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Imo: Secondus, Obi, Others Lead PDP Protest In Abuja

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, reiterated its confidence in the possibility of the Supreme Court to reverse its decision on the Imo State governorship election.
The apex court, it would be recalled, had last week nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to issue a certificate of return to Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Leading a peaceful protest across major flashpoints of Abuja, yesterday, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said all the justices need to do was to review the judgment and correct “the error.”
Joined by prominent party members, including the party’s Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Mr. Peter Obi, former senator, Dino Melaye, former deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Austin Opara, among other top leaders of the party, Secondus said the protest was intended to draw the attention of the world on the need to safeguard democracy in the country.
The protest, which took off at the party’s Presidential Campaign Headquarters, also known as Legacy House, also took the protesters to the Three Arms Zone, amidst chants of solidarity songs.
The National Chairman of the PDP asked the justices of the Supreme Court to be magnanimous enough to accept the fact that they committed an error and should be ready to correct the error.
The party chairman advised the Executive arm of government to stop interfering in the judicial process as well as to stop interfering in official engagements of security agencies and the electoral body.
Secondus said, “We are a nation governed by law, therefore, all we are seeking today is for our very highly respected jurists at the highest court of the land to review the Imo judgment. We are not against you, we are against the error. And by the special grace of God, I know you will revisit the error.
“All we are saying is that for you to review this error because the figures are not adding up. We, therefore, call on the leadership of the judiciary, to please, we are all human. God is the highest.
“They should revisit and reverse the Imo judgement because we believe that the figures are not adding up. That is why we are here so that the world will hear us. We are a democratic nation, and therefore, all democratic nations of the world are hearing us – the United States, United Kingdom, even the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS.
“We believe that people at the highest court of the land will hear our cry today, and revisit, review, and if possible, reverse, the judgement. That is justice that will be done, not only to the people of Imo State but for Nigerians who are crying. This is time to show courage”.
Secondus commended party members for comporting themselves during the protest and ensuring that it was peaceful.
“The PDP is the most peaceful party, and the largest party and well organised party in Africa. I want to congratulate you all for coming from all the nooks and crannies of this country, peacefully to register our protest”, the chairman said.
A number of the party’s National Assembly members, former governors, and former federal legislators also participated in the protest.
There was however a mild drama during the protest when one of the open trucks conveying some of the protesters was said to have skipped off the road and fell on its side.
A few persons were said to have been injured in the accident, which the organisers described as a minor incidence.
On his part, Obi tasked APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to recall how he became governor a few years ago.
He said that but for an independent judiciary, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole would not have been governor of Edo State for eight years.
Obi said himself and Oshiomhole were able to reclaim their stolen mandate from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra and Edo states because the judiciary under the then PDP Presidency was neutral.
The PDP had denied Oshiomhole his governorship victory in Edo state in 2007, while Obi’s was stolen by the PDP in 2003, but their mandate was eventually restored by the Supreme Court. Oshiomhole was then in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) while Obi was in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Addressing a protest rally organised by the PDP in Abuja on Monday, Obi said himself and Oshiomhole would not have recovered their mandate if the Supreme Court at the time had been tele guided by the Executive arm, “as it’s being witnessed today under the present APC administration”.
The PDP had staged the protest against the apex court’s January 14 judgement which voided the election of Mr Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as governor of Imo state and affirmed Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC as replacement.
Describing the apex court’s judgment in the Imo case as injustice, Obi charged the APC administration to emulate the politics of magnanimity displayed by the PDP during its 16 years rein. He cautioned the APC against derailing the democratic process.
Obi said, “I am speaking here, not just as a leader of the PDP, but one of the beneficiaries of the PDP’s 16 years government of doing what is right.
“I was in a minority party, I won election and PDP did not intervene. I went to court, PDP did not intervene. I benefited from it.
