El-Zakzaky: IMN Accuses Nigerian Govt Of ‘Ulterior Motive’

Shiites Return To Abuja Streets After Police Clash

 

The proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has accused the Nigerian Government of ulterior motive in the treatment of its leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

The group made the allegation in a statement by its spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, on Friday shortly after the IMN leader and his wife, Zeenat, returned from India where they sought medical treatment.

It said, “It is glaringly clear that the Nigerian government had an ulterior motive it was nursing using its connections in India when it violated court order and interfered with the procedures of the Sheikh’s treatment.”

READ ALSO: Security Agents Take El-Zakzaky, Wife Into Custody

IMN confirmed the arrival of its leader following an impasse regarding El-Zakzaky’s treatment and freedom to move freely in India.

It, however, condemned the manner in which the Shiite leader was taken away from the airport on arrival, without allowing him to speak to journalists.

The group claimed that rather than treating him, medical officials were taking selfies with its leader and posting on social media.

It said such action violated El-Zakzaky’s privacy and asked the Federal Government to obey the orders of the court.

Read the full statement below:

Sheikh Zakzaky Didn’t Refuse Treatment In India

As our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has landed safely at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport today, we wish to set the records straight in order to disabuse the minds of Nigerians from the false claims perpetrated in some sponsored stories and articles in the media concerning his aborted medical treatment in India.

However, before we do that, we vehemently condemn the way the security agents whisked him away upon arrival without allowing the multitude of journalists that were waiting for him for hours to have a chat with him.

We urge the security agency holding him hostage to declare to the public where they are keeping him in the country.

It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian authorities had tried all their antics to see that the Sheikh wasn’t given medical leave.

Distrustful of the Nigerian government’s offer of a jet to take him to the destination, having survived its attempts to poison and kill him while in detention, our leader Sheikh Zakzaky declined the offer and chose to pay for his trip through the Emirates Airline.

Their ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were scheduled to board the plane to Dubai. After a 2 hours’ drive from Kaduna to Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, they were not given enough time to rest before boarding the plane.

They endured an 8 hours flight to Dubai and another 3 hours flight to New Delhi. Under normal circumstances, as patients suffering life-threatening ailments, they shouldn’t have been subjected to such exhaustion.

Nonetheless, our leader and his wife endured the journey hoping that they will get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.

However, despite their need for rest, they were forcibly wheeled to a hospital on arrival without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria.

They were then subjected to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them in Nigeria and when they requested for their presence, it was turned down.

Another physician that came from London was also denied access to them despite his familiarity with the Sheikh’s case from Nigeria.

It was at this point that Sheikh Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to have him forcibly treated.

Selfie With The Sheikh

 

Moreso, the Hospital compromised its independence and medical ethics, treating without obtaining consent of the patients.

The health workers were further more interested in taking selfie with the Sheikh and posting on social media, thereby violating their privacies.

When the Sheikh noticed some physical assault in addition to the background circumstances, he lost complete confidence in the hospital and demanded to see his own doctors for a substitute arrangement.

It is well within every patient’s right to decide whether or not to be treated and to also decide who attends to his health.

It is called giving of consent, which every sane autonomous person with capacity is entitled to. Contrary to the Nigerian government’s press statement, that misinformed that it was against “medical ethics and standard practice,” it is in fact at the very essence of medical ethics, which every elementary medical person knows.

The interference of the government raised suspicion that it was planning to kill the Sheikh in India using its international connections.

He insisted that if he would not be allowed to see the doctors that brought him to India he would rather come back to Nigeria and seek another destination for his treatment.

Physical Assault

 

This became clear because of the government’s stance insisting on other doctors than the ones that he was in India to meet. They finally decided to bring him back for refusing to succumb to be treated by their chosen doctors.

It is worth noting that the Kaduna high court allowed the Sheikh to go to India with the government only supervising, instead the federal government presented him to the Indian government as a dangerous suspect with an unknown ailment coming to India and demanded stringent security placed on him.

There was even a report that the security agents in India subjected him to physical assault.

