Army Launches Operation Against Bandits In Kaduna

Army Launches Operation Against Bandits In KadunaThe Nigerian Army has launched a special military operation code named, Operation Harbin Kunama, aimed at flushing out armed bandits in the southern part of Kaduna State.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, launched the operation at an event attended by the State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

General Buratai said the operation, which lasts for one month, is being carried out in six states in Nigeria’s north-west and north-central regions.

He said the operation was part of the internal security responsibility of the military, bestowed on it by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to the Army chief, the operation will enable the troops to comb the nooks and crannies of Southern Kaduna, and flush out all the criminals from their hideouts.

He said that it would also help to restore peace and security to the area and other neighboring states where armed bandits have been carrying out series of attacks.

Commending the Army for the intervention, Governor El-Rufai expressed hope that the operation would restore confidence and enable the people to go about their normal businesses.

He, however, stressed the need for people of the area to tolerate each other, irrespective of their ethno-religious differences.

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Saraki, Others’ Trial Stalled

trial, senate president, deputyThe trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki , his deputy, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu and two others, has yet again been stalled.

This follows the Federal Government’s failure to commence trial on the two counts of forgery proffered against them.

At the resumed hearing before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, counsel to the Federal Government, Aliyu Umar told Justice Yusuf Halilu that he was not prepared to proceed with the trial.

According to him, a motion dated September 26, questioning the jurisdiction of the court, had just been served on him and he would need time to adequately respond.

Mr Umar, who led the Federal Government’s Legal Team, informed the court that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation did not hand him any other motion related to the case.

But Justice Halilu pointed out to him that similar motions had been pending since June 22.

The Federal Government’s counsel consequently applied for an adjournment to enable him put his house in order and also to better prepare his reaction to the motion filed by all the defendants.

Senator Saraki and Senator Ekweremadu had pleaded not guilty to charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.

The two Senate leaders had been arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

All four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

The Court consequently granted bail to the accused persons.

Justice Halilu asked the them to produce two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerian men or women.

He stated that the sureties must own properties in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

Boko Haram New Video: Wanted Journalist Salkida, Wakili Claim Innocence

Chibok-Girls-Boko-Haram-new-videoTwo of the persons declared wanted by the Nigerian Army for alleged link with Boko Haram have expressed shock at the decision, insisting that they are innocent.

Mr Ahmed Salkida, who is a journalist and Aisha Wakil were declared wanted and invited for questioning by the Nigerian Army on Sunday hours after a new video of the abducted Chibok girls was released by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The army believes they have a knowledge of where the girls could be two years after they were taken from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, a community in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

In his reaction to the declaration by the army, Mr Salkida, who is not in Nigeria at the moment, said that he was prepared to return to Nigeria and had indeed kick started the process to honour the invitation.

Carrying Out Professional Duties

A statement issued by Mr Salkida on Monday said that the army knew he was not in Nigeria prior to being declared wanted.

He said that his return home would be quickened if the government could fund his trip.

Salkida added that the army was declaring him wanted for simply carrying out his professional duties as a journalist, stressing that he does most of his work with ‘total allegiance and sacrifice to the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.

“Clearly, my status as a Nigerian journalist, who has reported extensively, painstakingly and consistently on the Boko Haram menace in the country since 2006 is an open book known to Nigerians and the international community,” he said.

Under Pressure

In the meantime, the other person declared wanted by the army, Aisha Wakil, has also claimed she was innocent.

Mrs Wakili insisted that she had been fighting for peace long before the Chibok girls were kidnapped and was well known to the security operatives.

She wondered why she was being declared missing since she did not have a shady character.

”I have had meetings with (the) Chief of Army Staff and his people.

“I told them the way forward, to allow me come with some commanders of Boko Haram and discuss with them and present the release of CBGS.

“But they chose to do things their own ways only and never gave considerations to any of my suggestions,” she said in a statement.

Wakili noted that the development had put her immediate and extended family under a lot of pressure, adding that she does not deserve such from the Nigerian government.

Impeachment Threat On President Buhari, A Huge Joke – APC

APC, ImpeachmentThe National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed the purported plan by some senators to impeach President Buhari, describing it as “a huge joke”.

In a press statement by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the APC said, “This is a huge joke taken too far.”

The party advised the senators in question to “stop the ‘huge joke’ and concentrate on their primary constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking and discharging of their legislative mandates to their constituents at the National Assembly”, urging them not to allow political shenanigans becloud overall national interest.

“The Party will not to join issues on the Senate forgery suit and other court cases concerning some members of the 8th Senate because it will be sub judice.

“We advice the Senators in question to tow the same line and allow judicial processes run it normal and legitimate course.

