Fresh crisis seems to be brewing in the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) following Eric Omare’s directive to his lawyers to file a contempt suit against Peretubo Oweilaemi for allegedly flouting the declarations contained in a judgement delivered by the Bayelsa State High Court.
Omare was recently declared the authentic President of the IYC by the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The court ended a prolonged leadership crisis in the judgement that stopped Peretubo Oweilanmi from parading himself as the president of the radical IYC.
Oweilaemi, however, in one of his statements said he had appealed the judgement.
Oweilanmi had in the statement said, “I am pleased to inform the general public especially the numerous Ijaw youths at home and in diaspora that we have successfully appealed against the said judgment in Appeal No: CA/PH/ /2020.
“Those who want to ferment trouble in the Council should be informed that the legal battle has been drawn. I appeal to Ijaw youths to maintain peace at all times, while we take this necessary step to correct the legal blunder. Like I said before, there is no cause for alarm”.
However, IYC Spokesman, Henry Iyalla, in a statement confirming that Omare was prepare a contempt, faulted the claims of Oweilanmi that he had successfully filed an appeal against one of the judgements delivered by Justice E.G. Umukoro.
He said by his utterances, Oweilaemi implied that one of the two Bayelsa State High court judgements aganist him had been set aside by the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt.
NATION quoted Iyalla as saying, “The statement demonstrated a crass ignorance of law and legal procedures and it is amazing that it came from a lawyer. It calls to question the quality of legal education in Nigeria.
“In the first place, it is important to note that the court in the two different cases to wit: YHC/37/2017: Eric Omare & Ors v. Pereotubo Oweilaemi & Ors and SGA/04/2017 declared that the election that was done at Okrika where Oweilaemi and 10 others emerged as National Officers of the IYC was null and void. In law, when an action is said to be a nullity and of no effect, it means that it never existed abinitio.
“It therefore means that in all these three years Oweilaemi and co have just being wasting their time moving from one place to the other in the name of IYC. The court in the second judgement delivered on Tuesday March 17, 2020 also declared all their actions null and void.
“This point is also implied in the first judgement. The implication is that all Clan, Parliament, chapter and zonal structures set up by Oweilaemi and his Exco are null and void.
“Their participation in any activity of the IYC in their status including the ongoing electoral process would vitiate the process and the electoral committee headed by Bekewei Ajuwa, who is a Lawyer must take special note of this fact.
“Mr. Oweilaemi in the said publication claimed that he has appealed one of the judgements with a non-existing appeal number. For the records PHC/../2020 which Oweilaemi quoted is not an appeal number. It is the height of legal ignorance for Oweilaemi to quote the above as appeal number in his statement. And if i may ask, which judgement did Oweilaemi appeal against? Is it the one in Suit No. YHC/37/2017 or SHC/04/2017?
“Let Ijaw youths and the general public know that Oweilaemi has not even started the process of filing appeal against any of the judgements not to talk of filing an appeal. The appeal procedure involves filing a Notice of Appeal at the court that delivered the judgement.
“Then parties would be invited to compile records of appeal. After compilation of records, the records would be transmitted to the court of Appeal. It is at this point that an appeal number is given by the court of appeal which may take months. So if I may ask, which one has Oweilaemi done? I state without doubt that Oweilaemi’s appeal only exist in the figment of his own imagination”.
He, however, said even if Oweilanmi filed an appeal as he claimed, it would not change the fact that he was never a president of IYC, adding that a mere filing of an appeal would neither stay the judgement of the court nor reverse it.
He continued, “Therefore, it amounts to contempt of court for Oweilaemi to be signing documents and parading himself as President of IYC.
“This is the reason the President of IYC, Eric Omare, Esq has directed his Lawyers to file contempt charges against Oweilaemi and some of his Exco members who are still parading themselves as IYC Exco members. The IYC is not a lawless organization neither a banana republic, so Oweilaemi as a Lawyer must respect the rule of law.
“I wish to also advise Oweilaemi very strongly, first as a kinsman and secondly as a professional colleague that he is risking his professional bar certificate as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria by his consistent disregard for the judiciary.