It is glaringly clear that the Nigerian government had an ULTERIOR MOTIVE it was nursing using its connections in India when it violated court order and interfered with the procedures of the Sheikh’s treatment.

This can also be deduced from the way the security agents whisked him away to an unknown destination after arrival at Abuja International airport, without allowing him to have an audience with the journalists that were waiting for his arrival.

The Islamic Movement will, however, continue its struggle to ensure that our leader gets the appropriate medical treatment he deserves as ordered by the Kaduna High court.

And as we continue with the struggle, we wish to reiterate our call for the federal government to comply with an earlier Abuja high court that has freed him since 2016.

We believe obedience to this court order will finally solve the crisis that has been lingering since the Zaria genocide of December 2015.

SIGNED BY

IBRAHIM MUSA

Spokesman

El-Zakzaky, Wife Arrive In Nigeria

 

Leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, have returned to Nigeria from India.

The couple returned to the country on Friday afternoon, four days after they travelled to the Asian country for treatment.

Channels Television crew were at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport as early as 6am to cover the arrival of the El-Zakzakys.


Trip To Delhi


El-Zakzaky and his wife left Nigeria on Monday for India following a ruling of the Kaduna State High Court which granted them permission to be treated in the country.

On their arrival at the hospital where treatment was expected to commence, the trip turned controversial.

The IMN accused the Nigerian government of treating their leader like a criminal and denying him access to the doctor with whom they had an arrangement.

They also claimed that El-Zakzaky was denied free movement and was monitored by heavy security surveillance in India.


‘We Were Brought To Another Detention’, El-Zakzaky Speaks On Situation In Indian Hospital [Full Transcript]
FG Accuses El-Zakzaky Of ‘Unruly Behaviour’, Apologises To India
The Problem El-Zakzaky Encountered In Delhi Has Been Resolved – IMN Spokesman


Treatment Turned Controversy


El-Zakzaky had also narrated his ordeal in the foreign country, saying the condition in India was worse than that of Nigeria.

“We saw that we were practically brought to another detention facility which is even stricter than the one we were in back in Nigeria. They came here with police armed with guns and a lot of staff from the Nigerian embassy. And we also noticed we were brought into another detention that we only came based on trust.

“Even in Nigeria, they agreed where we were detained that we would be treated only by the doctors we choose and are comfortable with allowing to treat us. But here we understand that the doctors that advised us to come here are blocked from having any say in our case,” the IMN leader had said.

The Nigerian Government, in its response, denied the allegations by the IMN and its leader.

Instead, the government accused the Shiite leader of becoming unruly at the hospital in New Delhi and apologised to the Indian authorities.

It insisted that the allegations were “foul cry”, saying claims that El-Zakzaky was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

The government said the IMN leader was allowed to embark on the trip with state officials in line with the court order and his choice to be accompanied by his aides and personal doctors were not opposed.

It added that the IMN leader chose the hospital where he was admitted in India, but he began to display “ulterior motives” against laid down procedures.


Return After Stalemate


After the exchange of blames from both sides, spokesperson for the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, told Channels Television that the controversy El-Zakzaky’s treatment in India had been resolved.

Barely a day after the interview, Musa said the IMN leader and his wife have embarked on a trip back to Nigeria.

He explained that the decision was as a result of lack of a breakthrough in the impasse that ensued regarding El-Zakzaky’s treatment in India.

“It is clear to us that the Nigerian government interference and the scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision as ordered by the court are the direct cause of the impasse,” he said.

El-Zakzaky and his wife are facing an eight-count of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace at the Kaduna State High Court.

The charges were filed against them by the Kaduna State Government and the duo were first arraigned in May 2018.

Following their return to the country from India, it is unclear what the next line of action would be.

Atiku, PDP Insist Buhari Not Qualified To Contest Presidential Election

Presidential Election Tribunal Adjourns Till August 21

 

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, and his party has insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari was not qualified to have contested the poll and as such, should be disqualified by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.

Besides, the petitioners in their final address to the Tribunal insisted that they have proved all allegations contained in their petition against the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a 43-page final address filed Wednesday by their lead counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Levy Uzoukwu, Atiku and PDP claimed to have established the fact that Buhari does not possess the requisite academic qualification for the position of President of Nigeria.

