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Onnoghen’s trial: A denigration of judiciary, constitution, Afe Babalola Warns

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Afe Babalola SAN

Afe Babalola SAN


Legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has described the proposed trial on Monday of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged failure to fully declare his assets as “denigration of the country’s Judiciary and Constitution.”

Babalola, in a statement on Sunday entitled, Proposed arraignment of the Hon Justice Walter Onnoghen: Again, I say two wrongs do not make a right, said the law had made it clear the processes for the trial of judicial officers and as well their removal, hence the need to desist from contempt and denigration of the judiciary.

He said: “I am of the view that the Constitution requires that any infraction by the said Judges be firstly investigated and resolved by the National Judicial Council to the exclusion of any other body or authority”.

Babalola, who stated that the decision of the Court of Appeal in Nganjiwa v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2017) LPELR-43391(CA) “still subsists and has not been set aside,” said: “I therefore see no justification for the decision to arraign the CJN before the CCT.

“Again the point must be made clear that the Constitution clearly provides for the procedure with which the CJN can be removed from office. Section 292(1)(a)(i) and 292(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) addressed it”.

According to him, given the clear provisions for trial and removal of judges, “it becomes more worrying to learn that aside from laying the proposed charges, the prosecution has also filed an application seeing an order directing the CJN to recuse himself from office pending the conclusion of the trial”.

The senior advocate said: “By proceeding as proposed, the government is unwittingly or perhaps deliberately creating a wrong impression in the minds of millions of Nigerians that the Judiciary is a criminal organisation. For the sake of our democracy this is a misconception that must not be allowed to fester.

“No country, no matter how well intentioned its political leaders are, can aspire to greatness if its judicial arm is denigrated and held in contempt. While the Judiciary itself must be awake to its huge responsibilities, its efforts in this regard will surely not be helped by the erosion of its independence,” he stated.

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Your war on corruption is a charade until you prosecute all APC leaders, PDP tells Buhari

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Kola Ologbondiyan Director, Media & Publicity PDP Presidential Campaign Organization

Kola Ologbondiyan
Director, Media & Publicity
PDP Presidential Campaign Organization


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charges President Muhammadu Buhari to go beyond the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and prosecute other leaders of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), who have been openly indicted of corruption.

The party says that singling out Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke, for prosecution, while providing official cover to numerous other indicted APC leaders and persons close to him, President Buhari has further confirmed that he is indeed partisan and insincere in prosecuting the anti-corruption fight.

The party in a statement by its Spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan pointed out that the fact Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed that Mr. President had to give his nod before Babachir and Oke could be prosecuted, goes to further confirm that President Buhari has annexed the system and directly determines who is prosecuted and who is spared.

The PDP therefore challenges President Buhari to immediately order the prosecution of all APC leaders, particularly members of his Presidential Campaign Council, beginning with the APC factional National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, the campaign Director-General, Rotimi Amaechi, other directors and zonal coordinators, who have allegations of corruption hanging on their necks.

“Mr. President should also immediately order the prosecution of the former aide to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, Mr. Baba Inna, who was arrested in September last year, over accusations of receiving N2.5 billion from politicians, businessmen and women on behalf of the First Lady.

“In the same vein, he should also order the prosecution of Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who while being paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), last year stated in public that persons close to President Buhari were involved in serial fraud and looting of public resources under the official cover of the Buhari Presidency.

“President Buhari should also order an open inquest into alleged involvement of some individuals said to be close to the Buhari Presidency in the N1.032 trillion alleged corrupt acquisitions in 9Mobile and Keystone Bank PLC.

“He is also invited to order an investigation into allegations that persons close to him and serving in his Presidency took N500 million as bribe to reduce the fine imposed on a telecommunication company operating in the country, from N1.03 trillion to N330 billion.

“Furthermore, we challenge President Buhari to allow an inquest into the N14 trillion looted oil money under his watch, as detailed in the NNPC leaked memo; the handling of the repatriated $322m that has been siphoned under the guise of sharing to the poor; the N33 billion Internally Displace Persons (IDP) intervention fund and the billions of naira already frittered through the ‘Tradermoni scheme’. ”

PDP insists that until Mr. President musters the required political will to carry out these actions, his war against corruption remains a charade.

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NABDA Set To Develop Sustainable Value Chain For Gum Arabic-DG

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BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN, ABUJA

The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) says the agency is poised to use biotechnology tools in developing
a sustainable value chain for improved productivity of gum Arabic in the country.

The acting Director-General of NABDA,Prof. Alex Akpa,said this at the 1st National Gum Arabic Biosciences and Biotechnology Stakeholders Session on Monday in Abuja.

The theme of the session is “Sustainable Exploitation of Gum Arabic for Socio-economic Development of Nigeria’’ which has in attendance, experts from
different fields as genomics, phylogeny, agronomy and related areas.

According to him, the goal of the session is to aggregate the perspectives and research results of experts in the fields on the best approach to carry out
the exploration and exploitation for gum Arabic for socio-economic development.

He said that “potentially, gum Arabic is an export crop that can add value to various sectors of Nigeria’s economy, most especially in the food
industry, biomedicine and afforestation, thereby contributing to national Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

“Gum Arabic is one of the most important crops in the mitigation of climate, hence the priority need for its massive cultivation in strategic areas of the country at the time in our history.

“NABDA is positioned to lead the use of biotechnological tools in developing a sustainable value chain of the crop for improved productivity.

“Specifically, shortening the maturity age of the crop, massive production of the seedling using tissue culture, enhancing the quality of the product
at molecular level, phylogenetic studies, among others, shall be our priorities.’’

Akpa said that the engagement was expected to lead to the development of actionable work plans on the crop to the benefit of the nation at large.

The acting Director, Agricultural Biotechnology Department, NABDA, Dr Nasiru Ibrahim,said that the meeting was to get all those involved in one way or the other in the field to make impactful inputs that would lead to sustainable research and development of the crop.

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Buhari speaks on INEC, elections, as details of meeting with EU observers emerge

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, in Abuja told the European Union Observer Mission (EOM) to Nigeria’s elections starting in February, that he was impressed by the preparations made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and was optimistic that the electoral body would deliver on its mandate of a credible poll.

Receiving the EOM, led by the Chief Observer and member of the European Parliament, Maria Arena, at the State House, the President said he had listened earlier in the day, to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, when he briefed the National Council of State.

He said, “I am happy and impressed with the briefing he gave. I hope that the confidence he exuded and the intellect he brought to bear on the Report will be justified at the end of the day.”

The President told the EU delegation that Nigeria had grown its electoral system incrementally, getting better, year after year.

“Having participated in elections four times in the past, I would say that since 2015, technology has helped the credibility of our elections,” he said.

Buhari said that Nigeria with over 250 cultural groups across religions and ethnic groups, with each group canvassing for identity and primacy in the affairs of the nation, “patriotism demands that we identify the nation’s best interest and go with it.”

He stressed that the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, administration had the good sense of identifying the national interest to include security, peace and stability, improved economy, jobs creation and the campaign against corruption, noting that the party was not wrong in 2015, and is not wrong going into the election this year with the same issues in its campaigns.

The President thanked the delegation for taking interest in Nigeria’s elections, and in the affairs of the nation generally.

The EOM team, accompanied by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head, European Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the EU had observed every election in Nigeria since 1999, and had come here again for the next one, following an invitation by INEC.

The delegation promised impartiality and neutrality in the monitoring of the elections.

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