Help Ekweremadu, Reps beg
….Summon Foreign Affairs Minister, Head of Immigration,NIMC
The House of Representatives on Tuesday charged relevant Federal Government agencies, corporate bodies to respond to legitimate requests for information that will facilitate the prompt resolution of the charges brought against Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, who are in a UK custody over allegations of human trafficking and exploitation in the United Kingdom.
The Lawmakers specifically begged the National Identity Management Commission, Nigerian Immigration Service and banks to step up and assist the ex deputy senate President
The House has also mandated the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the High Commission of Nigeria to the United Kingdom to take all necessary steps possible to ensure that Senator Ekweremadu and his wife are provided with all consular services as they may require in this time.
Similarly it has invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Acting Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission to brief it through the relevant committees on all necessary actions taken regarding the matter.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent National importance sponsored by Abdullahi Saad Abdulkadir.
Debating the motion , the House expressed concern over the arrest of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a Nigerian citizen and serving senator, former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and former Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament by the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom.
Senator Ekweremadu was arrested alongside his wife Dr Mrs Beatrice Ekweremadu at London Heathrow airport on their arrival from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.
According to the lawmakers,they are aware that the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have since charged the Ekweremadus of offences relating to human trafficking and exploitation and have had them detained pending the determination of the jurisdiction issues by the Attorney-General of England and Wales.
However, disturbed by the nature and details so far available about the charges against the couple, the House said it was very concerned about the additional information emerging from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other legitimate sources including the visa issuing protocols at the UK High Commission, bank verification number (BVN) suggesting a different narrative which might not have been available to the Metropolitan Police at the time of arresting and charging the Ekweremadus
Nonetheless, they are optimistic that the UK authorities will work with their national security and intelligence counterpart in Nigeria to conduct a holistic and thorough investigation to ascertain all the facts relating to the allegation in order to make a fair determination on the issues in the best interest of equity and justice for all concerned.
They expressed confidence that the Federal Government, will through the respective organs use all available tools to ensure that the investigation and outcome will be conducted in the highest fidelity to the rule of law and with respect to the dignity of the person as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights, of which the United Kingdom is a signatory.
Part of the motion reads: “The House is aware of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s unblemished record as a constitutional lawyer, ranking legislator at the highest level in Nigeria, West Africa subregion and various international parliamentary bodies and foremost advocate of the right and dignity of man.
“The House is also aware that Mrs Ekweremadu has had a flawless career in the Nigerian federal public service rising to the rank of director.
“The House is mindful of the value of human life. It is imperative that Miss Ekwemadu who has a life threatening ailment is not allowed to come to arms way due to the unavailability of parental care owing to their continuous detention in the United Kingdom,”
Speaking earlier during the debate , Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, explained that a criminal charge does not constitute a conviction or conclusive proof of guilt and called for fairness in the matter.
“This merely the beginning of the judicial process to substantiate the fact of the allegation and gather sufficient evidence to sustain the charges therein. Until that process is concluded and even then let us keep in mind that at the heart of this matter there are human beings and fellow citizens whose lives have taken a turn none of us would ever wish for ourselves”
The speaker disclosed that he has asked the Nigerian High Commission to avail Senator Ekweremadu and his family all necessary defense and support that he will need to defend himself.
” Indeed I have spoken to the High Commissioner in the UK. I still spoke with him this morning and he has been very proactive. He has done all that needs to be done. The Queen’s Counsel has been made available to Ekweremadu. He has access to him. The Nigerian High Commission is doing all that is necessary to make sure that Senator Ekwemadu is given the full opportunities, rights and privileges that he would need to defend himself.”
Contributing to the motion later, Gbajabiamila said urged the UK parliament to ensure Ekwemadu gets the proper due process, that the rule of law is applied
“As I said in my opening remarks, this is very important. I have spoken with the Nigerian High Commissioner who has been extremely proactive in this matter and I expressed the need for him to continue to avail Senator Ekweremadu with all the necessary assistance that he will need to prove his case.