“Repeated allegations that the court cases are politically-motivated by the President and the APC are baseless.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration strictly respects the principle of the Rule of Law and also adheres to the constitutional provisions of Separation of Power between the three arms of government,” the APC stated.

The party urged President Buhari and the entire cabinet to remain focused in its effort to deliver on election promises and to steer the nation to its deserved heights.

There had been media reports of an impeachment plot by some Senators on President Muhammadu Buhari during a closed session of the Senate on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

Senate Threatens To Issue Warrant Of Arrest On AGF

Senate, Abubakar Malami, AGFThe Nigerian Senate has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami.

The threat is coming weeks after the Senate summoned the Minister to explain the rationale behind his action on charging its principal officers to court over forgery.

Mr Malami shunned the call to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights. Although he sent a representative, the Committee refused to grant him audience.

The lawmakers condemned the Minister’s refusal to honour their invitation.

They said that the same rules of the Senate was used in the administration of its proceedings during the ministerial confirmation process which brought the AGF to office, as well as other top government officials.

Pleaded Not Guilty

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, were arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.Bukola-Saraki-Ike-Ekweremadu

All four accused persons, who were charged for alleged forgery of the Nigerian Senate Standing Rules, pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge.

Justice Halilu subsequently granted them bail and adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

Although they were present in court on Monday for the commencement of hearing, the Court Registrar informed the parties that the court was on vacation, hence the case would be adjourned.

Violation Of Separation Of Powers

In his reaction, Senator Saraki described the action by the AGF as misguided and alleged that there now exists a government within the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who “have seized the apparatus of executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda“.

He reiterated his innocence and that of Senator Ekweremadu of the charges, claiming that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

The Spokesman of the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, also noted that contrary to the claim by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, neither Dr. Saraki nor Senator Ekweremadu were mentioned by the petitioners, the statements by those interviewed by the Police or even the Police report.

He stated that as regards the facts of the 1999 case, it was obvious that the Senate President and his deputy were not being accused of certificate forgery as it happened in former Speaker Salisu Buhari’s case.

Buhari Sympathises With Turkish President, Condemns Bombings

Muhammadu Buhari, TurkeyPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday condemned the recent terror attacks on Ataturk Airport in Turkey, during which dozens of people from around the world lost their lives.

In a letter to his Turkish counterpart a day after the incident, the Nigerian President commiserated with President Recep Tayyep Erdogan and the entire people of Turkey on “this horrific attack” on their soil by evil forces who have nothing to do with Islam despite their warped beliefs.

“On behalf of the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to convey my heartfelt sympathy to you and the people of Turkey on the shocking terrorist attack at the Ataturk Airport yesterday.

“Please extend my most sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims of this tragic incident.

“We condemn in the strongest terms these criminal, cowardly attacks, wherever they might occur as an attack on all decent, democratic and peaceful people. Every terrorist attack only strengthens Nigeria’s resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey and other countries in the frontline of the war on terror.

“Our government calls on all peace-loving nations to commit themselves wholeheartedly to multi-lateral cooperation and collaborative actions aimed at eradicating the scourge of international terrorism,” a statement by the President’s spokesman (Mr Garba Shehu) said.

President Buhari urged the people of Turkey to unite at this time and to strengthen their resolve to fight terrorism.

He described Turkey as a country that is rapidly growing and its government and people must not allow this attack to take their eyes away from the goal of progress.

President Buhari also stated that Nigeria would continue to cooperate with countries around the world on the war against terrorism until victory is won.

Saraki Alleges Persecution, FG Debunks Claims Says It Is ‘Mere Obfuscation’

Bukola-Saraki-Muhammadu-BuhariThe Presidency has dismissed the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki’s claim of having a government within a government that has seized the apparatus of the executive power as pretentious and imaginary.

The Presidency asked him to back his claim with more information by identifying those who constitute the government within the government.

As far as the Federal Government is concerned the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and it is within his constitutional power to determine who has infringed upon the law and who has not.

The Senate President had earlier reacted to his arraignment alongside his deputy at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate standing rules.

Senator Bukola Saraki in a statement reiterated his innocence and that of his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the charges filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Senate President claimed that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

But according to the President’s media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, “Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed a criminal act has been committed, we leave the court to judge.”

Full Statement

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, claims there is “now a government within the government of President Buhari”, which has allegedly seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue a nefarious agenda.

This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the “government within the government,” it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.

But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything.

The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state.  It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.

Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed.  But we leave the courts to judge.

To claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is anybody’s stooge is not only ridiculous, but also preposterous. It is not in the character of our President.

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Saraki Says Arraignment Is Misguided

Saraki, forgery,The Senate President has been reacting to his arraignment alongside his deputy at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged forgery of Senate standing rules.

