The lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Sani Musa, has described the rumour about the death of General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) over the weekend as unfortunate, mischievous and unholy.
Senator Musa condemned the rumour in a statement on Monday, a day after the spokesman for the former military president, Kasim Afegbua, said the elder statesman “is alive and bubbling”.
He stressed that the incident was a call for the enactment of the social media regulation law which he pushed for in the Senate.
“Although death is inevitable for every human being, it is, however, not something to wish someone, not even one’s enemy,” Musa said.
He added, “It is ridiculous, unthinkable and barbaric for anyone to wish another person dead, especially someone of the calibre of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, one of Nigeria’s legends still living.”
The lawmaker recalled that rumours about the death of Babangida have surfaced at least four times in 2019 alone.
“The question most people ask is, who is behind the rumour? Why would he or she engage in such an act? What does he or she stand to gain?” he wondered, adding, “It is indeed baffling.”
Senator Musa, however, stated that the rumour has given credence to the need for the enactment of a social media regulation law.
According to him, although social media has a positive impact on the society, the lack of regulation has rather made it injurious to it.
The lawmaker said, “Truly, social media has great advantages. It has ushered in a new way of communication and social interactions which has also transformed and simplified human relations and bridged the gap between nations, regions and even continents of the world.
“Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have witnessed how this great innovation has also given rise to a worrisome phenomenon called fake news – an intent to deceive.”
Senator Musa decried that such a situation has taken over social media and cannot be allowed to continue.
If the social media is left unregulated by way of legislation, according to him, Nigerians would wake up someday to chaos.
He, therefore, urged security operatives in the country to investigate the source of the rumour and arrest the perpetrators.
Senator Musa also prayed for sound health for the elder statesman and wished him long life.
Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has lent his voice against the Hate Speech Bill, warning the sponsors of the bill not to try to muzzle Nigerians.
He said the bill was inimical to the growth of the country and does not support the ideals of a democratic society.
General Babangida spoke during the visit of the national leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Wednesday at his hilltop residence in Minna, the Niger State capital.
According to him, there is no basis for the ‘Hate Speech Bill’ before the National Assembly and no one can muzzle the voice of Nigerians.
The former military leader noted that a similar bill was presented before the 8th National Assembly and he advised against it saying, he was surprised that the bill has resurfaced.
“There is no basis for this; now we are developing and we should be allowed to develop,” he said.
He added, “If we make mistakes people can be cautioned; if somebody goes off, you have the right to call him to say ‘no we don’t want this.”
General Babangida noted that government at all levels would only experience progress when people were able to express themselves on happenings in the country.
He stated that the only reason for the bill was that the sponsors wanted to show “eye service as we call it in the Army”.
The former military president also described the death penalty prescribed in the bill as “crude”.
He said, “If somebody made hate speech and you put him in the gallows and shoot him, it is crude; it is not 21st century. It could have happened may be some 300 years ago but not now.”
Babangida, however, informed his visitors that he would join the NUJ and other stakeholders to protest against the passage of the bill.
“I am with you on this; I will also talk to those of us who could be in position to bring sanity to bear on some of these things,” he assured.
The former military president explained that he had been following media publications on the forth coming United States election, saying journalists would have been jailed in Nigeria if that was the case.
He credited himself with opening up the media space in the country, even when some of his colleagues opposed his policy, saying the country was better for it.
Babangida, therefore, challenged the media remain strong focussed on what Nigeria wants, stressing that threatening freedom of speech with death threat or N10 million it sounded ‘silly’.
Earlier, the NUJ National President, Christopher Isiguzo, solicited the support of the former military president to bring down the hate speech bill before the National Assembly.
The General stated categorically that the twitter handles bearing his name and photographs are fake and targeted at misleading unsuspecting members of the public.
“We wish to emphatically state that General Babangida is an elder statesman and a peacemaker. A malicious story in an online media, ELOMBAHNEWS, dated 16th February 2019 credited to General IB Babangida is a malicious Fake News.”
“Accordingly, we wish to advise the social media community and the general public to be wary of the fake accounts, mischievous fake online news and discountenance whatever message conveyed therein.” the statement read in part.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Former Nigerian ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida have expressed sadness at the passing away of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari.
Shagari, the First Executive President of Nigeria, died on Friday, December 28.
He died at the National Hospital in Abuja after a brief illness.
In his message, President Buhari described Shagari as an unparalleled patriotic leader.
Similarly, a former military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida has said Nigeria and Africa as a whole have lost a great leader.
