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Top 10 Stories of Friday, June 30, 2017

(1) COURT GRANTS SERAP PERMISSION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted leave to the Socio – Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to seek an order of mandamus directing the government to publish details of spending N388 billion Paris club loan fund that were allegedly diverted and mismanaged by 35 states.

Justice Muslim Hassan, in a short ruling, held that SERAP can proceed with the legal challenge to disclose how the fund was used by the 35 states. The order by Justice Hassan has now cleared way for SERAP to bring a case against the federal government and state governors.

 

 (2) PRESIDENCY DEFENDS RETENTION OF PRESIDENTIAL JET IN LONDON

The president’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu has reacted to criticism of having a presidential aircraft standing by for President Muhammadu Buhari as he is being treated in London. He said most of the dialogues going on are from those who do not understand protocol around foreign trips by Heads of State.

According to Shehu, “No world leader who travels abroad is left without plans for immediate return or possible evacuation”.

He urged Nigerian Armed Forces not to abandon their Commander – in – Chief in the circumstance he is presently. He further clarified that the Nigerian government was assured of a payment that will not exceed £1,000 for parking the jet, if a waiver is not granted for free parking.

 

(3) WE HAVE COURT ORDER TO DETAIN EVANS FOR 3 MONTHS – POLICE

Billionaire kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike’s suit compelling the Inspector General of Police and others to release or arraign him immediately may just be an attempt in vain. This is because the Police has the backing of the Federal High Court to remand Evans and his gang members in prison for three months.

The court on Thursday, June 22, ruled that Evans’ detention will enable the police conclude all investigations in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, so that all involved will be brought to book.

Nigerians are anxiously waiting to see how the Lagos High Court will react to Evans’ fundamental rights suit where he accused security agencies of detaining him since June 10 without bringing charges against him.

 

(4) LAWYER INSTITUTES LAWSUIT FOR MAGU’S TRIAL

The Federal High Court in Abuja, has fixed October 10, to hear a suit filed by an Abuja based lawyer, seeking the removal of Ibrahim Magu, as Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The suit has as defendants the Senate President, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the EFCC and its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

At Thursday’s court proceedings, counsel to the Senate President, Mohammed Galadima prayed the court to adjourn the matter as he is yet to take delivery of the case file, noting that he has to take his time to regularise the court processes.

 

(5) FG DECLARES THURSDAYS ‘TAX THURSDAYS’ TO CREATE AWARENESS

The Federal Government has declared every Thursday ‘Tax Thursdays’ to create awareness among Nigerians on payment of tax and its benefits. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo made the declaration in Abuja on Thursday, June 29, adding that the programme will last one year and will target at least 4 million new tax payers from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Osinbajo who spoke at the launching of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), signed another executive order backing the implementation of the scheme. The order which was signed on Thursday morning, as designed by the Ministry of Finance, is covered by the full force of the law, leading to the payment of taxes and punishment of offenders after the nine-month period.

 

(6) NEW DELTA AVENGERS CALL OFF ATTACK PLAN ON OIL FACILITIES

The New Delta Avengers had called off its plan to attack oil production in the state. The group’s leaders stated that they were retracting the threat in deference to calls for peace by Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark.

The document was signed by five members of the group representing the five allegedly marginalized oil bearing tribes. They urged Chief Clark to reciprocate their gestures by following up on his promise to ensure peace.

 

(7) ELECTION TRIBUNAL SACKS SENATOR SEKIBO

The Rivers state election petition tribunal has sacked George Sekibo, as senator representing Rivers east, declaring Andrew Uchendu as the winner of the election. It also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Sekibo and issue a fresh certificate of return to Uchendu.

The tribunal based its decision on the argument that Uchendu won the lawful majority vote cast during the Rivers re-run legislative election. Uchendu had petitioned the tribunal alleging that INEC failed to take into cognisance the results of some wards and polling units before declaring Sekibo the winner of the polls.

 

(8) NGO TO HELP FG TACKLE 17 MILLION DEFICIT

The African Farmers and Cultural Organization, a non-governmental organization has said it will help the government to address the 17 million housing deficit in the country. The organization has mapped out plans to provide N5.5 million housing units for Nigerians.

The president and founder of AFCO, Prince Chukwunwike Esiole, at the formal unveiling of the firm in Lagos said in the next 10 years the rapid growth of Nigeria’s urban population is expected to create a new demand for infrastructure, adding that Nigeria has failed to keep pace with its growing populace and therefore did not design adequate measures to create affordable housing.

 

(9) PENGASSAN ASKS FG TO BE CAUTIOUS

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria is against moves to privatize the nation’s refineries. Top PENGASSAN officials who investigated the Port Harcourt refinery say they are satisfied with the state of the facilities and see no need for it to be sold.

Rather than proceeding with the planned privatization, the association wants the government to channel its policies towards infrastructure development as it affects the oil and gas industry. They called on all relevant authorities to come up with structures that will guarantee job employment in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

 

(10) NIGERIA BEGINS YAM EXPORT TO EUROPE, USA

Nigeria on Thursday began to export yams to Europe and the United States of America, as part of moves to diversify its oil-dependent economy and earn much needed foreign exchange. Agriculture minister, Audu Ogbeh flagged off the first consignment of the fibrous tuber from the port in the country’s economic capital, Lagos. He said inspection charges on export produce would be reduced to encourage greater sales.

Denja Yaqub of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who was present at the flag off, encouraged farmers to increase output, so as to earn foreign exchange for the cash-strapped economy. He urged the government to reduce fuel cost to farmers, upgrade roads and improve storage facilities to cut waste in the supply chain and ultimately lower prices.

 

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