EDO JUDICIARY STAFF BREAKS INTO COURT PREMISES TO RESUME WORK

Staff of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, Edo State, defiled the call by the national body of the union to embark on an indefinite strike action.

The workers who turned up for work after the Easter break at the High Court Premises on Sapele Road, Benin City, resisted plea by the Union Chairman, Comrade Uyi Ogieriakhi and some union officials, to go back home owing to the directives of the national body.

Some of the JUSUN members got cutlasses to break the padlocks which the union officials used in locking up the court premises and gained entrance into the place.

They accused the union leadership of playing politics with their affairs, emphasizing that they were yet to be paid their seven months salaries during the administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for embarking on strike.

Further plea by some top officers of the Judiciary for the workers to go back home fell into deaf ears as they vowed to resume at their legitimate duty post to do the job they were employed by Government to do.

There was tension at the High Court premises, even as heavily armed police were on ground to put the situation under control as the workers went to resume at their various duty posts.

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.