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Legal fireworks as Atiku, Buhari adopt final addresses

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Legal fireworks as Atiku, Buhari adopt final addresses

There was a heightened legal firework before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday as both the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) adopted their final written addresses.

Atiku and his party, PDP, are challenging the election that produced Buhari on ground of irregularities.

Atiku had strongly submitted that Buhari gave false information as regards his academic qualification to contest the February 23 election.

This was just as the president replied that there is no known law in the country that requires presentation of certificate to contest a presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC had, however, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition against the president for lacking in substance.

However, the five-man panel, led by Justice Mohammed Garba, reserved a date to deliver judgement in the petition filed by Atiku and PDP against the election of Buhari.

The panel reserved judgement after all parties in the petitions adopted their final written addresses.

While adopting their final address, the petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Izuokwu (SAN), submitted that the second respondent (Buhari) used fundamental falsehood to secure clearance from the first respondent (INEC) to participate in the poll.

The petitioners insisted that Buhari, as candidate of the third respondent (APC), lied on oath in his form CF001 presented to INEC before standing for the presidential election.

The petitioners drew the attention of the tribunal to a portion of his (Buhari) INEC form where he claimed to have three different certificates comprising Primary School Leaving Certificate, WAEC certificate and Officers Cadet certificate.

The petitioners said it was shocking and surprising that: “No provisional certificate, no certified true copy of the certificates, no photocopy of certificates and in fact no electronic version of any of the certificates was presented by Buhari throughout the hearing of the petition to dispute the claim of the petitioners.

“More worrisome is the fact that Buhari’s own witness, Major General Paul Tafa (rtd), who joined the Nigerian Army with him in 1962, told the tribunal that they were never asked to submit their certificates to the Nigerian Army Board as claimed by Buhari in his form CF001.

“At any rate, the Secretary of the Nigerian Army Board, Olatunde Olaleye, had, in a statement, clarified that Buhari had no single certificate in his personal file with the Nigerian Army.”

The petitioners, therefore, urged the tribunal to nullify the participation of Buhari in the election on the grounds that the president lied on oath to deceive Nigerians and to secure unlawful qualification for the election.

He further submitted that the claim of Buhari that he can read and write in English language as enough qualification for him was of no moment because ordinary artisans on the streets of Nigeria can also do so, adding that a grave allegation bordering on certificate was not addressed by Buhari as required by law.

The PDP presidential candidate also faulted the claim of INEC that it has no central server, adding that server is a storage facility, including computer, where database of registered voters, number of permanent voters’ card and election results, amongst others, are stored for references.

He said the claim by INEC that it has no device like server to store information “is laughable, tragic and a story for the dogs.”

The petitioners debunked the claim of INEC that collation and transmission of results electronically was prohibited by law in Nigeria.

They asserted that by Electoral Amendment Act of March 26, 2015, the use of electronics became law and was officially gazetted for the country, adding that section 9 of the Act, which made provision for electronic collation of results, replaced section 52, which hitherto prohibited the use of electronics and which INEC erroneously held that electronic results transmission is prohibited.

They therefore urged the tribunal to uphold the petition and nullify Buhari’s participation in the election on the grounds that he was not qualified to have stood for the election, in addition to malpractices that prompted his declaration as winner of the election.

However, INEC, through its counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost because the electoral body conducted the election in total compliance with the Nigerian constitution and Electoral Act 2010.

Usman insisted that INEC did not transmit election results electronically because doing so is prohibited by law and that the Commission did not call any witness because there was no need to do so.

Usman said that all the witnesses presented by the petitioners admitted to the fact that transmission of election results electronically had no placed in the country’s statute books at the moment.

In countering the allegations that INEC abandoned its pleadings by not presenting witnesses, the counsel said the Commission simply extracted salient pieces of evidence from the petitioners’ pleadings to solidify its defence.

“It would have amounted to wasting the time of the tribunal for us to call witnesses when the petitioners could not discharge the burden of proof on allegations they had made,’’ he said.

Usman, thereafter, prayed the court to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.

In his defence, President Buhari, through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), argued that Atiku’s petition was liable to be dismissed because it is lacking in evidence, merit and substance and that the petition is ill-advised and signified nothing.

