Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, says the National Assembly will further amend the Electoral Act 2022 to serve as a safeguard against weaknesses identified in the law. Mr Lawan stated this following a matter of urgent national importance brought by former Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, during plenary on Tuesday. Mr Abdullahi, (PDP, Kebbi) had suggested that the Senate “reverts to its earlier stand on direct primaries.” The lawmaker also asked lawmakers of both the Senate and House of Representatives to look out for the loopholes and weaknesses in the 2022 Electoral Act and subsequent legislation. Mr Abdullahi was reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike out a suit filed by President Muhammad Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. The seven-justice bench of the Supreme Court, led by Musa Dattijo-Muhammad, unanimously struck out the suit last week. The justices described it as an abuse of the court process. Coming under Order 41, Mr Abdullahi commended the National Assembly for resisting the pressure from the executive to amend section 84(12). He described the Supreme Court verdict as a victory toward true democratic governance anchored on the rule of law. He also stressed the need to amend the Electoral Act to revert to the direct mode of primaries. In his response, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the decision on the mode of primary is entirely left to political parties. While the lawmakers are keen on amending the Act, it is not clear when the process will begin.
The Senate on Tuesday insisted that it will still go ahead with the investigation of the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, despite his recent resignation from office. This was sequel to a motion on Matter of Urgent Public Importance titled, ‘State of Affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Demand by Justices of the Court’, moved by the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti). Following prayers of the motion, the senate resolved to mandate the committee to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders. The upper chamber also mandated the committee to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three arms of government as well as at the Bar and the Bench. While moving the motion pursuant to Rules 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders, Bamidele noted that poor welfare of judicial officers would affect the delivery of the judiciary in respect of their output and would prevent them from performing optimally. The lawmaker who regretted the former CJN’s resignation said that “this development will not prevent the committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter”. Supporting the motion, Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said “this motion will show clearly that the Senate is not unaware of the role it is supposed to play”.
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has announced that the 2020 Marginal Field bid round has earned the federal government about ₦200 billion and $7 million in revenue. Its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engr. Gbenga Komolafe made this known at the official unveiling of Host Communities Development Prospecting Licenses (PPLs) and the presentation of PPLs to 2020 Marginal Field awardees in Abuja. Komolafe noted that since inception, a total of 30 fields have been awarded, with 17 currently producing. Giving the breakdown, he added that two fields were awarded in 1999, 24 fields were awarded in 2003/2004, one was awarded in 2006 and 2007 and two in 2010. According to him, 10 years later, in 2020, 57 fields were awarded.
The Sudanese military has launched an offensive against Ethiopian forces along the contested al-Fashaga border with Ethiopia after the alleged execution of seven soldiers and a civilian ratcheted up tensions between the countries. Conflict in fertile al-Fashaga, which is claimed by both Khartoum and Addis Ababa, occasionally flares up but has been largely dormant this year as Sudan’s authorities consolidate their rule following an October military coup, while Ethiopia remains embroiled in a brutal civil war. However, the Sudanese military said on Sunday that seven of its soldiers and a civilian had been executed by Ethiopian forces in Amhara. Sudan said the men were seized in Sudanese territory and brought to Ethiopia last week. The deaths and claims have sparked military, political and diplomatic escalation, with Ethiopia denying it was responsible for the killings and accusing Sudan of cooperating with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which the Ethiopian government is at war with. On Monday evening, clashes between Sudanese and Ethiopian forces were ongoing in al-Fashaga, and Sudan summoned Ethiopia’s ambassador and made a formal complaint to the UN Security Council. The al-Fashaga conflict has divided opinion among Sudanese political parties and protest groups opposed to the military coup. Some, like the National Umma Party and Sudanese Congress Party, have called for unity, urging people to support the military in what they called a “war for Sudanese dignity”. Others, like the influential National Resistance Committee, have labelled it an attempt to draw attention away from Sudan’s domestic crises.