ADP WITNESS INSISTS OBASEKI CONTESTED APC PRIMARIES

A member of the APC, Daniel Osa-Ogbegie, who was brought to testify in favour of the Action Democratic Party before the Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has denied ever being a staff of the INEC or the University of Ibadan all his life.

The witness stated that some of the information in his statement on oath were elicited from the INEC forms filled by Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2016 and 2020 as well as information he got from the APC who brought him to testify.

During cross-examination by Counsel to INEC, Chief Adeboyega Awomolo, SAN, the witness stated that INEC conducted the Governorship election in all the polling units in Edo State and that the result in Exhibit P1 represented all the results of polling units in Edo State.

He agreed that Governor Obaseki won with the highest number of votes cast at the election, hence, he was declared the eventual winner.

Asked was his locus in praying the Tribunal to disqualify the Governor, he said as a Nigerian citizen and from my Edo State, he wants the best for the State.

The witness stated that as a legal practitioner, under section 87 of the Electoral Act, he has right to challenge the Governor’s qualification before the Federal High Court but refuse to do so and waited for the Tribunal that to be constituted because there were several other suits challenging same at the Federal High Court.

While being cross-examined by the PDP Counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo, SAN, the witness that he relied on the photocopies of documents the Governor submitted to the INEC, emphasizing that July 1979 was written on the University of Ibadan certificate with the signatures of the then Registrar and Vice Chancellor respectively.

Osa-Ogbegie testified that he never set his eyes on originals of any of the Governor’s certificates, neither did he attempt to verify from the issuing authorities.

Asked by Ken Mozia, SAN, who is Counsel to Governor Obaseki, whether he knew that the academic calendar of 1969-1973 ran from January to December,as against his statement that the Governor spent four years in primary school, the witness stated that he was not born then to know about it.

He said Obaseki contested the APC primary election of 22nd June 2020 with other aspirants and that he do not agree that only Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Dr. Pius Odubu And Osaro Obazee.

During cross-examination by the APC Counsel, Emmanuel Usoh, the witness told the Tribunal that the Degree certificate attached to Exhibit P4 had no date and signature while the certificate in Exhibit A4 is Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and Exhibit A6 is an affidavit deposed to by Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki.

APP BATTLES INEC OVER EDO GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION

As the Edo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal resumes sitting in Benin City, Counsel to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Ken Mozia, SAN, has called on the Tribunal to prevail on the Action Peoples Party, APP, to close its case in the absence of any witness.

The call by Mozia, SAN, came following an application by APP through its Counsel, Chikosom Ojukwu, that they had difficulties getting some foundational documents from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to proceed with proving their petition filed in view of their Governorship and Deputy Governorship Candidates exclusion from the September 19,2020 election.

He prayed the tribunal’s direction having applied for subpoena on 16th December 2020 and was yet to be signed to enable the relevant witnesses to be served.

Mozia, SAN, reminded the Tribunal that the petitioner had two days within which to conduct and close his case according to the pre-hearing report before the Tribunal.

Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Emeka Etiaba, SAN, in opposing the application argued that the petitioner was not ready to go on with the matter and urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for being deemed abandoned.

In his submission, Counsel to the INEC, Alex Iziyon, SAN, if the petitioner’s Counsel was asking for a direction, the Tribunal should so direct that he opens his case.

Iziyon, SAN, argued that out of the petitioner has decided to call just one out of his five witnesses, since the winess was present before the Tribunal, he should be put in the witness box to give his evidence.

The petitioner’s Counsel then prayed the tribunal for a stand-down of the matter to enable him put things in order and the Tribunal granted his prayer.

By the time the Tribunal reconvened, Chikosom Ojukwu then called his witness, Uche Nnadi, who is the Acting National Chairman if the APP.

