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Abdul Mutallab: What US Should Note

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For over three decades now, Nigeria and the United States of America (USA) have enjoyed superb diplomatic relations and bilateral ties with each other. In international scene, Nigeria and US share many things in common, in peace keeping and being benefactor to poor nations. Nigeria, till date remains the greatest US trade partner in Africa.

Like US, Nigeria has financially assisted many African countries that were in political and economic crises to get out of their problems. These countries are Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, among others. There is anti-terrorism bill awaiting the passage of the National Assembly before the Christmas day attempted suicide bomb incidence. Nigeria is a progressive nation that has contributed immensely to the progress and peaceful co-existence of African nations. It is therefore, unfair and undeserving for Nigeria to be hastily blacklisted as a terrorist national by the US on account of one Nigerian.

No right thinking Nigeria will support the barbaric act of the Mallam Farouk Umaru AbdulMutallab’s attempt to blow up an American airline, especially at a time when our brother, Mr Barack Obama occupies the White House as the president.

We felt bad, grossly dismayed, embarrassed and disappointed that a young Muttalab who hails from a wealthy home, well brought up and well taken care of should engage in a bombing that will also claim his own life. Although, a Nigerian, AbdulMutallab grew up and trained outside Nigeria. Nigeria as a nation did not train or encourage the young man to be a terrorist nor support his actions.

United Nations Charter on human rights guaranteed individuals freedom of movements and association, so it is not the duty of Nigeria as a nation to monitor AbdulMutallab or any other Nigerian in foreign lands to know where thy go, whom they associate with and what they do. It is the responsibility of the security agents of each county, particularly those as the airports to monitor people going in and out of their countries. Thus, the security at the Ghanaian and Amsterdam airports where Mutlallab passed without detection should be blamed and held responsible and not Nigeria. Again, it has been established that it was in United Kingdom and not in Nigeria that young Mutallab was recruited as a terrorist by Al Qaeda.

What is more, his multi millionaire father, a quiet, principled and disciplined industrialist, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab had earlier reported his son to US embassy in Abuja on account of his radical tendencies, yet no action whatsoever was taken. Confirming this, President Obama in his reaction over the incident, acknowledged hat Abdul Muttalab’s father had indeed reported the extremist views of his son to the U authority, but regretted that such vital information was not passed to a component of their intelligence community nor effective distribution.

Today, the remedy is that AbdulMutalab is Nigerian; otherwise the story would have been different. It would have been a black Christmas day for the passengers’ relatives. As we are all aware, Nigerians love life and comfort, perhaps the young man was wondering inside the plane how he would lose his life and the world he was enjoying with his father’s wealth through suicide bombing, that he forgot to carry out the devilish assignment until 10 minutes to the landing of plane at the Detroit airport US that he began absent minded to denote the bomb. He was immediately overpowered and arrested by the passengers and handed over to the security at the Detroit airport after the plane had landed safety. I wish to assure President Obama and the United States that Nigerians will not excel in suicide bombing terrorism because Nigerians love life and luxuries. Over the year, Nigerian leaders have subjected the poor masses in Nigeria to all manner of hardships, no one contemplate committing suicide. Rather, our belief, hope and song is “life go better”.

Again, Nigeria is a country of over 150 million people with different culture and tradition, upbringings and background. It is unfair on account of one person’s misdeed for the entire Nation to be blacklisted and branded as a terrorist country, and its law abiding and enterprising travellers subjected to unnecessary and embarrassing scrutiny and search at various airports worldwide.

Nigeria is working hard to remove the stigma of 419 on its Nationals through the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and re-branding projects of the Federal Government. So we can accept the stigmatisation of Nigeria as a terrorist nation as a result of one person’s misbehaviour. It is on this basis that I call on the United States to rescind its decision to tag Nigeria as terrorist nation and plead that Nigerians be treated with dignity at various airports of the world.

Nigeria strongly believes in Obama’s government and hopes to learn and gain from his administration. It will be unwise and not in the interest of African nations for Nigeria, a leading country in the continent of Africa to be kept afar, looked upon and treated as a terrorist nation by the United States, and the rest of the world. Bearing in mind that Nigeria and US had partnered well in business of peace keeping of many Nations of the world.

Prince Ogbuehi is as commentator in national affairs wrote in from Port Harcourt.

Ogbuehi is editor’s guest

Prince Ike Ogbuehi

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Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court

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The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.

Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.

The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.

It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.

They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.

According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.

The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.

However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.

Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.

The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.

Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.

He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.

More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.

Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.

The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.

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World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.

The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.

“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.

“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?

“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.

“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.

“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”

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Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation

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Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.

The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.

“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.

Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.

It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.

“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’

“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.

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