“I have handled a few electoral petition cases, this is one petition that yarns for help, for assistance and for evidence, but could not get any.

“Apart from the hype the matter has generated, there is nothing in law to support the allegations before the tribunal,” the president’s counsel said.

Olanipekun cited section 131 of the constitution, which stipulates a minimum of secondary school attendance to qualify for election in Nigeria, adding that Buhari cannot go beyond that and that he does not need to tender or attach certificate before he can get qualification for any election.

He submitted that there was nothing in law to persuade the tribunal to nullify the February 23 presidential election as pleaded by Atiku and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with substantial cost.

“The law is well settled and the case-law is crystalized on the point that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) cannot go beyond provisions of sections 131 and 131(8) of the 1999 Constitution.

“The case-law is replete with decisions of this court on the subject. We cannot amend the constitution.

“We need to make it very clear at this point that the constitution and laws of the land do not expect any certificate to be tendered or attached,” Olanipekun submitted.

Buhari further relied on a recent judgement the Court of Appeal delivered in a certificate scandal case that involved the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, to contend that non-attachment of his certificates was not a valid ground to challenge his participation in the February 23 presidential election he won.

On the issue of election results transmission by electronic means, Olanipekun said the use of such technology must be provided for in the Electoral Act.

“The allegation on the management of server by INEC is vague. Where is the server? This is a million dollar question that the petitioners could not substantiate.

“My Lords, this petition was not properly diagnosed, the action was ill-advised. I therefore urge the tribunal not to bow to sentiment or public opinion that does not represent the law.

“This petition is liable to be dismissed with a considerable cost,” he said.

APC, through its counsel, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), in his submission, argued that the petition lacked quality evidence that could warrant the nullification of the election as pleaded by the petitioners and urged the tribunal to throw out the petition as long as its hand can do with huge cost.

“My Lords, it is disheartening to see that this petition still remains watery at this stage. The petition made allegations they could not proof. We have done a table, showing how the petitioners have proven the case so far.

“The election took place in 119,976 polling units, 8,901 Wards in 774 local government areas across the country.

“It is sad therefore to see that the petitioners only called 62 witnesses. Out of this figure, only five witnesses gave direct evidence of what happened in polling units.

“I feel sad that this matter has been starved of evidence and therefore deserves to be dismissed.”

APC submitted that it would be bad to create a public impression that President Buhari lacks basic educational qualifications.

“Those who set the standard for secondary education were called. They came and gave the verdict that what the 2nd Respondent has was equivalent to Secondary School Certificate. The witness said so. And there was no follow-up on that. They did not say that the certificate was fake or forged.

“The position is that we take him to be a secondary school leaver,” Fagbemi, argued.

However, the tribunal chairman, after taking submissions from all parties, announced that judgement in the petition has been reserved and that the date for its delivery would be communicated to parties.

Speaking with journalists after the proceedings, counsel to Atiku, Dr. Uzoukwu, insisted that Atiku’s petition will, in one way or another, expand jurisprudence in electoral matters.

He added that his team has presented a very good case and it is now left for the tribunal to do justice.

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Oyo approves composition of State Electoral Commission

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Oyo approves composition of State Electoral Commission

Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde yesterday approved composition of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).

A statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor, in a letter dated 18th September, 2019, forwarded names of eight individuals to the House of Assembly for consideration as chairman and members of the commission.

“I wish to inform Your Rt. Honourable and other Honourable Members of the composition of the State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC).

The following personalities have been considered suitable, based on their track records, to oversee and conduct elections into the local governments in the State; Isiaka Olagunju was nominated as chairman of the commission, while Comrade Adeniyi Afeez Babatunde, Alhaja Ganiyat Saka, Mr. Olanrewaju Emmanuel, Chief Kumi Agboola, Mr. Remi Ayoade, Mr. Sunday Falan and Mr. Adeojo Elias were nominated as members.

Also, Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mr. Babatunde Irukera, has deplored culture of patronising sub-standard products and services in the country, lamenting that 60 per cent of Nigerians knew some products were fake yet they bought them because of their cheap price.

