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S-Court Bench Reduces To 11, As Appeal Court Gets 9 New Justices Wednesday

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As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, gets set to constitute the panel that will hear and finally determine all the petitions that are trailing the 2023 presidential election, the Supreme Court, will by Thursday, have its bench reduced to 11 justices.

This further depletion of the apex court bench, to an all time low, follows the retirement of Justice Amina Augie (Kebbi State).

Though Justice Augie clocked the 70 years mandatory retirement age on September 3, however, the court, in a statement it made available to newsmen on Sunday, disclosed that she would formally bow out of its bench on Thursday.

The valedictory court session in her honour was delayed because of the annual vacation of the Court which just ended on Friday, 15th September, 2023,” the court added in the statement that was signed by its Director of Press & Information, Dr. Akande Festus.”

READ ALSO: Forgive My Husband, Obansajo’s Wife Begs Obas, Yoruba In Emotional Statement

Remarkably, the number of justices of the court unprecedentedly rose to 20 in November 2020, after President Muhammadu Buhari okayed the elevation of eight justices at a go.

Their appointment had sparked hope that the apex court would for the first time in history, attain the full complement of 22 justices as prescribed by Section 230 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

However, with the death of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta on March 7, 2021, about 23 days before to his retirement, and the retirement of Justice Rhodes-Vivour 14 days later, only 18 Justice were left on the apex court bench.

Before their replacements could be appointed, Justice Samuel Oseji died on September 2021, aged 67, less than a year after his appointment to the Supreme Court.

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Likewise, while Justice Mary Odili, who became the second most senior jurist of the court, retired on May 12, 2022, Justice Ejembi Eko also bowed out of active judicial service on May 23, 2022.

In a shocking move, the then CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, voluntarily resigned his position in June, 2022, even as Justice Abdul Aboki retired on August 5, last year, thereby reducing the number of justices of the Supreme Court to 13.

Justice Chima Centus Nweze, who was the only Justice of the court from the South East region, died in Abuja, after a brief illness on July 29 this year.

As stakeholders demand urgent elevation of new justices in view of the mounting workload on the apex court, research by Vanguard revealed that whereas Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad will retire by October 27, the CJN, Justice Ariwoola, will equally exit the bench on December 31.

Other remaining justices on the apex court bench, are; Kudirat Motomori Kekere-Ekun (to retire 2026), John Inyang Okoro (2029), Uwani Abba Aji (2026), Garba Lawal (2028) and Helen Morenikeji Ogunwumiju (2027).

READ ALSO: IG Orders Lagos CP To Probe Mohbad’s Death

As well as; Ibrahim Saulawa (2026), Adamu Jauro (2029), Tijjani Abubakar (2030) and Emmanuel Agim (2030).

By the combined provisions of paragraphs 13 (a) & 21 (a) of the 3rd Schedule Part 1, of the Constitution, the National Judicial Council, NJC, upon the advice of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, FJSC, has the statutory power to nominate and recommend the appointment of justices of the Supreme Court to President Bola Tinubu.

Section 234 of the Constitution mandates the Supreme Court to hear cases in a panel of 5 or 7 justices.

Meanwhile, the court, in the statement it issued on Sunday, said the CJN would on Wednesday, swear in nine newly appointed justices of the Appeal Court.

“The Justices are: Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun from Kaduna State, who was appointed a High Court Judge on 24th May, 1999; Binta Fatima Zubairu from Kaduna State, appointed a High Court Judge on 31st October, 2001; and Peter Chudi Obiora from Anambra State, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on 17th January, 2005, respectively.

“Others are Justices Okon Efreti Abang from Akwa Ibom State, who was appointed a High Court Judge on 22nd June, 2009; Asma’u Musa Mainoma from Federal Capital Territory, appointed High Court Judge on 1st February, 2013; Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu from Oyo State, who became High Court Judge on 26th June, 2014; and Jane Esienanwan Iyang from Cross River State, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on 12th February, 2015.

“The rest are Justices Hadiza Rabiu Shagari from Sokoto State, who got elevation to the High Court Bench on 12th February, 2015; and Paul Ahmed Bassi from Borno State, appointed to the High Court on 14th July, 2017, respectively,” the statement read.
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JUST IN: Tinubu Names New Heads For NCC, Galaxy Backbone, NIGCOMSAT

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of 10 executive heads across the Nigerian Communications Commission, Galaxy Backbone Limited, and Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, all agencies in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, announced the latest appointees in a statement he signed Thursday titled, ‘President Tinubu reconstitutes management teams in agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.’

At the Nigerian Communications Commission, he appointed Abraham Oshadami as Executive Commissioner of Technical Services, Rimini Makama as Executive Commissioner of Stakeholder Management, and Opeyemi Dele-Ajayi as President and CEO of the Digital Bridge Institute.

At Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, he named Abiodun Attah as Executive Director of Technical Services; Aisha Abdullahi as Executive Director, Finance & Administration; and Jaiyeola Awokoya as Executive Director, Marketing & Business Development.