“I think this should be heightened as well to the UK Parliament. I would try and get in touch with the Speaker of the Parliament whom I was opportune to meet with and had fruitful discussions with just a couple of months ago. I believe (Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs) Honourable Buba Yusuf should also get in touch with his foreign affairs counterpart in the UK Parliament. We are not talking about anything but for the parliament in the UK to make sure that Senator Ekweremadu gets the proper due process, that the rule of law is applied and that he is treated fairly on this matter.
“I believe the UK Parliament or the Congress of the United States, if their own was involved or if they have one of theirs, even a citizen, in this country that was going through the same travails, I believe that those parliaments would responsibly get involved as well. So, it is important that we apply diplomatic pressure. Nigeria has very strong diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom and all those areas must be explored. I wish the Senator and his family well. We cannot imagine what they are going through at this time.
“And I want to reiterate, like many of us have said, that Nigerians should please, whatever the political opinion is on him as a person or the National Assembly, to at least, for a moment, step back and follow the Constitution that presumed these people innocent until they are proven guilty. Facts are emerging and we have to wait to gather all the facts.”
Speaking further, Abdulkadir said the motion aims to achieve justice and fairness of all.
“We cannot have a situation where a simple allegation that has not been thoroughly investigated would result in a high ranking public officer who has served and is still serving the Nigeria public, the Nigerian State and he has a diplomatic passport. We cannot allow this to happen. If it can happen to some of Ekwemadu’s status, I wonder what would happen to ordinary Nigerians.
“That is why I feel the House should rise up and urge and impress on all authorities concerned both within Nigeria and in the United Kingdom and everywhere else in the world to ensure that there is justice for all by doing a thorough investigation, by not subjecting Senator Ike Ekwemadu to the court of public opinion before this matter is thoroughly investigated. Secondly as a diplomatic passport holder there are status and privileges that he is supposed to enjoy. But from what is happening so far, we feel that all the privileges and status that he is supposed to enjoy has been thrown to the dustbin,” he said.
Also contributing, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, said recent developments have shown that Toby Okechukwu, what the Met Police relied on may not have been the truth.
He said, “This matter is a matter that has to do with freedom. It has to do with the rights and dignity of man. It has to do with justice for all. It has to do with fairness. Mr Speaker, Hon colleagues, you are aware as a man of letters and a lawyer that there is a presumption of innocence and in that presumption, the law deals with reasonable doubt, beyond all reasonable doubt. Even though we are not talking about conviction, the law presupposes you have to hear the other side.
“And as the facts are emerging, it is very clear or it is an alternative narrative that shows that what may have been relied on in haste may not be the truth. So I want to thank my colleagues for bringing this up. Nobody is saying anybody who is responsible for an act should not undergo investigation or prosecution, but we must also realise that presumption of innocence means that someone should not unduly and hastily be put in such a position that he would have suffered some jeopardy before he now has a finding of innocence.
“I believe we would call the necessary authorities to ensure that there is fairness. To ensure that the facts speak to justice. What is clear also is that lives are involved and the life of a young lady is involved. If a parent is unduly denied the access to a child who is ailing, who is having an issue that can be determined summarily by a sudden shock, we need to be careful too because the issue regarding the health of the child is still a matter that is on the table. We need to look back. So I want to thank my colleagues for rising to the occasion. The silence has been deafening in terms of responsiveness to what is the matter. What are the protocols involved here?
“As a holder of a diplomatic passport, should he not be availed the use of that? More also is the fact that there should also be consular services to Mr Ukpo who is claiming to be a child, so the facts are completely ascertained. We are saying, who is the Minister of the truth here? So facts and facts and any action to be taken should be based on facts and nobody should be subject to any jeopardy, when investigations are not complete,” he said.
ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES: Esan Central APC, Suspends Nine Leaders, Appoints Bello
Nine Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Esan Central LGA have been suspended at an extraordinary meeting held this evening at Irrua, the LGA capital.
The suspended leaders include APC State Vice Chairman, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Esan Central foremost Party Leader, Prince Willy Shaka Momodu, Ward Leader, Hon Abudu Ugbesia, among six others.
