The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has formally petitioned German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, over what it termed “growing” impunity and acts of oppression by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
The party, in a letter signed by its National Chairman, Uche Secondus and made available to journalists yesterday also accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of using anti-corruption agencies to harass and intimidate opposition figures, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The letter read: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under this administration, has metamorphosed into a draconian agency, showing scant regard for the rule of law and respect for human rights. The commission has turned the process of investigation into a media event to embarrass and tarnish the image of key opposition figures and sub-national governments of the federation perceived to be averse to the whims and electoral interest of the ruling party.
“For instance, in flagrant disregard of the law, the EFCC suspended the operation of statutory bank accounts belonging to PDP-controlled state governments of Akwa lbom, Benue and Rivers states.
“It might interest you to know that a clear reading of today’s political reality in our country shows a resolute desire by majority of Nigerians to vote out the Buhari administration in 2019, leading to the mass rallying on the platform of our party as the major opposition party; hence the desperate resort by government to muzzle and emasculate opposition in Nigeria ahead of the election.
“This includes the use of the EFCC to harass and attempt to force aspirants, particularly Presidential aspirants out of the race and reduce their capacity to raise funds through unending investigations and harassment of (potential) donors.
“Contrary to the anti-corruption promises made to the Nigerian people, associates of the President and his party, the APC, who have been accused and even indicted of corruption, are walking the streets free while opposition members are hounded.
“The EFCC has lost so much focus that when they are not chasing the President’s opponents; they are shaking down legitimate businessmen like a mafia group. The acting chairman of the EFCC, who has not been confirmed by the National Assembly (a requirement of the law), goes about wearing a pinup of the President’s re-election campaign, as if he is a volunteer in the President’s campaign. While the PDP is not against any genuine effort against corruption, we totally reject government underhand method of hiding under a phony anti-corruption fight to unleash or attempt to decapitate the opposition ahead of the elections.”
The party also reminded the leaders of some of the strides recorded during its 16 years in power, saying, “As you may have learnt, between 1999 and 2015, our party was in government, and tasked with the historic burden of restoring democracy and its tenets of good governance and rule of law; strengthened national cohesion and unity among our citizens, while reversing over a decade-long economic decline and stagnation.
“Above all, the PDP integrated Nigeria’s ethnic groups and created a free atmosphere for the opposition and media to operate unhindered. The Freedom of Information Act remains a testimony to PDP’s undying belief in a free and democratic Nigeria.
“On all counts, the PDP discharged its historic duty to global approbation. We released Nigeria from London and Paris Club debt, conducted four elections and grew our democratic practice leading to the first victory of an opposition party in Nigeria’s history.
“We liberalized the economy, enhanced best practices in all sectors of government businesses and set up the infrastructure for fighting corruption through the establishment of the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC). “Sadly, the unfettered freedom and respect for human dignity entrenched by our party has been eroded in the last three years of the current administration.
“The recent outburst by President Buhari that he will jail more looters, created national outrage and concern about the role of the judiciary and respect Of our institutions. Also, his recent declaration, at an event of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), that rule of law will take second stage on issues involving alleged threat to national security, raises fresh concern about this administration’s attitude and respect for constitutional rule,” it added.
The two leaders were in the country recently for bilateral talks with President Buhari on multiple levels of cooperation.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, described the rule of law as an essential element in any democratic society, maintaining that justice could not be effectively delivered when the supremacy of law was not respected.
Onnoghen spoke at a national workshop for Chief Registrars, Deputy Chief Registrars, Directors and Secretaries of Judicial Service Commissions/Committee, held at National Judicial Institute (NJI), in Abuja.
While fielding questions from some of the participants, the CJN said he had on various occasions in the past, harped on the necessity of allowing the rule of law to prevail in the country.
He said: “I have said it repeatedly that we should let the law prevail in every aspect of our lives. It is only then that justice will flow down.
“When I was sworn in as the acting CJN then, I was asked to make a speech even though I did not prepare for it. On that occasion, I told them, members of the executives were there, including Mr. President. I told them that rule of law must be respected.”
Buhari maintained that individual rights of alleged offenders would not be spared when national security and public interest were threatened.
Meanwhile, the CJN said the workshop was part of measures to reinvigorate the judiciary to be able to administer justice without fear or favour.
He said: “The theme of this workshop, ‘Applying Best Practices in Court Administration’, is deliberate. It captures our efforts in ensuring better justice delivery in Nigeria, which has become imperative especially if justice is viewed within the context of service delivery. It also brings to focus the present challenges in court administration.
FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.
By: Akujobi Amadi
JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”
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