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Abia assembly passes bill to stop pension for ex governors, deputies

Lawmakers in the Abia House of Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill to stop the payment of pensions to former governors and their deputies in the state.

It is entitled: “A Bill (H.A.B 11:) for a Law to Revoke The Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001 and for other Matters connected therewith.”

It was sponsored by Mr Uchanna Okoro, the Majority Leader and member Representing Arochukwu State Constituency.

The Speaker, Mr Emmanuel Emeruwa, announced the passage of the bill after its first, second reading, consideration at the committee of the whole and its 3rd reading during the day’s plenary.

Emeruwa, while congratulating members, said that the bill would reduce the state’s governance expenses and redirect resources towards development.

He said that the bill once assented to by the governor would be referred to as “Abia State Governors and Deputy Governor’s (Repeal) Law 2024.”

The Speaker said that bill would take effect immediately, Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

With the bill, former governors and their deputies will no longer enjoy pension benefits after their tenures have expired.

There had been a lot of controversies over the years concerning the outrageous life person and other enviable benefits being paid the governors and their deputies.

While few states had made moves to repeal the law, many states showed nonchalant attitude toward doing so.

(NAN)

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Politics

AGF faults Gov Ododo for obstructing Yahaya Bello’s arrest

The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, has faulted Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State for obstructing the arrest of his predecessor, Yahaya Bello, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Fagbemi said it’s “insufferably disquieting” for Ododo to obstruct EFCC from arresting Bello.

On Wednesday, operatives of EFCC had stormed Bello’s residence in Abuja in an attempt to arrest him over an ongoing fraud investigation.

But Bello was reportedly smuggled out of his residence by Ododo to evade arrest by the anti-graft agency.

Reacting, Fagbemi said EFCC should not be obstructed from carrying out its lawful duties.

In a statement he personally signed, the AGF said: “A situation where public officials who are themselves subject of protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is to say the least, insufferably disquieting.

“A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.

“I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of State should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.”

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Ododo opens defence, tenders documents against SDP, Ajaka’s petition at Guber tribunal

Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State, on Wednesday, tendered several documents in seven disputed local government areas to open his defence against the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Murtala Ajaka.

Ododo, through his lawyer, Paul Daudu, tendered the documents at the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on November 11, 2023, conducted the Kogi governorship poll.

However, the SDP and its governorship candidate in the poll are challenging the declaration of Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the poll.

In the petition, INEC, Ododo and APC are listed as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.

INEC had on Tuesday closed its defence in the petition by SDP and Ajaka, after its counsel, Uchenna Njoku, tendered several documents to support the victory of the governor.

Njoku had told the three-member panel, headed by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudo, that electoral umpire would not be calling any witnesses after assessing the case of the petitioners.

Justice Birnin-Kudo, who declared the commission’s case closed, adjourned until today for Ododo to open his defence.

Upon resumed hearing, Ibrahim Mohammed, SAN, who led Ododo’s team of lawyers, told the panel that Daudu would be conducting the proceedings.

Daudu informed the tribunal of the 2nd respondent’s readiness to open his defence.

The lawyer said he would commence this with the tendering of the certified true copies (CTCs) of the documents which had also been served on the petitioners.

“It is only fair for them (petitioners) to peruse these documents to enable us take off,” Daudu said.

He, therefore, sought a stand down of the hearing for about 30 minutes to allow the petitioners (SDP and Ajaka) peruse the documents.

Pius Akubo, SAN, who appeared for the petitioners, did not oppose the application.

Justice Birnin-Kudo subsequently stood down the matter.

However, while the inspection of the documents was ongoing, the tribunal, through its secretary, announced the adjournment of the matter until Thursday for continuation.

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Court affirms Gunduje’s suspension

A Kano State High Court has granted an exparte order restraining the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, from parading himself as National Chairman as well as a member of the party, pending the determination of the substituted motion of his suspension.

Consequently, the court ordered that henceforth Ganduje should desist from presiding over affairs of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party.

The application granted by Justice Usman Malam Na’abba on Tuesday follows an exparte motion filed by Dr. Ibrahim Sa’ad on behalf of two executive members of Ganduje’S ward, Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area; the assistant secretary, Laminu Sani; and legal adviser Haladu Gwanjo (plaintiffs) who were part of the nine ward executive who suspended him two days ago.

The court directed the four parties (respondents) joined in the matter, including the APC NWC, APC Kano State Working Committee (KSWC), and Ganduje, to henceforth, maintain status quo ante belum as of 15th April, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit on 30th April 2024.

Justice Na’abba also held as prayed that the State Working Committee must not interfere with the legally and validly considered decision of executives of Ganduje ward, essentially on action endorsed by a third majority of the executives as provided by the party constitution.

“An order is hereby granted directing all parties in the suit APC (1st), APC National Working Committee (2nd), Kano State Working Committee APC (3rd), Dr. Abdullah Umar Ganduje (4th), to maintain status quo ante belum as of 15th April, 2024.

“The order thereby restraining the 1st respondent (APC) from recognizing the 4th respondent (Ganduje) as member of APC and prohibiting the 4th respondent (Ganduje) from presiding over any affairs of the NWC and restraining the state Working Committee from interfering with the legally and validly decision of the ward executives of Ganduje ward.

“That the 4th respondent (Ganduje) is prohibited from parading himself as a member of APC or doing any act that may portray him or seem to be a member of APC pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

It will be recalled that nine members of the Ganduje ward proclaimed the suspension of the National Chairman of APC over the allegation of corruption slammed on him by the Kano State Government.

The nine APC executives said they were prompted to act following a petition written by one Ja’afaru Adamu, a member of APC from the National Chairman’s polling unit.

In the petition, Adamu complained over allegations of corruption against the former Governor just as he urged the ward leaders to investigate the matter to redeem the dented image of the party and the implication on President Bola Tinubu’s fight against corruption.

Although the chairman and secretary of the ward failed to act on the petition filed since 8th April 2024, nine members of the executives led by the legal adviser had acted upon the petition, a decision that led to the suspension of Ganduje.

In the last year, the former Kano State Governor had suffered a serious political setback for losing his Dawakin Tofa federal constituency in the 2023 general elections where his son Umar Abdullahi Ganduje was the APC candidate.

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