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Obey Court Judgments Or Face Contempt Proceedings, SERAP Tells Buhari

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “immediately take meaningful steps to implement several judgments obtained by SERAP against the Federal Government.”

According to SERAP some of the judgements expected to be obeyed include verdicts to raise money to fund the budget, reduce the growing level of borrowing, and address the escalating rule of law crisis in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the organisation said, “unless the judgments are immediately implemented, SERAP will consider pursuing contempt proceedings against the Federal Government in national courts, and international sanctions against the administration for its persistent disobedience of court judgments.”

According to the organization, “among the several judgments the Buhari administration has failed to obey is the judgment by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, which awarded N30m as compensation for the ill-treatment of journalist Agba Jalingo, who faced trumped-up and politically motivated charges of treason.”

The statement, read in part: “Another judgment the Buhari administration is failing to implement is the judgment by the ECOWAS Court which found the government responsible for abuses by oil companies and directed it to hold to account the companies and other perpetrators of oil pollution in the Niger Delta.”

“We urge President Buhari to without further delay publicly instruct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) to ensure the effective implementation of all of the judgments obtained by SERAP and other outstanding judgments.”

Femi Falana (SAN) who presented SERAP Law Report to the public on Wednesday at the Media Briefing organized by SERAP in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, USA, said: “We are surprised that the Buhari administration took a swipe at SERAP for going to court to challenge acts of corruption and official impunity. In any country that professes to practice rule of law, it is height of ‘primitivity’ for government to challenge the act of going to court by the citizens.”

“This was firmly rooted in the case of Ojukwu v Gov of Lagos State which was decided during the military era. The victory over the military junta came through protests and other acts challenging official impunity in court and other lawful fora.

“It is quite ironical that those who have protested against misrule and impunity are the past are now in bed with those in government and clamps down on attempt protest by the citizens.”

The Media Briefing titled “Rule of Law Crisis: How failure of the Buhari government to enforce court judgements is contributing to grand corruption and impunity in Nigeria” was held at the Radisson Hotel, Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

Falana also said: “SERAP has embarked on public interest litigation in order to promote accountability and transparency in line with the tenets of the rule of law and constitutionalism. The publication of SERAP Law Report could not have come at a better time than now that anti-democratic forces are bent on imposing fascism on the country.

“It is sad to note that many of the judgments delivered in favour of SERAP have been ignored by the Federal Government contrary to Section 287 of the Constitution which has imposed a binding obligation on all authorities and persons in Nigeria to comply with the verdicts of all courts. I enjoin SERAP to take advantage of the provisions of the law to enforce the judgments without any further delay.”

SERAP also added, “The failure and/or refusal to enforce and implement legally binding judgments of court is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”

The statement, read further: “It is unacceptable to take the court, which is the guardian of justice in this country, for a ride. A democratic state based on the rule of law cannot exist or function if the government routinely ignores and/or fails to abide by court orders.

“The persistent and deliberate disobedience of judges’ decisions would, ultimately, shatter citizens’ confidence and trust in the ability of the justice system to render justice for victims of corruption and human rights violations.

“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the Constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a constitutional democracy like ours, this is meant to be the norm.”

“The implementation of these judgments will be a special moment for the government’s anti-corruption agenda and the supremacy of the rule of law in Nigeria, as it would go a long way in protecting the integrity of our legal system.

“Implementing the judgments will provide the government the much-needed resources to fund national budgets, reduce the growing level of borrowing, and serve as effective deterrent to corrupt public officials and improve public confidence and trust in the administration’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption, respect human rights and observe the rule of law.”

It said: “Implementing the judgments will also would be in keeping with Nigerians’ expectations, and entirely consistent with President Buhari’s oft-expressed commitment to ‘kill’ corruption–whether by public officials or private contractors—and help to build citizens’ trust and confidence in the ability of this government to take head-on the systemic corruption in Nigeria.

