Attorney General’s Absence Stalls Dasuki’s Suit Hearing

dasukiThe hearing of a suit filed by the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, seeking an enforcement of an order by a Federal High Court granting him permission to travel overseas for medical treatment, has been stalled.

Hearing stalled on Monday following the absence of the Attorney General of the federation.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Taiwo Abidogun, told the court that the Attorney General of the Federation needed time to study the case file, having just being sworn in as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

The application for adjournment by the Solicitor General was, however, not opposed by the lawyer to Colonel Dasuki.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola subsequently adjourned the suit to 23 November for hearing.

‘Impunity’

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Friday ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before it on Monday, 16 November, to explain why the order of the court granting permission to the former National Security Adviser to travel was being flouted.

Despite the court’s order, officials of the Department of State Service (DSS) have sustained siege to Colonel Dasuki’s residence, preventing him from travelling.

On Saturday, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum condemned the continuous invasion and occupation of the Abuja residence of former National Security Adviser.

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, the National President of the forum, Yerima Shettima, described the act as impunity and total disregard to the rule of law on the part of the Federal Government.

Northern Youths Condemn DSS Siege To Dasuki’s House

Northern Youth Condemn SSS Invasion Of Dasuki’s HouseThe Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has condemned the continuous invasion and occupation of the Abuja residence of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna on Saturday, the National President of the forum, Yerima Shettima, described the act as impunity and total disregard to the rule of law on the part of the Federal Government.

No Justification

The forum noted that the incessant harassment of the former NSA and other staunch opposition party members by DSS officials is an ominous sign of imminent return of dictatorship and draconian rule in Nigeria.

Mr Shettima, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to check the excesses of those behind the continuous harassment of Dasuki and call them to order, as such overzealousness by the President’s men was inimical to the image of his administration.

According to the group, there is no justification for the DSS officials to ignore an order by a competent court granting the former NSA leave to travel abroad for treatment. It warned that on no account should the right of the former army officer be violated by some overzealous security officials any longer.

The forum also described as worrisome the continuous selective arrest and trial of some former top government officials from the opposition party for alleged corruption, stating that such anomaly portrays a bad image for a government that preaches rule of law and equal justice.

It nonetheless, advised President Buhari to be magnanimous in victory, act like a leader and father of all Nigerians by calling on those working closely with him to order instead of allowing such people to dent the image of his administration.

The forum also faulted the appointments made so far by President Buhari, saying that the appointments were against the youth and some sections of Nigeria.

Arewa Youth Vow To Reject Confab Recommendations

The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum on Friday vowed to reject whatever recommendations and resolutions that will come out of the ongoing National Conference because President Goodluck Jonathan and state governors single handedly handpicked their loyalists as delegates, rather than allowing the people to choose those to represent them.shettimma

The forum said the mode of selection of delegates has already discredited the conference and its outcome, since the delegates did not represent the interest of the larger number of Nigerians.

Addressing a press conference at the end of a two day special summit for northern youths and student leaders in Kaduna, President of the forum, Yerima Shettima frowned at the criteria of selecting delegates to the conference that saw the south allocated 272 delegates while the north had 220 despite its large land mass and population.

It therefore called for the conduct of a fresh and credible national conference that will reflect the interest of many Nigerians. It also added that the ongoing conference amounts to a brutal incursion into the sovereignty of the constitution that vests such powers in the National Assembly, while stating that those representing the north in the national conference betray true representation of the youths of the region as they don’t have the support of the generality of the people.

The youths also lamented on the poor state of education and high rate of poverty in the north, which it said was as result of bad leadership and indifference to genuine policies,  programmes on agriculture and education.

On the security challenges confronting the north east and north central zones, the forum lamented the spate killing of innocent youths by security agents and Boko Haram sect members, while little or no action has been taken by present and past leaders of the region to address the problem.

Other issues raised by the forum is the disposition of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to conduct free and fair elections in 2015 and therefore wants the National Assembly to come up with a law for the reconstitution of an independent electoral body whose members would be elected through a referendum by the people ahead of the election.

