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NYSC Cleared Bayelsa Dep Gov of Forgery, Says INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday told the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has cleared the State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of forging his exemption certificate.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Ibrahim Sirajo
NYSC had on Thursday admitted in evidence a letter from the NYSC to the Department of State Security (DSS) admitting that it corrected a spelling error on Ewrhrudakpo’s exemption certificate.

Testifying on Friday, counsel INEC, Mr. Ibrahim Bawa (SAN) told the tribunal that since NYSC that issued the exemption certificate came out to admit that it indeed issued the certificate in dispute, INEC saw no need to call any witness.

Also speaking, Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Emmanuel Enoedem said all the evidence tendered by the NYSC clearly exonerated Senator Ewhrudjakpo had of any wrongdoing as alleged by the petitioner, Mr Opuamah of the Liberation Movement.

PDP said the evidence Opuama presented before the tribunal supported the position of the Deputy Governor, prompting the party not to call any witness in defence of the petition.

The petitioner, Mr Vijah Opuama, is challenging Ewhrudjakpo’s qualification to stand in the Bayelsa State governorship election, on the grounds that the deputy governor submitted a forged exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.

“Our candidate, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State has been exonerated of any wrongdoing by the NYSC, which issued him its exemption certificate. So, we don’t have to waste the precious time of the honourable tribunal by calling witnesses to tender documents that have already been presented to the tribunal by the petitioner.

“Clearly, the Deputy Governor has been cleared of the forgery allegation by the relevant authorities in the matter,” the PDP lawyer told journalists at the court premises.

After listening to the submissions of the PDP and the NYSC in the matter, Justice Sirajo adjourned the suit till June 17 for the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Diri Duoye and his Deputy, Senator Ewhrudjakpo to open their defence in the petition.

It would be recalled that the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Ewhrudjakpo on Tuesday picked holes n the certificates of the petitioner and governorship candidate of the Liberation Movement in the last governorship poll in the state, Opuama.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo through his lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), while cross-examining Opuama who testified in his petition challenging the Deputy Governor’s victory in the election, had told the tribunal that there were inconsistencies in the First School Leaving certificate as well as the SSCE and of the petitioner submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioner, Mr Opuama through his counsel, Mr Pius Danba had on Tuesday closed his case after calling three out of 30 witnesses he had front loaded to testify against the nomination of Ewhrudjakpo for the November 16, 2019, governorship election.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Upuama who served as 3rd witness, was confronted with discrepancies in his own certificates by Ewhrudjakpo’s lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN).

It would be recalled that the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), one of the witnesses who testified on behalf of Upuama had told the tribunal that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) actually effected the change of name on the exemption certificate issued to Ewhrudjakpo.

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Lawyer Who Filed Suit Against 50 EndSars Protesters In Court For Impersonation

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A supposed legal practitioner, Mr Kenechukwu Okeke, who filed a criminal suit against 50 persons during the EndSars protest in October 2020, has been arraigned before the Magistrate court in Abuja.
Recall that Mr Kenechukwu Okeke has at October 2020 filed a suit against about 50 persons who supported the EndSars protest.
Among these persons are top celebrities and prolific personalities like Davido, Falz, Aisha Yeshufu among others.
Following this the Nigerian Bar Association has revealed that Mr Kenechukwu Okeke is not a lawyer and was never called to the Nigerian Bar.
According to the NBA, Kenechukwu Okeke’s name is not on the list of directory of lawyers in Nigeria. The NBA reported him through an official letter to the High Court, at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
At the hearing of the case in court on Monday, the NBA counsel told the court that the first defendant in the case, Mr Kenechukwu Okeke, has been appearing court all over Nigeria, presenting himself as a Lawyer which he is not.
The NBA produced some evidences to back up their submissions which include anauthentication from NBA website that Okeke is not a lawyer.
The NBA has therefore promised to prosecute Kenechukwu Okeke for impersonation and presenting himself to be what he is not.

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Court To Hear Suit Challenging Lagos Ban Of Motorcycles, Tricycles On Dec 15

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed December 15 to hear a suit seeking the reversal of the ban placed by the Lagos State Government on the operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles, popularly known as Okada and Keke Marwa.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Julius Ajibulu, who filed the suit said the ban on okada and keke Marwa, without a replacement or an alternative means of transportation, had subjected Lagosians to untold hardship and taken away the source of livelihood of the operators.

The lawyer claimed that the ban had led to massive unemployment and an escalation in the rate of crime and insecurity in the state due to loss of jobs.

He said the ban further violated his fundamental rights and those of other Lagosians under sections 33, 34, 36, 38, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.

Ajibulu is asking the court to order “the immediate resumption of commercial operations and activities of tricyles (Keke NAPEP/ Marwa) and motorcycles (okada) of 50cc-200cc capacity engine on the above stated highways and expressways through the aforesaid bridges in 15 local government and local development council areas of Lagos State.”

He is also seeking damages in the sum of N1bn as well as a public apology in newspapers.

The suit is the second lawsuit seeking the reversal of the Lagos State Government’s ban on okada and Keke Marwa.

Another lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, had earlier filed a suit before the same court on the same issue.

In his suit before Justice Mohammed Liman, Ogungbeje is seeking a declaration that “the forceful impounding, seizure or confiscation of motorcycles and tricycles” by agents of the Lagos State Government amounted to an infringement on the right of residents to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.”

The Lagos State Government had in February proscribed both motorcycles and tricycles in six local governments and nine local council development areas of the state.

In a statement issued on January, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, said that the riders must not ply 10 major highways and 40 bridges and flyovers across the state.

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36 State Governments Take FG To Supreme Court Over Court Funding

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The 36 states of the Federation on Monday took the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, challenging the presidential executive order signed in May by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The states are seeking an order of the Supreme Court to quash President Buhari’s executive order on the funding of courts, which he signed on May 20.

According to the states, Buhari’s executive order no. 00-10 of 2020 transferred the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state High Courts, Sharia Courts of Appeal, and the Customary Courts of Appeal, to the state governments.

They are contending that the order is a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 constitution, which makes it the responsibility of the federal government to fund the listed courts.

The 36 states, while claiming that they had been funding the capital projects in the listed courts since 2009, are also asking the Supreme Court to order the Federal Government to make a refund to them.

The suit was filed for the states by nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh.

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami was listed as the sole respondent in the suit.

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