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Court Nullifies Ndume’s Suspension

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Ali Ndume
  • Court Nullifies Ndume’s Suspension

The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday nullified the suspension of former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, from the Senate, describing it as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.

It consequently set aside the suspension letter, dated March 30, this year, and issued to the Borno South senatorial district’s representative by the senate.

The court also ordered the president of the senate and the senate, who were the first and the second respondents in the suit filed by Ndume, to pay him all outstanding salaries and allowances.

Ndume had approached the court following his suspension from the senate for a total of 90 legislative days, for what it described as “not conducting due diligence before filing a petition against the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye.”

Ndume was also indicted “for bringing Melaye, his colleagues and the institution of the senate to unbearable disrepute,” as contained in the report submitted by the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu.

Delivering judgment in the suit, which was marked FHC/ABJ/CS/551/2017, Justice Babatunde Quadri, held that the suit has merit and as such, succeeded in part.

He said: “The suspension of the plaintiff is hereby declared illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. The purported suspension contained in the letter of March 30, 2017, is hereby set aside.

“The first and second defendants are hereby directed to pay the plaintiff his outstanding salaries and allowances forthwith.”

The court, however, declined to grant relief Number Five, which urged it to award N500million to Ndume as general, exemplary and aggravated damages over his suspension.

The Judge held: “Relief No. five is hereby refused because I hope this will facilitate reconciliation in the senate between the plaintiff and other members of the senate and bring peace to our nascent democracy. and all senators will hold sacrosanct, their Standing Order, rule of law and by extension, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Besides the president of the senate, the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Anyanwu, who recommended Ndume’s suspension was also a defendant in the suit.

In a 3 -paragraph affidavit in support of his originating motion, and which was deposed to by Ndume, the lawmaker averred that on March 21, pursuant to Orders 14 and 15 of the extant Senate Standing Orders (as amended), he drew the attention of the senate to media insinuations already published online by an online and medium and one print medium.

“That the insinuations or allegations mentioned online and in the print media were that Melaye did not complete his first degree programme at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; and that the invitation of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) by the senate was informed by the seizure of a bullet-proof SUV vehicle belonging to the senate president and attempt to clear same with fictitious documents, and I urged the senate to look into these insinuations or allegations being made by these outfits.

“That pursuant to my rising on Orders 14 and 15, based on the aforesaid insinuations and allegations by the media on the said March 21, I laid the said publications before the senate.

“Consequently, the senate presided over by Deputy Senate President, in line with Order 41 (3) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 amended, referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions (herein “called ” the Committee) headed by Anyanwu (the third Defendant) for detailed investigation.

“In the course of the investigation by the Committee, the Committee invited me amongst others and I specifically informed the Committee that I did not write any petition against the 1st defendant or anybody for that matter, but raised the issue as a matter of privilege, seeing that the integrity of the senate could be damaged by such publications, in order that senate may clear any alleged smear on its integrity.

“That on March 28, 2017, the Committee, headed by the 3rd defendant, submitted its report to the senate, wherein the Committee cleared the 1st defendant and Melaye and recommended that the senate should suspend me for 181 days (1 year), with effect from March 28, ‘for bringing Melaye, his colleague, and institutions of the senate to unbearable dispute.”

Meanwhile, the senate has kicked against the judgment, vowing to file an appeal on Monday, November 13.

In a statement issued by its counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), shortly after the judgment, the senate said it had earlier challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and consequently disagreed with the judgment.

According to Ozekhome: The senate, which has the strong conviction that the decision of the trial court will be overturned by the Court of Appeal, has accordingly instructed the law firm to file an appeal against the judgment immediately.

“The notice of appeal is ready and would be filed unfailingly by Monday morning.

“An application for a stay of execution of the orders of the court will also be filed same time.”

Meanwhile, Ndume, declared yesterday that he has forgiven its leadership for imposing six months suspension on him, just as a Federal High Court in Abuja nullified his suspension.

Briefing journalists on the matter, Ndume lamented that his constituency was denied representation in the National Assembly during the period.

The Senate leader, who was full of praises to God for his victory in court, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Northeast Development Commission Bill into law, which he claimed was his pet project from the beginning.

Ndume was placed on six months suspension on March 29, this year for raising issues of alleged illegal vehicle purchase against Senate President Bukola Saraki and failing to provide proof.

At the press conference yesterday, Ndume said: “I am just from court and I thank God that the court has declared my suspension unconstitutional, illegal and null and void, and that was what I approached the court for, a declaratory judgment, and I got that judgment today.

“I am not taking anything personal against anybody. If anybody takes anything personal against me, I leave him with God, because I don’t have the advantage, it is just that they are taking advantage of their positions and the confidence we have given in them.

“I have said that I have been betrayed, because all of you know the role I played in the struggle of making that senate to be better than what we had during the 7th one. Unfortunately, it became worse because last time on the 7th senate, the few of us were there, the concept we had that made it to be disobeying the party order was that the senate should belong to the senators.

“That was why we brought in even the other parties, so that was why we had the like minds.”

He said even though the court had voided his suspension, he was not too keen about reclaiming the allowances he was denied, pointing out that he simply went to court to place it on record that the senate leadership had no powers to suspend him the way it did.

“My entitlements are mine, as the court said, but my entitlement has been denied from April to date, but I am alive. So, I am not going to go back because of my entitlement; I am ready to move forward and I don’t think that is a big deal anyway.

“My right is my right and my right has been trampled on and in fact, my constituents have been denied representation, which is a constitutional matter.”

