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Obanikoro awards student bursaries, trader cash grants to constituents

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By Chinelo Obogo

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Member, House of Representatives for Eti Osa constituency in Lagos, Babajide Obanikoro has awarded bursaries to students and cash grants to traders as part of his constituency project for 2022.

Speaking at his constituency office, yesterday, Obanikoro said the students’ bursary was to enable them meet some of their immediate financial needs and the cash grants for petty traders to help boost their businesses. He said injecting cash into the constituency would increase the bottom line of GDP of Eti Osa.

“This year, we plan to heavily focus on the technological advancement of our constituents because we believe the world has gone digital and the earlier we keyed into it, the better for our growth. That is why we have decided to start the year by distributing 1, 000 laptops to some of our students, residents associations and also to our friends the Eti Osa police. It is my believe these laptops will aid our students in school work, help some of our constituents in their businesses and our Police stations in areas of information management and record keeping.

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“We will also be giving some of our students bursaries, to enable them meet some of their immediate school financial needs and also have some petty traders who will be beneficiaries of cash grant to help boost their businesses. Injecting these empowerment programmes into our constituency will increase the bottom line GDP of Eti Osa and give succour to our constituents.”

Nigeria Newspapers

Party Defection: Gov Umahi, Deputy head to Court of Appeal

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From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and his deputy, Dr Eric Igwe have approached the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal for the interpretation of some constitutional issues arising from the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The applicants in their motion, have requested the appellate court to restore the powers of state High courts as the only courts vested with the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine the question as to whether the term of office of a member of the House of Assembly of a State, a Governor or Deputy Governor has ceased or become vacant.

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Counsel to the applicants and a former Attorney General of Imo State, Chief Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN), has consequently filed a motion seeking the declaration by the court that section 272 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, which vested such powers on the Federal High Court as a Scrivener’s error.

The motion which was brought pursuant to sections 295 (2); 272(3); 6(2) of the 1999 constitution and section 20 and 29 of the Interpretation Act, has requested the order of the Federal High Court for an order referring some constitutional questions to the Court of Appeal for its opinion.

The affected constitutional provisions are sections 2; 4(6); 5 (2); 6 (1) & (2); 6(5) (a) -(e); 186; Chapter VII; Chapter VII Part II; sections 270 (1) and 272 (1); (2) and(3).

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The applicants request the opinion of the Court of Appeal as to “Whether by the community reading of the above provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) more particularly by the express provisions in sections 232(1) 239(1) (a) – (c) and 251(4) each vesting Original Jurisdiction on the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court on matters on the Exclusive Legislative List and Federal political office holders, the phrase Federal High Court as found in Section 272 (3) (aka section 28, Act No 1 of 2010) is not a mere or should not be read Scrivener’s Error or Devil’s printer?

“Whether the Hon Court should not order the phrase Federal High Court as found in Section 272 (3) (aka section 28, Act No 1 of 2010) to be read and understood as State High Court which rightly conforms with the spirit of the Federal system of Government as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended) vesting exclusive original jurisdiction on the High Court of the States of the Federation to “hear and determine the question as to whether the term of office of a member of the House of Assembly of a State, a Governor of Deputy Governor has ceased or become vacant?

Before the trial court, the applicants had filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the suit by the PDP, wherein, they argued vehemently that Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended has provided immunity to them from the Plaintiff’s Suit and that votes cast during the said Elections are by the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) an recent Supreme Court pronouncements belong to them and recent Supreme Court pronouncment belongs to them and not the Plaintiff/Respondent.

Furthermore, they contested that being Ebonyi State Governor and Deputy Governor sworn into Offices by the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State they cannot be liable to be removed from their Offices by a Federal High Court.

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In addition, on November 23, 2021 they filed an interlocutory motion praying the Court that:
“Considering the Federal System of Government adopted and inherent in the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and that 3rd & 4th Defendants/Applicants have been sworn into office by the Chief Judge of Ebonyi State as constitutionally provided,

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That the benefit of a holistic reading of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) the phrase Federal High Court as found in Section 272 (3) (aka section 28, Act No 1 of 2010) is a mere and should taken as Scrivener’s Error.

The Applicants therefore prayed the Court to by virtue of Sections 20 & 29 of the Interpretation Act etc, purposively interpret and read the phrase Federal High Court as found in Section 272 (3) (aka section 28, Act No 1 of 2010) as State High Court.

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Consequently, they prayed the Court to transfer the Suit filed by Plaintiff/1st Respondent to the High Court of Ebonyi State for hearing and determination.

However, on December 23, 2021 Plaintiff/1st Respondent (PDP) fired back by filing a Counter Affidavit with Written Address wherein it placed an entirely different interpretation and meaning to the S. 272 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The plaintiff vehemently submitted that the Federal High Court is stated in the S. 272(3) is in order and this Court have the jurisdiction to hear and determine its Suit.

Ume submitted that “our exhaustive research have shown that all through the history of the judicial adjudication in Nigeria, courts more particularly the Supreme Court of Nigeria have never been called upon and no Court has suo moto heard and determined if the Federal High Court as provided in S. 272 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is a Scrivener’s Error and so should be read as State High Court.

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The PDP had on August 17, 202, filed its Originating Summons claiming among others that:
It sponsored Governor Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Igwe for the 2019 Governorship and Deputy Governorship Elections and they won the Elections and were sworn into the Offices of Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State respectively on May 29, 2019.

It further alleged that the votes cast for the candidates ( Umahi & Igwe) at the said Elections are its property.

It then alleged that the governor and his deputy defected to the APC (2nd Defendant).

On the basis of the above claims, the PDP prayed the Court to remove the governor and his deputy from their Offices as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi and declare their Offices vacant.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Inter communal war: Ebonyi town debunks killings

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From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki

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The people of Ukawu community in Onicha local government area of Ebonyi State have denied reports alleging that the community was at war with their neighbours in Ishinkwo community.

It also dismissed as false the report that four persons from the community were killed by suspected warlords from Ishinkwo.

There was report that victims of internal communal war between Abaomege and Ishinkwo communities in Onicha local government area of the state were from Ukawu.

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But the community in a reaction said the community had never engaged in a war with their neighbours.

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Youth Leader of the community, Mr.Monday Ugochukwu, told newsmen that his community was at peace with their neighbors.

He clarified that the skirmishes were actually between two of their neighbors, Abaomege and Ishinkwo.

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He described the reports as misleading and capable of causing tension, and appealed to newsmen to urgently correct the errors in the reports for the interest of peace.

“The incident is correct; there was actually an ambush and people were killed. But there is an erroneous information that I want to correct in the report. It is not between Ukawu and Ishinkwo communities. Ukawu people had never been at war with any community. We are peace loving people and we live in peace with our neighbors. The criss is actually between Abaomege and Ishinkwo communities. And the victims were not Ukawu people” he said.

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