Wike Alleges Plot To Float Illegal Security Groups In Rivers

Wike Alleges Plot To Float Illegal Security Groups In Rivers
File photo

 

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has accused some politicians of planning to set up illegal vigilante groups to clash with members of the Neighbourhood Watch in the state.

The governor, who made the allegation, on Tuesday also claimed the move was aimed at paving way for the police to ban the new security outfit set up by the state government

He spoke when he received the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 6, Mr Usman Abubakar, at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Wike explained that the Neighbourhood Watch is being established to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the state, just as it is in Lagos.

According to him, “We are setting up the State Neighbourhood Watch for intelligence gathering; policemen and other security agencies cannot be everywhere.”

“In setting up the State Neighbourhood Watch, we adopted the process established in Lagos State. This is a replica of what is already in existence in Lagos State,” he added.

In a bid to further improve security in the state, the governor informed the AIG that the state government had acquired six gunboats.

He was optimistic that the move would boost the efforts of the State Police Command in fighting criminals along the waterways.

As the forthcoming general elections draw nearer, Governor Wike called for improved synergy between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police.

He also warned the police against bias and being used to indiscriminately arrest opponents of the ruling party ahead of the polls.

In his remarks, Mr Abubakar said the zonal command remains committed to reducing cultism, kidnapping and other forms of crime in the area.

He also appealed to the stakeholders to work with the police ahead of the elections and to work for peace as the Zone would not tolerate any act of lawlessness.

Kenya Court Enables Return Of Deported Opposition Firebrand

Kenya on the Map

 

Kenya’s High Court on Monday ordered immigration authorities to allow an outspoken member of the opposition alliance to return to the country, after his deportation earlier this month.

Miguna Miguna, a firebrand member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight to Canada nearly three weeks ago.

His deportation came after he was arrested for treason for taking part in the mock swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who insists he is the rightful victor of last year’s elections.

The interior ministry said Miguna had “denounced” his Kenyan citizenship after obtaining Canadian citizenship several years ago.

High Court judge Chacha Mwita ordered the immigration department to issue Miguna “with a travel document to enable him to re-enter and remain in Kenya pending the determination and hearing of his petition” to defend his citizenship.

“In default the petitioner shall be at liberty to use his Canadian passport to re-enter and remain in Kenya,” he said.

Holding dual citizenship is legal in Kenya, and in August, Miguna ran for political office, with proof of Kenyan citizenship a key criteria for all candidates.

Miguna holds no elected office, but has styled himself “general” of the opposition’s “National Resistance Movement” (NRM) wing, in charge of implementing a threatened programme of civil disobedience and boycotts.

Following Odinga’s pretend inauguration, Kenya’s government designated the NRM as an “organised criminal group”.

However Mwita on Monday also suspended this decision.

Miguna’s enforced exile was yet another twist in the long saga of Kenya’s disputed elections which saw the Supreme Court annul the result of the initial August poll and Odinga boycott the October rerun, handing victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

A Human Rights Watch statement released Monday said 104 people had died at the hands of police and armed gangs during the protracted election.

AFP

Russia Detains Opposition Leader Over Illegal Protest

(L-R) Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Vasily MAXIMOV /POOL / AFP

 

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he was briefly detained Thursday for organising illegal protests as Russia prepares to hold presidential polls next month. 

Navalny, who has been barred from challenging President Vladimir Putin in the election, now faces a court hearing and up to 30 days in prison after being formally charged.

The prominent Kremlin critic wrote on Twitter on Thursday afternoon: “I came out of the dentist’s and what do you know — the second operative (police) regiment, ‘you’re detained’.”

He later wrote that he was taken to a police station where he was charged with repeatedly breaking rules on holding protests before being released.

“I’ve been released pending trial. I don’t know when the hearing will be,” he wrote on Twitter.

Navalny, who cannot contest the election because of a criminal conviction he says is politically motivated, was detained last month after he appeared at a Moscow rally but released later that day without facing court.

He suggested the delayed hearing was a move by the Kremlin to ensure he would be in prison during the run-up to the election, which he has urged his supporters to boycott.