“My going to court is not primarily because of the financial aspect of it. As I said earlier, senators died, they cannot be paid, senators have been removed, they cannot be paid and many of us are out there.

“So, the emphasis is on the declaration and the interpretation of the action taken that was unjust on me,” he added.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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NIMC Announces Launch of Three National ID Cards to Boost Identity Management

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has unveiled plans to launch three new national identity cards.

These cards are aimed at providing improved access to government services and bolstering identification systems across Nigeria.

The three new national identity cards, as disclosed by Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, will include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

Babalola explained that these cards are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Nigerian citizens while fostering greater participation in nation-building initiatives.

In an interview, Babalola outlined the timeline for the rollout of these cards, indicating that Nigerians can expect to start receiving them within one or two months of the launch, pending approval from the Presidency.

The bank-enabled National ID card, designed to cater to the middle and upper segments of the population, will offer seamless access to banking services within the specified timeframe.

Also, the National Safety Net Card will serve as a crucial tool for authentication and secure platform provision for government services such as palliatives, with a focus on the 25 million vulnerable Nigerians supported by current government intervention programs.

This initiative aims to streamline the distribution process and ensure efficient delivery of social services to those in need.

Furthermore, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will provide an optional identity verification solution, facilitating cross-border interactions and promoting regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The announcement comes on the heels of NIMC’s collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to develop a multipurpose national identity card equipped with payment capabilities for various social and financial services.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of key stakeholders to foster innovation, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness in service delivery.

Babalola stated that the new identity cards aim to address the need for physical identification, empower citizens, and promote financial inclusion for marginalized populations. With a target of providing these cards to approximately 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023, NIMC is poised to revolutionize the identity management landscape in Nigeria.

The implementation of these programs aligns with broader efforts to drive digital transformation and improve access to essential services for all Nigerians.

Babalola highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the new identity cards, including their potential to uplift millions out of poverty by facilitating access to government social programs and financial services.

While the launch date is set tentatively for May pending presidential approval, NIMC remains committed to finalizing the necessary details to ensure a smooth rollout of the new identity cards.

The introduction of these cards represents a significant step forward in NIMC’s mission to provide secure and reliable identity solutions that empower individuals and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Efforts to reach Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, for further insights on the initiative were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

As Nigeria gears up for the launch of these innovative identity cards, stakeholders express optimism about the potential positive impact on identity management, financial inclusion, and socio-economic development across the country.

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Nigeria Launches New National ID Card to Enhance Access to Social and Financial Services

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National-eID-card

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the launch of a National Identity Card with integrated payment and social service functionalities.

This initiative, spearheaded by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), aims to provide Nigerians with a single, multifunctional card that combines identification, payment, and access to various government and private sector services.

The new National ID card backed by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 is poised to become the country’s default identity card, serving as a tangible proof of identity for citizens and legal residents alike.

With features aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, including a Machine-readable Zone (MRZ) and biometric authentication capabilities, the card offers robust security and verification mechanisms.

One of the most significant aspects of the new ID card is its payment functionality. Cardholders will have the ability to link their cards to bank accounts, enabling them to conduct debit and prepaid transactions seamlessly.

This feature is expected to enhance financial inclusion efforts, particularly for the unbanked and underbanked populations in Nigeria.

Also, the card will grant holders access to a wide range of government interventions programs, including travel, health insurance, microloans, agriculture initiatives, food subsidies, transport benefits, and energy subsidies.

By consolidating these services onto a single platform, the government aims to streamline administrative processes and improve service delivery efficiency.

To ensure widespread accessibility, the NIMC has outlined various channels for obtaining the new ID card, including online applications, commercial banks, participating agencies, and NIMC offices nationwide.

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New York City Hit by 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake

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christian dior

New York City, famously known as the “city that never sleeps” was hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake.

The tremors reverberated through the towering skyscrapers and bustling suburbs as it sent shockwaves across the densely populated metropolitan area and left residents feeling shaken.

The earthquake, with its epicenter approximately 45 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia, caught many off guard.

Reports indicate that over 42 million people across the Northeast region may have felt the midmorning quake with reports coming in from as far as Baltimore to Boston and beyond.

The impact of the earthquake was not confined to mere tremors; it resulted in significant damage to several multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, displacing nearly 30 residents.

Officials immediately sprang into action, conducting checks on bridges and other major infrastructure to assess any potential structural damage.

Flights were diverted or delayed, Amtrak slowed trains throughout the busy Northeast Corridor, and a Philadelphia-area commuter rail line suspended service as a precautionary measure.

The experience was unsettling for many New Yorkers, with some likening it to the sensation of an explosion or construction accident.

Shawn Clark, an attorney working on the 26th floor of a midtown Manhattan office, described it as “pretty weird and scary,” echoing the sentiments of many who felt the earth move beneath them.

Aftershocks were reported hours later in a central New Jersey township, causing additional concern and producing reports of damage and items falling off shelves, according to Hunterdon County Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey.

The disruption caused by the earthquake extended beyond immediate safety concerns. Cellphone circuits were overloaded as people tried to reach loved ones, and phones blared with earthquake-related notifications during the New York Philharmonic’s morning performance, adding an unexpected twist to the day’s events.

Even as the seismic event rattled New York City, residents and officials alike drew comparisons to past earthquakes, particularly the memorable tremor of August 23, 2011. Registering a magnitude of 5.8, it was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II, leaving lasting impressions on those who experienced it.

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