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Insecurity: Southern, Middle Belt leaders endorse self-defence

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herdmen

Eminent Nigerians under the auspices of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, yesterday, expressed outrage over the ongoing mass killings and sacking of communities by armed bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

They urged every citizen to adopt the principle of self-defence in order to avoid being exterminated.

 

The resolution came after a four-hour marathon meeting held in Abuja by the leaders of the mainstream socio-cultural groups in the country.

 

The meeting had in attendance the representatives of Afenifere (South-West), Ohaneze Ndigbo (South-East), Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF, South-South) and the Middle Belt Forum (North-Central).

 

Personalities present at the meeting included the leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo; National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae; Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin; President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang and former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

 

Others were Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd) of the Middle Belt Forum; Maj-Gen. Zamani Lekwot; a former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, Senator Femi Okuronmu, Prof. Godwin Darah and Chief Broderick Bozimo, a former Minister of Police Affairs, amongst others.

 

At the end of the meeting, the leaders formally threw their weight behind a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) who made a similar call last month.

 

In a communiqué read on their behalf by the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Nwodo, the group condemned in strong terms the “subtle harassments” visited on Danjuma over his call for Nigerians to defend themselves, stressing that self-defence was the right thing for every citizen in the face of failure and unwillingness of the state to protect them.

 

According to the leaders, the right to self-defence is guaranteed under the constitution of Nigeria and the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.

 

“The right to legitimate self-defence is a fundamental human right. It is a well-established norm in municipal and International Law that any group of people that faces an existential threat to its very survival has right to legitimate self-defence.
Section 33 of our 1999 Constitution accords the right to legitimate self-defence as a Constitutional right of all citizens.

 

“In the case of the Unites States of America, they have carried it to the extent that the right to self-defence and even pre-emptive self-defence, is a fundamental right of all Americans.

 

“Natural Law, Just War Theory, and International Law and Ethics, equally recognize the right of all peoples to defend themselves against violation of their lives and those of their families and communities. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter authorizes people whose existence is threatened to defend themselves. We, therefore, support General T. Y. Danjuma; he said the obvious.

 

“Indeed, two illustrious legal luminaries, Professors Itse Sagay and B. O. Nwabueze, have upheld General Danjuma’s assertion on purely legal grounds.

 

“The continuous spate of killing of innocent citizens of Nigeria, especially from the Middle Belt, is totally unacceptable. More disturbing is the ever increasing evidence that our Military and Police Forces are compromised in the manner they have conducted themselves by aiding and abetting the herdsmen.

 

“In the circumstance, we are left with no alternative than to call on Nigerians to employ self-defence as permissible in law when any citizen is faced with the risk of imminent death in the circumstances we find ourselves now. Nigerians must self-defend themselves now. We also call on the Police Service Commission to immediately deploy Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to their places of origin for a more effective policing, while we await State Police,” the group said.

 

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum also condemned the recent invasion of the Senate Chambers by some thugs and the stealing of the mace. They expressed shock that such an incident took place without the security being able to apprehend any of the thugs who took part in the operation.

 

“It is a disgrace to our nation that such a disgraceful thing would happen in our National Assembly and portray us to the whole world in bad light and we would pretend that nothing happened. We condemn what happened in the strongest terms and demand a proper investigation to identify the culprits and bring them to book,” they said.

 

The group also expressed shock over the recent payment of a whopping sum of $496 million to the United States Government for the purchase of Tucano Aircraft, describing it as a flagrant abuse of the constitution by the President.

 

“Section 80 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution is very clear on how the President could spend Nigeria’s fund. The provision states; “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

 

“As it is, the President has violated the provision of the highest law in the land. Nigeria is a republic founded on rule of law, where each arm of government is bound to be guided by the dictates of the constitution, this flagrant violation and unapproved spending must be abated as well as sanctioned.

 

“We, therefore, call on  the National Assembly to do the needful as well as call on the United States Government to return the money paid to its treasury as the money paid is not authorized.

 

“The unauthorized expenditure by the President came amidst non-fulfillment of legitimate promises to spend money in the Niger Delta, for instance, to ameliorate environmental degradation, even when Senators are expressing doubts on the transparency and honesty in the disbursement of social security funds. It was this kind of disregard for the Constitution that made Mr. President to approve $1 billion for military expenditure before approaching the National Assembly,” the group said.

 

On the alleged plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to create 30,000 additional polling units in the country, the group said such a move was suspicious coming too close to the next general elections.

 

“We stand opposed to any plan to introduce new polling units or voting points 10 months to elections for the following reasons: Such an exercise that was not done for over three years after the last elections and being introduced at this stage may just be an exercise in gerrymandering, a process of organizing political boundaries, voting areas or voting arrangements to give electoral numeric advantage to a political group.

 

“We ask INEC to conduct the 2019 elections on the basis of the existing polling units so that the exercise will be credible and the outcome acceptable,” the communiqué read.

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Jonathan warns Buhari against rigging Ekiti poll

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against succumbing to pressure to subjugate democracy by rigging the Ekiti State governorship election, in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that such action would haunt him at the end of his tenure.

 

Dr. Jonathan also advised him against bowing to any such pressure to use presidential powers negatively, but urged President Buhari to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria. The former President, who gave this advice during the inauguration of the first over-head bridge in Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, warned that President Buhari would be haunted by posterity if he does “because what you go with is the name that you leave behind.”

 

His words: “I don’t believe anybody can defeat the PDP in Ekiti if election is going to be held. I want to advise President Buhari not to deploy power to truncate Ekiti election. Though as a President, you have the power, but don’t do that because of posterity. History will record whatever you do and the power of a leader is determined after leaving office and not when he is in the office.