Navalny’s campaign chief Leonid Volkov was almost simultaneously detained Thursday at a Moscow airport for reasons that were not immediately clear.

Volkov wrote on Twitter he had been held by police at Sheremetyevo airport where he was planning to fly to another Russian city.

On Tuesday a Moscow court sentenced an ally of Navalny, Roman Rubanov, to 10 days in jail for posting a tweet urging supporters to attend the unauthorised 28 January rally.

Navalny was also questioned this month by investigators from the powerful Investigative Committee over an allegation that he attacked police during his detention after the protest.

If charged, he could face a jail term.

Viral video 

The latest detentions come ahead of a march on Sunday in memory of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down three years ago on a bridge close to the Kremlin.

Navalny has recently caused controversy with a viral video report alleging influential Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko enjoyed lavish hospitality from billionaire tycoon Oleg Deripaska.

On Wednesday his anti-corruption foundation released a fresh YouTube video related to the allegations that has already been viewed more than 750,000 times.

Russia’s media watchdog last week blocked Navalny’s website.

Both Deripaska and Prikhodko deny the allegations.

Navalny has faced a string of administrative and criminal charges that he and his supporters see as politically motivated since he became the leading opposition figure campaigning against Putin’s rule at mass rallies in 2011 and 2012.

AFP

Kenya Deports Miguna Miguna Over Odinga ‘Swearing-In’

Kenya’s opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition leader Raila Odinga (C) holds up a bible as he swears-in himself as the ‘people’s president’ on January 30, 2018 in Nairobi. PHOTO: TONY KARUMBA / AFP

An outspoken member of Kenya’s opposition accused of treason for taking part in a mock swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga was deported to Canada late Tuesday.

The move came in defiance of a High Court order that he be presented before a judge on Wednesday.

Miguna Miguna, a provocative firebrand and member of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, was forced onto an international flight on Tuesday night.

“Miguna denounced his Kenyan citizenship years back, acquired Canadian citizenship and never bothered to reclaim Kenyan citizenship in the legally prescribed manner neither did he disclose that he had another country’s citizenship despite being a lawyer who should have known better,” said interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka in a tweet Wednesday.

Holding dual citizenship is legal in Kenya, and in August, Miguna ran for political office, with proof of Kenyan citizenship a key criteria for all candidates.

Miguna was put on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight to Toronto via Amsterdam, a security officer at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport said.

“He was driven in by heavily armed police officers who forced him into a flight to Canada. All deportation procedures have been followed,” the officer said.

Miguna’s lawyer, Nelson Havi, confirmed his client had been “forced into a KLM flight for ‘deportation’ to Canada. Now, how do you deport a Kenyan?” he asked.

On January 30, Miguna played a prominent role in Odinga’s mock inauguration and three days later was arrested in a dawn raid on his Nairobi home.

Since then, there has been much speculation about his whereabouts and his treatment by authorities.

Police and government officials defied two court orders to produce Miguna before a High Court judge earlier this week, instead taking him to a minor court in a small town 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the south on Tuesday.

There, Miguna refused to plea to charges of treason and unlawful assembly.

A subsequent High Court order demanded Miguna be presented for release on Wednesday morning, but his deportation means that order too has been ignored.

High Court judge Luka Kimaru has warned Kenya’s Inspector General of Police and Director of Criminal Investigations that they may be charged with contempt.

Miguna holds no elected office, but has styled himself “general” of the opposition’s “National Resistance Movement” (NRM) wing, in charge of implementing a threatened programme of civil disobedience and boycotts.

Following Odinga’s pretend inauguration last week, Kenya’s government designated the NRM as an “organised criminal group”.

Miguna’s enforced exile is the latest twist in the long saga of Kenya’s disputed elections which saw the Supreme Court annul the result of the initial August poll and Odinga boycott the October rerun, handing victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

However, Odinga continues to insist he was the real winner and therefore the legitimate president of Kenya.

AFP

Honduras Opposition Bid To Annul President’s Re-Election Rejected

Honduras soldiers carrying election materials for the Presidential polls on November 26, 2017 Photo Credit: AFP

Election officials in Honduras on Friday rejected the opposition’s appeal demanding the annulment of President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s re-election, which was lodged over voter fraud allegations in the bitterly disputed poll.