The petitioners said even President Buhari’s own witnesses, under cross-examination, admitted to the fact that Buhari does not possess a school certificate, being the basic requirements for contesting for the office of the president.

“We, therefore, submit that all the purported evidence led by the second respondent (Buhari) to prove that he attended a secondary school or a primary school, or that he attended some courses, is irrelevant because he did not rely on any of those purported qualifications in exhibit P1; he relied on primary school certificate, WASC and Officer Cadet,” the petitioners said.

They added, “Equally futile is his attempt to prove that he can speak and write in the English language. That is all irrelevant to his inability to produce his primary school certificate, secondary school certificate or WASC and his Officer Cadet qualification, whatever that means. Officer Cadet is not a qualification or certificate under the Constitution and Electoral Act; nor is it known to any law.”

READ ALSO: El-Zakzaky, Wife Expected In Nigeria Today

On the Cambridge University certificate tendered by the President before the Tribunal, the petitioners asked why, “It was easier for Buhari to go all the way to Cambridge in the United Kingdom to obtain bogus documents that his own witnesses said was not a certificate, instead of just driving down the street in Abuja to the Army Headquarters or placing a phone call to the Secretary of the Military Board in Abuja to hurry over with his certificate or certificates?”

They also submitted, “A comparison of the purported Cambridge Assessment International Education Certifying Statement of the purported West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate and a certified true copy of the purported confidential result sheet of the University of Cambridge West African School Certificate of 1961 for the Provincial Secondary School, Katsina reveals many discrepancies in the suppose result.

“One listed eight subjects that the candidate therein mentioned one ‘Mohamed Buhari’ allegedly sat for, the other six subjects. Both documents are, therefore, unreliable as both cannot be correct. The contradiction must count against the second respondent.

Another claim by Buhari, according to the petitioners, is false is that he attended, “Elementary School, Daura and Mai Aduwa 1948-52.”

They said, “Elementary School Daura is totally different from Mai Aduwa, their locations are totally different. He also claimed he entered Middle School Katsina in 1953.”

The petitioners submitted that by 1953, the Middle School system had been abolished in the northern region of the country.

On the claim that his certificates were with the military, the petitioners submitted that the President failed woefully to prove the claim, “rather the petitioners’ evidence to the contrary was neither contested nor challenged.”

It is also the case of the petitioners that they have successfully proved that the Nigerian Army had denied being in possession of President Buhari’s certificates.

“One of the strongest evidence on the issue was given by the second respondent’s own witness, RW1, General Paul Tafa, (Rtd), who under cross-examination by the first respondent (INEC), told the court firmly and unequivocally that the army did not collect the certificates of military officers and added, ‘there was no such thing”.

On the issue of rigging and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, the petitioners said with the plethora of evidence tendered and witnesses called, they have been able to show to the Tribunal that Buhari’s election was invalid.

They added that analysis of results from 11 states showed how INEC allegedly connived with Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to “wrongly and unlawfully” credit him with votes not valid or lawful.

According to them, documents tendered before the Tribunal showed huge discrepancies between collated results as contained in the tendered certified true copies of forms EC8A and polling units.

They further alleged that a total of 2,906,384 votes were cancelled across the country, while 2,698,773 Nigerians were disenfranchised.

Atiku and the PDP said both figures, when added, exceeded the 3, 928,869 differential between the votes as stated in INEC’s form EC8E.

Hong Kong Protesters Face Crucial Weekend Test After Airport Setback

Trucks and armoured personnel carriers are seen parked at the Shenzhen Bay stadium in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong in China’s southern Guangdong province, on August 16, 2019. STR / AFP

 

 

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move.

Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.

Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.

The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said there would not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which hundreds — or even thousands — are believed to have been killed, if Beijing moves to quash the protests.

“The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” it said, insisting the country now had more sophisticated approaches.

It was a rare reference to the bloody events, which are taboo in China.

Hong Kong’s protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for ten consecutive weekends.

