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Shiite Protests: IGP Confirms IMN’s Proscription

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government has officially classified as a terrorist organisation and proscribed the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN aka Shiites) led by Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
Adamu, in a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, said “It is to be emphasised that while all adherents of the Shiite sect in Nigeria remain free to continue to practise their faith and shall be guaranteed adequate security to so do as the judicial order does not stop them, the El-Zakzaky-led Shiites’ Islamic Movement in Nigeria which does not recognise nor accept the Constitution and Government of the Federation is the sole organisation that has been classified as a terrorist organisation and proscribed.”
The IGP also said: “The activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (aka Shiites) led by Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky have over time evolved to constitute a grave threat to national security, law and order, socio-religious harmony, peace, good governance and the sovereign integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The members of the IMN’s Shiites have engaged in extreme radicalism, series of terror-related activities, violence and other unlawful activities which are inimical to the national security interest, good governance, and the corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Shiites have over the years manifested their penchant for launching attacks on Nigerians and the symbols of state authority. Since 2018, till date, the IMN has engaged in coordinated and organized violent protests within the Federal Capital Territory.”
The full text of the press conference reads, “I warmly welcome you all to this Conference which is a continuation of my management tradition to constantly engage strategic managers across all Commands in the Nigeria Police towards regularly evaluating the internal security profile of the country. This is with the intent to keep abreast with the dynamics of crime and to jointly discuss pathways towards either strengthening existing strategies or evolving new approaches.
“Within this context, I am delighted to note that the strategies so far emplaced and the commitment demonstrated by officers across all ranks in the Nigeria Police within the past months, have combined to aid in stabilizing the internal security profile of the country.
“In consequence, between January, 2019 to date, a total of 4,187 high profile suspects have been arrested nationwide. This includes 1,629 armed robbery suspects; 1,053 suspected kidnappers; 1,023 cultists, and 482 murder suspects.
“In addition, 1,181 firearms of various descriptions and calibre including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket launchers were recovered in various police operations across the country within the same period. 389 stolen vehicles were also recovered from criminal elements, while 506 kidnapped victims have been safely rescued. It is pertinent to mention that of the rescued victims, 300 were secured in Zamfara State alone with 249 of this number rescued between 9th to 23rd July, 2019 from bandits and militias operating in the forests in and around Zamfara State.
“The foregoing achievements are indicative of the fact that the trust gap between the police and the citizens has been narrowed such that the communities are now demonstrating impressive commitment towards partnering with the police in presenting a common front against criminal elements. It is also suggestive of the fact that the institutional capability of the police to undertake specialised operations, take the anti-crime war to the camps and other safe havens of high-profile criminals, and respond to any scene of violent crime has also been significantly boosted. Above all, the achievements are indicative of the effectiveness of the Operation Puff Adder and other strategies emplaced by the Nigeria Police to address prevalent crimes in the country.
“In order to sustain these gains, we have commenced the process of implementing the community policing concept which involves the engagement of citizens in identifying and prioritizing prevalent communal security threats as they affect their localities, and working together with the police towards developing and implementing solutions to the identified threats.
“In giving effect to this, we are drawing on the Provisions of the Police Act in relation to the recruitment and utilisation of special constables who in this instance, will be engaged as community policing officers (CPOs) under the coordination of the Nigeria Police towards evolving a community-focused policing architecture.
“The breakdown of the community policing deployment plan covers the recruitment of a total of 40,000 CPOs across the country in the interim. The CPOs will be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside and average of 50 CPOs are to be engaged in each of the 774 local government areas. In addition, 1,300 CPOs will be drawn from professional bodies like the academics, road transport unions, artisans, traders’ associations, religious bodies, women unions, and youth organisations, among others, in order to ensure diverse representation.
“The CPOs shall be deployed to complement the police in law enforcement functions within their localities by performing low-risk and non-sensitive duties. They will also act as liaisons between the Police and their communities. This policing architecture will free-up conventional police personnel that hitherto perform such functions and enhance our manpower profile in relation to deployment to frontline, operational duties. When fully implemented, the community policing strategy will bridge the gap between the police and the citizens in a manner that will enhance optimal, cost-effective, and sustainable law enforcement service delivery by the police.
“In evaluating our policing strategies, I am to note that there are still some security challenges which currently require our professional attention and which will constitute part of our discourse during this conference. First, has to do with the recent violent campaigns of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria which are clearly designed to destablilise the country. The second, is the spate of kidnapping in the South-West Geopolitical Zone of the country, while the third is the activities of bandits, particularly, in some states in the Northern part of the country.
“The activities of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria led by Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky have over time evolved to constitute a grave threat to national security, law and order, socio-religious harmony, peace, good governance and the sovereign integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The members of the IMN have engaged in extreme radicalism, series of terror-related activities, violence and other unlawful activities which are inimical to the national security interest, good governance, and the corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Some of these nefarious activities include the pledging allegiance to foreign countries from where they are enjoying political, financial and training support with the aim of advancing their destabilizing intents within Nigeria; and unauthorized blocking of public highways, engagement in illegal road blocks, imposition of illegal curfews and checkpoints, raids on security assets, prevention of arrest of their members, invasion of court premises to abort legal proceedings involving IMN members, refusal to submit to ordinary security checks and attacks on security agents which led to the death of several Nigerians.”