In a statement personally signed by him, Senator Bukola Saraki reiterated his innocence and that of his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the charges filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Senate President claims that the charges represent a violation of the principle of the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

Senator Saraki describes the action by the Attorney General as misguided, and alleges that there now exists a government within the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who in his words “have seized the apparatus of executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda.”

He added, “If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent on undermining our democracy and destabilizing the federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.”

Presidency Reacts

Meanwhile, the Presidency in a quick response, dismissed Dr Saraki’s claim of having a government within a government that has seized the apparatus of the executive power as pretentious and imaginary.

The Presidency challenged him to back his claim with more information by identifying those who constitute the government within the government.

As far as the federal government is concerned the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state and it is within his constitutional power to determine who has infringed upon the law and who has not.

According to the President’s media adviser Mr Femi Adesina, “Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed a criminal act has been committed, we leave the court to judge.”

Alleged Senate Rules Forgery: Court Grants Saraki, Others Bail

Bukola Saraki, Senate, Ike EkweremaduA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the fourth defendant over charges of alleged forgery of the Nigerian Senate Standing Rules.

The decision was made on Monday when they appeared before the court.

The court asked the accused to produce two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerian men or women.

It stated that the sureties must own properties in Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II or Garki areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, said that the accused would be remanded in Kuje Prison, if they fail to meet the bail conditions.

The court has adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

The two Senate leaders were arraigned before the Federal High Court along with a former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

Earlier, after the counsels to the accused had announced their appearances and told the court that they had filed bail applications, the trial judge asked them to put them forward.

Presenting a bail application, the lawyer to the first accused person, Mr Maikasuwa, said that the application was supported by a written address which formed his argument in the application and a two-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the accused person.

He argued that the accused person would not interfere with investigation, insisting that there were no facts to back the claim that he would jump bail.

Mr Maikasuwa’s counsel also reminded the court that the prosecution had said in his affidavit before the court that investigations had been concluded.

The counsel to Mr Efeturi also brought forward a six-paragraph affidavit and urged the court to grant the accused bail.

He also said he had filed a written address, requesting that the court should grant bail in the most liberal terms.

On his part, the counsel to the Senate President, Mr Paul Erukoro, said his application was supported by a 28-paragraph affidavit.

He also said he had a further affidavit sworn by the 3rd accused person.

“The entire proof of service does not contain a single reference to the Senate President in connection with the charges. He was never invited during investigation. So, saying he will interfere with the investigation is unfounded especially as the prosecuting says investigations have been concluded.

“It is a notorious fact that the Senate President has been standing trial at the CCT (Code of Conduct Tribunal) and has been consistent in his attendance there, so there is no way he will not attend the trial,” he told the court.

He also pointed out that Senator Saraki is the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that there was no way he would jump bail.

He requested that bail should be granted on self-recognisance.

Counsel to the deputy Senate President, Mr Jacobs Daudu, also said his client was not mentioned anywhere in the proof of evidence and that he should be granted bail on self-recognisance.

He stressed that the spirit of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) was that bail would be such that the accused persons could be able to attend trial.

The counsel to the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly said he had also submitted a six-paragraph affidavit, urging the court to grant his client bail.

He also told the court that he had filed a written address, urging the court to grant bail in the most liberal terms.

The accused persons claimed that they were ready for the trial. They asked the court to start the hearing and take as many as they could of the prosecution witness.

On his part, the prosecutor, Mr Mohammed Diri, however, said he would not oppose the bail of the Senate President on whatever terms the court deemed fit, because he is the number three citizen, and opposing bail may disrupt the business of the Senate.

He, however, said that in respect of the other three accused – one, two and four – the prosecution would vehemently oppose bail.

According to him, the two-count charge brought against the three defendants was very serious, something that required caution in handling of bails.

The charge attracts a 14-year jail term.

He also said that the three defendant’s evaded service of processes until the court granted an order of substituted service.

“This means that if they are granted bail the three defendant’s will attempt to evade trial,” he stressed.

He further referred to section 162 subsection of the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act and told the court that the charges were the same for all the accused persons, but stated that he understood the political undertone of omitting the Senate President.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

After listening to both parties, the judge stated that he had considered the applications and counter affidavits, soldering on the written addresses.

He told the court that the essence of bail was to ensure the “liberty of an accused person who is considered innocent until proven guilty and ensure his attendance to trial”.

“The decision to grant bail is at the discretion of the court which should be granted judicially and judiciously, following laid down constitution in respect of the nature of offence.

“Indeed I have considered and soldered the applications and counters filed.

“The provisions of the ACJA lends support that an accused person shall be granted bail to enable him attend trial.

“I have listened to the position of the prosecution on the third defendant – Senator Saraki – and it is only fair and natural that an accused person, who is contoured innocent, shall be given opportunity to prepare for their trial.

