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Acting CJN Muhammad Reveals When He’ll Step Aside, Says Onnoghen Remains Chief Justice of Nigeria

Peter Okunoren

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The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, ACJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said that suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen, remains the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Muhammad said he would step aside once the Code of Conduct Tribunal or the Appeal Court reverses Onnoghen’s matter.

He, however, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari does not need the permission of the National Judicial Council, NJC, to appoint an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

This was part of Justice Muhammad’s response to a query given to him by the NJC.

Justice Muhammad pointed out that the NJC ought to be consulted only when a substantive CJN is being appointed or re-appointed.

He said, “In my respectful view, the National Judicial Council has no role to play in the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in the first instance, that is to say on first appointment.

“The council comes in where the appointment as the acting CJN is to be renewed or extended. I humbly refer to Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution.

“It was for the larger interest of the judiciary and the constitutionality that I accepted to be sworn in as acting CJN with the conviction that if the order of January 23, 2019 is eventually set aside, the status quo would be restored.

“But before it is set aside, there should be no vacuum in the office of the CJN and the chairman of the NJC.

“On January 25, 2019, I was summoned to the Aso Villa at the instance of the President. Prior to the summons, I was not aware of the fact that the Code of Conduct Tribunal made any order on January 23, 2019.

“Furthermore, beyond what I read in the newspapers and watched on the television just like any other Nigerian, I was not privileged to see any of the processes filed by the parties before the tribunal. Hence, I could not really appreciate the merit or demerit of divergent positions.

“On the 25th day of January, the President swore me in as the acing CJN and not as the substantive CJN. Justice Walter Onnoghen remains the CJN until he is removed from office in accordance with the provision of the constitution. He is only suspended.”

The Acting CJN said that he was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia State High Court for accepting to be sworn in as chief judge by the Abia State Government without a recommendation of the NJC but added that his own case was different because he was only appointed as an acting CJN.

Muhammad appealed to the NJC to throw aside the petition written against him by a group, Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

The group had written a petition to the NJC, demanding that the council to remove Muhammad as a justice of the Supreme Court.

They said Muhammad compromised by allowing himself to be sworn in by the President without recourse to the NJC.

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Ex-Gov. Abubakar Spent N2.3bn To Buy Burial Materials, Bauchi Governor Alleges

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As the blame game continues in Bauchi State, Governor Bala Mohammed has alleged that his predecessor, Mohammed Abubakar spent a whopping sum of N2.3 billion to buy materials for burying dead bodies in the state.

The governor who spoke through his spokesperson, Dr. Ladan Salihu, in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi over the weekend, alleged that the said funds were spent between January and May 2019.

Ladan Salihu explained that over N900 million of the money was spent in buying white cloth materials used for wrapping dead bodies while over N1.4 billion was used to buy the wood for lacing the graves for the burial.

According to him, the government discovered various issues of corruption, venality, daylight robbery of the commonwealth of Bauchi State where billions of Naira were syphoned illegally.

The spokesperson further alleged that: “These monies which ought to have been appropriated by the Assembly before expenditure, all of a sudden emanated from our treasury books.

How could you imagine that a state government, within five months that is between January and May, 2019, spent well over N2.3 billion on funeral materials, the clothes that are used in wrapping dead bodies and the woods that you lace the graveyards with?

“The immediate past government spent N2.3 billion, that government did not spend a quarter of that amount in our own hospitals and clinics. They have the temerity to want to put up a show of shame,” he lamented.

When asked if the government has any proof to substantiate its claim, he said that there is no iota of doubt on the matter saying that there are documental evidence to prove it.

“All these are captured in the report of the Transition Committee and these were gathered from documents and vouchers and payments made from our treasury books. There is the Freedom of Information law, go there and find out for yourself from those documents.

“We are talking about the principle behind it. You have bought these materials for funerals in graveyards, what have you done to the Christian cemetery? But we are saying that it is wrong completely, it is not the duty of government to buy burial materials for anybody.

