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COURT: Facts of Ekweremadu’s case heart-breaking

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu

Federal High Court Abuja has described the continued detention of former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as pathetic, saying no Nigerian citizen deserves to go through such harrowing experience whether in Nigeria or overseas.

The court also held that affidavits before it contradicted the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that all the 40 listed in the application for interim assets forfeiture belonged to the former Senate number two man, his company, Foundation, and wife.

Ruling on the matter on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo stated: “It is not hard to reason that the essence of the application for interim forfeiture by the Respondent (EFCC) is to give credence to the letter of 18th July, 2022 to the Crown Prosecution Service and to give them further reason for continued custody of Senator Ike Ekweremadu in the United Kingdom.

“The facts of this case presents a heart-rending scenario and prompt me to say this- no Nigerian should be made to go through this kind of travail whether at home or abroad.

“Another evidence of bad faith is that the Respondent (EFCC) represented in this case that is a matter of interim forfeiture order against the assets in various locations belonging to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Power Properties Limited, Ikeoha Foundation, and Beatrice N. Ekweremadu.

“By this application, the Court was made to see all the properties mentioned in the ex-parte application as belonging to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Power Properties Limited, Ikeoha Foundation, and Beatrice Ekweremadu.

“However, the development before the Court has given a different picture. I have noted that there are Affidavits to Show Cause respectively from one Uni-Medical Health Care Limited and Anambra State Government claiming to be owners of some of the properties, which ownership has been attributed to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Power Properties Limited, Ikeoha Foundation and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu. These respective Affidavits to Show Cause is indicative of bad faith on the part of the Respondent (EFCC)”.

It is recalled that the Federal High Court in Abuja had on Friday vacated the interim forfeiture order on 40 landed property allegedly linked to Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, Foundation and companies the application for forfeiture filed by the EFCC was not brought in good faith, while the agency also failed to disclose material facts about the matter.

“In this case, the respondent (EFCC) wrote Exhibit SIE 2 (a letter) to the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom which letter was used as evidence to deny Senator Ike Ekweremadu bail in the criminal proceedings.

“At the same time, the respondent filed ex-parte application for interim forfeiture, which upon order being made thereon required Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife to show cause in Nigeria why an order for final forfeiture ought not to be made.

“I have been asking myself the question repeatedly: How can a citizen of Nigeria who is incarcerated outside the country to the knowledge of the respondent, be expected to show cause in an action in Nigeria brought by the respondent?

“In other words, how do you help to tie down a man and initiate a fight and demand that the same man you have helped to tie down must defend himself?

“This in my opinion, is an unconscionable act. The act of the respondent clearly shows that this action was brought in bad faith.

“In law, bad faith entails dishonesty of belief or purpose. I find that the application for forfeiture, going by the facts of this case has not been brought in good faith and ought to be struck out”, Justice Ekwo had ruled.

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Southeast governors shun Soludo as Anambra hosts regional conference

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Southeast governors have shunned the zone’s regional conference on human capital development, hosted by Anambra State Governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo.

The region’s other four governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo sent representatives to the two-day conference held in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Soludo lamented the lack of unity among the region’s leaders, saying it was detrimental to the Southeast’s growth.

He advocated for a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for the region.

The governor also said that the Southeast could come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region.

It was his reaction to recommendations and policy documents unveiled by technocrats during the conference.

In the area of education, labour and health, he said they could be adopted by the governors of the region to grow human capital.

He maintained that the Southeast could not afford to lag in the area of human capital development, adding that Anambra had the least land mass in the country, and also the least natural resources.

Soludo said: “Your recommendations are excellent. I will read them with keen interest and see which of them we can take.

“We have little land mass in the Southeast. We are actually the smallest with Lagos State, but while Lagos is reclaiming land from the sea, we are losing our land to gully erosion.

“Anambra is the world’s gully erosion capital. In the Southeast, we are landlocked, and we have the least mineral resources. Our only boost is human capital.

“Human capital naturally is our only dependable resource. It has been so yesterday and today and will remain so tomorrow.

He described the conference as “pivotal to who we are.

“And if we do not mind about human resources, then we are going nowhere. We must work on that

“I listened to your recommendations on education, but who said the Southeast cannot set up a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for students in the region?

“Must we always use what others are using? Who knows, you may fashion out a curriculum that will attract the interest of other people, and the world at large.

“The various governments of the Southeast can come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region too.”

Soludo lamented that in the past some governments of the Southeast sent home some workers, on the ground that they were not from their state. He added that Anambra had reversed that policy.

“We just recruited 5,000 teachers in Anambra State, but I told the ministry not to accept if I recommend anybody to them. We employed people from every state.

“All I need is for the best teachers to be employed. Our children deserve the best teachers, and all they hope to get is the very best, no matter where the teachers come from.

“In my own eyes, I don’t see those boundaries and for the greatness of Nigeria, we must not see those boundaries,” he said.

The conference had the theme: changing the narrative – towards entrenching human capital development in the Southeast Nigeria. (The Nation)

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2023: INEC announces new deadline for collection of PVCs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the extension of the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, nationwide.

During its meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Friday, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, indicated that the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the general election.

Having reviewed reports from all the states of the Federation, the Commission said it was encouraged by the progress made so far as more Nigerians troop out daily to collect their PVCs.

The Commission, therefore, announced the collection of PVCs in all its local government offices by one week.

“The ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide will therefore continue and end on 5th February 2023,” a statement signed by Festus Okoye
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said.

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2023: Obi of Onitsha storms Kaduna, says Nigeria’s unity sacrosanct

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Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe
The Obi of Onitsha (AGBOGIDI),  His Royal Majesty (HRM), Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has called on Nigerians to remain united and love one another irrespective of tribe or religious affiliation.
The royal father spoke to journalists in an interview on Thursday after commissioning the Digital Resource Centre named after him at the Green Field University (GFU), City Campus in Kudenda, Kaduna,saying Nigerians are brothers and sisters and they must live together.
Ahead of the February election, the royal father charged Nigerians to pick up  their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote massively during election.
“What matters most at this point of the nation’s history is a unifier.What Nigeria needs is a good president, but if you say South East today, South East tomorrow, it doesn’t matter. What we want is a Nigerian leader who will unite the country and lead it to greater heights,” he said.
The Founder/Pro-Chancellor, Greenfield University, Chief/Engr Simon Ifediora Nwakacha (Onwa of Umueri),  described the Obi’s visit to the university as a wonderful occurrence, adding that “this is the first First Class traditional ruler. His coming here is good for unity of Nigeria,” he said.
“The prospects for the university are very bright.We  look forward to the university being great. Already now the first set of accreditation was succesful. Greenfield scaled through  getting its permanent license to operate campuses from any part of the country,” he added.
In  his Keynote address, Engr.  Nwakacha  welcomed the Obi of Onitsha, whom he described as the first First Class Traditional Ruler to visit their city campus.
“During deliberation in one of our council meetings to choose who we would name the digital resource centre after, your name was suggested and widely accepted,” he said.
He recalled that when they were setting up the Imperial Academy, a  school owned by his wife in 1996 in Kudenda, they met the traditional ruler and begged him to name the road leading to the school after his village in the South East, Umueri, which he obliged and the name has remained till date.
He described the feat as an understanding that promotes unity among the diverse people of Nigeria.

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