- Falana: Suspension of Senator Ali Ndume Illegal
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has described the suspension of Senator Ali Ndume as the height of the serial illegality in the Senate and urged the senators to reverse what he called illegal decisions.
Citing the unreported case of Hon. Dino Melaye and Others vs House of Representatives, Falana said in a statement yesterday that the Federal High Court had declared the indefinite suspension of the plaintiffs illegal and unconstitutional on the grounds that a legislator could not be suspended for more than 14 days.
Falana also cited the case of House of Assembly vs Hon Danna, where the Court of Appeal held that a legislative house in Nigeria is not competent to suspend a member even for a single day as it is a violation of the democratic rights of members of his/her constituency.
The human rights lawyer also stated that it was in the atmosphere of impunity, which has enveloped the Senate that the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, had been ordered to appear before the Senate for having the temerity to criticise the senators.
But citing the case of El Rufai vs House of Representatives (2003) 46 WRN 12, Falana argued that the Court of Appeal held that the House lacked the power to summon the appellant over a defamatory statement made by him as the power of investigation conferred on legislators is not for personal aggrandisement.
“In view of the settled state of the law on summoning of critics by the National Assembly and suspension of legislators the Senate is advised to reverse its illegal decisions and quickly return to the path of constitutionalism in the interest of lasting democracy in the country. However, if the Senate remains intransigent, the executive branch of the government should adopt decisive measures to terminate the unending rein of impunity in the National Assembly,” Falana explained.
He also noted that pursuant to the powers conferred on it under section 3 (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, 2004, the Senate has refused to confirm the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
Falana added that President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to allow Magu to continue to head the EFCC in an acting capacity, stressing that the decision of the president cannot be faulted by virtue of section 171 (1) (d) of the constitution, which provides that the president is vested with the power to appoint the head of any extra ministerial department to hold office in an acting capacity.
According to him, such appointment does not require the confirmation of the Senate.
Falana noted that the Senate has decided not to confirm the 27 newly appointed Resident Electoral commissioners until Magu has been removed from office as EFCC chairman.
According to him, in asking for the removal of Magu, the Senate said the anti-graft czar has been terrorising the Senate.
“Should the Senate resort to such cheap blackmail because the embattled EFCC helmsman has refused to compromise the prosecution and investigation of about 15 senators alleged to have been involved in serious economic and financial crimes? Why should the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, not be terrorised for the alleged criminal diversion of N3.5 billion from the London/Paris Club loan refund? Before now, sharp disagreements between the National Assembly and the executive had been submitted to the courts for judicial resolution in line with the rule of law. During the twilight days of President Goodluck Jonathan administration the Attorney-General of the Federation challenged the purported amendment of the constitution at the Supreme Court.
Based on the interlocutory injunction granted by the Supreme Court, the National Assembly suspended further deliberations on the controversial amendment of the Constitution. Instead of following the path of rule law and constitutionalism, the Senate has completely thrown caution to the winds,” Falana noted.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
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