UPDATED: Nigerian Govt Orders Release Of Sowore, Dasuki

Omoyele Sowore                                                                                                                   Sambo Dasuki

 

 

The Nigerian Government has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the convener of #RevolutionNow protests, Mr Omoyele Sowore.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

Malami said the decision to release them was in compliance with the bail granted the two by the court.

READ ALSO: Ensure Your Source Of Information Cut Across, Buhari Tells US Envoy

The statement reads:

“The office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation has reviewed the pending criminal charges against the duo of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Omoyele Sowore.

“Whilst the Federal High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the defendants in respect of the charges against them, I am also not unmindful of the right of the complainant/prosecution to appeal or further challenge the grant of bail by the court having regards to extant legal provisions, particularly Section 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

“However, my office has chosen to comply with the court orders while considering the pursuit of its rights of appeal and/or review of the order relating to the bail as granted or varied by the courts.

“In line with the provisions of Sections 150(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and in compliance with the bail granted to Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) (as recently varied by the Court of Appeal) and the bail granted to Omoyele Sowore, I have directed the State Security Services to comply with the order granting bail to the Defendants and effect their release.

“The two defendants are enjoined to observe the terms of their bail and refrain from engaging in any act that is inimical to public peace and national security as well as their ongoing trial which will run its course in accordance with the laws of the land.

“I wish to reiterate again the utmost regard of my office for the entire judicial structure of Nigeria.

“This administration remains unrelenting in deepening the rule of law and the administration of justice in general.”

Freedom At Last

Dasuki has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for over four years while Sowore was taken into custody since August 2019.

Both men would celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, provided they are released by the DSS as ordered by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Dasuki was arrested in December 2015 over an allegation of diverting $2.1billion arms funds while serving as the National Security Adviser during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He was arraigned in court and was granted bail with certain conditions, but the Federal Government refused to release him in disobedience to the court order.

On July 14, 2019, the Court of Appeal in Abuja declared the continued detention of the former NSA since December 29, 2015, by the DSS as illegal, unlawful, and unconstitutional.

The appellate court held that the DSS and its Director-General acted outside their constitutional powers on the long period of the detention of a Nigerian citizen and imposed a fine of N5 million on them to be paid to Dasuki as compensation for breach of his fundamental right.

Four months later and in view of his continued detention, the Court of Appeal varied the terms attached to the bail earlier granted the former NSA.

It expunged the requirement that Dasuki should produce a Level 16 civil servant who must own a property worth N100million within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as surety.

Rather, the court ordered that the former NSA produce two sureties with properties worth N100 million within the FCT.

On the other hand, the DSS arrested Sowore, the publisher of online media outfit Sahara Reporters, on August 3.

The activist was arraigned along with his co-defendant, Mr Olawale Bakare, on counts bordering on treasonable felony and money laundering among others but they denied the charges.

Both men were also held by the security agency despite the order of the court granting them bail, but the DSS insisted that it did not disobey the court.

Sowore and Bakare were later released on December 5, but the Sahara Reporters publisher was rearrested barely 24 hours after by the DSS.

P&ID Case: Nigerian Govt Guarantees $200m Bond To UK Court

A file photo of Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,

 

 

The Nigerian government says it has provided a bank guarantee of $200 million to a court in the United Kingdom.

This is part of its efforts to overturn the $9.2 billion judgement debt delivered against it by a British court in favour of an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), which the government says is a result of fraud and corruption.

According to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in a statement on Thursday, the development is a positive step for Nigeria to set aside the judgement.

In pursuit of this, the Federal Government has also provided a bank guarantee of $200 million to the UK court, following the court’s acceptance of a request from Nigeria for a stay of execution of the $9.2 billion judgement debt.

In a statement confirming the provision of the bond, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that the government does not plan to forfeit the guaranteed sum to the court in the UK.

Malami also reiterated the point raised by the Nigerian government that the contract was fictitious.

P&ID had earlier approached a UK court to seek compensation for an aborted contract it signed with the government during the administration of Late President Umaru Yar’adua in 2010, to build a gas supply and processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State capital.

African Development Bank Denies Cancelling Nigeria’s $400m Loan

AFDB, Abia

The African Development Bank has said that it is strongly in support of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Nigerian Government refuting earlier claims that it has called off $400m loans to Nigeria.

Director, Communication and External Relations of AfDB, Victor Oladokun, in a statement on Tuesday, said AfDB says it ”strongly supports the ERGP and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency.”

The AfDB in the statement added that AfDB is highly encouraged by the economic recovery of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Ogun Gets AFDB Support For Critical Sector Development

“The African Development Bank wishes to categorically refute the statement that it has “called off loans to Nigeria”, as reported in Reuters and credited to Vice President Amadou Hott.

“The African Development Bank is highly encouraged by the Economic Recovery of Nigeria from the recession and salutes the government’s efforts towards diversification of the economy.

“The Bank also strongly supports the Economic and Growth Recovery plan of the government and efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency,” the statement read.

