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UK warns travellers of delays, disruptions at airports as border force plans strike

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The United Kingdom says travellers who plan to enter the country from Wednesday should expect flight delays and disruptions.

The development follows a plan by the UK border force to begin a strike on December 23.

The border force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office that secures the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the country.

More than 1,000 passport control workers who are members of the public and commercial services (PCS) union are expected to join the strike amid a dispute over pay.

As such, travellers who plan to enter the UK during the proposed strike period may face longer wait times at border control.

In a statement on Wednesday, Steve Dann, border force chief operating officer, apologised for the disruptions, adding that the agency’s priority is to keep citizens safe.

“We apologise for any disruption caused to travellers entering the UK. Border Force’s number one priority to is keep our citizens safe and borders secure,” he said.

“We are working together with partners across the travel industry to ensure we can continue to meet critical demand and support the flow of passengers and goods through our border.

“During the periods of industrial action, travellers should be prepared for disruption. We encourage everyone to check the latest advice from your operators before travelling.”

On its part, the UK government said it would train military personnel to step in and “work closely with ports, airports and the travel industry to understand the impact of strike action, to minimise delays for passengers and ensure the flow of goods through the border”.

The border force strike will take place on December 23, 24, 25, 26 (until about 7am), 28, 29, 30, and 31.

The affected locations are listed as Birmingham Airport, Cardiff Airport, Gatwick Airport, Glasgow Airport, Heathrow Airport (terminals 2, 3, 4, 5), Manchester Airport, and Port of Newhaven.

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Lawyer sues CBN, seeks extension of deadline for old naira notes

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Joshua Alobo, a professor of law, has asked a federal high court in Abuja to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from terminating the use of old naira notes on January 31.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/114/2023, Alobo asked the court to issue a mandatory order, “extending the duration where the old notes cease to become legal tender to the period of three weeks when the redesign notes will be sufficiently dispensed by the commercial banks”.

The CBN, its governor, Godwin Emefiele, and Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, were joined in the suit.

CBN had in October, announced that it would introduce a redesign of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.

On November 23, the redesigned notes were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his 21-paragraph affidavit, Alobo said although the CBN’s decision was meant to reduce inflation and entrench a cashless society to curb money laundering and corruption, the majority of Nigerians, especially the less privileged, were yet to have access to the new notes.

He accused the commercial banks of failing to make the new notes available to their customers.

The lawyer said he was still handed the old notes on January 25 at the counter and through the automatic teller machine (ATM).

Alobo also submitted that the January 31 deadline for the usage of the old notes “is discriminatory against the rural dwellers, poor and less privileged persons in the society, as politically exposed persons are paid with the redesigned notes”.

“We concede that the policy of redesigning the currency is within the powers of the CBN, especially with the approval and endorsement of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.

“However, the lack of necessary publicity due to the absence of the governor of CBN should be a Catholic and pentecostal factor to save the country from implosive corruption as commercial banks through various WhatsApp messages are soliciting for huge cash deposits of over N20billion at twenty percent commission.

“We respectfully submit that the dateline January 31, 2023, for phasing old Naira notes is of grave constitutional importance for the economic survival of the vast population that constitutes the entity called Nigeria.

“The percentage of persons with lower educational background and economic realities of rural dwellers and some Local Governments in Nigeria without a single bank is high,” the plaintiff added.”

The court has not fixed a date to hear the matter.

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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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