Groups Fault National Dialogue Advisory Committee’s Tour

a former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa.A coalition of civil society groups has faulted the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue’s tour of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria to collate memos from citizens.

The groups, led by a former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa and the President of the Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, insisted that the collation of memos from Nigerians was against the committee’s mandate of only working out modalities for the proposed National Conference.

‘Unnecessary And Unconstitutional’

Addressing a coalition of civil society groups at his residence in Kaduna, Balarabe Musa described the inauguration of a 13-man National committee by President Goodluck Jonathan as ‘unnecessary and unconstitutional’.

“There would have been no need to convoke such conference if all  the arms of government had performed their constitutional responsibilities creditably,” he stressed.

He said that for the conference to work, both the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary should collectively decide the composition of the confab, rather than allowing only the president to nominate members of the committee.

Also commenting on the 255 million Naira (about 1.6million dollars) armoured car scandal rocking the aviation ministry, Mr Musa criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for taking along with him, the minister in charge of the ministry, Stella Oduah and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo  Dasuki  to the holy pilgrimage in Israel, even when the minister was indicted in the scandal and Dasuki appointed to investigate the allegation.

Poor State Of Governance
 Shehu Sani's picture.
Sani emphasized that what the larger ordinary citizens needed was a revolutionary change that would be championed by the masses and not a ‘government initiated sponsored conference’.

Opposition political leaders, human rights community and representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress were present at the residence of the former Kaduna State Governor, in commemoration of his 77th birthday.

Explaining that the radical Musa’s virtues are worthy of emulation, particularly in a country bedevilled by high socio-economic political problems, Sani pointed out that it was high time good leaders were recognised when they were still alive.

What was supposed to be a celebration, however, turned into lamentation as speakers decried the poor state of governance in Nigeria.

The civil societies also faulted the handing over of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria to private investors, stressing that the sale will not improve electricity generation.

Since the Nigerian president constituted the committee, some Nigerians have emphasised that only well managed citizens’ participation would guarantee the success of the National Dialogue.

Boko Haram: Activist Challenges JTF To Produce Shekau’s Corpse

A Kaduna-based human rights activist, Shehu Sani, on Wednesday dismissed claims by the Joint Military Task Force in Maduguri that it has killed the leader of Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau.

Sani further challenged the Nigerian military to produce the body of the presumed late leader of the sect to the public as  proof.

In an interview with Channels Television in Kaduna, Mr. Sani noted that the killing of Shekau, if true, will be  a victory  for the military, and the country in general.

He however maintained that until the body is found or the sect members make a proper announcement confirming his death, Nigerians should not take the claims of the JTF serious.

He added that the claim could be a security measure adopted by the military authorities to ascertain if the sect leader is actually dead or alive.

It will be recalled that Operatives of the Joint Task Force (Operation Restore Order) in Maiduguri on Monday said  the leader of dreaded Boko Haram, Ibrahim Shekau may have been killed in a gun battle with its forces.

A statement by the spokesperson of the Force, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said “Intelligence report available to the Joint Task Force Operation RESTORE ORDER revealed that Abubakur Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram Terrorists leader may have died”.

It added that Shekau “died of gunshot wound received in an encounter with the JTF troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on 30 June 2013. Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroun for treatment which he never recovered. It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August, 2013”.

Shehu Sani Rejects Nomination As Amnesty Committee Member

Human rights activist, Mister Shehu Sani has described the process of setting up a 26-man amnesty committee for Boko Haram as faulty, and has rejected his nomination.

His rejection is coming at a time the president of the Islamic council of Nigeria Sheik Lemu says the offer should be seen as a service to God and to one’s fatherland.

They however share the optimism that dialogue remains the only way out of the security crisis in the country as the use of force will not do the country any good.

Presidential Pardon to Alamieyeseigha Sparks Outrage

Granting pardon to the former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is an indication that President Goodluck Jonathan is not serious about the fight against corruption. This condemnation is coming from some lawyers, politicians and activists.

Former governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

The former Kaduna state governor, Balarabe Musa believes the pardon has shown that President Jonathan has abandoned the fight against corruption.

“What is the justification for the pardon? Are they too old to stay in the prison where they belong? This is unfortunate particularly at this period when the government is talking about the fight against corruption,” he said.

“This simply means that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has abandoned his anti-corruption crusade. It has a political manoeuvring.”

President of the Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, said he was in support of the pardon for Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and the others but that it appeared they were on the list as a smokescreen to re-launch Mr Alamieyeseigha into politics.

“I’m in support of pardon for Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Oladipo Diya and co but I know they were simply used as a smokescreen. They were given pardon in order to give credibility to the pardon but the exercise was done because of Alamieyeseigha,” he said.

Lawyer Festus Keyamo, in a statement on Tuesday night, said the pardon for Mr Alamieyeseigha “typifies the height of insensitivity of this government to the feelings of Nigerians about the war against corruption.”

He added: “This pardon by the President teaches no bitter lesson to thieving and corrupt public officers. It encourages corruption at the highest and the lowest levels of public office and the decision itself is corruption per excellence.”

Another lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, said if the pardon is truly granted, it “will signal the end of the existing phony war against corruption.”

Former president of the Nigerian Bar Association Rotimi Akeredolu said the pardon does not rule out the fact that Alamieyeseigha has committed a crime which would still hold against him.

But lawyer Mike Ozekhome said the pardon “cleansed” the ex-convict of any “sin.”

He said, “The stigma of being an ex-convict has just been totally washed away and such a person can contest elections. He is taken in the eye of the law that he has never committed any offence.

“Anyone who will blame President Jonathan for giving Presidential pardon to his former boss, who brought him out of the classroom, such will be living in a dream world of unreality. It is only natural that the President will want to pardon his former boss who has always been there for him.”

In its reaction, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Tuesday night said the presidential pardon for Mr Alamieyeseigha was “laughable and tribalistic.”

The CPC spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin said the decision was akin to granting posthumous pardon to the likes of notorious armed robber Lawrence Anini.

“There is a better way to show solidarity with one’s boss than this utterly reprehensible action…. This is another proof that the Jonathan regime is not averse to corruption,” Fashakin said.

Secretary General of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Willy Ezugwu, said, “This is saddening…. This has also confirmed that the president is hobnobbing with corruption and that Nigerians should not put their hope on him to move the nation forward.”