For most of that time, US President Donald Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the unrest but began speaking up this week, suggesting any potential trade deal with Beijing could be upended by a violent response from the mainland.

Speaking on Thursday, Trump urged Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet protesters and solve the crisis “humanely”.

If Xi sat down with the protesters, Trump said, “I’ll bet he’d work it out in 15 minutes.”

– Huge Sunday rally planned –

Activists are now planning to hold a major rally on Sunday, which is being billed as a “rational, non-violent” protest designed to show the movement still maintains broad public support after suffering a setback earlier in the week.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked passengers from boarding flights at the city’s airport and later assaulted two men they accused of being Chinese spies.

The shocking images damaged a movement that until then had largely only targeted the police or government institutions, and prompted some soul-searching among protesters.

China’s propaganda apparatus seized on the violence, with state-media churning out a deluge of condemnatory articles, pictures and videos.

Sunday’s rally is being put together by the Civil Human Rights Front, a protest group that advocates non-violence and has previously been the driving force behind record-breaking rallies in June and July that saw hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets.

“This coming Sunday should be another million-strong march. Hong Kong people can’t be defeated, Hong Kongers soldier on,” prominent pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo wrote on Facebook.

But the likelihood of renewed clashes over the weekend remains high.

On Saturday, activists have vowed to gather in Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan — two harbourside districts popular with mainland Chinese tourists — despite police banning their proposed marches.

And while police have given permission for protesters on Sunday to rally in a major park on the island, they have forbidden demonstrators from marching through the city.

Previous bans in the last few weeks have simply been ignored by demonstrators, leading to running battles with riot police.

Authorities say they have been compelled to ban recent rallies because of increasing violence used by hardcore protesters, who have often targeted police stations alone their marching routes with bricks, slingshots and Molotov cocktails.

– Trump urges peaceful resolution –

Hong Kong maintains freedoms unknown on the authoritarian mainland under a 50-year deal that came into effect when the former colony was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

Many Hong Kongers say those liberties are being eroded and have hit the streets in huge numbers in recent years.

Yet their demands to elect their own leaders and halt sliding freedoms have fallen on deaf ears.

The current protests are the biggest threat to Beijing’s authority since the handover and as violence has escalated, party leaders have only hardened their tone.

In a new editorial on Friday, the staunchly nationalist state-run Global Times said it was “imperative then for the central government to take direct actions” if the “riots intensify”.

Sudan To Launch Historic Transition To Civilian Rule

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 21, 2019, Sudanese activist Eythar Gubara (L), walks in front of a mural painting of Mohamed Mattar, on the wall of a youth club in Bahri in the capital Khartoum’s northern district. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

 

Sudan’s military rulers and protest leaders on Saturday are scheduled to sign a landmark deal reached after a bloody uprising which is meant to pave the way for civilian rule.

The ceremony will officialise a constitutional declaration inked on August 4 between the country’s Transitional Military Council and the opposition coalition of the Alliance for Freedom and Change.

The deal brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that saw masses mobilise against president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in April after 30 years in power.

The deal brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia was welcomed with relief by both sides, with protesters celebrating what they saw as the victory of their “revolution” and generals taking credit for averting civil war.

While the compromise meets several of the protest camp’s key demands, its terms leave the military with ample powers and its future civilian government with dauting challenges.

With Saturday’s official signing of the transitional documents, Sudan will kick off a process that will include important immediate first steps.

The composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council is to be announced Sunday, followed two days later by the naming of a prime minister.

On Thursday, protest leaders agreed to nominate former senior UN official Abdalla Hamdok as prime minister.

The veteran economist, who stepped down last year as deputy executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa, is to be formally selected on August 20, a statement said.

The cabinet is to be unveiled on August 28, with the newly-appointed ministers due to meet the sovereign council on September 1 for the first time.

Elections must be held after the 39-month transitional period that began on August 4.

– Just paper? –

Until then, the country of 40 million people will be ruled by the 11-member sovereign council and a government, which will — the deal makes clear — be dominated by civilians.

However, the interior and defence ministers are to be chosen by military members of the council.

