The National Democratic Forum has in strong terms condemned the invasion of the National Assembly by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shiites, on Tuesday.
NDF described the attack on security agencies as an attempt to overthrow an arm of government.
Recall that protesting Shiites members agitating against the continuous incarceration of their leader, Sheik Al-Zacky Zacky on Tuesday clashed with the Nigeria military, resulting in the death of some persons and burning of vehicles.
The protesters, who were in large numbers, were heading towards the National Assembly at about 1.15pm but were intercepted by the military personnel already waiting at the gate.
Reacting to the development, NDF wondered the authorities have continued to threats he issue of the IMN with kids gloves.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, shortly after the bloody clash, Dr Abdulakdir Bolaji, Secretary General of NDF, called on the authorities to immediately expel all known IMN members from Abuja.
The group also demanded that all those arrested in connection with the attack on National Assembly must be arraigned for treason and attempt to overthrow the government.
The statement reads in full.
Tuesday July 9, 2019 was the day members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) terrorised the very symbol of our democracy by launching coordinated attacks on the National Assembly. At the end of the attacks, the IMN members had snatched weapons from the security personnel on duty with which they shot two policemen and an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). At least three cars were destroyed while a security post was also vandalized. We are in the process of verifying if anyone died in the attack as reported by some media organizations.
For the duration of the attacks, Nigerians in the National Assembly Complex were terrorised on a scale comparable to last year’s terror attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan; the attacks carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan on Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai –India in 2018; and the terror attack of two months ago on Pearl Continental Hotel, Gwadar – Pakistan. The attacks on the National Assembly bear a frightening similarity to these other coordinated terror attacks because of the sheer helplessness that the occupants of these buildings experience for the duration of the barbarity.
Even at height of their madness, Boko Haram never sent their terrorists to attack the National Assembly because they know the implication of such. They are aware that attacking the National Assembly is to add the crime of treason to whatever other criminality they may already be guilty of. The rap sheet for IMN is therefore growing longer with illegal arms possession, operating as an outlawed group, acquiring military training in violation of the constitution, murder, attempted murder and now treason with attempt to overthrow Nigeria’s democracy.
Permit us to mention that we know the Nigerian state is not helpless as some people will think. Without prejudice to whatever investigations will unveil, we believe that the snatching of the weapons from the security operatives was possible because of the directive that security agencies should exercise restraint in the face of IMN extremists. This approach to dealing with the threat posed by the outlawed group has proven to be a wrong call, one that must be immediately jettisoned by the state.
The National Assembly is the highest symbol of Nigeria’s democracy. Whilst IMN was once seen as the problem of Zaria, Kaduna State and Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, by attacking the National Assembly, they have made themselves the problem of all Nigerians because each and every one of us has a representative in the national parliament. The attack is therefore an attack on every state of Nigeria, on every citizen and on everything we stand for as a nation. The action of the IMN is therefore a visitation of terror on the Nigerian state. It is an attack targeted at overthrowing the government by destroying the strongest institution in our democracy.
We will like to point out that we had joined other Nigerians in the past to express reservations about the presence of IMN extremists in the nation’s capital. They hide under the pretext that they are demanding for the release of their leader, Mr Ibraheem ElZakyzaky, who is standing trial before a competent court. Unfortunately, possibly because of the fear of international backlash, the government allowed these extremists to continue to infiltrate the nation’s capital without evicting them.
The concerns we had expressed about the group in the past were because of their violent activities and attacks against state institutions and unwarranted clashes with security operatives. We must not lose sight of the fact that in their bid to acquire more weapons, the IMN fighters attempted to hijack a military convoy that was conveying weapons along the Zuba-Kaduna Expressway, a development that they used to bring the City under siege.
The situation is dire to the point where even residents of Abuja had expressed concerns about the activities of this outlawed group owing to the threat they pose to other Nigerians. This threat is in addition to their menacing protests that they use to deny other people unhindered use of the roads and causing traffic congestion.
Our demand to the Federal Government, in the light of Tuesday’s desecration, is unequivocal. A strong and clear message must be sent to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria in a way that it reverberates even with their sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has recently been issuing propaganda to support these terrorists. The message must make it known that no theocratic entity will be allowed to overthrow Nigeria’s democracy, directly or through proxies like IMN.
We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government immediately expel all known IMN members from Abuja while law enforcement agencies are mandated to dismantle all known cells of the group, in the nation’s capital and across the country.
A further demand is that all those arrested in the attack on National Assembly must be arraigned for treason and attempt to overthrow the government. In this case, the government must not cave in to the blackmail of pro-IMN countries and organizations that will wrongly accuse it of rights abuse.
