The Justice Angela Otaluka National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Minna High Court Complex has upheld the election of the former governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, as the senator representing Niger North Senatorial District.
Senator Abubakar Sani Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) contested the February 25, National Assembly Election against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Shehu Mohammed Abdullahi, who lost at the polls.
Senator Shehu Mohammed then approached the election petition tribunal, challenging the election of the former governor on the allegations that multiple votes were cast and that the election was marred with irregularities.
In his petition to the tribunal, Shehu prayed to the court through his lawyer, Barrister Hussaini Garba, that the tribunal should nullify the election of Abubakar Sani Bello and declare him the winner as he scored the highest number of votes cast at the election.
In over three hours of judgement delivered at the high court headquarters in Minna, Justice Angela Otaluka, after reviewing the whole proceedings of the petition, averred that the petitioner failed in totality to prove the issues of overvoting raised in his petition, saying that the petition lacked merit and was dismissed, while the election of the second respondent in the petition was upheld.
Justice Angela Otaluka, while dismissing the petition, awarded the sum of N250,000 as a cost to the respondent.
Similarly, the election of Senator Peter Ndalikali Jiya of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Niger South Senatorial District at the February 25 National Assembly Election was equally upheld by the tribunal.
Senator Mohammed Bima of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had filed a petition against Senator Peter Jiya, challenging his election.
Bima alleged that he was dully elected having scored the majority of the total votes cast in the Niger South Senatorial District and prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Senator Peter Jiya and to declare him the rightful winner of the election.
Justice Angela Otaluka, while dismissing the petition, declared that the allegations raised by the petitioner could not be substantiated as they lack merit and were therefore dismissed.
Niger State Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago has reiterated his administration's readiness to support the federal government in achieving its mission and vision.
The governor also disclosed that he has extended an olive branch to bandits terrorising the state to drop their arms, renounce banditry, and accept amnesty.
The governor stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi, at his office in Abuja.
The governor explained that his efforts were not to negotiate with the terrorists but to make a clarion call to them to surrender, renounce terrorism, and accept amnesty from the government.
He said this was not new as it was in furtherance of the federal government's nationwide amnesty programmes to find a lasting solution to banditry and terrorism in the country.
"We extended an olive branch to bandits to drop their arms for amnesty, and we are discussing with them to see how we can solve the problem amicably. We are discussing with them, not negotiating, and talking to them to come out, drop their arms, and enter society. It is a clarion call," Bago said.
He described the minister as having a gentle, humble, and sympathetic personality, saying the staff of the ministry are lucky to have him as their head.
According to him, "Your appointment has come timely, and I thank God for the president for finding you worthy to project the image of the country and the present administration".
The governor called on the minister to use his office to also promote the state positively and attract investments to the state, considering the comparative advantage the state has in terms of landmass and arable lands.
The minister appreciated the governor's visit, pointing out that it was the first public official to visit him since he assumed office.
He highlighted the responsibilities of the ministry and assured that he would do his best to propagate the eight priority areas of the President Tinubu-led administration.
He stressed that the president was determined to see Nigeria become a better country and the lives of its citizens improve.
The governor also paid a similar visit to the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, where he emphasised that the state was willing to provide the enabling environment for pilot programmes and other agricultural activities.
The ministry of agriculture said it will take advantage of the landmass and arable land in the state to address the challenges of food security in the country.
He said the proximity of Niger State to the nation's capital was key to achieving the mandate of the ministry.
The governor was accompanied by his SSG, chief of staff, some national assembly members from Niger State, and some other top government functionaries.