He testified that his party forwarded the substituted names of their Governorship and Deputy Governorship Candidates to the INEC after some of their candidates stepped down but the electoral umpire refused to effect the substituted names, hence, the party commenced a legal action against INEC at a Federal High Court in Abuja where judgment is still being awaited.

During cross-examination by Counsel to Gov. Obaseki, PDP and INEC, the witness stated that the acronym and logo of his party were on the ballot papers used for the election and that his party scored a total of 78 votes.

He testified that as at the 22nd July 2020, INEC orally rejected the names his party submitted, emphasizing that he was the Deputy National Chairman of the party and in-charge of administration as at the time of the election.

Mr. Uche Nnadi told the Tribunal that 13th July 2020 was the last date for withdrawal or substitution of candidates as reflected on the timetable for the election.

The witness confirmed via a document shown to him that the party’s Governorship Candidate,Amos, and the Deputy Governorship Candidate, Albert, wrote to the INEC about their intention to withdraw from the race on 20th July 2020, but INEC’s refusal to accept same, formed the basis of the suit before the Federal High Court.

FG EXTENDS TIME FOR TELECOM SUBSCRIBERS TO PROVIDE NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER

The Federal Ministry of Digital Economy has extended for the submission of the National Identification Numbers by Telecom subscribers by three and six weeks respectively.

This was the outcome of a meeting at the instance of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim, with the Chairman, National Communications Commission, Chief Executive Officers of the MTN, GLO, ETISALAT and AIRTEL and other major stakeholders in the Telecom sector.

A statement jointly issued by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission,Umaru Dabatta and the Director General, National Identity Management Commission, Aliyu Aziz, indicates that subscribers with the National Identification Numbers have been given three weeks to supply same to the various Telecom providers, instead of the 31 st December 2020 deadline.

Telecom subscribers without the National Identification Numbers are to register and supply theirs within six weeks which is expected to lapse by 9th February 2021, as against the earlier announced 31st December 2020 deadline.

CULT WAR CLAIMS THREE LIVES IN BENIN CITY

The lives of three young men were today cut short owing to the raging cult war in Benin City.

One of the casualties was a young man felled by the bullets from the gun of a rival cult member at cooless area in Useh, the second was shot and killed at the Mobile Barracks axis of Siluko road while the last was brought down around the Catholic Church end of same Siluko road.

An anonymous eyewitness disclosed that a group of young men wielding guns and other dangerous weapons stormed the Useh market this afternoon and started shooting sporadically into the air causing the market Traders to scamper for their dear lives as the boys crossed towards cooless area.

It would be recalled that some young men, Wednesday evening, stormed the Useh market, shooting into the air, thus, forcing the traders to close for the day, even as the residents of the area were forced to sleep early by the development.

PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED YOUNG MAN GUNNED DOWN IN BENIN CITY

Tragedy struck at TV Road area in Benin City when a young man in his late twenties was allegedly shot to death by unknown gunmen.

It was gathered that the victim, identified as IK, was about entering into their compound gate that evening around 7pm, when three men accosted him and shot him on the chest at close range.

It was, however, not clear whether the victim, who is also a physically challenged, had any resistance or argument with them before he was gunned down.

Sympathizers were seen milling at the front of the victim’s house the following morning, Wednesday, describing the late IK as a jolly good fellow whose is widely known as a respecter of persons and a good comedian.

Meanwhile, suspected gunmen allegedly evaded Useh Community shooting sporadically into the air, Wednesday evening.

Though no death or injury was recorded as at press time, the incident unleashed fears on resident of the area who scampered for safety of their dear lives.

The tempo of insecurity in Benin City has scaled up in recent times, a situation which some alleged is as a result of the jail break in Benin and Oko Correctional Centres during the #EndSARS protest.

#FreePoorPatients:UBTH FREES ANOTHER DETAINED WOMAN

A patient in Ward A2 of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Mrs. Evans, has regained freedom having spent almost five months in the hospital over inability to fully settle her hospital bills.