 

“The will of the people must be allowed to stand at all times, because power belongs to them and we must respect their verdict through the ballots. I am using this opportunity to call on Mr. President. I was there, and

 

I know (that) when you are there, there is so much pressure from everybody to use all the powers you have to subjugate democracy,” he said. He, therefore, called on Buhari not to bow to pressure by attempting to subjugate democracy in Nigeria, as doing that would amount to undermining the country’s path to greatness.

 

Jonathan said that advanced countries of the world today achieved greatness from the selfless sacrifices made by both leaders and followers. Part of the sacrifices, he said, made by their leaders includes not interfering with the democratic process that brings in successive leaders into office.

 

“All the great democracies you are seeing in the world, those great countries were built by people who made sacrifices to make their countries great.” Jonathan also used the opportunity to commend Nigerian youths whom he described as great and hardworking people. Although he admitted that the youths were confronted with challenges, especially not being encouraged with creativity, he called on governments at all levels to encourage them to be hard-working. He further stated: “We have challenges – no power for creativity. With the limits we have, we know the great things you are doing.”

 

The former President expressed optimism that with the level of support by the people, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a party to beat in the forthcoming election. Jonathan further called on Ekiti people to vote for the PDP in the July 14 governorship polls even as he thanked them for their support to Governor Ayodele Fayose. He commended PDP for choosing youthful governorship candidate and his running mate, adding: “Nigerian youths are not lazy. I don’t believe that, because I have worked with them closely.

They are great people with great potential who should be celebrated by any leader.” In a veiled reference to Buhari’s recent statement abroad, he said “As leaders we must make sure we present a country that will make us proud and not to use our country as a negative example in Africa to the outside world.

 

The idea of portraying Nigerians’ negative manners had occurred on two occasions under this present government. These are mistakes we should not make.” He thanked the people for their support for the PDP since 2015 and urged them to do more in the coming governorship election.

 

“Fayose will never compromise the interest of Ekiti people for anything. He is a leader who speaks truth to power. In fact, Fayose is a leader and he has done well for his people. Any leader who wants to encourage his people must encourage the education of the youth. If you don’t encourage the youths, they will be exploited. “As youths, you have to be aware that we are operating a knowledge-based economy. So you must be proficient in the use of computer. You can’t compromise this if you want to fit into the 21st  century economy,” he said.

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Nigeria more transparent under Buhari –Lai Mohammed

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Solicits TI’s support on anti-graft war

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria is more transparent under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister said this to a delegation of Transparent International (TI) led by its Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, who visited him in Abuja, saying President Buhari’s  administration is committed to eradicating corruption in the country. “Nigeria has never had a more transparent and more accountable government than the Buhari’s administration,” the Minister said.

 

He regretted that TI and the local civil society organisations affiliated to it have not offered the necessary support to the Federal Government in its anti-corruption war. The Minister, therefore, called on TI to support Buhari’s ant-corruption war, especially in the area of advocacy and capacity building. He noted that when the government disclosed that 55 people stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, a section of the civil society alleged that the publication was one-sided, instead of supporting the govern  ment’s action.

 

He tasked TI and its affiliates to show more understanding for the sociological complexities of fighting corruption in Nigeria since the nation operates a federal system of government. The Minister said Nigeria is succeeding in its anti-corruption fight because the fight is led by a President, whose integrity is beyond reproach, noting that his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption.

 

Earlier, Ms Ferreira Rubio had told the minister that her visit to Nigeria, which incidentally was her first in Africa, because the country can set the tone for the continent in the fight against corruption.

 

She added that TI’s mandate is to offer support through civil society organisations and the private sector to foster the fight against corruption. Ms Rubio advised that while the government is doing a lot to fight corruption, it should ensure more transparency and more efficiency in service delivery.

 

“We are not an opposition anywhere in the world. We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help,” she said.

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Woman appeals to IG over missing husband

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She should check SARS –PPRO

 

Mrs. Adeshina, wife of a Lagos State politician, Mr. Okokuku Adeshina, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (IGP), to warn and caution his officers as not only her husband’s life is in danger but all. Tina, who spoke with journalists over the weekend, said Idris should compel his officers and men to stop being instruments in the hands of politicians who use them to harass their opponents.

 

The distraught woman disclosed how some policemen stormed their house at Ikorodu area of the state on Tuesday evening, and without any search warrant, and whisked her husband away to an unknown destination.

 

According to her, she said her husband called her with an unknown number two days after he was whisked away by the policemen, who wore antirobbery jackets over the mufti clothes, and told her to run far away with the children.

 

She said, her husband told her that it was a political big wig in the state that was behind his present travails in order to win him over to his camp. “My husband called me with an unknown number and said I should take the children to a safe place that the policemen that came to arrest him on the pretence over land dispute are actually working for an opposition politician who wants him to join his party,” she lamented.

 

“Yesterday, an unknown number called me again and I quickly answered thinking it was my husband but the person on the line told me that my husband had escaped.

 

I haven’t been able to get through to him on his phone since the day he was taken away and the man that called claimed to be a policeman that helped him escape, while on their way to the hospital. I believe that my life and those of my children are now also in danger and I don’t want to die,” Mrs. Adeshina cried. However, when contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti said, he was not aware of the arrest.

 

Oti, however, said Mrs. Adeshina should go to SARS office to check if her husband is there. It is only when she has done this that he would then know what to do.

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