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Timi Frank Warns Against Anarchy in Niger Delta States

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The former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank has warned against what he described as impending anarchy looming in the six Niger Delta states orchestrating by the ruling government at the center by working in connivance with the Nigerian Army to perpetrate mayhem and disenfranchise Nigerians in the region.

In the said looming crisis in Niger Delta region, Frank fingered President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief of Army staff, National Chairman of APC, Minister of Transport among others.

Frank, who recalled how he raised series of alarms in the wake to the February 23rd Presidential elections, informing Nigerians about the evil plot by the APC to suppress voters and intimidate citizens in opposition strongholds (particularly in the Niger Delta), said the military personnel were used as an alibi in carrying out the heinous crimes on the citizens because of its dire desperation in controlling the oil-rich regions.

In a statement signed Friday in Abuja, Frank said the recent invasion of a paramount ruler and highness of Okrika, Chief Ateke Tom in a commando-style without any prior provocation, proved to the height of desperation and chaos in the wake to the state elections.

“This worrisome trend is about to rear it’s ugly head again, this time headed by the presidency itself and the military authorities. The recent statements credited to President Muhammadu Buhari in Your, Akwa Ibom state, suggesting that the senatorial elections may have been rigged because it’s candidate lost and vowing to reclaim what was lost, rather than approaching the courts for redress, indicts the President and the APC of its desperation in declaring itself winner by any means necessary without recourse to the electoral act in conducting free, fair and credible elections.

“This brazen desperation has taken a new dimension with the recruitment of over 1000 political thugs, distributed across the Niger Delta states, working as undercover Ad Hoc staff with the aid of the military to forcefully disenfranchise the electorates and causing mayhem in units where the ruling party may be loosing. It is instructive also to note, the deliberate arson and destruction of INEC offices and properties as witnessed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom and the indiscriminate arrests of opposition leaders in Port Harcourt all in the Niger Delta.

“In view of the glaring disregard of an existing Supreme Court judgment barring the military from any polling unit during elections, which was initiated by the APC in 2015 and adhered to by the PDP, it will be safe to assume that we have gone back to the dark draconian days by the military junta.”

The political activist, however, called on the people of Niger Delta to come out en masse and vote for their preferred candidate irrespective of fear and intimidation.

“The Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta has never been defeated and cannot, now in a political dispensation. We must resist this new desperation of desecrating our land with the blood of the innocent for the sake of a “wicked cabal’ bent on ravaging the spoils of the region for selfish gains.

“I am calling on the international community and the ICC to be put on notice over the unprovoked attacks on innocent Nigerians by the Nigerian military, working with APC chieftains in causing chaos in opposition strongholds. Let the world bear witness to the outcome of the Gubernatorial elections.”

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PRESS RELEASE BY THE NORTH EAST ADVOCACY GROUP ON THE IMPERATIVE OF ZONING THE OFFICE OF SENATE PRESIDENT TO THE NORTH EAST GEOPOLITICAL ZONE

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The North East Advocacy Group is a non non-governmental organization that seeks to promote the Socio-economic and Political interest of the people of theNorth East Zone. We are soliciting for the zoning of the office of Senate President in the 9th National Assembly to the North East Zone for the following reasons:

1. The North East Zone has never produced the Senate President as this position has always been zoned to other zones, especially the North Central and South East Zones since the commencement of the current democratic dispensation in 1999. In the last 20 years, this zone has occupied the position for a total of 12 years; Sen David Mark (8 Years) and Sen. Bukola Saraki (4 Years). The zone had earlier produced two Senate Presidents in the persons of Chief Ameh Ebute and Sen. Iyorchia Ayu. The South East has also produced Late Sen. Evans Enwerem, Late Sen. Chuba Okadigbo, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim and Sen. Ken Nnamani who cumulatively occupied the exhalted position for period of 8 years.

2. In the 2019 General elections, the North East Zone voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari, becoming the zone that contributed the second highest number of votes to Mr President.

3. It is only just and fair that the North East is considered for the third highest position of the country after the positions of President and Vice President, considering the electoral contribution of the zone to Mr President’s victory at the polls.

