Gowon: Reps To Invite British High Commissioner To Nigeria, Demand Apology

A photo combination of former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon and members of the House of Representatives during plenary in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has resolved to invite the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing over the recent comment made by a British lawmaker against former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon.

The planned invitation is to seek an explanation from the British envoy why no apology has been issued despite calls for same.

On November 23, a member of the British parliament accused Gowon of taking half of the money in the Central Bank of Nigeria with him when he went on exile.

But during plenary on Tuesday, the House mandated its Committee on Foreign Affairs to interface with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British parliament over the comments.

According to the House, the allegation of looting by a member of the British House of Commons against Gowon is capable of causing a crisis in Nigeria and disturbing the peace of the country.

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The resolution of the house followed a motion from a lawmaker, Yusuf Gagdi, who is from the same constituency as the former head of state.

Gagdi maintained that no evidence was provided to back the claim.

Following Gagdi’s motion, the House resolved that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila should write to the Speaker of the UK Parliament to express displeasure over the unfounded allegations.

The letter is also to demand that the Member of Parliament, who made the allegation, should offer a public apology to Gowon, as well as the people and government of Nigeria.

This comes a week after the UK Parliament criticised the Federal Government for the handling of protesters who took part in the #EndSARS demonstrations.

They also demanded sanctions on government officials such as a visa ban, freezing of assets, and stopping the funding and training for the Nigeria Police Force.

British Lawmaker Steps Down After Cocaine Scandal

 In this file photo taken on September 25, 2018, Keith Vaz, Labour MP listens to speeches on the third day of the Labour party conference in Liverpool, north west England.
In this file photo taken on September 25, 2018, Keith Vaz, Labour MP listens to speeches on the third day of the Labour party conference in Liverpool, north west England.

 

Veteran British lawmaker Keith Vaz has announced he is standing down from parliament, just weeks after he was censured in a cocaine scandal.

Vaz, who was born to Goan parents in Yemen, was first elected for the central English city of Leicester in 1987. He will not stand again in next month’s vote, he announced late Sunday.

A parliamentary watchdog last month recommended Vaz be suspended for six months for expressing a willingness to buy cocaine during an encounter with two male prostitutes.

The Sunday Mirror tabloid reported in September 2016 that Vaz, posing as an industrial washing machine salesman called Jim, invited the pair into his flat and offered to pay for cocaine for another man to use.

The watchdog said his suggestion that the men were there to discuss redecorating the London flat was “ludicrous”.

Vaz, 62, said at the time he had been treated for a serious mental health condition as a result of the incident.

 

AFP

British MPs Vote To Delay Brexit Deal Decision

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU).
PRU / AFP

 

British MPs on Saturday voted to delay a decision on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, arguing they needed more time to study its contents before an October 31 deadline.

Lawmakers backed an amendment which effectively forces Johnson to ask Brussels for an extension until January next year, while they scrutinised the proposed domestic legislation to enforce the deal.

Johnson was defiant in responding to the result, despite conceding that the so-called “meaningful vote” on his divorce agreement with Brussels “has been voided of meaning”.

But he added: “The best thing for the UK and for the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31.”

“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so,” he said.

Johnson earlier argued that further delay — more than three years after the landmark 2016 referendum to leave the bloc — would be “pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive”.

MPs could still meet the October 31 deadline when the government introduces its formal withdrawal agreement bill in parliament next week.

In opting to back a delay, they are seeking to ensure they do not run out of time debating it and deliver by accident the no-deal Brexit they oppose.

Separate legislation passed last month requires Johnson to write to the EU requesting an extension if a deal has not been passed by October 19.

Johnson has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for more time, but has also promised to obey the law.

The gathering marked parliament’s first Saturday sitting since the 1982 Falklands War.

 

British Parliament Resumes After Supreme Court Ruling

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on September 25, 2019./AFP

 

Britain’s parliament resumed on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s order to suspend it was “unlawful, void and of no effect”.

Johnson, who has vowed to press ahead with his plans for Brexit on October 31, was due to address MPs later on Wednesday.

 

Suspected Terror Attack Injures Pedestrians Outside British Parliament

A police dog team works behind the cordon around Parliament Square after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Marshall

 

A car crashed into barriers outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament in a suspected terror attack on Tuesday, injuring a “number of pedestrians” yards from where five people were killed last year.

Police said they had arrested the driver, in his late 20s, and were holding him on suspicion of terrorist offences.

“At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident,” said Scotland Yard, adding that none of the injuries are believed to be “life-threatening”.

Footage shows the silver Ford Fiesta veering across an intersection, hitting a number of cyclists and pedestrians, before speeding into a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament at 7.37 am (0637 GMT).

Another recording shows injured cyclists and pedestrians lying in the street in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

Armed officers swooped in to arrest the driver, removing him from the vehicle at gunpoint.