The government must also rise up to the occasion and formally designate IMN as a terrorist group in line with existing anti-terrorism legislation. Had the Federal Government towed the line of the Kaduna state government that outlawed this terrorist group perhaps the country would have been saved from the harrowing experience of having the parliament come under attack.
It is our earnest hope that the government will not allow things to degenerate to the point where Nigerians are compelled to resort to self-help against IMN extremists as the situation is fast approaching the one of “kill or be killed”. Nigerians will not watch docilely while terrorists overrun their capital and attack their representatives. We expect to see actions on the part of the government in the days ahead as a way of reassuring us that terrorists will not be allowed to truncate our democracy.
Unemployment Rate Rose From 17.6m to 20.9m in 2018, Says ITF
THE number of Nigerians without jobs between the last quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of last year rose from 17.6 to 20.9 million, Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Director-General Joseph Ari said yesterday.
Speaking at a news briefing in Abuja, the ITF boss said the unemployment record was sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
He, however, restated ITF’s commitment to skills’ acquisition on viable and sustainable solution to rising unemployment and poverty that have defied the best efforts of governmental and non-governmental approaches.
Ari said: “Despite the fact that the number of people in employment increased from 68.4 million in the third quarter of 2015 to 68.72 million in the third quarter of 2016 to 69.09 million in the third quarter of 2017 and 69.53 million in the third quarter of 2018.
“The statistics are scary and staggering and should not only be a source of worry for any administration that is as committed to the welfare of Nigerians as the administration of President Muhammedu Buhari but indeed all patriotic Nigerians.
“This administration has made tremendous efforts to create jobs as could be seen in the increase in the number of people employed as cited by the NBS report.
“There are countless reasons for us to worry as government, as institutions vested with the arduous task of equipping Nigerians with life skills for employability and entrepreneurship we will do all we can, there is no doubt that unemployment has wrought a terrible damage on all facets of our national life.
“No reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidence of violence that has claimed thousands of lives across the nation. It will equally be difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians because of unemployment and the attendant poverty. Consequently our population that should be a resource has become an albatross because we cannot provide a greater proportion of our population with a source of livelihood.
“ITF outlined 11 implementable programmes for 2019 which are: National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP); Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP); air-conditioning and refrigerator (training on wheels); design and garment making; training on wheels for Nigerian youths under passion to profession programme; skills training and empowerment programme for the physically challenge (Step C); aquaculture fish farming; manure production; crop production and greenhouse technology; poultry farming and training programme development on international marketing and test running.”
Ari said the ongoing training programme, organised for about 18,000 Nigerians, would last for between the three to six months.
The of beneficiaries are as follows: NISDP (11,000); WOSEP (360); training on wheels (90); design and garment making (90); skills training and empowerment programme for the physically challenged STEP C (120); CONSEP (180); fish farming (150); crop production (150); poultry farming (150).
Ari spoke of plan to replicate the programme in all the 36 and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
TUC Rejects Fed Govt’s Circular on Minimum Wage Implementation
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has accused the Federal Government of betrayal of trust over the implementation of the new national minimum wage.
In a statement by its President, Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the congress said it was rejecting the recent circular by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
It claimed that the government was trying to use backyard tactics to avoid labour action.
TUC warned that it would not accept anything that negates the reason for setting up the minimum wage committee.
The statement reads: “We have read with concern the circular released by Chief R. O. Egbule, the Executive Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Committee, set up by the Federal Government to work out the consequential adjustment arising from the wage increase.
“Let it be known that this circular is unacceptable to us because it contradicts the raison d’etre for setting up the committee. We consider this as a smart move on the part of government to discourage labour action. The TUC is not fooled.
“The congress views this latest move as a betrayal of the trust reposed on the Federal Government. We wonder why anything that has labour undertone becomes the issue of rejection by government.
“By this circular, the government is testing the patience of the workers, and we assure them that they either go to the negotiating table to complete the assignment or risk the wrath of the workers.
“It will be recalled that recently the newly inaugurated green and red chambers of the National Assembly were showered with billions of naira at a time government is playing games with the minimum wage. The organised labour should not be blamed for any consequential action arising from non-implementation of the minimum wage. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”
Onwubiko, HURIWA Commissioned Agents to Escalate Anti-Nigerian State Propaganda —NDF
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has been warned against their constant anti-Nigerian propaganda, capable of heating up the polity in the country.
