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Oil ownership: Niger Delta monarchs, CSOs sue NASS, demand N1tn damages

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The planned amendment of the 1999 constitution may hit the rocks with Niger Delta ethnic minorities, monarchs, and civil society organisations in the region asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop exercise in the National Assembly.

Ijaw national leader and first Republic Federal Commissioner of Information, Edwin Clark, and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo had both been at loggerheads over the ownership of oil in the Niger Delta.

While Clark said oil was for the Niger Delta, Obasanjo said oil belongs to Nigeria and God.

While describing the exercise as illegal, the monarchs and CSOs under the aegis of the Peoples
Confederal Constituents Assembly of Nigeria and Center for Probity and Democratic Studies also demanded N1 trillion damages.

Among the reliefs from the Court were “an order stopping the continued illegal amendment of the purpose expired military ‘Abubakar’ constitution and an order directing the re-adoption of the existing unrepealed and unabrogated people-made 1963 Republican constitution/Nigerian ground norm.”

The plaintiffs were the Regent King of Diobu Kingdom in Delta Nigeria, King Oziwe Amba Albert; Chief Wombo Bulus, Otunba Karim Sekanobi, Chief James Onyi Kokomi, Comrade Danjuma Modu – for themselves and representing the PECCAN and Center for Probity and Democratic Studies.

The suit with Ref. No: FHC/ABJ/CS/8/22 was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyer, Peter Odion, and obtained by journalists in Abuja on Friday.

According to them, the N1 trillion damages was for the violation of their rights in amending and “using the expired military decreed constitution as an instrument to suppress, oppress, dominate, re-colonise” and seize the natural resources of the applicants and their protected rights under the African and UN charter to own and use their properties and natural resources as also enshrined in the 1963 constitution providing for 50 percent royalties paid for the regions.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Clerk of the National Assembly, and Chairman of Senate Committee on Constitution Amendment were listed as respondents.

The suit was titled, “Notice of application for an order enforcing a fundamental right
brought pursuant to Order 2 Rule I of the FREP Rules 2009 Chapter IV, S. 35, 36, 42, 46, 315 and transition constitution decree NO. 24 of 1999, S. 1, 140 of the 1963 Republican constitution of Nigeria, Article, 13, 14, 20 & 21 of the African Charter on Peoples and human rights and Enforcement Act CAP A. 9 LFN 2004; Articles 1,2,7, 21 & 30 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of human rights; international covenant on civil and political rights.”

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Driver crushed to death as truck falls on passenger bus in Ogun

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By Ige Adekunle

A passenger bus driver lost his life on Sunday evening when a truck fell on the bus at Toll Gate on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

Ogun Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Ahmed Umar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun, that the accident occurred at 5.20 p.m.

Umar said that the truck with registration number LND 634 YE, coming from Lagos and heading toward Sango-Ota, fell on the yellow passenger bus marked FST 744 YD.

The sector commander said that a male driver, who was the only occupant of the bus, died instantly.

“The corpse of the victim has been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ifo,” he said.

He said that the two vehicles had been towed away from the road to ease traffic.

Umar attributed the cause of the accident to reckless driving.

He warned motorists to desist from dangerous driving to save lives.

He commiserated with the family of the victim. (NAN)

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Fire razes Oko food market in Anambra

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A food market near the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State has been razed by fire.

Items worth millions of naira were destroyed in the market as a result of the fire.

It was gathered that the fire took place in the early hours of Sunday. There was no loss of life.

An eyewitness said the police who arrived the scene shortly after the incident, quickly barricaded the area to prevent people from looting the shops.

Police spokesman, Mr Ikenga Tochukwu, who confirmed the market fire, said the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, had ordered for a comprehensive investigation into the incident.

He said, “The Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, is worried by recent fire incident which resulted into loss of valuable properties.

“The police quickly responded by cordoning off the area to avert hoodlums from taking advantage of the situation to loot, and contacted the fire service department.

“The fire was successfully put off but the cause is yet to be ascertained.

“The CP advised members of the public to always take precautionary measures to avert such ugly incidents and avoid storing highly combustible materials in their homes, offices or business premises as these are capable of causing a raging inferno.

“The CP enjoined parents and guardians to keep tabs on their children and keep inflammable substances away from the reach of children.

“Also in the event of an unavoidable fire outbreak, members of the public are advised to use fire extinguishers, and promptly call fire service station/office, the police and other disaster management outlets nearest to them for necessary assistance.”

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Fire razes Warri market

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Fire on Sunday razed at least 100 shops, including shanties, at the Ogbe-Ijoh Main Market in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state.

Property and goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed in the inferno.

However, no casualty was recorded at the scene.

An eyewitness, who sells tomatoes at a spot near the market, said the fire started at about 2pm.

“I don’t know the cause of the fire.

“I was selling my tomatoes here when I saw flames coming out from inside the market and people started rushing to the scene,” she said.

One of the victims, who wept profusely, said she lost goods worth over N5 million in the fire.

The victim, who pleaded anonymity, said she borrowed a lump sum of the money from a microfinance bank for her shop.

“Where will I start from? How will I repay my debt? Government, please help me, I am dying,” she said, crying inconsolably.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that sympathisers, along with some of the traders in the market, were seen trying frantically to salvage some goods.

Firefighters had a tough time trying to put out the fire, while police and Army personnel as well as Red Cross officials were also at the scene.

The Secretary, Warri South Local Government Red Cross Division, Mr Cyril Kokarhaye, told newsmen that they were at the scene “to ensure normalcy”.

“We’re yet to record any casualties and can’t ascertain the extent of the damage.

“Our water truck has gone back again to refill,” Kokarhaye said.

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