“It is the responsibility of the family, the community and people of goodwill. It has never existed in our history books that the government bought those materials in the first place.

“So, you know that these things were bought for a reason, you would not see the materials, because they have disappeared into or out of ballot boxes,” he alleged.

Ladan Salihu further vowed that: “Government will take very, very stern measures, we will recover every kobo that has been looted or stolen by the immediate past administration and in fact, the administration before it. Where it is established that there is a clear case of misappropriation or outright stealing of public funds. It is an obligation, you don’t allow criminality to run roughshod on the rest of us because these are public funds.

“We must take steps, there’s no factor of fear or favour or ill will, it is just the way the business of government must be conducted. We will take every measure, we use every institution and go after everyone that has stolen Bauchi State’s money.

“We will pursue this case in the relevant institutions of recovery whether it is EFCC, ICPC, the constitution of a Special Recovery Mechanism within the state, I can assure you, we will pursue these issues vigorously, rigorously and without let,” he added.

When our correspondent contacted the Special Adviser to the former Governor Abubakar on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, on phone, he simply said, “that is very ridiculous, I cannot make further comments on the issue because I am not aware of such allegation.

“I’ve not heard of anything like that, so I will speak on it when I make my findings but this is laughable. I will get back to you on that when I have done my findings from my principal,” he added.

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Presidents of Rwanda, Senegal And DRC To Speak At The Largest Annual Gathering Of African Entrepreneurs

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The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s champion of entrepreneurship, has announced the line-up of speakers and activities for the 5th Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum — the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the African entrepreneurship ecosystem.



For the Forum’s Presidential Dialogue, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), H.E Félix Tshisekedi will join previously announced President of Rwanda, H.E Paul Kagame and President of Senegal, H.E Macky Sall, in an interactive, charged plenary session that opens Day 2 of the Forum. The Presidential Dialogue will be moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, and will feature all three presidents engaging directly with an audience of 5,000, comprising of entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors and business leaders, with thousands of people interacting live online, through TEFConnect.

The Forum presents the largest single annual opportunity for entrepreneurs and policy makers to interact directly and all sessions at the Forum have private sector and public sector leaders anchor panel discussions, masterclasses, and a dynamic pitching competition that will engage an audience of start-up entrepreneurs, development institutions, and policymakers.



The speakers expected for this year’s Forum include Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import (AFREXIMBANK); Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AFDB); Dr. Awele Elumelu, Trustee, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Founder, Avon Medical; Kennedy Uzoka, Group CEO, UBA Group Plc; Mrs. Djene Kaba Conde, First Lady, Guinea; amongst other notable global business leaders. 

Every year, the Tony Elumelu Foundation hosts the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs, policymakers and business leaders in one location. This year’s Forum, themed “Empowering African Entrepreneurs”, will take place at the iconic Transcorp Hilton Hotel, in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. The Forum will also include the UBA Marketplace, where UBA, Africa’s global bank, brings together businesses from across the continent.  

At the 2018 forum, TEFConnect, the largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs was launched to connect entrepreneurs to the opportunities they need for business success. TEFConnect will take centre stage at this year’s Forum as global debates move to technology as a key driver of economic development in Africa.

For more information: https://www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/forum2019

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Jim Ovia Advocates For Disruptive Technology To Scale Businesses In Africa

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According to Zenith Bank Founder/Chairman, Jim Ovia, businesses stand a chance to triple growth rate and earnings through innovation and technology.

The options are to “innovate and transform or die”, he said. It is the technology age and businesses operating out of Africa should continually adopt technology to experience exponential scale in their business development.

He made this statement while chairing the launch of the PwC Experience Centre. Mr. Ovia added that the Experience Centre is a forward-thinking way to disrupt the over $1tn consultancy service industry yet to be digitized.

Therefore, the Experience Centre is an effective move towards expanding PwC’s innovative solution services across West Africa.

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