OUR PRAYERS
1. We therefore respectfully and humbly request the ruling party (The All Progressive Congress APC) to zone the position of Senate President to the North East Zone
2. In order to foster a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government, we also wish to draw the attention of the pary and the executive arm of government to allow the Senators to exercise their constitutional right to choose a Senate President of their choice. This is to avert the experience in the past where a candidate who seems to be the preferred choice of the party is rejected by the Senators leading to the election of another candidate who ends up being hostile to the government of the day. The 2015 eperience should be a guide for the future.
3. We also call on the party to announce the zoning formular for the principal officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives as soon as possible in order to avert a situation where the zoning is done after candidates have started campaigning, causing a feeling that the zoning is targetted to favour particular individuals. The 2015 experience should be a guide.
Conclusion/Summary
1. The Senate Presidency should be zoned to the North East as the North Central and South East Zones have produced Senate Presidents in the recent past.
2. Micro zoning to a State or individual should be avoided as it negatively affects the executive/legislative harmony and negatively affects the smooth running of government business.
3. The will of the distinguished Senators should be respected and upheld to avoid conflicts and skirmishes between the Executive and the Legislative arms.

SIGNED

1. Hon Mohammed Kumalia
2. Hon Ibrahim Zailani
3. Sen Bashir Marafa
4. Adamu Modibbo
5. Abubakar Muazu
6. Hon Titsi Ganama
7. Hon Ammuna Ibrahim Khadi
8. Hon Emmanuel Bello
9. Hon Barma Shettima
10. Mrs Bless Hungushi
11. Bala Bello Tinka

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2018 Country Reports: Centre Faults US Verdict on Corruption, Insecurity in Nigeria

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The Coalition for Nigeria Movement has faulted a recent report by the United States of America’s 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices which claimed that “impunity remains widespread at all levels of government” in Nigeria.

The report, which was published on the website of the US Department of State, said several acts of gross human rights abuse were committed by both government and non-government actors within Nigeria in the year under review, many of which were not investigated.

Reacting, however, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement said the attack on Nigeria as a country and its leadership for daring to work for what is in the interest of citizens was provocative.

Addressing a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja, Gabriel T. Kifasi, the National Convener of the group called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to reject the insinuations and wrong conclusions drawn in the report as citizens expect nothing less of their government

Full text of his statement below.

This unsurprising nature of the report is based on the knowledge that the United States in its arrogance continues to parade itself as the “Police of the World” while being dismissive of the rights of other nations to sovereignty.

To the extent that the United States has failed to put its own house in order, a natural reaction to this most recent outrage would have been to completely ignore the junk document. But we reason that part of the misplaced importance the US arrogates to itself is because citizens of other countries often neglect to challenge the lies emanating from the devil’s worldly capital, hence the misplaced aura of infallibility that makes this country continue to ply the world with its garbage.

If we do nothing to call attention to the lies built into the latest 49-paged fiction by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, there is then the risk that the fallacies will be committed to history as the true state of affairs in Nigeria.
Since the report is publicly available, we shall not belabor efforts in recounting the details as this will only further help perpetrate the lies told in it while amplifying them.

What we will do here is to point out a few things that point to the true intentions of the United States through its periodic publication of the vexatious lies. This is in the hope that Nigerians will be better guided in how they perceive the report and what interventions they make on its basis. The rest of the world would also benefit since they will have alternate views to the wrong impressions being created about Nigeria.

Gentlemen of the press, while the 49-page document gives the wrong impression of being a thorough work of research and analysis of situations in Nigeria, this deception is rather geared towards manipulating Nigeria into changing its stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons relative to the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014. It is most unfortunate that other matters of weighty gravity are being distorted simply to force Nigeria to insult our ancestral practices and values by allowing men to marry men and for a woman to take a woman to bed. What we have come to understand is that US personnel deployed to Nigeria are unable to bring their same sex partners to Nigeria and they are therefore desirous of overturning the law at any cost.

It is therefore sad that the US can issue a report to undermine the war on terrorism out of a desperation to procure same sex marriage in Nigeria. This make it bizarre to see portion of the report read “Security services used excessive force in the pursuit of Boko Haram and ISIS-WA suspects, often resulting in arbitrary arrest, detention, or torture.”

We wonder if the intensity with which the Nigerian military pursue Boko Haram fighters and other terrorists is in anyway higher than what the US military does in other countries where they have intruded under the cover of fighting terrorists. Please, kindly note that they deploy such force within the jurisdiction of other countries in their quest to ensure that terrorism is not imported into the US but Nigeria is not allowed to use similar force to deal with terrorists that are already on its soil.

We are aware that the opposition had expressed a willingness to ease the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 or at least repeal it had it come into power. Opposition leaders had also reportedly discussed this with US officials, which was one of the key factors that made the US initially threw its weight behind the opposition before it suffered defeat at the polls. It is consequently not surprising that the same report gave the impression that members of the opposition were being unfairly targeted by the anti-corruption fight and that they were usually arrested, arraigned and prosecuted without being convicted. It is most ridiculous that the report basically accuse the government of being autocratic in one breadth and in the same breadth accuse it of not circumventing the rules to jail indicted corrupt people.

