed for its annual vacation.

He, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the case till the next legal year.

In a short ruling, Justice Yahaha adjourned the case till a date to be communicated to the parties, for a full panel to be constituted.

The Federal High Court had ruled in favour of the Accord Party which urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign into law the amended Electoral Act Bill 2018.

The court held that the National Assembly lacked the powers to decide on the sequence of the election on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Since Nigeria returned to democracy, presidential and National Assembly elections have been conducted on the same day before other polls, while the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections follow.

Lawmakers at the National Assembly had in February amended the election sequence such that the National Assembly polls would be conducted first, followed by the state lawmakers and the governors while the presidential election should take place last.

This led to a heated debate in the Senate after which President Buhari wrote the lawmakers in March, informing them that he had withheld assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

The President had stated that the amendment to election sequence in section 25 of the Principal Act might infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.

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‎NGO trains 1000 vulnerable women, PLWHA on skills acquisition in Bauchi

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A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Bauchi Rahma Women Development Programme has trained 1000 vulnerable women and persons living with HIV/AIDS on various skills acquisitions.

Mrs Miriam Iliya the Executive Director Rahma Women Development made this known at the inauguration of Board of trustees in Bauchi on Friday.

“We embarked on the trainings in collaboration with the support of some international partners, the training was conducted within the period of nine months.

“The NGO was committed to make the trainees to become employers of labour in the future and be self reliance.

“The beneficiaries includes the People Living with HIV/AIDs and other vulnerable women whom were trained on different skills acquisitions such as Tailoring, Knitting, Barbing, Hair dressing saloon, Pomade and soap making and baking.

“We also give counselling to (PLWHA) to let them know that being positive is not the end of their lives and also disabuse their mind on the stereotype,”she said.

She however reminded the newly inaugurated board members that they are the custodians of the NGO and always to ensure right things goes in the right direction.

Earlier speaking the the Chairman Board of Directors Rahma Women Development Alhaji Bello Inuwa said the NGO had implemented several projects through international partners in various sectors that impact positively to the lives of people of Bauchi state.

“We carry out interventions in different various sectors such as health, education, water sanitation and hygiene, and micro finance credit facilities to women,” he said

Bello urged government at all levels to support local NGOs to improve the lives of the citizens: nothing that is only the NGOs that interact much with the grass roots people for implementation of projects.

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School teacher assaulted, manhandled by officers at Mabushi station

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A serving teacher with Dominion International School, Jabi, Abuja, Iorember Doolumun, recently reported that he was maimed by two men of the police force from Surveillance Unit, Mabushi Divisional Police Station while having breakfast in Gishiri Village.

Mr. Doolumun who revealed that he was still in a devastated mood, told journalist that he had only gone for a tea break in Gishiri Village when two armed men stormed the spot to order everyone to lie flat on the floor but despite his decent quest to ascertain the reason for such an assaultive invasion, he got loads of slaps and kick boots from the officers, who told him he was speaking too much grammar, noting that they were also graduates, before conveying him to the Gishiiri Police station in hand cuffs, to get two more slaps for explaining that he had asked a simple civil question.

He further disclosed that he was forced to append to a statement titled, ‘An assault on a police officer’, after which a fine of N10, 000 was paid by friends as ransome for his release, as he cautioned the federal government to quiz the status of such security men for the future of Nigeria, mostly as the 2019 elections are around the corner. He said:

“I went out to eat that morning at a spot in Gishiri village and it was barely minutes when I entered the place that two policemen from Surveillance Unit at Mabushi Divisional Police station invaded the restaurant and ordered everyone to lie flat on the floor.

“I politely asked why they had to assault innocent citizens but in response, they pounced on me with slaps on my ears and kickings all over, telling me they were also graduates before conveying me to the station, where the officer in-charge gave me two more slaps, saying I had assaulted police officers on duty.

“I was forced to write and sign a statement titled, ‘An assault on police officer’, before I was released on bail after payment of a N10, 000 as fine, and I can barely hear well with my ears even as I speak to you, and my limbs are even swollen from the battering.

“It’s very worrisome to think that these are the same supposed custodians of peace in the country and will be the ones to be used as security in the forthcoming elections.

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2019 Election: Journalist trained to combat fake news

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In the wake of digital social media journalism, Journalist have been urged to play the role of gate keepers to effectively combat the on surge of fake news through fact finding method, also report for public good during the 2019 general elections.

While conducting two day training for journalist, INEC and civil societies, with the theme Combating fake news and Disinformation in the 2019 General Elections, the Center for Democracy and Development CDC noted that media practitioners must be accountable and verify their news content before sending it out to the general public.

In a paper presentation by the Publisher Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi titled Mutations in accountable Journalism, he noted that good journalism helps provide citizens with information they need to make informed decisions about their choices, about being free and about effectively self-governing.

Stressing on the integrity of media to earn the confidence of the public, he added that the primary aim of journalism is an expansion of public good which in the long run will improve the integrity of the journalistic process and media must ensure that they report the general election with good conscience.

“The public must have confidence in the credibility of the media otherwise we run the risk of totally undermining the practice of journalism. In an age without gatekeepers, the need for judgment has become paramount and this is the case for news literacy because what information to believe and which sources to trust have become even more prominent. We need urgent mechanisms to sort the truth as the truth itself has come into peril” he explained.

He however urged Journalist to be accountable, verify all news items, debunk all false information, fake news, fact check and observe balance reporting during the general election for the peace of the country within during and after the elections.

Also speaking was CDD Senior Communications Officer Mr. Armsfree Ajanaku who stated that the training on combating fake news became imminent as Nigerians counts down to the general elections.

“As Nigeria counts down to the general elections, The Center for Democracy and Development CDD is working to combat fake news capable of undermining the integrity of the electoral process. The discipline of fact checking becomes critical at this point in the electoral process when political actors and their supporters could be inclined to spread fake news and misinform to gain political advantage.

“The training is to develop the skills of our core fact checkers, journalist and electoral commission with the capacity to spot and dispel all forms of fake news, misinformation and disinformation capable to affecting the peace in our country” he explained.

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