“Adams Oshiomhole wouldn’t have been governor, he wouldn’t have been a beneficiary of the judiciary if the PDP did what APC is doing today. He benefited from it.
“So, as a beneficiary, I am appealing to the judiciary to save this country. What happened in Imo State is enough to kill our democracy. Let us ensure that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. My appeal to APC, is, please, do not kill this democracy”.
Also speaking, Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinaya Abaribe said, “we have only one message to the Judiciary: if the figures don’t match, review.
But as the PDP was protesting, members of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has thronged the major roads off the popular Abuja Eagle Square and federal secretariat located in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja in protest of the alleged miscarriage of Justice perpetrated by the supreme court over the Imo guber appeal judgment.
The crow-pulling protest has also slowed down human and vehicular movements in the affected areas of the metropolis.
Addressing the party faithfuls, supporters and sympathisers, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said, “We believe that our big men will hear our cry today to revisit, review and reverse the judgment.
“It is a Justice not only to the people of Imo but Nigerians as a whole.
“This is the time to show courage. The Executive arm of government should stop interfering with the judiciary in its bid to deliver judgment.
“Police, DSS should stop interfering and preventing protesters from carrying out legitimate democratic practices and protest.
“What we want to correct is the ‘judicial malaria’ that took place last week.
“Protest obtains in all democratic environments all over the world”.
But no sooner the PDP speech ended than scores of hoodlums trooped out from unknown places, carrying banners in the name of supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
They chanted the anti-PDP songs which instilled the phobia of possible violence and mayhem and consequently scared and dispersed passers-by close to the protest ground.
Part of their placards reads, “The PDP wanted to buy judgment but they failed and resorted to anarchy”.
However, as at the time of filing this report, it was observed that despite the ensued tensions, there was no fracas or violent confrontations as envisaged.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ebonyi State chapter, yesterday, blocked the entrance of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki as they protested along major streets of the state over the sack of the former governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
The party, however, gave the Nigerian Supreme Court 24 hours to reverse the judgement it delivered on the Imo State governorship election.
Speaking to journalists in Abakaliki, shortly after the protest, the South-East Zonal Chairman, Austin Umahi, said the declaration of Hope Uzodinma as the governor of Imo State was a rape of democracy.
Recall that the Supreme Court had last week sacked Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as Governor of Imo State, and declared Hope Uzodinma of APC as the winner of the election.
But, the judgement has been trailed by controversy and protest across the country.
However, the protest was carried out by over one thousands party faithful in the state, who marched around the city to protest what they described as injustice and a rape on the democracy in the country.
They were carrying placards with the following inscriptions “NJC must act now”, Imo Guber case: Supreme Court must revisit judgement, Ihedioha must return as Imo State governor, Save Democracy in Nigeria, Judiciary is now the lost hope of the common man,” et al.
They all wore black attire to signify that they were in a state of grief over the judgement.
According to Umahi, “We are giving them 24 hours to reverse the judgment or else Nigeria will never remain the same. If they don’t reverse the judgment, then democracy has been murdered in Nigeria,” he said.
Also responding, the state chairman of PDP, Barr. Onyekachi Nwabonyi, condemned the ruling by the apex court, adding that the judgment has turned the Judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man into a lost hope of the common man.
Also, the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, joined its counterparts across the country to protest what it called unjust and unfair ruling of the Supreme Court on the governorship of Imo State.
The protesters numbering thousands marched through the major streets in Uyo, the state capital clad in black attire.
They were led by party leaders, state Chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, National Legal Adviser, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, and State Publicity Secretary, Ini Ememobong.
Speaking, Emmanuel Enoidem said the judgement of the Supreme Court is not known to law and lacks legal precedence and regretted that the Judiciary which is the last hope of the common man has been compromised.
He pointed out that the removal of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen was part of the plot by the Buhari led administration to penetrate the Judiciary.
“On behalf of the body of PDP at the National, I stand here to say that Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State is mourning.

