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BREAKING: Court allows INEC to reconfigure BVAS, refuses to vary order against Obi



It was half victory for Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), respectively, as the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, declined the attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to get it vary its earlier order for them to inspect the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), machine used for the February 25 presidential election.

But the court refused to stop the commission from reconfiguring the data on the machine to enable it conduct Saturday’s election into the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections in the country.

The appellate court, acting Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) refused the application electoral umpire, which also said it wanted to reconfigure the BVAS for Saturday’s state elections for the governorship and Houses of Assembly, after a spirited contest of the INEC position, by lawyers to Obi and Atiku, who had alleged that the move could lead to compromising the data for the presidential election.

The court, while ruling on the matter, said the application was unnecessary because it never granted permission to Atiku, Obi and their parties to scientifically access and inspect INEC’s database which includes the BVAS devices.

The tribunal said the apprehension being expressed by INEC, which includes the possible revelation of the identities of voters and their voting choices, was unnecessary because no applicant was granted leave to access INEC’s database.

But it agreed with the INEC lawyer, who had said that not re-configuring the machine would tie the hand of the commission, saying “Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which we need to configure for the forthcoming elections.

“It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176, 000 BVAS for the election. We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost as we will transfer all the data in the BVAS to our backend server. Our backend server preserves the data. So, granting this application will be a clog in the process and disrupt the conduct of the elections.”

Ruling on Obi and LP’s application, the court which also doubles as the presidential election petitions tribunal, said granting the sixth relief in the application would amount to “tying the hands of the respondent (INEC)”


The tribunal, also granted Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who was declared winner of the election, by INEC the same leave. In two motions moved by his lawyer, Akintola Makinde, for the court’s permission to inspect materials used for the election and obtain copies and other materials to prepare his case.

Lawyer to the APC, Omosanya Popoola, moved the two ex-parte motions filed for the party and in which it seeks similar prayers as contained in Tinubu’s motions.

Tanimu Inuwa (SAN), lawyer to INEC had argued that it was necessary that the order granted Obi and Atiku to inspect the BVAS be varied, adding that the  commission should be allowed to store the date currently being held in the BVAS on INEC’s back end server to enable it deploy the same machines for the governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for March 11.

Stating that time was of the essence because INEC required adequate time to reconfigure the BVAS machines before the proposed elections, he argued that the commission was particularly concerned with Orders Four and Five, which relate to the digital and forensic analysis of the BVAS machines.

Lawyer to Obi and LP, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who objected to INEC application and urged the court to dismiss it, subsequently moved the motion he filed for his clients’ for the court’s permission to conduct physical inspection of the BVAS machines to enable them extract information embedded therein.

Arguing that Obi also wanted to obtain a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the report of the BVAS machines, he said both the former governor and the LP wanted the evidence in the BVAS machines preserved before they are reconfigured, because information on the INEC back end server vary from time to time.

Responding, Inuwa cautioned the court against granting the application by Obi and LP on the grounds that it could negatively affect INEC’s preparation for Saturday’s elections, saying the granting of the application “will cause us serious delay in the conduct of the governorship election coming in 11 March.”

He added: “We need the BVAS for the next election. Granting the order will act as clog in our preparation and may affect the conduct of the election, which date is circumscribed by the constitution.”

Stating that each machine needed to be configured separately and done one after the other, because each polling units is peculiar, he stressed that no data would be lost if they are moved to INEC’s back end server, because the data transferred there are secure.


Panic! Gunmen storm Anambra Assembly, attempt to bundle away lawmaker



Panic-stricken members of the Anambra State House of Assembly, watched in utter horror on Thursday as one of their colleagues was bundled into a waiting vehicle, by four gun-wielding men, preparatory to being whisked away, before mother-luck came calling.

It took the quick reflexes of security guards at the entrance who locked the gate, to prevent the armed men, who later turned out to be operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) from completing the operation.

The target of the operatives was Onyekachukwu Ike, the House of Assembly-elect member for the Nnewi North constituency, who had joined in the valedictory session for outgoing members, though it is not known why the members of the agency were after him.

Eyewitness account, said the operatives arrived the Assembly complex in three vehicles in a commando version, grabbed the member-elect as he emerged from the venue validectory thanksgiving mass for the seventh Assembly and forced him into their waiting vehicle.

However, it took the eagle-eyed members of the security team of the assembly to truncate the attempt to drive the lawmaker away, because they quickly locked the exit gate, thus halting the operation, as it gave people the opportunity to intervene.

Reacting to the incident, Acting Clerk of the Assembly, Esther Aneto, who bemoaned the manner the operatives carried out the operation, said neither the authorities of the assembly, nor the police was informed about it.

