Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria,(HURIWA), yesterday, carpeted the Nigerian military over its failure to deploy the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets against terrorists turning the North-West zone into another killing field like the North-East zone.
HURIWA also reminded the Federal Government that these daredevil terrorists are fast approaching the Federal Capital Territory and have struck many times very close to the political capital of Nigeria.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the Nigerian military has shown its tolerance for the terrorists by failing to bomb the hideout of the insurgents five months after a Federal High Court designated bandits as terrorists, paving the way for the Nigerian Air Force to bomb the location of the terrorists with the Tucano fighter jets acquired in 2021 from the United States of America.
The group’s comment followed the series of attacks launched by terrorists in Kaduna State in the last one week including the killing of over 50 people in the Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna on Friday, the invasion of the Kaduna International Airport on Saturday by over 200 terrorists, the bombing of an Abuja-Kaduna train on Monday with over 398 passengers onboard, many killed, hospitalised and several others still unaccounted for and the follow-up attack on Tuesday.
HURIWA also noted that the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, last Wednesday, indicted the military over its reluctance to deploy the fighter jets when he said the military knew the location of the bandits wreaking havoc in the state but was refusing to bomb their lair.
It said the military had given a series of excuses for its failure to deploy the fighter jets but the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on November 25, 2021, obtained a judgement designating all gunmen in the North-West as terrorists.
This was said to be a condition by the United States Government for the deployment of the aircraft outside of the North-East.
The order was later gazetted paving the way for the deployment of the fighter jets in the North-West.
The United States Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, Jonathan Finer, had also said the Nigerian Government was expected to deploy the Super Tucano aircraft only in the northern part of the country where Boko Haram insurgents have for over a decade killed thousands and displaced millions.
But the military has, for over five months, refused to deploy the fighter jets while the terrorists shot down a NAF jet, attack the Nigerian Defence Academy, killed over 2,100 innocent lives in Kaduna and kidnapped over 5,000 others within two years.
Onwubiko said the tardiness of the military was not surprising because of the Fulani ethnic extraction of the terrorists involved in the ruins in the North-West states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Jigawa.
He said, “The cocktails of terrorist attacks including those of Kaduna since Friday and those of Minna and in Suleja near Abuja in which soldiers were killed showed that Nigeria is indeed in a war situation as confessed by el-Rufai.
“Nigerians deserve to know where the Tucano military bombers bought to fight terrorists are and why the government is sparing the terrorists while thousands of so-called repentant terrorists are released regularly by the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, and the Federal Government.
“If it were to be in the South-East, the military would have killed everyone as it is already doing with the pockets of attacks experienced in the zone which is nothing to be compared to the terrorism experienced on daily basis in the North-West
“The worsening insecurity also matches HURIWA’s earlier prediction that forces within the Federal Government do not want the 2023 election to hold but to activate a state of national emergency for tenure elongation for some months with the hope of scuttling any power transfer of the President of Nigeria to Southern Nigeria.”
The leadership of the Unified Nigerian Youth Forum (UNYF) has noted that Monday’s attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train by terrorists has further exposed the inability of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to keep to its campaign promises with the increased spate of insecurity and other challenges bedevilling the country.
The forum, therefore, condemned in strong terms the tragic attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train leading to the loss of lives, injuries and abduction of many.
The President of the forum, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, in a statement said, “The series of attacks has further exposed the inability of the current administration to keep to her campaign promises, the spate of insecurity in our nation is terrible and we lack appropriate words to describe it.
“It’s no news again that the current administration has failed us, but we the citizens should not allow this to consume us and the leadership, because available information at our disposal shows the nation has recently imported super Tucanos and many helicopter fighting jets, but to our greatest surprise the said Tucanos and fighter jets are nowhere to be found, rather some of them are diverted to be used against citizens during a peaceful and lawful protest against bad governance, to us indeed it’s a misplaced priority and wrong placement.”
It noted that it is not surprised at the current happenings in the country, after over six years of the current administration; the government is still blaming the past government over everything, saying that this alone has further proven that nothing good can be achieved by President Muhammadu Buhari and his co-travellers.
According to the statement, the present administration rather would continue to feed Nigerians with their usual propaganda and conspiracy theories of blaming others for their shortcomings.
It urged the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on security, stressing that the government should secure the release of all those kidnapped without asking their relatives to pay the ransom.
It also urged the government to pay all the medical bills of all those that sustain injuries and are currently in the hospital and equally compensate them for loss of valuables.
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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