Reading through the report and getting a better appreciation of its intention is for us alarming. In the event that blackmail and surreptitious hand over of the country to the opposition does not work, there is a hidden ploy in the document to undermine the Nigerian Military by making its legitimate intervention appear like commission of war crimes. The report exploited the war against Boko haram insurgents to make it appear as if the military unfairly targeted civilians.

It also created the impression that the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) was wrongly targeted and the government did nothing about it. For those that are familiar with the situation. The Kaduna state government followed constitutionally recognized means to investigate the 2015 clashes recorded in the report and found IMN to be a militarized group and promptly outlawed it. The subsequent attacks and protests by the group in other cities of the country should as a result be considered illegal terrorist activities that law enforcement agencies, including the military, are duty bound to address. It would be interesting to see the explanation the US has for not granting mass asylum to IMN members if it truly considers its members harmless.

Something that should worry Nigerians is the copious manner in which the said report reproduced questionable content from documents earlier published by discredited international NGO, Amnesty International. The records are there to prove that Amnesty International has set itself up as a rival state to Nigeria, or an opposition NGO that has countered every single move the government and government forces have made to counter threats to the country. The point where the US report cherry-picks Amnesty International’s report to find aspects that justifies its defence of same sex marriage while hiding under the war on terrorism or counter-extremists operations leaves much to be desired.

This calculated attempt to undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria as a country through fictitious Country Reports on Human Rights Practices is therefore unacceptable for the very fact that it signals a morbid threat to Nigeria’s long term stability. Recent history is replete with instances where certain actors concertedly undermine countries to suit the outcomes predicted by reports like these. We thus have concerns that this report could be the beginning of increased foreign support for Boko Haram insurgents and the bandits causing mayhem in certain parts of the country.

Any resulting degeneration in the country’s security situation will then be leveraged to demand that Nigeria repeals the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 in exchange for cessation of support to terrorists and amenable assessment of the roles being played by the Armed Forces.

We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to reject the insinuations and wrong conclusions drawn in the report as citizens expect nothing less of their government. It must equally make it clear that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 was the product of constitutionally elected lawmakers reflecting the wishes of their constituent, who finds the concept of same sex marriage unacceptable to their known way of life. Using the report as a pretext to demonize the military, undermine the anti-terrorism war, erode the fight against corruption and generally present Nigeria as unserious would not change the preponderance of opinion in Nigeria that the law has come to stay. The US must also know that any political party that promises to reintroduce same sex marriage will continue to lose elections until it aligns with what the people want.

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We Never Paid a Kobo to Chief Obasanjo – NOUN

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The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has said that it never made any payment to former President for the services he renders to the institution as one of its facilitators.

The university said it was reacting to a story in a national newspaper which reported on Wednesday that the former President earns N40,000 per annum as NOUN lecturer.

The Director of Media and Publicity of the university, Mr. Ibrahim Sheme, explained that the story emanated from the press conference the Vice–Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, gave on Tuesday, ahead of the 8th Convocation Ceremony of the institution which is coming up this Saturday.

Sheme, quoting the NOUN’s Registrar, Mr. Felix I. Edoka, said, “Whilst we remain grateful to all the media houses that give our activities positive coverage, we insist that their news reports should always be accurate and diligent.

“While it is true that the VC had told the gathering of journalists and NOUN staff present at the conference that the University had offered the former President, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, PhD, a facilitation appointment, the honorarium mentioned in the newspaper publications is the generic amount the University issues in the appointment letters of all facilitators.

“His Excellency, Chief Obasanjo, in his acceptance letter to the University, however, decided to render his services on a pro bono basis, i.e. free of charge.”

He added that Prof. Adamu never said at the press conference that Chief Obasanjo had taken or intended to take a kobo as payment or salary for his services. He was emphatic about the magnanimity of the former President and elder statesman in offering his valuable time to work for NOUN at its Study Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as a facilitator on a part-time basis and free of charge.

“For the records, therefore, we wish to clarify that His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is offering his services as a facilitator to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) absolutely free of charge and with no any strings attached. Chief Obasanjo told the University that his decision was premised on the fact that he is giving back to the society out of the great bounties God and the University have given him. For this laudable and patriotic gesture of his, we remain immensely indebted to the former President and elder statesman.”

The Registrar expressed the university’s regret over the inconveniences and embarrassment the newspaper publications caused to him.

Signed:
Ibrahim Sheme
Director, Media and Publicity,
NOUN

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