It took the intervention of the Speaker, Uche Okafor, and the Deputy Governor, Onyeka Ibezim, who came to represent the Governor at the Valedictory session before the member-elect was released from the vice grips of the DSS operatives, who however, explained that they had a court order to arrest him.


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Judge orders Yahoo-Yahoo student to clean EFCC premises for two weeks



Justice Aliyu Shafa, of the Federal High Court, Gwagwalada, Abuja, on Thursday ordered a student, Istifanus Irmiya, to clean the premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for for two weeks, after he was convicted for internet fraud.

Irmiya, who was docked by the EFCC on a two-count charge, boarding on cheating and impersonation, was also ordered to pay a fine of N100,000, while the phone he used in committing the offence was to be destroyed and burnt.

This was after the culprit, pleaded guilty to the charges and begged the court for leniency, which the court accepted, but insisted that he must carry out the punishment of cleaning the EFCC premises from 9 a.m. to 12 noon daily for two weeks, to teach him a lesson.

Frowning at the rate internets fraud were being committed, Shafa, said: “I have carefully listened to the plea of allocutus made by the convict and the defence counsel. The rate of internet fraud through Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, among others in the society is so alarming.

“That he is a first time offender is not an excuse to go scot-free. The rate of Yahoo-Yahoo among youths is alarming. “Many who resort to crime always have ‘I want to get rich quick’ mindset. Sending him to prison might make him more hardened,” the judge ruled.

Irmiya, who pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, promising that he would not indulge in such acts again, said: “I want to beg the court for mercy. I’m deeply sorry for what I have done. I’m a changed person now knowing fully well the consequences of my offence.”

Chibuike Chima, his lawyer, who echoed his pleas, told the court that Irmiya had no previous conviction record and was also remorseful, saying: “Irmiya is the only son of the family and he is seeking admission into the university. He has spent one month in EFCC custody.
“The convict has shown remorse and genuinely repented over the crime he has committed by way of expressing genuine repentance, he has restituted the proceeds of crime which is the sum of 250 Euros. The convict is a first-time offender. He has not be convicted for any other crime of whatever kind. We urge my lord to tamper justice with mercy. We assure this court that going forward, the convict will be of good behaviour.”

The EFCC Counsel, Taiwo Aromolaran, who told the court that Irmiya had sometime in 2022 within the jurisdiction of the court cheated by personation, said that the convict deceived his victim while pretending to be one mistress Clara a female Caucasian.

She said that the convict carried out an illegal act, making one Alex Lexis, a German, to send him the sum of 250 Euros which he received via PayPal and Nosh Apps before transferring the money to his own account domiciled with Polaris Bank.

She said that the convict sometime in 2022, also had in his possession documents containing false-pretence, where he represented himself as a German on his Facebook and KK accounts, created by him with the intent to induce Alex Lexis to deliver money to him.

She said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 321 of the Penal Code Act of the Federation (Abuja), 1990 and punishable under Section 324 of the same Act, adding that Section 6 in conjunction with Section 8 of the advance-fee fraud and other related offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

Pleading with the court that the cell phone being the instrument used for the crime should be forfeited, Aromolaran urged the court to take into consideration the increase in the menace of internet frauds in Nigeria.

Bewailing the menace fraudsters had caused to the image of the country and to their victims, she told the court that Irmiya and his group, operated as syndicates, saying: “They believe that merely coming to court and pleading guilty is enough to attract the sympathy of the court.”


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BREAKING: Tinubu, hosts G-5 govs at Villa *Intensifies moves to break PDP



It is becoming obvious that President Bola Tinubu, may be working hard to break the ranks of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as he is currently hosting the five former Governors of the party who former the G-5 Integrity Group, a very powerful bloc in the main opposition party that fought against the ticket of the party.

Nyesom Wike, former Governor of Rivers State, who was the arrowhead of the G-5, comprising Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu and Seyi Makinde of Oyo, was seen leading the other members to the Presidential Villa, for a meeting with Tinubu, on Thursday afternoon.

The group had vehemently opposed the ticket of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2023 presidential election and refused to join the campaigns on the ground that the former Vice President did not support the ouster of Iyorchia Ayu, then National Chairman of the party on the ground that he came from the same North as him.

Incidentally, the meeting is coming few hours after Caleb Mutfwang Governor of Plateau State and Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom, both PDP governors at the same State House Abuja, in what observers are already interpreting as an attempt to woo the top echelon of the opposition party.

The meeting with the G-5 governors, shortly after that of Tinubu with the two PDP governors, is coming as the party and Atiku Abubakar, are trying to prove before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), sitting in Abuja that Tinubu did not win the 2023 presidential election.

Details later…

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