Wednesday, 28 September 2016
The Nigerian Army says it will launch “Operation Rescue Final’’ aimed at rescuing abducted persons.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Army, led by its Chairman, Rimande Shawulu, paid him oversight visit.
Mr. Buratai, a Lt. Gen., had hinted of the operation in Makurdi on September 22 at the close of the combined 2nd and 3rd quarter Chief of Army Staff Conference.
The chief of Army staff, who, did not give further details on the operation, said: “Once we start (the operation), we will not relent until everybody abducted is rescued”.
Mr. Buratai thanked the committee for increased budget allocation to the army in 2016 and solicited for more support to enable it carry out its statutory functions.
On the issue of human rights, he promised that the army would continue respect and not infringe on the rights of the people, while carrying out its duty.
Mr. Buratai, however, noted that whatever had happened in the course of personnel performing their duty was not “deliberate’’.
He said to ensure respect for human rights, discipline and professionalism, the army launched its human right policy on Tuesday.
Earlier, Mr. Shawulu commended the army for the fight against insurgency and other security challenges nationwide in spite of the challenges of poor funding, inadequate equipment and state of their barracks.
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The chairman, however, noted that because they were deployed in almost all the states, performing functions, which ordinarily were not theirs, there had been “friction’’ with civilians.
“We are requesting for quicker responses to the issues and matters referred from the committee to you.
“This is important to assure members of the public that there is a channel that can lead to legal, constitutional and peaceful resolution of their complaints.
“This will ensure that people do not seek extra legal resolutions,’’ Mr. Shawulu said.
He assured that the committee would continue to support the army to enable it discharge its duties effectively.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday suspended Abdulmumin Jibrin, a lawmaker from Kano at the centre of the unfolding budget padding scandal, for 180 legislative days.
The House seats three days in a week and this consequently means that Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would last more than a year.
In a motion recommended by House Ethics Committee chairman, Nicholas Ossai, and adopted by the whole House, Mr. Jibrin will also not be able to hold any position of responsibility for the span of the current National Assembly.
Mr. Jibrin began stirring what experts now described as one Africa’s biggest parliamentary scandals in recent memory on July 21, a day after he was eased out as chairman of the powerful committee.
Although the House was taking a two-month recess at the time, Mr. Jibrin remained resolute in his quest to “end the massive corruption in the House.”
“My resolve to champion this cause was borne out of patriotism and desire to complement the present administration’s anti-corruption war from the legislative front,” Mr. Jibrin said in an email to PREMIUM TIMES on August 21.
Mr. Jibrin said the campaign had earned him “blackmail, propaganda and campaign of calumny” from Mr. Dogara, lawmakers loyal to him and their proxies.
The assault had been largely targeted at the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, and three other principal officers, whose resignation and prosecution he had continued to demand.
Mr. Dogara had announced the removal of Mr. Jibrin in a speech he read in plenary on July 20, alleging budget fraud and serial betrayal of trust.
To back his allegations against Mr. Dogara, Mr. Jibrin released damning documents to the media.
On July 30, the State Security Service sealed the secretariat of the Appropriation Committee in the National Assembly after Mr. Jibrin raised the alarm that Mr. Dogara had allegedly concluded plans to cart away computers and destroy evidence.
Mr. Jibrin also visited law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, the SSS and the police, where he said he personally submitted petitions detailing evidence of fraudulent manipulation of budget by Mr. Dogara, his deputy Yusuf Lasun, House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, and nine others.
After several days of silence, Mr. Dogara
succumbed to public demands for him to defend himself and came out with blistering statements denying all the charges against him.
Mr. Dogara took specific issue with the ‘budget padding’ catchphrase, saying it was a strange term to use when describing the actions of the legislature.
He also said lawmakers could not be probed by law enforcement agencies over any infractions in the National Assembly, but later walked back this statement.
At some point, the APC moved to contain the crisis , but its gag order lasted only a weekend.
Consequently, lawmakers began openly criticising Mr. Jibrin for allegedly defacing the National Assembly, dealing a major blow to his crusade.
Mr. Jibrin’s isolation became even more pronounced after 10 principal officers of the House
released a statement backing Mr. Dogara and denouncing Mr. Jibrin. Amongst them was Femi Gbajabiamila, the Majority Leader who many thought would be reluctant to openly back Mr. Dogara.
