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In the case of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the petition was withdrawn by its presidential candidate, Pastor Habu and accordingly dismissed.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

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JUST IN: Lagos Oba, Abiodun Oniru, Dies At 82

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A prominent Lagos King, His Royal Majesty, Oba Idowu Abiodun Oniru has joined his ancestors.

According to The Lagos Times, Oba Oniru died in Lagos after a brief illness.

Until his death, he was aged 82.

Meanwhile, the source disclosed that the family would officially announce the death of the monarch soon.

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Access Bank, Barclays, Others Launch Global Principles For Responsible Banking

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Nigeria’s sustainability champion, Access Bank Plc., today launched the Global Principles for Responsible Banking as one of the Founding Signatories alongside other global banks. This is a further commitment to strategically align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

By signing the Principles, Access Bank is demonstrating its commitment towards using its products and services to support and accelerate positive changes in both local and international economies as well as promote lifestyles necessary to achieve shared prosperity for both current and future generations.

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc., stressed the need for continued collaboration and long-term approach to sustainability, recognizing the benefits of sustainable banking and the positive effect it has on the Bank and society.

“There is a greater need now, more than ever, to promote sustainability in the global financial sector. This is, therefore, the right time to launch the Global Principles for Responsible Banking. At Access Bank, we are committed to setting standards and engendering innovative solutions that address social, economic and environmental challenges. We believe that the Sustainable Development Goals will be better achieved if we can work together, using these Principles as a guide,” he said.

As expressed in the Global Principles for Responsible Banking, Access Bank is convinced that humans and businesses can only thrive in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The official launch of the principles which marked the beginning of the most significant partnership to date between the global banking industry and the UN held at the start of the United Nations General Assembly.

“The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy. The Principles create accountability that can realize the responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action,” said UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

With increasing concerns about climate change leading to a shift in the perception of climate risk among financial institutions and investors, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) urged financial institutions to adopt adequate risk management planning, saying:

“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, but it can also benefit from it. When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as a solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”

The Principles for Responsible Banking will provide Access Bank with an effective framework to systematically identify and seize new business opportunities created by the emerging sustainable development economy, while at the same time enabling the Bank to effectively identify and address related risks.

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Three Soldiers, Students, Others Arrested During Cult Initiation [VIDEO]

Peter Okunoren

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Three soldiers of the Nigerian Army were among 18 persons arrested during their initiation into a cult group in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, on Saturday.

According to available information, the soldiers have been tried in line with military rules, dismissed and handed over to the Nigeria Police for prosecution.

This was disclosed on Saturday in a statement by the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa, in a statement.

Isa said others arrested included persons who claimed to be students of the University of Maiduguri.
He said all of them have been handed over to the police for prosecution.

He said the suspects are suspected to have engaged in armed robbery and kidnapping in Maiduguri and its environs.

Isa said in the statement: “Following credible information received from well-meaning individuals, a gang of suspected cultists, who are suspected to engage in armed robbery and kidnapping in Maiduguri and environs were arrested today Sunday 22 September, 2019 by troops of the Nigerian Army Super Camp 1 Molai, in line with the Super Camp Concept of the Counterterrorism efforts Of Operation LAFIYA DOLE (OPLD). The feat was achieved in conjunction with other security agencies and local hunters in the general area.

“The alleged cultists were about to perform an initiation rite on some new members into their confraternity, when the troops, other security personnel, and local hunters stormed their hideout in Maiduguri. The cultist’s attempt to flee and escape arrest was unsuccessful as they were effectively overwhelmed and rounded up by the troops in conjunction with other security agencies.

“The general area was cordoned off and 18 members of the cult group, comprising civilians and alleged students of the University of Maiduguri were arrested at the initiation scene. Three serving personnel of the Nigerian Army were also arrested. Those arrested were all handed over to the Nigeria Police Force Borno State (Maiduguri) Command for further investigation/necessary action.

“While the arrested soldiers were immediately interrogated and tried in line with the military justice system by 7 Division Military Police, in conjunction with their Units. Consequently, the soldiers were dismissed and handed over to the Borno State Police Command for further action.

“The Theatre Commander OPLD Major General OG Adeniyi, the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Brigadier General AK Ibrahim, the Commissioner of Police, and Director of State Security Service (SSS), as well as other heads of security agencies in Borno State visited the scene for on-the-spot assessment of the area/ situation .

“Intensive joint patrol by troops of OPLD, and other security agencies have been intensified within Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and it’s environs.

“While we continue to intensify the fight against insurgents and other criminals, members of the general public are once again enjoined to continue to support the security agencies with information that could assist in dealing with the criminals.

“The Theatre Command OPLD also appeals to the public to be on the watch out for fleeing terrorists from the Lake Chad area.”

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