Oladokun explained further that apart from the $600 million loan approved by the Board of the AfDB, an additional $400 million support could be considered to support Nigeria’s economy.

“In November 2016, the Board of the African Development Bank approved a $600 million loan to support Nigeria’s efforts to cope with macroeconomic and fiscal shocks that arose from the massive decline in the price of crude oil.

“An additional $400 million support could be considered, if requested and approved by the Board, as part of a larger coordinated effort with other development partners, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”

The statement added that the African Development Bank is in consultations with the government on how best to continue its support for Nigeria’s laudable Economic and Growth Recovery Plan through investment projects that will help address existing structural challenges, including infrastructure, power, agriculture and support to boost the private sector and jobs creation.

The Bank assures the Nigerian government of its full support for its continued reforms to diversify the economy and boost economic growth and development.

OAU Professor Blames ASUU Strike On Broken Promises By FG

A Professor of Zoology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Tola Badejo, has blamed the current strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on some broken promises on the part of the Federal Government.

“It’s about not fulfilling agreements, ASUU went into an agreement with Federal Government in 2009 – in 2013 there was a strike, it was suspended and they just resumed the strike because nothing has been done in respect of the agreement.”

He made the comments when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise daily.

The university don noted that ASUU went into the agreement with the Federal Government in 2009 with a view to addressing issues bordering on the dilapidated structures of the nation’s universities, improvement in salary structures among several others.

Badejo advised ASUU not to shelve the strike until their demands are met and to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2013 when the union suspended its strike because of the pleas of students and their parents.

“I will not advise them to suspend any strike now because an agreement is an agreement and I am very happy that this government has not made the agreement with them, this government has not thought of starting another.

“They are looking for ways to honour the agreement. We can’t hold government to ransom by demanding that the agreement be reached,” he stated.

Read Also: Osinbajo Has Not Taken Over ASUU Negotiations, Says Laolu Akande

Reacting to earlier media reports of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo leading the FG’s negotiating team, the Professor of Zoology said: “I was happy when we (ASUU) heard he (the Vice President) would be in control because he was a lecturer in Unilag, so he is one of us, and you know you need somebody that has been there with you to understand your point and everything.

“When we heard later that he is not with the team, in fact, you don’t have to be one of us before you can solve this matter. All you need is a good head, and of course the right way of thinking.”

Osinbajo Reveals ‘One More Thing’ To Defeat Boko Haram Completely

Osinbajo Reveals 'One More Thing' To Defeat Boko Haram CompletelyThe Federal Government may have concluded that Boko Haram has been technically defeated, but there is “one thing” they say is left to properly deal a lasting blow to the menace.

To this end, the Nigerian Government and France have agreed to work together in achieving a terror free Nigeria.

Both countries indicated their interests on Friday at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and French Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, in Paris.

According to Professor Osinbajo who stressed the need to break the ideological underpinnings of terror, “one thing left for us to deal with is deradicalisation, defeating the ‘ideology’ behind the mindless killing and violence”.

On his part, Mr Cazeneuve praised what he described as the ‘tremendous progress’ made by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in degrading Boko Haram and suppressing the insurgency significantly.

He pledged that France will stand by Nigeria, saying the French Government is aware of the problem and they know “it cannot be solved by countries working alone”.

Professor Osinbajo has been in France where he attended and spoke at the just concluded Global Forum on Anti-Corruption and Integrity hosted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Oil And Gas: FG Pledges Support For Stakeholders

OGTAN, Oil And Gas: FG Pledges Support For Policy Makers, Ibe KachikwuThe Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the Ministry will do everything within its power to close the gap between policy makers in the oil and gas industry and the industry’s stakeholders.

Dr. Kachikwu made the pledge during a meeting with members of the National Executive Council of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association (OGTAN) at his office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Minister was represented at the meeting by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the Ministry, Mr Adekunle Adeyemi.

He said the Ministry of Petroleum Resources would support OGTAN to carry out their capacity building mandate for technical manpower in the oil and gas industry.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of OGTAN, Dr. Mayowa Afe, solicited support for the association from the Ministry.

Dr. Afe said OGTAN is an independent group established by one of the Ministry’s agencies, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in 2010 for training service providers in the sector.

He noted that the organisation’s main mandate was to build local human capital capacity in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, as well as act as a business group that interfaces with operators, international organisations and the Nigerian Government.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

Police Kill Notorious Kidnap Kingpin, Robbery Suspect, Vampire

vampire1
‘Vampire’ with other suspects

Police Special Forces, led by the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have killed notorious kidnap kingpin and armed robbery suspect, Henry Chibueze, also known as ‘Vampire’.

The wanted criminal met his waterloo early this morning at about 1AM on Thursday during a gunbattle with the IGP Intelligence Response Team in Omu Awa Forest,Ikwerre L.G.A. Rivers State.

Five other members of his gang were arrested alive and cache of arms and ammunition were recovered.