The move towards civilian rule could lead the African Union to lift a suspension slapped on Sudan in June after a bloody crackdown on a sit-in in Khartoum.

The legislative body to be formed within three months will be at least 40 percent female, reflecting the significant role played by women in the protest movement.

The paramilitary force and intelligence services blamed for some of the worst abuses under Bashir and against the protesters are to be brought under the authority of the army and sovereign council respectively.

With many issues still unaddressed, however, observers warn that describing the latest events as ‘successful regime change’ would be premature.

“Political dynamics will matter more than pieces of paper,” said Rosalind Marsden from London’s Chatham House think tank.

“The biggest challenge facing the government will be dismantling the Islamist deep state… which took control of all state institutions and key sectors of the economy, including hundreds of businesses owned by the military-security apparatus.”

– Whitewashing –

The rise of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo — who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and became deputy head of the military council that seized power from Bashir — as Sudan’s new military strongman is causing some concern.

He has close ties to Gulf monarchies, has amassed huge wealth since wresting control of gold mines in western Sudan and was a leader of the infamous Janjaweed militia accused of a genocidal campaign in the Darfur region.

The fate of deposed ruler Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court over Darfur, is also unclear.

He is due to appear in a Khartoum court on corruption charges on Saturday.

Some within the protest camp feel the power-sharing deal did not do enough to curb the powers of the military and guarantee justice for demonstrators killed by security forces.

The whitewashing in recent days of walls that bore some of the many murals painted during the protests has been seen as a bad omen.

“The signals we are getting tell us that there is no real change, no real freedom,” graffiti artist Lotfy Abdel Fattah told AFP.

Various rebel groups from marginalised regions such as Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan will be absent from Saturday’s ceremony.

The Sudan Revolutionary Front that unites these movements backed the protest movement but rejected the constitutional declaration, demanding representation in the government and more guarantees on peace talks.

AFP

Indonesia’s Widodo Pledges Capital Move, Economic Boost

 

Indonesian leader Joko Widodo said Friday he would press on with plans to move the nation’s capital and roll out measures to kickstart Southeast Asia’s biggest economy as it feels the sting of slowing global growth.

In a sweeping state-of-the-nation address, Widodo asked parliament to sign off on a plan to move the capital to Borneo, shifting Indonesia’s political heart from traffic-clogged megacity Jakarta — one of the fastest-sinking cities on the planet.

“I’m asking for your permission to relocate our capital to the island of Kalimantan,” Widodo told lawmakers, referring to Indonesia’s portion of Borneo.

“A capital is not only a symbol of a nation’s identity, it also represents its progress,” he added.

Widodo did not reveal a specific location for the country’s new capital or new details about when the move could happen.

Speaking a day before the 74th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence, the recently re-elected leader said his second term would focus on cutting red tape and luring more foreign investment.

He pledged to boost lagging productivity, turn Indonesia into an electric-vehicle hub and focus on improving worker skills in the sprawling country of some 260 million people.

“We have to be faster and better than our neighbours,” he said.

“We’re facing a tumultuous global economy and geopolitical change.”

Indonesia’s president is expected to unveil next year’s budget later Friday.

Widodo struggled to lift growth in his first term despite a huge roads-to-railways infrastructure building blitz.

The economy has been expanding around five percent annually, but that is well short of the seven percent Widodo had pledged in his first term.

This week, it posted its slowest rate of quarterly growth in two years.

Resource-rich Indonesia is grappling with weaker prices for commodities like coal and palm oil, as the global economy falters on the back of US President Donald Trump’s intensifying trade war with China.

Landslide Leaves 17 Missing In China

This photo taken on August 15, 2019 shows a landslide which covered railway tracks in Ganluo in China’s southwestern Sichuan province.

 

 

More than a dozen workers remained missing Friday after a landslide in southwest China buried a section of railway that was under repair, according to state media. 

The 17 missing people were carrying out maintenance work on the track Wednesday when the hill above them gave way, China Daily reported.

The landslide in Ganluo county in Sichuan province happened very quickly, a witness told the newspaper.

“I spotted a strange movement on the mountain slope after a truck passed. And I shouted, telling everyone to run away,” said Chen Kun, an official from the China Railway Chengdu Group.

