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N2.5bn Fraud: Bring NBC DG on Stretcher, Court Orders

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A Federal High Court in Abuja, has ordered that the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Moddibo Kawu, who has been accused of fraud to the tune of N2.5bn be brought to court on April 17, 2019, even if he is on a stretcher.

Justice F.O. Giwa gave the ruling after Kawu’s lawyer, A.U. Mustapha, told the court that his client was on admission at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, and could not come to court.

Kawu’s lawyer presented a medical certificate to the court to back the claim, adding that Kawu, who had had a major surgery 10 years ago had to check into hospital due to issues arising from the operation.

The NBC DG was to be arraigned alongside Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited and the Chief Operating Officer respectively, over their alleged complicity in the mismanagement of the N2.5bn seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over programme of the Federal Government

Kawu’s lawyer said, “He is on admission at the hospital at the moment. He had major surgery 10 years ago and I have a medical report from the University of Ilorin showing why he cannot be here. I ask for adjournment pending when he will be well enough to attend court.”

However, the counsel for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Henry Emore, did not oppose the plea for adjournment but asked the court to note the maximum number of times adjournment can be granted based on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Justice Giwa, in her ruling, adjourned the matter to April 17, 2019, for arraignment. She also told the defence counsel to produce Kawu on the said date even if it means bringing him to the court on a stretcher.

She said, “You must ensure that your client is in court even if he has to be on a stretcher; I am agreeing to this adjournment taking into cognisance his health issues, but the trial needs to go on, you must ensure he is in court next time.”

The judge further ordered the ICPC to investigate the medical certificate and report back to the court.

Kawu, Omoluwa, and Onifade are facing 12 charges bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the federal government.

The commission accused Kawu of facilitating the payment of N2.5bn Federal Government Digital Switch-Over funds to his friends and associates which was allegedly converted into personal use in contravention of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Incidentally, Kawu has been very active in Kwara politics of late, helping to champion the ‘O to ge’ movement which led to the end of the ‘reign’ of Senate  President Bukola Saraki and the Peoples Democratic Party recently.

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Coalition Demands Apology From Ambassador Over US Country Report, Campbell’s Report

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Following an utterly biased election post-mortem and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative has demanded an apology from United States Consulate in Nigeria.

Ex-Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell, had cast a racial slur on Nigeria with his article for the Council on Foreign Relations, claiming the country is incapable of managing her own affairs.

Mr Campbell rubbished the last presidential election, as he believes it does not inspire confidence in the democratic trajectory of Africa’s most populous country.

In a clapback, however, the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative ordered Mr Campbell to forthwith retract his so-called post.

The group made the strong demand in a letter addressed to the US Embassy by Egbunu Abutu Daniel, its Secretary General.

“ The first issue is the election post-mortem done for the for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC by your predecessor, Mr. John Campbell, in which he cast the worst racial slur imaginable on Nigeria and the African continent at large by tacitly implying that Africans are incapable of managing their own affairs.

“ Mr. Campbell’s assertion in his post-mortem that “Nigerians have begun to question whether democracy is right for their country” is apparently aimed at setting the grounds for Nigeria to descend into chaos. The statement, from our perspective, tallies with the concerns that had earlier been raised about how the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been making overtures to military officers to stage a coup, transit to interim government and transfer power to the PDP candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakar.

“ We wish to bring to your attention that the so-called post-mortem contained other insinuations that were calculated to incite supporters of the opposition to stage violent protests. This it sought to achieve through the claim that Mr Abubakar will lose his challenge of the election result in court, an assertion that is guaranteed to stir anger among his supporters, who have incidentally shown a disproportionate disposition to violence.

“ Any argument that Mr Campbell wrote his election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations and could not have been a state backed operation is defeated with the publication of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 at about the same time. The report was published the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, which leaves the United States with the burden of liability. “

Prior to the former Ambassador’s piece, the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, the US Embassy in Abuja, had published a report seemingly aimed at undermining the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the Nigerian Army.

The Coalition, however, joined the rest of the world to condemn the report.

“ The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, unsurprisingly, was dedicated to sending out the wrong signals about Nigeria. This was apparently done in the belief that these negative messaging about Nigeria would catalyze some sort of citizens’ revolt against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari leading to a forceful change of government.

“ The actual objective of the report became obvious in the sections that accorded Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists greater legitimacy than the Armed Forces of Nigeria that are fighting them to keep the citizens safe. We noted how the report specifically targeted the Army, Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) for demonization. Accusations that these agencies were high handed on terrorists could only have been intended for terrorists’ recruiters to deploy as props when they are attempting to gain new members.

