Punch Newspaper Review

Punch Newspaper Headlines (Friday, 16 October, 2020)

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen

Good Day Nigeria! Hope you all are doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19!

Here’s our picks on today’s top buzzy stories on Punch Newspaper. We prepare it as a quick-read for our visitors who also enjoys Punch News.

Court dismisses suit seeking N130m compensation for Onnoghen

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a lawsuit seeking N130m compensation for former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (retd.), for being stopped from travelling abroad on November 11, 2019 by the Nigeria Immigration Service.

The suit, filed by one Dr N.S. Nwawka, had urged the court to declare that the NIS violated Onnoghen’s fundamental rights for waylaying him at the airport and preventing him from travelling abroad without a court order.

Nwawka also challenged the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to pay Onnoghen his terminal benefits, after the ex-CJN prematurely retired following his prosecution for asset declaration breaches at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

But in an October 12, 2020 judgment, Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed Nwawka’s suit for lack of locus standi. The judge said Nwawka failed to disclose how his interest was affected by the Onnoghen case, wondering whether Onnoghen was even interested in fighting a legal battle against anybody.

Attacks: Lagos protesters hire bouncers to ward off hoodlums

The #EndSARS protest continued in different parts of the country on Thursday, with protesters repelling attacks from thugs and security agents. The attacks forced some protesters to hire bouncers to increase security at the protest grounds.

While the demonstration was on in the Ikeja area around 8am, hoodlums, suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, invaded the protest ground. PUNCH Metro learnt that the men were armed with cutlasses and axes and injured several protesters. They were also said to have vandalised vehicles in a bid to disperse the crowd.

Footage trending online showed some of the injured protesters soaked in blood while seeking medical aid. Some of the hoodlums were alleged to have been conveyed to the scene in a government-owned bus. Some Nigerians, who condemned the attack on the social media, alleged that the hoodlums were sponsored by the state government; the state Chairman of the NURTW, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo; a developer, Taoreed Faronbi, aka Baba Alado, among others.

FG agrees to pay ASUU N30bn earned allowance, others

The Federal Government has agreed to release N30bn earned academic allowance to the university lecturers. The money will be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022.

Our correspondent gathered that the FG also promised to spend N20bn on the revitalisation of the education sector as part of concessions meant to end the seven-month strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. These were part of the agreements reached during the ongoing meeting between the FG and ASUU leadership on Thursday.

Speaking earlier before going into a closed-door session, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said students were being recruited into the #EndSARS protests following the closure of universities occasioned by the ASUU strike. He expressed the hope that ASUU would call off the strike soon, noting that the government had been finding ways to end the seven-month strike.

Ban on protests: FCT minister, Bello, under fire

EndSARS protesters, human rights organisations and lawyers on Thursday took a swipe at the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Bello, over the ban on street protests in the FCT.

The FCT Administration, in a statement by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, announced the ban on #EndSARS protests in Abuja for alleged violation of COVID-19 protocols. The administration said it was concerned that despite the scrapping of SARS by the IG on Sunday, the demonstrations had continued, causing inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.

Leaders of the movement campaigning for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, dared the FCT administration, saying they would continue the protests despite the ban. Also, human rights groups and lawyers condemned the ban and described it as unconstitutional, null and void.

CAN faults Onochie’s INEC nomination, says it’s executive recklessness

The Christian Association of Nigeria has faulted the nomination of a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner of the South-South in the Independent National Electoral Commission, describing it as “an executive recklessness, a dirty slap on the populace, and a gross violation of the 1999 constitution (as Amended).”

A statement by the President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, therefore called on the Senate to reject her nomination.

Ayokunle said, “As far as CAN is concerned, Onochie suffers objectivity, justice and fairness that are mandatory for every member of INEC as a result of her partisan membership of a political party and by being an appointee of the ruling party. We are equally opposed to her nomination because of her unguarded remarks, public insults on credible individuals and the use of vulgar language and unprintable words against people who express their displeasure to some actions and policies of the government of the day, especially, her principal.

National Assembly asks youths to stop #EndSARS protests

THE National Assembly on Thursday advised the anti-SARS protesters to end their agitations on the streets.

Nigerian youths had over a week ago begun a march through the streets and major road in country in protest of brutality against them by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria police.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, expressed the need for the angry youths to halt their agitation, adding that this would pave the way for President Muhammadu Buhari to work on the implementation of their five-point agenda. Lawan also asked the President to expedite actions on the reform of the Nigeria Police for peace to reign.

INEC gives date for 2023 presidential election

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said the next presidential election will hold on the second Saturday of February 2023. It also called for laws to allow electronic voting, stricter punishment and special court for electoral offences ahead of 2023.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement in Abuja on Thursday at the inauguration of the Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution at the House of Representatives.

Yakubu, in his goodwill message, said Nigeria was 855 days away from the 2023 presidential election, urging the National Assembly to speed up the amendment of the Constitution and electoral reforms.

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