The President also appointed Ibrahim Adeyanju, Managing Director/CEO of Galaxy Backbone Limited, alongside three executive directors.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Appoints Gaga NEXIM Bank ED

They include Mohammed Ibrahim, Executive Director of Finance & Corporate Services; Olusegun Olulade, Executive Director of Customer Centricity & Marketing; and Olumbe Akinkugbe, Executive Director of Digital Exploration & Technical Services.

With the reconstitution of the management teams in these agencies, President Tinubu expects the new appointees to “deliver excellent service to elevate the impact of the digital economy sector on the socio-economic development of the nation,” said Ngelale.

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JUST IN: Kwara Varsity Students Cry Out Over Alleged EFCC, NDLEA Raids

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Operatives of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the Nigeria Police Force have reportedly raided and arrested some students of Kwara State University, Malete.

In several videos sighted by our correspondent on Thursday, the students were seen running for safety while gunshots were heard in the background.

A student of the university who spoke with our correspondent Thursday night disclosed that EFCC operatives were in the school on Wednesday while operatives of NDLEA and police officers visited on Thursday and arrested some of the varsity students after raiding the student community.

READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests 48 Kwara Varsity Students For Internet Fraud

Yesterday, EFCC raided the school. Today NDLEA and police came and arrested boys (students) anyhow,” the source disclosed to our correspondent.

Meanwhile, a tweet from an X user (@babyygirlfl0) read, “EFCC came to raid in the middle of the night, two days ago, arrested over 30 students, NDLEA came in today to do the same, students tried to stop them, they joined forces with the police and started throwing teargas at students, even started shooting gun, I saw with my own eyes.

“One student is dead, another is fighting for her life! Helppppp! Tag all the handles that can help please! The network here is really bad I’m so scared mannn. Gunshots and Teargas everywhere.”

Another user with the handle @thatgoodbae posted, “This school is a mess mahn!! I don tire!! Because how in God’s name is EFCC supposed to shoot at a student’s car??? Come to raid at 2am??? Taking students that have exams in the morning???”

READ ALSO: Gov. Mohammed Pledges Support For Educational Excellence

The students, however, stormed the school gate to protest the act and arrest of their colleagues.

In November, the EFCC chairman placed a ban on sting operations at night following the outrage that ensued after operatives arrested suspected internet fraudsters in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

EFFC operatives had invaded the off-campus hostels of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Efforts by our correspondent to get the reactions of the trio of EFCC, NDLEA, and the police spokespersons proved abortive as calls made were not answered and text messages sent are yet to be responded to as of the time of filling this report.

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FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N1.15trn For January

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The total revenue accrued to the coffers of the government increased to N2.07trn in January 2024 out of which N1.15trn was disbursed to the Federal Government, states, and local government areas, the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee disclosed on Thursday.

FAAC, in a communique issued at the end of its monthly meeting in Abuja, said the revenue was shared to meet the needs of the subnational governments.

According to a press release by the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Bawa Mokwa, the amount shared is N29bn less than the N1.44trn disbursed in January 2023.

The communique said the N1.45trn total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N463.1bn, distributable Value Added Tax revenue of N391.8bn, Electronic Money Transfer Levy revenue of N15.9bn and Exchange Difference revenue of N279.03bn.

READ ALSO: FAAC Shares N1.100 Trillion To FG , States, LGs

It also added that a total revenue of N2.07trn was available in the month of January 2024 while N200bn was kept as savings.

“Total deductions for the cost of collection was N78.4bn, total transfers, interventions, and refunds was N640bn and savings was N200bn.

“Gross statutory revenue of N1.15trn was received for the month of January 2024. This was higher than the sum of N875bn received in the month of December 2023 by N276bn,” the communique read.

The communique further stated that from the N1.15trn total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received a total of N407.267 bn, the state governments received N379.407 bn and the local governments received N278.041bn.

READ ALSO: FAAC Shares N907b To FG, States, LGs

It added that VAT collection was reduced by N71.7bn to N420.7bn in the month ending.

The statement added, “The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax in January 2024 was N420.733 billion. This was lower than the N492.506 billion available in the month of December 2023 by N71.773 billion.

“From the N1,149.816 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received a total of N407.267 billion, the State Governments received N379.407 billion and the Local Government Councils received N278.041 billion.

“A total sum of N85.101 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared with the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

“From the N463.079 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N216.757 billion, the State Governments received N109.942 billion and the Local Government Councils received N84.761 billion. The sum of N51.619 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared with the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

READ ALSO: FG, Others Share N2.84trn In FAAC

“The Federal Government received N58.768 billion, the State Governments received N195.894 billion and the Local Government Councils received N137.125 billion from the N391.787 billion distributable Value Added Tax revenue.”

Also, the N15.922 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N2.388bn, the state governments received N7.961bn and the local governments received N5.573 billion.

“The Federal Government received N129.354 billion from the N 279.028 billion Exchange Difference revenue. The State Governments received N65.610 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N50.582 billion. The sum of N33.482 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared with the benefiting States as derivation revenue.

“In January 2024, Companies Income Tax, Import Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax, and Oil and Gas Royalties increased significantly, while Value Added Tax, Export Duty, Electronic Money Transfer Levy, and CET Levies decreased considerably.

“The balance in the ECA was $473,754.57,” the statement concluded.

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