Irukera, an international legal practitioner, said this on Wednesday at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan during his lecture entitled “Competitiveness and a Culture of Quality” organised by the commission to awaken youths, students and several stakeholders to the culture of appreciating quality in whatever they engage in.

At the event were stakeholders including Professor Adenike Ogunse of the Kola Daisi University, Ibadan; President of the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce, Engr. Ismaila Alapa,  officials of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), NECO, Foodco Foods, Therapy School, NAPTIP, SUMAL Foods, staff of academic institutions etc.

Irukera said: “60 per cent of Nigerians know some products are fake yet they buy them because of their cheap price. That is the greatest challenge we are facing in the country.

Quality is not a buffet: you have to hunt for it and have it. Many of the sectors of the country need declaration of emergency because excellence appears to be in our past and history. We need to find our way to the future in order to better our wellbeing. We may not be able to fix a broken bridge, but we can strive to build a new one.

“It is grievous and sad to be asked by any seller whether one wants to buy original product or the ‘Aba’, or ‘Taiwan’ type. The essence of this programme is educating consumers of their right to have quality products.

But it seems these days that quality is an option and sub-standard products and services are a second option. That is not the law. Consumers should not have an option but to be provided with quality products and services. That is why we should start inculcating into our youths, students and educators, the culture of quality standard. We know that the greatest modifier of human behaviour is consequence and the greatest consequence for lack of quality is to be rejected.  And the most important tool for enforcement is for the people to demand for their right and insist on it.”

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Dangote hails Buhari’s new economic team

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Dangote hails Buhari’s new economic team

President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has commended the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to advise him on the nation’s economic growth and overall development. He described the move as a proactive one, which is capable of elevating Nigeria’s economy to greater heights.

Dangote, who spoke as the Chairman at the commissioning ceremony of the new Secretariat of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers Federation (CANMPEF) in Lagos, said: “The constitution of the Economic Advisory Council is a proactive move, by putting together tested and respected patriots, who are independent and always ready to put the country’s interest first and ahead of themselves.”

He then urged the Federal Government to take advantage of this rare opportunity to strengthen the economy and put the country on the path of growth, job creation and competitiveness, while also calling on all stakeholders to work with the Federal Government to revive and restore the economy on the path of growth. According to him, the government should continue to provide the enabling environment which it had set out to do, so that the private sector would continue to thrive as the way to go in the next level.

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APC forms 39-man reconciliation committee for Adamawa

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APC forms 39-man reconciliation committee for Adamawa

Adamawa State All Progressives Congress (APC) has named a 39-member steering committee to oversee affairs of the party in the state and reposition it for victory.

The committee headed by Abdulrahman Adamu, which also had Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Mohammed Bello; Minister of FCT, as co-chairmen, was to work with the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

According to a document made available to newsmen in Abuja yrsterday, a robust term of reference given to the committee was a charge to reconcile all aggrieved aspirants/candidates and other chieftains that vied for positions during the 2019 general election.

APC in Adamawa State had been in crisis, which led to the electoral victory of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Also according to the document, the committee was also charged with the task of developing a programme of action to reposition and strengthen APC in the state, as well as propose modalities that ensure free and fair primaries ahead of the coming local government election and future elections in the state.

Other functions of the committee include; “To propose ways and means of raising funds for running the affairs of the party in Adamawa State.

“To develop an effective media and public enlightenment programme for repositioning the party to its winning ways in the state.

“To co-ordinate and support the various election petitions by the party at various tribunals and courts.

“To carry out any other function as may be directed by the National Work Committee of the APC.”

Other members of the committee were the immediate past governor of Adamawa State, Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Dahiru Bobbo and Senator Ahmed Hassan Barata, among many others.

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Gumi: 2019 polls worst in Nigeria’s history

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Gumi: 2019 polls worst in Nigeria’s history

Fiery Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, yesterday, disclosed that the last election was the worst he had witnessed in the history of the country.

According to Gumi, the process was overshadowed with massive irregularities, which had produced a government that is finding it difficult to tackle the problems of the country.

That was as he also lambasted the elite for plunging the country into its present woes characterised by kidnapping, banditry and all manner of crimes.