“The rocks and mud fell within two or three seconds…while we were running, we could feel rocks chasing us,” Chen told China Daily.

Rescue operations are under way with 11 workers pulled from the rubble that buried 70 metres (yards) of track, the newspaper said.

The area has been hit by several landslides this summer as massive rains cause hills in the mountainous region to collapse.

Elsewhere in China a wet summer has claimed lives.

Last week at least 18 people were killed in a landslide triggered by torrential downpours in the coastal city of Wenzhou as Typhoon Lekima pounded cities along China’s eastern seaboard.

In July, at least 42 died in a landslide which buried a village in Guizhou province, with a thick torrent of mud burying 22 houses.

AFP

North Korea Fires Projectiles, Rejects Dialogue With South

Replicas of a North Korean Scud-B missile (R) and South Korea’s Nike missile (L) are displayed at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul on August 16, 2019. Jung Yeon-je / AFP 

 

North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into the sea on Friday and launched a scathing attack on “foolish” calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, rejecting further peace talks with the South.

It was the sixth round of launches in recent weeks in protest at ongoing joint military drills between Seoul and the US. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described the tests as a “solemn warning” to the South.

Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, which it considers rehearsals for invasion, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the manoeuvres are taking place.

The South Korean military said the projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon, and flew some 230 kilometres (143 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan, which is also known as the East Sea.

The latest test came as the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said it rejected comments by Moon on Thursday outlining his desire for unification, and said it had nothing more to discuss with the South.

It called Moon — who has long favoured dialogue with the North — an “impudent guy rare to be found”, for hoping for a resumption of inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.

In a speech on Thursday marking the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 rule, Moon outlined a goal of “achieving peace and unification by 2045”, although his single five-year term presidency ends in 2022.

“His speech deserves the comments ‘foolish commemorative speech’,” the North said in its statement.

“We have nothing to talk any more with the south Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” it added.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said the North’s comments are not “consistent” with the spirit of inter-Korean agreements, including the Panmunjom Declaration signed by Moon and Kim in April last year.

“We want to clearly point out that (the comments) won’t help the improvement of inter-Korean relations at all,” a ministry official added.

The joint US-South Korea drills have been held for years but were scaled down to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

But the North threatened last week to carry out more weapons tests following the start of the latest joint drills between Seoul and Washington, which began on Aug.5.

Moon has played down the North’s recent tests, even suggesting potential inter-Korean economic projects as a way to tackle the South’s ongoing trade row with Japan, prompting critics to accuse him of having a “peace fantasy”.

The exact type of projectiles fired Friday was still not clear but Seoul has described most of the previous launches as short-range ballistic missiles, while Pyongyang has said some were a “large-calibre multiple-launch guided rocket system”.

The North is banned from ballistic missile launches under UN Security Council resolutions.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South was “monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture”.

The tests come as plans to resume working-level talks between the North and Washington appear to have stalled.

After a year of mutual threats and mounting tension, US President Donald Trump and Kim held a historic summit in Singapore last year, where both leaders signed a vague pledge to work towards “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

A second summit in Hanoi in February broke up amid disagreements over sanctions relief and concessions from the North.

The two leaders then agreed to resume nuclear talks during an impromptu June meeting in the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula.

Pyongyang recently said nuclear talks will be “strictly” between the North and the US, refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South, having accused Seoul of posing as a “meddlesome mediator” following the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

South Korean authorities are “snooping about to fish in troubled waters in the future DPRK-US dialogue”, the North’s statement said Friday, “dreaming that the phase of dialogue would naturally arrive” once the joint Seoul-Washington military drills are over.

But Moon Jae-in “had better drop that senseless lingering attachment,” it said.

AFP

Court Jails Nine Oil Thieves In Port Harcourt

Bauchi Assembly Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo

 

Justice A.T. Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced nine people.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reveal this in a statement on Thursday.

According to it, those convicted were arraigned on Wednesday before the judge who sentenced them to two years imprisonment with an option of fine of N100, 000 each for illegal dealing in petroleum products.

