The Senator-elect for Kaduna Central, Mr Shehu Sani, has called on the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to scrap the ongoing amnesty programme for ex-militants when sworn into office.
The programme was initiated by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for ex-militants in the Niger Delta.
Speaking during a courtesy call to Arewa House in Kaduna on Tuesday, Sani described the entire amnesty programme as a sham and urged the incoming President to probe the operations of the Amnesty programme.
According to him, the amnesty programme ought to be a temporary gesture and not a permanent thing which, he said, some persons have turned into a conduit pipe to drain the nation’s wealth.
The senator-elect wondered why the amnesty programme should be continuous and only meant for youths from a particular ethnic nationality while their counterparts from other regions are left out.
The senator-elect also accused President Jonathan’s administration of skewing development to the South-South alone while neglecting the North and South-West regions.
On the back of this, he called on General Buhari not to repeat “the mistake” of the outgoing government, but to ensure he carries all parts of the country along in his government.
A legal practitioner, Malachy Ugwumadu, has called on security agents fighting against terror and searching for the abducted school girls to be “more coordinated” to “mitigate the pain, anguish and frustration suffered by the victims of this dastardly act”.
He noted that in rescuing the girls “there are two proposals (options)”, first “is in engaging these people (Boko Haram) with brute force and another is to negotiate with them” adding that both have their “merits and demerits”.
Ugwumadu, however, noted that “if you have at the back of your mind the safe return of these girls, you will go for the latter and that is to negotiate with these criminal elements”.
Speaking on Channels Television’s award winning breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, the legal practitioner noted that “even as sophisticated as the United States of America is, there are plethora of instances where they have had to negotiate, the least of which was just yesterday with just a single Sergeant in the US Army”.
He added that “if you apply that to this situation, you will find out that these girls have been taken in as shields and if you are going to make the mistake of that misadventure of trying to test the will of people who have clearly dramatized their bestiality, you will have these girls down”.
He also appreciated the “concern of the Nigerian people, the difficulty of government amidst the cacophony of voices that are coming from every angle”, maintaining an earlier stance, “that is why I said they should get a little more coordinated”.
He added that “given that discordant voices, there has been an attempt to coordinate the dissemination of information by all the security agencies”, and commended “virtually all the spokespersons of various security agencies who come together with a view to giving a coordinated information.”
Mr Ugwumadu, stated that false rumours making the rounds that a number of the girls had been found only “adds to the pain, frustration and agony” describing is as one which “exposes the gloomy picture of where we are”.
He also alleged that “it is almost certain that these people (military) will not be able to rescue these girls.”
Reacting to the calls that the Federal Government should negotiate the safe return of the girls, he appealed for the Government to “take steps to curtail what they have capacity to do almost immediately” when trying to swap the girls with yet to be de-radicalised members of the Boko Haram sect.
He further downplayed the idea of granting amnesty to the sect members, wondering what the chances were that all the variables that determine and fuel this kind of insurgency would not have yet another one after Boko Haram”
The lawyer recalled, “It was Shehu Sani who said that his fear really is that Boko Haram is not the most violent sect in the North presently; that the only difference is that these ones have crossed the line and they are carrying guns.”
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday, reacted to the news that he met with persons believed to be close to members of the Boko Haram sect, stating that he would not do so without the knowledge of the Presidency.
Speaking to Channels Television at his hill top residence, he revealed that he was making moves to reach President Goodluck Jonathan before holding talks on the Chibok girls “but was surprised at how certain meetings have turned out”.
“I cannot have a plan without the Presidency being involved”, he said, debunking claims that he was “going on a one man mission”. He insisted that it would be “idiotic” for him to have done so.
He noted that he was beaten by Shehu Sani to letting the state and national authorities know the meeting had taken place and admitted that he owed them an apology. He added, “I have to involve the President and he also tells me this is what we are doing or this is what we are pursuing either in addition or along with what we are doing or not”.
On the allegation that the abduction of the girls was orchestrated to bring down the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, the retired general said “If the Presidency is obsessed with one thing and one thing only and any other thing of concern to Nigeria is secondary then the Presidency will take that position” adding that this “will be unfortunate”.
General Obasanjo further noted, “Boko Haram have been in existence for years…they didn’t disturb my government because when I was in government I did not disturb their Sharia.” He declared, “Sharia is part of our constitution”.
Obasanjo also reacted to claims by the military that they had located the place where the abducted Chibok girls were being kept by members of the radical Boko Haram sect.
Reacting to comments made by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, on the whereabouts of the abducted girls, he urged the military not to engage in Public Relations stunts with the Chibok girls’ issue.