IBB said Shagari will be remembered for his tolerance and politics of peace without bitterness.
He described Shagari as a statesman and democrat full of wisdom, counsel, honesty, and transparency.
Below are the full official statements of President Buhari and IBB.
“PRESIDENT SHAGARI WAS A MAN OF UNPARALLELED PATRIOTISM AND HUMILITY – PRESIDENT BUHARI
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed great sadness at the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari.
President Buhari said, “ On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Nigeria, it is with immense sadness that I received the news of the passing away of the First Executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari which event happened Friday in Abuja”
The President described the death as the departure of a patriot whose life of service and humility was widely acknowledged.
President Buhari recalled part of the birthday message he (Buhari) sent to him last February when he said, “ we are enthralled and regaled with the many years of unequalled patriotism, sacrifices and contributions to national development. More specifically, we celebrate the role modelling qualities of integrity, diligence and humility that have been the hallmark of your visionary leadership.”
President Buhari is however, grateful to God that Alhaji Shagari lived to a ripe age and led an exemplary life, which he urges Nigerians of all walks of life to emulate. “Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office until his demise and will forever miss his wise counsels.”
He prayed that Almighty God will comfort the family of the ex-president and all those who mourn him and will grant the soul of the late nonagerian eternal rest.
Femi Adesina Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) December 28, 2018″
“IBB CONDOLENCE TO THE NATION ON THE PASSING OF PRESIDENT SHEHU USMAN ALIYU SHAGARI, GCFR
With deep heart and sympathies I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Family of the first civilian Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Turakin Sokoto, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR who passed on today, Friday, 28 December 2018 at the National Hospital after a protracted illness.
My heart and prayers go to his Family, the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate and Sokoto State.
Nigeria and indeed Africa has lost a statesman and democrat whose wisdom, counsel, presence and experience and his sterling qualities of honesty and transparency are needed in these very trying moments of our national life.
President Shehu Shagari was a great patriotic leader and an accomplished gentleman, at first a teacher, an administrator, a technocrat and an honest decent unassuming simple Nigerian Leader.
He will be remembered for his tolerance and politics of peace without bitterness. President Shehu Shagari was a nationalist who never showed any discrimination due to ethnicity or religion and was a very dependable bridge builder.
To keep his memory alive Nigerian politicians and indeed all fellow Nigerians must put to practice all his ideals of peace and party politics without rancour, irrespective of any form of provocation.
I urge all persons vying for political office to emulate him and keep alive the political principles of the late Turakin Sokoto, Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, the quintessential public servant who was “Beckoned to Serve”.
I pray for the repose of his soul in Jannatul Firdaus. I pray that the entire nation, his Family, Sokoto State and indeed the Sokoto Caliphate will accept his passing with equanimity.
General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR Former President Federal Republic of Nigeria Friday, 28 December 2018″
A former military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has urged Muslims and all Nigerians to use the Eid-el-Kabir celebration as a time to devote themselves to the teachings of Islam and further unite and strengthen the nation.
Babangida said this in his Sallah message to Nigerians on Monday.
He said: “It is our collective duty during this sacred month and period of devotion to glorify Allah and adhere to our religious teachings by maintaining peace, protecting the sanctity of human life and unite to solve the problems bedeviling us collectively as a nation”.
According to him, “It is a unique and important festivity in the last lap of the Islamic calendar year for all Muslims globally to make sacrifices and religious rites.”
The former Military President also cautioned politicians not to allow their personal ambitions overshadow their sense of reasoning.
He advised that they should be guided in their utterances as some comments are capable of plundering the polity in jeopardy especially as the general elections draw near.
He said, “At this auspicious occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, I urged all Nigerians from all works of life or political affiliations to be in the vanguard of peace and unity and work towards rancour-free polls in the build-up to the forthcoming political dispensation”.
Former military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, and Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo were absent on Tuesday as the Federal Government conferred national honours on Chief MKO Abiola and others.
Also absent at the investiture was Humphrey Nwosu, the Chairman of the country’s electoral body – the National Electoral Commission, at the time of the 1993 elections.
All three of them, however, sent messages to the investiture which took place in Abuja to apologise for being unable to attend the programme.
Chief Obasanjo and Nwosu explained that their absence was due to the fact that they are away from the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, informed the gathering about their absence and the reasons for it.
Both the former military president and Obasanjo have been criticised by supporters of the June 12 struggle.
General Babangida has continued to receive criticism for annulling the elections, which have been widely praised for being the freest and fairest in the country.