Those convicted are Ndubisi Ebezim, Eze Igwe Charlse, Kingsley Nwosu, Chukwuman Odum, Sunday Josiah, Mohammed Yahaya, Najib Abubaka, Abubaka Idi, and Babagida Jiddah.

They were arraigned on a one-count separate charge bordering on illegal dealing in petroleum products contrary to Section 4 (1) of the petroleum Act, CAP P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, and punishable under Section 4(6) the same Act.

READ ALSO: ‘Nigerians Don’t Deserve To Suffer’, PDP Asks Buhari To Rescind CBN Directive

The charge read: “That you Babagida Jiddah, being the driver on board a truck with registration number BER 844 XR, on or about the 4th May, 2019 at Igbo Etete in Port Harcourt within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court deal in petroleum product to wit loading and transporting illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), without appropriate licence or authority and thereby committed an offence contrary to  Section 4 (1) of the Petroleum Act, CAP P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, and punishable under Section 4(6) the same Act”.

They all pleaded “guilty” when the charges were read to them.

“In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsels:  S. Chime; F.O. Amama; A. Osu and A.N Dodo, prayed the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.

“Defence counsels, O.N.Ofordile; C.O. Okpute, W.A. Ugwu, did not oppose the prayers of the prosecution,” the statement said.

Justice Mohammed, thereafter, convicted and sentenced the defendants to two years imprisonment with an option of fine.

He also ordered that the petroleum products they were caught with be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The convicts’ journey to prison started when they were intercepted by Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Port Harcourt in 2017, 2018 and 2019 at different locations in the Rivers State capital.

They were said to be loading and distributing AGO using different trucks without appropriate licenses.

‘Nigerians Don’t Deserve To Suffer’, PDP Asks Buhari To Rescind CBN Directive

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation.

In a statement Thursday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the directive was an attempt to stifle food importation in the country.

According to it, such directive is mean, ill-timed and completely against the wellbeing of Nigerians.

The statement said, “The PDP states strongly that Nigerians do not, in any way, deserve such suffering being foisted on them by such directive on food.

“This directive will worsen food scarcity, exacerbate the already harsh economic situation and the general depression, frustration, resentment and despair in our country under President Buhari’s watch.”

“It is indeed appalling that instead of bringing solutions to the depreciating living conditions in our nation, President Buhari is rather imposing more suffering by ordering the removal of subsidy on food even when it is manifestly clear that he had failed on all fronts to achieve any level of food security despite the huge resources available to his administration,” it added.

READ ALSO: Don’t Give A Cent To Anybody To Import Food Into The Country, Buhari Tells CBN

The party said by the directive, the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have demonstrated “insensitivity” towards millions of Nigerians.

It added that the people were already suffering “acute hunger and starvation” due to “severe” food shortage and high prices allegedly brought by the present administration.

Such a situation, according to the PDP, will breed further despondency among the citizens and heighten the security challenges in the country.

It also said the directive would put more pressure on compatriots, adding that some were already resorting to suicide and slavery mission as options.

“Instead of removing subsidy on food and putting more suffering on Nigerians, the PDP urges President Buhari to cut the billions of naira being wasted on luxuries in his Presidency and free the funds for the welfare of the masses.

“Furthermore, the PDP urges President Buhari to recover the over N14 trillion siphoned by APC interests under his administration including the stolen N9 trillion detailed in the leaked NNPC memo and channel the resources towards food security for Nigerians,” the opposition party alleged.

The PDP insisted that it was a disservice to Nigerians for the government to place restrictive directives on food for the masses.

It, therefore, asked the President to rescind his directive “before it inflicts more damage on the polity”.

El-Zakzaky, Wife Expected In Nigeria Today

Court To Rule On El-Zakzaky's Bail Application August 5
A file photo of Mr Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

 

 

The embattled leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife,  Zeenat are expected back to  Nigeria from India where they had gone for medical treatment three days ago.

Their hasty return to the country, according to the spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, followed their inability to resolve the impasse that ensued in their treatment with doctors at Medanta hospital, New Delhi, India.