The suspended nine APC leaders are alleged to have held a clandestine meeting at a hotel in Eidenu, Irrua on the eve of the House of Assembly election and resolved to work against their party candidate for the House of Assembly election, Hon Victor Edoror. It is alleged that they were induced by the ruling party and their grand conspiracy to disallow Hon Edoror to get into the House and become the Speaker which might scuttle their agenda for Esan governor candidate from Esan Central LGA.
The meeting which was attended enmass by angry members and party executives of the party across the LGA appointed former LGA Councillior, and House of Assembly election aspirant, Hon. Bello Oyaziwolo, as the acting Leader, to oversee the affairs of the party pending the determination of the investigation into the degree of involvement of each of the suspended leader.
Interestingly, the Deputy Leader of the Party in Esan Central LGA and former Vice Chairman of the LGA, Hon Francis Ubene, was exempted from suspension because preliminary investigation revealed that he was in the meeting allegedly called by Chief Inegbeniki, but he refused to agree with their alleged plan to sabotage the election for Hon Edoror because according to him “I have forgiven him and if I have forgiven him, I cannot work against him or the party”.
Speaking with Hon Bello, after the appointment, the new LGA Leader said he was not interested in Leading the party for selfish reasons but would commit himself to helping the party rid itself of betrayals and inept leaders in the LGA and hopefully allow a free process to produce the next LGA Leader.
Delta: Oborevwori’s Victory, A Turning Point, Says Ebireri
Media Consultant, Henry Ebireri, has urged Delta State governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori to embark only on programmes that are genuine, attainable, purposeful, durable and people-oriented.
He also urged him to make a significant impact at improving the lot of the masses.
In a statement in Sapele, the media consultant described the March 18 governorship election in Delta State as ‘’’a turning point, a landmark in the history of the oil rich state’’.
He appealed to Oborevwori to steer Delta State in the needed direction.
‘’There is a very high expectation from the governor-elect by the people. He must direct his energy towards inculcating the spirit of self-reliance among the citizenry through economic and empowerment programmes’’
The media professional listed security, youth and women empowerment, agriculture, health, education, infrastructural development, industrial revolution, cultural and tourism rebirth, communication and sports development as key areas to be addressed by the governor-elect.
The statement underscored the future of Delta youths infrastructure and security challenges.
He urged Oborevwori to be fair to all.
He also urged him to recruit only qualified, competent and meritorious hands to help him develop the oil-rich state.
‘’They should be people of integrity, honesty and trust. The team should comprise only tested, dedicated, loyal, courageous, selfless, focused and visionary men and women’’
Ebireri further commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his immense contribution to the political development of Delta State.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege Rejects INEC’s Declaration of Oborevwori As Winner of Delta Poll
A while ago, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State announced Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, gubernatorial flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor-elect following the March 18 governorship election.
The declaration was made despite the myriad of infractions and acts of impunity on the part of the PDP in the course of the election. These were brought to the attention of INEC with incontrovertible proof.
The March 18 election was characterized by massive fraud, unprecedented vote buying and voter suppression perpetrated by the PDP in the course of the election.
The fraudulent nature of PDP’s so-called victory are just too damning and daring for it to be acceptable in any decent society. Most of those infractions are on the public domain and known to INEC officials and the security agencies involved in superintending the election.
In the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the results pointed to an unequivocal rejection of the PDP. Of the three senatorial zones in the state, APC won two while PDP controversially edged out the Labour Party in the Delta North Senate race.
It was an unadulterated verdict of Deltans on how they have fared under 24 years of governance of their state by PDP.
On the basis of the factors listed and more that will come later, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State as well as the leadership of the party, unequivocally reject the declaration by INEC of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP as winner of the March 18 governorship election.
We will challenge this fraudulent result using all legal means.
As a democrat and Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege will explore all lawful avenues to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Delta State.
To the numerous supporters of APC and the entire public that share in Omo-Agege’s vision of building a new Delta State, we urge you all to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding.
I can assure all our teeming supporters and all Deltans that the PDP pyrrhic celebration of a stolen mandate will be short-lived.
By the grace of God and the clearly expressed wish of the people, this electoral heist will be reversed and Senator Omo-Agege will be sworn in on May 29, 2023 as the lawfully elected Governor of Delta State.
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate and Governorship Candidate of APC, Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
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