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Atiku vs Buhari: Anxiety Mounts As Tribunal Rules This Week

Peter Okunoren

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The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Abuja, will this week, deliver judgment in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election won by President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

After all the parties had adopted their final briefs of argument canvassed for and against the petition, the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel said it would deliver the judgement on a date to be sent to all the parties through their lawyers.

Although no hearing date has been issued, the statutory 180 days duration for the hearing of the petition which was filed in March expires on Friday, September 15.

Specifically, Section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), provided that the hearing and judgment in petitions at the tribunal of the first instance are supposed to be concluded within 180 days.

Already, tension is building up among supporters of the two camps, who have started arriving Abuja in droves, ahead of the judgment.

The tribunal has already dispensed with the three other petitions filed against Buhari’s victory at the February 23 presidential election.

In the case of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the petition was withdrawn by its presidential candidate, Pastor Habu and accordingly dismissed.

The tribunal equally dismissed the petition by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) for lacking in substance and merit.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on February 27, declared that Buhari garnered a total of 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP, who it said polled a total of 11,262,978 votes.

In a petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019 and filed on March 18, the PDP and Atiku insisted that data they secured from INEC’s server, revealed that they clearly defeated President Buhari with over 1.6million votes.

The petitioners alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast Atiku alleged that in some states, INEC, deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.

The petitioners said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.

The petitioners serialized results that were recorded from each state of the federation in order to prove that the alleged fraudulent allocation of votes to Buhari and the APC, took place at the polling units, the ward collating centers, local government collating centers and the State collating centers.

They argued that proper collation and summation of the presidential election results would show that contrary to what INEC declared, Atiku scored 18,356,732 votes, ahead of Buhari who they claimed got 16,741,430 votes.

During the hearing, the petitioners called 62 witnesses and tendered over 4,000 documentary evidence to prove their case.

While INEC did not call any witness, Buhari and APC called seven witnesses before they abruptly ended their defense.

But while adopting final addresses, INEC counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN) said the commission worked in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and that the petitioners could never disown that.

Usman, therefore, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition and award cost against the petitioners.

Counsel to Buhari, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said there was “nothing in the law” that would make the tribunal grant the reliefs of the petitioners.

INEC through its lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), said the claim that results of the February presidential election were transmitted to a server was “the greatest lie of this century.”

BIG STORY

Kidnappers Abduct Police DPO, Demand N50m Ransom

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Mubi North divisional police command in Adamawa state, Ahidjo Mohammed, has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen at around 7 pm, Tuesday.

The officer was said to have been kidnapped at around 7 pm while returning to Mubi from Yola, where his mother has been receiving medical attention.

The kidnappers were said to have made contact with some persons demanding fifty million Naira from the family of the victim for the ransom of the law officer.

Similarly, another resident of Mubi, a trader, Alhaji Mahmudu Mbilla from Mbilla village has also been kidnapped, Monday night and the kidnappers are said to have also been demanding for five million Naira from the family of the kidnapped victim.

Speaking to the PPRO Adamawa state police command, Usman Nguroje confirmed the kidnap and said the Adamawa state police command has policed personnel including the IG anti kidnap squad to rescue the kidnap office.

Nguroje said, “We have set everything in place to ensure that no man in Adamawa is kidnapped.

“The officer was kidnapped at the Mararaba Mubi following a sporadic gunshot and before the police in the area could reach the area, they found the vehicle carrying him abandoned with his identity card left behind.”

On whether the kidnappers have made any financial demands, the PPRO said, “I am not aware of that.”

Some residents of Mubi expressed I’ve got the rising spare of kidnap in the area and told Daily Sun that there is apprehension in the land as a result of the kidnap of a law enforcement officer.

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DSS, Naval Officer, Three Retired Police Officers Arrested Over Lion Found In Indian Residence In Lagos

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Three retired Senior Police, Navy and DSS officers have been arrested alongside a security guard over the illegal possession of a lion in a residential building on 229, Muri Okunola Street, on Victoria Island, Lagos.

The two-year-old lion named ‘Kiara’ believed to be owned by a yet-to-be-identified Indian man was discovered and taken to a zoo in the state.

In an exclusive chat with Channels Television, Chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environment and special offenses, Olayinka Egbeyemi, explained that the three retired officers, who double as Chief Security Officer to the cat owner, said they were aware of the presence of Kiara within the building since it arrived.

Although the Indian owner is yet to present himself to the authorities for questioning, the four arrested have been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Depart (SCIID) in Yaba for further investigation and possible charges.

Kiara in stable condition

Meanwhile, the lion is in a stable condition after regaining consciousness and has acclimatized to its new environment.

The lion was tranquilized and taken to a zoo on Monday.

In a short video obtained exclusively by Channels Television, Kiara is seen reacting to its strange vicinity, while being served a meal.

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How Yahoo Boy,H-Money, Serving 24-yr Jail Term, Pulled Off $1m Scam From Kirikiri Prison, Attends Parties, Bought Properties

Peter Okunoren

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A convicted internet fraudster, Hope Olusegun Aroke who is serving a 24-year jail term at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison in Lagos is again, the subject of an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for being the alleged mastermind of a mega scam to the tune of over $ 1,000, 000.

He allegedly pulled the heist right from prison using a network of accomplices, some of the targets of fraud and money laundering investigation.

The lid on his latest fraud exploits from the bowels of the Maximum Correctional Centre was blown following intelligence received by the EFCC.

The immediate riddle that confronted the EFCC was how it was possible for the convict to continue to ply his ignoble trade of Internet fraud from prison.

Preliminary investigation revealed that that the convict, against established standard practice, had access to the internet and mobile phone in the Correctional Centre where he is supposed to be serving his jail term.

Even more puzzling was the finding that Aroke got himself admitted to the Nigeria Police Hospital, Falomo, Lagos for an undisclosed ailment. And from the hospital, he would move out to lodge in hotels, meet with his wife and two children and attend other social functions.

The circumstance of his admission into the hospital and those who aided his movement from the hospital to hotels and other social engagements are already being investigated by the EFCC.

For a felon supposedly serving a jail term, the investigation revealed that the Aroke used a fictitious name, Akinwunmi Sorinmade, to open two accounts with two of Nigeria’s leading banks.

He also bought a property at Fountain Spring Estate, Lekki Lagos in 2018 for N22million and a Lexus RX 350 2018 model registered in his wife’s name, Maria Jennifer Aroke.

The convict was also in possession of his wife’s bank account token in prison, which he used to freely transfer funds.

Further investigation revealed that, while his trial was ongoing in 2015, Aroke bought a four-bedroom duplex at Plot 12, Deji Fadoju Street, Megamounds Estate Lekki County Homes, Lekki for N48million.

Aroke was one of two Malaysia-based Nigerian undergraduate fraudsters arrested by the EFCC in the closing weeks of 2012 at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos following a tip-off. The indigene of Okene, Kogi State had claimed to be a student of Computer Science at the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University, Malaysia.

But the Commission’s investigation fingered him as the arrowhead of an intricate web of internet fraud scheme that traverses two continents.

When Aroke was arrested, a search conducted by EFCC operatives on his apartment led to the recovery of several items such as laptops, iPad, traveling documents, cheque books, flash drives, internet modem, and three exotic cars – a Mercedes Benz Jeep, One 4Matic Mercedes Benz Car and a Range Rover Sport SUV.

He was eventually convicted by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court on two counts of obtaining money by false pretense, cheque cloning, wire transfer, and forgery.

He was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on each of the two counts.

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