Group Urges Military To Storm North East With ‘Full Blast’

The National Secretary General of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Ahmed Sulaiman, on Thursday urged the Nigerian Military to increase its presence in the North East, where there have been several deadly attacks on citizens, by members of the Boko Haram sect.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Sulaiman who said that more military presence was needed in the NorthEast, added that the current situation required that the Nigerian military comes out in full blast to fight the insurgents.

He said that fighting the Boko Haram insurgency is a “daunting task” as it is very difficult to track down “an enemy, who has the whole place, picks and choose how he comes after you.”

“It has always been the same pockets of operators. They sneak around you and they hit you when you don’t expect. Today they hit in Yobe, tomorrow, they hit in Adamawa. The next day they will hit somewhere else. So, they keep you chasing ghosts.

“You need more military presence. I think, at this point in time, they need to really come out full blast.”

He advised that adequate efforts be made at sensitizing the communities on their activities.

He referred to the Holocaust in Germany and how Jews were being combed out through a door-to-door search. “The military and other security agents of Hitler were around in the whole of Germany. They were combing about 1 million Jews and they managed to get hold of a lot of Jews.”

He also decried the perception by some Nigerians who treat issues in different regions as the problem of those there.

He raised the issue of inadequate intelligence and data on the part of Government. “We have a community where the President or any other government institution does not have the statistics of how many citizens in figures.”

Sulaiman further attributed the crisis in the nation to ethnic bias which makes citizens identify themselves, first by their ethnicity, before their nationality.

Speaking on the National Conference, he argued that the “constitution of this country, whether anybody likes it or not, has to be revisited.”

He added, “A new constitution has to be in the making. The longer we take, the longer and the harder the problems become.”

Ethnic Stakeholders Say National Conference Would Be A Waste Without Referendum

Representatives of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups have commended the Federal Government for the planned National Conference, but not without some clamouring that resolutions at the conference be subjected to a referendum by the people and not the National Assembly.

Politics Today on Channels Television played host to the President of Igbo socio-political group, Aka-Ikenga, Mr, Goddy Uwazuruike; the President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima and the Spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin.

Odumakin commended the Federal Government for the structure of the modalities for the conference as he referred to it as “a big improvement from the initial recommendation” by the presidential committee.

He noted that if the government had followed the recommendations of the Presidential Committee, the essence of the National Conference would have been lost. He said that the panel’s recommendation was faulty. “Asking that representation at the conference should be by Federal Constituencies is a blunder, as the make-up of these Federal Constituencies is one of the reasons why the country needs the conference in the first place,” he stressed.

Mr. Uwazuruike, while agreeing with Odumakin, also said that the basis for the conference was the dissatisfaction of various people who are seeking to know where they stand in the state of affairs insisting that the beauty of the National Conference, as planned by the Government, was that what the Executive and Legislature  believed would be of no impact but what the people want.

No Go Area

Mr Shettima, while also commending the Federal Government for accepting that there was need for Nigerians to discuss, also supported the clause that the indivisibility of Nigeria would not be discussed; acknowledging that the Government had a right to determine how they want the conference to go.

Although, Odumakin also agreed that it was a good idea that the Federal Government wants to protect the unity of Nigeria, he however frowned at the statement credited to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable.

He said: “That is not right.” He argued that Nigeria had been together for so long and that the people must be able to negotiate the terms of their unity. According to him, “Discussing our differences will not break us. We should not be afraid”.

Odumakin warned that what could lead to the breakup was “when we do not discuss the terms of our unity.” He added: “Pretending that we are united is like postponing the evil day.”

Mr Uwazuruike, who is also a lawyer, provided the legal framework for the decision of the Presidency. He explained that according to the Nigerian Constitution, “a President swears an oath to not initiate the divisibility of Nigeria, and President Jonathan is bound by his oath of office to ensure the continued unity of the country.

“Initiating a gathering to discuss the matter, therefore, will be going against the Nigerian Constitution and his oath of office.

“Also, it will mean asking for a revolution and when that happens, it is his office and the parliament that will first have to go,” the lawyer said.

He submitted that Mr. President was on the right track and that if anyone wanted a revolution, it would not be the President that should instigate it.

