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The Big 5: Jega urges FG, INEC to go to court on elections reorder, Arsenal survive Ostersunds scare and other top stories

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These are the top stories from Nigeria you should be monitoring today.

The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega urged the Federal Government, INEC and other interested parties to challenge the reordering of next year’s general elections by the National Assembly in a court of law.

He corrected the notion that the National Assembly fixed a date for the elections; saying that the lawmakers merely reordered the sequence.

Jega said: “I am struggling to see where the National Assembly found the constitutional justification for what they have done. I will mention two specific provisions. First of all, in the Schedule of the Constitution, Part 15 Section 1 of the said schedule, INEC has the constitutional power to organise, undertake and supervise elections.

But that is not enough. In Section 76 (1), Section 111 (1) and Section 178 (1), it is categorically stated that elections shall be held on a date to be appointed by INEC. So, if elections are to be held on a date set by INEC, where does the National Assembly get the power?

As far as I am concerned, the dates and the sequence for elections are together.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has rejected an offer for an out-of-court settlement by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, who was accused of money laundering.

Akinjide was charged with former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke (who is said to be at large), a former Senator Ayo Adeseun and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Olarenwaju Otiti.

They were accused of conspiring to directly take possession of N650 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and without going through a financial institution.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) yesterday described the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) as erroneous.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

While Nigeria scored 27/100 and was ranked 136th in 2016, the latest CPI scores Nigeria 28/100.

It ranks 148 out of 180 countries surveyed —12 places below where it was the previous year.

Sagay said corruption was perceived to still be high because of frequent revelations of acts of graft.

Two Senators representing Yobe, Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) and Mohammed Hassan (Yobe South), yesterday clashed over the missing secondary school girls from the state.

It started when Lawan, who is also the Senate Leader, praised President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ibrahim Geidam for ensuring that parents were comforted and sending Ministry of Education officials to take a head count in the attacked school.

Hassan sharply disagreed and insisted that Geidam did not deserve any praise. Hassan noted that instead of being praised, Geidam should be tackled for allegedly abdicating his duty as the state’s chief security officer.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed Thursday, said the government would need more time to assess the situation around the community where some schoolgirls were reportedly kidnapped in Yobe on Monday.

On the issue of the number of missing girls, we cannot give what we are not sure of, until we hear from their parents, we cannot say this is the number,” Mohammed told newsmen shortly after he arrived at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Thursday afternoon.

And stories from around the world…

An armed officer assigned to the Florida school where a gunman killed 17 people last week stood outside the building during the shooting and did not intervene, the local sheriff says.

Deputy Scot Peterson has resigned after being suspended, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

I am devastated. Sick to my stomach. He never went in,” Sheriff Israel said.

Barnaby Joyce says he will resign as Australia‘s Deputy Prime Minister following the saga that began with his affair with a former staffer.

Joyce said he would step down on Monday as leader of the Nationals, the junior government partner.

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side were complacent as they survived a huge scare against Ostersunds FK to claim a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The Gunners won the first leg 3-0 but one of football’s great shocks looked possible at half-time after the visitors struck two goals in 70 seconds.

We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger.

The head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with an attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda.

Russia has blocked a UN resolution that would have established a 30-day ceasefire and humanitarian deliveries in eastern Ghouta, saying that widespread reporting of heavy civilian casualties in the besieged area on the edge of the Syrian capital, Damascus, was a product of “mass psychosis”.

Read » The Big 5: Jega urges FG, INEC to go to court on elections reorder, Arsenal survive Ostersunds scare and other top stories on YNaija

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