Chief Obasanjo on the other hand, was criticised for failing to honour MKO Abiola between 1999 and 2007 when he was President.
Nigeria’s former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), says nobody cares to know the actual reason why the presidential election conducted in 1993 was annulled, or give him credit for how fair the poll was.
General Babangida said this during an exclusive interview on Roadmap 2019, a Channels Television programme that aired on Monday.
Twenty-five years later, General Babangida was displeased that despite explaining why the June 12 election was cancelled, nobody cared to listen to him.
He said he had a good relationship with the presumed winner of the election whom he said they had communicated at different occasions.
“Nobody has ever sat down to say the two persons are friends, what went wrong? We tried to rationalise why we had to do what we did but nobody is prepared to listen to us,” the elder statesman said.
“I have never seen anybody write anything on this to try to give people a different version altogether. He (Abiola) knew my feeling; I knew his feeling about the country generally because I do talk about Nigeria with the presumed winner of the truly democratically freest election. We even talked about it during the crisis itself.”
Babangida stressed further that the election was widely accepted to be the freest in the history of Nigeria, but he has yet to get a credit for conducting the poll.
He decried that Nigerians were instead interested in ‘he cancelled the freest election, noting that he loved being criticised.
On whether is he is planning to write an autobiography, the former military president said, “People may not read it because it’s coming from a dictator. Yea, he cancelled June 12 and that will kill the thing about the book, but I will try.
“I hope one day if God spares my life I will discuss about it (June 12 elections) because I still believe people don’t get what we were trying to put across.”
Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has advised the Federal Government to employ psychological and unconventional methods in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
General Babangida gave the recommendation during an exclusive interview with Ladi Akeredolu-Ale on Roadmap 2019, a Channels Television programme.
While the government increases efforts to ensure the safety of Nigerians at all times, the former military president noted that it would be a mistake to use regular war tactics against the insurgents.
“What we tend to forget is that the insurgents have also got tacticians or people who think for them, and once they do that, then you have a problem.
“You have to find a way of countering that information they dish out,” he said, adding that there is no way other than good equipment, training, psychological operations to win the war.
Babangida, who described the insurgency as a double-edged sword, stressed the need for government to understand the concept of how the insurgents operate in such way.
He said the government must ensure that necessary measures are put in place to keep important places well protected, especially where the people must be secured.
Explaining how the psychological operation works, the former military president advised the government to assure the people that it is aware of their security concerns and ask them to go about their normal duties without fear.
He added that government should embark on sensitisation campaigns in a bid to “dish out a lot of not so good information about the other people (terrorists) so that the populace will have confidence that no matter what happens, the military is there to protect them.”
Watch on Roadmap 2019 on Monday, April 16, at 9pm for the full interview with General Babangida.
It was a twist in the political scene as the former President, General Babaginda was said to have issued a statement to President Muhammadu Buhari, through his media aid, Kassim Afegbua, telling him to step down in 2019 to allow for a generational shift and urged Nigerians to cooperate with the Buhari till his tenure ends.
The statement further lamented the flow of blood in the country.
The comments of the former military ruler come two weeks after former President Olusegun Buhari advised President Buhari not to seek for a second term in office.
To Babangida, Nigeria is at a major crossroads at this moment in its history. He specifically warned that the choices Nigerians make regarding the leadership question would determine the country’s vision politically, economically, and religiously.
While regretting that Africa’s most populous nation is still in search of the right leadership to contend with the dynamics of a 21st century, the former military believes that our strength lies in our diversity.
He said, “In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance.
“It is short of saying enough of this analogue system. Let’s give way for digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive, and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance.
Babaginda in his rebuttal said the views expressed in the statement are not his views but that of the writer.
In the statement personally signed General Babangida, he said as former President and statesman, he has an unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence.
He, however, expressed worries over the current political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country, which he said have raised many questions on the governance and unity of Nigeria.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas said this on Saturday during the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroon military joint mission in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
According to General Nicholas, troops under the operation “Deep Punch II” had on Friday dislodged the insurgents for their tactical ground “Camp Zairo.”
“My soldiers are in the heart of Boko Haram enclave that is Camp Zairo. The gallant troops have taken total control of Sambisa forest. We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and its environs.
Mr Metuh is standing trial for alleged money laundering being part of the funds linked with former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).
His lawyer Emeka Etiaba had informed the court in January that his client was on admission at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital for an undisclosed ailment.