Musa, in a short statement sent to Channels Television on Friday, said El-Zakzaky and his wife left  India at about 4:30am local time via Emirates Airline.

READ ALSO: El-Zakzaky Is On His Way Back To Nigeria – IMN Spokesman

According to him, the airline is likely to make a stopover in Dubai before proceeding to Nigeria where they are expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at about mid-day.

The IMN spokesman claimed that the Nigerian Government’s interference and scuttling of the whole process rather than supervision, as ordered by the Kaduna State High Court, was the direct cause of the impasse between the Shiite leader and the Indian medical doctors.

El-Zakzaky and his wife had both left Nigeria for New Delhi on Monday, one week after the court granted them permission to travel to India for medical treatment.

Barely one day after their arrival at the hospital, the trip turned controversial as the IMN leader and the Shiite group accused the Nigerian government of denying him access to the doctor with whom they had an arrangement.

In its reacting, the government accused the Shiite leader of becoming unruly at the hospital in New Delhi and apologised to the Indian authorities.

It said the allegations were “foul cry”, adding that claims El-Zakzaky was held in circumstances worse than he was in Nigeria should be disregarded.

‘Prison Doesn’t Reform People,’ Williams Lauds Assent To Correctional Service Act

'Prison Doesn't Reform People,' Williams Lauds Assent To Correctional Service Act
Bishop Kayode Williams

 

 

The Director-General of Prison Rehabilitation Mission International (PREMI), Bishop Kayode Williams, has commended the presidential assent to the Nigeria Correctional Services Act.

According to him, there is a powerful force behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s action, particularly the renaming of the Nigerian Prisons Service to Nigeria Correctional Service.

“Prison doesn’t reform people, they will tell you their duty is to reform. How will they reform?” the clergyman questioned on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.


He said, “When you talk of prison, prison is confinement where people are kept for custody and if you look at the crest of the prison service, you will see keys as their symbol – two keys which show that the main target of the prison officers is to open and lock a prisoner.

“When you talk about correctional service, you want to educate the people. You don’t just lock them, keep them there; you want to reform them, you want to change their way of life before, you sincerely want to believe that these people can become productive. Because it is no more prison now, I am a happy man today.”

A Five-Star Hotel

Bishop Williams, however, said the implementation of the Act should not just be about the change of name but affect the operations of the service as a whole.

He noted that he was once in Netherlands and Poland where prisons were closed down and turned into “a five-star hotel”.

READ ALSO: There Has Been A Capture Of CBN Politically – Mailafia

A file photo of President Buhari signing a document.

 

 

The PREMI DG said there is a need to train prison officers who are now correctional workers and sensitise them on issues of correctional services.

“It is different from the system they are coming from and that is why I’m congratulating the President for taking the bull by the horn, it’s not easy,” he noted.

The cleric added, “I am telling you that the aim of the prison authority is to keep a criminal behind the bar and lock him up like an animal in the zoo because they believe he cannot do well, he is sent here to be punished for the wrong he has done.

“But when you say correctional, you are sending the inmate to a correctional service. There’s nobody that cannot change, you need somebody who can show the face of a human being in talking to an offender.

“He has offended, he has done wrong, he has been a killer before, he has done so many evil things; but you want to change him, two wrongs cannot make a right. You cannot just chain him down, chain his hands, push food to him. A correctional officer will sit down with an inmate and talk to him.”

The society, according to Bishop Williams, keeps the convicted fellows off from the system which makes them hardened.

He urged the government to address the issue, stressing that the public needed to be sensitised about discriminating against ex-convicts.


The bishop noted that he once served a jail term for about a decade, reiterating that the presidential assent to the Act has given him joy.

“I have been in prison for 10 years and that is why I’m happy today that in my lifetime, the name prison can be removed and a correctional institute substituted by Mr President.

“The bill that was signed into law by Mr President yesterday (Wednesday) was categorised into two categories. There is going to be segregation now that it is a correctional institute because you cannot be correcting an awaiting trial.

“A man who is not guilty is still on trial, why should you mingle him with hardened offenders? You are first of all going to try him so there is going to be a segregation of inmates,” said Bishop Williams.