Senate, CG Tussle: A Case Of Democratic Power Versus Military Mentality – Yinusa Tanko

ncp-chairmanHuman Rights Activist and National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, has described the situation between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller General, Colonel Hameed Ali, as that of democratic power versus military mentality in a democratic setting.

He made the position known while addressing the issues that led to the summoning of the Customs CG by the Senate and the compulsion to appear in his complete uniform.

“The senate is trying to consolidate its power to say, this is the representative of the people, this House represents the interest of Nigerians and so when we call you, Nigerians call you and you must answer to the question of Nigeria.

“Here, you have an ex-military man, who comes from a big military background, who is trying to show that I’ve been a military man and in this my own profession that I have learned, there are things that cannot go down well with me as an ex-military man.”

Although Col. Ali had argued that there was no law to his knowledge that compelled him to wear the uniform, the NCP Chairman stated that according to some of the Senators, Section 2 of the Customs Act compels the CG to be in his uniform.

According to him, it must be understood that this is a democratic setting and the processes that brought him in must be understood.

Meanwhile, many hold the opinion that the real issue which led to the summoning of the Customs Comptroller General had been pushed to the background, and the focus had shifted to whether or not he appeared in uniform.

On his part, the NCP Chairman admitted to the fact that some of the major issues had been ignored, while also advocating that policies should be made in the interest of Nigerians.

“People who take up offices do not really read up on the kind of laws governing those offices and this is why anyone who is applying into any leadership role should read up on the laws guiding that office.

“If You want to achieve an aim, in ensuring that the system is clean, where there is need for you to do some things in order to get to that particular place, do them so that you would not have this particular altercation that does not depict the kind of person that you are”.

Mr Ali had been summoned to explain the Service’s new directive on duties to be paid on imported vehicles.

Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on Thursday, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.

The House, however, refused to engage the CG and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.

Bayelsa Scholarship: Students In Ghana About To Be Expelled

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

The inability of the Bayelsa State Government to pay the school fees of students on their scholarship scheme studying at King’s College, Ghana, may force the school to send the students back home.

The students are said to be having a tough time over the development with the school authorities, as they are been threatened with expulsion.

A human rights activist, Mr Aluzu Augustine, has expressed concerns following a letter addressed to the students by the Registrar of the school, Mr Simion Isekpo, threatening to expel the students if Bayelsa State government failed to pay their fees.

The letter read: “Management of the university wishes to inform all students being sponsored by the Bayelsa State Scholarship Board that should your outstanding and current fees not be paid by October 15, 2016 deadline, the university would have no choice but expel you from the university on October 16, 2016.

“Also, affected undergraduate and postgraduate students who have completed their programme would not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming convocation in November 2016.”

Sending A Delegation

Already, it is learnt that the Ghanaian school had, in adherence to the deadline, barred the affected students from participating in school activities, but had yet to issue a circular expelling them.

“We have been told that Governor Seriake Dickson is sending a delegation to our school. But for now, we have been stopped from taking parts in school activities.

“Those of us in hostels have been asked to vacate. We are just hanging around waiting for the governor”, an affected student, who requested not to be named, claimed.

A spokesman for the governor on Students’ Welfare, Mr Owoupele Jeremiah, has confirmed that Governor Dickson had directed that funds should be released for the immediate payment of the students’ fees to enable them participate in examinations and access their certificates.

Jeremiah said: “Today, the governor told me he had graciously given approval and directive for release of funds to quickly address the payment issues for Kings College, Lincoln and universities in the UK whose certificates are pending.

“A well-structured payment plan has been established to be implemented phase-by-phase by the board.

“This will allow the government to address them so that their certificates can be released to enable them use same for their various endeavours.

“While some may find this development with scepticism, it is intended to let the public know that the government is responsive and willing to deal with issues of development in human capital.

“The resources are lean but with a pyramid of preference, the needs will be met eventually. The scholarship board will do the needful and the affected students will receive their privileges restored in the affected institutions”.

Annkio Briggs Supports Dialogue To End Niger Delta Crisis

Annkio Briggs, Niger DeltaHuman rights activist, Annkio Briggs, has called on the Federal Government not to back out of talks with the Niger Delta militants, although the group had refused to come to the table.

The English-born Nigerian activist made the appeal on Wednesday while suggesting solutions to the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

“The British government is recommending dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers, the American government is recommending the same, and it is a welcome recommendation.

