US National Guards Reportly slept at Capitol Overnight Ahead Of Donald Trump’s Impeachment Session in the House

The US National Guard members reportedly slept at the Capitol overnight ahead of today’s House session to impeach President Trump for an unprecedented second time.

Security here has tightened dramatically since last week’s deadly insurrection. The Pentagon is sending up to 15,000 National Guard members to D.C in response to credible threats of armed militias planning to move on the Capitol in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

As as of last night, the Guard members responsible for security around the Capitol were armed with lethal weapons, protective helmets, gas masks and Kevlar body armor.

More Photos below.

Credit: Stephen Voss for Politico

US Election: Electoral college begins casting votes that will confirm Biden victory

Members of the US electoral college have begun casting their votes in a process that will see Joe Biden formally designated president-elect.

The Democrat won November’s contest with 306 electoral college votes to Republican Donald Trump’s 232.

Under the US system, voters actually cast their ballots for “electors”, who in turn, formally vote for candidates weeks after the election.

Despite this process, President Trump is not expected to accept the result.

Normally the electors do not get that much attention, but this year, due to Mr Trump’s persistent efforts to question and overturn the results – involving legal challenges which have been rejected by courts across the country – the state-by-state vote is in the spotlight.

Vermont, New Hampshire, Indiana and Tennessee were among the first states where electors gathered in capitals (or in Washington DC) on Monday to formally cast their votes.

The number of electors per state is roughly in line with the size of the population. California has the most electors and they will vote at 17:00 Eastern time (22:00 GMT).

That vote is expected to push Mr Biden over the 270-vote tally required to win the presidency.

When the voting process is complete, the results will be sent to Washington. They will be formally counted in a joint session of Congress on 6 January presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence.

Joe Biden plans to address the nation on Monday evening after the electors have voted, his transition team has announced.

In Michigan, legislative offices in the state capital Lansing were closed on Monday due to “credible threats of violence” ahead of the electoral college vote, taking place in the state Senate.

media captionCan you explain the electoral college in 10 seconds?

Members of the electoral college – who cast one vote for president and one for vice-president – almost always vote in line with whoever won the popular vote in their state. Some rogue electors are known to diverge but analysts say there is next to no chance that Mr Biden’s victory could be overturned.

Last month, President Trump said he would leave office in January if Mr Biden were certified the election winner. But in the lead-up to Monday’s vote he has continued to make unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

The quadrennial meeting of the US electoral college is usually a formality along the way to a presidential inauguration – a vestigial political event that long ago lost its power and relevance.

Donald Trump’s scorched-earth strategy of contesting the results of the 2020 election, however, has given the proceedings new attention.

Although his legal team has had little success in challenging the results of the vote in multiple battleground states, the official recording of the electoral college ballots across the US will effectively lower the curtain on these long-shot judicial manoeuvres.

That doesn’t mean the Trump team is giving up, of course. It’s holding alternative electoral college proceedings with an alternate set of votes that will declare the president the real winner. They’ll continue with futile court challenges and, eventually, ask Congress to overturn the election results.

It’s an alternative reality that Donald Trump’s supporters may find more comforting than the one where Joe Biden is president-elect.

Given that the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats, the official electoral college tally will have been duly certified by the states on Monday and federal law is on Mr Biden’s side. Mr Trump’s chances of success in the real world, however, sit squarely at zero.

Source: BBC News

Court Fixes June 30 For Judgment In Melaye’s Suit Against Infections Disease Bill

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed June 30 to deliver judgment in the suit filed by Dino Melaye challenging the passage of the Infectious Diseases Bill

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date after taking arguments from parties in the case.

The bill, which is sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and two other lawmakers – Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu- seeks to empower the Federal Government to convert any property in the country, including private property, to isolation centres.

The bill also seeks to empower the government to, upon mere suspicion that a person is infected with an infectious disease, arrest and detain the person for as long as necessary, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Melaye had, on May 5, claimed that the provisions of the Bill violate his fundamental rights, among which are rights to the dignity of person, personal liberty, right to private and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immovable property in Nigeria.

While the clerk of the National Assembly is the 1st respondent, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federal (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) are 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents respectively in the suit.

Justice Ojukwu had, on June 1, adjourned the matter until June 15 while advising parties to restrain themselves from actions that could jeopardise the suit.

Earlier, Counsel to Melaye, Nkem Okoro told the court that the matter was for continuation of hearing.
Okoro urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought by his client in the application.

However, Kayode Ajulo, Counsel to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; lawyer to the AGF, M.L. Shiru and Kehinde Oluwole, who represented IGP, urged the court to strike out the matter for lack of merit.

They argued that a bill, which was yet to become a law, could not have infringed on the plaintiff’s fundamental rights.

In her argument, Shiru, who represented the AGF, stated that the country’s constitution provided for separation of powers among the three organs of government.

“And in explaining this doctrine of separation of powers my lord, we refer the honourable court to the case of AGF and Guardian Newspapers.

The citation are supplied in our preliminary objection my lord,” she said.

According to her, in view of the principle of separation of powers as applicable, we are quite aware that the honourable court can interfere in legislative processes when there is only a defiance from the provisions of the constitution.

“However, this power can only be exercised in respect of enacted laws and not legislative bills and we urge your lordship to uphold our submissions in the preliminary objection and decline to grant the reliefs of the applicant,” she remarked.

She stressed that the National Assembly had the powers to make and amend laws as provided by the constitution.

The lawyer said although Melaye had laid emphasises on Sections 6, 29, 30 and 47 of the proposed bill, she urged the court to “dismiss all the reliefs sought by the applicant on the provisions of the bill as vexatious and annoying.”

According to her, the application falls short of fundamental rights application.

“The applicant has not proved that the bill infringe on his fundamental rights.

“A bill is not a law yet and if it is not a law, how can it infringe on his right.

“Therefore, application of the applicant should be discountenance by the court,” Shiru said.

The lawyer asked the court to also award a cost against the applicant (Melaye) for bringing such application before the court.

Just In: Tribunal Upholds Yahaya Bello’s Election

The Kogi Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed the petition of Mr Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Wada was challenging the election of Bello in the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi.

Wada, in his petition, alleged that the election was marred with violence and other irregularities including corrupt practices.

Delivering the majority judgement, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, dismissed Wada’s petition on the grounds that it was lacking in merit.

The tribunal held that the evidence of some of the witnesses was contradictory and amounted to documentary hearsay.
The tribunal further awarded a cost of N500,000 to be paid by each petitioner to each of the respondents.

However, a member of the tribunal, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, disagreed with the judgement.

In his dissenting judgement, Ovbiagele held that Bello was not the duly elected governor of Kogi.

“I hereby nullify the election of the Bello and make an order that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections within three months from today.