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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday accused the power Generating Companies in the country of a plot to throw the country into darkness.

Fashola equally said he was not afraid of going to the law court over allegations of preferential treatment offered two power generating companies.

Speaking at the 25th monthly meeting with operators in the power sector, hosted by Ibom Power at Ibom Hall, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, he said some of the operators have been having clandestine meetings with the sole purpose of throwing the country into darkness.

He said: “Let me say very clearly to all operators that I get reports of many of the clandestine meetings that some of them are holding with a view to disrupt supply for political capital.

“I will close by imploring those that are truly ready to run the business they have acquired voluntarily to continue to do so with the assurance of government support and partnership.

“As for those who entered the business without understanding it, please brace up for hard work and help us rebuild this country.

““Those who choose to hide temporarily in the courts of law can do so, but the court of public opinion will scrutinise you and its verdict may be very scathing, unkind, and enduring.

“I say this because you may not have noticed that Nigerians are increasingly taking their destiny in their hands.”

Reacting to a suit filed against the government by the GENCOs last week over alleged discriminatory treatment of the companies and their gas suppliers with intent to harm their business interests and conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited to the detriment of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry and the power sector as a whole, Fashola said they should also be bold enough to tell the court that they too were indebted to the gas companies, that they have received 80 per cent of their bill and that the Federal Government released N701 billion to them to settle gas debt.

He said: “Lately, I have read reports that some Generation Companies (not Ibom Power) have gone to court, filing claims against the government.
“That is their right and their prerogative.

“It is better than self-help, and it is consistent with the rule of law, which underpins our democracy.

“While they seek refuge in a court of law, they must be ready to face scrutiny in the court of public opinion.

“The court of public opinion is a court of conscience and morality.

“In the court of public opinion, they must be ready to tell the citizens how they felt when other groups went to court to stop the implementation of tariffs approved by NERC in 2016.

“They must explain to this public court whether they went to court before government approved a N701 billion payment Assurance Guarantee to pay their monthly power bills.

“They must disclose to this court that they owed debts, from the pre-Buhari era, because their income had reduced to less than 50 per cent.

“They must disclose to this court that they now receive about 80 per cent income, and that this government is now paying them revenues collected from international customers from the Republics Benin, Niger and Togo, in dollars, as against the naira payment they used to receive.”

The minister argued that in both courts, the GENCOs must disclose how they felt when some DisCos went to court to stop the enforcement of Provision of Promissory Notes, which was a condition that denied them access to the CBN low interest loans.

Fashola said: “They must tell the court of public opinion that the reason for going to court is because government is making 100 per cent payment to a new GenCo which has a different contract with a Partial Risk Guarantee, which they do not have.

“They must also disclose to both courts that they held a meeting with government and tabled their demands, which government promised to look into one week before they went to court.

“They must, in good conscience, tell the two courts whether one week was enough time to go to court and whether this action at the time when the sector is making progress does not suggest an intention to blackmail government and hold the citizens hostage.”

BIG STORY

Olisa Agbakoba Drags AGF To Court Over CJN’s Trial

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Constitutional lawyer and former President of Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to court over moves to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over his alleged non-declaration of assets.

In the suit he lodged before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Agbakoba, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, maintained that the six-count charge pending against the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

He is praying the court to determine, “Whether having regard to the decision of the Court of Appeal in NgajiwaV FRN (2017) LPELR-43391 (CA) , the combined provisions of sections 6, 153,158,287(2), and 292(1) and Paragraph 21(b) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, as altered and extant provisions of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, the present charge in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, does not amounr to flagrant and violent disregard of the provisions of the Constitution, due process of law, and, therefore, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can competently file and maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any court or tribunal without prior recourse to the 4th defendant, the National Judicial Council, in accordance with constitutional provisions.

“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any Court or Tribunal without affording him adequate time and facilities for preparation of his defence.”

Upon determination of the legal questions, Agbakoba, prayed the court to among other things, declare that “the purported steps taken by the 1st and 2nd Defendants to arraign Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, on the basis of Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein, without prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, on the basis Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein, without first having prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void

“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, without first being afforded sufficient time and facilities for preparation of his defence, is unconstitutional, null and void, being a gross violation of the provisions of Section 36 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“A declaration that Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19, filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, by the 1stand 2nd Defendants, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, without first having prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.

“An order of this Honourable Court, quashing and/or setting aside, in their entirety, all the charges preferred by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 and nullifying all steps taken by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, leading to the said illegal and unconstitutional arraignment or proposed arraignment of Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, CJN before the 3rd Defendant.

Likewise, “An order of injunction by this Honourable Court, restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants, whether by themselves, servants,privies or officers working under them, from maintaining the charges or taking any further steps towards maintenance and prosecution of any charges, against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the 3rd Defendant or any other Court or Tribunal, without first having recourse to the 4th Defendant”.

Aside from the AGF, other defendants in the suit are the Code of Conduct Bureau, the CCT and the National Judicial Council.

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BIG STORY

MC Oluomo Discharged From Lagos Hospital, Travels Abroad

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A chieftain of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a MC Oluomo, was on Tuesday night discharged from a Lagos hospital, where he was receiving treatment.

MC Oluomo was attacked at an All Progressives Congress rally in Ikeja on January 8, and was immediately taken to Eko Hospital, following injuries he sustained.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, who visited the Eko Hospital in Ikeja on Wednesday, gathered that MC Oluomo left the hospital on Tuesday night after payment of over N2 million medical bill.

A very reliable source, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the NURTW leader may have left for the United States immediately he was discharged from hospital on Tuesday night.

The source said: “He is very fine and has nothing to worry about his health after his treatment at the hospital. Before he finally left on Tuesday night, he was receiving a lot of well-wishers.

“Sometimes, he moves around and sometimes walks his visitors to the corridor, so he was in a sound health before leaving the hospital.

“Few days before he left the hospital, his associates were making arrangements for his trip.”

NAN also observed that there was no more police presence around the hospital, as the three police vehicles stationed there had been removed.

The Lagos State Police Command had said it arrested some suspects and also declared wanted another NURTW chieftain over the disruption of the APC rally in Lagos.

The Command’s spokesperson, CSP Chike Oti, had said that those arrested in connection with the incident were helping the police in their investigation.

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BIG STORY

Fake News: EFCC To Detain Odumakin, Fani-Kayode For At Least 14 Days

Peter Okunoren

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed to detain a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and the spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, for allegedly spreading fake news on the invasion of the residence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the anti-graft agency.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by the spokesman of the EFCC, Tony Orilade, in Abuja.

Although Fani-Kayode has apologized for the dissemination of the fake news , the agency is expecting him and Odumakin to appear in its office or get arrested.

Orilade said: “They are expected to be in our office this evening to interrogate them on the source of the news and if they fail to talk, the agency will secure an order to detain them for 14 days.”

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