“People like me support that recommendation and also call on the people blowing up the pipeline that they should also hold their peace, let us see how we can now sit down and discuss the issues,” she said on Sunrise Daily.

Injustice In Nigeria
Briggs asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to look at past documents and policies, to find a lasting solution to the problem.

She observed that there were lots of injustice in Nigeria and called for a genuine review of the issues which, according to her, include the physical federalism, national conference report, oil well licences among others.

Soyinka, Falana Demand Better Welfare For Nigerian Child

welfareThe Nigerian government has been asked to take more proactive steps to ensure the safety, education and improved welfare for the Nigerian child.

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), made the call on Sunday at a press conference in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

In his speech, Professor Soyinka condemned those who are weaving religion sentiment around child marriage.

“When you damage a child because of your own depravity, you ruin that child for life (and) traumatise that child. Whether you say you believe in any religion, you are committing a crime.

“We are against crimes committed (that are) defined by the constitution (and) the legal structure that binds us all together,” he said.Soyinka

Professor Soyinka also asked the Police to take charge in securing the safety of all citizens, saying that they are the first call in curbing crime.

“They should be the first call when the child goes missing and they cannot abandon the job until they have restored the child to the rightful parent,” he said.

Playing on the Intelligence of Nigerians

Mr Falana on his part, was displeased with child marriage, stressing that it was illegal to marry a girl without the approval of the parent.

“The law says under 18, it is illegal to marry out anybody and in this case, whether in the north or in the south, you cannot marry out a girl without the approval of the parent” he said.

Femi-FalanaThe Senior Advocate noted that those referring to religion are playing on the intelligence of Nigerians, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to cater for every underage child found hawking on the streets.

“Under the Child’s Right Act, every child must be put in school at the expense of the state and that applies to Lagos or any of the states in the south where we have children on the streets who are hawking all manners of goods,” he said.

Mr Falana attributed the street hawking to the high rate of abuses on the child such as kidnap and rape, calling on the citizens to retrieve all underage children that have been forced into illegal marriages.

Police Service Commission To Sanction Officers Culpable In Ese’s Abduction

PoliceThe Police Service Commission has vowed to prosecute any Police personnel found culpable in the abduction of Ese Oruru.

The Commission made the declaration in a statement on Thursday while reacting to the abduction saga of 14-year-old Ese who was said to have been abducted and forced into marriage in Kano State, northwest Nigeria.

“The Commission is waiting on the ongoing investigation of some Police officers on the directive of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, and will ensure that any Police officer who is found to have compromised himself either by omission or commission in the saga will be flushed out,” the statement read.

The Commission also commended the Inspector General of Police for his swift action in rescuing the teenager and ensuring that she was immediately reunited with her family.

It added that it would work with the IGP to see that Nigerians, including the likes of Ese were guaranteed their freedom to life.

“The Police Service Commission is constitutionally mandated to exercise disciplinary action against members of the Police among other responsibilities and has the right to dismiss any officer found culpable in the ongoing abduction saga,” it maintained.

The ordeal of Ese started on August 12, 2015 in Yenagoa of Bayelsa State, when Yinusa a known customer of Ese’s mother, Mrs Rose Oruru, took her away from Bayelsa to Kano on the purported excuse that she had converted to Islam.

Yunusa was a Keke [tricycle] rider in Yenogoa, who sold all his belongings before he eloped with the girl.

Ese’s parents have travelled to Kano State on several occasions in the past six months with officers of the Nigeria Police Force to secure her release without positive result.

She had been released to the Nigeria Police Force subsequent to the directive of IGP Arase that Ese be reunited with her family.

Ese subsequently arrived Bayelsa State from Abuja, in company of her mother, Mrs Rose Oruru, and some Police officers on Wednesday.

Confirming the arrest of the alleged abductor of the teenager, Yunusa Dahiru, an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Shaibu Lawan, said that Yunusa would be prosecuted for taking away a minor from her parents.

Forced Marriage: Abducted Ese Oruru Released To Police

Ese-OruruA 14-year old girl, Ese Oruru, allegedly abducted in Bayelsa State and taken to Kano for marriage under Islamic rites has been released to the Nigeria Police Force.

It was gathered that the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has instructed that Ese be reunited with her family on Tuesday.