We handed over power to the APC in 2015 in compliance with democratic best practice and since that day, Nigeria moved into anarchy under the leadership of Buhari.
“In November 2019, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP lost a petition because the Supreme Court said the PDP had not brought enough witnesses to prove their case but turned around to uphold the election of Hope Uzodimma when there were no unit witnesses.
“Was it only Uzodimma that had the whole votes in those polling units they added for him? What were the votes of the PDP and other parties in those polling units? These questions need answers so we know where we are going as a country. The declaration of Uzodimma as governor of Imo state has no legal standing”, he said.
The Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Princess Felicia Bassey who spoke on behalf of the state legislators, said the Supreme Court judgement was a clear rape on our democracy.
The state party Chairman, in a statement earlier, Paul Ekpo said, the solidarity March was important because silence in the face of tyrannical occurrences may be interpreted as acquiescence.
“The March is to register our displeasure over the recent political robbery in Imo state, where the apex court strangely computed and announced results which are contradictory with the existing reality, in the Governorship elections which held in March 2019,” he said.
On his part, Chairman of ALGON, Mr Frank Archibong, who spoke for chairmen of the 31 local government councils in the state lamented, “When the Judiciary becomes compromised in a democratic dispensation, it means there is no hope for Nigerians”.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said that it still stands by its declarations for the 2019 elections despite the Supreme Court judgments that reversed some of the election results declared by the commission.
The commission has recently come under severe criticism following the reversal of the Imo State governorship election by the apex court.
INEC in the Imo governorship election had declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Emeka Ihedioha winner with 273,404 votes, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Hope Uzodinma who was returned by the Supreme as the authentic winner was placed fourth with 96,458 votes by INEC.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC National Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a chat with newsmen, yesterday, stated that “once INEC makes a declaration, it stands by it”.
According to him, “the law provides for any aggrieved party or candidate to go to the Election Petitions Tribunal to contest a declared election result. Once INEC makes a declaration, it stands by it”.
Giving graphic detail of the conduct of the 2019 general elections, Oyekanmi, observed that, “a total of 807 post-election petitions were filed at the tribunals after the 2019 general election. Out of these, 582 were dismissed, 183 were withdrawn by the petitioners and 30 reruns were ordered.
“About 12 Certificates of Return have also been issued. When you consider the fact that elections were conducted into 1,558 constituencies for the 2019 general elections, you will agree with me that the overall elections have by far been credible, free and fair”.
On the use of university vice chancellors as returning officers for future elections, which has also been criticized, the commission disclosed that no decision has been reached whether to review the use of certain categories of academic staff of federal universities as returning officers.
It added that “while it is true that some of them made mistakes as human beings during the 2019 General Election, most of them performed excellently”.
On the January 25 rerun elections INEC revealed that, “our template for the conduct of elections has not changed since our actions are guided by the extant laws.
“The voting and declaration procedures have not changed. For instance, the Smart Card Readers will still be used and the “People’s Result Sheet” will still be pasted at a conspicuous place at the polling unit level where the rerun elections will take place. The Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) will also be used and it is fact compulsory. No PVC, no voting. Besides, the system of simultaneous accreditation and voting will also apply”.
“There is no proliferation of INEC sensitive materials and politicians do not have access to them. To be sure, our sensitive materials have special security features. If any politician is found with any sensitive material, it must be fake and such politician will be arrested and prosecuted.”

