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‘Rivers LGAs Under Military Siege’

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Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr Austin Tam-George (middle), in a group photograph with members and staff of Treasure FM in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr Austin Tam-George (middle), in a group photograph with members and staff of Treasure FM in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.

Ahead of the re-run National Assembly  and State House of Assembly elections  in designated  Constituencies in Rivers  State, three Local Government Areas  in the state are under politically  motivated vicious attacks which have left in their trail,  tales of deaths, blood, destruction  and open intimidation.
These joint  military/police  invasions have taken place  in  three LGAS  of the state, namely;  Gokana,  Asari-Toru and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni(ONELGA). One recurring  decimal  in these three deadly  invasions is the fact that one Major  Mustapha  features  in all of them. Major Mustapha , a Pro-APC  military officer, was the Rivers  State  APC  star witness during the  hearing  of election petitions  in Abuja.
In Asari-Toru LGA on 6th January,  2016, Major Mustapha  and his team of dare-devil soldiers  and mobile policemen  invaded the residences of the Caretaker Council Chairman, Ambassador  Sobomabo Jackrich, destroying his homes and valuables before killing about five youths. They also abducted  50 youths and women who were taken to Port Harcourt.
The same scenario  played  out  in Bua Yeghe in Gokana LGA where Major Mustapha and his illegal politically  motivated  squad attacked the home of Chief Solomon Ndigbara, a former  Niger Delta agitator.  They burnt  his home, before abducting his wife and 70 other youths. The Major  Mustapha  illegal  squad  also attacked  the home of Chief Ndigbara  in Port Harcourt,  damaging the facility.
On 13th January,  2016, the soldiers  and mobile policemen  were in ONELGA were they unleashed mayhem  on lives and property. The residents of the area are still counting their losses.
It is imperative  to point out that in these three LGAs  where Major Mustapha  and other illegal security  operatives  struck, they were accompanied  by  known APC  political  thugs and militants who acted as identity operatives.  These APC  agents who were embedded in these illegal  operations were kitted with security  uniforms. Despite  these security  costumes, they were identified  by locals.
This level of political  desperation is unknown  to the nation’s democratic  history. No authority had in the past handed security  platforms  to political  thugs and associates to unleash untold-mayhem and deaths on law-abiding  citizens.
But one thing is clear, this resort to intimidation and destruction  will not  improve the lacklustre fortune of Rivers APC.  If anything, it has further depleted the party’s  miserable five percent.  The immediate past governor of Rivers State and leader of Rivers State APC, Mr Chibuike Amaechi  squandered N3trillion that accrued  to the  state under his watch leaving  the  people  impoverished  and angry. That unconscionable act will not be forgotten simply because APC  has authorised Major  Mustapha  to kill innocent  people  .
Those who sent Major Mustapha  must be told that there is no APC  in Rivers State.  The party thrives on falsehood  and mismanagement  of resources.  The Rivers people  are  enjoying  good  governance  and first class  performance  under Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.  They have therefore  committed  themselves  to the PDP.
Every  well meaning  Nigerian is invited  to  take note of this unprecedented violence  being visited on innocent  Rivers people  by the military and the police  under the ungodly  guidance  of the Rivers State APC. The National Human  Rights  Commission is also invited to play its role at this critical  time.  The affected  local  government  areas  have on their  own conducted media  tours of the invaded communities. The civil  society  is in the know of the illegal  invasions  of  the  unarmed  communities.
Rivers State is PDP  with Governor Wike as the people’s ordained  leader with  the  magic wand of delivery being enjoyed  by the state. No amount  of  military/Police intimidation  can promote  APC in the state.

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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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