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Bulkachuwa fights back: You can’t touch me, I spoke under legislative immunity



Adamu Bulkachuwa, Senator formerly representing Bauchi Central, is invoking legislative privileges to ward off the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), over his recent comment in which he revealed how his wife, Zainab Bulkachuwa, former President of the Court of Appeal, used her position to skew judgements for politicians.

His objection is contained in a suit he filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, to prevent the agency from investigating him, after he said at the Senate valedictory session, of the last National Assembly that he “encroached on” his wife’s space while she was in office and that the said wife, who presided over the 2007 Sokoto state governorship election petition tribunal and the suit in which Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa, challenged the nomination of Seriake Dickson, an ex-governor of the state, as the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), obliged him.

Though former Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the session, prevented him from concluding his revelation, outraged Nigerians, who felt the damage had already been done, called for his head, while demanding that the National Judicial Commission (NJC), should investigate the tenure of the former appellate court’s boss as well as review all the cases she presided over.

Bulkachuwa was scheduled to appear at the ICPC office on July 6 but he filed a suit to stop the invitation before the date.

Marked FHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023, Bulkachuwa, who argued that he was protected by constitutional impunity as a senator when he made the comment, which he said, was misinterpreted, in a supporting affidavit, explained that as a serving Senator, he was, by law, immune to arrest or detention over any conduct, action or speech he made on its floor.

Stressing that he was neither questioned nor disciplined by the Senate for any wrongdoing, he argued that by law, it was only the senate in session or any of its sub-committees that had the disciplinary power to invite him to answer any question or questions relating to his conduct or utterances on the floor of the upper chamber.

“The national assembly is an independent arm of government with its own regulatory power and every senator, including the plaintiff, has the parliamentary immunity to boldly express themselves on the floor of the senate without any fear of sanctions from the executive arm of government, for and on behalf of their constituents. Hence, the immunity conferred on members to allow or grant lawmakers the freedom of speech they required and confidence why on the floor of the senate.”

Bulkachuwa, while alleging that the defendants, particularly the ICPC, had joined his political opponents “to adopt and propagate the unintended inference from the said inchoate valedictory speech made on the floor of the senate.”

He added: “The defendants, particularly the ICPC or any other law enforcement agency of the federal republic of Nigeria do not have the powers to invite/discipline me (as serving member of the senate at the time of my utterance in reference) questioning/interview on any matter that occurred on the floor of the house of senate without the prior approval of the senate committee saddled with the investigating the actions of a member.

“No civil or criminal proceedings can lie against a serving member of the senate on account of the speech/utterances made on the floor of the senate unless and until the senate exhausts its disciplinary powers over such a member.”

At the court hearing on Thursday, Donald Ayibiowu, counsel to Bulkachuwa prayed the court to grant all the reliefs sought in the suit, while Oyin Koleoso, lawyer to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), faulted his argument, contending that he no longer had any immunity from arrest and prosecution because he was no longer a Senator, urging the court to dismiss the suit, while I.A. Aderounmu, who appeared for the Department of State Services (DSS) and U. M. Narimir, ICPC lawyer, also prayed the court to dismiss the case, while Inyang Ekwo, presiding judge adjourned the matter to October 25 for judgment.



Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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