“In one of Oweilaemi’s statements, he referred to the first judgement as a ‘black market judgement’. Mr. Oweilaemi may soon go and explain to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) what that meant in a case that he was represented by a Lawyer from beginning to conclusion.
“I advise Ijaw youths to completely disregard Oweilaemi’s imaginary appeal. It doesn’t exist anywhere and even if he appeals, it doesn’t change the legal position that he doesn’t and never existed until the two judgements are set aside. It would take a minimum of four years for any of such appeal to be heard.
“However, I am confident that all the judgements would be upheld on appeal because Oweilaemi has no case. It was a clear and obvious case, that is the reason why in one of the cases, for complete two years, he couldn’t call a single witness.
“There is no appeal that can be heard and determined before the end of the tenure of the 7th Leadership of he IYC; hence Eric Omare is the Sheriff and Captain of the IYC ship. Swallow your pride, Mr. Oweilaemi and work with President Omare”.
NBA Drags FG, Lagos To Court Over New Proof Of Car Ownership Levy
Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, has dragged the Federal and Lagos State governments before a Federal High Court in Lagos over the imposition of a Proof of Ownership levy on all vehicle owners.
The NBA-SPIDEL is, among other demands, asking the court to declare the new yearly vehicle documentation, which came with a N1,000 price tag, as multiple taxation and unlawful.
The plaintiffs in the suit, which is yet to be assigned to a judge, are NBA-SPIDEL; the Chairman of the section, John Akpokpo-Martins; the Secretary, Funmi Adeogun, and a member of the Governing Council of NBA-SPIDEL, Francis Ogunbowale.
The defendants in the case are the Federal Government, the Joint Tax Board, and the Governor of Lagos State.
The plaintiffs are asking the court for a declaration that “by Section 86 (1) of the Personal Income Tax Act 2004 that sets up the Joint Tax Board (JTB), the power it purportedly exercised to impose yearly fees for annual renewal of Proof of Ownership (POC) Certificates on vehicle owners, is ultra vires, unlawful and unconstitutional.”
They are also urging the court for a declaration that the imposition of annual renewal of Proof of Ownership certificates on vehicle owners amounts to multiple taxation and, therefore, illegal because tax agencies and other agencies of Governments usually issue certificates of proof of ownership to vehicle owners at the point of registration of vehicles.
The plaintiffs are further seeking “an order striking down the provisions of sections 73(1), (2) & (3) of the National Road Traffic Regulation No. 101, Vol. 99 of 25th of December 2012, on the grounds of being in violent breach of Item 63 of Part I of the 2nd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution and section 1(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and therefore unconstitutional.”
Nigeria’s Forex Market Needs Restructuring—Tinubu’s Aide
The Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr Tope Fasua, has called for a structural reform of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.
Fasua made the call at a roundtable organised by the National Policy Advocacy Centre (NPAC) of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the event was “Unification of Foreign Exchange and the Effect of Fuel Subsidy Removal on the Business Community’’.
“I believe we should reform the Bureau De Change (BDC) sector and make it stronger. You cannot manage over 5,000 BDCs selling money on the streets.
“If we can do the structural reforms in the BDCs sector and the banks and supervise them well, the CBN with our reserves can incentivize that sector, allowing people to get money much quicker.
“And you have to define the illegal market and by then we will be able to find stability,” he said.
Fasua said that Nigeria spends over $45 billion annually importing refined petroleum products, milk, chemicals and fish, among others.
He said: “I hear things like scarcity of forex. What is scarcity of forex, as if the world owes us any forex.
“The world does not owe us any forex. The forex you get is depending on the trade that you do.
“If you look at Nigeria’s import and export profile, over 20 items that we import in Nigeria are in the billions of dollar range.
“Our biggest import, fuel and diesel take about $25 billion to $30 billion every year.
“We have things like cars, which is about four billion every year; sugar, fish, milk one billion each; wheat four billion; chemicals, three billion dollars; pharmaceuticals two billion dollars.”
Fasua listed crude oil and fertiliser as two things that Nigeria exports in the billion dollar range.
“The first is petroleum and gas, you will see a figure like $57 billion, but out of that only 30 per cent is ours, according to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
“The international oil companies that have the technology that do production own most of that money,’’ he said.
