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Today's Headlines: INEC Gets NBA Free Service To Prosecute Electoral Offenders, Constitutional Interpretation: Nigeria's Democracy Is On Tenterhooks

INEC Gets NBA Free Service To Prosecute Electoral Offenders

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it has entered into a partnership with Nigerian Bar Association to prosecute the 215 electoral offenders forwarded to it by the police.

The commision said the NBA had offered to prosecute the offenders on its behalf pro bono.

 INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during the monthly review forum on Human Rights and the 2023 elections organised by the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja.

Yakubu, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Prosecutions, INEC, Nasara Auta, noted that out of the 774 persons arrested for various offences during the general elections, the police had forward the case files of 215 suspects to the commission.

The INEC chair noted that in recognition of the statutory power of the commission to prosecute electoral offences, the Inspector General of Police recently forwarded 215 case files to INEC for prosecution.

He said, “ INEC is empowered by Section 145 of the Electoral Act, 2022 to prosecute electoral offenders, which it can discharge through private legal practitioners appointed by it or its legal officers.

“The commission is partnering the NBA, which has offered to provide pro bono legal services for the effective prosecution of the electoral offenders arrested in the course of the 2023 general elections.”

Among the various grounds of arrest were dereliction of duty, criminal conspiracy, disorderly conduct at the election, possession of weapons, destruction of election materials, political thuggery, electoral violence, snatching of ballot boxes, stealing of sensitive election materials and others.

The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi, represented by the Commandant, Election Monitoring Unit of the NSCDC, Fatima-Binta Ilesanmi, reiterated that the corps would continue to be professional and committed in the discharge of its mandates.

 She called on the NHRC to be deliberate about bringing perpetrators of electoral and human rights offences to book to further strengthen the nation’s democracy.

, adding that victims should be served justice regardless of the political, cultural and religious affiliations of the offenders.

Constitutional interpretation: Nigeria’s democracy is on tenterhooks

IN just over three weeks, on May 29, Bola Tinubu will be inaugurated as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yet, in parallel, election petitions seeking to nullify his declaration as winner of this year’s presidential poll are earnestly afoot. Given that the petitions won’t be determined before May 29, a sword of Damocles, in the form of his removal from power, potentially hangs over Tinubu’s head. Theoretically, that’s a possibility; otherwise, what’s the point of the presidential election petitions?

The 1999 Constitution, under section 239(1), allows the Court of Appeal and, ultimately, the Supreme Court to determine whether someone has been validly elected as president; the Electoral Act 2022, under section 136(1), requires the court to nullify the election of someone not duly elected as president. Thus, constitutionally, Tinubu’s election as president could eventually be nullified, however long it takes to determine the petitions. But that’s theoretical.

 In practice, presidential election petitions in Nigeria are otiose, purely academic. The Supreme Court has nullified several governorship elections, but never, so far, a presidential election, even when it’s substantially, even materially, flawed. Why, might you ask? Two reasons suggest themselves. 

Gov Yahaya backs Gombe APC over expulsion of lawmakers

Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, on Wednesday, backed the happenings in his political party, the All Progressives Congress, where there have been gales of expulsion.

He made this disclosure in an interview with journalists at Gombe Airport, shortly after his return to Gombe after weeks of absence on Hajj.

Recall that Danjuma Goje, senator representing Gombe Central, Bulus Amos, senator representing Gombe South and Yunusa Abubakar, member representing Yalmatu Deba Federal Constituency for alleged anti-party activities.

Our correspondent reports that their various wards and local government area chairmen in a separate briefing announcing their expulsion said they failed to exonerate themselves from petitions of gross misconduct and publicly canvassing support for other parties and candidates.

On May 2, the Chairman of APC in Bambam ward, Muhammad Kaka said the ward executives had no option but to expel Amos.

Kaka said the expulsion of the senator became imperative following the failure of the senator to defend himself against allegations levelled against him instead went ahead to issue threats to party executives at the ward.

“We held elections in our ward during the just concluded general elections and we have Amos from our ward who didn’t come out to partake in our political activities.

Kano teenager stabs mother to death over disagreement

Tragedy struck on Wednesday evening in Karshen Kwalta, Rimin Kebe quarters in Ungoggo Local Government Area of Kano State, when a teenager identified as Iro Kwarangwal stabbed his biological mother identified as Jummai to death over a disagreement.

It was gathered that the incident occurred on the fateful day around 5:30 pm.

“I was standing outside my house when I suddenly heard screaming from the deceased residence,” an eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent.

He revealed that upon rushing in for possible help, he found the deceased who was stabbed severally with a knife screaming for help.

The eyewitness revealed that the suspect fled the scene shortly after he allegedly committed the heinous crime against his mother.

The witness further said the deceased was later rushed to the hospital in a tricycle with blood all over her body and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“She had since yesterday been buried in accordance with Islamic rites. May Allah forgive her and admit her to paradise,” the witness prayed.

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Constitutional Interpretation Human Rights INEC Mahmood Yakubu Nasara Auta


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