The country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), in a statement, cited a lack of evidence and dubbed the opposition’s actions “groundless.”

Election officials declared Hernandez the victor after he narrowly defeated leftist opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla in the November 26 vote.

Speaking on television Nasralla vowed a new appeal before the Supreme Court of Justice as well as a Saturday march protesting the ruling.

Nasralla conceded on December 22 shortly after Honduras’ key ally Washington endorsed Hernandez’s re-election, following a month of deadly street clashes.

But he then came back with the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship to demand the election results be annulled.

International monitors from both the OAS and the European Union noted irregularities in the election process, which the former said had been of “poor quality.”

According to election officials, the final results showed the conservative Hernandez winning with 42.95 percent of the vote, over Nasralla’s 41.42 percent.

Hernandez, 49, stood for re-election against Nasralla, a 64-year-old former TV presenter, despite a constitutional ban on presidents serving more than one term.

He plans to officially begin his second term January 27 with a “simple ceremony.”

AFP

Togo’s Opposition Coalition Boycotts Government Talks

Supporters of various opposition groups gather during a march in Lome on September 20, 2017. Thousands thronged the streets of Togo’s seaside capital on September 20 after the ruling party asked supporters to march at the same time as planned opposition protests demanding the removal of President Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of Africa’s oldest political dynasty. 
MATTEO KOFFI FRASCHINI / AFP

Togo’s main opposition coalition, which has led protests against President Faure Gnassingbe for more than three months, on Tuesday boycotted government consultations for talks on ending the political impasse.

The international community has called for talks between the two sides to end the stalemate over constitutional reform to introduce a maximum two-term limit for presidents.

But only five out of the 14 parties comprising the main opposition bloc were invited to preliminary discussions, scheduled to take place behind closed doors at the presidency in the capital, Lome.

Opposition coalition spokeswoman Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson said the alliance refused to attend the meeting in the face of the government’s “diversionary tactic.”

“We are very vigilant in the coalition, we consult with each other about our joint position,” she said, branding the government as “unfit” to lead the talks.

In the last few weeks, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Guinean counterpart Alpha Conde have been acting as mediators between the two sides.

Adjamagbo-Johnson said they should be the ones calling both sides for consultations, not the government because they were one of the involved parties.

“The current crisis runs deep. The regime has to acknowledge that,” she added.

Delegations from the UFC party of former opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio — who has been allied with Gnassingbe’s government since 2010 — and the president’s UNIR party met on Tuesday.

Other opposition parties not part of the coalition will also be consulted, as will former prime ministers, according a source close to the presidency.

Government minister Gilbert Bawara said last week that the consultations aim to establish the “format and modalities” of the talks.

Anti-government marches have been held across the country nearly every week since August, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005, taking over after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself was in charge of Togo for 38 years.

More protests are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The opposition coalition wants the release of people in custody and a “state of siege” to be lifted before any talks take place.

The government has promised to organise a referendum on the introduction of a two-term limit but has not said the reforms would be retroactive.

That would allow Gnassingbe to stand at the next two elections in 2020 and 2015 and potentially stay in power until 2030.

AFP

Moderates Walk Out As French Opposition Veers Right

France’s Macron Seeks Trade Discussion At EU Summit
LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

France’s new opposition leader Laurent Wauquiez scrambled Tuesday to hold his Republicans party together, two days after it picked the controversial rightwinger to take on centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

Wauquiez was elected head of the centre-right Republicans on Sunday, running on a hard-right platform that has seen him accused of cosying up to far-right National Front (FN) voters.

Twenty-four hours later, Xavier Bertrand, a party heavyweight from the northern Pas-de-Calais region, quit the Republicans — the first of a handful of politicians to walk out.

“I no longer recognise my political family, so I’ve decided to quit,” Bertrand, a moderate who served as the party’s secretary-general from 2007 to 2010, said Monday evening, accusing Wauquiez of “aggressiveness”.