“I shall not unnecessarily over flog the position they occupy,” he said, once again listing their positions at the National Assembly.

Justice Halilu further stressed that the applications for bail conditions sideline the arguments of their lawyers for all the defendants regardless of the swaying positions of the prosecution.

“I shall allow the one, two and four accused to go home on bail on the conditions that two reasonable sureties who must be Nigerians – men or women – who must own properties in Asokoro Maitama Wuse two or Garki.

“Failure to fulfil the bail conditions, they shall be remanded in Kuje Prison,” he stressed.

The judge then adjourned the proceedings till July 11 for commencement of trial.

Alleged Standing Rules’ Forgery: Saraki, Ekwerenmadu Others To Face Trial

Bukola-Saraki-and-Ike-EkwerenmaduThe Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, will be arraigned before an Abuja High Court on Tuesday on charges of alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, 2015.

The lawmakers are being charged along with two others – former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Salisu Maikasuwa and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.

In the affidavit filed on June 10, 2016, the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), swore that the investigation into the case had been concluded.

The affidavit read: “The charges filed through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, by the Federal Government, against the senators reads that you, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Benedict Efeturi, Dr. Olubukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, on or about, the 9th of June, 2015, at the National Assembly complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to forge the Senate Standing Order, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed the offence of conspiracy, punishable under Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law”.

It also accused them of allegedly forging the Order, causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Order, 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Police also claimed that the lawmakers knew that the said Order was not made in compliance with the procedure for amendment of the Senate Order.

Some Senator had sent a petition to the Police, alleging forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that produced Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu during the election of principal officers for the Senate.

Labour Union Demands Release Of Leaders Remanded In Prison

Fuel Price, NLC Strike, Abia, Anambra, NLCThe Nigeria Labour Congress Oyo State Chapter is demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of its leaders remanded in prison after they protested against the privatisation of public schools in the state.

At a press conference on Sunday, the Acting Chairman of the Nigeria labout Congress (NLC), Comrade Bosun Daramola, said the constitution allowed the union to protest in the interest of workers and saw no reason for the arrest of their leaders by the police on Thursday and their subsequent arraignment before the court of Friday.

Reporters were briefed after the leadership of the NLC in Oyo state, led by the interim leader, held an emergency congress where they condemned the arrests and arraignment of their members for last week’s protests.

Eight leaders of the union were arrested by the police and charged before Chief Magistrate Jamiu Adebisi on a six-count charge of disruption of public peace and vandalism of public property.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State government had earlier stated at different instances that the schools were not for sale, as posited by the labour union but rather it wanted an inclusive policy where all stakeholders would be more involved in raising the standard of education in the state.

The Secretary to the Oyo State Government Mr Olalekan Alli, had after the protests said that the state was not considering the sale of any public school and still maintained that Governor Ajimobi remained resolute in his conviction that infusion of private commitments in a Public-Private Partnership platform in the interest of the masses was the way to go.

Mr Alli was also clear on the stand of the government on disruption of public peace which led to the arrests of the labour leaders by the police.

Chief Magistrate Adebisi said section 35 sub section One of the Nigerian Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognised the right of an accused person to bail until conviction.

He, therefore, granted all the eight labour leaders bail in the sum of 200,000 and two sureties in like manner, who must be gainfully employed, possess National Identity Cards as well as three years tax clearance.

They, however, could not meet the bail conditions on Friday and were remanded in prison till bail conditions are met.

Earlier at a media briefing, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, explained that the steps being taken by the government was in the interest of the people.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Leye Oyebade, warned that no one, no matter how highly placed, would not be allowed to truncate or tilt the balance of the peace in the state for any cause.

The case was adjourned till June 24 for both parties to present their witnesses

FG Sees Success In War Against Boko Haram

FG - Boko HaramThe Federal Government says it has attained some level of success in the war against Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s disturbed region.

The Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, made the declaration on Thursday when he received a report from a committee on the handing-over of liberated areas in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Addressing members of the committee, he said: “Without contradicting the contents of the report, you will agree with me (that) appreciable success have been recorded against the Boko Haram insurgents, since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Mr Dan-Ali noted that the government would not fail to mete out the full weight of law on those who were bent on jeopardising the nation’s peace and stability.

“Once again, I want to assure you and indeed, all Nigerians that the government remains totally unchanged in its commitment to eradicating insurgency and criminality in the northeast in particular, and the nation in general,” he said.

The Defence Minister warned all persons, groups of individuals and organisations that the government would not condone any activity that could pose threat to Nigeria’s security.

He added that the Federal Government would not hesitate to seek the support of the international community in ensuring adequate security.

“All relevant security agencies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been mobilised and directed to swing into action to identify and stop any possible threat to our national security,” he added.