The development sparked speculation that Mr. Jibrin would be suspended upon resumption of the House from recess.
The House resumed on September 20 and a lawmaker loyal to Mr. Dogara moved a motion the next day to have Mr. Jibrin probed for allegedly breaching the privileges of the members.
Emmanuel Orker-Jev, a lawmaker from Benue, proposed tough sanctions against Mr. Jibrin for the damage his allegations have allegedly wrought on the House.
“The image of the House has never been worse than this before. Hon. Jibrin was reckless and the allegations were false. He knew that the allegations were false and scandalous and he had no regards at all to whether the allegations were true or false,” Mr. Orker-Jev said.
The House subsequently assigned the matter to its Ethics and Privileges Committee for further investigation and to report back within a week with its findings and recommendations.
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Ossai, chairman of the committee, convened the first hearing on the matter September 23, during which Mr. Orker-Jev submitted his allegations against Mr. Jibrin.
Mr. Jibrin received an invitation to appear before the committee on Monday. But decided to boycott the hearing , even though his demand that the sitting be thrown open to the public was met by Mr. Ossai. Mr. Jibrin also asked his lawyer, Femi Falana, to seek discontinuation of committee’s actvities in court.
Mr. Ossai said Mr. Jibrin’s failure to appear before his “properly and constitutionally constituted committee” was, in effect, a defence.
Mr. Jibrin had on Tuesday alleged subjudice saying the committee should not have sat since the matter was in court.
Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would see him banned from the premises of the National Assembly in the course of the disciplinary action. He would also not receive salaries or allowances.
Some sympathisers of Mr. Jibrin saw his suspension as partisan, draconian and counterproductive.
“This show of partisanship and support for Mr. Dogara is condemnable and too severe,” said a political analyst, Gbola Oba.
Mr. Oba said Mr. Jibrin had suffered the same fate as Dino Melaye who was suspended in 2010 for breach of members’ privilege. Mr. Melaye is now a senator representing Kogi West.
“We knew they would gang up against him as they did against Mr. Melaye,” Mr. Oba said. “This clearly shows that the House has failed to move beyond its counterproductive ways of suspending anyone who challenges the status quo.
“If the House were a serious body, serious attention would be given to Mr. Jibrin’s claim so as to foster a thriving democratic experiment within the country.”
|Atiku Abubakar And Bola Tinubu|
A former Vice President and chieftain of All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar, has charged the party to promote the rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs, noting that they were germane to its unity and stability.
He gave the charge in a statement on Wednesday against the background of the festering crisis trailing the conduct of the APC gubernatorial primary in Ondo State.
A former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, had on Sunday demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, accusing him of favouring an aspirant in the gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State and forcing his choice through using a sleight of hand.
Mr. Tinubu, who alleged that the national chairman was perpetrating injustice, said the development showed that there was an evil and regressive force within the APC using Mr. Oyegun to derail the party’s democratic and progressive tenets.
The name of a former National President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Rotimi Akeredolu, was forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, as the APC candidate in the November election, despite protest by other aspirants and some members of the party’s national working committee.
Mr. Abubakar said it was imperative for the national leadership of the party to live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus, warning that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems.”
He argued that the party was supposed to be an impartial entity in the arbitration of crisis amongst its members in any given election.
He further contended that since the APC found veritable reasons to review the outcome of the gubernatorial primary election it conducted in Ondo State, and was able to establish valid grounds to cancel that election and call for a fresh one, the decision to deviate from its own resolution is a negation of due process and an unfashionable hollow in democratic best practices.
“It was wrong for the APC to have set aside a resolution it had reached aimed at resolving the crisis in our party in Ondo State. It is a recipe for acrimony and division,” he said.
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The former vice president also noted that pretending a problem doesn’t exist won’t make that problem go away, and therefore, advised the leadership of the party to do a soul searching and address why this problem arose and escalated.
According to Mr. Atiku, the party leadership should always be guided by respect for the rules, fairness, equity, neutrality and respect for democratic consensus.
He, however, urged aggrieved members of the APC in the Ondo election to exercise restraint in seeking redress to the crisis.