“ Since the report emanated from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, the US Embassy in Abuja would have had the chance to make input while you would have signed off on the aspect about Nigeria, at least the embassy in Nigeria would have validated the claims made in the document and that is assuming the contents were not mostly generated under your supervision.

“ Irrespective of whether your predecessor, Mr Campbell wrote his election post-mortem in a personal capacity or not, and not minding that Nigeria is just one of the nations analyzed in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018, the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative hereby demands that the United States tender an unreserved apology to people and government of Federal Republic of Nigeria for malicious publication and promotion of falsehood about the country in a manner that is injurious to it as a nation.

“ The apology we are demanding must come with a commitment from the United States government and persons or organizations acting in its interest to cease and desist from further publishing reports, commentaries or analyses targeted at undermining stability of Nigeria.

“ A failure to tender the apology within reasonable time shall compel us to taking measures to educate Nigerians to resist the racist-oriented US interference in the affairs of Nigeria. We shall also do our best to criminalize the series of exchange programmes targeted at Nigerians youths such that the US will no longer have cohorts from Nigeria for such programmes.”

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KIDNAPPING: How Army Rescues Editor’s Daughter

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The Nigerian Army has been commended for facilitating the escape from kidnappers den, of Dr. Habiba Abdulsalam-Suleiman, daughter of Deputy President of the Nigerian Guild of Dditors Suleiman Uba Gaya

Speaking to reporters yesterday in his Kano residence, Gaya gave a graphic detail of what happened:

“My daughter, who is a married woman, went to a neighborhood called Tukuntawa in Kano metropolis to plait her hair, after which she boarded a tricycle to her hisband’s residence on Sultan Road, Nassarawa GRA. Strangely however, the cyclist stopped over when flagged down by two other women, and he opted to go through a road passing by Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

“Right under the bridge popularly called Gadar Lado, a commercial bus, Sharon model, overtook and asked them to stop. They were then led to the bus by three hefty men. Obviously bewitched, they entered the bus which immediately headed towards Kaduna. None of them could talk even as the bus was racing to Kaduna.

“Because Habiba’s phone kept ringing, one of the abductors snatched it from her and threw the device out of the bus. On arrival at the outskirts of Kaduna, they were blindfolded and made to enter a dark tint vehicle, which eventually took them to their destination, a thick bush somewhere in Niger State.”

Gaya, who disclosed that the abduction of his daughter happened between 5 and 6 pm on Friday evening, described the incident as most ‘horrific and traumatic’ for him and the extended family.

He said they could not sleep properly, just as many of them were tramatized and lost appetite for foods.

He added that they got to know of Habiba’s kidnap when his younger brother called some few minutes past 5pm to inform him that his daughter’s phone number was Ringim but not being picked, after she had spoken to a close family member at about 4:49 pm.

After Alhaji Abdulsalam, the husband, reported the matter to the police headquarters in Kano, the personnel informed all police divisions in the state and asked them to be on the lookout. Sadly however, the pollce tracking devices were being maintained, for which reason there was nothing that could be done to trace Habiba’s whereabouts.

“It was owing to that, said Suleiman Gaya, “that I got in touch with General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, who I begged to help get the Army track my daughter. And he was kind enough to oblige me.”

Continuing, Gaya said: “the army was already closing on the kidnappers whereabouts, briefing me of every stage of their beautiful work, and even sending me graphics, when around 11am on Sunday, Habiba called me with a strange number, shedding tears and telling me her escape was facilitated by one of the kidnappers who escorted her to ease herself. The man then asked her, in the dead of the night around 5am, to leave and showed her a way out. She then trekked for almost three hours before reaching the Minna highway, from where a Good Samaritan gave her a lift in his car to the popular Dikko junction, from where she got the phone of a shop owner with which she called me.”

Asked whether he or the husband’s family had paid any ransom, Gaya narrated they did not pay a dime as Habiba couldn’t remember the phone number of anyone when asked by her abductors to give them the number of either her father or husband. They then realized their mistake of throwing away her phone, from which they could have retrieved the phone numbers they needed.

The NGE Deputy President attributed his daughter’s escape to intense prayer embarked upon by the family and well wishers, as well as the Nigerian Army which spared no effort in ensuring the young abductee was tracked.

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US Country Report on Nigeria Aimed at Forcing Homosexuality, Sale of National Assets on Buhari – Diaspora Group

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United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria, a group of Nigerians in the diaspora, has reacted to the recent report by the United State through its State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour under the title “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.” which accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of abating corruption and extra-judicial killing.

The group said the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 was aimed at forcing homosexuality and sale of national assets on the current government.

Arise Nigeria made this revelation in a communiqué issued after its extraordinary meeting held in London on Saturday.

A communique jointly signed by Dr. Philip Idaewor Chairman, AriseNigeria and Charles Eze, Secretary, called on the Nigerian government to reject the report and make its stance known to the US without delay.