The ordeal of Ese started on August 12, 2015 in Yenagoa of Bayelsa State, when Yinusa a known customer of Ese’s mother, Mrs Rose Oruru, took her away from Bayelsa to Kano on the purported excuse that she had converted to Islam.

Yunusa was a Keke [tricycle] rider in Yenogoa, who sold all his belongings before he eloped with the girl.

Ese’s parents have travelled to Kano State on several occasions in the past six months with officers of the Nigeria Police Force to secure her release without positive result.

Her alleged kidnap has caused quite an outrage, as earlier on Monday the President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, in Yenagoa issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Arewa Community in Bayelsa State to ensure that she is released and safely returned to the state.

A human rights activist, Ankio Briggs, had also called for her release.

In a tweet, a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, quoted the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, as saying that Ese would be taken to Abuja on Tuesday and handed over to the Commissioner of Police in charge of Bayelsa to reunite her with her parents.

“She is crying and refusing to go home. She does not want to go back but I have insisted she must go,” she quoted the Emir as saying.

2015: Yero Promises To Embark On Radical Reforms

YeroGovernor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State and flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 2015 elections, has promised to embark on radical reforms and policies that will benefit the people of the state

Yero, who was deputy governor, became governor following the death of former governor, late Patrick Yakowa on December 15, 2012.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Kaduna state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists on Tuesday, the governor explained that his reluctance to embark on some radical people oriented reforms, was in order not be misunderstood as being against the people, especially as the 2015 elections draw closer.

Explaining the rationale behind the ban on commercial motorcyclists in the state capital and some other parts of the state early this year, the governor said the action, though painful, was taken in order to secure the state from the hands of criminals.

Yero also urged media practitioners to be objective in their reportage and dwell less on issues that are capable of dividing the country or heat up the polity.

Delivering his keynote lecture at the event, human rights activist and President of Transition Monitoring Group, Mr Festus Okoye, identified some of the challenges that will mitigate against the smooth conduct of the election including insecurity, poor distribution of permanent voters cards, eligibility problem and the desperation of politicians to win at all costs.

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address PVC issues and ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised during the forthcoming election.

According to Okoye, the 2015 election is not about Nigeria alone but the international community, who are interested in its outcome, adding that the election presents Nigerians with the opportunity of electing genuine leaders whose mandate will be able to give hope to the people.

Ozekhome Kidnap: FG Slams 13-Count Charge On Kingpin, 2 Others

ozekhomeThe Federal Government has arraigned before a Federal High Court, alleged kidnap kingpin, Mr Kevin Eziegbe.

Mr Eziegbe, alongside two others, was slammed with a 13-count charge for allegedly masterminding kidnapping and terrorism activities in the South-South region.

Kelvin and the two other accused persons are being accused of masterminding the kidnapping of constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, in August 2013, which led to the killing of 5 policemen.

The Federal Government had in November 2013 withdrawn a suit it filed against the alleged kidnappers before Magistrate Usman Ahmed Shuaibu of Abuja Magistrate Court.

Counsel to the FG, Clifford Osagie, had told the court that further investigations conducted by the SSS revealed that the suspects were involved in acts of terrorism with elements of kidnapping and murder, hence the need to approach a Federal High Court.

The trio pleaded “not guilty” to the allegations levelled against them by the Federal Government.

However, the oral application made by their counsel, Bala Dakum, to secure bail for them was rejected by the court, which instead ruled that the suspects be remanded in the custody of the State Security Services till the next adjourned date of July 1.

Trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, however, ordered the SSS to grant the accused persons access to their counsel pending the commencement of their trial.

Lekki-Ikoyi Toll Gate: Court Adjourns Suit To Feb. 7

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed February 7 for hearing in a suit against the Lagos State Government, over collection of tolls on the newly constructed Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.

The suit which was slated for parties to file written addresses was adjourned, as the Presiding Judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, was said to on be on official assignment.

Lagos based lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had filed the suit, challenging the collection of tolls on the bridge, arguing that the bridge was erected on a federal navigable waterway.

Adegboruwa had filed the suit on November 26, 2012, seeking an order of injunction, restraining the Lagos Government from collecting any toll or tax in any form whatsoever, from motorists on the bridge.

