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Soldiers arrest ex-militant leader, others ahead of Osinbajo’s visit

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Ahead of Tuesday’s visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, tension on Sunday enveloped the Niger Delta region over alleged arrest and invasion of some ex-militant leaders’ homes in the state by soldiers.

Our correspondent reliably learnt that scores of ex-militants, including a top ex-militant leader, Mr. Bounanawei Smith, alias King of the Forest, were arrested in a fresh crackdown in what sources said were not unconnected with renewed hostilities and fresh threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to attack oil facilities.

Osinbajo is scheduled to visit Gbaramatu Kingdom where the embattled ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, hails from.

Osinbajo’s visit is for the purpose of holding talks with leaders of Gbaramatu, which had become a hub of militants’ activities in recent times.

Security, ahead of the visit, has been beefed up both on land and in the sea, as gunboats and military personnel, dispatched to strategic locations in Warri South-West were seen, while military vans were also seen on Saturday and Sunday patrolling flashpoints in the state.

Sources close to Smith told our correspondent on Sunday that operatives of the Joint Task Force, code-named: Operation Delta Safe, invaded the ex-militant leader’s home at Esiso Estate along Effurun/Sapele Road in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area in the late hours of Saturday.

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The ex-militant leader was said to be holding a meeting with some members of the Ijaw Youth Council when the soldiers allegedly forcefully broke into his home before arresting him and seven others, whose identities were not known as of the time of filing this report.

It was further learnt that some other ex-agitators were also arrested on Saturday by the military and were held at the Warri Naval Base of the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta awaiting to be moved to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.

Smith was only recently appointed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as a member of the state’s Land and Waterways Security Committee, charged with the responsibility of working with security agencies to ensure peace in the state.

The Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Joseph Dzunve, when contacted on the telephone on Sunday, confirmed that several persons were arrested and were being held at the Naval Base Warri. He declined to give details of the arrest.

The spokesman for the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, confirmed the arrest of the ex-militants in a statement issued on Sunday in Warri, describing the arrest as primitive and capable of fuelling restiveness in the region.

The statement read in part, “The Ijaw Youth Council states that the Federal Government is inciting crisis in the Niger Delta by the continued invasion, arrest and detention of Niger Deltans, especially ex-agitators, without any justifiable reason. The latest of such invasion and arrest is the commando-style arrest of ex-agitator, Bounanawei Smith, alias King of the Forest.

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“Mr. Bounanawei was arrested in his guest house by military men while hosting some Ijaw Youth Council members. They invaded and ransacked the whole of his guest house and some of the IYC members who were with him narrowly escaped death when the military officers shot sporadically into his apartment.

“The IYC condemn this naked, primitive and unwarranted display of force. It is on record that Mr. Bounanawei had since accepted amnesty and had been very active in maintaining peace and security in the Niger Delta especially in Delta State.”

The IYC recalled that the invasion, arrest and detention of Niger Deltans by the military had become a norm in the region.

“On January 1, 2017, while the entire world was celebrating the New Year, military officers invaded Gbaraun community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, shot into the community, arrested a youth leader, Kalami Inakemeduo, under the guise that he is a militant and he is being detained up till this moment.

“This is in addition to several other Ijaw youths languishing in military detention such as Aboy Muturu, Ezekiel Daniel, Victor Odogu (the IYC spokesman, Abuja chapter) and several others. These persons have been in the DSS and military detention for more than eight months without trial and no reason has been given for their arrest,” the statement added.

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The IYC, in the statement, demanded immediate release of all ex-militants arrested by the security agents including Smith, Aboy Muturu, Ezekiel Daniel, Victor Odogu, Kalami Inakemeduo and other Ijaws in detention across the country.

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Politics

Bayelsa: PDP’s Douye Diri finally gets certificate of return

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has finally  presented the Certificate of Return to the Bayelsa state PDP candidate, Senator Douye Diri.

Diri’s deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was also presented his certificate of return.

The electoral commission in a briefing at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the November 16 Bayelsa governorship election.