On Tuesday, the mayor of the northern town of Roubaix, Guillaume Delbar, followed suit, as did two other Bertrand loyalists in the north.

Explaining his decision, Delbar said: “I cannot stay in a party whose leader did not choose clearly between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen”.

Delbar was referring to Wauquiez’s refusal to endorse Macron over the FN leader in this year’s presidential election after the Republicans candidate, Francois Fillon, was knocked out of the race.

Mainstream parties of the left and right have traditionally rallied around the FN’s opponent in the final round of elections to block the far-right’s path to power.

But Wauquiez, a 42-year-old devout Catholic who takes a tough line on immigration and security, stopped short of backing Macron, only calling on voters to “not vote for Marine Le Pen”.

Celebrating his election as party chief on Sunday, Wauquiez vowed to lead a “renaissance” of the right.

– ‘I need you’ –

He romped to victory over two little-known rivals, winning 75 percent of the votes cast by close to 100,000 party members.

But he faces a tough task to rebuild the once powerful party — it changed its name from UMP to Republicans in 2015 — which has lost millions of voters and several party heavyweights to Macron.

Analysts have said the only way the Republicans can survive Macron’s centrist offensive is by tacking to the right to win voters from the FN — at the risk of turning off more moderates.

On Tuesday, Wauquiez took a swipe at the departing Bertrand, saying it was “unacceptable to slam the door in this way”.

But he also attempted to heal party divisions.

“Come as you are. I need you,” he was quoted as telling Republicans lawmakers at a meeting, calling for “unity”.

AFP

EU Pulls Support For Cambodia Poll After Opposition Dissolved

 

The European Union on Tuesday pulled support for Cambodia’s election authority, questioning the legitimacy of upcoming polls after the dissolution of the opposition transformed the kingdom into a virtual one-party state under strongman Hun Sen.

A Supreme Court ruling last month dissolved the main opposition to the incumbent Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), an act the EU described in a statement as arbitrary and which “cannot be seen as legitimate”.

The EU decried a “series of actions” against the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which won almost 45 percent of the vote in the 2013 national elections and nearly the same proportion in this year’s local polls.

Its electoral success posed a threat to the 32-year rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who wants to hold elections mid next year despite outcry over his assault on Cambodia’s fragile democracy.

But the decision to dissolve the CNRP and the subsequent reallocation of its national and local seats to other parties “denies the choice of those who voted for the party in the elections in 2013 and 2017.”

In recent months, Cambodia’s government has launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent and other perceived challenges to the regime, arresting CNRP leader Kem Sokha and sending dozens of lawmakers fleeing into exile to avoid a similar fate.

Analysts say US President Donald Trump’s hands-off approach to human rights issues paired with support from regional behemoth China have emboldened Hun Sen to throw off any pretence to democracy and turn Cambodia into a one-party state.

But while Hun Sen has praised Trump, the new administration has also taken steps to censure Cambodia for its recent actions, putting visa restrictions on senior officials this month and withdrawing its own support for the country’s election authority in November.

AFP

Court Remands Metuh In Kuje Prison

Olisa-MetuhA Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded the spokesman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, in prison following his ‘not guilty’ plea to a seven-count charge of corruption and money laundering.

Mr Metuh appeared in court on Friday, days after he was arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the charges.

According to the charges, the PDP spokesman transferred the sum of $1 million through his agent, Nneka Nicole Ararume, to one Sie Iyenome of Capital Field Investment, committing an offense contrary to Section One of the Money Laundering Act.

He is also accused of receiving the sum of 400 million Naira from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, without a contract contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

Mr Metuh, is also accused of converting the said money to funds for political activities of the People’s Democratic Party.

He pleaded not guilty to the accusations.

Attempts by his counsel, Ifedayo Fadipe, to make an oral application for bail was rejected by the counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, who insisted that such an application could not be made orally.

Having listen to the two parties Justice Obong Abang agreed with the EFCC that such an application could not be made orally.

He then ordered Mr Metuh and his counsel to file his bail application within the next six hours, while the EFCC is to respond 24 hours after service of the of the bail application.