While seeking the court’s resolve as to whether there exists any law in Nigeria, that authorises the collection of such tolls, tax or fee, from citizens, he also wants  the court to declare that the imposition of such a tariff on road users, is an illegal form of taxation and is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, and the National Inland Waterways Authority, also joined as first and second respondents in the suit.

The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Adeola Ipaye, and the Lagos State Government, are third and fourth respondents.

Imo Baby Factory: There Are More In Nigeria – Police Boss

The Imo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Theodore Okwu Ejike Ekechi has described the growing baby factory business as a national phenomenon which Imo State is most likely, just a branch of.

On Channels Television’s programme, ‘Sunrise’, Mr Ekechi said that the revelations gotten from the state own personal interrogation and through the Ministry of Women Affairs and the revelations that have come out from the Police’ own interrogations show very clearly that the business was headquartered in states like Ebonyi, Edo Plateau, Lagos, Rivers, Benue and Abia.

He claimed that the commitment of the Imo State Government to fighting crime in the state was the reason behind the crime being uncovered in the state, stressing that there is also need to emulate the efforts of the Imo State Government at the national level.

The State Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Mr Olatoye Durosimi, who was also on the programme, credited the success of the Police in uncovering the crime to the strategic partners who are both government and non-government actors in the state through its intelligence policies, which Ekechi describe as Police-Government Synergy.

Mentioning roles like the hawks that snatch the babies from their mothers; the hawkers, who take the babies from the hawks to sell, he went on to share some of the discoveries of the Police. He described the criminals mode of operation and the structure of their personnel as a cartel.

The commissioner while describing how the government had used community leaders in its strategies reassured the public of the state and the Police commitment to ensuring that the state was ridded of all such places, which he said were still in existence.

Also part of the panel of analysts was a Human Rights Activist, Laila St Matthew Daniel, who explain the motive behind such crimes and blamed the unfortunate development on poverty and the financial disempowerment of Nigerians.

Referring to a certain Dr. James Ezuma, whom she alleged was hiding behind the cover of running an NGO and a clinic to also commit the crime, she stressed the disconnect between stories told by the victims as a proof that parents of the young girls being used to rear the babies knew about the crime being committed against their children.

She also revealed that many of the babies are also being used for different kinds of rituals.

Step Up Manhunt For Kidnappers, IGP Orders Police Command

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar has directed the Edo State Police Command to commence a vigorous manhunt for the gunmen who abducted Mike Ozekhomen and killed four policemen in the process in Benin City.

Legal Practitioner and Human Rights Activist Mike Ozekhomen was abducted on the Ehor Stretch of the Benin Auchi Road at about 3pm yesterday in Edo State.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police Command Moses Eguavoen said four policemen lost their lives in the ambush by the kidnappers, when they responded to distress call from residents who witnessed the abduction.

The statement called on residents of the state to provide the Police with whatever information that could lead to the capture of the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, a group, Project Nigeria condemned in strongest terms the unfortunate act against the legal practitioner.

The group urges that the growing insecurity in the country calls for urgent national dialogue to build a consensus on the restructuring of the Nigerian nation for justice, equity and economic empowerment of the Nigerian people, that it believes this is the first step towards addressing the problems afflicting the Nigerian Nation, which includes youth restiveness, unemployment and brigandage.

According to the group, the legal practitioner who is one of the leading advocates for the forth-coming National Summit which is expected to create a platform for a national consensus on the re-birth of Nigeria should not be a victim of this heinous act, warning however that law enforcement agents should ensure that no harm comes to Ozekhome,while seeing to the immediate release of the lawyer.

Analyst Calls For Increased JTF Operation in Edo

A security analyst, Mr Ona Ekhomu has called on the Joint Task Force to increase its operations in Edo state, where members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, are hiding.

Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Ekhomu said that the insurgency has moved to the southern region of the country, into states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo. He added that Edo state is where the Ansaru factionof the insurgency, which was operating in Kogi, is now running into to escape law enforcement and JTF, he said.

That means “Edo ought to have a good JTF operation in place”.

A human rights activist, Razaq Oladosu, while speaking on the programme debunked claims that the insurgency declared a cease fire in honour of the Muslim fasting season.

Voicing his suspicions of certain people in government, who are using the situation against the Goodluck led administration, he said that it is just an effort to misinform and distract plans and strategy on ground because they know their days are numbered.

Mr Ekhomu also said that the government needs to control the violence until Boko Haram’s will to fight is down, afterwhich dialogue will be more effective.