Shettima called on Nigerians to take advantage of the whole conference even if it was not the solution to all of Nigerians’ problems, as he was sure that the country would move forward from where it was.

The Referendum

There are questions about the criteria for the selection of representatives at the National Conference expected to have 492 representatives from different parts of the country.

Mr Shettima said that the makeup of the representation cannot be perfect since the whole idea was for it to be all inclusive, adding that the inclusion of the civil society makes it good enough.

He however noted that asides the issues of composition, there were more important problems that needed to be fixed one of which was the legitimacy of the 1999 Constitution. He said that the National Conference must be seen as an exercise towards building a brand new constitution for Nigeria.

Barrister Uwazuruike also added that the 1999 constitution truly tells a lie and offered an explanation on how the resolution of the constitution can be changed

The SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, in an earlier interview with Channels Television, had said that only the National Assembly had the powers to amend the Constitution and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Mr Odumakin further berated Mr Anyim as being ignorant. He stressed that the referendum is the key thing in the forthcoming conference, going down history lane to validate his argument.

Shettima also stressed that “as long as Nigeria retains the Constitution that gives all the power to President, with everything centralized in Abuja, things will not be better in Nigeria”. He said that all resolution at the conference must be subjected to a referendum.

“We are not asking for an amendment of the constitution, what we need is a totally new constitution,”  he stressed.

In further response to Mr Anyim’s interview, Mr Odumakin assured that there could not be chaos, as Nigerians had been together for too long that there was need to discuss. He said: “We cannot put our faith in the hands of those who created that same 1999 constitution for us after all they have done to us since.

“They have been serving themselves and now it is time for them to do what we want.” He said, adding that sovereignty lies in the people and not the National Assembly.

Uwazuruike however warned that the same 1999 Constitution was the basis for convening the conference and that it gave the details of what should be discussed and there was no referendum in its recommendation.

He added that indeed, sovereignty was in the people as earlier argued by Odumakin, but stressed that it was to be executed on their behalf through the National Assembly. He concluded with an advice to the National Assembly to pay attention to discussions at the conference and use them according to the will of the people.

Mr Odumakin said: “What is worth doing is worth doing well.”He urged Nigerians to go into the conference with the realization that “it is not to constitute us.”

Shettima warned that if the National Conference would not be subjected to a referendum, then it would have been a waste of tax payers’ money.

JACONG, Northern Elders Meet to Reposition Region Ahead Of 2015

The Joint Action Committee of Northern Groups (JACONG), a new socio-political group has emerged with a mandate to work with the northern elders’ forum, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the northern governors to improve the quality of leadership, tackle security challenges and ensure that power returns to the north in 2015.       

The publicity secretary and a member of the Boko Haram amnesty committee, Dr. Hakeem Ahmed said the group is also working towards restoring the ideals and values of past northern leaders, apart from agitating for a president of Northern extraction.

The group however debunked the claim by the Northern Youth Forum that the present and past leaders from the north were responsible for the region’s woes, adding that it will partner with political office holders to make inputs geared towards developing the region.

Groups challenge David Mark to name Boko Haram sponsors

Two Northern youth groups on Wednesday criticized the Senate President, David Mark over his recent comments urging northern leaders to check the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

The groups in a joint press statement said they “find it regrettable that David Mark, himself a northerner and occupying his present office by the grace of the North should turn round to accuse the region’s elders of being behind the crisis.”

Mr Mark had on Monday at the beginning of 2012 Senators Retreat in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom state capital called on leaders of the northern states to think properly before they allow what he called “a few selected cabals in Boko Haram” bring the north to its knees with what they are doing.

The groups, Arewa Youth Development Foundation and The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum challenged the senate president to name those he claimed are behind the sect.

“We hereby categorically challenge him to name those he claimed in his statement to be behind the terror group and to tell the world the action Mark has ever led the Senate to take towards arresting the security threat.”

The groups accused Mark of doing nothing towards resolving the Boko Haram crisis.