Later images showed police holding the man, dressed in jeans and a black puffer jacket, in handcuffs as roads and Underground stations around parliament were sealed off.

“The driver of the car, a man in his late 20s… was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences,” said police.

“There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.”

 ‘Looked intentional’ 

Police have yet to identify the suspect, who was not cooperating with detectives, said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu.

London Ambulance said they had treated a man and a woman at the scene and taken them to hospital.

The man was later discharged, while the woman remained in hospital, where she was being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Basu.

Prime Minister Theresa May, currently in Switzerland, tweeted that her “thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster”.

Government officials will hold a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee at 2.00 pm.

Witness Ewalina Ochab told the Press Association that the incident “looked intentional”.

“I was walking on the other side. I heard some noise and someone screamed,” she said.

“I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.

“I think it looked intentional — the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”

 ‘Loud bang’ 

Eyewitness Jason Williams, 45, also said that the incident looked deliberate.

“I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament. It hit a bollard,” he told the Press Association.

“It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city.

“The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack,” he said.

Westminster was the scene of a terror attack last year, when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, drove a car at pedestrians on a bridge over the River Thames, before fatally stabbing a policeman on guard outside parliament.

The attack left five people dead and around 50 injured, and only ended when police shot Masood dead.

Britain endured a tumultuous period following the March 22 rampage, with four further terror attacks within months.

Twenty-two people — including children — were killed in a bomb attack at Manchester Arena on May 22 and eight people were killed weeks later when a van ploughed into people on London Bridge.

Far-right extremist Darren Osborne killed one man after ramming his van into Muslim worshippers in north London on June 19, while 51 people were injured when Ahmed Hassan, 18, planted an explosive device, that partially exploded on an Underground train.

AFP

British Parliament Demand Zuckerberg Testify On Data Row, Reject Deputy

May Promises "Proper" Investigation Into London Fire
FILE PHOTO British Prime Minister, Theresa May before parliament

 

British MPs renewed a demand on Tuesday to interview Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg personally over a data privacy row after he responded to an earlier request by offering to send one of his deputies.

Damian Collins, the chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture and media committee, said that the seriousness of the allegations meant it was “appropriate” for Zuckerberg to offer an explanation himself, whether in person or via video link.

In a letter published by the committee on Tuesday, a senior British Facebook executive offered to send chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer or chief product officer Chris Cox to London next month.

“We’d be very happy to invite Mr Cox to give evidence,” Collins said at the start of a committee hearing on Tuesday.

“However we would still like to hear from Mr Zuckerberg as well.

“We will seek to clarify with Facebook whether he is available to give evidence or not, because that wasn’t clear from our correspondence, and if he is available to give evidence then we would be happy to do that either in person or via video link if that would be more convenient for him.”

In the letter to Collins, Rebecca Stimson, head of public policy for Facebook UK, wrote: “Facebook fully recognizes the level of public and parliamentary interest in these issues and support your belief that these issues must be addressed at the most senior levels of the company by those in an authoritative position to answer your questions.

“As such Mr Zuckerberg has personally asked one of his deputies to make themselves available to give evidence in person to the committee.”

She said either Schroepfer or Cox could attend “straight after the Easter parliamentary recess”, meaning April 16 at the earliest.

The committee’s request to Facebook followed allegations that data from up to 50 million users was harvested by a British company, Cambridge Analytica, for use in election campaigns, namely that of US President Donald Trump in 2016.

The social media giant said it did not know the data was being used in a political campaign, although it did allow an academic researcher to create an app that picked up the information from users and their friends.

In the letter, Stimson revealed that Facebook was working with regulators around the world to assess how many people in each country were affected.

“We can now confirm that around one percent of the global downloads of the app came from users in the EU, including the UK,” she wrote.

AFP

British Parliament Summons Facebook’s Boss, Zuckerkerberg On Data Row

Facebook Suicide, Murder Videos Heart-breaking - Zuckerberg
FILE PHOTO Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

 

A British parliamentary committee on Tuesday asked Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to appear before it to explain in person claims that millions of users’ data was harvested for political campaigns.

Damian Collins, chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sports committee, wrote to Zuckerberg asking for his own account of “this catastrophic failure of process”.

The request was made as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into a fake news, which saw its members last month visit Washington for hearings with officials from Facebook and Twitter.

But it follows allegations that data from up to 50 million Facebook users was harvested by a British company, Cambridge Analytica, for use in the election campaign of US President Donald Trump in 2016.

“Following material published in the UK Guardian and The New York Times over the past few days, the committee would like to request that you appear before us to give oral evidence,” Collins wrote.

“The committee has repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular about whether data had been taken without their consent.

“Your officials’ answers have consistently understated this risk, and have been misleading to the committee.

“It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.”

He added: “Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you.”

Collins set Zuckerberg a deadline of March 26 to reply.