The former PDP spokesman was, however, wheeled to the court on Monday following the threat by Justice Okon Abang to revoke his bail if he fails to appear in court today.
Lead counsel in the case, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu informed the court that attempts to get Metuh’s doctor to give a timeframe for which he would be released from hospital proved abortive.
After the statement released by the former President, General Ibrahim Babaginda through his media aid, Kassim Afegbua, telling President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 to allow a generational shift, the police has declared the spokesman wanted.
Mr Afegbua is wanted because of conflicting statements bordering on the performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and whether the President should seek re-election.
The spokesman for the Nigerian Police, Mr Jimoh Moshood, told Channels Television that Mr Afegbua is wanted for giving false statement, defamation of character and act capable of inciting public disturbance.
The police spokesman advised him to report to the nearest police station.
In declaring Mr Afegbua wanted, the police advised him to report to the nearest police station.
On Tuesday morning, the Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, told Channels Television that Mr Afegbue made “injurious falsehood”, among other criminal offences.
“The Inspector General of Police has ordered his arrest for giving false statement, making injurious falsehood and equally defamation of character or an act which is inimical to law and order in the country,” Mr Moshood said when he appeared on the breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.
He added that the police became involved after General Babangida denied authorising the statement.
The President who was in Nasarawa State on Tuesday to inaugurate some projects asked security agents newly deployed to the troubled areas to go after the perpetrators of the act in order to bring justice to the victims of the attacks.
“I also want to assure the people of the North Central and indeed all Nigerians that the Federal Government is working day and night to ensure peace and stability. We have deployed additional resources to all affected areas to maintain law and order.
“The attacks by suspected herdsmen and other bandits will not be tolerated. I appeal to all Nigerians to restrain from reprisal attacks. The security agencies I have sent them instruction to arrest and prosecute any and all person found with illegal arms,” he said.
The lawmakers are asking President Buhari to replace the IGP with a more professional officer.
They made the call during plenary on Wednesday, accusing the IGP of failing in his duty.
The lawmakers had earlier considered a motion demanding the immediate removal of the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Jimoh Moshood, for making derogatory remarks against the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
In the motion sponsored by Rep. Mark Gbillah which enjoyed the support of most lawmakers, the conduct of the police officer was roundly condemned.
The motion seeks to have the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to provide an unreserved apology to the Benue state governor and also relieve the PPRO of his position.
Earlier, the Benue state Caucus of the House had addressed a press conference demanding the resignation of the PPRO over professional misconduct and partisanship.
According to the lawmakers, the statements of the Police Officer while appearing on the Channels Television Programme, Sunrise Daily, where he demanded the resignation of the Benue state governor indicates the partisanship of the Nigerian police as an agency.
It seems the leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, is not letting his guards down as he has released a new video pledging to continue attacks days after Nigerian army repeated that the group had been defeated.
The factional leader said in the video which was released on Tuesday said that a recent effort to clear out Boko Haram’s stronghold of Sambisa forest in Borno State had failed and vowed to keep fighting against Nigeria and western education.
“The person that believes in nationalism is the one we are at war with, the person who believes in disseminating western education, which is replete with unbelief, is the one we fight”, Shekau said in the 11-minute video.
In the video, delivered in Hausa Language, Shekau expressed frustration on the continued hostility and loss of his supporters to Nigerian army.
Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu, announced this on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the Army Headquarters Conference Room in Abuja.
According to him, the operation will run from February 15 to March 31 in Benue, as well as Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states.
The deployment came after several killings involving farmers and herdsmen in the north-central region of the country which resulted in several deaths and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
In commiserating with the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom over the recent in the state, the governors of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose and Rivers state, have visited the state.
The Ekiti Governor said there was a federal conspiracy against the law and criticized the Federal Government and security agencies for poorly handling threats to the state prior to the New Year’s Day attack which left 73 indigenes of the state dead.
Wike was on a solidarity visit to the state to commiserate with the New Year Killings of about 73 people by suspected herdsmen.
He challenged the Nigerian Governors Forum to defend the integrity and office of Nigerian Governors from partisan police authority who demean their Benue state colleague on a live Television programme.
President of the conference Reverend Ignatius Kaigama said this on Thursday when he led a delegation of the religious body to visit President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
On ways to end the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, he advised the government to seek other alternatives to open grazing rather than introducing cattle colonies.
Metuh is standing trial for allegedly diverting N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The trial judge, Okon Abang, had in March 2016 ruled that Mr Metuh and his company, Destra Investment, had a case to answer in the seven-count charge of fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).