The Senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe has thrown his weight behind the convocation of the national conference announced by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying, it will enable stakeholders in the Nigerian project discuss the nation of their dream.
He disclosed this while reacting to the proposed national conference by the President in his Independence Day broadcast to the nation.
Senator Abe said, the subsequent constitution of an advisory committee to work out modalities for the conference gives a clear indication that the President was beginning to respond to the concerns of well-meaning Nigerians on moving the country forward.
According to him “it is heartwarming that the President has realized the need for National Conference; it is a breakthrough for Nigeria, we can now seat on a round table and chart an acceptable path towards a brighter future for our country”.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) emphasised that the initiative was an opportunity for Nigerians to address the avalanche of socio-economic and political challenges as well as resolution of structural problems plaguing the country.
He noted that the conference would undoubtedly address cases of impunity, incessant harassment, suppression and intimidation of dissenting voices, evils of the recent past affecting good leadership like the issues in Nigeria Governor’s Forum, non adherence to rule of law, democratic tenets and true federalism.
While enlisting the President to ensure the confab works, Senator Abe expressed optimism that it would promote national cohesion, stability, unity and preserve our heritage for future generations.
“We need the voice of everybody interested in the future of Nigeria, this is an opportunity we yearned for, we must take it serious,”. he concluded.
Meanwhile,the chiefs and peoples of Ogu in Ogu/Bolo Local Government areas of Rivers State have cried out to the government over the killing of their son, Mr Johnny Isaac and the abduction of two others byEkporo community in Eleme Local Government Area.
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt yesterday, the chairman of Ogu divisional council of chiefs, Chief Emmanuel Ibioricka said the two abducted sons of the community were Ibunemisa Obie and Steven Oju, whose where-about is yet unknown.
Chief Ibiorika said the victims were riding on a motorbike along the site the Ogu police station which is being renovated when they were attacked by one Inspector Franklin from Ekporo who was armed and two of his kinsmen.
According to him, as assailants killed Johnny Isaac and abducted the others, they escaped with their motorbike into a bush path through Ekporo community.
He appealed to the government to persuade Ekporo community to release those they abducted unhurt, and enjoined the people of the area to go about their normal business ad continue to maintain their peaceful disposition.
The Police Public Relations Officer who confirmed the story said that two persons died in the crisis.
Speaking on the issue, the Senator representing Rivers East in his reaction, the police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Rivers State Police Command DSP Ahmad Kidaya Muhammed confirmed and said there was an incident involving two communities over land that claimed two lives.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, Senator George Thompson Sekibo has called on the people of Ogu in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas and the Ekporo Community in Eleme Local Government Area to resolve their differences amicably through lawful channels rather than take laws into their hands.
Reacting to the gruesome murder of an indigene of Ogu by the people of Ekporo, Senator Sekibo condemned the act and cautioned youths to eschew violence and other acts likely to breach the peace in the area.
In a statement by his Special Assistant, Hon. Kevin Agbam, the Senator warned rumour peddlers against spreading malicious falsehood or making provocative and inflammatory comments and advised those instigating the crisis to stop fanning embers of discord.
He noted that the people of Ogu and Ekporo have enjoyed several years of warm relationship that should be sustained in the interest of all and called on the law enforcement agencies to take necessary steps to restore normalcy
Senator Sekibo urged leaders to continue to preach peace adding that nothing good can be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour of disturbance.
It would be recalled that the Amanyanabo of Ogu, Chief Nicholas Abiebele Nimenibo Loko IX recently urged the neighbouring community to remain calm over the on-going renovation of the police station, noting that it will be of immense security benefit particularly to the two communities
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
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.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
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.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
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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