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US Lambasts Gov Shema Over ‘Cockroach’ Comments …Challenges FG To Defeat Boko Haram

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The United States Government said yesterday that it is deeply troubled by statements credited to Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State calling for the killing of the “cockroaches of politics.”
“The rhetorical threat of violence undermines the democratic process and is utterly unacceptable in a democratic society,” “The United States reiterates its call upon all Nigerians to refrain from advocating, fomenting, or condoning violence before, during, or after the elections. The US Embassy in Abuja said in a statement.
As Nigeria looks ahead to the February 2015 general elections, the Mission said, the U.S. strongly supports a free, transparent, credible, inclusive, and non-violent electoral process.
“Participants in the electoral process must demonstrate passion for their convictions and beliefs in a manner that shows respect for opposing differences. “The Nigerian Constitution itself states it is the duty of every citizen to “respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of citizens to live in unity and harmony,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the United States Government said Nigeria should defeat Boko Haram but military power alone will not be enough to win the bigger war on terrorism.
Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Abuja Maria Brewer said the American Government fully supports Nigeria and the Nigerian people on its war on terror.
“Let me be clear – the United States wants Nigeria to win its war on terrorism, and we fully support the Nigerian people in their struggle,” Brewer said in Lagos, western Nigeria, during her keynote address at the 2014 Annual Lecture of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme with the theme “Managing Down Insurgency: The American Experience. Over the last decade, the United States has learned that defeating terrorism requires more than just military power,” Brewer added.
She said as friends and partners, the U.S. provides support to Nigeria in the form? of equipment and training and both countries also share lessons learnt in combatting terrorism.
Brewer  said America learnt that winning the war on terrorism requires the protection of civilian population and development in impoverished areas where extremism takes root, noting that  it also requires accessible education opportunities for all and a free and fair press that can report openly and without fear of reprisal.
“And perhaps more importantly, it requires viable alternatives for young people who remain vulnerable to the lure of extremism due to lack of opportunities,” she said.
Fighting terrorism, she Brewer said, requires civilians and military to work together to defeat the enemy on the battle field and then address the root causes with good ideas and policies.
“Focusing primarily on the  population, rather than the enemy, and reinforcing the legitimacy of governments at the local, state and federal level, reduces the influence of terrorists.” “American counterterrorism strategies rest on the assumption that the decisive effort is rarely military, although security is the essential ?prerequisite for success, “ she added.
Brewer, however, hinted that for the United States to fully support Nigerian security efforts, issues of accountability should be addressed.
“The United States stands ready to support Nigeria and its security services as they fulfill they fulfill those responsibilities with restraint and impartiality. “
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Nigerian military of committing grave human rights abuses as it fights Boko Haram in the Northeast.
Beyond the battle field, Brewer said the US Government, through the Department of State, ?the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other government agencies, invests substantially in Nigeria in healthcare, strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, economic growth and education.
“We are assisting the Ministry of Justice and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. We are also providing training in counterterrorism and investigative techniques,” she said.
Nigeria’s renowned professor of International Law at the University of Lagos and a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Prof. Akindele Babatunde Oyebode said the refusal of America to help Nigeria militarily has moved the country close to Moscow.
Oyebode wondered why America refuses to sell weapons to Nigeria or use its drones stationed not far away in Niger Republic and called for help and support “by those who profess friendship with Nigeria in our moment of travails”.
For Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARD), said Nigeria should address underlining causes to insurgency before success can be achieved.
She said the impact of violence goes beyond loss of lives as the conflicts hold back social and economic development.
“Government should set up a national counter terrorism architecture that will harmonise national counterterrorism efforts,” she recommended during her address.

Rivers State Director, National Orientation Agency, Mr Oliver Wolugbom (middle) delivering an address, during the 14th Rivers State NOA roundtable, in Port Harcourt, recently. With him are Sole Administrator, Rivers Waste Management Agency, Mr Ade Adeogun (right) and a police officer. Photo: Prince Obinna Dele

Rivers State Director, National Orientation Agency, Mr Oliver Wolugbom (middle) delivering an address, during the 14th Rivers State NOA roundtable, in Port Harcourt, recently. With him are Sole Administrator, Rivers Waste Management Agency, Mr Ade Adeogun (right) and a police officer. Photo: Prince Obinna Dele

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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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