According to the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, Diri was declared the winner after top officials met on Friday morning to review the results of the election, without the votes of the APC which have been voided by the court.

“The total votes cast after excluding those of the APC now stand at 146,999. PDP polled 143,172 and scored 25 percent as required by the law,” Yakubu said during the briefing”.

Supreme Court in its verdict barely 24hours to the swearing in of sacked David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo declared Diri winner of the Bayelsa guber poll.

Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment on Thursday made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC.

The court ruled that Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, ran for and won November 16, 2019.

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A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili then ordered the INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the APC candidate.

 

 

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Apex court sacks Bayelsa governor elect, Lyon declares PDP’s Diri Duoye

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The Supreme Court has sacked the governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidate as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

The Apex Court ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party.

Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.

The court upheld the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had disqualified Degi-Eremienyo in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC.

The court ruled that Mister Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, ran for and won November 16, 2019.

The five-man panel further held that on the basis of that both candidates and their party, the APC ought to have abstained from participating in the election.

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Source : Channels TV

 

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LG crisis: Court urges Govt, sacked chairmen to explore amicable resolution

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An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, on Wednesday adjourned till 21st February, 2020 the suit filed by the State Government in which it is seeking to restrain the sacked council chairmen from forcefully taking over the council secretariats in the state.

The sacked Council Chairmen under the aegis of Association of Local Government of Nigeria(ALGON) had sought to take control of the council secretariats by relying on a letter written by the Attorney General of the Federation,Abubakar Malami (SAN) and another by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, urging them to put effect to a judgement of the Supreme Court on local government administration in Ekiti State.

The Court presided by Justice Mahmood Abbas, lauded the parties for considering the option of amicable resolution of the matter, urging them to exercise maturity while discussing the option of amicable settlement.

Ruling on the application to allow for the parties to further explore the out-of-court settlement option, Justice Abbas adjourned the matter till February 21, warning all parties to see what they could do to arrive at an amicable resolution.

Oyo State Government and ALGON had, at the last adjourned date on February 5, 2020, declared the readiness to explore an out-of-court settlement, with the Court adjoining till February 12 to allow for that option.

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The parties had, on Wednesday, approached the court to report the outcome of the out-of-court settlement option, which was agreed upon at the February 5, 2020 sitting.

In their presentations, counsels to the claimant/applicant(the State Government), Dr. Akin Onigbinde (SAN) and the counsels to the defendants(ALGON and others), reported on the meetings held to explore the out-of-court settlement option, noting that a settlement could not be reached on the matter so far.

Dr. Onigbinde stated that though the parties could not reach a conclusion on the amicable resolution of the dispute, the process could not be described as having failed, because some proposals were made, which the Government looked at and registered its difficulty in accepting.

“There was no failure of the first attempt. There is always a progression in this type of negotiation. It is not the day you start that you conclude. Actually, we have made some progress because there were certain proposals made, which we have looked at. We have registered our difficulty in accepting them. Now, we have another opportunity to look at those proposals again. So, it cannot be characterised as a failure. I will consider it as a stage in the process of what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

The counsel to the sacked chairmen, Mr. Kunle Sobaloju, maintained that though the parties could not come to an amicable resolution at the two meetings between last Saturday and Monday, his clients were not opposed to the out-of-court-settlement option.

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He added that he would not be opposing the application to further explore that option, because the resolution of the matter would be in the interest of the state.

The Court lauded the parties for considering the option of amicable settlement, urging them to exercise maturity while discussing the option of settlement.

The presiding judge maintained that parties in the matter were stakeholders in the Oyo State project, noting that they would have to take the most valuable decision in the matter with a view to amicably resolving the crisis in the interest of the state.

He added that all parties in the matter must exercise a lot of maturity while discussing amicable resolution, noting that settlement “means a little compromise here and there.

He said: “I did say during the last adjournment that all parties in this case are stakeholders in the Oyo State project… So, all parties must exercise a lot of maturity. The only duty of this court is to listen to all facts as you bring them and apply the law. The law is there, nobody can change it. The court cannot change the law. But the most valuable decision in this case will be taken by the parties.”

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