Senate Passes Bill To Compensate Victims Of EndSARS For 2nd Reading
The Senate on Wednesday passed for second reading, a bill seeking to compensate victims of the EndSARS protest.
The bill entitled, A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Act, was sponsored by Sen. Bassey, Gershom (PDP Cross-River ).
Bassey in his lead debate, said the bill sought to provide for the establishment of the EndSARS Victims Compensation Fund.
Bassey said: “Distinguished colleagues, you may recall that as a result of the EndSARS nationwide protests in October 2020.
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”Judicial panels of inquiry were constituted to address the demands of protesters and compensation for verified victims of the EndSARS protest.
“The findings of the judicial panels of inquiry and the Senate Joint Committee on EndSARS revealed the killing of protesters, destruction of private and public properties by rampaging hoodlums, who seized and took over the protest, destroyed and looted valuable assets.
“However distinguished colleagues the implementation of the recommendation of all the panels and committees regarding compensation has been very discouraging.”
According to him, the victims have been left to continually groan under the pains of injury inflicted by hoodlums during the EndSARS protest.
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He said the eventual establishment of the fund and implementation of the recommendation of the judicial panel of inquiry and Senate Joint Committee on EndSARS would certainly bring succour to the victims of the 2020 Endsars nationwide protest.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, it is my prayer that you support this amendment bill that seeks to bring hope to the victims of the 2020 EndSARS protest,” he said.
President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan thereafter referred the bill to the Committee on Special Duties for further legislative input and report back to plenary in one week.
Tribunal Admits U.S. Court Judgment Ordering Tinubu’s Forfeiture Of $460,000
The Labour Party on Tuesday called its first witness in the ongoing petition between its candidate, Peter Obi, and the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President, Bola Tinubu.
Counsel for the LP and Obi, Jibrin Okutepa, stated that documents from number one to four together with receipts tendered are documents where the vice president, Kashim Shettima, accepted his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC.
The witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, who is a legal practitioner, disclosed that he was deposed to the witness statement on March 20, 2023.
Part of the documents deposed to by Nwakaeti referred to the alleged $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu to the government of the United States.
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One of the grounds on which the LP and Obi are praying for the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory is that the president, Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.”
While answering questions during the cross-examination, the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
He also admitted that there was no certificate from any consular in Nigeria or America in support of the judgment.
He, however, maintained that “the judgment speaks for itself.”
APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asked, “As a lawyer, you are aware that these documents are not registered in Nigeria and there is no certificate attached to the document from the US?” to which Lawrence replied that there are certificates.
“Is there a certificate from the US consular?”
“No certificate from the consular,” Nwakaeti replied.
He also said he had no knowledge of a February 4, 2003, Formal Clearance Report by Legal Attachee from the American Embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.
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When asked by Fagbemi, SAN, to produce a copy of the charges against Tinubu, the witness said he had none but maintained that the forfeiture are from civil proceedings.
“You are aware that all the proceedings were civil proceedings?”
“Civil forfeiture proceedings,” the witness replied.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani has shifted further hearing in the petition till May 31.
Otti Freezes Abia Accounts, Sacks Boards Executives
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has directed the immediate freezing of all accounts of the state government and those of its agencies domiciled in every bank and financial institution across the state and around the federation.
He has also dissolved all boards of Abia State government agencies and parastatals and ordered the heads of all the dissolved agencies and parastatals to subsequently hand over to those next in line to them.
The governor gave the orders in a statement he issued through his media office on Monday, which was signed by Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
The directive read in part, “With this notice, all banks and other financial institutions in the country are directed to immediately seize from honouring any cheque, document, instrument or directive of any kind not expressly approved by or emanating from him.
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“Similarly, Governor Otti has directed the immediate dissolution of all boards of the Abia State Government agencies and parastatals and subsequently ordered the chief executives of these organisations to hand over to those next in line to them”.
The reporter gathered that the news of the sack of the former chief executives of the dissolved boards sparked celebration among staff of such agencies, especially those who were owed some months of salary arrears.
PICTORIAL: Obi, Datti, Keyamo Present As Tribunal Resumes Hearing
The presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, are currently in attendance at the ongoing presidential election tribunal PUNCH reports.
Former minister of state for labour and employment, Festus Keyamo, is also present at the tribunal and appearing as a counsel in the legal team of President Bola Tinubu.
Obi and the Labour Party filed a petition challenging the victory of Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
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In the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, Livy Ozoukwu, lead counsel to LP and Obi, said Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election”.
Among other allegations, they claimed that Kashim Shettima, vice-president, had a double nomination in contravention of the electoral act.
A proper hearing of the petition commenced on Tuesday and the first witness has been called.
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