Recall that Vampire had escaped from Imo High Court premises following a shootout between gunmen and security operatives in Owerri, Imo State on January 27th.

In an attack that left several persons wounded,men suspected to be members of his gang attacked the operatives when Vampire and other inmates arrived at the premises of the Imo High Court in Owerri.

According to an eyewitness,the gunmen, over six of them, found their way into the court premises shortly after over 50 inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.

The gunmen opened fire on the security operatives and inmates at the court premises shooting sporadically into the air for over 10 minutes leaving several people wounded as Vampire and about eight other inmates escaped.

The Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha promised a reward of Five million Naira to anyone with valuable information that can lead to the arrest of the escapee criminal.

Xenophobia: Senate Demands Speedy Action From Foreign Affairs

Senate Spokesman Confirms Receipt Of Letter From BuhariThe Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar-Abba, says no Nigerian was killed in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The minister disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on what the Nigerian Government is doing to protect its citizens in South Africa from attacks.

She said the government would send a delegation to the country to ascertain what the issues were with the aim of finding solutions.

After the last xenophobic attack in April 2015 where 10 deaths were recorded and properties looted or destroyed, Nigerians in South Africa are still seeking compensation for destroyed properties.

However, Bukar-Abba told the committee that no compensation has been paid by the government.

The committee expressed displeasure at the manner with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so far handled the crisis.

A member of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, called for hard hitting actions from Nigeria to address what has become a regular occurrence in South Africa.

The senators strongly condemned the recent attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West in South Africa.

The Nigerian community, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

The Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

She advised Nigerians to be extra cautious, saying it appears the South African Government seems to have no control over the attacks.

How Climate Change May Increase World’s Poverty Index By 100 Million

PollutionDid you know that “about 100 million poor persons would be added to the world’s poor people’s index by the year 2030 unless, world leaders take urgent steps to implement policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change”?

This is according to the Practice Manager for Environmental and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Mr Benoit Bonquet.

Mr Bonquet made the remarks on Friday at a conference in Abuja on how to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

He warned about the dangers of not taking serious steps to address the issues of climate change by the year 2030.

The forum was organised by the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Environment, as part of efforts by the Nigerian Government to create awareness on climate change.

The Director, Department of Climate Change at the ministry, Mr Yerima Tarfa, stressed the need for the government to make necessary arrangements to deliver on its climate change pledges.

The National Project Coordinator of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Mr Salisu Dahiru, also advocated investing in renewable energy.

Data from the World Bank revealed that the world’s temperature has continued to get warmer at an alarming rate since 1981.

Some states in Nigeria, especially those situated along the coast of the River Niger experienced severe flooding which led to loss of lives.

Environmentalists attributed some of these experiences to climate change, hence governments are thinking about how to mitigate its effects.

Portugal To Partner With Nigeria On Technology

Technology, Nigeria, Portugal, Manuel Heitor, NSRDAPortugal’s Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mr Manuel Heitor, says his country is set to collaborate with Nigeria to expand their bilateral relation.

Mr Heitor stated that the Portuguese government sought to work closely with the Nigerian Government in the area of technology across the various sectors of the African nation’s economy.

He revealed that within the European Union Framework, Portugal has a keen interest to establish a multilateral research observatory for nations on the Atlantic Ocean coastlines, in which Nigeria was one of them.

The Portuguese Minister made the remarks on Thursday in Abuja during a courtesy visit on the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA), Dr. Seidu Mohammed.

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Ex-NSA Dasuki

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA Objects For the second time, the Nigerian government has applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for secret trial and protection of witnesses that will testify against the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki in the case of unlawful possession of fire-arms and money laundering brought against him.

The fresh application which was filed by the prosecutor, Mr Oladipo Okpeseyi, urged the court to try the former National Security Adviser in secret and also protect the witnesses by not allowing their names and addresses to be made public in the course of the trial.

But in a strong opposition to the fresh request, the former National Security Adviser asked the court to dismiss the government motion on the ground that it lacks merit and constituted a gross abuse of court process.

Counsel to the former NSA, Mr Ahmed Raji, argued that there was no justification for the federal government to have brought the motion for secret trial for the second time having lost in the first motion filed before the same court.

He reminded the court that government had on its own volition placed the charges against him on the internet where the names, addresses and positions of the witnesses were conspicuously put at the disposal of the general public.

He reminded the court that in a ruling it dismissed the request on the ground that the witnesses were already known by the public having given their names and addresses to the public through the internet.

He further said that bringing the same motion to the same court constituted a gross abuse of court process and that what the prosecution ought to do if not satisfied with the decision of the court is to approach the Court of Appeal to ventilate its case.

The defense did not object to the request for the adjournment but clarified that the fresh motion for secret trial was served on the defendant last Thursday, hence their counter affidavit prepared over the weekend was served on Monday within the time allowed by law.

The federal government through the Department of State Services (DSS) had in 2015 slammed a 2-count charge of unlawful possession of fire-arms and money laundering against Colonel Dasuki.