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Southern Govs Back Wike, Insist On VAT Collection …A’Court Urges Rivers To Submit Written Application For Receiver

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Southern Governors met in Enugu, yesterday, and declared their support for Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, insisting that it is within their purview to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).
This is coming amid row between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, a case that is now subject of litigation.
The governors also reaffirmed their stand on open-grazing ban, urging every state in the region to quickly pass a law to that regards.
The resolution by the Southern Governors Forum is part of the six-point communique reached at its meeting at the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State, and read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.
The meeting of the Southern Governors Forum, which reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of the implementation of the decisions reached in its previous meetings, expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in Southern Nigeria were enacting and amending the anti-open grazing laws which allowed a uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors, and encouraged the states that were yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
Reading the communique after the closed door meeting to journalists, Akeredolu said that the meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next President of Nigeria most come from the southern part of Nigeria, in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
According to the communique, the Southern Governors agreed to encourage the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfit which will meet, share intelligence and collaborate to ensure the security and safety of the region.
Akeredolu opined that the meeting also reaffirmed its earlier commitment to stick to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasize the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective state Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National Assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The communiqué, according to the forum’s chairman, expressed satisfaction with the array of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of NNPC by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.
The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors Forum meeting in November, 2021.
Present at the meeting were Rivers StateGovernor, Chief NyesomWike; Delta StateGovernor, Dr.IfeanyiOkowa;AkwaIbom StateGovernor, Chief Emmanuel Udom; and Osun StateGovernor, IsiakaAdegboyegaOyetola.
Others were Enugu StateGovernor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi;Bayelsa StateGovernor, Senator DuoyeDiri;Lagos State Governor,BabajideSanwo-Olu; and Ogun State Governor,EngrOluwaseyiAbiodun.
The governors of Oyo, Ekiti, Edo, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyistates were represented by their deputies.
The communiqué read in full, “The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of Thursday, September 16, 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State, reviewed the state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
“Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the states that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.
“Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
“Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Following from paragraph 3 above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.
“Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
“The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November, 2021″.
However, the Court of Appeal, yesterday, declined to accede to the request of Rivers and Lagos states for the appointment of Receiver or Manager for the purpose of collecting and keeping Value Added Taxes (VAT) in place of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) pending the resolution of all legal disputes in the matter.
The two states separately canvassed that the order of status quo ante bellum granted on September 10 in favour of FIRS to continue the collection be put on hold given the appeal already lodged at the Supreme Court against the order.
Counsel to Rivers State, IfedayoAdedipe, SAN, in his oral application, pleaded with the appellate body to exercise its power under Order 4 Rule 6 of the Court of Appeal to appoint a Receiver or Manager to take custody of the VAT in the interest of justice to parties in the matter.
The Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr MoyosoreOnigbanjo, SAN, who stood for his state, toed the path of Rivers in canvassing that the court be fair and just in the pending appeal.
Onigbanjo specifically asked the Appeal Court to restrain FIRS from further collecting the tax and replace it with a Receiver or Manager that would act for parties that are locked in the legal battle.
The Lagos Attorney General predicated his expressed fear of unjust treatment on the fact that FIRS apart from collecting the tax has been sharing it among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) despite the pendency of the legal tussle.
“I think it is also necessary to restrain the FIRS, because they collect the VAT, distribute to all the states and keeps their own 4 per cent.
“If, at the end of the day, the court agrees with the judgment of the Federal High Court, how do we retrieve the funds that have been shared?”,Onigbanjo added.
The appeal by the FIRS is against August 9, 2021 judgment by Justice Steven Pam of the Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, voiding the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act and holding that states could collect VAT.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami, who led a three-member panel, directed them to make the application formal by providing the necessary facts, including ascertaining the amount being collected as VAT.
Other members of the panel are Justices BatureGafai and Peter Affen.
Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling on an application by Lagos State to be made a respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The court, after listening to arguments by lawyers to parties, yesterday, said they would be informed when the ruling was ready.
In arguing Lagos’ application, Onigbanjo (SAN) said his client was a necessary party as it would be affected by the outcome of the case.
He noted that, as a federating unit/state in Nigeria, Lagos was entitled to collect VAT by virtue of the judgment of the Federal High Court that annulled VAT Act.
Onigbanjo argued that even the appellant (the FIRS) recognised that Lagos State has an interest in the case, which he said, was evident in the affidavit it filed, wherein copious reference was made to the Lagos State Government.
He further argued that since FIRS, in an affidavit supporting its application for stay of the judgment, recognised the interest of the Lagos State Government in the case, “it cannot now turn around to say the Lagos State Government has no interest in this case and should not be joined. It cannot blow hot and cold or speak from both sides of its mouth.”
Onigbanjo also contended that it was unfair for the FIRS to oppose Lagos’ request to be heard in the case after making allegations against the state.
He added that even the court recognised the interest of Lagos State in the case when it extended its order on maintenance of status quo to Lagos State, which was not yet a party in the case.
Onigbanjo prayed the court to join his client as a respondent.
Adedipe adopted Onigbaajo’s argument, and urged the court to allow the application by Lagos State.
Following the observation by Onigbanjo that the written address filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was incompetent, the lawyer representing the AGF, TijaniGazali (SAN), withdrew the address, subsequent upon which the court struck it out.
Lawyer to FIRS, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), objected to the joinder application filed by Lagos State, arguing, among others, that the state was not a necessary party.
Magaji faulted the competence of the application, and urged the court to discountenance it.
On second thought, Magaji said if the court was willing to join Lagos; it should extend such indulgence to the other states of the federation.

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Okonjo-Iweala Makes ‘TIME 100’

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Nigerian-born Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has thanked the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, for the kind words they penned about her as she makes the TIME 100 list of The World’s Most Influential People.
The magazine has noted the globally-rated economist’s activities around the efforts to ensure that everyone on the planet earth gets vaccinated against any preventable disease for which there is a vaccine.
The ex-World Bank guru has been the Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since January 1, 2016.
Gavi has the goal of increasing access to immunization in poor countries.
Concerning the TIME entry, the Duke and the Duchess state, “What will it take to vaccinate the world? Unity, cooperation—and leaders like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala”.
“As the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization, a 164-member group of nations that oversees trade across the world, Okonjo-Iweala took on the role of director-general this March at a watershed moment for our global health and well-being. Make no mistake; her job affects every person, family and community.
“As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access.
“Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing. This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms.
“The fragility of our world right now cannot be overstated. Just over a quarter of the nearly 8 billion global population is fully vaccinated.
“Achieving vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another. Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon”, they wrote.

