Professor Ignatius Uduk of the department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, standing trial in a three-count charge has asked the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge to re-assign his trial to another court.
Uduk, who is the defendant in a case with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said he has lost confidence in the State High Court 9 presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang.
The University professor was the Collation/Returning Officer for Essien Udim State Constituency in the 9 March 2019 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
He is standing trial in a three-count charge of electoral fraud bordering on announcing false election results, publication of false election results and lying under oath.
After months of going back and forth, the defense counsel was scheduled to enter his defense on Wednesday 18 May 2022, but the defense counsel informed the court that he had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against an earlier judgment of the Uyo High Court that dismissed his no case submission.
After listening to submissions by both the prosecuting counsel and the defense counsel, the presiding judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang said the defense counsel did not follow legal procedure in informing the court of his appeal. He ordered the defense counsel to proceed to enter his defense. The defense counsel however did not substantiate his claim and refused to speak with journalists.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Clement Onwuenwunor (SAN) said the INEC was not deterred by the development. He explained that the implication of the development was that the case must start afresh under a new presiding judge to be assigned by the State Chief Judge.
In another development, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the arrest of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has buttressed its notion that Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) is fraud. The union said this while reacting to Idris’ arrest over alleged money laundering and diversion of N80 billion.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, speaking to journalists, warned that the case should not be covered up, and that IPPIS was just fraud used by the Accountant-General to siphon funds and not control corruption.
He said: “We have said it over and over again that IPPIS is fraud. We’ve also said that the Accountant-General office is fraudulent, and they are using IPPIS to relocate all the fraud activities to one centre, which is the Accountant-General’s Office and we have been vindicated. That’s our position.”
Osodeke demanded that the EFCC takes the Accountant-General to court, insisting that corrupt persons deserve punishment in line with Buhari’s administration’s vision.
“This IPPIS, I can tell you as we speak, that many of our members have not been paid for 13 months, 8 months, 9 months, but they’re telling the government that they are using it to control corruption,” Osodeke said.
The federal government of Nigeria in October 2006 introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as one of its reform programmes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff.