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‘I will die a hero’ says Kano cleric as court sentences him to death for blasphemy

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A Kano Upper Shari’a court has convicted Abduljabbar Nasiru-Kabara, a cleric, for blasphemy.

Nasiru-Kabara was charged over alleged blasphemous comments against Prophet Muhammad.

The charges were preferred against him by the Kano state government.

Suraj Sa’eda, the prosecution counsel, said the defendant committed the offence on August 10, October 25, and December 20, 2019.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, Ibrahim Sarki Yola, the presiding kadi(judge), said: “I am convinced that the prosecution counsel has done their part and proven their points beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Before pronouncing the sentence, the kadi asked if the convict had anything to say.

Subsequently, Aminu Abubakar, who appeared as the defence counsel, asked the court to be lenient with the accused, adding that he acted out of ignorance.

However, the cleric interjected and denied knowing the lawyer.

“I don’t know him. This is the first time I am seeing him. He should not be allowed to speak on my behalf. I can and should be allowed to speak for myself,” he said.

Speaking further, Abduljabbar said: “My lord, after I heard how you twisted all my evidence, you turned around all my submissions upside down, you have assigned words to me that I have never uttered.

“Deliver your judgement, and I am not asking for leniency at all. I want all my followers to know that I will die a hero and I don’t want you (the Judge) Ibrahim Sarki Yola to do me any favour or grant me leniency. This is my last word. Assalamu Alaikum.”

The convict was thereafter sentenced to death by hanging.

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JUST IN: INEC announces date to conduct mock accreditation of voters

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will carry out mock accreditation of voters on February 4.

The commission said the exercise will take place at 436 polling units across the country.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, spoke on Friday at a meeting with the resident electoral commissioners (RECs) at the INEC headquarters, Abuja.

Yakubu said INEC is ready to conduct field tests with actual voters, having delivered and tested the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines.

“For this reason, and in readiness for nationwide deployment, the commission is conducting a mock accreditation of voters similar to what was done ahead of the recent Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections,” he said.

“The mock accreditation will hold on Saturday 4th February 2023 in 436 polling units nationwide. Twelve polling units have been designated in each state of the federation and four in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the equality of the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts for the exercise.

“A comprehensive list of the polling units, including their names and PU Code numbers, as well as their distribution by state, senatorial district, local government and registration area (Ward) will be uploaded to the commission’s website shortly.”

Yakubu, therefore, appealed to registered voters in the affected polling units to appear on the scheduled date with their PVCs for the mock exercise.

“Doing so will help to reassure the public of the robustness of our system and to strengthen our processes ahead of the general election,” he said.

“Civil society organisations, the media and the general public are welcome to observe the process. At the end of the exercise, the 436 BVAS machines involved will be reconfigured before they are deployed for the general election.”

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Court sacks Umo Eno, affirms Michael Enyong as Akwa Ibom PDP guber candidate

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A federal high court in Abuja has sacked Umo Eno as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state.

In a judgment delivered on January 20, Fadima Aminu ordered the PDP to submit Michael Enyong’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its candidate.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primaries conducted on May 25, 2022.

Enyong had referred the court to an order by Obiora Egwuatu, judge of a federal high court, on May 18 in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/606/2022 which restrained the PDP from utilising its list of ad-hoc delegates to conduct its gubernatorial primary election in Akwa Ibom, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The plaintiff said he emerged winner of the indirect primary election scoring 2,448 out of the 2,776 total accredited votes.

But he said the party refused to submit his name to INEC as the governorship flagbearer which informed his decision to seek legal redress.

While INEC maintained a neutral stance in the matter, the 2nd defendant (PDP) never put in an appearance despite the proof of being served with the originating summons and all other processes.

Delivering the judgment, the judge held that Enyong has been able to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“In the final analysis, this court holds that the plaintiff has successfully proved his case on the preponderance of evidence. Consequently, the plaintiff is hereby declared the validly nominated gubernatorial candidate of the 2nd Defendant having emerged winner of the conducted primary election in Akwa Ibom state for the forthcoming 2023 general elections held on 25th day of May 2022,” the judge said.

“In the same vein, any other governorship primary election held after the valid election of 25th day of May, 2022, that election having no basis in law, is hereby declared null, void, and of no effect together with its outcome.

“The 2nd defendant (PDP) is hereby ordered to submit and present the name and details of the plaintiff to the 1st defendant as its rightful candidate.

“The 1st defendant (INEC) is to accord the plaintiff recognition, issue him a nomination form or publish his name as the 2nd defendant’s Akwa Ibom state gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

“The activities of a political party cannot be operated arbitrarily or at the whims or caprices of select individuals, no matter how highly placed.

“Political parties are creations of the constitution and statute. Therefore, the affairs of registered political parties in Nigeria must be run in conformity and in obedience to the law creating them.”

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Abba Aliyu, Adamawa NRM governorship candidate, is dead

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The governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in Adamawa state, Aliyu Maina, is dead.

His death was announced in a statement issued by the national publicity secretary of the party, Afuye Olusola, on Thursday, January 26, 2023.

Maina was said to have died on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, in an Abuja hospital.

He died the same day the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDPD) in Abia State, Prof. Uchenna Ikonne, was also confirmed dead at the National Hospital Abuja.

Olusola’s statement read: “The leadership of the National Rescue Movement and that of Adamawa state chapter in particular with heavy heart announce the death of Alhaji Aliyu Abba Maina, the party’s governorship candidate in the next month general election.

“According to the statement from the family, late Alhaji Abba Maina died on Wednesday, January 25 at his residence in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, after a brief illness.

“He has been buried according to Muslim rite. We pray to Almighty Allah to protect his family and all his loved ones.

“We are also calling on all his family members, business and political associates to show late Maina’s family love and care during this mourning period.

“Further details and arrangements would be made known to the public after deliberations and meetings are made with his immediate family and his political family.”

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