“It is even embarrassing for Mark, who has not for once attempted to meet with any of the elders, political leaders; religious or cultural leaders on how to resolve the situation, to now find the courage to point accusing fingers particularly at the elders”, the groups said.

Read the full text of the joint press statement below:

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT BY THE AREWA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION AND THE AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM ON SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK’S STATEMENT ON NORTHERN ELDERS

1.We read with great concern reports attributed to the Senate President David Mark tending to blame the elders of the North for the perpetration and escalation of violence in the region.

2.We find it regrettable that David Mark, himself a northerner and occupying his present office by the grace of the North should turn round to accuse the region’s elders of being behind the crisis.

3.It is unfortunate that Mark, supposedly a public figure and people’s representative should publicly admit not being aware of the concerted efforts by the Northern Elders Forum that has cut across religious and tribal boundaries; the various meetings held by the Northern Governors Forum the northern traditional rulers and various coalitions of religious leaders.

4. It is discouraging for Mark to have publicly admitted or pretended not to know that the northern elders he now accuses, have in their effort recently visited and presented a comprehensive document advising President Jonathan on how to handle the security situation.

5. It is even embarrassing for Mark, who has not for once attempted to meet with any of the elders, political leaders; religious or cultural leaders on how to resolve the situation, to now find the courage to point accusing fingers particularly at the elders.

6. We hereby categorically challenge him to name those he claimed in his statement to be behind the terror group and to tell the world the action Mark has ever led the Senate to take towards arresting the security threat.

7. Let Mark tell the world why his Senate deliberately ignored the various written calls made to it for intervention by calling for a public hearing on the matter particularly by youth groups.

8.Rather than heeding those calls, Mark’s Senate chose to pursue issues that involve money.

9. Let Mark tell the world if the northern elders have that power to restore peace beyond offering advice and calling for caution which they have been doing diligently though he pretends not to be aware of that.

10. And let Mark explain why his Senate could not initiate the steps that led to the present moves by the presidency towards changing the security arrangement while the House of Representatives did summon the President and security chiefs.

11. Indeed it is disrespectful for a son of the region in his position who has never visited any of the cities to console with victims of the violence to now attempt to blame its persistence on his own elders.

12.It is on record that Mark has never visited Maiduguri, Kano or Potiskum to console with families of the thousands of people slaughtered in the course of this violence but now finds the voice to criticise respected elders of the North.

13.More worrying is the part of Mark’s statement that tended to suggest that non-Muslims are the main target and primary victims of the attacks even after the Muslim community which has openly distanced itself from the actions, also happen to have recorded greater loss in terms of human and material casualty.

14.Even more insensitive is the manner in which Mark closed his eyes to universal fact that almost all those so far arrested in possession of explosives and dangerous arms; those arrested with the actual bombing or attempts to blow up the places of worship referred to by Mark, happen to be non-Muslims.

15.More dangerously divisive is that Mark, rather than making statements expected from leaders that could enhance religious harmony and understanding, chose to single out a certain religious group for pacification.

16.Finally, while we join other well-meaning Nigerians in condemning the violence and its perpetrators, we welcome the recent bold moves by President Jonathan to reposition the nation’s security structure, we caution the presidency to beware of the utterances of people like Mark who have clearly disconnected with the situation on ground.

17.We call on Mark to concentrate on cleaning the embarrassing scandals engulfing the Senate and stop diverting the nation with unintelligent accusations.

18.No diversionary tactic from Mark or anybody else can take the nation’s attention from the inadequacies of the Nigerian Senate with regards to sensitive national issues.

19. The nation knows that the Senate did not for instance take any action with regards to the vexed issue of fuel subsidy and that it was the Reps that even as much as showed concern.

20.We are convinced that most Senators are only using the Senate as a refuge to acquire immunity from investigations into their past commissions or omissions while in various positions of power.

21.Consequently we have resolved to launch an agitation for the scraping of the Nigerian Senate from the nation’s democratic structure as it only serves as a gateway for huge financial wastage while not performing its constitutional expectations.

SIGNED:
1.NASTURA ASHIR SHERIFF for Arewa Youth Development Foundation
2.SHETTIMA YERIMA for Arewa Youth Consultative Forum