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JUST IN: DSS Confirms Alteration In Bayelsa Deputy Gov’s Certificate

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The Department of State Services (DSS) confirmed on Monday, June 1, that its investigation revealed alteration in the exemption certificate issued by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo.

The Head, Legal Department, DSS, Abdulsalam Ibrahim, who represented DSS’ Director General, told the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja that his agency was ordered by an Abuja court to investigate allegation of certificate forgery against Ewhrudjakpo.

Ibrahim was at the tribunal to tender documents and testify for the petitioner upon a subpoena issued on the DG, DSS by the tribunal.

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The candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa, Vijah Opuama had petitioned the tribunal, alleging that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contain false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.

READ ALSO: Olanipekun: Truth About Bayelsa Government Will Soon Be Revealed

Ibrahim, led in evidence by petitioner’s lawyer, Pius Danbe Pius, said: “My lord, on the 22nd of February 2020, we received a letter from an Area Court in Lugbe, Abuja asking the DSS to investigate the NYSC exemption certificate of Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the present Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State.”

He said his agency conducted investigation by reaching out to the NYSC. He said the DG, NYSC wrote to the DG, DSS confirming alteration in the surname in the exemption certificate issued Ewhrudjakpo.

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Ibrahim however told the tribunal that the alteration was done by the NYSC at the instance of Ewhrudjakpo.

The petitioner’s lawyer later tendered a copy of the subpoena, a copy of the letter from the Area Court and two investigation reports dated May 27 and 28, 2020, including an annexture from the NYSC, through the witness.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Bayelsa Converts Hospital Donated By Chevron To Isolation Centre

Respondents’ lawyers, including Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), Chris Uche (SAN) and Chukwuma Machwkwu Umeh did not object to the tendering of the documents, following which the tribunal admitted them and marked them Exhibits P1, P2, P3 and P4.

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Upon a request by Pius, Ibrahim read the conclusion of the report of the investigation conducted by his agency, which the tribunal had admitted in evidence.

The conclusion of the report, as read out by Ibrahim, went thus: “Based on the foregoing and the relevant documents forwarded to this service, it is evident that the subject altered the spelling of his surname to reflect the letter D as against the letter O in the certificate of exception earlier issued by NYSC.”

Under cross-examination by lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmanuel Enoidem, Ibrahim confirmed that the alteration in the certificate was effected by the NYSC.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Judgement: Accept It In Good Fate, APC Begs Bayelsans

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The witness agreed with Enoidem that it is the bearer of a name that knows how best to spell his/her name.
Under cross-exemination by Chris Uche (SAN), lawyer to Duoye Diri (the Bayelsa State Governor), the witness said the alteration was done by the NYSC upon the request by Ewhrudjakpo.

Uche later asked the witness to read paragraph 7 of a document marked “P3” (one of the reports the investigation by the DSS), which Ibrahim read,thus: “it is based on this recent finding, that we wish to bring to the notice of the DSS that we (the NYSC) corrected the certificate of exemption to read Ewhrudjakpo. Only the last letter A was corrected to read letter O.”

When asked to identify an attachment to the report, the witness identified it as “Annexture 2,” which he explained “is a letter to the NYSC seeking a request for correction, following which the correction was now made.”

At the conclusion of the witness’ testimony, Pius said his next witness is Ewhrudjakpo, who he said has been subpoenaed to produce the original copy of the certificate of exemption.

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Pius said, by his case plan, the Deputy Governor was the next appropriate witness for the petitioner.

The tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo adjourned till Tuesday (June 2) for the hearing of a motion by Ewhrudjakpo, challenging his invitation as the petitioner’s witness.

Earlier the tribunal in a ruling, rejected an application by LM to be made a party in the case.
Justice Sirajo upheld the arguments of the respondents, to the effect that the party failed to justify why it filed the application late.

Justice Sirajo held that there was no exceptional circumstances to warrant the granting of the applicant’s request to have its application heard outside the tribunal’s pre-hearing session.

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READ ALSO: Diri Donates N40m Awarded to By Supreme Court To God’s, Work

He noted that the time for the hearing of such application has elapsed, with the applicant not being able to justify why it delayed in seeking to be made a party in a petition filed by its candidate.

(NATION)

(PHOTO: File)

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JUST IN: Sanusi Makes First Appointment Amid Emirship Tussle

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As the controversy trailing Kano Emirate tussle continues, the 16th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has on Thursday made his first appointment.

This was coming barely a week after he was reinstalled as the Emir.

Sanusi, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, approved the appointment of a new Ward Head of Kofar Mazugal, Hamisu Sani in Dala Local Government area of the state.