Gumi stated this while playing host to the President and Founder of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries International, Prophet Isah El-Buba, who paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna yesterday.

The Islamic Scholar lamented that the 2019 election was the most painful, worst election conducted in the history of Nigeria which has now divided Nigerians across various interests, capitalising on the ignorance of the masses.

He said: “We are having the same vision about getting the right purposeful leadership that is focused and all embracing like a hawk which protects all his children. This is the type of leadership we need.

“Nigeria is now seriously divided along all interests. Class struggle is now the major factor that keep polarising Nigeria. Now what brought the division is abject poverty. The poor and the downtrodden are now angry. All the crimes we have now came as a result of poverty.

“The politicians are necessary evil even though a lot of them are not educated. The crop of political leaders are not educated to handle the problem we have in Nigeria today. The idea is very important and not what we see today. There is no point looking at who is doing what but the idea.

“Former President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari are not good for Nigeria. When we told Jonathan to do something, he was looking at us from a Muslim perspective. People are dying in the Hospital. Kidnapping is the worst thing. After attaining position, all they think is how to get contract and jet out of country.

“I will support you to move round the country because we still have good people all over the country. I’m ready to go with you. But, don’t forget to carry them along. You have to tell them. The last election was the most painful election I have seen in Nigeria. In 2015, we realised we were handicapped because Nigerians are ignorant.

I expected 2019 to be clean but, it is the worst election I have seen in Nigeria.

“You can imagine a government that is fighting corruption, saw a governor from the North stalking dollars in his pockets and kept quiet. What example is the North showing? Nigeria needs a new page- people, who will unite us. The surest way to move Nigeria forward is through free, fair and credible elections,” he said.

Earlier, Prophet Isah said he embarked on national tour to see a new Nigeria where justice shall be the basis upon which the country is governed.

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Balonwu: Why we’re championing African women

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Balonwu: Why we’re championing African women

Founder of African Women on Board (AWB), a non-profit group, Dr. Nkiru Balonwu, has said the only way to fast-track the trajectory of African women into leadership positions globally, is for all the stakeholders involved in the emancipation process to be fully involved.

She noted that women globally were having a moment in history with their stories and experiences being brought to the global consciousness with little or no significant impact experienced by these women.

Speaking at  press conference in Lagos, to announce programmes and activities in the lead up to AWB’s global launch on September 26, Balonwu said from experience and data-backed findings, it was gathered when women are at the table and part of the decision-making process, teams are strengthened and more solution-orientated.

Balonwu, who spoke alongside a trustee of the AWB, Prof. Chioma Agomo, Gbemi Abudu and Olu Arowolo Verhejien, noted that the seeming disparity informed her group’s insistence on championing the reawakening mechanism that would advance narratives and improve realities for African women and girls globally.

Balonwu said: “Unfortunately, the unique perspectives and narratives of African women have been left out of this conversation almost entirely. AWB is saying that it is time for African women to be included in these conversations and have our say in the development and growth of this continent.

“We started in 2017 as a network of women working together to advance the economic, social and political rights of African women. We looked at solutions to getting women into senior management, C-suit and board positions.”

On her part, Agomo, who is a professor of law at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), explained that African women were being left behind, stressing that she was at the gathering to testify to the importance of the work of the AWB.

“What attracted me was the understanding from the leadership, to the programming staff, to the council and communities of allies that gender diversity is not a women’s issue, but an economic issue, which concerns us all. The creation of opportunities for women directly correlates with heightened potential for growth for everyone around them,” said Prof Agomo, whose specialty course is in gender and the law.

She pointed out that data consistently shows that investments put in the hands of women, lift up their communities.

“We do need men as allies to champion women as the natural conduits that can feed success for all. I join AWB in welcoming everyone to the conversations we are having next week at AWB@UNGA and to this larger movement to make African women’s voices mainstream,” she said.

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FG, states & LGs share N720.880bn in August

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FG, states & LGs share N720.880bn in August

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) yesterday in Abuja approved for sharing to three tires of government, a total of N720.880 billion.

The amount comprised revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT), Exchange Gain and gross statutory revenue.