The statement reads in full.

Documents like this are equally cited as input for decision making by third party countries that could withhold economic, political, military and other critical co-operation from Nigeria based on the conclusions reached in the report, and similar documents.
The meeting of the United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria was therefore able to dispassionately deconstruct the content of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. It was found that there are areas where Nigeria has to shore up policies and their implementation in order to make progress. Unfortunately, however, the bulk of the content of the report were found to maliciously target Nigeria in a manner that confirmed racist stereotype as well as laying the foundation for manufacture of dissent, in which citizens were being emotionally manipulated to stage uprising against their government.
The observation about manufacture of dissent suggests that the United States might be at the early stage of engineering forceful regime change in new set of countries. Even though is recommended that the valuable strong points highlighted in the report should prompt the authorities to taking decisive steps aimed at improving Nigeria they must nonetheless focus on the more pressing issue of asking the international community to call the United States to order by way of discontinuing any of its subversive programs targeted at Nigeria.
PROCEDURE – The meeting dissolved into groups to consider the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. Seven (7) groups considered the report under the corresponding sections it was partitioned into. These are:
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Section 7. Worker Rights
Another group briefly reviewed trend of reports for selected countries across the regions of world. The countries were selected to reflect a mix to reflect nations that are considered allies of the US and those against which it is known to belligerent.
All the groups reconvened into plenary after they have concluded their assignment. Each group presented its observations.
OBSERVATIONS — The observations and findings of the eight groups were aggregated to arrive at the consensus view of Nigeria Arise (United Kingdom Chapter). It was observed that:
1. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 is a publication of the United States, which by default is intended to serve its interests in pursuit of global dominance. The relevance that is attached to the report comes from a misplaced relevance placed on it by other countries of the world, driven principally by aggressive media marketing that usually trail its release.
2. Nigerian authorities will have to set up a government team to study the report with the aim of further decoding it to get a fairer sense of the estimate in which the United States holds Nigeria. This exercise should be with a view to developing reciprocal measures that will ensure that the US will soft pedal on the promoting damaging content about Nigeria.
3. The Federal Government of Nigeria has to do more to counter the negativity that is reported about the country by promptly addressing the lies and inaccuracies compiled by organizations like Amnesty International, whose reports formed the major input for the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. NGOs and CSOs that operate similar agenda to Amnesty International must be managed using similar approach.
4. The report, rather than commending the Nigerian Military for their feat in suppressing Boko haram, set out to make the war against terrorism appear like a criminal enterprise undertaken by the Nigerian state. It even went to the low ebb of suggesting that disproportionate force was being used in the anti-terrorism war.
5. The misinformation contained in the report in its assessment of the anti-terrorism war against Boko Haram and ISIS-WA strongly suggest that the only interest the United States has in the matter is for Nigeria to come under more terrorist attacks. This is especially so as the report failed to acknowledge the role of the US in aggravating the crisis through its policy that caused instability in the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen ISIS and accelerate the flow of weapons to terrorists.
6. The unfair demonization of the Nigerian military was matched by attempts to exonerate terrorist sympathizers like those who hide under the cover of being aid workers to support terrorists.
7. The anti-corruption efforts, which Nigerians continue to be supportive of, was undermined by the report, which created the impression that enough was not being done to fight corruption. It was noted that the United States only disparage the anti-corruption efforts without acknowledging its role in promoting corruption in Nigeria either as being a receiving territory for proceeds of corruption or a tourist destination for persons that have been indicted on corruption charges.
8. The report is proving to be a decoy to reignite the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in pursuit of coercing Nigeria to repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014. The other areas in which Nigeria has made progress are being ignored to focus on an issue that the country legislated on based on democratic processes.
9. It also undermined the progress Nigeria has made in its democratic journey by presenting elections in the country as being flawed. It was apparent that this is being done by the US in its bid to empower the opposition as a fallback option for when it is interested in implementing forceful regime change in the country.
RECOMMENDATIONS – On the strength of the lies and disinformation contained in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 as published by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the United States, Arise Nigeria recommends as follow:
1. The Federal Government must reject the fabrications contained in the report and make its stance know to the United States.
2. Efforts must be made to reassure commanders and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that their efforts and sacrifices in fighting terrorism are appreciated by government and citizens alike and that they must not be dissuaded by the neocon lies of the US.
3. Nigerians must remind the United States that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 was the product of a National Assembly that was democratically elected such that blackmailing the military and security forces of the country to have the law repealed will be counterproductive.

CONCLUSION — The United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria concluded the meeting by setting up a committee to interface with the Nigerian government in crafting continue responses to the disparaging submission about Nigeria in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.

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