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The Emir called on the new ward Head to ensure peaceful coexistence among the subjects of the area and contribute his quota towards the development of the state as a whole.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Court Stops Police, SSS, Military From Evicting Emir Sanusi

Earlier, district heads and personalities such as delegations from religious and market bodies paid homage on Emir Sanusi at the palace.

The delegation includes, Ansarulddeen Tijjanniya sect and Traders from Kano popular textile market (Kantin Kwari) as well as the commodities market (Singer market) among others.

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Recall that Sanusi II was reinstalled as the Emir of Kano last Thursday after the Kano State House of Assembly and Governor Abba Yusuf repealed and accented the Kano State Emirates Councils (Repeal) Bill 2024 into law.

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INEC Promises Credible Election In Edo, Despite Destruction Of Critical Infrastructure

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday said the Commission would conduct a credible governorship election in Edo State in spite of last Friday’s heavy downpour that destroyed critical infrastructure in the commission’s headquarters in Benin City.

He said since the Edo governorship election is an off-cycle election, the Commission would also borrow equipment from neighbouring states to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

Yakubu stated this in Benin City while on inspection of the level of damage to the facilities in the office in Benin City, and also to monitor the level of compliance with the on-going Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).

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The INEC boss said he also came with three National Directors in charge of critical areas of the Commission like Voters Registry, Estate, Works and Transport and ICT to assess the level of damage to their facilities and the State Controller of the Federal Ministry of Works which would carry out needed construction work in the facilities.

READ ALSO: Edo Guber: Court Adjourns Suit Challenging Akpata’s Nomination As LP Candidate

He also ruled out moving out of the place because of the perennial flooding in the area.

The INEC chairman who said the Commission was prepared for the election in Edo State, added: “Our visit here is to ensure that we fix whatever we need to fix because of the election. We have three months and three weeks to the election, and that is why we came here to inspect what happened to our facility on Friday last week.

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“We believe, we can fix whatever is damaged before the election, and it is better actually that we conduct the election in our own facilities rather than going to rent any facility outside close to election.

“Before the last governorship election in Edo, we took measures and for three years since the last governorship election, we have had no issues but this is an act of God.”

On whether he can quantify the cost of damage in the facility, Yakubu said: “It is very difficult to quantify now, we are on the assessment, and that is why in this tour we have been joined by three critical Directors responsible for Voters Registry, our Estate, Works and Transport at the headquarters, and our Director of ICT so they will stay behind, do the assessment and advise the Commission.”

READ ALSO: LP Names Ngogbehai, Elumelu, Ismaila, Others To Oversee ‘OBIDIENTs’

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He assured that despite the setbacks, the Commission was ready for the election.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to assure and reassure Edo voters that it is unfortunate that this thing happened in our office on Friday.

We took a proactive measure to ensure that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) was not affected by calling for additional resources from the neighbouring states and whatever it takes, since INEC is one national body, and we are only going to have two elections in Edo and Ondo states, I will call for additional resources where it is necessary from neighbouring states and the elections will proceed as scheduled and we will recover from this unfortunate incident.”

Whether the ten days for the CVR would be extended as being agitated in some quarters, Professor Yakubu said: “We have not reached there yet, we will go round and see what happened.

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We are encouraged by the turnout not only of fresh registrants, that is persons who are registered voters or who are not of age when the last registration exercise was done

Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha said the flood could be termed a blessing in disguise as it has better prepared them for the election.

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Edo Guber: Court Adjourns Suit Challenging Akpata’s Nomination As LP Candidate

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A Federal High Court sitting in Benin, today, May 30 adjourned hearing in a suit filed by a governorship aspirant of Labour Party (LP), Kenneth Imansuangbon, challenging the nomination of Olumide Akpata as candidate of the party for the Edo gubernatorial election to today.

Hearing of the pre-election matter slated to commence today, suffered a setback following an oral application for a short adjournment by Counsel to Olumide Akpata, Mr. N.E Ogbeide on the ground that he was yet to be served with court processes by the plaintiff Counsel.

But Counsel to the plaintiff, A.A Malik (SAN), opposed the application, saying that the case was ripe for hearing as they responded to first defendant’s processes and served same on them since May 22nd 2024.

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At this point, the presiding Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri, ordered the court file to shown to the disputing Counsel, following which the first defendant Counsel, N.E Ogbeide, conceded that the plaintiff’s processes have been served on them within  jurisdictional address.

Consequently, the presiding Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri, adjourned hearing in the suit to tomorrow, May 31st, 2024.

Kenneth Imansuangbon is challenging the nomination of Olumide Akpata on the ground that the Labour Party did not follow the electoral guidelines in the primaries and that he (Olumide) did not fill and signed the indemnity form among other grounds.

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