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Crisis Hits Senate, Chief Whip Storms Out Of Session

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The crisis of confidence among Senators came to a head, on Tuesday, as the Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, stormed out during plenary to protest the refusal of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to address alleged procedural errors.

In order to prevent the situation from degenerating further, Akpabio requested that his colleagues meet behind closed doors for further discussion.

Trouble started minutes after the commencement of the day’s session when the Chief Whip , Senator Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South ) , raised a point of order to draw the Senate President’s attention to alleged presedurial errors committed by him which were yet to be corrected.

Specifically, Ndume , referenced a motion on the need for re – opening of Nigeria – Niger Border which was moved by Senator Summaila Kawu ( NNPP Kano South ), which Akpabio allowed to be debated without first having the official title of the motion read as was the normal procedure.

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Ndume, relying on Order order 51 of the Senate Standing Rules, requested that the Senate President should allow for the correction of any error made or observed during plenary .

He said, “This is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guided by laws , rules and procedures . If in the course of proceedings at any session, errors are observed , they must be corrected before forging ahead with such proceedings…”

He had hardly completed expressing his thoughts when Akpabio interrupted by noting that, since he had ruled on issues raised , it can not be revisited. He subsequently ruled Ndume out of order.

Undaunted, another Senator, Sunday Karimi ( APC Kogi West ) , rose in defence of Ndume’s point of order by raising another point of order; but was equally ruled out of order by the Senate President.

In an attempt to douse the tension, which was reaching feverish pitch at this point , the Deputy President of the Senate , Jibrin Barau quickly raised order 16 , which requires a substantive motion to be moved by any Senator seeking to correct or review an earlier decision taken.

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Akpabio sustained this order. This infuriated Ndume, who equally raised another point of order, specifically order 54 to seek for correction of the perceived error.

Again, Akpabio ruled him out of order without allowing him exhaust his line of thought.

At this point, Ndume had had enough, he picked his documents and a few other belongings and stormed out of the Senate Chamber.

His action which was obviously unexpected led the Senate into resolving to go into a closed session.

Incidentally, Ndume was the campaign manager for Akpabio during the race for Senate President in June.

This is happening at a time Senators are preparing to leave for Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital for retreat which begins on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Niger Delta Women Issue Akpabio Ultimatum To Resign

Tension has been building up long before the Senate resumed from its long vacation in September.

There were speculations about moves to impeach the Seanate President and change the leadership.

This prompted the Senate Presodent’s Media Office to issue a statement dismissing the speculation as a figment of the imagination of the authors.

However, Senator Elijah Abbo, who was recently sacked by the judgement of an Appeal Court, issued a statement on behalf
of the powerful Northern Senators accusing Akpabio’s office of trying to pit them against President Bola Tinubu.

He, in fact, accused the Senate President’s Office of being the brains behind the alleged move against the Senate leadership.

There are momurs among Senators that Akpabio has been engaged in a series of gaffes which was allegedly adversely affecting the image of the Upper Chamber.

First, an announcement that money was as sent to their individual accounts for “the holidays,” then his “uncomfortable joke” about letting the poor breath.

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Edo Lunches Security Control Centre, Holds 2023 Summit

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As a measure to ensuring security of lives and property in Edo State, governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday in Benin launched the state Command and Control Centre.

This is even as the State held its 2023 Security Summit with the theme, “Edo State Security Framework: Repositioning for the future”.

Speaking at the twin event, Governor Obaseki said that the summit is to serve as pivotal platform in uniting the leaders, law enforcement agencies and community stakeholders towards the safety and fortification of Edo State.

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He noted that his administration is concerned about the sustainability of all the reforms introduced in the last seven years, particularly in the area of security.

He said: “Key to our security report in Edo has been collaboration with various security agencies in the state.

“Every month, we collate every incidences that has occurred across the state and our goal is how to use these data collected to combat crime, investigate crime and understand what is going on in various communities across the state.

“Since we started collecting data on crime incidences in the state, that is between 2017 and 2020, we saw astronomic rise in crime and criminal activities across the board.

“But since we started using data to analyse what is going on in the state, since 2020 till post COVID era, we have seen incidences of crime reducing significantly. There is 41.7 reduction of crime rate since 2021 till date in Edo State

“What we need to do now is to ensure active collaboration between the central security agencies and the local agencies. The point is, as we look into the future, emphasis must be on decentralises security”, he said.

READ ALSO: Edo 2024: Poll Tips Sen. Okpebholo To Win APC Ticket

Speaking earlier, the Chairman, Police Service Commission and Chairman if the ceremony, Dr. Solomon Arase, said that as a result of its key position in the country, Edo State is prone to influx of crimes imported from other states.

In response to the above threat, community policing emerges as a unique and effective strategy to root out these criminal elements.

“The police community relations committee is the driving force behind the community policing initiative which has improve the operational capacity of the local hunters and vigilante along with the influencial traditional and religious leaders.”, he stated

In his keynote address, Major-General Ohifeme Ejemai (rtd), said that there should be security awareness amongst the people in order to combat the issue of crime in the state.

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NJC Sacks Osun Judge, Rejects Adeleke’s Request To Suspend CJ

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The National Judicial Council on Thursday recommended the compulsory retirement of Osun State High Court judge, Justice S. O. Falola.

He was found guilty of granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.

A statement by the council’s Director of Information, Adesoji Oye, indicated that the investigation committee held that Falola traveled to Lagos to visit the bank’s counsel in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings, an action which it described as unprofessional.

The statement read, “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of December 6 and 7, 2023 has recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice S. O. Falola of Osun State High Court from the Bench.

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“The recommendation was made sequel to the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against His Lordship by Mr. Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against the Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 questionably and strangely, and endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.

“It further found the conduct of the subject judge traveling to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”

Soji, however, said the council has recommended to the state governor, Ademola Adeleke, to compulsorily retire him with immediate effect.

He noted that the NJC has suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by the Osun State Governor.

Also, the council declined the request by the state governor to suspend the embattled Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo.

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The council also held that it would not work with the resolution of the state House of Assembly.

Soji said, “Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State requesting its permission to swear in the next most senior judge in the state in an acting capacity, following allegations leveled against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.

“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief Judge of Osun State, and would not work on the resolution of a State House of Assembly.”

Soji also said the council dismissed the petitions against Justice Ekaete F. F. Obot, Chief Judge, Akwa Ibom State; Hon Justice Benson C. Anya of High Court Abia State; Hon. Justice Z. B. Abubakar of Federal High Court, Hon Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte and Augusta Uche K. Chuku of the High Court of Rivers State, for being unmeritorious, or withdrawal of petitions by the Petitioners.

“However, Hon Justice A. I. Akobi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory is to be issued a letter of guidance to take proper charge and control of his court, ” the statement added.

Soji noted that the council received 51 fresh petitions written against Federal and State Judicial Officers and constituted 11 Panels to investigate petitions that have merits.

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Unauthorised Comment: FRSC Commander Recalled To HQ, Faces Sanctions

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The Federal Road Safety Corps on Thursday disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.

Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.

But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement on Thursday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.

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Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.

The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.

“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.

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“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.

“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.

“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”

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