AFP

UK Parliament Paves Way For Brexit

MayThe British Parliament has passed the Brexit bill, paving the way for the government to trigger article 50, so that the UK can leave the European Union.

Peers backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, after their objections were overturned by lawmakers.

The bill is expected to receive royal assent and become law today.

The result comes as Scotland’s first Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced that she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence at a time when Brexit negotiations are expected to be reaching a conclusion.

Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.

Government Loses Brexit Vote Appeal

Japan, Brexit, Outflow Of InvestmentsThe Supreme Court has ruled that the British Parliament must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process.

The judgement on Tuesday means Theresa May cannot begin talks with the EU until members of Parliaments and peers give their backing – although this is expected to happen in time for the government’s 31 March deadline.

The BBC reports that the court also ruled that the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies did not need a say.

The government will make a statement to MPs later on Tuesday.

During the Supreme Court hearing, campaigners argued that denying the UK Parliament a vote was undemocratic.

But the government said it already had the powers to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – getting talks under way – without the need for consulting MPs and peers.

Reading out the ruling, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said: “By a majority of eight to three, the Supreme Court today rules that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament authorising it to do so.”
Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the government was “disappointed” but would “comply” and do “all that is necessary” to implement the court’s judgement.

Gina Miller, one of the campaigners who brought the case against the government, said Brexit was “the most divisive issue of a generation”, but added that her victory was “not about politics, but process”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50.”

Article 50 will begin exit talks with the EU, which are expected to last up to two years.

The case against the government was brought by Ms Miller, an investment manager, and hairdresser Deir Tozetti Dos Santos.

Fayose Asks Mu’azu To Follow Example Of UK Party Leaders

fayoseThe Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has described the resignation of British Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrats leader, Nick Clegg over their parties’ loss in the general election as a vindication of his call for the resignation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.

The Governor said this on Friday, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

Fayose said that he has no personal scores to settle with the PDP National Chairman, but insists that “It is morally wrong for the National Chairman to remain in office after leading the party into its first national electoral defeat.”

Three party leaders in Britain, including opposition Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrats leader, Nick Clegg had resigned after their parties lost in the Thursday general election.

Governor Fayose said; “Alhaji Mu’azu should be honourable enough to follow the same path as the British LP and Democrats leaders.

“Mu’azu’s case is even worse than that of the British party leaders, who resigned immediately their party lost because majority of PDP members no longer have confidence in his (Mu’azu) leadership and there is no way a willing leader can be forced on unwilling followers.”

Speaking further, the Governor said; “This is not about any personality and I am also not operating here on empty boast because Ekiti State was delivered to the PDP 100 percent.

“Rather, it is about issues. Imagine the PDP not getting up to five percent of the votes in Bauchi State, the National Chairman’s home state and someone is still not being honourable enough to resign.

“Haven’t we now seen what operates in saner societies with the resignation of the British LP and Democrat leaders? Shouldn’t our party National Chairman also take a cue from this and allow for fresh minds to steer the ship of the party at this difficult time?

 

President Jonathan Congratulates Cameron, Conservatives On British Election Victory

JonathanThe Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has congratulated Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party of Great Britain on their victory in the country’s general elections.

President Jonathan assures Prime Minister Cameron and the Conservative Party of the best wishes of the Government and people of Nigeria as they prepare to form a new British Government backed by the clear majority in Parliament which they won in Thursday’s elections.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President expects that the historic relationship between Nigeria and Britain which received a significant boost during the past five years of his Presidency in Nigeria.

He says he expects stronger relations between the two countries in the years ahead.

President Jonathan particularly hopes that both countries will continue to strengthen current bilateral cooperation between them in critical areas such as the fight against insurgency and terrorism, education, trade, infrastructure and the achievement of Nigeria’s development targets.

Dr Jonathan wishes Prime Minister Cameron a very successful new term in office and trusts that he will continue to serve the people of Britain and the global community to the best of his immense God-given abilities.

Conservative Party Wins UK Elections

UK ElectionsThe Conservative Party has won the UK elections after securing 326 seats it needed to give it a majority in the parliament.

British Prime Minster, David Cameron, of the Conservative Party has promised to lead a government for “one nation” and make “Great Britain greater”.

Speaking after visiting Buckingham Palace, he said that the UK was “on the brink of something special”.

He also pledged more powers for Scotland, in a response to the rise of the SNP, which brings with it the threat of another independence vote and claims that the Conservative Government will have “no legitimacy in Scotland”.

The Prime Minister also said he would deliver on the promised referendum of Britain’s continued membership of the European Union 2017.

Mr Cameron’s rivals Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have all resigned after election disappointment.

The Conservative leader is now beginning the process of putting together the new government, with senior Cabinet appointments expected to be announced later on Friday.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has congratulated David Cameron on his election win – and urged him to make the case for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Four Nigerians also won seats in the UK Parliament.