The Nat Democratic Front, which handed down this warning on Friday, described HURIWA and its leader, Emmanuel Onwubiko, as commissioned agents to escalate anti-Nigerian state propaganda.
NDF was reacting to a recent statement by HURIWA where it accused the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as working against the Nigerian state.
Bolaji Abdulkadir, NDF National Secretary, while addressing a press conference on the constant media propaganda by HURIWA on Thursday in Abuja, said Onwubiko and his group are agents of destabilization that are in pursuit of ethnic agenda in Nigeria.
It, therefore, asked Onwubiko to refund their paymaster as their task of tarnishing the images of Buratai and Gbajabiamila has failed woefully.
Full text of his speech below.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) has become aware of escalation of anti-state propaganda by one Emmanuel Onwubiko and his blackmail group, the so called Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). This is not his first time but we are seeing a dangerous pattern that requires that the lies he is putting in the public space are expeditiously corrected before people think that is the correct state of affairs.
The latest of this failed attempt at using negative propaganda against the Nigerian state involved Onwubiko disparaging the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. He futilely strived to create the impression that these reputable men are the enemy when the real enemy of the people is the person attempting to shove falsehood down their throats.
This refined urchin accused General Buratai of sophistry because he dared to expose how politics and politicians are the real factors driving the widespread security breaches in the country. Interestingly, Onwubiko alluded to how banditry, kidnapping and terrorism are happening across the country without acknowledging that the people he works for are the ones that unleashed these evil as punishment on Nigerians for not voting to reintroduce corruption during the recent general elections.
It is common knowledge in Nigeria that because of monetary and ethnic considerations, Onwubiko is a die hard supporter and canvasser for Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The HURIWA businessman is aware that his client famously declared that killings and violence will intensify when President Muhammadu Buhari gets re-elected. The predicted violence has not taken hold and one of its promoters is blaming the Chief of Army Staff for situating the problem where it is.
At the right time, Onwubiko will have to answer for his contributions to the carnage that has been witnessed in some parts of the country. When that time comes he will be able to tell Nigerians how much he collected to launch the evil propaganda against the government and the persons that paid that money.
Meanwhile, we realise that Onwubiko’s main interest is not General Buratai, whom he merely used to gain relevance and attract attention to his wares as a blackmailer. His intended target is the Speaker, Rt. Hon Gbajabiamila, whom he believes would be amenable to blackmail, only that his projection was wrong. Not only is the strategy wrong, the premises upon which he attempted to tarnish the image of the Speaker were faulty to the point where one have to begin to review his mental state.
He has a problem with the peace mission embarked upon by Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila in Zamfara state, which he concluded was high treason. While this appear logical on the surface, an actual understanding of it will show a kind of deviousness that merits being confined to supervised care. He rather wants the bandits to be tried and no talks held with them even if that will bring solutions.
We are at a loss if this is the same HURIWA/Onwubiko that chastised the government for not negotiating with extremists of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), two groups that have been outlawed on account of their being militarised and being a terrorist group respectively.
Two things stand out in this historic transaction of Onwubiko. He is first about the money and will sing to support any group that drops coin in his bowl, which was the basis on which the IMN bought his services to argue that government should dialogue with them.
The second thing is that Onwubiko is an irredeemable ethnic bigot who thinks a terrorist IPoB should be pampered with negotiation and amnesty while bandits should be treated differently simply because they are from the north that he hates with all his being. The records are there and they speak to how the HURIWA leader has been playing two sides of the divide.
It is therefore not in doubt that HURIWA and Onwubiko are agents of destabilization that are in pursuit of ethnic agenda. Since the organization and its leader are one and the same, we confidently say that Onwubiko has proven that he does not know the difference between politics and agitating for human rights. If he does he would not have disingenuously attempted to retire the political contract he got to malign Buratai and Gbajabiamila under the sub-head of human rights. It stuck out like a sore thumb for what it is. A cheap propaganda that was badly packaged and delivered.
We know Onwubiko as a confused bigot that can sell his family to the highest bidder or if the money arrives at a certain time in the right amount. His brand of activism is purely monetized at the very least it must appeal to his ethnic jingoism, for which he must be paid anyway.
Our charge to Onwubiko with his HURIWA is simple. He should go back and refund whatever he has been paid to carry out his latest assignment because he has not only failed those who sent him the errand but has also failed himself for not being able to come up with something more creative than the watery non-issues he tried to raise against the two leaders.
He must also learn to not try gaining political capital out of something that Nigerians are trying to get rid of. His attempt to leverage on the terrorist attacks and kidnappings for making money is reprehensible and he is advised to desist from such irresponsible acts.
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