Others include, “Setting up of a para-military guard known as ‘HURRAS’ through which IMN has been terrorizing local residents. They have also instituted unregistered security outfits and performed paramilitary ceremonies, hoisting of flags, combat exercises, parades and inspection by the IMN leader reminiscent of a state authority; provocative preaching and hate speeches aimed at inciting members against non-members while working towards its agenda of creating an Islamic State in Nigeria and challenging the legitimacy of the Federal Government in favour of Islamic government, non-recognition of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, non-recognition of State Authority, non-recognition of our democratic values and disrespect for our judicial processes. The IMN has over the years manifested its penchant for launching attacks on Nigerians and the symbols of State authority. Since 2018 till date, the IMN has engaged in coordinated and organized violent protests within the Federal Capital Territory.
“Two weeks ago, the Shiites extended its violent protest on 9th July, 2019 to the National Assembly in the course of which they violently attacked and fatally injured security operatives in an attempt to overrun the National Assembly and threaten the nation’s democratic order. The protesters overwhelmed the first gate of the complex, inflicting damage on the security post, and marched on to the second one just before the main complex while the lawmakers were in session. The protesters also damaged a police vehicle and several other vehicles belonging to visitors, lawmakers and staff of the National Assembly who also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“On 22nd July, 2019, the Shiites members again launched another vicious cycle of violent protest around the Federal Secretariat during which they set a sub-station of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) containing a truck and ambulance on fire. A Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, in charge of Operations at the FCT Police Command and Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corp member in the FCT were killed and several others injured with many properties destroyed by them. The violent activities of IMN under the guise of clamouring for the release of their leader who is being detained on the order of a court of competent jurisdiction in Kaduna State, has not only confirmed their disdain for due legal processes, but has heightened tension and insecurity in the country in a manner that confirms that their motivation is to destabilise the country.
“It is obvious from the foregoing that the activities of IMN constitute glaring defiance and/or rebellion against the Nigerian State, calculated efforts to plunge the nation into an ethno-religious war, intimidation of citizens and security agents, disrespect for Nigerian laws and the authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Their activities also clearly and consistently negate Section 1(2)(A)&(B) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and Section 2(1)(A)(B)(C) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act of 2013 and hence, justify their proscription in overriding national security interest.
“Although this meeting will review this and other general security situation and emplace appropriate action plans that are targeted at addressing these threats, let me affirm that in relation to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in view of their increasing engagement of terror tactics and other violent and subversive activities which contravene the Terrorism Prevention Act 2013, as amended, and vide the judicial pronouncement of the Federal High Court, Abuja on 26th July, 2019, the Federal Government has classified them as a terrorist group and has accordingly, proscribed the El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“In consequence, henceforth, any person engaged or associating, in any manner that could advance the activities of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, shall be treated as a terrorist, enemy of the state, and a subversive element and shall be brought to justice within the context of the Terrorism Act. The import of this is that all forms of procession or protest by IMN is now illegal and thus banned.
“The police and other security agencies are fully committed to giving full effect to this judicial pronouncement in the interest of our internal security and national cohesion. In this regard, I wish to solicit the support of members of the public, specifically, in the provision of information that will aid in the identification of the locations of the IMN members and their mentors as well as in working with us in apprehending and bringing them to justice. For purpose of clarification, Nigeria is a secular state with constitution provisions guaranteeing the freedom to practice our faiths. This, however, must be exercised in a manner that will not threaten our national security.
“Hence, it is to be emphasised that while all adherents of the Shiite sect in Nigeria remain free to continue to practice their faith and shall be guaranteed adequate security to so do as the judicial order does not stop them, the El-Zakzaky-led Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria which does not recognise nor accept the Constitution and Government of the Federation is the sole organisation that has been classified as a terrorist organisation and proscribed.
“I want to commend all the strategic Commanders, and their Officers and men for their dedication to duty and the sacrifices they have to make in the line of duty. In this context, I wish to particularly recognize and condole the families of late DCP Usman A.K. Umar and Precious Owolabi, the National Youth Service Corp member that lost their lives during the recent violent campaign of members of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria in Abuja on 22nd July, 2019. I also commiserate with all other police personnel and citizens that were injured or had their valuable assets vandalised during the violence. I can assure that the perpetrators of these tragic and unguided acts shall in the fullness of time, be identified and brought to book. I have already directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) to undertake a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the death of these great citizens and to identify the perpetrators with a view to prosecuting them.
“The war against crime is as dynamic as the society. I, therefore, wish to charge you all as strategic police commanders to redouble your efforts in ensuring that the lives and property of the citizens of this great country are protected and safe at all times. This is our sacred, statutory responsibility and we must continually strive to adapt our strategies, provide the requisite leadership and make the utmost sacrifice to achieve it.
“Finally, let me seize this opportunity to appreciate the citizens of this country and to reassure them that, with their cooperation, we shall continue to present a strong and impregnable front to defeat our common enemies which are the criminal elements that are bent on threatening our cherished values and livelihood. 19. I thank you all for your attention and I pray for God’s continued guidance over you all as you commit to serving our great nation”.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government has published in its Official Gazette the court order proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiites.
The gazetting was done, last Monday.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, which issued the proscription order on July 26, ordered the Federal Government to publish the order in its gazette and also in two national dailies.
The newspaper publication in the two dailies has since been done.

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.

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