He also urged the leadership of the party to retrace its steps and do the needful to restore confidence among the conflicting parties in the state for the overall benefit of the ruling party.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
|Donald Trump vs Hillary Clint|
Hillary Clinton, the United States Democratic Party presidential candidate, prepared for Monday’s first presidential debate like a champion pugilist. There was no room for slacking. She was going toe to toe with an opponent known for lashing and steep in unconventional debating tactics.
Days before Monday’s night debate, words filtered in that she had decided to prepare for the debate by choosing to spar with someone who was going to mirror the brash and antagonistic approach of her opponent. There could not have been a better strategy. It worked and she scored a technical knockout.
Mrs. Clinton walked onto the stage with a smile that exuded more confidence than that of her opponent, Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, who appeared too self-aware of the enormity of the task at hand.
NBC’s Lester Holt, the moderator, began the debate by asking the candidates to talk about their plans of creating jobs. Mrs. Clinton, who spoke first, humanised her plans by making reference to her granddaughter’s birthday. She followed it up by explaining how she intended to raise minimum wage, and improve the working conditions of American families.
It was immediately easy to see the influence of the programme of her contender during the long-drawn Democratic Party primary election, Bernie Sanders, on her plans. She said her opponent’s plan of creating jobs will only benefit rich people and leave members of the middle class in the lurch. With reference to Mr Trump’s privileged background, she denounced his plans of cutting taxes for the rich so that they can create jobs. She described the plans as “Trumped Up, Trickle Down”.
She explained that she would build on the recent economic success of the Obama administration by making the rich pay more taxes.
Just like he had done throughout his campaign, Mr Trump, kicked off by talking about how Americans are losing jobs to Mexicans and Chinese. He repeated the word ‘Mexicans’ at least five times within the two minutes window he had to answer the question. Without stating how, he promised to stop China and Mexico from taking American jobs if elected president.
He said he was going to renegotiate the US trade deal with China and Mexico. Mr. Trump blamed politicians “like Hillary Clinton” for causing the job losses in Michigan. With the aim of pushing Mrs Clinton to the corner, he asked her achievement in job creation in the last 30 years she has been a politician.
She expertly avoided the curveball, saying during the tenure of her husband as president, lots of jobs were created and the economy did well.
At this stage, she appeared to be on the defensive, but managed to dodge jabs and hooks thrown at her. She looked too cool for comfort. But it was a ploy. It worked, Mr. Trump was caught napping several times. And she punished him with excellent one-liners.
“Donald I know you are living up your own reality,” she said, countering the points made by her opponent as inaccurate.
That statement clearly angered Mr Trump, who before now has managed to keep his outbursts on a leash. He became visibly angry and went on a wild attack, his voice now several decibels higher. But Mrs. Clinton’s smile remained unshaken.
On why he hasn’t released his tax details, Mr Trump said his tax returns were under audit and he would release them after the audit, against the wishes of his lawyers.
In order to rattle his opponent, he promised to release his tax returns if she agreed to release several volumes of emails found in her private server.
This definitely wasn’t going to look good for Mrs Clinton. Her use of a private email server, while she was Secretary of State, had prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, investigation that barely exonerated her. The private email trailed her throughout the campaign like flies buzzing around the bleeding ears of an errant dog. She has been unable to shake the matter off.
But she managed to shake off the punch. She said she made a mistake of setting up a private server for her official email and that she would do things differently if given the chance again.
While pointing out Mr. Trump’s admiration of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, she blamed the recent hacking of emails on Russia. Mr. Trump replied by saying there was nothing that suggested that Russia was responsible for the hacking adding that it could have been done by the Chinese, or “somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pound”. His comment on the body weight drew sighs of condemnation from the audience at the debate.
On race, Mr. Trump tried to pin Mrs. Clinton to the corner for reffering to blacks as super-predators during her original presidential bid in 2008.
He argued that in order to stamp out crime in black communities he would push for law and order. He then suggested that he would re-introduce the controversial stop-frisk, in crime-ridden cities like Chicago; in order to cut down the number of deaths and protect police officers. Mr. Holt reminded the Republican candidate that a court had ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional.