“This is not an issue that you will play Public Relations propaganda with. It is a serious issue that is like a spear in the heart of the parents and whatever statement we make and action we take, if it will not really deal with the issue in a way that will bring those girls out safe and secure and make their families happy and will also give every Nigerian a sense of security, then such statements should not be made,” he said.
He further argued that the American forces also have the means to confirm or debunk the statement made by Air Marshal Badeh over the location of the girls.
“I will be pleasantly surprised if those girls are returned intact,” he said.
Civil Rights activist, Shehu Sani, on Wednesday said that he led a delegation of some families of suspected Boko Haram members to a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to find ways of securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
Sani, who was speaking in response to the reports on the Abeokuta meeting with the former president and some family members of the Boko Haram group, confirmed that the meeting “actually took place and I was part of it”.
Sani said, in a statement made available to journalists, that the meeting which took place at the Abeokuta residence of the former President was aimed at opening a new channel of dialogue with leaders of the sect and secure the release of the missing girls.
He expressed the hope that the meeting will lead to a genuine dialogue between the abductors and the federal government on how to secure the girls’ release.
He said, “My statement is in response to the reports and the enquiries on the Abeokuta meeting with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and some family members of the Boko Haram group. The renewed effort to dialogue with the leaders of Boko Haram is being pursued with vigour.
“This is to confirm that the meeting actually took place and I was part of it. The meeting was solely aimed at exploring the possibility of opening a new channel for dialogue or negotiation with the sect members towards securing the release of the abducted Chibok girls held in captivity for over a month.”
He noted that the meeting between the former President and families of Boko Haram members appraised the reportedly collapsed back door deal that was later cancelled by the Government.
“I wish to also confirm that the report of the intervention of Mr. Salkida in negotiating the release of the Chibok girls is credible.
“I personally introduced Salkida to the government and spoke about him in many of my previous interviews. He has tried his best in the past and of recent to help in resolving the insurgency through dialogue but was on all occasions frustrated by the government.
“Mr. Salkida should not be vilified but should be appreciated. Mr. Salkida’s attempt could have actually see to the release of the abducted girls. The meeting in Abeokuta was aimed at repackaging and salvaging the dialogue option. It was generally agreed that the initiative cannot take off without the consent of the Federal Government. It’s significant for Nigerians to note that negotiation is the only safer option to get the girls back home,” Sani stated.
The President of the Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, has accused the Federal Government of being insincere in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.
Following Monday’s early morning bomb attack at Nyanya area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where 71 persons were killed and many others critically injured, the human right activist, Sani, in a press release, alleged that “the Federal Government was never sincere in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east despite all the noise and resources wasted on security in the 2014 and previous budgets.”
At a Press conference in Kaduna where his group also distributed several volumes of the report of the 2005 National Political Reforms Conference to butchers, market women and bean cake sellers, Sani traced the series of attacks in some parts of the north to the problem of governance, stating that the currents spate of bombing by the sect had vindicated him for not being part of the Federal Government Dialogue Committee on Boko Haram, which he noted was a waste of time and resources.
He also predicted that the on-going national conference may not achieve the desired goals, as other successive governments in the country failed to implement reports of similar conferences despite several billions of Naira spent for the conference by government.
He explained that reports of the ongoing conference would also be used by hawkers and food vendors to sell their products because it would not be implemented just like others.
He further stressed that conferences had always been an avenue for wasting public funds, and insisted that the ongoing national conference would not yield any result at the end of the day.
A human rights activist and President of Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, has said that the Federal Government was never sincere in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country, despite all the noise and resources wasted on security in the 2014 and previous budgets.
This is following Monday’s early morning bomb attack at Nyanya area of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, where many people were killed and many others critically injured.
At a press conference in Kaduna where his group also distributed several volumes of the report of the 2005 National Political Reforms Conference to butchers, market women and bean cake sellers, Sani traced the series of attacks in some parts of the North to the problem of governance.
He stated that the current spate of bombing by the sect had vindicated him for not being part of the Federal Government Dialogue Committee on Boko Haram, which he noted was a waste of time and resources.
The leader of the Northern Civil Society Coalition also predicted that the on-going National Conference may not achieve the desired goals as other successive governments in the country failed to implement reports of similar conferences, despite several billions of Naira spent for the conference by Government.
He explained that reports of the ongoing conference would also be used by hawkers and food vendors to sell their products because it would not be implemented just like others.
He stressed that conferences had always been an avenue for wasting public funds, and insisted that the ongoing National Conference would not yield any result at the end of the day.
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 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.
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”.
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.
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.”