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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) says the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), and swearing in of another judge as acting CJN, “without due process amounts to high treason”.

The group also said for taking the action outside the provisions of the Constitution, “the President should be impeached”.

President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended Onnoghen and swore in Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the acting CJN on Friday.

In his remarks on Onnoghen’s suspension, the President had premised his decision on “an Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal issued on Wednesday 23rd January 2019, directing the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen from office pending final determination of the cases against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and several other fora relating to his alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.

However, a statement by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Miss Zainab Yusuf, the National Coordinator and National Media Affairs Director of HURIWA, respectively, quoted Section 292 of the Nigerian Constitution which does not expressly distinguishe between “temporary removal (suspension) from a permanent removal (sack)”.

According to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the CJN can only be removed with the knowledge of the National Assembly — the removal must be approved by two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.

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Portraying HURIWA’s contrary position to the President’s decision to suspend the CJN, the statement read: “The power to remove is different and is even more stringently interpreted in employments with statutory flavor as in this case, but we have not even begun to talk about the power of removal. Granted that the CCT may have a constitutional role in the removal of the CJN going by a wholistic reading of the above provisions, but there is no statutory provision that clothes the CCT with power to order the CJN or any person appearing before it to step aside or recommend that the President should suspend the CJN or anyone appearing before it.

“Such a procedure amounts to denying the CJN or whoever has been subjected to such treatment by the CCT, his constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence and is an imposition of punishment by the CCT even before it has made a finding of guilt (which finding is even appealable to the Court of Appeal). Even after finding a person such as the CJN guilty of a contravention against the Code of Conduct the Constitution strictly lists the punishments it can impose on the guilty party (subject to his right of appeal) and the listed punishments do not include suspension or recommendation for suspension. It is putting the cart before the horse, and a violation of the rights of the accused to a fair trial, to suspend him from office while he is undergoing trial before your court when you are not his employer who has initiated disciplinary proceedings against him.

Timothy Ola Bamgboye – Does Buhari Have Power To Suspend Onnoghen?

“The suspension of the CJN by the president under whatever guise constitutes a constitutional infringement of the principle of separation of powers and a usurpation of the disciplinary powers of the NJC enshrined in the Constitution. The power of removal granted under the constitution not being an absolute power but one predicated on specified conditions and requiring the participation of other actors alongside the President, does not include the power to unilaterally suspend which is under of the disciplinary powers of the NJC.

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“As we have always maintained the decision in the Nganjiwa case, in blurring the delicate lines between disciplinary and penal proceedings may have unwittingly contributed to the desperation that led to this monumental blunder in suggesting to the minds of those ignorant of the workings of the law, that the judiciary was hell-bent on protecting its corrupt members and shielding them from the reach of the law. While the current blunder is inexcusable, we can feel the reverberating effect of the Nganjiwa case in the spate of court orders and applications that has trailed this particular case and finally culminated in this desperate measure whether well motivated or ill motivated. In the final analysis, this ill-advised move has rendered nugatory whatever credibility there seemed to be in the initial revelation of undeclared asset by the CJN and transformed the case into one of ill-advised abuse of power. Two wrongs do not make a right.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Oyetola Threatens To Go After Looters If…

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Osun State governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, on Tuesday, threatened to go after looters in the state if they fail to return stolen items within the 24 hours of grace remaining out of the 72 hours given to them by the state government.

The Governor made this known during an interview with journalists at the Government House, in Osogbo, shortly after an inspection of some stolen items returned by hoodlums who attacked public and private facilities last weekend in the state.

Speaking on the returned stolen items, Oyetola stated that the returned loots represent about 20 per cent of the total stolen items and appealed to those who are yet to heed to the call of returning theirs to do so within the next 24 hours.

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“After the expiration of the 72-hour amnesty as announced, the government would go after the looters and make them face the wrath of the law as there would be no more extension of amnesty for them.”

“Twenty four hours is enough time for them to return the loots. Those looters are here in the state. We are not asking them to bring it here, they can even put them in from of their house and we will come and pick them. We are not going to extend the amnesty beyond the 72 hours.”

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“Don’t forget that there is video evidence of all that happened, so it is not possible for anyone to get away with those loots. We are giving them the grace of the remaining 24 hours to return the stolen items, otherwise, we will go after them and make them face justice,” the Governor warned.

Commenting on the imposition of curfew in the state, the Governor promised to review it as soon as he meets with Security Chiefs in the state saying, there is no need to prevent people from their daily activities the moment they can give peace a chance in the state.

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Buhari govt begins payment of N30,000 to 330,000 Nigerians

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Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has announced that beneficiaries nationwide will receive a one-time grant of N30,000 with Lagos, Kano, State and Federal Capital Territory, FCT and nine more States in the first batch.

He said that enumeration and verification are still ongoing for Payroll Support Scheme

The VP said that free CAC Business Names’ Registration for 250,000 MSMEs has also commenced.

He said that as the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan progresses, the payment of N30,000 one-time grant to 330,000 artisans across the country is now in progress.

“The payments are being made to sets of verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme, a track under the MSMEs Survival Fund,” Osinbajo said in a statement made available to DAILY POST by Laolu Akande, his Spokesman.

“In the first stream of payments starting today, beneficiaries are being drawn from the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta States. They form the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between October 1 and October 10,” he added.

The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, which was developed by an Economic Sustainability Committee established by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.

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The President asked Osinbajo to head the committee which produced and is overseeing the implementation of the plan.

Under the ESP, the Survival Fund is generally designed to, among other things; support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector.

It would be recalled that applications for the Artisans’ Support Scheme under the MSMEs Survival Fund opened on October 1.

Meanwhile, the enumeration for the second stream of States under the Artisan Support Scheme has also commenced with enumerators in various States compiling the lists of artisans through their association leaders. All artisans are expected to liaise with their association leaders to document their details.

The registration of applicants for Stream 2 began on the 19th October 2020. States under Stream 2 are: Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Taraba, Bayelsa

In the same vein, enumeration and verification of the documents of applicants under the Survival Fund Payroll Support scheme is still ongoing. Dates for the commencement of payment would be announced in due course.

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The application process for the payroll support scheme, which began on September 21, had ended on the 15th of October 2020. Accepted applications are categorized by industry sectors, including Education and Hospitality, among other sectors.

However, there may be an extension for applications for some States that have not met their quota on beneficiaries. The Artisan Support Scheme is to benefit about 9,000 Nigerians per State and FCT.

In addition, the formalization support under the MSME Survival Fund will also commence today. This involves free business names’ registration for 250,000 MSMEs nationwide by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to the CAC, 6,606 business names in each of the 34 states will be registered for free. In Abuja, there would be 7,906 free registrations, 9,084 in Lagos and 8,406 free business names from Kano.

Also, a date for the commencement of the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme under the Survival Fund will be announced soon. This scheme is designed to safeguard existing small businesses and save jobs, while ensuring continued local production by guaranteeing off-take of priority products

The Offtake Scheme is a track specifically for MSMEs that are into production of items approved by the Steering Committee of the Survival Fund coordinated under the leadership of the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister of State Ambassador Mariam Katagum. The basic requirements include a CAC certificate, valid BVN, SON or NAFDAC certification.

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The N2.3 Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan consists of fiscal, monetary and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain, create jobs and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.

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