“In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari stated that ‘insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns’.

“Unfortunately, President Buhari’s government has made little to no progress in fulfilling the promises made to Nigerians to fight grand corruption, end impunity of perpetrators, respect the rule of law, and ensure access of socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians to basic public goods and services.

“The government’s promise to fight corruption and end impunity imposes a moral and legal responsibility to protect the rule of law, ensure sustainable development and full respect for Nigerians’ constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights, as well as to obey court judgments.

“The promises also impose a responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability at all levels of government, and mean that government and public officials should timely and consistently respond to Freedom of Information requests from Nigerians.

“Lack of progress in the fight against grand corruption and the promise to obey the rule of law is further buttressed by the fact that many high-ranking officials suspected of corruption rarely end up in jail, as suspects continue to exploit the flaws in the justice system to the point where individuals are profiting from their crimes.

“The government’s disdain for the rule of law is also illustrated by the tendency to pick and choose which court orders it complies with. This selective application of the rule of law invariably undermines the independence and integrity of the judiciary, and is counter-productive to the government’s own fight against corruption.

“Other high-profile judgments obtained by SERAP that the Federal Government is refusing and/or failing to obey include the following: The first of such judgments is the judgment by Honourable Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari delivered on 5 July, 2017 ordering the Federal Government to tell Nigerians about the stolen asset it allegedly recovered, with details of the amounts recovered.”

“The second judgment, by Hon. Justice Mohammed Idris, on 26 February, 2016 ordered the Federal Government to publish details on the spending of stolen funds recovered by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999.

“The third judgment, by Hon. Justice Oguntoyinbo on 26 November, 2019 ordered the Federal Government to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly to collect such pensions, and to recover pensions already collected by them.”

The statement added: “The fourth judgment, by Hon. Justice Mohammed Idris on 28 May 2018, ordered the Federal Government to prosecute senior lawmakers suspected of padding and stealing N481 billion from the 2016 budget; and to widely publish the report of investigations into the alleged padding of the 2016 budget.

“The fifth judgment, by Hon. by Justice Obiozor, on 4 July 2019 ordered the Federal Government to publish the names of companies and contractors who collected public funds since 1999 but failed to execute any electricity projects.”
“The sixth judgment, by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, delivered on 19 November, 2009 ordered the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination.”

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2023: I Will Restore Unity, Bring Sense Of Belonging To All Nigerians, Atiku Vows As He Emerges PDP Presidential Flagbearer

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…Tinubu Congratulates Atiku, Welcomes Former VP To Presidential Contest

…Worthy Candidate, Says Shehu Sani

North Will Always Outsmart Southern Nigeria On Election’, Nigerians React

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has pledged to unify the country following his victory in the party’s primary poll. 

Atiku, a former vice president, polled 371 votes to beat his closest rival and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who scored 237 votes during the exercise held on Saturday in Abuja. Saraki polled 70 votes. Emmanuel (38), Mohammed (38), Anyim Pius Anyim (14), Mrs Tari Diana Oliver (1), and Sam Ohuabunwa (1) shared the remainder of the valid votes.

“I pledge to unify this country,” he said in his victory speech. “That’s why I refer to myself as a unifier.

“The reason I feel that unity is important is because APC has disunited Nigerians completely,” the PDP chieftain added. “I will work to restore unity and bring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.”

The Adamawa-born politician accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of mismanaging the country but promised to fix the economy and tackle Nigeria’s security challenges.

“The PDP made Nigeria one of the most prosperous countries in Africa,” Atiku said. “We implemented economic reforms. The APC wiped out all those gains.”

Meanwhile, National Leader of All Progressives Congress and frontline presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has congratulated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for emerging as the flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, following the primary conducted at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Saturday.

Tinubu commended Atiku for his patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s progress.

Tinubu also congratulated the other contestants for the orderly and peaceful way they conducted themselves and for pledging to rally round the winner, in the true spirit of democratic sportsmanship.