Hearing in the bail application has been adjourned to January 19.

before Mr Metuh was arraigned, the anti-graft agency asked him to return the money to effect his release.

“Witch Hunt”

Days after Mr metuh was held in detention, the opposition party’s federal lawmakers gave the EFCC 48 hours to either release its spokesman or charge him for the crime he was accused of.

The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, led by the Minority Leader of the House, Representative Leo Ogor, said Mr Metuh had not committed any treasonable offence and should not be detained indefinitely.

Threatening to give the issue an international dimension should he be kept in detention without bail, the caucus said “the continued incarceration of the party’s spokesperson violates the law and borders on witch hunt”.

Another issue raised by the PDP caucus was what the members in the House of Representatives termed preferential treatment given to a member of the ruling party, Mr Jafaru Isa, who was also arrested over the same diversion of funds but was released eight hours later.

In defence to claims of preferential  treatment, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Parry Ariase, argued that the APC member in question was released after he refunded part of the money he collected illegally from the office of national security adviser and that he still has a case to answer.

Tribunal Affirms Amosun’s Victory, Isiaka Sues For Peace

AmosunThe Ogun State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital, has affirmed the election of Mr. Ibikunle Amosun as Governor.

Delivering his judgement, Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi also dismissed the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship candidate in the election, Gboyega Isiaka, for lack of merit.

The Ogun PDP had approached the tribunal asking it to nullify the election of the governor over alleged malpractice and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.

Meanwhile, Mr Gboyega Isiaka has appealed to his supporters to remain calm and not to engage in any act of lawlessness.

Reacting to the tribunal verdict that affirmed the election of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Ogun PDP candidate urged his supporters to respect the decision of the court and remain law abiding.

He said, “I am appealing to all and sundry to respect the decision of the court. Though the verdict did not go the way that would have gladdened the hearts of many people in the state, but as law abiding and responsible citizens, we are duty bound to respect the verdict.

We shall carefully study the judgement as soon as possible and will make public our next line of action. But my appeal goes to all our supporters and those that might have been disappointed with the judgement to remain calm, we still have many options available to us but that decision will be made very soon.”

Ogun Govt Denies Alleged Financial Mismanagement

ogun The Ogun State government says that medium term financial strategies have been put in place, to address the short fall from federation account and the Internally Generated Revenue, giving the state a clean bill of health.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the declaration at a press briefing held in Abeokuta, the state capital, against the backdrop of claims that the state is in financial mess, peddled by members of the opposition in the state.

While assuring business operators in the state of continued business friendly environment, the government also denied any plan to reduce its workforce, adding that the allegation by the opposition is malicious and irresponsible.

In recent development, the state government had also announced the payment of salaries deducted from workers salaries and cooperative dues.

ASUU Strike Is Evidence Of FG’s Conspiracy Theory Against Masses – Activist

The International Coordinator of Concerned Human Rights Nigeria, Declan Ihekaire has described the on-going strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a ‘conspiracy theory of the federal government against the Nigerian masses,’ adding that the lapses in the education sector of the country are an intentional move to advance the cause of privately owned tertiary institutions.

“You find out that gradually they are killing the public educational sector while they are energising the privately owned institution,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday.

To further prove his point, he alleged that all local government councillors in Nigeria have their children enrolled in privately owned institutions and not government owned schools.

He also accused the government of being insincere about its claim to reverberate public tertiary institutions.

He said that the federal government entered into an agreement with ASUU In 2009 to revamp the education sector with a total of N1.2 trillion, a deal the federal government is yet to fulfill. “We should begin to have a federal government that should start thinking about the people first and stop reneging on agreements.
“It is something they should honour,” he said.

Responding to federal government’s claim that the opposition has infiltrated ASUU, Ihekaire said this is ‘nice’. “It is a nice statement”
“I remember they said that too in January during the January 2012 uprising when they said that we, the civil societies, are opposition. It was OK but the issue is that” so many committees were set up afterwards in a bid to resolve the situation.

The civil societies have decided to back up ASUU because “as a parent, I’m afraid that I might not be able to send my children to public institutions in the nearest future. I need to guard the future of my children”.