The gross statutory revenue for the month of August 2019 was N631.796 billion, an amount  lower than the N674.365 billion received in the previous month by N42.569 billion.

Revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) was N88.082 billion as against N94.159 billion in the previous month, indicating a decrease of N6.077 billion. Exchange gain yielded total revenue of N1.002 billion.

The Accountant General of Federation ( AGF), Idris Ahmed, who presided FAAC meeting, announced the figures.

Of the amount,   the Federal Government received N301.804 billion, states received N188.925 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N142.654 billion.  Oil Producing states received N43.513 billion as 13 per  derivation revenue while  revenue generating agencies received N43.984 billion as cost of revenue collection.

In addition, the meeting agreed to share N20 billion from Forex Equalization fund.

Of gross statutory revenue of N631.796 billion, Federal Government received N288.638 billion,  states got  N146.401 billion, the Local Government Councils received N112.869 billion, the Oil Producing States received N43.426 billion as 13% per cent derivation revenue and the Revenue Collecting Agencies received N40.461billion as cost of collection.

Of  Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N88.082 billion, Federal Government got  N12.684 billion, states received N42.280 billion and  Local Government Councils received N29.596 billion and the Revenue Generating Agencies received N3.523 billion.

The balance in the Excess Crude Account stood at $328.122 million as at September 19, 2019.

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Nigeria loses $1.35bn to crude oil theft in six months

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Nigeria loses $1.35bn to crude oil theft in six months

The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday confirmed that the country in the last six months has lost a total of 22.6 million barrels of crude oil valued at approximately $1.35 billion.

The losses are as a result of high levels of pipeline vandalism, oil theft and bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region.

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who chaired NEC’s adhoc Committee on Oil Theft, confirmed this when he submitted a report to the council.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the NEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, he warned that the development portends danger for the economy if the situation was not contained in two years.

He said: “We would have lost in excess of $2.7 billion.”

Obaseki, who gave the breakdown of the losses recorded within the period said: “The Nembe creek trunk-line lost 9.2 million barrel; the Trans-Niger pipeline lost 8.6 million barrel; the Trans-Focadoes Pipeline lost 3.9 million barrel; Trans-Escravos pipe  lost 877,000 barrel.”

The Edo State governor attributed the untoward development to what he said was the slow and inadequate prosecution of thieves, despite numerous arrests and seizures to encourage this menace.

He lamented that “no one is held accountable whenever there are breaches and when these losses occur.”

He said that “the absence of filling stations in most of the oil producing communities around the Niger Delta make them resort to illegal bunkering and illegal refineries.”

According to him, the huge internal and external market of stolen products exist across the west coast of Africa and also the sub-region.

He said that the “panel discovered that there were huge losses. In fact, the NNPC reported to the the committee that the 22.6 million barrels of crude oil valued at approximately $1.35 billion was lost during the first half of this year.

“And if this situation is not contained in two years, we would have lost in excess of $2.7 billion. Consequently, he said the committee therefore made several recommendations, including the need to restructure the maintenance and ownership of oil pipelines as a way of tackling the perpetrators of crude and other products, a legal framework that will ensure that criminals are duly prosecuted, imprisoned and their assets confiscated.

The governor said the panel also recommended special courts to try offenders and a special legal task force to coordinate the prosecution of arrested offenders as well as train special judges to handle cases of oil theft.

Other recommendations are that, “NNPC should be encouraged to engage with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify the markets for stolen petroleum products across the continent.

“That, the governors of the oil producing states should set up actions to develop the communities that are most prone and through which these pipelines run with their 13 per cent derivation allocation as well as implement programmes that will be impactful and make life easy for the people.

“It noted that the NDDC, which  has the mandate to undertake development in the Niger Delta  region should be restructured to perform its role better.”

Also speaking, the Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya, said Secretary to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr Jumoke Oduwole, gave update on the enabling business to environment.

Yahaya said Council was briefed on the current reforms in African countries as contained in the African Development Bank Economic Outlook report released in January 2019 and in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2019.

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Army blacklists Action Against Hunger for allegedly aiding, abetting terrorists

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Army blacklists Action Against Hunger for allegedly aiding, abetting terrorists

The Nigerian Army has declared Action Against Hunger (AAH), one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the North East as “persona non grata.” (unwelcome person/undesirable element).

The Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE said its action was premised on its observation of the “notorious activities” of some non-governmental organisations working in the North East.

The command accused the global humanitarian organisation of “subversive actions despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities.”

In a statement issued yesterday by the spokesperson for the Theatre Command, Col. Ado Isa, he said the declaration became imperative following several warning.

The statement reads: “The Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole (TC – OPLD)) has observed with utter disappointment and concern the notorious activities of some Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) working in the North East (NE) Nigeria.

“The subversive and actions  of the NGO, Action Against Hunger (AAH), persisted despite  several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities  The TC – OPLD has on many occasions raised alarm over this unwholesome practices of some NGOs and expressed the same position during  meetings with the NGOs operating in the NE Theater of Operation.

“Consequently, the AAH has been declared persona non grata for aiding Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa by supplying them food and drugs despite warnings from the TC – OPLD.

“The Command has obtained several credible intelligence indicating AAH as one of  those  NGOs operating in the  NE that is notorious in supplying food and drugs to the criminals in the area”, Isa said.

While urging the public to continue to give credible information on the activities of suspected terrorists and their supporters in the North East to relevant authorities, the Army assured of its resolve and determination to always partner with credible NGOs and CSOs “to cushion the impact of the humanitarian crisis generated by the criminals in the NE in line with the international best standards”.     

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Violence: Northern govs’ wives to campaign against insecurity, almajiri

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Violence: Northern govs’ wives to campaign against insecurity, almajiri

Wives of the 19 northern state governors yesterday resolved that they would step up campaign against genderbased violence targeted against women in the region. The women under the auspices of Northern Governors Wives’ Forum said this after its two-day quarterly meeting in Minna, Niger State.

The forum said insecurity in the north had led to increase in gender-based violence. While reading the communiqué, Chairperson of the forum and wife of Niger State Governor, Dr. Amina Sani Bello, said women were the highest victims of insecurity in the region. According to her, “The forum condemn in strong terms, the growing level of insecurity in the region, occasioned by the activities of armed bandits that had led to increase in violence against women in the region. She said:

“The growing insecurity in the north has further worsen the existing gender-based violence targeted at women. We are ready and willing to play our part in the security challenge by embarking on advocacy in the troubled states within the north with a view to sensitise women on how to guide themselves against any form of gender- based violence.” The forum while applauding the recent decision of northern governors forum to find a permanent solution to the Almajiri phenomenon in the region, expressed its readiness to support their husbands’ efforts in the eradication of the system.

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Kogi guber: Violence not justification to rig polls, PDP tells INEC

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Kogi guber: Violence not justification to rig polls, PDP tells INEC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to use the allegation of violence to rig the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

INEC had reportedly expressed the fear that violence might affect the conduct of the election.

But PDP in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, charged the commission to ensure credible, free and fair election devoid of logistic failures capable of stoking agitations and violence in the election.

The party called on INEC to issue direct warning to Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to desist from any act of violence in the election.

“Our party is already aware of the heinous plots by jittery Yahaya Bello to orchestrate violence, having realised that there is no way he can win in this election.

“Our message to the governor is that such cannot save him from a crushing defeat at the polls.

“While the PDP do not support or preach violence, it must be noted that our party is standing behind the people of Kogi State in their determination never to allow anybody to intimidate or suppress them,” PDP stated.

The party described the November 16 election as a march by the people of Kogi State against “a suppressive, cruel, chaotic, sadistic, acrimonious and inhuman administration.

“It is a determined march against acute poverty, hunger and starvation, fear, general low life and despondency in the state, which Governor Yahaya Bello and the APC represent.”

According to the statement, the Kogi election would mark “a triumph of light over darkness, freedom over suppression, prosperity over poverty, justice over impunity, peace over violence, progress over stagnation, democracy over personality cult.

and self-centeredness.”

It added that no amount of intimidation could stop the people in their resolve to elect a governor of their choice.

PDP advised INEC to desist from negative extrapolations and be ready to deliver a credible, free, fair, transparent election, devoid of logistic failures tailored to frustrate the will of the people.

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