He expected the former Vice-president , who was also the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP, to be his worthy opponent, by the Grace of God and the support of APC delegates, in the coming 2023 President election.

The APC National Leader said Atiku’s victory didn’t come as a surprise to Nigerians because of his vast experience as a statesman and veteran of many presidential contests from 1993.

While welcoming the PDP candidate to the race, Tinubu added that the coming election should be about issues that will improve the quality of life of Nigerians; bring peace, progress, political stability and solve myriad of sociopolitical challenges and insecurity currently facing the country.

“I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the just concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election. I have known the former Vice President as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country.

“ As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across Party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife.

“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issue based. Election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people.

“Unfortunately for the PDP, its candidate will be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after squandering 16 years at the central government, without much to show”.

“Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of our country for 16 years by successive PDP administration and this bad memory will dog the campaign of the PDP Candidate”

“ Nevertheless, I once again congratulate our former Vice President for his victory in his party’s primary.”

In the same vein, former Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has reacted to the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 presidential election.

Reacting to the development in a tweet on Sunday morning, Sani congratulated Abubakar for emerging as the winner of the contest.

The PDP chieftain and governorship aspirant was also at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, the venue of the PDP Presidential primary.

He wrote: “Congratulations to Atiku Abubakar.”

Also, Nigerians on social media have, however, reacted to Atiku’s victory as they expressed their different views.

One Yinkuzeh [@Yinkuzeh71] wrote: “PDP produced Atiku. Delegates can give him the ticket. But will his own kinsmen who are currently suffering under a fulani leadership elect another fulani man as president? He might end up a miscalculation on the part of Pdp.

On his part, PhilCollins_LFC [@PhilColins_O] said: “The North will almost always outsmart Southern Nigeria on election matters. Imagine Tambuwal waiting until the last minute to step aside for Atiku. Wike was busy attacking Peter Obi. APC is likely to go the same way except they learn from this. Meanwhile, #PeterObi to the rescue.”

A netizen, Amalinze the Cat [@DominicNonso96] accused Wike of hating on everybody. He said: [Wike hates everybody. And feels he can’t be touched. After 2023 handover, em go see something.

“Atiku would definitely pick a South Southern person Sha.”

Congratulating Atiku, one ZAKARI ALFA [@zakarialfa2024] said: “God Almighty Allah has done it for Nigeria and Nigerian as Atiku is officially declared the candidate of PDP for the next presidential election. Congratulations to all of us Nigerian.”

 

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Counting Of Votes Commences As PDP Elects 2023 Presidential Candidate

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Voting has ended in the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the emergence of the 2023 presidential candidate of the party.

The delegates from Abuja were the last to cast their votes last at the Abuja National Stadium venue of the PDP special national convention.

Next up will be the sorting and counting of votes.

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I Warned Nigerians Against Voting For Buhari In 2014 – Fayose

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The former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Saturday reiterated that he warned Nigerians against voting for President Muhammadu Buhari In 2014.

Fayose, who said this during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention in Abuja, said he had been vindicated by happenings in the country since Buhari assumed office in 2015.

The ex-governor is one of the 13 aspirants vying for the PDP presidential ticket at the convention.

He said: “Let me remind you that if I were to be a prophet, I will be making a lot of money. I told you if Buhari was elected and he was indeed elected, he has nothing to offer and the All Progressives Congress (APC) never meant well for the people.

“I want to remind you that I was a two-term governor of Ekiti State and defeated two incumbents at two different attempts, which means if given this opportunity, I will defeat anyone brought forward by President Buhari in a landslide victory.

“Let me remind you that I have a penchant for defeating incumbents.

“Today, I am calling on all of you to equally remember that the PDP should be in the bigger picture. The PDP should be the party, not what we want to tear into pieces. Whoever becomes the flag bearer, we should be ready to work with him. Power comes only from God.”

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