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Relocation Of Insurgents, Wake-Up Call, CAN Warns

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The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, Revd Joseph Hayab, has described the alleged relocation of Boko Haram leaders to Southern Kaduna as a wake-up call on people of the area.
Hayabsaid that though the news of the alleged relocation was not new, government has not done enough to protect the people.
He claimed all the calls from voices of reason appeared not to have moved both the federal and state governments to rise to the occasion.
“The relocation of Boko Haram to Southern Kaduna is not new. Who are those that have been killing people indiscriminately in that area in the last few years? The church, SOKAPU and the people have been complaining about killings in Southern Kaduna but only fell on the deaf ear of those in authority.
“Therefore, the leaked document has simply confirmed our worries and shows that more days for killings of innocent citizens are coming unless the people take personal initiative to defend their lives and land. Our government has not done enough to convince us that they want to stop the killings going on all over the area.
“Now, we were being told that there is a leaked memo about Boko Haram when those in authority have always turned deaf ears to cries of our people when we complain about killers that people see every day. Boko Haram fleeing North-East to Southern Kaduna is simply a wake-up call for the Southern Kaduna people to rise to the occasion,” he said.
A leaked DSS memo had said insurgents were relocating from Sambisa forest in BornoState to Chikun LGA in Kaduna State.
The alert was in a leaked memo marked NSCDC/NHQ/INT&INVST/323/2021, dated September 9, 2021, and signed by the Acting Deputy Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Intelligence and Investigation, B.O. Bassey.
The DSS, therefore, asked the civil defence to be on the alert.
“It has been uncovered, plans by senior Boko Haram fighter, Ibrahim (FNU) alongside his foot soldiers relocating from ‘Sambisa Forest in Borno State to Rijana Forest in ChikunLocal Government Area of Kaduna State with a view to joining their counterpart under the leadership of one AdamuYunusu (aka Saddiqu).
“In light of the above, you are hereby directed to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering on the aforementioned areas and environs.”
Meanwhile, months after the crash involving a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) King Air 350 aircraft on May 21 at the Kaduna Civil Airport, Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru, has submitted an interim report to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Amao, at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
After the crash, the CAS directed that a joint investigative body consisting of NAF safety officers and the AIB be constituted to investigate the causes.
A joint statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, and General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, TunjiOketunbi, revealed that at this interim stage, a total of 27 initial findings and eight safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation-related agencies for immediate implementation.
They further disclosed that it is expected that the final report would contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analyses.
While receiving the report, the CAS reiterated the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NAF and the AIB on July 1, 2020.
He said successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged.
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has blamed Almajiri system in the North for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country.
The Chairman of CAN in Imo State, Rev. Eches Divine Eches, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, ahead of the organisation’s 45th anniversary and Founder’s Day billed to hold today in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
According to him, banditry and kidnapping are increasing because the authorities have failed to pay more attention to the critical factors behind the widespread insecurity in the country.
Eches also expressed concern over Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s links with the bandits terrorising the North-West region and the alleged helplessness of the government to arrest and caution him for his many ‘unguarded utterances’ about their activities.
He said, “You can’t have Almajiri system of life and government in the last 40 years in our nation bringing up people without any trace to families, hometowns or nationalities.
“They are scattered all over the street, without you knowing that someday they will leave the street and go to the bush where they will begin to do the trade of kidnapping.
“Also, you can’t, in any sane nation, have the likes of Gumi, a religious scholar, going about promoting banditry and you don’t think that this will continue. Yet, that is what we are seeing today. We are not seeing anything more than what we have planted.
“We allowed this thing (insecurity) to continue and it is now going to consume the nation, if drastic measures are not put in place to take them (Almajiri) out of the streets, give them a sense of belonging, put them in school, and help them realise their potentials.
“These bandits we find today were the Almajiri who used to be in front of our houses and begging for food.
“We are praying and that is why God is still sustaining our nation. I trust God will continue to sustain us in Jesus name.”
On CAN’s 45th anniversary of its Founder’s Day, Eches said the programme was necessary to remember the labour of past heroes, including over 250 retired church leaders and indigent youth and women who were weak.
“They retired church leaders laboured to bring to bear what we are enjoying and working on today.
“We thought it very necessary to remember the weak among us as most of them are passing through terrible times, especially in such a time as this in our nation.
“So, we thought it very important that we will use this 45th anniversary of our Founders’ Day to celebrate such a people and remember their labours, and say to them ‘you deserve to be celebrated’ both by cash and gift,” he said.

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