The Director, Policy Advocacy Centre, ACCI, Mr Chidiebere Onwumere, said that foreign exchange unification held promises of increased transparency, improved access to forex and reduced market distortions.
He, however, said that it raises questions about exchange rate stability, inflationary pressures and the cost of imports.
“We must carefully consider how these factors will affect the competitiveness of our industries and the purchasing power of our citizens.
“Fuel subsidy removal, on the other hand, is expected to free up fiscal resources, reduce government spending, and potentially lead to increased investment in critical sectors.
“Yet, it also raises concerns about the immediate impact on transportation costs, inflation, and the welfare of our citizens, especially those in vulnerable communities,’’ he said.
Mr Oscar Onyema, Managing Director, Nigerian Exchange Group (NEG) PLC, said collaborative dialogue was essential in formulating policies that balance short-term challenges with long-term benefits.
Highlighting the effects of both policies on the economy, Onyema said that immediate transition could disrupt businesses and the economy in several ways.
Represented by Mrs Cordelia Ihedioha, Onyema said that businesses that were heavily reliant on imports may face short-term disruptions due to the sudden shift in exchange rates.
According to him, this could result in increased costs for imported raw materials, leading to potential price adjustments for end consumers.
“To mitigate these disruptions, businesses may need to explore alternative sourcing strategies and adjust their pricing models,” Onyema said
Mr Dele Alimi, Director General, Institute of Directors of Nigeria appealed to the Federal Government to take total control of the mineral sector.
He said: “The mineral sector over the years has been poorly handled by previous governments as host communities have been left impoverished by illegal mining activities.”
Alimi described the subsidy removal and unification of the foreign exchange as bold steps by the Federal Government, saying that it was a necessity for economic revival.
He urged more emphasis should be placed on efficiency of governance than cost of governance.
Dr Chijiokr Ekechukwu, Vice President of ACCI, urged the Federal Government to fix the refineries and dvocated alternative sources of energy for cars to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal.
According to him, 60 per cent of cars in the United States run on electricity, adding, “that is where we should be headed for.”
He expressed concern that while the unification of foreign exchange rate brought checks and balances and better accountability, saying, “the high exchange has affected prices of goods and services.
“The inflation rate continues to coast upwards and there is a high cost of production, criminality, low standard of living and unemployment has risen above 33 per cent to 35 per cent.’’
Mr Asishana Okauru, the Director General of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, represented by Olarenwaju Ajibasile said the cost of governance needed to be channelled to the local sector.
“Pattronising locally made products will bost the local economy,’’ he said.
Olasupo Agbaje, General Manager Economic Regulations, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said that efficiency in the downstream operations was key in sustaining the petrol subsidy removal.
“What we hope for and where we want to be is not just the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) being the sole supplier.
“We want other operators, the private sector coming in and this is one of the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Act,” Agbaje said.
Tinubu’s Ministers Resign
The Minister of Interior, Tunji Olubunmi-Ojo, and the Minister of State for Education, Tanko Sununu, have officially resigned from the House of Representatives.
Their letters of resignation were read on the floor of the House on Tuesday by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas.
Messrs Olubunmi-Ojo and Sununu were appointed by President Bola Tinubu and cleared by the Senate in August, however, the House had been on recess since July.
While Mr Olubunmi-Ojo represented the Akoko North-east/Akoko North-west federal constituency of Ondo State, Mr Sununu was the representative of the Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski federal constituency of Kebbi State in the lower chamber.
Section 68 of the 1999 Constitution provides that a member shall cease to be a member if appointed as minister.
“(1) A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if -he becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a Commissioner of the Government of a State or a Special Adviser,” the section reads.
New member sworn-in
Meanwhile, Salisu Majigiri (PDP, Katsina) was sworn in as a member of the House at the resumption of plenary.
Mr Majigiri was declared the winner of the 25 February election for Mashi/Dutsi federal constituency of Katsina State after polling 27,387 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mansir Ali of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 20,596 votes.
However, his candidacy was challenged by Nazifi Yusuf at the Supreme Court, which In April, affirmed the candidacy of Mr Majigiri.
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