DealConversely, Mrs. Clinton projected a reconciliatory approach. She talked about her plans to improve police-community relationship. She said she would increase background check instead of adopting the stop-and-frisk proposed by her rival. She advocated increased background checks and said she would make sure that those on terror watch lists are unable to buy guns.
“If you are unsafe to fly you should not be able to buy guns,” she said.
During an exchange between both candidates, Mrs. Clinton rebuked her opponent saying: “I think Donald just criticised me for preparing for this debate, you know what else I am prepared for? I prepare to be president.”
On the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, Mr. Trump blamed Mrs. Clinton and President Barack Obama for withdrawing U.S. soldiers from the region and creating a vacuum that allowed the group to flourish. He also added that had the U.S. government taken the oil from the region, ISIS wouldn’t have got the incentive to capture large swaths of land in the region.
In conclusion Mr. Trump aid Mrs. Clinton was unfit to be president because she lacked the stamina required for the job, perhaps a reference to questions about her health.
Mrs. Clinton countered the comment, saying she had the stamina to negotiate several deals as Secretary of State, plus she withstood 11 hours of congressional question on her use of private server for official emails. But Mr. Trump retorted by saying the experience she had were negative ones.
In all, Mr. Trump’s showing during the debate was true to form and predictable. He lashed out, he attacked and tried to throw his opponent off-balance but Mrs. Clinton came prepared.
With a smiling face, she delivered well-timed one-liners that visibly rattled her rival and at times she, the respected school teacher, seemed to be scolding her rival, the class bully.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the deployment of 25,000 officers to ensure peace and security during Wednesday’s governorship election in Edo State.
In a statement by Don Awunah, Force Public Relations Officer, the police boss said the security plan would guarantee free, fair and credible election, secure electoral process, and enable eligible voters exercise their franchise freely and voluntary.
The police said the police officers would be joined by tactical teams which include Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Special Protection Unit, Force Animal Branch, Police Air wing [Aerial patrol), and Marine Police Unit [Riverine Patrol).
“This is in addition to the deployment of other sister agencies to ensure a robust security template for the election,” the statement said.
“Also, Police Helicopters, gun boats, Armoured Personnel Carriers, Police Dogs and technical platforms will be deployed.”
The police security would also secure election material and officials, ensure adequate security before, during and after the election, according to Mr. Idris.
“In the same vein, protection of life and property in the entire State will be of paramount importance,” the statement added.
“However, the Police will be firm and decisive in dealing with any infractions of the law, actions and activities that constitute breach of peace and contrary to public order.”
The police also announced a restriction of vehicular movement in the state from midnight Tuesday to 6pm Wednesday, except those involved in essential duties who must be properly identified.
“The IGP wishes to entreat all Police Officers and Officers of all sister security agencies deployed for the election to conduct themselves in the best professional manner, maintaining apolitical disposition and strictly adhering to the rules of engagement,” the statement added.
Supporting an earlier statement by a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Timi Frank, has issued a 14-day notice to John Oyegun, the chairman of the party, to resign.
Mr. Frank said Mr. Tinubu’s explosive statement Sunday night corroborated earlier grievances he had raised against Mr. Oyegun.
He said Mr. Tinubu’s statement also gave him another launch pad to demand the chairman’s ouster.
“The founding father of our party, the national leader of our party has concurred to my earlier call that Oyegun should resign as the national chairman. That should let you know that I foresaw what they didn’t see,” Mr. Frank said. “I am giving Oyegun 14 days from today to convene a NEC meeting to do so.
“I have started mobilising NEC members to ensure that the APC leadership is made to do the right thing and summon a NEC meeting.”
Mr. Frank said Mr. Oyegun had allegedly failed to show leadership in every crisis the party has faced since its formation three years ago.
“As far as I am aware, APC under Oyegun has not been able to resolve one crisis in this party.
“Today now it is Tinubu that is shouting, I can bet you, more leaders will still speak out but if we don’t do anything to for this man to go.
“So, I want to throw my weight behind the call by Tinubu for the national chairman to resign because it has been my earlier position and I still stand by it,” Mr. Frank said.
Mr. Tinubu had cited alleged betrayal of trust and manipulation of Ondo State APC primary results as grounds for demanding Mr. Oyegun’s resignation.