Mrs. Evans was admitted into the hospital in June this year due to pregnancy which resulted in losing the baby after a cesearan session was performed on her.

Her husband, Mr. Evans was said to have paid about three hundred and eigthy thousand naira but the hospital’s management detained the woman on the grounds that the bills was yet to be fully settled by her husband.

Speaking after his wife’s release from the hospital, Mr. Evans gave thanks to God, all men and women of goodwill, especially, Jefferson Uwoghiren, Esq., and Kenn Osaretin-Aibuedefe, who stood by him during the trying period.

Mrs. Evans, whose joy knew no bound, could only say “I thank God, I thank God, I thank God for everythingas she dances her way into the uneasy road to freedom.

NEWS FLASH!!! UBTH:A DETENTION FACILITY?

The University of Benin Teaching Hospital UBTH has become a sort of “detention” facility for patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills after being discharged.

Investigation by PRIMACY NEWS revealed that some patients most of whom were delivered of their babies, lost same and could not foot their hospital bills are languishing in the custody of the UBTH.

The decry the huge bills slammed on them by management of the hospital which, always, accrue to not less than five hundred thousand naira, in cases of giving birth through cesearan session, CS.

The expose came to the fore with the story of a young lady, Bidemi Taiwo, who had been in the hospital since March 23, 2020, after giving birth to a baby boy through cesearan session but lost the child.

She was allegedly detained for non-payment of her bills to the tune of over six hundred thousand naira until she was released on October 31, 2020 due to the intervention of a Benin based Legal Practitional, Jefferson Uwoghiren and an NGO, SOTHAWACA, also based in Benin City, and other individuals who spoke up on the issue.

Further investigation by PRIMACY NEWS revealed that about ten other poor patients are still languishing in the Ward A2 over their indebtedness to the hospital.

They lamented that upon being discharged, they are no longer fed, neither are drugs giving to them, yet, the hospital bills keep mounting by the day, emphasizing that they are confined to the Ward until the bills are cleared before they will be allowed to go home.

There is the case of a pregnant woman who was admitted in the hospital in June this year, wheeled into the hospital’s theatre for cesearan session, but lost the baby, upon the her discharge, a bill of about seven hundred thousand naira was stuck on her.

The woman’s husband, Mr. Evans told PRIMACY NEWS that as a struggling young man, he sold virtually all he had to raise and paid the sum of three hundred and eighty thousand naira, despite other monies he paid, and they insisted that until he pays the entire sum, his wife will not be released to go home.

The development has cast a very big question mark on the modus operandi of the hospital, even as Members of the public are beginning to call on management of the hospital to wake up to their responsibility by reviewing cases of huge hospital bills.

Some stakeholders are of the opinion that UBTH is supposedly a Government health care facility where patients are treated with drugs and other medical equipment and as well given psychosocial support to soothe or heal the pains of their immediate past, and as such, it is not a supposed detention facility.

LEGAL LUMINARY ADVOCATES RELEASE OF POOR PATIENTS IN UBTH

A Benin based Legal Luminary, Jefferson Uwoghiren, has called on authorities of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, to release all poor patients who could not pay their hospital bills upon discharged.

Uwoghiren Esq., made the call in Benin City while reacting to the unconditional release of one Bidemi Taiwo who has been in the hospital for about six months and was released to go home on Saturday, October, 31, 2020.

The legal Luminary stated that the woman’s alleged”detention” in the hospital facility was illegal, emphasizing that there are a lot of patients suffering same fate in the hospital.

According to him, “it is a criminal offense to detain a patient in a hospital, by management, or their agents, due to debts accumulated by a patient, in consequences of health care treatment” the Legal Luminary submitted.

Bidemi Taiwo was admitted on March 23, 2020 in UBTH where she gave birth to a baby boy, through cesearan session, but lost the child and was held back by management of the hospital due to her inability to foot the hospital bills of over five hundred thousand naira.